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thought in general of reading books, whatever sort they | any books whatever come to thy hands, for thou art be, and whether be more the benefit or the harm that sufficient both to judge aright, and to examine each thence proceeds. matter." To this revelation he assented the sooner, as he confesses, because it was answerable to that of the apostle to the Thessalonians; "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." And he might have added another remarkable saying of the same author: "To the pure, all things are pure;" not only meats and drinks, but all kind of knowledge, whether of good or evil; the knowledge cannot defile, nor consequently the books, if the will and conscience be not defiled. For books are as meats and viands are; some of good, some of evil substance; and yet God in that unapocryphal vision said without exception, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat;" leaving the choice to each man's discretion. Wholesome meats to a vitiated stomach differ little or nothing from unwholesome; and best books to a naughty mind are not unapplicable to occasions of evil. 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. Whereof what better witness can ye expect I should produce, than one of your own now sitting in parliament, the chief of learned men reputed in this land, Mr. Selden; whose volume of natural and national laws proves, not only by great authorities brought together, but by exquisite reasons and theorems almost mathematically demonstrative, that all opinions, yea errours, known, read, and collated, are of main service and assistance toward the speedy attainment of what is truest. I conceive therefore, that when God did enlarge the universal diet of man's body, (saving ever the rules of temperance,) he then also, as before, left arbitrary the dieting and repasting of our minds; as wherein every mature man might have to exercise his own leading capacity. How great a virtue is temperance, how much of moment through the whole life of man! Yet God commits the managing so great a trust without particular law or prescription, wholly to the demeanour of every grown

Not to insist upon the examples of Moses, Daniel, and Paul, who were skilful in all the learning of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Greeks, which could not probably be without reading their books of all sorts, in Paul especially, who thought it no defilement to insert into holy Scripture the sentences of three Greek poets, and one of them a tragedian; the question was notwithstanding sometimes controverted among the primitive doctors, but with great odds on that side which affirmed it both lawful and profitable, as was then evidently perceived, when Julian the Apostate, and subtlest enemy to our faith, made a decree forbidding Christians the study of heathen learning; for said he, they wound us with our own weapons, and with our own arts and sciences they overcome us. And indeed the Christians were put so to their shifts by this crafty means, and so much in danger to decline into all ignorance, that the two Appollinarii were fain, as a man may say, to coin all the seven liberal sciences out of the Bible, reducing it into divers forms of orations, poems, dialogues, even to the calculating of a new christian grammar. But, saith the historian Socrates, the providence of God provided better than the industry of Apollinarius and his son, by taking away that illiterate law with the life of him who devised it. So great an injury they then held it to be deprived of Hellenic aring; and thought it a persecution more undermining, and secretly decaying the church, than the open cruelty of Decius or Dioclesian. And perhaps it was the same politic drift that the devil whipped St. Jerom in a lenten dream, for reading Cicero ; or else it was a phantasm, bred by the fever which had then seized him. For had an angel been his discipliner, es it were for dwelling too much on Ciceronianisms, and bad chastised the reading, not the vanity, it had been plainly partial; first to correct him for grave Cicero, and not for scurril Plautus, whom he confesses to have been reading not long before; next to correct him only, and let so many more ancient fathers wax ed in those pleasant and florid studies without the lash of such a tutoring apparition; insomuch that Basil teaches how some good use may be made of Margites, a sportful poem, not now extant, writ by Homer; and why not then of Morgante, an Italian romance much to the same purpose? But if it be agreed we shall be tred by visions, there is a vision recorded by Eusebius, far ancienter than this tale of Jerom, to the nun Eustoshium, and besides, has nothing of a fever in it. DioEysius Alexandrinus was, about the year 240, a person of great name in the church, for piety and learning, who had wont to avail himself much against heretics, by being conversant in their books; until a certain presbyter laid it scrupulously to his conscience, how be durst venture himself among those defiling volumes. The worthy man, loth to give offence, fell into a new debate with himself, what was to be thought; when addenly a vision sent from God (it is his own epistle that so avers it) confirmed bim in these words: "Read

