Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

g2 y BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS, that matter. (3.) And to the mind of the hearer or reader, which is to be informed by it, it is so hard to find and use wards that are fitted indeed to all these uses, and to have store of such; and mix no other, that few, if any, in the world, were ever so happy as to attain it. (1.) And if words be not fitted to the matter or things, they are false as to their first and proper use ; and yet the penury of apt words, and the redundancy of others, and the authority of the masters of sciences, imposing arbitrary terms and notions on theirdisciples, and the custom of the vulgar, who have the empire, as to the sense of words, have all conspired to make words inapt, and of veryuncertain signification. So that when students have learned wordsby longand hard studies, they are of little the nearer the true knowledge of thethings ; and too oft, by their inaptitude, misled to false conceptions. And so their saying is too often true, that a great book is a great evil, while it containeth so great.a . number of uncertain words, which become the matterof great contentions. (2.) And when the mind of the speaker or writer is no better informed by such notions, but his conceptions of things. are some false, some confused and undigested, what wonder if his words do no otherwise express his mind to others, when even men of clearest understanding find it difficult to have words still ready to commu- nicate their conceptions with truth and clearness. To form true sentiments of things into apt, significant words, is a matter of mere art, and requireth an aptteacher, and a serious learner, and long use (and too many take their art of speaking, in prayer, confer- ence, or preaching, to have more in it of wisdom and piety than it hath ; and some too much condemn the , unaccustomBd that want it.) (3.) And if we could fit our words welltd the matter,and to our minds, (with that double verity,) yet still it is hard to fit them to the reader or hearer ; for wantof whichthey aré lost as to him; and his information being our end, they are therefore so far lost to us. And that which is spoken most congruously to the matter, is seldom fitted to the capacity of the receiver. , And recipitur ad modem recipientis, et pro capto lectoris, Sic. Some readers or hearers (yéa, almost all) are so used to unapt words and notions, obtruded on mankind, by the master of words, that they cannot understand us if we change their terms and offer them fitter, and yet least understand those which they think that they best mailer- stand ; and all men must have long time to learn the art of words, before they can understand them as well as before they can readily use them. And the duller any man is, and of less understanding, the more words are necessary to make him understand ;, and yet his meinory is the less 'capable of retaining many. This is our,