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which if they were taken away, necessity would | and come to no substance without an iteration; teach them stronger resolutions. So Doctor Hector was wont to say to the dames of London, when they complained they were they could not tell how, but yet they could not endure to take any medicine; he would tell them their way was only to be sick, for then they would be glad to take any medicine.
Thirdly, this colour may be reprehended, in respect that the degree of decrease is more sensitive than the degree of privation; for in the mind of man "gradus diminutionis" may work a wavering between hope and fear, and so keep the mind in suspense, from settling and accommodating in patience and resolution. Hereof the common forms are, better eye out than always ache; make or mar, &c.
so as in such cases the second degree seems the worthiest, as the body-horse in the cart that draweth more than the fore-horse. Hereof the common forms are, the second blow makes the fray, the second word makes the bargain: "Alter principium dedit, alter modum abstulit," &c. Another reprehension of this colour is in respect of defatigation, which makes perseverance of greater dignity than inception: for chance or instinct of nature may cause inception: but settled affection or judgment maketh the continuance.
Thirdly, this colour is reprehended in such things, which have a natural course and inclination contrary to an inception. So that the inception is continually evacuated and gets no start: but there behoveth "perpetua inceptio," as in the common form, " Non progredi est regredi, qui non proficit deficit:" running against the hill, rowing against the stream, &c. For if it be with the stream or with the hill, then the degree of inception is more than all the rest.
For the second branch of this colour, it depends upon the same general reason: hence grew the common-place of extolling the beginning of every thing: "dimidium facti qui bene cœpit habet." This made the astrologers so idle as to judge of a man's nature and destiny, by the constellation Fourthly, this colour is to be understood of “graof the moment of his nativity or conception. This dus inceptionis a potentia ad actum, comparatus colour is reprehended, because many inceptions cum gradu ab actu ad incrementum." For otherare but, as Epicurus termeth them, "tentamenta," wise "majur videtur gradus ab impotentia ad tnat is, imperfect offers and essays, which vanish | potentiam, quam a potentia ad actum.”
UPON HUMAN PHILOSOPHY.
MR. BACON IN PRAISE OF KNOWLEDGE.
learned hever brought to light one effect of nature before unknown. When things are known and found out, then they can descant upon them, they can knit them into certain causes, they can reduce them to their principles. If any instance of experience stand against them, they can range it in order by some distinctions. But all this is but a web of the wit, it can work nothing. I do not doubt but that common notions which we call reason, and the knitting of them together, which we call logic, are the art of reason and studies. But they rather cast obscurity, than gain light to the contemplation of nature. All the philosophy of nature which is now received, is either the philosophy of the Grecians, or that other of the alchemists. That of the Grecians hath the foundations
SILENCE were the best celebration of that, | menting, maketh us to stumble upon somewhat which I mean to commend; for who would not which is new: but all the disputation of the use silence, where silence is not made? and what crier can make silence in such a noise and tumult of vain and popular opinions? My praise shall be dedicated to the mind itself. The mind is the man, and the knowledge of the mind. A man is but what he knoweth. The mind itself is but an accident to knowledge; for knowledge is a double of that which is. The truth of being, and the truth of knowing, is all one: and the pleasures of the affections greater than the pleasures of the senses. And are not the pleasures of the intellect greater than the pleasures of the affections? Is it not a true and only natural pleasure, whereof there is no satiety? Is it not knowledge that doth alone clear the mind of all perturbations? How many things are there which we imagine not? How many things do we esteem and value otherwise in words, in ostentation, in confutation, in sects, than they are? This ill-proportioned estimation, these vain imaginations, these be the clouds of error that turn into the storms of perturbation. Is there any such happiness as for a man's mind to be raised above the confusion of things; where he may have the prospect of the order of nature, and the error of men? Is this but a vein only of delight, and not of discovery? of contentment, and not of benefit? Shall we not as well discern the riches of nature's warehouse, as the benefit of her shop? Is truth ever barren? Shall he not be able thereby to produce worthy effects, and to endow the life of man with infinite commodities? But shall I make this garland to be put upon a wrong head? Would any body believe me, if I should verify this, upon the knowledge that is now in use? Are we the richer by one poor in-tiply gold. Who would not smile at Aristotle, vention, by reason of all the learning that hath been these many hundred years? The industry of artificers maketh some small improvement of things invented; and chance sometimes in experi
in schools, in disputations. The Grecians were,
when he admireth the eternity and invariableness of the heavens, as there were not the like in the bowels of the earth? Those be the confines and borders of these two kingdoms, where the con
The super-many in the Universities of Europe at this day.
