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matter, a great part not only untried; but noto-1 comes shortest, and time addeth and perfecteth : riously untrue, to the great derogation of the credit but in sciences the first author goeth farthest, of natural philosophy with the grave and sober and time leaseth and corrupteth. So, we see, kinds of wits: wherein the wisdom and integrity of Aristotle is worthy to be observed: that, having made so diligent and exquisite a history of living creatures, hath mingled it sparingly with any vain or feigned matter; and yet, on the other side, hath cast all prodigious narrations, which he thought worthy the recording, into one book; excellently discerning that matter of manifest truth, (such, whereupon observation and rule were to be built,) was not to be mingled or weakened with matter of doubtful credit; and yet again, that rarities and reports that seem incredible are not to be suppressed or denied to the memory of men.
artillery, sailing, printing, and the like, were grossly managed at the first, and by time accommodated and refined: but contrariwise, the philosophies and sciences of Aristotle, Plato, Democritus, Hippocrates, Euclides, Archimedes, of most vigour at the first, and by time degenerate and embased-; whereof the reason is no other, but that in the former many wits and industries have contributed in one; and in the latter many wits and industries have been spent about the wit of some one, whom many times they have rather depraved than illustrated. For as water will not ascend higher than the level of the first spring-head from whence it descendeth, so knowledge derived from Aristotle, and exempted from liberty of examination, will not rise again higher than the knowledge of Aristotle. And therefore, although the position be good, "Oportet discentem credere," yet it must be coupled with this, "Oportet edoctum judicare;" for disciples do owe unto their masters only a temporary belief, and a suspension of their own judgment until they be fully instructed, and not an absolute resignation, or perpetual captivity: and therefore, to conclude this point, I will say no more, but so let great authors have their due,
And as for the facility of credit which is yielded to arts and opinions, it is likewise of two kinds; either when too much belief is attributed to the arts themselves, or to certain authors in any art. The sciences themselves, which have had better intelligence and confederacy with the imagination of man than with his reason, are three in number; astrology, natural magic, and alchymy; of which sciences, nevertheless, the ends or pretences are noble. For astrology pretendeth to discover that correspondence or concatenation, which is between the superior globe and the inferior: natural magic pretendeth to call and reduce natural phi- as time, which is the author of authors, be not losophy from variety of speculations to the mag-deprived of his due, which is, further and further nitude of works: and alchymy pretendeth to make to discover truth. separation of all the unlike parts of bodies, which in mixtures of nature are incorporate. But the derivations and prosecutions to these ends, both in the theories and in the practices, are full of error and vanity; which the great professors themselves have sought to veil over and conceal by enigmatical writings, and refering themselves to auricular traditions and such other devices, to save the credit of impostures; and yet surely to alchymy this right is due, that it may be compared to the husbandman whereof Esop makes the fable; that, when he died, told his sons, that he had left unto them gold buried under ground in his vineyard; and they digged over all the ground, and gold they found none; but by reason of their stirring and digging the mould about the roots of their vines, they had a great vintage the year following; so assuredly the search and stir to make gold hath brought to light a great number of good and fruitful inventions and experiments, as well for the disclosing of nature, as for the use of man's life.
Thus have I gone over these three diseases of learning; besides the which, there are some other rather peccant humours than formed diseases; which nevertheless are not so secret and intrinsic, but that they fall under a popular observation and traducement, and are therefore not to be passed over.
The first of these is the extreme affecting of two extremities; the one antiquity, the other novelty: wherein it seemeth the children of time do take after the nature and malice of the father. For as he devoureth his children, so one of them seeketh to devour and suppress the other; while antiquity envieth there should be new additions, and novelty cannot be content to add, but it must deface: surely, the advice of the prophet is the true direction in this matter, "State super vias antiquas, et videte quænam sit via recta et bona, et ambulate in ea." Antiquity deserveth that reverence, that men should make a stand thereupon, and discover what is the best way; but when the discovery is well taken, then to make And as for the over much credit that hath been progression. And to speak truly, "Antiquitas given unto authors in sciences, in making them sæculi juventus mundi." These times are the dictators, that their words should stand, and not ancient times, when the world is ancient, and consuls, to give advice; the damage is infinite not those which we account ancient "ordine rethat sciences have received thereby, as the princi- trogrado," by a computation backwards from ourpal cause that hath kept them low, at a stay, with-selves.
