Edward Taylor, 28th Meditation.2

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Lord clear the cost: and let thy sweet sun-shine

That I may better speed a second time:

Oh! Fill my pipkin with thy bloodred wine:

I’ll drink thy health: to pledge thee is no crime.

Although I but an earthen vessel be 

Convey some of my fullness to thee.

The image of a coast picks up on the “befogged dark fancy, clouded mind.” In days before the Coast Guard and lighthouses and radar and exhaustive maps, a cloudy coast would be an enormous danger. 

Here the coast is not a physical location, but rather the affections and mind “befogged” by the effects of sin and the fall. Without going through the entire doctrine here, which goes under the title “the noetic effects of sin,” it is sufficient to know that the residual effects of sin persist as long we exist in this world. And while there is improvement in this life under the operation of the Spirit and the Word, the effects persist.

Taylor here prays that the effects of sin be lifted: rather than fog, “let thy sweet sun-shine.” The hope of this transformative effect is that he will be able to rework the poem and create something more worthy. The poem is losing glory, because it lost it ways.

Perhaps Taylor is referring to an earlier version of the poem which he destroyed. But based upon this being a persistent claim, in various forms, which is seen throughout his corpus, it could be just his difficulty at the beginning of the poem.

In the remainder of the stanza he brings up the method of this shining light. Since the poems were written in preparation for communion, the reference of “blood red wine” is to the wine of communion. 

The nature of communion as a joy, while often not emphasized, is not absent from the ceremony. First, the Supper takes over for the Feast of Passover, which while in stressful circumstances also celebrates the escape from Egypt. Second, while the ceremony recalls the Lord’s Death, we also call that day “Good Friday.” Third, the ceremony recalls the Lord’s Death until he comes. The ceremony is based upon the Lord’s life and looks forward to the Lord’s return.

But there is another level of this image: He asks to have his “pipkin,” his small cup, is to be filled with wine. But in the last line, the image of “wine” is recounted as “fullness”:

Convey some of thy fullness into me.

“Fullness” is a reference to the fullness of grace in the moto for the poem, “16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Thus, it is the fullness of grace he is praying to receive.

The pipkin is repeated in the fifth line of the stanza as an “earthen vessel”. The move to an earthen vessel may seem disjointed on the face of the stanza, but when we see the nature of the illusion, Taylor’s relationship makes sense. 

Taylor is referring to 2 Corinthians 4:7, where Paul writes that “we have this treasure in jars of clay.”  While the reference to clay has become a bit of a Christian cliché to refer generally to the weakness of human beings, Taylor picks up this image not merely as a form self-abasement, but because the passage relates to his twin themes in this stanza of fullness of Christ’s grace and light to drive away the fog.

The treasure Paul identifies is  the “light of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  The fuller passage reads as follows:

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 

2 Corinthians 4:5–7.

Edward Taylor, 28th Meditation.1

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The 28th Meditation of Edward Taylor takes as its text John 1:16. In context, the passage (as it would have stood in Taylor’s Bible) reads as follows:

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 

John 1:14–18  

The poem will center upon the receipt of the grace which is in the Word made Flesh. However, as is a consistent theme in Taylor, it begins with the distance from God and the disorder of mind. Although not discussed in this place, the noetic effect of sin – the disordering effect of sin upon the thoughts, affections and behavior – lies behind  his description of his sense as “bewildered” and his “befogged dark fancy”. 

It should be noted that the effects are not simply in a cause-and-effect relationship with some particular sinful action, but are inherent in any human being on this earth. The damage done by Adam’s fall is not completely removed prior to one’s death and personal resurrection.

The poem begins with a self-conscious discussion of the poem itself as a matter of praise, sending some “glory home”. But this glory is returned in small sums, “bits” rather than in “lumps.” (Incidentally, “lumps” does not have the negative connotations it does in contemporary vernacular.) The first stanza reads:

When I Lord, send some bits of glory home

(For lumps I lack) my messenger, I find,

Bewildered, lose his way being alone

In my befogged dark fancy, clouded mind.

Thy bits of glory packed in shreds of praise

My messenger doth lose, losing his ways.

