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impostor, was able to lead away four thousand into the wilderness; and the delusions of Mahomet almost the fourth part of mankind. Thus all heresies, how gross soever, have found a welcome with the people. For thus many of the Jews were wrought into the belief that Herod was the Messias :1 and David George, of Leyden, and Arden, were not without a party amongst the people, who maintained the same opinion of themselves almost in our days.
Physicians (many at least that make profession thereof) besides divers less discoverable ways of fraud, have made them believe there is the book of fate, or the power of Aaron's breast-plate, in urines. And, therefore, hereunto they have recourse, as unto the oracle of life, the great determinator of virginity, conception, fertility, and the inscrutable infirmities of the whole body. For, as though there were a seminality in urine, or that, like the seed, it carried with it the idea of every part, they foolishly conceive, we visibly behold therein the anatomy of every particle, and can thereby indigitate their diseases : and, running into any demands, expect from us a sudden resolution in things, whereon the Devil of Delphos 5 would demur: and we know bath taken respite of some days to answer easier questions.
himself was killed, and his head brought having declared to his disciples, a short to Jerusalem. Acis v. Eusebius, lib. ii, time previous to his death, that he should cap. x. Dict. de Moréri, edit. par Drouet, rise again on the third day after his desub, nom.-Br.
In order to expose the delusion, many of the Jews, fc.] " Taceo de and confound the believers in his mad Judaismi hæreticis ... quod Herod- professions, the Senate of Basle had his iani Herodem regem suscepere pro Chris- body disinterred on the third day, and
Hieoronymus, adv. Luciferianos, caused it to be burnt, together with his cap. 8.-J. K.
writings. Dict. de Moréri, edit, par ? David George, of Leyden.] Or, as Drouet, sub nom. and other authorities. some say, of Ghent, was a glazier or a
-Br. painter on glass, who began to preach, power of Aaron's breastplate.] Joabout the year 1525, that he was the sephus and others maintain that the pretrue Messiah, the third David, and (like cious stones of Aaron's breastplate were the well-known enthusiast of our own the Urim and Thummim, and that they times, Richard Brothers) the nephew of discovered the will of God by their exGod, not according to the flesh, but ac- traordinary lustre, thereby predicting the cording to the spirit. He appears to issue of events to those who consulted have been an enthusiast of the worst or- them. der, uniting with this profession of being 4 For as though there were a semithe Messiah, the teaching of many sen- nality in urine.] See Primrose's Vulgar timents inimical alike to Christianity-and Errors, translated by Willie, p. 64. to morals. However, he gained follow- --J. Cr. ers, and sustained the delusion even to 5 the Devil of Delphos.] Meaning, the his last hour. He died at Basle in 1556, oracle of Apollo, at Delphos.
Saltimbancoes, quacksalvers, and charlatans, deceive them in lower degrees. Were Æsop alive, the Piazza and PontNeuf* could not but speak their fallacies. Meanwhile there are too many whose cries cannot conceal their mischiefs : for their impostures are full of cruelty, and worse than any other; deluding not only unto pecuniary defraudations, but the irreparable deceit of death.
Astrologers, which pretend to be of Cabala with the stars! (such I mean as abuse that worthy enquiry) have not been wanting in their deceptions: who, having won their belief unto principles, whereof they make great doubt themselves, have made them believe, that arbitrary events below, have necessary causes above. Whereupon their credulities assent unto any prognosticks, and daily swallow the predictions of men; which, considering the independency of their causes, and contingency in their events, are only in the prescience of God.
Fortune-tellers, jugglers, geomancers, and the like incantatory impostors, though commonly men of inferior rank, and from whom, without illumination, they can expect no more than from themselves, do daily and professedly delude them. Unto whom (what is deplorable in men and Christians) too many applying themselves, betwixt jest and earnest, betray the cause of truth, and insensibly make up the legionary body of error.
Statists and politicians, unto whom ragione di stato is the first considerable, as though it were their business to deceive the people, as a maxim do hold, that truth is to be concealed
* Places in Venice and Paris, where mountebanks play their pranks.
& Saltimbancoes.] Mountebanks: sal- of Cabala with the stars.]
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sessed of the key to their secrets." Cabquacksalvers.] Originally those who bala, a Hebrew word signifying tradition ; made, sold, or applied ointments or oils; applied originally to the secret science of salve.quacks. Applied to travelling the rabbinical doctors, and thence used quacks or charlatans.
to designate any secret science. 6 Were Esop alive, the Piazza and geomancers.] A geomancer is a castPont Neuf, &c.] Alluding probably to er of figures: a cheat, who pretends to Esop's Fable of the “ Astrologer and foretell futurity by other means than the
Traveller," and meaning to intimate that astrologer.-- Johnson. the Piazza and Pont Neuf would have unto whom ragione di stato, fc.] To suggested to the fabulist abundant ma- whom reasons of state are of the first terials for fresh apologues.
from them; unto whom although they reveal the visible design, yet do they commonly conceal the capital intention. And therefore have they ever been the instruments of great designs, yet seldom understood the true intention of
any; accomplishing the drifts of wiser heads, as inanimate and ignorant agents the general design of the world, who, though in some latitude of sense, and in a natural cognition [they] perform their proper actions, yet do they unknowingly concur unto higher ends, and blindly advance the great intention of nature. Now how far they may be kept in ignorance, a great example there is in the people of Rome, who never knew the true and proper name of their own city. For, beside that common appellation received by the citizens, it had a proper and secret name concealed from them; cujus alterum nomen* dicere secretis ceremoniarum nefas habetur, saith Pliny. Lest the name thereof being discovered unto their enemies, their penates and patronal god might be called forth by charms and incantations. For, according unto the tradition of magicians, the tutelary spirits will not remove at common appellations, but at the proper names of things whereunto they are protectors.
