תמונות בעמוד

not equivocate, nor speak any thing positively for which you have no authority but report, or conjecture, or opinion.

Let your words be few, especially when your superiors, or strangers, are present, lest you betray your own weakness, and rob yourselves of the opportunity, which you might otherwise have had to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking.

Be not too earnest, loud, or violent in your conversation. Silence your opponent with reason, not with noise.

Be careful not to interrupt another when he is speaking; hear him out, and you will understand him the better, and be able to give the better answer.

Consider before you speak, especially when the business is of moment; weigh the sense of what you mean to utter, and the expressions you intend to use, that they may be significant, pertinent, and inoffensive. Inconsiderate persons do not think till they speak; or they speak and then think.

Some men excell in husbandry, some in gardening, some in mathematics. In conversation learn, as near as you can, where the skill or excellence of any person lies; put him upon talking on that subject, observe what he says, keep it in your memory, or commit to writing. By this means you will glean the worth and knowledge of everybody you converse with; and, at an easy rate, acquire what may be of use to you on many occasions.

When you are in company with light, vain, impertinent persons, let the observing of their failings make you the more cautious both in your conversation with them and in your general behaviour, that you may avoid their errors.

If any one whom you do not know to be a person of truth, sobriety, and weight, relates strange stories, be not too ready to believe or report them; and yet (unless he is one of your familiar acquaintance) be not too forward to contradict him. If the occasion requires you to declare your opinion, do it modestly and gently, not bluntly nor coarsely; by this means you will avoid giving offence, or being abused for too much credulity.

If a man whose integrity you do not very well know, makes you great and extraordinary professions, do not give much credit to him. Probably, you will find that he aims at something besides kindness to you, and that when he has served his turn, or been disappointed, his regard for you will grow cool.

Beware also of him who flatters you, and commends you to your face, or to one who he thinks will tell you of it; most probably he has either deceived and abused you, or means to do so. Remember the fable of the fox commending the singing of the crow, who had something in her mouth which the fox wanted.

Be careful that you do not commend yourselves. It is a sign that your reputation is small and sinking, if your own tongue must praise you; and it is fulsome and unpleasing to others to hear such commendations.

Speak well of the absent whenever you have a suitable opportunity. Never speak ill of them, or of any body, unless you are sure they deserve it, and unless it is necessary for their amendment, or for the safety and benefit of others.

Avoid, in your ordinary communications, not only oaths, but all imprecations and earnest protestations.

Forbear scoffing and jesting at the condition or natural defects of any person. Such offences leave a deep impression; and they often cost a man dear.

Be very careful that you give no reproachful, menacing, or spiteful words to any person. Good words make friends; bad words make enemies. It is great prudence to gain as many friends as we honestly can, especially when it may be done at so easy a rate as a good word; and it is great folly to make an enemy by ill words, which are of no advantage to the party who uses them. When faults are committed, they may, and by a superior they must, be reproved; but let it be done without reproach or bitterness; otherwise it will lose its due end and use, and, instead of re

forming the offence, it will exasperate the offender, and lay the reprover justly open to reproof.

If a person be passionate, and give you ill language, rather pity him than be moved to anger. You will find that silence, or very gentle words, are the most exquisite revenge for reproaches ; they will either cure the distemper in the angry man, and make him sorry for his passion, or they will be a severe reproof and punishment to him. But, at any rate, they will preserve your innocence, give you the deserved reputation of wisdom and moderation, and keep up the serenity and composure of your mind. Passion and anger make a man unfit for every thing that becomes him as a man or as a Christian.

Never utter any profane speeches, nor make a jest of any Scripture expressions. When you pronounce the name of God or Christ, or repeat any passages or words of Holy Scripture, do it with reverence and seriousness, and not lightly, for that is taking the name of God in vain.'

If you hear of any unseemly expressions used in religious exercises, do not publish them; endeavour to forget them; or, if you mention them at all, let it be with pity and sorrow, not with derision or reproach.

