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tions for such a study, of a vivid imagination?—a faculty, which, consequently, a skilful narrator must himself possess, and to which he must he ahle to furnish excitement in others. Some may, perhaps, he startled at this remark, who have been accustomed to consider imagination as having no other office than to feign and to falsify. Every faculty is liable to abuse and mis" direction, and imagination among the rest; but it is a mistake to suppose that it necessarily tends to pervert the truth of history, and to mislead the judgment. On the contrary, our view of any transaction, especially one that is remote in time or place, will necessarily be imperfect,—generally incorrect,— unless it embrace something more than the bare outline of the occurrences,—unless we have before the mind a lively idea of the scenes in which the events took place, the habits of thought and of feeling of the actors, and all the circumstances connected with the transaction; unless, in short, we can in a considerable degree transport ourselves out of our own Age, and country, and persons, and imagine ourselves the agents or spectators. It is from consideration of all these circumstances that we are enabled to form a right judgment as to the facts which history records, and to derive instruction from it. What we imagine may indeed be merely imaginary, that is, unreal; but it may again be what actually does or did exist . To say that imagination, if not regulated by sound judgment and sufficient knowledge, may chance to convey to us false impressions of past events, is only to say that Man is fallible. But such false impressions are even much the more likely to take possession of those whose imagination is feeble or uncultivated. They are apt to imagine the things, persons, times, countries, &c., which they read of, as much less different from what they see around them than is really the case.

The practical importance of such an exercise of imagination to a full, and clear, and consequently profitable view of the transactions related in history, can hardly be over-estimated. In respect of the very earliest of all human transactions, it is matter of common remark how prone many are to regard with mingled wonder, contempt, and indignation, the transgression of our first Parents; as if they were not a fair sample of the human race; as if any of us would not, if he had been placed in precisely the same circumstances, have acted as they did. The Corinthians, probably, had perused with the same barren wonder, the history of the backslidings of the Israelites; and needed that Paul should remind them, that these things were written for their example and admonition. And all, in almost every portion of history they read, have need of a corresponding warning, to endeavour to fancy themselves the persons they read of, that they may recognise in the accounts of past times the portraiture of our own. From not putting ourselves in the place of the persons living in past times, and entering fully into all their feelings, we are apt to forget how probable many things might appear, which we know did not take place; and to regard as perfectly chimerical, expectations which we know were not realized, but which, had we lived in those times, we should doubtless have entertained; and to imagine that there was no danger of those evils which were, in fact, escaped. We are apt also to make too little allowances for prejudices and associations of ideas, which no longer exist precisely in the same form among ourselves, but which, perhaps, are not more at variance with right reason than others with which ourselves are infected.

1 Sec Lensons on the Mind.

* Some books are to be tasted. '

For various reasons it will often be necessary to 'taste' some books which will be, to the most discerning palates, very nauseous, or very insipid. For if you know only what is said, and done, and written, and read, and approved, by the wise and the high-minded, you will remain unacquainted with a portion, —and that, alas! the larger portion—of mankind. The prevailing prejudices and weaknesses of each Age, and Country, and class of men, and the peculiar kind of sophistry by which each are most liable to be misled, must be understood by any one who would have a correct acquaintance with that Age, &c. And one who would be an efficient instructor of any class of persons, either orally or by his writings, must not only have personal intercourse—which is essential—with those of that class,1 but must also know something of the books which they approve or delight in. And, again, some very valuable books can be but imperfectly understood without a knowledge of those they were designed to refute.

1 See Charge of 185 7.

For such purposes as I have alluded to, one must submit to 'taste,' occasionally, much that is disgusting. There was a poem that once passed through a surprising number of editions in a very short time, which was characterized by such dull silliness, combined with malignant bigotry, as to deserve the description applied to one of the Roman Emperors, * Mire mingled with Blood.'' But without submitting to read some portion of it, one might have remained ignorant of the degree and extent of the prevalence of bad taste and bad sentiment. And it is important to be aware, what, and from what quarters, are the dangers to religion and virtue. The avowedly profane and profligate works which the present century has produced, are far less noxious than a professedly religious Work that is likely to excite horror, loathing, and contempt, in persons of good feeling and good taste.

