« PreviousContinue »
soldiers, in that he styleth himself a “Man of War.” Now, though many hate soldiers as the twigs of the rod war, wherewith God scourgeth wanton countries into repentance, yet is their calling so needful that, were not some soldiers, we must be all soldiers, daily employed to defend our own, the world would grow so licentious.
Maxim I. He keepeth a clear and quiet conscience in his breast, which otherwise will gnaw out the roots of all valour. — For vicious soldiers are compassed with enemies on all sides ; their foes without them, and an ambush within them of fleshly lusts, which, as St. Peter saith, “fight against the soul.” None fitter to go to war than those who have made their
peace with God in Christ. For such a man's soul is an impregnable fort. It cannot be scaled with ladders, for it reacheth up to heaven; nor be broken with batteries, for it is walled with brass ; nor undermined by pioneers, for it is founded on a rock; nor betrayed by treason, for faith itself keeps it; nor be burnt by granadoes, for he can quench the fiery darts of the devil ; nor be forced by famine, for “a good conscience is a continual feast."
Maxim IIl. He counts his prince's lawful command to be his sufficient warrant to fight. — In a defensive war, when his country is hostilely invaded, it is pity but his neck should hang in suspense with his conscience, that doubts to fight. In offensive war, though the case be harder, the common soldier is not to dispute, but do, his prince's command. Otherwise princes, before they levy an army of soldiers, must first levy an army of casuists and confessors to satisfy each scrupulous soldier in point of right to the war; and the most cowardly will be the most conscientious, to multiply doubts eternally. Besides, causes of war are so complicated and perplexed, so many things falling in the prosecution, as may alter the original state thereof; and private soldiers have neither calling nor ability to dive into such mysteries. But, if the conscience of a counsellor or commander in chief remonstrates in himself the unlawfulness of this war he is bound humbly to represent to his prince his reasons against it.
Maxim 1V. He esteemeth an hardship easy, through hopes of victory. — Moneys are the sinews of war ;1 yet, if these sinews should chance to be shrunk, and pay casually fall short, he takes a fit of this convulsion patiently. He is contented though in cold weather his hands must be their own fire, and warm themselves with working; though he be better armed against their enemies than the weather, and his corslet wholer than his clothes ; though he hath more fasts and vigils in his almanac than the Romish church did ever enjoin. He patiently endureth drought, for desire of honour; and one thirst quencheth another. In a word, though much
1 «Then to advise how War may, best upheld,
Milton, Sonnet to the Younger Vane. 10
indebted to his own back and belly, and unable to pay them, yet he hath credit himself, and confidently runs on ticket with himself, hoping the next victory will discharge all scores with advantage.
Along with this we will give the concluding head of the next chapter, entitled The Good Sea Captain, which is
He daily sees and duly considers God's wonders in the deep. ye naturalists, who sounded the first march and retreat to the tide, “ Hither shalt thou come, and no further?” Why doth not the water recover his right over the earth, being higher in nature ? Whence came the salt, and who first boiled it, which made so much brine ? When the winds are not only wild in a storm, but even stark mad in an hurricane, who is it that restores them again to their wits, and brings them asleep in a calm ? Who made the mighty whales, which swim in a sea of water, and have a sea of oil swimming in them? Who first taught the water to imitate the creatures on land, so that the sea is the stable of horse-fishes, the stall of kine-fishes, the sty of hog-fishes, the kennel of dog-fishes, and in all things the sea the ape of the land ? Whence grows the ambergris in the sea ? which is not so hard to find where it is as to know what it is. Was not God the first shipwright? and all vessels on the water descended from the loins (or ribs rather) of Noah's ark? or else, who durst be so bold, with a few crooked boards nailed together, a stick standing upright, and a rag tied to it, to adventure into the ocean? What loadstone first touched the loadstone ? Or how first fell it in love with the North, rather affecting that cold climate than the pleasant East, or fruitful South or West? How comes that stone to know more than men, and find the way to the land in a mist? In most of these men take sanctuary at occulta qualitas (some hidden quality]; and complain that the room is dark, when their eyes are blind. Indeed, they are God's wonders ; and that seaman the greatest wonder of all for his blockishness, who, seeing them daily, neither takes notice of them, admires at them, nor is thankful for them.
Our last extract shall be the conclusion of his eloquent sketch of the Life of Bishop Ridley:
His whole life was a letter written full of learning and religion, whereof his death was the seal. ... Old Hugh Latimer was Ridley's partner at the stake, some time Bishop of Worcester, who crawled thither after him; one who had lost more learning than many ever had who flout at his plair sermons, though his downright style was as necessary in that age as it would be ridiculous in ours. Indeed, he condescended to people's capacity; and many men unjustly count those low in learning who indeed do but stoop to their auditors. Let me see any of our sharp wits do that with
the edge, which his bluntness did with the back, of the knife, and persuade so many to restitution of ill-gotten goods. Though he came after Ridley to the stake, he got before him to heaven : his body, made tinder by age, was no sooner touched by the fire, but instantly this old Simeon had his Nunc dimittis, and brought the news to heaven that his brother was following after. But Ridley suffered with far more pain, the fire about him being not well made; and yet one would think that age should be skilful in making such bonfires, as being much practised in them. The gunpowder that was given him did little service; and his brother-in-law, out of desire to rid him out of pain, increased it (great grief will not give men leave to be wise with it!) heaping fuel upon him to no purpose ; so that neither the faggots which his enemies' anger, nor his brother's good will, cast upon him, made the fire to burn kindly.
