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learning to be better heard, without the interruption of tacit objections; I think good to deliver it from the discredits and disgraces which it hath received, all from ignorance, but ignorance severally disguised; appearing sometimes in the zeal and jealousy of divines; sometimes in the severity and arrogancy of politicians; and sometimes in the errors and imperfections of learned men themselves.
I hear the former sort say, that knowledge is of those things which are to be accepted of with great limitation and caution; that the aspiring to overmuch knowledge, was the original temptation and sin, whereupon ensued the fall of man; that knowledge hath in it somewhat of the serpent, and therefore where it entereth into a man it makes him swell; "Scientia inflat:" that Solomon gives a censure, "That there is no end of making books, and that much reading is a weariness of the flesh;" and again in another place, "That in spacious knowledge there is much contristation, and that he that increaseth knowledge increaseth anxiety;" that St. Paul gives a caveat, "That we be not spoiled through vain philosophy;" that experience demonstrates how learned men have been arch-heretics, how learned times have been in
there seemeth to be no less contention between the | the way, and, as it were, to make silence, to have excellency of your majesty's gifts of nature, and the true testimonies concerning the dignity of the universality and perfection of your learning. For I am well assured that this which I shall say is no amplification at all, but a positive and measured truth; which is, that there hath not been since Christ's time any king or temporal monarch, which has been so learned in all literature and erudition, divine and human. For let a man seriously and diligently revolve and peruse the succession of the emperors of Rome; of which Cæsar the dictator, who lived some years before Christ, and Marcus Antonius, were the best learned; and so descend to the emperors of Græcia, or of the West; and then to the lines of France, Spain, England, Scotland, and the rest, and he shall find this judgment is truly made. For it seemeth much in a king, if, by the compendious extractions of other men's wits and labours, he can take hold of any superficial ornaments and shows of learning; or if he countenance and prefer learning and learned men but to drink indeed of the true fountains of learning, nay, to have such a fountain of learning in himself, in a king, and in a king born, is almost a miracle. And the mare, because there 1 is met in your majesty a rare conjunction, as well of divine and sacred literature, as of profane and human; so as your majesty standeth invested of that triplicity, which in great veneration was as-clined to atheism, and how the contemplation of cribed to the ancient Hermes the power and fortune of a king, the knowledge and illumination of a priest, and the learning and universality of a philosopher. This propriety, inherent and individual attribute in your majesty, deserveth to be expressed not only in the fame and admiration of the present time, nor in the history or tradition of the ages succeeding; but also in some solid work, fixed memorial, and immortal monument, bearing a character or signature both of the power of a king, and the difference and perfection of such a king.
Therefore I did conclude with myself, that I could not make unto your majesty a better oblation, than of some treatise tending to that end, whereof the sum will consist of these two parts; the former, concerning the excellency of learning and knowledge, and the excellency of the merit and true glory in the augmentation and propagation thereof the latter, what the particular acts and works are, which have been embraced and undertaken for the advancement of learning; and again, what defects and undervalues I find in such particular acts: to the end, that though I cannot positively or affirmatively advise your majesty, or propound unto you framed particulars; yet I may excite your princely cogitations to visit the excellent treasure of your own mind, and thence to extract particulars for this purpose, agreeable to your magnanimity and wisdom.
second causes doth derogate from our dependence upon God, who is the first cause.
