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wholly distinct and differing, according to their with spirits and higher natures. That of those ends whereto they are directed. That there are that have entered into search, some having fallen two ends of tradition of knowledge, the one to upon some conceits, which they after consider to teach and instruct for use and practice, the other be the same which they have found in former to impart or intimate for re-examination and pro- authors, have suddenly taken a persuasion that a gression. That the former of these ends requireth man shall but with much labour incur and light a method not the same whereby it was invented upon the same inventions which he might with and induced, but such as is most compendious ease receive from others, and that it is but a vanity and ready, whereby it may be used and applied. and self-pleasing of the wit to go about again, as That the latter of the ends, which is where a one that would rather have a flower of his own knowledge is delivered to be continued and spun gathering, than much better gathered to his hand. on by a succession of labours, requireth a method That the same humour of sloth and diffidence whereby it may be transposed to another in the suggesteth, that a man shall but revive some ansame manner as it was collected, to the end it may cient opinion, which was long ago propounded, be discerned both where the work is weak, and examined, and rejected. And that it is easy to where it breaketh off. That this latter method is err in conceit, that a man's observation or notion not only unfit for the former end, but also impos- is the same with a former opinion, both because sible for all knowledge gathered and insinuated | new conceits must of necessity be uttered in old by anticipations, because the mind working in- words, and because upon true and erroneous wardly of itself, no man can give a just account grounds men may meet in consequence or conhow he came to that knowledge which he hath clusion, as several lines or circles that cut in some received, and that therefore this method is peculiar one point. That the greatest part of those that? for knowledge gathered by interpretation. That have descended into search have chosen for the the discretion anciently observed, though by the most artificial and compendious course, to induce precedent of many vain persons and deceivers principles out of particulars, and to reduce all disgraced, of publishing part and reserving part other propositions unto principles: and so, instead to a private succession, and of publishing in a of the nearest way, have been led to no way or a manner whereby it shall not be to the capacity mere labyrinth. That the two contemplative nor taste of all, but shall as it were single and ways have some resemblance with the old parable adopt his reader, is not to be laid aside, both for of the two moral ways, the one beginning with the avoiding of abuse in the excluded, and the incertainty and difficulty, and ending in plainness strengthening of affection in the admitted. That and certainty; and the other beginning with show there are other virtues of tradition, as that there of plainness and certainty, and ending in difficulty be no occasion given to error, and that it carry a and incertainty. Of the great and manifest error vigour to root and spread against the vanity of and untrue conceit or estimation of the infiniteness wits and injuries of time; all which, if they were of particulars, whereas indeed all prolixity is in ever due to any knowledge delivered, or if they discourse and derivations; and of the infinite and were never due to any human knowledge hereto- most laborious expence of wit that hath been emfore delivered, yet are now due to the knowledge ployed upon toys and matters of no fruit or value. propounded.
That although the period of one age cannot ad
vance men to the furthest point of interpretation CHAPTER XIX.
of nature, except the work should be undertaken
with greater helps than can be expected, yet it Of the impediments which have been in the cannot fail in much less space of time to make affections, the principle whereof hath been despair return of many singular commodities towards the or diffidence, and the strong apprehension of the state and occasions of man's life. That there is difficulty, obscurity, and infiniteness which be- less reason of distrust in the course of interpretalongeth to the invention of knowledge, and that tion now propounded, than in any knowledge formen have not known their own strength; and merly delivered, because this course doth in sort that the supposed difficulties and vastness of the equal men's wits, and leaveth no great advantage work is rather in show and muster, than in state or pre-eminence to the perfect and excellent moor substance, where the true way is taken. That tions of the spirit. That to draw a straight line, this diffidence hath moved and caused some never or to make a circle perfect round by aim of hand to enter into search, and others, when they have only, there must be a great difference between an been entered, either to give over, or to seek a unsteady and unpractised hand, and a steady and more compendious course than can stand with practised; but to do it by rule or compass, it is the nature of true search. That of those that much alike. have refused and prejudged inquiry, the more
CHAPTER XXI. sober and grave sort of wits have depended upon authors and tra
and the more vain an Of the impediments which have been in the credulous resorted to revelation and intelligence two extreme humours of admiration of antiquity
and love of novelty; and again, of over-servile, beliefs, is adverse to knowledge: because men reverence, or over-light scorn of the opinions of having liberty to inquire and discourse of theoloothers.
gy at pleasure, it cometh to pass that all inquisi
tion of nature endeth and limiteth itself in such CHAPTER XXII.
