Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

heart, yet cannot man find out the work which | forget our mortality. The second, that we make God worketh from the beginning to the end :" declaring, not obscurely, that God hath framed the mind of man as a mirror or glass, capable of the image of the universal world, and joyful to receive the impression thereof, as the eye joyeth to receive light; and not only delighted in beholding the variety of things, and vicissitude of times, but raised also to find out and discern the ordinances and decrees, which throughout all those changes are infallibly observed. And although he doth insinuate, that the supreme or summary law of nature, which he calleth, "The work which God worketh from the beginning to the end, is not possible to be found out by man;" yet that doth not derogate from the capacity of the mind, but may be referred to the impediments, as of shortness of life, ill conjunction of labours, ill tradition of knowledge over from hand to hand, and many other inconveniences, whereunto the condition of man is subject. For that nothing parcel of the world is denied to man's inquiry and invention, he doth in another place rule over, when he saith, “The spirit of man is as the lamp of God, wherewith he searcheth the inwardness of all secrets." If then such be the capacity and receipt of the mind of man, it is manifest, that there is no danger at all in the proportion or quantity of knowledge, how large soever, lest it should make it swell or out-compass itself; no, but it is merely the quality of knowledge, which, be it in quantity more or less, if it be taken without the true corrective thereof, hath in it some nature of venom or malignity, and some effects of that venom, which is ventosity or swelling. This corrective spice, the mixture whereof maketh knowledge so sovereign, is charity, which the apostle immediately addeth to the former clause; for so he saith, "knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up;" not unlike unto that which he delivereth in another place: "If I spake," saith he, "with the tongues of men and angels, and had not charity, it were but as a tinkling cymbal;" not but that it is an excellent thing to speak with the tongues of men and angels, but because, if it be severed from charity, and not referred to the good of men and mankind, it hath rather a sounding and unworthy glory, than a meriting and substantial virtue. And as for that censure of Solomon, concerning the excess of writing and reading books, and the anxiety of spirit which redoundeth from knowledge; and that admonition of St. Paul, "That we be not seduced by vain philosophy;" let those places be rightly understood, and they do indeed excellently set forth the true bounds and limitations, whereby human knowledge is confined and circumscribed; and yet without any such contracting or coarctation, but that it may comprehend all the universal nature of things; for these limitations are three: the first, that we not so place our felicity in knowledge, as we

application of our knowledge, to give ourselves repose and contentment, and not distaste or repining. The third, that we do not presume by the contemplation of nature to attain to the mysteries of God. For, as touching the first of these, Solomon doth excellently expound himself in another place of the same book, where he saith; "I saw well that knowledge recedeth as far from ignorance as light doth from darkness; and that the wise man's eyes keep watch in his head, whereas the fool roundeth about in darkness: but withal I learned, that the same mortality involveth them both." And for the second, certain it is, there is no vexation or anxiety of mind which resulteth from knowledge, otherwise than merely by accident; for all knowledge, and wonder (which is the seed of knowledge) is an impression of pleasure in itself: but when men fall to framing conclusions out of their knowledge, applying it to their particular, and ministering to themselves thereby weak fears or vast desires, there groweth that carefulness and trouble of mind which is spoken of: for then knowledge is no more. " Lumen siccum," whereof Heraclitus the Profound said, "Lumen siccum optima anima;" but it becometh "Lumen madidum, or maceratum," being steeped and infused in the humours of the affections. And as for the third point, it deserveth to be a little stood upon, and not to be lightly passed over: for if any man shall think, by view and inquiry into these sensible and material things, to attain that light, whereby he may reveal unto himself the nature or will of God, then indeed is he spoiled by vain philosophy: for the contemplation of God's creatures and works produceth (having regard to the works and creatures themselves) knowledge; but having regard to God, no perfect knowledge, but wonder, which is broken knowledge. And therefore it was most aptly said by one of Plato's school,-" That the sense of man carrieth a resemblance with the sun, which, as we see, openeth and revealeth all the terrestrial globe; but then again it obscureth and concealeth the stars and celestial globe; so doth the sense discover natural things, but it darkeneth and shutteth up divine." And hence it is true, that it hath proceeded, that divers great learned men have been heretical, whilst they have sought to fly up to the secrets of the Deity by the waxen wings of the senses. And as for the conceit that too much knowledge should incline a man to atheism, and that the ignorance of second causes should make a more devout dependance upon God, which is the first cause; First, it is good to ask the question which Job asked of his friends; "Will you lie for God, as one man will do for another to gratify him?" For certain it is that God worketh nothing in nature but by second causes; and if they would have it otherwise believed, it is mere imposture, as it were in favour

