Page images






1. Francis Bacon thought in this manner. The lar traditions; or else a failing in the true proportions knowledge whereof the world is now possessed, and scruples of practice, which maketh him renew especially that of nature, extendeth not to magni- infinitely his trials; and finding also that he lighttude and certainty of works. The physician pro- eth upon some mean experiments and conclusions nounceth many diseases incurable, and faileth oft in by the way, feedeth upon them, and magnifieth the rest. The alchemists wax old and die in hopes. them to the most, and supplieth the rest in hopes. The magicians perform nothing that is permanent The magician, when he findeth something, as he and profitable. The mechanics take small light from conceiveth, above nature effected, thinketh, when a natural philosophy, and do but spin on their own breach is once made in nature, that it is all one to little threads. Chance sometimes discovereth inven- perform great things and small; not seeing, that tions; but that worketh not in years, but ages. So they are but subjects of a certain kind, wherein he saw well, that the inventions known are very magic and superstition hath played in all times. unperfect, and that new are not like to be brought The mechanical person, if he can refine an invento light, but in great length of time; and that those tion, or put two or three observations or practices towhich are, came not to light by philosophy. gether in one, or couple things better with their

2. He thought also this state of knowledge was use, or make the work in less or greater volume, the worse, because men strive against themselves to taketh himself for an inventor. So he saw well, save the credit of ignorance, and to satisfy them that men either persuade themselves of new invenselves in this poverty. For the physician, besides tions as of impossibilities; or else think they are the cauteles of practice, hath this general cautele of already extant, but in secret and in few hands ; or art, that he dischargeth the weakness of his art that they account of those little industries and adupon supposed impossibilities ; neither can his art ditions, as of inventions : all which turneth to the be condemned, when itself judgeth. That philoso-, averting of their minds from any just and constant phy also, out of which the knowledge of physic labour, to invent farther in any quantity. which now is in use is hewed, receiveth certain po 3. He thought also, when men did set before sitions and opinions, which, if they be well weighed, themselves the variety and perfection of works proinduce this persuasion, that no great works are to duced by mechanical arts, they are apt rather to adbe expected from art, and the hand of man; as in mire the provisions of man, than to apprehend his particular, that opinion, that “ the heat of the sun wants; not considering, that the original inventions and fire differ in kind ;" and that other, “that com and conclusions of nature, which are the life of all position is the work of man, and mixture is the that variety, are not many, nor deeply fetched ; and work of nature,” and the like : all tending to the that the rest is but the subtile and ruled motion of the circumscription of man's power, and to artificial de instrument and hand; and that the shop therein is spair; killing in men not only the comfort of ima- not unlike the library, which in such number of gination, but the industry of trial : only upon vain- books containeth for the far greater part, nothing glory, to have their art thought perfect, and that all but iterations, varied sometimes in form, but not is impossible that is not already found. The al- | new in substance. So he saw plainly, that opinion chemist dischargeth his art upon his own errors, of store was a cause of want; and that both works either supposing a misunderstanding of the words and doctrines appear many, and are few. of his authors, which maketh him listen after auricu 4. He thought also, that knowledge is uttered to

men in a form, as if every thing were finished; for large empire needed the service of all their able it is reduced into arts and methods; which in their men for civil business. And the time amongst the divisions do seem to include all that may be. And Grecians, in which natural philosophy seemed most how weakly soever the parts are filled, yet they to flourish, was but a short space; and that also carry the show and reason of a total ; and thereby rather abused in differing sects and conflicts of the writings of some received authors go for the very opinions than profitably spent. Since which time, art: whereas antiquity used to deliver the knowledge natural philosophy was never any profession, nor which the mind of man had gathered, in observa never possessed any whole man, except perchance tions, aphorisms, or short and dispersed sentences, some monk in a cloister, or some gentleman in the or small tractates of some parts that they had dili- country, and that very rarely ; but became a science gently meditated and laboured; which did invite of passage, to season a little young and unripe wits, men, both to ponder that which was invented, and and to serve for an introduction to other arts, espeto add and supply farther. But now sciences are cially physic and the practical mathematics. So as delivered to be believed and accepted, and not to be he saw plainly, that natural philosophy hath been examined and farther discovered; and the succes intended by few persons, and in them hath occupied sion is between master and disciple, and not between the least part of their time; and that in the weakest inventor and continuer or advancer; and therefore of their age and judgment. sciences stand at a stay, and have done for many 7. He thought also, how great opposition and ages, and that which is positive is fixed, and that prejudice natural philosophy had received by superwhich is question is kept question, so as the columns stition, and the immoderate and blind zeal of reliof no further proceeding are pitched. And there- gion; for he found that some of the Grecians, which fore he saw plainly men had cut themselves off from first gave the reason of thunder, had been confarther invention ; and that it is no marvel, that that demned of impiety; and that the cosmographers, is not obtained which hath not been attempted, but which first discovered and described the roundness rather shut out and debarred.

