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The Advancement of Learning by Francis Bacon

Part 3 out of 5

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superstitions and fantastical arts, yet being purged and restored to
their true state, they have both of them a solid ground in Nature,
and a profitable use in life. The first is physiognomy, which
discovereth the disposition of the mind by the lineaments of the
body. The second is the exposition of natural dreams, which
discovereth the state of the body by the imaginations of the mind.
In the former of these I note a deficience. For Aristotle hath very
ingeniously and diligently handled the factures of the body, but not
the gestures of the body, which are no less comprehensible by art,
and of greater use and advantage. For the lineaments of the body do
disclose the disposition and inclination of the mind in general; but
the motions of the countenance and parts do not only so, but do
further disclose the present humour and state of the mind and will.
For as your majesty saith most aptly and elegantly, "As the tongue
speaketh to the ear so the gesture speaketh to the eye." And,
therefore, a number of subtle persons, whose eyes do dwell upon the
faces and fashions of men, do well know the advantage of this
observation, as being most part of their ability; neither can it be
denied, but that it is a great discovery of dissimulations, and a
great direction in business.

(3) The latter branch, touching impression, hath not been collected
into art, but hath been handled dispersedly; and it hath the same
relation or antistrophe that the former hath. For the consideration
is double--either how and how far the humours and affects of the
body do alter or work upon the mind, or, again, how and how far the
passions or apprehensions of the mind do alter or work upon the
body. The former of these hath been inquired and considered as a
part and appendix of medicine, but much more as a part of religion
or superstition. For the physician prescribeth cures of the mind in
frenzies and melancholy passions, and pretendeth also to exhibit
medicines to exhilarate the mind, to control the courage, to clarify
the wits, to corroborate the memory, and the like; but the scruples
and superstitions of diet and other regiment of the body in the sect
of the Pythagoreans, in the heresy of the Manichees, and in the law
of Mahomet, do exceed. So likewise the ordinances in the ceremonial
law, interdicting the eating of the blood and the fat,
distinguishing between beasts clean and unclean for meat, are many
and strict; nay, the faith itself being clear and serene from all
clouds of ceremony, yet retaineth the use of fastlings, abstinences,
and other macerations and humiliations of the body, as things real,
and not figurative. The root and life of all which prescripts is
(besides the ceremony) the consideration of that dependency which
the affections of the mind are submitted unto upon the state and
disposition of the body. And if any man of weak judgment do
conceive that this suffering of the mind from the body doth either
question the immortality, or derogate from the sovereignty of the
soul, he may be taught, in easy instances, that the infant in the
mother's womb is compatible with the mother, and yet separable; and
the most absolute monarch is sometimes led by his servants, and yet
without subjection. As for the reciprocal knowledge, which is the
operation of the conceits and passions of the mind upon the body, we
see all wise physicians, in the prescriptions of their regiments to
their patients, do ever consider accidentia animi, as of great force
to further or hinder remedies or recoveries: and more specially it
is an inquiry of great depth and worth concerning imagination, how
and how far it altereth the body proper of the imaginant; for
although it hath a manifest power to hurt, it followeth not it hath
the same degree of power to help. No more than a man can conclude,
that because there be pestilent airs, able suddenly to kill a man in
health, therefore there should be sovereign airs, able suddenly to
cure a man in sickness. But the inquisition of this part is of
great use, though it needeth, as Socrates said, "a Delian diver,"
being difficult and profound. But unto all this knowledge de
communi vinculo, of the concordances between the mind and the body,
that part of inquiry is most necessary which considereth of the
seats and domiciles which the several faculties of the mind do take
and occupate in the organs of the body; which knowledge hath been
attempted, and is controverted, and deserveth to be much better
inquired. For the opinion of Plato, who placed the understanding in
the brain, animosity (which he did unfitly call anger, having a
greater mixture with pride) in the heart, and concupiscence or
sensuality in the liver, deserveth not to be despised, but much less
to be allowed. So, then, we have constituted (as in our own wish
and advice) the inquiry touching human nature entire, as a just
portion of knowledge to be handled apart.

X. (1) The knowledge that concerneth man's body is divided as the
good of man's body is divided, unto which it referreth. The good of
man's body is of four kinds--health, beauty, strength, and pleasure:
so the knowledges are medicine, or art of cure; art of decoration,
which is called cosmetic; art of activity, which is called athletic;
and art voluptuary, which Tacitus truly calleth eruditus luxus.
This subject of man's body is, of all other things in nature, most
susceptible of remedy; but then that remedy is most susceptible of
error; for the same subtlety of the subject doth cause large
possibility and easy failing, and therefore the inquiry ought to be
the more exact.

