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concrete; and by metaphysics the knowledge of the forms of natures simple; which is a good and fit division of knowledge: but upon examination there is no such matter by them intended. That the little inquiry into the production of simple natures, showeth well that works were not sought; because by the former knowledge some small and superficial deflexions from the ordinary generations and productions may be found out, but the discovery of all profound and radical alteration must arise out of the latter knowledge.
such diversity and repugnance in opinions, theories or philosophies, as so many fable, of several arguments. That had not the nature of civil customs and government been in most times somewhat adverse to such innovations, though contemplative, there might have been and would have been many more. That the second school of the Academics and the sect of Pyrrho, or the considerers, that denied comprehension as the disabling man's knowledge, entertained in anticipations, is well to be allowed: but that they ought, when they had overthrown and purged the floor of the ruins, to have sought to build better in place. And more especially that they did unjustly and prejudicially, Or the error in propounding the search of the ma- to charge the deceit upon the report of the senses, terials, or dead beginnings or principles of things, which admitteth very sparing remedy; being inand not the nature of motions, inclinations, and deed to have been charged upon the anticipations applications. That the whole scope of the former of the mind, which admitteth a perfect remedy. search is impertinent and vain; both because there | That the information of the senses is sufficient, not are no such beginnings, and if there were, they could not be known. That the latter manner of search, which is all, they pass over compendiously and slightly as a bye matter. That the several conceits in that kind; as that the lively and moving beginnings of things should be shift or appetite of matter to privation; the spirit of the world, working in matter according to platform; the proceeding or fructifying of distinct kinds according to their proprieties; the intercourse of the elements by mediation of their common qualities; the appetite of like portions to unite themselves; amity and discord, or sympathy and antipathy; motion to the centre, with motion of stripe or press; the casual agitation, aggregation, and essays of the solid portions in the void space; motion of shuttings and openings; are all mere nugations. And that the calculating and ordination of the true degrees, moments, limits and laws of motions and alterations, by means whereof all works and effects are produced, is a matter of a far other nature than to consist in such easy and wild generalities.
Or the great error of inquiring knowledge in anticipations. That I call anticipations, the voluntary collections that the mind maketh of knowledge, which is every man's reason. That though this be a solemn thing, and serves the turn to negotiate between man and man, because of the conformity and participation of men's minds in the like errors, yet towards inquiry of the truth of things and works it is of no value. That civil respects are a let that this pretended reason should not be so contemptibly spoken of as were fit and medicinable, in regard that hath been too much exalted and glorified, to the infinite detriment of man's estate. Of the nature of words, and their facility and aptness to cover and grace the defects of anticipations. That it is no marvel if these anticipations have brought forth
because they err not, but because the use of the sense in discovering of knowledge is for the most part not immediate. So that it is the work, effect, or instance, that trieth the axiom, and the sense doth but try the work done or not done, being or not being. That the mind of man in collecting knowledge needeth great variety of helps, as well as the hand of man in manual and mechanical practices needeth great variety of instruments. And that it were a poor work, that if instruments were removed men would overcome with their naked hands. And of the distinct points of want and insufficiency in the mind of man.
THAT the mind of a man, as it is not a vessel of that content or receipt to comprehend knowledge without helps and supplies; so again it is not sincere, but of an ill and corrupt tincture. Of the inherent and profound errors and superstitions in the nature of the mind, and of the four sorts of idols or false appearances that offer themselves to the understanding in the inquisition of knowledge; that is to say, the idols of the tribe, the idols of the palace, the idols of the cave, and the idols of the theatre: that these four, added to the incapacity of the mind, and the vanity and malignity of the affections, leave nothing but impotency and confusion. A recital of the particular kinds of these four idols, with some chosen examples of the opinions they have begot, such of them as have supplanted the state of knowledge most.
