|Title:||Printed Pamphlet, 'A Reformation Of Schooles', Johann Amos Comenius|
|Ref:||Selection of text (pp. 1-60)|
|Notes:||Published by Samuel Hartlib. English translation of 'Pansophiæ Prodromus' (1639). Full text comprises: A Reformation of Schools by Johann Amos Comenius (pp. 1-60); A Dilvcidation, Answering Certaine Obiections, Made Against the...foregoing Discourse by Johann Amos Comenius (pp. 63-94: not included here). MS copy of title page by Hartlib at 15/1/12A-B. [HDC list of The Publications of Samuel Hartlib, Turnbull: No.8]|
The Hartlib Papers
[Long-Title and Bibliographical description:]
Comenius, John Amos
ST: A reformation of schooles.
Wing Number: C5529 Wing Microfilm: 528.7
[within an ornamental frame, 176x120mm.]
A | REFORMATION | OF | SCHOOLES, | DESIGNED IN | two excellent Treatises: | The first whereof Summarily sheweth, | The great necessity of a generall Reformation of | Common Learning. | What grounds of hope there are for such a Reformation. | How it may be brought to passe. | The second answers certaine objections ordinarily | made against such undertakings. and describes the severall | Parts and Titles of Workes which are shortly to follow. | [ornamental rule] | Written many years agoe in Latine by that | Revernd, Godly, Learned and famous Divine | Mr. JOHN AMOS COMENIUS one of the Seniours of the exiled Church of Moravia: | And now upon the request of many translated into English, and | published by Samuel Hartlib, for the generall good of this Nation. | [ornamental rule] | LONDON, | Printed for MICHAEL SPARKE senior, at the | Blew Bible in Grenne Arbor, 1642.
4o A-M4; [$3 (-A1) signed]; 48 leaves
pp.  1-60 [61 -62] 63-94
[Selection of text begins:]
two excellent Treatises:
The first whereof Summarily sheweth,
The great necessity of a generall Reformation of
What grounds of hope there are for such a Reformation.
How it may be brought to passe.
Written may yeares agoe in Latine by that
Reverend, Godly, Learned, and famous Divine
Mr. JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, one of the
Seniours of the exiled Church of Moravia:
And now upon the request of many translated into English, and published by Samuel Hartlib, for the generall good of this Nation.
Printed for MICHAEL SPARKE senior, at the
Blew Bible in Greene Arbor, 1642.
To all those that love Wisdome, Light, and Truth, Health, and Peace from Christ, the fountaine of them all.
WIsedome is said (by Aristotle) to be the knowledge of many and by marvellous things: (Cicero) the knowledge of divine and humane things, as also of the causes in which they are contained: (by Solomon) the maker and teacher of all things: which with how great praises if hath of old beene celebrated, those who have spent any endeavours in the study of it, cannot be ignorant. The wisest of men saith, "It is more pretious than Rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto it. Length of daies are in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour. Her wayes are wayes of pleasantnesse, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her, and happy is every one that retaineth her, Prov. 3.15. Cicero saith, There [catchword: "neither]
"neither is, not can be any better gift bestowed upon mankind." But Horace goes further:
Ad summum, sapiens uno minor est Jove, dives,
Liber, bonoratus, pulcher, Rex denique Regum.
He speak't at once. The wiseman yeelds to Jove above or none,
He's rich, and free, esteem'd, and faire, and King of Kings alone.
If you aske the cause, why this one vertue is so much magnified, Seneca will answer, "That without the study of wisedome it is impossible to lead an happy, or even an indifferent life. And Cicero saith, That wisedome is the mother of all Arts, teaching us first how to worship God, then how to observe justice in humane society, and also framing our minds to modesty and magnanimity: She drives away darknesse from our minds, as it were from our eyes, that we may discerne all things both above us, and below us, and things of all orders, nature, and degrees whatsoever: and lastly, that she is the onely soveraigne medicine of the mind. And Solomon addeth, that Wisedome strengtheneth the wise man more than ten mighty men, that are in the City, Eccles. 7.19. And that wisedome is a treasure unto men that never faileth, which they that use, become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts, that come from learning. For God loveth not any, but him that dwelleth with wisdome, VVisd. 7.14,28."
Not without good cause therefore have the most excellent men in all ages, neglected the care of transitory things, as of riches, pleasures, and honours, applying their desires, and endeavours to this end, that by a serious contemplation of all things, they might comprehend whatsoever the mind of man is capable of, and so bring the whole world into a kind of subjection unto themselves: which kind of men in respect of others, are indeed (as the gift of wisedome is in comparison of other good things granted unto men) most glittering pearles, or starres rather, that do drive away the darknesse of the world. We ought therefore thankfully to acknowledge this Divine worke of Gods mercy, that hee hath not onely opened unto us the Theaters of his wisdome in the bookes of Nature, and of the holy Scripture, but hath moreover endued us with Sense, and Reason, that we might be able to behold them, and to collect wisedome out of them, supplying us farther with divine revelation, where our Sense and Reason are deficient. Yet this is not [catchword: all]
all we owe unto his goodnesse; for he hath moreover preserved unto this our age the knowledge of humane learning, by which the study of wisedome is cherished, and transmitted unto us from our Progenitors; yea and hath made it to flourish more now, than ever heretofore. So that this present age may in respect of learning justly take content, and pleasure in its selfe, expecting still a further discovery of its light, and lustre. For it must needs be in the world, as it is with man, that wisedome comes not afore old age, which we may easily see, of wee consider the nature of it. For wisedome is gained by much experience: and experience requireth length of time, and variety of occurrences. Now the longer a man liveth, the more varieties still passe by him, whence his experience is encreased the more, and by his experience his wisedome, according to that of Jesus the sonne of Syrach, A man of experience will thinke of many things: And that of the Poet,
Per casus varios Artem experientia fecit.
Chance hinteth many usefull things,
Which to an Art experience brings.
We therefore in this present age being so well stored with experiences, as no former ages could have the like, why should we not raise our thoughts unto some higher aime? For not onely by the benefit of Printing (which Art God seemes, not without some Mystery, to have reserved to these latter times) what soever was ingeniously invented by the Ancients (though long buried in obscurity) is now come to light: but also moderne men being stirred up by new occasions, have attempted new inventions: and Wisedome hath beene, and is daily miraculously multiplied with variety of experiments. According as God hath foretold of these latter times, Dan. 12.4. Whereunto may be added the erecting of Schooles every where more, then any Histories record of any former ages: whereby bookes are growne so common in all Languages and Nations, that even common countrey people, and women themselves are familiarly acquainted with then; whereas formerly the learned, and those that were rich, could hardly at any price obtaine them. And now at length the constant endeavour of some breakes forth to bring the Method of studies to such a perfection, that whatsoever is found worthy of knowledge, may with much lesse labour, then heretofore, be attained unto. Which it is shall succeed [catchword: (as]
(as I hope) and that there be an easie way discovered of teaching all men all things, I see not what should hinder us from a thankfull acknowledgment, and hearty embracing of that Golden Age of light and knowledge, which hath beene so long foretold, and expected.
To the attaining whereunto one matter of speciall moment seemeth yet to be wanting, that as a more compendious, usefull, and easie way of teaching the tongues hath lately been found out, and published (in the Janua Linguarum;) so also some means should be thought of for the making of an open gate unto the things themselves, whereby mens minds may finde an easie entrance into all Arts and Sciences whatsoever. Which how necessary, and worthy of our most serious thoughts it is, (if we tender as we ought, the good of mankind) I will first demonstrate: next I will consider of the meanes for accomplishing so worthy a designe: and lastly I will discover upon what occasion, and with what successe I my selfe have attempted so rare a work.
And first I take it for granted, that the studies of learning, to which Youth is every where set, ought to bee the dressing and culturing of their minds towards the attaining of Wisedome, without which end it can be nothing else but meere vanity. For whether we seeke knowledge for curiosity, or to please, and delight our mind, or to raise our selves in esteeme, and credit in the world, or as the meanes to better our outward estates, and fortunes, we are too grossely minded to propose so base, and temporary ends to a gift so high, and so divine. It must therefore be agreed upon, that Wisedome is the thing we are to seeke. And because Wisdome is said to be the worker of all things, teaching all things, Wisedome 7.22. it is evident, that learning ought to be used, and improved as the meanes to bring us unto the universall knowledge of all things, (unto Pansophie, that is, a Wisdome every way compleat, both in the largenesse of its extent, and in its perfect agreement with it selfe) that we be not ignorant of any thing which is secret, or knowne, Wisd. 7.21. That so mans mind may become indeed, as it ought to bem the image of God, who knoweth all things.
Secondly, whereas Wisdome is said to give unto the young man knowledge and discretion, Prov. 1.4. and that her wayes are wayes of pleasantnesse, Prov. 3.17. it is manifest, that the studies of Wisdome ought not to be involv'd in any intricate, and thorny difficul- [catchword: ties]
ties, but plaine, and easie to be apprehended by all; yea, delightfull to their minds.
Thirdly, whereas the wayes of Wisdome are said to be a shining light, Pro.4.18. it followes that they ought to be free from all darknesse of errors.
Fourthly, Wisdome is said to be usefull unto men for the understanding of their wayes, (Prov. 4.18,19.) and all things that they doe, Deut. 29.9. It followes therefore, that the studies of Wisdome ought to prepare mens minds for doing, and suffering of all things incident to this life.
Lastly, Wisdome is said to make men happy, Prov. 3.13. because it leads them to God the eternall fountaine of happinesse. Therefore the study thereof ought necessarily to stirre up mens minds to the seeking of God, to shew them the way how to finde him, and to prepare their affections for the straiter imbracing of him in the bonds of love. Otherwise all endeavours of this sort are utterly unprofitable. For if men hit not upon this end of their knowledge, it were better for them to know nothing, yea, rather that they had never beene borne.
Now then let us examine whether the common course of studies be sutable to these ends, that it we find any defects therein, we may thereby know the better what is to be amended.
It is the common complaint of many, that the learning which is now taught in Schooles, is a thing too tedious, and long in regard of the shortnesse of life, too laborious for common capacities, too narrow in respect of the amplitude of things, and in regard of the subtilty, and solidity of their truth many ways defective. And the wiser sort have noted, that it is not answerable to the proposed end; seldome attaining to any substantiall uses of life, but rather ending in the smoake of opinionative brawlings, and contentions: which that they are not idle sayings and surmises, but even reall defects, we must first declare, before we undertake to seeke remedies to redresse them. We must, I say, make it good, that the studies of learning, as they are now managed, and commonly taught in Schooles, are not well proportioned.
1. To our life: in regard of their tedious prolixity.
2. To our capacities: in regard of their difficulty.
3. To things themselves: in regard of often mistakings.
4. To the Use of life: because of the great difficulty of reducing things therein taught into practise, and of reconciling and apply- [catchword: ing]
ing them to things that are to be done in this life.
5. To God himselfe: they being not sufficiently subordinate to the scope of eternity.
The first argument of their prolixity I take from the common concession of all. For who is there that hath not usually in his mouth that saying of Hippocrates, Life is short, but Art is long? The second argument is from the greatnesse of the bookes, in which things are described. Good God! what vast volumes are compiled almost of every matter, which if they were laid together, would raise such heapes, that many millions of yeares would be required to peruse them? Thirdly, it is manifest enough, that learning is too farre diffused, and scattered about, beyond the modell, and reach of mens capacities, seeing that among so many learned men, with which the world is replenished, scarce one of an hundred, or of a thousand is to be found, who hath tasted of Universall learning, and is able to give any reasonable account of all occurrents that are to be found in divine workes, and human affaires. So rare is the generality of learning, even in those that are held to be learned, that a man of much learning, or of much reading, is reputed almost for a miracle. Hence comes that (so commonly used) parcelling and tearing of learning into peeces, that men making their choyce of this, or that Art, or Science, take no care so much, as to looke into any of the rest. Divines there are, that will not vouchsafe to cast an eye upon Philosophy: and Philosophers againe, that have as little regard of Divinity. Lawyers for the most part neglect the study of naturall Causes: and Physitians likewise of Law, and equity. Every faculty boundeth out a severall Kingdome for its selfe, without those common, certaine, and immovable grounds and Lawes, which should bind them all together. And even in Philosophy it selfe, one chooseth this part, and another that. Some will be Naturalists not regarding the Mathematicks: and others will be Morall Philosophers, without any knowledge of naturall things; They will be accounted Logicians, Rhetoricians, and Poets, though they have scarce a whit of reall Science in them. Who knowes not, that this is so? and who sees not, that this distribution, and sharing of Arts, and Sciences, proceeds from this supposition, That it is not possible for the wit of one man to attaine the knowledge of them all? As if God had not proportioned Man the Lord of all things to those things, that he hath set him over. Not that I am so fond, as to thinke one man may be excellent in all [catchword: things]
things, but that I rest well assured, that every one may, and should, as be eminent in his owne profession, so also know all things that are necessary.
II. The difficulty (I meane, that it is not easie for men to attaine, even unto such particular parcels of learning, as they make choyce of for themslves) is too notorious by frequent testimonies. First, by the common complaints, not onely of youth, who are learners, but even of their Masters, and Teachers. Then by those stripes, lashings, and outcries, wherewith Schooles continually ring. Whereas the holy Scripture commends Wisdome, and the study thereof to be delightfull: and the Ancients seeme to have so esteemed them, terming Schooles <greek Otium> Scholas, & ludos literarios, meaning, that the study of learning was but a pleasant paines-taking, or serious recreation. What a monstrous thing is it then, that such pleasures are turned into pressures, and such pastimes into torments? Whence, I say, can this proceed, but from the difficulty of making any progresse according to our present method of teaching? For it is that which makes the study of learning, not onely laborious, but even nauseous, that the greater part of such as are set unto it, abandon it, and forsake it, never minding to returne there to gather flowers, where they have encountred with so many thornes. And common practise also will prove the same: For who can be ignorant how much easier it is to learne a Language by use among those that speake it, then in the Schooles (which is the common way) where it is hardly learned in many yeares? And even the same advantage might we make use of in attaining of knowledge in things themselves, which yet hath not hitherto beene put in practise.
