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instance religious excitement, and the influence of seasons, particularly lunar changes. But from the host of earnest and talented observers who at present occupy the first rank in psychical research, we may confidently look for results of even greater importance.


Bacon's Essays, with Annotations.

By RICHARD WHATELY, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin. London: Parker, 1856.

It is hardly within our province-certainly it is beyond our power to review the essays of Bacon, or to attempt to sit in judgment on the choicest efforts of our greatest English philosopher. While it has been the fate of the greater proportion of Bacon's works to be superseded, chiefly through the influence excited by these works themselves, even as the trenches and batteries by which a besieged town has been assailed are abandoned as soon as the capture has been effected, his essays retain their popularity, as chiefly relating to the concerns of every-day life, and because they, as he himself expresses it, come home to men's business and bosoms. He is, to quote Archbishop Whately's remark, a striking instance of a genius who could think so profoundly, and at the same time so clearly, that an ordinary man understands readily some of his wisest sayings, and perhaps thinks them so self-evident as hardly to need mention. But on consideration and repeated meditation, you perceive more and more what extensive applications one of his maxims will have, and how often it has been overlooked; and on returning to it again and again fresh views of its importance will continually open on you. One of his sayings will be like some of the heavenly bodies which are visible to the naked eye, but in which you see continually more and more, the better the telescope you apply to them.

Our object in the following few pages will be to apply this new telescope of the Archbishop's annotations to the re-survey of a few of Bacon's speculations, in his Essays on Human Character and Conduct, endeavouring to select such as may most nearly bear on our own professional life and daily walk.

The sentences from the essays are printed in italics, and Archbishop Whately's annotations in the ordinary type.

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1 Truth, which only doth judge of itself, teacheth that the enquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the sovereign good of human nature. The poet that beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: "It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to the standing on the vantage ground of truth, (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always calm and serene,) and to see the errors and wanderings, and mists and tempests, in the vale below; so always that this prospect be with pity and not with swelling or pride." (Essay I. of Truth.)

This love-making or wooing of truth implies that first step towards attaining the establishment of the habit of a steady, thorough-going adherence to it in all philosophical, and especially religious inquiry; the strong conviction of its value.

The greatest of all the obstacles to the habit of following truth is the tendency to look, in the first instance, to the expedient. It is this principle that influences men to the reservation, or to the (so-called) development, but real depravation of truth; and that leads to pious frauds in one or other of the two classes into which they naturally fall of positive and negative: the one, the introduction and propagation of what is false; the other, the mere toleration of it. He who professes a delusion, and he who connives at it when already existing, both alike tamper with truth. We must neither lead nor leave men to mistake falsehood for truth. Not to undeceive is to deceive. The giving, or not correcting, false reasons for right conclusions, false grounds for right belief, false principles for right practice-the holding forth or fostering false consolations, false encouragements, and false sanctions, or conniving at their being held forth or believed-are all pious frauds. This springs from, and it will foster and increase, a want of veneration for truth. It is an affront put on the "spirit of truth." It is a hiring of the idolatrous Syrians to fight the battles of the Lord God of Israel. And it is on this ground that we should adhere to the most scrupulous fairness of statement and argument. He who believes that sophistry will always in the end prove injurious to the cause supported by it, is probably right in that belief; but if it be for that reason that he abstains from it. * Lucretius. †The Epicureans.

VOL. III. NO. 22.


if he avoid fallacy wholly or partly through fear of detection, it is plain that he is no sincere votary of truth.

