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a small volume from the left upper corner of the right-hand shelves ?
(Look at the precious little black, ribbed backed, clean-typed, vellum-papered 32mo. . “ DESIDERI ERASMI COLLOQUIA. Amstelodami. Typis Ludo vici Elzevirii. 1650." Various names written on title-page. Most conspicuous this: Gul. Cookeson E. ('oll. Omn. Anim. 1725. Oxon.
--O William Cookeson, of All-Souls College, Oxford,—then writing as I now write,-now in the dust, where I shall lie,-is this line all that remains to thee of earthly remembrance? Thy name is at least once more spoken by living men ;-is it a pleasure to thee? Thou shalt share with me my little draught of immortality,—its week, its month, its year, -whatever it may be,—and then we will go together into the solemn archives of Oblivion's Un. catalogued Library!]
If you think I have used rather strong language, I shall have to read something to you out of the book of this keen and witty scholar,—the great Erasmus,—-who “laid the egg of the Reformation which Luther hatched.” Oh, you never read his Nuufragium, or “ Shipwreck," did you? Of course not; for, if you had, I don't think you would have given me creditor discredit--for entire originality in that speech of mine. That men are cowards in the contemplation of futurity he illustrates by the extraordinary antics of many on board the sinking
ressel; that they are fools, by their praying to th Bea, and making promises to bits of wood from the true cross, and all manner of similar nonsense; that they are fools, cowards, and liars all at once, by this story : I will put it into rough English for you. "I couldn't help laughing to hear one fellow bawling out, so that he might be sure to be heard, a promise to Saint Christopher of Paris—the monstrous statue in the great church there—that he would give him a wax taper as big as himself.
• Mind what you promise!' said an acquaintance that stood near him,
poking him with his elbow; 'you couldn't pay for * it, if you sold all your things at auction. Hold
your tongue, you donkey!' said the fellow,—but softly, so that Saint Christopher should not hear him, -do
If I once get my foot on dry ground, catch me giving him so much as a tallow candle!'"
Now, therefore, remembering that those who have been loudest in their talk about the great subject of which we were speaking have not necessarily been wise, brave, and true men, but, on the contrary, have very often been wanting in one or two or all of the qualities these words imply, I should expect to find a good many doctrines current in the schools which I should be obliged to call foolish, cowardly, and false.
So you would abuse other people's beliefs, Bir, and yet not tell us your own creed said tha divinity-student, coloring up with a spirit for which 1 liked him all the better.
I have a creed,,I repliec; -none better, and none shorter. It is told in two words, the two first of the Paternoster. And when I say these words ] mean them. And when I compared the human will to a drop in a crystal, and said I meant to define moral obligations, and not weaken then , this was what I intended to express: that the fluent, selfdetermining power of human beings is a very strictly limited agency in the universe. The chief planes of its enclosing solid are, of course, organization, education, condition. Organization may reduce the power of the will to nothing, as in some idiots; and from this zero the scale mounts upwards by slight gradations. Education is only second to nature. Imagine all the infants born this year in Boston and Timbuctoo to change places! Condition does less, but " Give me neither poverty nor riches” was the prayer of Agur, and with good reason. If there is any improvement in modern theology, it is in getting out of the region of pure abstractions and taking these every-day working forces into account. The great theological question now heaving and throb. bing in the minds of Christian men is this :
No, I wont talk about these things now. My remarks might be repeated, and it would give my friends pain to see with what personal incivilities 1 should be visited. Besides, what business has a mere boarder to be talking about such things at a breakfast-table? Let him make puns. To be sure, he was brought up among the Christian fathers, and Learned his alphabet out of a quarto “ Concilium Tridentinum." He has also heard many thousand theological lectures by men of various denominations; and it is not at all to the credit of these teachers, if he is not fit by this tiine to express an opinion on theological matters.
I know well enough that there are some of you who had a great deal rather see me stand on my head than use it for any purpose of thought. Does not my friend, the Professor, receive at least two letters a week, requesting him to .....
...,-on the strength of some youthful antic of uis, which, no doubt, authorizes the intelligent constituency of autograph-hunters to address him as a harlequin ?
-Well, I can't be savage with you for wanting to laugh, and I like to make you laugh, well enough, when I can.
But then observe this: if the sense of the ridiculous is one side of an impressible nature, it is very well; but if that is all there is in a man, he had better have been an ape at once, and so have stood at the head of his profession. Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same ma. chinery of sensibility ; one is wind-power, and the other water-power; that is all. I have often heard the Professor talk about hysterics as being Nature's cleverest illustration of the reciprocal convertibility of the two states of which these acts are the mani. festations; But you may see it every day in chil. dren; and it you want to choke with stifled tears at sight of the transition, as it shows itself in older years, go and see Mr. Blake play Jesse Rural.
It is a very dangerous thing for a literary man to indulge his love for the ridiculous. People laugh with him just so long as he amuses them ; but if be attempts to be serious, they must still have their laugh, and so they laugh at him. There is in addi. tion, however, a deeper reason for this than would at first appear. Do you know that you feel a little superior to every man who makes you laugh, whether by making faces or verses ? Are you aware that you have a pleasant sense of patronizing him, when you condescend so far as to let him turn somersets, literal or literary, for your royal delight? Now if a man can only be allowed to stand on a dais, or raised platform, and look down on his neighbor who is exerting his talent for him, oh, it is all right !-first-rate performance and all the rest of the fine phrases. But if all at once the performer asks the gentleman to come upon the floor, and, stepping upon the platform, begins to talk down at him,-ah, that wasn't in the programme!
I have never forgotten what happened when Sydney Smith-who, as everybody knows, was an exceed, Jy sensible man, and a gentleman, every inch