« PreviousContinue »
is so great an honour and support to his family, so resist. For belief is no more in a man's power than great a hope to his fortune, and confort to his life? his stature or his feature; and he that tells nie I must Are there so many left of your own great family that change my opinion for his, because 'tis the truer and you should dexire in a manner wholly to reduce it, by the better, without other arguments that have to me suifering almost the last branch of it to wither away the force of conviction, may as well tell me I must before its time? or is your country, in this are, so change my gray eyes for others like his that are black, stored with great persons, that you should envy it because these are lovelier or more in esteem. He those whom we may justly expect from so noble a that tells me I must inform myself, has reason, if I гасе !
do it not; but if I endeavour it all that I can, and Whilst I had any hopes that your tears would ease perhaps more than ever he did, and yet still differ you, or that your grief would consume itself by liberty from him; and he that, it may be, is idle, will have and time, your ladyship knows very well I never ac- me study on, and inform myself better, and so to the cused it, nor erer increased it by the common formal end of my life, tben I easily understand what he ways of attempting to assuage it: and this, I am sure, I means by informing, which is, in short, that I must is the first othce of the kind I ever performed, other. I do it till I come to be of his opinion. wise than in the most ordinary forms. I was in hopes If he that, perhaps, pursues his pleasures or intewhat was so violent could not be long; but when I rests as much or more than I do, and allows me to observed it to grow stronger with age, and increase have as good sense as he has in all other matters, tells like a stream the further it ran ; when I saw it draw me I should be of his opinion, but that passion or out to such unhappy consequences, and threaten not interest blinds me ; unless he can convince me how less than your child, your health, and your life, Il or where this lies, he is but where he was ; only precould no longer forbear this endeavour. Nor can I tends to know me better than I do myself, who cannot end it without begging of your ladyship, for God's imagine why I should not have as much care of my sake, for your own, for that of your children and your soul as he has of his friends, your country and your family, that you would A man that tells me my opinions are absurd or no longer abandon yourself to so disconsolate a pas- ridiculous, impertinent or unreasonable, because they sion ; but that you would at length awaken your differ from his, seems to intend a quarrel instead of a piety, give way to your prudence, or, at least, rouse up dispute, and calls me fool, or madman, with a little the invinci pirit of the Percies, which never yet more circumstance; though, perhaps, I pass for one shrunk at any disaster; that you would sometimes as well in my senses as he, as pertinent in talk, and remember the great honours and fortunes of your as prudent in life: yet these are the common civilities, family, not always the losses; cherish those veins of in religious argument, of sufficient and conceited men, good humour that are so natural to you, and sear up who talk much of right reason, and mean always their those of ill, that would make you so unkind to your own, and make their private imagination the measure children and to yourself; and, above all, that you of general truth. But such language determines all would enter upon the cares of your health and your between us, and the dispute comes to end in three life. For my part, I know nothing that could be so words at last, which it might as well have ended in great an honour and a satisfaction to me, as if your at first, That he is in the right, and I am in the ladyship would own me to have contributed towards wrong. this cure; but, however, none can perhaps more justly The other great end of religion, which is our happipretend to your pardon for the attempt, since there is ness here, has been generally agreed on by all man. none, I am sure, who has always had at heart a greater kind, as appears in the records of all their laws, as honour for your ladyship's family, nor can have more well as all their religions, which come to be established esteem for you, than, madam, your most obedient and by the concurrence of men's customs and opinions ; most humble servant.
though in the latter, that concurrence may have been
produced by divine impressions or inspirations. For (Right of Private Judgment in Religion.]
all agree in teaching and commanding, in planting
and improving, not only those moral virtues which Whosocver designs the change of religion in a conduce to the felicity and tranquillity of every country or government, by any other means than that private man's life, but also those manners and disof a general conversion of the people, or the greatest positions that tend to the peace, order, and safety of part of them, designs all the mischiefs to a nation | all civil societies and governments among men. Nor that use to usher in, or attend, the two greatest dis could I ever understand how those who call themtempers of a state, civil war or tyranny; which are selves, and the world usually calls, religious men, come violence, oppression, cruelty, rapine, intemperance, to put so great weight upon those points of belief injustice ; and, in short, the miserable effusion of which men never have agreed in, and so little upon human blood, and the confusion of all laws, orders, those of virtue and morality, in which they have and virtues among men.
