Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/15

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Others, which is their courtesie, confesse that wit and parts may do much to make that seem true which is not (as was objected to Socrates by them who could not resist his efficacy, that he ever made the worse cause seem the better) and thus thinking themselves discharg'd of the difficulty, love not to wade furder into the fear of a convincement. These will be their excuses to decline the full examining of this serious point. So much the more I presse it and repeat it, Lords and Commons, that ye beware while time is, ere this grand secret, and onely art of ignorance affecting tyrany, grow powerfull, and rule among us. For if sound argument and reason shall be thus put off, either by an undervaluing silence, or the maisterly censure of a rayling word or two in the Pulpit, or by rejecting the force of truth, as the meer cunning of eloquence and Sophistry, what can be the end of this, but that all good learning and knowledge will suddenly decay: Ignorance, and illiterate presumption, which is yet but our disease, will turn at length into our very constitution, and prove the hectic evill of this age: worse to be fear'd, if it get once to reign over us, then any fift Monarchy. If this shall be the course, that what was wont to be a chief commendation, and the ground of other mens confidence in an Author, his diligence, his learning, his elocution whether by right, or by ill meaning granted him, shall be turn'd now to a disadvantage and suspicion against him, that what he writes, though unconfuted, must therfore be mistrusted, therfore not receiv'd for the industry, the exactnesse, the labour in it, confess'd to be more then ordnary; as if wisdome had now forsak'n the thirstie and laborious inquirer to dwell against her nature with the arrogant and shallow babler, to what purpose all those pains and that continual searching requir'd of us by Solomon to the attainment of understanding; why are men bred up with such care and expence to a life of perpetual studies, why do your selves with such endeavour seek to wipe off the imputation of intending to discourage the progresse and advance of learning? He therfore whose heart can bear him to the high pitch of your noble enterprises, may easily assure himself that the prudence and farre-judging circumspectnesse of so grave a Magistracy sitting in Parlament, who have before them the prepar'd and purpos'd Act of their most religious predecessors to imitate in this question, cannot reject the cleerness of these reasons, and these allegations both here and formerly offer'd them; nor can over-look the necessity of ordaining more wholsomly and more humanly in the casualties of Divorce, then our Laws have yet establisht: if the most urgent and excessive grievances hapning in domestick life, be worth the laying to heart, which, unlesse Charity be farre from us, cannot be neglected. And that these things both in the right constitution, and in the right reformation of a Common-wealth call for speediest redresse, and ought to be the first consider'd, anough was urg'd in what was