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olished, are no longer nourished by natural phi- own reflections, and stirs up and, as it were, inlosophy, which would have imparted fresh vigour vokes his own spirit, after much mental labour, to and growth to them from the sources and genuine disclose its oracles. All which is a method withcontemplation of motion, rays, sounds, texture, out foundation and merely turns on opinion. and confirmation of bodies, and the affections and Another perhaps calls in logic to assist him in capacity of the understanding. But we can little discovery, which bears only a nominal relation to wonder that the sciences grow not when separated his purpose. For the discoveries of logic are not from their roots.

discoveries of principles and leading axioms, but 81. There is another powerful and great cause only of what appears to accord with them. And of the little advancement of the sciences, which when men become curious and importunate and

is this: it is impossible to advance properly in give trouble, interrupting her about her proofs and of the course when the goal is not properly fixed. the discovery of principles or first axioms, she

But the real and legitimate goal of the sciences puts them off with her usual answer, referring is the endowment of human life with new inven- them to faith, and ordering them to swear allegitions and riches. The great crowd of teachers ance to each art in its own department. know nothing of this, but consist of dictatorial There remains but mere experience, which hirelings: unless it so happen that some artisan when it offers itself is called chance; when it is of an acute genius and ambitious of fame gives up sought after, experiment. But this kind of expehis time to a new discovery, which is generally rience is nothing but a loose faggot, and mere attended with a loss of property. The majority, groping in the dark, as men at night try all means so far from proposing to themselves the augmen- of discovering the right road, whilst it would be tation of the mass of arts and sciences, make no better and more prudent either to wait for day or other use of an inquiry into the mass already be procure a lightand then proceed. On the contrary fore them, than is afforded by the conversion of it the real order of experience begins by setting up to some use in their lectures, or to gain, or to the a light, and then shows the road by it, commencacquirement of a name and the like. But if one ling with a regulated and digested, not a misout of the multitude he found, who courts science placed and vague course of experiment, and from real zeal and on its own account, even he thence deducing axioms, and from those axioms will be seen rather to follow contemplation and new experiments: for not even the Divine Word the variety of theories than a severe and strict in-proceeded to operate on the general mass of things vestigation of truth. Again, if there even be an without due order. unusually strict investigator of truth, yet will he Let men therefore cease to wonder if the whole propose to himself as the test of truth the satisfac- course of science be not run, when all have wantion of his mind and understanding, as to the dered from the path ; quitting entirely and desertcauses of things long since known, and not such ing experience, or involving themselves in its a test as to lead to some new earnest of effects, mazes, and wandering about, whilst a regularly and a uew light in axioms. If, therefore, no one combined system would lead them in a sure track have laid down the real end of science, we cannot through its wilds to the open day of axioms. wonder that there should be error in points subor- 83. The evil, however, has been wonderfully dinate to that end.

increased by an opinion, or inveterate conceit, 82. But, in like manner as the end and goal of which is both vainglorious and prejudicial, namely, science is ill defined, so, even were the case other- that the dignity of the human mind is lowered by wise, men have chosen an erroneous and impassa- long and frequent intercourse with experiments 6. ble direction. For it is sufficient to astonish any and particulars, which are the objects of sense and reflecting mind, that nobody should have cared or confined to matter ; especially since such matters wished to open and complete a way for the under- generally require labour in investigation, are mean standing, setting off from the senses, and regular, subjects for meditation, harsh in discourse, unprowell conducted experiment; but that every thing ductive in practice, infinite in number, and delihas been abandoned either to the mists of tradi- cate in their subtilty. Hence we have seen the tion, the whirl and confusion of argument, or the true path not only deserted, but intercepted and wares and mazes of chance, and desultory, ill- blocked up, experience being rejected with dis. combined experiment. Now, let any one but con- gust, and not merely neglected or improperly sider soberly and diligently the nature of the path applied. men have been accustomed to pursue in the in- 84. Again, the reverence for antiquity and the sestigation and discovery of any matter, and he authority of men who have been esteemed great will doubtless first observe the rude and inartifi- in philosophy, and general unanimity, have recial manner of discovery most familiar to man- tarded men from advancing in science, and almost kind: which is no other than this. When any enchanted them. As to unanimity, we have spoone prepares himself for discovery, he first in- ken of it above. quires and obtains a full account of all that has The opinion which men cherish of antiquity is been said on the subject by others, then adds his altogether idle, and scarcely accords with the