hardly ever disagreed. Nor why a state should venSuch consequences as these, I doubt, are something ture the subversion of their peace, and their order, more than the disputed opinions of any man, or any which are certain goods, and so universally esteemed, particular assembly of men, can be worth ; since the for the propagation of uncertain or contested opinions. great and general end of all religion, next to men's happiness hereafter, is their happiness here; as ap
[Poetical Genius.] pears by the commandments of God being the best and greatest moral and civil, as well as divine pre The more true and natural source of poetry may be cepts, that have been given to a nation; and by the discorered by observing to what god this inspiration rewards proposed to the piety of the Jews, throughout was ascribed by the ancients, which was Apollo, or the the Old Testament, which were the blessings of this sun, esteemed among them the god of learning in life, as health, length of age, number of children, general, but more particularly of music and of poetry. plenty, peace, or victory.
The mystery of this fable means, I suppose, that a Now, the way to our future happiness has been per- certain noble and vital heat of temper, but especially petually disputed throughout the world, and must be of the brain, is the true spring of these two parts or left at last to the impressions made upon every man's sciences : this was that celestial fire which gave such belief and conscience, either by natural or super- a pleasing motion and agitation to the minds of those natural arguments and ineans; which impressions men that have been so much admired in the world, men may disguise or dissenuble, but no man can I that raises such infinite images of things so agreeable and delightful to mankind; by the influence of this have contented themselves with those given by Aris. sun are produced those golden and inexhausted mines totle and Horace, and hare translated them rather of invention, which has furnished the world with trea- than commented upon them; for all they have done sures so highly esteemed, and so universally known has been no more ; so as they seem, by their writings and used, in all the regions that have yet been dis- of this kind, rather to have valued themselves, than covered. From this arises that elevation of genius improved anybody else. The truth is, there is somewhich can never be produced by any art or study, by thing in the genius of poetry too libertine to be conpains or by industry, which cannot be taught by fined to so many rules; and whoever goes about to precepts or examples; and therefore is agreed by all subject it to such constraints, loses both its spirit and to be the pure and free gift of heaven or of nature, grace, which are ever native, and never learned, eren and to be a fire kindled out of some hidden spark of of the best masters. 'Tis as if, to make excellent the very first conception.
honey, you should cut off the wings of your bees, conBut though invention be the mother of poetry, yet | fine them to their hive or their stands, and lay flowers this child is, like all others, born naked, and must be before them such as you think the sweetest, and like nourished with care, clothed with exactness and ele- to yield the finest extraction ; you had as good pull gance, educated with industry, instructed with art, out their stings, and make arrant drones of them. improved by application, corrected with severity, and they must range through fields, as well as gardens, accomplished with labour and with time, before it choose such flowers as they please, and by proprieties arrives at any great perfection or growth : 'tis certain and scents they only know and distinguish: they that no composition requires so many several ingre- must work up their cells with admirable art, extract dients, or of more different sorts than this; nor that, their honey with infinite labour, and sever it from the to excel in any qualities, there are necessary so many wax with such distinction and choice, as belongs to gifts of nature, and so many improvements of learning none but themselves to perform or to judge. and of art. For there must be a universal genius, of great compass as well as great elevation. There must Sir William Temple's Essay upon the Ancient and be a sprightly imagination or fancy, fertile in a thou- | Modern Learning gave occasion to one of the most saud productions, ranging over infinite ground, pierc- celebrated literary controversies which have ocing into every corner, and, by the light of that true curred in England. The composition of it was poetical fire, discovering a thousand little bodies or suggested to him principally by a French work of images in the world, and similitudes among them, Charles Perrault, on The Age of Louis the Great,' unseen to common eyes, and which could not be in which, with the view of tlattering the pride of discovered without the rays of that sun.