To discover then the ignorance and error of this opinion, and the misunderstanding in the grounds thereof, it may well appear these men do not observe or consider, that it was not the pure knowledge of nature and universality, a knowledge by the light whereof man did give names unto other creatures in Paradise, as they were brought before him, according unto their proprieties, which gave the occasion to the fall; but it was the proud knowledge of good and evil, with an intent in man to give law unto himself, and to depend no more upon God's commandments, which was the form of the temptation. Neither is it any quantity of knowledge, how great soever, that can make the mind of man to swell; for nothing can fill, much less extend the soul of man, but God and the contemplation of God; and therefore Solomon speaking of the two principal senses of inquisition, the eye and the ear, affirmeth that the eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing; and if there be no fulness, then is the continent greater than the content: so of knowledge itself, and the mind of man, whereto the senses are but reporters, he defiineth likewise in these words, placed after that calendar or ephemerides, which he maketh of the diversities of times and seasons for all actions and purposes; and concludeth thus: "God hath made all things beautiful, or decent, in the true return of their sea
IN the entrance to the former of these, to clear sons: Also he hath placed the world in man's
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heart, yet cannot man find out the work which | forget our mortality. The second, that we make
ing. The third, that we do not presume by the
the other to the Grecians; "Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento, Hæ tibi erunt artes, &c." So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, laid it as an article of charge and accusation against him, that he did, with the variety and power of his discourses and disputations, withdraw young men from due reverence to the laws and customs of their country: and that he did profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which was, to make the worse matter seem the better, and to suppress truth by force of eloquence and speech.
towards God; and nothing else but to offer to | so much renowned, attributing and challenging the Author of truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie. the one to the Romans, and leaving and yielding But farther, it is an assured truth, and a conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism, but a farther proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion; for in the entrance of philosophy, when the second causes, which are next unto the senses, do offer themselves to the mind of man, if it dwell and stay there, it may induce some oblivion of the highest cause; but when a man passeth on farther, and seeth the dependence of causes, and the works of Providence; then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily believe that But these, and the like imputations, have rather the highest link of nature's chain must needs be a countenance of gravity, than any ground of justied to the foot of Jupiter's chair. To conclude tice: for experience doth warrant, that both in therefore, let no man, upon a weak conceit of so-persons and in times, there hath been a meeting briety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both; only let men beware that they apply both to charity, and not to swelling; to use, and not to ostentation; and again, that|man had rather call for scholars that were great they do not unwisely mingle or confound these learnings together.
and concurrence in learning and arms, flourishing and excelling in the same men and the same ages. For, as for men, there cannot be a better, nor the like instance, as of that pair, Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar the dictator; whereof the one was Aristotle's scholar in philosophy, and the other was Cicero's rival in eloquence or if any
Rome, the same times that are most renowned for arms, are likewise most admired for learning; so that the greatest authors and philosophers, and the greatest captains and governors, have lived in the same ages. Neither can it otherwise be for as, in man, the ripeness of strength of the body and mind cometh much about an age, save that the strength of the body cometh somewhat the more early; so in states, arms, and learning, whereof the one correspondeth to the body, the other to the soul of man, have a concurrence or near sequence in times.
generals, than generals that were great scholars, let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or XenoAnd as for the disgraces which learning receiv- phon the Athenian; whereof the one was the first eth from politicians, they be of this nature; 'that that abated the power of Sparta, and the other learning doth saften men's minds, and makes was the first that made way to the overthrow of them more unapt for the honour and exercise of the monarchy of Persia. And this concurrence is arms; that it doth mar and pervert men's dispo-yet more visible in times than in persons, by how sitions for matter of government and policy; in much an age is a greater object than a man. For making them too curious and irresolute by variety | both in Ægypt, Assyria, Persia, Græcia, and of reading; or too peremptory or positive by strictness of rules and axioms; or too immoderate and overweening by reason of the greatness of examples; or too incompatible and differing from the times by reason of the dissimilitude of examples; or at least, that it doth, divert men's travails from action and business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth bring into states a relaxation. of discipline, whilst every man is more ready to argue, than obey and execute. Out of this conceit, Cato, surnamed the Censor, one of the wisest men indeed that