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"Choak not thy soul with immoderate pouring in the cordial of pleasures. The creation lasted but six dayes of the first week: prophane they, whose recreation lasts seven dayes every week. Rather abridge thyself of thy lawful liberty herein; it being a wary rule which S. Gregory gives us, Solus in illicitis non cadit, qui se aliquando et a licitis caute restringit.' And then recreations shall both strengthen labour and sweeten rest, and we may expect God's blessing and protection on us in following them, as well as in doing our work: for he that saith grace for his meat, in it prayes also to God to bless the sauce unto him. As for those that will not take lawful pleasure, I am afraid they will take unlawful pleasure, and, by lacing themselves too hard, grow awry on one side.”
The subsequent essay is no less entertaining.
"Solomon saith truly,' Of making many books there is no end, so insatiable is the thirst of men therein: as also endless is the desire of many in buying and reading them. But we come to our rules.
"It is a vanity to perswade the world one hath much learning by getting a great library. As soon shall I believe every one is valiant that hath a well-furnished armory. I guess good housekeeping by the smoking, not the number of the tunnels, as knowing that many of them (built meerly for uniformity) are without chimnies, and more without fires. Once a dunce, void of learning but full of books, flouted a library-less scholar with these words, Salve doctor, sine libris: but the next day the scholar coming into the jeerer's study crowded with books, Salvete libri, (saith he,) sine doctore.
"Few books well selected are best yet as a certain fool bought all the pictures that came out, because he might have his choice; such is the vain humour of many men in gathering of books: yet when they have done all they misse their end, it being in the editions of authors as in the fashions of clothes, when a man thinks he hath gotten the latest and newest, presently another newer comes out.
"Some books are only cursorily to be tasted of: namely, first, voluminous books, the task of a man's life to read them over; secondly, auxiliary books, onely to be repaired to on occasions; thirdly, such as are meer pieces of formality, so that if you look on them you look thorow them; and he that peeps thorow the casement of the index sees as much as if he were in the house. But the lazinesse of those cannot be excused who perfunctorily passe over authors of consequence, and onely trade in their tables and contents. These like city-cheaters having gotten the names of all countrey gentlemen, make silly people believe they have long lived in those places where they never were, and flourish with skill in those authours they never seriously studied.
"The genius of the author is commonly discovered in the dedicatory epistle. Many place the purest grain in the mouth of the sack for chapmen to handle or buy and from the dedication one may probably guesse at the work, saving some rare and peculiar exceptions. Thus when once a gentleman admired so pithy, learned, and witty a
dedication was matched to a flat, dull, foolish book; In truth, said another, they may be well matched together, for I professe they are nothing a-kinne.
Proportion an houre's meditation to an houre's reading of a staple author. This makes a man master of his learning, and dispirits the book into the scholar. The King of Sweden never filed his men above six deep in one company, because he would not have them lie in uselesse clusters in his army, but so that every particular souldier might be drawn out into service. Books that stand thinne on the shelves, yet so as the owner of them can bring forth every one of them into use, are better than far greater libraries.
Learning hath gained most by those books by which the printers have lost. Arius Montanus, in printing the Hebrew Bible (commonly called the Bible of the King of Spain), much wasted himself, and was accused in the court of Rome for his good deed, and being cited thither, Pro tantorum laborum præmio vix veniam impetravit.' Likewise Christopher Plantin by printing of his curious interlineary Bible in Antwerp, through the unseasonable exactions of the King's officers, sunk and almost ruined his estate. And our worthy English Knight, who set forth the golden-mouthed father in a silver print, was a loser by it.
"Whereas foolish pamphlets prove most beneficial to the printWhen a French printer complained that he was utterly undone by printing a solid serious book of Rabelais', concerning physick, Rabelais, to make him recompence, made that his foolish scurrilous work, which repaired the printer's loss with advantage. Such books the world swarms too much with. When one had set out a witless pamphlet, writing Finis at the end thereof, another wittily wrote beneath it
Nay, there thou li'st, my friend;
In writing foolish books there is no end.'
