Page images

to be like him, as we may the neerest by poffeffing our souls of true vertue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection. But because our understanding cannot in this body found it felfe but on sensible things, nor arrive so cleerly to the knowledge of God and things invisible, as by orderly conning over the vifible and inferior creature, the fame method is neceffarily to be follow'd in all discreet teaching. And seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition anough for all kinde of learning, and therefore we are chiefly taught the language of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom; so that language is but the instrument convay

[ocr errors]


ing to us things useful to be known. And though a linguist should pride himselfe to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet, if he have not studied the folid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed 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 unpleasing and so unsuccessfull; first we do amifle to spend seven or eight yeers. meerly in scraping together so much miserable Latin, and Greek, as might be learnt otherwise easily and delightfully in one yeer. And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behinde, is

[ocr errors]

our time loft partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities, partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose Theams, verses, 'and Orations, which are the acts of ripest judgement and the finall work of a head fill'd by long reading, and observing, with elegant maxims, and copious invention. These are not matters to be

from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit : besides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutor'd Anglicisms, odious' to be read, yet not to be avoided without a well continu'd and judicious converfing anong pure Au



thors digested, which they scarce taste, whereas, if after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in some chosen fort book leffon'd throughly to them, they might then forthwith proceed to learn the substance of good things, and Arts in due order, which would bring the whole language quickly into their power. This I take to be the most rationall and most profitable way of learning languages, and whereby we may best hope to give account to God of our youth spent herein: and for the usual method of teaching Arts, I deem it to be an old. errour of universities not yet well recover'd from the Scholastick grofneíse of



barbarous ages, that instead of beginning with Arts most easie, and those be such as are most obvious to the sence, they prefent their young unmatriculated novices at first coming with the most intellective abstractions of Logiek and metaphyficks : So that they having but newly left those grammatick flats and fhallows where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lanıentable construction, and now on the sudden transported under another climat to be toft and turmoild with their unballafted wits in fadomles and unquiet deeps of controversie, do for the most part grow into hatred and contempt of learning; mockt and deluded all this while with ragged notions and babblements, while


« PreviousContinue »