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ing and fructifying of this plant, by a providence | active; "If I render my body to the fire," there of God, nay, not only by a general providence is power passive; "If I speak with the tongues but by a special prophecy, was appointed to of men and angels," there is knowledge, for lanthis autumn of the world: for to my understand-guage is but the conveyance of knowledge, “all ing, it is not violent to the letter, and safe now were nothing." after the event, so to interpret that place in the prophecy of Daniel, where, speaking of the latter times, it is said, "Many shall pass to and fro, and science shall be increased;" as if the opening of the world by navigation and commerce, and the further discovery of knowledge, should meet in one time or age.
And therefore it is not the pleasure of curiosity, nor the quiet of resolution, nor the raising of the spirit, nor victory of wit, nor faculty of speech, nor lucre of profession, nor ambition of honour or fame, or inablement for business, that are the true ends of knowledge; some of these being more worthy than other, though all inferior and degeBut howsoever that be, there are besides the nerate: but it is a restitution and reinvesting, in authorities of Scriptures before recited, two reasons great part, of man to the sovereignty and power, of exceeding great weight and force, why religion for whensoever he shall be able to call the creashould dearly protect all increase of natural know-tures by their true names, he shall again command ledge: the one, because it leadeth to the greater | them, which he had in his first state of creation. exaltation of the glory of God; for as the Psalms And to speak plainly and clearly, it is a discovery and other Scriptures do often invite us to consider, and to magnify the great and wonderful works of God; so if we should rest only in the contemplation of those shows which first offer themselves to our senses, we should do a like injury to the majesty of God, as if we should judge of the store of some excellent jeweller, by that only which is set out to the street in his shop. The other reason is, because it is a singular help and preservative against unbelief and error: for saith our Saviour, "You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God;" laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error; first the Scriptures revealing the will of God, and then the creatures expressing his power; for that latter book will certify us, that nothing which the first, teacheth shall be thought impossible. And most sure it is, and a true conclusion of experience, that a little natural philosophy inclineth the mind to atheism, but a further proceeding bringeth the mind back to religion.
To conclude then: Let no man presume to check the liberality of God's gifts, who, as was said, "hath set the world in man's heart." So as whatsoever is not God, but parcel of the world, he hath fitted it to the comprehension of man's mind, if man will open and dilate the powers of his understanding as he may.
of all operations and possibilities of operations from immortality, if it were possible, to the meanest mechanical practice. And therefore knowledge, that tendeth but to satisfaction, is but as a courtesan, which is for pleasure, and not for fruit or generation. And knowledge that tendeth to profit or profession, or glory, is but as the golden ball thrown before Atalanta; which while she goeth aside, and stoopeth to take up, she hindereth the race. And knowledge referred to some particular point of use, is but as Harmodius, which putteth down one tyrant: and not like Hercules, who did perambulate the world to suppress tyrants and giants and monsters in every part.
It is true, that in two points the curse is peremptory, and not to be removed: the one, that vanity must be the end in all human effects; eternity being resumed though the revolutions and periods may be delayed. The other, that the consent of the creature being now turned into reluctation, this power cannot otherwise be exercised and administered but with labour, as well in inventing as in executing; yet nevertheless chiefly that labour and travel which is described by the sweat of the brows, more than of the body; that is, such travel as is joined with the working and discursion of the spirits in the brain: for as Solomon saith excellently, “The fool putteth to more strength, but But yet evermore it must be remembered, that the wise man considereth which way;" signifying the least part of knowledge passed to man by this the election of the mean to be more material than so large a charter from God, must be subject to the multiplication of endeavour. It is true also that use for which God hath granted it, which is that there is a limitation rather potential than the benefit and relief of the state and society of actual, which is when the effect is possible, but man: for otherwise all manner of knowledge be- the time or place yieldeth not the matter or basis cometh malign and serpentine, and therefore, as whereupon man should work. But notwithstandcarrying the quality of the serpent's sting and ing these precincts and bounds, let it be believed, malice, it maketh the mind of man to swell; as and appeal thereof made to time, with renunciation the Scripture sayeth excellently, "Knowledge nevertheless to all the vain and abusing promises bloweth up, but charity buildeth up." And again, of alchemists and magicians, and such like light, the same author doth notably disavow both power idle, ignorant, credulous, and fantastical wits and and knowledge, such as is not dedicated to good-sects, that the new-found world of land was not ness or love; for saith he, "If I have all faith, so as i could remove mountains," there is power
greater addition to the ancient continent, than there remaineth at this day a world of inventions and
sciences unknown, having respect to those that | saith, "Nihil aliud quam bene ausus vana conare known, with this difference, that the ancient temnere:" in which sort of things it is the manregions of knowledge will seem as barbarous, ner of men first to wonder that any such thing compared with the new; as the new regions of should be possible, and after it is found out, to people seem barbarous, compared to many of the wonder again how the world should miss it so old. long. Of this nature I take to be the invention and discovery of knowledge, &c.
