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not so heroick, or so capable of great thoughts and actions.
To conclude: The Friendship we read of in former ages, was a noble union of two worthy person's striving to out-do each other in all kind of good offices, without the least interruption to the very close of their lives, which therefore always end with honour and reputation.
O body 'has more veneration than my self for the old Philosophers:
I believe human Wit is incapable of 'reaching higher than PYTHAGORAS; DEMOCRITUS, PLATO, and ARISTOTLE, or even GASSENDUS and DESCARTES in our days : and therefore 'tis great pity they aim'd at such fort of things as are never to be reached. SocRATEs therefore seems the wisest of them all, not purely on account of his modefty, but because he apply'd himself only to Mon rality, certainly the most useful of all itúa dies: whereas the speculations of the rest, though never so ingeniously imagin’d or agreeably express'd, are yet little better in reality than meer Romances, finely.contrived and made to cobere well together, mixed R 4
with a vast deal of wit and fancy. But oh, how despicable is the folly of mankind, if this be all the wisdom of it! If Plato and ARISTOTLE were no wiser than to fix and imploy their minds on empty fancies, what filly creatures are the common sort of men ? If those of the greatest wit and judgment imaginable could spend all their time in gravely considering if the world had a beginning or not; and if it had, whether it came from accident or providence ; and write whole books on such sort of subjects : 'tis a manifest proof, that the very best a man is able to do is only infanire cum ratione. All these inquiries, though made by the ablest Philosophers, are just as if a man, who cannot read a word without spectacles, should yet pretend without them to fee, and shew us what they are doing in the Moon.
YET, I will allow such high speculations are pretty fubjects for our thoughts and fancies, and to improve them also; as boys throwing stones at birds, will strengthen their arms though they never hit any.
ALL this consider'd; methinks, of the several Philosophers, the Scepticks appear the most reasonable, because the least pofitive: As at Bedlam, among such a variety
of humours, if we saw one of them chide the rest for being so noisy and violent, sufpecting their infirmity as well as his own; should we not think him much the best of them, and rather too sober for the rest of his companions : The Dogmatists obje&t to this, that even Scepticks are as positive in denying the knowledge of things, as others are in the maintaining it. But I think they do them wrong; for the Scepticks only remain in doubt of all things, which they find themselves and all mankind besides unable to comprehend.
The truth of the matter is ; all this weakness even of those wiseft men proceeds from the vanity of believing human nature capable of understanding all things: And because a Man has that troublesome faculty of amufing, and even tormenting himself sometimes with thoughts of a thousand matters which he has nothing to do with; he is presently apt to believe them all within his comprehenfion. Whereas a man is no more a creature fit to find out such abftrufe matters, than a fish is made to play a game at bowles. Yet I would not be understood to discourage, or the least undervalue Learning, where it tends to any manner of usefulness: only to bridle