Page images
PDF
EPUB

position. For some bodies are mixed together and incorporated easily, but others with difficulty and reluctance. Thus powders mix best with water; ashes and lime with oils, and so on. Nor should we merely collect instances of the propensity or aversion of bodies for mixture, but also of the collocation of their parts, of their distribution and digestion when they are mixed, and finally of their predominancy after the mixture is completed.

There remains the seventh and last of the seven modes of operation, namely, the means of operating by the alternation of the former six; but it would not be seasonable to bring forward examples of this, till our search has been carried somewhat more deeply into the others singly. Now a series or chain of such alternations, adapted to particular effects; is a thing at once most difficult to discover, and most effective to work with. But men are utterly impatient both of the inquiry and the practice; though it is the very thread of the labyrinth, as regards works of any magnitude. Let this suffice to exemplify the Polychrest Instances.

LI.

Among Prerogative Instances I will put in the twenty-seventh and last place Instances of Magic; by which I mean those wherein the material or efficient cause is scanty or small, as compared with the work and effect produced; so that, even where they are common, they seem like miracles: some at first sight, others even after attentive consideration. These indeed nature of herself supplies sparingly; but what she may do when her folds have been shaken out, and after the discovery of Forms and Processes and Configurations, time will show. But these magical effects (according to my present conjecture) are brought about in three ways; either by self-multiplication, as in fire, and in poisons called specific, and also in motions which are increased in power by passing from wheel to wheel; or by excitation or invitation in another body, as in the magnet^ which excites numberless needles without losing any of its virtue, or in yeast and the like; or by anticipation of motion, as in the case already mentioned of gunpowder and cannons and mines. Of which ways the two former require a knowledge of consents; the third, a knowledge of the measurement of motions. Whether there be any mode of changing bodies per minima (as they call it) and of transposing the subtler configurations of matter (a thing required in every sort of transformation of bodies) so that art may be enabled to do in a short time that which nature accomplishes by many windings, is a point on which I have at present no sure indications. And as in matters solid and true I aspire to the ultimate and supreme, so do I for ever hate all things vain and tumid, and do my best to discard them.

LII.

So much then for the Dignities or Prerogatives of Instances. It must be remembered however that in this Organum of mine I am handling logic, not philosophy. But since my logic aims to teach and instruct the understanding, not that it may with the slender tendrils of the mind snatch at and lay hold of abstract notions (as the common logic does), but that it may in very truth dissect nature, and discover the virtues and actions of bodies, with their laws as determined in matter; so that this science flows not merely from the nature of the mind, but also from the nature of things; no wonder that it is everywhere sprinkled and illustrated with speculations and experiments in nature, as examples of the art I teaeh. It appears then from what has been said that there are twenty-seven Prerogative Instances; namely, Solitary Instances; Migratory Instances; Striking Instances; Clandestine Instances; Constitutive Instances; Conformable Instances; Singular Instances; Deviating Instances; Bordering Instances; Instances of Power; Instances of Companionship and of Enmity; Subjunctive Instances; Instances of Alliance; Instances of the Fingerpost; Instances of Divorce; Instances of the Door; Summoning Instances; Instances of the Road; Instances Supplementary; Dissecting Instances; Instances of the Rod; Instances of the Course; Doses of Nature; Instances of Strife; Intimating Instances; Polychrest Instances; Magical Instances. Now the use of these instances, wherein they excel common instances, is found either in the Informative part or in the Operative, or in both. As regards the Informative, they assist either the senses or the understanding: the senses, as the five Instances of the Lamp: the understanding, either by hastening the Exclusion of the Form, as Solitary Instances;—or by narrowing and indicating more nearly the Affirmative of the Form, as Instances Migratory, Striking, of Companionship, and Subjunctive;—or by exalting the understanding and leading it to genera and common natures; either immediately, as Instances Clandestine, Singular, and of Alliance; or in the next degree, as Constitutive; or in the lowest, as Conformable; — or by setting the understanding right when led astray by habit, as Deviating Instances;— or by leading it to the Great Form or Fabric of the Universe, as Bordering Instances; — or by guarding it against false forms and causes, as Instances of the Fingerpost and of Divorce. In the Operative Part, they either point out, or measure, or facilitate practice. They point it out, by showing with what we should begin, that we may not go again over old ground, as Instances of Power; or to what we should aspire if means be given, as Intimating Instances. The four Mathematical Instances measure practice: Polychrest and Magical Instances facilitate it.

Again out of these twenty-seven instances there are some of which we must make a collection at once, as I said above, without waiting for the particular investigation of natures. Of this sort are Instances Conformable, Singular, Deviating, Bordering, of Power, of the Dose, Intimating, Polychrest, and Magical. For these either help and set right the understanding and senses, or furnish practice with her tools in a general way. The rest need not be inquired into till we come to make Tables of Presentation for the work of jhe Interpreter concerning some particular nature. For the instances marked and endowed with these Prerogatives are as a soul amid the common instances of Presentation, and as I said at first, a few of them do instead of many; and therefore in the formation of the Tables they must be investigated with all zeal, and set down therein. It was necessary to handle them beforehand because I shall have to speak of them in what follows. But now I must proceed to the supports and rectifications of Induction, and then to concretes, and Latent Processes, and Latent Configurations, and the rest, as set forth in order in the twenty first Aphorism; that at length (like an honest and faithful guardian) I may hand over to men their fortunes, now their understanding is emancipated and come as it were of age; whence there cannot but follow an improvement in man's estate, and an enlargement of his power over nature. For man by the fall fell at the same time from his state of innocency and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses however can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences. For creation was not by the curse made altogether and for ever a rebel, but in virtue of that charter "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," it is now by various labours (not certainly by disputations or idle magical ceremonies, but by various labours) at length and in some measure subdued to the supplying of man with bread; that is, to the uses of human life.

END OF THE SECOND BOOK OF THE NEW OKGANUM.

« PreviousContinue »