Francis Bacon.

The physical and metaphysical works of Lord Bacon including the Advancement of learning and Novum Organum online

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the present race of men to conceive. The point in view is not
only the contemj^lative happiness, but the whole fortunes,
and affairs, and powers, and works of men. For man being
the minister and interpreter of nature, acts and understands
so far as he has observed of the order, the works and mind
of nature, and can proceed no farther ; for no power is able
to loose or break the chain of causes, nor is nature to be
conquered but by submission : whence those twin intentions,
human knowledge and human power, are really coincident ;
and the greatest hinderance to works is the ignorance of

The capital precept for the whole undertaking is this, that
tlie eye of the mind be never taken off from things themselves,
but receive their images truly as they are. And God forbid
that ever we should offer the dreams of fancy for a model of
the world ; but rather in his kindness vouchsafe to us the
means of writing a revelation and true vision of the traces
and moulds of the Creator in his creatures.

May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of
"\ ision as the first fruit of creation, and who hast spread over
the fall of man the light of thy understanding as the accom-
plishment of thy works, guard and direct this work, which,
issuing from thy goodness, seeks in return thy glory ! When
thou hadst surveyed the works which thy hands had wrought,
all seemed good in thy sight, and Thou restedst. But when
man turned to the works of his hands, he found all vanity
and vexation of spirit, and experienced no rest. If, however,
we labour in thy v/orks. Thou wilt make us to partake of tliy
A'ision and sabbath ; we, therefore, humbly beseech Thee to
f.trengthen our purpose, that Thou may&t be willing to
endow thy family of mankind with new gifts, tlirough our
hands, and tlie hands of those i;.i whom Thou sliult impliut
the same spiiit.

Fir.sT TAirr





The diflFerent Objections to Learning stated and confuted. Its Dig:uty
and Merit maintained.



General Division of Learning into History, Poetry, and Philosophy, in
relation to the Three Faculties of the Mind, Memory, Iniagination,
and Iteason. The same Distribution applies to Theology.


History divided into Natural and Civil ; — Civil subdivided into Eccle-
siastical and Literary. The Division oi Natural Histoiy, according
to the Subject-matter, into the History of Generations, Praeter-gene'
rations, and the Arts.


Second Division of Natural History, in relation to its Use and End, into
Narrative and Inductive. The most important end of Natural His-
tory is to aid in erecting a Body of Philosophy which appertains to
Induction, Division ol the History of Generations into the History
of the Heavens, the History oi Meteors, the History of the Earth and
Sea, the History ot Massire or Collective Bodies, and the History of


CHvil History divided into Ecclesiastical and Literary. Deficiency c(
th« latter. The absence of Precepts for its compilaticit.


The Dignity of Civil History and the Obstacles it has to enctunter.


Division of Civil History into Memoirs, Antiquities, and Perfect


Division of Perfect History into Chronicles, Biographies, and Relationf

The Development of their parts.


Division of the Histoi-y of Times into Universal and Particular. The
Advantages and Disadvantages of both.

Secoiul Division of the History of Times, into Annals and Journals.

Second Division of Special Civil History into Pure and Mixed.

Ecclesiastical History divided into the General History of the Cliurch,
History of Prophecy, and History of Providence.

Tlie Appendix of History embraces the Words of Men, as the Body of
History includes their Exploits. Its Division into Speeches, Letters,
and Aoophthegms.

Tlie Second leading Branch of Learning — Poetry. Its Division into
Narrative, Dramatic, and Parabolic. Three Examples of the latter
Bpecios detailed.



DIviision of Learning into Theology and Philosophy. Tlie latter divided
into the Knowledge of God, of Nature, and of Man. Construction uf
Phiiosophia Prima as the Mother of all the Sciences.


Natural Tlieology with its Appendix, the Knowledge of Angels and


Natural Philosophy divided into Speculative and Practical, The Nere»

sity of keeping these Two Branches distinct.



Division of the Speculative Branch of Natuial Philosophy into Physica
and Metaphysics. Physics relate to the Investigation of Efficient
Causes and Matter ; Metaphysics to that of Final Causes and the
Eorm. Division of Physics into the Sciences of the Principles of
Things, the Structure of Things, and the Variety of Things. Division
of Physics in relation to the Variety of Things into Abstract and
Concrete. Division of Concretes agrees with the Distribution of the
Parts of Natural History. Division of Abstracts into the Doctrine
of Material Forms and Motion. Appendix of Speculative Physics
twofold : viz., Natural Problems and the Opinions of Ancient Philo-
sophers, Metaphysics divided into the Knowledge of F'^rms and the
Doctrine of Final Causes.


