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neglecting and forbearing the use of artificial logic, physics and metaphysics, would depress their value. (4.) Because that there was abundance of falsehood mixed with the truth which the philosophers held ; as their multitude of different sects fully proves. (5.) Because the artificial, organical part was made so operose, as that it drowned real learning instead of promoting it; and became but like a game at chess, a device rather to exercise vain, proud wits by, than to find out useful truth. As to this day when logic and metaphysics seem much cultivated and reformed, yet the variety of methods, the number of notions, the precariousness of much, the uncertainty of some things, the falsehood of many, maketh them as fit for boys to play with in the schools, and to be a wood into which a sophister may run, to hide his errors, as to be a means of detecting them. And therefore a knavish cheater will often bind you strictest to the pedantic part of the rules of disputation, that when he cannot defend his matter, he may quarrel with your form and artifice, and lose tine by questioning you about mood and figure. (6.) Because by these operose diversions the minds of men were so forestalled or taken up, as that they had not leisure to study great and necessary saving truth : and if men must be untaught in the doctrines of life, till they had first learned their logic, physics, and metaphysics, how few would have been saved !
When at this day so many come from our Universities after several years' study, raw smatterers in these, and half-witted scholars, whose learning is fitter to trouble than to edify : and if Scripture had been written in the terms and method of Aristotle, how few would have been the better for them! But great good must be common.
And as Paul on all these accounts sets light by this philosophy, so he calls it, the wisdom of this world :-1. Because this world was its chief object :-2. And the creatures were its only light :-3. And it led but few to any higher than worldly ends :-4. And it was that which worldly men, that were strangers to heavenly light and holiness, did then most magnify and use.
And therefore the apostle aptly joined both together, (1 Cor. i. 26,)“ Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called ;" seeming to equal worldly wealth and greatness, with worldly wisdom or philoso. phy, as to the interests of religion and salvation. And the foolish wits that think he spake against learning, because he had it not, may as truly say, that he spake against worldly wealth and greatness because he had it not; for the possession, use and knowledge of worldly things, are near of kin. But they knew not Paul so well as Festus, who thought him not unlearned, though he thought him mad. Nor was it the way of worldly wealth and greatness which he chose.
Doubtless neither Christ, nor Paul, did speak against any real knowledge, but, (1.) Against nominal, pretended knowledge, which was set up to divert men from real knowledge; and was full of vanities and falsehoods. (2.) And against the overvaluing of that learning, which is of little use, in comparison of the knowledge of great and excellent, and necessary things. For knowledge is valuable according to its object and its use.
The knowledge of trifles for trivial ends, is itself a trifle. The knowledge of things great and necessary for great and necessary ends, is the great and necessary knowledge. And therefore how unmeasurably must the knowledge of God and our eternal happiness, excel the pedantic philosophy of the Gentiles. However Christians may sanctify and ennoble this by making it a help to higher knowledge. And therefore the Platonists and the Stoics were the noblest philosophers; because the former studied the highest things, and the other the necessary means of felicity, amending of men's hearts and lives.
But in the present text the thing which the apostle reprehendeth is, the esteeming of a man's self to be wiser than he is ; and taking himself to be a wise man because of his trifling philosophical knowledge. And he would have them know that till they knew nobler things than those, and were guided by a nobler light, they were very fools.*
I have looked over Hutten, Vives, Erasmus, Scaliger, Salmasius, Casaubone, and many other critical grammarians, and all Gruterus's critical
* A countryman having sent his son to the University, when he came home asked him what he had learned. He told him he had learned logic. He asked him what that logic was, and what he could do with it: and it being supper-time, and the poor people having but two eggs for supper, he told them that he could prove that those eggs were three: This is one, saith he, and that is two, and one and two are three. The father gave way to him, and told him that his art was useful, for he had thought himself to have gone without his supper, but now, saith he, I will take one egg, and your mother the other, and take you the third. Such kind of logic the world hath gloried in as learning.
volumes. I have read almost all the Physics and Metaphysics I could hear of: I have wasted much of my time among loads of historians, chronologers, and antiquaries ; I despise none of their learning. All truth is useful ; in mathematics, which I have least of, I find a pretty manlike sport.
But if I had no other kind of knowledge than these, what were my understanding worth! what a dreaming dotard should I be! Yea, had I also all the codes and pandects, all Cujacius, Wesenbechius, and their tribe at my fingers' ends; and all other volumes of civil, national and canon laws, with the rest in the Encyclopædia, what a puppet play would my life be, if I had no more !
I have higher thoughts of the schoolmen, than Erasmus and our other grammarians had ; I much value the method and sobriety of Aquinas, the subtlety of Scotus and Ockam, the plainness of Durandus, the solidity of Ariminensis, the profundity of Bradwardine, the excellent acuteness of many of their followers; of Aureolus, Capreolus, Bannes, Alvarez, Zumel, &c.; of Mayro, Lychetus, Trombeta, Faber, Mearisse, Rada, &c. ; of Ruiz, Pennatus, Suarez, Vasquez, &c.; of Hurtado, of Albertinus, of Lud. à Dola, and many others; but how loath should I be to take such sauce for my food, and recreations for my business! The jingling of too much and too false philosophy among them, often drowns the noise of Aaron's bells. I feel myself much better in Herbert's Temple; or in a heavenly trea. tise of faith and love. And though I do not, with Dr. Colet, distaste Augustine above the plainer fathers, yet I am more taken with his
Confessions, than with his grammatical and scholastic treatises. And though I know no man whose genius more abhorreth confusion instead of necessary distinction and method; yet I loathe impertinent, useless art, and pretended precepts and distinctions, which have not a foundation in the matter.
In a word, there is a Divine knowledge, which is part of man's felicity, as it promoteth love and union, and there is a solid knowledge of God's word and works, a valuable grammatical knowledge, and a true philosophy, which none but ignorant persons will despise. But the vain philosophy, and pretended wisdom and learning of the world, hath been, and is, the cheat of souls, the hinderer of wisdom, and a troubler of the church and world.
CHAP. II. WHAT WISDOM AND ESTEEM OF IT, ARE NOT
HERE CONDEMNED. The order which I shall observe in handling the first doctrine shall be this; I. I will tell you negatively what wisdom, and esteem of our own wisdom, is not here condemned. II. What it is that is here condemned. III. What are the certainties which we must hold fast, and make our religion of. IV. What degrees of these certainties there are. V. What are the inischiefs of falsely pretended knowledge. VI. What are the causes of it. VII. What are the remedies.
I. What wisdom, and what esteem of our wisdom is not here condemned ?