Francis Bacon.

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and the like. For artificial divination, the several
kinds thereof are distributed amongst particular know-
ledges. The astronomer hath his predictions, as of
conjunctions, aspects^ eclipses, and the like. The phy-
sician hath his predictions, of death, of recovery, of the
accidents and issues of diseases. The politician hath
his predictions ; " O urbem venalem, et cito peritu-
ram, si emptorem invenerit ! " which stayed not long
to be performed in Sylla first, and after in Caesar ; so
as these predictions are now impertinent, and to be
referred over. But the divination which spriiigeth
from the internal nature of the soul, is that which we
now speak of, which hath been made to be of two sorts,
primitive, and by influxion. Primitive is grounded
upon the supposition, that the mind, when it is with-
drawn and collected into itself, and not diffused into
the organs of the body, hath some extent and latitude
of prenotion, which therefore appeareth most in sleep,
in extasics, and near death, and more rarely in w^aking
apprehensions ; and is induced and furthered by those
abstinences and observances which make the mind
most to consist in itself By influxion, is grounded
upon the conceit that the mind, as a mirror or glass,
should take illumination from the foreknowledge of
God and spirits ; unto which the same regiment doth
likewise conduce. For the retiring of the mind within
itself, is the state which is most susceptible of divine
influxions, save that it is accompanied in this case witli
a fervency and elevation, which the ancients noted by fu-
ry, and not with a repose and quiet, as it is in the other.
Fascination is the power and act of imagination more
intensive upon other bodies than tlie body of tlie imagi-
nant : for of that we speak in the proper place; wherein


the scliool of Paracelsus, and the disciples of pretended
natiu-al magic, have been so intemperate, as they have
exalted the power of the imagination to be much one
witlrthc power of miracle-working faith : others, that
draw^ltcarer to probability, calling to their view the
secret passages of things, and especially of the conta-
gion that passeth from body to body, do conceive it
should likewise be agreeable to nature, that there
should be somctransniissionsand operations from spirit
to spirit without the mediation of the senses : whence
the conceits have grown, now almost made civil, of the
mastering spirit, and the force of confidence, and the
like. Incident unto this is the inquiry how to raise and
fortify the imagination ; for if the imagination fortified
have power, then it is material to know how to fortify
and exalt it. And herein comes in crookedly and dan-
gerously, a palliation of a great part of ceremonial ma-
gic. For it may be pretended, that ceremonies, charac-
ters, and charms, do work, not by any tacit or sacra-
mental contract with evil spirits, but serve only to
strengthen the imagination of him that useth it ; as
images are said by the Koman church to fix the cogi-
tations, and raise the devotions of them that pray be-
fore them. I5ut for mine ownjudgment, if it be admit-
ted that imagination Iiatli power, and that ceremonies
fortify imngination, and that they be used sincerely
and fntentionally for that purpose ; yet I should hold
thein Uni^awiiil, as opposing to that first edict which
God gavclVnto man, " In sudore vultus comedes panem
tuimi." For tliey propound those noble effects, which
God hatli set forth unto man to be bought at the price
of labour, to be attained by a few easy and slothful
observances. Deficiencies in these knowledges I will
report none, other than the general deficience, that it
is not known how much of them is verity, and how
much vanity.

The knowledge Avhicli rcspectcth the faculties of the W ^'"'^

mind of man, is of two khids ; the one fcspcctiTig his .

[understanding and rjcason^ and tlie other hisjvillj ap- 1

'petite, and affection ; whereof the fornier produceth I

dircdigjU^r decfee,"'tlie Litter action or execution. It is


true that the imagination js an ag^eut or nuncius in
both provinces, both the judicial and the miiuste"riall
For sense sendeth over to imagination before reason
have judged, and reason sendeth over to imagination
before the decree can be acted : for imagination ever
precedeth vokmtary motion, saving that this Janus of
imagination hath differing faces ; for the face towards
reason hath the print of truth, but the face towards
action hath the print of good, which nevertheless are

