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upon them; or such spaniels as to lick the foot which ous, is to be knowing in their profession, unspotted in kicks them, or to thank the goodly great one for doing their lives, active and laborious in their charges, bold them all these back-favours. Now, these and the like and resolute in opposing seducers, and daring to look particulars are some of the chief instances of that ill-vice in the face, though never so potent and illustrinature which men are more properly said to be guilty ous. And, lastly, to be gentle, courteous, and comof towards their superiors. passionate to all. These are our robes and our maces, our escutcheons and highest titles of honour.

But there is a sort of ill-nature, also, that uses to be practised towards equals or inferiors, such as perhaps a man's refusing to lend money to such as he knows will never repay him, and so to straiten and incommode himself, only to gratify a shark. Or possibly the man may prefer his duty and his business before company, and the bettering himself before the humouring of others. Or he may not be willing to spend his time, his health, and his estate, upon a crew of idle, spunging, ungrateful sots, and so to play the prodigal amongst a herd of swine. With several other such unpardonable faults in conversation (as some will have them), for which the fore-mentioned cattle, finding themselves disappointed, will be sure to go grumbling and grunting away, and not fail to proclaim him a morose, ill-conditioned, ill-natured person, in all clubs and companies whatsoever; and so that man's work is done, and his name lies grovelling upon the ground, in all the taverns, brandy-shops, and

coffeehouses about the town.

And thus having given you some tolerable account of what the world calls ill-nature, and that both towards superiors and towards equals and inferiors (as it is easy and natural to know one contrary by the other), we may from hence take a true measure of what the world is observed to mean by the contrary character of good-nature, as it is generally bestowed.

And first, when great ones vouchsafe this endearing eulogy to those below them, a good-natured man generally denotes some slavish, glavering, flattering parasite, or hanger-on; one who is a mere tool or instrument; a fellow fit to be sent upon any malicious errand; a setter, or informer, made to creep into all companies; a wretch employed under a pretence of friendship or acquaintance, to fetch and carry, and to come to men's tables to play the Judas there; and, in a word, to do all those mean, vile, and degenerous offices which men of greatness and malice use to engage men of baseness and treachery in.

But then, on the other hand, when this word passes between equals, commonly by a good-natured man is meant either some easy, soft-headed piece of simplicity, who suffers himself to be led by the nose, and wiped of his conveniences by a company of sharping, worthless sycophants, who will be sure to despise, laugh, and droll at him, as a weak empty fellow, for all his ill-placed cost and kindness. And the truth is, if such vermin do not find him empty, it is odds but in a little time they will make him so. And this is one branch of that which some call good-nature (and good-nature let it be); indeed so good, that according to the wise Italian proverb, it is even good for nothing.

Or, in the next place, by a good-natured man is usually meant neither more nor less than a good fellow, a painful, able, and laborious soaker. But he who owes all his good nature to the pot and the pipe, to the jollity and compliances of merry company, may possibly go to bed with a wonderful stock of good nature over-night, but then he will sleep it all away again before the morning.

[The Glory of the Clergy.]

Ccd is the fountain of honour, and the conduit by which he conveys it to the sons of men are virtues and generous practices. Some, indeed, may please and promise themselves high matters from full revenue stately palaces, court interests, and great dependences. But that which makes the clergy glori

[The Pleasures of Amusement and Industry Compared.]

Nor is that man less deceived that thinks to main

tain a constant tenure of pleasure by a continual pursuit of sports and recreations. The most volup tuous and loose person breathing, were he but tied to follow his hawks and his hounds, his dice and his courtships every day, would find it the greatest torment and calamity that could befall him; he would fly to the mines and galleys for his recreation, and to the spade and the mattock for a diversion from the misery of a continual unintermitted pleasure. Eat, on the contrary, the providence of God has so ordered the course of things, that there is no action, the usefulness of which has made it the matter of duty and of a profession, but a man may bear the continual pursuit of it without loathing and satiety. The same shop and trade that employs a man in his youth, employs him also in his age. Every morning he rises fresh to his hammer and anvil; he passes the day singing; custom has naturalised his labour to him; his shop is his element, and he cannot with any enjoyment of himself live out of it.