of the earth, and the consequence thereof touching 5. He thought also, that knowledge is almost the antipodes, were not much otherwise censured generally sought either for delight and satisfaction, by the ancient fathers of the christian church; and or for gain or profession, or for credit and ornament, that the case is now much worse, in regard of the and that every of these are as Atalanta's balls, which boldness of the schoolmen and their dependences in hinder the race of invention. For men are so far the monasteries, who having made divinity into an in these courses from seeking to increase the mass art, have almost incorporated the contentious philoof knowledge, as of that mass which is they will sophy of Aristotle into the body of christian religion : take no more than will serve their turn : and if any and generally he perceived in men of devout simone amongst so many seeketh knowledge for itself

, plicity this opinion, that the secrets of nature were yet he rather seeketh to know the variety of things, the secrets of God; and part of that glory wherethan to discern of the truth and causes of them; into the mind of man, if it seek to press, shall be and if his inquisition be yet more severe, yet it tend-oppressed; and that the desire in men to attain to eth rather to judgment than to invention; and so great and hidden knowledge, hath a resemblance rather to discover truth in controversy, than new with that temptation which caused the original fall; matter; and if his heart be so large as he propound and on the other side, in men of a devout policy, he eth to himself farther discovery or invention, yet it noted an inclination to have the people depend upon is rather of new discourse and speculation of causes, God the more, when they are less acquainted with than of effects and operations. And as for those second causes; and to have no stirring in philosothat have so much in their mouths, action and use phy, lest it may lead to an innovation in divinity, or and practice, and the referring of sciences there else should discover matter of farther contradiction unto; they mean it of application of that which is to divinity. But in this part, resorting to the known, and not of a discovery of that which is un authority of the Scriptures, and holy examples, and known. So he saw plainly, that this mark, namely, to reason, he rested not satisfied alone, but much invention of farther means to endow the condition confirmed. For first he considered that the knowand life of man with new powers or works, was al ledge of nature, by the light whereof man discerned most never yet set up and resolved in man's inten- of every living creature, and imposed names action and inquiry.

cording to their propriety, was not the occasion of 6. He thought also, that, amongst other know the fall ; but the moral knowledge of good and evil, ledges, natural philosophy hath been the least fol- affected to the end to depend no more upon God's lowed and laboured. For since the christian faith, commandments, but for man to direct himself. the greatest number of wits have been employed, Neither could he find in any Scripture, that the inand the greatest helps and rewards have been con- quiry and science of man in any thing, under the ferred upon divinity. And before-time likewise, the mysteries of the Deity, is determined and restrained, greatest part of the studies of philosophers was con but contrariwise allowed and provoked. For consumed in moral philosophy, which was as the cerning all other knowledge the scripture pronouncheathen divinity. And in both times a great part eth, " That it is the glory of God to conceal, but it of the best wits betook themselves to law, pleadings, is the glory of man (or of the king, for the king is and causes of estate; specially in the time of the but the excellency of man) to invent;" and again, greatness of the Romans, who by reason of their “ The spirit of man is as the lamp of God, where

