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things are but addresses to an human understanding, which may need as many words as may fill a volume to make it understand the truth of one line? Whereas prayer is an address to that Eternal Mind, which, as we have shown before, such as rationally invocate pretend not to inform. Nevertheless, since the nature of man is such that, while we are yet in the body, our reverence and worship of God must of necessity proceed in some analogy to the reverence that we show to the grandees of this world, we will here see what the judgment of all wise men is concerning fewness of words when we appear as suppliants before our earthy superiors; and we shall find that they generally allow it to import these three things : 1, Modesty ; 2, Discretion; and 3, Height of respect to the person addressed to. And first, for modesty. Modesty is a kind of shame or bashfulness, proceeding from the sense a man has of his own defects, compared with the perfections of him whom he comes before. And that which is modesty towards man is worship and devotion towards God. It is a virtue that makes a man unwilling to be seen, and fearful to be heard ; and yet, for that very cause, never fails to make him both seen with favour and heard with attention. It loves not many words, nor indeed needs them. For modesty, addressing to any one of a generous worth and honour, is sure to have that man's honour for its advocate and his generosity for its intercessor. And how, then, is it possible for such a virtue to run out into words ? Loquacity storms the ear, but modesty takes the heart ; that is troublesome, this gentle but irresistible. Much speaking is always the effect of confidence; and confidence still presupposes, and springs from, the persuasion that a man bas of his own worth : both of them, certainly, very unfit qualifications for a petitioner.
Secondly. The second thing that naturally shows itself in paucity of words is discretion ; and particularly that prime and eminent part of it that consists in a care of offending, which Solomon assures us that in much speaking it is hardlý possible for us to avoid. In Prov. x. 19, In the multitude of words, says he, there wanteth not sin. It requires no ordinary skill for a man to make his tongue run by rule, and at the same time to give it both its lesson and its liberty too. For seldom or never is there much spoke, but something or other had better been not spoke, there being nothing that the mind of man is so apt to kindle and take distaste at as at words; and, therefore, whensoever any one comes to prefer a suit to another, no doubt the fewer of them the better, since, where so very little is said, it is sure to be either candidly accepted, or, which is next, easily excused ; but at the same time to petition and to provoke too is certainly very preposterous.
Thirdly. The third thing that brevity of speech commends itself by in all petitioning addresses is, a peculiar respect to the person addressed to for whosoever petitions his superior in such a manner does, by his very so
doing, confess him better able to understand, than he himself can be to express, his own case. He owns him as a patron of a preventing judgment and goodness, and, upon that account, able not only to answer but also to anticipate his requests. For, according to the most natural interpretation of things, this is to ascribe to him a sagacity so quick and piercing that it were presumption to inform, and a benignity so great that it were needless to importune, him. And can there be a greater and more winning deference to a superior than to treat him under such a character ? Or can anything be imagined so naturally fit and efficacious, both to enforce the petition and to endear the petitioner? A short petition to a great man is not only a suit to him for his favour, but also a panegyric upon his parts.
Here we have, if not much subtlety, depth, or largeness of view, what is better fitted to win acceptance with the common taste, and especially to prove effective in spoken eloquence, pith, and point, and a vein of reasoning or remark certainly not commonplace, yet at the same time approving itself, so far as it goes, to every man's experience or consciousness, and alarming no prejudices by any tincture either of extravagance or novelty. It is a striking without being in any respect a startling style, whether we regard the thought or the expression ; a manner of disquisition which never goes mining far underground for hidden treasure, yet stirs the surface of the soil so as effectually to bring out whatever fertility may be there resident. There is no passion or poetry in South’s eloquence ; its chief seasoning rather partakes of the nature of wit. Many smart sayings, having that peculiar species of truth in them which belongs to a witticism, might be gathered from his writings; and some current bons mots may probably be traced to him. The sarcastic definition, for instance, which has been given of gratitude, that it is a sense of obligation for favors expected, seems to be orig
We are told by the author of the Memoirs of his Life prefixed to his Sermons, that, when Dr. Owen, the puritanical vicechancellor, in the time of the Commonwealth, threatened to expel South, then an undergraduate, from Cambridge, on his being caught performing worship according to the Book of Common Prayer, remarking that “ he could do no less, in gratitude to his highness the Protector, and his other great friends, who had thought him worthy of the dignities he then stood possessed of,” the future champion of the restored Church of England replied, “ Gratitude among friends is like credit amongst tradesmen ; it keeps business