Division of the Practical Branch of Natural Philosophy into Mechanics
and Magic (Experimental Philosophy), which correspond to the Spe-
culative Division — Mechanics to Physics, and Magic to Metaphysics.
The word Magic cleared from False Interpretation. Appendix to
Active Science twofold : viz., an Inventory of Human Helps and a
Catalogue of Things of Multifarious Use.


The Great Appendix of Natural Philosophy both Speculative and Prac-
tical. Mathematics. Its Proper Position not among the Substantial
Sciences, but in their Appendix. Mathematics divided into Puro
and Mixed.



Division of the Knowledge of Man into Human and Civil Philosophy.
Human Philosophy divided into the Doctrine of the Body and Soul.
The Construction of one General Science, including the Nature and
State of Man. The latter divided into the Doctrine of the Human
Person and the Connection of the Soul with the Body. Division of
Ihe Doctrine of the Person of Man into that of his Miseries and Pre-
rogatives. Division of the Relations between the Soul and the Body
into the Doctrines of Indications and Impressions. Physiognomy and
the Interpretation of Dreams assigned to the Doctrine of Indications.


Division of the Knowledge of the Human Body into the Medicinal,
Cosmetic, Athletic and the Voluptuary Arts. Division of Medicine
into Three Functions : viz., the Preservation of Health, the Cure of
Diseases, and the Prolongation oi Life. The last distinct from the
two former.



Division of the Doctrine of the Human Soul into that of the Inspired
Essence and the Knowledge of the Sensible or Produced Soul.
Second Division of the same philosophy into the Doctrine of tho
Substance and the Faculties of the Soul. The Use and Objects of
the latter. Two Appendices to the Doctrine of the Faculties of tho
Soul : viz.. Natural Divination and Fascination (Mesmerism). The
Faculties of the Sensible Soul divided into those of Motion and Sense.



Division of the Use and Objects of the Faculties of the Soul into Logic
and Ethics. Division of Logic into the Arts of Invention, Judg-
ment, Memory, and Tradition.


Division of Invention into the Invention of Arts and Arguments. The
former, though the more important of them, is wanting. Division of
the Invention of Arts into Literate (Instructed) Experience and a
New Method (Novum Organum). An Illustration of Literate Expe-


Division of the Invention of Arguments into Promptuary, or Places of
Preparation, and Topical, or Places of Suggestion. The Division of
Topics into General and Particular. An Example of Particular Topic;=i
afforded by an Inquiry into the Nature of the Qualities of Light and


The Art of Judgment divided into Induction and the Syllogism. Induc-
tion developed in the Novum Organum. The Syllogism divided into
Direct and Inverse Reduction. Inverse Reduction divided into the
Doctrine of Analytics and Confutations. Tlie Division of the latter
mto Confutations of Sophisms, the Unmasking of Vulgarisms (Equi-
rocal Terms), and the Destruction of Delusive Images or Idols.
Delusive Appearances divided into Idola Tnhds, Idola Speeds, and
Jdola Fori. Appendix to the Art of Judgment. The Adapting thf
Demonstration to the Nature of the Subject.


division of the Retentive Art into the Aids of the Memory and th«
Nature of the Memory itself. Division of the Doctrine of Memory
iuto Prenotion and Emblem.




Division of Tradition into the Doctrine of the Organ, the ^lethod anrl
the Illustration of Speech. The Organ of Speech divided into the
Knowledge of the Marks of Things, of Speaking, and Writing. Tlie
two last comprise the two Branches of Grammar. The Marks of
Things divif'ed into Hieroglyphics and Eeal Characters. Grammar
Ugain divided into Literary and Philosophical. Prosody referred to
the Doctrine of Speech and Ciphers to the Department of Writing.


Method of Speech includes a Wide Part of Tradition. Styled th€
Wisdom of Delivery. Various kinds of Methods enumerated. Theii
respective Merits.