metaphysical or theological discourse; whereas
if men's wits be shut out of that port, it turneth Of the impediments which have been in the them again to discover, and so to seek reason of affection of pride, specially of one kind, which is reason more deeply. And that such was the relithe disdain of dwelling and being conversant gion of the heathen. That a religion that is jealmuch in experiences and particulars, especially ous of the variety of learning, discourse, opinions, such as are vulgar in occurrency, and base and and sects, as misdoubting it may shake the founignoble in use. That besides certain higher dations, or that cherisheth devotion upon simplimysteries of pride, generalities seem to have a city and ignorance, as ascribing ordinary effects dignity and solemnity, in that they do not put to the immediate working of God, is adverse to men in mind of their familiar actions, in that they knowledge. That such is the religion of the have less affinity with arts mechanical and Turk, and such hath been the abuse of Christian illiberal, in that they are not so subject to be con- religion at some several times, and in some trolled by persons of mean bservation, in that several factions. And of the singular advantage they seem to teach men that they know not, and which the Christian religion hath towards the not refer them to that they know. All which condi- furtherance of true knowledge, in that it extions directly feeding the humour of pride, parti- cludeth and interdicteth human reason, whether culars do want. That the majesty of generalities, by interpretation or anticipation, from examining and the divine nature of the mind in taking them, or discussing of the mysteries and principles of if they be truly collected, and be indeed the direct faith. reflexions of things, cannot be too much magnified. And that it is true, that interpretation is the
CHAPTER XXVI. very natural and direct intention, action, and progression of the understanding, delivered from im- Of the impediments which have been in the pediments. And that all anticipation is but a nature of society, and the policies of state. That deflexion or declination by accident.
there is no composition of estate or society, nor order or quality of persons, which have not some
point of contrariety towards true knowledge. ) CHAPTER XXV.
That monarchies incline wits to profit and pleaOf the impediments which have been in the sure, and commonwealths to glory and vanity state of heathen religion, and other superstitions That universities incline wits to sophistry and and errors of religion. And that in the true reli- affectation; cloisters to fables and unprofitable gion there hath not, nor is any impediment, ex- subtilty; study at large to variety; and that it is cept it be by accident or intermixture of humour. hard to say, whether mixture of contemplations That a religion which consisteth in rites and with an active life, or retiring wholly to conten. forms of adoration, and not in confessions and plations, do disable and hinder the mind more.
1. Francis Bacon thought in this manner. I misunderstanding of the words of his authors, The knowledge whereof the world is now pos- which maketh him listen after auricular traditions ; sessed, especially that of nature, extendeth not to or else a failing in the true porportions and scrumagnitude and certainty of works. The physi- ples of practice, which maketh him renew infician pronounceth many diseases incurable, and nitely his trials; and finding also that he lighteth faileth oft in the rest. The alchemists wax old upon some mean experiments and conclusions by and die in hopes. The magicians perform no- the way, feedeth upon them, and magnifieth them thing that is permanent and profitable. The me to the most, and supplieth the rest in hopes. chanics take small light from natural philosophy, The magician, when he findeth something, as he and do but spin on their own little threads. conceiveth, above nature, effected, thinketh, when Chance sometimes discovereth inventions; but a breach is once made in nature, that it is all one that worketh not in years, but ages. So he saw to perform great things and small; not seeing, well, that the inventions known are very unper- that they are but subjects of a certain kind, fect, and that new are not like to be brought to wherein magic and superstition hath played in all light but in great length of time; and that those times. The mechanical person, if he can refine which are, came not to light by philosophy. an invention, or put two or three observations or
2. He thought also this state of knowledge was practices together in one, or couple things better the worse, because men strive against themselves with their use, or make the work in less or greater to save the credit of ignorance, and to satisfy volume, taketh himself for an inventor. So he themselves in this poverty. For the physician, saw well, that men either persuade themselves of besides the cautels of practice, hath this general new inventions as of impossibilities, or else think cautel of art, that he dischargeth the weakness they are already extant, but in secret and in few of his art upon supposed impossibilities: neither hands; or that they account of those little induscan his art be condemned, when itself judgeth. tries and additions, as of inventions : all which That philosophy also, out of which the knowledge turneth to the averting of their minds from any of physic which now is in use is hewed, receiveth just and constant labour, to invent further in any certain positions and opinions, which, if they be quantity. well weighed, induce this persuasion, that no great 3. He thought also, when men did set before works are to be expected from art, and the hand themselves the variety and perfection of works of man; as, in particular that opinion, that “ the produced by mechanical arts, they are apt rather to heat of the sun and fire differ in kind;" and that admire the provisions of man, than to apprehend other, “ that composition is the work of man, and his wants; not considering, that the original inmixture is the work of nature," and the like; all ventions and conclusions of nature, which are the tending to the circumscription of man's power, life of all that variety, are not many, nor deeply and to artificial despair; killing in men not only fetched; and that the rest is but the subtile and the comfort of imagination, but the industry of ruled motion of the instrument and hand; and that trial; only upon vainglory, to have their art the shop therein is not unlike the library, which thought perfect, and that all is impossible that is in such number of books containeth, for the far not already found. The alchemists dischargeth greater part, nothing but iterations, varied somehis art upon his own errors, either supposing a times in form, but not new in substance. So he saw plainly, that opinion of store was a cause of faith, the greatest number of wits have been emwant; and that both works and doctrines appear ployed, and the greatest helps and rewards have many, and are few.
