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But that a Book in wors condition then a peccant soul, should be to stand before a Jury ere it be borne to the World, and undergo yet in darknesse the judgement of Radamanth and his Collegues, ere it can passe the ferry backward into light, was never heard before, till that mysterious iniquity provokt and troubl’d at the first entrance of Reformation, fought out new limbo's and new hells wherein they might include our Books also within the number of their damned. And this was the rare morsell so officiously snatcht up, and so ilfavourdly imitated by our inquisiturient Bishops, and the attendant minorites their Chaplains. That ye like not now these most certain Authors of this licencing order, and that all sinister intention was farre distant from your thoughts, when ye were importun'd the passing it, all men who know the integrity of your actions, and how ye honour Truth, will clear yee readily.
But some will say, What though the Inventors were bad, the thing for all that may be good? It may so; yet if that thing be no such deep invention, but obvious, and easie for any man to light on, and yet best and wisest Commonwealths through all ages, and occafions have forborne to use it, and falsest seducers, and oppreffers of men were the first who tooke it up, and to no other purpose but to obstruct and hinder the first approach of Reformation ; I am of those who beleeve, it will be a hare
der alchymy then Lullius ever knew, to fublimat any good use out of such an invention. Yet this only is what I request to gain from this reason, that it may be held a dangerous and suspicious fruit, as certainly it deserves, for the tree that
bore it, untill I can diffect one by one in the properties it has. But I have first
to finish, as was propounded, what is to be thought in generall of reading Books, what ever sort they be, and whether be more the benefit, or the harm that thence proceeds?
Not to infist upon the examples of Moses, Daniel, & Paul, who were fkilfull in all the learning of the Ægyptians, Caldeans, and Greeks, which could not probably be without reading their Books
of all sorts, in Paul especially, who thonght it no defilement to insert into holy Scripture the sentences of three Greek Poets, and one of them a Tragedian, the question was, notwithstanding sometimes controverted among the Primitive Doctors, but with great odds on that fide which affirm'd it both lawfull and profitable, as was then evidently perceiv’d, when Julian the Apoftat, and suttlest enemy to our faith, made a deeree forbidding Christians the study of heathen learning : for, said he, they wound us with our own weapons, and with our owne arts and sciences they overcome us. And indeed the Christians were put so to ther shifts by this crafty nieans, and so much in danger to decline into all
ignorance, that the two Apollinarii were fain as a man may say, to coin all the seven liberall Sciences out of the Bible, reducing it into divers forms of Orations, Poems, Dialogues, ev'n to the calculating of a new Christian Grammar. But faith the Historian Socrates, The providence of God provided better then the industry of Apollinarius and his son, by taking away that illiterat law with the life of him who devis’d it. So great an injury they then held it to be depriv'd of Hellenick learning ; and thought it a persecution more undermining, and secretly decaying the Church, then the open cruelty of Decius or Dioclefian. And perhaps it was the same politick drift that the Divell whipt St. Jerom in a lenten