« VorigeDoorgaan »
eye or ear may be distracted, not to discern his own objects) but in the mean time he thinks that, whereof he cannot give an account; like as we many times dream when we cannot report our fancy. I should more easily put myself to school unto that man, who undertakes the profession of thinking many things at once : instantany motions are more proper for a spirit than a dull rest. Since
mind will needs be ever working, it shall be my care, that it may always be well employed.
Edward Herbert, baron of Cherbury in Shropshire, an eminent statesman and writer, was descended of an ancient family, and born at Montgomery Castle, in Wales, in 1581. He was admitted gentleman commoner of University College, Oxford, at the age of fourteen; but left college without a degree. He then set out on his travels, applied himself to military exercises, and returned an accomplished gentleman.
On occasion of the promotions preparatory to the coronation of James I. he was created Knight of the Bath; and was subsequently one of the council of his majesty for military affairs. About 1616, he was sent ambassador to Louis XIII. king of France, to mediate the relief of the protestants there; whence he was recalled in 1621, by reason of a dispute between him and the constable De Luines. In 1625, he was created an Irish Baron, and also Baron Herbert of Cherbury, in Shropshire. Siding with the parliament during the civil wars, his castle of Montgomery was demolished by the royalists; for which, however, he afterwards received a compensation from the republican party, 1644. He survived this but a few years ; dying at his house in London, 1648.
1. His most celebrated work was written in Latin, and entitled, De Veritate, prout distinguitur a Revelatione, a verisimili, a possibili,
falso; cui operi additi sunt duo alii tractatus primus de causis errorum, alter de religione laici, cum appendice ad sacerdotes, necnon quibusdam poematibus. The object of this treatise is, to establish the authority and sufficiency of natural religion, in opposition to revelation. It was first printed at Paris in 1624, and again in 1693; and in London, 1645, 4to.
At the request of Peirescius and Elias Diodati, this work was replied to by Gassendi, who sent a copy of the answer in MS. (for it was not published) to lord Herbert, which, however, he did not receive. But in 1647, the latter paying Gassendi a visit, another copy was taken, which his lordship brought to England. It was afterwards published in Gassendi's works, under the title of Ad Librum D. Edvardi Herberti Angli de Veritate Epistola; but it is imperfect, some sheets of the original being lost.
2. The same year he published, De 'Religione Gentilium eorumque apud eos Causis. This book was afterwards translated into Eng. lish, and printed in 1705, entitled, “ The Ancient Religion of the Gentiles, and Cause of their Errors considered."
3. The work, however, which chiefly entitles lord Herbert to be ranked in the present list of writers, is his History of the Life and Reign of Henry VIII. first published in 1649, folio.
In speaking of the origin of the reformation in England, he notices the severity of invective employed by the members of the House of Commons against the avarice, the ambition, and various encroachments of the clergy. The substance of one of these speeches is preserved by lord Herbert; and it is marked by a freedom of sentiment we should scarcely expect from the superstition of the age. In the House of Lords, Fischer, bishop of Rochester, was foremost in opposing all innovation; and scrupled not to affirm, that the motives of the Commons, in their proposed regulations, originated in their want of faith, their being infected with the Lutheran heresy, in their wish to rob the church of her just patrimony, and to introduce a new order of things. The orator replies to the good bishop in these terms:
If none else but the bishop of Rochester or his adherents did hold this language, it would less trou
But since so many religious and different sects (now conspicuous in the whole world) do not only vindicate unto themselves the name of the true church, but labour betwixt invitations and threats for nothing more than to make us resign our faith to a simple obedience ; I shall crave leave to propose, what I think fit in this case) for no laics and secular persons to do. Not that I will make my opinions a rule to others when any better expedient shall be offered ; but that I would be glad we considered hereof, as the greatest affair that now or hereafter may concern us.
For if in all human actions it be hard to find that medium or even temper which may keep us from de