| the grand monarque, it was affirmed that the writers Besides the heat of invention and liveliness of wit, of antiquity had been excelled by those of modern there must be the coldness of good sense and sound-times. This doctrine excited a warm controversy ness of judgment, to distinguish between things and in France, where the poet Boileau was among those conceptions, which, at first sight, or upon short glances, by whom it was strenuously opposed. It was in seem alike; to choose, among infinite productions of behalf of the ancients that Sir William Temple also wit and fancy, which are worth preserving and culti
took the field. The first of the enemy's arguments vating, and which are better stifled in the birth, or
which he controverts, is the allegation, that we thrown away when they are born, as not worth bring
must have more knowledge than the ancients, ing up. Without the forces of wit, all poetry is flat
because we have the advantage both of theirs and and languishing ; without the succours of judgment,
our own; just as a dwarf standing upon a giant's 'tis wild and extravagant. The true wit of poesy is,
shoulders sees more and farther than he.' To this that such contraries must meet to compose it; a
he replies, that the ancients may have derived vast genius both penetrating and solid ; in expression both
stores of knowledge from their predecessors, namely, delicacy and force ; and the frame or fabric of a true the
the Chinese, Egyptians, Chaldeans, Persians, Syri. poem must have something both sublime and just,
ans, and Jews. Among these nations, says he, were amazing and agreeable. There must be a great
planted and cultivated mighty growths of astronomy, agitation of mind to invent, a great calm to judge
| astrology, magic, geometry, natural philosophy, and and correct; there must be upon the same tree, and
ancient story; and from these sources Orpheus, at the same time, both flower and fruit. To work up this metal into exquisite figure, there must be em.
P|Homer, Lycurgus, Pythagoras, Plato, and others of
the ancients, are acknowledged to have drawn all ployed the fire, the hammer, the chisel, and the file. There must be a general knowledge both of nature and
those depths of knowledge or learning which have of arts, and, to go the lowest that can be, there are
made them so renowned in all succeeding ages.' required genius, judgment, and application; for, with
Here Temple manifests wonderful ignorance and out this last, all the rest will not serve turn, and none
| credulity in assuming as facts the veriest fables of ever was a great poet that applied himself much to
the ancients, particularly with respect to Orpheus, anything else.
of whom he afterwards speaks in conjunction with When I speak of poetry, I mean not an ode or an
that equally authentic personage, Arion, and in elegy, a song or a satire ; nor by a poet the composer
reference to whose musical powers he asks triumof any of these. but of a just poem: and after all I phantly, "What are become of the charms of music. have said, 'tis no wonder there should be so few that by which men and beasts, fishes, fowls, and serpents. appeared in any parts or any ages of the world, or
were so frequently enchanted, and their very natures that such as have should be so much admired, and changed ; by which the passions of men were raised have almost divinity ascribed to them and to their
to the greatest height and violence, and then as sudworks. * *
denly appeased, so that they might be justly said I do not here intend to make a further critic upon
to be turned into lions or lambs, into wolves or into poetry, which were too great a labour; nor to give
harts, by the powers and charms of this admirable rules for it, which were as great a presumption : be
music? In the same credulous spirit, he affirms sides, there has been so much paper blotted upon these that ‘The more ancient sages of Greece appear, by subjects, in this curious and censuring age, that 'tis