III. Many wise men have long since observed, that the truth of the Sciences is but lame, and unperfect, and therupon have vented forth frequent complaints of those deepe gulfes, wherein it is plunged: Yea, some over-conscious of their imperfections, have beene bold to pronounce Nihil sciri posse (i. certo & sine errore) That nothing could be certainely knowne. Which saying, they that (upon confidence of their owne firme, and stable knowledge) did deride, and hisse at, as a dotage, and folly, yet have in the event themselves almost confirmed it to be true. For whatsoever any one of them affirmed, others were presently ready to gaine-say it. And even unto this day there is no end of their perplexities. For Learning is full of nothing but dissentions, contradictions, and wran [catchword: glings]
glings. Which, what can it be else, but a strong testimony, that the truth therof every where staggers, and is unstable? For by this very argument Josephus (against Apion) asserteth the truth of the Wisdome of the Hebrewes, and proves the vanity of the Greekes, because the former continued alwayes one and the same, but the other was divided into many Sects. For Truth alwayes retaines one simple, and native forme: but errors walk in a thousand shapes. Seeing therefore, that in this our age also there arise so many Sects, both in Divinity, and Philosophy, and so many contrary opinions are tooth and naile defended, which differ from themselves, as much as light from darknesse; what is it but a most certaine testimony, that all the learning our age can yet make boast of, is deepely plunged in the darknessse of ignorance? Since the judgement of Charity presupposeth, that none doth erre willingly contrary to his knowledge, or rebelleth against the light, as Job speaketh, chap.24 vers.13. The last testimony hereof shall be those many bookes which are daily published, which are nothing else but sparkes, that rise from the striking of wits together, every one flying his severall way for to raise a flame. But the darknesse of dissentions, and doubts still continuing, is an evident argument, that there are yet no true lights kindled, and that the bright Sunne of Truth is not yet risen among us.
IV. Learning as it is commonly taught, is not enough accommodated to the uses of our life; and of this we have notable witnesses. "Philosophy, saith a famous man, is imprisoned in the Schooles, neither is there any man that brings it forth to common use: for it is full of thornes, and busied altogether in tying of such knots which cannot be loosed, and in raveling out, what her selfe hath woven. She feeds men with nothing but gravelly bread, such as breakes the teeth, and tireth out mens wits with trifles, and vanities, which are full of stings. Another saith, that the study of Philosophy is nothing else but (otium occupatum, & impeditum) a busie, and distracted vacation to no purpose. And like as Squirrels that are shut into a turning cage, how fast soever they tumble forward, yet are they no farther then they were: so is it with us Philosophers: we learne but little, though wee take great paines, and that little seldome makes us better, but worse." That which common experience proveth to be true: For not onely doe the learned seldome excell those that are illiterate in the study of Vertue (which is the Basis of civill conversa- [catchword: tion]
tion) but also in the dextrous managing of businesses they are for the most part excelled by them. I speake it not onely of a few odde Grammarians, for the most part the deepest Philosophers, & Divines, though they seeme Eagles to themselves, with their abstracted speculations, yet are they as blind as Moles in matters of this life, and of humane society. Hence arose that scoffing proverb, Bonus Scholasticus, malus Politicus, A good Scholler, and a bad Commonwealths-man: whereas indeed the Schoole ought to prepare us for things incident to our lives.
But to particularize a little: every one knowes how the study of Metaphysicks is praised, and even extolled unto Heaven, as the firmest ground-worke and highest accomplishment of all Learning. And if we consider aright of it, so it is. Yet because this Queen of Sciences is so beset with thornes, and so involv'd in obscurity, that few can reach unto those subtilties, and those that understand them, know not how to make any use of them in inferiour Sciences, it comes to passe, that it rests, and dies with it selfe, and, except a little momentary and tickling pleasure which it yeelds to those that doe affect it, it is of very little use in humane affaires. Whereupon, some doe not onely forsake it, and utterly exclude it out of the compasse of Philosophy, (as the Ramists doe) but even out of Universities, as an unprofitable, and fruitlesse vanity. For Johannes Angelicus Werdenhagen witnesseth, that the king of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, of famous memory (whose exploits testifie, that he was not borne to trifling, but to serious action) did by a publike edict exterminate all studies of the Metaphysickes out of his Kingdome, so that no Booksellers might cause any such bookes to be imported upon paine of confiscation, nor any of his subjects might reade them, lest his Kingdome should be bewitched with a new kind of Barbarisme, and himselfe served with disputers, and glossers in stead of such, as would throughly follow his affaires.
The study of Logicke and Rhetoricke should indeed be more appropriated unto the affaires of our life, seeing they are intended as directors of reason, and speech, on which two bonds all humane things so much depend. But the testimony of Jacobus Acontius is too truly verified: "There is every where, saith hee, a great number of Logicians, but if you observe their writings, and disputations; you will find but little Logicke in them. And againe, You may observe many well seene in Rhetoricke, whose speeches and orations, though they be copious, elegant, well trimmed, and signi- [catchword: ficant]
ficant, yet you will find the strength and power of perswasion wanting." And we may passe the same judgement of the other Arts and Sciences: that we are rather busied and detained about them, than that they do any wayes promote the businesse of our life.
V. Lastly, to prove that our studies of learning are not yet so ordered, as to lead us the true, and certaine way toward our end, which is God, what need is there of any witnesses? The prophanenesse, the luxury, the pride, and revelling, the quarrelling and impudencie of our Universities speake it out too loud. And alasse! even the learning it selfe, which is there obtained, proves unto many but a whetstone of mischiefe, and an helpe to do evill all their daies: so that it is most true of the greatest number of those that are learned, which God himselfe complaineth of; They are wise to do evill, but to do good they have no understanding. Jer. 14.22. And to such their wisedome is but a guide unto destruction: Hence is that voyce from God, that not many wise are chosen, because the wisedome of this world is foolishnesse with God. Indeed that this sentence may not fall flat upon our selves, we use to interpret it of the wisedome of the Gentiles, but yet we our selves seeke not for any farther wisedome. For that which the Schooles have hitherto commended to us, is derived from Gentilisme, and infected with serpentine venome, affecting onely the knowledge of good and evill, which puffeth up, but not conducing to charity, which edifieth. And because wee are according to our hereditary perversnesse readier alwaies to excuse, than to amend our faults; we grow moreover, by pretending the corruption of our nature, to flatter and content our selves, as if it were impossible to be againe transformed, since we are thus depraved. As if the feare of the Lord ought not to be an antidote against that corruption, which God hath so often pronounced to be both the beginning and the end of wisdome. Therefore we conclude it to be true, that the common studies of learning are,
I. A businesse never comming to an end.
II. A most troublesome distraction of mens minds.
III. A road of perpetuall by-waies, and errours.
IV. An hindrance to the affaires of our lives.
V. And lastly, an occasion of our manifold wandrings out of the wayes of God, which is most to be lamented.
Many worthy men have in former times beene much affected with [catchword: the]
this hard condition of learning, and learned men, and according to their several fancies have sought severall waies to salve this sore: some being of the opinion, that all that ancient learning borrowed from the Gentiles, was to be quite rejected: others, that Philosophie, and the other Arts were to be used sparingly, and with much care, and choyce: some have attempted the transforming, and altering of all the Sciences, one after this manner, another after that. And indeed it is more than necessary, that all such, as are able to afford any ayd or counsell in this matter, should put to their helping hands. First, that that little knowledge, which common learning supplies us with, may not cost us so much sweat and paines, or if we are willing to employ our labours therein, that they may be more beneficiall and profitable to us.
And againe, that we may vindicate our selves and learning from the reproach of the illiterate rout, who (while they behold such as are for their learning preferred before themselves, and see them neither excellent in morall honesty, nor pious zeale, nor even in reall and common skill, and cunning, but many times to come behind many of the meanest and sinplest sort, they) often fall into derision, and contempt of learning. And lastly, lest we incurre Gods anger (who seekes by that heavenly gift of wisedome, to repaire his Image in us) if we be not faithfull despensers of so divine a gift unto his glory.
But because it is a rash thing to undertake the cure of any disease, before we have found the true cause of it, let us now make triall, whether wee can espie, and make discovery of the true rootes and grounds of this so great a mischiefe that learning groaneth under: that so we may the more safely apply fit remedies thereto: I will therefore give you a true account of those things which I conceive to be the causes of the fore-mentioned evils, and withall what may be done for the rectifying thereof.
I. The Prolixity of studies, as they are commonly ordered, seemeth to arise from three grounds; First, because there is not care enough taken to leave out unnecessary things from among those which are necessary; for thence according to Seneca's complaint, we are ignorant of necessary things, because we busie our selves too much in learning those things, which are not necessary.
And if these things should be sequestred from our studies, we should have twice as much time, (to speake at the least) or but halfe as much taske to do. Now these things are to be accounted unnecessary. [catchword: First]
First, whatsoever is not of the essence of learning, of which sort are the most part of the vanities of the Gentiles, the name of their petty Deities, together with their lying histories, and fables. Next, such things as weary out mens braines to little benefit, of which sort are most of the rules of Grammar, which overburden childrens minds, and consume their yeares, and other things of like nature, which have no use but onely in Schooles. Lastly, all circumlocutions, and windings, and turnings of expressions, which fetch not out of the kernell, but onely make a few assayes upon the shell. Such kind of stuffe is it, wherewith most of our bookes of learning swell, which must needs both detaine and straine the minds of youth with unnecessary, and unprofitable things; what wonder then can it be, that so few attaine unto any solid, and substantiall learning?
The remedie for these things will be to compose a Seminary of learning of such things, and words, as are of solid, true, and certain use: For you shall have as great increase of one acre of ground sowne with cleane wheat, as if you should mixe ten times as much chaffe therewith, and sowe it in ten acres.
II. Secondly, because the study of learning is such an intricate, and confounding labyrinth, that few can find the way out of it; such a sea as swallows up those, who would goe about to empty it; which proceeds from hence, that those things which are to be learned, are not yet reduced into any cleare and certaine order. Now these things which being collected together make but a small heap, if they be scattred in sunder, seeme very many, and breed a great confusion.
The remedy for this will be to bring all things both great, and small, which are to be learned, into such a perspicuous order, that students may have them before their face, as plaine as their owne fingers, and that they may from the first beginning have some light of that, which followes unto the end, and be assured that this one ship which they lanch forth in, will carry them over the whole Sea of learning unto the ports of desired perfection.
III. Thirdly, another ground of the vastnesse, and prolixity of the study of learning is that needlesse diligence of some in following all sorts of vaine, and trifling nicities. For there is no end, nor measure of such things, either in things themselves, or words, seing the chances, and sports both of wit, and nature are infinite, therfore such as set themselves about the particular descriptions of things in whatsoever Science or Art it be, whether it be to take [catchword: paines]
paines therein, or to please and humour their owne fancies, they may indeed take a pleasant and delightfull journey to their minds, but of necessity, it will hinder them in, if not lead them out of the way of universall wisedome: yea, and there will be scarce any roome left for other things, when their minds are thus possessed with particulars of one kind.
The Remedy hereof is to frame such a booke, wherein by a true Anatomy of the universe, all things that can be thought of may be reduced to their generall kinds and species: and so, that whatsoever is said to be of any thing, may at once be said of all things, whereof it can be said. By this meanes wee shall find all things both better grounded and more contracted, even beyond our hopes: because the understanding being by a few rules freed from an infinite number of hops and barres, will runne through and dive into all things of its owne accord. Seneca saith truly, "Precepts of wisedome need not to be many, but rather efficacious; they are to be used as seed, which though it be small, yet if it find a fit soile, it quickly displays it's owne vertue, in a numerous, and vigorous encrease from one onely small graine."
As for the difficulty and roughnesse of the waies of study, I thinke the causes are these.
I. First, because there hath not beene used a due preparation of the minds of youth, for the readier embracing of learning, neither hath profit and pleasure beene sufficiently proportioned, and mixt together for the winning of them, but every one is taken in as he comes without farther care. And for their entertainment, they have not beene used, as friends at a banquet, with curtesies and delights, but even like slaves in a mill, with force, stripes, and reproachfull speeches. For fists, and ferulars, roddes, and scourges have beene the usuall dainties in Schooles, and their daily dishes. And is it any wonder then that they have proved nauseous, and dulling unto any? Nothing is so easie which may not be difficult to an unwilling mind. How then can learning be easie to those that come to it trembling, and in feare, which is not to be found in learning of any mechanick Art? For severity doth necessarily breed feare, and feare confounds, and troubles the mind, that it loseth it self, and knowes not where it is, yea and breeds a giddinesse too in a weak and tender mind. Therefore there is need of great art for the taking, alluring, & gentle handling of their minds: which art will be made up by a sweete and mild carriage of the Teachers, and a prudent disposing [catchword: of]
of their method; which will cause the studies of learning to be nothing else, but enticing baits, and meere recreations.
II. Secondly, a great part of this difficulty lyes herein, that things are not presented unto the very eyes and hands of those that are learners, but rather delivered to them in vast, and dull narrations, which make little impression upon the understanding, and are hardly retained by the memory: so that they either easily vanish againe, or onely a confused species of them remaines.
The remedy hereof wiil be to represent every thing to its proper sense, visible things to the eyes, things that may be tasted to the palate, and so for the rest. For by once looking upon an elephant, or at least, upon his picture, a man shall more easily, and firmely apprehend his forme, than if it had beene told him ten times over, what manner of best he is. For,
The eyes make true report unto the mind,
But ears are duller, and come farre behind.
III. The third and chiefest part of this difficulty lies in the common method of teaching the Arts, and Sciences, which is neither well proportioned to things themselves, nor to humane understanding. It is indeed the common voyce of all, that we ought according to the order of nature to proceed from those things, which are first, to those that follow, from generalls to those which are more speciall, from things knowne to those which are more obscure. But who is there, that takes this course? For as yet no such thing hath been practised. Except but only the Mathematicks, and all other Arts & Sciences are confounded by [2 greek words]. It is easie for him that is but provided of feete, to clime to the top of the highest mountaine, if there be steps cut out in it: and if those bookes, which are extant, did but lead our minds by degrees without any interruption from knowne things to those which are more obscure, it would be as easie for all those that bend their endeavours to learning, to attaine to the most difficult, and excellent knowledge. Indeed some have the prerogative of able parts, and can by maine strength raise themselves, and pierce into things by the sharpnesse of their native wits; others by often inculcation of the same things, at last begin to see things, as through a cloud: but if we can cast up the generall summe, we shall find very few, that can make any thing to purpose of those bookes; which is an evident argument, that the understanding is not directed in a plaine, and continuall way, but rather dragged, as it were, over pits and ditches, and cragged interruptions.
The remedy hereof will be by laying such a platforme of all the Arts and Sciences, that we may alwayes beginne with such things as are knowne, making a gentle progresse unto those that are unknowne; I meane, that every thing may shine upon, and give light to that which followes, even as in a chaine, every linke receives and drawes its fellow after it, which if we can but prescribe a right order for the due effecting of it, we shall thinke our time to be bestowed to very good purpose.
Want of Truth.
The reason why Truth is so estranged, and scarcely to be found in the whole compasse of the Sciences, seemeth to be threefold.
