some of evill substance; and yet God, in that unapocryphall vision, said without exception, Rise Peter, kill and eat, leaving the choice to each mans discretion. Wholesome meats to a vitiated stomach differ little or nothing from 'unwholefome ; and best books to a naughty mind are not unappliable to occasions of evill. Bad meats will scarce breed good nourishment in the healthiest concoction ; but herein the difference is of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious Reader serve in many respects to discover,' to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate. Wherof what better witness can ye expect I should produce, then one of your own now fitting in Parlament, the chief of learned men reputed S 3



in this Land, Mr. Selden, whose voluine of naturall & national laws proves, not only by great authorities brought together, but by exquisite reasons and theorems almost mathematically demonstrative, that all opinions, yea errors, known, read, and collated, are of main service and assistance towards the speedy attainment of what is truest. I conceive therefore, that when God did. enlarge the universall diet of mans body, saving ever the rules of temperance, he then also, as before, left arbitrary the dyeting and repasting of our minds; as wherein every mature man might have to exercise his owne leading capacity. How great a vertue is temperance, how much of moment through the whole life



of mán!' yet God commits the managing so great a trust, without particular Law or prescription, wholly to the demeanour of every grown man. And therefore when he himself tabld the Jews from heaven, that Omer which was every mans daily portion of manna, is computed to have bin more then might have well suffic'd the heartiest feeder thrice as many meals. For those actions which enter into a man, rather then issue out of him, and therefore defile not, God uses not to captivat under a per- : petuall childhood of prescription, but trusts him with the gift of reason to be his own choofers there were but little work left for preaching, if law and' compulsion should grow fo fast upon : S4



those things which hertofore were go.. vern'd only by exhortation. Salomon informs us that much reading is a wearines to the flesh; but neither he, nor other inspir'd author tells us that such, or such reading is unlawfull; yet certainly had God thought good to limit us herein, it had bin much more expedient to have told us what was unlawfull, then what was wearisome. As for the burn. ing of those Ephesian books by St. Pauls converts, tis reply'd the books were magick, the Syriack so renders them. It was a privat act, a voluntary act, and leaves us to a voluntary imitation: the men in remorse burnt those books which were their own; the Magistrat by this example is not appointed : these men


practiz'd the books, another might per haps have read them in some sort usefully. Good and evill we know in the field of this World grow up togetheralmost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involv'd and interwoven: with the knowledge of evill, and in fo many cunning resemblances hardly to be discern'd, that those confused seeds which were impos’d on Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out, and fort asunder, were not more intermixt. It was from out the rinde of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evill as two twins ; cleaving together leapt forth into the World. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evill, that is to say of knowing good


« VorigeDoorgaan »