(2) To speak, therefore, of medicine, and to resume that we have
said, ascending a little higher: the ancient opinion that man was
microcosmus--an abstract or model of the world--hath been
fantastically strained by Paracelsus and the alchemists, as if there
were to be found in man's body certain correspondences and
parallels, which should have respect to all varieties of things, as
stars, planets, minerals, which are extant in the great world. But
thus much is evidently true, that of all substances which nature
hath produced, man's body is the most extremely compounded. For we
see herbs and plants are nourished by earth and water; beasts for
the most part by herbs and fruits; man by the flesh of beasts,
birds, fishes, herbs, grains, fruits, water, and the manifold
alterations, dressings, and preparations of these several bodies
before they come to be his food and aliment. Add hereunto that
beasts have a more simple order of life, and less change of
affections to work upon their bodies, whereas man in his mansion,
sleep, exercise, passions, hath infinite variations: and it cannot
be denied but that the body of man of all other things is of the
most compounded mass. The soul, on the other side, is the simplest
of substances, as is well expressed:

"Purumque reliquit
AEthereum sensum atque aurai simplicis ignem."

So that it is no marvel though the soul so placed enjoy no rest, if
that principle be true, that Motus rerum est rapidus extra locum,
placidus in loco. But to the purpose. This variable composition of
man's body hath made it as an instrument easy to distemper; and,
therefore, the poets did well to conjoin music and medicine in
Apollo, because the office of medicine is but to tune this curious
harp of man's body and to reduce it to harmony. So, then, the
subject being so variable hath made the art by consequent more
conjectural; and the art being conjectural hath made so much the
more place to be left for imposture. For almost all other arts and
sciences are judged by acts or masterpieces, as I may term them, and
not by the successes and events. The lawyer is judged by the virtue
of his pleading, and not by the issue of the cause; this master in
this ship is judged by the directing his course aright, and not by
the fortune of the voyage; but the physician, and perhaps this
politique, hath no particular acts demonstrative of his ability, but
is judged most by the event, which is ever but as it is taken: for
who can tell, if a patient die or recover, or if a state be
preserved or ruined, whether it be art or accident? And therefore
many times the impostor is prized, and the man of virtue taxed.
Nay, we see [the] weakness and credulity of men is such, as they
will often refer a mountebank or witch before a learned physician.
And therefore the poets were clear-sighted in discerning this
extreme folly when they made AEsculapius and Circe, brother and
sister, both children of the sun, as in the verses -

"Ipse repertorem medicinae talis et artis
Fulmine Phoebigenam Stygias detrusit ad undas."

And again -

"Dives inaccessos ubi Solis filia lucos," &c.

For in all times, in the opinion of the multitude, witches and old
women and impostors, have had a competition with physicians. And
what followeth? Even this, that physicians say to themselves, as
Solomon expresseth it upon a higher occasion, "If it befall to me as
befalleth to the fools, why should I labour to be more wise?" And
therefore I cannot much blame physicians that they use commonly to
intend some other art or practice, which they fancy more than their
profession; for you shall have of them antiquaries, poets,
humanists, statesmen, merchants, divines, and in every of these
better seen than in their profession; and no doubt upon this ground
that they find that mediocrity and excellency in their art maketh no
difference in profit or reputation towards their fortune: for the
weakness of patients, and sweetness of life, and nature of hope,
maketh men depend upon physicians with all their defects. But,
nevertheless, these things which we have spoken of are courses
begotten between a little occasion and a great deal of sloth and
default; for if we will excite and awake our observation, we shall
see in familiar instances what a predominant faculty the subtlety of
spirit hath over the variety of matter or form. Nothing more
variable than faces and countenances, yet men can bear in memory the
infinite distinctions of them; nay, a painter, with a few shells of
colours, and the benefit of his eye, and habit of his imagination,
can imitate them all that ever have been, are, or may be, if they
were brought before him. Nothing more variable than voices, yet men
can likewise discern them personally: nay, you shall have a buffon
or pantomimus will express as many as he pleaseth. Nothing more
variable than the differing sounds of words; yet men have found the
way to reduce them to a few simple letters. So that it is not the
insufficiency or incapacity of man's mind, but it is the remote
standing or placing thereof that breedeth these mazes and
incomprehensions; for as the sense afar off is full of mistaking,
but is exact at hand, so is it of the understanding, the remedy
whereof is, not to quicken or strengthen the organ, but to go nearer
to the object; and therefore there is no doubt but if the physicians
will learn and use the true approaches and avenues of nature, they
may assume as much as the poet saith:

"Et quoniam variant morbi, variabimus artes;
Mille mali species, mille salutis erunt."

