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it with that of the Scaligers. But of his own time Sealiger says:--There are very few learned men. Now-a-days learning is little esteemed. There are none among the Jesuits, nor of our religion except Casaubon. An hundred years ago when printing was invented, there were more learned men than there are now.-Every body knows a little of every thing; there are no more any great men. At present nobody reads Aristotle, Cicero, Plato, but rather Ramus, or some other trifter, and they pretend to know every thing, and have read nothing.”.p. 65.
Of his contemporary Casaubon he speaks with uniform respect. What he said with regard to his notes on Persius is well known that " the sauce was worth more than the fish." 6 La saulce vaut mieux que le poisson.” Speaking of him he says—He and Lipsius are bent double with study. Casaubon is the most learned. I am his disciple. I have taste, but not learning. He is the greatest man that we have in Greek. I yield to him. He is the most learned man now alive. He knows much more than Lipsias.” p. 45.
Of Bellarmin, a man very famous in his time as the most formidable defender of the Romish church, it was Scaliger's opinion, that he believed nothing of what he wrote, and was plainly an atheist. He says in another place, that all the Jesuits and ecclesiastics of high rank at Rome were atheists: giving this at the same time as the general character of the Italians. pp. 29, 126.
There are many things in the conversation of Scaliger, which illustrate the comparative barbarism of the times, when he lived. “ I had,” he says, “ a brother Constans, whe was called the Gascon devil, he was so terrible. Once hav. ing engaged in playing ball with eight Germans, he killed some, wounded others, and fled into Poland. There he became a favorite with Stephen, king of Poland; but was cut off by the envy of his nobility, being stabbed in hunting,” p. 233,
Scaliger relates the following anecdote of an Italian insult, which at least has claim to ingenuity. Cardinal Ferrari was
at the head of the French faction at Rome, and Cardinal Farnese of the Spanish. They had a mutual hatred, but treated each other externally with great respect. They were both about to have an entertainment at the same time, and the pro vider of each was in the market. There was a lamprey for sale, for which, as they are scarce at Rome, and as this was the first of the season, the enormous price of one hundred and twenty crowns was demanded. Cardinal Farnese was avari. cious, and his steward refused to purchase it. It was bought for his rival, and carried home. When the latter was acquainted with the circumstances of its purchase, he sent it to his brother Cardinal, with a message," that he had learnt that he was about to have an entertainment, and had no lamprey, and that he had sent him one as a present.” p. 82.
Every one has heard of the 66 admirable Crichton,” who, as his fame has been, excelled equally in intellectual acquirements, and bodily exercises, and who at the age of about 21 or 30, (for there is a dispute respecting it,) was assassinated, for some unknown cause, in the streets of Mantua, by his pupil, the son of the Duke, as the story is related. He was at one time spoken of with blind admiration; but some Latin poems of his yet remain, which have been brought into view by modern research, and which have been almost as fatal to his fame, as was his slipper to that of Empedocles. They are said to have little merit, and to be faulty both in language and in prosody. He is thus mentioned by his contemporary Scaliger. “I have heard in Italy of one Critton, a Scotchman, who was only twenty one years old, when he was killed by command of the Duke of Mantua, and who knew twelve languages, had read the Fathers and the Poets, disputed on every subject, and answered in verse. He had a marvellous genius, more worthy of admiration than esteem. He was somewhat of a silly fellow (il estoit un peu fat). His judgment was not equal to his other powers.
Princes commonly favor such men, and not those who are truly learned. Manutius in his dedicatory preface to his paradoxes, which he has addressed to Critton, makes mention of his genius." p. 58.
Scaliger believed, like almost all the learned and vulgar of his time, in appearances of devils and in witchcraft. He makes a boast of not fearing the devil, who, as he affirmed, did not dare approach him. He says, “ there are many sorcerers in Bearn and among the Pyrenees. They are very severely punished in Italy.” “ Persons must be very incredulous not to believe in their existence.” (p. 242.) He tells the following story. “ I saw near Biturigæ a black man on a black horse, standing in the middle of a marsh, and my horse followed him while I was dozing. Dabin and others were before me; I was behind, left alone; I called to the man, but he gave me no answer. My horse had already got into the marsh, and if I had not been active, I should have perished. I immediately got him out. Those who were before heard me. We had then been wandering about all night for seven hours: for Dabin sat out about eleven o'clock, and he observed that it was then near morning. It often happens that the devil draws men into marshes to destroy them. I believe that our getting out of our way befel us on account of one of our party, who was continually using profane language.”
