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not merit the commendation bestowed by Pope on another style which he conceived to be formed after the model of the Roman eloquence, of being “so Latin, yet so English all the while.” It is both soul and body Latin, only in an English dress. Owing partly to this principle of composition upon which he deliberately proceeded, or to the adoption of which his education and tastes or habits led him, partly to the character of his mind, fervid, gorgeous, and soaring, but having little involuntary impulsiveness or selfabandonment, rich as his style often is, it never moves with any degree of rapidity or easy grace even in passages where such qualities are most required, but has at all times something of a stiff, cumbrous, oppressive air, as if every thought, the lightest and most evanescent as well as the gravest and stateliest, were attired in brocade and whalebone. There is too little relief from constant straining and striving; too little repose and variety ; in short, too little nature. Many things, no doubt, are happily said ; there is much strong and also some brilliant expression ; but even such imbedded gems do not occur so often as might be looked for from so poetical a mind. In fine, we must admit the truth of what he has himself confessed — that he was not naturally disposed to “this manner of writing”; “wherein,” he adds, “ knowing myself inferior to myself, led by the genial power of nature to another task, I have the use, as I may account it, but of my left hand.” i With all his quick susceptibility for whatever was beautiful and bright, Milton seems to have needed the soothing influences of the regularity and music of verse fully to bring out his poetry, or to sublimate his imagination to the true poetical state. The passion which is an enlivening flame in his verse half suffocates him with its smoke in his prose.
Two other eminent names of theological controversialists belonging to this troubled age of the English Church may be mentioned together — those of John Hales and William Chillingworth. Hales, who was born in 1584, and died in 1656, the same year with Hall and Usher, published in his lifetime a few short tracts, of which
1 Reason of Church Government, Book II.
the most important is a Discourse on Schism, which was printed in 1642, and is considered to have been one of the works that led the way
in that bold revolt against the authority of the fathers, so much cried up by the preceding school of Andrews and Laud, upon which has since been founded what many hold to be the strongest defence of the Church of England against that of Rome. All Hales's writings were collected and published after his death, in 1659, in a quarto volume, bearing the title of Golden Remains of the Ever-Memorable Mr. John Hales, a designation which has stuck to his name. The main idea of his treatise on Schism had, however, been much more elaborately worked out by his friend Chillingworth — the Immortal Chillingworth, as he is styled by his admirers in his famous work entitled The Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation, published in 1637. This is one of the most closely and keenly argued polemical treatises ever written : the style in which Chillingworth presses his reasoning home is like a charge with the bayonet. He was still only in his early manhood when he produced this remarkably able work; and he died in 1644 at the
But the greatest name by far among the English divines of the middle of the seventeenth century is that of Jeremy Taylor. He was born in 1613, and died bishop of Down and Connor in 1667; but most of his works were written, and many of them were also published, before the Restoration. In abundance of thought, in ingenuity of argument, in opulence of imagination, in a soul made alike for the feeling of the sublime, of the beautiful, and of the picturesque, and in a style answering in its compass,
flexibility, and sweetness to the demands of all these powers, Taylor is unrivalled among the masters of English eloquence. He is the Spenser of our prose writers; and his prose is sometimes almost as musical as Spenser's verse. His Sermons, his Golden Grove, his Holy Living, and, still more, his Holy Dying, all contain many passages the beauty and splendor of which are hardly to be matched in any other English prose writer. Another of his most
remarkable works, Theologia Eclectica, a Discourse of the Liberty of Prophesying, first published in 1647, may be placed beside Milton's Areopagitica, published three years before, as doing for liberty of conscience the same service which that did for the liberty of the press. Both remain the most eloquent and comprehensive defences we yet possess of these two great rights.