[Hypocritical Sanctimony.]

Bodily abstinence, joined with a demure, affected countenance, is often called and accounted piety and mortification. Suppose a man infinitely ambitious, and equally spiteful and malicious; one who poisons the ears of great men by venomous whispers, and rises by the fall of better men than himself; yet if he steps forth with a Friday look and a lenten face, with a blessed Jesu! and a mournful ditty for the vices of the times; oh! then he is a saint upon earth: an Ambrose or an Augustine (I mean not for that earthly trash of book-learning; for, alas! such are above that, or at least that's above them), but for zeal and for fasting, for a devout elevation of the eyes, and a holy rage against other men's sins. And happy those ladies and religious dames characterised in the 2d of Timothy, c. iii. 5, 6, who can have such self-denying, thriving, able men for their confessors! and thrice happy those families where they vouchsafe to take their Friday night's refreshments! thereby demonstrate to the world what Christian abstinence, and what primitive, self-mortifying vigour there is in forbearing a dinner, that they may have the better stomach to their supper. In fine, the whole world stands in admiration of them: fools are fond of them, and wise men are afraid of them; they are talked of, they are pointed out; and, as they order the matter, they draw the eyes of all men after them, and generally something else.

[Ignorance in Power.]

We know how great an absurdity our Saviour accounted it for the blind to lead the blind, and to put him that cannot so much as see to discharge the office of a watch. Nothing more exposes to contempt than ignorance. When Samson's eyes were out, of a public magistrate he was made a public sport. And when Eli was blind, we know how well he governed his sons, and how well they governed the church under him. But now the blindness of the understanding is greater and more scandalous, especially in such a seeing age as ours, in which the very knowledge of former times passes but for ignorance in a better



dress; an age that flies at all learning, and inquires into everything, but especially into faults and defects. Ignorance, indeed, so far as it may be resolved into natural inability, is, as to men at least, inculpable, and consequently not the object of scorn, but pity; but in a governor, it cannot be without the conjunction of the highest impudence; for who bid such a one aspire to teach and to govern? A blind man sitting in the chimney-corner is pardonable enough, but sitting at the helm he is intolerable. If men will be ignorant and illiterate, let them be so in private, and to themselves, and not set their defects in a high place, to make them visible and conspicuous. If owls will not be hooted at, let them keep close within the tree, and not perch upon the upper boughs. Solomon built his temple with the tallest cedars; and surely when God refused the defective and the maimed for sacrifice, we cannot think that he requires them for the priesthood. When learning, abilities, and what is excellent in the world forsake the church, we may easily foretell its ruin without the gift of prophecy. And when ignorance succeeds in the place of learning, weakness in the room of judgment, we may be sure heresy and confusion will quickly come in the room of religion.

[Religion not Hostile to Pleasure.]

That pleasure is man's chicfest good (because, indeed, it is the perception of good that is properly pleasure), is an assertion most certainly true, though, under the common acceptance of it, not only false, but odious. For, according to this, pleasure and sensuality pass for terms equivalent; and therefore he that takes it in this sense, alters the subject of the discourse. Sensuality is indeed a part, or rather one kind of pleasure, such an one as it is. For pleasure, in general, is the consequent apprehension of a suitable object suitably applied to a rightly disposed faculty; and so must be conversant both about the faculties of the body and of the soul respectively, as being the result of the fruitions belonging to both.

Now, amongst those many arguments used to press upon men the exercise of religion, I know none that are like to be so successful as those that answer and remove the prejudices that generally possess and bar up the hearts of men against it: amongst which there is none so prevalent in truth, though so little owned in pretence, as that it is an enemy to men's pleasures, that it bereaves them of all the sweets of converse, dooms them to an absurd and perpetual melancholy, designing to make the world nothing else but a great monastery; with which notion of religion nature and reason seem to have great cause to be dissatisfied. For since God never created any faculty, either in soul or body, but withal prepared for it a suitable object, and that in order to its gratification, can we think that religion was designed only for a contradiction to nature, and with the greatest and most irrational tyranny in the world, to tantalise and tie men up from enjoyment, in the midst of all the opportunities of enjoyment to place men with the furious affections of hunger and thirst in the very bosom of plenty, and then to tell them that the envy of Providence has sealed up everything that is suitable under the character of unlawful? For certainly, first to frame appetites fit to receive pleasure, and then to interdict them with a Touch not, taste not, can be nothing else than only to give them occasion to devour and prey upon themselves, and so to keep men under the perpetual torment of an unsatisfied desire; a thing hugely contrary to the natural felicity of the creature, and consequently to the wisdom and goodness of the great Creator.