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And therefore when he himself tabled the Jews from heaven, that omer, which was every man's daily portion of manna, is computed to have been more than might have well sufficed the heartiest feeder thrice as many meals. For those actions which enter into a man, rather than issue out of him, and therefore defile not, God uses not to captivate under a perpetual childhood of prescription, but trusts him with the gift of reason to be his own chooser; there were but little work left for preaching, if law and compulsion should grow so fast upon those things which heretofore were governed only by exhortation. Solomon informs us, that much reading is a weariness to the flesh; but neither he, nor other inspired author, tells us that such or such reading is unlawful; yet certainly had God thought good to limit us herein, it had been much more expedient to have told us what was unlawful, than what was wearisome. As for the burning of those Ephesian books by St. Paul's converts; it is replied, the books were magic, the Syriac so renders them. It was a

private act, a voluntary act, and leaves us to a voluntary imitation: the men in remorse burnt those books which were their own; the magistrate by this example is not appointed; these men practised the books, another might perhaps have read them in some sort usefully. Good and evil we know in the field of this world grow up together almost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out, and sort asunder, were not more intermixed. It was from out the rind of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say, of knowing good by evil. As therefore the state of man now is; what wisdom can there be to choose, what continence to forbear, without the knowledge of evil? He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true { warfaring Christian. I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue unexercised, and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. Assuredly we bring not innocence into the world, we bring impurity much rather; that which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contrary. That virtue therefore which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her whiteness is but an excremental whiteness; which was the reason why our sage and serious poet Spenser, (whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas,) describing true temperance under the person of Guion, brings him in with his palmer through the cave of Mammon, and the bower of earthly bliss, that he might see and know, and yet abstain. Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of errour to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity, than by reading all manner of tractates, and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read. But of the harm that may result hence, three kinds are usually reckoned. First, is feared the infection that may spread; but then, all human learning and controversy in religious points must remove out of the world, yea, the Bible itself; for that ofttimes relates blasphemy not nicely, it describes the carnal sense of wicked men not unelegantly, it brings in holiest men passionately murmuring against providence through all the arguments of Epicurus; in other great disputes it answers dubiously and darkly to the common reader; and ask a Talmudist what ails the modesty of his marginal Keri, that Moses and all the prophets cannot persuade him to pronounce the tex

tual Chetiv. For these causes we all kn
itself put by the papist into the first rank
books. The ancientest fathers must be n
as Clement of Alexandria, and that Eus
evangelic preparation, transmitting our
a hoard of heathenish obscenities to receiv
Who finds not that Irenæus, Epiphaniu
others discover more heresies than they
and that oft for heresy which is the truer
boots it to say for these, and all the heat
greatest infection if it must be thought s
is bound up the life of human learning,
in an unknown tongue, so long as we
languages are known as well to the wors
are both most able, and most diligent
poison they suck, first into the courts
quainting them with the choicest delig
cisms of sin. As perhaps did that Pe
Nero called his arbiter, the master of h
that notorious ribald of Arezzo, dreaded
to the Italian courtiers. I name not him
sake, whom Henry the Eighth named
his vicar of hell. By which compendi
contagion that foreign books can infi
passage to the people far easier and s
Indian voyage, though it could be s
the north of Cataio eastward, or of Ca
while our Spanish licensing gags the
never so severely. But on the other
tion which is from books of controvers
more doubtful and dangerous to the
the ignorant; and yet those books m
untouched by the licenser. It will be
where any ignorant man hath been e
any papistical book in English, unle
mended and expounded to him by som
and indeed all such tractates, whether
as the prophecy of Isaiah was to the
"understood without a guide." But c
doctors how many have been corrupted
comments of Jesuits and Sorbonists, a
could transfuse that corruption into th
perience is both late and sad. It is
the acute and distinct Arminius was
by the perusing of a nameless dis
Delft, which at first he took in hand to
therefore that those books, and thos
dance which are likeliest to taint both
cannot be suppressed without the fal
of all ability in disputation, and th
either sort are most and soonest catch
(from whom to the common people wł
or dissolute may quickly be convey
manners are as perfectly learnt withot
other ways which cannot be stopped
not with books can propagate, excep
which he might also do without writ
prohibiting; I am not unable to unf
lous enterprise of licensing can be
number of vain and impossible atte
were pleasantly disposed, could not