Which that they should do, the nobleness of their art doth deserve:
well shadowed by the poets, in that they made AEsculapius to be the
son of [the] sun, the one being the fountain of life, the other as
the second-stream; but infinitely more honoured by the example of
our Saviour, who made the body of man the object of His miracles, as
the soul was the object of His doctrine. For we read not that ever
He vouchsafed to do any miracle about honour or money (except that
one for giving tribute to Caesar), but only about the preserving,
sustaining, and healing the body of man.

(3) Medicine is a science which hath been (as we have said) more
professed than laboured, and yet more laboured than advanced; the
labour having been, in my judgment, rather in circle than in
progression. For I find much iteration, but small addition. It
considereth causes of diseases, with the occasions or impulsions;
the diseases themselves, with the accidents; and the cures, with the
preservations. The deficiences which I think good to note, being a
few of many, and those such as are of a more open and manifest
nature, I will enumerate and not place.

(4) The first is the discontinuance of the ancient and serious
diligence of Hippocrates, which used to set down a narrative of the
special cases of his patients, and how they proceeded, and how they
were judged by recovery or death. Therefore having an example
proper in the father of the art, I shall not need to allege an
example foreign, of the wisdom of the lawyers, who are careful to
report new cases and decisions, for the direction of future
judgments. This continuance of medicinal history I find deficient;
which I understand neither to be so infinite as to extend to every
common case, nor so reserved as to admit none but wonders: for many
things are new in this manner, which are not new in the kind; and if
men will intend to observe, they shall find much worthy to observe.

(5) In the inquiry which is made by anatomy, I find much deficience:
for they inquire of the parts, and their substances, figures, and
collocations; but they inquire not of the diversities of the parts,
the secrecies of the passages, and the seats or nestling of the
humours, nor much of the footsteps and impressions of diseases. The
reason of which omission I suppose to be, because the first inquiry
may be satisfied in the view of one or a few anatomies; but the
latter, being comparative and casual, must arise from the view of
many. And as to the diversity of parts, there is no doubt but the
facture or framing of the inward parts is as full of difference as
the outward, and in that is the cause continent of many diseases;
which not being observed, they quarrel many times with the humours,
which are not in fault; the fault being in the very frame and
mechanic of the part, which cannot be removed by medicine
alterative, but must be accommodated and palliated by diets and
medicines familiar. And for the passages and pores, it is true
which was anciently noted, that the more subtle of them appear not
in anatomies, because they are shut and latent in dead bodies,
though they be open and manifest in life: which being supposed,
though the inhumanity of anatomia vivorum was by Celsus justly
reproved; yet in regard of the great use of this observation, the
inquiry needed not by him so slightly to have been relinquished
altogether, or referred to the casual practices of surgery; but
might have been well diverted upon the dissection of beasts alive,
which notwithstanding the dissimilitude of their parts may
sufficiently satisfy this inquiry. And for the humours, they are
commonly passed over in anatomies as purgaments; whereas it is most
necessary to observe, what cavities, nests, and receptacles the
humours do find in the parts, with the differing kind of the humour
so lodged and received. And as for the footsteps of diseases, and
their devastations of the inward parts, impostumations,
exulcerations, discontinuations, putrefactions, consumptions,
contractions, extensions, convulsions, dislocations, obstructions,
repletions, together with all preternatural substances, as stones,
carnosities, excrescences, worms, and the like; they ought to have
been exactly observed by multitude of anatomies, and the
contribution of men's several experiences, and carefully set down
both historically according to the appearances, and artificially
with a reference to the diseases and symptoms which resulted from
them, in case where the anatomy is of a defunct patient; whereas now
upon opening of bodies they are passed over slightly and in silence.

(6) In the inquiry of diseases, they do abandon the cures of many,
some as in their nature incurable, and others as past the period of
cure; so that Sylla and the Triumvirs never proscribed so many men
to die, as they do by their ignorant edicts: whereof numbers do
escape with less difficulty than they did in the Roman
prescriptions. Therefore I will not doubt to note as a deficience,
that they inquire not the perfect cures of many diseases, or
extremities of diseases; but pronouncing them incurable do enact a
law of neglect, and exempt ignorance from discredit.