Read these directions often; think of them seriously; and practice them diligently. You will find them useful in your conversation; which will be every day the more evident to you, as your judgment, understanding, and experience increase.

I have little further to add at this time, but my wish and command that you will remember the former counsels that I have frequently given you. Begin and end the day with private prayer; read the Scriptures often and seriously; be attentive to the public worship of God. Keep yourselves in some useful employment; for idleness is the nursery of vain and sinful thoughts, which corrupt the mind, and disorder the life. Be kind and loving to one another. Honour your minister. Be not bitter * nor harsh to my servants. Be respectful to all. Bear my absence patiently and cheerfully. Behave as if I were present among you and saw you. Remember you have a greater Father than I am, who always, and in all places, beholds you, and knows your hearts and thoughts. Study to requite my love and care for you with dutifulness, observance, and obedience; and account it an honour that you have an opportunity by your attention, faithfulness, and industry, to pay some part of that debt which, by the laws of nature and of gratitude, you owe me. Be frugal in my family, but let there be no want; and provide conveniently for the poor.

I pray God to fill your hearts with his grace, fear, and love, and to let you see the comfort and advantage of serving him; and that his blessing and presence, and direction, may be with you, and over you all. I am your ever loving father.

James HARRINGTON, descended from an ancient and noble family of Rutlandshire, was born at Upton, in Northamptonshire, on the first Friday in January, 1611. He was admitted, in 1629, into Trinity College, Oxford, and had the happiness to be placed under the tuition of the celebrated Chillingworth, who had recently been elected fellow of that college. He afterwards went abroad for several years, passing the principal part of his time at the courts of Holland and Denmark. While residing at the Hague, and subsequently at Venice, he imbibed many of those republican views which afterward distinguished his writings. Visiting Rome, he attracted very considerable attention by refusing to kiss the Pope's toe-conduct which he afterward adroitly justified to the King of England, by saying that, “having had the honor of kissing his majerty's hand, he thought it beneath him to kiss the toe of any other monarch.

During the civil war, Harrington was appointed by the parliamentary commissioners one of the personal attendants of King Charles, who, in 1647, nominatėd him one of the grooms of his bed-chamber. The king was fond of conversing with him on every other subject but politics; and the impression made on him by the royal condescension and familiarity, was such as to render him very desirous that a reconciliation between his majesty and the parliament might be effected, and to excite in him the most violent grief when the king was brought to the scaffold. He has, nevertheless, in his writings, placed Charles in an unfavorable light, and spoken of his execution as the consequence of a divine judgment. During the early part of Cromwell's administration, Harrington was occupied in composing his Oceana, which was published in 1656, and dedicated to the Protector. The work is a political romance, illustrating the author's ideas of a republic so constituted as to secure that general freedom of which he was so ardent an admirer. Hume characterizes it as well adapted to that age, when the plans of imaginary republics were the daily subjects of debate and conversation; and even in our time, it is justly admired as a work of genius and invention. The style of this author wants ease and fluency, but the good matter which his work contains makes compensation.'

After the publication of the Oceana,' Harrington continued to exert himself in diffusing his republican sentiments, by founding a debating club, called the Rota, and holding conversations with visitors at his own house. This brought the suspicions of the restored government upon him, and on pretence of treasonable practices, he was put into confinement, and there kept, until an attack of mental derangement made it necessary that he should be delivered to his friends. His death occurred at Westminster, on the eleventh of September, 1677; and he was there buried in St. Margaret's Church, on the south side of the altar, next to the grave of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Besides his . Oceana,' which is his great work, Harrington was the author of various other productions, both in prose and verse; but after a careful examination, we have been unable to find a single passage adapted to our purpose.

Lerture the thirtieth. .



[ocr errors]

T\HE formation of the Royal Society of England is one of the most prom

; and as Dr. Wilkins, whom we are next to notice, may be regarded as one of the few scholars with whom the idea of such an association originated, we shall here introduce Dr. Sprat's account of the circumstances out of which it arose.