out growth or advancement. For hence it hath Another error, induced by the former, is a discome, that in arts mechanical the first deviser trust that any thing should be now to be found
Another error hath proceeded from too great a reverence, and a kind of adoration of the mind and understanding of man: by means whereof, men have withdrawn themselves too much from the contemplation of nature, and the observations of experience, and have tumbled up and down in their own reason and conceits. Upon these intellectualists, which are, notwithstanding, commonly taken for the most sublime and divine philosophers, Heraclitus gave a just censure, saying, "Men sought truth in their own little worlds, and not in the great and common world ;" for they disdain to spell, and so by degrees to read in the volume of God's works; and contrariwise, by continual meditation and agitation of wit, do urge and as it were invocate their own spirits to divine, and give oracles unto them, whereby they are deservedly deluded.
out, which the world should have missed and | neither is it possible to discover the more remote passed over, so long time; as if the same objec- and deeper parts of any science, if you stand but tion were to be made to time that Lucian maketh upon the level of the same science, and ascend to Jupiter and other the heathen gods; of which not to a higher science. he wondereth that they begot so many children in old time, and begot none in his time; and asketh whether they were become septuagenary, or whether the law Papia, made against old men's marriages, had restrained them. So it seemeth men doubt lest time is become past children and generation; wherein, contrariwise, we see commonly the levity and inconstancy of men's judgments, which, till a matter be done, wonder that it can be done; and, as soon as it is done, wonder again that it was no sooner done: as we see in the expedition of Alexander into Asia, which at first was prejudged as a vast and impossible enterprise and yet afterwards it pleaseth Livy to make no more of it than this: "Nil aliud, quàm bene ausus est vana contemnere :" and the same happened to Columbus in the western navigation. But in intellectual matters it is much more common; as may be seen in most of the propositions of Euclid; which, till they be demonstrate, they seem strange to our assent; but being demonstrate, our mind accepteth of them by a kind of relation, (as the lawyers speak,) as if we had known them before.
Another error that hath some connexion with this latter, is, that men have used to infect their meditations, opinions, and doctrines, with some conceits which they have most admired, or some sciences which they have most applied; and given all things else a tincture according to them, Another error, that hath also some affinity with utterly untrue and improper. So hath Plato the former, is a conceit that of former opinions or intermingled his philosophy with theology, and sects, after variety and examination, the best hath Aristotle with logic; and the second school of still prevailed, and suppressed the rest; so as, if Plato, Proclus and the rest, with the mathematics. a man should begin the labour of a new search, For these were the arts which had a kind of he were but like to light upon somewhat formerly primogeniture with them severally. So have the rejected, and by rejection brought into oblivion: alchymists made a philosophy out of a few exas if the multitude, or the wisest, for the multi-periments of the furnace; and Gilbertus, our tude's sake, were not ready to give passage rather to that which is popular and superficial, than to that which is substantial and profound; for the truth is, that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or stream, which carrieth down to us that which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is weighty and solid.
countryman, hath made a philosophy out of the observations of a loadstone. So Cicero, when, reciting the several opinions of the nature of the soul, he found a musician that held the soul was but a harmony, saith pleasantly, "Hic ab arte sua non recessit," &c. But of these conceits Aristotle speaketh seriously and wisely, when he saith, Another error, of a diverse nature from all the "Qui respiciunt ad pauca, de facili pronuntiant." former, is the over early and peremptory reduction Another error is an impatience of doubt, and of knowledge into arts and methods; from which haste to assertion without due and mature sustime commonly sciences receive small or no aug-pension of judgment. For the two ways of conmentation. But as young men, when they knit templation are not unlike the two ways of action, and shape perfectly, do seldom grow to a further stature so knowledge, while it is in aphorisms and observations, it is in growth; but when it once is comprehended in exact methods, it may perchance be further polished and illustrated, and accommodated for use and practice; but it increaseth no more in bulk and substance.
Another error which doth succeed that which we Jast mentioned, is, that after the distribution of particular arts and sciences, men have abandoned universality, or "philosophia prima ;" which cannot but cease and stop all progression. For no perfect discovery can he made upon a flat or level,
commonly spoken of by the ancients; the one plain and smooth in the beginning, and in the end impassable; the other rough and troublesome in the entrance, but after a while fair and even: so it is in contemplation; if a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.