The first line creates an interesting rhythmic effect by beginning with a Bacchic foot: “when I LORD” followed by a pause.  The unusual English rhythm ending on a stress followed by a pause is difficult to read. The awkwardness creates an emphasis on the words. The vocative, Lord, would normally stand at the beginning of a clause, “Lord, when I send ….” Thus, the relationship between “I” and “Lord” is foregrounded.

The remainder of the first line and the second then flow along more easily. However, the poem introduces a puzzling reference, “my messenger”. The messenger is the means by which he is returning glory to the Lord. The precise identity of the messenger is not otherwise clarified. What is the means by which he is sending glory home: the messenger is the poem itself.

And so, as is common in Taylor, his poem is in part about the poem itself. His thinking which creates the poem is bewildered. His “befogged dark fancy” would be the weakness of his ability to conceive and create the poem.

And here comes the problem: he seeks to return some glory to the Lord within the praise which is the poem itself, but the glory falls out (is lost) from the poem:

Thy bits of glory packed in shreds of praise

My messenger doth lose, losing his ways.

P.T. Forsyth, Three Ways of Reading the Bible

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The man who is exploiting God for the purposes of his own soul or for the race, has in the long run a different religion from the man who is putting his own soul and race absolutely at the disposal of the will of God in Jesus Christ.

P.T. Forsyth in his book, The Work of Christ, has this interesting discussion on reading the Bible.

Supposing, then, we return to the Bible. Supposing that the Church did–as I think it must do if it is not going to collapse; certainly the Free Churches must– supposing we return to the Bible, there are three ways of reading the Bible. The first way asks, What did the Bible say? The second way asks, What can I make the Bible say? The third way asks, What does God say in the Bible?


As to the first question, Forsyth defines this in terms of what we expect from a commentary or a seminary lecture: “The first way is, with the aid of these magnificent scholars, to discover the true historic sense of the Bible.” What the Bible says is a matter of grammatical and historical analysis.
But such information is purely information. Discerning what the text “means” could be interesting in the sense of deciphering an ancient Hittite text; it could be useful for some purpose, such as understanding. But knowing the “meaning” cannot be the end of Bible reading.

Forsyth is interesting in the way which the text has an affect beyond the bare conveyance of information. When he asks “What can I make the Bible say?” he is not attacking the objective meaning of words. Rather, he is concerned with the subjective effect of the words.
To rephrase the question, he is concerned more with “What can I make the Bible do to me?” Or perhaps what does the Bible say to me.
This takes a bit of thinking. One could argue that the words themselves have no definite meaning, as does Humpty Dumpty in Alice Through the Looking Glass:

‘And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’
‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”’ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”’
‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”’ Alice objected.
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that’s all.’


That often does happen in Bible reading; far more often than we may imagine. When we come to a work like “grace” or “love” it is very common to pour our expectations and meanings into these concepts make the words mean whatever we want the words to mean. The Bible deals with such tendencies by providing a number of contexts in which the word is used so that we come to understand what the word means. God’s “love” plainly does not mean that God protects us from all trials. The word “faith” or “belief” (which is the same word in Greek) is used in a number of contexts through the Gospel of John so we begin to understand the precise nuance of the word in John’s Gospel.


So, making the text mean something “against its will” is not all that uncommon, even among those who would never think doing such a thing. Rather, it is an easier fault to commit than imagine.


Forsyth’s concern is with the subjective application of text: what does this objective text have to do with me? Let’s take a non-biblical example Someone says, “Shut the door.” Is that a command for me to shut that particular door? Is it the punchline of a joke and I’m supposed to laugh? The words are clear, but what the word does to me depend upon subjective elements within me.


Forsyth cautions against any sort of reading which reduces the objectivity of the text:


Now the grand value of the Bible is just the other thing–its objectivity. The first thing is not how I feel, but it is, How does God feel, and what has God said or done for my soul? When we get to real close quarters with that our feeling and response will look after itself. Do not tell people how they ought to feel towards Christ. That is useless. It is just what they ought that they cannot do. Preach a Christ that will make them feel as they ought. That is objective preaching. The tendency and fashion of the present moment is all in the direction of subjectivity.