the characters remaining of them, to bave been all grown tedious, or repetition. The modern French much greater men than Hippocrates, Plato, and wits (or pretenders) have been very severe in their Xenophon. They were generally princes or lawgivers censures, and exact in their rules, I think to very of their countries, or at least offered or invited to be little purpose ; for I know not why they might not so, either of their own or of others, that desired them to frame or reform their several institutions of man deeply versed in Greek literature; on whom he civil government. They were commonly excellent inserted a bitter reflection in his preface. Bentley, poets and great physicians: they were so learned | in revenge, demonstrated the Epistles to be a forgery, in natural philosophy, that they foretold not only taking occasion at the same time to speak someeclipses in the heavens, but earthquakes at land, what irreverently of Sir William Temple. Boyle, and storms at sea, great droughts, and great plagues, with the assistance of Aldrich, Atterbury, and much plenty or much scarcity of certain sorts of other Christ-church doctors (who, indeed, were the fruits or grain; not to mention the magical powers real combatants), sent forth a reply, the plausibility attributed to several of them to allay storms, to of which seemed to give him the advantage ; till raise gales, to appease commotions of the people, to Bentley, in a most triumphant rejoinder, exposed the make plagues cease; which qualities, whether upon gross ignorance which lay concealed under the wit any ground of truth or no, yet, if well believed, must and assumption of his opponents. To these parties, have raised them to that strange height they were however, the controversy
range height they were however, the controversy was not confined. Boyle at, of common esteem and honour, in their own and and his friends were backed by the sarcastic powers, succeeding ages.' The objection occurs to him, as one if not by the learning, of Pope, Swift, Garth, Middlelikely to be set up by the admirers of modern learn-ton, and others. Swift, who came into the field on ing, that there is no evidence of the existence of behalf of his patron Sir William Temple, published books before those now either extant or on record. on this occasion his famous · Battle of the Books,' This, however, gives him no alarm : for it is very and to the end of his life continued to speak of Bentdoubtful, he tells us, whether books, though they ley in the language of hatred and contempt. In the may be helps to knowledge, and serviceable in dif- work just mentioned, Swift has ridiculed not only fusing it, • are necessary ones, or much advance any that scholar, but also his friend the Rev. William other science beyond the particular records of Wotton, who had opposed Temple in a treatise actions or registers of time'-as if any example entitled • Reflections upon Ancient and Modern could be adduced of science having flourished where Learning,' published in 1694. To some parts of tradition was the only mode of handing it down! that treatise Sir William wrote a reply, the folHis notice of astronomy is equally ludicrous: “There lowing passage in which suggested, we doubt not, is nothing new in astronomy,' says he, to vie with the satirical account given long afterwards by Swift the ancients, unless it be the Copernican system'-a in Gulliver's Travels,' of the experimental researches system which overturns the whole fabric of ancient of the projectors at Lagoela. •What has been proastronomical science, though Temple declares with duced for the use, benefit, or pleasure of mankind, great simplicity that it has made no change in by all the airy speculations of those who have passed the conclusions of astronomy.' In comparing the for the great advancers of knowledge and learning great wits among the moderns' with the authors of these last fifty years (which is the date of our antiquity, le mentions no Englishmen except Sir modern pretenders), I confess I am yet to seek, and Philip Sidney, Bacon, and Selden, leaving Shakshould be very glad to find. I have indeed lieard of speare and Milton altogether out of view. How wondrous pretensions and visions of men possessed little he was qualified to judge of the comparative with notions of the strange advancement of learning merits of ancient and modern authors, is evident pot and sciences, on foot in this age, and the progress only from his total ignorance of the Greek language, they are like to make in the next; as the universal but from the very limited knowledge of English lite medicine, which will certainly cure all that have it; rature evinced by his esteeming Sir Philip Sidney the philosopher's stone, which will be found out by to be both the greatest