Shock of the New, Return of the Old

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici §6:

In Philosophy where truth seemes double-faced, there is no man more paradoxicall then my self; but in Divinity I love to keepe the road, and though not in an implicite, yet an humble faith, follow the great wheele of the Church, by which I move, not reserving any proper poles or motion from the epicycle of my own braine; by this meanes I leave no gap for Heresies, Schismes, or Errors, of which at present, I hope I shall not injure Truth, to say, I have no taint or tincture; I must confesse my greener studies have beene polluted with two or three, not any begotten in the latter Centuries, but old and obsolete, such as could never have been revived, but by such extravagant and irregular heads as mine; for indeed Heresies perish not with their Authors, but like the River Arethusa, though they lose their currents in one place, they rise up againe in another: one generall Councell is not able to extirpate one single Heresie, it may be canceld for the present, but revolution of time and the like aspects from Heaven, will restore it, when it will flourish till it be condemned againe; for as though there were a Metempsuchosis, and the soule of one man passed into another, opinions doe finde after certaine revolutions, men and mindes like those that first begat them. To see our selves againe wee neede not looke for Platoes yeare; every man is not onely himselfe; there have beene many Diogenes, and as many Timons, though but few of that name; men are lived over againe, the world is now as it was in ages past, there was none then, but there hath been some one since that parallels him, and is as it were his revived selfe.


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