That objective text then has a subjective effect:
We allow the Spirit of God to suggest to us whatever lessons or ideas He thinks fit out of the words that are under our eyes. We read the Bible not for correct or historic knowledge, but for religious and spiritual purposes, for our own private and personal needs. That is, of course, a perfectly legitimate thing– indeed, it is quite necessary.

He cautions that there are dangers here: we must not unhinge the objective text and the subjective effect. The text is a real objective fact; but that objective fact has an actual affect upon the reader.
One has the experience of only understanding certain Psalms until one has experienced that trial, that suffering, that ache, or slander. The words did not change in their objective meaning, but since I have changed, the words have changed.

And finally Forsyth says we should concern ourselves what God is up to in the text:
The third way of reading the Bible is reading it to discover the purpose and thought of God, whether it immediately edify us or whether it do not. If we did actually become aware of the will and thought of God it would edify us as nothing else could.


He then makes this brilliant observation:
I read a fine sentence the other day which puts in a condensed form what I have often preached about as the symptom of the present age: “Instead of placing themselves at the service of God most people want a God who is at their service.” These two tendencies represent in the end two different religions. The man who is exploiting God for the purposes of his own soul or for the race, has in the long run a different religion from the man who is putting his own soul and race absolutely at the disposal of the will of God in Jesus Christ.

Why the Pharaoh of Exodus is never named

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“In short, Pharaoh is the very picture of man in rebellion against God. He resented God’s people, rejected God’s promises, and resisted God’s plan. Given his proud opposition, it is not surprising that we are never told his name. He is called “the king of Egypt,” or simply “Pharaoh.” The omission of Pharaoh’s name is theologically significant. James Hoffmeier writes: “The absence of the pharaoh’s name may ultimately be for theological reasons, because the Bible is not trying to answer the question ‘who is the pharaoh of the exodus’ to satisfy the curiosity of modern historians; rather, it was seeking to clarify for Israel who was the God of the exodus.”3 The Pharaoh of Egypt was not a private individual; rather, he represented the entire nation of Egypt, including their gods. To be specific, Pharaoh claimed to be the incarnate Son of Re — the sun god — who was the primary deity in the Egyptian pantheon. This means that the struggle between Israel and Egypt was not about politics but about religion.”

Excerpt From
Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory
Philip Graham Ryken, R.Kent Hughes
This material may be protected by copyright.

Kuyper, Common Grace 1.17: The Two Trees

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In chapter 17, Kuyper considers the nature of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

He considers at some length the question of the trees being a symbol and the extent to whether they were given to strengthen faith and the nature of faith.

But the point which occupies the majority of this chapter concerns the dichotomy of the two trees: one tree of life, one tree of wisdom. He parallels the two trees to the two aspects of human life, a physical life and an intellectual or spiritual life.

The tree of life – in Paradise – would have stood as a pointer to an eternal life, which we will obtain in the New Earth. But in Paradise, Adam still needed to eat and sustain life. But there is a promise of something more than the maintenance of life.

The tree of knowledge was to provide another sort of good.

He here makes some fascinating observations. The pair in the Garden were expected to desire to eat from the tree to sustain their physical life. But, when it came to knowledge, they were explicitly forbidden to seek such knowledge from natural means. They were to refrain from that tree.

The knowledge which God had for them came first from refraining to take and obeying the command. They were too seek that knowledge not from the tree but from God.

Then, having fallen by their reversal of God’s instruction for the trees, they were faced with the prospect of continual physical life – should they have taken from the Tree of Life. That would have been a catastrophe beyond measure.

Where then does this leave us. Alone in the world, remembering those trees:

Today the extravagant sinner still grasps for all that nature offers him to strengthen his body weakened by sin, so that he can all the more freely indulge his appetite for sin. The urge to do this springs up of its own accord. Sin gives a feeling of weakness, also in relation to the body. And the first thing the sinner does is to seek not the welfare of his wounded soul, but the renewal of strength for his weakened body. And what then was more natural than that fallen man, feeling God’s wrath upon him and threatened in his existence, was in the first place intent on taking from the tree of life and seeking in its fruit the strengthening of his life?

