Page:The battle of the books - Guthkelch - 1908.djvu/143

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TEMPLE'S ESSAY 69

beyond it. His own reason is the certain measure of truth, his own knowledge of what is possible in nature, though his mind and his thoughts change every seven years, as well as his strength and his features. Nay, though his opinions change every week, or every day, yet he is sure, or at least confident, that his present thoughts and conclusions are just and true and cannot be deceived : and among all the miseries to which mankind is born and subjected in the whole course of his life, he has this one felicity to comfort and support him, that in all ages, in all things, every man is always in the right. A boy at fifteen is wiser than his father at forty, the meanest subject than his prince or governors, and the modern scholars, because they have for a hundred years past learned their lesson pretty well, are much more knowing than the ancients their masters.

But let it be so, and proved by good reasons, is it so by experience too ? Have the studies, the writings, the productions of Gresham College or the late academies of Paris, outshined or eclipsed the Lycaeum of Plato, the academy of Aristotle, the Stoa of Zeno, the garden of Epicurus ? Has Harvey outdone Hippo-

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