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pations and observations, and so vanished. That | like Atalanta's golden ball that hindereth and inif any have had the strength of mind generally to terrupteth the course; and is to be inhibited till purge away and discharge all anticipations; they you have ascended to a certain stage and degree have not had that greater and double strength and of generalities; which forbearance will be liberally patience of mind, as well to repel new anticipa- recompensed in the end; and that chance discotions after the view and search of particulars, as vereth new inventions by one and one, but science to reject old which were in their mind before; but by knots and clusters. That they have not colhave from particulars and history flown up to lected sufficient quantity of particulars, nor them principles without the mean degrees, and so in sufficient certainty and subtilty, nor of all seframed all the middle generalities or axioms, not veral kinds, nor with those advantages and disby way of scale or ascension from particulars, but cretions in the entry and sorting which are requiby way of derivation from principles, whence hath site; and of the weak manner of collecting natural issued the infinite chaos of shadows and moths, history, which hath been used. Lastly, that they wherewith both books and minds have been had no knowledge of the formulary of interpretahitherto, and may be yet hereafter much more tion, the work whereof is to abridge experience, pestered. That in the course of those derivations and to make things as certainly found out by to make them yet the more unprofitable, they have | axiom in short time, as by infinite experiences in used, when any light of new instance opposite to any assertion appeared, rather to reconcile the instance than to amend the rule. That if any have had, or shall have the power and resolution to fortify and inclose his mind against all anticipa- THAT the cautels and devices put in practice in tions, yet if he have not been or shall not be the delivery of knowledge for the covering and cautioned by the full understanding of the nature palliating of ignorance, and the gracing and overof the mind and spirit of man, and therein of the valuing of that they utter, are without number, states, pores, and passages both of knowledge and but none more bold and more hurtful than two: error, he hath not been nor shall not be possibly the one, that men have used of a few observations able to guide or keep on his course aright. That upon any subject to make a solemn and formal those that have been conversant in experience and art; by filling it up with discourse, accommoobservation, have used, when they have intended dating it with some circumstances and directions to discover the cause of any effect, to fix their to practice, and digesting it into method, whereby consideration narrowly and exactly upon that men grow satisfied and secure, as if no more ineffect itself, with all the circumstances thereof, quiry were to be made of that matter; the other, and to vary the trial thereof as many ways as can that men have used to discharge ignorance with be devised; which course amounteth but to a credit, in defining all those effects which they tedious curiosity, and ever breaketh off in wonder- cannot attain unto, to be out of the compass of ing and not in knowing. And that they have not art and human endeavour. That the very styles used to enlarge their observation to match and and forms of utterance are so many characters of sort that effect with instances of a diverse subject, imposture, some choosing a style of pugnacity which must of necessity be before any cause be and contention, some of satire and reprehension, found out. That they have passed over the obser- some of plausible and tempting similitudes and vation of instances vulgar and ignoble, and stayed examples, some of great words and high discourse, their attention chiefly upon instances of mark: some of short and dark sentences, some of exactwhereas the other sort are for the most part more ness of method, all of positive affirmation; withsignificant, and of better light and information. out disclosing the true motives and proofs of their That every particular that worketh any effect, is opinions, or free confessing their ignorance or a thing compounded more or less, of diverse single doubts, except it be now and then for a grace, and natures, more manifest and more obscure, and that in cunning to win the more credit in the rest, and it appeareth not to whether of the natures the not in good faith. That although men be free effect is to be ascribed; and yet notwithstanding from these errors and incumbrances in the will they have taken a course without breaking parti- and affection, yet it is not a thing so easy as is culars, and reducing them by exclusions and in-conceived to convey the conceit of one man's clusions to a definite point, to conclude upon in-mind into the mind of another, without loss or ductions in gross; which empirical course is no less vain than the scholastical. That all such as have sought action and work out of their inquiry, have been hasty and pressing to discover some practices for present use, and not to discover | should seem otherwise in regard that the proposiaxioms, joining with them the new assignations as their sureties. That the forerunning of the mind to frame recipes upon axioms at the entrance, is

mistaking, especially in notions new and differing from those that are received. That never any knowledge was delivered in the same order it was invented, no not in the mathematics, though it

tions placed last do use the propositions or grants placed first for their proof and demonstration. That there are forms and methods of tradition

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 advance men to the furthest point of interpretation of nature, except the work should be undertaken with greater helps than can be expected, yet it cannot fail in much less space of time to make return of many singular commodities towards the state and occasions of man's life. That there is less reason of distrust in the course of interpretation now propounded, than in any knowledge formerly delivered, because this course doth in sort equal men's wits, and leaveth no great advantage or pre-eminence to the perfect and excellent motions of the spirit. That to draw a straight line, or to make a circle perfect round by aim of hand only, there must be a great difference between an unsteady and unpractised hand, and a steady and practised; but to do it by rule or compass, it is much alike.