Quales decet esse sororum.
Neither is the imagination simply and only a messen-
ger, but is invested with, or at leastwise usurpeth no
small authority in itself, besides the duty of the mes-
sage. For it was well said by Aristotle, " That the
mind hath over the body that commandment, which
the lord hath over a bondman ; but that reason hath
over the imagination that commandment, which a ma-
gistrate hath over a free citizen," who may come also
to rule in his turn. For we see that, in matteisuofjGaith
and religion, we raise our imagination above our rea-
son, wdiich is the cause why religion sought ever ac-
cess to the mind by similitudes, types, parables, visions,
dreams. And again, in all persuasions, that are ^vl•ought
by eloquence, and other impressions of like nature,
wliich do paint and disguise the true appearance of
things, the chief recommendation unto reason is from
the imagination. Nevertheless, because I find not
any science that doth properly or fitly pertain to the
imagination, I see no cause to alter the former division.
For as for poesy, it is rather pleasure, or play of ima-
gination, than a work or duty thereof. And if it be
a work, we speak not now of such parts of learning as
the imagination produceth, but of such sciences as
handle and consider of the imagination ; no more than
we shall speak now of such knowledges as reason pro-
duceth, for that cxtendeth to all philosophy, but of
such knowledges as do handle and inquire of the fa-
culty of reason ; so as poesy had its true place. As
for tlie power of the imagination in nature, and the
manner of fortifying the same, we have mentioned it in


the doctrine " T>c aiiima," whereiinto most fitly it bc-
longctli : and lastly, for imaginative or insinuative rea-
son, which is tlie subject of rhetoric, we think it best
to refer it to the arts of reason. So therefore we con-
tent ourselves with the former division, that Human
Philosox)lTQ^^which resx}ectQth tlic faeultics of tlic'mintr
of man, hath two parts, Rational and IVIoral.

The part of Human PliiTosopliy which is Rational,
is of all knowledges, to the most wits, theTcast (Te-
liglitful, and scemeth but a net of subtilty and spino-
sity : for as it was truly said, that knowledge is " pa-
bulum animi ; " so in the nature of mens appetite to
this food, most men are of the taste and stomach of the
Israelites in the desert, that would fain have returned
" ad ollas carnium," and were weary of manna; which
thougli it were celestial, yet seemed less nutritive
and comfortable. So generally men taste well know-
ledges that are drenched in flesh and blood, civil his-
tory, morality, policy, about the which mens affections,
praises, fortunes, do turn and are conversant ; but this
same " lumen siccum " doth parch and offend most
mens watery and soft natures. But to speak truly of
things as they are in worth, " rational knowledges '' arc
the keys of all other arts ; for as Aristotle saith aptly
and elegantly, " That the hand is the instrument of
instruments, and the mind is the form of forms ; " so
these be truly said to be the art of arts ; neither do
they only direct, but likewise confirm and strengthen :
even as the habit of shooting doth not only enable to
shoot a nearer shoot, but also to draw a stronger bow.

The^rts intellectual are four in number, divided ac-
cording to tlie eiids whereiiiito they are referred ; for
man's labour is to invent that which is sought or pro-
pounded ; or to judge that which is invented ; or to
retain that which is judged ; or to deliver over that
which is retained. vSo as the arts must be four ; art •
of ingiiir^ or invention ; art of examination or judg- -
ment ;'art of custody or mempry ; and art_of elociition
or tradition.

Inveiition is of two kinds, much differing ; the one
of arts and sciences, and the other of speech and argu-


raeiits. -The formeiiQfjtliese I jlp report deficient ;
which seemeth to mc to be such a deficience, as if in
the making of an inventory, touching the state of a
defunct, it shoukl be set down, That there is no ready
money. For as money will fetch all other commodi-
ties, so this knowledge is that which should purchase
all the rest. And like as the West-Indies had never
been discovered, if the use of the mariner's needle had
not been first discovered, though the one be vast regions,
and the other a small motion ; so it cannot be found
strange, if sciences be no farther discovered, if the art
itself of invention and discovery hath been passed over.
That .tlm part of knowledge is wanting, to _my
judgmejit, standeth plainly confessed : for first, logic
doth not pretend to invent sciences, or the axioms of
sciences, but passeth it over with a cuique in sua arte
credendum. And Celsus acknowledgeth it gravely,
speaking of the empirical and dogmatical sects of
physicians, " That medicines and cures were first found
out, and then after the reasons and causes were dis-
coursed ; and not the causes first found out, and by
light from them the medicines and cures discovered."
And Plato, in his Thecetetus> noteth well, " That par-
ticulars are infinite, and the higher generalities give no
sufficient direction ; and that the pith of all sciences,
which maketh the artsman differ from the inexpert, is
in the middle propositions, which in every particular
knowledge are taken from tradition and experience."
And therefore we see, that they which discoAU'SQ,, of the
inventions and originals"oF things, refer them rather to
chance than to art, and rather to beasts, birds, fishes,
serpents, than to men.