1. The tearing of Sciences into peeces.
2. Want of due fitting of the method unto the things themselves.
3. The carelesnesse, and exravagancies of expressions and stile.
For first, I professe seriously, that as yet in all the bookes that ever I saw, I could never find any thing answerable unto the amplitude of things; or which would fetch in the whole universality of them within its compasse: whatsoever some Encyclopedias, or Syntaxes, or books of Pansophy, have pretended to in their titles. Much lesse could I ever see the whole provision of humane understanding so raised upon its certain and eternal principles, that all things were chained, and linked together, from the beginning to the end, without any rent, or chink of truth. And perhaps no man ever aimed hereat as yet, so to square and proportion the universall principles of things, that they might be the certain limits to bound in that every-way-streaming variety of things: that so invincible, and unchangeable Truth might discover its universall, and proportionate harmony in all things. I say, no man ever yet seemes to have intended to cleare any universall way for the knowledge of Truth, with the helpe of those universall principles, and according to the true lawes of deductions even to the last conclusions. Metaphysitians sing a requiem to themselves, Naturalists applaud themselves, Moralists make their owne lawes, and Politicians fix their owne grounds, Mathematicians have their triumphant Chariot, and Divines their over-ruling throne, every one in severall by themselves. Yea, in every faculty, or Science almost every man laies his particular grounds, and principles, whereupon to build and fasten his particular opinions, not regarding what others have deduced from theirs. But it is impossible that Truth so scattered, and obscured, should be this way raked up [catchword: together]
together. For while every one followes his owne fancie in this manner there is as much hope of agreement, as there is in a company of Musicans, when every one sings his severall song without respect of common time or melody: and who would beleeve a Commonwealth to be well ordered, wherein there are no publique lawes established, but every one liveth as he listeth? We see the boughs of a tree will quickly wither, and die, except they receive nourishment from the common stocke, and roots: and can the faire branches of Wisdome be thus rent and torne in sunder with safety of their life, that is their truth? Can any man be a good Naturalist, that is not seene in the Metaphysicks? or a good Moralist, who is not a Naturalist? (at least in the knowledge of humane nature) or a Logician, who is ignorant of reall Sciences? or a Divine, a Lawyer, or Physician, that is no Philosopher? or an Oratour, or Poet, who is not accomplished with them all? He deprives himselfe of hands, and eyes, and rules, that neglecteth, or rejecteth any thing which may be knowne. Astronomers (for example sake) would never have had the faces to introduce, and maintaine such contrary, and absurd hypotheses, or positions, if they had been to raise them upon the same ground of Truth: neither would other things be, or at lest seeme to be so slippery, and uncertaine. For the common fate of all learning is this, that whosoever delivers it, others will take the paines to demolish it, or at least to lay it bare. Plato's philosophy seemed most elegant, and divine: but the Peripateticks accused it of too much vaine speculation. And Aristotle thought his Philosophy compleat, and trimme enough: but the Christian Philosphers have found it neither agreeing with the holy Scriptures, nor answerable enough to the Truth of things. Astronomers for many ages carried away the bell with their Spheres, Eccentricks, and Epicycles, but Copernicus explodes them all. Copernicus himselfe framed a new and plausible Astronomy out of his Optick grounds, but such as will no way be admitted by the unmovable principles of naturall Truth. Gilbertus being carried away with the speculation of the Loadstone, would out of it have deduced all Philosophy: but to the manifest injury of naturall principles. Campanella triumphs almost in the principles of the ancient Philosopher Parmenides, which he had reassumed to himselfe in his naturall Philosophy, but is quite confounded by one Optick glasse of Galilæus Galilei. And why should we reckon any more?
Truly, if every one would ground their judgements upon the same [catchword: common]
common principles, it could not be, that they should rush into such contradictions, not onely to the hinderance of their hearers, but even to the detriment of Truth, which for the most part in such contentions falleth to the ground. For when needles, obscure, and ambiguous things are propounded, they cannot but breed distast, and thwarting in the minds of those that heare them. And when for the gaining of their assents, principles are assumed, (whatsoever trash they be) which are neither knowne, nor yeelded, nor of undoubted truth, but rather obnoxious to severall limitations, and exceptions (of which sort are most of the Canons of common Philosophy and Divinity) what can ensue from hence, but most tedious contradictions, and contentions? that a man would be weary to heare such doubts, and differences, in things perhaps cleare enough of themselves.
Another course therfore must herein be taken, & care must be had, that Truth approaching us in a most cleare light, may not be mired in doubts, nor wounded with contradictions, but may over come all errours: which we think cannot be effected, unlesse the beames therof dispersed over all things, be united into one, that so there may be one and the same symmetry of all things, both sensuall, intellectuall, & revealed. Now this we cannot behold without a perfect squaring, and unseparable consolidation of the principles of knowledge (Sense, Reason, and Divine Revelation) which alone will make it to appeare, and consequently put and end unto those many controversies. For upon the discovery of the ground of things, necessarily will follow either the manifestation of an errour in one part of an opposition, or else that each part perhaps, both thinketh, and speaketh true (though they understand not one another) in regard of the divers respects, and considerations of things, the ground whereof they doe not yet perceive. Certainely those errours which on every side besiege mens minds, may this way be subdued, and their minds brought into the open light, or no way else. For it must needs be, that the bright Sunne of Truth arising, infinite mists and clouds of opinions will vanish of themselves: yea, and by Gods help, the very darknesse of Atheisme it selfe may at length be dispatched away.
2. The second cause, why Truth is so staggering, and uncertaine, I before declared to be the loosenesse of Method, that Writers doe not wholly tie themselves unto the things themselves, to deliver them, as they are constantly in themselves, but rather draw them [catchword: unto]
unto some trimme and neat conceits of their owne to expresse them by, abusing them a thousand wayes: which is nothing else, but to wrest and transfigure things from their native, into strange forms, even in face of the mind: and what then can it behold, but monsters in stead of things themselves? Againe, it is impossible to find any Method parallel unto things, unlesse all things be reduced unto the same harmony in the understanding, wherewith they are knit, and fastened together out of it. I told you but even now, of many sorts of Philosophy, which were devised at pleasure, and shortly after demolished by others. And we may say the same of many Decrees, yea, and whole Methods of Divinity, that they may be built, and pulled downe againe, feeling they are not squared by the immutable rule of things, but by the leaden rule of this, or that noddle.
I wish therefore that all these straggling methods fancied by luxuriant braines might be quite removed out of the way, that at last all things might be handled in one order, and method. For such is our Christian Philosophy, or rather Pansophy, which we labour to promote, that therein all things arise out of unmoveable principles, unto unmoveable, and stable Truth, so knitting and clasping one another with the armes of their perpetuall harmony, that this worke of the mind is as little subject to fall in sunder, as the world it selfe. So that as the world is not ordered at our discretion, but proceeds on immutably according to the lawes implanted in it: in like manner Pansophy, which is nothing but the glasse or mirrour of the Universe should be delivered in such a method, from which there is no starting aside, if a man would even burst himself with desire of change, or disagreement. Which will be effected if all things be delivered demonstratively by their proper causes and effects. But hereto it will be requisite not to trust to externall testimonies, and traditions, but to the inward truth of things themselves. For authorities may easily cast false colours over things, as yeeld them any light or illustraion; at least they doe distract the learner, and estrange his mind from the things unto themselves: But things themselves cannot make another manner of impression in the senses, then as indeed they are. And wheresoever sense is deficient, there reason furnished with certaine rules must also act its part; but when Reason is a stand, we must then have recourse unto Divine Revelation. Which three principles of knowledge are to be laid as the Basis, and groundworke of Pansophy, that the speeches and writings, which Philosophers, or Divines have vented forth, may not presently be [catchword: held]
held for Oracles, but that rejecting all false spectacles, we may looke neerely unto things themselves, and by diligent search discover, what they will owne themselves to be. For wise, and able men have many times uttered such things as sound of levity, and vanity, which notwithstanding men-admirers admit promiscuously, and adore. It were easie enough to produce many examples hereof, but I forbeare, hoping, that when once a clearer light of Truth is kindled, abundance of such things will lie open of themselves.
3. The third thing whereby Truth is prejudiced, is, as I said, either the carelesnesse, or luxuriance of the stile wherein things are expressed. We call that a luxuriating stile, when in the explication of things, improper, tropicall, hyperbolicall, and allusive words or sentences, and expressions are used: especially when Poets, or Oratours (and sometimes Philosophers and Divines acting their parts) falling upon any subject, which they would amplifie, or extenuate according to their manner, use with their figures, and colours so to alter things, that for the most part they appeare not in their native, but in a borrowed, and adventitious forme. Which is nothing else, but a painting, and false glasse, whereas truth ought to be beheld with a pure, and unaltering light. Carelesnesse of stile is, when obscure words are used, or terms borrowed from a language which is not understood, such as Greeke words are to the most part of men: or lastly, if such things as are not stable Truths, are set to sale, as the rules of Truth. Of which sort (we must needs confesse, though it be shamefull to speake) the bookes of Philosophers and Divines are too full.
I may therefore boldly affirme, that the originall, and continuall cause of errours in learning, is that unhappy Triplicity whereof I have spoken, I meane that divers sundring; that divers transplacing, and changing; and lastly, that divers moulding and mixing of things. For who can understand things as they are, while they are presented but in snatches and pieces? while they are out of their proper Series and order? while they are under a strange forme? For it is easie to erre in any particular object, while the generall symmetry of all things is unknowne; and while their Series, or order is not duely observed, it is easier to finde a labyrinth, then a guiding path; and truth is very ready to glide away, while the eyes are bewitched with the false colours of their objects. Hence is the offspring of those infinite errours, and hence comes that fastidious multiplication, and confused Chaos of bookes, that the world is [catchword: scarce]
scarce able to containe them. Hence is that penury, and want of light in this enlightned age, (as it will be termed) that as Tantalus in the water seekes for water; so we seeke for light in light, and in bookes, want bookes, yea, and learning in the learned. I will not insist upon that too fruitfull mother of errours, partiality, and siding with Sects. For Galen hath bestowed a true and deserved Character upon them, That those who addict themselves to Sects, become both deafe and blind, so that they neither heare, nor see those things, which others easily both heare and see, yea, and dumb also, that they will not speake what is true, but rather oppose those that teach it; like the drunken Lapithæ, who with their fists, and kickings, drove away the Chirurgeon, that would have applied remedies to their wounds.
Learning not fitted to the use of life.
The next thing is, that learning is not enough accommodated to the uses of our life, to teach us how to behave our selves in the occurrences thereof. The fault whereof must be laid upon that inveterate custome, or rather disease of Schooles, whereby all the time of youth is spent in Grammaticall, Rhetoricall, and Logicall toyes; those things which are reall, and fit to enlighten mens minds, and to prepare them for action, being reserved for the Universities, that forsooth, their judgements being more ripe, and they able to undertake such things, they may make the more happy progresse. But it comes to passe for the most part, that as soone as the heat of youth is over, every man settles upon his severall way, and faculty, never minding any due preparation, or accomplishment for it. Yea, and most of such as intend to be Divines, Politicians, or Physitians, doe of set purpose skip over the studies of the Metaphysicks, Mathematicks, and Naturall Philosophy, as if they would be unprofitable staies, and hinderances in their way, whereas it is a great errour in them, seeing a solid judgement can never be attained without solid learning.
The way to remedy this, will be to propound all things seasonably unto youth, and to make serious exercises the preparatives of serious employments. For seeing no man becomes a Smith, but by hammering, nor a Scribe, but by writing, nor a Disputant, but by disputing; children also must be framed to be men by handling humane things; and by having all manner of occurrences of this life represented both to their notice, and practice while they are in Schooles. Yea, and all Philosophy in generall must be so ordered, that it may be a lively image of things, and a secret fitting and dres-[catchword: sing]
sing of mens minds for the businesses of this life.
Learning not leading us to God.
And for the last thing, what wonder can it be that learning doth not enough advance youth towards God? For it is not yet purged, and cleared of the profanenesse of the Gentiles, which treateth rashly of God, and of his workes, without any knowledge, or due revernce of him, changing the glory of the incorruptible God into the similitude of corruptible things. For this is the cause, as the Apostle saith, that the Heathen Philosophers became vaine in their imaginations, and thinking themselves wise, became fooles, and were given over of God unto the lusts of their hearts, and to uncleannesse, because they changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped, and served the creature, more then the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Rom.1. But even unto this day the like Gentilisme is in practise: The most part of those that are esteemed wise, are, as the others, wise without God, neither deriving their wisdome from him, nor directing it to him, but beginning, and ending in the creatures, without any thought of God; and regarding, and serving onely themselves, and other corruptible things. God hath said, that he is Alpha, and Omega, the Beginning, and the End of all, from whom, by whom, and in whom are all things. But who is there that makes him (that is, his feare) the beginning of his Wisdome? who makes him (that is, his word and spirit) his conductor unto wisdome: who is there that terminates his wisdome in him, devoting himselfe, and all his endeavours to his glory? These things are hidden from most mens eyes. Our selves are all in all unto us: We beginne in confidence of our selves, we goe on by our strength, and light, and we intend all for our selves, for our owne profit and reputation. Thus are we drawne about through the Vanities of the creatures, slipping about by our selves, to our selves, and from our selves, untill even our selves also returne to vanity. This is the sad and dolorous way of all flesh, wherein many of the wisest of men stray unhappily from their God. The cure of this last and worst disease must be, by sowing and sprinkling abroad the seeds of the true knowledge, and feare of God through all this field of Pansophie, that whither soever a man turne himselfe, he may see, that all things are nothing without God. Yea, all our Pansophie must be so husbanded, that it may perpetually spurre us forward to the seeking after God in everything, and point us out the way where to find him, as also prepare our minds for the due embracing and acknowledgment of him; That by this meanes it may be as [catchword: a sacred]
a sacred ladder for our minds to clime up by all visible things, unto the invisible top of all things, the majesty of the highest God (which by its splendor will shew us, how all inferior things are but the shadow of the true light) there at last to repose our selves in that center of rest, and end of all our desires, and to bath in that fountaine of life, from which all the streames of blisse and pleasure flow for evermore.
Unlesse this end may be obtained (with the other) our selves, and all our actions, and endeavours are but vaine: Wits will be still wandring in their perplexed labyrinths, Schooles will be still rolling of their Sisyphean stones, yea, and the whole world will goe on in its madding and reeling pace.
Now, feeling it is a matter so throughly serious, as wherein the glory of God, and the safety of mankind consisteth, we ought to solicite God with ardent supplications, that he would take pity upon us, and open our dimme eyes, that in his light wee may see light. And because Christ said not onely Aske, and yee shall receive, but also, Seeke and yee shall find; Knocke, and it shall be opened unto you, Matth. 7.7. Our desires, and prayers must be seconded with unwearied, and constant endeavours, that all veiles may be plucked off from things, and men may of all sides be prepared to behold in open, and cleare light all those wondrous things of God wherewith we are encompassed.
And now behold! I my selfe, the least of all, come forth to bring either a new light into the world, or some new sparkes to kindle it withall: Conscious indeed of my too much weaknesse, yet by Gods grace encouraged in humble expectation, that aid from heaven shall be supplied upon these my endeavours, which are intended for Gods glory, and much peoples good. God is privy to the secrets of ny heart, and knoweth that it was not confidence of mine owne abilities, which led me hither, but that I was, and am forced on by the pricks of mine owne conscience, that if I be any way able to profit others, I should desire and endeavour it, at least if I may but stirre up others, who are able to effect greater matters. For indeed this is the time above all ages that are past, both to hope, and to attempt greater things.
