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judice which both religion and philosophy hath received, and may receive, by being commixed together; as that which undoubtedly will make an heretical religion, and an imaginary and fabulous philosophy.
Otherwise it is of the nature of angels and spirits, which is an appendix of theology, both divine and natural, and is neither inscrutable nor interdicted: for although the Scripture saith, " Let no man deceive you in sublime discourse touching the worship of angels, pressing into that he knoweth not," &c. yet notwithstanding, if you observe well that precept, it may appear thereby that there be two things only forbidden, adoration of them, and opinion fantastical of them, either to extol them farther than appertained to the degree of a creature, or to extol a man's knowledge of them farther than he hath ground. But the sober and grounded inquiry, which may arise out of the passages of Holy Scriptures, or out of the gradations of nature, is not restrained. So of degenerate and revolted spirits, the conversing with them, or the employment of them, is prohibited, much more any veneration towards them. But the contemplation or science of their nature, their power, their illusions, either by Scripture or reason, is a part of spiritual wisdom. For so the apostle saith, '■ We are not ignorant of his stratagems." And it is no more unlawful to inquire the nature of evil spirits, than to inquire the force of poisons in nature, or the nature of sin and vice in morality. But this part, touching angels and spirits, I cannot note as deficient, for many have occupied themselves in it; I may rather challenge it, in many of the writers thereof, as fabulous and fantastical.
Leaving therefore divine philosophy or natural theology, not divinity, or inspired theology, which we reserve for the last of all, as the haven and sabbath of all man's contemplations, we will now proceed to Natural Philosophy.
If then it be true that Democritus said, " That the truth of nature lieth hid in certain deep mines and caves ;" and if it be true likewise that the alchemists do so much inculcate, that Vulcan is a second nature, and imitateth that dexterously and compendiously, which nature worketh by ambages and length of time; it were good to divide natural philosophy into the mine and the furnace, and to make two professions or occupations of natural philosophers, some to be pioneers, and some smiths; some to dig, and some to refine and hammer: and surely I do best to allow of a division of that kind, though in more familiar and scholastical terras: namely, that these be the two parts of natural philosophy,— the inquisition of causes, and the production of effects; speculative and operative; natural science, and natural prudence.
For as in civil matters there is a wisdom of discourse, and a wisdom of direction; so it is in natural. And here I will make a request, that for the latter, or at least for a part thereof, I may revive and reintegrate the misapplied and abused name of natural magic, which, in the true sense, is but natural wisdom, or natural prudence; taken according to the ancient acception, purged from vanity and superstition.
Now although it be true, and I know it well, that there is an intercourse between causes and effects, so as both these knowledges, speculative and operative, have a great connexion between themselves; yet because all true and fruitful natural philosophy hatli a double scale or ladder, ascendant and descendent; ascending from experiments, to the invention of causes; and descending from causes, to the invention of new experiments; therefore I judge it most requisite that these two parts be severally considered and handled.
Natural science, or theory, is divided into Physic and Metaphysic; wherein 1 desire it may be conceived, that I use the word metaphysic in a differing sense from that that is received: and, in like manner, I doubt not but it will easily appear to men of judgment, that in this and other particulars, wheresoever my conception and notion may differ from the ancient, yet I am studious to keep the ancient terms.
For hoping well to deliver myself from mistaking, by the order and perspicuous expressing of that I do propound; 1 am otherwise zealous and affectionate to recede as little from antiquity, either in terms or opinions, as may stand with truth, and the proficience of knowledge.
And herein I cannot a little marvel at the philosopher Aristotle, that did proceed in such a spirit of difference and contradiction towards all antiquity, undertaking not only to frame new words of science at pleasure, but to confound and extinguish all ancient wisdom: insomuch as he never nameth or mentioneth an ancient author or opinion, but to confute and reprove; wherein for glory, and drawing followers and disciples, he took the right course.
