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VI. Another cause, is malignity, and want of Christian love; whereby men are brought, if not to a hatred, yet to a proud contempt of others, who are not of their mind, and side, and way. O they are all—as foolish and bad as any one choses to call them; and he that raileth at them most ingeniously and impudently, giveth them but their due. And will a man, full of himself be moved from his presumptions, by anything that such a hated or scorned people can say ? Nay, will he not be hardened in his self-conceit, because it is such as these that contradict him?
Many such causes of this vice there are ; but pride and ignorance are the proper parents of it, whatever else be the nurse or friend.
CHAP. XIII. VII. DIRECTIONS FOR THE CURE OF PRETENDED
KNOWLEDGE, OR SELF-CONCEIT. The cure of this plague of prefidence or pretended knowledge is it which all the rest is written for ; and must now be the last in execution as it was the first in my intention. And could men be persuaded to this following course it might be done : but nature's vicious inclination to the vice, and the commonness and strength of temptations to it, do make me expect to prevail but with a few.
Direct. 1. Labour to understand the true nature and principles of certainty before opened. False measures will make you judge certainties to be falsehoods or uncertain, and falsehoods to
be certain truths. And when you know the conditions of certainty, try all things by them accurately; and if any would by art, persuade you of the uncertainty of nature's just perceptions, by sense or intellect, remember that be they what they will, you have no better or surer; they are such as your Creator hath given you to trust to for your use, even for the ends of life.
Direct. II. Discern the helps of knowledge from knowledge or certainty itself. Believing your teachers as men, and believing historians according to their credibility, and reverencing the judgment of seniors, and of the church, are all preparative helps to certainty : and human faith is such as to Divine faith. But do not therefore think that it is the same: nor give men that prerogative of infallibility which belongeth to God, or to inspired prophets, who prove their word by God's attestation. The belief of logicians is needful to your understanding logic, and logic is a great help to your certain discerning of physical, metaphysical and moral verities. And yet many rules of your logic may be uncertain, and you must not take the helps of your knowledge for evidence itself.
Some think that nothing is known till we have second notions for it, or can define it: when things sensible are better known by sensing them, and usually second notions deceive men and make them doubt of what they better apprehended without them.
Be very suspicious of all words or terms; l. As ambiguous, as almost all are: and therefore he that cannot distinguish them must needs err by confusion. 2. Lest you take the names for
things, most disputes using to carry controversies • de nomine' as if they were . de re,' or slide from this into that.
Direct. III. Therefore also trust not too far to the artificial forms of argument, without, or instead of the evidence of the truth of the thing itself. For there are many things supposed to the infallibility of your art, which may not themselves be infallibly true; and man's wit is conscious of its own fallibility ; and therefore is doubtful lest it should be deceived in its collections and ratiocinations ; especially when the engine hath many tacklings, and the chain many links, we are still in doubt lest some one should break : but the evidence of the thing in its own reality, which is not wholly laid ,on the form of an artificial argument, doth satisfy more..
Direct. IV. Take truths in order ; the principles first, and the rest in their true exurgence and dependance upon them : and take nothing to be well known which is not known, not only in a method but in a method clearly suitable to the things. As words and notions, so rules and methods must be fetched from the things, and fitted to the things, or they are vain. Sense and intellect must first perceive the things themselves, and be your first tutors in somatology and pneumatology; and then these must do much in making your logic. The foot must be the measure of the shoe. And remember that you have but a half, fallacious knowledge, till you know the true place, and order, and respects of the thing, as well as the nature and quality of it in itself ; and till you can draw up a true scheme of the things which you know : It is dreams that are incoherent.
Direct. V. Let the great radical verities have your greatest confidence, and not only so, but the most of your thoughts, and estimation, and time : and proportionally let the lesser things have but that share of your esteem, and time, and studies which they deserve ; which comparatively will be little. And make them the test of what is further offered to you: and believe nothing which is certainly contrary to them. Argue always 'à notioribus,' and reduce not certainties to uncertainties, but the contrary.
Direct. VI. Keep all your perceptions distinct according to the distinction of their natures. Let both your books and your intellects be like an apothecary's shop, where there are different boxes with different titles for different things. Let sensible perceptions be by themselves : and the intellective perception of things sensate be by themselves : and the intellective perception of its own, and the will's acts, be by themselves : and the collection of the nature of spirits and intellective agents thence, be by themselves : and the knowledge of principles, physical and moral, be by themselves : and the certainty of conclusions be ranked according to the variety of their degrees. The confusion of these different things causeth so confused a kind of knowledge, as is next to no knowledge, and more fit to trouble than to satisfy.
Direct. VII. Look to all things, or as many as is possible. When half is unknown, the other half is not half known. “Respicere ad omnia' is proper to God: “Respicere ad plurima' is ne
cessary to the competent wisdom of a man : to be of a narrow mind and prospect, is the property of the ignorant and erroneous. He that seeth only a hand or foot knoweth not what a man is by it: and he that seeth only a word knoweth not by that what a sentence is. God's works are all
I know not what we shall see in Commenius's Pansophy, which they say is yet to see the light ; how far he hath reduced all sciences to one.
But I little doubt but they may and should be all reduced to two, which are as the the soul and body that yet make up one man, though not one nature, viz. 1. The ontological or real part, distinguished into that of substances and of modes, where morality cometh in, &c. 2. The organical part, which fitteth words and notions to things. And I am sure that as the knowledge of one thing or of many, much conduceth to further knowledge; so the ignorance of one thing conduceth to ignorance and error about others. It is here as in the knowledge of a clock or watch, or musical instrument.
Know all or you know little, and next to none. No man is a fit judge of church affairs, who hath not the state of the world in some good measure in his eye; else he will be like most sectaries, who judge, and talk, and live, as if the world were no bigger than their synagogues or sects. He must have all the Scripture in his eye, the whole body of divinity, and all the world in his eye; and God himself, who is more than all, for by a narrow mind we are cheated into a multitude of
There are abundance of truths unknown to you which, were they known, would rectify your other errors.