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Thoughts of making Learning low'd both them and the Roman
from these Principles (they too
I am not ignorant that there Contests, as well as Learning, is a Book call sphinx Theologicofound a period in that Inunda- Philosophica, that bears some retion of Barbarity, which swal. semblance to the Athenian Ora.
cle; but then it differs so much understood Writings of Ariftowhen you come to peruse it, tle; who, if we may credit his that if it had not been to ob- Letter to Alexander the Great, viate some Mens unreasonable never intended any one should Fancies, I would not have reap much Knowledg from nam'd it: for there the Au- ' them, except his own select thor proposes his Difficulties, Scholars. For that great King and solves them himself ; but being fir'd with a generous Amwith an endiess number of vul- bition of excelling all Mankind gar Errors, grounding all his in knowledg as well as Power, Answers on ill Authorities, when he was inform'd that Arii School-Divinity, and those an- Rotle had publish'd his * Acrowtiquated Systems of Philoso- matick Books, sent him a + Letphy, which were compos'd (as ter of Reprimand, in which I faid before) out of the mif- were these words:
ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ ΑΡΙΣΤΟ. Alexander to Aristotle,
Health. ΟΥΚ ορθώς εποίησας εκδούς τες OU have not done well re 'Ακροαματικές των λόγων: Τι
Acroamatick και γαρ έτι διοισομεν ημείς των άλλων Books; for now I would fain know si xa s's itu.dout nu er nóyes, šros in what we shall excel the rest of πάντων έσονται κοινοι και εγώ δε βελοί- Men, if that Learning in which μην άν ταϊς ωθεί τα άριστα έμπερί- you have educated us be made comεις ή ταις δυνάμεσι Δαφέρειν. mon to all. And indeed I profess
I had rather excel in Knowledg than Power.
To this Letter of Alexander, Arifotle returns this Answer. ΑΡΙΣΤΟΤΕΛΗΣ ΑΛΕΞ Aristotle to Alexander, ΑΝΔΡΩ, ευπράττειν.
A: coxão nósywv, ósópelu a desão kv croamatick Books, which 585 Qunátte Sv árospýtog, da šv, you judg should be kept as a Sex árrós íxolkdorffuss sej pecin endedojelussa cret, and not divulg’d: For your žuritei go siri puivois toms sprawo exsSatisfaction therefore know, that vion.
they are publish'd, and yet they are not for they can be understood
only by such who bave heard me deliver them.
So call'd because few only, and those felett, were admitted to hear that Philosophy : from Axegaris, Auscultatio, Hearing. Many learned Authors agree, that these Books were bis Physicks and Metaphyficks.
+ I am not ignorant that some conclude that these Letters are sparious, yet others are of a contrary Opinion, and prove at large the feveral Absurdities in those Acroamatick Books, which so great a Men as Aristotle could not be suppos'd to be guilty of
From hence we may suppose Sense must acknowledge. Yet, what Exactness and Reason to silence the Enemies of Reathere was in Systems, com son as well as of the Athenian pos'd after this Model; and I Society, I shall. Instance in some assure the Reader, the Author few particulars; as first, the of the fore nam'd Book falls Promotion of Printing. For as yet lower, and dwindles into that Art contributed extremeOld wives Tales and common ly to the spreading and progress Sayings. In short, if any Men of Learning, fo has this Pro of Sense Mall happen to see ject made grateful Returns althat Book, they will find that ready, to the encouragement it bears no likeness to the A at least of the Masters of that thenian Oracle, but the form of Art, witness the Controversy Question and Answer; the Au- with the Anabaptists, the Quathors of which Meihod, the kers, and with Mr. Jones on the Gentlemen of this Society Subject of Usury; which tho'it are far from pretending to be, be stretch'd into too great a and it was made choice of, as Latitude by the Practices of the only way of satisfying eve some, yet is with no reason in ry one's Curiosity and Doubts, the world absolutely condemn'd when each propos'd his own. by him; as this Learned Society I never yet (upon enquiry) have already made evident to could understand that any thing any discerning Judgment. Nor Jike this was ever advanc'd ei have the little Endeavours at ther before this time,
an Answer, by some nameless any other Nation.
Scribler, mov'd me at all to England has the Glory of gi- think otherwise, he having not ving rise to two of the noblest answer'd any Proof the Society Designs that the Wit of Man brought (nor indeed do I beis capable of inventing; and lieve he understood great part they are the Royal Society, for of them) but with a canting the experimental Improvement inconfiftent Ramble haftens to of Natural Knowledg; and the the end of his mighty VindiAthenian Society, for communi- cation. I shall say no more of cating not only that, but all this Controversy now, because other Sciences to all Men, as it is not yet finish'd ; and the well as to both Sexes: and the other I shall have occasion of Jast will, I question not, be speaking to in the Second Part imitated, as well as the first, of this Discourse. by other Nations.
