S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
The great magazine for all kinds of treasure is supposed to be the bed of the Tiber. We may be sure, when the Romans lay under the apprehensions of seeing their city sacked by a barbarous enemy, that they would take care to bestow such of their riches that way as could best bear the water.
When a man sees the prodigious pains our forefathers have been at in these barbarous buildings, one cannot but fancy what miracles of architecture they would have left us had they been instructed in the right way.
As for the observation of Machiavel, traducing Gregory the Great, that he did what in him lay to extinguish all heathen antiquities: I do not find that those zeals last long; as it appeared in the succession of Sabinian, who did revive the former antiquities.
[An antiquary] is one that has his being in this age, but his life and conversation is in the days of old. He despises the present age as an innovation, and slights the future; but has a great value for that which is past and gone, like the madman that fell in love with Cleopatra. All his curiosities take place of one another according to their seniority, and he values them not by their abilities, but their standing. He has a great veneration for words that are stricken in years and are grown so aged that they have outlived their employments . He values things wrongfully upon their antiquity, forgetting that the most modern are really the most ancient of all things in the world, like those that reckon their pounds before their shillings and pence, of which they are made up.
The volumes of antiquity, like medals, may very well serve to amuse the curious; but the works of the moderns, like the current coin of a kingdom, are much better for immediate use: the former are often prized above their intrinsic value, and kept with care; the latter seldom pass for more than they are worth, and are often subject to the merciless hands of sweating critics and clipping compilers: the works of antiquity were ever praised, those of the moderns read: the treasures of our ancestors have our esteem, and we boast the passion: those of contemporary genius engage our heart, although we blush to own it: the visits we pay the former resemble those we pay the great: the ceremony is troublesome, and yet such as we would not choose to forego: our acquaintance with modern books is like sitting with a friend; our pride is not flattered in the interview, but it gives more internal satisfaction.
Considering the casualties of wars, transmigrations, especially that of the general flood, there might probably be an obliteration of all those monuments of antiquity that ages precedent at some time have yielded.
Antiquity, what is it else (God only excepted) but mans authority born some ages before us? Now, for the truth of things, time makes no alteration; things are still the same they are, let the time be past, present, or to come. Those things which we reverence for antiquity, what were they at their first birth? Were they false?time cannot make them true. Were they true?time cannot make them more true. The circumstance, therefore, of time, in respect of truth and error is merely impertinent.
John Hales, the Ever-Memorable: Of Inquiry and Private Judgment in Religion.