For certainly there cometh to pass, and hath place in human truth, that which was noted and pronounced in the highest truth, "Veni in nomine Patris, nec recipitis me; si quis venerit in nomine suo, eum recipietis." But in this divine aphorism, considering to whom it was applied, namely, to antichrist, the highest deceiver, we may discern well, that the coming in a man's own name, without regard of antiquity or paternity, is no good sign of truth, although it be joined with the fortune and success of an "Eum recipietis." ,
But for this excellent person, Aristotle, I will think of him, that he learned that humour of his scholar, with whom, it seemeth, he did emulate, the one to conquer all opinions, as the other to conquer all nations: wherein nevertheless, it may be, he may at some men's hands, that are of a bitter disposition, get a like title as his scholar did.
"Felix tcrramm prrcrlo, non utile mundo
"Felix tloctrinae pnedo."
But to me, on the other side, that do desire as much as lieth in my pen to ground a sociable intercourse between antiquity and proficience, it seemeth best to keep way with antiquity usque ad aras; and therefore to retain the ancient terms, though I sometimes alter the uses and definitions; according to the moderate proceeding in civil government, where, although there be some alteration, yet that holdelh which Tacitus wisely noteth, "eadem magistratuum vocabula."
To return therefore to the use and acception of the term metaphysic, as I do now understand the word; it appeareth, by that which hath been already said, that I intend philosophia prima, summary philosophy, and metaphysic, which heretofore have been confounded as one, to be two distinct things. For the one I have made as a parent, or common ancestor, to all knowledge; and the other I have now brought in, as a branch, or descendant, of natural science. It appeareth likewise that I have assigned to summary philosophy the common principles and axioms which are promiscuous and indifferent to several sciences: I have assigned unto it likewise the inquiry touching the operation of the relative and adventive characters of essences, as quantity, similitude, diversity, possibility, and the rest; with this distinction and provision, that they be handled as they have efficacy in nature, and not logically. It appeareth likewise, that natural theology, which heretofore hath been handled confusedly with metaphysic, I have enclosed and bounded by itself.
It is therefore now a question, what is left remaining for metaphysic; wherein I may without prejudice preserve thus much of the conceit of antiquity, that physic should contemplate that which is inherent in matter, and therefore transitory; and metaphysic, that which is abstracted and fixed.
And again, that physic should handle that which supposeth in nature only a being and moving; and metaphysic should handle that which supposeth farther in nature a reason, understanding, and platform. But the difference perspicuously expressed, is most familiar and sensible.
For as we divided natural philosophy in general into the inquiry of causes, and productions of effects; so that part which concerneth the inquiry of causes, we do subdivide according to the received and sound division of causes; the one part, which is physic, inquireth and handleth the material and efficient causes; and the other, which is metaphysic, handleth the formal and final causes.
Physic, taking it according to the derivation, and not according to our idiom for medicine, is situate in a middle term, or distance, between natural history and metaphysic. For natural history describeth the variety of things; physic the causes, but variable or respective causes; and metaphysic, the fixed and constant causes.
"Limus ut hie durescit, ct hrec ut cera liquescit,
Fire is the cause of induration, but respective today: fire is the cause of colliquation, but respective to wax. But fire is no constant cause either of induration or colliquation; so then the physical causes are but the efficient and the matter.
Physic hath three parts, whereof two respect nature united or collected, the third contemplateth nature diffused or distributed.
Nature is collected either into one entire total,
or else into the same principle or seeds. So as the first doctrine is touching the contexture or configuration of things, as, de mundo, de universitate rerum.
The second is the doctrine concerning the principles or originals of things.
The third is the doctrine concerning all variety and particularity of things; whether it be of the differing substances, or their differing qualities and natures; whereof there needeth no enumeration, this part being but as a gloss, or paraphrase, that attendeth upon the text of natural history.
Of these three I cannot report any as deficient. In what truth or perfection they are handled, I make not now any judgment: but they are parts of knowledge not deserted by the labour of man.
For Metaphysic, we have assigned unto it the inquiry of formal and final causes; which assignation, as to the former of them, may seem to be nugatory and void, because of the received and inveterate opinion, that the inquisition of man is not competent to find out essential forms, or true differences: of which opinion we will take this hold, that the invention of forms is of all other parts of knowledge the worthiest to be sought, if it be possible to be found.