"And surely such scurrilous scandalous papers do more than conceivable mischief. First, their lusciousness puts many palats out of taste, that they can never after rellish any solid and wholesome writers secondly, they cast dirt on the faces of many innocent persons, which, dryed on by continuance of time, can never after be washed off thirdly, the pamphlets of this age may pass for records with the next (because publickly uncontrolled), and what we laugh at our children may believe: fourthly, grant the things true they jeer at, yet this musick is unlawful in any Christian church, to play upon the sinnes and miseries of others, the fitter object of the elegies than the satyrs of all truly religious.
"But what do I speaking against multiplicity of books in this age, who trespass in this nature myself? What was a learned man's complement may serve for my confession and conclusion:- Multi mei similes hoc morbo laborant, ut cum scribere nesciant, tamen à scribendo temperare non possint." "
The foregoing extracts are from the Holy State. From the
Profane State we shall only extract this curious Character of a Witch, in which Fuller displays more strikingly his quaint wit.
"Before we come to describe her, we must premise and prove certain propositions, whose truth may otherwise be doubted of.
"1. Formerly there were witches. Otherwise God's law had fought against a shadow, 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live:' yea, we read how King Saul, who had formerly scoured witches out of all Israel, afterwards drank a draught of that puddle himself.
"2. There are witches for the present, though those night-birds flie not so frequently in flocks since the light of the Gospel. Some ancient arts and mysteries are said to be lost; but sure the devil will not wholly let down any of his gainful trades. There be many witches at this day in Lapland, who sell winds to mariners for money, (and must they not needs go whom the devil drives?) though we are not bound to believe the old story of Ericus, King of Swedeland, who had a cap, and as he turned it, the wind he wished for would blow on that side.
"3. It is very hard to prove a witch. Infernal contracts are made without witnesses. She that, in presence of others, will compact with the devil, deserves to be hanged for her folly as well as impiety.
"4. Many are unjustly accused for witches. Sometimes out of ignorance of natural, and misapplying of supernatural causes; sometimes out of their neighbours' meer malice, and the suspicion is increased, if the party accused be notoriously ill-favoured; whereas deformity alone is no more argument to make her a witch, than handsomeness had been evidence to prove her an harlot; sometimes out of their own causless confession, being brought before a magistrate they acknowledge themselves to be witches, being themselves rather bewitched with fear, or deluded with fancy. But the self-accusing of some is as little to be credited, as the self-praising of others, if alone without other evidence.
"5. Witches are commonly of the feminine sex. Ever since Satan tempted our grandmother Eve, he knows that that sex is most licorish to taste, and most careless to swallow his baits. Nescio quid habet muliebre nomen semper cum sacris: if they light well, they are inferiour to few men in piety; if ill, superior to all in superstition. They are commonly distinguished into white and black witches. White, 1 dare not say good witches, (for woe be to him that calleth evil good) heal those that are hurt, and help them to lost goods. But better it is to lap one's pottage like a dog, than to eat it mannerly with a spoon of the devil's giving. Black witches hurt and do mischief. But in deeds of darkness there is no difference of colours: the white and the black are both guilty alike in compounding with the devil. And now we come to see by what degrees people arrive at this height of profane
"At the first she is only ignorant, and very malicious. She hath usually a bad face, and a worse tongue, given to railing and cursing,
as if constantly bred on mount Ebal; yet speaking perchance worse than she means, though meaning worse than she should. And as the harmless wapping of a curs'd curre, may stir up a fierce mastiffe to the worrying of sheep; so on her cursing, the devil may take occasion by God's permission to do mischief, without her knowledge, and perchance against her will.
"Some have been made witches by endeavouring to defend themselves against witchcraft: for, fearing some suspected witch should hurt them, they fence themselves with the devil's shield against the devil's sword, put on his whole armour, beginning to use spels and charms to safeguard themselves. The art is quickly learnt, to which nothing but credulity and practice is required: and they often fall, from defending themselves, to offending of others, especially the devil not being dainty of his company, where he finds welcome; and being invited once, he haunts ever after.
