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busiest with all its cares, and as anxious as the most anxious to discharge the functions of its journeyman. His engagements appear to have been those which demanded an almost undivided attention; and yet while engaged in the most practical of pursuits, he was distinguished beyond all comparison in those which are strictly theoretical. Belonging to a profession the most noble and arduous—in which, from the multiplicity of the subjects which it embraces, and the responsibility of dealing with the emergent cases of daily occurrence* there is necessitated a vision at once contracted and intense; and engaging largely in the politics of the day, which require of their votary as absolute a devotion,—in both of which he had to compete with the first men of his time—with the vast knowledge and subtlety of Coke, with those wily panderers to prerogative and popularity the Cecils, with the crafty and sullen Somerset, with the rapacious and unconscienced Buckingham,—for subordinates; and with the mistress of modern Europe and her wayward successor,—for principals, and in those assemblies of his fellow-citizens in both Houses of Parliament, which have tried and tasked the highest powers, without a rival in oratorical and senatorial abilities, —he yet commanded the leisure that is requisite for pursuits of the highest and most beneficial nature, in which he has earned his immortal repute—succeeding beyond all contemporary success in the former avocations, and working out for himself an endless reputation in the latter. The intellect of Bacon was such as to make way through all obstacles to its destiny. It made for itself a solitude in the midst of society, and created for itself a retirement in the very midst of the most bustling, pressing, and exciting crowd of engagements. His delights, in common with those of all the true benefactors of the species, have been realized in the midst of them; and he sighs not for the sounding seashore, or the up-country waterfall, which almost drive man into himself; or the sequestered valley, or the solemn woods, whose stillness leads to reflection, and is therefore, with the most of those that fly to them, a mere place of resort for physical activity; but the habitable portions of the earth, and the children of men, are ever the spheres and the objects of all these delights—thinking in the midst of distraction, accumulating in the midst of privations, and gathering every where the materials of profit and action. This is that mental absorption, which takes in all, and makes uses of all; to which every thing is aliment, by virtue of a vigour that tires not, a charity that fails not, a humility for which nothing is too low, and a comprehension for which, humanly speaking, nothing is too high or too minute.
It would comparatively be an easy task, to discriminate between the various powers of this wonderful intellect,—to ascribe to him a reason of the most comprehensive grasp, exercising itself upon multifarious subjects, or an imagination keeping pace with that reason, and as wonderful in all its creations as the reason was wonderful in the premises upon which it dealt; but we must leave these things to the reader, to whom we have been catering throughout our prologue. Bacon was enabled to feel that he lived in a grand juncture of affairs, requiring the union of high genius and wisdom answerably to deal with, and he foresaw it, felt it, and turned it to the best account. He devoted himself to the exigencies not only of his time, but of his race. He was, as we have seen, busy with the. one; but the fact of his opinions being valuable now-a-days, shows that he was devoted to the other; and that it was not merely for the times in which he lived that he was living, but for succeeding times as well. He was literally, that man, with whom all men should be acquainted; both by way of encouragement and instruction—by way of failure and example. To act for the moment, and yet act for posterity; to act for a party, and yet act for a peopie; to be the glory of a faction and also of a nation; to act for a kingdom as a minister, and yet for the human race as their servitor; to be bold before the intellect of all past times, and weak before minions; to serve princes, to discuss with judges, to attend assemblies, and to control legislative gatherings,—and yet to electrify and revivify science; to be Hercules abroad, and to fall before the most trumpery vanity in his own breast;—was Francis Bacon. PHILOSOPHICAL WORKS.
THE TWO BOOKS OF
PROFICIENCE AND ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING,
DIVINE AND HUMAN.
THE FIRST BOOK.
TO THE KING.
Tnm were, under the law, excellent king, both daily sacrifices, and freewill offerings; the one proceeding upon ordinary observance, the other upon a devout cheerfulness: in like manner there belongeth to kings from their servants, both tribute of duty, and presents of affection. In the former of these, I hope I shall not live to be wanting, according to my most humble duty, and the good pleasure of your majesty's employments: for the latter, I thought it more respective to make choice of some oblation, vhicta might rather refer to the propriety and excellency of your individual person, than to the business of jroor crown and state.