poet and the noblest genius men that care not for riches; the transfusion of of any that have left writings behind them, and young blood into old men's veins, which will make published in ours or any other modern language.' them as gamesome as the lambs from which 'tis He farther declares, that after Ariosto, Tasso, and to be derived ; a universal language, which may Spenser, he knows none of the moderns that have serve all men's turn when they have forgot their made any achievements in heroic poetry worth re-owp; the knowledge of one another's thoughts cording.' Descartes and Hobbes are the only new without the grievous trouble of speaking; the art philosophers that have made entries upon the noble of flying, till a man happens to fall down and break stage of the sciences for fifteen hundred years past,' his neck; double-bottomed ships, whereof none can aud these have by no means eclipsed the lustre of ever be cast away besides the first that was made; Plato. Aristotle, Epicurus, and others of the ancients,' the admirable virtues of that noble and necessary Bacon, Newton, and Boyle, are not regarded as phi-juice called spittle, which will come to be sold, and losophers at all. But the most unlucky blundervery cheap, in the apothecaries' shops ; discoveries committed by Temple on this occasion was his of new worlds in the planets, and voyages between adducing the Greek Epistles of Phalaris in sup- this and that in the moon to be made as frequently port of the proposition, that the oldest books we as between York and London: which such poor have are still in their kind the best.' These Epis- mortals as I am think as wild as those of Ariosto, tles, says he, 'I think to have more grace, more but without half so much wit, or so much instrucspirit, more force of wit and genius, than any others tion; for there, these modern sages may know I have seen, either ancient or modern. Some critics, where they may hope in time to find their lost he admits, have asserted that they are not the pro- senses, preserved in vials, with those of Orlando.' duction of Phalaris (who lived in Sicily more than five centuries before Christ), but of some writer in
WILLIAM WOTTON. the declining age of Greek literature. In reply to these sceptics, he enumerates such transcendent William WOTTON (1666-1726), a clergyman in excellences of the Epistles, that any man, he thinks, Buckinghamshire, whom we have mentioned as the • must have little skill in painting that cannot find author of a reply to Sir William Temple, wrote out this to be an original.' The celebrity given to various other works, of which none deserves to be these Epistles by the publication of Temple's Essay, specified except his condemnatory remarks on Swift's led to the appearance of a new edition of them at-Tale of a Tub.' In childhood, his talent for languages Oxford, under the name of Charles Boyle as editor. was so extraordinary and precocious, that when five Boyle, while preparing it for the press, got into a years old he was able to read Latin, Greek, and quarrel with the celebrated critic Richard Bentley, a Hebrew, almost as well as English. At the age of twelve he took the degree of bachelor of arts, pre-extracted from Baxter a character of this estimable viously to which he had gained an extensive ac-man. The productions of his pen, which are many quaintance with several additional languages, includ- and various, relate chiefly to natural philosophy, ing Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldee; as well as with divinity, and law. His religious opinions were Calgeography, logic, philosophy, chronology, and ma- | vinistical; and his chief theological work, entitled thematics. As in many similar cases, however, the Contemplations, Moral and Divine, retains consider. expectations held out by his early proficiency were able popularity among serious people of that persuanot justified by any great achievements in after life. sion. As a specimen of his style, we present a letter We quote the following passage from his Reflections of advice to his children, written about the year upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694), chiefly | 1662. because it records the change of manners which took place among literary men during the seven
[On Conversation.] teenth century.
Dear CHILDREN-I thank God I came well to Far[Decline of Pedantry in England.]