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 conclu- the other to the Grecians; "Tu regere imperio posion of experience, that a little or superficial | pulos, Romane, memento, Hæ tibi erunt artes, &c." knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Soof man to atheism, but a farther proceeding there- crates, laid it as an article of charge and accusain doth bring the mind back again to religion; tion against him, that he did, with the variety and for in the entrance of philosophy, when the power of his discourses and disputations, withsecond causes, which are next unto the senses, draw young men from due reverence to the laws do offer themselves to the mind of man, if it dwell and customs of their country: and that he did and stay there, it may induce some oblivion of profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which the highest cause; but when a man passeth on was, to make the worse matter seem the better, farther, and seeth the dependence of causes, and and to suppress truth by force of eloquence and the works of Providence; then, according to the speech. 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 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
man had rather call for scholars that were great
generals, than generals that were great scholars,
let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or Xeno-
phon the Athenian; whereof the one was the first
that abated the power of Sparta, and the other
was the first that made way to the overthrow of
the monarchy of Persia. And this concurrence is
yet more visible in times than in persons, by how
much an age is a greater object than a man.
both in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Græcia, and

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.

And as for the disgraces which learning receiveth from politicians, they be of this nature; that iearning doth soften men's minds, and makes them more unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert men's dispositions for matter of government and policy; in making them too curious and irresolute by variety of reading; or too peremptory or positive by strict-Rome, the same times that are most renowned ness 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, turn- it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawing his pen to the advantage of his country, and yers, which are only men of practice, and not the disadvantage of his own profession, make a grounded in their books, who are many times kind of separation between policy and govern- easily surprised, when matter falleth out besides ment, and between arts and sciences, in the verses their experience, to the prejudice of the causes

disproportion, or dissimilitude of examples, it teacheth men the force of circumstances, the errors of comparisons, and all the cautions of application; so that in all these it doth rectify more effectually than it can pervert. And these medicines it conveyeth into men's minds much more

amples. For let a man look into the errors of Clement the Seventh, so livelily described by Guicciardine, who served under him, or into the errors of Cicero, painted out by his own pencil in

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 contrari- every of them greater strength of medicine or rewise, it is almost without instance contradictory, medy than it offereth cause of indisposition or that ever any government was disastrous that infirmity; for if by a secret operation, it make was in the hands of learned governors. For men perplexed and irresolute, on the other side, howsoever it hath been ordinary with politic men | by plain precept, it teacheth them when and upon to extenuate and disable learned men by the names what ground to resolve; yea, and how to carry of pedants; yet in the records of time it appear- things in suspense without prejudice, till they eth, in many particulars, that the governments of resolve; if it make men positive and regular, it princes in minority (notwithstanding the infinite teacheth them what things are in their nature disadvantage of that kind of state) have neverthe- demonstrative, and what are conjectural; and as less excelled the government of princes of mature well the use of distinctions and exceptions, as the age, even for that reason which they seek to tra-latitude of principles and rules. If it mislead by duce, 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 | forcibly by the quickness and penetration of exand 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 pre-his epistles to Atticus, and he will fly apace from ceptors. 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

being irresolute. Let him look into the errors of Phocion, and he will beware how he be obstinate or inflexible. Let him but read the fable of Ixion, and it will hold him from being vaporous or imaginative. Let him look into the errors of Cato the Second, and he will never be one of the antipodes, to tread opposite to the present world.

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 he

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


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 Æschines, 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 be a surer obligation than duty taught and understood; 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

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.