In like manner, not much before, his dear friend Master Hooper suffered with great torment; the wind (which too often is the bellows of great fires) blowing it away from him once or twice. Of all the Martyrs those days, these two endured most pain ; it being true that each of them Quaerebat in ignibus ignes — And still he did desire for fire in midst of fire ; — both desiring to burn, and yet both their upper parts were but Confessors when their lower parts were Martyrs and burnt to ashes. Thus God, where he hath given the stronger faith, he layeth on the stronger pain. And so we leave them going up to heaven, like Elijah, in a chariot of fire.
This volume of Fuller's, The Holy and the Profane State, may be considered as belonging to a class of books the best of which seem to have been more popular than any other works, out of the region of poetry and fiction, among our ancestors of the seventeenth century. Bacon's Essays, for instance, which first appeared in 1597, were reprinted in 1606, in 1612, in 1613, and in 1625, during the lifetime of the author; and after his death new editions were still more rapidly called for. Another favorite volume of this kind was the Resolves, Divine, Moral, and Political, of Owen Feltham, the first edition of which has the date of 1628, and of which there were reimpressions in 1631, in 1634, in 1636, in 1647, in 1661, in 1670, in 1677, and in 1696. Feltham tells us himself that a portion of his book was written when he was only eighteen;
and from this statement it has been conjectured that he was probably born about 1610: he is supposed to have been still alive when the 1677 edition of his Resolves came out. Very little more is known of his history than that he appears to have resided for the greater part of his life in the house of the Earl of Thomond - in quality of gentleman of the horse or secretary, Oldys says, on the contemporary report of Mr. William Loughton, schoolmaster in Kensington, who was related to Feltham. The later editions of the Resolves are dedicated to the Countess of Thomond, a daughter of Sir George Fermor (ancestor of the Earls of Pomfret); and the author in his address states that most of them were drawn
up under her roof. The work is divided into two parts or Centuries (the last being that first written and published); and consists of a hundred and forty-six short papers or essays on moral and theological subjects. Like those of Bacon, most of Feltham's essays
have a practical character or object, aiming, in Bacon's own phrase, to carry home some useful truth or maxim to the business and bosoms of their readers; they are, what Bacon expressly calls his, Counsels, Civil and Moral ; and hence no doubt in great part the acceptance they met with. The difference of the times, however, as well as of the writers, is evidenced by the more decidedly religious spirit which leavens Feltham's book. It is the spirit which was generally prevalent in England for the quarter of a century before the breaking out of the civil war — neither High Church nor Puritan, but yet decidedly a spirit of attachment both to the essential doctrines of Christianity and to the peculiar system of the Established Church. It was a state of feeling which in more excited times would be called lukewarm; but it was sincerely opposed to all licentiousness or irregularity both of conduct and opinion, and was firmly though not passionately both moral and Christian. It was in short the sort of religious feeling natural to tranquil and tolerably prosperous times; and Feltham's work is an exact representative of its character and the extent of its views. The work therefore was fortunate in hitting the reigning taste or fashion; but it was also a work of remarkable ability, — not indeed presenting the subtle inquisition and large speculation in which the Essays of Bacon abound, but still full of ingenious and sagacious remarks, always clearly, sometimes strikingly, expressed. Like all writers who have ever been long popular, indeed, Feltham owed half his success to his style — to a shaping of his thoughts which set their
substance off to the best advantage, or at the very least enabled what of justness or worth was in them to be most clearly and readily apprehended. There is little or nothing, however, of poetry or picturesqueness in Feltham’s writing; it is clear, manly, and sufficiently expressive, but has no peculiar raciness or felicity. Another preceding work that still more resembles Fuller's is the little volume entitled Microcosmography, or a Piece of the World Discovered, in Essays and characters, which in recent times has been usually ascribed to Dr. John Earle, who after the Restoration was made bishop, first of Worcester and then of Salisbury, though it does not appear upon what sufficient evidence. All that we can gather upon the point from Dr. Bliss's excellent modern edition (8vo, Lon. 1811) is, that the editor of the previous edition of 1786 states himself to have lately discovered that the work was written by Bishop Earle, “from very good authority.” “I regret extremely,” says Dr. Bliss, in a note, “ that I am unable to put the reader in possession of this very acute discoverer's name.” The work, by a mistake originating with Langbaine; in his Dramatic Poets, had formerly been attributed to Edward Blount, its first publisher, who was a bookseller in St. Paul's Churchyard, and also a man of letters. He was, to the honor, as Dr. Bliss observes, of his taste and judgment, one of the partners in the first edition of the plays of Shakspeare. · Earle is the author of a Latin version of the Eikon Basiliké, published at the Hague in 1649; he is said to have also translated Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity into the same language ; he appears to have had in early life a high reputation both for classic learning and skill in English verse ; but, with the exception of the Microcosmography, his only other performances that are now known to exist are three short elegies, which Dr. Bliss has printed. He died in 1665, and was probably born about the beginning of the century. The Microcosmography was first printed in 1628; a second edition, “much enlarged,” came out in 1629, printed for Robert Alcot, the publisher of the second (1632) folio edition of Shakspeare ; the next mentioned by Dr. Bliss is a sixth, also printed for Alcot, in 1633; there was a seventh in 1638; after which the demand for the book seems to have been interrupted by the national confusions; but an eighth edition of it appeared in 1650. The style of the Microcosmography is much more antique and peculiar than that of Feltham's Resolves; and the subjects are also of more temporary interest, which may