For if the Reader will but consider, he will easily see, that those many polishings of Sciences, those trimmings of Arts, those searches of secrets and hidden things, those conflicts of wit, and those many workes, and writings almost concerning every thing, which [catchword: hitherto]
hitherto have beene made or published, are nothing else, but the materials of learning sought, as it were, out of every wood, and quarrey throughout the world, thence diversly wrought by divers workmen, and so brought together into various heapes, which yet lie severed, and not united. What then remaines, but that now at last we should use a skilful hand in bringing these heapes of materials into their due forme and order? That so there may be erected some Universall Temple of Wisdome, truly glorious, and refulgent with the ornaments of harmony, and the light of Truth: Such as wee might justly apply that of Lucretius unto it,
Sed nil dulcius est bene quam munita tenere
Edita Doctrina sapientum Templa serena,
Despicere unde queas alios, passimque videre
Errare, atque vias palantis quærere vitæ.
Thus in English.
No worldly pleasures may compare
With this: well fenced to possess
Faire Wisdomes temples (beauties rare)
High rais'd on learnings solidnesse.
Thence you may see, how others goe astray
As men bewildred, groping for the way.
Or rather, that of Solomon, Wisdome hath builded her house, She hath hewen out her seven pillars; Shee hath killed her beasts; Shee hath mingled her wine: Shee hath also furnished her table: Shee hath sent forth her maidens; Shee crieth upon the highest places of the City, saying, Come, eate of my bread, and drinke of the wine, which I have mingled: Forsake the foolish, and live, and goe in the way of understanding, Prov.9. Unlesse such a Palace of true Wisdome be attempted by the followers of Wisdome, they will be like a slothfull builder, who is alwayes doing something about his building, but never drawing it towards an end. Yea, and it is to be feared, that learning it selfe will at length fall with its owne weight, and be over-whelmed with such a vast floud of writers, if no dams be opposed thereunto. But in deed such skil in Architecture is hereto requisite, as is not to be expected in any humane wit. For none but Wisdome her self, can build an house fit for her self to dwel in. But where shall Wisdome be found, and where is the place of Understanding? [catchword: God]
God alone understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof: He which looketh to the ends of the Earth, and seeth under the whole Heaven; which maketh a weight for the winds, and spreadeth out the waters in measure; which setteth lawes for the raine, and maketh way for the lightning of thunder: He alone seeth it, and declareth it, because he hath prepared, and seached it out, Job. 28. 12,23,24,25,26,27. Therefore MOSES could not build a Tabernacle for God, untill he was instructed of God himselfe, Looke, saith God, and doe according to all the patterne which was shewed thee in the Mount, Exod.25.40. And praised be thou, O Lord, for ever, which dost likewise give us thy workes and word for a patterne, whereby to erect this Pansophy, or Temple of Wisdome: that as thy word and workes are a true and lively representation of thee: so this, which we are about, may prove a true, and lively image of thy word and works.
I desire the learned to pardon me, of whose labours I now presume to shew my judgement. The most exact Encyclopædias, or sums of Art, which I could ever lay my eyes upon, seemed to me like a chaine neatly framed of many linkes, but nothing comparable to a perpetuall mover, so artificially made with wheeles, that it turns it selfe: or like a pile of wood, very neatly laid in order, with great care, and diligence, but nothing like unto a tree arising from its living roots, which by its inbred vertue spreads itselfe into boughs, and leaves, and yeeldeth fruit. But that which we desire, is to have a living tree, with living roots, and living fruits of all the Arts, and Sciences, I meane Pansophy, which is a lively image of the Universe, every way closing, and agreeing with it selfe, every where quickning it selfe, and covering it selfe with fruit. That is (to reflect a little to our former intentions) we would have such a booke of Pansophy compiled, which might be,
I. A solid breviary of universall learning.
II. A cleare light for humane understanding.
III. An exact, and stable rule of Truth.
IV. A certaine and directive Register of the affaires of our life.
V. And lastly, an happy ladder leading us to God himselfe.
Or (that I may otherwise expresse my desires) I thinke that seeing God hath ordered all things in number, measure, and weight, wee ought also to take care,
I. That all things are, were, or shall bee throughout the world, may be numbred, and summed up, that nothing escape our knowledge.
[catchword: II. That]
II. That the just proportion of all things, as well in respect of the Universe, as also among themselves may be laid open before our eyes.
III. That the weights of causes may be evident, and extant among us, whereby we may make exact triall of the truth of all things.
The first will make learning to be universall, which is our first intention. THe second will make it cleare, and distinct, which we also earnestly seeke. And the third will be a meanes to have it true and solid, which is our chief desire.
I say, we should have such a booke compiled, which alone, in stead of all, should be the Spense, and Store-house of Universall Learning: in which nothing should be wanting, and by reading whereof, Wisdome should of its owne accord, spring up in mens minds, by reason of the cleare, distinct, and perpetuall coherence of all things arising out of their true veines, and rootes that every thing may plainely appeare to be, as it is said to be, and that it can be no otherwise then it is, in regard of the immutable truth of things every where interwoven with it selfe. But all this we would have done compendiously, because we must have respect to the shortnesse, and frailty of our lives: And in a popular title, which may bring light. and not darknesse into the understanding: And lastly, solidly, by a perpetuall connexion of causes, and effects; because we seek for a true and firm foundation of truth, and not for any forged and false props of opinions: that so all things which may be known (whether Naturall, Morall, or Artificiall, or even Metaphysicall) may be delivered like unto Mathematicall demonstrations, with such evidence and certainty, that there may be no roome left for any doubt to arise. By which meanes, not onely such things as are, will be certainely, and truely knowne, but also the floud-gates of infinite devices, deductions, and inventions, will be set wide open.
O how much are these things to be desired! what an improvement and bettering would this be of our mortality! For seeing bookes are the instruments of transplanting Wisdome, and an instrument perfectly good, or a rule without any default, keepes the workemans hand from going awry; if such an instrument of learning, and teaching universall Wisdome, as we have projected, and described, were extant among us, it would be beneficiall, not onely for the dextrous fashioning and instructing of youth, (which MELANCHTON in one place saith is an harder matter then the taking of Troy) but also for the opening of a way, wherby all the sonnes [catchword: of]
of men may readily attaine unto the true knopwledge, and conceptions of things, that they may be wise both in beholding the works of God, and ordering of their owne.
As for the darknesse of errors, it would flee amaine from the face of so cleare a light: and men, being busied onely about solidities, and bending through assured and certaine wayes unto serious ends, would easier leave off those dissentions, strifes, and warres, wherewith the world is now consumed. For a disordered, and stragling search of the truth of things must needs breed difference in opinions, and that againe will as easily produce a mutuall crossing of mens wils, and inclinations, which, when it comes to irritate, and exasperate their minds, breaks forth into open strife, and conflicts. But these occasions of differences, and contentions, and all bywaies of error, would of themselves vanish away, if that one, and onely way of things, which is the way of Truth, were but enough discovered. For by Gods goodnesse this would be the meanes to heale up those wounds in Schooles, Churches, and Common-wealths, and to restore peace to the Christian world, that not onely all Christian nations might flourish in the studies of true Wisdome, and Piety, but even Infidels themselves might partake of the same light, and be won to the embracing of Christianity in this divinely revealed way of Truth. And so at last we should see (what Gods sacred Oracles have foretold, shall at length come to passe) that the Earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the Sea, Isa.11.9. And that the Lord shall be King over all the Earth, and there shall be but one Lord, and his name one, Zach.14.9. And that the way of SION shall be so plaine, that even fooles shall not erre therein, Isa.35.8. Which is the same that another Prophet hath foretold, That in the last dayes the mountaine of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountaines, and it shall be exalted above the hils, and people shall flow unto it. And many Nations shall come and say, Come and let us goe up to the mountaine of the Lord, that he may teach us of his wayes. And afterward: And they shall beate their Swords into Plough-shares, and Speares into Pruning-hookes: Nation shall not lift up a Sword against Nation, neither shall they learne warre any more, Micah.4.1. Take pity on us, O Lord, and let they peace rest upon Jerusalem: Let thy glory arise over us, that the Nations may walke in thy light.
But may such things be hoped for? Certainely we must not de- [catchword: spaire]
spaire of them, if this guide and director of humane understanding be once framed, whereby mens minds may be infallibly led by continuall degrees, and in open light from the groundworks, and fundamentalls unto the highest tops of things. For if wee come once by this meanes to behold the Theater of Gods wisedome, mens minds cannot but be filled with joy, and gladnesse, so that they will call one unto another, Come and let us goe up to the mountaine of the Lord, that he may teach us of his wayes. Now that such a Director (or perfect method of Pansophie) is not to be despaired of, we have these perswasions.
First, although things may seeme infinite and innumerable in respect of their multitude, not to be measured in regard of thir divers disproportions: and unsearchable, by reason of that depth wherein Truth is plunged: Yet it is most certaine that all things are beneath man and subject to his understanding. For all things are made for his sake, but in an inferiour degree: hee therefore being the last accomplishment of the creation, and the most absolute Image of his Creator, containing in himselfe onely the perfections of all other things, why should he not at last habituate himselfe to the contemplation of himselfe, and all things else? For seeing God hath appointed him to be a spectator of his wisedome, it is most certaine that he hath made him suitable to that end: which would not be if he had made either Things unproportionable to his understanding, or his understanding uncapable of the Things. It may then be concluded that God alone is great over all, and his greatnesse is unsearchable, Psal.145.3. all things else are made in number, weight, and measure, Wisd.11.20. Isay40.12. They are therefore to be numbred, measured, & weighed, untill this universall harmony do clea ly appeare unto us.
Secondly, God hath made all things well, as the Scripture saith, but every thing in his time, that is, by degrees. Is it then in vaine, that God hath set the world in mens hearts, that is, a desire to find out those things which he worketh from the beginning to the end? Eccles.3.11. It would be in vaine, if that desire could not obtaine its end. But we must not ascribe any frustraneous actione unto that Soveraigne wisedome.
Thirdly, wee have already great store of provision hereto, those bookes and monuments of mens diligence, compiled with great care and industry. Can we think that all these have done nothing? That cannot be in regard (as I have shewed already) of the supreme governour of all things, who will not suffer any thing, even errours [catchword: themselves]
themselves to be in vaine. Let us grant therefore that they have erred, and beene deceived in most things, yet God who is the eternall, and unchangeable foundation of Truth, will surely order the matter so, that even errours themselves will at last perforce be made subservient to the farther discovering and establishing of Truth. Now it is manifest, that many things are already found out, and why should we not hope, that the rest will follow? It it no small matter that Euclides, Archimedes, and others have brought the knowledge of Quantities to such evidence, and perfection, that even miracles may be effected by numbers, mesaures, and weights. It is not a thing of nothing, that Hermeticall Physitians, and others have by meanes of Chymistry found how to extract the qualities out of naturall bodies, and to separate even the very essences of things. It is a matter of moment, which the Lord VERULAM hath affected in his excellent Novum Organum, where he shewes the infallible way of making a narrow search into the natures of things: and that which JUNGIUS the Saxon is now about, who laboureth to bring the Art of Logicke to such perfection, that the truth of propositions may be upheld, and all fallacies avoided, with as much certainty as any of EUCLIDES'S Problemes can be demonstrated: Why should I add any more? as one pinne drives out another, so doth one invention thrust another forward, especially in this age so fruitfull of wits: and why should wee not hope for some invention of inventions, whereby the severall inventions, and endeavours of so many wits, may not onely in their matter, but even in their manner of discovery be united into one, and made common to mankind? It would surely be an excellent thing.
For if every one hath formerly had his owne sharpnesse of wit, his owne rules of proceeding, and his owne weights of judgement; what might not be effected, if all these wits were united into one, their lawes into one, and their judgements into one? The more candles, the greater light. If only the way be found out, how all these lights may be united into one: that is, how those divers and infinite devises, inventions, and knowne truths, may be reduced unto one perpetuall, immutable, and eternall rule and manner of inventing, knowing and devising. For if this be found out, that which we seeke for, is easily obtained.
And why may it not be found out? we are already possessed of more than a contemptible store of knowne truths; and for our farther progresse, we are provided of such light of method, as wee [catchword: need]
need not feare walking in the darke. Onely let us presse forward unto the utmost bounds of Method, and of things themselves. For where there is a progresse, there will at last be an end. Eternity onely, to which we are appointed, doth bound our minds, but all temproary things are within the bounds, and compasse of our minds: if only we be but acquainted with their rootes, and grounds, those immutable, constant and eternall conceptions, and lawes of things, by which all things are first made, and so continue.
We have also an expresse promise concerning the latter times, that Many shall runne to and fro, and knowledge shall be encreased, Dan.12.4. Many have already passed to and fro, and have searched out (in this our age more than ever) both Heaven, and Earth, Seas, and Islands, even the whole Kingdome fo Nature; as also the holy Scriptures, and those divine Oracles after various manner. And what remains then, but that the other part of the Prophesie should also take its turne to be fulfilled?
But let us now at length come up closer with the thing in hand, I meane, the meanes whereby so great a designe may be duly accomplished; which though it may somewhat appeare from that, which hath beene already said concerning both the causes, and the remedies of that confusion, which is in learning; yet we will enter into a more expresse, and particular discourse of them.
I thinke. therefore that we can never attiane unto the Universall Knowledge, Possession, and Use of all things, unlesse by a new and Universall,
I. Revising of all our goods, with all the inventories of them.
II. Comparing of those Inventories, with the things themselves, to see whether they are so indeed, as our registers, and accounts relate unto us.
III. By a new and universall Disposing of those things, which we find certaine, unto new, and universall uses.
The revising of our goods shall be to this purpose, that we be not ignorant, what is our proper inheritance, and what is worthy for us to employ our minds about. For it is too true, that men know not their owne goods; I meane, that the whole world, and the creatures thereof are their possession, and that they partake of eternity with God himselfe. The little thought and knowledge, or beliefe whereof, is the cause that most men casting themselves into vaine, base, and pernicious courses, are at last disherited for their unworthinesse. Therefore Christians must be taught throughly to [catchword: consider,]
consider, what is meant by that of the Apostle; whether the world, or life, or death, or things present or things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christs, and Christ is Gods, ICor.3.22. Neither was it any word of course, when I said, that we must revise our Inventories: for our Riches are so abundant, and so various, that few know what names to give them, much lesse do they comprehend, what they are, and what care is fitting for us to bestow upon them. All those things are therefore to be described to men very plainly, and clearly, like the Law, Deut.27.8. And because they must be accurately described, we must have a speciall care, that nothing be left out; wee must therfore search all former Registers, both generall and particular, old and new, by whomsoever set forth. For although there is a vast number of them, yet he, who will undertake to make a true survey, and synopsis of all things, must of necessity undergoe this taske. And it is greatly to be wished, that more were extant. But many famous monuments of learning are utterly lost, among which are the histories of living creatures, and plants compiled by SOLOMON the wisest of Kings, which seeing it is in vaine to hope for, or desire: we must make use of such as we have, especially Gods owne booke, the holy Scriptures, which are nothing else but Gods owne commentary upon those things which God bestowes upon us in this life, and reserveth for us in the future. And because Gods Spirit scarcely descendeth unto things of a lower nature, but chiefly teacheth us that which concerns our spirituall estate, we must therefore make use of those which treat of inferiour matters, as Philosophers, Historians, Cosmographers, Lawyers, Mechanicks, and all such as are happy in various inventions, that out of all particular Sciences may at last result one universall Science of Sciences, and Art of Arts, which is Pansophy.