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term. For the old age and increasing years of tion of natural bodies in mechanical arts and the the world should in reality be considered as anti- like; as the discovery of the heavenly motions in quity, and this is rather the character of our own astronomy, of harmony in music, of the letters times than of the less advanced age of the world of the alphabet (still unadopted by the Chinese) in those of the ancients. For the latter, with re- in grammar; or, again, in mechanical operations, spect to ourselves, are ancient and elder, with the productions of Bacchus and Ceres, that is, respect to the world, modern and younger. And the preparation of wine and beer, the making of as we expect a greater knowledge of human affairs bread, or even the luxuries of the table, distillaand more mature judgment from an old man, than tion, and the like; if one reflect also and consider from a youth, on account of his experience, and for how long a period of ages (for all the above, the variety and number of things he has seen, except distillation, are ancient) these things have heard, and meditated upon; so we have reason to been brought to their present state of perfection, expect much greater things of our own age, (if it and, as we instanced in clocks, to how few obserknew but its strength and would essay and exert vations and axioms of nature they may be referity) than from antiquity, since the world has grown red, and how easily, and, as it were, by obvious older, and its stock has been increased and accu- chance or contemplation they might be discovered, mulated with an infinite number of experiments one would soon cease to admire and rather pity and observations. We must also take into our the human lot, on account of its vast want and consideration that many objects in nature fit to dearth of things and discoveries for so many throw light upon philosophy have been exposed ages. Yet, even the discoveries we have mento our view and discovered by means of long voy- tioned were more ancient than philosophy, and ages and travels, in which our times have abound the intellectual arts; so that, to say the truth, ed. It would indeed be dishonourable to mankind, when contemplation and doctrinal science began, if the regions of the material globe, the earth, the the discovery of useful works ceased. sea, and stars should be so prodigiously developed But if any one turn from the manufactories to and illustrated in our age, and yet the boundaries libraries, and be inclined to admire the immense of the intellectual globe should be confined to the variety of books offered to our view, let him but narrow discoveries of the ancients.

examine and diligently inspect the matter and With regard to authority, it is the greatest contents of these books, and his astonishment weakness to attribute infinite credit to particular will certainly change its object : for when he finds authors, and to refuse his own prerogative to time, no end of repetitions, and how much men do and the author of all authors, and, therefore, of all speak the same thing over again, he will pass authority. For, truth is rightly named the daugh- from admiration of this variety to astonishment ter of time, not of authority. It is not wonderful, at the poverty and scarcity of matter, which has therefore, if the bonds of antiquity, authority, hitherto possessed and filled men's minds. and unanimity, have so enchained the power of But if any one should condescend to consider man, that he is unable (as if bewitched) to be- such sciences as are deemed rather curious than come familiar with things themselves.

sound, and take a full view of the operations of the 85. Nor is it only the admiration of antiquity, alchymists or magi, he will perhaps hesitate wheauthority, and unanimity, that has forced man's ther he ought rather to laugh or to weep. For the industry to rest satisfied with present discoveries, alchymist cherishes eternal hope, and when bis but also the admiration of the effects already labours succeed not, accuses his own mistakes, placed within his power. For, whoever passes deeming, in his self-accusation, that he has not in review the variety of subjects, and the beauti- properly understood the words of art, or of his ful apparatus collected and introduced by the authors; upon which he listens to tradition and mechanical arts for the service of mankind, will vague whispers, or imagines there is some slight certainly be rather inclined to admire our wealth unsteadiness in the minute details of his practice

, than to perceive our poverty; not considering and then has recourse to an endless repetition of that the observations of man and operations of experiments: and, in the mean time, when in his nature (which are the souls and first movers of casual experiments he falls upon something in that variety) are few, and not of deep research; appearance new, or of some degree of utility, he the rest must be attributed merely to man's pa- consoles himself with such an earnest, and osten, tierce and the delicate and well regulated motion tatiously publishes them, keeping up his liope of of the hand or of instruments. To take an in- the final result. Nor can it be denied that the stance, the manufactory of clocks is delicate and alchymists have made several discoveries, and acenrate, and appears to imitate the heavenly presented mankind with useful inventions. But bodies in its wheels, and the pulse of animals in we may well apply to them the fable of the old its regular oscillation, yet it only depends upon man, who bequeathed to his sons some gold one or two axioms of nature.

buried in his garden, pretending not to know the Again, if one consider the refinement of the exact spot, whereupon they worked diligently in liberal arts, or even that exhibited in the prepara- digging the vineyard, and though they found

gold, the vintage was rendered more abundant revelation of hidden objects and the like. One by their labour.

