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from heaven! Human reason, unshackled and independent, took her_bent from his hands; and learned societies in every part of Europe,-on the banks of the Wolga, the Po, and the Danube,-either rose up at his name, or reconstructed their plans after his direction. The collective wits of the brightest of European nations,—
,-as little inclined as the Greeks to look out of themselves for excellencies,—have paid homage to him as the Solon of modern science, and founded upon his partition of the sciences an encyclopedia,* which was once the marvel and the glory of literature. The tribes of every age and nation regard the father of modern philosophy with the reverence and devotion of children ; and so loud and universal has been the acclaim, that the testimony of our own epoch falls on the ear like the voice of a child closing the shout of a multitude. He has established a school in metaphysics, which, whatever may be its defects, keeps alive a due attention to facts in a science where they are too apt to be neglected; while nearly all the practical improvements introduced into education, statesmanship, and social policy, may be traced in a great degree to the philosophic tone he gave to the introduction of the same element. The politicians and legists, as well as philosophers, moulded by his councils, have placed themselves at the head of their respective sciences in Europe ; and the pedantic tyrants and corrupt ministers, before whom he crouched, have been removed by the works which they patronized, and a monarchy rendered impossible, otherwise than as the personification of the crganized will and reason of the nation. The splendid fanes of science, which he only saw in vision, are rising on every side, and from their lofty cupolas man may already catch glimpses of the internal splendour of the universe; and winding round their turrets, the scala intellectus extends its steps to the skies, and enables men
to carry the rule and compass to the boundaries of Creation! Perfected by such triumphs, and fitted to embrace the complete expansion of natural, moral, and intellectual science, he human mind may expect to trace their mutual blendings ind intricate ramifications, and behold the day when “ Truth, hough now hewn, like the mangled body of Osiris, into a thouand pieces, and scattered to the four winds of heaven, shall be gathered limb to limb, and moulded with every joint and member into an immortal feature of loveliness and perfection.”
* The great French Encyclopædia, edited by Diderot and D'Alornbert 1986 arranged upon his scheme of the sciences.
What is truth ? said jesting Pilate ja and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief ; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out of truth ; nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later schools of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies ; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets ; nor for advantage, as with the merchant, but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell : this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day, but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth
• He refers to the following passage in the Gospel of St. John, xviii. 38: “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all."
• He probably refers to the “New Academy," a sect of Greek philosophers, one of whose moot questions was, “ What is truth ?” Upon which they came to the unsatisfactory conclusion that mankind has no criterion by which to form a judgment.
best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy “vinum dæmonum,”¢ because it filleth the innagination,
2,c and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense :d the last was the light of reason :e and his sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poetf that beautified the sect,& that was otherwise inferior to
e “The wine of evil spirits.”
& Genesis i. 3: “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.”
e At the moment when “ The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life : and man became a living soul.”—Genesis ii. 7.
Lucretius, the Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher, is alluded to.
8 He refers to the sect which followed the doctrines of Epicurus. The life of Epicurus himself was pure and abstemious in the extreme. One of his leading tenets was that the aim of all speculation should be to enable men to judge with certainty what course is to be chosen in order to secure health of body and tranquillity of mind. The adoption, however, of the term pleasure,” as denoting this object, has at all periods subjected the Epicurean system to great reproach ; which, in fact, is due rather to the conduct of many who, for their own purposes, have taken slelter under the system in name only, than to the tenets themselves, which did not inculcate libertinism. Epicurus admitted the existence of the Gods, but he deprived them of the characteristics of Divinity either as creators or preservers of the world.
the sea :
the rest, saith yet excellently well :-" It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below : but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth" (a hill uut to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene)," and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below: so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged even by those that practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the honour of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet.
There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious; and therefore Montaignei saith prettily, when
b Lord Bacon has either translated this passage of Lucretius from nemory, or has purposely paraphrased it. The following is the literal translation of the original : * 'Tis a pleasant thing, from the shore, to behold the dangers of another upon the mighty ocean, when the winds are lashing the main : not because it is a grateful pleasure for any one to be in misery, but because it is a pleasant thing to see those misfortunes from which you yourself are free : 'tis also a pleasant thing to behold the mighty contests of warfare, arrayed upon the plains, without a share in the danger : but nothing is there more delightful than to occupy the elevated temples of the wise, well fortified by tranquil learn. ing, wbence you may be able to look down upon others, and see them straying in every direction, and wandering in search of the path of life.'
i Michael de Montaigne, the celebrated French Essayist. His Essays cmbrace a variety of topics, which are treated in a sprightly and entere taining manner, and are replete with remarks indicative of strong native good sense. He died in 1592. The following quotation is from the second book of the Essays, c. 18:4" Lying is a disgraceful vice, and one that Plutarch, an ancient writer, paints in most disgraceful colours, when he says that it is "affording testimony that one first Jespises God, and then fears men ;' it is not possible more happily to describe its horrible, disgusting, and abandoned nature ; for can we
he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge, saith he, “ If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man ;" surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men : it being foretold, that, when “Christ crmeth,” he shall not “ find faith upon the earth."
II.-OF DEATH." MEN fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious ; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars' books of mortification, that a man should think with himself, what the pain is, if he have but his finger's end pressed or tortured ; and thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted and dissolved ; when many times death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense. And by him that spake only as a philosopher, and natural man, it was well said, “ Pompa mortis magis terret, quam mors ipsa." b Groans and convulsions, , and a discoloured face, and friends weeping, and blacks and
imagine anything more vile than to be cowards with regard to men, and brave with regard to God ?”.
* St. Luke xviii. 8: “Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon the earth ?”
• A portion of this Essay is borrowed from the writings of Seneca. Bee his Letters to Lucilius, B. iv. Ep. 24 and 82.
b “The array of the death-bed has more terrors than death itself." This quotation is from Seneca.
. He probably alludes to the custom of hanging the room in black