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wise man admonishes, days of darkness are destined to each of us, the darkness which I experience, less oppressive than that of the tomb, owing to the singular goodness of the Deity, is passed amid the pursuits of literature, and the cheering salutations of friendship. But if, as is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proeedeth from the mouth of God," why may not iny one acquiesce in this truth, that a man is enlightened not by his eyes alone but by the leadings and providence of God? While He so tenderly provides for me, while He so graciously leads me by the hand through all my life, I will, since it is His pleasure, rather rejoice than repine at being blind. And whatever may be the event, I bid you farewell, with no less courage and composure, than if I was a Lynx.''
'With respect to the Book concerning Divorce, which you say you had engaged some one to turn into Dutch, I would rather you had engaged him to turn it into Latin. For I have already experienced how the vulgar are wont to receive opinions which are not agreeable to vulgar prejudice. I formerly Letter XV. To Leonard Philaras, the Athenian, 1654.
wrote three Treatises on this subject: one in two books in which the Doctrine of Divorce is diffusely discussed; another entitled Tetrachordon, in which the four principal passages in Scripture relative to the doctrine are explained; a third, Colasterion, which contains an answer to some vulgar sciolist. I know not which of these works, or which edition you have engaged him to translate. The first Treatise has been twice published, and the second edition is much enlarged. If you have not already received this information, or wish me to send you the more correct edition, or the other Treatises, I shall do it immediately and with pleasure. For I do not wish at present they should receive any alterations or additions. If you persist in your present purpose, I wish for myself a faithful translator and for you every sucess.'1
'It would be highly grateful to me if you would lend me your assistance against our common enemy. That you have kindly done in your present letter, of which I have taken the liberty, without mentioning the author's name, to insert
Letter XVI. To Leo, of Aizema, 1654.
a part in my Defence. This work I will send you as soon as possible after the publication.' 1
'Come, bring your charge; speak out clearly and boldly, if you have any thing to say; mention time, place, and names, as I do in your case, (More). Say with what Claudia Pelletta, with what Pontia, in what garden, in what house, whether by night or by day-say if I ever were called to account, ever refused to appear. You will find truly that I have applied this liberty of speaking both to my injuries and the prosecution of your crimes, as the surest testimony and fruit of my past and most stedfast purpose of my future life. You will never hear me repent of this liberty-I feel perfectly secure whatever your talebearers may mutter and prate about me. You will perceive that I have within me that consciousness of the integrity of my life, that esteem of good men, that confidence in the past, that fair hope in the future, which will cause me to investigate your crimes with still greater freedom and diligence. Meanwhile, let us see how you treat as crimes things which are not criminal. In the first place, you ask why I reLetter XVII. To Ezekiel Spanheim, 1654.
sponded to the author, of the Cry? I answer, because I was publicly ordered by those whose authority ought to have weight with me; else, I had hardly laid a hand upon you. Next, because I was expressly injured; though I did not feel myself injured. Yet why not answer others? I again reply as before, because I go not uncalled to public business. Would you have more reasons ? Because I was free to do it or not, because I had not leisure, because in short I am a man, my sides are human, not of iron, though you may be an Alexander of brass. Another of my crimes that I digressed in order to praise the most serene Queen of Sweden. I really know not by what chance it happened. I chose rather to seem to refer it to chance, to the stars, to the consent or guidance of spirits, (if there be such invisible agency,) than to any supposed manifestations of my genius, my acuteness, or fertility. I come now to my third crime; namely, that I said I went abroad with one servant. . . . The fourth is that, in a book full of the gaieties of loose wassailers, I dared to censure and gravely make speeches about the commonwealth and duty of citizens. It was the
opinion of Plato and the Socratic philosophers that nothing was more appropriate or becoming than that wit and humour should be intermixed and interspersed sometimes even with the gravest subjects. Again, " I prescribe rules,” (and this is my fifth crime), "not only for the people, but for those who have no need of me for a preceptor."... These are my five deadly sins, for to make seven of them I think was not in your power. .. But perhaps you will have it to be criminal, that I invoked God as a witness, for you speak of my too anxious protestation. You shall hear what it was, nor shall it now be a mere recitation, but, as I feel no shame for what I have done, and as you here calumniate even my travelling, I again invoke God as a witness in the very words I first used, that in all those places where so much licence is given, I lived free and untouched of all defilement and profligate behaviour; having it ever in my thought, that if I could escape the eyes of men, I certainly could not escape the eyes of God. If you, More, have any honesty in you, dare only to defend yourself in those same words in which I have now set you an example. Repeat these words-I invoke God