“To ask abroad who or what I am, is to lock up my own dores, and to enquire of my neighbor what is don at home.”
– Bishop Brian Duppa to SIr Justinian Isham, Oct 22nd 1650; Isham (ed.), The Duppa-Isham Correspondence (Northants Records Society, Volume XVII, 1955), p. 20.
“He that hath the meanes of food and knowledge hath all the felicity that I am able in this world to understand.”
— Letter (draft) from Gilbert Sheldon, c. 1650, Harleian MSS, Folio 6942, Item 110 (British Library).
“When wee consider Arts, or Sciences, the servant knows but according to the proportion of his Masters knowledge in that Art, and the Scholar knows but according to the proportion of his Masters knowledge in that Science; Young men mend not their sight by using old mens Spectacles; and yet we looke upon Nature, but with Aristotles Spectacles, and upon the body of man, but with Galens, and upon the frame of the world, but with Ptolemies Spectacles. Almost all knowledge is rather like a child that is embalmed to make Mummy, then that is nursed to make a Man; rather conserved in the stature of the first age, then growne to be greater.”
– John Donne, “Preached at the funerals of Sir William Cokayne Knight, Alderman of London, December 12. 1626.”, John Donne’s Sermons on the Psalms and Gospels, ed. Evelyn M. Simpson, U.Cal.Pr., 1963, p 222.
“In the religious man we are able to perceive most clearly that men are flesh, sinful, hindrances to God, under His wrath, arrogant, restless, incapable of knowledge, and weak of will.”
– Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, 6th Edition, tr. Edwyn C. Hoskyns, Oxford University Press, 1933, p 185.
“All appearance indicates neither a total exclusion nor a manifest presence of divinity, but the presence of a God who hides Himself. Everything bears this character”.
– Blaise Pascal, Pensees, tr. T.S. Eliot, Number 555.
“Persons lightly dip’d, not grain’d in generous Honesty, are but pale in Goodness, and faint hued in Sincerity: but be thou what thou virtuously art, and let not the Ocean wash away thy Tincture: stand magnetically upon that Axis where prudent Simplicity hath fix’d thee, and let no Temptation invert the Poles of thy Honesty: and that Vice may be uneasie, and even monstrous unto thee, let iterated good Acts, and long confirmed Habits, make Vertue natural, or a second Nature in thee. And since few or none prove eminently vertuous but from some advantageous Foundations in their Temper and natural Inclinations; study thy self betimes, and early find, what Nature bids thee to be, or tells thee what thou may’st be. They who thus timely descend into themselves, cultivating the good Seeds which Nature hath set in them, and improving their prevalent Inclinations to Perfection, become not Shrubs, but Cedars in their Generation; and to be in the form of the best of the Bad, or the worst of the Good, will be no satisfaction unto them.”
– Sir Thomas Browne, “A Letter to a Friend Upon Occasion of the Death of his Intimate Friend”, The Voyce of the World, The Folio Society, 2007, p 100.