« PredošláPokračovať »
us unto his name and honour: ready to be swallowed in any worthy enlarger ;-as having acquired our end, if any way, or under any name, we may obtain a work, so much desired, and yet desiderated, of truth.
To inform you of the advantages of the present impression, and disabuse your expectations of any future enlargements ;--these are to advertise you, that this edition comes forth with very many explanations, additions, and alterations throughout, besides that of one entire chapter; and now this work is compleat and perfect, expect no further additions.
6 desired and yet desiderated, fc.] desirable for its rarity or not: Browne eviThe first edition reads, “ desired, at least dently meant to say, that bis work was desiderated.” Dean Wren in the margin at least among the desiderata of literature, asks, “What's the difference?" By col- if not desired or desirable. lectors, every thing which they do not pos- 7 Postscript.) To the sixth edition ; sess is classed among desiderata, whether the last published in the author's life.
THE FIRST BOOK,
CONTAINING THE GENERAL PART.
Of the first Cause of Common Errors, the common infirmity
of Human Nature.
The first and father cause of common error is the common infirmity of human nature; of whose deceptible condition, although, perhaps, there should not need any other eviction than the frequent errors we shall ourselves commit, even in the express declarement hereof, yet shall we illustrate the same from more infallible constitutions, and persons presumed as far from us in condition as time, that is, our first and ingenerated forefathers. From whom, as we derive our being, and the several wounds of constitution, so may we in some manner excuse our infirmities in the depravity of those parts, whose traductions were pure in them, and their originals but once removed from God. Who, notwithstanding, (if posterity may take leave to judge of the fact, as they are assured to suffer in the punishment,) were grossly deceived in their perfection, and so weakly deluded in the clarity of their understanding, that it hath left no small obscurity in ours, how error should gain upon them.
For first, they were deceived by Satan; and that not in an invisible insinuation, but an open and discoverable apparition, that is, in the form of a serpent; whereby, although there were many occasions of suspicion, and such as could not easily escape a weaker circumspection, yet did the unwary apprehension of Eve take no advantage thereof. It hath therefore seemed strange unto some, she should be deluded by a serpent, or subject her reason to a beast, which God had subjected unto hers. It hath empuzzled the enquiries of others to apprehend, and enforced them unto strange conceptions, to make out, how without fear or doubt she could discourse with such a creature, or hear a serpent speak, without suspicion of imposture. The wits of others have been so bold as to accuse her simplicity, in receiving his temptation so coldly; and, when such specious effects of the fruit were promised as to make them like gods, not to desire, at least not to wonder, he pursued not that benefit himself. And had it been their own case, would perhaps have replyed, if the taste of this fruit maketh the eaters like Gods why remainest thou a beast? If it maketh us but like gods, we are so already. If thereby our eyes shall be opened hereafter, they are at present quick enough to discover thy deceit; and we desire them no opener to behold our own shame. If to know good and evil be our advantage, although we have free will unto both, we desire to perform but one. We know 'tis good to obey the commandment of God, but evil if we transgress it.
They were deceived by one another, and in the greatest disadvantage of delusion, that is, the stronger by the weaker: for Eve presented the fruit, and Adam received it from her. Thus the serpent was cunning enough to begin the deceit in the weaker; and the weaker of strength sufficient to consummate the fraud in the stronger. Art and fallacy was used unto her; a naked offer proved sufficient to him; so his superstruction was his ruin, and the fertility of his sleep an issue of death unto him. And although the condition of sex, and posteriority of creation, might somewhat extenuate the error of the woman, yet was it very strange and inexcusable in the man: especially, if, as some affirm, he was the wisest of all men since; or if, as others have conceived, he was not ignorant of the fall of the angels, and had thereby example and punishment to deter him.
how without fear, &c.] See Religio Medici, p. 15, note 9.
They were deceived from themselves, and their own apprehensions; for Eve either mistook, or traduced the commandment of God. “ Of every tree of the garden thou maist freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat: for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely dye.” Now Eve upon the question of the serpent, returned the precept in different terms: "You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest perhaps you dye.” In which delivery there were no less than two mistakes, or rather additional mendacities: for the commandment forbad not the touch of the fruit; and positively said, ye shall surely dye, but she extenuating replied, ne forte moriamini, lest perhaps ye dye. For so in the vulgar translation it runneth, and so it is expressed in the Thargum or paraphrase of Jonathan. And therefore although it be said, and that very truly, that the Devil was a lyer from the beginning, yet was the woman herein the first express beginner, and falsified twice, before the reply of Satan. And therefore also, to speak strictly, the sin of the fruit was not the first offence. They first transgressed the rule of their own reason, and after, the commandment of God.?
They were deceived through the conduct of their senses, and by temptations from the object itself; whereby although their intellectuals had not failed in the theory of truth, yet did the inservient and brutal faculties controll the suggestion of reason : pleasure and profit already overswaying the instructions of honesty, and sensuality perturbing the reasonable commands of virtue. For so it is delivered in the text; that when the woman saw " that the tree was good for food,” and “that it was pleasant unto the eye,” and “a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat.” Now hereby it appeareth, that Eve, before the fall, was by the same and beaten way of allurements inveigled, whereby her posterity hath been deluded ever since; that is, those three delivered by St. John, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of
and after, the commandment of God.] theory.] Theorys, in Greeke sigAs indeed none can transgress his com- nifies, search into the nature of things. mandinent without first transgressing -Wr. reason.- Capel Loft.
the eye, and the pride of life:” where indeed they seemed as weakly to fail, as their debilitated posterity, ever after. Whereof, notwithstanding, some in their imperfection have resisted more powerful temptations, and in many moralities condemned the facility of their seductions.
Again, they might, for ought we know, be still deceived in the unbelief of their mortality, even after they had eat of the fruit. For, Eve observing no immediate execution of the curse, she delivered the fruit unto Adam ; who after the taste thereof, perceiving himself still to live, might yet remain in doubt, whether he had incurred death; which perhaps he did not indubitably believe, until he was after convicted in the visible example of Abel. For he that would not believe the menace of God at first, it may be doubted whether, before an ocular example, he believed the curse at last. And therefore they are not without all reason, who have disputed the fact of Cain ; that is, although he purposed to do mischief, whether he intended to kill his brother; or designed that, whereof he had not beheld an example in his own kind. There might be somewhat in it, that he would not have done, or desired undone, when he brake forth as desperately, as before he had done uncivilly, my iniquity is greater than can be forgiven me.
Some niceties I confess there are which extenuate, but many more that aggravate this delusion; which exceeding the bounds of this discourse, and perhaps our satisfaction, we shall at present pass over.
And therefore whether the sin of our first parents were the greatest of any since; whether the transgression of Eve seducing did not exceed that of Adam seduced; or whether the resistibility of his reason, did not equivalence the facility of her seduction, we shall refer it to the schoolman. Whether there was not in Eve as great injustice in deceiving her husband, as imprudence in being deceived herself, especially, if fore-tasting the fruit, her eyes
“My iniquity,” &c.] The author. my brother's keeper ? ”—Drs. Clarke and ized version gives the passage thus; “my Robertson give the same meaning to the punishment is greater than I can bear.” words of the sentence, but the former Sir Thomas prefers the marginal reading, makes it interrogative :-“Is my sin which he contrasts with the surly ques. too great to be forgiven ?” tion of Cain, in the 9th verse ;-"Am I