Another error is in the manner of the tradition and delivery of knowledge, which is for the most part magistral and peremptory, and not ingenuous and faithful; in a sort as may be soonest believed, and not easiliest examined. It is true, that in
converse upon the earth; that is, to leave natural philosophy aside, and to apply knowledge only to manners and policy. But as both heaven and earth do conspire and contribute to the use and benefit of man; so the end ought to be, from both philosophies to separate and reject vain speculations, and whatsoever is empty and void, and to preserve and augment whatsoever is solid and fruitful: that knowledge may not be, as a courtesan, for pleasure and vanity only, or as a bond-woman, to acquire and gain to her master's use; but as a spouse, for generation, fruit, and comfort.
Other errors there are in the scope that men propound to themselves, whereunto they bend their endeavours; for whereas the more constant Thus have I described and opened, as by a kind and devoted kind of professors of any science of dissection, those peccant humours, (the prinought to propound to themselves to make some|cipal of them,) which have not only given impeadditions to their science, they convert their labours to aspire to certain second prizes: as to be a profound interpreter or commentor, to be a sharp champion or defender, to be a methodical com-membered, "Fidelia vulnera amantis, sed dolosa pounder or abridger, and so the patrimony of knowledge cometh to be sometimes improved, but seldom augmented.
diment to the proficience of learning, but have given also occasion to the traducement thereof: wherein if I have been too plain, it must be re
oscula malignantis." This, I think, I have gained, that I ought to be the better believed in that which I shall say pertaining to commendation; because I have proceeded so freely in that which concerneth censure. And yet I have no purpose to enter into a laudative of learning, or to make a hymn to the muses; (though I am of opinion that it is long since their rites were duly celebrated :) but my intent is, without varnish or amplification, justly to weigh the dignity of knowledge in the balance with other things, to take the true value thereof by testimonies and arguments divine and human.
But the greatest error of all the rest, is the mistaking or misplacing of the last or furthest end of knowledge: for men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession: and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit First, therefore, let us seek the dignity of knowand use of men: as if there were sought in knowledge in the archetype or first platform, which is ledge a couch, whereupon to rest a searching in the attributes and acts of God, as far as they and restless spirit; or a tarrasse for a wandering are revealed to man, and may be observed with and variable mind to walk up and down with a sobriety; wherein we may not seek it by the fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud name of learning; for all learning is knowledge mind to raise itself upon; or a fort or command- acquired, and all knowledge in God is original: ing ground, for strife and contention; or a shop, and therefore we must look for it by another for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse, for name, that of wisdom or sapience, as the Scripthe glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's tures call it. estate. But this is that which will indeed dignify It is so then, that in the work of the creation and exalt knowledge, if contemplation and action we see a double emanation of virtue from God; may be more nearly and straitly conjoined and the one referring more properly to power, the united together than they have been; a conjunc- other to wisdom; the one expressed in making tion like unto that of the two highest planets, the subsistence of the matter, and the other in Saturn, the planet of rest and contemplation, and disposing the beauty of the form. This being Jupiter, the planet of civil society and action: how-supposed, it is to be observed, that for any thing beit, I do not mean, when I speak of use and action, that end before mentioned of the applying of knowledge to lucre and profession; for I am not ignorant how much that diverteth and interrupteth the prosecution and advancement of knowledge, like unto the golden ball thrown before Atalanta, which while she goeth aside and stoopeth to take up, the race is hindered;
"Declinat cursus, aurumque volubile tollit." Neither is my meaning, as was spoken of Socrates, to call philosophy down from heaven to
which appeareth in the history of the creation, the confused mass and matter of heaven and earth was made in a moment; and the order and disposition of that chaos or mass was the work of six days; such a note of difference it pleased God to put upon the works of power, and the works of wisdom; wherewith concurreth, that in the former it is not set down that God said, "Let there be heaven and earth," as it is set down of the works following; but actually, that God made heaven and earth: the one carrying the style of a manu facture, and the other of a law, decree, or counsel
of music and works in metal. In the age after the flood, the first great judgment of God upon the ambition of man was the confusion of tongues; whereby the open trade and intercourse of learning and knowledge was chiefly embarred.
