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Goliath used to slay himself; that the gold, and myrrh, and frankincense of the Wise men of the East, was offered unto the Christ; when I find the apostle convincing the Jews out of their law, and the philosophers out of their maxims; and every gift, as well as every creature of God, is good, and may be sanctified for the use and delight of man; I then conclude with myself, that the moral and philosophical glass of the human soul may be of some service even unto the tabernacle, as them looking-glasses of the Israelitish women were unto the altar.
Nor can I but a little wonder at the melancholy fancy of St. Jerome, who, conceiving himself in a vision beaten by an angel, for being a Ciceronian, did, for ever after, promise to abjure the reading of secular authors; though I find himself both justifying the excellent use of that learning, and acknowledging that conceited vision of his to have been but a dream.
It is true, indeed, that, in regard of the bewitching danger from human learning, and the too great aptness in the minds of men to surfeit and be intemperate in the use of it, some of the antients have sometimes interdicted the reading of such authors unto Christian men. But this calleth upon us for watchfulness in our studies, not for negligence: for the apostle will tell us, that 'to the pure all things are pure;' and even of harmful things, when they are prepared, and their malignancy by art corrected, doth the skilful physician make an excellent use. If, then, we be careful to moderate and regulate our affections, to take heed of the pride and inflation of secular learning; not to admire philosophy to the prejudice of evangelical knowledge, as if, without the revealed light of the gospel, salvation might be found in the way of paganism;-if we suffer not these lean kine to devour the fat ones, nor the river Jordan to be lost in the Dead Sea, I mean, piety to be swallowed up of profane studies, and the knowledge of the scriptures (which alone would make any man conversant in all other kind of learning with
iMatth. ii. 11.
1 Tim. iv. 4.
m Ex. xxxviii. 8. a. 2. " De Custod. Virginit. ad Eustochium. Orat. Ep. ad Pammach. de Obitu Paulinæ, Apolog. advers. P Vid. Notas Conradi Ritterhusii in Isid. Pelus. Ep. 56. 1. 1. Tertul. de præscript. c. 7. de Idololat. c. 10. contra Marc. 1. 2. c. 16.
Epist. ad Magn. Ruffin. 1. 1.
PASSIONS AND FACULTIES
SOUL OF MAN;
WITH THE SEVERAL DIGNITIES AND CORRUPTIONS THEREUNTO BELONGING.
Quicquid agunt homines, Votum, Timor, Ira, Voluptas,
Princess Palatine of the Rhine, Duchess of Bavaria, &c. and eldest
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.
D Amorem dixit Plato Παντὸς ἐπιχειρητήν.