The last of the theological writers of this era that we shall notice is Fuller. Dr. Thomas Fuller was born in 1604, and died in 1661 ; and in the course of his not very extended life produced a considerable number of literary works, of which his Church History of Britain from the Birth of Jesus Christ until the Year 1648, which appeared in 1656, and his History of the Worthies of England, which was not published till the year after his death, are the most important. He is a most singular writer, full of verbal quibbling and quaintness of all kinds, but by far the most amusing and engaging of all the rhetoricians of this school, inasmuch as his conceits are rarely mere elaborate feats of ingenuity, but are usually informed either by a strong spirit of very peculiar humor and drollery, or sometimes even by a warmth and depth of feeling, of which too, strange as it may appear, the oddity of his phraseology is often a not ineffective exponent. He was certainly one of the greatest and truest wits that ever lived : he is witty not by any sort of effort at all, but as it were in spite of himself, or because he cannot help it. But wit, or the faculty of looking at and presenting things in their less obvious relations, is accompanied in him, not only by humor and heart, but by a considerable endowment of the irradiating power of fancy. Accordingly, what he writes is always lively and interesting, and sometimes even eloquent and poetical, though the eccentricities of his characteristic manner are not favorable, it must be confessed, to dignity or solemnity of style when attempted to be long sustained. Fuller, and it is no wonder, was one of the most popular writers, if not the most popular, of his own day: he observes himself, in the opening chapter of his Worthies, that hitherto no stationer (or publisher) had
lost by him ; and what happened in regard to one of his works, his Holy State, is perhaps without example in the history of bookpublishing:- it appeared originally in a folio volume in 1642, and is believed to have been four times reprinted before the Restoration ; but the publisher continued to describe the two last impressions on the title-page as still only the third edition, as if the demand had been so great that he felt (for whatever reason) unwilling that its extent should be known. It is conjectured that his motive probably was “ a desire to lull suspicion, and not to invite prohibition from the ruling powers.” 1
Hardly anything can be found in Fuller that is dull or wearisome; and we may therefore safely indulge in a few extracts. We will begin with some passages from his Worthies, interesting or curious either for the manner or the matter :
Chapter I. The Design of the ensuing Work. – England may not unfitly be compared to an House, not very great, but convenient ; and the several Shires may properly be resembled to the rooms thereof. Now, as learned Master Camden, and painful Master Speed, with others, have described the rooms themselves ; so it is our intention, God willing, to describe the furniture of those rooms; such eminent commodities which every county doth produce, with the persons of quality bred therein, and some other observables coincident with the same subject.
Cato, that great and grave philosopher, did commonly demand, when any new project was propounded unto him, “ Cui bono ?” What good would ensue in case the same was effected. A question more fit to be asked than facile to be answered, in all undertakings, especially in the setting forth of new books, insomuch that they themselves who complain that they are too many already help daily to make them more.
Know, then, I propound five ends to myself in this book. First, to gain some glory to God. Secondly, to preserve the memories of the Dead. Thirdly, to present examples to the Living. Fourthly, to entertain the Reader with delight. And lastly (which I am not ashamed publicly to profess), to procure some honest profit to Myself. If not so happy to obtain all, I will be joyful to attain some; yea, contented, and thankful too, if gaining any (especially the first) of these ends, the motives of my endeavours.
First, glory to God, which ought to be the aim of all our actions, though too often our bow starts, our hand shakes, and so our arrow misseth the mark. Yet I hope that our describing so good a land, with the various fruits and fruitful varieties therein, will engage both writer and reader in
1 Preface by the Editor, Mr. James Nichols, to The Holy State
8vo, Lon. 1841.
gratitude to that God who hath been so bountiful to our nation. In order whereunto, I have not only always taken, but often sought, occasions to exhort to thankfulness; hoping the same will be interpreted no straggling from my subject, but a closing with my calling.
Secondly, to preserve the memories of the Dead. A good name is an ointment poured out, smelt where it is not seen. It hath been the lawful desire of men in all ages to perpetuate their memories, thereby in some sort revenging themselves of mortality, though few have found out effectual means to perform it. For monuments made of wood are subject to be burnt; of glass, to be broken; of soft stone, to moulder; of marble and metal (if escaping the teeth of time), to be demolished by the hand of covetousness; so that, in my apprehension, the safest way to secure a memory from oblivion is (next his own virtues) by committing the same in writing to posterity.
Thirdly, to present examples to the Living; having here precedents of all sorts and sizes ; of men famous for valour, wealth, wisdom, learning, religion, and bounty to the public, on which last we most largely insist. The scholar, being taxed by his writing-master for idleness in his absence, made a fair defence when pleading that his master had neither left him paper whereon, nor copy whereby, to write. But rich men will be without excuse, if not expressing their bounty in some proportion ; God having provided them paper enough (“ The poor you have always with you”) and set them signal examples, as in our ensuing work will plainly appear.
Fourthly, to entertain the Reader with delight. I confess the subject is but dull in itself, to tell the time and place of men's birth and death, their names, with the names and number of their books; and therefore this bare skeleton, of time, place, and person, must be fleshed with some pleasant passages.
To this intent I have purposely interlaced (not as meat, but as condiment) many delightful stories, that so the Reader, if he do not arise (which I hope and desire) religiosior or doctior, with more piety or learning, at least he may depart jucundior, with more pleasure and lawful delight.
Lastly, to procure moderate profit to Myself, in compensation of my pains. It was a proper question which plain-dealing Jacob pertinently propounded to Laban, his father-in-law : “And now when shall I provide for mine house also ?”. Hitherto no stationer hath lost by me; hereafter it will be high time for me (all things considered) to save for myself.
The following passages are from the account of Middlesex :
Leather. — This, though common to all counties, is entered under the manufactures of Middlesex, because London therein is the staple place of slaughter ; and the hides of beasts there bought are generally tanned about Enfield in this county.