it to the exploit of that gallant man, who thought to bulk than his own dialogues would be abundant. And pound up the crows by shutting his park gate. Besides there also enacts, that no poet should so much as read another inconvenience, if learned men be the first re- to any private man what he had written, until the ceivers out of books, and dispreaders both of vice and judges and law keepers had seen it, and allowed it; errour, how shall the licensers themselves be confided but that Plato meant this law peculiarly to that comin, unless we can confer upon them, or they assume to monwealth which he had imagined, and to no other, themselves above all others in the land, the grace of is evident. Why was he not else a lawgiver to himinfallibility and uncorruptedness? And again, if it be self, but a transgressor, and to be expelled by his own true, that a wise man, like a good refiner, can gather magistrates, both for the wanton epigrams and diagold out of the drossiest volume, and that a fool will logues which he made, and his perpetual reading of be a fool with the best book, yea, or without book; Sophron, Mimus, and Aristophanes, books of grossest there is no reason that we should deprive a wise man infamy; and also for commending the latter of them, of any advantage to his wisdom, while we seek to re- though he were the malicious libeller of his chief friends, strain from a fool that which being restrained will be to be read by the tyrant Dionysius, who had little need no hinderance to his folly. For if there should be so of such trash to spend his time on? But that he knew much exactness always used to keep that from him this licensing of poems had reference and dependance which is unfit for his reading, we should in the judg- to many other provisoes there set down in his fancied ment of Aristotle not only, but of Solomon, and of our republic, which in this world could have no place; Saviour, not vouchsafe him good precepts, and by conand so neither he himself, nor any magistrate or city sequence not willingly admit him to good books; as ever imitated that course, which taken apart from those being certain that a wise man will make better use of other collateral injunctions must needs be vain and an idle pamphlet, than a fool will do of sacred Scripture. fruitless. For if they fell upon one kind of strictness, It is next alleged, we must not expose ourselves to unless their care were equal to regulate all other things temptations without necessity, and next to that, not of like aptness to corrupt the mind, that single endeaemploy our time in vain things. To both these objec-vour they knew would be but a fond labour; to shut tions one answer will serve, out of the grounds already and fortify one gate against corruption, and be neceshaid, that to all men such books are not temptations, sitated to leave others round about wide open. If we tor vanities; but useful drugs and materials wherewith think to regulate printing, thereby to rectify manners, temper and compose effective and strong medicines, we must regulate all recreations and pastimes, all that which man's life cannot want. The rest, as children is delightful to man. No music must be heard, no song and childish men, who have not the art to qualify and be set or sung, but what is grave and doric. There must prepare these working minerals, well may be exhorted be licensing dancers, that no gesture, motion, or deta forbear, but hindered forcibly they cannot be, by portment be taught our youth, but what by their allowall the licensing that sainted inquisition could ever yet ance shall be thought honest; for such Plato was contrive; which is what I promised to deliver next: provided of. It will ask more than the work of twenty that this order of licensing conduces nothing to the licensers to examine all the lutes, the violins, and the end for which it was framed; and hath almost prevented guitars in every house; they must not be suffered to me by being clear already while thus much hath been prattle as they do, but must be licensed what they planing. See the ingenuity of truth, who, when may say. And who shall silence all the airs and madshe gets a free and willing hand, opens herself faster rigals that whisper softness in chambers? The windows than the pace of method and discourse can overtake also, and the balconies must be thought on; there are ber. It was the task which I began with, to shew that shrewd books, with dangerous frontispieces, set to sale; ne nation, or well instituted state, if they valued books who shall prohibit them, shall twenty licensers? The at all, did ever use this way of licensing; and it might villages also must have their visitors to inquire what be answered, that this is a piece of prudence lately lectures the bagpipe and the rebec reads, even to the discovered. To which I return, that as it was a thing ballatry and the gamut of every municipal fidler; for Jight and obvious to think on, so if it had been difficult these are the countryman's Arcadias, and his Monte ts and out, there wanted not among them long since, Mayors. Next, what more national corruption, for who suggested such a course; which they not follow- which England hears ill abroad, than household glutleave us a pattern of their judgment that it was tony; who shall be the rectors of our daily rioting? bet the not knowing, but the not approving, which And what shall be done to inhibit the multitudes, that was the cause of their not using it. Plato, a man of frequent those houses where drunkenness is sold and high authority indeed, but least of all for his Common- harboured? Our garments also should be referred to wealth, in the book of his laws, which no city ever yet the licensing of some more sober workmasters, to see received, fed his fancy with making many edicts to his them cut into a less wanton garb. Who shall regulate airy burgomasters, which they who otherwise admire all the mixed conversation of our youth, male and fewish had been rather buried and excused in the male together, as is the fashion of this country? Who genial cups of an academic night sitting. By which shall still appoint what shall be discoursed, what prelaws he seems to tolerate no kind of learning, but by sumed, and no further? Lastly, who shall forbid and enalterable decree, consisting most of practical tradi-separate all idle resort, all evil company? These things tions, to the attainment whereof a library of smaller will be, and must be; but how they shall be least


