xvi JOHN SELDEN'S WISDOM 155
Old Friends are best. King James used to call for his old Shoes ; they were easiest for his Feet.
Some men make it a Case of Conscience, whether a Man may have a Pigeon-house, because his Pigeons eat other Folks' Corn. But there is no such thing as Conscience in the Business; the Matter is, whether he be a Man of such Quality, that the State allows him to have a Dove-house ; if so, there's an end of the business ; his Pigeons have a right to eat where they please themselves.
Charity to Strangers is enjoin'd in the Text. By Strangers is there understood those that are not of our own Kin, Strangers to your Blood ; not those you cannot tell whence they come ; that is, be charitable to your Neighbours whom you know to be honest poor People.
Ceremony keeps up all things : 'Tis like a Penny-Glass to a rich Spirit, or some excellent Water ; without it the Water were spilt, the Spirit lost.
Of all people Ladies have no reason to cry down Ceremony, for they take themselves slighted without it. And were they not used with Ceremony, with Compliments and Addresses, with Legs and Kissing of Hands, they were the pitifullest Creatures in the World. But yet methinks to kiss their Hands after their Lips, as some do, is like little Boys, that after they eat the apple, fall to the Paring, out of a Love they have to the Apple.
Religion is like the Fashion : one Man wears his Doublet slashed, another laced, another plain ; but every Man has a Doublet. So every man has his Religion. We differ about Trimming.
Alteration of Religion is dangerous, because we know not where it will stay : 'tis like a Millstone that lies upon the top of a pair of Stairs; 'tis hard to remove it, but if once it be thrust off the first Stair, it never stays till it comes to the bottom.
We look after Religion as the Butcher did after his Knife, when he had it in his Mouth.