But our intention is not, that the various opinions of severall Authors should be heaped up in this booke, as their practise is, who esteeme of learning by much reading, and who take no further care, if they can but recite the divers opinions of divers men, or spread their names a little by publishing some botcherly mingle-mangle of collections out of others. Nor do we drive so much at this, that severall opinions may be collected and compar'd among themselves, as they do, that fill up large volumes with handling questions to and fro, on both sides, and confuting such as agree not with themselves. But our maine aime is, that all who have written any thing concerning Piety and good manners, or concerning the Arts [catchword: and]
and sciences, not respecting whether they be Christians, or Mahumetans, Jewes or Pagans, and of what sect soever, Pythagoreans, Acadmians, Peripateticks, Stoicks, Esseans, Greekes, Latines, Ancient or Moderne Doctors, or Rabbins, every Church, Synod, and Councell, that all, I say, be admitted, and heard to see what they will bring in for the compiling of this Philosophicall worke.
And this we advise for these reasons,
I. Because that which we goe about, is an universall Treasurie of Wisedome for the common interest, and behoofe of mankind, therefore it is just that all Nations, Sects, Ages, and Wits, should contribute towards it.
II. All of us, as soone as we come into this world, sit as spectators in this common Amphitheater of Gods wisedome: and wee Christians have moreover, the light of divine revelation equally granted unto us all: and why should not the very meanest have liberty, if he thinkes that he seeth any thing worthy of observation, to point it out, and shew it unto others
III. It is not likely, that any one alone, or some few men of an Age or two, have had the priviledge to see all things, and others to see nothing: but as no soyle yeelds all kind of fruits, and yet every one yeelds something in their seasons yeare after yeare: so God also scattereth in mens minds various sparkes of his light respectively, in divers Nations, and Ages. The wind bloweth where it listeth, saith Christ, speaking of the holy Ghost, and his operations. And there want not examples of some, out of the bounds of the Church, whom the spirit of Wisedome hath severally inspired: as Job, Elephaz, Elihu, Mercurius Trismegistus, Socrates, Epictetus, Cicero. Therefore none must be contemned, especially in such things, wherein the light of nature may guide us: For,
Quandoque est Olitor satis opportuna locutus:
The delving gardner often hits aright
Upon those things, which flee our soaring sight.
The Lord VERULAM saith very well, that the divers opinions of men concerning the nature of things, are like divers glosses upon the same Text, whereof one is more exact in one part, another in another, each of them helping you to something observable. Let it therefore be agreed: That there is no booke so bad, wherein some good thing or other may not be found: and if nothing else, yet it may occasion us to amend some errour.
IV. It is certaine that no man would willingly erre (for to what [catchword: end]
end should he do it) but then men erre, when they are deceived by some similitude of truth. For errours also have their pretenses of reasons to maintaine them, which must therefore be heard, because we have to do with man a reasonable creature. So by collation of reason, the false colours will easily be discovered, and the shadow will fly away before the light.
V. When any one is condemned before he is heard, how just soever his condemnation be, yet justice her selfe suffereth violence thereby: for it is possible that the case may be otherwise, than it was apprehended upon hearsay, therefore all things must be first certainly known. That I may onely mention that phantasticall, and supercilious practise of some, who for some opinion, or suspicion, which they have formerly entertained, bear such prejudice against others, that they will not so much as give their reasons the hearing. Is not this to say Racha his brother? Matth.5.22.
VI. Let it be granted that some men have committed great errours in this, or that matter: yet who knowes not, that wisemen by seeing others errours, learne to avoid them? Many usefull things will be continually suggested from former errours, and their occasions, to those that will be undertakers in this worke of Pansophie, for the better trimming and polishing of it.
VII. It is to be wished, that men may once at last be unburdened of their troublesome dissentions, and that Sects and strife may cease, but that will never bee, unlesse first all suspicions be left off, wherein men are intangled one with another. Now suspicions cannot be avoided, where either part is unsatisfied in their owne, or the others meaning, and doubts. And these things can never be cleared, unlesse both opinions be mildly heard, and compared together, and then examined by the same lawes of cleare and undeniable truth, which both sides shall consent upon.
VIII. Lastly, it is very observable, that at the building of the Tabernacle by MOSES, and the Temple by SOLOMON, the Israelites offered not onely their owne, but also of the spoiles, which they had taken away from the enemies of God, as the Egyptians, Philistines, and Ammonites; and that they were accepted of by the builders. For gold was sought for on every side, and there were pretious stones offered before they came to the holy Land, and Cedar wood was brought from Libanus, at the building of the Temple, all making for the glory of the God of Israel, and the splendour of his house. As also in the re-edifying of the Temple by ZOROBABEL, [catchword: God]
God stirred up the heart of CYRUS the King, that he not only offered of his owne royall treasure, but also gave commandement to his subjects through all his dominions, to helpe the Israelites every one in his owne place of dwelling, with silver, and gold, and substance, and cattell, Ezra I.v.3,4,7. And why should not the builders of the Temple of wisedome accept of every thing from what hand soever, which may make for the beauty and ornament of it? Even the Gibeonites themselves, though accursed, may be employed for the hewing of wood, and drawing of water for the house of our God, Josh.9.23.
If any man taxe mee, that I have formerly beene of another mind, that I have inclined to partiality, and sided with a particular sect, instilling into others a dislike of ARISTOTLE, and the Heathen Authors. I will not deny but that I have beene carried away by the example of those, who with NEHEMIAH were piously jealous, because the children of the Israelites running up and downe Jerusalem, knew not how to speake the Jewes language perfectly, but mixed it with the language of Ashdod, Nehem.13.24. I meane, because the wisedome and eloquence of the Gentiles beare more sway in our Schooles, than true Christian, and saving knowledge, which is abominable, and better it is a thousand times, that Heathen wisedome should be utterly stripped of all her inticing dresses, and allurement, then that any soule, which Christ would have to be filled with his spirit, should be thereby endangered, or subverted. But seeing, that we meddle not here concerning the sway, which Paganisme beareth, or of the dangerous mixture of it with Christianity; but only how to make all the earth tributary unto Christ the King of all the world, and how all those rivulets, which have any way dispersed themselves from this fountaine of wisedome may with the losse onely of their filth, be returned to their fountaine head; Let even the Gentiles, and Arabians therefore be admitted to furnish us with such ornament, as they are able for the beauty of this house of God. Especially seeing not onely the maine businesse of our salvation is regarded in our Pansophie, but even the affaires of this life also, wherein seeing the Gentiles chiefly imployed themselves, they cannot but have observed profitable things, which to loath, and reject for their sakes, would be but fond, and superstitious vanity. We will therefore give them admittance, but upon this condition, that whatsoever thay have thought, written, or found out, which appeares to be true, considerate, and pious, shall be applyed to common use, and benefit: but wherein soever they are con- [catchword: victed]
victed to have done, or said any thing unmeet, or contrary to truth, or piety, therein they shall be for ever silenced, lest piety be any more borne down by profanenesse, truth by errour, or light by darknesse.
But herein wee had need to deale fairely with much judgement, and moderation, lest wee be too facile in passing censure upon others. For if we be prepossessed with suspicion, or carried away with affection, we oftentimes are ready to fasten errours upon others, which they themselves will not owne, and to wrest their expressions, and words contrary to their meaning: whereas every one is, and ought to be his own best interpreter. ARISTOTLE himselfe in this regard hath not the best report, for his practising to raise the credit of his owne workes, by his confuting of the ancient Philosophers without making any true and just report of their opinions. Which if it be true (as I will not determine) it may be a warning for all the undertakers of Pansophy, where no partiall victory, but an universall harmony is to be sought) that as much as may be, all differences in opinions may be reconciled, and brought to consonancie, by reducing them to the meane and certaine truth.
Thus farre concerning a Review of all Things, and their Registers I told you moreover, that it is needfull we should compare them one with the other to see whether all things, that are to be found in nature, are duly entred, and whether all things that are entred, can any where be found, and whether things are so indeed, according as they are registred? For unlesse things be truly stowed, as they are in themselves, mens understandings are easily confounded and entangled in errours. Now it is most certaine that many things are entred in the Catalogues of the learned (especially by some Sects, which vent dreames and shadowes instead of realities) which can no where be found among Things themselves: and againe, that the Treasuries of God, and Nature containe many things in them, which are not yet come to our knowledge: and lastly, that very many things are otherwise in themselves, than our bookes tell us: so that it is exceeding necessary to have such a collation made betweene these commentaries & things themselves. For when this is done (and not before) as well all defects as superfluities, and errors will be manifest: so that then it will be an easie matter to supply, or amend them, or to take them quite away. But what mortall man is sufficient for such a taske? seeing the multitude and variety both of naturall and supernaturall, morall, and artificiall things is so infinite? For if those who have formerly laboured in the search of [catchword: particular]
particular things, have met with such knots, and rubs, that their endeavours have for the most part sate down, and rested themselves upon that grand complaint of the intricate subtilty of nature, of the unsearchable complication, and intervening of causes, of the implacable hostility of contraries every where occurrent, and lastly, of the great weaknesse, and insufficiencie of humane understanding, for the compassing of them all: what then may hee expect that shall goe about to rip them all up from the very bottome? But we must not utterly despaire. Art many times helps us to effect that which no strength is able to performe: which seemeth not to have beene enough observed by those which have hitherto searched into the nature of things, who have strained to breake through those great lets, onely by the force and strength of wit, and the assaults of continuall diligence; whereas notwithstanding, the understanding left unto it selfe, like a naked and empty hand, is able to do no great matters: but every thing is more easily and certainly accomplished with helps, and instruments. Therefore herein it will be requisite to be furnished with some Rules, by application whereof unto things themselves, and to all opinions, and decrees concerning them, we may be able to discerne necessary things, from such as are not necessary, profitable things from unprofitable, and truth from falshood. Such a kind of rule, for the searching out of nature, seemeth to have beene found out by the famous LORD VERULAM: A certaine artificiall induction, which indeed is the onely way to pierce through into the most abstruse secrets of many men, and ages, and so is not onely laborious, but seemeth also to be uncertaine in the event and successe thereof; hence it comes to passe, that though it be a most excellent invention, yet the most part of men neglect it as unprofitable. Yet notwithwtanding it is of no great use, or advantage towards our designe of Pansophy, because (as I said before) it is onely intended for the discovery of the secrets of Nature, but wee drive and aime at the whole universality of things. It will be therefore requisite for us to search out some other more universall Rule, which perhaps God of his great mercy will upon our diligent endeavour vouchsafe to reveale unto us: who therfore hides himselfe, that he may be sought, and therfore will be sought that hee may be found, Esay 45. 14,15,19. "He which hath inflamed thine heart to seeke him (saith Beatus Fulgenius ad Monimum) will by no meanes suffer thee to lose thy end of seeking; for his faithfull [catchword: "promise]
promise can by no meanes be made void, which saith, Aske, and ye shall receive, Seeke, and ye shall find, Knocke, and it shall be opened unto you." Being now therefore about to unfold, what God hath revealed unto us, and given us to see upon our asking, seeking, and knocking. I first crave, and humbly begge the pious attention of all such as are able to judge of things of this nature. and for the thing it selfe I will briefly dispatch it in a few Aphorismes.
1. There are three things which accomplish that knowledge which is possible for our condition, yea, which rather raise it to a kinde of Omniscience, the knowledge of God, Nature, and Art.
By art we understand whatsoever is compassed in humane industry, as our thoughts, words, and actions: by Nature we meane whatsoever comes to passe of its owne accord by those dispositions implanted in things: by God, all that power, wisdome, and goodnesse, which lying hid from eternity, hath hitherto displayed it selfe unto us, either in divine words or workes: he that knowes these three, knowes all things, for of these three the whole world consists.
2. A perfect knowledge of these three ought to be sought for.
Lest we should thinke we have enough, if we know something of God, something of Nature, and something of Art, (for so much may be said of the veriest fooles and idiots) but that we may have a full and perfect understanding of all things that may be knowne.
3. Knowledge is then onely perfect, when it is true.
For if it be not true, in stead of realities, it exhibits phantasmes, and ends in a meere mockery.
4. Knowledge is true, when things are knowne as they are.
For if they be otherwise apprehended then they are, it is no knowledge, but errour.
5. Things are knowne as they are, when they are knowne according as they were made.
For every thing is so as it was made, or else things must have degenerated from that they were.
[catchword: 6. Every]
6. Every thing was made according to its proper Idea, that is according to such a conception, by which it might be such as it is.
For unlesse things could be, they should not be, and unlesse they could be such or such, they should not be so: that possibility therefore of being such, or such, is called an Idea, whereby a thing is such as it is.
7. Therefore all things that are, are made according to their Idea's, whether they be workes of God, of Nature, or of Art.
For seeing an Idea is a certaine rule of things, God cannot bee thought to doe any thing without Idea's, that is, without a certaine rule, as who is of himselfe the rule of all rules: So likewise Nature when she effects most orderly workes, cannot worke without a rule; as neither can Art, which is natures Ape.
8. Art borrows the Idea of its workes from Nature, Nature from God, but God hath them onely from himselfe.
It is commonly enough knowne, that Art is lame without Nature, that Art is the daughter, follower, and imitator of Nature; and as truly may we speake it of Nature in respect of God, that without him she can doe nothing, that she is his daughter, follower, and imitatour. But God imitates none but himselfe, because he neither can, nor will doe otherwise: he cannot because he can behold nothing but himselfe in his infinite eternity: whence then should he borrow either the beginning, or rule of his works? Neither will he, for seeing he is most perfect, he can will nothing but that which is most perfect: now nothing can be said to be most perfect, but that one, onely eternall, and perfect good, which is himselfe. If any man say, that God did take liberty to himselfe to thinke of other rules for the forming of things, I aske then to what end he did so? If God doe nothing in vaine now in his ordinary concurrence with nature, why should he be thought to have done so at the beginning? why should he bethinke himselfe of any other way, when himselfe was the most infinite patterne of all perfection? Was it, that he might conceale his owne Majesty, No; for it was his owne good purpose to display it visibly, Rom.1.20. Was it that he might manifest the depth of his wisdome by that looking off from himselfe? Neither; for this would prove a diminution of the fulnesse of his glory, if he could find out any perfection, which was not in himselfe, which is impossible. Therefore it is most certaine, that both the creatures, and their Idea's have issued from this one fountaine. [catchword: And]
And seeing that among the creatures every agent naturally labours to assimilate its object unto it selfe, why should we not acknowledge the same in God, who hath imprinted this property in the creatures? especially seeing God can find nothing fit to be the end of his works, but himselfe. Therefore we conclude that God takes from himselfe the rule of his workes, as well at the end of them, and power to effect them; the matter onely whereof the creatures are compos'd, and wherein they differ chiefely from their Creator, he takes out of nothing.