books, freely permitted, are both to the trial of virtue, and the exercise of truth? It would be better done, to learn that the law must needs be frivolous, which goes to restrain things, uncertainly and yet equally working to good and to evil. And were I the chooser, a dram of well doing should be preferred before many times as much the forcible hinderance of evil doing. For God sure esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous person, more than the restraint of ten vicious. And albeit, whatever thing we hear or see, sitting, walking,

hurtful, how least enticing, herein consists the grave and governing wisdom of a state. To sequester out of the world into Atlantic and Eutopian politics, which never can be drawn into use, will not mend our condition; but to ordain wisely as in this world of evil, in the midst whereof God hath placed us unavoidably. Nor is it Plato's licensing of books will do this, which necessarily pulls along with it so many other kinds of licensing, as will make us all both ridiculous and weary, and yet frustrate; but those unwritten, or at least unconstraining laws of virtuous education, re-travelling, or conversing, may be fitly called our book, ligious and civil nurture, which Plato there mentions, as the bonds and ligaments of the commonwealth, the pillars and the sustainers of every written statute; these they be, which will bear chief sway in such matters as these, when all licensing will be easily eluded. Impunity and remissness for certain are the bane of a commonwealth; but here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to bid restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work. If every action which is good or evil in man at ripe years were to be under pittance, prescription, and compulsion, what were virtue but a name, what praise could be then due to well doing, what gramercy to be sober, just, or continent? Many there be that complain of divine Providence for suffering Adam to transgress. Foolish tongues! when God gave him reason, he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing; he had been else a mere artificial Adam, such an Adam as he is in the motions. We ourselves esteem not of that obedience, or love, or gift, which is of force; God therefore left him free, set before him a provoking object, ever almost in his eyes; herein consisted his merit, herein the right of his reward, the praise of his abstinence. Wherefore did he create passions within us, pleasures round about us, but that these rightly tempered are the very ingredients of virtue? They are not skilful considerers of human things, who imagine to remove sin, by removing the matter of sin; for, besides that it is a huge heap increasing under the very act of diminishing, though some part of it may for a time be withdrawn from some persons, it cannot from all, in such a universal thing as books are; and when this is done, yet the sin remains entire. Though ye take from a covetous man all his treasure, he has yet one jewel left, ye cannot bereave him of his covetousness. Banish all objects of lust, shut up all youth into the severest discipline that can be exercised in any hermitage, ye cannot make them chaste, that came not thither so: such great care and wisdom is required to the right managing of this point. Suppose we could expel sin by this means; look how much we thus expel of sin, so much we expel of virtue: for the matter of them both is the same: remove that, and ye remove them both alike. This justifies the high providence of God, who, though he commands us temperance, justice, continence, yet pours out before us even to a profuseness all desirable things, and gives us minds that can wander beyond all limit and satiety. Why should we then affect a rigour contrary to the manner of God and of nature, by abridging or scanting those means, which

