Robert Boyle (1627-91): Work-diary V (Miscellaneous collections of aphorisms from the late 1640s)

Content: Moralistic and theological aphorisms (and some long texts) from scattered work-diary pages dating from the late 1640s

General Information


Work-diary entries

/BP 2, p. 186/

Entry 1: Editorial notes:

& which I am/my Charity is troubled to see, arrogated by [d] many that want it; & by too many that have it, made but a Pander to other's Pride or their owne Lust's!


Entry 2: Editorial notes:

[d] And much of kinne to their Verses/Poetry <is> their Prose: <very many of> their as much flatter'd as flattering Letters of <Love &> Complement, being [d] but Prologues to & Paraphrases of the Subscription /Your Humble Servant/ & the Sense of these <few> Words, I desire You should thinke I can write well & am Your humble Servant: which made a certaine Lady say, that Give her but leave to barre halfe a score Words, & she would spoile all the Fine Letters of [d] our Youth; & sure <to expresse> the Sense of these few Words, [d] I can &c, being the Drift & substance of <most of> these [d] Ceremoniall Papers, [d] they that looking upon Words/Expressions as the Images of Thoughts, esteeme them not by their Greatnesse or Gawdynesse but Resemblance; are apt to looke upon these oftentimes [d] servile <&> Tedious Amplificators but as <poore> Men that <are wont> to pay a Peece in twenty shillings. [d] [d]. Tho indeed it require/ there need/ no such greate Wit to write high Complements, when we <need> care for nothing in our <new cookd> Complements but that they be high enough; & besides that those in whom Fancy is the Predominant Faculty, relish <like Leopards> those Writings most where Fancy, <reignes> ; it is [d] not uneasy for men to write acceptably on Subjects where they are not ty'd to speake either Reason or Truth; & as 'tis easy for them/ Painters to show a faire Complexion that [d] scruple not to do any thing to show it, & desire but to appeare handsom/ 'tis easy for writers to delight, where they propose themselves no other End, & allow themselves [d] any thing they judge conducive to it] whereas those that <expecting to be call'd to account <by [d]> both <Men> for their <Lives> by God both for their owne Time & their Readers.> are confin'd to Write nothing but what is Usefull, & what they can make Good, have a much harder Taske on't.


/text in margin begins here/

Entry 3: Editorial notes:

Like a ceeld Pidgeon that flies the higher for being blinded Love, like Warre, that raiseth soldiers of Fortune/ common & ruines Estated Persons/ men & Ruines Men of Fortune, warmes and refines/raises [d] lesser Wits, as it infatuates the Great ones. thrive


Entry 4: Editorial notes:

Where one may end when one will, & is oblig'd to write but what he finds he can write well.


Entry 5: Editorial notes:

Where a man shall be beleev'd <evn> when he dos not beleeve himself

Where a man is not oblig'd to beleeve what he says not say but what he thinkes will be beleev'd.


Entry 6: Editorial notes:

Complection from health & not from Painting


/BP 3, 90/

/text in body of page begins here/

Entry 7: Editorial notes:

- For what Feare comprehends not, it enclines To make a God; whose Nature it beleeves Much more enclin'd to punish then releeve.


Entry 8: Editorial notes:

It is very observable against the Jewes, that none ever did any Miracle in the Temple of God; but the God of the Temple, J. C. himselves; wo called his Body the Temple; suitably to which we reade that when his side was pierced, the Vaile of the Temple was rent in sunder.


Entry 9: Editorial notes:
Marginal notes integral to entry text

In the 7th of Leviticus, we find that it was expresly forbidden to eate any sacrifice on the third day after the sacrificing. For the Sacrifices being Types of Christ, & also consider'd as slaine for the Expiation of their Sins that offer'd them, it were improper to have them eaten on the Third Day, on which their Antitipe resum'd his life. But tho this this were requisite before the Comming of the Messias; yet now under the Gospell, we may on Easter or any other Day, celebrate the Memoriall of it: because Christ Dy'd once for all the Elect unto the World's End. There was never any but he, that resum'd Life on the third Day. And he therefore sends the Jewes to consider the signe of the Prophet Jonas; not only for the 3 Days there mentionn'd; but also for that as Jonah after the Whale had restor'd him [d] præfixt the Ninevites 40 days for their Repentance; so did our Savior after his Resurrection, allow the Jews 40 Yeares; after which he finally & totally destroy'd them & their State.