He, therefore, that would persuade men to religion both with art and efficacy, must found the persuasion of it upon this, that it interferes not with any rational

pleasure, that it bids nobody quit the enjoyment of any one thing that his reason can prove to him ought to be enjoyed. Tis confessed, when, through the cross circumstances of a man's temper or condition, the enjoyment of a pleasure would certainly expose him to a greater inconvenience, then religion bids him quit it; that is, it bids him prefer the endurance of a lesser evil before a greater, and nature itself does no less. Religion, therefore, entrenches upon none of our privileges, invades none of our pleasures; it may, indeed, sometimes command us to change, but never totally to abjure them.

[Labour overcomes Apparent Impossibilities.] therefore no wonder if men fly from it; which they do Labour is confessedly a great part of the curse, and with so great an aversion, that few men know their own strength for want of trying it, and upon that account think themselves really unable to do many things which experience would convince them they have more ability to effect than they have will to attempt. It is idleness that creates impossibilities; and where men care not to do a thing, they shelter themselves under a persuasion that it cannot be done. The shortest and the surest way to prove a work possible, is strenuously to set about it; and no wonder if that proves it possible that for the most part makes it so.

[Ingratitude an Incurable Vice.]

As a man tolerably discreet ought by no means to attempt the making of such an one his friend, so neither is he, in the next place, to presume to think that he shall be able so much as to alter or meliorate the humour of an ungrateful person by any acts of kindness, though never so frequent, never so obliging.

Philosophy will teach the learned, and experience may teach all, that it is a thing hardly feasible. For, love such an one, and he shall despise you. Commend him, and, as occasion serves, he shall revile you. Give him, and he shall but laugh at your easiness. Save his life; but, when you have done, look to your own.

The greatest favours to such an onc are but the motion of a ship upon the waves; they leave no trace, no sign behind them; they neither soften nor win upon him; they neither melt nor endear him, but leave him as hard, as rugged, and as unconcerned as ever. All kindnesses descend upon such a temper as showers of rain or rivers of fresh water falling into the main sea; the sea swallows them all, but is not at all changed or sweetened by them. I may truly say of the mind of an ungrateful person, that it is kindnessproof. It is impenetrable, unconquerable; unconquerable by that which conquers all things else, even by love itself. Flints may be melted-we see it daily-but an ungrateful heart cannot; no, not by the strongest and the noblest flame. After all your attempts, all your experiments, for anything that man can do, he that is ungrateful will be ungrateful still. And the reason is manifest; for you may remember that I told you that ingratitude sprang from a principle of ill nature: which being a thing founded in such a certain constitution of blood and spirit, as, being born with a man into the world, and upon that account called nature, shall prevent all remedies that can be applied by education, and leaves such a bias upon the mind, as is beforehand with all instruction.

So that you shall seldom or never meet with an ungrateful person, but, if you look backward, and trace him up to his original, you will find that he was born so; and if you could look forward enough, it is a thousand to one but you will find that he also dies so; for you shall never light upon an ill-natured man who was not also an ill-natured child, and gave several testimonies of his being so to discerning persons, long before the use of his reason.