This quotation reminds of how Nietzsche spoke of the “last man,” pathetic and obsessed with health:

The earth is small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea-beetle; the last man lives longest….

One is clever and knows everything that has ever happened: so there is no end of derision. One still quarrels, but one is soon reconciled—else it might spoil the digestion.

One has one’s little pleasure for the day and one’s little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.

And so the irony of our state: in seeking to be gods, we became small and weak — even the smallest strand of virus, a necklace of amino acids so small as to be incomprehensible may fell us. And we spend are small lives obsessed with health.

A comparison of Plutarch and Paul

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The brilliant moralist and essayist Plutarch (born AD 49 and thus his life overlapped with St Paul who died around 65/66 AD) raised an issue concerning a good ruler – which was also a concern of Paul: the law written on the heart. But they came to rather different conclusions on the matter:

Who then shall have power to govern a prince? The law, without doubt; which (as Pindar saith) is the king of mortal and immortal beings; which is not written without in books nor engraven on wood or stone, but is a clear reason imprinted in the heart, always residing and watching therein, and never suffering the mind to be without government. The king of Persia indeed commanded one of his lords that lay in the same chamber to attend him every morning, and to sound these words in his ears: Arise, O king! and take care of those affairs and duties that Oromasdes requires of thee. But a wise and prudent. prince hath such a monitor within his breast as always prompts and admonishes him to the same effect.

The law on the heart is a peculiar attribute of a good ruler. The law restrains the prince: it is knowledge which governs the governor. If the knowledge is present will effectively direct reason.

Paul raises the same issue of the law written on the heart in his letter to the Roman Church:

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.

15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Rom2.12-16

The law is present upon every heart. But the law does exactly govern although it does judge. The law sets up as tribunal and gives a judgment. This judgment of the law proves the law has been written on every human heart. It also acts a warning of the greater judgment to come.

This law is different than Plutarch’s version because it belongs to all – but more importantly it gives judgment but does not convey the power to conform:

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Rom3.19-20

This perhaps demonstrates the fundamental similarity and distinction between a worthy moralist such as Plutarch and Paul.

In the Bible the fault is far deeper than knowledge. Reason also does not restrain desire; and twisted desire brings madness:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Rom1.28

The prophet Jeremiah in a vivid section describes sin against known law so:

23 How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done- a restless young camel running here and there,

24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her.

Jer2.23-24

And so the Christian can not rely upon education alone because the fault is worse than ignorance.

I think history demonstrates that even the wisest rulers have made spectacularly poor decisions when driven by foolish desire. And thus the judgment for depth of treatment and accuracy of human nature go to Paul.

Arrogance and Fear of God

2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Ps10.2-4

9 And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes.
10 “Behold, the day! Behold, it comes! Your doom has come; the rod has blossomed; pride has budded.
11 Violence has grown up into a rod of wickedness. None of them shall remain, nor their abundance, nor their wealth; neither shall there be preeminence among them.

Ezek7.9-11

Arrogance cannot be avoided nor can true hope be present, unless the judgment of damnation is feared in every work.
This is clear from thesis 4. For it is impossible to hope in God unless one has despaired regarding all creatures and knows that nothing can profit oneself without God.

Martin Luther Heidelberg Disputations 11

The Wolf and the Lamb by Phaedrus

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Oskar Seyffert explains that Phaedrus was born and Macedonia and was brought to Rome as a slave. He introduced fable writing in Latin. He was set free by Augustus. But his writing did not bring him “relief from his miserable position, nor recognition on the part of the educated public; his patron seem to have bee only freedman life himself. In fact, he even drew upon himself, by first two published books, the illiill and persuetuio of the all-powerful favorite of Tiberius, Sejannus who suspected in them malicious references to contemporary events. In consequence, he did not publish the remaining books till after the fall of Sejannus in 31 A.D. and the death of Tiberius in 37.”

This first fable concerns the one who will use any excuse — even if the excuse is merely a false accusation — to destroy another.

THE WOLF AND THE LAMB

BY thirst incited; to the brook

The Wolf and Lamb themselves betook.

