And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name…
This is a disease that cleaves to us all, to "receive honour one of another, and not to seek the honour which comes from God only" (John 5:44). A rare man is he surely that hath not some Babel of his own, whereon he bestows pains and cost, only to be talked of. Hoc ego primus vidi, was Zabarelle's ἐπινίκιον. Epicurus would have us believe that he was the first that ever found out the truth of things. Palaemon gave out that all learning was born and would die with him. Aratus, the astrologer, that he had numbered the stars and written of them all. Archimedes, the mathematician, that if he had but where to set his foot, he could move the earth out of its place. Herostratus burnt Diana's temple for a name. And Plato writes of Protagoras, that he vaunted that, whereas he had lived sixty years, forty of them he had spent in corrupting of youth. Tully tells us that Gracchus did all for popular applause, and observes that those philosophers that have written of the contempt of glory, have yet set their names to their own writings, which shows an itch after that glory they persuaded others to despise. "These two things," saith Tully somewhere of himself, "I have to boast of, Optimarum atrium scientiam rerum gloriam, my learned works, and noble acts." Julius Caesar had his picture set upon the globe of the world, with a sword in his right hand, a book in his left, with this motto, En utroque Caesar. Vibius Rufus used the chair wherein Caesar was wont to sit, and was slain; he also married Tully's widow, and boasted of them both, as if either for that seat he had been Caesar, or for that wife an orator. When Maximus died in the last day of his consulship, Caninius Rebulus petitioned Caesar for that part of the day that he might be said to have been consul. So many of the popish clergy have with great care and cost procured a cardinal's hat, when they have lain a-dying, that they might be entitled cardinals in their epitaph, as Erasmus writeth...And Sextus Marius, being once offended with his neighbour, invited him to be his guest for two days together. The first of those two days he pulled down his neighbour's farmhouse, the next he set it up again far bigger and better than before. And all this for a name, that his neighbours might see, and say, what hurt or good he could do them at his pleasure.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.