The thread that nature spins is seldom broken off by anything but death. I do not by this limit the operation of God's grace, for that may do wonders: but humanly speaking, and according to the method of the world, and the little correctives supplied by art and discipline, it seldom fails but an ill principle has its course, and nature makes good its blow. And therefore, where ingratitude begins remarkably to show itself, he surely judges most wisely who takes alarm betimes, and, arguing the fountain from the stream, concludes that there is ill-nature at the bottom; and so, reducing his judgment into practice, timely withdraws his frustraneous baffled kindnesses, and sees the folly of endeavouring to stroke a tiger into a lamb, or to court an Ethiopian out of his colour.


of Trinity college having been presented to him during the brief government of his wife's nephew, Richard. At the Restoration, he was ejected from this office; but his politics being neither violent nor unaccommodating, the path of advancement did not long remain closed. Having gained the favour of the Duke of Buckingham, he was advanced in 1668, after several intermediate steps, to the see of Chester. According to Bishop Burnet, Dr Wilkins!! was a man of as great mind, as true a judgment, as eminent virtues, and of as good a soul, as any I ever knew. Though he married Cromwell's sister, yet he made no other use of that alliance but to do good offices, and to cover the university of Oxford from the sourness of Owen and Goodwin. At Cambridge, he joined with those who studied to propagate better thoughts, to take men off from being in parties, or from narrow notions, from superstitious conceits and fierceness about opinions. He was also a great observer and promoter of experimental philosophy, which was then a new thing, and much looked after. He was naturally ambitious; but was the wisest clergyman I ever knew. He was a lover of mankind, and had a delight in doing good.' Bishop Wilkins, like his friend and son-in-law Tillotson, and the other moderate churchmen of the day, was an object of violent censure to the high-church party; but fortunately he possessed, as Burnet farther informs us, a courage which could stand against a current, and against all the reproaches with which ill-natured clergymen studied to load him.' He wrote several theological and mathematical works; but his most noted performance is one which he published in early life, entitled The Discovery of a New World; or a Discourse tending to prove that it is probable there may be another Habitable World in the Moon: with a Discourse concerning the Possibility of a Passage thither. In this ingenious but fantastical treatise, he supports the proposition, out a conveyance to this other world, and, if there be inhabitants there, to have commerce with them.' He admits, that to be sure this feat has in the present state of human knowledge an air of utter impossibility: yet from this, it is argued, no hostile inference ought to be drawn, seeing that many things formerly supposed impossible have actually been accomplished. If we do but consider,' says he, by what steps and leisure all arts do usually rise to their growth, we shall have no cause to doubt why this also may not hereafter be found out amongst other secrets. It hath constantly yet been the method of Providence not presently to show us all, but to lead us on by degrees from the knowledge of one thing to another. It was a great while ere the planets were distinguished from the fixed stars; and some time after that ere the morning and evening stars were found to be the same. And in greater space, I doubt not but this also, and other as excellent mysteries, will be discovered.' Though it is evident that the possibility of any event whatsoever might be argued on the same grounds, they seem to have been quite satisfactory to Wilkins, who goes on to discuss the difficulties in the way of accomplishing the aërial journey. After disposing, by means of a tissue of absurd hypotheses, of the obstacles presented by the natural heaviness of a man's body,' and 'the extreme coldness and thinness of the ethereal air—and having made it appear that even a swift journey to the moon would probably occupy a period of six months-he naturally stumbles on the question, And how were it possible for any to tarry so long without diet or sleep?"

DR JOHN WILKINS, bishop of Chester (16141672), resembled Dr Barrow in the rare union of scientific with theological study. Having sided with the popular party during the civil war, he received, when it proved victorious, the headship of Wadham college, Oxford. While in that situation, he was one of a small knot of university men who used to meet for the cultivation of experimental philosophy as a diversion from the painful thoughts excited by public calamities, and who, after the Restoration, were incorporated by Charles II. under the title of the Royal Society. Of the object of those meetings, Dr Sprat, in his history of the society, gives us the following account. 'It was some space after the end of the civil wars, at Oxford, in Dr Wilkins his lodgings, in Wadham college, which was then the place of resort for virtuous and learned men, that the first meetings were made, which laid the foundation of all this that followed. The university had, at that time, many members of its own, who had begun a free way of reasoning; and was also frequented by some gen-That it is possible for some of our posterity to find tlemen of philosophical minds, whom the misfortunes of the kingdom, and the security and ease of a retirement amongst gown-men, had drawn thither. Their first purpose was no more than only the satisfaction of breathing a freer air, and of conversing in quiet with one another, without being engaged in the passions and madness of that dismal age. * For such a candid and unpassionate company as that was, and for such a gloomy season, what could have been a fitter subject to pitch upon than natural philosophy? To have been always tossing about some theological question, would have been to have made that their private diversion, the excess of which they themselves disliked in the public: to have been eternally musing on civil business, and the distresses of their country, was too melancholy a reflection: it was nature alone which could pleasantly entertain them in that estate. The contemplation of that draws our minds off from the past or present misfortunes, and makes them conquerors over things in the greatest public unhappiness: while the consideration of men, and human affairs, may affect us with a thousand disquiets, that never separates us into mortal factions; that gives us room to differ without animosity, and permits us to raise contrary imaginations upon it, without any danger of a civil war.'*

