Imágenes de páginas

bumilibus autem dat gratiamc, i. e. God resisteth the Proud, but giveth Grace to the Humble. Understanding is in all the Gods, fays Plato, but in Man there's little or none. However, 'tis very comforting to a Christian to fee our •mortal and frail Talents so fitly suited to our Holy and Divine Faith, that when they are employed on Subjects which are in their own Nature mortal and frail, they are not more equally, or more strongly appropriated to them. Let us fee then, if there are stronger Reasons than those of Sebonde in the Power of Man, nay, if it be possible for him to arrive at any Certainty, by Reason and Argument. For St. Augustine., pleading against these People, has good Cause to reproach their Injustice for maintaining those Parts of our Belief to be false, which our Reason cannot comprehend. And, to demonstrate that many Things may be, and may have been, of which our Reason cannot discover the Nature and Causes, he sets before them certain known and undoubted Experiments, into which Man confesses he has no Insight. And this he does, as all other Things, with a curious and ingenious Inquiry. We must do more'than this, and make them know, that, to evince the Weakness of their Reason, there is no Necessity of calling out rare Examples j and that it is so lame and so blind, that there is no Facility clear enough for it; that what is difficult and easy are one and the same to it; that all Subjects equally, and.Nature in general, disclaim its Jurisdiction and Interposition. What does Truth mean, when stie preaches to us to beware of worldly Philosophyd; when it so often inculcates to us, * that the Wisdom of this World. « is Foolishness with God' -, that of all Vanities Man is the

* vainest; that the Man who presumes upon his Wif

* dom, does not so much as know what Wisdom is ; and

* that Man who is a Nothing, if he thinks himself any

* Thing, seduces himself and is deceived?' These Septences of the Holy Spirit express in so clear and lively a Manner, what I a;n for maintaining, that. \ should need


t 1 Pet. ch, v. ver. «,' 'S{. Paul to the CohJftansx th. ii. Ver. 8, * j Cor. ch, iii, ver, 19, * *

no other Proof to convince Men, who would with all Obedience submit to such Authority.

But these are willing to be scourged at their own Expence, and don't care that their Reason mtAdvaasliould be opposed by any Thing but Rea- tage of Man son. Let us then, for once, consider a Man above the othtr alone without Foreign Assistance, armed only Crea"""with his own Weapons, and destitute of the Divine .Grace and "Wisdom, which is all his Honour, his Strength, and the Foundation of his Existence. Let us fee how he has behaved *in this fine Equipage. Let him make me understand by the Force of his Reason, upon what Foundation he has built those great Advantages which he thinks he has above all other Creatures: Who has made him believe that this wonderful Motion of the Celestial Arch, the eternal Light of those Tapers that roll so majestically over his Head, the surprising Motions of the boundless Ocean, should be established, and continue, for so many Ages, purely for his Convenience and Service? Can any Thing be imagined so ridiculous as that this miserable Caitiff, who is not so much as Master of himself, and exposed to be injured by all Things, should stile himself Master and Emperor of the World, of which it is not in his Power to know the least Part, much less to command the Whole? And this Privilege, •which he arrogates to himself, of being the only Creature, in this vast Fabric, that has the Capacity of" distinguishing the Beauty and the Parts of it; the only one that can return his Thanks to its Architect, and keep an Account of the Revenues and Disbursements of the World j who I wonder sealed that Patent for him? Let him shew us his Commission for this great and splendid Employment. Was it granted in Favour of the Wife only? Few People are Sharers in it. Are Fools and Knaves worthy of so extraordinary a Favour, and, being the worst Part of Mankind, to be preferred before all the rest? Shall we believe the Passage which saysr, Quorum igitur causa quis dherit effeclum ejje mundum? Eorum scilicet

f That is to fay, Balhus the Stoic, who speaks thus in Cicero de Natara Peorum, lib, ii. c 53,

licet animantium, quœ ratione utuntur. Hi funt Dii & hotnines, quibus profectb nihil est melius, i. e. For whose Sake, therefore, shall we conclude that this World was made? For theirs who have the Use of Reason. These are Gods and Men, than whom certainly Nothing is better. We can never sufficiently decry the Impudence of this Conjunction. But poor Creature, what has he in himself worthy of such an Advantage? To consider the incorruptible Life of the Celestial Bodies, their Beauty, Magnitude, and continual Motion, by so just a Rule,

Cum suspicimus magni cctlestia mundi .
Ttinpla super, stellisque micantibus æthera sxum%
Et venit in mentem lunœ soli/que viarum B.

/'. e.

When we the Heavenly Arch above behold,
And the vast Sky studded with Stars of Gold,
And mark the reg'lar Courses that the Sun
And Moon in their alternate Progress run.

To consider the Dominion and Influence which those Bodies have, not only over our Lives and Fortunes,

. pafta etenim et vitas hominum susp;ndit ab astris \

/*. e.

