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of error.

But as for popular errors, they are more nearly founded upon an erroneous inclination of the people; as being the most deceptable part of mankind, and ready with open arms to receive the encroachments of error. Which condition of theirs, although deducible from many grounds, yet shall we evidence it but from a few, and such as most nearly and undeniably declare their natures.

How unequal discerners of truth they are, and openly exposed unto error, will first appear from their unqualified intellectuals, unable to umpire the difficulty of its dissentions. For error, to speak largely, is a false judgment of things, or an assent unto falsity. Now, whether the object whereunto they deliver up their assent be true or false, they are incompetent judges.

For the assured truth of things is derived from the prinples of knowledge, and causes which determine their verities. Whereof their, uncultivated understandings scarce holding any theory, they are but bad discerners of verity, and in the numerous track of error, but casually do hit the point and unity of truth.

Their understanding is so feeble in the discernment of falsities, and averting the errors of reason, that it submitteth to the fallacies of sense, and is unable to rectifie the error of its sensations. Thus the greater part of mankind, having but

of sense and reason, conceive the earth far bigger than the sun, the fixed stars lesser than the moon, their figures plain, and their spaces from the earth equidistant. For thus their sense informeth them, and herein their reason cannot rectifie them; and, therefore, hopelessly continuing in mistakes, they live and die in their absurdities; passing their dayes in perverted apprehensions and conceptions of the world, derogatory unto God and the wisdom of the creation.

Again, being so illiterate in the point of intellect, and their sense so incorrected, they are further indisposed ever to attain unto truth; as commonly proceeding in those wayes, which have most reference unto sense, and wherein there lyeth most notable and popular delusion.

For being unable to wield the intellectual arms of reason, they are fain to betake themselves unto wasters, and the

s wasters.] A kind of cudgel. VOL. I.

one eye


blunter weapons of truth: affecting the gross and sensible ways of doctrine, and such as will not consist with strict and subtile reason. Thus unto them a piece of rhetorick is a sufficient argument of logick; an epilogue* of Æsop, beyond syllogisms in barbara, parables than propositions, and proverbs more powerful than demonstrations. And therefore are they led rather by example than precept; receiving persuasions from visible inducements, before intellectual instructions. And, therefore also they judge of human actions by the event; for, being uncapable of operable circumstances, or rightly to judge the prudentiality of affairs, they only gaze upon the visible success, and, therefore, condemn or cry up the whole progression. And so, from this ground, in the lecture of Holy Scripture, their apprehensions are commonly confined unto the literal sense of the text, from whence have ensued the gross and duller sort of heresies. For not attaining the deuteroscopy, and second intention of the words, they are fain to omit the super-consequences, coherences, figures, or tropologies : and are not sometimes persuaded by fire beyond their literalities. And,


* Fable.


6 syllogisms in barbara.] Barbara, among logicians, the first mode of the first figure of syllogism. A syllogism in barbara, is one whereof all the propositions are universal and affirmative; the middle term being the subject of the first proposition, and attribute in the second. Example:

bar-Every wicked man is miserable :
ba -All tyrants are wicked men :

ra —Therefore all tyrants are miserable.--Enc. Brit. ? uncapable of operable circumstances.] “Not capable of judging what is to be done under any given circumstances. This

passage Dr. Johnson's solitary authority for the word operable, which he observes is not in use.

8 deuteroscopy.] i. e. the inward and spiritual meaning, which is sometimes

Allegorical, and by a continual metaphor or allusion, or similitude or parable, proposes

the greatest depths of divinitye : Tropological, tending to the reformation of the manners and life of a Christian : as by the forbidding of swine's flesh, expressing God's detestation of all filthiness in the flesh and the spirit:

Anagogicall ; inducing us by the vilitye, unstabilitye, and vexatious fruition of earthly things to the love of that future blisse, wherein shall bee noe defect, noe change, noe dislike for ever.— Wr.

by fire.] He seems to refer to the stake. But, surely, martyrdom


therefore also, things invisible but unto intellectual discernments, to humour the grossness of their comprehensions, have been degraded from their proper forms, and God himself dishonoured into manual expressions. And so likewise being unprovided, or unsufficient for higher speculations, they will always betake themselves unto sensible representations, and can hardly be restrained the dulness of idolatry. A sin or folly not only derogatory unto God but men; overthrowing their reason, as well as his divinity. In brief, a reciprocation, or rather an inversion of the creation, making God one way, as he made us another; that is, after our image, as he made us after his own.

Moreover, their understanding, thus weak in itself, and perverted by sensible delusions, is yet farther impaired by the dominion of their appetite ; that is, the irrational and brutal part of the soul, which, lording it over the sovereign faculty, interrupts the actions of that noble part, and choaks those tender sparks, which Adam hath left them of reason. And, therefore, they do not only swarm with errors, but vices depending thereon. Thus they commonly affect3 no man any further than he deserts his reason, or complies with their aberrances. Hence they embrace not virtue for itself, but its reward; and the argument from pleasure or utility is far more powerful than that from virtuous honesty: which Mahomet and his contrivers well understood, when he set out the felicity of his heaven, by the contentments of flesh and the delight of sense, slightly passing over the accomplishment of the soul, and the beatitude of that part which earth and visibilities too weakly affect. But the wisdom of our Saviour, and the simplicity of his truth proceeded another

has, in a vast majority of instances, been undergone in defence of truth, rather than from ignorant adherence to vulgar error.