and is of the same effect that writings are; yet grant the thing to be prohibited were only books, it appears that this order hitherto is far insufficient to the end which it intends. Do we not see, not once or oftener, but weekly, that continued court-libel against the parliament and city, printed, as the wet sheets can witness, and dispersed among us for all that licensing can do? Yet this is the prime service a man would think wherein this order should give proof of itself. If it were executed, you will say. But certain, if execution be remiss or blindfold now, and in this particular, what will it be hereafter, and in other books? If then the order shall not be vain and frustrate, behold a new labour, lords and commons, ye must repeal and proscribe all scandalous and unlicensed books already printed and divulged; after ye have drawn them up into a list, that all may know which are condemned, and which not; and ordain that no foreign books be delivered out of custody, till they have been read over. This office will require the whole time of not a few overseers, and those no vulgar men. There be also books which are partly useful and excellent, partly culpable and pernicious; this work will ask as many more officials, to make expurgations and expunctions, that the commonwealth of learning be not damnified. In fine, when the multitude of books increase upon their hands, ye must be fain to catalogue all those printers who are found frequently offending, and forbid the importation of their whole suspected typography. In a word, that this your order may be exact, and not deficient, ye must reform it perfectly according to the model of Trent and Sevil, which I know ye abhor to do. Yet though ye should condescend to this, which God forbid, the order still would be but fruitless and defective to that end whereto ye meant it. If to prevent sects and schisms, who is so unread or uncatechised in story, that hath not heard of many sects refusing books as a hinderance, and preserving their doctrine unmixed for many ages, only by unwritten traditions? The christian faith, (for that was once a schism!) is not unknown to have spread all over Asia, ere any gospel or epistle was seen in writing If the amendment of manners be aimed at, look inte Italy and Spain, whether those places be one scruple the better, the honester, the wiser, the chaster, since all the inquisitional rigour that hath been executed upon books.

Another reason, whereby to make it plain that the order will miss the end it seeks, consider by the qual which ought to be in every licenser. It cannot be de nied, but that he who is made judge to sit upon


birth or death of books, whether they may be wafted into this world or not, had need to be a man above the common measure, both studious, learned, and judicious; there may be else no mean mistakes in the censure of what is passable or not; which is also no mean injury. If he be of such worth as behoves him, there cannot be a more tedious and unpleasing journeywork, a greater loss of time levied upon his head, than to be made the perpetual reader of unchosen books and pamphlets, ofttimes huge volumes. There is no book that is acceptable, unless at certain seasons; but to be enjoined the reading of that at all times, and in a hand scarce legible, whereof three pages would not down at any time in the fairest print, is an imposition which I cannot believe how he that values time, and his own studies, or is but of a sensible nostril, should be able to endure. In this one thing I crave leave of the present licensers to be pardoned for so thinking; who doubtless took this office up, looking on it through their obedience to the parliament, whose command perhaps made all things seem easy and unlaborious to them; but that this short trial bath wearied them out already, their own expressions and excuses to them, who make so any journeys to solicit their licence, are testimony enough. Seeing therefore those, who now possess the employment, by all evident signs wish themselves well rid of it, and that no man of worth, none that is not a plain unthrift of his own hours, is ever likely to suc-print like a puny with his guardian, and his censor's ceed them, except he mean to put himself to the salary of a press corrector, we may easily foresee what kind of lensers we are to expect hereafter, either ignorant, perous, and remiss, or basely pecuniary. This is what I had to shew, wherein this order cannot conduce to that end, whereof it bears the intention.

