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the depth of their corrupt principles may despise it, yet it will receive an open allowance, and therefore, needs the less disproof or excusation.
Another fault incident commonly to learned men, which may be more probably defended than truly denied, is, that they fail sometimes in applying themselves to particular persons : which want of exact application ariseth from two causes; the one, because the largeness of their mind can hardly confine itself to dwell in the exquisite observation or examination of the nature and customs of one person: for it is a speech for a lover, and not for a wise man: “ Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus." Nevertheless I shall yield, that he that cannot contract the sight of his mind, as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty. But there is a second cause, which is no inability, but a rejection upon choice and judgment; for the honest and just bounds of observation, by one person upon another, extend no farther but to understand him sufficiently, whereby not to give him offence, or whereby to be able to give him faithful counsel, or whereby to stand upon reasonable guard and caution in respect of a man's self: but to be speculative into another man, to the end to know how to work him or wind him or govern him, proceedeth from a heart that is double and cloven, and not entire and ingenuous; which as in friendship it is want of integrity, so towards princes or superiors is want of duty. For the custom of the Levant, which is, that subjects do forbear to gaze or fix their eyes upon princes, is in
the outward ceremony barbarous, but the moral is good : for men ought not by cunning and bent observations to pierce and penetrate into the hearts of kings, which the Scripture hath declared to be inscrutable.
There is yet another fault (with which I will conclude this part) which is often noted in learned men, that they do many times fail to observe decency and discretion in their behaviour and carriage, and commit errors in small and ordinary points of action, so as the vulgar sort of capacities do make a judgment of them in greater matters by that which they find wanting in them in smaller. But this consequence doth often deceive men, for which I do refer them over to that which was said by Themistocles, arrogantly and uncivilly being applied to himself out of his own mouth; but, being applied to the general state of this question, pertinently and justly; when, being invited to touch a lute, he said, “ he could not
fiddle, but he could make a small town a great “ state.” So, no doubt, many may be well seen in the passages of government and policy, which are to seek in little and punctual occasions. I refer them also to that which Plato said of his master Socrates, whom he compared to the gallypots of apothecaries, which on the outside had apes and owls and antiques, but contained within sovereign and precious liquors and confections ; acknowledging that to an external report he was not without superficial levities and deformities, but was inwardly replenished with excellent virtues and powers. And
so much touching the point of manners of learned
But in the mean time I have no purpose to give allowance to some conditions and courses base and unworthy, wherein divers professors of learning have wronged themselves, and gone too far; such as were those trencher philosophers, which in the later age of the Roman state were usually in the houses of great persons, being little better than solemn parasites; of which kind, Lucian maketh a merry description of the philosopher that the great lady took to ride with her in her coach, and would needs have him carry her little dog, which he doing officiously and yet uncomely, the page scoffed, and said, “ That he doubted, the philosopher of a “ Stoic would turn to be a Cynic.” But above all the rest, the gross and palpable flattery, whereunto many
not unlearned have abased and abused their wits and pens, turning, as Du Bartas saith, Hecuba into Helena, and Faustina into Lucretia, hath most diminished the price and estimation of learning. 1
Neither is the modern dedication of books and writings, as to patrons, to be commended : for that books, such as are worthy the name of books, ought to have no patrons but truth and reason. And the ancient custom was to dedicate them only to private and equal friends, or to intitle the books with their names ; or if to kings and great persons, it was to some such as the argument of the book was fit and proper for: but these and the like courses may deserve rather reprehension than defence.
Not that I can tax or condemn the morigeration or application of learned men to men in fortune. For the answer was good that Diogenes made to one that asked him in mockery, “ How it came to pass that philosophers were the followers of rich
men, and not rich men of philosophers ?" He answered soberly, and yet sharply, “ Because the “ one sort knew what they had need of, and the other “ did not.” And of the like nature was the answer which Aristippus made, when having a petition to Dionysius, and no ear given to him, he fell down at his feet; whereupon Dionysius staid, and gave him the hearing, and granted it; and afterward some person, tender on the behalf of philosophy, reproved Aristippus, that he would offer the profession of philosophy such an indignity, as for a private suit to fall at a tyrant's feet : but he answered, “ It “ was not his fault, but it was the fault of Dionysius, " that had his ears in his feet." Neither was it accounted weakness, but discretion in him that would not dispute his best with Adrianus Cæsar; excusing himself, “ That it was reason to yield to " him that commanded thirty legions." These and the like applications, and stooping to points of necessity and convenience, cannot be disallowed ; for though they may have some outward baseness, yet in a judgment truly made, they are to be accounted submissions to the occasion, and not to the person.
Now I proceed to those errors and vanities which have intervened amongst the studies them
selves of the learned, which is that which is principal and proper to the present argument; wherein my purpose is not to make a justification of the errors, but, by a censure and separation of the errors, to make a justification of that which is good and sound, and to deliver that from the aspersion of the other. For we see, that it is the manner of men to scandalize and deprave that which retaineth the state and virtue, by taking advantage upon that which is corrupt and degenerate: as the heathens in the primitive church used to blemish and taint the Christians with the faults and corruptions of heretics. But nevertheless I have no meaning at this time to make any exact animadversion of the errors and impediments in matters of learning, which are more secret and remote from vulgar opinion, but only to speak unto such as do fall under or near unto a popular observation.
There be therefore chiefly three vanities in studies, whereby learning hath been most traduced. For those things we do esteem vain, which are either false or frivolous, those which either have no truth, or no use: and those persons we esteem vain, which are either credulous or curious; and curiosity is either in matter or words: so that in reason, as well as in experience, there fall out to be these three distempers, as I may term them, of learning ; the first, fantastical learning; the second, contentious learning; and the last, delicate learning ; vain imaginations, vain altercations, and vain affectations ; and with the last I will begin. Martin Luther con