Thus, having been deceived by themselves, and continually deluded by others, they must needs be stuffed with errors, and even overrun with these inferior falsities. Whereunto whosoever shall resign their reasons, either from the root of deceit in themselves, or inability to resist such trivial deceptions from others, although their condition and fortunes may place them many spheres above the multitude, yet are they still within the line of vulgarity, and democratical enemies of truth.
3 have they.] The vulgar lave.-Hr. which Soranus was put to deathe.- Wr.
secret name concealed from them, fc.] deceptions.] The first five editions This name was Valentias, for revealing read ingannations.
Of the more immediate Causes of Common Errors, both in
the wiser and common sort ; and first, of Misapprehension and Fallacy, or false Deduction.
The first is a mistake, or a misconception of things, either in their first apprehension, or secondary relations. So Eve mistook the commandment, either from the immediate injunction of God, or from the secondary narration of her husband. So might the disciples mistake our Saviour, in his answer unto Peter concerning the death of John, as is delivered John xxi. “ Peter seeing John, saith unto Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith, If I will, that he tarry till I come, what is that unto thee? Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die.” Thus began the conceit and opinion of the Centaurs; that is, in the mistake of the first beholders, as is declared by Servius. When some young Thessalians on horseback were beheld afar off, while their horses watered, that is, while their heads were depressed, they were conceived by the first spectators to be but one animal; and answerable hereunto have their pictures been drawn ever since.
And, as simple mistakes commonly beget fallacies, so men rest not in false apprehensions, without absurd and inconsequent deductions; from fallacious foundations, and misapprehended mediums, erecting conclusions no way inferrible from their premises. Now the fallacies whereby men deceive others, and are deceived themselves, the ancients have divided
• In the mistake, &c.] A mistake si- horsemen occurs, which might indicate milar to that which is recorded by Her- that the artist regarded the horse and his rera, the Spanish historian of America, rider as one animal, among the various to have been committed by the people of specimens of Mexican picture-writing, New Spain, when they first beheld the which have been published by Purchas, Spanish cavalry. They imagined the Thevenot, Robertson, Humboldt, and horse and his rider to be some inonstrous others.--Br. animal of a terrible form, and supposing
“there is no doubt then that their food was the same as that of but Centaurs, as well as other monsters, men, brought flesh and bread to nourish are produced, partly by the influence of them. No representation, however, of the stars, and partly by other causes, &c."
into verbal and real. Of the verbal, and such as conclude from mistakes of the word, although there be no less than six, yet are there but two thereof worthy our notation, and unto which the rest may be referred; that is, the fallacy of equivocation and amphibology, which conclude from the ambiguity of some one word, or the ambiguous syntaxis of many put together. From this fallacy arose that calamitous error of the Jews, misapprehending the prophecies of their Messias, and expounding them always unto literal and temporal expectations. By this way many errors crept in, and perverted the doctrine of Pythagoras, whilst men received his precepts in a different sense from his intention; converting metaphors into proprieties, and receiving as literal expressions obscure and involved truths. Thus when he enjoined his disciples an abstinence from beans, many conceived they were with severity debarred the use of that pulse, which, notwithstanding, could not be his meaning; for as Aristoxenus, who wrote his life, averreth, he delighted much in that kind of food himself. But herein, as Plutarch observeth, he had no other intention than to dissuade men from magistracy, or undertaking the publick offices of state: for by beans was the magistrate elected in some parts of Greece; and after his days, we read, in Thucydides, of the Council of the Bean in Athens. The same word also in Greek doth signify a testicle, and hath been thought by some, an injunction only of continency, as Aulus Gellius hath expounded, and as Empedocles may also be interpreted, " that is, testiculis miseri dextras subducite. And [this] might be the original intention of Pythagoras, as having a notable hint hereof in beans, 8 from the natural signature of the venereal organs of both sexes. Again, his injunction is, not to harbour swallows in our houses; whose advice notwithstanding we do not contemn, who daily admit and cherish them. For herein a caution is only implied, not to entertain ungrateful and thankless persons, which like the swallow, are
παν δειλοι κυαμών από χείρας έχεσθε. converting metaphors into proprieties.] implies literalities. “ Taking an expression or representa- as having, fc.] See a curious paper tion which only by simile applies to a on the ancient superstitions concerning subject, as if it had properly (or of pro- beans and peas, in the Working Bee, iii, priety) belonged to it.” Proprieties here p. 11.-J.