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May not the same have happened in the production, growth, and size of wit and genius in the world, or in some parts or ages of it, and from many more circumstances that contributed towards it, than what may concur to the stupendous growth of a tree or animal ?
I MAY perhaps be allowed to know something of this trade, since I have so long allowed myself to be good for nothing else, which few men will do, or enjoy their gardens, without often looking abroad to see how other matters play, what motions in the state, and what invitations they may hope for into other scenes.
For my own part, as the country life, and this part of it more particularly, were the inclination of my youth itself, so they are the pleasure of my age; and I can truly say, that, among many great employments that have fallen to my share, I have never asked or sought for any one of them, but often endeavoured to escape from them into the ease and freedom of a private scene, where a man may go his own way and his own pace, in the common paths or circles of life.
The measure of choosing well is, whether a man likes what he has chosen; which, I thank God, has befallen me; and though, among the follies of my life, building and planting have not been the least, and have cost me more than I have the confidence to own, yet they have been fully recompensed by the sweetness and satisfaction of this retreat, where, since my resolution taken of never entering again into any public employments, I have passed five years without ever going once to town, though I am almost in sight of it, and have a house there always ready to receive me. Nor has this been any sort of affectation, as some have thought it, but a mere want of desire or humour to make so small a remove.
That which makes the cares of gardening more necessary, or at least more excusable, is, that all men eat fruit that can get it; so as the choice is only, whether one will eat good or ill; and between these the difference is not greater in point of taste and delicacy, than it is of health : for the first I will only say, that whoever has used to eat good will do very great penance when he comes to ill: and for the other, I think nothing is more evident, than as ill or unripe fruit is extremely unwholesome, and causes so many untimely deaths, or so much sickness about autumn, in all great cities where it is greedily sold as well as eaten; so no part of diet, in any season, is so healthful, so natural, and so agreeable to the stomach, as good and well-ripened fruits; for this I make the measure of their being good: and let the kinds be what they will, if they will not ripen perfectly in our climate, they are better never planted, or never eaten. Now whoever will be sure to eat good fruit, must do it out of a garden of his own; for besides the choice so necessary in the sorts, the soil, and so many other circumstances that go to compose a good garden, or produce good fruits, there is something very nice in gathering them, and choosing the best even from the same tree. The best sorts of all among us, which I esteem the white figs and the soft peaches, will not carry without suffering. The best fruit that is bought, has no more of the master's care than how to raise the greatest gains; his business is to have as much fruit as he can upon a few trees, whereas the way to have it excellent is to have but little upon many trees. So that for all things out of a garden, either of salads or fruits, a poor man will eat better, that has one of his own, than a rich man that has
And this is all I think of necessary and useful to be known upon this subject.
ISAAC BARROW was born in London in 1630. His education, which commenced at Charterhouse, was continued at Felstead, and in 1643 he was admitted a Pensioner at St. Peter's College, Cambridge, of which his uncle was then a Fellow. His uncle's ejection for writing against the Covenant, and his father's losses through adherence to the royal cause, brought him into pecuniary difficulty, through which he was helped by the liberality of Dr. Hammond. By his good conduct he preserved the goodwill and esteem of his superiors in spite of the obnoxiousness of the party to which he belonged, and in 1649 he was elected Fellow.
Perceiving that the times were unfavourable to persons of his opinions, he resolved to devote himself to medicine, and began the studies preliminary to that profession; but he soon returned to divinity, to which with mathematics and astronomy he devoted himself for the rest of his life. He travelled for some years in France, Italy and Turkey.
In 1662 he was chosen Gresham Professor of Geometry, which office he held till 1667, when he was succeeded in it by Isaac Newton. He was nominated Master of Trinity by the King in 1672, and died in his forty-seventh year in 1677.
Isaac Barrow was equally celebrated as a mathematician and divine. As a divine, he is principally known as the author of the Treatise on the Pope's Supremacy, a standard work, which occupies one of the foremost places in our controversial theology. As a moral and practical writer, he is discriminating, as well as earnest, vigorous, and copious; he exhibits great resources of language, and brings out the whole contents of a subject with clearness, freedom, and vivacity. His style, tending to looseness and diffuseness, is still always animated and rich. The portions of his writings in which this department of his mind comes out are his Sermons, in which he handles moral as well as doctrinal subjects, and enters with heartiness into questions of life and practice.
We cannot ever be framing or venting long prayers with our lips, but almost ever our mind can throw pious glances, our heart may dart good wishes upwards ; so that hardly any moment (any considerable space of time) shall pass without some lightsome flashes of devotion.
As bodily respiration, without intermission or impediment, doth concur with all our actions; so may that breathing of soul, which preserveth our spiritual life, and ventilateth that holy flame within us, well conspire with all other occupations.
For devotion is of a nature so spiritual, so subtle, and penetrant, that no matter can exclude or obstruct it. Our minds are so exceedingly nimble and active, that no business can hold pace with them, or exhaust their attention and activity. We can never be so fully possessed by any employment, but that divers vacuities of time do intercur, wherein our thoughts and affections will be diverted to other matters. As a covetous man, whatever beside he is doing, will be carking about his bags and treasures; an ambitious man will be devising on his plots and projects ; a voluptuous man will have his mind in his dishes; a lascivious man will be doting on his amours; a studious man will be musing on his notions--every man according to his particular inclination, will lard his business and besprinkle all his actions with cares and wishes tending to the enjoyment of what he most esteemeth and affecteth; so may a good Christian, through all his undertakings, wind in devout reflections and pious motions of soul toward the chief object of his mind and affection. Most businesses have wide gaps, all have some chinks, at which devotion may slip in. Be we never so urgently set or closely intent upon any work, (be we feeding, be we travelling, be we trading, be we studying,) nothing yet can forbid, but that we may together wedge in a thought concerning God's good
A Peaceable Temper.
It much conduceth to the preservation of peace, and upholding amicable correspondence in our dealings and transactions with men, liable to doubt and debate, not to insist upon nice and rigorous points of right, not to take all advantage offered us, not to deal hard measure, not to use extremities, to the damage or hinderance of others, especially when no comparable benefit will thence accrue to ourselves. For such proceedings, as they discover in us little kindness to, or tenderness of, our neighbour's good, so they exceedingly exasperate them, and persuade them we are their enemies, and render them ours, and so utterly destroy peace between us. Whereas abating something from the height and strictness of our pretences, and a favourable recession in such cases, will greatly engage men to have an honourable opinion, and a peaceable affection towards us.
If we would attain to this peaceable estate of life, we must use toward all men such demonstrations of respect and courtesy, which according to their degree and station