Luther's belief on these subjects was at least as strong as that of Scaliger. In a curious book, (of which we may hereafter give some farther account,) containing records of his conversation, and called his Colloquia Mensalia, or Table Talk, there is an whole chapter on the Devil and his Works, in which several stories are quoted from his conversation, of the same character with that just given from Scaliger. One of the shortest is the following:
6 Anno 1521, as I departed from Worms, said Luther, and not far from Eisenach was taken prisoner, I was lodged in the castle of Wartburg in Pathmo, in a chamber far from people, where none could have access unto me, but only two boys, that twice the day brought me meat and drink; now among other things they brought me hazel-nuts, which I put into a box, and sometimes I used to crack and eat of them. In the night times my gentleman the devil came and got the nuts out of the box, and cracked them against one of the bed-posts, making a very
great noise and a rumbling about my bed, but I regarded him nothing at all; when afterwards I began to slumber, then he kept such a racket and rumbling upon the chamber stairs, as if many empty hogsheads and barrels had been tumbled down; and although I knew that the stairs were strongly guarded with iron bars, so that no passage was either up or down, yet I arose and went towards the stairs to see what the matter was; but finding the door fast shut, I said, Art thou there? so be there still; I committed myself to Christ, my Lord and Saviour, of whom it is written, Omnia subjecisti pedibus ejus, and then laid me down to rest again.”
From these “ follies of the wise" we may learn something of the progress that has since been made in knowledge and cor. rect thinking.
Dr. Parr's Character of Dr. Priestley. In 1792 Dr. Parr published a pamphlet, entitled “ A Letter from Irenopolis to the inhabitants of Eleutheropolis, or a Serious Address to the dissenters of Birmingham. By a member of the established church.” From this letter is extracted the following passage, which contains a very eloquent character of Dr. Priestley. In the first sentence the author is speaking of the clergy of Birmingham.
“ By sermons or controversial writings, they have bereaved you, it will be said, eventually of those precepts which you have been accustomed to hear, and of that example which you have been accustomed to admire, in a most venerable preacher, for whom it is no longer safe to preside over a flock, endeared to him by ancient habits of familiarity, and connected with him by many personal, many political, and many religious ties. Into the truth of this allegation, it were invidious and impertinent for me to inquire. But the scriptures, you will consider, still lie open to you.
The house in which you did homage to your Creator will soon be rebuilt-The same freedom which you formerly enjoyed in opinion and in worship, is at this hour secured to you, by the laws; and though you cannot again obtain the honor and advantage
derived from such an instructor as Dr. Priestley, your sect is hardly so barren of excellence, as not to supply you with a successor, whose talents, indeed, may be less flattering to
your honest pride, but whose labors will not be less meritorious in discharging the duties of his clerical station, nor less instrumental in making all of you - wise unto salvation.'
66 I should not think well of your sensibility, if you were indifferent to the loss of so excellent a preacher as Dr. Priestley-But I shall think very ill of your moderation, if you make that loss a pretext for perpetuating disputes, which, if my arguments or my prayers could prevail, would speedily have an end.
“Upon the theological disputes, in which the doctor has been engaged with some clergyman of your town, I forbear to give any opinion. Yet, while I disclaim all allusion to local events, I will make you a concession which
leave to apply to persons of higher rank as ecclesiastics, and of greater celebrity as scholars, than your town can supply I confess with sorrow, that in too many instances, such modes of defence have been used against this formidable Heresiarch, as would hardly be justifiable in the support of revelation itself, against the arrogance of a Bolingbroke, the buffooncry of a Mandeville, and the levity of a Voltaire. But the cause of orthodoxy requires not such aids—The church of England approves them not—The spirit of Christianity warrants them not. Let Dr. Priestley, indeed be confuted, where he is mistaken. Let him be exposed where he is superficial. Let him be repressed where he is dogmatical. Let him be rebuked, where he is censorious. But let not his attainments be de. preciated, because they are numerous almost without a paral. lel. Let not his talents be ridiculed, because they are superlatively great. Let not his morals be vilified, because they are correct without austerity, and exemplary without ostentation, because they present even to common observers, the innocence of a hermit, and the simplicity of a patriarch, and because a philosophie eye will at once discover in them, the deep-fixed root of virtuous principle, and the solid trunk of virtuous habit.”