But the Booksellers and PrinThis leads me into a Consi- ters are not the only Gainers deration of the Advantages in this Affair ; that Branch of this Undertaking has afforded the Royal Revenue, the Poft the World; which are so ma- (I mean both the General and py, and so evident, that I may Penny-Poft) being not inconseem to the Judicious to lose siderably improv'd by it ; they lime in endeavouring to de- having in the firft Year remonttrate what every Man of ceiv'd some Thousands of Let
ters: So that it seems to me Advantages they could so well The Interest of the Govern make use of. The French have ment to espouse the Quarrel of remov'd in some measure this: this Society, so far as to sup Obstacle, and made all Au. press any Interloper, the Re. thors familiar to every one sult of whose unjust Endeavors that can but read and undermuft be the Ruin of such an in stand their
Mothercreasing Adrantage to their Tongue, by translating all Majesty's Interest. But I shall Books of any Value into their say more of this in my last own Language. 'Tis true, we Párt, and here thall leave the have imitated them a little in Benefit, that arises from the that way, but under a diffeAthenian Oracle, to the Purses rent Capacity; for here there of both the Publick and Pri. are a fort of little ignorant vate, to consider a little of Foreigners, who understand that which the Mind, the no neither our Tongue, nor that bler part of Mankind, will from whence they translate, reap from it, that being its imploy'd by the Booksellers on chief Aim and Design, the o. this difficult Task, because thers but accidental.
they murder a nobler Author What an Improvement this cheaper than a Man of Parts will be to Learning, I pre will do him Justice, and like a fume none, that will give them- Spaniard will live upon a Clove selves leisure to reflect, can be of Garlick, and work hard for insensible of ; for a diffusing what will but suffice to buy Knowledg, among all that them a great Coat to keep Heaven has made capable, them from the Cold: This is must certainly be the occasion the Cause we have few good of more Discoveries in Truth Translations. Whereas the and Nature, because the num- French are more accurate, beber of the Learned will be in- cause they who give themcreas'd: Of the Learned, I selves to Undertakings of that say, for I cannot see any rea- kind among them, are such son why Languages should be whose Business is Learning, and thought so necessary an In- who are otherwise provided gredient for the composing a for, than to depend on the GeScholar, if it were not for nerosity of a Bookseller for the opening the Secrets that their Bread. And whilft a are lock'd up in them, which Business of that Consequence Prison this Noble Society's Under- is carry'd on by such Hands, taking will in time free them we have no reason to expect afrom: for indeed 'tis very ny greater Performances hard that those, whose Poc But had we the good Foro kets could nor arrive to better tune to have all the Arts and Education, and yer are bleit Sciences, and all the fine with abler Brains than many Thoughts of all those great who spend their time in Books, Men who have writ, they fhould be hinder'd from those would be so voluminous, that
many a Man of Sense would beginning of Learning to this labour under as great a Diffi- time, have not contributed to culty as before, both for Time the Increase of Knowledg, so to peruse, and Mony to pur- much as this Institution of the chase them. But this Difficul- Athenian Society. What the Anty is quite remov'd by the A- tients did I have already, in a thenian Society ; for one bourin few words, discuss’d; and tho' a Week may be sufficient to I will not deny, that the Adperuse this Work, in which vance which has been made every one may find the Mar- since the Restoration of Learnrow of what great Authorsing is very extraordinary, yet have writ on any curious Sub- it must be granted that it falls ject, with the Improvement of short of this. 'Tis true, it was inany ingenicus and learned great to cast off Authorities, Men upon it. Nor is the Rea. and to have recourse alone to der confind to that filly Ma- Reason and Experiment, the gisterial Argument of some of only sure Foundation of all the old Aristotelians, an ipfe Learning, without which we dixit, but is only desir'd to spend out our Years in painful yield to the force of Reason it Study, to fill our Heads with self; and what Authorities are false and empty Notions, fobrought will easily be seen to reign enough from Truth, be fupernumerary Proof, un which is the Aim of all Stuless about Matter of Fact, and dy; for without a pretty good the Verity of any Paffage in Assurance of that, the Mind History : 'as that of Josephus a never be satisfied.
But bout our Saviour Jesus Christ, tho' the Treasure of Knowledg wbich can be decided by no increas'd so vastly, yet the Pors thing but the Testimony of all sesfors of this Treasure did not Ages up to the time when grow much more numerous such Book was writ; which is than of old; so that the Bea much more natural and ra nefit of it reach'd only to fuch tional way to come to the as could go to the Expence of Truth, than by the conjectu- Studying at the chargeable ral Argument of some opini- Places call'd Universities (few onated Men of this present else being the better for this Age, who would needs prefer new Revolution in the Empire a mere Guess to a Cloud of of Wisdom;) most of the reit of Witnesses, a Method quite Mankind were an ignorant Gecontrary to all the Justice and neration, that bore the Form, Proceedings in the World. the Shape, the Image of Men,
If the Reader will consider and had the use of their what I have said, I am confi- Tongue to make known their dent he can't but in Justice ac- Thoughts; but it was only to quit me of Flattery, when I discover, how very little difthall say, that all the Endea- ference there was betwixt them vors of the great Men of all and their younger Brothers Nations and Ages from the the Brutęs. The Learned