There Is Nothing New Under the Sun

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We went to a benefit this evening at the home of one of the British Embassy’s staff and fellow parishioner at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church. A Hungarian linguistics/history scholar gave a marvelous talk on the path to the King James Version of the Bible, now 401 years old. Afterward, one of the guests gave a reading from one of King James’ own works, a spirited attack on the growing menace that was… tobacco use. Here’s an edited snippet from A Counterblaste to Tobacco:

Do we not daily see that a man can no sooner bring over from beyond the seas any new form of apparel but that he cannot be thought a man of spirit that would not presently imitate the same, and so from hand to hand it spreads until it be practiced by all; not for any commodity that is in it, but only because it is come to be the fashion. For such is the force of that natural self-love in every one of us, and such is the corruption of envy bred in the breast of every one as we cannot be content unless we imitate every thing that our fellows do, and so prove ourselves capable of every thing whereof they are capable, like apes counterfeiting the manners of others to our own destruction. 

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