Entry 10: Editorial notes:
Marginal notes integral to entry text

God did himself give particular Instructions for 4 severall Buildings; (all representing his Church) in which there is an observable Gradation, in reference to settlenesse & Permanency. The Arke, which floated on the Waters; the Tabernacle, which rested indeed on the Ground but had no Foundation there. The Temple, which was indeed built upon a Rocke, but obnoxious to Casualtys, witnesse it's Desolations under the Chaldeans & the Romans & the New Jerusalem of the Revelations; which shall never have an End.


/original pagination, p. 9/

/BP 3, 95/

Entry 11: Editorial notes:

Hir Sexe. She considerd that the Way of Life must be as well measur'd by our Feet in a Journey, as by our Eyes in a Mappe, ere we can reach our Heavenly Canaan: & remembred that Moses tho Pisgah's Top, afforded him the full Prospect of the promis'd Land, dy'd yet on this side Jordan. She knew that Knowledge, is but the Requisite of Obedience, not the whole Duty; & was sensible of the Difference, which thousands have sadly found, betwixt <the Knowing something of> the Art Military, & <the> getting <of> that Victory, to which alone the Crowne is promis'd & reserv'd. No: as hir Piety was the Motive of hir Enquirys, so was the Improvement of it the End of hir Discoverys: & hir <obliged> Knowledge gratefully return'd hir Virtue in prægnant Influences, the [d] Honor hir Virtue did it, in <procuring it so <noble> a Votary.> She look't not on [d] Divinity, as Common Beholders do on the Pole-Starre; because <it is> much talkt of & twinkles prettily: nor <barely> as Astronomers are wont to gaze upon <it only to contemplate> [d]in order to the compleating of their Science of thinges Celestiall,[d] but as the Carefull Pilot, who Eyes <it> to Steare his Course by it. [How unlike to this Practise is that of our degenerous Times, In which, as our Heads [on]ly are Baptiz'd, our <Intellectualls alone> are Christ[ian] In which, 'tis <but> the more applauded sort of Persons, that [d] /BP 3, p. 95v/ Learne the Precepts of Virtue, not as Physitians buy Pearles, to make Magisterys & Cordialls; but as Ladys do, to weare them (as Ornaments) in Necklaces & Pendants for which they hope to be taken notice of: [d]. [...]


/BP 36, 86v/

Entry 12: Editorial notes:

Most of our Ignorance & Unhappynesse proceeds, from our seeking the Contrary Qualityes in the wrong Places. For we search for Knowledg in the Little World, & Felicity in the Great: (& so prove equally disappointed in our Speculations & Fruitions:) Whereas we shud learne the Knoledge of Things without us, from the thinges that are so: & seeke our owne Happynesse, In, (I say not From) our selves. We vainly seeke the Felicity of the Little World in the greate, for Luke XVII, 21, Rom. XIV, 17 [blank space in MS, 5-6 chars]: & the Knowledge of the Greate World in the Little, Job. X, 7.


Entry 13: Editorial notes:

No Good King dos more studiously decline the Conceding any Monopolies, then the King of Kings dos the Granting a Monopoly of Parts.


Entry 14: Editorial notes:

Speaking of our Ministers & Tub-preachers And tho there may be some Exceptions; yet generally speaking, there's no man makes a Doublet so well as a Taylor.


Entry 15: Editorial notes:

As Herbs ev'n after they are gather'd do still retaine their Medicinall Virtues; so may Th: yet after hir Death cure our distemperd Minds by hir Example; & prove an Antidote against those Passions & Temptations, she so generously resisted in hir life-time.