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it was a fault to have it only by inheritance; and to think it the best, because it is generally embraced, rather than embrace it, because we know it to be the best. That though we cannot always give a reason for what we believe, yet we should be ever able to give a reason why we believe it. That it is the greatest of follies to neglect any diligence that may prevent the being mistaken, where it is the greatest of miseries to be deceived. That how dear soever things taken upon the score are sold, there is nothing worse taken upon trust than religion, in which he deserves not to meet with the true one, that cares not to examine whether or no it be so.
[St John's College, 1847.]
151. But you, Lysicles, who are master of this subject, will be pleased to inform me whether the public good of a nation doth not imply the particular good of its individuals ? Lys. It doth. EUPH. And doth not the good or happiness of a man consist in having both soul and body sound and in good condition, enjoying those things which their respective natures require, and free from those things which are odious or hurtful to them? Lys. I do not deny all this to be true. EUPH. Now it should seem worth while to consider whether the regular decent life of a virtuous man may not as much conduce to this end as the mad sallies of intemperance and debauchery. Lys. I will acknowledge that a nation may merely subsist or be kept alive, but it is impossible it should flourish without the aid of vice. To produce a quick circulation of traffic and wealth in a state there must be exorbitant and irregular motions in the appetites and passions. EUPH. The more people a nation contains, and the happier those people are,
the more that nation may be said to flourish. I think we are agreed in this point. Lys. We are. EUPH. You allow then that riches are not an ultimate end, but should only be considered as the means to procure happiness. Lys. I do. Euph. It seems that means cannot be of use, without our knowing the end, and how to apply them to it? Lys. It seems so. Euph. Will it not follow, that, in order to make a nation flourish, it is not sufficient to make it wealthy, without knowing the true end and happiness of mankind, and how to apply wealth, towards attaining that end? In proportion as these points are known and practised, I think the nation should be likely to flourish. [Trinity College, 1847.]
152. REPUBLICKS have many things in the spirit of absolute monarchy, but none more than this. A shining merit is ever hated or suspected in a popular assembly, as well as in a court: and all services done the state are looked upon as dangerous to the rulers, whether sultans or senators. The ostracism at Athens was built on this principle. The giddy people, being elated with some flashes of success which they owed to nothing less than any merit of their own, began to tyrannize over their equals, who had associated with them for their common defence. With their prudence they renounced all appearance of justice. They entered into wars rashly and wantonly. If they were unsuccessful, instead of growing wiser by their misfortunes, they threw the whole blame of their own misconduct on the ministers who had advised, and the generals who had conducted those wars; until by degrees, they had cut off all who could serve them in their councils or their battles. If at any time these wars had an happier issue, it was no less difficult to deal with
them on account of their pride and insolence. Furious in their adversity, tyrannical in their successes, a commander had more trouble to concert his defence before the people than to plan the operations of the campaign. The nicest and best studied behaviour was not a sufficient guard for a man of great capacity.
[Trinity College, 1847.]
153. If it were inquired, what is to be regarded as the most appropriate intellectual occupation of man, as man, what would be the answer? the statesman is engaged with political affairs; the soldier with military; the mathematician with the properties of numbers and magnitudes; the merchant with commercial concerns, &c.: but in what are all and each of these employed ?— employed, I mean, as men; (for there are many modes of
I exercise of the faculties, mental as well as bodily, which are in great measure common to us with the lower animals.) Evidently in reasoning. They are all employed in deducing, well or ill, conclusions from premises : each concerning the subject of his own particular business.
Many, indeed, who allow the use of systematic principles in other things, are accustomed to cry up common sense as the sufficient and only safe guide in reasoning. But that common sense is only our second-best guide; that the rules of art, if judiciously framed, are always desirable when they can be had, is an assertion for the truth of which I may appeal to the testimony of mankind in general; which is so much the more valuable, inasmuch as it may be accounted the testimony of adversaries. For the generality have a strong predilection in favour of common sense, except in those points in which they respectively possess the knowledge of a system of rules. A sailor e.g. will perhaps despise the pretensions of medical men, and prefer treating a disease by common sense; but he would ridicule the proposal of navigating a ship by common sense, without regard to the maxims of nautical art.
[King's College, 1847.]
154, Alc. But still it would be a satisfaction if all men thought the same way, difference of opinions implying uncertainty. EUPH. Tell me, Alciphron, what you take to be the cause of a lunar eclipse. ALC. The shadow of the earth interposing between the sun and the moon. EUPH. Are you assured of this ? Alc. Undoubtedly. EUPH. Are all mankind agreed in this truth?
ALC. By no means. Ignorant and barbarous people assign different ridiculous causes of this appearance, EUPH. It seems then there are different opinions about the nature of an eclipse. Alc. There are. EUPH. And nevertheless one of these opinions is true. Alc. It is. EUPH. . Diversity therefore of opinions about a thing doth not hinder but that the thing may be, and one of the opinions concerning it may be true. ALC. I acknowledge it. Euph. It should seem, therefore, that your argument against the belief of a God from the variety of opinions about his nature is not conclusive,
[Trinity College Fellowships, 1847.]
NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune: but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks: for the first will make him dejected by often failings; and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings. And at the first let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders or rushes; but after a time let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes : for it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use.
[Craven Scholarship, 1848.]
156. A MAN that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others : for men's minds will either feed upon their own good, or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain another's virtue, will seek to come at even hand, by depressing another's fortune. A man that is busy and inquisitive is commonly envious: for to know much of other men's matters cannot be, because all that ado may concern his own estate ; therefore it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in looking upon the fortunes of others; neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy; for envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home : Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus.'
[Gonville and Caius College, 1848.]
157. 'Twas a good Fancy of an old Platonick: The Gods which are above Men, had something whereof Man did partake, [an intellect knowledge] and the Gods kept on their Course quietly. The Beasts, which are below Man, had something whereof Man did partake, [Sense and Growth] and the Beasts lived quietly in their way.
But Man had something in him, whereof neither Gods nor Beasts did partake, which gave him all the Trouble, and made all the Confusion in the world ; and that is Opinion. [Christ's College Voluntary Classical, 1848.]