Dictamnum genetrix Crctaea carpit ab Ida,
Puberibus caulom foliis, ct flore comantcin
Purpurco : non ilia feris incognita capris,
Graniina cum tor;o vokicrcs hajserc sagittoe.

So that it was no marvel, the manner of antiquity
being to consecrate inventors, that the A^^igyi)tians had
so few human idols in their temples, butalmost all brute;

Omnigcminiquc Dcmn moiistra, ct latiator Aniibis,
Contra Ncptunum, ct Vcnorom, contracjuc Minervatn, etc.


And if you like better the tradition of the Grecians,
and ascribe the first inventions to men, yet you will
rather believe that Prometheus first struck the flints,
and marvelled at the spark, than that when he first
struck the flints he expected the spark ; and therefore
we sec the West-Indian Prometheus had no intelli-
gence with the European, because of the rareness
with them of flint, that gave the first occasion : so as
it should seem, that hitherto men are rather beholden
to a wild goat for surgery, or to a nightingale for music,
or to the ibis for some part of physic, or to the potlid
that flew open for artillery, or generally to chance, or
any thing else, than to logic, for the invention of
arts and sciences. Neither is the form of invention
which Virgil describeth much other.

Ut varias usus meditando extunderet artes

For if you observe the words well, it is no other me-
thod than that which brute beasts are capable of and do
put in ure ; which is a perpetual intending or practi-
sing some one thing, urged and imposed by an abso-
lute necessity of conservation of being ; for so Cicero
saith very truly, " Usus uni rei deditus, et naturam et
artem saepe vincit." And therefore if it be said of men.

Labor omnia vincit
Improbus, et duris urgens in rebus egestas ;

it is likewise said of beasts, "Quis psittaco docuit suum
;;^a7^: ; " Who taught the raven in a drought to throw
pebbles into an hollow tree, where she espied water,
that the water might rise so as she might come to it ?
Who taught the bee to sail through such a vast sea of
air, and to find the way from a field in flower, a great
way off, to her hive ? Who taught the ant to bite
every grain of corn that she burieth in her hill, lest it
should take root and grow^? Add then the word e.vtun-
dere, which importeth the extreme difficulty ; and the
word paulatuji, which importeth the extreme slowness;
and we are where we were, even amongst the -Egyptian
gods ; there being little left to the faculty of reason, and
nothing to the duty of art, for matter of invention.
Secondly, the induction which the logicians speak


of, and which seeineth famiUar vvitli Plato, whereby
the princijiles of sciences may be pretended to be
invented, and so the middle propositions by derivation
from the principles ; their form of induction, I say, is
utterly vicious and incompetent ; wherein their error
is the fouler, because it is the duty of art to perfect and
exalt nature ; but they contrariwise have wronged,
abused, and traduced nature. For he that shall at-
tentively observe how tlie mind doth gather this ex-
cellent dew of knowledge, like unto that which the poet
speaketh of, " Aerei mellis ccelestia dona," distilling
and contriving it out of particulars natural and artifi-
cial, as the flowers of the field and garden, shall find,
that the mind of herself by nature doth manage and
act an induction much better than they describe it.
For to conclude upon an enumeration of particulars
without instance contradictory, is no conclusion, but
a conjecture ; for who can assure, in many subjects,
upon those particulars which appear of a side, that there
are not other on the contrary side which appear not.
As if Samuel should have rested upon those sons of
Jesse, which were brought before him, and failed of
David which was in the field. And this form, to say
truth, is so gross, as it had not been possible for wits so
subtile, as have managed these things, to have offered
it to the world, but that they hasted to their theories
and dogmaticals, and were imperious and scornful to-
ward particulars, which their manner was to use but
as lictores and viatoi^es, for Serjeants and whifflers, ad
summoveudam turbam, to make way and make room
for their opinions, rather than in their true use and
service : certainly it is a thing may touch a man with
a religious wonder to see liow the footsteps of seducc-
ment are the very same in divine and human truth ;
for as in divine truth man cannot endure to become as
a child ; so in human, they reputed the attending the
inductions, whereof wc speak, as if it were a second
infancy or childhood.