To proceed to that which is next in order from (tered and registered, have vouchsafed to mention God to spirits. We find, as far as credit is to be and honour the name of the inventors and authors given to the celestial hierachy of that supposed Dionysius the senator of Athens, the first place or degree is given to the angels of love, which are termed Seraphim; the second to the angels of light, which are termed Cherubim; and the third, and so following places, to thrones, principalities, and the rest, which are all angels of power and ministry; so as the angels of knowledge and illumination are placed before the angels of office and domination.
To descend from spirits and intellectual forms to sensible and material forms; we read the first form that was created was light, which hath a relation and correspondence in nature and corporal things to knowledge in spirits and incorporal things.
So in the distribution of days, we see, the day wherein God did rest, and contemplate his own works, was blessed above all the days wherein he did effect and accomplish them.
After the creation was finished, it is set down unto us, that man was placed in the garden to work therein; which work, so appointed to him, could be no other than work of contemplation; that is, when the end of work is but for exercise and experiment, not for necessity; for there being then no reluctation of the creature, nor sweat of the brow, man's employment must of consequence have been matter of delight in the experiment, and not matter of labour for the use. Again, the first acts which man performed in Paradise consisted of the two summary parts of knowledge; the view of creatures, and the imposition of names. As for the knowledge which induced the fall, it was, as was touched before, not the natural knowledge of creatures, but the moral knowledge of good and evil; wherein the supposition was, that God's commandments or prohibitions were not the originals of good and evil, but that they had other beginnings, which man aspired to know; to the end to make a total defection from. God, and to depend wholly upon himself.
To descend to Moses the lawgiver, and God's first pen: he is adorned by the Scriptures with this addition and commendation, that he was "seen in all the learning of the Egyptians;" which nation, we know, was one of the most ancient schools of the world: for so Plato brings in the Egyptian priest saying unto Solon: "You Grecians are ever children; you have no knowledge of antiquity, nor antiquity of knowledge.” Take a view of the ceremonial law of Moses; you shall find, besides the prefiguration of Christ, the badge of difference of the people of God, the exercise and impression of obedience, and other divine uses and fruits thereof, that some of the most learned rabbins have travelled profitably and profoundly to observe, some of them a natural, some of them a moral sense, or reduction of many of the ceremonies and ordinances. As in the law of the leprosy, where it is said, "If the whiteness have overspread the flesh, the patient may pass abroad for clean; but if there be any whole flesh remaining, he is to be shut up for unclean;" one of them noteth a principle of nature, that putrefaction is more contagious before maturity than after: and another noteth a position of moral philosophy, that men abandoned to vice, do not so much corrupt manners, as those that are half-good and half-evil. So in this and very many other places in that law, there is to be found, besides the theological sense, much aspersion of philosophy.
So likewise in that excellent book of Job, if it be revolved with diligence, it will be found pregnant and swelling with natural philosophy; as for example, cosmography, and the roundness of the world, "Qui extendit aquilonem super vacuum, et appendit terram super nihilum;" wherein the pensileness of the earth, the pole of the north, and the finiteness or convexity of heaven are manifestly touched: so again, matter of astronomy; "Spiritus ejus ornavit cœlos, et obstetricante manu ejus eductus est Coluber tortuosus." And in another place; “Nunquid conjungere valebis micantes stellas Pleiadas, aut gyrum Arcturi poteris dissipare ?" Where the fixing of the stars, ever standing at equal distance, is with great elegancy noted. And in another place; "Qui facit Arcturum, et Oriona, et Hyadas, et interiora Austri ;" where again he takes know
To pass on in the first event or occurrence after the fall of man, we see, (as the Scriptures have infinite mysteries, not violating at all the truth of the story or letter,) an image of the two estates, the contemplative state and the active state, figured in the two persons of Abel and Cain, and in the two simplest and most primitive trades of life; that of the shepherd, (who, by reason of his leisure, rest in a place, and living in view of heaven, is a lively image of a contemplative life,) and that of the husbandman: where we see again the favour and election of God | ledge of the depression of the southern pole, callwent to the shepherd, and not to the tiller of the ground.
