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As an historian, LORD Clarendon's reputation is too firmly fixed now to be affected by either praise or censure :-If, as a moral writer, he appear with less advantage than his illustrious predecessor, his style, and its lengthened periods, will readily be endured for the soundness of his opinions and the integrity of his mind.
Until within these few years his Essays, which now form a suitable companion to those of LORD Bacon, were not disengaged from the bulky folio in which only they were to be found : in this edition, it has been thought proper to omit three, which, from their extreme length, rather claim to be considered as dissertations : their titles are, “ On an active and contemplative Life, and when and why the one ought to be preferred before the other;" “Of the Reverence due to Antiquity;" “ Against the multiplying Controversies, by insisting upon Particulars that are not necessary to the Point in Debate.” These are together equal in quantity to the remaining twenty-two, which form the contents of the present volume.
Montpellier, 1668. The perpetual fear and agony and apprehension, .which wicked men always feel within themselves, is the argument that Epicurus made, that human nature is so far from being inclined to ill, that it abhors all kind of wickedness; “ quia infixa nobis ejus rei aversatio est, quam natura damnavit, ideo nunquam fides latendi fit etiam latentibus ;” and the frequent discoveries of very enormous crimes after long concealments, merely from the unquietness of the offenders' own breasts, manifests how far our nature is from being delighted with works of darkness, that it cannot rest till they be exposed to light. If we did not take great pains, and were not at great expense to corrupt our nature, our nature would never corrupt us: We administer all the helps of industry and art to provoke our appetites, and to inflame our blood, and then we accuse nature for leading us into excesses; we kindle that fire that kindles our lust with a licentious diet, and then fan it into a fiame with obscene discourses, and revile nature that it will not permit us to be chaste; wę provoke and cherish our anger with
unchristian principles of revenge, and then inveigh against nature for making us choleric: when, God knows, the little good we have in us, we owe only to the integrity of our nature; which hath restrained us from many vices which our passions would hurry us into. Very many men have re. mained or become temperate, by the very nauseating and aversion that nature hath to surfeits and excesses; and others have been restrained from inaking wicked attempts, by the horror and trembling that nature hath suggested to them in the api proach. Many excellent men have grown to rare
perfections in knowledge and in practice, to great learning, great wisdom, great virtue, without ever having felt the least repugnance in their nature to interrupt them in their progress ; on the contrary their inclinations have been strengthened, their vivacity increased, from the very impulsion of their nature : but we may reasonably believe, that never man made a great progress in wickedness, so as to arrive at a mastery in it, without great interruption and contradiction from his natural genius : insomuch as we see men usually take degrees in wicked. ness, and come not to a perfection in it per saltum ; which can proceed from nothing but the resistance it finds from the nature of man. And if we do seriously consider, how few men there are who endeavour by art or industry to cultivate that portion which nature hath given them, to improve their understanding, and to correct any infirmity they may be liable to, by so much as abstaining froin any vice which corrupts both body and mind; we must conclude that they owe that which is good in themselves to nature, since they have nothing by