rington this day, about five o'clock. And as I have
some leisure time at my inn, I cannot spend it more The last of Sir William Temple's reasons of the
to my own satisfaction, and your benefit, than, by a great decay of modern learning is pedantry; the letter, to give you some good counsel. The subject urging of which is an evident argument that his dis- shall be concerning your speech : because much of the course is levelled against learning, not as it stands
good or evil that befalls persons arises from the well now, but as it was fifty or sixty years ago. For the lor ill managing of their conversation. When I have new philosophy has introduced 80 great a correspon- leisure and opportunity, I shall give you niy direcdence between men of learning and men of business ; ] tions on other subjects. which has also been increased by other accidents Never speak anything for a truth which you know amongst the masters of other learned professions; and / or believe to be false. Lying is a great sin against that pedantry which formerly was almost universal is God, who gave us a tongue to speak the truth, and now in a great measure disused, especially amongst not falsehood. It is a great offence against humanity the young men, who are taught in the universities to itself; for, where there is no regard to truth, there laugh at that frequent citation of scraps of Latin in can be no safe society between man and man. And common discourse, or upon arguments that do not it is an injury to the speaker; for, besides the disrequire it; and that nauseous ostentation of reading grace which it brings upon him, it occasions so much and scholarship in public companies, which formerly | baseness of mind, that he can scarcely tell truth, or was so much in fashion. Affecting to write politely avoid lying, even when he has no colour of necessity in modern languages, especially the French and ours, for it; and, in time, he comes to such a pass, that as has also helped very much to lessen it, because it has other people cannot believe he speaks truth, so he enabled abundance of men, who wanted academical | himself scarcely knows when he tells a falsehood. education, to talk plausibly, and some exactly, upon As you must be careful not to lie, so you must very many learned subjects. This also has made avoid coming near it. You must not equivocate, nor writers habitually careful to avoid those imperti
speak anything positively for which you have no nences which they know would be taken notice of and
authority but report, or conjecture, or opinion. ridiculed ; and it is probable that a careful perusal! Let your words be few, especially when your supeof the fine new French books, which of late years have riors, or strangers, are present, lest you betray your been greedily sought after by the politer sort of gentle- own weakness, and rob yourselves of the opportunity, men and scholars, may in this particular have done which you might otherwise have bad, to gain knowabundance of good. By this means, and by the help / ledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those also of soine other concurrent causes, those who were whom you silence by your impertinent talking. not learned theinselves being able to maintain disputes Be not too earnest, loud, or violent in your converwith those that were, forced them to talk more warily, sation. Silence your opponent with reason, not with and brought them, by little and little, to be out of noise. countenance at that vain thrusting of their learning! Be careful not to interrupt another when he is into everything, which before had been but too visible. speaking; hear him out, and you will understand
him the better, and be able to give him the better SIR MATTHEW HALE.
Consider before you speak, especially when the busiSIR MATTHEW HALE (1609-1676) not only ac- Iness is of moinent; weigh the sense of what you mean quired some repntation as a literary man, but is
is to utter, and the expressions you intend to use, that celebrated as one of the most upright judges that they ma
| they may be significant, pertinent, and inoffensive. have ever sat upon the English bench. Both in his Inconsiderate persons do not think till they speak; studies and in the exercise of his profession he dis
8- or they speak, and then think. played uncommon industry, which was favoured by Some men excel in husbandry, some in gardening, his acquaintance with Selden, who esteemed him so some in mathematics. In conversation, learn, as near highly as to appoint him his executor. Hale was a
as you can, where the skill or excellence of any perjudge both in the time of the commonwealth and
son lies ; put him upon talking on that subject, obunder Charles II., who appointed him chief baron serve what he says, keep it in your memory, or comof the exchequer in 1660, and lord chief-justice of mit it to writing. By this means you will glean the the king's benclı eleven years after. In the former worth and knowledge of every body you converse with; capacity, one of his most notable and least creditable and, at an easy rate, acquire what may be of use to acts was the condemnation of some persons accused you on many occasions. of witchcraft at Bury St Edmunds in 1664. Amidst When you are in company with light, vain, imperthe immorality of Charles II.'s reign, Sir Matthew tinent persons, let the observing of their failings niake Hale stands out with peculiar lustre as an impartial, you the more cautious both in your conversation with incorruptible, and determined administrator of jus-them and in your general behaviour, that you may tice. Though of a benevolent and devout, as well as | avoid their errors. righteous disposition, his manners are said to have If any one, whom you do not know to be a person been austere; he was, moreover, opinionative, and of truth, sobriety, and weight, relates strange stories, accessible to flattery. In a previous page, we have be not too ready to believe or report thein; and yet (unless he is one of your familiar acquaintance) be end the day with private prayer; read the Scriptures not too forward to contradict him. If the occasion often and seriously; be attentive to the public wor. requires you to declare your opinion, do it modestly ship of God. Keep yourselves in some useful employand gently, not bluntly nor coarsely; by this means ment; for idleness is the nursery of rain and sinful you will avoid giving offence, or being abused for too thoughts, which corrupt tbe mind, and disorder the much credulity.