Wherefore, representing your majesty many times into my mind, and beholding you not with the inqnisitive eye of presumption, to discover that which the Scripture telleth me is inscrutable, but with the observant eye of duty and admiration; leaving aside the other parts of your virtue and fortune, I have been touched, yea, and possessed with an extreme wonder at those your virtues and faculties, which the philosophers call intellectual; the largeness of your capacity, the faithfulness of your memory, the swiftness of your apprehension, the penetration of your judgment, and the facility and order of your elocution: and I have often thought, that of all the persons living, that I have known, your majesty were the best instance to make a man of Plato's opinion, that all knowledge is but remembrance, and that the mind of man by nature knoweth all things, and hath but her own native and original notions (which by the strangeness nnd darkness of this tabernacle
TOl. I. B
of the body are sequestered) again revived and restored: such a light of nature I have observed in your majesty, and such a readiness to take flnmc and blaze from the least occasion presented, or the least spark of another's knowledge delivered. And as the Scripture saith of the wisest king, "That his heart was as the sands of the sea;" which though it be one of the largest bodies, yet it consisteth of the smallest and finest portions; so hath God given your majesty a composition of understanding admirable, being able to compass and comprehend the greatest matters, and nevertheless to touch and apprehend the least; whereas it should seem an impossibility in nature, for the same instrument to make itself fit for great and small works. And for your gift of speech, I call to mind what Cornelius Tacitus saith of Augustus Cssar: "Augusto profluens, et quae principem deceret, eloquentia fuit." For, if we note it well, speech that is uttered with labour and difficulty, or speech that savoureth of the affectation of art and precepts, or speech that is framed after the imitation of some pattern of eloquence, though never so excellent; all this has somewhat servile, and holding of the subject. But your majesty's manner of speech is indeed prince-like, flowing as from a fountain, and yet streaming and branching itself into nature's order, full of facility and felicity, imitating none, and inimitable by any. And as in your civil estate there appeareth to be an emulation and contention of your majesty's virtue with your fortune; a virtuous disposition with a fortunate regiment; a virtuous expectation, when time was, of your greater fortune, with a prosperous possession thereof in the due time; a virtuous observation of the laws of marriage, with most blessed and happy fruit of marriage; a virtuous and most christian desire of peace, with a fortunate inclination in your neighbour princes thereunto: so likewise in these intellectual matters, there seemeth to be no less contention between the excellency of your majesty's gifts of nature, and the universality and perfection of your learning. For I am well assured, that this which I shall say is no amplification at all, but a positive and measured truth; which is, that there hath not been since Christ's time any king, or temporal monarch, which hath been so learned in all literature and erudition, divine and human. For let a man seriously and diligently revolve and peruse the succession of the emperors of Rome; of which Ca?sar the dictator, who lived some years before Christ, and Marcus Antoninus, were the best learned: and so descend to the emperors of Gracia, or of the West; and then to the lines of France, Spain, England, Scotland, and the rest, and he shall find this judgment is truly made. For it seemeth much in a king, if, by the compendious extractions of other men's wits and labours, he can take hold of any superficial ornaments and shows of learning, or if he countenance and prefer learning and learned men; but to drink indeed of the true fountains of learning, nay, to have such a fountain of learning in himself, in a king, and in a king bom, is almost a miracle. And the more, because there is met in your majesty a rare conjunction, as well of divine and sacred literature, as of profane and human; so as your majesty slandeth invested of that triplicity, which in great veneration was ascribed to the ancient Hermes; the power and fortune of a king, the knowledge and illumination of a priest, and the learning and universality of a philosopher. This propriety, inherent and individual attribute in your majesty, deserveth to be expressed, not only in the fame and admiration of the present time, nor in the history or tradition of the ages succeeding; but also in some solid work, fixed memorial, and immortal monument, bearing a character or signature, both of the power of a king, and the difference and perfection of such a king.
