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We have considered some of the many uses of secular learning, and that within the sphere of one only profession, that it is as a 'dead hedge wherewith men used to fence a quick one: or, as Basil's similitude is, as those fulcimenta,' upon which men do raise and bear up the vines; or as ground colours, upon which God is to be overlaid. I shall conclude with a few inferences from this point for our use.
First, Though there be excellent use to be made of human learning, yet it is to be used with much caution; as physicians use opium, or other dangerous things, with their due correctives.
1. Use it not unnecessarily, where the nature of the matter doth not rationally call for it. Some learned men have upon this account blamed some of the ancients, Origen, Justin, Clemens Alexandrinus, and others, for mixing philosophy with the theology, out of an opinion thereby the easier to gain the Gentiles unto the Christian faith. But none have been more blame-worthy in this case than the old schoolmen, of whom Melancthon saith, "that their doctrine is chiefly made up of two things, philosophy and superstition." And therefore it is well observed by a learned man, i that schoolmen and canonists have been the fountains of that corruption, which hath infected the church of Christ: the schoolmen in doctrine, by opinions of popery; and the canonists in discipline, by the state of the papacy, of which the main cause hath been the admitting of Aristotle and his philosophy, "In ipsa adyta et penetralia Ecclesiarum," as Hospinian speaketh. We find, even among the Heathens, men were punished for presuming to dispute of heavenly things, in the same manner as they did of natural causes. And for the like reason, Ætius, the heretick, being given to an eristical and contentious way of arguing in divine things, as one much addicted to Aristotelical learning, thereby purchased unto himself the title of atheist,' as Socrates and Sozomen tell us. T
f Hexam. Hom. 5. Melanct. Epist. p. 890.
8 Alting. Theol. probl. part. 1. problem 2. i Reynold. conf. with Hart. p. 72,-Vid. orat. 2. Anti. Wiegel. suavissimi doctissimique viri D. Johan. Arrowsmith. pin. Hist. Jesuit. in præf. et Hist. Sacra. p. 401. 1 Cic. de nat. Deorum m Sacra
lib. 1. de Protag. Abderit. Plutar. in Nicia et in Pericle, de Anax. 1. 2. c. 28. Sozom, 1. 2. c. 14.
2. Use it not vain-gloriously, and unto ostentation. It is a puffing, a windy, a flatulent thing; "knowledge puffeth up.” (1 Cor. vii. 1) Tertullian calleth philosophers, 'Gloriæ Animalia.' And I believe that this vanity doth scarce, in any thing, more put forth itself than in pride of wit or memory, in this way of learning. We may learn the danger of it by the example of Herod, (Acts xii) who was smitten with worms," because he gave not God the glory."
3. Use it not proudly, with contempt and disdain of the word of God: like that profane wit, who said, “He did not dare to read the scripture, for fear of spoiling his style." I have heard of some wretches, even amongst us in our days, who presume to magnify Socrates above Moses or Paul.
4 Use it not heretically, in defence of error; as Erasmus saith of the Arians, "Hoc ipso fuere pestilentiores, quod Aristotelicis argutiis essent instructi." And as Jerome complains, that they rose "è Platonis et Aristophanis sinu in Episcopatum." We must take heed of making our reason judge of articles of faith, or setting human learning in the tribunal against divine truth. For this it was, that Tertullian calleth philosophers "the Patriarchs of Hereticks; and that the apostle exhorteth us to "take heed, that no man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit." (Col. ii. 8) He meaneth not solid philosophy, the genuine issue of right reason; but the arrogance of human reason, to sit as a judge of those things that are supernatural and of divine revelation, as articles of faith, and forms of worship-when it will acknowledge no religion but what is deducible out of the principles of corrupted reason, nor admit any conclusions which are not consonant to those principles.
5. Use it not profanely, to inflame lust, as some elegant writers do more corrupt by their lasciviousness, than benefit by their politeness, as Martial, Petronius Arbiter, &c. Cyprian P said of the adulteries of the heathen gods, that by
n Hier. advers. Luciferan.
• Vid. Tert. Apol. c. 46. de prescr. c. 7. de anim. e. 1, 2, 3. Vid. Daven. in Col. 2.8.-Alting. Theol. probl. p. 11.-Nos à Prophetis et Christo, non à Philosophis et Epicuro erudimur: Tertul. contr. Marc. 1. 2. c. 16.-Vid. Danæum in Aug. Enchirid. c. 4. sect. 9, 10. P Prohi betur Christianis figmenta legere poetarum, quia per oblectamenta inanium fabularum mentein excitant ad incentiva libidinum, Isid. lib. 3. Sent. de summo bono. cap. 13.-Vid. Tertul. de Idololat. cap. 19. et Isidor. Pelus, lib 1. Epist. 63.
their examples, "Fiunt miseris delicta religiosa."
a use, we may justly fear the rebuke which Jerome had," Ciceronianus es, non Christianus."
But use it with humility, moderation, sobriety, as a handmaid to Christ; as painters lay a worser colour, when they mean to superinduce another. Pair the nails, cut the hair, lop the luxuriances; carry it through the fire, as the spoils were appointed to be, that it may be purged for the use of the temple.