As for the possibility, they are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
But it is manifest, that Plato, in his opinion of ideas, as one that had a wit of elevation situate as upon a cliff, did descry, " That forms were the true object of knowledge j" but lost the real fruit of his opinion, by considering of forms as absolutely abstracted from matter, and not confined and determined by matter; and so turning his opinion upon theology, wherewith nil his natural philosophy is infected.
But if any man shall keep a continual watchful and severe eye upon action, operation, and the use of knowledge, he may advise and take notice w hat are the forms, the disclosures whereof are fruitful and important to the state of man. For as to the forms of substances, man only except, of whom it is said, " Formavit hominem de limo terra?, et spiravit in faciem ejus spiraculum vita?,'' and not as of all other creatures, " Producant aquae, producat terra ;" the forms of substances, I say, as they are now bv compounding and transplanting multiplied, are so perplexed, as they are not to be inquired; no more than it were either possible or to purpose, to seek in gross the forms of those sounds which make words, which by composition and transposition of letters are infinite.
But, on the other side, to inquire the form of those sounds or voices, which make simple letters, is easily comprehensible; and being known, induceth and manifesteth the forms of all words, which consist and are compounded of them. In the same manner to inquire the form of a lion, of an oak, of gold: nay, of water, of air, is a vain pursuit: but to inquire the forms of spnse, of voluntary motion, of vegetation, of colours, of gravity and levity, of density, of tenuity, of heat, of cold, and all other natures and qualities, which, like an alphabet, are not many, and of which the essences, upheld by matter, of all creatures do consist: to inquire, I say, the true forms of these, is that part of metaphysic which we now define of.
Not but that physic doth make inquiry, and take
consideration of the same natures: but how? Only
as to the material and efficient causes of them, and
not as to the forms. For example; if the cause of
whiteness in snow or froth be inquired, and it be
rendered thus; that the subtile intermixture of air
and water is the cause, it is well rendered; but
neTertheless, is this the form of whiteness? No, but
it is the efficient, which is ever but vehiculum forma?.
This part of metaphysic I do not find
s^e'de'ivJr?1' laboured and performed, whereat I
mi» rt flni- marvel not: because I hold it not postu» rerum. , _ _ , . 1 „
sible to be invented by that course of
invention which hath been used, in regard that men, which is the root of all error, have made too untimely a departure, and too remote a recess from particulars.
But the use of this part of metaphysic which I report as deficient, is of the rest the most excellent in two respects: the one, because it is the duty and virtue of all knowledge to abridge the infinity of individual experience, as much as the conception of truth will permit, and to remedy the complaint of vita brevis, ars longa; which is performed by uniting the notions and conceptions of sciences: for knowledges are as pyramids, whereof history is the basis. So of natural philosophy, the basis is natural history; the stage next the basis is physic; the stage next the vertical point is metaphysic. As for the vertical point, " Opus quod operatur I)eus i principio usque ad finem," the summary law of nature, we know not whether man's inquiry can attain unto it. But these three be the true stages of knowledge, and are to them that are depraved no better than the giants' hills.
"Tcr sunt conati imponere Pelio Ossam
Scilicet, atque Ossa frouclosum involvere Olympum."
Bat to those which refer all things to the glory of (iod, they are as the three acclamations, Sancte, sancte, sancte; holy in the description or dilatation of his works; holy in the connexion or concatenation of them; and holy in the union of them in a perpetual and uniform law.
And therefore the speculation was excellent in Parmenides and Plato, although but a speculation in them, that all things by scale did ascend to unity. So then always that knowledge is worthiest, which is charged with the least multiplicity; which appeareth to be metaphysic, as that which considereth ihe simple forms or differences of things, which are few in number, and the degrees and co-ordinations whereof make all this variety.
