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separably followeth all virtue, as shadow doth the body, but for that they should obtain by this the true reward of wisdom, which can never be taken away as wealth may, nor will fade as beauty doth, because it dependeth of truth and justice, and not of the blasts of men's mouths, than which nothing is more foolish, nothing more pernicious; for as it is the duty of a good man to eschew infamy, so it is not only the property of a proud man, but also of a wretched and ridiculous man, to frame their actions only for praise; for that man's mind must needs be full of unquietness, that always wavers for fear of other men's judgments between joy and sadness. But amongst other the notable benefits which learning bestoweth upon men, I account this one of the most profitable, that in getting of learning we look not for praise, to be accounted learned men, but only to use it in all occasions, which the best of all other learned men, I mean the philosophers those true moderators of men's actions, have delivered unto us from hand to hand, although some of them have abused their sciences, aiming only to be accounted excellent men by the people,
[St John's College Fellowships, 1844.]
143. I WILL not omit one principle of great importance, being an error from which princes with much difficulty defend themselves, unless they be very discreet, and make a very good choice; and this is concerning flatterers; whereof all writings are full: and that because men please themselves so much in their own things, and therein cozen themselves, that very hardly can they escape this pestilence; and desiring to escape it, there is danger of falling into contempt; for there is no other way to be secure from flattery, but to let men know,
that they displease thee not in telling thee truth: but when every one hath this leave, thou losest thy reve
Therefore ought a wise prince to take a third course, making choice of some understanding men in his state, and give only to them a free liberty of speaking to him the truth; and touching those things only which he inquires of, and nothing else; but he ought to be inquisitive of every thing, and hear their opinions, and then afterwards advise himself after his own manner; and in these deliberations, and with every one of them so carry himself, that they all know, that the more freely they shall speak, the better they shall be liked of: and besides those, not give ear to any one; and thus pursue the thing resolved on, and thence continue obstinate in the resolution taken. He who does otherwise, either falls upon flatterers, or often changes upon the varying of opinions, from whence proceeds it that men conceive but slightly of him. (St John's College Voluntary Classical, 1844.]
144. ONE great cause of our insensibility to the goodness of the Creator is the very extensiveness of his bounty. We prize but little what we share only in common with the rest, or with the generality of out species. When we hear of blessings, we think forthwith of successes, of prosperous fortunes, of honours, riches, preferments, i.e. of those advantages and superiorities over others, which we happen either to possess, or to be in pursuit of, or to covet. The common benefits of our nature entirely escape us.
Yet these are the great things. These constitute what most properly ought to be accounted blessings of Providence; what alone, if we might so speak, are worthy of its care. Nightly rest and daily bread, the ordinary use of our limbs, and senses,
and understandings, are gifts which admit of no comparison with any other. Yet, because almost every man we meet with possesses these, we leave them out of our enumeration. They raise no sentiment; they move no gratitude. Now, herein is our judgment perverted by our selfishness. A blessing ought in truth to be the more satisfactory, the bounty at least of the donor is rendered more conspicuous, by its very diffusion, its commonness, its cheapness; by its falling to the lot, and forming the happiness, of the great bulk and body of our species, as well as of ourselves. Nay, even when we do not possess it, it ought to be matter of thankfulness that others do.
[Trinity College Scholarships, 1844.]
145. REFLECTION and habit have rendered the world so indifferent to me, that I am neither afflicted nor rejoiced, angry nor pleased, at what happens in it, any farther than personal friendships interest me in the affairs of it, and this principle extends my cares but a little way. Perfect tranquillity is the general tenor of my life: good digestion, serene weather, and some other mechanic springs, wind me above it now and then, but I never fall below it. I am sometimes gay, but I am never sad. I have gained new friends and lost some old ones: my acquisitions of this kind give me a good deal of pleasure, because they have not been made lightly. I know no vows so solemn as those of friendship, and therefore a pretty long noviciate of acquaintance should, methinks, precede them. My losses of this kind give me but little trouble; I contributed nothing to them; and a friend who breaks with me unjustly is not worth preserving.
[Jesus College Fellowship, 1844.]
146. Next him, or rather above him, was Cromwell, who was made the king's viceregent in ecclesiastical matters. A man of mean birth, but noble qualities, as appeared in two signal instances; the one being his pleading in parliament so zealously and successfully for the fallen and disgraced Cardinal, whose secretary he was, when Gardiner, though more obliged by him, had basely forsaken him. This was thought so just and generous in him, that it did not at all hinder his preferment, but raised his credit higher, such a demonstration of gratitude and friendship in misfortune being so rare a thing in a court. The other was his remembering the merchant of Lucca, that had pitied and relieved him when he was a poor stranger there, and expressing most extraordinary acknowledgments and gratitude when he was afterwards in the top of his greatness : and the other did not so much as know him, much less pretend to any returns for past favours, which shewed that he had a noble and generous temper; only he made too much haste to be great and rich. He joined himself in a firm friendship to Cranmer, and did promote the reformation very vigorously.
[Clare Hall Scholarships, 1845.]
147. Our business is to attain knowledge, not concerning obvious and vulgar matters, but about sublime, abstruse, intricate, and knotty subjects, remote from common observation and sense; to get sure and exact notions about which will try the best forces of our mind with their utmost endeavours; in firmly settling principles, in strictly deducing consequences, in orderly digesting conclusions, in faithfully retaining what we learn by our contemplation and study. And if to get a competent knowledge about a few things, or to be reasonably skilful in any sort of learning, be difficult, how much industry doth it require to be well seen in many, or to have waded through the vast compass of learning, in no part whereof a scholar may conveniently or handsomely be ignorant; seeing there is such a connexion of things, and dependence of notions, that one part of learning doth confer light to another, that a man can hardly well understand any thing without knowing divers other things; that he will be a lame scholar, who hath not an insight into many kinds of knowledge; that he can hardly be a good scholar, who is not a general one. The knowledge of such things is not innate to us; it doth not of itself spring up in our minds; it is not any ways incident by chance, or infused by grace, (except rarely by miracle ;) common observation doth not produce it; it cannot be purchased at any rate, except by that, for which it was said of old, the gods sell all things, that is for pains; without which, the best wit and greatest capacity may not render a man learned, as the best soil will not yield good fruit or grain, if they be not planted or sown therein. [Classical Tripos, 1845.]
148. IF the talent for ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of some use to the world; but instead of this, we find that it is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking every thing that is solemn and serious, decent and praiseworthy in human life. We may observe, that in the first ages of the world, when the great souls and master-pieces of human nature were produced, men shined by a noble simplicity of behaviour, and were strangers to those little embellishments which are so fashionable in our present conversation. And it is very remarkable, that notwithstanding we fall short at present