Sunday, 14 June 2020

THE WAY TO GEOMETRY. Being necessary and usefull, For Astronomers. Engineres. Geographers. Architecks. Land-meaters. Carpenters. Sea-men. Paynters. Carvers, &c.

full book at:

The Authors Preface.

Two things, I feare me, will here be objected against me: The one concerneth my selfe, directly: The other mine Author, and the worke I have taken in hand the translating of him. Concerning my selfe, I suppose, some will aske, Why I being a Divine; should meddle or busie my selfe with these prophane studies? Geometry may no way further Divinity, and therefore is no fit study for a Divine? This objection seemeth to smell of Brownisme, that is, of a ranke peevish humour overflowing the stomach of some, whereby they are caused to loath all manner of solid learning, yea of true Divinity it selfe, and therefore it doth not deserve an answer: And this we in our Title before signified. For we have not taken this paines for Turkes and others, who by the lawes of their profession are bound to abandon all manner of learning. But if any man shall propose it, as a question, with a desire of satisfaction, we are ready to answer him to the best of our abilitie. First, that Theologia vera est ars artium & scientia scientiarum, Divinity is the Art of Arts, and Science of Sciences; or Divinity is the Mistresse upon which all Arts and Sciences are to attend as servants and handmaides. And why then not Geometry? But in what place she should follow her, I dare not say: For I am no herald, and therefore I meddle not with precedencie: But if I were, she should be none of the hindermost of her traine.
The Oratour saith, and very truly doubtlesse, That, Omnes artes, quæ ad humanitatē pertinent, habent commune quoddam vinculum, & cognatione quadam inter se continentur. All Arts which pertaine unto humanity, they have a certaine common bond, and are knit together by a kinde of affinity. If then any Arts and Sciences may be thought necessary attendants upon this great Lady; Then surely Geometry amongst the rest must needes be one: For otherwise her traine will be but loose and shattered.
Plato saith τὸν θεὸν ἀκεὶ γεωμετρεῖνThat God doth alwayes worke by Geometry, that is, as the wiseman doth interprete it, Sap. XI. 21. Omnia in mensura & numero & pondere disponere. Dispose all things by measure, and number, and weight: Or, as the learned Plutarch speaketh; He adorneth and layeth out all the parts of the world according to rate, proportion, and similitude. Now who, I pray you, understandeth what these termes meane, but he which hath some meane skill in Geometry? Therefore none but such an one, may be able to declare and teach these things unto others.
How many things are there in holy Scripture which may not well be understood without some meane skill in Geometry? The Fabricke and bignesse of Noah's Arke: The Sciagraphy of the Temple set out by Ezechiel, Who may understand, but he that is skilfull in these Arts? I speake not of many and sundry words both in the New and Old Testaments, whose genuine and proper signification is merely Geometricall: And cannot well be conceived but of a Geometer.
And here, that I may speake it without offence, I would have it observed, how many men, much magnified for learning, not onely in their speeches, which alwayes are not premeditated, but even in their writings, exposed to the view and censure of all men, doe often paralogizein, speake much, and little to the purpose. This they could not so easily and often doe, if they had beene but meanely practised in these kinde of studies. Wherefore that Epigramme which was used to be written over their Philosophy Schoole doores, οὐδῆις ἀγεωμέτρητος εἴσιτωNo man ignorant of Geometry come within these doores: Now written over our Divinitie Schooles. And if any man shall thinke this an hard sentence, let him heare what Saint Augustine saith in the same case, Nemo ad divinarum humanarumq; rerum cognitionem accedat, nisi prius annumerandi artem addiscat: Let no man come neither within the Divinity nor Philosophy Schooles, except he have first learned Arithmeticke. Now that the one of these Arts cannot be learned without the other; Euclide our great Master, who made but one of both, hath sufficiently demonstrated.
If I should alledge the like practise of famous Divines, greatly admired for their great skill in this profession, as T. Peckham Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, Maurolycus Bishop of Messana in Sicilia, Cusanus Cardinall of Rome, and many others, before indifferent judges, I am sure I should not be condemned. Who doth not greatly magnifie the grave Seb. Munster, the nimble Ph. Melanchthon, and the noble Bernardino Baldo Abbot of Guastill, and the painefull Barth. Pitiscus of Grunberg, for their knowledge and paines in these Arts and Sciences? And thus much shall at this time suffice, to have spoken unto the first Question: If any shall require further satisfaction, those I referre unto the forenamed Authors, whose authority peradventure may more prevaile with them, then my reasons may.