tinued alteration and incursion are.
THE INTERPRETATION OF NATURE.
ANNOTATIONS OF HERMES STELLA.
A FEW FRAGMENTS OF THE FIRST BOOK.
[None of the Annotations of Stella are set down in these Fragments.]
Of the limits and end of knowledge.
and intruding into God's secrets and mysteries, was rewarded with a further removing and estranging from God's presence. But as to the good
In the divine nature, both religion and philoso-ness of God, there is no danger in contending or phy hath acknowledged goodness in perfection, science or providence comprehending all things, and absolute sovereignty or kingdom. In aspiring to the throne of power, the angels transgressed and fell; in presuming to come within the oracle of knowledge, man transgressed and fell; but in pursuit towards the similitude of God's goodness or love, which is one thing, for love is nothing else but goodness put in motion or applied, neither man or spirit ever hath transgressed, or shall transgress.
advancing towards a similitude thereof; as that which is open and propounded to our imitation. For that voice, whereof the heathen and all other errors of religion have ever confessed that it sounds not like man, "Love your enemies; be you like unto your heavenly Father, that suffereth his rain to fall both upon the just and the unjust," doth well declare, that we can in that point commit no excess. So again we find it often repeated in the old law, "Be ye holy as I am holy ;" and what is holiness else but goodness, as we consider it separate and guarded from all mixture, and all access of evil!
The angel of light that was, when he presumed before his fall, said within himself, "I will ascend and be like unto the Highest;" not God, but the Wherefore seeing that knowledge is of the numHighest. To be like to God in goodness, was no ber of those things which are to be accepted of part of his emulation: knowledge, being in crea-with caution and distinction; being now to open tion an angel of light, was not the want which a fountain, such as it is not easy to discern where did most solicit him; only because he was a mi- the issues and streams thereof will take and fall; nister he aimed at a supremacy; therefore his I thought it good and necessary in the first place, climbing or ascension was turned into a throwing to make a strong and sound head or bank to rule down or precipitation. and guide the course of the waters; by setting down this position or firmament, namely, "That all knowledge is to be limited by religion, and to be referred to use and action.”
Man, on the other side, when he was tempted before he fell, had offered unto him this suggestion, "that he should be like unto God." But how? not simply, but in this part, "knowing good and evil." For being in his creation invested with sovereignty of all inferior creatures, he was not needy of power or dominion. But again, being a spirit newly enclosed in a body of earth, he was fittest to be allured with appetite of light and liberty of knowledge. Therefore this approaching VOL. I.-11
For if any man shall think, by view and inquiry into these sensible and material things, to attain to any light for the revealing of the nature or will of God, he shall dangerously abuse himself. It is true, that the contemplation of the creatures of God hath for end, as to the natures of the creatures themselves, knowledge; but as to the nature of
God, no knowledge, but wonder; which is nothing | lineages and propagations, yet nevertheless honour else but contemplation broken off, or losing itself. the remembrance of the inventor both of music Nay further, as it was aptly said by one of Plato's and works in metal. Moses again, who was the school, the sense of man resembles the sun, reporter, is said to have been seen in all the Egypwhich openeth and revealeth the terrestrial globe, tian learning, which nation was early and leading but obscureth and concealeth the celestial;" so in matter of knowledge. And Solomon the king, doth the sense discover natural things, but darken as out of a branch of his wisdom extraordinarily and shut up divine. And this appeareth sufficient- petitioned and granted from God, is said to have ly in that there is no proceeding in invention of written a natural history of all that is green, from knowledge, but by similitude; and God is only the cedar to the moss, which is but a rudiment beself-like, having nothing in common with any tween putrefaction and an herb, and also of all creature, otherwise as in shadow and trope. There- that liveth and moveth. And if the book of Job fore attend his will as himself openeth it, and be turned over, it will be found to have much asgive unto faith that which unto faith belongeth; persion of natural philosophy. Nay, the same for more worthy it is to believe than to think or Solomon the king affirmeth directly, that the glory know, considering that in knowledge, as we now of God "is to conceal a thing, but the glory of are capable of it, the mind suffereth from inferior | the king is to find it out," as if, according to the natures; but in all belief it suffereth from a spirit, which it holdeth superior, and more authorized than itself.
innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out; for in naming the king he intendeth man, taking such a condition of man as hath
To conclude; the prejudice hath been infinite, that both divine and human knowledge hath re-most excellency and greatest commandments of ceived by the intermingling and tempering of the one with the other: as that which hath filled the one full of heresies, and the other full of speculative fictions and vanities.
wits and means, alluding also to his own person, being truly one of those clearest burning lamps, whereof himself speaketh in another place, when he saith, "The spirit of man is as the lamp of God, But now there are again, which, in a contrary wherewith he searcheth all inwardness;" which extremity to those which give to contemplation nature of the soul the same Solomon, holding prean over-large scope, do offer too great a restraint | cious and inestimable, and therein conspiring with to natural and lawful knowledge; being unjustly the affection of Socrates, who scorned the pretendjealous that every reach and depth of knowledge ed learned men of his time for raising great benefit wherewith their conceits have not been acquaint- of their learning, whereas Anaxagoras contraried, should be too high an elevation of man's wit, wise, and divers others, being born to ample patriand a searching and ravelling too far into God's monies, decayed them in contemplation, delivereth secrets; an opinion that ariseth either of envy, it in precept yet remaining, "Buy the truth and which is proud weakness, and to be censured and sell it not; and so of wisdom and knowledge.” not confuted, or else of a deceitful simplicity. For if they mean that the ignorance of a second cause doth make men more devoutly to depend upon the providence of God, as supposing the effects to come immediately from his hand; I demand of them, as Job demanded of his friends, "Will you lie for God, as man will for man to gratify him?" But if any man, without any sinister humour, doth indeed make doubt that this digging further and further into the mine of natural knowledge, is a thing without example, and uncommended in the Scriptures, or fruitless; let him remember and be instructed for behold it was not that pure light of natural knowledge, whereby man in paradise was able to give unto every living creature a name according to his propriety, which gave occasion to the fall; but it was an aspiring desire to attain to that part of moral knowledge, which defineth of good and evil, whereby to dispute God's commandments, and not to depend upon the revelation of his will, which was the original temptation. And the first holy records, which within those brief memorials of things which passed before the flood, entered few things as worthy to be registered, but only
And lest any man should retain a scruple, as if this thirst of knowledge were rather an humour of the mind, than an emptiness or want in nature, and an instinct from God; the same author defineth of it fully, saying, "God hath made every thing in beauty according to season; also he hath set the world in man's heart, yet can he not find out the work which God worketh from the beginning to the end :" declaring not obscurely that God hath framed the mind of man as a glass, capable of the image of the universal world, joying to receive the signature thereof, as the eye is of light; yea, not only satisfied in beholding the variety of things, and vicissitude of times, but raised also to find out and discern those ordinances and decrees, which throughout all these changes are infallibly observed. And although the highest generality of motion, or summary law of nature, God should still reserve within his own curtain; yet many and noble are the inferior and secondary operations which are within man's sounding. This is a thing which I cannot tell whether I may so plainly speak as truly conceive, that as all knowledge appeareth to be a plant of God's own planting, so it may seem the spreading and flourishing, or at least the bear