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And we may see the same thing even in the training of brute animals. For instance, of sporting dogs, there are some, such as the greyhound, that are trained to pursue hares; and others, which are trained to stand motionless when they come upon a hare, even though they see it running before them. Now, both kinds are accustomed to hares; and both have originally the same instincts; for all dogs have an instinctive tendency to pursue game. But the one kind of dog has always been encouraged to run after a hare, and the other has always been chastised if it attempts to do so, and has been trained to stand still.'?
But it must not be forgotten that education resembles the grafting of a tree in this point also, that there must be some affinity between the stock and the graft, though a very important practical difference may exist; for example, between a worthless crab, and a fine apple. Even so, the new nature, as it may be called, superinduced by education, must always retain some relation to the original one, though differing in most important points. You cannot, by any kind of artificial training, make any thing of any one, and obliterate all trace of the natural character. Those who hold that this is possible, and attempt to effect it, resemble Virgil, who (whether in ignorance or, as some think, by way of poetical licence ') talks of grafting an oak on an elm : ‘glandesque sues fregere sub ulmis.'
One of Doctor Johnson's paradoxes, more popular in his time than now, but far from being now exploded, was, that a given amount of ability may be turned in any direction, 'even as a man may walk this way or that.' And so he can ; because walking is the action for which the legs are fitted; but though he may use his eyes for looking at this object or that, he cannot hear with his eyes, or see with his ears. And the eyes and ears are not more different than, for instance, the poetical faculty, and the mathematical. "Oh, but if Milton had turned his mind to mathematics, and if Newton had turned his mind to poetry, the former might have been the great mathematician, and the latter the great poet.' This is open to the proverbial reply, • If my aunt had been a man, she would have been my uncle. For, the supposition implied in these ifs is, that Milton and Newton should have been quite different characters from what they were.
1 Lessons on Morals.
'.... Minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have
kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment; which is exceeding rare.' And as admirable as it is rare. Such minds may indeed print their opinions, but do not stereotype them. Nor does the self-distrust, the perpetual care, the diligent watchfulness, the openness to conviction, the exercise of which is implied in Bacon's description, necessarily involve a state of painful and unceasing doubt. For, in proportion as a man is watchfully and prayerfully on his guard against the unseen current of passions and prejudices, which is ever tending to drive him out of the right course, in the same degree he will have reason for cherishing an humble hope that He, the Spirit of Truth, is, and will be, with him, to enlighten his understanding, to guide his conduct, and to lead him onwards to that state in which Faith shall be succeeded by sight, and hope by enjoyment.
• The force of custom, copulate and conjoined, and collegiate, is
far greater.' For this reason it is, that what is said or done by very inferior persons, is the best sign of what is commonly said or done in the place and time in which they live. A man of resolute character, and of an original turn of thought, being more likely to resist this force of 'copulate and collegiate custom, does not furnish so good a sign of what are the prevailing opinions and customs. Hence the proverb:
• A straw best shows
How the wind blows.' A bar of heavy metal would not be perceptibly influenced by the wind.
I wish I could feel justified in concluding this head without saying anything of Bacon's own character;- without holding him up as himself a lamentable example of practice at variance with good sentiments, and sound judgment, and right precepts. He thought well, and he spoke well; but he had accustomed himself to act very far from well. And justice requires that he should be held up as a warning beacon to teach all men an important lesson; to afford them a sad proof that no intellectual power—no extent of learning,—not even the most pure and exalted moral sentiments, confined to theory, will supply the want of a diligent and watchful conformity in practice to chris. tian principle. All the attempts that have been made to vindicate or palliate Bacon's moral conduct, tend only to lower, and to lower very much, the standard of virtue. He appears but too plainly to have been worldly, ambitious, covetous, base, selfish, and unscrupulous. And it is remarkable that the Mammon which he served proved but a faithless master in the end. He reached the highest pinnacle, indeed, to which his ambition had aimed; but he died impoverished, degraded, despised, and broken-hearted. His example, therefore, is far from being at all seductive.