The second respect which valueth and commendeth this part of metaphysic is, that it doth enfranchise the power of man unto the greatest liberty and possibility of works and effects. For physic rarrieth men in narrow and restrained ways, subject to many accidents of impediments, imitating the ordinary flexuous courses of nature; but " lata' un
dique sunt sapientibus via?:" to sapience, which was anciently defined to be "rerum divinarnm et humanarum scientia," there is ever choice of means: for physical causes give light to new invention in simili materia. But whosoever knoweth any forrrt, knoweth the utmost possibility of superinducing that nature upon any variety of matter, and so is less restrained in operation, either to the basis of the matter, or the condition of the efficient: which kind of knowledge Solomon likewise, though in a more divine sense, elegantly describeth: "Non arctabuntur gressus tui, et currens non habebis offendiculum." The ways of sapience are not much liable either to particularity or chance.
The second part of metaphysic is the inquiry of final causes, which I am moved to report, not as omitted, but as misplaced; and yet if it were but a fault in order, I would not speak of it: for order is matter of illustration, but pertaineth not to the suitstance of sciences. But this misplacing hath caused a deficience, or at least a great improficience in the sciences themselves. For the handling of final causes, mixed with the rest in physical inquiries, hath intercepted the severe and diligent inquiry of all real and physical causes, and given men the occasion to stay upon these satisfactory and specious causes, to the great arrest and prejudice of farther discovery.
For this I find done not only by Plato, who ever anchoreth upon that shore, but by Aristotle, Galen, and others, which do usually likewise fall upon these flats of discoursing causes. For to say that the hnirs of the eyelids are for a quickset and fence about the sight; or, that the firmness of the skins and hides of living creatures is to defend them from the extremities of heat or cold; or, that the bones are for the columns or beams, whereupon the frames of the bodies of living creatures are built; or, that the leaves of trees are for the protecting of the fruit; or, that the clouds are for watering of the earth; or, that the solidness of the earth is for the station and mansion of living creatures, and the like, is well inquired and collected in metaphysic; but in physic they are impertinent. Nay, they are indeed but remoras and hinderances to stay and slug the ship from farther sailing, and have brought this to pass, that the search of the physical causes hath been neglected, and passed in silence.
And therefore the natural philosophy of Democritns, and some others, who did not suppose a mind or reason in the frame of things, but attributed the form thereof, able to maintain itself, to infinite essays or proofs of nature, which they term fortune; scemeth to me, as far as I can judge by the recital and fragments which remain unto us, in particularities of physical causes, more real and better inquired than that of Aristotle and Plato; whereof both intermingled final causes, the one as a part of theology, and the other as a part of logic, which were the favourite studies respectively of both those persons. Not because those final causes are not true, and worthy to be inquired, being kept within their own province; but because their excursions into the limits of physical causes has bred a vastness and solitude in that track. For, otherwise, keeping their precincts and borders, men are extremely deceived if they think there is an enmity or repugnancy at all between them. For the cause rendered, that the hairs about the eye-lids are for the safeguard of the sight, doth not impugn the cause rendered, that pilosily is incident to orifices of moisture; Muscosi fontes, etc. Nor the cause rendered, that the firmness, of hides is for the armour of the body against extremities of heat or cold, doth not impugn the cause rendered, that contraction of pores is incident to the outwardest parts, in regard of their adjacence to foreign or unlike bodies; and so of the rest: both causes being true and compatible, the one declaring an intention, the other a consequence only.
Neither doth this call in question, or derogate from Divine Providence, but highly confirm and exalt it. For as in civil actions he is the greater and deeper politician, that can make other men the instruments of his will and ends, and yet never acquaint them with his purpose, so as they shall do it, and yet not know what they do; than he that imparteth his meaning to those he employeth: so is the wisdom of God more admirable, when nature intendeth one thing, and Providence draweth forth another; than if he had communicated to particular creatures, and motions, the characters and impressions of his providence. And thus much for metaphysic; the latter part whereof I allow as extant, but wish it confined to its proper place.
Nevertheless there remaineth yet another part of natural philosophy, which is commonly made a principal part, and holdeth rank with physic special, and metaphysic, which is mathematic; but I think it more agreeable to the nature of things, and to the light of order, to place it as a branch of metaphysic: for the subject of it being quantity, not quantity indefinite, which is but a relative, and belongeth to philosophia prima, as hath been said, but quantity determined, or proportionable; it appcareth to bo one of the essential forms of things; as that that is causative in nature of a number of effects; insomuch as we see, in the schools both of Democritus and Pythagoras, that the one did ascribe Figure to the first seeds of things, and the other did suppose Numbers to be the principles and originals of things; and it is true also, that of all other form, as we understand forms, it is the most abstracted and separable from matter, and therefore most proper to metaphysic; which hath likewise been the cause why it hath been better laboured and inquired, than any of the other forms, which are more immersed into matter.