would not be very wrong in observing, with regard The followers of natural magic, who explain to such pretenders, that there is as much differevery thing by sympathy and antipathy, have ence in philosophy, between their absurdity and assigned false powers and marvellous operations real science, as there is in history between the to things, by gratuitous and idle conjectures : and exploits of Cæsar or Alexander, and those of if they have ever produced any effects, they are Amadis de Gaul and Arthur of Britain. For rather wonderful and novel than of any real bene- those illustrious generals are found to have actufit or utility.

ally performed greater exploits, than such fictiIn superstitious magic, (if we say any thing at tious heroes are even pretended to have accomall about it,) we must chiefly observe, that there plished, by the means, however, of real action, are only some peculiar and definite objects with and not by any fabulous and portentous power. which the curious and superstitious arts have in Yet it is not right to suffer our belief in true his. every nation and age, and even under every reli- tory to be diminished, because it is sometimes gion, been able to exercise and amuse themselves. injured and violated by fables. In the mean time Let us, therefore, pass them over. In the mean we cannot wonder that great prejudice has been time we cannot wonder that the false notion of excited against any new propositions (especially plenty should have occasioned want.

when coupled with any mention of effects to be 86. The admiration of mankind with regard to produced) by the conduct of impostors who have the arts and sciences, which is of itself sufficiently made a similar attempt, for their extreme absimple and almost puerile, has been increased by surdity and the disgust occasioned by it, has even the craft and artifices of those who have treated to this day overpowered every spirited attempt of the sciences and delivered them down to pos- the kind. terity. For they propose and produce them to 88. Want of energy, and the littleness and our view so fashioned, and as it were masked, as futility of the tasks that human industry has unto make them pass for perfect and complete. For, dertaken, have produced much greater injury to if you consider their method and divisions, they the sciences: and yet (to make it still worse) that appear to embrace and comprise every thing which very want of energy manifests itself in conjunccan relate to the subject. And although this frame tion with arrogance and disdain. be badly filled up, and resemble an empty bladder, For, in the first place, one excuse, now from its yet it presents to the vulgar understanding the repetition become familiar, is to be observed in form and appearance of a perfect science. every art, namely, that its promoteis convert the

The first and most ancient investigators of weakness of the art itself into a calumny upon
trush were wont, on the contrary, with more nature: and whatever it in their hands fails to
honesty and success, to throw all the knowledge effect, they pronounce to be physically impossi-
they wished to gather from contemplation, and to ble. But how can the art ever be condemned,
lay up for use, into aphorisms, or short, scattered whilst it acts as judge in its own cause ? Even
sentences, unconnected by any method, and with the present system of philosophy cherishes in its
out pretending or professing to comprehend any bosom certain positions or dogmas, which it will
entire art. But, according to the present system, be found on diligent inquiry) are calculated to
we cannot wonder that men seek nothing beyond produce a full conviction that no difficult, com-
that which is handed down to them as perfect, manding, and powerful operation upon nature,
and already extended to its full complement. ought to be anticipated through the means of art;

87. The ancient theories have received addi- we instanced* above, the alleged different quality
tional support and credit, from the absurdity and of heat in the sun and fire, and composition and
levity of those who have promoted the new, mixture. Upon an accurate observation, the
especially in the active and practical part of natu- whole tendency of such positions is wiltully to
| ral philosophy. For there have been many silly circumscribe man's power, and to produce a de-
and fantastical fellows who, from credulity or spair of the means of invention and contrivance,
impostore, have loaded mankind with promises, which would not only confound the promises of
announcing and boasting of the prolongation of hope, but cut the very springs and sinews of in-
life

, the retarding of old age, the alleviation of dustry, and throw aside even the chances of expe-
pains, the remedying of natural defects, the de-rience. The only object of such philosophers is,
ception of the senses, the restraint and excitement to acquire the reputation of perfection for their
of the passions, the illumination and exaltation of own art, and they are anxious to obtain the most
the intellectual faculties, the transmutation of sub- silly and abandoned renown, by causing a belief
stances, the unlimited intensity and multiplication that whatever has not yet been invented and un
of motion, the impressions and changes of the derstood, can never be so hereafter. But if any
air, the bringing into our power the management one attempt to give himself up to things, and to
of celestial influences, the divination of future
erents, the representation of distant objects, the