9. God therefore in framing of the world, figureth out himselfe so as the creature is wholly proportioned to the Creator.
Even as the impression answereth alwayes to the stamp, although sometimes it be more, sometimes lesse evident; whence arise divers degrees of this proportion. So the Sonne of God is called the expresse image of his Father, Heb.1.3. And yet man is said to be made after the image of God, Gen.1. 26. 1Cor.11.6. Yea, and all other things are said to resemble him in some sort; for it is said, that the invisible things of God are seene from the beginning of the world in those things which are made, Rom.1.20. and that in the greatnesse and beauty of created things their Creator may be proportionately knowne, Wisd.13.5. And hereupon it was that the Gentiles entitled Nature not onely the Daughter of God, but said that its selfe was God. Nature is nothing else, saith SENECA, but God, and divine Law implanted in the whole world, and all its parts, de Benef.4.c.7.
10. And because all things are partakers of divine Ideas, hence also it comes to passe that they partake one of another, and are proportioned one to the other.
For those things that agree in any third thing, agree among themselves.
11. Therefore the conceptions of all things are the same, nor is there any difference, but in the manner of their existence, because in God they are as in their Originall <Vt in Archetypo>, in Nature as in the Coppy <Ectypo>, in Art as in the counterfeit <Antitypo>.
Even as in a Seale the form is one and the same, which is first conceived in the mind of him, that graves it, or commands it to be graven: then as it is engraven in metall; and lastly, as it is stamped up- [catchword: on]
on wax: For although it be threefold, yet it is the same, because the second is formed by the first, the third by the second, each of them after the resemblance of that which is next before it in order. So these Ideas being first conceived in God, imprint their likenesse in the creatures; and likewise the reasonable creatures in things, which they themselves effect.
12. Therefore the forunds as of the framing, so of the knowledge of all things is Harmony.
That which the Musicians call harmony, is a sweet consonancie of divers tones: the like exact agreement is to be found in the eternall perfections of God, with those which are created in Nature, and those which are expressed in Art: for each of them is harmonious in it selfe, as also in mutuall respect one to the other. Nature is the image of divine Harmony, and Art of Nature.
13. The first thing required in Harmony, is that there be nothing dissonant.
Musicall Harmony is composed of most different, & contrary tones, and yet there is a certaine consonancie to be found in their contrariety: So the whole world is composed of contraries; (because without them the Truth, and order, & essence of the world would fall) as also the Scripture containeth many things in it, which seeme to oppose one another, all which notwithstanding have perfect agreement in themselves, and so are to be disposed in our understandings towards a perfect Harmony; that so there may bee an universall consent, as in Divine, so in humane workes and words, all seeming dissonancies vanishing of themselves. The want of the understanding of this mystery, is the reason that Philosophers, and Divines doe picke out of Nature and Scripture, one this thing, another that, opposing Nature to Nature, Scripture to Scripture, and thereupon drawing out contrary senses fall into contentions, and differences among themselves: which thing cannot chuse but vanish of it selfe, if once the light of this universall harmony doe but appeare. For Truth is one, and every way agreeing with it selfe.
14. The second thing required in Harmony, is that all things have a perfect conconancie and agreement.
It is manifest both in naturall, and artificiall things, that all are framed according to Harmony: So in a beast, a tree, a musicall in- [catchword: instrument]
strument, a ship, a booke, an house, all the parts are necessarily proportionate, as to the whole, so to one another. But some men may make a question, whether divine things have any proportion with things naturall, and artificiall? for it may be thought, that it best becomes the divine Majesty to have nothing common with the creatures. But we must observe, that whatsoever is to be found in the counterfeit, is first, and by way of excellencie in the patterne: so the river proceeds from the fountaine, the shadow from the body, and the image in a glasse from the thing it represents. Againe, if the workes of nature are so absolute, and exact, that there is no place left for new additions thereunto, (as GALEN confesseth, lib.[6?]. de usu part. cap.1.) and if the nature of Nature be unchangeable, and unalterable (as TERTULLIAN witnesseth against Valent. cap.9.29.) what then is Nature, but a lively image of him in whom all things are first, and by way of excellencie, good, perfect, and unchangeable? Lastly, in the Scripture God attributes to himselfe eares, eyes, a mouth, hands, feet, an heart, a face, and back parts; also he stiles himselfe, fire, a rocke, a tower, an anchor: To what purpose is all this, if these things cannot represent God? but if on the other side they can and doe represent him, then it is certainely no otherwise then he is, seeing the word of God is the rule of Truth. We are not ignorant, that all these things are spoken figuratively, (for we will not goe a madding with the Anthropomorphites) but no man can deny, but that all these figures have their ground, and foundation in the proportion, and identity of the things themselves: For every thing must first be, before it can be predicated. Therefore as artificiall things are proportioned unto things naturall, so are naturall things unto divine.
15. The third property of Harmony is, that though the variety of sounds and melodies be infinite, yet all ariseth out of some few principles, and certaine different moods.
For all different harmonies, whatsover have, or can be invented, arise onely from seven notes, and three concords. All corporeall things that are contained in the world, are composed of those few elements, and some few differences of qualities; and so of the rest: So that the multitude and variety of things is nothing else but the various iteration of the same things: As for example upon a tree, though there are millions of leaves, yet all are of the same figure, colour, and vertue; yea, and all trees of the same kind through the [catchword: whole]
whole world grow after the same sort, and have the same active and passive dispositions. So also the trees of severall kinds agree in many things among themselves.
16. Therefore all things will be knowne, if their principles, and the manner of their differences be discovered.
For as in Musick, he that knowes the nature of the severall tones, and moods, will easily be able both to sing, and compose any kind of melody; yea, such a way is found out, that players on Instruments, are able by looking upon one onely generall Base, to play many parts at once without any kind of discord; so also it is infinite, that he may both understand, and performe, that doth but comprehend the generall natures of artificiall, naturall, and supernaturall things. As for example, he that knowes, what fairnesse or beauty is of it selfe, and whereof it consists, will easily be able to know what is meant by a faire soule, a beautifull body, a faire colour, faire manners, or the like. Againe, whatsoever doth not agree with that Idea, will easily appeare not to be faire or beautifull. The opening of these fountaines will afford us the knowledge of a world of things.
17. Now these common natures of things are to be abstracted from the things themselves, and to be laid for the common rules of all things.
As for example, the nature of faire, good, perfect, profitable of life, sense, &c. is to be sought for in things which are faire, good, perfect, &c. And this must be done by a prudent, and diligent separating of those things which are not of the essence of beauty, goodnesse, or perfection; untill the formes and natures of them remaine cleared from all other conceptions. For all things that are, have their common nature, or conception, whereby they are: therfore they all necessarily meet in some commom manner of being: as also all living things in some manner of life; sensitive creatures in their sensation: and those things that are beautifull in some manner of being, for which they are so called: and so of others. If therefore such common notions, and Ideas were accurately abstracted from all things, it would prove a generall key to let us in unto the knowledge of things, a rule for all sorts of operations, it would point out many new inventions, and be the touchstone of all opinions, in a word, a most large field for all pleasant speculations.
[catchword: 18. But]
18. But these rules of Truth must be abstracted from such things as cannot be otherwise then they are, and such as are obvious to everyone for making experiments in them all, I meane from naturall things.
For Divine things are of themselves unsearchable, and are knowne onely so farre, as they are shadowed but in nature, or revealed by the word of God: on the other side, Art borrowes all its reason and certainty from Nature, and is often deceived. Therefore the field of Nature chiefly is that, wherein we must search for these Idea's, yet not neglecting the help of Gods word, the holy Scripture, wherein the truest, and amplest designment of the workes of God (that is, what hath done, doth, and will doe, and to what end) is to be found. Therefore the rules, whereby our Pansophy is to bee erected, must be borrowed from these two, Nature, and Scripture, whereby all things great and small, high and low, first and last, visible, created and uncreated, may be reduced to such an Harmony (or Pan-harmony rather) as which is true, perfect, and every way compleat, and satisfactory to it selfe, and to things themselves.
Thus farre have we proceeded in the laying downe of rules for the revising of all things anew: It followes now, that we declare the manner how they are to be disposed of. For we thinke such a method is necessary for our pansophy, as is absolutely perfect, whereunto nothing may be added, and such an one as may so knit mens minds unto the things themselves, that they may find no end, but in the end, and may first reape some solid fruit of their endeavours, before they perceive any difficulties therein; which we conceive may be attained,
1. By an accurate Anatomizing of the whole Universe, if all the veines, and joynts thereof be so cleared, and laid bare, that there may be nothing lie hid from our sight, but every thing may appeare in his proper place without any confusion.
2. It is necessary, that the true signification of words (especially such as are of mnore generall use) be fully agreed upon, that homonymies, and ambiguous expressions breed no more dissentions, and this will be effected by accurate definitions of things, such as Mathematicians usually premise before their demonstrations.
3. Next after the divisions, and definitions of things shall follow their Rules, Lawes, and Canons, with their demonstrations annexed.
4. It is also requisite, that both divisions, definitions, and Canons, should be 1. very cleare and perspicuous, 2. of certaine use and benefit, 3. altogether true <greek writing in margin> in themselves, in all times and pla- [catchword: ces]
ces. For the want of these three conditions, hath not without cause beene hitherto excepted against, both in the writings of Philosophers, and Divines. Many things are set downe so obscurely, that even Mercury himselfe would want another Mercury to explaine them. Many things againe of very little, or no use, and some things which are onely accidentally true. For example, that Metaphysicall Theoreme Substantia non recipit magis & minus, is neither true, nor if it be true, is it of any use. For he that is fully growne up is more a man then an Embryo, or infant in the womb: an Eagle is more a bird then a bat: The Sunne is more light then the Moone. And is it not vaine thing to say, every Hogge is an Hogge, and every Horse is an Horse? For who would gain-say this, or who needs to be told it. Therefore the precepts of Pansophy ought to containe nothing in them, but what is worth our serious knowledge.
5. The generall precepts of Pansophy ought to be nothing but reall and practicall axioms, that is, sentences gaining credit of themselves, not to be demonstrated (a priori) but onely to be illustrated by examples: as which, so soone as they are understood, cannot but be allowed by all men for a rule of truth. For such generall notions naturally stamped upon our minds, will be like fire-brands to kindle the light of truth, that it may shine unto us in all particulars, and withall will be the first moving wheeles in all our operations. But we must have a speciall care, lest we admit any things for axiomes, which are not so indeed. For it is not without cause that the L. VERULAM, STRESO, and others complaine, that the vulgar Canons in Logick are so farre from being exact rules of truth, or usefull demonstrations, that they serve onely for disputation, which is performed by excepting, distinguishing, limiting, instancing, and retorting, and indeed appeares to be nothing else but a learned brangling.
6. All particular theorems throughout the whole Pansophy, must be onely speciall diductions of those generals, which went before, without any new addition; as we see it comes to passe in the growth of trees, and living creatures, new boughs, or members are not brought forth ever yeere, but the former onely grow towards perfection. Pansophy being prepared after this sort will be, 1. Easie to be apprehended, for one thing will issue out of the other; 2. It will be satisfactory in matter of truth, when all things that follow are grounded in those that went before; 3. It will bee of excellent use: For it will be as a cleare [catchword: mirrour]
mirrour, wherein to behold the natures and grounds of all things that can be known. And indeed such a booke would not onely prove a Nursery for all sort of knowledge, but it would also water it, and make take the deeper root: so that learners should no more be allured by perswasions, but rather compelled by demonstrations to assent to that which is truth, which is the onely way to manke one firmely grounded in knowledge.
As it is not usuall therfore among Mathematicians to say, PYTHAGORAS affirmes, that three times three are nine, or EUCLIDES makes three sorts of continuall quantity, a line, a superficies, and a solid body. All Geometricians agree in this, That the three angles of a triangle, are equall to two right angles; and he would be hissed at, that should in such things vouch their authorities; but their manner hath beene to prove by demonstration, that those things are so, and can be no otherwise, though there had never beene any such as EUCLIDES or PYTHAGORAS; So we would have men ashamed to alledge authorities herafter, either in Metaphysicks, Physicks, Ethicks, or Politicks, wheresoever reason may suffice.
Now we have designed this in such a method, as that the whole worke of Pansophy may proceed on without any repetitions, and that the succinctnesse, and brevity thereof may not (though the worke be full of closely-couched solidities) make it the more obscure: for seeing it proceeds on by degrees, those things that goe before will easily cast light upon such as follow. And so may that rule of fortification, No place defends it selfe, but is defended by another, be happily put in practise also in writing of bookes, if all things that are delivered, receive both light and strength from such as were formerly knowne,
But in matters of greater moment, the authority of the holy Scripture will be requisite to be added, as the witnesse of God himselfe: as also such things must be shewed, and manifested to the very senses, that every man may have liberty to make experiment himselfe of their truth: that, as among Mathematicians upon the demonstration of a Theoreme necessarily ensues the perfect knowledge thereof, and also a Probleme being demonstrated the effect certainely followes: so the precepts of Pansophy may supply us with a certainty both of knowledge and operation.
7. But if there remaine any thing, which cannot be so certainely demonstrated, and yet is profitable to be knowne, let such things be referred among those that are farther to be enquired of, or else the [catchword: reasons]
reasons of both parts may be set downe; that every one may have liberty to use his owne judgement in enclining to either part; as also that an occasion may be prepared for some or other afterward to dissolve those doubts, and to find out the certaine truth of them. For God communicates his light unto men, but by degrees, and we know that soft and faire goes farre. In the meane while, such things, as shall be perfectly demonstrated, though perhaps they will be few in number, yet they will be of excellent use. For it is farre better to possesse a certaine, full, and perfect knowledge, though but of few things, then to tumble about in uncertainty through the whole intellectuall world.
Now betweene this booke of Pansophy (if it be once perfected) and other bookes of continuall use amongst us, there would be as great difference, as there is between a musicall instrument exactly framed for a full harmony, and many others that are bounded in compasse of a few notes, and out of tune: or as there is betweene a tune accurately set, or prickt (by looking on which alone an Organist or other Musitian is able to expresse most various melodie) and those Sets of Musicall bookes in parts, which can onely be made use of by many together, and perhaps many times are full of discords.