"She begins at first with doing tricks, rather strange than hurtful, yea some of them are pretty and pleasing. But it is dangerous to gather flowers that grow on the banks of the pit of hell, for fear of falling in; yea they which play with the devil's rattles, will be brought by degrees to wield his sword, and from making of sport they come to doing of mischief.
"At last she indents down right with the devil. He is to find her some toyes for a time, and to have her soul in exchange. At the first (to give the devil his due) he observes the agreement to keep up his credit, else none would trade with him; though at last he either deceives her with an equivocation, or at some other small hole this Serpent winds out himself, and breaks the covenants. And where shall she poor wretch sue the forfeited bond? in heaven she neither can nor dare appear; on earth she is hanged if the contract be proved; in hell her adversary is judge, and it is woful to appeal from the devil to the devil. But for a while let us behold her in her supposed felicity.
"She taketh her free progress from one place to another. Sometimes the devil doth locally transport her: but he will not be her constant hackney, to carry such luggage about, but oftentimes to save portage, deludes her brains in her sleep, so that they brag of long journeys, whose heads never travelled from their bolsters. These with Drake sail about the world, but it is on an ocean of their own fancies, and in a ship of the same: They boast of brave banquets they have been at, but they would be very lean should they eat no other meat: others will perswade, if any list to believe, that by a witch-bridle they can make a fair of horses of an acre of besome-weed. O silly souls! O subtil Satan that deceived them!
"6. With strange figures and words she summons the devils to attend her using a language which God never made at the confusion of tongues, and an interpreter must be fetched from hell to expound it. With these, or Scripture abused, the devil is ready at her service. Who would suppose that roaring lion could so finely act the spaniel? one would think he were too old to suck, and yet he will do that also for advantage.
7. Sometimes she enjoyns him to do more for her than he is
able; as to wound those whom God's providence doth arm, or to break through the tents of blessed angels, to hurt one of God's saints. Here Satan is put to his shifts, and his wit must help him, where his power fails; he either excuseth it, or performs it, lengthening his own arm by the dimness of her eye, and presenting the seeming bark of that tree which he cannot bring.
"8. She lives commonly but very poor.
Methinks she should bewitch to herself a golden mine, at least good meat, and whole clothes: But 'tis as rare to see one of her profession, as a hangman, in a whole suit. Is the possession of the devil's favour here no better? Lord, what is the reversion of it hereafter!
"9. When arraigned for her life, the devil leaves her to the law to shift for herself. He hath worn out.all his shoes in her former service, and will not now go barefoot to help her; and the circle of the halter is found to be too strong for all her spirits. Yea, Zoroastes himself, the first inventor of Magick (though he laught at his birth) led a miserable life, and died a woful death in banishment. We will give a double example of a Witch: first of a real one, out of the Scripture, because it shall be above all exception; and then of one deeply suspected, out of our Chronicles.
We have been rather diffuse in our quotations from this agreeable writer. We think, however, our extracts will be sufficient to excuse us. As Fuller greatly excels in striking and happy sentences, we will give a few of these at random from his book:
"Heat gotten by degrees, with motion and exercise, is more natural, and stayes longer by one, than what is gotten all at once by coming to the fire. Goods acquired by industry prove commonly more lasting than lands by descent."-P. 45.
"Dissolute men, like unskilful horsemen, which open a gate on the wrong side, may, by the virtue of their office, open Heaven for others, and shut themselves out."-P. 74.
"Reasons are the pillars of the fabric of a sermon, but similitudes are the windows which give the best light."-P. 76.
""Tis a shame when the Church itself is a cœmeterium, when the
living sleep above ground as the dead do beneath."-P. 85.
Conjectures, like parcels of unknown ore, are sold but at low rates. If they prove some rich metal, the buyer is a great gainer; if base, no loser, for he payes for it accordingly."-P. 137.
"A public office is a guest which receives the best usage from them who never invited it."-P. 140.
"Scoff not at the natural defects of any, which are not in their power to amend. Oh! 'tis cruelty to beat a cripple with his own crutches."-P. 146.
"Good company is not only profitable whilst a man lives, but sometimes when he is dead; for he that was buried with the bones of Elisha, by a posthumous miracle of that prophet, recovered his life by lodging with such a grave-fellow."-P. 153.