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Mr. Samuel Hartlib.
Written about the Year 1650.
Am long since perswaded, that to say, or do ought worth Memory and Imitation, no purpose or respect should sooner move us, than simply the love of God, and of Man.
kind. Nevertheless to write now the reforming of Education, though it be one of the greatest and noblest Designs that can be thought on, and for the want whereof this Nation perishes, I had not yet at this time been induc'd, but by your earneft Entreaties, and sexi
ous Conjurements; as having my Mind for the present half diverted in the pursuance of some other Assertions, the Knowledge and the Use of which cannot but be a great furtherance both to the enlargement of Truth, and honest living, with much more Peace. Nor should the Laws of any private Friendfip have prevaild with me to divide thus, or transpose my former Thoughts, but that I see those Aims, those Actions which have won you with me the Efteem of a Perfon sent his ther by some good Providence from a far Country to be the occasion and the incitement of great good to this Iand. And, as I hear, you have obtain'd the same Repute with Men of moft approved Wisdom, and some of highest Authority among us. Not to mention the learned Correspondence which you hold in foreign Parts, and the extraordinary Pains and Diligence which you have us'd in this Matter both here, and beyond the Seas; either by the definite will of God.ro ruling, or the peculiar sway of Nature, which alfo is God's working. Neither can I think that so reputed, and so valu'd as you are, you would to the forfeit of your own discerning Ability, impose upon me an unfit and over-ponderous Argument, but that the Satisfaction which you profess to have receiv'd from thofe incidental Discourses which we have wander'd into, hath prest and almoft constrain’d you into a Perswalion, that what you require from me in this point, I neither oughe, nor can in Conscience defer beyond this Time both of so much need at once, and so much Opportunity to try what God hath determin'd. I will not resift therefore, whatever it is either of Divine, or humane Obligement that you lay upon me į but will forthwith set down in Writing; as you Request me, that voluntary Idea, which hath long in silence presented it self to me, of a better Education, in Extent and Comprehension far more large, and yet of Time far shorter, and of Attainment far more certain, than hath been yet in Practice. Brief I shall endeavour to be so for that which I have to say, assuredly this Nation hath extteam need thould be done sooner than spoken. To tell you therefore what I have benefited herein among old renowned Authors, I hall spare; and to search what many moderi Janua's and Dadi&tics, more than ever I shall read, have projected, my Inclination leads me not. But if you can accept of these few Observations which have Aowr'd off, and are, as it were, the burnihing of many ftudious and contemplative Years altogether spent in the search of religious and civil Knowledge, and such as pleas'd you so well in the relating, I here give you them to dispose of
The end then of Learning is to repair the Ruins of our first Parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that Knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the Dearest by poffeßling our Souls of true Virtue, which being united to the heavenly Grace of Faith makes up the highest Perfection. But because our Understanding cannot in this Body found it self but on sensible things, nor arrive so clearly to the Knowledge of God and things invisible, as by orderly conning over the visible and inferior Creature, the same Method is necessarily to be
follow'd in all discreet teaching. And seeing every Nation affords_not Experience and Tradie ţion enough for all kind of Learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the Languages of those People who have at any time been most industrious after Wisdom; so that Language is but the Instrument conveying to us things useful to be known. And though a Linguist tould Pride himself to have all the Tongues that Babel cleft the World into, yet, if he have not ftudied the solid things in them as well as the words and Lexicons, he were nothing so much to be efteem'd a Learned Man, as any Yeoman or Tradesman competently wise in his Mother Dialect only. Hence appear the many Mistakes which have made Learning generally so unpleafing and so unsuccessful; first we do amiss to spend seven or eight Years meerly in scraping together so much miserable Larin and Greek, as might be learnt otherwise easily and delightfully in one Year. And that which cafts our Proficiency cherein so much behind, is our time loft partly in too oft idle Vacancies given both to Schools and Universities, partly in a prepofterous Exaction, forcing the empty Wits of Children to compose Theams, Verses and Orations, which are the A&s of ripest Judgment and the final Work of a Head fill'd by long reading and observing, with elegant Maxims, and copious Invention. These are not Matters to be wrung from poor Striplings, like Blood out of the Nose, or the pluckling of untimely Fruit? Besides the ill Habit which they get of wretched barbasizing against the Latin and Greek idim, with their untutor’d. Anglieisnos, odious to be read, yes