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Miscellaneous.

When he was asked how it came to pass, that though the art of reasoning might be now more studied, yet the improvements made were formerly greater? In what instance, answered he, is it now more studied; and in what were the improvements greater? For in what now is most studied, in that will be found likewise the improvements. The present study is the solution of syllogisms, and in this improvements are made. But formerly the study was to harmonize the Reason with Nature; and improvement was made in that. Therefore do not confound things, nor, when you study one thing, expect improvement in another; but see whether any one of us who applies himself to think and act conformably to Nature ever fails of improvement. Depend upon it, you will not find one.

A good man is invincible; for he does not contend where he is not superior. If you would have his land, take it; take his servants, take his office, take [p. 2023] his body. But you will never frustrate his desire, nor make him incur his aversion. He engages in no combat but what concerns objects within his own control. How then can he fail to be invincible?

Being asked what common-sense was, he answered: As that may be called a common ear which distinguishes only sounds, but that which distinguishes notes, an artistic one; so there are some things which men, not totally perverted, discern by their common natural powers; and such a disposition is called common-sense.

It is not easy to gain the attention of effeminate young men,--for you cannot take up custard by a hook, -but the ingenuous, even if you discourage them, are the more eager for learning. Hence Rufus, for the most part, did discourage them; and made use of that as a criterion of the ingenuous and disingenuous. For, he used to say, as a stone, even if you throw it up, will by its own propensity be carried downward, so an ingenuous mind, the more it is forced from its natural bent, will incline towards it the more strongly. [p. 2024]


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