“Old Bill” Suggests—
In the lifetime of Robert South (1634-1716) most of the things which are commonplace today were still impossible outside of witchcraft. All modern science, the automobile, bicycle, electric light, railroad, stocks, bonds, washing machines, were even beyond imagination. Men made goods by hand, working from dawn until dusk, and got food by scratching the ground much as they had 10,000 years before.
Yet even then, surrounded by so many barriers he couldn’t pass, the English divine said in one of his clearest and vigorous sermons, that “It is idleness that creates impossibilities, where men care not to do a thing they shelter themselves under a persuasion that is cannot be done.”
There were thousands of men in Spain more clever than Columbus. In fact, he told his ideas to all who would listen. Some may have believed him; the majority did not. But only he had enough faith and energy to put the matter to the test.