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life. 'Tis true, no age can restore a life,
whereof perhaps there is no great losse ;
and revolutions of ages doe not oft re-
cover the loffe of a rejected truth, for
the want of which whole Nations fare
the worse. We should be wary there-
fore what persecution we raise against
the living labours of publick men, how
we spill that season'd life of man prenos
serv'd and stor'd up in Books; since we
see a kinde of homicide may be thus
committed, sometimes a martyrdome,
and if it extend to the whole impression,
a kinde of massacre, whereof che execu-
tion ends not in the slaying of an elemen-
tall life, but strikes at that ethereall and
fift essence, the breath of reason it felfe,
Naies an immortality rather than a life.


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But left I should be condemn'd of introducing licence, while loppose Licenfing, I refuse not the paines to be so much Historicall, as will serve to thew what hath been done by ancient and famous Commonwealths, against this disorder, till the very time that this project of lis cencing crept out of the Inquisition, was catcht up by our Prelates, and hath caught fome of our Presbyters.

In Athens where Books and Wits were ever bufier then in any other part of Greece, I finde but only two sorts of writings which the Magistrate card to take notice of; those either blasphemous and Atheisticall, or Libellous. Thus the Books of Protagoras were by the Iudges of Areopagus commanded to be burnt,


and himselfe banisht the territory for a discourse begun with his confessing not to know whether there were gods, or whether not : And against defaming, it was decreed that none should be traduc'd by name, as was the manner of Vetus Comæ dia, whereby we may gueffe how they censur'd libelling: and this course was quick enough, as Cicero writes, to quell both the desperate wits of other Atheists, and the open way of defaming, as the event shew'd. Of other sects and opinions though tending to voluptuousnesse, and the denying of divine providence they tooke no heed. Therefore we do not read that either Epicurus, or that libertine school of Cyrene, or what the Cynick impudence utter'd, was ever ques

tion’d by the Laws. Neither is it recorded that the writings of those old Comedians were suppreft, though the acting of them were forbid; and that Plato commended the reading of Ariftophanes the loosest of them all, to his royall scholler Dionysius, is commonly known and may be excus’d, if holy Chrysostome, as is reported, nightly ftudied so much the same Author and had the art to cleanse a fcurrilous vehemence into the stile of a rousing Sermon. That other leading City of Greece, Lacedæmon, considering that Lycurgus their Law-giver was so addicted to elegant learning, as to have been the first that brought out of Jonia the scatter'd workes of Pomer, and sent the Poet Thales from


Creet to prepare and mollifie the Spartan surlinefse with his smooth songs and odes, the better to plant among them law and civility, it is to be wonder'd how, museleffe and unbookish they were, minding nought but the feats of Warre. There needed no licencing of Books among them for they dislik'd all, but their owne Laconick Apothegms, and took a slight occafion to chase Archilochus out of their city, perhaps for composing in a higher straine then their owne souldierly ballats and roundels could reach to: or if it were for his broad verses, they were not therein so cautious, but they were as diffolute in their proiniscuous conversing ; whence Euripides affirmes in Andromache, that their women were


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