Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S. DYING THOUÚHTS. III begin it at the last; like a man that would study the new-found planets, and the shape of Saturn's and Jupiter's satellites, and the ViamLactéam, &c. ; and he spends his whole life in getting him the best tubes, or telescopes, and never useth them to his ends; or like one that, instead.of learning to write, doth spend his life in getting the best ink, paper and pens ; or rather like one that learn- eth to write and print exactly, and not to understand what any of his words do signify. Men take their spectacles insteadof eyes. 2. And when this learning is got, how uncertain are we whether the words have noambiguity ; whether they give us the true notice of the speaker's mind, and of the mattet spoken of! As I said before, what penury, and yet redundancy of words, have we; of how various and uncertain signification; changed by custom, or arbitrary design; sometimes by the vulgar use, and sometimes by learned men, that, being. conscious of the defectiveness of the speaking art, are still tampering, and attempting to amend it ! And some men speak obscurely on purpose to raise in their readers a conceit of their subtle and sublime conceptions. And he that un- derstandeth things most clearly, and speaketh them most plainly, (which are the parts of true learning,) shall have much ado to get the matter out of dark and bewildering uncertainties, and to make others understand both it and him. 3. And hence come the greatest part of the contentions of the world, which are hottest among men that most pretend to wordy knowledge; as in traffic and converse, the more men and business we have to do with, usually the more quarrels and differences we have ; so the more of this wordy learning, instead of realities, men pretend to, the more disputes and controversies theymake ; and the instruments.of knowledge prove the instruments of error and contention. And, alas ! how many applauded volumes are the snares and troubles of the world! and :how great a part of our libraries are vain janglings, and strife of words, and traps for the more ingenious sort, that will not be taken with cards and dice, ro' >ing us of our time, destroyingour love, depressing our minds, t'. should ascend to God, and diverting them from the great and; t',in s which should be the matter of our thoughts and joys; and Filling the church with sects and strife, while every one striveth for the pra,mineure of his wit and notions, and few strive for holy love, add unity, and good works ! 4. And ali this while, alas ! too many learned men do but lick the outside of the glass, and leave the wine within'untasted. To lenov God, and Christ, and heaven and holiness, do give the soul a nourishing and strengthening kind of pleasure, like that of the appetite in its food; but this game at words is but a knowing of images; signs and shadows, and so is but an image and shadow of