Therefore I did conclude with myself, that I could not make unto your majesty a better oblation, than of some treatise tending to that end, whereof the sum will consist of these two parts; the former concerning the excellency of learning and knowledge, and the excellency of the merit and true glory in the augmentation and propagation thereof; the latter, what the particular acts and works are, which have been embraced and undertaken for the advancement of learning; and again, what defects and undervalues I find in such particular acts: to the end, that though I cannot positively or affirmatively advise your majesty, or propound unto you framed particulars; yet I may excite your princely cogitations to visit the excellent treasure of your own mind, and thence to extract particulars for this purpose, agreeable to your magnanimity and wisdom.
In the entrance to the former of these, to clear the way, and, as it were, to make silence, to have the true testimonies concerning the dignity of learning to be better heard, without the interruption of tacit objections; I think good to deliver it from the discredits and disgraces which it hath received, all from ignorance, but ignorance severally disguised; appearing sometimes in the zeal and jealousy of divines, sometimes in the severity and arrogancy of politicians, and sometimes in the errors and imperfections of learned men themselves.
I hear the former sort say, that knowledge is of those things which are to be accepted of with great limitation and caution; that the aspiring to overmuch knowledge, was the original temptation and sin, whereupon ensued the fall of man; that knowledge hath in it somewhat of the serpent, and therefore where it entereth into a man it makes hini swell; Scientia inflat: that Solomon gives a censure, " That there is no end of making books, and that much reading, is a weariness of the flesh;" and again in another place, "That in spacious knowledge there is much contristation, and that he that increaseth knowledge increaseth anxiety;" that St. Paul gives a caveat, "That we be not spoiled through vain philosophy;" that experience demonstrates how learned men have been arch-heretics, how learned times have been inclined to atheism, and how the contemplation of second causes doth derogate from our dependence upon God, who is the first cause.
To discover then the ignorance and error of this opinion, and the misunderstanding in the groumis thereof, it may well appear these men do not observe or consider, that it was not the pure knowledge of nature and universality, a knowledge by the light whereof man did give names unto other creatures in paradise, as they were brought before him, according unto their proprieties, which gave the occasion to the fall; but it was the proud knowledge of good and evil, with an intent in man to give law unto himself, and to depend no more upon God's commandments, which was the form of the temptation. Neither is it any quantity of knowledge, how great soever, that can make the mind of man to swell; for nothing can fill, much less extend the soul of man, but God, and the contemplation of God; and therefore Solomon, speaking of the two principal senses of inquisition, the eye and the ear, affirmeth that the eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing; and if there be no fulness, then is the continent greater than the content; so of knowledge itself, and the mind of man, whereto the senses are but reporters, he defineth likewise in these words, placed after that calendar or ephemerides, which he maketh of the diversities of times and seasons for all actions and purposes; and concludeth thus: "God hath made all things beautiful, or decent, in the true return of their seasons: Also he hath placed the world in man's heart, yet cannot man find out the work which God worketli from the beginning to the end:" declaring, not obscurely, that God hath framed the mind of man as a mirror, or glass, capable of the image of the uni
lersal world, and joyful to receive the impression (hereof, as the eye joyeth to receive light; and not only delighted in beholding the variety of things, aid vicissitude of times, but raised also to find out and discern the ordinances and decrees, which throughout all those changes are infallibly observed. And although he doth insinuate, that the supreme or summary law of nature, which he calleth, " The work which God worketh from the beginning to the end, is not possible to be found out by man;" yet that doth not derogate from the capacity of the mind, but may be referred to the impediments, as of shortness of life, ill conjunction of labours, ill tradition of knowledge over from hand to hand, and many other inconveniences, whereunto the condition of man is subject. For that nothing parcel of the world is denied to man's inquiry and invention, he doth in another place rule over, when he saith, "The spirit of man is as the lamp of God, wherewith he searcheth the inwardness of all secrets." If then such be the capacity and receipt of the mind of man, it is manifest, that there is no danger at all in the proportion or quantity of knowledge, how large soever, lest it should make it swell or outcompass itself; no, but it is merely the quality of knowledge, which, be it in quantity more or less, if it be taken without the true corrective thereof, hath m it some nature of venom