with he searcheth every secret ;” and again most sible in his creatures. So as he saw well, that naeffectually, “ That God hath made all things beau- tural philosophy was of excellent use to the exalttiful and decent, according to the return of their ation of the Divine Majesty ; and, that which is seasons; also that he hath set the world in man's admirable, that being a remedy of superstition, it heart, and yet man cannot find out the work which is nevertheless a help to faith. He saw likewise, God worketh from the beginning to the end :" that the former opinions to the prejudice hereof had showing that the heart of man is a continent of that no true ground; but must spring either out of mere concave or capacity, wherein the content of the ignorance, or out of an excess of devotion, to have world, that is, all forms of the creatures, and what- divinity all in all, whereas it should be only above soever is not God, may be placed, or received; and all; both which states of mind may be best parcomplaining, that through the variety of things, doned; or else out of worse causes, namely, out of and vicissitudes of times, which are but impediments envy, which is proud weakness, and deserveth to be and not impuissances, man cannot accomplish his despised; or out of spme mixture of imposture, to invention. In precedent also he set before his eyes, tell a lie for God's cause; or out of an impious difthat in those few memorials before the flood, the fidence, as if men should fear to discover some things Scripture honoureth the name of the inventors of in nature which might subvert faith. But still he music and works in metal; that Moses had this saw well, howsoever these opinions are in right addition of praise, that he was seen in all the learn reason reproved, yet they leave not to be most ing of the Ægyptians; that Solomon, in his grant of effectual hinderances to natural philosophy and wisdom from God, had contained, as a branch thereof, invention. that knowledge whereby he wrote a natural history 8. He thought also, that there wanted not great of all verdure, from the cedar to the moss, and of all contrariety to the farther discovery of sciences in that breatheth: that the book of Job, and many regard of the orders and customs of universities, and places of the prophets, have great aspersion of na also in regard of common opinion. For in univertural philosophy; that the church in the bosom and sities and colleges men's studies are almost confined lap thereof, in the greatest injuries of times, ever to certain authors, from which if any dissenteth or preserved, as holy relics, the books of philosophy propoundeth matter of redargution, it is enough to and all heathen learning; and that when Gregory, make him thought a person turbulent; whereas if the bishop of Rome, became adverse and unjust to it be well advised, there is a great difference to be the memory of heathen antiquity, it was censured for made between matters contemplative and active. pusillanimity in him, and the honour thereof soon For in government change is suspected, though to after restored, and his own memory almost perse- the better; but it is natural to arts to be in perpetual cuted by his successor Sabinian; and lastly, in our agitation and growth. Neither is the danger alike times, and the ages of our fathers, when Luther and of new light, and of new motion or remove; and for the divines of the protestant church on the one side, vulgar and received opinions, nothing is more usual, and the Jesuits on the other, have enterprised to or more usually complained of, than that it is imreform, the one the doctrine, the other the disci- posed for arrogancy and presumption, for men to pline and manners of the church of Rome, he saw authorize themselves against antiquity and authors, well how both of them have awaked to their great towards whom envy is ceased, and reverence by time honour and succour all human learning. And for amortised: it not being considered what Aristotle reason, there cannot be a greater and more evident himself did, upon whom the philosophy that now is than this, that all knowledge, and especially that of chiefly dependeth, who came with a professed connatural philosophy, tendeth highly to the magnify- tradiction to all the world, and did put all his opiing of the glory of God in his power, providence, nions upon his own authority and argument, and and benefits, appearing and engraven in his works, never so much as nameth an author, but to confute which without this knowledge are beheld but as and reprove him; and yet his success well fulfilled through a veil : for if the heavens in the body of the observation of Him that said, " If a man come them do declare the glory of God to the eye, much in his own name, him will you receive." Men think more do they in the rule and decrees of them declare likewise, that if they should give themselves to the it to the understanding. And another reason, not liberty of invention and travail of inquiry, that they inferior to this, is, that the same natural philosophy shall light again upon some conceits and contemplaprincipally amongst all other human knowledge, tions which have been formerly offered to the world, doth give an excellent defence against both extremes and have been put down by better, which have preof religion, superstition, and infidelity; for both it vailed and brought them to oblivion ; not seeing, freeth the mind from a number of weak fancies and that howsoever the property and breeding of knowimaginations, and it raiseth the mind to acknowledges is in great and excellent wits, yet the estiledge that to God all things are possible ; for to mation and price of them is in the multitude, or in that purpose speaketh our Saviour in that first canon the inclinations of princes and great persons meanly against heresies, delivered upon the case of the re learned. So as those knowledges are like to be surrection, “ You err, not knowing the Scriptures, received and honoured, which have their foundation nor the power of God;" teaching that there are but in the subtilty or finest trial of common sense, or two fountains of heresy, not knowing the will of God such as fill the imagination, and not such knowledge revealed in the Scriptures, and not knowing the as is digged out of the hard mine of history and expower of God revealed, or at least made most sen-perience, and falleth out to be in some points as ad

verse to common sense, or popular reason, as religion, | event, but that experience of untruth had made acor more. Which kind of knowledge, except it be cess to truth more difficult, and that the ignominy delivered with strange advantages of eloquence and of vanity hath abated all greatness of mind. power, may be likely to appear and disclose a little 10. He thought also, there was found in the to the world, and straight to vanish and shut again. mind of man an affection naturally bred and fortified, So that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river and farthered by discourse and doctrine, which did or flood, that bringeth down to us that which is pervert the true proceeding towards active and opelight and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that rative knowledge. This was a false estimation, that which is solid and grave. So he saw well, that both it should be as a diminution to the mind of man in the state of religion, and in the administration of to be much conversant in experiences and parlearning, and in common opinion, there were many ticulars, subject to sense, and bound in matter, and and continual stopgrand traverses to the course of which are laborious to search, ignoble to mediinvention.