been conferred, upon divinity. And before-time 4. He thought also, that knowledge is uttered likewise, the greatest part of the studies of philoto men in a form, as if every thing were finished; sophers was consumed in moral philosophy, which for it is reduced into arts and methods; which in was as the heathen divinity. And in both times their divisions do seem to include all that may be. great part of the best wits betook themselves to And how weakly soever the parts are filled, yet law, pleadings, and causes of estate; specially in they carry the show and reason of a total; and the time of the greatness of the Romans, who by thereby the writings of some received authors go reason of their large empire needed the service of for the very art: whereas antiquity used to deliver all their able men for civil business. And the the knowledge which the mind of man hath time amongst the Grecians, in which natural phigathered, in observations, aphorisms, or short and losophy seemed most to flourish, was but a short dispersed sentences, or small tractates of some space; and that also rather abused in differing parts that they had diligently meditated and sects and conflicts of opinions than profitably laboured; which did invite men, both to ponder spent. Since which time, natural philosophy that which was invented, and to add and supply was never any profession, nor never possessed further. But now sciences are delivered to be any whole man, except perchance some monk in believed and accepted, and not to be examined a cloister, or some gentleman in the country, and and further discovered ; and the succession is be- that very rarely; but became a science of passage, tween master and disciple, and not between in- to season a little young and unripe wits, and to ventor and continuer or advancer: and therefore serve for an introduction to other arts, especially sciences stand at a stay, and have done for many physic and the practical mathematics. So as he ages, and that which is positive is fixed, and that saw plainly, that natural philosophy hath been which is question is kept question, so as the co- intended by few persons, and in them hath occulumns of no further proceeding are pitched. And pied the least part of their time, and that in the therefore he saw plainly men had cut themselves weakest of their age and judgment. off from further invention; and that it is no mar- 7. He thought also, how great opposition and vel, that that is not obtained which hath not been prejudice natural philosophy had received by attempted, but rather shut out and debarred. superstition, and the immoderate and blind zeal
5. He thought also, that knowledge is almost of religion; for he found that some of the Gregenerally sought either for delight and satisfac- cians, which first gave the reason of thunder, had tion, or for gain or profession, or for credit and been condemned of impiety; and that the cosornament, and that every of these are as Atalanta's mographers, which first discovered and described balls, which hinder the race of invention. For the roundness of the earth, and the consequence men are so far in these courses from seeking to thereof touching the antipodes, were not much increase the mass of knowledge, as of that mass otherwise censured by the ancient fathers of the which is they will take no more than will serve Christian church; and that the case is now much their turn: and if any one amongst so many seek- worse, in regard of the boldness of the schooleth knowledge for itself, yet he rather seeketh to men and their dependences in the monasteries, know the variety of things, than to discern of the who having made divinity into an art, have altruth and causes of them; and if his inquisition most incorporated the contentious philosophy of be yet more severe, yet it tendeth rather to judg-Aristotle into the body of Christian religion : and ment than to invention; and rather to discover generally he perceived in men of devout simplicity truth in controversy, than new matter; and if his this opinion, that the secrets of nature were the heart be so large as he propoundeth to himself secrets of God; and part of that glory whereinto further discovery or invention, yet it is rather of the mind of man, if it seek to press, shall be opnew discourse and speculation of causes, than of pressed; and that the desire in men to attain to so effects and operations. And as for those that great and hidden knowledge, hath a resemblance have so much in their mouths, action and use and with that temptation which caused the original practice, and the referring of sciences thereunto; fall; and on the other side, in men of a devout they mean it of application of that which is policy, he noted an inclination to have the people known, and not of a discovery of that which is depend upon God the more, when they are less unknown. So he saw plainly, that this mark, acquainted with second causes; and to have no namely, invention of further means to endow the stirring in philosophy, lest it may lead to an innocondition and life of man with new powers orvation in divinity, or else should discover matter works, was almost never yet set up and resolved of further contradiction to divinity. But in this in man's intention and inquiry.