or malignity, and some effects of that venom, which is ventosity or swelling. This corrective spice, the mixture whereof maketh knowledge so sovereign, is charity, which the apostle immediately addeth to the former claose; for so he saith, " knowledge bloweth up, hot charity buildeth up;" not unlike unto that which he delivereth in another place: "If I spake," saith he, "with the tongues of men and angels, and had not charity, it were but as a tinkling cymbal;" not but that it is an excellent thing to speak with the tongues of men and angels, but because, if it be severed from charity, and not referred to the good of men and mankind, it hath rather a sounding and unworthy glory, than a meriting and substantial virtue. And as for that censure of Solomon, concerning the excess of writtag and reading books, and the anxiety of spirit which redoundeth from knowledge; and that admonition of St. Paul, "That we be not seduced by rain philosophy;" let those places be rightly understood, and they do indeed excellently set forth the uue bounds and limitations, whereby human knowledge is confined and circumscribed; and yet without any such contracting or coarctation, but that it may comprehend all the universal nature of things: for these limitations are three: the first, that we do not ■ place our felicity in knowledge, as we forget our mortality. The second, that we make application of onr knowledge, to give ourselves repose and contentment, and not distaste or repining. The third, that we do not presume by the contemplation of latnre to attain to the mysteries of God. For as touching the first of these, Solomon doth excellently expound himself in another place of the same book, 'here he saith; "I saw well that knowledge receded) as far from ignorance, as light doth from
darkness: and that the wise man's eyes keep watch in his head, whereas the fool roundeth about in darkness: but withal I learned, that the same mortality involveth them both." And for the second, certain it is, there is no vexation or anxiety of mind which resulteth from knowledge, otherwise than merely by accident; for all knowledge and wonder (which is the seed of knowledge) is an impression of pleasure in itself: but when men fall to framing conclusions out of their knowledge, applying it to their particular, and ministering to themselves thereby weak fears, or vast desires, there groweth that carefulness and trouble of mind which is spoken of: for then knowledge is no more Lumen siccum, whereof Heraclitus the profound said, "Lumen siccum optima anima j" but it becometli Lumen madidum, or maceratum, being steeped and infused in the humours of the affections. And as for the third point, it deserveth to be a little stood upon, and not to be lightly passed over: for if any man tihall think by view and inquiry into these sensible and material things to attain that light, whereby he may reveal unto himself the nature or will of God, then indeed is he spoiled by vain philosophy: for the contemplation of God's creatures and works produceth (having regard to the works and creatures themselves) knowledge; but having regard to God, no perfect knowledge, but wonder, which is broken knowledge. And therefore it was most aptly said by one of Plato's school, "That the sense of man carrieth a resemblance with the sun, which, as we see, openeth and revealeth all the terrestrial globe; but then again it obscureth and concealeth the stars and celestial globe: so doth the sense discover natural things, but it darkeneth and shtitteth up divine." And hence it is true, that it hath proceeded, that divers great learned men have been heretical, whilst they have sought to fly up to the secrets of the Deity by the waxen wings of the senses: and as for the conceit, that too much knowledge should incline a man to atheism, and that the ignorance of second causes should make a more devout dependence upon God, who is the first cause: First, it is good to ask the question which Job asked of his friends: "Will you lie for God, as one man will do for another, to gratify him?" For certain it is, that God worketh nothing in nature but by second causes; and if they would have it otherwise believed, it is mere imposture, as it were in favour towards God; and nothing else but to offer to the Author of truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie. But farther, it is an assured truth, and a conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism, but a farther proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion; for in the entrance of philosophy, when the second causes, which are next unto the senses, do offer themselves to the mind of man, if it dwell and stay there, it may induce some oblivion of the highest cause: but when *a man passeth on farther, and seeth the dependence of causes and the works of providence; then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily believe that the highest link of nature's chain must needy be tied to the foot of Jupiter's chair. To conclude therefore: let no man, upon a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works j divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress, or proficience in both j only let men beware that they apply both to charity, and not to swelling; to use, and not to ostentation; and again, that they do not unwisely mingle, or confound these learnings together.