The Grounds and Functions of Rhetoric. Three Appendices wh'ch
belong only to the Preparatory Part, viz., the Colours of Good and
Evil, both simple and composed ; the Antithesis of Things (the pro
and con. of General Questions) ; the Minor Forms of Speech (tiie
Elaboration of Exordiums, Perorations, and Leading Arguments).


Two General Appendices to Tradition, viz., the Arts of Teaching and



Ethics divided into the Doctrine of Models and the Georgics (Culture)
of the Mind. Division of Models into the Absolute and Comparativ ^
Good. Absolute Good divided into Personal and National.


Division of Individual Good into Active and Passive. That of Passive
Good into Conservative and Perfective. Good of the Commonwealth
divided into General and Respective.


Tlie Culture of the Mind divided into the Knowledge of Characteristio
Differences of Affections, of Remedies and Cures. Appendix relating
to the Hai-mony between the Pleasures of the Mind and the Body.




Civil Knowledge divided into the Art of Conversation, the Art of Nego-
tiation, and the Art of State Policy.


Tlie Art of Negotiation divided into the Knowledge of Dispersed Occa-
sions (Conduct in Particular Emergencies), and into the Science of
Rising in Life. Examples of the former drawn from Solomon. Pre-
cepts relating to Self-advancement.


The Arts of Empire or State Policy omitted. Two Deficiencies alo7ia
noticed. The Art of Enlarging the Bounds of Empire, and tho
Knowledge of Universal Justice drawn from the Fountains of Law.


The Compartments of Theology omitted. Three Deficiencies pointed
out. The Right Use of Reason in Matters of Faith. The Know-
ledge of the Degrees of Unity in the City of God. The Eraanatious
of Uie Uoly Scripturefii.



rhe Different Objections to Learning stated and confuted ; its Dignity
and Merit maintained.


As under the old law, most excellent king, there were
daily sacrifices and free oblations^ — the one arising out of
ritual observance, and the other from a pious generosity, so
I deem that all faithful subjects owe their kings a double
tribute of affection and duty. In the first I hope I shall
never be found deficient, but as regards the latter, though
doubtful of the worthiness of my choice, I thought it more
befitting to tender to your Majesty that ser^dce which rather
refers to tlie excellence of your individual person than to
the business of the state.

In bearing your Majesty in mind, as is frequently my
custom and duty, I have been often struck with admiration,
apart from your other gifts of virtue and fortune, at the
surprising develo])ment of that part of your nature which
I)hilosophers call intellectual. The deep and broad capacity
of your mind, the grasp of your memory, the quickness of
your apprehension, the penetration of your judgment, your
lucid method of arrangement, and easy facility of speech : —
at such extraordinary endowments I am forcibly reminded
of the saying of Plato, "that all science is but remem-
brance," '^ and that the human mind is originally imbued
with all knowledge ; that which she seems adventitiously to
acquire in life being nothing more than a return to her first
conceptions, which had been overlaid by the grossness of the

* See Numb, xxviii. 23 ; Levit. xxii. 18.

» Plato's Phsedo, i. 72 (Steph.) ; Theat. I 166, 191; Menon, ii. 81;
end Ai-istot. de Memor. 2.


body. In no person so much as yonr Majesty does tliis
opinid appear more fully confirmed, your soul being apt to
kindle at the intrusion of the slightest object; and even at
the spark of a thought foreign to the purpose to burst into
flame. As the Scripture says of the wisest king, " That hisi
heart was as the sands of the sea,"*' which, though one of
the largest bodies, contains the finest and smallest particles
of matter. In like manner God has endowed your Majesty
with a mind capable of grasping the largest subjects and
comprehending the least, though such an instrument seems
an impossibility in nature. As regards yonr readiness of
speech, I am reminded of that saying of Tacitus concerning
Augustus Csesar, " Augusto profluensut quae principem virum
deceret, eloquentia fuit."^ For all eloquence which is affected
or overlaboured, or merely imitative, though otherwise ex-
cellent, carries with it an air of servirity, nor is it free to
follow its own impulses. But your Majesty's elocpience is
indeed royal, streaming and branching out in nature's fashion
as from a fountain, copious and elegant, original and inimit-
able. And as in those things which concern your crown and
family, virtue seems to contend with fortune — your Majesty
being possessed of a virtuous disposition and a prosperous
government, a vu^tuous observance of the duties of the con-
jugal state with most blessed and happy fruit of marriage, a
virtuous and most Christian desire of peace at a time when
contemporary princes seem no less inclined to harmony, — so
likewise in intellectual gifts there appears as great a con-
tention between your Majesty's natural talents and the
universality and perfection of your learning. Nor indeed
would it be easy to find any monarch since the Christian
era who could bear any comparison with your Majesty in
the variety and depth of your erudition. Let any one run
over the whole line of kin^fs, and he will agree with me. It
indeed seems a great thing in a monarch, if he can find
time to digest a compendium or imbibe the simple elements
of science, or love and countenance learning; but that a
king, and he a king born, should have drunk at the true
fountain of knowledge, yea, rather, should have a fountain of

