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the usual question — whether he had ever had any experience of a work of grace upon his heart, – he gave this in for answer, that he could appeal to the Searcher of hearts that he made conscience of his very thoughts; with which answer they were satisfy'd, as indeed well they might.' One cannot but suspect that the Tryers were too glad to be well rid, at any rate, of a man like Fuller, not to grant him a dispensation on easy terms.
The various writings of Fuller possess very different degrees of interest for the modern reader. Some of them are elaborately wrought, and of formidable size; others would seem to have been thrown off without much effort, and because his pen could never bear to be idle. It may have happened in this, as in other cases, that what the author himself considered as of least price, has been found most extensively useful and acceptable. The Historie of the Holy Warre'is written in a manner at once vigorous and playful, abounding in shrewd and sound remarks, and exhibiting throughout no ordinary grasp of mind and reach of thought. The subject of the crusades has scarcely been treated with more ability by any subsequent author. With all its oddness and its antiquated diction, we read it with more satisfaction than we can the heavy and affected work of Mills. It contains not a few masterly descriptions of men and events, and we think the sketch of the character of Saladine scarcely falls behind the best delineations of Hume and Gibbon in spirit, discrimination, and graphical power. — In The Worthies of Eng. land,' Fuller has given a diffuse and rather minute account of the remarkable men and remarkable things in each of the several shires of England and Wales. He gathered the materials for this work with unwearied diligence from conversation and tradition, as well as from books. A large part of the information, which it embodies, is too local to be interesting at the present day, at least in this country, and it contains not a little of tedious trifling; but it is a valuable old volume for the great mass of curious facts, and of shrewd and amusing remarks, which it presents.* Both this work, and the
Among the curious items in this ancient folio, in the account of Rutlandshire is the story of the dwarf, of whom Walter Scott makes so pleasant a use in Peveril of the Peak,” under the name of Sir Geoffrey Hudson. Fuller gives his name Jeffery, mentions the circumstance of the pie, and says he was a captain of horse in the king's army during the civil wars.
Church History of Britain,' notwithstanding their obvious and acknowledged faults, are treated with quite too much asperity of censure by Bishop Nicolson.
We have not space to speak of the "Abel Redivivus,' the 'Good Thoughts in Bad times,' &c., and several other of his writings.
The most interesting of Fuller's works, if not the best in every respect, are · The Holy State and The Profane State.' They consist of a series of moral portraits, or descriptions of good and bad characters and qualities in the several stations and relations of life, illustrated sometimes by biographical sketches, and seasoned throughout with the peculiarities of the humorous author. * This mode of delineating characters in the abstract, or the description of persons as representing a class, was a style of writing much in vogue in the seventeenth century, and seems to have been regarded by the authors of that time as a whetstone to their epigrammatic ingenuity. The
Characterisms of Virtues and Vices,' by Bishop Hall, is the earliest specimen of this way of writing, with which we are acquainted, in English literature. Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, or Witty Descriptions, Bishop Earle's · Microcosmography,' and Butler's Characters' (in the second volume of the Genuine Remains, published by Thyer), are striking productions of the same kind, especially the last mentioned, which is distinguished by all the satirical power and caustic discrimination of the author of Hudibras. Fuller's works, to which we have adverted as belonging to this class, are full of wisdom conceived and exhibited in his peculiar fashion. For sagacious observations on life and manners, on the curious mechanism of character and action, and for a fine flow of manly and sometimes beautiful thought, spiced sufficiently with the quaintness of a facetious spirit, we know not to what works we should turn more readily than to the Holy and the Profane State. They are the overflowing of a mind, which had been intently engaged in taking note of the moral
* A singular mistake respecting the authorship of these works is committed by Dr. Wordsworth in his Ecclesiastical Biography. He ascribes them to the pen of Nicholas Ferrar, who, it seems, was in the habit of employing the women of his family in transcribing valuable publications, for the purpose of having them illuminated and bound in à choice manner. Among others thus prepared, a manuscript copy of the Holy and Profane State was found among his papers after his death; and this circumstance, it is said, led Dr. Wordsworth into his strange error.
phenomena of man. They are well adapted to perform one of the best offices, which a book can perform, — that of making the reader think; not only furnishing him with suggestions of great practical importance, but awakening and stimulating his mind to reflections of its own. For works like these, the times of peculiar agitation in which Fuller lived, and in which every form of character, whether generous and pure, or fantastic and vile, was strongly developed, may have furnished unusually ample materials and excitement.
Of the cast of thought and mode of writing in this work, the following passages on Anger, and on Self-praising, will afford fair specimens.