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Having married a sister of Oliver Cromwell in 1656, Dr Wilkins was enabled, by a dispensation from the Protector, to retain his office in Wadham college, notwithstanding a rule which made celibacy imperative on those who held it; but three years afterwards he removed to Cambridge, the headship

* Sprat's History of the Royal Society, pp. 53, 55.

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1. For diet. I suppose there could be no trusting to

that fancy of Philo the Jew (mentioned before), who thinks that the music of the spheres should supply the strength of food.

Nor can we well conceive how a man should be able to carry so much luggage with him as might serve for his viaticum in so tedious a journey.

2. But if he could, yet he must have some time to rest and sleep in. And I believe he shall scarce find any lodgings by the way. No inns to entertain passengers, nor any castles in the air (unless they be enchanted ones) to receive poor pilgrims or errant knights. And so, consequently, he cannot have any possible hopes of reaching thither.'

The difficulty as to sleep is removed by means of the following ingenious supposition:-Seeing we do not then spend ourselves in any labour, we shall not, it may be, need the refreshment of sleep. But if we do, we cannot desire a softer bed than the air, where we may repose ourselves firmly and safely as in our chambers. The necessary supply of food remains, however, to be provided for; and on this subject the author is abundantly amusing. We have room for only a few of his suggestions.

And here it is considerable, that since our bodies will then be devoid of gravity, and other impediments of motion, we shall not at all spend ourselves in any labour, and so, consequently, not much need the reparation of diet; but may, perhaps, live altogether without it, as those creatures have done who, by reason of their sleeping for many days together, have not spent any spirits, and so not wanted any food, which is commonly related of serpents, crocodiles, bears, cuckoos, swallows, and such like. To this purpose Mendoca reckons up divers strange relations: as that of Epimenides, who is storied to have slept seventy-five years; and another of a rustic in Germany, who, being accidentally covered with a hay-rick, slept there for all the autumn and the winter following without any nourishment.

Or, if this will not serve, yet why may not a Papist fast so long, as well as Ignatius or Xaverius? Or if there be such a strange efficacy in the bread of the Eucharist, as their miraculous relations do attribute

to it, why, then, that may serve well enough for their


Or, if we must needs feed upon something else, why may not smells nourish us? Plutarch and Pliny, and divers other ancients, tell us of a nation in India that lived only upon pleasing odours. And 'tis the common opinion of physicians, that these do strangely both strengthen and repair the spirits. Hence was it that Democritus was able, for divers days together, to feed

himself with the mere smell of hot bread.

Or if it be necessary that our stomachs must receive the food, why, then, it is not impossible that the purity of the ethereal air, being not mixed with any improper vapours, may be so agreeable to our bodies, as to yield us sufficient nourishment.'

The greatest difficulty of all, however, is still unremoved; and that is, By what conveyance are we to get to the moon? With what the author says on this point, we shall conclude our extracts from his work.

[How a Man may Fly to the Moon.]

If it be here inquired, what means there may be conjectured for our ascending beyond the sphere of the carth's magnetical vigour, I answer, 1. It is not perhaps impossible that a man may be able to fly, by the application of wings to his own body; as angels are pictured, as Mercury and Dædalus are feigned, and as hath been attempted by divers, particularly by a Turk in Constantinople, as Busbequius relates.

