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Would truth dispense, we could be content, with Plato, that knowledge were but remembrance; that intellectual acquisition were but reminiscential evocation, and new impressions but the colourishing of old stamps which stood pale in the soul before. For (what is worse) knowledge is made by oblivion, and, to purchase a clear and warrantable body of truth, we must forget and part with much we know ;-our tender enquiries taking up learning at large, and, together with true and assured notions, receiving many, wherein our reviewing judgements do find no satisfaction. And therefore in this encyclopædie and round of knowledge, like the great and exemplary wheels of heaven, we must observe two circles; that, while we are daily carried about and whirled on by the swing and rapt of the one, we may maintain a natural and proper course in the slow and sober wheel of the other. And this we shall more readily perform, if we timely survey our knowledge; impartially singling out those encroachments which junior compliance and popular credulity hath admitted. Whereof at present we have endeavoured a long and serious adviso; proposing not only a large and copious list, but from experience and reason attempting their decisions.

And first we crave exceeding pardon in the audacity of the attempt; humbly acknowledging a work of such concernment unto truth, and difficulty in itself, did well deserve the con

the colourishing, &c.] “ The pictures colours ; and is not sometimes refreshed, drawn in our minds are laid in fading vanish and disappear.”Locke. VOL. II,


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junction of many heads. And surely more advantageous had it been unto truth, to have fallen into the endeavours of some co-operating advancers, that might have performed it to the life, and added authority thereto; which the privacy of our condition, and unequal abilities cannot expect. Whereby notwithstanding we have not been diverted; nor have our solitary attempts been so discouraged, as to despair the favourable look of learning upon our single and unsupported endeavours.

Nor have we let fall our pen upon discouragement of contradiction, unbelief, and difficulty of dissuasion from radicated beliefs, and points of high prescription; although we are very sensible how hardly teaching years do learn, what roots old age contracteth unto errors, and how such as are but acorns in our younger brows grow oaks in our elder heads, and become inflexible unto the powerfullest arm of reason. Although we have also beheld, what cold requitals others have found in their several redemptions of truth; and how their ingenuous enquiries have been dismissed with censure, and obloquy of singularities.?

Some consideration we hope from the course of our profession, which though it leadeth us into many truths that pass undiscerned by others, yet doth it disturb their communications, and much interrupt the office of our pens in their well intended transmissions. And therefore surely in this work attempts will exceed performances; it being composed by snatches of time, as medical vacations, and the fruitless importunity of uroscopy* would permit us. And therefore also, perhaps it hath not found that regular and constant style, those infallible experiments, and those assured determinations, which the subject sometime requireth, and might be expected from others, whose quiet doors and unmolested hours afford no such distractions. Although whoever shall indifferently perpend the exceeding difficulty, which either the obscurity of the subject or unavoidable paradoxology must often put upon the attemptor, he will easily discern a work of this nature is

Inspection of urines. ? Although we have also beheld, &c.] fruitless importunity, fc.] See book Nota justam Doctoris querimoniam.-Wr. i, chap. 3.

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not to be performed upon one legg; and should smell of oyle, if duly and deservedly handled.

Our first intentions, considering the common interest of truth, resolved to propose it unto the Latin republick and equal judges of Europe, but, owing in the first place this service unto our country, and therein especially unto its ingenuous gentry, we have declared ourselves in a language best conceived. Athough I confess the quality of the subject will sometimes carry us into expressions beyond mere English apprehensions. And, indeed, if elegancy still proceedeth, and English pens maintain that stream we have of late observed to flow from many, we shall, within few years, be fain to learn Latin to understand English, and a work will prove of equal facility in either.5 Nor have we addressed our pen or style unto the people, (whom books do not redress, and [who) are this way incapable of reduction,) but unto the knowing and leading part of learning. As well understanding (at least probably hoping) except they be watered from higher regions, and fructifying meteors of knowledge, these weeds must lose their alimental sap, and wither of themselves. Whose conserving influence could our endeavours prevent, we should trust the rest unto the scythe of time, and hopeful dominion of truth.

We hope it will not be unconsidered, that we find no open tract, or constant manuduction in this labyrinth, but are ofttimes fain to wander in the America and untravelled parts of truth. For though, not many years past, Dr. Primrose hath made a learned discourse of Vulgar Errors in Physick, yet

expressions beyond, &c.] That our Browne has, in this work, used his best naturall English consistes for the moste endeavours.-Crossley, in London Mag. parte of monosyllables, as appeares by vol. iv, p. 436. the names of all creatures in our tounge 6 America, &c.] Little more than and all our actions, and in all the parts 150 years had elapsed since the discovery of our bodye, except such things as of America, of which many parts were wee have borrowed from other nations. still untravelled and unknown.--Br. Scarce one word of ten, in our common 7 Dr. Primrose hath made, &c.] The talke, is of more than one syllable. In work here alluded to is the De Vulgi this very shorte note which conteynes 60 Erroribus in Medicină, of which there is words, there bee not above eleven (and a translation into French, by Rostagny, those of Latin derivation) which are not and another into English, by Dr. Wittie; (all of them) monosyllables.-Wr. the latter was published in 8vn. in 1651.