« 3 Kings iv. 29. We may observe that Bacon invariably quotef
from the Vulgate, to which our references point.
* Tacitus, Annales, xiii. 8.


learning in himself, is indeed little short of a mii'acle. And
the more since in your Majesty's heart are united all the
treasures of sacred and profane knowledge, so that like
Hermes your Majesty is invested with a triple glory, being
distinguished no less by the power of a king than by the
Mhimination of a priest and the learning of a philosopher.^
Since, then, your Majesty surpasses other monarchs by this
property, which is peculiarly your own, it is but just that
this dignified pre-eminence should not only be celebrated in
the mouths of the present age, and be transmitted to ])os-
terJLy, but also that it should be engraved in some solid
work which might serve to denote the power of so great a
king and the height of his learning.

Therefore, to return to our undertaking: no oblation
seemed more suitable than some treatise relating to that
purpose, the sum of which should consist of two pai-ts, — the
first of the excellence of learning, and the merit of those
who labour judiciously and with energy for its propagation
and development. The second, to point out what part of
knowledge has been already laboured and perfected, and
what portions left unfinished or entirely neglected ; in order,
since I dare not positively advise your Majesty to adopt any
particular course, that by a detailed representation of our
wants, I may excite your Majesty to examine the treasures
of your royal heart, and thence to extract, whatever to your
magnanimity and wisdom may seem best fitted to enlarge
the boundaries of knowledge.

On the threshold of the first part it is advisable to
sift the merits of knowledge, and clear it of the disgrace
brought upon it by ignorance, whether disguised (1) in the
zeal of divines, (2) the arrogance of politicians, or (3) the
errors of men of letters.

Some divines pretend, 1. " That knowledge is to be re-
ceived with great limitation, as the aspiring to it was the
original sin, and the cause of the fall; 2. That it has some-
what of the serpent, and pufieth up;" 3. That Solomon says,
" Of making books there is no end : much study is weari-
ness of the flesh ; for in much wisdom Ls much grief; and he
that increase Ih knowledge, increaseth sorrow:"^' 4. "That

^ Pceniander of IIerine;< Trismegi.- tu».
» Kccleb. xu. 12. aad i. IS ""


St. Paul cautions against being spoiled throiigli vain pliilo-
Kophy:"g 5. "That experience shows learned men have been
heretics; and learned times inclined to atheism; and that
the contemplation of second causes takes from our depend-
ence upon God, who is the first."

To this we answer, 1. It was not the pure knowledge of
nature, by the light whereof man gave names to all the
creatures in Paradise, agreeable to their natures, that occa-
sioned the fall ; but the proud knowledge of good and evil,
Avith an intent in man to give law to himself, and depend no
more upon God. 2. Nor can any quantity of natural know-
ledge puff up the mind; for nothing fills, much less distends
the soul, but God. Whence as Solomon declares, " That the
eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing ;"i'
so of knowledge itself he says, " God hath made all things
beautiful in their seasons; also he hath placed the world in
nvan's heart ; yet cannot man find out the work which God
worketh from the beginning to the end;"^ hereby declaring
plainly that God has framed the mind like a glass, capable of
the image of the universe, and desirous to receive it as the
eye to receive the light ; and thus it is not only pleased with
the variety and vicissitudes of things, but also endeavours to
find out the laws they observe in their changes and altera-
tions. And if such be the extent of the mind, there is no
danger of filling it with any quantity of knowledge. But it
is merely from its quality when taken without the true cor'
rective, that knowledge has somewhat of venom or malignity.
The corrective which renders it sovereign is charity, for
according to St. Paul, " Knowledge puffeth up, but charity
buildeth." ^ 3. For the excess of writing and reading books,
the anxiety of spirit proceeding from knowledge, and the
admonition, that we be not seduced by vain philosophy; when
these passages are rightly understood, they mark out the
boundaries of human knowledge, so as to comprehend the
universal nature of things. These limitations are three : the
first, that we should not place our felicity in knowledge, so
as to forget mortality ; the second, that we use knowledge
S'3 as to give ourselves ease and content, not distaste and
repinijig; and the third, that we f resume not by the con-

« 1 Cor. viii. 1. •• Eccles. i. 8.