up, and maintains the correspondence : and we pay, not so much out of a principle that we ought to discharge our debts, as to secure ourselves a place to be trusted another time.” The buffoonery, or something like it, occasionally to be found in his sermons, is principally directed against the sectaries ; for South, although not given to take up with any creed or system on the mere ground of authority, was, as we have just said, a strict and strenuous adherent of the Establishment, and had convinced himself that there was no good to be found either to the right or the left of the Thirty-nine Articles, either in Romanism on the one hand or Protestant dissent on the other. It is true that when at college, in 1655, he had gone so far as to contribute a copy of Latin verses to the volume published by the university in congratulation of Cromwell on the peace conquered by him that year from the Dutch ; and this circumstance considerably annoys his orthodox and loyal biographer. Upon the said poem, it is remarked, “ some people have made invidious reflections, as if contrary to the sentiments he afterwards espoused ; but these are to be told that such exercises are usually imposed by the governors of colleges upon bachelors of arts and undergraduates: I shall forbear to be particular in his, as being a forced compliment to the usurper. Not but even those discover a certain unwillingness to act in favour of that monster, whom even the inimitable Earl of Clarendon, in his History of the Grand Rebellion, distinguishes by the name and title of a Glorious Villain.” As a further sample of the principles and temper of this biographer, we may just notice that a little lower down, in mentioning the learned Dr. John Owen, he designates him, “ this man (if he deserves the name of one),” and describes all his party as “ creatures divested of all qualities that point towards the least symptoms of humanity.” In South himself the feeling of aversion to the sectarianism and republicanism that had for the present been shuffled out of sight, or out of the way, never took this bitter tone. His
way of viewing the matter may be exemplified by a famous passage from a sermon which he preached, as one of the chaplains in ordinary, before Charles II. in 1681:-“Who that had looked upon Agathocles, first handling the clay, and making pots under his father, and afterwards turning robber, could have thought that, from such a condition, he should come to be king of Sicily? Who that had seen Masaniello, a poor fisherman, with his red cap
and nis angle, would have reckoned it possible to see such a pitiful
thing, within a week after, shining in his cloth of gold, and with a word or a nod absolutely commanding the whole city of Naples ? And who that had beheld such a bankrupt, beggarly fellow as Cromwell, first entering the Parliament House, with a threadbare, torn cloak, greasy hat (perhaps neither of them paid for), could have suspected that, in the space of so few years, he should, by the murder of one king and the banishment of another, ascend the throne ?” There is contempt and abuse here, but not any malignity. At this sally, we are told, Charles fell into a violent fit of laughter, and, turning round to Lord Rochester, said, “ Ods fish, Lory, your chaplain must be a bishop: put me in mind of him at the next death.” But, however much South may have enjoyed thus setting the Chapel Royal in a roar, he was not fishing for a bishopric with his comic pulpit oratory. He had it several times in his power, after this, to take his seat upon the right reverend bench, but he always declined that distinction; and, although he was perhaps the most influential English ecclesiastic of his day, he continued to the end of his life nothing more than prebendary of Westminster and canon of Christ Church, Oxford. In all other worldly matters, indeed, he showed the same disinterestedness, so worthy of him both as a Christian and as a wit.
The only considerable literary name that belongs exclusively, or almost exclusively, to the first reign after the Revolution is that of Locke. John Locke, born in 1632, although his Adversariorum Methodus, or New Method of a Common-Place-Book, had appeared in French in Leclerc's Bibliothèque for 1686, and an abridgment of his celebrated Essay, and his first Letter on Toleration, both also in French, in the same publication for 1687 and 1688, had published nothing in English, or with his name, till he produced in 1690 the work which has ever since made him one of the best known of English writers, both in his own and in other countries, his Essay concerning Human Understanding. This was followed by his Second Letter on Toleration, and his two Treatises on Government, in the same year; his Considerations on Lowering
the Interest of Money, in 1691 ; his Third Letter on Toleration, in 1692 ; his Thoughts concerning Education, in 1693; his Reasonableness of Christianity, in 1695; and various controversial tracts in reply to his assailants, Dr. Edwards and Bishop Stillingfleet, between that date and his death in 1704. After his death appeared his Conduct of the Understanding, and several theological treatises, the composition of which had been the employment of the last years of his industrious and productive old age. Locke's famous Essay was the first work, perhaps in any language, which professedly or systematically attempted to popularize metaphysical philosophy. The author's persuasion apparently is, that there is nothing much more difficult to comprehend, or at least more incomprehensible, about the operations of the human mind than there is in the movements of an eight-day clock. What he especially sets himself to run down and do away with, from the beginning to the end of his book, is the notion that there is any mystery in the subject he has undertaken to explain which cannot be made clear to whoever will only listen with fair attention to the exposition. Locke was a man of great moral worth, of the highest integrity, disinterested, just, tolerant, and humane, as well as of extraordinary penetration and capacity; moreover, he was probably as free: from anything like self-conceit, or the over-estimation either of his own virtues or his own talents, as people of good sense usually are ; and he had undoubtedly a great respect for the deity, as the First Magistrate of the universe; yet, to a mind differently constituted from bis, and which, instead of seeing a mystery in nothing, sees a mystery in all things, there is, it must be confessed, something so unsatisfactory in the whole strain of his philosophy, that his merits perhaps will scarcely be rated by such a mind so high as they deserve. It seems all like a man, if not trying to deceive others, at least so perseveringly shutting his eyes upon, and turning away his head from, every real difficulty, that he may be almost said to be wilfully deceiving himself; merely skimming the surface of his subject while he assumes the air of exploring it to the bottom; repelling objections sometimes by dexterously thrusting them aside, mostly by not noticing them at all: in other words, a piece of mere clever and plausible, but hollow and insincere, conjuring; a vain show of wisdom, having in it almost as little of the real as of the reverential. No awe, no wonder, no self-distrust, of anything above we might almost say beside, or out of — the