The Wolf high up the current drank,

The Lamb far lower down the bank.

Then, bent his ravenous maw to cram,

The Wolf took umbrage at the Lamb.

 “How dare you trouble all the flood,

And mingle my good drink with mud?”

 “Sir,” says the Lambkin, sore afraid,

 “How should I act, as you upbraid?

The thing you mention cannot be,

The stream descends from you to me.”

Abash’d by facts, says he, ” I know

 ‘Tis now exact six months ago

You strove my honest fame to blot”-

 “Six months ago, sir, I was not.”

 “Then ‘twas th’ old ram thy sire,” he cried,

And so he tore him, till he died.

To those this fable I address

Who are determined to oppress,

And trump up any false pretence,

But they will injure innocence.

And here is the Latin originals with my rough translation notes.

Lupus et agnus.

Ad rivum eundem lupus et agnus venerant

A wolf and a lamb came to a river at the same time

Siti compulsi; superior stabat lupus

Being compelled by thirst; the wolf stood above, higher up

Longeque inferior agnus. Tunc fauce improba

And further below the lamb. Then by his wicked mouth

Latro incitatus iurgii causam intulit.

He barked his cause to fight. 

[5] Cur, inquit, turbulentam fecisti mihi

Why, he said, are you making a mess of my

Aquam bibenti? Laniger contra timens:

Water I am drinking? The wooly one fearing

Qui possum, quaeso, facere, quod quereris, lupe?

What ability, I beg, to to that of which you complain wolf?

A te decurrit ad meos haustus liquor.

From you it flows down to me this water to drink.

Repulsus ille veritatis viribus:

Set back by the power of this true

[10] Ante hos sex menses male, ait, dixisti mihi.

After six bad months you say this to me?

Respondit agnus: Equidem natus non eram.

The lamb responded, truly was I not at that time.

Pater hercle tuus, ille inquit, male dixit mihi.

By Hercules, your father he said the evil to me.

Atque ita correptum lacerat iniusta nece.

And then he quickly, unjustly tore him to pieces.

Haec propter illos scripta est homines fabula,

For such people I wrote these fables.

[15] Qui fictis causis innocentes opprimunt.

Who fashion a charge against the innocent.

Kuyper Common Grace, 1.16

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Kuyper’s 16th chapter concerns two related concepts: First, he considers the duration of human life and how that has changed since the Fall. Second, he considers the question, What would have happened if Adam had not sinned.

As to the first, he notes that human life has fallen off significantly in duration and vigor since the time of the Patriarchs. A matter unknown to Kuyper is that recent genetics research has demonstrated that human life has in fact degenerated.

The work of John Sanford on this point has been remarkable. He has coined the term “genetic entropy”. In short, as genetic material is duplicated (which is necessary for both our own continued existence and for the continuation of the species) it accumulates errors:

What is Genetic Entropy?  It is the genetic degeneration of living things.  Genetic entropy is the systematic breakdown of the internal biological information systems that make life alive.  Genetic entropy results from genetic mutations, which are typographical errors in the programming of life (life’s instruction manuals). Mutations systematically erode the information that encodes life’s many essential functions.” 

And thus as we have continued on, rather than becoming stronger, we become weaker as individuals and as a species. That our life expectancy has decayed is simply a matter to be expected.

Lest one think that this is merely cherry picked creationist reading of the evidence I proffer, “That Classic Image Everyone Uses to Illustrate Evolution Is Actually Wrong” published on sciencealert.com, March 8, 2020:

Yet this is one of the most predominant and frustrating misconceptions about evolution. Many successful branches of the tree of life have stayed simple, such as bacteria, or have reduced their complexity, such as parasites. And they are doing very well.

In a recent study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, we compared the complete genomes of over 100 organisms (mostly animals), to study how the animal kingdom has evolved at the genetic level.

Our results show that the origins of major groups of animals, such as the one comprising humans, are linked not to the addition of new genes but to massive gene losses.

This loss of information results in a degradation of human life. This degradation was not the original plan, but came in as the result of sin. Rom. 5:12.