Secondly, This justly reproveth all the enemies of learning; who, because the apostle forbiddeth deceitful philosophy, and tells us how vain the professors thereof became in their imaginations, do thence condemn all the sober and just use of true learning. Sucht he Weigelians, who tell us that there is no knowledge of Christ in any universities; that all schools and academies are enemies unto Christ, and all their learning meræ corruptela;' who shut all learning out of the church, and all learned men out of heaven. Such was, it seems, friar Francis, the popish saint, who cursed a learned minister of Benonia for going about to set up there a school of learning without his leave. Yea, such, it seems, was Pope Paul the Second; of whom Platina telleth us, that he did so hate human learning, that he esteemed the lovers thereof hereticks, and exhorted the Romans not to breed up their children thereunto. This hatred of learning must needs proceed, either from ignorance; for "scientia neminem habet inimicum nisi ignorantem ;""—or from malice, and a desire to have religion betrayed, (and therefore it is reckoned amongst the persecutions of the church, that Julian prohibited the children of Christians to be trained up in the schools of learning :) or from avarice, and out of sacrilegious desire to devour those revenues, wherewith the bounty of benefactors hath from time to time endowed the schools of learning. I shall not spend time to confute so ignorant an absurdity. Aretius, a learned protestant, hath fully
Ad Eustochium de custodiâ virginitatis.-Aug. Epist. 119.-Basil. de leg. lib. Gentil. Hieron. ad Pammachium de obitu Paulinæ, et Epist. ad Magnum orat. num. 21, 23, 24. r Hoornbeec. Commentar. de Weigel. Baldw. Casus • Greg. Tholos. de Repub. 1. 17. c. 12. sect. 5. u Aug. de civ. Dei, 1. 18. c. 52. Confess.
Conscien. 1. 4. c. 2. cas. 9.
t Platin. in fine vitæ Pauli 1. 2. 1. 8. c. 5.
* Greg. Naz. Orat. 1.
y Aret. Problem. Joc. 151.
done it to my hand. But I cannot but take notice of it, as doubtless a calumny cast upon Carolostadius and Melancthon, as if they taught the youth at Wittenberg to cast off all philosophy and human learning, having been themselves so taught by Luther; and that they turned to mechanic employments, one to husbandry, the other to the art of baking; and that thereupon many young men did burn their books of liberal arts, and betook themselves to manufactures. But how honourably both Luther and Melancthon thought of human learning in itself (though they might inveigh against the abuse of it in popish academies) is by learned mena so abundantly cleared out of their own practice and writings, that I shall not need add any more in their vindication.
Thirdly, We must get our learning seasoned with holiness: else it will not serve us to repress any temptation. Great learning may consist with monstrous wickedness. Who more learned than the Scribes and Pharisees? and who more graceless and more bitter enemies to the doctrine of salvation? Who more learned than the Athenian philosophers? and who greater deriders of the apostle's preaching? Never had Christian religion more bitter enemies than Celsus, Por phyrius, Julian, Libanius, and the like great professors of human learning. None do the Devil more service in his opposition to the church of God, than men of great parts, that are enemies to godliness. A proud heart and a learned brain, are Satan's warehouses and armories, the forge where he shapeth all his Cyclopical weapons against divine truth. The Egyptians are here noted for wise men; and yet they were of all others the most sottish idolaters; insomuch that other idolaters derided them for theirs, as we find in Juvenal;a
Oppida tota canem venerantur, nemo Dianam.
O sanctas gentes, quibus hæc nascuntur in hortis
Though therefore we must covet the best gifts,' yet we
a Surius Comment. rerum in Urbe gestarum Anno 1522. p. Cas. Cons. 1. 4. c. 2. cus. 2.-D. Arrow. orat. 3. Anti-Weig. d Juvenal. Sat. xv. 10.
© Acts xvii. 32.
must still remember there is a more excellent way;' and consider, if the knowledge of the wisdom of Egypt be so honourable, how glorious is the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, in comparison whereof all other knowledge is loss and dung. "Si tanti vitrum, quanti veram margaritam !" If a glass jewel be so valuable, how excellent is an inestimable pearl!
Themistocles, though he was ignorant of musick, yet knew how to govern a state; and a believer, though he be ignorant of all other learning, yet by the knowledge of Christ will be a blessed man; whereas all the learning in the world, without this, will leave a man miserable. To know the whole creation, and to be ignorant of the creator; to know all histories and antiquities, and to be unacquainted with our own hearts; to be good logicians to other purposes, and in the mean time to be cheated by Satan with parallogisms in the business of our own salvation; to be powerful orators with men, and never to prevail with God; to know the constellations, motions, and influences of heavenly bodies, and have still unheavenly souls; to know exactly the laws of men, and be ignorant and rebellious against the laws of God; to abound with worldly wisdom, and be destitute of the fear of God, which makes wise unto salvation, is all but a better kind of refined misery: the Devils have much more than all this comes to, and yet are damned. We must therefore study to improve our learning unto the use and furtherance of holiness; to better our minds; to order our affections; to civilize our manners; to reform our lives; to adorn and render our profession the more amiable; to consecrate all our other endowments as spoils unto Christ; to lay our crowns at his feet; and make all our other abilities and acquirements handmaids unto his glory. When learning is thus a servant unto godliness, godliness will be an honour unto learning.
Fourthly, Since learning is so excellent an endowment, the teachers of it ought to be had in great honour. And I scarce know a greater defect in this nation, than the want of such encouragement and maintenance, as might render
• Aug. Ep. 36. Quid mihi proderat ingenium per illas doctrinas agile, cum deformiter et sacrilegâ turpitudine in doctrina pietatis errarem! Aug. Confess. 1. 4. e. 16. 1. 1. c. 8. f Quis enim virtutem amplectitur ipsam, Præmia si tol
las? Juren. Sat. 10.