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proverb, that fools only are fortunate; or that insolent paradox, that a wise man is out of the reach of fortune; much less those opprobrious epithets of poets, whore, bawd, and strumpet. It is, I confess, the common fate of men of singular gifts of mind, to be destitute of those of fortune; which doth not any way deject the spirit of wiser judgments, who thoroughly understand the justice of this proceeding; and being enriched with higher donatives, cast a more careless eye on these vulgar parts of felicity.(46) It is a most unjust ambition to desire to engross the mercies of the Almighty, not to be content with the goods of mind, without a possession of those of body or fortune: and it is an error worse than heresy, to adore these complimental and circumstantial pieces of felicity, and
many observations replete with wisdom, he says, "The dealings of God with the children of men, are not yet completed, and cannot be judged of by that part which is before us." And again :-" There is no manner of absurdity in supposing a veil on purpose drawn over some scenes of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the sight of which might some way or other strike us too strongly." p. 264. f.—Ed.
(46) On this point let us hear the opinion of our dramatic philosopher, who speaks thus of reverses of fortune, &c. which, he says,
"Are, indeed, nought else
In fortune's love; for there, the bold and coward,
Troilus and Cressida, I. 5.-ED.
undervalue those perfections and essential points of happiness, wherein we resemble our Maker. To wiser desires it is satisfaction enough to deserve, though not to enjoy, the favours of fortune; let Providence provide for fools. It is not partiality, but equity in God, who deals with us but as our natural parents : those that are able of body and mind, he leaves to their deserts; to those of weaker merits he imparts a larger portion, and pieces out the defect of one by the access of the other.(") Thus have we no just quarrel with nature, for leaving us naked; or to envy the horns, hoofs, skins, and furs of other creatures, being provided with reason, that can supply them all. (48) We need not labour with so
(47) Poor men, however, would be hugging themselves in a fool's paradise, if they supposed this to be universally, or even generally true. But, if poverty be naked, "God," we know, 66 tempers the wind to the shorn lamb;"-he enables us to bear whatever he imposes on us; so that, considering the power of resistance to be always equal to the pressure, things are pretty nearly equal, after all.-ED.
(48) On this subject I would refer the reader to the very beautiful fable of Prometheus and Epimetheus, on the creation and endowment of animals, which Plato has interwoven with his Protagoras. It is far too long to be introduced into these notes; otherwise I might have translated it. Sir Thomas, however, had evidently been at the fountain-head, though he omits one of the gifts which the philanthropic Titan bestowed on his beloved race-fire, for the which he was condemned to ages of penance on the Caucasian ridge. (Æschyl. Prom. Vinct. v. 7.) To repair the error of his brother, who had lavished "horns, hoofs, skins, furs," &c. on the inferior creation, кλέπтε 'Нpaíoтov кai ̔Αθηνᾶς την ἔντεχνον σοφίαν σὺν πυρί κ. τ. λ. that is, “ he stole from Vulcan and Minerva their wisdom and their fire,—for without fire the inventive faculty would be useless,—and with these enriched the man whom he had made." (Platon. Oper. I. 172. Bekk).-ED.
many arguments to confute judicial astrology; for if there be a truth therein, it doth not injure divinity. If to be born under Mercury disposeth us to be witty, under Jupiter to be wealthy, I do not owe a knee unto these, but unto that merciful hand that hath ordered my indifferent and uncertain nativity unto such benevolent aspects. Those that hold that all things are governed by fortune, had not erred, had they not persisted there: the Romans that erected a temple to Fortune, acknowledged therein, though in a blinder way, somewhat of divinity; for in a wise supputation all things begin and end in the Almighty. There is a nearer way to heaven than Homer's chain: an easy logic may conjoin heaven and earth in one argument, and with less than a sorites resolve all things into God. For though we christen effects by their most sensible and nearest causes, yet is God the true and infallible cause of all, whose concourse, though it be general, yet doth it subdivide itself into the particular actions of every thing, and is that spirit by which each singular essence not only subsists, but performs its operation.
The bad construction, and perverse comment on these pair of second causes, or visible hands of God, have perverted the devotion of many unto atheism; who, forgetting the honest advisoes of faith, have listened unto the conspiracy of passion and reason. I have therefore always endeavoured to compose those feuds and angry dissentions between affection, faith, and reason for there is in our soul a kind of triumvirate, or triple govern
ment of three competitors, which distract the peace of this our commonwealth, not less than did that other the state of Rome.
As reason is a rebel unto faith, so passion unto reason: as the propositions of faith seem absurd unto reason, so the theorems of reason unto passion, and both unto faith;(9) yet a moderate and peaceable discretion may so state and order the matter, that they may be all kings, and yet make but one monarchy, every one exercising his sovereignty and prerogative in a due time and place, according to the restraint and limit of circumstance. There are, as in philosophy, so in divinity, sturdy doubts, and boisterous objections, wherewith the unhappiness of our knowledge too nearly acquainteth us. More of these no man hath known than myself, which I confess I conquered, not in a martial posture, but on my knees. (5o) For our endeavours are not only to combat with doubts, but always to dispute with the devil: the villany of that spirit takes a hint of infidelity from our studies, and by demonstrating a naturality in one way, makes us mistrust a miracle in another. Thus having perused the archidoxes, and read the secret sympathies of things, he would dissuade my belief from the miracle of the brazen serpent, make me conceit that image worked by sympathy, and
(49) Locke had considered this point somewhat more deeply than Sir Thomas Browne, and could discover nothing in faith which is absurd in the eye of reason, though much that reason fails to comprehend. But what does it comprehend?-ED.
(5o) Here he speaks like a philosopher, conscious of his weakness, and cognizant of the source of all strength.-ED.
was but an Egyptian trick to cure their diseases without a miracle. Again, having seen some experiments of bitumen, and having read far more of naphtha, he whispered to my curiosity the fire of the altar might be natural; and bid me mistrust a miracle in Elias, when he entrenched the altar round with water; for that inflammable substance yields not easily unto water, but flames in the arms of its antagonist. And thus would he inveigle my belief to think the combustion of Sodom might be natural, and that there was an asphaltic and bituminous nature in that lake before the fire of Gomorrah.(5) I know that manna is now plentifully gathered in Calabria; and Josephus tells me, in his days it was as plentiful in Arabia; the devil therefore made the query, Where was then the miracle in the days of Moses? the Israelites saw but that in his time, the natives of those countries behold in ours. Thus the devil played at chess with me, and yielding a pawn, thought to gain a queen of me, taking advantage of my honest endeavours; and whilst I laboured to raise the structure of my reason, he strived to undermine the edifice of my faith.
Neither had these or any other ever such advantage of me, as to incline me to any point of infi
(51) And admitting all this--what then? Who denies that God condescends to employ the elements in his judgments? to do his errands in the vasty deep? It is suspected that a reservoir of volcanic matter extends beneath the whole of the Ionian islands, probably beneath the whole Mediterranean, which may have been formed by the falling in of the crust of such a cavernous hollow.-ED.