« Eccles. iii. 11. k 1 Cor. viii. 1,


templation of nature, to attain to the mysteries of God.
As to the first, Solomon excellently says, " I saw that
wisdom excelleth folly as far as light excelleth darkness.
The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in
^larkness ; and I myself perceived also that one event hap-
peneth to them all."^ And for the second, it is certain that
no vexation or anxiety of mind results from knowledge, but
merely by accident; all knowledge, and admiration, which is
the seed of knowledge, being pleasant in itself; but when we
frame conclusions from our knowledge, apply them to our
own particular, and thence minister to ourselves weak fears
or vast desires ; then comes on that anxiety and trouble of
mind which is here meant — when knowledge is no longer
the dry light of Heraclitus, but the drenched one, steeped in
the humours of the affections.™ 4. The third point deserves
to be more dwelt upon; for if any man shall think, by his
inquiries after material things, to discover the nature or will
of God, he is indeed spoiled by vain philosophy; for the
contemplation of God's works produces knowledge, though,
with regard to him, not perfect knowledge, but wonder,
which is broken knowledge. It may, therefore, be properly
said, " That the sense resembles the sun, which shows the
terrestrial globe, but conceals the celestial;"" for thus the
sense discovers natural things, whilst it shuts up divine.
And hence some learned men have, indeed, been heretical,
whilst they sought to seize the secrets of the Deity borne
on the waxen wings of the senses. 5. As to the point that
too much knowledge should incline to atheism, and the
ignorance of second causes make us more dependent upon
God, we ask Job's question, " Will ye lie for God, as one man
will do for another, to gratify him?"° For certainly God
works nothing in nature but by second causes;? and to assert
the contrary is mere imposture, as it were, in favour of God,
imd offering up to the author of truth the unclean sacrifice
of a. lie. Undoubtedly a superficial tincture of philosophy may
incline the mind to atheism, yet a farther knowledge brijiga

• Eccles. ii. 13, 14.

™ Ap. Stob. Serm. v. 120, in Ritter's Hist. Phil. § 47.
° Phil. Jud. de Soraii'S, p. 41.

* Job xiii. 7.

" Hooker, £ccl. Pol. i. 2 ; Butler, Anal, part i a 2.


it back to religion;*! For on the threshold of philosophy,
where second causes appear to absorb the attention, some
oblivion of the highest cause may ensue ; but when the mind
goes deeper, and sees the dependence of causes and the works
of Providence, it will easily perceive, according to the mytho-
logy of the poets, that the upper link of Nature's chain is
fastened to Jupiter's throne.'f To conclude, let no one weakly
imagine that man can search too far, or be too well studied
in the book of God's word, and works, divinity, and philo-
sophy ; but rather let them endeavour an endless progression
in both, only applying all to charity, and not to pride — to
use, not ostentation, without confounding the two different
streams of philosophy and revelation together. ^

The reflections cast upon learning by politicians, are these.
1. " That it enervates men's minds, and unfits them for
arms ; 2. That it perverts their dispositions for government
«and politics ; 3. That it makes them too curious and irre-
solute, b}' variety of reading ; too peremptory or positive by
strictness of rules; too immoderate and conceited by the great-
ness of instances ; too unsociable and incapacitated for the
times, by the dissimilitude of examples ; or at least, 4. That
it diverts from action and business, and leads to a love of re-
tirement ; 0. That it introduces a relaxation in government,
as every man is more ready to argue than obey ; whence
Cato the censor — when Carneades came ambassador to Rome,
and the young Komans, allured with his eloquence, flocked
about him, — ^gave counsel in open senate, to grant him his
despatch immediately, lest he should infect the minds of the
youth, and insensibly occasion an alteration in the state."'

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe physical and metaphysical works of Lord Bacon including the Advancement of learning and Novum Organum → online text (page 3 of 63)