On the same principle, we are bound never to countenance any erroneous opinion, however seemingly beneficial in its results; never to connive at any salutary delusion, as it may appear, but to open the eyes when opportunity offers, and, in proportion as it offers, of those we are instructing, to any mistake they may labour under, though it may be one which leads them ultimately to a true result, and to one of which they might otherwise fail. The temptation to depart from this principle is sometimes excessively strong, because it will often be the case that men will be in some danger, in parting with a long-admitted error, of abandoning, at the same time, some truth they have been accustomed to connect with it. Accordingly, censures have been passed on the endeavours to enlighten the adherents of some erroneous churches, on the ground that many of them thence become atheists, and many the wildest of fanatics. That this should have been in some instances the case is highly probable. It is a natural result of the pernicious effects on the mind of any system of blind uninquiring acquiescence. Such a system is an Evil Spirit, which we must expect will cruelly rend and mangle the patient as it comes out of him, and will leave him half dead at its departure. There will often be, and oftener appear to be, danger in removing a mistake; the danger that those who have been long used to act rightly on erroneous principles may fail of the desired conclusions when undeceived. In such cases it requires a thorough love of truth, and a firm reliance on Divine support, to adhere steadily to the straight course. If we give way to the dread of danger from the inculcation of any truth, physical, moral, or religious, we manifest a want of faith in God's power, or in the will to maintain His own cause. There may be danger attendant on every truth, since there is none that may not be perverted by some, or that may not give offence to others. But in the case of anything which plainly appears to be truth, every danger must be braved. We must maintain the truth as we have received it, and trust to Him who is "the Truth," to prosper and defend it. That we shall indeed best further His cause by fearless perseverance in an open and straight course, I am firmly persuaded; but it is not only when we perceive the mischiefs of falsehood and disguise, and the beneficial tendency of fairness and candour, that we are to be followers of truth; the trial of our faith is when we cannot perceive this. And the part of a lover of truth is to

follow her at all seeming hazards, after the example of Him who " came into the world that He should bear witness to the truth." This straightforward course may not indeed obtain "the praise of men." Courage, liberality, activity, and other good qualities, are often highly prized by those who do not possess them in any great degree; but the zealous, thorough-going love of truth is not very much admired or liked, or indeed understood, except by those who possess it. But truth, as Bacon says, only doth judge of itself; and howsoever these things are in men's depraved judgments and affections, it teacheth that the enquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

2. It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind so weak but it mates and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such terrible enemy when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honour aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupateth it. (Essay II. of Death.)

Of all the instances that can be given of recklessness of life, there is none that comes near that of the workmen employed in what is called dry-pointing, the grinding of needles and of table-forks. The fine steel-dust brings on a painful disease, of which they are almost sure to die before forty. And yet not only are men tempted by high wages to engage in this employment, but they resist to the utmost all the contrivances devised for diminishing the danger, through fear that this would cause more workmen to offer themselves, and thus lower wages!

The case of sailors, soldiers, miners, and others, who engage in hazardous employments, is nothing in comparison to this; because people of a sanguine temperament hope to escape the dangers. But the dry-pointers have to encounter not the risk, but the certainty of an early and painful death. The thing would seem incredible, if it were not so fully attested. All this proves that avarice overcomes the fear of death. And so may vanity. Witness the many women who * Mate, to subdue, vanquish, overpower.


My sense she has mated."-Shakespeare.

So to give check-mate.

† Preoccupate, to anticipate.

"To provide so tenderly by preoccupation

As no spider may suck poison out of a rose."-Garnet.

wear tight dresses, and will even employ washes for the complexion, which they know to be highly dangerous and even destructive to their health.

3. Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy or wisdom, for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth and to do it, therefore it is the weaker sort of politicians that are the greatest dissemblers. Certainly, the ablest men that ever were, have all an openness and frankness of dealing, and a name of certainty and veracity. There be three disadvantages of simulation; the first, that simulation and dissimulation commonly carry with them a show of fearfulness, which in any business doth spoil the feathers of round* flying up to the mark; the second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits of many of men that perhaps would otherwise cooperate with him, and makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends; the third, and greatest, is, that it depriveth a man of one of the most principal instruments for action, which is, trust and belief. The best composition and temperature‡ is to have openness in fame and opinion, secresy in habit, dissimulation in seasonable use, and a power to feign if there be no remedy. (Essay VI., of Simulation and Dissimulation.)

What Bacon says of the expediency of all insincere proceedings is very true. Nothing but the right can ever be the expedient since that can never be true expediency which would sacrifice a greater good to a less. "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul." It will be found that all frauds like the wall daubed with untempered mortar, with which men think to buttress up an edifice, tend to the decay of that which they are devised to support. This truth, however, will never be steadily acted upon by those who have no moral detestation of falsehood. It is not given to those who do not prize straightforwardness for its own sake to perceive that it is the wisest cause. The maxim, that "honesty is the best policy," is one which perhaps no one ever is habitually guided by in practice. An honest man is always before it, and a knave is generally behind it. He does not find out till too late

*Round, direct.

"Let her be round with him."-Shakespeare.

+ Conceits, conceptions, as

"You have a noble and a true conceit,
Of God-like amity."-Shakespeare.

Temperature, constitution.


Memory depends upon the temperature of the brain.”—Watts.

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