· God himself dishonoured into manual expressions.] On the ancient heresy of the Anthropomorphites, who ascribed to the Almighty a bodily shape, see Augustin contra Epist. Manichæi, c. 23 ;-Epiphanius, tom i. lib. iii. Hæres. 70; Theodoret. lib. iv. c. 10. In 1654, this extraordinary error was advocated by Mr. J. Biddle, in his “ Briefe Scripture Catechisme," which produced a reply in the following year from the celebrated Dr. Owen, his Vindicice Evangelicæ, or The Mystery of the Gospel Vindicated.

image.] i. e. imagination.— Wr. 3 affect.] In the sense of “being pleased with.”

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way; defying the popular provisions of happiness from sensible expectations ; placing his felicity in things removed from sense, and [in] the intellectual enjoyment of God. And, therefore, the doctrine of the one was never afraid of universities, or endeavoured the banishment of learning, like the other. And though Galen doth sometimes nibble at Moses, and, beside the apostate Christian,* some heathens have questioned his philosophical part, or treaty4 of the creation, yet is there surely no reasonable pagan

that will not admire the rational and well-grounded precepts of Christ;

whose life, as it was comformable unto his doctrine, so was that unto the highest rules of reason, and must therefore flourish in the advancement of learning, and the perfection of parts best able to comprehend it.

Again, their individual imperfections being great, they are, moreover, enlarged by their aggregation; and being erroneous in their single numbers, once huddled together, they will be error itself. For being a confusion of knaves and fools, and a farraginous concurrence of all conditions, tempers, sexes,


it is but natural if their determinations be monstrous, and many ways inconsistent with truth. And, therefore, wise men have always applauded their own judgment, in the contradiction of that of the people; and their soberest adversaries have ever afforded them the style of fools and madmen; and, to speak impartially, their actions have made good these epithets. Had Orestes been judge, he would not have acquitted that Lystrian rabble of madness,t who,ếupon a visible miracle falling into so high a conceit of Paul and Barnabas, that they termed the one Jupiter, the other Mercurius, that they brought oxen and garlands, and were hardly restrained from sacrificing unto them,--did, notwithstanding, suddenly after fall upon Paul, and, having stoned him, drew him for dead out of the city. It might have hazarded the sides of Democritus, had he been present at that tumult of Demetrius; when the people flocking together in great numbers, some crying one thing and some another, and the assembly was confused, and the most part knew not wherefore they were come together, notwithstand

* Julian: + Non sani esse hominis, non sanus juret Orestes. treaty.] In the sense of treatise; but the word is obsolete.-Wr.


ing, all with one voice, for the space of two hours cried out, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.' It had overcome the patience of Job, as it did the meekness of Moses, and would surely have mastered any but the longanimity and lasting sufferance of God, had they beheld the mutiny in the wilderness; when, after ten great miracles in Egypt, and some in the same place, they melted down their stolenear-rings into a calf, and monstrously cried out, “ These are thy gods, O Israel, that brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” It much accuseth the impatience of Peter, who could not endure the staves of the multitude, and is the greatest example of lenity in our Saviour, when he desired of God forgiveness unto those, who having one day brought him into the city in triumph, did presently after act all dishonour upon him, and nothing could be heard but crucifige in their courts. Certainly, he that considereth these things in God's peculiar people, will easily discern how little of truth there is in the ways of the multitude ; and though sometimes they are flattered with that aphorism, will hardly believe “The voice of the people to be the voice of God.”

Lastly, being thus divided from truth in themselves, they are yet farther removed by advenient deception. For true it is (and I hope I shall not offend their vulgarities if I say) they are daily mocked into error by subtiler devisors, and have been expressly deluded by all professions and ages. Thus the priests of elder time have put upon credible conceits, not only deluding their apprehensions with ariolation, soothsaying, and such oblique idolatries, but winning their credulities unto the literal and downright adorement of cats, lizards, and beetles. And thus also in

them many


5 stolen.] Neither stolen nor borrowed, but freely given to the solicitations of the Israelites, to whom “The Lord had given favour in the sight of the Egyptians.” The LXX and Vulgate, with the Syriac, Chaldee, Samaritan, Coptic, and Persian all agree in this interpretation of Exod. iii. 22, and xii. 35, 36. The idea of dishonesty so universally attached to this transaction, in consequence of our unfortunate version of the passage, is a vulgar error, which cannot be too generally corrected.

6 ariolation, soothsaying.] Synonymous terms.

7 adorement of cats, lizards, and beetles.] This, no doubt, is an allusion to the ancient Egyptians, by whom all these animals were worshipped, but whether as incarnations or as mere symbols of certain

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