« EdellinenJatka »
have afligned unto it three operations, viz. reception, retention, and rendition ; that this faculty doth not only keep, what is committed to it, (which indeed it doth mot faithfully,) but that it doth also take into cuftody, that which it keeps ; and deliver it up again, when called for; hereby making the memory, both condys, and promus, of the things therein contained, and giving unto it such a power, as many noblemen to their butlers, whereby they become more masters of what is contained in their cellars than they that made them. Now if we will divide aright, and give unto the memory that which is its ; and unto the underftanding and imagination that which is theirs ; we shall faon understand how fpecies of a diverfe nature, whether sensitive or intelligible; more or less fpiritualized ; and diverfly circumftantiated, in respect of time, or place, or whatsoever else may alter them; may easily be contained within the the fame faculty without multiplication. Say we, that the undertanding and imagination, as they make their several species, so also they take them, and they lay them up in the memory as they are by them altered or circumftantiated; and as they have occasion to make use of them, they look for them, and find them treasured up in the same nature, order, and manner, that they put them in; and from thence they themselves take them out again : The memory in the mean time doing nothing at all, towards either the receiving them, or delivering them up, but only exercising its passive power in the keeping of them; which keeping also is nothing else, but the duration of that impression (without any act, or endeavour, or knowledge, on the part of the memory) which the more fuperior faculties make; the memory being most truly that which the philosophers have usually said of the will, cæca potentia ; keeping those things committed to its charge, with no more knowledge, or action, than the wax doth the impreslion, or the paper the writing thereon made, or the coffer the treasure therein repofited: Which being fo, it may easily contain things of a divers nature, and as much diverfified in respect of circumstances, as the supefior faculties can possibly make them. The same coffer may easily preserve the gold of one man, and the silver of another, till they each of them come, and take their own goods again. And thus we understand, that the power of this faculty in man is only paflive, and its only work is to retain those things that are committed to its charge; which work it performs with great trust, so long as man abides in strength, but as he declines in age, fo also doth this faculty in its use ; not only unfaithfully and confusedly retaining the images that are made upon it, but oftentimes letting them slip
And as it is said, concerning the greater world, when it shall draw towards its end, The Jun fall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars fall fall from heavens and all the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, Mat. xxiv. 29. so also may it as well be said in that world's epitomy, Man: As he shall draw towards his end, his understanding shall be darkened, his imagination shall be weakened, and withhold its light, and those things that were fixed in the memory shall fall from thence, and all the powers of the mind shall be broken, and this is that which to me seems the true meaning of this second verse.
And hence we may gather how fad man's: condition must needs be in this last Age of his, in respect of his mind. The diseases and fymptoms which do necessarily arise from the darkening of these luminaries are these which foltow. Mentis imbecillitas, hebetudo, ftupiditas, fatuitas; pasewors, (i. e.) ftultitia, tarditas ingenii, judicii defeftus ; drosa, (i. e.) amentia, mer kancholia, defipientia, memoria imminuta, abolita: And these proceed from the darkning of the feveral and particular lights; there are others
also incident to age that shake all the powers of the heavens at once, and they are Vertigo, Earus, and Apoplexia. And these are the miserable attendants of this feeble ftate, which is so much the more to be lamented, by how much the less it is to be helped. Sad are the infirmities before mentioned in any age, and most difficultly do they receive their cure ; but in this they admit of none at all. Some means may be by physicians used for the proroguing of of them, and keeping them off for a time ; and for the mitigation of their violent affaults, but for the total preventing, or the absolute curing, let no man living hope for.
ξ' ασκληπιάδας τέτο έδωκε Θεός. . And this the ensuing proverb doth sufficiently confirm,
Nor the clouds return after the rain.
Having before shewed, that the precedent words do not signify the infirmities of the eyes,
need say no more, to thew that these do not intimate the rheums or diftillations from the eyes or head, falling upon any of the subjects ed parts. It will be enough plainly to declare, that these words fignify, that the miferies and infirmities of old age, do uncessantly and una: voidably fucceed one upon another, as the showers in april. And they are placed here in the midst between the descriptions of the infir
mities of the mind which preceded; and those of the body which immediately follow; as having reference to them both. Whereby we must understand, that all the infirmities that appertain to this state, whether they be those of the mind, or thofe of the body, do immediately follow one upon another, and one paroxysm upon another, and that without remedy. Nubes post imbrem, is a known Adage, signifying, the fpeedy succession of miseries upon miseries; as on the contrary is fignified joy and happinefs, after affliction, by that proverb, Post nubila Phæbus. The infirmities in this allegory mentioned, if they shall at any time fall upon a man in any other age, may poffibly be eased : And if so, there is good hopes that they may be kept from redintegration, or ever returning more; but in this age no such hopes; if their violence may poflibly be for a time remitted, yet they will as certainly return again, as the clouds after a rain in a rainy feason. Now when the weather is (as we usually say) set in to rain, it is wonderful to fee; how quick the clouds will rise and ride one after another, and every one, the smallest of them, pour down rain upon the earth beyond all expecta tion. And if there shall be any small interval between shower and fhower, and the fun at any time begin to peep out betweeri the clouds, it is foon darkened again ; and the clouds re; turn thicker and blacker, and the showers