For various reasons, therefore, it will often be worth while to submit to the task of 'tasting' what may create disgust.

There are four books which contain perhaps as much absurd trash as any in existence, which yet no educated man ought to be wholly unacquainted with, (i.) The Jewish Mima—the traditional rules for the observance of the Law. It throws great light on the discourses of our Lord, who charges the Jews with having in some instances made 'the Word of God of none effect by their Tradition.'2 (2.) The Toldoth Jeschu [Generation of Jesus] is the account given by the unbelieving Jews, of our Saviour's history. It contains, amidst much blasphemy and nonsense, a most important confirmation of what is recorded by our Evangelists, that the enemies of Jesus admitted the fact of his miracles, though they denied his resurrection. For, if the facts had been denied at the time, it is inconceivable that a subsequent generation of adversaries should have admitted the miracles, and resorted to the hypothesis of Magic. (3.) The Spurious Gospels, of which a translation is given in Jones's Canon of the New Testament, are a striking and edifying contrast to our sacred books. (4.) The same may be said of The Koran; and also of that recent imposture, The Book of Mormon. It is very instructive to observe the absurdities men fall into when they set themselves to frame a sham-revelation.

1 Ono is tempted to apply to such a Work the lines of iEschylus's Eumenides, in which Apollo bids the Furies depart out of his Temple: ',E£o,, KsAfuu, ruv Zf SufiAruv raxos

X«p€?T* ....

Olroi liixouri roiate xp,V"rTe0'^<u *pi*ei. 'AAA' ov Kapavurrripes u<pOa\fiupuxoi Airai, <r<payal re, avepimris r' a*o<pBopcd Ilaliuv, Kokov re x\°vvis> ffi ^-xpuvia, Aev<rfi6s re, Ko! iii{ov<rw o'iKrurfibv iro\iiv 'Tvh faxiv xayevres. 8 Selections from the Mima, with a translation and very useful notes, are to be found in a publication by Dr. Wotton.


MANY have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to govern his estate,1 or for a great person to govern his proceedings, according to the respect to factions, is a principal part of policy: whereas, contrariwise,* the chiefests wisdom is, either in ordering those things which are general, and wherein men of several factions do nevertheless agree, or in dealing with correspondence to particular persons one by one. But I say not that the consideration of factions is to be neglected. Mean men, in their rising, must adhere; but great men, that have strength in themselves, were better to maintain themselves indifferent4 and neutral; yet even in beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be a man of the one faction, which is most passables with the other, commonly giveth best way. The lower and weaker faction is the firmer in conjunction; and it is often seen, that a few that are stiff, do tire out a greater number that are more moderate.

When one of the factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth; as the faction between Lucullus and the rest of the nobles of the Senate (which they called optimates) held out awhile against [the faction of Pompey and Caesar; but when. the Senate's authority was pulled down, Caesar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction, or party, of Antonius and Octavius Caesar against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then, soon after, Antonius and Octavius brake, and subdivided. These examples are of wars, but the same holdeth in private factions; and, therefore, those that are seconds in factions, do many times, when the faction subdivideth, prove principals; but many times also they prove cyphers and cashiered; for many a man's strength is in opposition, and, when that faileth, he groweth out of use. It is commonly

1 Estate. State. See page 147.

2 Contrariwise. On the contrary. See page 103.

3 Chiefest. Chief. 'Not a whit behind the very chiefest Apostles.'—1 Cor. xi. 5.

'Antiochus the Great
Built up this city as his chief est seat.'— Shakespere.

4 Indifferent. See page 217.

1 Passable. Capable of being received. 'It is with men as with false money; one pieoe is more or less pamable than another.'—L'Estrange.

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