we shall within, fc.) To which Dr. James Primrose, the author, who desirable end, it must be confessed, wrote several other medical treatises,


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have we discussed but two or three thereof. Scipio Mercurii hath also left an excellent tract in Italian, concerning Popular Errors ; but, confining himself only unto those in physick, he hath little conduced unto the generality of our doctrine. Laurentius Joubertus, by the same title, led our expectation into thoughts of great relief; whereby, notwithstanding, we reaped no advantage, it answering scarce at all the promise of the inscription. Nor, perhaps (if it were yet extant), should we find any further assistance from that ancient piece of Andreas, * 1 pretending the same title. And, therefore, we are often constrained to stand alone against the strength of opinion, and to meet the Goliah and giant of authority, with contemptible pebbles and feeble arguments, drawn from the scrip and slender stock of ourselves. Nor have we, indeed, scarce named any author whose name we do not honour; and if detraction could invite us, discretion surely would contain us from any derogatory intention, where highest pens and friendliest eloquence must fail in commendation.

And therefore also we cannot but hope the equitable considerations, and candour of reasonable minds. We cannot expect the frown of theology herein; nor can they which behold the present state of things, and controversy of points so long received in divinity, condemn our sober enquiries in

περί των ψευδώς πεπιστευμένων, Athenai, lib. 7.

likewise in Latin, was the son of Gilbert 9 Laurentius Joubertus, fc.] The ErPrimrose, or Primerose, D.D. a Scotch reurs populaires touchant la Medicine, divine, minister of the French church in of Laurent Joubert, first published at London, and chaplain to James I. He Bourdeaux, in 1579, is the most distinpractised at Paris for some time and af- guished of all the works of that celebrated terwards settled in Yorkshire.— Br. medical professor. It obtained immedi

Scipio Mercurii, &c.] Not mention- ate popularity, being reprinted ten times ed in the first edition.

in six months. The levity of its style, Degli errori popolari d'Italia, and the nature of some of the subjects 1603, by Girolamo Mercurii, who had discussed in it, appear to have contributed assumed the name of Scipio, when tra- in a great degree to its popularity.Br. velling through Europe as a physician, Andreas.] Nothing appears to be after having thrown aside the religious known of this work of Andreas', who was habit of the Dominicans. This work is himself a physician, besides this reference a verbose but amusing performance, con- to it by Athenæus. Concerning the autaining much curious information relative thor, Fabricius's Elenchus Medicorum to the opinions and customs of the period Veterum ; Biblioth. Græc. vol. xiii, p. 57. at which it was published, and usefully-Br. correcting many errors, though it incul- present state, fic] Written in cates others of equal magnitude.-Br, 1645.




the doubtful appertinences of arts, and receptaries of philosophy. Surely philologers and critical discoursers, who look beyond the shell and obvious exteriours of things, will not be angry with our narrower explorations. And we cannot doubt, our brothers in physick (whose knowledge in naturals will lead them into a nearer apprehension of many things delivered) will friendly accept, if not countenance, our endea

Nor can we conceive it may be unwelcome unto those honoured worthies who endeavour the advancement of learning; as being likely to find a clearer progression, when so many rubs are levelled, and many untruths taken off, which passing as principles with common beliefs, disturb the tranquillity of axioms which otherwise might be raised. And wise men cannot but know, that arts and learning want this expurgation; and if the course of truth be permitted unto itself, like that of time and uncorrected computations, it cannot escape many errors, which duration still enlargeth.

Lastly, we are not magisterial in opinions, nor have we dictator-like* obtruded our conceptions; but, in the humility of enquiries or disquisitions, have only proposed them unto more ocular discerners. And therefore opinions are free; and open it is for any to think or declare the contrary. And we shall so far encourage contradiction, as to promise no disturbance, or re-oppose any pen, that shall fallaciously or captiously refute us; that shall only lay hold of our lapses, single out digressions, corollaries, or ornamental conceptions, to evidence his own in as indifferent truths. And shall only take notice of such, whose experimental and judicious knowledge shall solemnly look upon it; not only to destroy of ours, but to establish of his own; not to traduce or extenuate, but to explain and dilucidate, to add and ampliate, according to the laudable custom of the ancients in their sober promotions of learning. Unto whom potwithstanding, we shall not contentiously rejoin, or only to justify our own, but to applaud or confirm his maturer assertions; and shall confer what is in


time, fc.] Dean Wren, in a long to equal its length; I have therefore note on this passage, proposes methods omitted it. of correcting the calendar: but as the 4 dictator-like, &c.] Ut Julius Cæsar correction has long ago been made, the Scaliger in literis dictaturam arripuit.-Wr. interest of the note appears to me scarcely fallaciously.) Elenchically, in first ed.

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