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I call'd thee Nile; the parallel will stand: If sovereign right by sovereign power they Thy tides of wealth o'erflow the fatten'd
land; Yet monsters from thy large increase we find, Engender'd on the slime thou leav'st behind.
Sedition has not wholly seized on thee,
But still the Canaanite is in the land.
But what's a head with two such gouty hands?
The wise and wealthy love the surest way, And are content to thrive and to obey. But wisdom is to sloth too great a slave; None are so busy as the fool and knave. 20 Those let me curse; what vengeance will they urge,
Whose ordures neither plague nor fire can purge?
Nor sharp experience can to duty bring, Nor angry heaven, nor a forgiving king! In gospel-phrase their chapmen they betray,
Their shops are dens, the buyer is their prey.
The knack of trades is living on the spoil; They boast ev'n when each other they beguile.
Customs to steal is such a trivial thing, That 'tis their charter to defraud their king. 30 All hands unite of every jarring sect; They cheat the country first, and then infect.
They for God's cause their monarchs dare dethrone,
And they'll be sure to make his cause their
The same bold maxim holds in God and
God were not safe, his thunder could they shun;
He should be forced to crown another son. Thus, when the heir was from the vineyard thrown,
The rich possession was the murderers' own. In vain to sophistry they have recourse: By proving there's no plot, they prove 'tis
Unmask'd rebellion, and audacious force; 55
And ease him by degrees of public care, 65
For what can pow'r give more than food and drink,
To live at ease, and not be bound to think? These are the cooler methods of their crime,
But their hot zealots think 'tis loss of time;
On utmost bounds of loyalty they stand,
And if their power the passengers subdue,
Who never sail on fortune's faithless sea,
Three poets, in three distant ages born,
HISTORICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS WRITERS.
JOHN LOCKE was born in 1632 and received his education at Westminster school, after which he went to Oxford, and at a later period studied for the medical profession. In 1664 he accompanied Sir Walter Vane, who was sent as envoy from Charles II., to the Elector of Brandenburg. On his return to Oxford, a situation in the Irish Church was offered him, which, however, he refused, and soon afterwards became an inmate of
(1) Despoil. (2) Thin vapours in the air. Ilerrig, British Auth.
the Earl of Shaftesbury's house, and was for some time employed in the education of this nobleman's son. In 1672 Locke received from the Earl of Shaftesbury the office of secretary of presentations, of which he was deprived in the following year, when the Earl lost his own appointment of Lord Chancellor. Locke remained on the continent, with the exception of one or two visits to England, from 1675 till the revolution of 1688; during a part of which time he was obliged to remain concealed in Holland. In this interval he wrote his
first letter on Toleration. In 1690 his most celebrated work, 'An Essay on the Human Understanding,' was published. The composition of this production had occupied him eighteen years. In the same year he published two Treatises on Civil Government, and in 1695 was made a member of the 'Board of Trade,' but soon found himself obliged to resign this office on account of ill health. Locke died in 1704, at the age of seventy-two. Of his other works may be mentioned "Thoughts concerning Education' (1693), "The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695), of which he also wrote two 'Vindications' in 1697, and a pamphlet on
CAUSES OF WEAKNESS IN MEN'S UNDERSTANDINGS.
There is, it is visible, great variety in men's understandings, and their natural constitutions put so wide a difference between some men in this respect, that art and industry would never be able to master; and their very natures seem to want a foundation to raise on it that which other men easily attain unto. Amongst men of equal education there is a great inequality of parts. And the woods of America, as well as the schools of Athens, produce men of several abilities in the same kind. Though this be so, yet I imagine most men come very short of what they might attain unto in their several degrees, by a neglect of their understandings. A few rules of logic are thought sufficient in this case for those who pretend to the highest improvement; whereas I think there are a great many natural defects in the understanding capable of amendment, which are overlooked and wholly neglected. And it is easy to perceive that men are guilty of a great many faults in the exercise and improvement of this faculty of the mind, which hinder them in their progress, and keep them in ignorance and error all their lives. Some of them I shall take notice of, and endeavour to point out proper remedies for, in the following discourse. Besides the want of determined ideas, and of sagacity and exercise in finding out and laying in order intermediate ideas, there are three miscarriages that men are guilty of in reference to their reason, whereby this faculty is hindered in them from that service it might do and was designed for. And he that reflects upon the actions and discourses
"The Conduct of the Understanding. His 'Essay on the Human Understanding,' a most complete and philosophical examination of the human mind, its powers and capacities, serves likewise as a fundamental treatise on metaphysics. His style is clear and comprehensive, and not spoiled by the great number of technical terms and scholastic phrases which had been generally used in learned books until that time. The Earl of Shaftesbury has said of him; 'No one has done more towards the recalling of philosophy into the use and practice of the world, and into the company of the politer and better sort, who might well be ashamed of it in its other dress."
of mankind, will find their defects in this kind very frequent and very observable.
1. The first is of those who seldom reason at all, but do and think according to the example of others, whether parents, neighbours, ministers, or who else they are pleased to make choice of to have an implicit faith in, for the saving of themselves the pains and trouble of thinking and examining for themselves.
2. The second is of those who put passion in the place of reason, and being resolved that shall govern their actions and arguments, neither use their own, nor hearken to other people's reason, any farther than it suits their humour, interest, or party; and these, one may observe, commonly content themselves with words which have no distinct ideas to them, though, in other matters, that they come with an unbiassed indifferency to, they want not abilities to talk and hear reason, where they have no secret inclination that hinders them from being untractable to it.
