« AnteriorContinuar »
and ignorance may aggravate or excuse, increase or diminish, the goodness or evil of our actions? For every case of conscience being only this —“Is this action good or bad?” “May I do it, or may I not?”—he who, in these, knows not how and whence human actions become morally good and evil, never can (‘in hypothesi') rationally and certainly determine, whether this or that particular action be so. 2. The second thing, which,” he said, ‘would be a great help and advantage to a casuist, was a convenient knowledge of the nature and obligation of laws in general; to know what a law is ; what a natural and positive law; what is required to the “latio, dispensatio, derogatio, vel abrogatio legis "; what promulgation is antecedently required to the obligation of any positive law: what ignorance takes off the obligation of a law, or does excuse, diminish, or aggravate the transgression: for every case of conscience being only this — “Is this lawful for me, or is it not?” and the law the only rule and measure by which I must judge of the lawfulness or unlawness of any action, it evidently follows, that he, who, in these, knows not the nature and obligation of laws, never can be a good casuist, or rationally assure himself or others of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of actions in particular.” “This was the judgment and good counsel of that learned and pious prelate; and having, by long experience, found the truth and benefit of it, I conceive I could not, without ingratitude to him and want of charity to others, conceal it. Pray pardon this rude and, I fear, impertinent scribble, which, if nothing else, may signify thus much, that I am willing to obey your desires, and am, indeed, “Your affectionate friend, “ THOMAS LINCOLN.” London, May 10, 1678.
Among the literary characters of the sixteenth century, none appears with more transcendent lustre than that of Sir Henry Savile, a magnificent patron of merit, and a complete gentleman. He seems to have traversed the whole range of science, being equally celebrated for his knowledge of ancient and modern learning. The life of this illustrious scholar would be a valuable acquisition to the republic of letters. That it was actually compiled by Mr. Izaak Walton, we have every reason to conclude. Dr. King, Bishop of Chichester, in his letter to him, dated November 17, 1664, tells him, that “he has done much for Sir Henry Savile, the contemporary, and friend of Mr. Richard Hooker.” It is seriously to be regretted, that the most diligent inquiry after this work has hitherto proved unsuccessful.
Among those whom Sir Henry Savile honored with his friendship was Mr. John Hales of Eton. Mr. Anthony Farringdon, an eminent preacher, and a man of extensive learning and exemplary piety, had collected materials with a view to write the life of this incomparable person. On his demise, his papers were consigned to the care of Mr. Izaak Walton, by Mr. William Fulman, of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, who had proposed to finish the work, and on that occasion had applied for the assistance of our biographer. The result of this application is not known. Fulman's collection of manuscripts, written with his own hand, was deposited in the archives of the library of his college, and Wood laments that he was refused access to them. It is unnecessary to add, that the Life of Mr. Hales, by Mr. Des Maizeaux, was published in 1716. Angling had been long a favorite diversion in England. Alexander Nowell, Dean of St. Paul's, the composer of “that good, plain, unperplexed catechism, which is in our good old Service Book,” was a lover of, and most experienced proficient in this delightful art. It was his custom, besides his fixed hours of private and public prayer, to spend a tenth part of his time in this amusement, and also to bestow a tenth part of his revenue, and usually all his fish, among the poor, saying, that “charity gave life to religion.” An elegant Latin poem, written by Dr. Simon Ford, was inscribed to Archbishop Sheldon, who, in his younger years, being fond of this diversion, is said to have acquired a superior skill in taking the umber or barbel, “a heavy and a dogged fish to be dealt withal.” Dr. Donne is called “a great practitioner, master, and patron of angling.” And we learn from good authority, that Mr. George Herbert loved angling ; a circumstance that is rather to be believed, “because he had a spirit suitable to anglers, and to those primitive Christians who are so much loved and commended.” Let not these remarks provoke the chastisement of censure. Let them not be condemned as nugatory and insignificant. Amidst our disquietudes and delusive cares, amidst the painful anxiety, the disgustful irksomeness, which are often the unwelcome attendants on business and on study, a harmless gratification is not merely excusable, it is in some degree necessary. - In the skilful management of the angle, Izaak Walton is acknowledged to bear away the prize from all his contemporaries. The river which he seems principally to have frequented for the purpose of pursuing his inoffensive amusement, was the Lea, which, rising above the town of Ware in Hertfordshire, falls into the Thames a little below Blackwall; “unless we will suppose that the vicinity of the New River to the place of his habitation might sometimes tempt him out with his friends, honest Nat and R. Roe, whose loss he so pathetically mentions, to spend an afternoon there.” In his tract of “The Complete Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Re-, creation,” he has comprised the clearest and fullest instructions for the attainment of a thorough proficiency in the art. James Duport, the Greek Professor at Cambridge, who was far from being a novice in the use of the rod, disdained not, on this occasion, to address our author in a beautiful Latin Iambic Ode, of which the following classic version will not be unacceptable to the reader.
“Hail, Walton honored friend of mine,
* Or on the green bank, seated still,