What then would have happened had Adam not sinned? Perhaps he would not have died, but was the Garden simply the beginning and the end of the story of humans. Kuyper argues for a progress based upon a comparison of the Garden and what God has prepared for humanity in its culmination.

He notes the mutability of humanity and the possibility of sin which exists at the time of creation and Adam’s existence in the Garden. This is apparent from the fact of a test and a fall. This contrasted with the Kingdom to come, where “not only is there no sin, but any entering of sin is utterly inconceivable.

Along this same axis of comparison, he notes that Paradise could be lost, but the eternal Kingdom will not fail; human nature could be corrupted in the Garden, but it will be established upon a sure foundation in the kingdom to come.

From this we can conclude that Garden, though very good was not the permanent condition.

Some observations on a paragraph from Addison

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Here is a paragraph from Richard Addison

Thus I live in the World, rather as a Spectator of Mankind, than as one of the Species; by which means I have made my self a Speculative Statesman, Soldier, Merchant, and Artizan, without ever medling with any Practical Part in Life. I am very well versed in the Theory of an Husband, or a Father, and can discern the Errors in the Oeconomy, Business, and Diversion of others, better than those who are engaged in them; as Standers-by discover Blots, which are apt to escape those who are in the Game. I never espoused any Party with Violence, and am resolved to observe an exact Neutrality between the Whigs and Tories , unless I shall be forcd to declare myself by the Hostilities of either side. In short, I have acted in all the parts of my Life as a Looker-on, which is the Character I intend to preserve in this Paper.

There are so many wonderful things about this quotation Addison in the first number of The Spectator March 1711

Consider

Thus I live in the World,

rather as a Spectator of Mankind,

than as one of the Species;

The “rather” sets an anticipated contrast. Contemporary style is for the immediate comparison. We would “rather than”, but here Addison breaks the contrast into two balanced clauses with an anticipation of the contrast. Notice also that the “s” of “species” recounts the “s” of “spectator”. The contrast begins with spectator and ends with species. The rhythm, sense, and sound all work together.

He gets the added benefit of “spectator” being the name of the paper for which Addison was writing.

Notice how he continues with the alliteration on the “s”

by which means

I have made my self

a Speculative Statesman,

Soldier,

This is a matter of taste and I cannot think of any certain rule, because he stops after self, speculative (which harkens back to spectator), statesman, and soldier. There is a ambiguity in the sense, because what is a spectator soldier – a speculative statesman is anyone of the bores on social media shouting an opinion without any real authority.

Notice what he does here with the sounds:

Merchant,

and Artizan,

without ever medling with any Practical Part in Life.

The m of merchant and meddling, artisan and any, which creates a patterned echo.

The “and” before artisan draws the list to a close.

The final life then breaks up the proceeding patterns of sound

With the Practical Part in Life.”

The concept is silly in their is no spectator merchant or soldier or artisan – unless he never acts.

We now come to the professional pundit:

I am very well versed in the Theory of an Husband, or a Father, and can discern the Errors in the Oeconomy, Business, and Diversion of others,

He does nothing but knows what is wrong with everything. This is the status of the internet: because he does not merely observe, but he also knows why everyone who is leading an actual life is doing the wrong thing.

The charm of Addison’s point of view is that it is ironic and detached without being unkind. In fact in this lovely prose, he is teasing only himself.

Thus there is a patterned irony: he is posing as a gadfly who is weirdly without the ability to see his own deficiency as he promises to critique others.

But the entire the standing is a pose which the real author is mocking.

This playful position itself comes in an essay where he is promising to tell the truth about his status as an author. The essay begins with the promise

I HAVE observed, that a Reader seldom peruses a Book with Pleasure ’till he knows whether the Writer of it be a black or a fair Man, of a mild or cholerick Disposition, Married or a Batchelor, with other Particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right Understanding of an Author. To gratify this Curiosity, which is so natural to a Reader, I design this Paper, and my next, as Prefatory Discourses to my following Writings, and shall give some Account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this Work. As the chief trouble of Compiling, Digesting, and Correcting will fall to my Share, I must do myself the Justice to open the Work with my own History.