'Let not thy anger be so hot, but that the most torrid zone thereof may be habitable. Fright not people from thy presence with the terror of thy intolerable impatience. Some men, like a tiled house, are long before they take fire, but once on flame there is no coming near to quench them.' — p. 173.
Anger kept till the next morning, with manna, doth putrefy and corrupt; save that manna corrupted not at all, and
anger most of all, kept the next sabbath. Saint Paul saith, “Let not the sun go down on your wrath ; to carry news to the antipodes in another world of thy revengeful nature. Yet let us take the Apostle's meaning, rather than his words, with all possible speed to depose our passion, not understanding him so literally that we may take leave to be angry till sunset: then might our wrath lengthen with the days; and men in Greenland, where day lasts above a quarter of a year, have plentiful scope of revenge.
revenge. And as the English (by command of William the Conqueror) always raked up their fire, and put out their candles, when the curfew-bell was rung ; let us then also quench all sparks of anger, and heat of passion.' — pp. 173, 174.
He whose own worth doth speak, need not speak his own worth. Such boasting sounds proceed from emptiness of desert : whereas the conquerors in the Olympian games did not put on the laurels on their own heads, but waited till some other did it. Only anchorets that want company may crown themselves with their own commendations.
• It showeth more wit but no less vanity to commend one's self not in a straight line but by reflection. Some sail to the port of their own praise by a side-wind; as when they dispraise themselves, stripping themselves naked of what is their due, that the modesty of the beholders may clothe them with it again; or when they flatter another to his face, tossing the ball to him that he may throw it back again to them; or when they commend that quality, wherein themselves excel, in another man (though absent) whom all know far their inferior in that faculty; or lastly, (to omit other ambushes men set to surprise praise) when they send the children of their own brain to be nursed by another man, and commend their own works in a third person, but if challenged by the company that they were authors of them themselves, with their tongues they faintly deny it, and with their faces strongly affirm it.' — pp. 155, 156.
In the following extract from “The Good Sea-Captain,' there is a strain of vivid and imaginative writing, though occasionally disfigured by an uncouth expression.
"Tell me, 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 a hurricane, who is it that restores them again to their wits, and brings them asleep in a calm ? Who made the mighty whales, who swim in a sea of water, and have a sea of oil swimming in them? Who first taught the waters to imitate the creatures on land ? so that the sea is the stable of horse-fishes, the stall of kine-fishes, the stye 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?' *
pp. 113, 114.
* In · Vivian Grey,' part second, there is a direct plagiarism of a portion of the above extract from Fuller. Essper George addresses the sea as follows; “O thou indifferent ape of earth, — what art thou, O bully Ocean, but the stable of horse-fishes, the stall of cow-fishes, the sty of hog-fishes, and the kennel of dog-fishes?' — A modern novelwriter might probably deem himself very secure in plundering the folio of an old divine ; but one would hardly have expected him to think of resorting to such a source.
We trust that a literary undertaking so judiciously and well begun, will not fail for want of the patronage of our reading community. Should it proceed, as it has commenced, a set of volumes will appear, which will surely deserve and claim a place in the libraries of all, who love the wisdom of olden time.' Enough, and more than enough, of our attention is called and given to the productions adapted to meet and satisfy the transient taste of the day, springing up in crowds with a rapidity that would be fearful, did they not pass away with equal rapidity, and leading us to suppose that the advice, which was long since given, is not thought to be out of season
• Stir, stir, for shame ; thou art a pretty scholar.
The world's a fine believing world, — write news.' It is necessary, doubtless, that in the literary, as well as in the natural world, an annual supply should be provided for annual consumption. But meanwhile there is danger, lest the great minds of past generations should be forgotten by us, or treated with a neglect at once ungrateful to them and injurious to ourselves. We are far enough from wishing to see the antiquarian bibliomania displace important and useful studies. But we do wish to witness the prevalence of such a sound and just taste for the strong good sense, the exciting energy, and the intellectual riches of the older authors, as shall take away all occasion for the complaint, so beautifully expressed by Mr. Young, that 'the moss has been suffered to creep over “ the wells of English undefiled,” and hide their clear and sparkling waters from the general view.'
Art. II. — ORIGENIS Opera Omnia, quæ Græcè vel Latinè
tantum extant, et ejus Nomine circumferuntur. Operâ et studio Caroli Delarue. Parisiis. 1733 - 1759. 4 vol fol.
At the conclusion of our remarks on the life and writings of Origen, in our last Number, we intimated our purpose to treat, in a future Number, of his opinions. The greater part