tate, harsh to deliver, illiberal to practise, infinite as 9. He thought also, that the invention of works is supposed in number, and no ways accommodate and farther possibility was prejudiced in a more to the glory of arts. This opinion or state of mind special manner than that of speculative truth ; for received much credit and strength by the school of besides the impediments common to both, it hath Plato, who thinking that particulars rather revived by itself been notably hurt and discredited by the rain the notions, or excited the faculties of the mind, than promises and pretences of alchemy, magic, astrology, merely informed ; and having mingled his philosoand such other arts, which, as they now pass, hold phy with superstition, which never favoureth the much more of imagination and belief, than of sense sense, extolleth too much the understanding of man and demonstration. But to use the poet's language, in the inward light thereof. And again, Aristotle's men ought to have remembered, that although Ixion school, which giveth the due to the sense in assertion, of a cloud in the likeness of Juno begat Centaurs denieth it in practice much more than that of Plato. and Chimæras, yet Jupiter also of the true Juno For we see the schoolmen, Aristotle's successors, begat Vulcan and Hebe. Neither is it just to deny which were utterly ignorant of history, rested only credit to the greatness of the acts of Alexander, be- upon agitation of wit; whereas Plato giveth good cause the like or more strange have been feigned example of inquiry by induction and view of parof an Amadis or an Arthur, or other fabulous wor ticulars ; though in such a wandering manner as is thies. But though this in true reason should be, of no force or fruit. So that he saw well, that the and that men ought not to make a confusion of un- supposition of the sufficiency of man's mind hath belief; yet he saw well it could not otherwise be in | lost the means thereof.

[blocks in formation]

The sun-beams hot to sense.

The middle region of the air hath manifest efThe moon-beams not hot, but rather conceived fects of cold, notwithstanding locally it be nearer the to have a quality of cold, for that the greatest colds sun, commonly imputed to antiperistasis, assuming are noted to be about the full, and the greatest heats that the beams of the sun are hot either by approach about the change. Query.

or by reflexion, and that falleth in the middle term The beams of the stars have no sensible heat by between both ; or if, as some conceive, it be only by themselves ; but are conceived to have an augmenta- reflexion, then the cold of that region resteth chiefly tive heat of the sun-beams by the instance following upon distance. The instances showing the cold of The same climate arctic and antarctic are observed that region, are the snows which descend, the hails to differ in cold, viz. that the antarctic is the more which descend, and the snows and extreme colds cold, and it is manifest the antarctic hemisphere is which are upon high mountains. thinner planted with stars.

But Qu. of such mountains as adjoin to sandy The heats observed to be greater in July than in vales, and not to fruitful vales, which minister no June; at which time the sun is nearest the great- vapours ; or of mountains above the region of est fixed stars, viz. Cor Leonis, Cauda Leonis, vapours, as is reported of Olympus, where any inSpica Virginis, Sirius, Canicula.

scription upon the ashes of the altar remained unThe conjunction of any two of the three highest touched of wind or dew. And note, it is also replanets noted to cause great heats.

ported, that men carry up sponges with vinegar to Comets conceived by some to be as well causes as thicken their breath, the air growing too fine for reeffects of heat, much more the stars.

spiration, which seemeth not to stand with coldness. The sun-beams have greater heat when they are The clouds make a mitigation of the heat of the more perpendicular than when they are more ob So doth the interposition of any body, which lique ; as appeareth in difference of regions, and we term shades; but yet the nights in summer are the difference of the times of summer and winter in many times as hot to the feeling of men's bodies as the same region; and chiefly in the difference of the days are within doors, where the beams of the the hours of mid-day, mornings, evenings in the sun actually beat not. same day.

There is no other nature of heat known from the The heats more extreme in July and August than celestial bodies or from the air, but that which in May or June, commonly imputed to the stay and cometh by the sun-beams. For in the countries continuance of heat.

near the pole, we see the extreme colds end in the The heats more extreme under the tropics than summer months, as in the voyage of Nova Zembla, under the line: commonly imputed to the stay and where they could not disengage their barks from continuance of heat, because the sun there doth as the ice, no not in July, and met with great mounit were double a cape.

tains of ice, some floating, some fixed, at that time The heats more about three or four of clock than of the year, being the heart of summer. at noon; commonly imputed to the stay and con The caves under the earth noted to be warmer in tinuance of heat.

winter than in summer, and so the waters that spring The sun noted to be hotter when it shineth forth from within the earth. between clouds, than when the sky is open and Great quantity of sulphur, and sometimes na

turally burning after the manner of Ætna, in Iceland;



« PreviousContinue »