For it being the nature of the mind of man, to the extreme prejudice of knowledge, to delight in the spacious liberty of generalities, as in a champain region, and not in the enclosures of particularity; the mathematics of all other knowledge were the goodliest fields to satisfy that appetite.
But for the placing of this science, it is not much material; only we have endeavoured, in these our partitions, to observe a kind of perspective, that one part may cast light upon another.
The Mathematics arc either pure or mixed. To
the pure mathematics are those sciences belonging which handle quantity determinate, merely severed from any axioms of natural philosophy; and these are two. Geometry, and Arithmetic; the one handling quantity continued, and the other dissevered.
Mixed hath for subject some axioms or parts of natural philosophy, and considereth quantity determined, as it is auxiliary and incident unto them.
For many parts of nature can neither be invented with sufficient subtilty, nor demonstrated with sufficient perspicuity, nor accommodated unto use with sufficient dexterity, without the aid and intervening of the mathematics: of which sort are perspective, music, astronomy, cosmography, architecture, enginery, and divers others.
In the mathematics I can report no deficience, except it be that men do not sufficiently understand the excellent use of the pure mathematics, in that they do remedy and cure many defects in the wit and faculties intellectual. For, if the wit be dull, they sharpen it; if too wandering, they fix it; if too inherent in the sense, they abstract it. So that as tennis is a game of no use in itself, but of great use in respect it makcth a quick eye, and a body ready to put itself into all postures; so in the mathematics, that use which is collateral and intervcnient, is no less worthy than that which is principal and intended.
And as for the mixed mathematics, I may only make this prediction, that there cannot fail to be more kinds of them, as nature grows further disclosed.
Thus much of natural science, or the part of nature speculative.
For Natural Prudence, or the part operative of natural philosophy, we will divide it into three parts, experimental, philosophical, and magical; which three parts active have a correspondence and analog)' with the three parts speculative, natural history, physic, and metaphysic: for many operations have been invented, sometimes by a casual incidence and occurrence, sometimes by a purposed experiment; and of those which have been found by an intentional experiment, some have been found out by varying or extending the same experiment, some by transferring and compounding divers experiments, the one into the other, which kind of invention an empiric may manage.
Again, by the knowledge of physical causes, there cannot fail to follow many indications and designations of new particulars, if men in their speculation will keep one eye upon use and practice. But these are but coastings along the shore, premendo littus iniquum: for, it seemeth to me, there can hardly be discovered any radical or fundamental alterations and innovations in nature, either by the fortune and essays of experiments, or by the light and direction of physical causes.
If therefore we have reported meta- Naturalis ma, , , . . , , Ria sivt phy
physic deficient, it must follow, that we sica operatna
do the like of natural magic, which m^orhath relation thereunto. For as for the natural magic whereof now there is mention in books, containing certain credulous and superstitious conceits and observations of sympathies, and antipathies, and hidden proprieties, and some frivolous experiments, strange rather by disguisement, than in themselves: it is as far differing in truth of nature from such a knowledge as we require, as the story of king Arthur of Britain, or Hugh of Bourdeaux, differs from Cafsar's Commentaries in truth of story. For it is manifest that Cesar did greater things de vero, than those imaginary heroes were feigned to do; but he did them not in that fabulous manner. Of this kind of learning the fable of Ixion was a figure, who designed to enjoy Juno, the goddess of power; and instead of her had copulation with a cloud, of which mixture were begotten centaurs and chimeras.
So whosoever shall entertain high and vaporous imaginations, instead of a laborious and sober inquiry of truth, shall beget hopes and beliefs of strange and impossible shapes. And therefore we may note in these sciences, which hold so much of imagination and belief, as this degenerate natural magic, alchemy, astrology, and the like, that, in their propositions, the description of the means is ever more monstrous than the pretence or end.
