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-—■ posterior res ille reperta
Perdit, et immutat sensus ad pristina qtueque m.
The last Things we find out are always best,
Whatever is. preached to us, and whatever we learn, we should still remember, that it is Man that gives, and Man that receives •, 'tis a mortal Hand that presents it to us, 'tis a mortal Hand that accepts it. The Things that come to us from Heaven, have the sole Right and Authority of Persuasion, they only have the Stamp of Truth; which also we do not see with our own Eyes, nor receive by our own Means: This great and sacred Image could not abide in fo wretched a Habitation, if God, for this End, did not prepare it, if God did not, by his particular and supernatural Grace and Favour, reform and fortify it j at least our frail Condition ought to make us comport ourselves with more Reservedness and Moderation in our Changes. We ought to remember, that, whatever we receive into the Understanding, we often receive Things that are false, and that it is by the fame Instruments that so often give themselves the Lye, and The lud mem are 0^ten deceived. Now, it is no Wonder spends tcry they should contradict themselves, being so much on the Al- easy to be turned and swayed by very light ttretiiiu of the occurrences. It is certain, that our Apprey' hensions, our Judgment, and the Faculties
of the Soul in general, suffer according to the Movements and Alterations of the Body, which Alterations are continual: Are not our Wits more sprightly, our Memories quicker, and our Discourses more lively in Health, than in Sickness? Do not Joy and Gaiety make us receive Subjects that present themselves to our Souls, in quite another Light, than Care and Melancholy? Do you believe, that Catullus'% "Verses, or those of Sappho, please an old doting Miser, as they do a Youth that is vigorous and amorous? Cleomenes, the Son of Anaxmdridas, being sick, his Friends reproached him, that- he had ..... i •: . i Humours
-:— ■ Lucrtt..J8>. v. v. 141 j.
Humours and Whimsies which were new and unaccustom ed: c I believe it ",said he, neither am I the fame Man now, as when I am in Health: Being now another Creature, 'my Opinions and Fancies are also different from what * they were before.' In our Courts of Justice, this Word is much in Use, which is spoken of Criminals, when they find the Judges in a good Humour, gentle and mild, Gaudeat de bona fortuna; * Let him rejoice in his good Forc tune:' For it is certain, that Men's Judgments are sometimes more prone to condemn, more crabbed and severe, and at others more facile, easy, and inclined to excuse. He that carries with him, from his House, the Pain of the Gout, Jealousy or Theft by his Man, having his whole Soul possessed with Grief and Anger, it is not to be doubted but that his Judgment will lean that Way. That venerable Senate of the Areopagites was wont to hold their Courts by Night, for fear lest the Sight of the Parties might corrupt their Justice. The very Air itself, and the Serenity of the Sky, causes some Change in us, according to these Greek Verses in Cicero.
'Tales sunt hominum mentes, quales pater ipse
'Tis not only Fevers, Debauches, and great Accidents that overthrow our Judgments; the least Things in the World whirl it about: We may be sure, though we are not sensible of it, that, if 2. continued Fever can overwhelm the Soul, a Tertian will, in some Proportion or Measure, alter it. If an Apoplexy stupifies and totally extinguishes the Sight of our Understanding, we are not to doubt but that a great Cold will dazzle it: And, consequently, there is hardly one single Hour in a Man's whole Life, wherein our Judgment is in its due State, our Bodies being subject to so many continual Mutations, and stuffed with so many several sorts of Springs and Devices, that I believe
Y 2 the
"' Plutarch, in his Notable Sayings of the Lacedæmonians. c Cicero^ Fragmenca Ppematum.
the Physicians, when they fay, that there is always someone or other out of Order.