upon him, What advantage is it to be a man, over it is to be a boy at school, if we have only escaped the ferula, to come under the fescue of an Imprimatur ? If serious and elaborate writings, as if they were no more than the theme of a grammar-lad under his pedagogue, must not be uttered without the cursory eyes of a temporizing and extemporizing licenser? He who is not trusted with his own actions, his drift not being known to be evil, and standing to the hazard of law and penalty, has no great argument to think himself reputed in the commonwealth wherein he was born for other than a fool or a foreigner. When a man writes to the world, he summons up all his reason and deliberation to assist him; he searches, meditates, is industrious, and likely consults and confers with his judicious friends; after all which done, he takes himself to be informed in what he writes, as well as any that writ before him; if in this the most consummate act of his fidelity and ripeness, no years, no industry, no former proof of his abilities can bring him to that state of maturity, as not to be still mistrusted and suspected, unless he carry all his considerate diligence, all his midnight watchings, and expense of Palladian oil, to the hasty view of an unleisured licenser, perhaps much his younger, perhaps far his inferior in judgment, perhaps one who never knew the labour of bookwriting; and if he be not repulsed, or slighted, must appear in

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lastly proceed from the no good it can do, to the manifest hurt it causes, in being first the greatest disCeragement and affront that can be offered to learning, and to learned men. It was the complaint and Lamentation of prelates, upon every least breath of a pluralities, and distribute more equally hurch revenues, that then all learning would be for ever dashed and discouraged. But as for that opinion, never found cause to think, that the tenth part of arming stood or fell with the clergy: nor could I ever a bold it for a sordid and unworthy speech of any beckman, who had a competency left him. If there eye be loth to dishearten utterly and discontent, not Le mercenary crew of false pretenders to learning, but the free and ingenuous sort of such as evidently were born to study and love learning for itself, not for lucre, any other end, but the service of God and of truth, and perhaps that lasting fame and perpetuity of praise, which God and good men have consented shall be the ard of those, whose published labours advance the ed of mankind: then know, that so far to distrust Le judgment and the honesty of one who hath but a Con repute in learning, and never yet offended, as to count him fit to print his mind without a tutor ad examiner, lest he should drop a schism, or someang of corruption, is the greatest displeasure and inauty to a free and knowing spirit, that can be put

hand on the back of his title to be his bail and surety, that he is no` ideot or seducer; it cannot be but a dishonour and derogation to the author, to the book, to the privilege and dignity of learning. And what if the author shall be one so copious of fancy, as to have many things well worth the adding, come into his mind after licensing, while the book is yet under the press, which not seldom happens to the best and diligentest writers; and that perhaps a dozen times in one book. The printer dares not go beyond his licensed copy; so often then must the author trudge to his leave-giver, that those his new insertions may be viewed; and many a jaunt will be made, ere that licenser, for it must be the same man, can either be found, or found at leisure; meanwhile either the press must stand still, which is no small damage, or the author lose his accuratest thoughts, and send the book forth worse than he had made it, which to a diligent writer is the greatest melancholy and vexation that can befal. And how can a man teach with authority, which is the life of teaching; how can he be a doctor in his book as he ought to be, or else had better be silent, whenas all he teaches, all he delivers, is but under the tuition, under the correction of his patriarchal licenser, to blot or alter what precisely accords not with the hidebound humour which he calls his judgment? When every acute reader upon the first sight of a pedantic licence, will be ready with these like words to ding the book a coit's distance from him, I hate a pupil teacher, I endure not an instructor that comes to me under the wardship of an overseeing fist. I know nothing of the licenser, but that I have his own hand here for his arrogance; who shall warrant me his

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