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2. If there be such a great ruck in Madagascar as Marcus Polus, the Venetian, mentions, the feathers in whose wings are twelve feet long, which can soop up a horse and his rider, or an elephant, as our kites do a mouse; why, then, it is but teaching one of these to carry a man, and he may ride up thither, as Ganymede does upon an eagle.

Or if neither of these ways will serve, yet I do seriously, and upon good grounds, affirm it possible to make a flying chariot, in which a man may sit, and give such a motion unto it, as shall convey him through the air. And this, perhaps, might be made large enough to carry divers men at the same time, together with food for their viaticum, and commodities for traffic. It is not the bigness of anything in this kind that can hinder its motion, if the motive faculty be answerable thereunto. We see a great ship swims as well as a small cork, and an eagle flies in the air as well as a little gnat.

This engine may be contrived from the same principles by which Archytas made a wooden dove, and Regiomontanus a wooden eagle.

I conceive it were no difficult matter (if a man had leisure) to show more particularly the means of composing it.


Dr Wilkins was succeeded in the see of Chester by another very learned and estimable divine, Dr JOHN PEARSON (1613-1686), who had previously filled a divinity chair at Cambridge, and been master of Trinity college in that university. He published, in 1659, An Exposition on the Creed, which Bishop Burnet pronounces to be among the best books that our church has produced.' This work has been much admired for the melody of its language, and the clear and methodical way in which the subjects are treated. The author thus illus


[The Resurrection.]

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Beside the principles of which we consist, and the actions which flow from us, the consideration of the things without us, and the natural course of variations in the creature, will render the resurrection yet more highly probable. Every space of twenty-four hours teacheth thus much, in which there is always a revolution amounting to a resurrection. The day dies into a night, and is buried in silence and in darkness; in the next morning it appeareth again and reviveth, opening the grave of darkness, rising from the dead of night; this is a diurnal resurrection. As the day dies into night, so doth the summer into winter: the sap is said to descend into the root, and there it lies buried in the ground; the earth is covered with snow, or crusted with frost, and becomes a general sepulchre; when the spring appeareth, all begin to rise; the plants and flowers peep out of their graves, revive, and grow, and flourish; this is the annual resurrection. The corn by which we live, and for want of which we perish with famine, is notwithstanding cast upon the earth, and buried in the ground, with a design that it may corrupt, and being corrupted, may revive and multiply: our bodies are fed by this constant experiment, and we continue this present life by succession of resurrections. Thus all things are repaired by corrupting, are preserved by perishing, and revive by dying; and can we think that man, the lord of all these things, which thus die and revive for him, should be detained in death as never to live again? Is it imaginable that God should thus restore all things to man, and not restore man to himself? If there were no other consideration, but of the principles of human nature, of the liberty and remunerability of human actions,

and of the natural revolutions and resurrections of other creatures, it were abundantly sufficient to render the resurrection of our bodies highly probable.

We must not rest in this school of nature, nor settle our persuasions upon likelihoods; but as we passed from an apparent possibility into a high presumption and probability, so must we pass from thence unto a full assurance of an infallible certainty. And of this, indeed, we cannot be assured but by the revelation of the will of God; upon his power we must conclude that we may, from his will that we shall, rise from the dead. Now, the power of God is known unto all men, and therefore all men may infer from thence a possibility; but the will of God is not revealed unto all men, and therefore all have not an infallible certainty of the resurrection. For the grounding of which assurance I shall show that God hath revealed the determination of his will to raise the dead, and that he hath not only delivered that intention in his Word, but hath also several ways confirmed the same.


declares, that few men have deserved it less; and that, upon a review of Sprat's works, his language will sooner give you an idea of one of the insignificant tottering boats upon the Thames, than of the smooth noble current of the river itself.'t How far this is true, let the reader judge for him