Now therefore we come to that third sort of discredit or diminution of credit, that groweth unto 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

end, if the reputation and reverence towards the popularity of opinion to measure of reason) may poverty of friars had not borne out the scandal | appear in that, we see men are more curious what of the superfluities and excesses of bishops and they put in a new vessel, than into a vessel seaprelates." So a man might say, that the felicity soned; and what mould they lay about a young and delicacy of princes and great persons had long | plant, than about a plant corroborate; so as the since turned to rudeness and barbarism, if the weakest terms and times of all things use to have poverty of learning had not kept up civility and the best applications and helps. And will you ❝ Your young honour of life: but without any such advantages, hearken to the Hebrew Rabbins ? it is worthy the observation, what a reverend and men shall see visions, and your old men shall honoured thing poverty of fortune was, for some dream dreams;" say the youth is the worthier age, ages, in the Roman state, which nevertheless was for that visions are nearer apparitions of God than a state without paradoxes: for we see what Titus dreams. And let it be noted, that howsoever the Livius saith in his introduction: "Cæterum aut condition of life of pedants hath been scorned upon me amor negotii suscepti fallit aut nulla unquam theatres, as the ape of tyranny; and that the respublica nec major, nec sanctior, nec bonis ex- modern looseness or negligence hath taken no emplis ditior fuit; nec in quam tam seræ avaritia due regard to the choice of schoolmasters and luxuriaque immigraverint; nec ubi tantus ac tam tutors; yet the ancient wisdom of the best times diu paupertati ac parsimoniæ honos fuerit." We did always make a just complaint, that states see likewise, after that the state of Rome was not were too busy with their laws, and too negligent itself, but did degenerate, how that person, that in point of education; which excellent part of took upon him to be counsellor to Julius Cæsar | ancient discipline hath been in some sort revived of after his victory, where to begin his restoration of late times by the colleges of the Jesuits; of whom, the state, maketh it of all points the most sum- although in regard of their superstition I may mary to take away the estimation of wealth: say, "quo meliores, eo deteriores;" yet in regard “Verum hæc, et omnia mala pariter cum honore of this, and some other points concerning human pecuniæ desinent: si neque magistratus, neque learning and moral matters, I may say, as Agesialia vulgo cupiendia, venalia erunt." To con- laus said to his enemy Pharnabaus, “Talis quum clude this point, as it was truly said, that "rubor sis, utinam noster esses." And thus much touchest virtutis color," though sometimes it come from ing the discredits drawn from the fortunes of vice; so it may be fitly said that "paupertas est learned men. virtutis fortuna," though sometimes it may proceed from misgovernment and accident. Surely Solo-a thing personal and individual: and no doubt mon hath pronounced it both in censure, "Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons; and in precept;"Buy the truth, and sell it not ;" and so of wisdom and knowledge: judging that means were to be spent upon learning, and not learning to be applied to means. And as for the private- But upon an attentive and indifferent review, ness, or obscureness (as it may be in vulgar esti- I for my part cannot find any disgrace to learning mation accounted) of life of contemplative men; can proceed from the manners of learned men not it is a theme so common, to extol a private life inherent to them as they are learned; except it not taxed with sensuality and sloth, in comparison be a fault (which was the supposed fault of Deand to the disadvantage of a civil life, for safety, mosthenes, Cicero, Cato the Second, Seneca, and liberty, pleasure, and dignity, or at least freedom | many more) that, because the times they read of from indignity, as no man handleth it, but handleth it well such a consonancy it hath to men's conceits in the expressing, and to men's consents in the allowing. This only I will add, that 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 non visebantur.”

And for meanness of employment, that which is most traduced to contempt is that the government of youth is commonly allotted to them; which age, because it is the age of least authority, it is transferred to the disesteeming of those employments wherein youth is conversant, and which are conversant about youth. But how unjust this traducement is (if you will reduce things from

As touching the manners of learned men, it is

there be amongst them, as in other professions, of all temperatures: but yet so as it is not without truth, which is said, that "abeunt studia in mores," studies have an influence and operation upon the manners of those that are conversant in them.

are commonly better than the times they live in, and the duties taught better than the duties practised, they contend sometimes too far to bring things to perfection, and to reduce the corruption of manners to honesty of precepts, or examples of too great height. And yet hereof they have caveats enough in their own walks. For 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, find ing 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." And Cæsar's counsellor put in the same caveat. "Non ad vetera instituta revocans quæ jampridem

« AnteriorContinuar »