ever lived, when Carneades the philosopher came in embas- And for matter of policy and government, that sage to Rome, and that the young men of Rome learning should rather hurt, than enable thereunto, began to flock about him, being allured with the is a thing very improbable: we see it is accountsweetness and majesty of his eloquence and learn-ed an error to commit a natural body to empiric ing, gave counsel in open senate, that they should physicians, which commonly have a few pleasing give him his despatch with all speed, lest he receipts, whereupon they are confident and advenshould infect and enchant the minds and affections turous, but know neither the causes of diseases, of the youth, and at unawares bring in an altera-nor the complexion of patients, nor the peril of tion of the manners and customs of the state. Out accidents, nor the true method of cures : we see of the same conceit, or humour, did Virgil, turning his pen to the advantage of his country, and the disadvantage of his own profession, make a kind of separation between policy and government, and between arts and sciences, in the verses
it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers, which are only men of practice, and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily surprised, when matter falleth out besides their experience, to the prejudice of the causes
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every of them greater strength of medicine or re-
they handle: so, by like reason, it cannot be but | ment, which learning is pretended to insinuate; a matter of doubtful consequence, if states be if it be granted that any such thing be, it must be managed by empiric statesmen, not well mingled remembered withal, that learning ministereth in with men grounded in learning. But contrariwise, it is almost without instance contradictory, that ever any government was disastrous that was in the hands of learned governors. For howsoever it hath been ordinary with politic men to extenuate and disable learned men by the names of pedants; yet in the records of time it appeareth, in many particulars, that the governments of princes in minority (notwithstanding the infinite disadvantage of that kind of state) have nevertheless excelled the government of princes of mature age, even for that reason which they seek to traduce, which is, that by that occasion the state hath been in the hands of pedants: for so was the state of Rome for the first five years, which are so much magnified, during the minority of Nero, in the hands of Seneca, a pedant: so it was again for ten years' space or more, during the minority of Gordianus the younger, with great applause and contentation in the hands of Misitheus, a pedant: so it was before that, in the minority of Alexander Severus, in like happiness, in hands not much unlike, by reason of the rule of the women, who were aided by the teachers and preceptors. Nay, let a man look into the government of the bishops of Rome, as by name, into the government of Pius Quintus, and Sextus Quintus, in our times, who were both at their entrance esteemed but as pedantical friars, and he shall find that such popes do greater things, and proceed upon truer principles of estate, than those which have ascended to the papacy from an education and breeding in affairs of estate and courts of princes; for although men bred in learning are perhaps to seek in points of convenience, and accommodating for the present, which the Italians call "ragioni di stato," whereof the same Pius Quintus could not hear spoken with patience, terming them inventions against religion and the moral virtues; but on the other side, to recompence that, they are perfect in those same plain grounds of religion, justice, honour, and moral virtue, which, if they be well and watchfully pursued, there will be seldom use of those other, no more than of physic in a sound or well-dieted body. Neither can the experience of one man's life furnish examples and precedents for the events of one man's life: for, as it happeneth sometimes that the grandchild, or other descendant, resembleth the ancestor more than the son; so many times occurrences of present times may sort better with ancient examples, than with those of the latter or immediate times and lastly, the wit of one man can no more countervail learning, than one man's means can hold way with a common purse.
And as for those particular seducements, or indispositions of the mind for policy and govern
And for the conceit, that learning should dispose men to leisure and privateness, and make men slothful; it were a strange thing if that which accustometh the mind to a perpetual motion and agitation should induce slothfulness; whereas contrariwise it may be truly affirmed, that no kind of men love business for itself, but those that are learned; for other persons love it for profit, as an hireling, that loves the work for the wages; or for honour, as because it beareth them up in the eyes of men, and refresheth their reputation, which otherwise would wear; or because it putteth them in mind of their fortune, and giveth them occasion to pleasure and displeasure; or because it exerciseth some faculty wherein they take pride, and so entertaineth them in good humour and pleasing conceits toward themselves; or because it advanceth any other their ends. So that, as it is said of untrue valours, that some men's valours are in the eyes of them that look on; so such men's industries are in the eyes of others, or at least in regard of their own designments: only learned men love business, as an action according to nature, as agreeable to health of mind, as exercise is to health of body, taking pleasure in the action itself, and not in the purchase; so that of all men they are the most indefatigable, if it be
towards any business which can hold or detain | art of empire, and leaving to others the arts of their mind.