(7) Nay further, I esteem it the office of a physician not only to
restore health, but to mitigate pain and dolors; and not only when
such mitigation may conduce to recovery, but when it may serve to
make a fair and easy passage. For it is no small felicity which
Augustus Caesar was wont to wish to himself, that same Euthanasia;
and which was specially noted in the death of Antoninus Pius, whose
death was after the fashion, and semblance of a kindly and pleasant
sheep. So it is written of Epicurus, that after his disease was
judged desperate, he drowned his stomach and senses with a large
draught and ingurgitation of wine; whereupon the epigram was made,
Hinc Stygias ebrius hausit aquas; he was not sober enough to taste
any bitterness of the Stygian water. But the physicians
contrariwise do make a kind of scruple and religion to stay with the
patient after the disease is deplored; whereas in my judgment they
ought both to inquire the skill, and to give the attendances, for
the facilitating and assuaging of the pains and agonies of death.

(5) In the consideration of the cures of diseases, I find a
deficience in the receipts of propriety, respecting the particular
cures of diseases: for the physicians have frustrated the fruit of
tradition and experience by their magistralities, in adding and
taking out and changing quid pro qua in their receipts, at their
pleasures; commanding so over the medicine, as the medicine cannot
command over the disease. For except it be treacle and mithridatum,
and of late diascordium, and a few more, they tie themselves to no
receipts severely and religiously. For as to the confections of
sale which are in the shops, they are for readiness and not for
propriety. For they are upon general intentions of purging,
opening, comforting, altering, and not much appropriate to
particular diseases. And this is the cause why empirics and old
women are more happy many times in their cures than learned
physicians, because they are more religious in holding their
medicines. Therefore here is the deficience which I find, that
physicians have not, partly out of their own practice, partly out of
the constant probations reported in books, and partly out of the
traditions of empirics, set down and delivered over certain
experimental medicines for the cure of particular diseases, besides
their own conjectural and magistral descriptions. For as they were
the men of the best composition in the state of Rome, which either
being consuls inclined to the people, or being tribunes inclined to
the senate; so in the matter we now handle, they be the best
physicians, which being learned incline to the traditions of
experience, or being empirics incline to the methods of learning.

(9) In preparation of medicines I do find strange, specially
considering how mineral medicines have been extolled, and that they
are safer for the outward than inward parts, that no man hath sought
to make an imitation by art of natural baths and medicinable
fountains: which nevertheless are confessed to receive their
virtues from minerals; and not so only, but discerned and
distinguished from what particular mineral they receive tincture, as
sulphur, vitriol, steel, or the like; which nature, if it may be
reduced to compositions of art, both the variety of them will be
increased, and the temper of them will be more commanded.

(10) But lest I grow to be more particular than is agreeable either
to my intention or to proportion, I will conclude this part with the
note of one deficience more, which seemeth to me of greatest
consequence: which is, that the prescripts in use are too
compendious to attain their end; for, to my understanding, it is a
vain and flattering opinion to think any medicine can be so
sovereign or so happy, as that the receipt or miss of it can work
any great effect upon the body of man. It were a strange speech
which spoken, or spoken oft, should reclaim a man from a vice to
which he were by nature subject. It is order, pursuit, sequence,
and interchange of application, which is mighty in nature; which
although it require more exact knowledge in prescribing, and more
precise obedience in observing, yet is recompensed with the
magnitude of effects. And although a man would think, by the daily
visitations of the physicians, that there were a pursuance in the
cure, yet let a man look into their prescripts and ministrations,
and he shall find them but inconstancies and every day's devices,
without any settled providence or project. Not that every
scrupulous or superstitious prescript is effectual, no more than
every straight way is the way to heaven; but the truth of the
direction must precede severity of observance.

(11) For cosmetic, it hath parts civil, and parts effeminate: for
cleanness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence
to God, to society, and to ourselves. As for artificial decoration,
it is well worthy of the deficiences which it hath; being neither
fine enough to deceive, nor handsome to use, nor wholesome to

(12) For athletic, I take the subject of it largely, that is to say,
for any point of ability whereunto the body of man may be brought,
whether it be of activity, or of patience; whereof activity hath two
parts, strength and swiftness; and patience likewise hath two parts,
hardness against wants and extremities, and endurance of pain or
torment; whereof we see the practices in tumblers, in savages, and
in those that suffer punishment. Nay, if there be any other faculty
which falls not within any of the former divisions, as in those that
dive, that obtain a strange power of containing respiration, and the
like, I refer it to this part. Of these things the practices are
known, but the philosophy that concerneth them is not much inquired;
the rather, I think, because they are supposed to be obtained,
either by an aptness of nature, which cannot be taught, or only by
continual custom, which is soon prescribed which though it be not
true, yet I forbear to note any deficiences; for the Olympian games
are down long since, and the mediocrity of these things is for use;
as for the excellency of them it serveth for the most part but for
mercenary ostentation.