Or the errors of such as have descended and applied themselves to experience, and attempted to induce knowledge upon particulars. That they have not had the resolution and strength of mind to free themselves wholly from anticipations, but have made a confusion and intermixture of antici
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 col-, have 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 ages. 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 anticipations, yet if he have not been or shall not be cautioned by the full understanding of the nature of the mind and spirit of man, and therein of the states, pores, and passages both of knowledge and error, he hath not been nor shall not be possibly able to guide or keep on his course aright. That those that have been conversant in experience and observation, have used, when they have intended to discover the cause of any effect, to fix their consideration narrowly and exactly upon that effect itself, with all the circumstances thereof, and to vary the trial thereof as many ways as can be devised; which course amounteth but to a tedious curiosity, and ever breaketh off in wondering and not in knowing. And that they have not used to enlarge their observation to match and sort that effect with instances of a diverse subject, which must of necessity be before any cause be found out. That they have passed over the observation of instances vulgar and ignoble, and stayed their attention chiefly upon instances of mark: whereas the other sort are for the most part more significant, and of better light and information. That every particular that worketh any effect, is a thing compounded more or less, of diverse single natures, more manifest and more obscure, and that it appeareth not to whether of the natures the effect is to be ascribed; and yet notwithstanding they have taken a course without breaking particulars, 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(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 axioms, joining with them the new assignations as their sureties. That the forerunning of the mind to frame recipes upon axioms at the entrance, is
THAT the cautels and devices put in practice in the delivery of knowledge for the covering and palliating of ignorance, and the gracing and overvaluing of that they utter, are without number, but none more bold and more hurtful than two: the one, that men have used of a few observations upon any subject to make a solemn and formal art; by filling it up with discourse, accommodating it with some circumstances and directions to practice, and digesting it into method, whereby men grow satisfied and secure, as if no more inquiry were to be made of that matter; the other, that men have used to discharge ignorance with credit, in defining all those effects which they cannot attain unto, to be out of the compass of art and human endeavour. That the very styles and forms of utterance are so many characters of imposture, some choosing a style of pugnacity and contention, some of satire and reprehension, some of plausible and tempting similitudes and examples, some of great words and high discourse, some of short and dark sentences, some of exactness of method, all of positive affirmation; without disclosing the true motives and proofs of their opinions, or free confessing their ignorance or doubts, except it be now and then for a grace, and in cunning to win the more credit in the rest, and not in good faith. That although men be free from these errors and incumbrances in the will and affection, yet it is not a thing so easy as is
mind into the mind of another, without loss or 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 should seem otherwise in regard that the propositions placed last do use the propositions or grants placed first for their proof and demonstration. That there are forms and methods of tradition
with spirits and higher natures. That of those that have entered into search, some having fallen upon some conceits, which they after consider to be the same which they have found in former
man shall but with much labour incur and light upon the same inventions which he might with ease receive from others, and that it is but a vanity and self-pleasing of the wit to go about again, as one that would rather have a flower of his own gathering, than much better gathered to his hand. That the same humour of sloth and diffidence suggesteth, that a man shall but revive some ancient opinion, which was long ago propounded, examined, and rejected. And that it is easy to err in conceit, that a man's observation or notion
wholly distinct and differing, according to their ends whereto they are directed. That there are two ends of tradition of knowledge, the one to teach and instruct for use and practice, the other 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 a method not the same whereby it was invented and induced, but such as is most compendious and ready, whereby it may be used and applied. That the latter of the ends, which is where a knowledge is delivered to be continued and spun on by a succession of labours, requireth a method whereby it may be transposed to another in the same manner as it was collected, to the end it may be discerned both where the work is weak, and where it breaketh off. That this latter method is 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 by anticipations, because the mind working inwardly of itself, no man can give a just account how he came to that knowledge which he hath received, and that therefore this method is peculiar for knowledge gathered by interpretation. That the discretion anciently observed, though by the precedent of many vain persons and deceivers disgraced, of publishing part and reserving part to a private succession, and of publishing in a manner whereby it shall not be to the capacity nor taste of all, but shall as it were single and adopt his reader, is not to be laid aside, both for the avoiding of abuse in the excluded, and the strengthening of affection in the admitted. That there are other virtues of tradition, as that there be no occasion given to error, and that it carry a vigour to root and spread against the vanity of wits and injuries of time; all which, if they were ever due to any knowledge delivered, or if they were never due to any human knowledge heretofore delivered, yet are now due to the knowledge propounded.
new conceits must of necessity be uttered in old words, and because upon true and erroneous grounds men may meet in consequence or conclusion, as several lines or circles that cut in some one point. That the greatest part of those that have descended into search have chosen for the most artificial and compendious course, to induce principles out of particulars, and to reduce all other propositions unto principles: and so, instead of the nearest way, have been led to no way or a mere labyrinth. That the two contemplative ways have some resemblance with the old parable of the two moral ways, the one beginning with incertainty and difficulty, and ending in plainness and certainty; and the other beginning with show of plainness and certainty, and ending in difficulty and incertainty. Of the great and manifest error and untrue conceit or estimation of the infiniteness of particulars, whereas indeed all prolixity is in discourse and derivations; and of the infinite and most laborious expence of wit that hath been employed upon toys and matters of no fruit or value. 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.
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 theolo
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.
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. į 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
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, ex-subtilty; study at large to variety; and that it is cept it be by accident or intermixture of humour. That a religion which consisteth in rites and forms of adoration, and not in confessions and
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 wherein magic and superstition hath played in all light but in great length of time; and that those times. The mechanical person, if he can refine which are, came not to light by philosophy. 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.
2. He thought also this state of knowledge was the 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 3. He thought also, when men did set before works are to be expected from art, and the hand themselves the variety and perfection of works of man; as, in particular that opinion, that "the produced by mechanical arts, they are apt rather to heat of the sun and fire differ in kind;" and that admire the provisions of man, than to apprehend other, "that composition is the work of man, and his wants; not considering, that the original inmixture is the work of nature," and the like; all ventions and conclusions of nature, which are the tending to the circumscription of man's power, life of all that variety, are not many, nor deeply and to artificial despair; killing in men not only fetched; and that the rest is but the subtile and the comfort of imagination, but the industry of ruled motion of the instrument and hand; and that trial; only upon vainglory, to have their art the shop therein is not unlike the library, which thought perfect, and that all is impossible that is in such number of books containeth, for the far not already found. The alchemists dischargeth greater part, nothing but iterations, varied somehis art upon his own errors, either supposing a times in form, but not new in substance. So he