Which booke so often as I consider with my selfe, how greatly it would advance the study of Wisedome, I have not, nor do not cease to put up my humble requests unto God, that he would please to stirre up some Noble, and Heroick minds for the kindling of so great a light in the world. And seeing that he hath made mee one of those, who are sensible of humane imperfection, and do earnestly desire that things may be brought to a better stay: I thought that I should not transgresse the bounds of my duty, if I my selfe should make triall, whether his divine goodnesse would make use of mee (for that heavenly wind bloweth where it listeth) for the communicating of some small light upon others, or at least, that I should be a spurre unto others, upon whom that divine goodnesse hath bestowed more leisure, parts, and learning for the effecting of greater matters of this sort, then can be performed by me. And what blame can it be to mee, if my desires have beene very vehemently bent towards the benefitting of Christian youth, either by my selfe, or others? yea, and I did greatly feare, lest this so necessary a designe should go no further then mens desires, if my selfe should publish my owne good wishes onely. I have therefore attempted something [catchword: according]
according to that little which God hath bestowed upon mee, that by that small taste, I may be the better understood, and others also whom God shall please to excite thereunto, may have an example for to follow.
But I may not passe over in silence, what the occasion was, which set mee upon so great a worke, as also what order, and method I have used, in the compiling of it, and lastly, what successe I have found according to mine owne apprehension: all these I must say something of, because without propounding my owne intentions, I cannot expect from others any found or favourable censure of them. But for that which I have performed herein, it shall speake for it selfe in our booke of Pansophie, by perusing whereof it will be easie for judicious minds to resolve themselves.
It is now above twenty yeares since I was first touched with this desire of searching out some meanes for the easing of those difficulties, that are usuall in the study of learning, and that by occasion of mine owne unhappinesse, which, alasse! deprived mee of the most part of my youth. For loosing both my parents, while I was yet a child, I began through the neglect of my guardians, but at sixteene yeares of age, to taste of the Latine tongue. Yet by the goodnesse of God, that taste bred such a thirst of desire in mee, that I ceased not from that time by all meanes and endeavours, to labour the repairing of my lost years: and now not onely for my selfe, but for the good of others also. For I could not but pity others also in this respect, especially in my owne nation, which is too too sloathfull, and carelesse in matter of learning. Thereupon I was continually full of thoughts for the finding out of some meanes, whereby more might be enflamed with the love of learning, and whereby learning it selfe might be made more compendious both in matter of the charge, and cost, and of the labour belonging therunto, that so youth might be brought in a more easie method unto some notable proficiencie in learninng. But beeing shortly after at the age of 24 called to the service of the Church, because that divine function challenged all my endeavours, these Scholasticke cares were laid aside untill five yeares after: when being by Gods permission banished my country with divers others, and forced for my sustenance to apply my selfe to the instruction of youth, I gave my mind to the perusall of divers Authors, and lighted upon many, which in this age have made a beginning in reforming the method of Studies, as RATICHIUS, HELVICUS, RHENIUS, RITTERUS, GLAUMIUS, [catchword: COECILIES,]
COECILIUS, and who indeed should have had the first place, JANNES VALENTINUS ANREÆ , a man of a nimble and cleare braine: as also COMPANELLA, and the Lord VERULAM, those famous restorers of Philosophy: By reading of whom I was raised in good hope, that at last those so many various sparkes would conspire into a flame: yet observing here and there some defects, and gaps as it were, I could not containe my selfe from attempting something that might rest upon an unmoveable foundation, and which if it could be once found out, should not be subject to any ruine. Therefore after many workings, and tossings of my thoughts, by reducing everything to the immoveable lawes, and rules of Nature, I lighted upon my Didactica magna, which shewes the art of readily, and solidly teaching all men all things.
A Gate of Languages.
According to the Canons and rules whereof, when I had assayed a compendious way of teaching the Languages, and had published it (under the title of Janua Linguarum referata) that so I might see how others would approve of it: it happened that it was accepted with much applause, and unanimously approved by the learned, as the true, and most genuine way of teaching the languages. Whereupon I apprehended a new occasion to be offered mee of attempting to make an open gatre unto the things themselves, or if you will, a key of humane understanding, wherby it might have accesse unto all sorts of things. From which worke, if it proved successfull, I thought there was so much more benefit to be hoped for, by how much it is better to be wise, than to be able to prattle a few Latine words.
There wanted not some indeed, who were of opinion, that such a Gate or Key of the things themselves, was altogether impossible: for I did communicate my intentions with my friends: yet that perswasion which I had conceived of the universall, and constant harmony of things, did encourage mee very much to thinke that all such things as come in the compasse of humane understanding, might be reduced unto some certaine rules, whhich being finite, and perhaps not very many in number, yet should be of infinite use. For thus I reasoned with my selfe: If the tongue, that nimble interpreter of the mind, when it doth most luxuriate in variety of expressions, is yet so bounded, that of necessity it must utter all conceptions of the mind in a few words, why may not also those wandring conceptions be reduced, and brought into bounds according to the nature of things themselves? For although things as they are [catchword: in]
in themselves may seeme to have a certaine inifinitie in them, yet is it not so indeed: for the world it selfe (that admirable worke of God) is framed of a few elements, and some few kinds of formes: and all Arts whatsoever have beene invented, may easily be reduced unto a summary and generall method. Because therefore things themselves, and their Conceptions, and Words the expressions of those Conceptions are parallel one to the other, and in each of them there are certaine fundamentalls from which the rest of them result: I thought that it is not impossible, to collect also the fundamentalls of Things themselves, and their conceptions, as well as hath been done already in Words. Also the practise of the Chymists came into my mind, who have found out a way so to cleare, and unburden the essences, and spirits of things from the surcharge of matter, that one small drop extracted out of Mineralls, or Vegetables containes more strength, and vertue in it, and is used with better successe, and efficacie, then can be hoped for from the whole, and entire lumpe. And is there no meanes to be found out, thought I with my selfe, whereby the precepts of wisedome (so divided in the severall enclosures of Sciences, yea and infinitely dispersed out of their due bounds) may bee united and concentred together? why should I despaire? All despaire is a dishonour to God, who hath promised to hearken unto all, suych as aske, and seeke, and knocke. Therefore I concluded with my selfe, that it was possible to plant such an universall Nursery of learning.
And then in the name of God I set upon this worke, observing the same method herein, which I used in composing the Gate of Languages. First, that (as I did there with all the words of the Latine tongue, so here also) all things worthy of mans knowledge should be collected together, as into a treasury. Secondly, that nothing should be set downe above once, unlesse onely such, as by reason of their connexion, and relation with others were necessary for the others explication. Thirdly, that nothing should be set downe but in its owne place, and proper sense, according to the most naturall order of things, and in most cleare expressions, that herein might be summarily, and clearly learned all things that are contained in all bookes, and libraries, and in the whole world it selfe. Which if we had so effectually performed, as to set open a Gate to the understanding of all things, and all bookes, without the helpe of others to guide men therein, it may be wee might have shared of that praise which TIMOTHY BRIGHT ascribes unto such, [catchword: as]
as are inventors of brevity, and perspicuity. For saith he, "Among all parts of Philosophy, wherein such as are lovers of Truth, and of the best things, have taken paines, there is none more profitable for life, or which gives the mind a more reall content, then that which helps the other Arts with brevity and perspicuity. Therefore we ought thankfully to acknowledge their endeavours, who have bestowed their paines to this end, that learners may be eased of all tediousnesse and prolixity, and freed from al ambiguous labyrinths, and thorny difficulty." (super Scribonii Phys. cap.1.)
It suiteth very neere with the present case, for when we first attempted this worke, our intentions aimed no farther than onely at a short and perspicuous comprehension of all things that are to be knowne. But in the progresse of the worke, Gods goodnesse suggested a more sublime care, and thought into our minds, that wee should labour to rectifie all things so, as wee might have them truer, and better, and more fitted (for us Christians) for the intents both of this present, and the future life. Of the necessity of which intention, I have already discoursed sufficiently. That therefore this worke might indeed prove a Gate, not onely into the reading of Authors, but rather into the whole universality of things, I referred hither all things, that I could find extant either in divine or humane workes or writings: not by an unprofitable, and superstitious diligence, making Catalogues of all, and singular things, but rather by a true discovery of the grounds of all things, and in things of greater moment, by a more speciall explication of what is most observable, which might easily conclude the rest. Whence perhaps some things will be here found out, and pointed at. not onely such as are newly invented, but even such as remaine still to be invented, which are no where else to be found. For wee have found our selves so farre carried in this new, and generall order of things, that no man seemeth hitherto to reached thereto.
And to the end that this booke might also prove a dore into the holy Scriptures, I have endeavoured to insert all the decrees of holy Writ every one in his place among the rules of Pansophy, & to bring most of the histories thereof for examples: to this intent, that Youth being aquainted with all those great, and pretious premises bestowed upon us, by which wee partakers of the divine nature, (2Pet.1.4.) may not onely be fore-armed against the infection of profane authors, when time shall require the reading of [catchword: them]
them, but also against all other stumbling blockes in the whole course of their lives. 2. I have laboured to bring all the most obscure passages of Scripture in their proper places, that so the due citation, and alleaging of them might be as a Comment, and cleare apprehension of their meaning, (of which kind of places of Scripture there may be annexed a particular table.) 3. I have laboured so to make use of the Phrases, and acute expressions in holy Scripture throughout my booke, that youth may be acquainted both with the matter, and stile of the holy Spirit, and may not easily meete with any thing in the whole body of the Bible, which they knew not formerly. Neither do wee addict our selves unto any particular sect in our divinity, but we deliver the universall, and Catholique Truth: as for those things whcich lead unto dangerous by-wayes, whence it is hard to find the right way out, wee meddle not at all with them. For we judge it better to be ignorant of some things, than to know them amisse (as the Apostle intimates, Philip.3.15.16.) Although I hope our grounds, and fundamentalls are so well fitted, and so firmly closed, that the understanding Reader will easily judge, that there remaines little danger of by-wayes, and errours, most part of stumbling blockes being removed out of the way. For as it is impossible for him, which in two contradictory propositions (of which many may be found in the Scripture according to the letter) addicts himselfe irreconciliably unto the one, but that the other will urge, & strain him very far: so also it is impossible, but that they being reconciled, & combined together in a true, & middle sense, all difficulties, scandals, & doubts wil vanish of themselves to the great rejoycing of our minds. For by this means whatsoever truth there is in either opinion, it groweth sweetly into one, & whatsoever is vain, or erroneous on either part, presently it disappeareth; which that it is the only means of uniting all truths in the center of harmony, & of ridding all controversies out of hte world, we have already declared.
For our order of handling the Sciences, we hope that by Gods grace we have attained so farre as that men may finde here an handfull of such a method, as doth divide and dispose things for our fight, according as they are. For I trust we have discovered the true veines of things in our Metaphysickes, which if wee follow them will most easily conduct us unto all individuals, and to the true nature of the least and nicest conceptions and words: so that we may hereby make a new Anatomie of the Universe, and truer than any hath hitherto beene seene. Neither doe they consist of such intricate [catchword: subtilties,]
subtilties, as can be discerned onely by the learned, and those that are already versed in such matters, but they are so plaine and pervious unto any, though but of moderate apprehension, that even children of eight yeares of age may easily conceive of our whole Metaphysickes, and (by benefit thereof) of all the inferiour Arts, and Sciences with very little paines, but with much delight, and contentation. That which is the strength, and nerves of Science, I frame it into Aphorismes, or Axioms, but, as I hope, into such as are true and solid, not such as are trifling, and exposed to the blows of contrary influences and exceptions, not such as must be defended with the weake shields of limitations, but such as will persist unmoveable of themselves, by the lustre and force of their universall Truth. Neither in the delivery of these things, though evidently true, do wee presuppose any thing, as if we would gaine mens assent by stealth or flattery, but we premonstrate rather, that is, wee deduce one thing out of another continually, from the first principles of Metaphysickes, untill we come to the last, and least differences of Things: and this with such evidence of truth, as the propositions of the Mathematicians have, when they are demonstrated, so that there is a necessity of yeelding to the last as well as to the first, for the continuall, and no where interrupted demonstration of their truth. Onely in our introduction (or books of the Præcognita) we could not observe this course, by reason of the causes of things not yet delivered. Therefore there wee deale with humane understanding, as horse-riders do with colts, when they first breake them. For at first they use easie bits, such as will rather delight then trouble them, and runne them first on smooth and pleasant grounds, before they use them to the ring.
Unum, Verum, Bonum.
One thing is singular, and even wonderfull in our method, that all the chiefest divisions of things are made by a Trichotomie, which I protest I sought not by any superstitious affectation, but that it offered it selfe freely unto mee in things of greatest moment, even from the first attributes of things (One, True, Good) that I was for a while at a stand, being amazed with the newnesse of the thing. But being erected in expectation by those examples that I first lighted on, I began to try it otherwhere, and found it every where to proceed. Therefore not daring to oppose the truth of things, which represented it selfe so in a threefold mystery, but rather heartily embracing so great an harmony of the sacred Ternary, I prosecuted it in other things also, without offering them any violence (as I am [catchword: fully]
fully perswaded) but even as they divide themselves of their owne accord. And I thought this would be very profitable for learners also: First, in regard of their memory, which useth to proceed methodically, both in bestowing, and reviving of things. Secondly, for the understanding of the things themselves, because their nature doth for the most part discover it selfe most clearly in this way; wherein I appeale unto the judgement of all such as shall piously, and seriously, and in the feare of God, weigh these things: being confident, that thereby they shall perceive not any vaine fancies, but even the truth of things themselves. Let therefore this Christian Pansophy, unfolding the Ternary mysteries be sacred unto that eternall Trinity, JEHOVAH, God onely wise, Almighty, most good, and ever to be worshipped.
Let no man be offended with the word Pansophy; wee know there is but one truly [greek word], the onely wise God, Rom. 16.27. That which we professe, is humane Pansophy, or the knowledge of such things as God will have us to know, together with a discreet ignorance of such things, as our great Master hath concealed from us. Secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but such things as are revealed, unto us, and to our children, Deut.29.29. and we counsell men not to neglect these things by a carelesse, and unthankefull ignorance of them. And because in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdome, and knowledge, Coloss.2.3. and we chiefely labour to unfold the mysteries of Christ, that men may understand how by him, the eternall wisdome, and power of God, all things have beene, and are to be made, untill the end come (when he shall have delivered the Kingdome to his Father, and shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power, 1 Cor.15.24.) and that they may yeeld themselves to the guidance of his Spirit, seeing, I say, we teach such thigns, why may we not justly assume unto our selves the teaching of the true and saving knowledge of all things? It becomes us Christians, and none others, to professe Pansophy, for out of Christianity, there neither is, nor can be any Pansophy. Which AUGUSTINE of old maintained (lib.3. contra Acad. cap.19) proving that onely Christianity is true Philosophy. And not without cause, for seeing divine revelation is no where to be met withall, out of the Church, and without it our understandings can reach no farther, then this present life, and our lives themselves are so short, that we beginne even to die, when we beginne to live; what can there be considerable in such wisdome as is gathered onely from the [catchword: senses]
senses, & from naturall reason, whcih is not much before them? It may in deed for a few dayes feed us with some painted joncates, and afterward send us empty away. He therefore is wise in deed, who is wise for eternity. Yet so that he learn withal, for to passe over this present life with as much wisdome as may be. Worthily was it said by a Spiritual man, Christians onely may be said to know, because they have it from God, all others doe but trifle, because they have it of themselves. And I will adde, that true Pansophy is the onely way to holy ignorance, because it alone teacheth us, how all our knowledge is but like a shadow, if it be compared with the splendor of that eternall wisdome which is in God. We have therefore a threefold ground, why this manner of study, which we counsell others to, and which wee are now about, should be called Pansophy, or Universall Wisdome. First, in regard of the proportion of the things themselves to humane understanding, for we would not have them torn asunder one from another, seeing the understanding is capable of them all. Secondly, in respect of the Sciences themselves, which we propose not as severall, and divers, but as one Science comprehending all things within its owne compasse. Thirdly, in regard of those, for whose benefit it is intended, I meane of all Christians in generall: so that the fruit of this worke may be reaped by three sorts: by the learned; by Youth in Schooles; and by all the vulgar in generall among Christans.