'It was some space after the end of the civil wars, at Oxford, in Dr. Wilkins his lodgings, in Wadham College, which was then the place of resort for virtuous and learned men, that the first meetings were made, which laid the foundation of all this that followed. The university had, at that time, many members of its own, who had begun a free way of reasoning; and was also frequented by some gentlemen of philosophical minds whom the misfortunes of the kingdom, and the security and ease of a retirement amongst grown men, had drawn thither. Their first purpose was no more than only the satisfaction of breathing a freer air, and of conversing in quiet with one another, without being engaged in the passions and madness of that

* * For such a candid and unpassionate company as that was, and for such a gloomy season, what could have been a fitter subject to pitch upon than natural philosophy? To have been always tossing about some theological question, would have been to have made that their private diversion, the excess of which they themselves disliked in the public: to have been eternally musing on civil business, and the distresses of their country, was too melancholy a reflection : it was nature alone which could pleasantly entertain them in that estate. The contemplation of that draws our minds off from the past or present misfortunes, and makes them conquerors over things in the greatest public unhappiness : while the consideration of men, and human affairs, may affect us with a thousand disquiets that never separate us into mortal factions ; that gives us room to differ without animosity,

dismal age.

and permits us to raise contrary imaginations upon it, without any danger of a civil war.

John Wilkins, the son of a goldsmith of Oxford, was born at Fawlsey, Northamptonshire, in 1614. He was taught Latin and Greek at a private school, conducted by Edward Sylvester, an eminent instructor of that period; and such was his proficiency that, in 1627, at thirteen years of age, he entered a student of New Inn college, Cambridge. He soon after removed to Magdalen Hall, where he remained till he had taken his master's degree, and then entered into orders. He commenced his career as a clergyman by becoming chaplain, first to Lord Say, and afterward to Charles, Count Palatine of the Rhine, and Prince Elector of the Empire, with whom he remained for some years.

When the civil war broke out Wilkins joined the parliamentary party, and took the oath of the solemn league and covenant. In April, 1648, he was made warden of Wadham College, and on the following day created bachelor of divinity. The degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon him in the following year; and in 1656 he married a widow lady, the sister of Oliver Cromwell, in consequence of which he forfeited the wardenship of the college, the statutes of which prohibited the marriages of such officers. He, however, obtained a dispensation from the Protector, and thus retained his office. In 1659, he was placed at the head of Trinity College, Cambridge, by Richard Cromwell; but upon the Restoration of Charles the Second, in the following year, he was ejected from his college, and became preacher of the honorable society of Gray's Inn, and rector of St. Lawrence, London. He soon after became dean of Rippon, and, in 1668, was raised, chiefly through the influence of the Duke of Buckingham, to the see of Chester. He did not, however, long survive this last preferment, but died soon after at the house of his son-in-law, Dr. Tillotson, in Chancery Lane, London, on the nineteenth of November, 1672.

Bishop Wilkins, says Bishop Burnet, was a man of as great mind, as true judgment, as eminent virtues, and of as good a soul, as any I ever knew. Though he married Cromwell's sister, yet he made no other use of that alliance but to do good offices, and to recover the university of Oxford from the sourness of Owen and Goodwin. At Cambridge, he joined with those who studied to propagate better thoughts, to take men off from being in parties, or from narrow notions, from superstitious conceits and fierceness about opinions. He was also a great observer and promoter of experimental philosophy, which was then a new thing, and much looked after. He was naturally ambitious; but was the wisest clergyman I ever knew. He was a lover of mankind, and had a delight in good.' Bishop Wilkins, like his friend and son-in-law, Tillotson, and the other moderate churchmen of the day, was an object of violent censure to the high-church party; but fortunately he possessed, as Burnet farther remarks, "a courage which could stand against a current, and against all the reproaches with which ill-natured clergymen studied to load him.'

« הקודםהמשך »