The dignity of this end, of endowment of man's life with new commodities, appeareth by the estimation that antiquity made of such as guided thereunto; for whereas founders of states, law
givers, extirpers of tyrants, fathers of the people, were honoured but with the titles of worthies or demigods, inventors were ever consecrated amongst the gods themselves. And if the ordinary ambitions of men lead them to seek the amplification of their own power in their countries, and a better ambition than that hath moved men to seek the amplification of the power of their own countries amongst other nations: better again and more worthy must that aspiring be, which seeketh the amplification of the power and kingdom of mankind over the world: the rather, because the other two prosecutions are ever culpable of much perturbation and injustice; but this is a work truly divine, which cometh "in aura leni," without noise or observation.
The access also to this work hath been by that port or passage, which the Divine Majesty, who is unchangeable in his ways, doth infallibly continue and observe; that is, the felicity wherewith he hath blessed an humility of mind, such as rather laboureth to spell, and so by degrees to read in the volumes of his creatures, than to solicit and urge, and as it were to invocate a man's own spirit to divine, and give oracles unto him. For as in the inquiry of divine truth, the pride of man hath ever inclined to leave the oracles of God's word, and to vanish in the mixture of their own inventions; so in the selfsame manner, in inquisition of nature, they have ever left the oracles of God's works, and adored the deceiving and deformed imagery, which the unequal mirrors of their own minds have represented unto them. Nay, it is a point fit and necessary in the front, and beginning of this work, without hesitation or reservation to be professed, that it is no less true in this human kingdom of knowledge, than in God's kingdom of heaven, that no man shall enter into it, "except he become first as a little child."
Of the impediments of knowledge.
Being the IVth chapter, the preface only of it. In some things it is more hard to attempt than to achieve; which falleth out, when the difficulty is not so much in the matter or subject, as it is in the crossness and indisposition of the mind of man to think of any such thing, to will or to resolve it; and therefore Titus Livius in his declamatory digression, wherein he doth depress and extenuate the honour of Alexander's conquests
The impediments which have been in the times, and in diversion of wits.
Being the Vth chapter, a small fragment in the beginning of that chapter.
THE encounters of the times have been nothing favourable and prosperous for the invention of knowledge, so as it is not only the daintiness of the seed to take, and the ill mixture and unliking of the ground to nourish or raise this plant, but the ill season also of the weather, by which it hath been checked and blasted. Especially in that the seasons have been proper to bring up and set forward other more hasty and indifferent plants, whereby this of knowledge hath been starved and overgrown; for in the descent of times always there hath been somewhat else in reign and reputation, which hath generally aliened and diverted wits and labours from that employment.
For as for the uttermost antiquity, which is like fame that muffles her head, and tells tales, I cannot presume much of it; for I would not willingly imitate the manner of those that describe maps, which when they come to some far countries, whereof they have no knowledge, set down how there be great wastes and deserts there: so I am not apt to affirm that they knew little, because what they knew is little known to us. But if you will judge of them by the last traces that remain to us, you will conclude, though not so scornfully as Aristotle doth, that saith our ancestors were extreme gross, as those that came newly from being moulded out of the clay, or some earthly substance; yet reasonably and probably thus, that it was with them in matter of knowledge, but as the dawning or break of day. For at that time the world was altogether home-bred, every nation looked little beyond their own confines or territories, and the world had no thorough lights then, as it hath had since by commerce and navigation, whereby there could neither be that contribution of wits one to help another, nor that variety of particulars for the correcting the customary conceits.