For it is a thing more probable, that he that knoweth well the natures of weight, of colour, of pliant and fragile in respect of the hammer, of volatile and fixed in respect of the fire, and the rest, may superinduce upon some metal the nature and form of gold by such mechanic as belongeth to the production of the natures afore rehearsed, than that some grains of the medicine projected should in a few moments of time turn a sea of quicksilver, or other material, into gold: so it is more probable, that he, that knoweth the nature of arefaction, the nature of assimilation, of nourishment to the thing nourished, the manner of increase and clearing of spirits, the manner of the depredations which spirits make upon the humours and solid parts; shall, by ambages of diets, bathings, anointings, medicines, motions, and the like, prolong life, or restore some degree of youth or vivacity, than that it can be done with the use of a few drops or scruples of a liquor or receipt. To conclude therefore, the true natural magic, which is that great liberty and latitude of operation which dependeth upon the knowledge of forms, I may report deficient, as the relative thereof is; to which part, if we be serious, and incline not to vanities and plausible discourse, besides the deriving and deducing the operations themselves from metaphysic, there are pertinent two points of much purpose, the one by way of preparation, the other by way of caution; the
Inrentarium nrst is' tnat ,nere ue made a caIen" '■pum huma- dar resembling an inventory of the
"estate of man, containing all the inven
tions, being the works or fruits of nature or art, which are now extant, and whereof man is already possessed, out of which doth naturally result a note, what things are yet held impossible or not invented: which calendar will be the more artificial, and serviceable, if to every reputed impossibility you add what thing is extant, which cometh the nearest in degree to that impossibility; to the end, that by these optatives and potentials man's inquiry
may be the more awake in deducing direction of works from the speculation of causes: and secondly, that those experiments be not only esteemed which have an immediate and present use, but those principally which are of most universal consequence for invention of other experiments, and those which give most light to the invention of causes: for the invention of the mariner's needle, which giveth the direction, is of no less benefit for navigation, than the invention of the sails, which give the motion.
Thus have I passed through natural philosophy, and the deficiencies thereof, wherein if I have differed from the ancient and received doctrines, anil thereby shall move contradiction: for my part, as I affect not to dissent, so I purpose not to contend. If it be truth,
Non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylva;:
the voice of nature will consent, whether the voice of man do or no. And as Alexander Borgia was wont to say of the expedition of the French for Naples, that they came with chalk in their hands to mark up their lodgings, and not with weapons to fight: so I like better that entry of truth, which cometh peaceably with chalk to mark up those minds which are capable to lodge and harbour it, than that which cometh with pugnacity and contention.
But there remaincth a division of natural philosophy according to the report of the inquiry, and nothing concerning the matter or subject: and that is positive and considerative; when the inquiry reporteth either an assertion, or a doubt. These doubts, or non liquets, are of two sorts, particular, and total. For the first, we see a good example thereof in Aristotle's Problems, which deserved to have had a better continuance; but so, nevertheless, as there is one point whereof warning is to be given and taken. The registering of doubts hath two excellent uses: The one, that it saveth philosophy from errors and falsehoods, when that which is not fully appearing is not collected into assertion, whereby error might draw error, but is reserved in doubt. The other, that the entry of doubts is as so many suckers or spunges to draw use of knowledge; insomuch, as that which, if doubts had not preceded, a man should never have advised, but passed it over without note, by the suggestion and solicitation of doubts is made to be attended and applied. But both these commodities do scarcely countervail an inconvenience which will intrude itself, if it be not debarred; which is, that, when a doubt is once received, men labour rather how to keep it a doubt still, than how to solve it, and accordingly bend their wits. Of this we see the familiar example in lawyers and scholars, both which, if they have once admitted a doubt, it goeth ever after authorized for a doubt. But that use of wit and knowledge is to be allowed, which laboureth to make doubtful things certain, and not those which labour to make certain things doubtful. pontinuatio Therefore these calendars of doubts I problcmatiim
, . . ... in uutuni.
commend ns excellent things, so that