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the certainties of prediction; till his fall, he was ignorant of nothing but sin; or at least it rested in the notion, without the smart of the experiment. Could any difficulty have been proposed, the resolution would have been as early as the proposal; it could not have had time to settle into doubt. Like a better Archimedes, the issue of all his inquiries was an 'I have found it, I have found it!' the offspring of his brain, without the sweat of his brow. Study was not then a duty, night-watchings were needless; the light of reason wanted not the assistance of a candle. This is the doom of fallen man, to labour in the fire, to seek truth in profundo,2 to exhaust his time, and to impair his health, and perhaps to spin out his days and himself into one pitiful controverted conclusion. There was then no poring, no struggling with memory, no straining for invention; his faculties were quick and expedite; they answered without knocking, they were ready upon the first summons; there was freedom and firmness in all their operations. I confess it is as difficult for us, who date our ignorance from our first being, and were still bred up with the same infirmities about us with which we were born, to raise our thoughts and imaginations to those intellectual perfections that attended our nature in the time of innocence, as it is for a peasant bred up in the obscurities of a cottage to fancy in his mind the unseen splendours of a court. But by rating positives by their privatives, and other acts of reason, by which discourse supplies the want of the reports of sense, we may collect the excellency of the understanding then by the glorious remainders of it now, and guess at the stateliness of the building by the magnificence of its ruins. All those arts, rarities, and inventions, which vulgar minds gaze at, the ingenious pursue, and all admire, are but the relics of an intellect defaced with sin and time. We admire it now only as antiquaries do a piece of old coin, for the stamp it once bore, and not for those vanishing lineaments and disappearing draughts that remain upon it at present. And certainly that must needs have been very glorious the decays of which are so admirable. He that is comely when old and decrepit, surely was very beautiful when he was young. An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an
Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.
1 Archimedes, of Syracuse, the most famous of ancient mathematicians, discovered, when in a bath, the solution of a problem, which so pleased him that, forgetting to put on his clothes, he ran home, shouting: 'I have found it.'
2 In the deep.
GILBERT BURNET: 1643-1715.
Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, is eminent as a theologian, politician, and historian. His History of the Reformation is the standard work upon the subject. He wrote, besides, A History of My Own Times.
DEATH AND CHARACTER OF EDWARD VI.
From The History of the Reformation.
In the beginning of January this year , he was seized with a deep cough, and all medicines that were used did rather increase than lessen it. He was so ill when the parliament met, that he was not able to go to Westminster, but ordered their first meeting and the sermon to be at Whitehall. In the time of his sickness, Bishop Ridley preached before him, and took occasion to run out much on works of charity, and the obligation that lay on men of high condition to be eminent in good works. This touched the king to the quick; so that, presently after the sermon, he sent for the bishop. And after he had commanded him to sit down by him, and be covered, he resumed most of the heads of the sermon, and said he looked upon himself as chiefly touched by it. He desired him, as he had already given him the exhortation in general, so to direct him to do his duty in that particular. The bishop, astonished at this tenderness in so young a prince,1 burst forth in tears, expressing how much he was overjoyed to see such inclinations in him; but told him he must take time to think on it, and craved leave to consult with the lord-mayor and court of aldermen. So the king writ by him to them to consult speedily how the poor should be relieved. They considered there were three sorts of poor; such as were so by natural infirmity or folly, as impotent persons, and madmen or idiots; such as were so by accident, as sick or maimed persons; and such as, by their idleness, did cast themselves into poverty. So the king ordered the Greyfriars' Church, near Newgate, with the revenues belonging to it, to be a house for orphans; St Bartholomew's, near Smithfield, to be an hospital; and gave his own house of Bridewell to be a place of correction and work for such as were wilfully idle. He
1 The king was sixteen years of age.
also confirmed and enlarged the grant for the hospital of St Thomas in Southwark, which he had erected and endowed in August last. And when he set his hand to these foundations, which was not done before the 5th of June this year, he thanked God that had prolonged his life till he had finished that design. So he was the first founder of those houses, which, by many great additions since that time, have risen to be amongst the noblest in Europe.
