Every man who, by his opinion, is engaged against authority, should do well to study his doubtful opinion less, and humility and obedience more. But you say, that this concerns not me; for my disagreeing is not in a doubtful matter, but I am sure I am in the right; there are no ifs and ands in my case. Well, it may be so; but were it not better that you did doubt? “ A wise man feareth,” saith Solomon,
“ And departeth from evil; but a fool rageth and is confident:” and the difference between a learned man and a novice is this, that the young fellow crieth out,
“I am sure it is so;” the better learned answers “Possibly it may, and peradventure it is so, but I pray inquire:” “He is the best judge that conjectures the best,” not he that is most confident; for as Xenophanes said wisely, “ Man does but conjecture, but God only knows.” It is no disparagement to a wise man to learn, and, by suspecting the fallibility of things, and his own aptness to mistake,-- to walk prudently and safely, with an eye to God, and an ear open to his superior. Some men are drunk with fancy, and mad with opinion. Who believes more strongly than boys? Who are so hard to be persuaded as fools? And who so readily suspect their teachers as they who are governed by chance, and know not the intrinsic measures of good and evil. “It is a little learning and not enough, that makes men conclude hastily.” And clap fast hold on the conclusion, before they have well weighed the premises; but experience and humility would teach us modesty and fear.” Jeremy Taylor
I like this piece because I see so much of myself in it, especially when I was young. Not that I don't fall prey to "drunken fancy and mad opinions" still. But with age and being the fool one to many times, I have learned to slow it down a bit and listen more.