As to what remains, this Malady does not very easily <jrhe ifreaknfj-s . discover itself, unless it be extreme and past of our Judg- Remedy; forasmuch as Reason goes always mmt not eaj} iarne and hobbling, as well with Falfhood, as
W d,sc<" wkl1 Truth> and therefore 'tis hard to discover its. Deviations and Mistakes: I always call that Appearance of Meditation, which every one forges- in himself, Reason: This Reason, of the Condition of which,, there may be an hundred contrary ones about one and the fame Subject, is an Instrument of Lead and of Wax, ductile, pliable, and accommodable to all Biasses and Measures; so that nothing remains but the Art how to turn and wind it. Let a Judge mean ever so welly, if he do not look well to himself,, which few are careful to do, his. Inclination to Friendship,, to. Relation, to Beauty, or Revenge, and not only Things of such. Weightv but even the fortuitous Instinct, that makes us favour one Thing more than another* and which, without the Reason's Leave, puts the Choice upon us in two equal Subjects; or some Shadow, of like Vanity, may insensibly insinuate into his Judgment, the Recommendation or Disfavour of a Cause, and make the Balance dip. I, that watch myself as narrowly as I can, and that have my Eyes continually bent upon myself, like one that has. no great Business elsewhere to do;
quis sub Arfto *
Rex gelidœ metuatur ora.,
Fm quite indifferent, whatever King
dare hardly tell the Vanity and Weakness I find in myselfl. My Footing is so unstable and slippery, I find myself so. apt to totter and reel, and my Sight so disordered, that,
fasting, f Hwv lib. i. Ode z6. v. 3^ &<•..
lasting, I am quite another Man, than when full; if Health and a fair Day smile upon me, I am a good-natured Man; if a Corn trouble my Toe, I am sullen, out of Humour, and not to be seen. The same Pace of a Horse seems to be one while hard, and another easy, and the same Road one while shorter, and another longer; and the same Form, one while more, aDd another less taking: I am one while for doing every Thing, and another for doing nothing at all; and what pleases me now, would be a Trouble to me at another Time. I have a thousand senseless and casual Actions within myself: Either 1 am possessed by Melancholy, or swayed by Choler; now, by its own private Authority, Sadness predominates in me, and by and by I am as merry as a Cricket. When I take a Book in Hand, I have then discovered admirable Graces in some particular Passages, and such as have struck my Soul -, at another Time, I may turn and toss, tumble and rattle the Leaves over and over, and not fee any Sense or Beauty in it. Even in my own Writings, I do not always find the Air of my first Fancy: I know not what I would have said, but am often put to it to correct and find out a new Sense, because I have lost the first that was better. I am ever in Motion: My Judgment does not always advance, but floats and roams,
■ ■ velut mlnuta magno Deprensa navis in mart vesaniente vento q.
/. e. Like a small Bark upon the swelling Main, When Winds do ruffle up the liquid Plain.
Very often (as I am apt to do) having, for the fake of Exercise and Argument, undertaken to maintain an Opinion contrary to my^own, my Mind, bending and applying itself that Way, attaches me to it so thoroughly, that I no more discern the Reason of my former Belief, and forsake it: I am, as it .were, drawn in by the Side to which I incline, be it what it will, and carried away by
Y 3 -. my
•« Catuli. Ep. 23. v. ii, 1 j.
my own Weight. Every one would almost say the same of himself, is he considered himself, as I do.
Preachers very well know, that the Emotions which steal upon them in speaking, animate them towards Belief; and that, in Passion, we are more stiff in the Defence of our Proposition, are more deeply impressed by it, and embrace it with greater Vehemence and Approbation, than we do in our cooler and calmer State. You only give your Council a simple Breviate of your Cause, he returns you a dubious and uncertain Answer, by which you find him indifferent, which Side he takes: Have you fee'd him well, that he may relish it the better; does he begin to be really concerned, and do you find him zealous for you? His Reason and Learning will, by the same Degrees, grow hot in your Cause; behold, an apparent and undoubted Truth presents itself to his Understanding; he discovers a new Light in your Business, and does, in good Earnest, believe, and persuade himself that it is so: Nay, I do not know, whether the Ardour that springs from Spite and Obstinacy against the Power and Violence of the Magistrate and Danger, or the Interest of Reputation, may not have made a Man, even at the Stake, maintain the Opinion, for which, at Liberty, and amongst Friends, he would not have burned his Finger. The Shocks and Jostles, that the Soul receives from the corporeal Passions, can do much in it, but its own can do a great deal more; to which it is so subjected, that, peradventure, it is to be made good, that it has no other Pace and Motion, but from the Blowing of those Winds, without the Agitation of which, it would be becalmed, like a Ship in the middle of the Sea, to which the Winds have denied their Assistance: And whoever should maintain this, siding with the Peripatetics, would do us no great Wrong, because it is very well known, that the greatest Part of the most noble Actions of the Soul proceed from, and stand in Need of, this Impulse of the Passions. Valour, they fay, cannot be perfect without the Assistance of Anger.
Semper Ajaxfcrtis, fortiffmus tamen in furore '.
i. e. I Cic. Tusc. lib. iv. v. 23.