Thirdly, allow some principles or axioms were
rightly induced, yet nevertliclcss certain it is tliat
middle propositions cannot be deduced from them in


subject of nature by syllogism, that is, by touch and
reduction of them to principles in a middle term.
It is true that in sciences popular, as moralities, laws,
and the like; yea and divinity, because it pleascth God
to apply himself to the capacity of the simplest, that
form may have use, and in natural philosophy likewise,
by way of argument or satisfactory reason, " Quae as-
sensum parit, operis efFoeta est ; " but the subtilty of
nature and operations will not be enchained in those
bonds ; for arguments consist of propositions, and pro-
jwsitions of wwds, and words are but the current to-
kens or marks of popular notions of things ; which
notions, if they be grossly and variably collected out of
particulars, it is not the laborious examination cither
of consequences of arguments, or of the truth of jiropo-
sitions, that can ever correct that error, being, as the
physicians speak, in the first digestion ; and therefore
it was not without cause, that so many excellent phi-
losophers became sceptics and academics, and denied
any certainty of knowledge or comprehension, and held
opinion, that the knowledge of man extended only to
appearances and probabilities. It is true that in So-
crates it was supposed to be but a form of irony,
*' Scientiam dissimulando simulavit : " for he used to
disable his knowledge, to the end to enhance his know-
ledge, like the humour of Tiberius in his beginnings,
that would reign, but would not acknowledge so much ;
and in the later academy, which Cicero embraced, this
opinion also of acatalepsia, I doubt, was not held sin-
cerely : for that all those which excelled in copy of
speech, seem to have chosen that sect as that which
was fittest to give glory to their eloquence, and varia-
ble discourses ; being rather like progresses of plea-
sure, than jounieys to an end. But assuredly many
scattered in both academies did hold it in subtilty and
integrity. But here was their chief error ; they charged
the deceit upon the senses, which in my judgment,
notwithstanding all their cavillations, are very suffi-
cient to certify and report truth, though not ahvays
immediately, yet by comparison, by help of instru-
ment, and by producing and urging such things as



are too subtile for the sense, to some effect compre-
hensible by the sense, and other Hke assistance. But
they ought to have charged the deceit upon the weak-
ness of the intellectual powers, and upon the manner
of collecting and concluding upon the reports of the
senses. This I speak not to disable the mind of man,
but to stir it up to seek help : for no man, be he never
so cunning or practised, can make a straight line or
perfect circle by steadiness of hand, which may be
easily done by help of a ruler or compass.
Experientia This part of invention, concerning the invention
literata, et of scicuces, I purposc, if God givc me leave, hereafter to
tio naturaj. propouud, liavlug digested it into two parts ; whereof
the one I term cvperientia literata^ and the other in-
terpretatio natures : the former being but a degree
and rudiment of the latter. But I will not dwell too
long, nor speak too great upon a promise.

The invention of speech or argument is not properly
an invention : for to invent, is to discover that avo
know not, and not to recover or resummon that which
we already know ; and the use of this invention is no
other, but out of the knowledge, whereof our mind is
already possessed, to draw forth or call before us that
which may be pertinent to the purpose which we take
into our consideration. So as, to speak truly, it is no
invention, but a remembrance or suggestion, witli an
application ; which is the cause why the schools do
place it after judgment, as subsequent and not prece-
dent. Nevertheless, because we do account it a chace,
as well of deer in an inclosed park, as in a forest at
large, and that it hath already obtained the name ; let
it be called invention, so as it be perceived and dis-
cerned that the scope and end of this invention is rea-
diness and present use of our knowledge, and not
addition or amplification thereof

