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the exorbitant price for which I should have purchased the book. Do you endeavour to learn in how many volumes the entire work is contained; and of the two editions whether that of Blaen or Janson be the more accurate and complete.'1
'It gives me pleasure that you are convinced of the tranquillity which I possess under this afflicting privation of sight, as well as of the civility and kindness with which I receive those who visit me from other countries. And indeed why should I not submit with complacency to this loss of sight, which seems only withdrawn from the body without, to increase the sight of the mind within. Hence books have not incurred my resentment, nor do I intermit the study of books, though they have inflicted so heavy a penalty on me for my attachment; the example of Telephus, king of Mysia, who did not refuse to receive a cure from the same weapon by which he had been wounded, admonished me not to be so morose.' 2
I am not willing, as you wish me, to compile a history of our troubles; for they seem rather to
1 Letter XX. To Peter Heimbach, 1656.
require oblivion than commemoration; nor have we so much need of a person to compose a history of our troubles as happily to settle them. I fear with you lest our civil dissensions, or rather maniacal agitation, should expose us to the attack of the lately confederated enemies of religion and of liberty; but those enemies could not inflict a deeper wound upon religion than we ourselves have long since done by our follies and our crimes. But whatever disturbances kings and cardinals may meditate and contrive, I trust that God will not suffer the machinations and the violence of our enemies to succeed according to their expectations. As soon as my posthumous adversary shall make his appearance I request you to give me the earliest information.'1
LIBERTY OF WRITING.
'Owing to your protection, Supreme Senate! this liberty of writing, which I have used these eighteen years on all occasions to assert the just rights and freedoms both of Church and State, as to have been trusted with the representment and defence of your actions to all Christendom against
1 Letter XXIX. To Henry Oldenburgh, 1659.
This brings us back to the date of his first prose work, 1641.
an adversary of no mean repute; to whom should I address what I still publish on the same argument, but to you, whose magnanimous councils first opened and unbound the age from a double bondage under prelatical and legal tyranny? . . . And if I have prosperously, God so favouring me, defended the public cause of this commonwealth to foreigners, I request that ye would not think the reason and ability, wherein ye trusted once (and repent not) your whole reputation to the world, either grown less by more maturity and longer study, or less available in English than in another tongue.'1
'It is not strange that report should have induced you to believe that I had perished among the numbers of my countrymen who fell in a year so fatally visited by the ravages of the plague. If that rumour sprung, as it seems, out of solicitude for my safety, I consider it as no unpleasing indication of the esteem in which I am held among you. But by the goodness of God, who provided for me a place of refuge in the country, (Chalfont St. Giles,) I yet enjoy both life
1 'Considerations touching removing hirelings out of the Church,' Works, vol. iii. p. 2.
and health; which as long as they continue, I shall be happy to employ in any useful undertaking. I will conclude after first begging you, if there be any errors in the diction or the punctuation, to impute it to the boy who wrote this, who is quite ignorant of Latin, and to whom, with no little vexation, I was obliged to dictate not the words, but one by one the letters of which they are composed.'1
'I devoted myself to the study of the Christian religion because nothing else can so effectually rescue the lives and minds of men from these two detestable curses, slavery and superstition. I resolved not to repose on the faith or judgment of others in matters relating to God; but on the one hand, having taken the grounds of my faith from Divine revelation alone, and on the other, having neglected nothing which depended on my own industry, I thought fit to scrutinize and ascertain for myself the several points of my religious belief, by the most careful perusal and meditation of the Holy Scriptures themselves. I entered upon an assiduous course of study in my youth, beginning 1 Letter XXXI. To Peter Heimbach, 1666.
DESERTED BY HIS DAUGHTERS.
with the books of the Old and New Testament in their original languages. It was a great solace to me to have laid up for myself a treasure which would be a provision for my future life, and would remove from my mind all grounds for hesitation, as often as it behoved me to render an account of the principles of my belief. . . . Since I enrol myself among the number of those who acknowledge the Word of God alone as the rule of faith, and freely advance what appears to me much more clearly deducible from the Holy Scriptures than the commonly received opinion, I see no reason why any one who belongs to the same Protestant or Reformed Church, and professes to acknowledge the same rule of faith as myself, should take offence at my freedom, particularly as I impose my authority on no one, but merely propose what I think more worthy of belief than the creed in general acceptation.''
'Let us, therefore, using this last means, last here spoken of but first to be done, amend our lives with all speed; lest through impenitency we
Posthumous work, A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, discovered in the State Paper Office in 1823.