Page images
PDF
EPUB

to be like him, as we may the neereft by poffeffing our fouls 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 fenfible things, nor arrive fo 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 difcreet teaching. And feeing every nation affords not experience and tradition anough for all kinde of learning, and therefore we are chiefly taught the language of thofe people who have at any time been moft induftrious after wisdom; fo that language is but the inftrument convay

mg to us things ufeful to be known. And though a linguist should pride himfelfe to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet, if he have not ftudied the folid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing fo much to be efteemed a learned man, as any yeoman or tradefinan competently wife in his mother dialect only. Hence appear the many mistakes which have made learning generally fo unpleafing and fo unfuccefsfull; first we do amiffe to spend feven or eight yeers meerly in fcraping together fo much miferable Latin, and Greek, as might be learnt otherwise easily and delightfully in one yeer. And that which cafts our proficiency therein fo much behinde, is M 4

our

our time loft partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to fchools and univerfities, partly in a prepofterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compofe Theams, verfes, and Orations, which are the acts of ripeft judgement and the finall work of a head fill'd by long reading, and obferving, with elegant maxims, and copious invention. Thefe are not matters to be wrung from poor ftriplings, like blood out of the nofe, or the plucking of untimely fruit: befides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutor'd Anglicifms, odious to be read, yet not to be avoided without a well continu'd and judicious converfing among pure Au

thors

[ocr errors][merged small]

thors digefted, which they fcarce taste, whereas, if after fome preparatory grounds of fpeech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in fome chofen fhort book leffon'd throughly to them, they might then forthwith proceed to learn the fubftance 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 moft profitable way of learning languages, and whereby we may best hope to give account to GoD of our youth. fpent herein and for the ufual method of teaching Arts, I deem it to be an olderrour of universities not yet well recover'd from the Scholaftick grofneffe of

barbarous

33

barbarous ages, that inftead of beginning with Arts most eafie, and thofe be fuch as are most obvious to the fence, they prefent their young unmatriculated novices at first coming with the most intellective abstractions of Logick and metaphyficks: So that they having but newly left thofe grammatick flats and fhallows where they ftuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentable conftruction, and now on the fudden tranfported under another climat to be toft and turmoild with their unballafted wits in fadomles and unquiet deeps of controverfie, do for the most part grow into hatred and contempt of learning, mockt and deluded all this while with ragged notions and babblements, while they

« PreviousContinue »