See Axiom 75,

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discover something new, yet he will only propose The fictions of those who have not feared to and destine for his object, the investigation and deduce and confirm the truth of the Christian rediscovery of some one invention, and nothing ligion by the principles and authority of philosomore; as the nature of the magnet, the tides, the phers, tend to the same end, though in a different heavenly system and the like, which appear en- manner. They celebrate the union of faith and veloped in some degree of mystery, and have the senses as though it were legitimate, with hitherto been treated with but little success. great pomp and solemnity, and gratify men's Now, it is the greatest proof of want of skill, to pleasing minds with a variety, but, in the mean investigate the nature of any object in itself alone; time, confound most improperly things divine and for that same nature, which seems concealed and human. Moreover, in these mixtures of divinity hidden in some instances, is manifest and almost and philosophy, the received doctrines of the latpalpable in others; and excites wonder in the ter are alone included, and any novelty, even former, whilst it hardly attracts attention in the though it be an improvement, scarcely escapes latter. Thus the nature of consistency is scarcely banishment and extermination. observed in wood or stone, but passed over by the In short, you may find all access to any species term solid, without any further inquiry about the of philosophy, however pure, intercepted by the repulsion of separation, or the solution of con- ignorance of divines. Some, in their simplicity, tinuity. But in water-bubbles the same circum- are apprehensive that a loo deep inquiry into nastance appears matter of delicate and ingenious ture may penetrate beyond the proper bounds of research, for they form themselves into thin pelli- decorum, transferring and absurdly applying what cles, curiously shaped into hemispheres, so as for is said of sacred mysteries in holy writ against an instant to avoid the solution of continuity. those who pry into divine secrets, to the myste

In general, those very things which are consi- ries of nature, which are not forbidden by any dered as secret, are manifest and common in other prohibition. Others, with more cunning, imagine objects, but will never be clearly seen if the ex- and consider that if secondary causes be unknown, periments and contemplation of man be directed every thing may more easily be referred to the to themselves only. Yet it commonly happens, divine hand and wand; a matter, as they think, that if, in the mechanical arts, any one bring old of the greatest consequence to religion, but which discoveries to a finer polish, or more elegant can only really mean that God wishes to be gratiheight of ornament, or unite and compound them, fied by means of falsehood. Others fear from or apply them more readily to practice, or exhibit past example, lest motion and change in philosothem on a less heavy and voluminous scale, and phy should terminate in an attack upon religion. the like, they will pass off as new.

Lastly, there are others who appear anxious lest We cannot, therefore, wonder that no magnifi- there should be something discovered in the incent discoveries, worthy of mankind, have been vestigation of nature to overthrow, or at least brought to light, whilst men are satisfied and de- shake religion, particularly among the unlearnlighted with such scanty and puerile tasks, nay, ed. The two last apprehensions appear to resemeven think that they have pursued or attained ble animal instinct, as if men were diffident, in some great object in their accomplishment. the bottom of their minds, and secret meditations,

89. Nor should we neglect to observe that na- of the strength of religion, and the empire of tural philosophy has, in every age, met with a faith over the senses; and therefore feared that troublesome and difficult opponent: I mean su- some danger awaited them from an inquiry into perstition, and a blind and immoderate zeal for nature. But any one who properly considers the religion. For we see that among the Greeks subject, will find natural philosophy to be, after those who first disclosed the natural causes of the word of God, the surest remedy against suthunder and storms to the yet untrained ears of perstition, and the most approved support of faith. man, were condemned as guilty of impiety to- She is therefore rightly bestowed upon religion wards the gods. Nor did some of the old fathers as a most faithful attendant, for the one exhibits of Christianity treat those much better who show- the will and the other the power of God. Nori ed by the most positive proofs (such as no one was he wrong who observed, “ Ye err, not now disputes) that the earth is spherical, and knowing the Scriptures and the power of God;" thence asserted that there were antipodes. thus uniting in one bond the revelation of his

Even in the present state of things, the condi- will, and the contemplation of his power. In the tion of discussions on natural philosophy is ren- mean while it is not wonderful that the progress dered more difficult and dangerous by the sum- of natural philosophy has been restrained

, since maries and methods of divines, who, after reducing religion, which has so much influence on men's Jivinity into such order as they could, and brought minds, has been led and hurried to oppose her it into a scientific form, have proceeded to mingle through the ignorance of some and the imprudent an undue proportion of the contentious and thorny zeal of others. philosophy of Aristotle with the substance of re

