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our time lost partly in too oft idle vacana cies given both to schools and univerfities, partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compofe Theams, verses, and Orations, which are the acts of ripest judgement and the finall work of a head filld by long reading, and observing, with elegant maxims, and copious invention.
These are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit :. besides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutor’d Anglicisms, odious to be read, yet not to be avoided without a well continu'd and judicious conversing among pure Au
thors digested, which they scarce taste, whereas, if after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in some chosen fhort book leffon'd throughly to them, they might then forth with proceed to learn the substance 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 most profitable way of learning languages, and whereby we may best hope to give account to God of our youth fpent herein : and for the usual method of teaching Arts, I deem it to be an old errour of universities not yet well recover'd from the Scholastick grofnesse af
barbarous ages, that instead of begin ning with Arts moft easie, and those be such as are most obvious to the sence, they present their young unmatriculated novices at first coming with the most intellective abstractions of Logick and metaphyficks : So that they having but newly left those grammatick flats and shallows where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentable construction, and now on the sudden transported under another climat to be tost and turmoild with their unballasted wits in fadomles and unquiet deeps of controversie, 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 expected worthy and delightfull knowledge; till poverty or youthfull yeers call them importunately their severallwayes,, and hasten them with the way of friends either to an ambitious and mercenary, or ignorantly zealous Divinity; Some allur’d to the trade of Law grounding their purposes not on the prudent, and heavenly contemplation of justice and equity which was never taught them, but on the promising and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat contentions, and flowing fees ; others betake them to State affairs, with fouls so unprincipl'd in vertue, and true generous breeding, that flattery and court shifts and tyrannous aphorismes appear to them the highest points of wisdom ; in
stilling their barren hearts with confcientious slavery, if, as I rather think, it be not fain’d. Others lastly of a more delicious and airie spirit, retire themselves knowing no better, to the enjoyinents of ease and luxury, living out their daies in feast and jollity; which indeed is the wiseft and safest course of all these, unlesse they were with more integrity undertak’n. And these are the errours, and these are the fruits of niirspending our prime youth at the Schools and Universities as we do, either in learning meere words or such things chiefly, as were better unlearnt.
I shall detain you now no longer in the demonstration of what we should not doe, but strait conduct ye to a hill fide,