The First Temple

My Lord, that which the Royal Society needs to accomplish an entire freedom, and (by rendering their circumstances more easy) capable to subsist with honor, and to reach indeed the glorious ends of its institution, is an establishment in a more settled, appropriate, and commodious place; having hitherto (like the Tabernacle in the Wilderness) been only ambulatory for almost forty years: but Solomon built the first Temple; and what forbids us to hope, that as great a Prince may build Solomon’s House, as that great Chancellor (one of your Lordship’s learned predecessors) had designed the Plan; there being nothing in that august and noble Model impossible, or beyond the Power of Nature and learned Industry. Thus, whilst King Solomon’s Temple was consecrated to the God of Nature, and his true Worship, This may be dedicated, and set apart for the Works of Nature; delivered from those illusions and impostors, that are still endeavoring to cloud and depress the true and substantial Philosophy: A shallow and superficial Insight wherein (as that incomparable person rightly observes) having made so many Atheists; whilst a profound and thorough Penetration into her Recesses (which is the business of the Royal Society) would lead Men to the Knowledge and Admiration of the glorious Author.

John Evelyn, Sylva: A Discourse of Forest Trees, 1729

September 13, 2014