And as there could be no great collection of wits of several parts or nations, so neither could there be any succession of wits of several times, whereby one might refine the other, in regard they had not history to any purpose. And the manner of their traditions was utterly unfit and unproper for amplification of knowledge. And again, the studies of those times, you shall find, besides wars, incursions, and rapines, which were then almos*
not to obey, and so containeth in it a manifest defection.
everywhere betwixt states adjoining, the use of | man's life, and then vain was the complaint, that leagues and confederacies being not then known, "life is short, and art is long" or else, that the were to populate by multitude of wives and gene- knowledge that now is, is but a shrub; and not ration, a thing at this day in the waster part of the that tree which is never dangerous, but where it West Indies principally effected; and to build, is to the purpose of knowing good and evil; which sometimes for habitation, towns and cities; some-desire ever riseth upon an appetite to elect, and times for fame and memory, monuments, pyramids, colosses, and the like. And if there happened to rise up any more civil wits; then would he found and erect some new laws, customs, and usages, such as now of late years, when the world was revolute almost to the like rudeness and obscurity, we see both in our own nation and abroad many examples of, as well in a number of tenures reserved upon men's lands, as in divers customs of towns and manors, being the devises that such wits wrought upon in such times of deep ignorance, &c.
The impediments of knowledge for want of a true succession of wits, and that hitherto the length of one man's life hath been the greatest measure of knowledge.
Being the VIth chapter, the whole chapter.
IN arts mechanical the first devise cometh shortest, and time addeth and perfecteth. But in sciences of conceit, the first author goeth furthest, and time leeseth and corrupteth. Painting, artillery, sailing, and the like, grossly managed at first, by time accommodate and refined. The philosophies and sciences of Aristotle, Plato, Democritus, Hippocrates, of most vigour at first, by time degenerated and imbased. In the former, many wits and industries contributed in one. In the latter many men's wits spent to deprave the wit of one.
That the pretended succession of wits hath been evil placed, for as much as after variety of sects and opinions, the most popular and not the truest prevaileth and weareth out the rest.
Being the VIIth chapter, a fragment.
It is sensible to think, that when men enter first into search and inquiry, according to the several frames and compositions of their understanding, they light upon differing conceits, and so all opinions and doubts are beaten over; and then men having made a taste of all, wax weary of variety, and so reject the worst, and hold themselves to the best, either some one, if it be eminent: or some two or three, if they be in some equality; which afterwards are received and carried on, and the rest extinct.
But truth is contrary; and that time is like a river which carrieth down things which are light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is sad and weighty. For howsoever governments have several forms, sometimes one governing, sometimes few, sometimes the multitude; yet the state of knowledge is ever a democracy, and that prevaileth which is most agreeable to the senses and conceits of people. As for example, there is no great doubt, but he that did put the beginnings of things to be solid, void, and motion to the centre, was in better earnest than he that put matter, form, and shift; or he that put the mind, motion, and matter. For no man shall enter into inquisition of nature, but shall pass by that opinion of Democritus; whereas he shall never come near the other two opinions, but leave them aloof, for the schools and table-talk. Yet those of Aristotle and Plato, because they be both agreeable to popular sense, and the one was uttered Then begin men to aspire to the second prizes, with subtilty and the spirit of contradiction, and to be a profound interpreter and commenter, to be the other with a style of ornament and majesty, a sharp champion and defender, to be a methodical | did hold out, and the other gave place, &c. compounder and abridger. And this is the unfor
The error is both in the deliverer and in the receiver. He that delivereth knowledge, desireth to deliver it in such form as may be soonest believed, and not as may easiliest be examined. He that receiveth knowledge desireth rather present satisfaction than expectant search, and so rather not to doubt than not to err. Glory maketh the author not lay open his weakness; and sloth maketh the disciple not to know his strength.
by parts, and in slipping off particular sciences from the root and stock of universal knowledge. Being the VIIIth chapter, the whole chapter.