life. Be kind and loving to one another Honour If a man, whose integrity you do not very well your minister. Be not bitter nor harsh to my ser. know, makes you great and extraordinary professions, vants. Be respectful to all. Bear my absence pado not give much credit to him. Probably, you will tiently and cheerfully. Behave as if I were present find that he aims at something besides kindness to among you and saw you. Remember, you have a you, and that when he has served his turn, or been greater Father than I am, who always, and in all disappointed, his regard for you will grow cool. | places, beholds you, and knows your hearts and
Beware also of him who flatters you, and commends thoughts. Study to requite my love and care for you you to your face, or to one who he thinks will tell with dutifulness, observance, and obedience; and you of it; most probably he has either deceived and account it an honour that you have an opportunity, abused you, or means to do so. Remember the fable by your attention, faithfulness, and industry, to pay of the fox commending the singing of the crow, who some part of that debt which, by the laws of nature had something in her mouth which the fox wanted. and of gratitude, you owe to me. Be frugal in my
Be careful that you do not commend yourselves. family, but let there be no want; and provide conIt is a sign that your reputation is small and sinking, veniently for the poor. if your own tongue must praise you ; and it is fulsome I pray God to fill your hearts with his grace, fear, and unpleasing to others to hear such commenda- and love, and to let you see the comfort and advantions.
tage of serving him; and that his blessing, and preSpeak well of the absent whenever you have a suit- sence, and direction, may be with you, and over you able opportunity. Never speak ill of them, or of all.-I am your ever loving father. anybody, unless you are sure they deserve it, and unless it is necessary for their amendment, or for the England, during the latter half of the seventeenth safety and benefit of others.
century, was adorned by three illustrious philosoAvoid, in your ordinary communications, not only phers, who, besides making important contributions oaths, but all imprecations and earnest protestations. | to science, were distinguished by the simplicity and
Forbear scoffing and jesting at the condition or moral excellence of their personal character, and an natural defects of any person. Such offences leave ardent devotion to the interests of religion, virtue, a deep impression; and they often cost a man dear. and truth. We allude to John Locke, Robert Boyle,
Be very careful that you give no reproachful, me- and Sir Isaac Newton. nacing, or spiteful words to any person. Good words make friends; bad words make enemies. It is great
JOHN LOCKE. prudence to gain as many friends as we honestly can, especially when it may be done at so easy a rate as a JOHN LOCKE, the son of a gentleman in Somersetgood word ; and it is great folly to make an enemy shire, was born in 1632, and after receiving his eleby ill words, which are of no advantage to the party who uses them. When faults are committed, they may, and by a superior they must, be reproved : but let it be done without reproach or bitterness; otherwise it will lose its due end and use, and, instead of reforming the offence, it will exasperate the offender, and lay the reprover justly open to reproof.
If a person be passionate, and give you ill language, rather pity him than be moved to anger. You will find that "silence, or very gentle words, are the most exquisite revenge for reproaches ; they will either cure the distemper in the angry man, and make him sorry for his passion, or they will be a severe reproof and punishment to him. But, at any rate, they will preserve your innocence, give you the deserved reputation of wisdom and moderation, and keep up the serenity and composure of your mind. Passion and anger make a man unfit for everything that becomes him as a man or as a Christian.
Never utter any profane speeches, nor make a jest of any Scripture expressions. When you pronounce the name of God or of Christ, or repeat any passages or words of Holy Scripture, do it with reverence and seriousness, and not lightly, for that is taking the name of God in vain.'
If you hear of any unseemly expressions used in religious exercises, do not publish them; endeavour to forget them; or, if you mention them at all, let it be with pity and sorrow, not with derision or reproach.
Read these directions often; think of them seriously; and practise them diligently. You will find them useful in your conversation; which will be every day the more evident to you, as your judgment, understanding, and experience increase.
I have little further to add at this time, but my mentary education at Westminster school, comwish and command that you will remember the former pleted his studies at Christ-church college, Oxford. counsels that I have frequently given you. Begin and in the latter city he resided from 1651 till 1664,