Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seldom Comes the Better

All great and sudden changes are dangerous to the body natural, but much more to the body politic. Time and custom beget reverence and admiration in the minds of all men: frequent alterations produce nothing but contempt. Break ice in one place, it will crack in more. Mountebanks, projectors, and innovators, always promise golden mountains, but their performance is seldom worth a cracked groat. The credulous ass in the fable believed, that the wolf (his counterfeit physician) would cure him of all his infirmities, and lost his skin for his labour. When the devil tempted our first parents, he assured them of a more happy estate than they had in Paradise: but what saith our common proverb, 'Seldom comes the better.'

John Bramhall, "The Serpent-Salve". Bramhall was the Anglican bishop of Armagh, and a famous polemicist. He is most famous for his wrangling with Thomas Hobbes on the topic of free will, which I am considering doing a series of posts on in July or August.

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