The Advancement of Learning eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 256 pages of information about The Advancement of Learning.

(23) And for the government of the Church, it consisteth of the patrimony of the Church, the franchises of the Church, and the offices and jurisdictions of the Church, and the laws of the Church directing the whole; all which have two considerations, the one in themselves, the other how they stand compatible and agreeable to the civil estate.

(24) This matter of divinity is handled either in form of instruction of truth, or in form of confutation of falsehood.  The declinations from religion, besides the privative, which is atheism and the branches thereof, are three—­heresies, idolatry, and witchcraft:  heresies, when we serve the true God with a false worship; idolatry, when we worship false gods, supposing them to be true; and witchcraft, when we adore false gods, knowing them to be wicked and false.  For so your Majesty doth excellently well observe, that witchcraft is the height of idolatry.  And yet we see though these be true degrees, Samuel teacheth us that they are all of a nature, when there is once a receding from the Word of God; for so he saith, Quasi peccatum ariolandi est repugnare, et quasi scelus idololatriae nolle acquiescere.

(25) These things I have passed over so briefly because I can report no deficiency concerning them:  for I can find no space or ground that lieth vacant and unsown in the matter of divinity, so diligent have men been either in sowing of good seed, or in sowing of tares.

Thus have I made as it were a small globe of the intellectual world, as truly and faithfully as I could discover; with a note and description of those parts which seem to me not constantly occupate, or not well converted by the labour of man.  In which, if I have in any point receded from that which is commonly received, it hath been with a purpose of proceeding in melius, and not in aliud; a mind of amendment and proficiency, and not of change and difference.  For I could not be true and constant to the argument I handle if I were not willing to go beyond others; but yet not more willing than to have others go beyond me again:  which may the better appear by this, that I have propounded my opinions naked and unarmed, not seeking to preoccupate the liberty of men’s judgments by confutations.  For in anything which is well set down, I am in good hope that if the first reading move an objection, the second reading will make an answer.  And in those things wherein I have erred, I am sure I have not prejudiced the right by litigious arguments; which certainly have this contrary effect and operation, that they add authority to error, and destroy the authority of that which is well invented.  For question is an honour and preferment to falsehood, as on the other side it is a repulse to truth.  But the errors I claim and challenge to myself as mine own.  The good, it any be, is due tanquam adeps sacrificii, to be incensed to the honour, first of the Divine Majesty, and next of your Majesty, to whom on earth I am most bounden.

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The Advancement of Learning from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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