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TO HER

HIGHNESS

THE

PRINCESS ELIZABETH,

Princess Palatine of the Rhine, Duchess of Bavaria, &c. and eldest
Daughter to Her Majesty the Queen of Bohemia.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HIGHNESS,

WHAT the great philosopher" hath observed of men's bodies, is, upon so much stronger reasons, true of their minds :By how much our intellectual maturity is more lingering and sluggish than our natural, that the too early conceptions and issues of them do, usually, prove but weak and unuseful; and we shall seldom find, but that those venturous blossoms, whose over-hasty obedience to the early spring doth anticipate their proper season, and put forth too soon, do, afterwards, for their former boldness, suffer from the injury of severer weather; except at least some happy shelter, or more benign influence, redeem them from danger. The like infelicity, I find myself obnoxious unto, at this time; for I know not out of what disposition of mind, whether out of love of learning (for love is venturous, and conceives difficult things easier than they are), or whether out of a resolution to take some account from myself of those few years, wherein I have been then planted in the happiest of all soils, the schools of learning; whether upon these, or any other inducement, so it hath happened, that I long since have taken boldness, in the minority of my studies, to write this ensuing treatise: that before I adventured on the endeavour of knowing other things, I might first try whether I knew myself; lest I should justly incur

Aristot. Polit. 1. 7. c. 16.

Cal. Rhodig. 1. 16, c. 15.

b Amorem dixit Plato Παντὸς ἐπιχειρητήν.

с

the censure which that sour philosopher passed upon grammarians, "That they were better acquainted with the evils of Ulysses, than with their own." This hasty resolution having produced so untimely an issue, it happened, by some accident, to be like Moses in his infancy,-exposed to the seas; where I made no other account, but that its own weakness would there have revenged my former boldness, and betrayed it unto perishing. But as he then, so this now, hath had the marvellous felicity to light on the view, and fall under the compassion, of a very gracious Princess. For so far hath your Highness vouchsafed (having happened on the sight of this tractate) to express favour thereunto, as not only to spend hours in it, and require a transcript of it, but farther to recommend it by your gracious judgement unto public view. In which particular, I was not to advise with mine own opinion, being to express my humblest acknowledgement to your Highness.

This only petition I shall accompany it withal unto your Highness' feet, that since it is a blossom which put forth so much too soon, it may, therefore, obtain the gracious influence of your Highness' favour, to protect it from that severity abroad, which it otherwise justly feareth.

God Almighty make your Highness as great a mirror of his continual mercies, as he hath both of his graces, and of learning.

Your Highness' most humble servant,

ED. REYNOLDS.

e Diogenes apud Laertium, 1. 6.

A PREFACE TO THE READER.

HAVING been moved to give way unto the publication of this Philosophical Miscellany, the fruit of my younger studies, I consider it needful to prevent one obvious prejudice under which I may labour. For it may haply seem indecent in me, having adventured to publish some few, though weak, discourses in arguments divine, that I should now suffer the blossoms of my youth to look abroad and run the hazard of public censure. Whereunto, when I shall have given a short answer, I shall rest something the more confident of a candid construction.

And here I might first allege the honour, which God himself hath been pleased to give unto inferior and natural knowledge. In the first creation, when he gave unto man the dominion over other creatures for his use, he gave him likewise the contemplation and knowledge of them, for his Maker's glory and his own delight. (For God brought them unto him to give them names.) And as the holy scriptures are all over full of the mysteries of God's wisdom in natural things, so are there some special passages thereof written, as it were, purposely on that argument. And we find that Moses and Solomon have therein testimony given unto them, not only of their divine, but of their human and natural knowledge likewise. .

And if we look into the ancient Christian churches, or into these of latter times, we shall find that very many ecclesiastical persons have not denied unto the world their philosophical and poetical labours, either whole and alone, or mixed and directed to theological ends, as we find in the writings of Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Eusebius Cæsariensis, St. Austin's books De civitate Dei,' and others; Venerable Bede, Isidore Hispalensis, Synesius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Honorius Augustodunensis, &c. In

Job cap. 38, 39, 40, 41. Psalm civ. 147.

the Hexamerons of St. Basil, Nyssen, Ambrose, and the books of those who have written more directly upon some parts of the argument of this present treatise, as Gregory Nyssen, Lactantius, Nemesius, Procopius, Gazæus, Damascenus, and others. And in latter times, besides the schoolmen, and those vast labours of many of that side in dialectical, physical, and metaphysical writings, we might instance in very many of the reformed churches abroad, some of whose younger labours have seen the light: as also in the oratory, logical, moral, historical, mathematical, miscellaneous writings of many learned divines of our own church: under the protection of which great examples, I shall use the apology which Quintilian dictateth unto me, "Vel error honestus est magnos duces sequentibus;" that it is no uncomely, but a pardonable error, which hath great examples to excuse it. In which respect I find myself chiefly subject. to the infelicity, that I am constrained to follow such examples, as little children do their fathers, non æquis passibus, at a very great distance.

And truly, when I again consider the excellent use and subordination of human learning unto learning divine; (it being hardly possible, without it, to understand sundry passages of holy scripture, depending upon the propriety of words and idioms, or upon the customs, rites, proverbs, forms, usages, laws, offices, antiquities of the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman monarchies, as might be shown in sundry particulars, and were a labour most worthy the industry of some able and learned men :) when I consider that the spoils of Egypt were by God allowed to enrich Israel, and e the spoils of the Gentiles reserved by David for the building of the temple; that af Gentile, by legal purification and marriage, might become an Israelite; that the crown of Rabbah was put upon the head of David, and the sword of

d

b Lib. 1, cap. 6. e Est quidem de communibus sensibus sapere in Dei rebus, sed in testimonium veri, non in adjutorium falsi. Tertul. de Resur. Carnis. cap. 3. Vid. etiam Apol. cap. 47. et Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. 1. p. 203. A. 207. A. E. 214. A. B. 218, 219, 223, 227, 233, 234, et lib. 6. p. 465, 467, 499, 500. Justin Martyr, Apol. 1. Aug. Confess. !. 1, c. 15. Christianus Domini sui esse intelligit, ubicunque invenerit veritatem. Aug. de Doctri. Chri. 1. 2. c. 18, 39, 40. Όσα παρὰ πᾶσι καλῶς εἴρηται, ὑμῶν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἐστι. Justin. Apol. 1. d Exod. Vid. Aug. de Civ. Dei, 1. 18. c. 52. Greg. Nazian. Orat. 1. f Deut. xxi. 12. 8 2 Sam. h1 Sam. xvii. 21.

e 1 Chron. xxix.

xii. 35.
xii. 30. Vid. Pet. Ærod. decret. 1. 1. Tit. 8, sect. 4.

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