tunate succession of wits which the world hath Of the impediments of knowledge, in handling it yet had, whereby the patrimony of all knowledge goeth not on husbanded or improved, but wasted and decayed. For knowledge is like a water, that will never arise again higher than the level from which it fell. And therefore to go beyond Aristotle by the light of Aristotle, is to think that a borrowed light can increase the original light from whom it is taken. So then, no true succession of wits having been in the world; either we must ronclude, that knowledge is but a task for one
CICERO, the orato, willing to magnify his own profession, and thereupon spending many words to maintain that eloquence was not a shop of good words and elegancies, but a treasury and receipt of all knowledges, so far forth as may appertain to the handling and moving of the minds and
affections of men by speech, maketh great com- | affecting preservation, and the other multiplicaplaint of the school of Socrates; that whereas tion; which appetites are most evidently seen in before his time the same professors of wisdom in living creatures, in the pleasure of nourishment Greece did pretend to teach an universal sapience and generation; and in man do make the aptest and knowledge both of matter and words, Socra- and most natural division of all his desires, being tes divorced them, and withdrew philosophy, and either of sense of pleasure, or sense of power; left rhetoric to itself, which by that destitution and in the universal frame of the world are figured, became but a barren and unnoble science. And the one in the beams of heaven which issue forth, in particular sciences we see, that if men fall to and the other in the lap of the earth which takes subdivide their labours, as to be an cculist in in: and again, if they had observed the motion of physic, or to be perfect in some one title of the congruity, or situation of the parts in respect of law or the like, they may prove ready and subtile, the whole, evident in so many particulars: and but not deep or sufficient, no, not in that subject lastly, if they had considered the motion, familiar which they do particularly attend, because of that in attraction of things, to approach to that which consent which it hath with the rest. And it is a is higher in the same kind: when by these obsermatter of common discourse of the chain of sci- vations, so easy and concurring in natural philoences, how they are linked together, insomuch as sophy, they should have found out this quaternion the Grecians, who had terms at will, have fitted of good, in enjoying or fruition, effecting or operait of a name of Circle-Learning. Nevertheless I tion, consenting or proportion, and approach or that hold it for a great impediment towards the assumption; they would have saved and abridged advancement and further invention of knowledge, much of their long and wandering discourses of that particular arts and sciences have been disin-pleasure, virtue, duty, and religion. So likewise corporated from general knowledge, do not under- in this same logic and rhetoric, or acts of argustand one and the same thing, which Cicero's ment and grace of speech, if the great masters of discourse and the note and conceit of the Gre- them would but have gone a form lower, and cians in their word Circle-Learning do intend. looked but into the observations of grammar conFor I mean not that use which one science hath cerning the kinds of words, their derivations, deof another for ornament or help in practice, as the flexions, and syntax, specially enriching the same, orator hath of knowledge of affections for moving, with the helps of several languages, with their or as military science may have use of geometry differing properties of words, phrases, and tropes, for fortifications; but I mean it directly of that they might have found out more and better foot use by way of supply of light and information, steps of common reason, help of disputation, anà which the particulars and instances of one science advantages of cavillation, than many of these do yield and present for the framing or correcting which they have propounded. So again, a man of the axioms of another science in their very should be thought to dally, if he did note how the truth and notion. And therefore that example of figures of rhetoric and music are many of them oculist and title lawyers doth come nearer my the same. The repetitions and traductions in conceit than the other two; for sciences distin- speech, and the reports and hauntings of sounds guished have a dependence upon universal know- in music, are the very same things. Plutarch ledge to be augmented and rectified by the supe- hath almost made a book of the Lacedæmonian rior light thereof; as well as the parts and mem- kind of jesting, which joined every pleasure with bers of a science have upon the maxims of the distaste. “Sir,” said a man of art to Philip king same science, and the mutual light and consent of Macedon, when he controlled him in his faculty, which one part receiveth of another. And there-"God forbid your fortune should be such as to fore the opinion of Copernicus in astronomy, know these things better than I." In taxing his which astronomy itself cannot correct, because it is not repugnant to any of the appearances, yet natural philosophy doth correct. On the other side, if some of the ancient philosophers had been perfect in the observations of astronomy, and had called them to counsel, when they made their principles and first axioms, they would never have divided their philosophy, as the cosmographers do their descriptions by globes, making one philosophy for heaven, and another for under heaven, as in effect they do.