To Bacon, and unhappily to many others also, will apply the satirical lines of the poet:?
Our better thoughts
But let no one, thereupon, undervalue or neglect the lessons of wisdom which his writings may supply, and which we may, through divine grace, turn to better account than he did himself. It would be absurd to infer, that because Bacon was a great philosopher, and far from a good man, therefore you will be the better man for keeping clear of his philosophy. His intellectual superiority was no more the cause of his moral failures, than Solomon's wisdom was of his. You may be as faulty a character as either of them was, without possessing a particle of their wisdom, and without seeking to gain instruction from it. The intellectual light which they enjoyed did not, indeed, keep them in the right path ; but you will not be the more likely to walk in it, if you quench any light that is afforded you.
1 This censure of Bacon has actually been complained of as undeserved ; not on the ground that his conduct was any better than it is but too well known to have been, but on the ground that his writings contain excellent views of Gospel-truth!
This is exactly the doctrine of the ancient Gnostics ; who held that their (80called) knowledge (Gnosis of the Gospel would save them, though leading a vicious life.
But when instances of such teaching in our own days are adduced (as unhappily may be done to a great extent), some persons—including some who are themselves of blameless life-resolutely shut their ears to evidence, and will not be brought to perceive, or at least to acknowledge, that any such thing as Gnosticism exists among us, or that we are in any danger of antinomian doctrine.
So strong is the force of party!
The Canaanites of old, we should remember, dwelt in a good land, flowing with milk and honey, though they worshipped not the true God, but served abominable demons, with sacrifices of the produce of their soil, and even with the blood of their children. But the Israelites were invited to go in, and take possession of well-stored houses that they builded not, and wells which they digged not;' and they took the labours of the people in possession ;' only, they were warned to beware lest, in their prosperity and wealth, they should forget the Lord their God,' and to offer to Him the first fruits of their land.
Neglect not, then, any of the advantages of intellectual cultivation which God's providence has placed within your reach; nor 'think scorn of that pleasant land,' and prefer wandering by choice in the barren wilderness of ignorance; but let the intellect which God has endowed you with be cultivated as a servant to Him; and then it will be, not a master, but a useful servant, to you.
ESSAY XL. OF FORTUNE.
TT cannot be denied but outward accidents conduce much to I fortune; favour, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue: but chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hand. "Faber quisque fortunæ suæ,' saith the poet:' and the most frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one man is the fortune of another; for no man prospers so suddenly as by others' errors ; “serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.' ? Overt and apparent : virtues bring forth praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no name. The Spanish name,
disemboltura,'' partly expresseth them, when there be not stonds. and restiveness in a man's nature, but that the wheels of his mind keep way 6 with the wheels of his fortune; for so Livy (after he had described Cato Major in these words, 'in illo viro, tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, ut quocunque Ico natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus videretur')? falleth upon that he had, 'versatile ingenium. Therefore, if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see fortune ; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of fortune is like the milken’ way in the sky; which is a meeting, or knot, of a number of small
1. Every man the artificer of his own fortune.'- Appius Claudius ; but attributed by Bacon elsewhere (Advancement of Learning) to Plautus.
3. Unless the serpent devours the serpent, it does not become a dragon.' 3 Apparent. Evident ; known ; visible.
•As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent,
In my mind ought to be prevented.'--Shakespere. • The outward and apparent sanctity should flow from purity of heart.'- Atterbury.
4 Desenvoltura. Graceful ease.
5 Stonds. Stops. The removal of the stonds and impediments of the mind, that often clears the passage and current to a man's fortune.'— Bacon's Letter to Sir Henry Temple.
6 Way. Time. The time in which a certain space can be passed through or over.
• A mile-way.'- Chaucer. 7. In that man there was so much strength of body and of mind, that it seems that in whatever place he had been, he would have made fortune his own.'
8 • A versatile mind.'
9 Milken. Milky. “The remedies are to be proposed from a constant course of the milken diet.'— Temple.