Men's Lives and Actions depend on the Course of the Stars,

but over our very Inclinations, our Reason, our Wills, •which are governed, animated, and agitated at the Mercy pf their Influences.

—— Speculataque longe Deprendit tacilis dominantia legibus astra, Et totum alternd mundum ratione moveri, fatorumque vices cert is disccrnere stgnis

i. e.

Contemplating the Stars he finds that they
Rule by a silent and 3 secret Sway j


. 9 Lucret. lib. v. 1203. 1 Mftnil, lib, iij, v, 58, ,

1 Idem, lib. i. ver. 62, y<-, _

And that the enamell'd Spheres which roll above,
Do ever by alternate Causes move;
And, studying these, he also can foresee
By certain Signs the Turns of Destiny.

To observe, that not a Man, no not a King, is exempt, but that Monarchies, Empires, and all this lower World are biass'd by the Motions of the least of the Celestial Orbs,

Quant dque quam parvi faciant discrimina mot us, 1'antum est hoc regnum quod Regibus imperat ipfis K

i. e. How great a Change a little Motion brings, So great this Kingdom is that governs Kings!

If our Virtues, our Vices, our Knowledge and Learning, and this fame Reasoning of ours upon the Power of the Stars, and this Comparison of them to us proceed, as our Reason judges, by their Means, and from their Fa-^ vour.

furit alter amore,

Et pcntum tranare poteft et vertere I'rojam:
Alterhissors est stribendis legibus apt a:
Ecce palrem nati perimunt, natofque parent es,
,M"tudque armati coeunt in vulnera fratres.
JNon nostrum hoc helium est : coguntur tante movere%
Jnque Juas ferri pœnas, laceranduque membra;

floe quoque fat ale est, sic ipsum expendere fatum'.

One mad in Love may cross the raging Seas,

T' o'erturn proud Ilium's lofty Palaces;

Another's Fate inclines him more by far,

To study Laws and Statutes for the Bar.

Sons kill their Fathers, Fathers kill their Sens,

And one arm'd Brother 'gainst another runs.

This War's not their's, but Fate's that spurs them on,

To lhed the Blood, which shed they must bemoan;

And I ascribe it to the Will of Fate,

That on this Theme J now expatiate.

k Manil. lib. i. v. 57. et lib. iv. v, 93,
1 Jdem. Jib, jv. y, 79,-85, ?i8,'

If we hold this Portion of Reason which we have by the Bounty of Heaven, how is it possible that it should make us equal to the Donor? How can it subject his Essence and Qualities to our Knowledge? Whatever we fee in those Bodies, astonishes us: Quœ molitio, quæ ferramenta, qui vetles, qu<e macbinæ, qui mintjlri tanti operis fuerunt m? 'What Contrivance, what Instruments, what Levers, 'what Machines, what Operators were employed in so vast a Work? Why do we deprive them of Soul, of Life, and pf Reason? Have we, who have no Correspondence with them, Jbut in Obedience, discovered any immoveable and insensible Stupidity in them? Shall we say, that we have discovered the Use of a reasonable Soul in no other Creature but Man? And why? Have we seen any Thing like the. Sun? Does it cease to be, because we have not seen any Thing like to it? And do its Motions cease, because there are no other like to them? If what we have not seen, is therefore not in Being, our Knowledge is wonderfully contracted: Qv,œsunt tantæ animi angustiœ*e. How narrow are our Understandings! Are they not Dreams of human Vanity to make the Moon a Celestial World? To fancy as Jnaxagoras did, that there are Mountains and Vallies in it ? and there plant Habitations and human Dwellings, and to raise Colonies in it for our Convenience, as Plato and Plutarch have done? and of our Earth, to make a bright shining Star? Inter catera mortalitatis inccmmoda, et hoc est, caligo mentium: Nec tantum neceffitas errands fed errorum amor. 0 Corruptible corpus aggravat animam, et deprimit terrena inhabitatio fensum multaxcgitantem, i. e. Amongst other Inconveniences of Mortality, this is one, viz. the Darkness of the Understanding, which is not only under a Necessity of Erring, but has a Delight in it. Senec. de Ira, lib. ii. c. 9.


* Cic. de Nat. Deorum, lib. i. c. 8. n Cic. de Nat. ljb. i. c. 31.

0 In some Editions of Montaigne, the Passage that follows is ascribed to Setuce, Ep. 65. but 'tis not in that Epistle, and I fancy, by the Stile of it, 'tis not to be met with in any other of Seneca's Discourses. However this be, it may be thus rendered into English: The corruptible Body- stupifiesthe Soul of Man, and this earthly Habitation dulls the Imagination, which is employed on a Multitude of Objects. —At length I .met with this Passage ia St.'AufftjHm deCivitate Dei, lib. xii, c. 15.

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