« AnteriorContinuar »
seeing all the endeavours, study, and knowledge of mankind, in whatsoever art or science, have ever been the same, as they are at this present, though full of mutabilities, according to the changes and accidental occasions of ages and countries, and clerks' dispositions, which can never be but subject to intention and remission, both in their devices and practices of their knowledge: if now we should accord in opinion with you, First, to condemn our present knowledge of doubts and incertitudes, which you confirm but by averment, without other force of argument: And then to disclaim all our axioms and maxims, and ge. neral assertions that are left by tradition from our elders to us, which, for so it is to be pretended, have passed all probations of the sharpest wits that ever were: And lastly, to devise, being now become again as it were abecedarii, by the frequent spelling of particulars to come to the notice of the true generals, and so afresh to create new principles of sciences: the end of all would be that, when we shall be dispossessed of the learning which we have, all our consequent travels will but help us in a circle to conduct us to the place from whence we set forward, and bring us to the happiness to be restored in integrum: which will require as many ages as have marched before us, to be perfectly achieved.
And this I write with no dislike of increasing our knowledge with new-found devices, which is undoubtedly a practice of high commendation, in regard of the benefit they will yield for the present; that the world hath ever been, and will assuredly for ever continue very full of such devisors, whose industry hath been very obstinate and eminent that way, and hath produced strange effects, above the reach and the hope of men's common capacities; and yet our notions and theorems have always kept in grace both with them, and with the rarest that ever were named among the learned.
By this you see to what boldness I am brought by your kindness, that if I seem to be too saucy in this contradiction, it is the opinion that I hold of disposition, and of the freedom in these cases that you your noble
will afford your special friend, that hath induced me to do it. And although I myself, like a carriers horse, cannot balk the beaten way in which I have been trained, yet such is my censure of your Cogitata, that I must tell you, to be plain, you have very much wronged yourself and the world, to smother such a treasure so long in your coffer; for though I stand well assured, for the tenor and subject of your main discourse, you are not able to impannel a substantial jury in any university that will give up a verdict to acquit you of error, yet it cannot be gainsaid, but all your treatise over doth abound with choice conceits of the present state of learning, and with so worthy contemplations of the means to procure it, as may persuade persuade any student to look more narrowly to his business, not only by aspiring to the greatest perfection of that which is now-a-days divulged in the sciences, but by diving yet deeper into, as it were, the bowels and secrets of nature, and by enforcing of the powers of his judgment and wit, to learn of St. Paul, consectari meliora dona: which course, would to God, to whisper so much in your ear, you had followed at the first, when you fell into the study of such a study as was not worthy such a student. Nevertheless being so as it is, that you are therein settled, and your country soundly served, I cannot but wish with all my heart as I do very often, that you may gain a fit reward to the full of your deserts, which I hope will come with heaps of happiness and honour.
Yours to be used and commanded,
From Fulham, Feb. 19, 1607.
ONE kind of boldness doth draw on another, insomuch as, methinks, I should offend not to signify, that before the transcript of your book be fitted for the press, it will be requisite for you to cast a censor's eye upon the stile and the elocution; which in the framing of some periods, and in divers words and phrases, will hardly go for current, if the copy brought to me be just the same that you would publish.
Rawley's XCIX. To Mr. MATTHEW, upon sending to him a part of Instauratio Magna.
I PLAINLY perceive by your affectionate writing touching my work, that one and the same thing af fecteth us both; which is the good end to which it is dedicated; for as to any ability of mine, it cannot merit that degree of approbation. For your caution for church-men and church-matters, as for any impediment it might be to the applause and celebrity of my work, it moveth me not; but as it may hinder the fruit and good which may come of a quiet and calm passage to the good port to which it is bound, I hold it a just respect; so as to fetch a fair wind I go not too far about. But the truth is, that I at all have no occasion to meet them in my way; except it be as they will needs confederate themselves with Aristotle, who, you know, is intemperately magnified by the schoolmen; and is also allied, as I take it, to the jesuits, by Faber, who was a companion of Loyola, and a great Aristotelian. I send you at this time the only part which hath any harshness; and yet I framed to myself an opinion, that whosoever allowed well of that preface, which you so much commend, will not dislike, or at least ought not to dislike, this other speech of preparation; for it is written out of the same spirit, and out of the same necessity: nay, it doth more fully lay open, that the question between me and the ancients, is not of the virtue of the race, but of the rightness of the way. And to speak truth, it is to the other but as palma to pugnus, part of the same thing more large. You conceive aright, that in this, and the other, you have commission to impart and communicate them to others according to your discretion. Other matters I write not of. Myself am like the miller of Granchester, that was wont to pray for peace amongst the willows, for while the winds blew, the wind-mills wrought, and the water-mill was less customed. So I see that controversies of religion must hinder the advancement of sciences. Let me con
clude with my perpetual wish towards yourself, that the approbation of yourself, by your own discreet and temperate carriage, may restore you to your country, and your friends to your society. And so I commend you to God's goodness.
Gray's Inn, Oct. 10, 1609.
C. To Mr. MATTHEW.
I THANK YOU for your last, and pray you to believe, of Letters
with youth, and multitude of civil businesses is wont to diminish the price, though not the delight of contemplations, yet the proceeding in that work doth gain with me upon my affection and desire, both by years and businesses. And therefore I hope, even by this, that it is well pleasing to God, from whom, and to whom, all good moves. To him I most heartily commend you.
CI. To Mr. MATTHEW.
I HEARTILY thank you for your letter of the 10th of
(a) Our author alludes to one of the dark sayings of Heraclitus, that dry light is ever the best; which in another place he thus expounds: "Certainly the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own "understanding and judgment, this being ever infused and drenched "in his affections." Stephens.
(b) This duke of Florence was named Ferdinand, of the house of Medici; whose memory Sir Henry Wotton celebrated in a letter printed in his remains, and presented to king Charles I. Piasecius, the bishop of Premista in Poland, begins his chronicle of the year 1609, with an account of his death; and sums up his character in these words: Princeps animo excelso, et omnibus politicis artibus in tantum instructus, ut in multis seculis vix æqualem habuerit. Stephens.