besides a volume of Sermons, and one or two minor productions. He published also some poems, which, being in the style of Cowley, have long since fallen into neglect, though still to be found in the early collections of English poetry. The qualities which deserve to be admired in his prose style are strength, neatness, smoothness, and precision. It displays but little of that splendour which the eulogy by Dr Johnson induces a reader to expect, though we can by no means agree with Dr Drake in the opinion that it is wanting in vigour. They who shall study his pages,' says that writer, will find no richness, ardour, or strength in his diction; but, on the contrary, an air of feebleness, and a species of imbecile spruceness, pervading all his productions. They must acknowledge, however, much clearness in his construction, and will probably agree that his cadences are often peculiarly well turned, especially those which terminate his paragraphs, and which sometimes possess a smartness which excites attention.'* In our opinion, it would not be easy to find in any contemporary work a better specimen of what is called the middle style, DR THOMAS SPRAT, bishop of Rochester (1636- than the first of the subjoined extracts, forming a 1713), is praised by Dr Johnson as an author whose portion of Sprat's History of the Royal Society. It pregnancy of imagination and eloquence of language is difficult to account for the perversity of Lord have deservedly set him high in the ranks of litera-Orrery, who, after remarking that, among our ture; and although the voice of the literary public English writers, few men have gained a greater has not confirmed so high a eulogium, yet the cele-character for elegance and correctness than Sprat,' brity of the bishop in his own times, added to the merits of his style, which, though not pre-eminent, are unquestionably great, entitle him to be mentioned among the leading prose writers of this period. At Oxford, where he received his academical education, he studied mathematics under Dr Wilkins, at whose house the philosophical inquirers who originated the Royal Society used at that time to meet. Sprat's intimacy with Wilkins led to his election as a member of the society soon after its incorporation; and in 1667 he published the history of that learned body, with the object of dissipating the prejudice and suspicion with which it was regarded by the public. This,' says Dr Johnson, is one of the few books which selection of sentiment and elegance of diction have been able to preserve, though written upon a subject flux and transitory. The history of the Royal Society is now read, not with the wish to know what they were then doing, but how their transactions are exhibited by Sprat.'t Previously to this time he had been appointed And now, if a moderating of these extravagances chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham, whom he is must be esteemed profaneness, I profess I cannot said to have aided in writing the Rehearsal. Ile absolve the experimental philosopher. It must be was made also chaplain to the king. In these cir- granted, that he will be very scrupulous in believing cumstances, ecclesiastical promotion could hardly all manner of commentaries on prophetical visions, in fail to ensue; and accordingly, after several advanc-giving liberty to new predictions, and in assigning ing steps, the see of Rochester was attained in 1684. Next year he served the government by publishing an account of the Ryehouse plot, written by the command of King James. For this work he found it convenient, after the Revolution, to print an apology; and having submitted to the new government, he was allowed, notwithstanding his well-known attachment to the abdicated monarch, to remain unmolested in his bishopric. In 1692, however, he was brought into trouble by a false accusation of joining in a conspiracy for the restoration of James; but after a confinement of eleven days, he clearly proved his innocence. So strong was the impression made by this event upon his mind, that he ever afterwards distinguished the anniversary of his deliverance as a day of thanksgiving. Besides the works already mentioned, Sprat wrote a Life of Cowley (1668), prefixed to the works of that poet; + Life of Sprat.

* Johnson's Life of Cowley.

[View of the Divine Government afforded by Experimental Philosophy.]

We are guilty of false interpretations of providences and wonders, when we either make those to be miracles that are none, or when we put a false sense on those that are real; when we make general events to have a private aspect, or particular accidents to have some universal signification. Though both these may seem at first to have the strictest appearance of religion, yet they are the greatest usurpations on the secrets of the Almighty, and unpardonable presumptions on his high prerogatives of punishment and reward.

the causes and marking out the paths of God's judg ments amongst his creatures.

He cannot suddenly conclude all extraordinary events to be the immediate finger of God; because he familiarly beholds the inward workings of things, and thence perceives that many effects, which use to affright the ignorant, are brought forth by the common instruments of nature. He cannot be suddenly inclined to pass censure on men's eternal condition from any temporal judgments that may befall them; because his long converse with all matters, times, and places, has taught him the truth of what the Scripture says, that all things happen alike to all.' He cannot blindly consent to all imaginations of devout men about future contingencies, seeing he is so rigid in examining all particular matters of fact. He cannot

* Essays Illustrative of the Tatler, &c. i. 69.

+ Orrery's Remarks on the Life and Writings of Swift, p. 257. London: 1752.

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