90. Again, in the habits and regulations oi igion.

schools, universities, and the like assemblies, de

stined for the abode of learned men, and the im- when they have attained a certain degree and provement of learning, every thing is found to be condition they can proceed no further. opposed to the progress of the sciences. For the If, therefore, any one believe or promise greater lectures and exercises are so ordered, that any things, they impute it to an uncurbed and inima. thing out of the common track can scarcely enter ture mind, and imagine that such efforts begin the thoughts and contemplations of the mind. If, pleasantly, then become laborious, and end in however, one or two have perhaps dared to use confusion. And since such thoughts easily enter their liberty, they can only impose the labour on the minds of men of dignity and excellent judg. themselves, without deriving any advantage from ment, we must really take heed lest we should be the association of others : and if they put up with captivated by our affection for an excellent and this, they will find their industry and spirit of no most beautiful object, and relax or diminish the slight disadvantage to them in making their for- severity of our judgment ! and we must diligently tune. For the pursuits of men in such situations examine what gleam of hope shines upon us, and are, as it were, chained down to the writings of in what direction it manifests itself, so that, banishparticular authors, and if any one dare to dissent ing her lighter dreams, we may discuss and weigh from them, he is immediately attacked as a turbu- whatever appears of more sound importance. We ·lent and revolutionary spirit. Yet how great is must consult the prudence of ordinary life, too, the difference between civil matters and the arts; which is diffident upon principle, and in all hufor there is not the same danger from new activity man matters augurs the worst. Let us then and new light. In civil matters even a change speak of hope, especially as we are not vain profor the better is suspected on account of the com- misers, nor are willing to force or ensnare men's motion it occasions; for civil government is sup- judgment, but would rather lead them willingly ported by authority, unanimity, fame, and public forward. And, although we shall employ the opinion, and not by demonstration. In the arts most cogent means of enforcing hope when we and sciences, on the contrary, every department bring them to particulars, and especially those should resound, as in mines, with new works which are digested and arranged in our Tables of and advances. And this is the rational, though Invention, (the subject partly of the second, but not the actual view of the case: for that adminis- principally of the fourth part of the Instauration,) tration and government of science we have spoken which are indeed rather the very object of our of, is wont too rigorously to repress its growth. hopes than hope itself;. yet to proceed more leni

91. And even should the odium I have alluded ently, we must treat of the preparation of men's to be avoided, yet it is sufficient to repress the minds, of which the manifestation of hope forms increase of science that such attempts and indus- no slight part. For, without it, all that we have try was unrewarded. For the cultivation of said tends rather to produce a gloom than to enscience and its reward belong not to the same courage activity or quicken the industry of expeindividual. The advancement of science is the riment, by causing them to have a worse and work of a powerful genius, the prize and reward more contemptuous opinion of things as they are belong to the vulgar or to princes, who (with a than they now entertain, and to perceive and feel few exceptions) are scarcely moderately well more thoroughly their unfortunate condition. We informed. Nay, such progress is not only de- must therefore disclose and prefix our reasons for prived of the rewards and beneficence of indivi- not thinking the hope of success improbable, as duals, but even of popular praise : for it is above Columbus before his wonderful voyage over the the reach of the generality, and easily over- Atlantic gave the reasons of his conviction that whelmed and extinguished by the winds of com- new lands and continents might be discovered mon opinions. It is not wonderful, therefore, besides those already known. And these reasons that little success has attended that which has though at first rejected, were yet proved by subbeen little honoured.

sequent experience, and were the causes and 92. But by far the greatest obstacle to the beginnings of the greatest events. advancernent of the sciences and the undertaking 93. Let us begin from God, and show that our of any new attempt or department is to be found pursuit from its exceeding goodness clearly proin men's despair and the idea of impossibility. ceeds from him, the Author of good and Father For men of a prudent and exact turn of thought of light. Now, in all divine works, the smallest are altogether diffident in matters of this nature, beginnings lead assuredly to some result, and the considering the obscurity of nature, and the short- remark in spiritual matters that “The kingdon ness of life, the deception of the senses, and of God cometh without observation,” is also found weakness of the judgment. They think, there- to be true in every great work of divine Provifore, that in the revolutions of ages and of the dence; so that every thing glides quietly on world there are certain floods and ebbs of the without confusion or noise, and the matter is sciences, and that they grow and flourish at one achieved before men either think or perceive that time, and wither and fall off at another, that it is commenced. Nor should we neglect to Vol. III.-46

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