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Father's name, and ye received me not; if one shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."1 But in this divine aphorism, if we consider to whom it was applied (namely, to Anti-Christ, the highest deceiver of all ages), we may discern this well, that the coming in a man's own name, without regard of antiquity or (so to say) of paternity, is no good sign of truth, though it be oftentimes joined with the fortune and success of " him ye will receive." But of Aristotle, so excellent a person as he was, and so wonderful for the acuteness of his mind, I can well believe that he learnt that humour from his scholar, whom perhaps he emulated; the one aspiring to conquer all nations, the other to conquer all opinions, and to establish for himself a kind of despotism in thought. Wherein nevertheless, it may be, he may at some men's hands who are of a bitter temper and a sharp tongue get a like title as his scholar did;
Felix terrarum praxlo, non utile mundo
Felix doctrinae proedo, &c.
But to me on the other side (who desire, as much as lies in my pen, to ground a sociable intercourse between the old and the new in learning) it seems best to keep way with antiquity in all things lawful, and to retain the ancient terms, though I often alter their sense and definitions; according to the moderate and approved course of innovation in civil matters, by which, when the state of things is changed, yet the forms of words are kept; as Tacitus remarks, "The names of the magistrates are the same." *
i St . John, v. 43.
a Cf. Lucan, x. 21.: — Great thief of nations, to the world sent forth A dangerous precedeut.
Great thief of learning, &c.
To return therefore to the use and acceptation of the term metaphysic, as I understand the word. It appears by that which has been already said, that I intend Primitive or Summary Philosophy and Metaphysic, which heretofore have been confounded as one, to be two distinct things. For the one I have made a parent or common ancestor to all knowledge; the other, a branch or portion of Natural Philosophy. Now I have assigned to Primitive Philosophy the common principles and axioms which are promiscuous and indifferent to several sciences. I have assigned to it likewise the question of the Relative and Adventitious Conditions of Essences (which I have termed Transcendental) ; as Much, Little; Like, Unlike; Possible, Impossible, and the rest; with this provision alone, that they be handled as they have efficacy in nature, and not logically. But the inquiry concerning God, Lenity, the nature of Good, Angels and Spirits, I have referred to Natural Theology. It may fairly therefore now be asked, what is left remaining for Metaphysic? Certainly nothing beyond nature; but of nature itself much the most excellent part. And herein without prejudice to truth I may preserve thus much of the conceit of antiquity, that Physic handles that which is most inherent in matter and therefore transitory, and Metaphysic that which is more abstracted and fixed. And again, that Physic supposes in nature only a being and moving and natural necessity; whereas Metaphysic supposes also a mind and idea. For that which I shall say comes perhaps to this. But avoiding all height of language, I will state the matter perspicuously and familiarly. I divided Natural Philosophy into the Inquiry of Causes and the Production of Effects. The Inquiry of Causes I referred to the Theoretical part of Philosophy. This I subdivide into Physic and Metaphysic. It follows that the true difference between them must be drawn from the nature of the causes that they inquire into. And therefore to speak plain and go no further about, Physic inquires and handles the Material and Efficient Causes, Metaphysic the Formal and Final.
i Tac. Ann. i. 3.
Physic then comprehends causes vague, variable, and respective; but does not aspire to the constant.
Limns ut hie durescit, et hsec ut cera liquescit,
Fire is the cause of induration, but respective to clay; fire is the cause of colliquation, but respective to wax. Now I will divide Physic into three doctrines. For nature is either united and collected, or diffused and distributed. Nature is collected into one, either by reason of the community of the principles of all things, or by reason of the unity of the integral body of the universe. And thus this union of nature has begot two departments of Physic; the one concerning the first principles of things, the other concerning the structure of the universe, or the world; which parts I have likewise usually termed the doctrines concerning the Sums of Things. The third doctrine (which handles nature diffused or distributed) exhibits all the varieties and lesser sums of things. Hence it appears that there are three physical doctrines in all: concerning the prin
1 Virg. Eel. viii. 80.:— Ab the same fire which makes the soft clay hard, Makes hard wax soft.
ciples of things: concerning the world or structure of the universe: and concerning nature manifold or diffused. "VThicli last, as 1 have said, includes all variety at things, and is but as a rrloss or paraphrase attending upon the text of natural historv. (>f these three I cannot report any as totally dehcient: hut hi what truth or jierfeetion they are handled. 1 make not here any judgment.
lint Physic diffused, which touches on tiie varierr and jsirticuiarity of titbit's. 1 will acain divide into two part: Physic concerning things Concrete, and Physic concerning tiling Abstract: or Phvsic concerning Creature*, and Physic concernin£ ^Natures. The one <^to make use of logical terms I inquires coneeminE suitstances. with every variety oi tiieir accidents: and the other, concerning accidents, tlirouirL everv variety of substances. For example, if the inquirv be about a lion, or an oak. these support manv different accidents.: if contrariwise, it be about heal or gravity, these are found in many different substances. But as all Phvsic lies in a middle term lierween ^Natural History and Metapliysic. tic. !>-th-jt i<a-t • if von ob*ervt- rigiith ) comes m J**tura History, the
latter ti> Waaijilik'ML- Cao> Pin sir is suinert to ibr sxntu4mhoii m Xsaai Sonry - beiT £ orver
ts or specie*, a- _.- w;u. fc Far *■ ail ->* Xat■Wi tfeefcrt. wberw ■w: I MU -.Mr vanawmA Efiamr.. Amimr HHf im ccmpenrinr fectivc, though by reason of the dignity of the subject it deserves special consideration. Astronomy has indeed a good foundation in phenomena, yet it is weak, and by no means sound; but astrology is in most parts without foundation even. Certainly astronomy offers to the human intellect a victim like that which Prometheus offered in deceit to Jupiter. Prometheus, in the place of a real ox, brought to the altar the hide of an ox of great size and beauty, stuffed with straw and* leaves and twigs. In like manner astronomy presents only the exterior of the heavenly bodies (I mean the number of the stars, their positions, motions, and periods), as it were the hide of the heavens; beautiful indeed, and skilfully arranged into systems; but the interior (namely the physical reasons) is wanting, out of which (with the help of astronomical hypotheses) a theory might be devised which would not merely satisfy the phenomena (of which kind many might with a little ingenuity be contrived), but which would set forth the substance, motion, and influence of the heavenly bodies as they really are. For long ago have those doctrines beeen exploded of the Force of the First Mover and the Solidity of the Heaven, — the stars being supposed to be fixed in their orbs like nails in a roof. And with no better reason is it affirmed, that there are different p-oles of the zodiac and of the world;
there is a Second Mover of counteraction to the orce of the first; that all the heavenly bodies move in perfect circles; that there are eccentrics and epicycles whereby the constancy of motions in perfect circles is preserved; that the moon works no change or violence in the regions above it: and the like. And it is the absurdity of these opinions that has driven men to tin;