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Or the impediments which have been in the affections, the principle whereof hath been despair or diffidence, and the strong apprehension of the difficulty, obscurity, and infiniteness which belongeth to the invention of knowledge, and that men have not known their own strength; and that the supposed difficulties and vastness of the work is rather in show and muster, than in state or substance, where the true way is taken. That this diffidence hath moved and caused some never to enter into search, and others, when they have been entered, either to give over, or to seek a more compendious course than can stand with the nature of true search. That of those that have refused and prejudged inquiry, the more sober and grave sort of wits have depended upon authors and traditions, and the more vain and Or 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.


Or the impediments which have been in the affection of pride, specially of one kind, which is the disdain of dwelling and being conversant much in experiences and particulars, especially such as are vulgar in occurrency, and base and ignoble in use. That besides certain higher mysteries of pride, generalities seem to have a dignity and solemnity, in that they do not put men in mind of their familiar actions, in that they have less affinity with arts mechanical and illiberal, in that they are not so subject to be controlled by persons of mean observation, in that they seem to teach men that they know not, and not refer them to that they know. All which conditions directly feeding the humour of pride, particulars do want. That the majesty of generalities, and the divine nature of the mind in taking them, if they be truly collected, and be indeed the direct reflexions of things, cannot be too much magnified. And that it is true, that interpretation is the very natural and direct intention, action, and progression of the understanding, delivered from impediments. And that all anticipation is but a deflexion or declination by accident.


Or the impediments which have been in the state of heathen religion, and other superstitions and errors of religion. And that in the true religion there hath not, nor is any impediment, except it be by accident or intermixture of humour. That a religion which consisteth in rites and forms of adoration, and not in confessions and

gy at pleasure, it cometh to pass that all inquisition of nature endeth and limiteth itself in such metaphysical or theological discourse; whereas if men's wits be shut out of that port, it turneth them again to discover, and so to seek reason of reason more deeply. And that such was the religion of the heathen. That a religion that is jealous of the variety of learning, discourse, opinions, and sects, as misdoubting it may shake the foundations, or that cherisheth devotion upon simplicity and ignorance, as ascribing ordinary effects to the immediate working of God, is adverse to knowledge. That such is the religion of the Turk, and such hath been the abuse of Christian religion at some several times, and in some several factions. And of the singular advantage which the Christian religion hath towards the furtherance of true knowledge, in that it excludeth and interdicteth human reason, whether by interpretation or anticipation, from examining or discussing of the mysteries and principles of faith.


Or the impediments which have been in the nature of society, and the policies of state. That there is no composition of estate or society, nor order or quality of persons, which have not some point of contrariety towards true knowledge. That monarchies incline wits to profit and pleasure, and commonwealths to glory and vanity That universities incline wits to sophistry and affectation; cloisters to fables and unprofitable subtilty; study at large to variety; and that it is hard to say, whether mixture of contemplations with an active life, or retiring wholly to contem plations, do disable and hinder the mind more.






1. FRANCIS BACON thought in this manner. | 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 light but in great length of time; and that those which are, came not to light by philosophy.

2. He thought also this state of knowledge was he worse, because men strive against themselves to save the credit of ignorance, and to satisfy themselves in this poverty. For the physician, besides the cautels of practice, hath this general cautel of art, that he dischargeth the weakness of his art upon supposed impossibilities: neither can his art be condemned, when itself judgeth. That philosophy also, out of which the knowledge of physic which now is in use is hewed, receiveth certain positions and opinions, which, if they be well weighed, induce this persuasion, that no great works are to be expected from art, and the hand of man; as, in particular that opinion, that "the heat of the sun and fire differ in kind ;" and that other, "that composition is the work of man, and mixture is the work of nature," and the like; all tending to the circumscription of man's power, and to artificial despair; killing in men not only the comfort of imagination, but the industry of trial; only upon vainglory, to have their art thought perfect, and that all is impossible that is not already found. The alchemists dischargeth his art upon his own errors, either supposing a


wherein magic and superstition hath played in all times. The mechanical person, if he can refine an invention, or put two or three observations or practices together in one, or couple things better with their use, or make the work in less or greater volume, taketh himself for an inventor. So he saw well, that men either persuade themselves of new inventions as of impossibilities, or else think they are already extant, but in secret and in few hands; or that they account of those little industries and additions, as of inventions: all which turneth to the averting of their minds from any just and constant labour, to invent further in any quantity.

