« PredošláPokračovať »
between the use and abuse of classical knowledge when it tends to inform the judgnient, to refine the manners, and to embellish the conversation; when it keeps a due subordination to that which is divine, makes us truly thankful of the superior light of God's infallible word, and teaches us how little can be truly known * by the wisest of men, without a divine revelation--then it has its use-still more, if it awakens in us a jealousy over ourselves, that we duly improve the superior light with which we are blessed, lest the very heathen rise in judgment † against us. If, on the contrary, it tends to make us proud, vain, and conceited, to rest in its attainments as the summit of wisdom and knowledge; if it contributes to harden the mind against superior information, or fills it with that sour pedantry which leads to the contempt of others—then I will readily allow, that all our learning is but “ splendid ignorance and
* 1 Cor. i. 20, 21.
+ Luke xii. 47, 48,
have done for himself; but I hope he will not take it amiss, that I have brought so many different commentators into one view, and saved much trouble to him, at the expense of my own labour. The rest of the notes, and those no inconsiderable number, perhaps the most, are my own, by which, if I have been happy enough to supply any deficiencies of others, I shall be glad.
Upon the whole, I am, from long observation, most perfectly convinced, that the early disgust, which, in too many instances, youth is apt to conceive against classical learning, (so that the school-time is passed in a state of * labour and sorrow,) arises mostly from the crabbed and difficult methods of instruction, which are too often imposed upon them; and that, therefore, all attempts to reduce the number of the difficulties, which, like so many thorns, are laid in their way, and to trender the paths of instruction pleasant and easy, will encourage and invite their attention, even to the study of the most difficult authors, among the foremost of which we may rank Juvenal and Persius. Should the present publication be found to answer this end, not only to school-boys, but to those also who would be glad to recover such a competent knowledge of the
* 56 The books that we learn at school are generally laid aside, “ with this prejudice, that they were the labours as well as the sor
rows of our childhood and education ; but they are among the “ best of books--the Greek and Roman authors have a spirit in " them, a force both of thought and expression, that later ages have 6 not been able to imitate." Bp. BURNET, Past. Care, cap. vii.
+ Quod enim munus reipublicæ afferre majus, meliusve possu. mus, quam si docemus atque erudimus juventutem? Cic. de Divin. lib. ii. 2.
Latin tongue, as to encourage the renewal of their acquaintance with the Classics, (whose writings so richly contribute to ornament the higher and more polished walks in life, and which none but the ignorant and tasteless can undervalue,) it will afford the Editor an additional satisfaction. Still more, if it prove, useful to foreigners; such I mean as are acquainted with the Latin, and wish to be helped in their study of the English language, which is now so much cultivated in many parts of Europe.
The religious reader will observe, that God, who “ in times past suffered * all the nations (WAVTA TA Edun, “i. e. all the heathen) to walk in their own ways, ne“ vertheless left not himself without witness," not only by the outward manifestations of his power and goodness, in the works of † creation and providence, but by men also, who, in their several generations, have so far shewn the work of the law written in their hearts, as to bear testimony against the unrighteousness of the world in which they lived. Hence, we find the great apostle of the Gentiles, Acts xvii. 28. quoting a passage from his countryman, Aratus of Cilicia, against idolatry, or imagining there be gods made with hands. We find the same apostle § reproving the vices of lying and gluttony in the Cretans, by a quotation from the Cretan poet Epimenides, whom he calls “
phet of their own,” for they accounted their poets writers of divine oracles. Let this teach us to distinguish
* See WHITBY on Acts xiv. 16.
§ Tit. i. 12.