part, resorting to the authority of the Scriptures, 6. He thought also, that, amongst other know- and holy examples, and to reason, he rested not lodges, natural philosophy hath been the least satisfied alone, but much confirmed. For first, tollowed and laboured. For since the Christian | he considered that the knowledge of nature, by VOL. I.- 13
the light whereof man discerned of every living and benefits, appearing and engraven in his works, creature, and imposed names according to their which without this knowledge are beheld but as propriety, was not the occasion of the fall; but through a veil: for if the heavens in the body of the moral knowledge of good and evil, affected to them do declare the glory of God to the eye, the end to depend no more upon God's command- much more do they in the rule and decrees of ments, but for man to direct himself. Neither them declare it to the understanding. And could he find in any Scripture, that the inquiry another reason, not inferior to this, is, that the and science of man in any thing, under the mys- same natural philosophy principally amongst all teries of the Deity, is determined and restrained, other human knowledge, doth give an excellent but contrariwise allowed and provoked. For defence against both extremes of religion, superconcerning all other knowledge the Scripture pro- stition, and infidelity; for both it freeth the mind nounceth, “ That it is the glory of God to conceal, from a number of weak fancies and imaginations, but it is the glory of man (or of the king, for the and it raiseth the mind to acknowledge that to king is but the excellency of man) to invent;" God all things are possible: for to that purpose and again, " The spirit of man is as the lamp of speaketh our Saviour in that first canon against God, wherewith he searcheth every secret;" and heresies, delivered upon the case of the resurrecagain most effectually, “That God hath made all tion, “ You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor things beautiful and decent, according to the re. the power of God;" teaching that there are but turn of their seasons; also that he hath set the two fountains of heresy, not knowing the will of world in man's heart, and yet man cannot find God revealed in the Scriptures, and not knowing out the work which God worketh from the be- the power of God revealed or at least made most ginning to the end;" showing that the heart of sensible in his creatures. So as he saw well, that man is a continent of that concave or capacity, natural philosophy was of excellent use to the wherein the content of the world, that is, all forms exaltation of the Divine Majesty; and, that which of the creatures, and whatsoever is not God, may is admirable, that being a remedy of superstition, it be placed or received; and complaining, that is nevertheless an help to faith. He saw likewise, through the variety of things, and vicissitudes of that the former opinions to the prejudice hereof had times, which are but impediments and not impuis- no true ground; but must spring either out of mere sances, man cannot accomplish his invention. In ignorance, or out of an excess of devotion, to have precedent also he set before his eyes, that in those divinity all in all; whereas it should be only few memorials before the flood, the Scripture above all; both which states of mind may be best honoureth the name of the inventors of music and pardoned; or else out of worse causes, namely out works in metal; that Moses had this addition of of envy, which is proud weakness, and deserveth praise, that he was seen in all the learning of the to be despised; or out of some mixture of imposture, Egyptians; that Solomon, in his grant of wisdom to tell a lie for God's cause; or out of an impious from God, had contained, as a branch thereof, that diffidence, as if men should fear to discover som knowledge whereby he wrote a natural history of things in nature which might subvert faith. But all verdure, from the cedar to the moss, and of all still he saw well, howsoever these opinions are that breatheth: that the book of Joh, and many in right reason reproved, yet they leave not to be places of the prophets, have great aspersion of most effectual hinderances to natural philosophy natural philosophy; that the church in the bosom and invention. and lap thereof, in the greatest injuries of times, 8. He thought also, that there wanted not great ever preserved, as holy relics, the books of philo- contrariety to the further discovery of sciences in sophy and all heathen learning; and that when regard of the orders and customs of universities, Gregory, the bishop of Rome, became adverse and also in regard of common opinion. For in and unjust to the memory of heathen antiquity, it universities and colleges men's studies are almost was censured for pusillanimity in him, and the confined to certain authors, from which if any dishonour thereof soon after restored, and his own senteth or propoundeth matter of redargution, it is memory almost persecuted by his successor Sabi- enough to make him thought a person turbulent; nian; and lastly, in our times, and the ages of whereas if it be well advised, there is a great difour fathers, when Luther and the divines of the ference to be made between matters contemplative Protestant church on the one side, and the Jesuits and active. For in government change is suson the other, have enterprised to reform, the one pected, though the better; but it is natural to arts the doctrine, the other the discipline and manners to be in perpetual agitation and growth. Neither of the church of Rome, he saw well how both is the danger alike of new light, and of new moof them have awaked to their great honour and tion or remove ; and for vulgar and received opisuccour, all human learning. And for reason, nions, nothing is more usual, or more usually there cannot be a greater and more evident than complained of, than that it is imposed for arrogancy this, that all knowledge, and specially that of na- and presumption, for men to authorize themselves tural philosophy, tendeth highly to the magnify- against antiquity and authors, towards whom ing of the glory of God, in his power, providence, I envy is ceased, and reverence by time amortised.