3. He thought also, when men did set before themselves the variety and perfection of works produced by mechanical arts, they are apt rather to admire the provisions of man, than to apprehend his wants; not considering, that the original inventions and conclusions of nature, which are the life of all that variety, are not many, nor deeply fetched; and that the rest is but the subtile and ruled motion of the instrument and hand; and that the shop therein is not unlike the library, which in such number of books containeth, for the far greater part, nothing but iterations, varied sometimes 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.

4. He thought also, that knowledge is uttered to men in a form, as if every thing were finished; for it is reduced into arts and methods; which in their divisions do seem to include all that may be. And how weakly soever the parts are filled, yet | they carry the show and reason of a total; and thereby the writings of some received authors go for the very art: whereas antiquity used to deliver the knowledge which the mind of man hath gathered, in observations, aphorisms, or short and dispersed sentences, or small tractates of some parts that they had diligently meditated and laboured; which did invite men, both to ponder that which was invented, and to add and supply further. But now sciences are delivered to be believed and accepted, and not to be examined and further discovered; and the succession is between master and disciple, and not between inventor and continuer or advancer: and therefore sciences stand at a stay, and have done for many ages, and that which is positive is fixed, and that which is question is kept question, so as the columns of no further proceeding are pitched. And therefore he saw plainly men had cut themselves off from further invention; and that it is no marvel, that that is not obtained which hath not been attempted, but rather shut out and debarred.

5. He thought also, that knowledge is almost generally sought either for delight and satisfaction, or for gain or profession, or for credit and ornament, and that every of these are as Atalanta's balls, which hinder the race of invention. For men are so far in these courses from seeking to increase the mass of knowledge, as of that mass which is they will take no more than will serve their turn: and if any one amongst so many seeketh knowledge for itself, yet he rather seeketh to know the variety of things, than to discern of the truth and causes of them; and if his inquisition be yet more severe, yet it tendeth rather to judg-| ment than to invention; and rather to discover truth in controversy, than new matter; and if his heart be so large as he propoundeth to himself further discovery or invention, yet it is rather of new discourse and speculation of causes, than of effects and operations. And as for those that have so much in their mouths, action and use and practice, and the referring of sciences thereunto; they mean it of application of that which is known, and not of a discovery of that which is unknown. So he saw plainly, that this mark, namely, invention of further means to endow the condition and life of man with new powers or works, was almost never yet set up and resolved in man's intention and inquiry.

been conferred, upon divinity. And before-time likewise, the greatest part of the studies of philosophers was consumed in moral philosophy, which was as the heathen divinity. And in both times a great part of the best wits betook themselves to law, pleadings, and causes of estate; specially in the time of the greatness of the Romans, who by reason of their large empire needed the service of all their able men for civil business. And the time amongst the Grecians, in which natural philosophy seemed most to flourish, was but a short space; and that also rather abused in differing sects and conflicts of opinions than profitably spent. Since which time, natural philosophy was never any profession, nor never possessed any whole man, except perchance some monk in a cloister, or some gentleman in the country, and that very rarely; but became a science of passage, to season a little young and unripe wits, and to serve for an introduction to other arts, especially physic and the practical mathematics. So as he saw plainly, that natural philosophy hath been intended by few persons, and in them hath occupied the least part of their time, and that in the weakest of their age and judgment.

7. He thought also, how great opposition and prejudice natural philosophy had received by superstition, and the immoderate and blind zeal of religion; for he found that some of the Grecians, which first gave the reason of thunder, had been condemned of impiety; and that the cosmographers, which first discovered and described the roundness of the earth, and the consequence thereof touching the antipodes, were not much otherwise censured by the ancient fathers of the Christian church; and that the case is now much worse, in regard of the boldness of the schoolmen and their dependences in the monasteries, who having made divinity into an art, have almost incorporated the contentious philosophy of Aristotle into the body of Christian religion: and generally he perceived in men of devout simplicity this opinion, that the secrets of nature were the secrets of God; and part of that glory whereinto the mind of man, if it seek to press, shall be oppressed; and that the desire in men to attain to so great and hidden knowledge, hath a resemblance with that temptation which caused the original fall; and on the other side, in men of a devout policy, he noted an inclination to have the people depend upon God the more, when they are less acquainted with second causes; and to have no stirring in philosophy, lest it may lead to an innovation in divinity, or else should discover matter of further contradiction to divinity. But in this 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, followed and laboured. For since the Christian he considered that the knowledge of nature, by VOL. I.- 13


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