But because we have not undertaken to write a perfect Pansophy, but onely the Gate thereof, we doe not prosecute all things, (which would be infinite, and farre beyond any one mans abilities) but onely the hinges and bases of all things. And seeing I professe my self a Divine, who doe, and ought to make it my chiefest end, to shew others the way how they may see through visible, and externall things unto those, that are invisible, and eternall; who can justly blame me, if I have passed over some things more sleightly, which conduce to this end? Of which sort is almost the whole Science of the Law, which is employed in nothing but contentions about earthly and transitory things, that is, in trifles, and vanities. And the Lawyers themselves confesse, that there is little sublime wisdome in it. For BEFOLDUS, one of the most famous Lawyers of our age (near the end of his discourse concerning the comprehension, or content of all the Arts and Sciences) writeth thus. "I may justly determine that that high, & excellent learning, which men for the large extent of it, call Polymathie, is exceedingly beholden to Di- [catchword: vinity,]
vinity, and not a little to Physick, but the Law only contributes very little towards it".
Therefore I doe not goe about to excuse the matter, that I being a Divine should attempt to circumscribe this Polymathy, I will rather rejoyce, that God pleaseth to honour me by making my use of me (how meane an instrument soever) for the discovery of his goodnesse unto men. I account the Gospell, which Christ hath committed to me, most sacred, and dearer then my owne life, neither doe I desire or endeavour any other thing, then to be found a faithful dispenser of his mysteries. But because I know, that Christ hath said unto PETER not onely, Feed my Sheep, but also, Feed my Lambs, John 21.15. I am most confident that it is the duty of all Divines to take care, that as well as these, as the other, may be brought backe unto the rich pastures upon the high mountaines of Israel, where they may lie in a good fold, and feed in a fat pasture, Ezech. 34.13,14,15. that those Sheepe, and Lambs of Gods stock, may be gathered together againe, especially then when the beasts of the field cause them to be scattered one from another. Therefore with the Prophet, I will blesse the Lord, who wakeneth mine eare, that I should be, as he that attendeth and learneth.
Neither will I stand to excuse the rudenesse of my stile; as for tickling of mens eares, neither can I, nor will I doe it. There are more then enough of such kind of men in the world: and there is more need of composing mens minds, that they may embrace pure, and untinctur'd wisdome, which may the better be effected, if things be nakedly delivered without any [illeg: plaistring?] , or bravery of expressions. I desire nothing, but to expresse the sense, and therefore with PLINY, will rest upon the wisdome of such, as are good and learned, that they will preferre reall benefit and profit, before gracefull pleasing, and esteeme better of a compendious, and close wrought serious matter, then of a lavish, and flashing title.
This is rather my desire and request, that men would not out of a precipitancie of judgment condemne things before they understand them, which I have great cause to feare. For I know there are many, that being bewitched with the great fame, and report of antiquity, will presently, though not without some blemish of indiscretion, reject whatsoever is new, as meerely fantasticall, and vaine, not so much as daigning to give it the hearing, or perusall. But such men should remember that of SOLOMON, He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly, and shame unto him, Prov. 18.13. [catchword: I desire]
I desire not that nay man should yeeld his assent to a thing hee knowes not, for to doe me a pleasure, but that men would consider whether that which I offer, will impart unto them any cleare light in things, and afford them the infallible rules of vertue, to whic it doth pretend. For my owne part, I am verily so perswaded by the testimony of the things themselves. Yet because the thoughts of mortall men are fearfull, and their devices uncertaine, Wisd. 9.14. I doe hereby cheerefully invite all such unto the triall of it, whom God hath made so apprehensive and judicious, as that they are able to judge of the Universality, brevity, and Truth of things. Such I intreat, that laying aside the false glassed of former opinions, they would with free minds, and in open light behold this small Theater of the world, and not to judge of things according to what they have formerly had by hearsay, but according to the things themselves, which we hold forth to be handled and seene. For unlesse they doe thus, they will cast a cloud, not so much upon the things, as upon themselves; as he that lookes through coloured glasse, doth not colour, or alter the things he sees, but decieves his owne sight. Therefore it is a thing worthy of mens care, that they hinder not themselves by heeding their owne opinions more, then the truth of things. And I thinke that all discreet persons will take pleasure in it, if we once attaine (according to the priviledge which is common to us all) to looke into things without any overseers, and that learners be not distracted with opinions of things, but have the things themselves, freely laid before them to see, and handle, and peruse. Neither let any man suspect that we remove other mens decrees out of the way, to make roome for our owne. We detest such kind of vanities. We neither have, nor doe intend any other thing, but only simply to transcribe out of Gods bookes, Nature, and Scripture, into a table for our owne use, such things as concerne this present, and the future life, according as they present themselves unto us; which if we doe not fitly enough effect, it shall be our failing, and not our fraud. We are not of such account, that we should thinke to make Disciples to ourselves, yet daring enough to seeke them for Nature, and for God. For this onely end have we endeavoured this new Anatome of the Universe, that all such as love truth better then opinions, might be led away from other bookes, unto the greatest book of all: not that we slight all authorities; but because we know, that they are abused to the hurt and prejudice of the freedome of mens judgements, we hold it very fit they should be a while suspen- [catchword: ded,]
ded, untill there be liberty of piercing sufficiently into the things themselves. Indeed in our first and second booke of Pansophy, wee cite some things out of Philosophers, for to establish the grounds of Pansophy, yet not in it selfe, but onely in their minds, who being fore-clad with opinions, are to be spripped of them, even by perswasion of the same men, whom they have hitherto followed as their leaders. But more rarely afterward, and in matters of great consequence only, we cite some others, who have heretofore observed the same truths: yet not as Judges, but as witnesses, from whose testimony it may appeare, that whateoever hath beene heretofore rationally concluded by any men, is necessarily coincident with those things which are wrought out of the body of the bowels of Truth.
Secondly, to the end, that a perfect, and solid judgement may passe upon this our designe, it will be requisite, that all things be survayed from the beginning to the end. For unlesse a man understand upon what ground all things arise, and what coherence they have together, it will be in vaine for him to thinke to give censure upon it by that which hee hath snatched here, and there. For the most easie gradation of things being interruped, causeth a stop, and difficulty. Every man is able to get up to the top of an high Tower, and to come downe againe, if there be steps for him to ascend by; but take away some few steps, and he is presently at a stand, or fals into a precipice. When a Painter begins a Peece, no man will be so rash, as to blurre the first draught of it, though as then it hath no beauty in it; but he will stay till it is compleat, and then he may have his judgement, whether it be answerable to the person. A Comedy cannot be judged by one Scene, or Act, much lesse by one sentence, because therein many things intervene, which seeme very intricate, and absurd: but the Catastrophe or end will discover the whole Art, and Plot of it.
And lastly, whether I have reached or not, unto that which I have propounded, yet I earnestly intreat the learned Readers, that they will not suffer me to faile of my end, which is, that these things, may serve to the improvement of our age. For either I understand nothing at all, or else those things, which I make offer of, are really such, as may open the eyes of many to take better order for the studies of learning, and consequently for schooles, Churches, and all mankind. Which shall be the first use of this our worke, pertaining to those that are learned: that being excited by this new draught of true, solid, & universal learning, they may adventure upon [catchword: some]
some more perfect pieces than have yet beene seene in learnings treasury. The marke which we have pitched, is such, that all mens endeavours ought to be leveld at, (unlesse they would have them for ever to come to nothing) we have clearely set in order such meanes, which infallibly lead unto that end, as also we have discovered the certaine way how to make use of those meanes: and lastly, we give you a taste of all things, how they result into one onely Art of Arts, among all things that are to be knowne. Wherein notwithstanding if any scapes, or failings happen to be espied, as that we have not sufficiently reached our owne aimes, or have not contained our selves precisely within our owne limits, I thinke I need not to frame any tedious excuse: because that most diffused multitude of things, which is able to tire out any one mans diligence, and that intricate, and subtill variety of them, which is able to deceive the quickest eye, will, I hope, be a sufficient plea for my pardon, among such as are able to esteeme aright of things. Especially, seeing nothing was ever yet invented, and brought to full perfection by any one man. And why should I, a weake man, assume that unto my selfe, which was never yet granted unto any? or why should that be required of me alone, which was never yet required of any? It is enough for any one mans diligence, or praise, (if any may be here admitted, where onely Gods glory is sought) to make a beginning of any thing, which may afterward be raised unto high perfection. But that it may be so raised, it is now to be committed to other industry, whose hearts God shall please to stirre up thereunto, as he did in times past to the building of the materiall Temple in his holy City Jerusalem. God, that he might excitethem thereunto, commands the Prophet thus to expostulate with them, "This people say, The time is not yet come, that the Lords house should be built. But is it time for you to dwell in your sieled houses, and this House lie wast? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your wayes. Yee have sowen much, and bring in little, yee eate, but yee have not enough; yee drinke, but yee are not filled with drinke; yee cloath you, but yee are not warme; and he that earneth wages, putteth it into a broken bagge. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your wayes, Haggai 1. Heare yee this also O yee, that are Leaders among Christians in Learning, and Wisdeom, for it is even your owne case. It is a frequent saying, This is no time for aspiring unto any higher sort of wisdome, that is reserved [catchword: for]
for the future life. And too many there are, that contenting themselves with these thoughts, set up their rest in a partiall, and obscure knowledge of things, joyned with a few private delights, and seeke no farther. But what benefit ensues? Yee have sowen much, it is the voyce of God himselfe, (that is, yee have taken great paines in the polishing of your parts) but you bring in little: Yee eate, yea, yee devoure bookes, and are not satisfied: Yee drinke of every water you meet withall, and yet are not filled: Yee cloath yourselves, and cast as many mantles of authorities over you, as you can purchase, and yet you are never warmed by the light of Truth. O therefore consider your wayes, and be encouraged to the building of a more stately temple for Wisdome to dwell in, whatsoever paines, and charge it costs us: That wee may I say by Divine art erect an elegant structure of Wisdome exactly answerable to the patterne, wherein may be no confusions, nor any thing that is frivolous, and unprofitable; but all things that are true, profitable, and desireable: That so men being weaned from the vaine study of transitory things, and cleared of their high concepts of vanities, may be invited to draw out of the very fountaines of truth, and goodnesse, and led unto the possession of reall goods. Which may be effected, if such a gate of Wisdome be set open for Christian Youth, that they may come to behold the rich treasures of it. Which leads me to the second, and most wholsome, and seasonable use of this our worke; to wit, for the instruction of Youth. For as new vessels are fittest for new wine (as Christ saith, Matth.9.17.) So the minds of Children, like new, and pure vessels, not yet filled with vaine apprehensions of vaine knowledge, are most fit to draw in these new, and purer conceptions of things: and by this meanes will be accustomed, not to superficiall, and opinionative knowledgem such as is usuall for ostentation of parts, and for streperous disputations, and contentions: but to a more reall, solid, and well grounded Wisdome: such as will serve for sound direction of the juegement, for multiplying of new inventions among men, and for a more perfect guide to lead us toward eternall blisse, the last end of our lives.
And thirdly, our iintentionis, that this Anphitheater of Gods Wisdome, being thus raised, should be made common for all mankind, by inviting all Christian people of what ranke, age, sexe, or language soever, and bringing them in to see, and behold what admira-[catchword: ble]
ble sights & pastime, that ever to be adored Wisdome of God exhibits unto all men in all times, and places. For every mothers child that comes into this world, is to be directed to the same end of Gods glory, and his owne eternall blisse: none ought to be excluded, neither man, nor woman, neither old man, nor child, neither noble, nor ignoble, niether crafts-man, nor plough-man, &c. For we are all alike, the off-spring of God, Acts 17.28. And it is said alike unto all, that come into the Theater of this world, Come, and behold the workes of the Lord, Psal. 46.8. And lastly, all of us are to passe a tedious, and troublesome life, which breaketh, and afflicteth the spirit (as SOLOMON witnesseth) so that all have great need of preservatives against vanity, and refreshings in their weariness, which helps can no where be found, but in the possession of true wisdome. We therefore desire, and entreat, that learning may not any longer be confined to the Latine tongue, and imprisoned in Schooles, as hath hitherto beene practised to the great prejudice, and contempt both of vulgar people, and languages: but that it may be communicated unto all Nations in their owne languages, that all men may have occasion, of exercising themselves in such honest, and good things, rather then, as is commonly used, to weary out themselves with the cares of this life, with ambition, drunkennesse and other like vaine courses, and so to mispend, and lose both their parts, and lives. By this meanes also, languages themselves will be polished, as well as the Arts, and Sciences. To which ends we our selves intend also, if God so please, to publish these our endeavours both in the Latine, and in our native tongue. For no man lighteth a candle to put it under a bushell, but on a candlesticke, that it may give light unto all that are in the house, as Christ saith, Matth. 5.25. And what profit is there in Wisdome, which is hid, and treasure, which is hoarded up? Ecclesiasticus 20.30. Those therefore that bend their studies to the seeking of Wisdome, ought to make it their endeavour, that they may herein follow the steps of Wisdome, which saith, Behold, that I have nto laboured for my selfe onely, but for all them that seeke Wisdome.
And upon this ground we have somewhat altered our title from that which was in our former work, calling this a Gate, rather then a Dore. It was enough that we called our entrance into the Latine tongue a Dore, in this matter the word Gate seemes to drive more neerely at our intentions. For one by one enters in at a Dore, but [catchword: whole]
whole troupes through a Gate. A Dore is such as every one is entred in: but Gates in peaceable Cities, stand alwayes open. And so the study of the Latine tongue, which we first endeavoured to open, is peculiar unto some few; but the desire of Wisdome is common unto all mankind. Those that will, or are necessitated thereto, enter it there: but it is the duty of all men living to come in hither, as we have already made it cleare. Therefore let it be an open, and wide Gate which leades unto Wisdome. Grant O Lord, that we may on earth see some resemblance of that which thou hast foretold shall be in thy heavenly Jerusalem, that the Gates of it may not at all bee shut by day, and there may be no more night there, Revel.21.v.25. Amen.