The next is concerning mine Author, and the worke in hand Geometry, it must needs be confest we are beholden to Euclides Elements for: And he that would be rich in that profession, may have, if he be not covetous, his fill there, if he will labour hard, and take paines for it, it is true. But in what time thinke yau, may a man learne all Euclide, and so by him be made skilfull in this Art? By himselfe I know not whether ever or never: And with the helpe of another, although very expert, I will not promise him that hee shall attaine to perfection in many yeares.
Hippocrates the Prince of Physicians hath, as they say, in his workes laid out the whole Art of Physicke; but I marvell how long a man should study him alone, and read him over and over, before he should be a good Physician? I feare mee all the friends that he hath, and neighbours round about him, yea, and himselfe too, would all die before he should be able to hele them, or per adventure ere he should be able to know what they ail'd; and after 30, or 40. yeeres of such his study, I would be very loath to commit my selfe unto him. How much therefore are the students of this noble Science beholding unto those men, who by their industry, practise, and painefull travells, have shewed them a ready and certaine way through this wildernesse?
The Elements of Euclide they do containe generally the whole art of Geometry: But if you will offer to travell thorow them alone, you shall finde them, I will warrant you, Elements indeed: for there you may walke through the spacious Aire, and over the great and wide sea, and in and about the vaste and arid wildernesse many a day and night, before you shall know where you are. This Ramus, my Authour in reading him found to be true; and confesseth himselfe often to have beene at a stand: Often to have lost himselfe: Often to have hitte upon a rocke, when he had thought he had touch'd land.
Least therefore other men, in this journey doe not likewise loose themselves, for the benefit and safety, I meane, of others he hath prick'd them out a charde or chack'd out a way, which if thou shalt please to follow, it shall lead thee to thy wayes end, as directly, and in as short time, as conveniently may be. Yet in what time I cannot warrant thee: For all mens capacity, especially in these Arts, is not alike: All are not a like painefull, industrious, or diligent: All are not of the same ability of body, to be able to continue or sit at it: Or all not so free from other imployments or businesse calling them from their study, as some others are. For know this for certaine, Thou shalt here make no great progresse, except thou doe make it as it were a continued labour, Here you must observe that rule of the great Painter, Nulla dies sine linea, Let no day passe over your head, in which you draw not some diagram or figure or other.
One other thing let me also advise thee of, how capable soever thou art, refuse not, if thou maist have it, the helpe of a teacher; For except thou be another Hippocrates or Forcatelus, whō our Authour mentioneth, thou canst not in these Arts and Sciences attaine unto any great perfection without infinite patience and great losse of most precious time, For they are therefore called Μαθηματικόι, Mathematicks, that is, doctrinal or disciplinary Arts, because they are not to be attained unto by our owne information and industry; but by the helpe and instruction of others.
This Worke gentle Reader, was in part above 30. yeares since published by M. Thomas Hood, a learned man, and loving friend of mine, who teaching these Arts, in the Staplers Chappell in Leadenhall London, for the benefit of his Schollers and Auditory, did set out the Elements apart by themselves. The whole at large, with the Diagrammes, and Demonstrations, hee promised, as appeareth in the Preface to that his Worke, at his convenient leysure to send out shortly, after them. This for ought we know or can learne, is not by him or any other performed: And yet are those alone, without these of small use or none to a learner, where a teacher is not alwayes at hand. Wherefore we are bold being (encouraged thereunto by some private friends, and especially by the learned M. H. Brigges, professour of Geometry in the famous Vniversity of Oxford) to publish this of ours long since finished and ended.
The usuall termes, whether Latine or Greeke, commonly used by the Geometers, we have set downe and expressed in English, as well as we could, as others, writing of this argument in our language, have done before us. These termes, I doubt not, may by some in English otherwise be expressed, but how harsh those termes, may unto Mathematicall eares, at the first appeare, I will not say; and use in short time will make these familiar, and as pleasing to the eare as those possibly may be.
Our Authour, in the declaration of the Elements hath many passages, which in our judgement doe not make so much for the understanding of the matter in hand, as for the defence of the method here used, against Aristotle, Euclide, Proclus, and others, which we have therfore wholly omitted. Some other things, which in our opinion, might in some respect illustrate any particular in this businesse, we have here and there inserted. Out of the learned Finkius's Geometria Rotundi, Wee have added to the fifth Booke certaine Propositions with their Consectaries out of Ptolomi's Almagest. The painfull and diligent Rod. Snellius out of the Lectures and Annotations of B. Salignacus, I. Tho. Freigius, and others, hath illustrated and altered here and there some few things.


Post a comment