3. The third sort is of those who readily and sincerely follow reason, but for want of having that which one may call large, sound, round-about sense, have not a full view of all that relates to the question, and may be of moment to decide it. We are all short-sighted. and very often see but one side of a matter; our views are not extended to all that has a connexion with it. From this defect, I think, no man is free. We see but in part, and we know but in part, and therefore it is no wonder we conclude not right from our partial views. This might instruct the prondest esteemer of his own parts how useful it is to talk and consult with
others, even such as came short with him in capacity, quickness, and penetration; for, since no one sees all, and we generally have different prospects of the same thing, according to our different, as I may say, positions to it, it is not incongruous to think, nor beneath any man to try, whether another may not have notions of things which have escaped him, and which his reason would make use of if they came into his mind. The faculty of reasoning seldom or never deceives those who trust to it; its consequences from what it builds on are evident and certain; but that which it oftenest, if not only, misleads us in, is, that the principles from which we conclude, the grounds upon which we bottom our reasoning, are but a part; something is left out which should go into the reckoning to make it just and exact.
In this we may see the reason why some men of study and thought, that reason right, and are lovers of truth, do make no great advances in their Error and truth are discoveries of it. uncertainly blended in their minds, their decisions are lame and defective, and they are very often mistaken in their judgments. The reason whereof is, they converse but with one sort of men, they read but one sort of books, they will not come in the hearing but of one sort of nations; the truth is, they canton out to themselves a little Goshen in the intellectual world, where light shines, and, as they conclude, day blesses them; but the rest of that vast expansum they give up to night and darkness, and so avoid coming near it. They have a petty traffic with known correspondents in some little creek; within that they confine themselves, and are dexterous managers enough of the wares and products of that corner with which they content themselves, but will not venture out into the great ocean of knowledge, to survey the riches that nature hath stored other parts with, no less genuine, no less solid, no less useful, than what has fallen to their lot in the admired plenty and sufficiency
of their own little spot, which to them
The variety of distempers in men's minds is as great as of those in their bodies; some are epidemic, few escape them, and every one too, if he would look into himself, would find some defect of his particular genius. There is scarce any one without some idiosyncrasy, that he suffers by. This man presumes upon his parts, that they will not fail him at time of need, and so thinks it superfluous labour to make any provision beforehand. His understanding is to him like Fortunatus's purse, which is always to furnish him without ever putting any thing into it beforehand: and so he sits still satisfied without endeavouring to store his understanding with knowledge. It is the spontaneous product of the country, and what need of labour in tillage? men may spread their native 7* Such
riches before the ignorant; but they them. Such a knowledge as this is but were best not to come to stress and trial with the skilful. We are born ignorant of every thing. The superficies of things that surround them, make impressions of the negligent; but nobody penetrates into the inside without labour, attention, and industry. Stones and timber grow of themselves; but yet there is no uniform pile, with symmetry and convenience to lodge in, without toil and pains. God has made the intellectual world harmonious and beautiful without us; but it will never come into our heads all at once; we must bring it home piece-meal, and there set it up by our own industry, or else we shall have nothing but darkness and a chaos within, whatever order and light there be in things without us.
Those who have read of every thing are thought to understand every thing too, but it is not always so. Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge: it is thinking makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections; unless we chew them over again, they will not give us strength and nourishment. There are indeed in some writers visible instances of deep thought, close and acute reasoning, and ideas well pursued. The light these would give, would be of great use, if their readers would observe and imitate them: all the rest, at best are but particularly fit to be turned into knowledge; but that can be done only by our own meditation, and examining the reach, force, and coherence, of what is said; and then, as far as we apprehend and see the connexion of ideas, so far is it ours; without that, it is but so much loose matter floating in our brain. The memory may be stored, but the judgment is little better, and the stock of knowledge not increased by being able to repeat what others have said, or produce the arguments we have found in
knowledge by hearsay, and the ostentation of it is at best but talking by rote, and very often upon weak and wrong principles. For all that is to be found in books, is not built upon. true foundations, nor always rightly deduced from the principles it is pretended to be built on. Such an examen (1) as is requisite to discover that, every reader's mind is not forward to make; especially in those who have given themselves up to a party, and only hunt for what they can scrape together, that may favour and support the tenets of it. Such men willfully exclude themselves from truth, and from all true benefit to be received by reading. Others of more indifferency often want attention and industry. The mind is backward in itself to be at the pains to trace every argument to its original, (2) and to see upon what basis it stands, and how firmly; but yet it is this that gives so much the advantage to one man more than another in reading. The mind should, by severe rules, be tied down to this, at first uneasy, task; use and exercise will give it facility. So that those who are accustomed to it, readily, as it were with one cast of the eye, take a view of the argument, and presently, in most cases, see where it bottoms. Those who have got this faculty, one may say, have got the true key of books, and the clue to lead them through the mizmaze (3) of a variety of opinions and authors to truth and certainty. This young beginners should be entered in, and shewed the use of, that they might profit by their reading. Those who are strangers to it, will be apt to think it too great a clog in the way of men's studies; and they will suspect they shall make but small progress, if, in the books they read, they must stand to examine and unravel every argument, and follow it step by step up to its original.
I answer, this is a good objection, and ought to weigh with those whose
(1) Examination. (2) Source. (3) Maze, labyrinth.