So in the age before the flood, the holy records within those few memorials which are there en
ing it the secrets of the south, because the southern stars were in that climate unseen. Matter of generation; "Annon sicut lac mulsisti me, et sicut caseum coagulasti me?" &c. Matter of
minerals; "Habet argentum venarum suarum principia: et auro locus est in quo conflatur, ferrum de terra tollitur, et lapis solutus calore in æs vertitur:" and so forwards in that chapter.
ercises of learning, was esteemed and accounted a more pernicious engine and machination against the Christian faith, than were all the sanguinary prosecutions of his predecessors: neither could the emulation and jealousy of Gregory the First of that name, bishop of Rome, ever obtain the opinion of piety or devotion; but contrariwise received the censure of humour, malignity, and pusillanimity, even amongst holy men; in that he designed to obliterate and extinguish the memory of heathen antiquity and authors. But con
amidst the inundations of the Scythians on the one side from the north-west, and the Saracens from the east, did preserve, in the sacred lap and bosom thereof, the precious relics even of heathen learning, which otherwise had been extinguished, as if no such thing had ever been.
So likewise in the person of Solomon the king, we see the gift or endowment of wisdom and learning, both in Solomon's petition, and in God's assent thereunto, preferred before all other terrene and temporal felicity. By virtue of which grant or donative of God, Solomon became enabled, not only to write those excellent parables, or aphorisms concerning divine and moral philoso-trariwise, it was the Christian church, which, phy; but also to compile a natural history of all verdure, from the cedar upon the mountain to the moss upon the wall, (which is but a rudiment between putrefaction and an herb,) and also of all things that breathe or move. Nay, the same Solomon the king, although he excelled in the glory of treasure and magnificent buildings, of shipping and navigation, of service and attendof fame and renown, and the like, yet he maketh no claim to any of those glories, but only to the glory of inquisition of truth; for so he saith expressly, "The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of a king is to find it out;"ordained by the Divine Providence, that there as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honour than to be God's playfellows in that game; considering the great commandment of wits and means, whereby nothing needeth to be hidden from them.
Neither did the dispensation of God vary in the times after our Saviour came into the world; for our Saviour himself did first show his power to subdue ignorance, by his conference with the priests and doctors of the law, before he showed his power to subdue nature by his miracles. And the coming of the Holy Spirit was chiefly figured and expressed in the similitude and gift of tongues, which are but "vehicula scientiæ."
And we see before our eyes, that in the age of ourselves and our fathers, when it pleased God to call the church of Rome to account for their degenerate manners and ceremonies and sundry doctrines obnoxious, and framed to uphold the same abuses; at one and the same time it was
should attend withal a renovation, and new spring of all other knowledges: and, on the other side, we see the Jesuits, (who partly in themselves, and partly by the emulation and provocation of their example, have much quickened and strengthened the state of learning,) we see, I say, what notable service and reparation they have done to the Roman see.
Wherefore, to conclude this part, let it be observed, that there be two principal duties and services, besides ornament and illustration, which philosophy and human learning do perform to faith and religion. The one, because they are an effectual inducement to the exaltation of the glory of God: For as the Psalms and other Scriptures do often invite us to consider and magnify the great and wonderful works of God; so if we should rest only in the contemplation of the exterior of them, as they first offer themselves to our senses, we should do a like injury unto the majesty of God, as if we should judge or construe of the store of some excellent jeweller, by that only which is set out toward the street in his shop. The other, because, they minister a singular help and preservative against unbelief and error: for our Saviour saith, "You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God;" laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error; first, the Scriptures, revealing the will of God; and then the So again, we find that many of the ancient creatures expressing his power: whereof the bishops and fathers of the church were excellently latter is a key unto the former: not only opening read, and studied in all the learning of the hea- our understanding to conceive the true sense of the then; insomuch, that the edict of the Emperor Scriptures, by the general notions of reason and Julianus, whereby it was interdicted unto Chris- rules of speech; but chiefly opening our belief, tians to be admitted into schools, lectures, or ex-in drawing us into a due meditation of the omni
So in the election of those instruments, which it pleased God to use for the plantation of the faith, notwithstanding that at the first he did employ persons altogether unlearned, otherwise than by inspiration, more evidently to declare his immediate working, and to abase all human wisdom or knowledge; yet, nevertheless, that counsel of his was no sooner performed, but in the next vicissitude and succession he did send his divine truth into the world, waiting on with other learnings, as with servants or handmaids: for so we see St. Paul, who was the only learned amongst the apostles, had his pen most used in the Scriptures of the New Testament.