And if any man be laborious in reading and study, and yet idle in business and action, it groweth from some weakness of body or softness of spirit; such as Seneca speaketh of: "Quidam tam sunt umbratiles, ut putent in turbido esse quicquid in luce est ;" and not of learning: well may it be, that such a point of a man's nature may make him give himself to learning, but it is not learning that breedeth any such point in his
subjects; yet so much is manifest, that the Romans never ascended to that height of empire, till the time they had ascended to the height of other arts. For in the time of the two first Cæsars, which had the art of government in greatest perfection, there lived the best poet, Virgilius Maro; the best historiographer, Titus Livius; the best antiquary, Marcus Varro; and the best, or second orator, Marcus Cicero, that to the memory of man are known. As for the accusation of Socrates, the time must be remembered when it was prosecuted; which was under the thirty tyrants, the most base, bloody, and envious persons that have governed; which revolutions of state was no sooner over, but Socrates, whom they had made a person criminal, was made a person heroical, and his memory accumulate with honours divine and human; and those discourses of his, which were then termed corrupting of manners, were afterwards acknowledged for sovereign medicines of the mind and manners, and so have been received ever since till this day. Let this therefore serve for answer to politicians, which in their humorous severity, or in their feigned gravity, have presumed to throw imputations upon learning; which redargution, nevertheless, (save that we know not whether our labours may extend to other ages,) were not needful for the present, in regard of the love and reverence towards learning, which the example and countenance of two so learned princes, Queen Elizabeth, and your majesty, being as Castor and Pollux, “lucida sidera," stars of excellent light and most benign influence, hath wrought in all men of place and authority in our nation.
And that learning should take up too much time or leisure: I answer; the most active or busy man that hath been or can be, hath, no question, many vacant times of leisure, while he expecteth the tides and returns of business, (except he be either tedious and of no despatch, or lightly and unworthily ambitious to meddle in things that may be better done by others :) and then the question is, but how those spaces and times of leisure shall be filled and spent; whether in pleasures or in studies; as was well answered by Demosthenes to his adversary Eschines, that was a man given to pleasure, and told him that his orations did smell of the lamp: “Indeed,” said Demosthenes, "there is a great difference between the things that you and I do by lamp-light." So as no man need doubt that learning will expulse business; but rather it will keep and defend the possession of the mind against idleness and pleasure, which otherwise at unawares may enter, to the prejudice of both. Again, for that other conceit, that learning should undermine the reverence of laws and government, it is assuredly a mere depravation and calumny, without all shadow of truth. For to say, that a blind custom of obedience should Now therefore we come to that third sort of disbe a surer obligation than duty taught and under-credit or diminution of credit, that groweth unto stood; it is to affirm, that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a seeing man can by a light. And it is without all controversy, that learning doth make the minds of men gentle, generous, maniable, and pliant to government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwart ing, and mutinous; and the evidence of time doth clear this assertion, considering that the most barbarous, rude, and unlearned times have been most subject to tumults, seditions, and changes.
And as to the judgment of Cato the Censor, he was well punished for his blasphemy against learning in the same kind wherein he offended; for when he was past threescore years old, he was taken with an extreme desire to go to school again, and to learn the Greek tongue, to the end to peruse the Greek authors; which doth well demonstrate, that his former censure of the Grecian learning was rather an affected gravity, than according to the inward sense of his own opinion. And as for Virgil's verses, though it pleased him to brave the world in taking to the Romans the
learning from learned men themselves, which commonly cleaveth fastest: it is either from their fortune; or from their manners; or from the nature of their studies. For the first, it is not in their power; and the second is accidental; the third only is proper to be handled: but because we are not in hand with true measure, but with popular estimation and conceit, it is not amiss to speak somewhat of the two former. The derogations, therefore, which grow to learning from the fortune or condition of learned men, are either in respect of scarcity of means, or in respect of privateness of life, and meanness of employments.
Concerning want, and that it is the case of learned men usually to begin with little, and not to grow rich so fast as other men, by reason they convert not their labours chiefly to lucre and increase: it were good to leave the commonplace in commendation of poverty to some friar to handle, to whom much was attributed by Machiavel in this point; when he said, "That the kingdom of the clergy had been long before at an