And as for the disgraces which learning receiveth from politicians, they be of this nature; that learning doth soften men's minds, and makes them more unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert men's dispositions for matter of government and policy, in making them too curious and irresolute by variety of reading, or too peremptory or positive by strictness of rules and axioms, or too immoderate and overweening by reason of the greatness of examples, or too incompatible and differing from the times, by reason of the dissimilitude of examples; or at least, that it doth divert men's travails from action and business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every man is more ready to argue than to obey and execute. Out of this conceit, Cato, surnamed the Censor, one of the wisest men indeed that ever lived, when Carneades the philosopher came in embassage to Rome, and that the young men of Rome began to Hock about him, being allured with the sweetness and majesty of his eloquence and learning, gave counsel in open senate, that they should give him his despatch with all speed, lest he should infect and enchant the minds and affections of the youth, and at unawares bring in an alteration of the manners and customs of the state. Out of the same conceit, or humour, did Virgil, turning his pen to the advantage of his country, and the disadvantage of his own profession, make a kind of separation between policy and government, and between arts and sciences, in the verses so much renowned, attributing and challenging the one to the Romans, and leaving and yielding the other to the Grecians; "Tu regere iinperio populos, Romane, memento, Hte tibi erunt artes, etc." So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, laid it as an article of charge and accusation against him, that he did, with the variety and power of his discourses and disputations, withdraw young men from due reverence to the laws and customs of their country; and that he did profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which was, to make the worse matter seem the better, and to suppress truth by force of eloquence and speech.
But these, and the like imputations, have rather a countenance of gravity, than any ground of justice: for experience doth warrant, that, both in persons and in times, there hath been a meeting and concurrence in learning and arms, flourishing and excelling in the same men, and the same ages. For, as for men, there cannot be a better, nor the like instance, as of that pair, Alexander the Great and
Julius Cffisar the dictator; whereof the one was Aristotle's scholar in philosophy, and the other was Cicero's rival in eloquence: or if any man had rather call for scholars that were great generals, than generals that were great scholars, let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or Xenophon the Athenian; whereof the one was the first that abated the power of Sparta, and the other was the first that made way to the overthrow of the monarchy of Persia. And this concurrence is yet more visible in times than in persons, by how much an age is a greater object than a man. For both in iEgypt, Assyria, Persia, Grcecia, and Rome, the same times that are most renowned for arms, are likewise most admired for learning; so that the greatest authors and philosophers, and the greatest captains and governors, have lived in the same ages. Neither can it otherwise be: for as, in man, the ripeness of the strength of body and mind cometh much about an age, save that the strength of the body cometh somewhat the more early; so, in states, arms, and learning, whereof the one correspondeth to the body, the other to the soul of man, have a concurrence or near sequence in times.
And for matter of policy and government, that learning should rather hurt, than enable thereunto, is a thing very improbable: we see it is accounted an error to commit a natural body to empiric physicians, which commonly have a few pleasing receipts, whereupon they are confident and adventurous, but know neither the causes of diseases, nor the complexions of patients, nor peril of accidents, nor the true method of cures: we see it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers, which are only men of practice, and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily surprised, when matter falleth out besides their experience, to the prejudice of the causes they handle: so, by like reason.it cannot be but a matter of doubtful consequence, if states be managed by empiric statesmen, not well mingled with men grounded in learning. But contrariwise, it is almost without instance contradictory, that ever any government was disastrous that was in the hands of learned governors. For howsoever it hath been ordinary with politic men to extenuate and disable learned men by the names of pedants; yet in the records of time it appeareth, in many particulars, that the governments of princes in minority (notwithstanding the infinite disadvantage of that kind of state) have nevertheless excelled the government of princes of mature age, even for that reason which they seek to traduce, which is, that by that occasion the state hath been in the hands of pedants: for so was the state of Rome for the first five years, which are so much magnified, during the minority of Nero, in the hands of Seneca, a pedant: so it was again for ten years' space or more during the minority of Gordianus the younger, with great applause and contentation in the hands of. Misitheus, a pedant: so was it before that, in the minority of Alexander Severus, in like happiness, in hands not much unlike, by reason of the rule of the women, who were aided by the teachers and preceptors. Nay, let a man look into the government of the bishops of Rome,