He expressed, in the whole course of his sickness, great submission to the will of God, and seemed glad at the approaches of death; only the consideration of religion and the church touched him much; and upon that account he said he was desirous of life. His distemper rather increased than abated; so that the physicians had no hope of his recovery. Upon which a confident woman came, and undertook his cure, if he might be put into her hands. This was done, and the physicians were put from him, upon this pretence, that they having no hopes of his recovery, in a desperate case, desperate remedies were to be applied. On the 6th of July, his spirits and body were so sunk, that he found death approaching; and so he composed himself to die in a most devout manner. His whole exercise was in short prayers and ejaculations. The last that he was heard to use was in these words: 'Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen; howbeit, not my will, but thine be done; Lord, I commit my spirit to thee. O Lord, thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee; yet, for thy Chosen's sake, send me life and health, that I may truly serve thee. O my Lord God, bless my people, and save thine inheritance.' Seeing some about him, he seemed troubled that they were so near, and had heard him; but with a pleasant countenance, he said he had been praying to God. And soon after, the pangs of death coming upon him, he said to Sir Henry Sidney, who was holding him in his arms: 'I am faint; Lord have mercy on me, and receive my spirit;' and so he breathed out his innocent soul.
Thus died King Edward VI., that incomparable young prince. He was then in the sixteenth year of his age, and was counted the wonder of that time. He was not only learned in the tongues, and other liberal sciences, but knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a book, in which he writ the characters that were given him of all the chief men of the nation, all the judges, lord-lieutenants, and justices of the peace over England; in it he had marked down
their way of living, and their zeal for religion. He had studied the matter of the mint, with the exchange and value of money; so that he understood it well, as appears by his journal. He also understood fortification, and designed well. He knew all the harbours and ports, both of his own dominions, and of France and Scotland; and how much water they had, and what was the way of coming into them. He had acquired great knowledge of foreign affairs; so that he talked with the ambassadors about them in such a manner, that they filled all the world with the highest opinion of him that was possible; which appears in most of the histories of that age. He had great quickness of apprehension; and, being mistrustful of his memory, used to take notes of almost everything he heard; he writ these first in Greek characters, that those about him might not understand them; and afterwards writ them out in his journal. He had a copy brought him of everything that passed in council, which he put in a chest, and kept the key of that always himself.
In a word, the natural and acquired perfections of his mind were wonderful; but his virtues and true piety were yet more extraordinary. He expressed great tenderness to the miseries of the poor in his sickness, as hath been already shewn. He took particular care of the suits of all poor persons; and gave Dr Cox special charge to see that their petitions were speedily answered, and used oft to consult with him how to get their matters set forward. He was an exact keeper of his word; and therefore, as appears by his journal, was most careful to pay his debts, and to keep his credit, knowing that to be the chief nerve of government; since a prince that breaks his faith, and loses his credit, has thrown up that which he can never recover, and made himself liable to perpetual distrusts and extreme contempt. He had, above all things, a great regard to religion. He took notes of such things as he heard in sermons, which more especially concerned himself; and made his measures of all men by their zeal in that matter. All men who saw and observed these qualities in him, looked on him as one raised by God for most extraordinary ends; and when he died, concluded that the sins of England had been great, that had provoked God to take from them a prince, under whose government they were like to have seen such blessed times. He was so affable and sweet-natured, that all had free access to him at all times; by which he came to be most universally beloved; and all the high things that could be devised were said by the people to express their esteem of him.
PROSE WRITERS. 1689-1727.
SIR RICHARD STEELE: 1675-1729.
Steele, Gazette-writer to the Whig ministry in the reign of Queen Anne, shares with Addison the honour of having founded our periodical literature, though the credit of originating it is due to Daniel De Foe. On April 12, 1709, Steele issued the first number of The Tatler, a single sheet, which continued to appear thrice a week at the price of one penny per number until January 2, 1711. Steele was assisted in The Tatler by contributions from Addison, who afterwards joined him in the production of the more famous Spectator, a daily sheet, which appeared on March 1, 1711, and continued till the end of 1714, with a break of eighteen months, during which they issued The Guardian, another daily publication, which extended to 175 numbers. Steele, having obtained a seat in parliament in 1713, devoted the remainder of his life to politics.
TEDIOUS STORY-TELLERS. From The Tatler.
BOCCALINI,1 in his Parnassus, indicts a laconic writer for speaking that in three words which he might have said in two, and sentences him for his punishment to read over all the works of Guicciardini.2 This Guicciardini is so very prolix and circumstantial in his writings, that I remember our countryman, Dr Donne, speaking of that majestic and concise manner in which Moses has described the creation of the world, adds, 'that if such an author as Guicciardini were to have written on such a subject, the world itself would not have been able to have contained the books that gave the history of its creation.'
I look upon a tedious talker, or what is generally known by the name of a story-teller, to be much more insufferable than even a prolix writer. An author may be tossed out of your hand, and thrown aside when he grows dull and tiresome; but such liberties
1 An Italian satirical writer of the seventeenth century.