To procure this ready use of knowledge there are
two courses, preparation and suggestion. The former
of these seemeth scarcely a part of knowledge, con-
sisting rather of diligence than of any artificial eru-
dition. And herein Aristotle wittily, but hurtfully,
doth deride the sophists near his time, saying, " They


did as if one that professed the art of shoemaking
should not teach liow to make up a shoe, but only
exhibit in a readiness a number of slioes of all fashions
and sizes." But yet a man might reply, that if a shoe-
maker should have no shoes in his shop, but only work
as he is bespoken, he should be weakly customed.
But our Saviour, speaking of divine knowledge, saith,
" that the kingdom of heaven is like a good house-
holder, that bringeth forth both new and old store:" and
we see the ancient writers of rhetoric do give it in pre-
cept that pleaders should have the places whereof they
have most continual use, ready handled in all the variety
that may be ; as that, to speak for the literal inter-
pretation of the law against equity, and contrary;
and to speak for presumptions and inferences against
testimony, and contrary. And Cicero himself, being
broken unto it by great experience, delivereth it
plainly ; that whatsoever a man shall have occasion
to speak of, if he will take the pains, may have it in
effect premeditate, and handled iji thesi : so that when
he comcth to a particular, he shall have nothing to do,
but to put to names, and times, and places, and such
other circumstances of individuals. We see like\\ise
the exact diligence of Demosthenes, who in regard of
the great force that the entrance and access into causes
hath to make a good impression, had ready framed a
number of prefaces for orations and speeches. All
which authorities and precedents may overweigh Aris-
totle's opinion, that would have us change a rich ward-
robe for a pair of shears.

But the nature of the collection of this provision
or preparatory store, though it be common both to logic
and rhetoric, yet having made an entry of it here,
where it came first to be spoken of, I think fit to refer
over the farther handling of it to rhetoric.

The other part of invention, which I term sugges-
tion, doth assign and direct us to certain marks or
places, which may excite our mind to retiu'u and pro-
duce such knowledge, as it hath formerly collected,
to the end we may make use thereof. Neither is this
use, truly taken, only to furnish argument to dispute

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probably with others, but likewise to minister unto
our judgment to conclude aright within ourselves.
Neither may these places serve only to prom])t our in-
vention, but also to direct our inquiry. For a faculty
of wise interrogating is half a knowledge. For as Plato
saith, " Whosoever seeketh, knoweth that which he
seeketh for in a general notion, else how shall he
know it when he hath found it? " And therefore the
larger your anticipation is, the more direct and com-
pendious is your search. But the same places which
will help us what to produce of that which we know
already, will also help us, if a man of experience were
before us, what questions to ask : or, if we have books
and authors to instruct us, what points to search and
revolve : so as I cannot report, that this part of inven-
tion, which is that which the schools call topics, is

Nevertheless topics are of two sorts, general and
special. The general we have spoken to, but the par-
ticular hath been touched by some, but rejected gene-
rally as inartificial and variable. But leaving the
liumour which hath reigned too much in the schools,
which is, to be vainly subtile in a few things, which arc
within their command, and to reject the rest, I do re-
ceive particular topics, that is, places or directions of in-
vention and inquiry in every particular knowledge, as
things of great use, being mixtures of logic with the
matter of sciences : for in these it holdeth, " Ars invc-
niendi adolescit cum inventis;" for as in going of away,
we do not only gain that part of the way which is passed,
but we gain the better sight of that part of the way
which remaineth; so every degree of proceeding in a sci-
ence giveth a light to that which foUoweth, which light
if we strengthen, by drawing it forth into questions or
places of inquiry, we do greatly advance our pursuit.

Now we pass unto the arts of judgment, -i^Mch
handle the natures of proofs and demonstrations^^ which
as to induction hath a coincidence with invention : for
in all inductions, whether in good or vicious form, the
same action of the mind which invcnteth, judgeth^
all one as in .the sense : but otherwise it is in proof by
syllogism ; for the proof being not immediate, but by


mean, the invcntioii of the mean is one thing, and the \
jndgmeiit of the consequence is another; the one ex- I
citing only, the other examining Therefore, for the
real and exact form of judgment, we refer ourselves to
that which we have spoken of interpretation of nature.

For the other judgment hy syllogism, as it is a
thing most agrecahlc> to tlic mind of man, so it hath
heen vehemently and excellently lahoured : for the

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 19 of 52)