So if the moral philosophers, that have spent such an infinite quantity of debate touching good and the highest good, had cast their eye abroad upon nature, and beheld the appetite that is in all things to receive and to give; the one motion
ignorance in his art, he represented to him the perpetual greatness of his fortune, leaving him no vacant time for so mean a skill. Now in music it is one of the ordinariest flowers to fall from a discord, or hard tune, upon a sweet accord. The figure that Cicero and the rest commend, as one of the best points of elegancy, which is the fine checking of expectation, is no less well known to the musicians, when they have a special grace in flying the close or cadence. And these are no allusions but direct communities, the same delights of the mind being to be found not only in music, rhetoric, but in moral philosophy, policy, and other knowledges, and that obscure in the one, which is more apparent in the other; yea, and that discovered in the one, which is not found
at all in the other; and so one science greatly inclination of their nature, or from common exaiding to the invention and augmentation of an- ample and opinion, never questioning or examinother. And therefore, without this intercourse, ing them, nor reducing them to any clear certainty; the axioms of sciences will fall out to be neither and use only to call themselves to account and full nor true; but will be such opinions, as Aris-deliberation touching the means and second ends, totle in some places doth wisely censure, when and thereby set themselves in the right way to he saith, “These are the opinions of persons that the wrong place. So likewise upon the natural have respect but to a few things." So then we curiosity and desire to know, they have put themsee, that this note leadeth us to an administration | selves in way without foresight or consideration of knowledge in some such order and policy, as of their journey's end. the King of Spain, in regard of his great dominions, useth in state: who, though he hath particular councils for several countries and affairs, yet had one council of state, or last resort, that receiveth the advertisements and certificates from all the rest. Hitherto of the diversion, succession. and conference of wits.
That the end and scope of knowledge hath been generally mistaken, and that men were never well advised what it was they sought.
For I find that even those that have sought knowledge for itself, and not for benefit, or ostentation, or any practicable enablement in the course of their life, have nevertheless propounded to themselves a wrong mark, namely, satisfaction, which men call truth, and not operation. For as in the courts and services of princes and states, it is a much easier matter to give satisfaction than to do the business; so in the inquiring of causes and reasons it is much easier to find out such causes as will satisfy the mind of man and quiet objections, than such causes as will direct him and
Being the IXth chapter, immediately preceding give him light to new experiences and inventions.
the Inventory, and inducing the same.
And this did Celsus note wisely and truly, how that the causes which are in use, and whereof the knowledges now received do consist, were in time minors and subsequents to the knowledge of the particulars, out of which they were induced and collected; and that it was not the light of those causes which discovered particulars, but only the particulars being first found, men did fall on glossing and discoursing of the causes; which is the reason, why the learning that now is hath the curse of barrenness, and is courtesan-like, for pleasure and not for fruit. Nay, to compare it rightly, the strange fiction of the poets of the transformation of Scylla, seemeth to be a lively emblem of this philosophy and knowledge: a fair woman upward in the parts of show, but when you come to the parts of use and generation, barking monsters: for no better are the endless distorted questions, which ever have been, and of necessity must be, the end and womb of such knowledge. . .
Ir appeareth then how rarely the wits and labours of men have been converted to the severe and original inquisition of knowledge; and in those who have pretended, what hurt hath been done by the affectation of professors, and the distraction of such as were no professors; and how there was never in effect any conjunction or combination of wits in the first and inducing search, but that every man wrought apart, and would either have his own way, or else would go no further than his guide, having in the one case the honour of a first, and in the other the ease of a second; and lastly, how in the descent and continuance of wits and labours, the succession hath been in the most popular and weak opinions, like unto the weakest natures, which many times have most children; and in them also the condition of succession hath been rather to defend and to adorn, than to add; and if to add, yet that addition to be rather a refining of a part, than an But yet nevertheless, here I may be mistaken, increase of the whole. But the impediments of by reason of some which have much in their pen time and accidents, though they have wrought a the referring sciences to action and the use of general indisposition, yet are they not so peremp-man, which mean quite another matter than I do. tory and binding, as the internal impediments and For they mean a contriving of directions, and clouds in the mind and spirit of man, whereof it now followeth to speak.
The Scripture, speaking of the worst sort of error, saith, “Errare fecit eos in invio et non in via.” For a man may wander in the way, by rounding up and down; but if men have failed in their very direction and address, that error will never by good fortune correct itself. Now it hath fared with men in their contemplations, as Seneca saith it fareth with them in their actions, “De partibus vitæ quisque deliberat, de summa nemo." A course very ordinary with men who receive for the most part their final ends from the
precepts for readiness of practice, which I discommend not, so it be not occasion that some quantity of the science be lost; for else it will be such a piece of husbandry, as to put away a manor lying somewhat scattered, to buy in a close that lieth handsomely about a dwelling. But my intention contrariwise is to increase and multiply the revenues and possessions of man, and not to trim up only, or order with conveniency the grounds whereof he is already stated. Wherefore the better to make myself understood, that I mean nothing less than words, and directly to demonstrate the point which we are now upon, that is,