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the having, and all the rest were idle, and empty amusements, comparatively of no use or importance. This is the effect of ignorance and not knowledge, the being vainly puffed up with a flatulency, arising from a weak and narrow comprehension. It is not amiss that every one should relish the science that he has made his peculiar study: a view of its beauties, and a sense of its usefulness, carries a man on with the more delight and warmth in the pursuit and improvement of it. But the contempt of all other knowledge, as if it were nothing in comparison of law or physic, of astronomy or chemistry, or perhaps some yet meaner part of knowledge, wherein I have got some smattering, or am somewhat advanced, is not only the mark of a vain or little mind; but does this prejudice in the conduct of the understanding, that it coops it up within narrow bounds, and hinders it from looking abroad into other provinces of the intellectual world, more beautiful possibly, and more fruitful than that which it had till then laboured in; wherein it might find, besides new knowledge, ways or hints whereby it might be enabled the better to cultivate its own.
THERE is indeed one science (as they are now distinguished) incomparably above all the rest,
where it is not by corruption narrowed into a trade of faction, for mean or ill ends, and secular interests; I mean theology, which, containing the knowledge of God and his creatures, our duty to him and our fellowcreatures and a view of our present and future state, is the comprehension of all other knowledge directed to its true end; i. e. the honour and veneration of the Creator, and the happiness of mankind. This is that noble study which is every man's duty, and every one that can be called a rational creature is capable of. The works of nature, and the words of revelation, display it to mankind in characters so large and visible, that those who are not quite blind may in them read, and see the first principles and most necessary parts of it; and from thence, as they have time and industry, may be enabled to go on to the more abstruse parts of it, and penetrate into those infinite depths filled with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. This is that science which would truly enlarge men's minds, were it studied, or permitted to be studied every where, with that freedom, love of truth and charity which it teaches, and were not made, contrary to its nature, the occasion of strife, faction, malignity, and narrow impositions. I shall say no more here of this, but that it is undoubtedly a wrong use of my understanding, to make it the rule and measure
of another man's; a use which it is neither fit for, nor capable of.
§ 24. Partiality. "
THIS partiality, where it is not permitted an authority to render all other studies insignificant or contemptible, is often indulged so far as to be ielied upon, and made use of in other parts of knowledge, to which it does not at all belong, and wherewith it has no manner of affinity. Some men have so used their heads to mathematical figures, that, giving a preference to the methods of that science, they introduce lines and diagrams into their study of divinity, or politic inquiries, as if nothing could be known without them; and others, accustomed to retired speculations, run natural philosophy into metaphysical notions, and the abstract generalities of logic and how often may one meet with religion and morality treated of in the terms of the laboratory. and thought to be improved by the methods and notions of chemistry? But he, that will take care of the conduct of bis understanding to direct it right to the knowledge of things, must avoid those undue mixtures, and not by a fondness for what he has found useful and necessary in one, transfer it to another science, where it serves only to perplex and confound the understanding. It is a certain
truth, that res nolunt male administrari; it is no less certain res nolunt male intelligi. Things, themselves are to be considered as they are in themselves, and then they will show us in what way they are to be understood. For to have right conceptions about them, we must bring our understandings to the inflexible natures, and unalterable relations of things, and not endeavour to bring things to any preconceived notions of our own,
There is another partiality very commonly observable in men of study, no less prejudicial nor ridiculous than the former; and that is a fantastical and wild-attributing all knowledge to the ancients alone, or to the moderns This raving upon antiquity in matter of poetry, Horace has wittily described and exposed in one of his satires. The same sort of madness may be found in reference to all the other sciences. Some will not admit an opinion not authorised by men of old, who were then all giants in knowledge. Nothing is to be put into the treasury of truth or knowledge, which has not the stamp of Greece or Rome upon it; and, since their days, will scarce allow that men have been able to see, think, or write. Others, with a like extravagancy, contemn all that the ancients have left us, and being taken with the modern inventions and discoveries, lay by all that went before, as if whatever is called old must have the decay of
time upon it, and truth too were liable to mould and rottenness. Men, I think, have been much the same for natural endowments in all times. Fashion, discipline, and education, have put eminent differences in the ages of several countries, and made one generation much differ from another in arts and sciences: but truth is always the same; time alters it not, nor is it the better or worse for being of ancient or modern tradition. Many were eminent in former ages of the world for their discovery and delivery of it; but though the knowledge they have left us be worth our study, yet they exhausted not all its treasure; they left a great deal for the industry and sagacity of after-ages, and so shall we.
was once new to them which any one now receives with veneration for its antiquity, nor was it the worse for appearing as a novelty; and that which is now embraced for its newness will to posterity be old, but not thereby be less true or less genuine. There is no occasion, on this account, to oppose the ancients and the moderns to one another, or to be squeamish on either side. He that wisely conducts his mind in the pursuit of knowledge will gather what lights, and get what helps he can, from either of them, from whom they are best to be had, without adoring the errors, or rejecting the truths, which he may find mingled in them