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ness: of all men they are the most indefatigable, if it be towards any business that can detain their minds
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. 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."
1. It relaxes discipline by making men more ready to argue
than to obey
To say that a blind custom of obedience should be a surer obligation than duty taught and understood, 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, thwarting, and
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE ERRORS OF LEARNED MEN.
1. From their fortunes.
2. From their manners.
3. From the nature of their studies.
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE FORTUNES OF LEARNED MEN.
1. Learned men are poor and live in obscurity.
Learned men forgotten in states, and not living in the eyes of men, are like the images of Cassius and Brutus in the funeral of Junia: of which not being represented, as,
many others were, Tacitus saith, " Eo ipso præfulgebant,
quod nou visebantur.” 2. Learned men are engaged in mean employments as the
education of youth.
We see men are more curious what they put into a new vessel, than into a vessel seasoned ; and what would they lay about a young plant, than about a plant corroborate : so as the weakest terms and times of all things use to have the best applications and helps.
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE MANNERS OF LEARNED
1. Learned men endeavour to impose the laws of ancient
severity upon dissolute times.
Solon, when he was asked whether he had given his citizens the best laws, answered wisely, “ Yea, of such as they “ would receive;" and Plato, finding that his own heart could not agree with the corrupt manners of his country, refused to bear place or office; saying, “ That a man's
country was to be used as his parents were, that is,
“ with humble persuasions, and not with contestations." 2. Learned men prefer the public good to their own interest.
The corrupter sort of mere politicians, that have not their thoughts established by learning in the love and apprehension of duty, nor ever look abroad into uuiversality, do refer all things to themselves, and thrust themselves into the centre of the world, as if all lines should meet in them and their fortunes ; never caring, in all tempests, what becomes of the ship of state, so they may save themselves in
the cockboat of their own fortune. 3. Learned men fail sometimes in applying themselves to
The reasons of this ; 1. The largeness of their minds, which cannot descend to
He that cannot contract the sight of his mind, as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty.
2. Learned men reject from choice and judgment.
The honest and just bounds of observation, by one person upon another, extend no farther but to understand him sufficiently, whereby not to give him offence, or whereby to be able to give him faithful counsel, or whereby to stand upon reasonable guard and caution in respect of a man's self; but to be speculative into another man, to the end to know how to work him or wind him or govern him, proceedeth from a heart that is double and cloven, and not en
tire and ingenuous. 4. Learned men are negligent in their behaviour.
Learned men should not stoop to persons, although they ought to submit to occasions. (a)
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE NATURE OF THE STUDIES
OF LEARNED MEN.
DISTEMPERS OF LEARNING.
3. Delicate learning.
39 1. It is the study of words, and not of matter,
How is it possible but this should have an operation to discredit learning, even with vulgar capacities, when they see learned men's works like the first letter of a patent or limned book; which though it hath large flourishes, yet it is but a letter ? It seems to me that Pygmalion's frenzy is a good emblem or portraiture of this vanity for words are but the images of matter ; and except they have life of reason and invention, to fall in love with them is all one as to fall in love with a picture.
(a) See note (A) at the end.
2. Origin of the prevalence of delicate learning in late
39 3. Delicate learning exists more or less in all times. 37 4. Attention to style ought not to be neglected
ib. But yet, notwithstanding, it is a thing not hastily to be condemned, to clothe and adorn the obscurity, even of philosophy itself, with sensible and plausible elocution :
But the excess of this is so justly contemptible, that as Hercules, when he saw the image of Adonis, Venus' minion, in a temple, said in disdain, “ Nil sacri es ;” so there is none of Hercules' followers in learning, that is, the more severe and laborious sort of inquirers into truth, but will despise those delicacies and affectations, as indeed capable of no divineness.
Contentious Learning. 1. It is vanity of matter, useless knowledge, and is worse than vanity of words
38 As many substances in nature, which are solid, do putrify and corrupt into worms : so it is the property of good and sound knowledge, to putrify and dissolve into a number of subtle, idle, unwholesome, and, as I may term them, vermiculate questions, which have indeed a kind of quickness, and life of spirit, but no svundness of matter, or goodness of
quality. 2. Badges of false science
38 1. Novelty of terms.
2. Strictness of positions. 3. Contentious learning reigned chiefly amongst the schoolmen 38
The wit and mind of man, if it work upon matter, which is the contemplation of the creatures of God, worketh uccording to the stuff, and is limited thereby ; but if it work upon itself, as the spider worketh his web, then it is endless, and brings forth indeed cobwebs of learning, admirable for the fineness of thread and work, but of no substance or profit.
(b) See note (B) at the end.
4. Unprofitable curiosity is of two sorts :
39 1. Fruitless speculation. 2. Erroneous modes of investigation.
Were it not better for a man in a fair room to set up one great light, or branching candlestick of lights, than to go about with a small watch candle into every corner ?
The generalities of the schoolmen are for a while good and proportionable ; but then, when you descend into their distinctions and decisions, instead of a fruitful womb, for the use and benefit of man's life, they end in monstrous alter
cations and barking questions. 5. It is to be lamented that the learning of the schoolmen was so confined
41 If those schoolmen, to their great thirst of truth and unwearied travail of wit, had joined variety and universality of reading and contemplation, they had proved excellent lights, to the great advancement of all learning and knowledge; but as they are, they are great undertakers indeed, and fierce with dark keeping.
Phantastical Learning. 1. It is falsehood, and is the foulest of all the distempers of
1. In ecclesiastical history.
2. In natural history. 2. In arts and sciences.
1. In arts and sciences. Surely to alchemy this right is due, that it may be compared to the husbandman whereof Æsop 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