(13) For arts of pleasure sensual, the chief deficience in them is
of laws to repress them. For as it hath been well observed, that
the arts which flourish in times while virtue is in growth, are
military; and while virtue is in state, are liberal; and while
virtue is in declination, are voluptuary: so I doubt that this age
of the world is somewhat upon the descent of the wheel. With arts
voluptuary I couple practices joculary; for the deceiving of the
senses is one of the pleasures of the senses. As for games of
recreation, I hold them to belong to civil life and education. And
thus much of that particular human philosophy which concerns the
body, which is but the tabernacle of the mind.

XI. (1) For human knowledge which concerns the mind, it hath two
parts; the one that inquireth of the substance or nature of the soul
or mind, the other that inquireth of the faculties or functions
thereof. Unto the first of these, the considerations of the
original of the soul, whether it be native or adventive, and how far
it is exempted from laws of matter, and of the immortality thereof,
and many other points, do appertain: which have been not more
laboriously inquired than variously reported; so as the travail
therein taken seemeth to have been rather in a maze than in a way.
But although I am of opinion that this knowledge may be more really
and soundly inquired, even in nature, than it hath been, yet I hold
that in the end it must be hounded by religion, or else it will be
subject to deceit and delusion. For as the substance of the soul in
the creation was not extracted out of the mass of heaven and earth
by the benediction of a producat, but was immediately inspired from
God, so it is not possible that it should be (otherwise than by
accident) subject to the laws of heaven and earth, which are the
subject of philosophy; and therefore the true knowledge of the
nature and state of the soul must come by the same inspiration that
gave the substance. Unto this part of knowledge touching the soul
there be two appendices; which, as they have been handled, have
rather vapoured forth fables than kindled truth: divination and

(2) Divination hath been anciently and fitly divided into artificial
and natural: whereof artificial is, when the mind maketh a
prediction by argument, concluding upon signs and tokens; natural
is, when the mind hath a presention by an internal power, without
the inducement of a sign. Artificial is of two sorts: either when
the argument is coupled with a derivation of causes, which is
rational; or when it is only grounded upon a coincidence of the
effect, which is experimental: whereof the latter for the most part
is superstitious, such as were the heathen observations upon the
inspection of sacrifices, the flights of birds, the swarming of
bees; and such as was the Chaldean astrology, and the like. For
artificial divination, the several kinds thereof are distributed
amongst particular knowledges. The astronomer hath his predictions,
as of conjunctions, aspects, eclipses, and the like. The physician
hath his predictions, of death, of recovery, of the accidents and
issues of diseases. The politique hath his predictions; O urbem
venalem, et cito perituram, 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 springeth 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 withdrawn 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 ecstasies, and near death, and more rarely in waking
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 with a fervency and elevation (which the ancients noted by
fury), and not with a repose and quiet, as it is in the other.

(3) Fascination is the power and act of imagination intensive upon
other bodies than the body of the imaginant, for of that we spake in
the proper place. Wherein the school of Paracelsus, and the
disciples of pretended natural magic, have been so intemperate, as
they have exalted the power of the imagination to be much one with
the power of miracle-working faith. Others, that draw nearer to
probability, calling to their view the secret passages of things,
and specially of the contagion that passeth from body to body, do
conceive it should likewise be agreeable to nature that there should
be some transmissions and 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 dangerously a palliation of a
great part of ceremonial magic. For it may be pretended that
ceremonies, characters, and charms do work, not by any tacit or
sacramental contract with evil spirits, but serve only to strengthen
the imagination of him that useth it; as images are said by the
Roman Church to fix the cogitations and raise the devotions of them
that pray before them. But for mine own judgment, if it be admitted
that imagination hath power, and that ceremonies fortify
imagination, and that they be used sincerely and intentionally for
that purpose; yet I should hold them unlawful, as opposing to that
first edict which God gave unto man, In sudore vultus comedes panem
tuum. For they propound those noble effects, which God hath set
forth unto man to be bought at the price of labour, to be attained
by a few easy and slothful observances. Deficiences 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

XII. (1) The knowledge which respecteth the faculties of the mind of
man is of two kinds--the one respecting his understanding and
reason, and the other his will, appetite, and affection; whereof the
former produceth position or decree, the latter action or execution.
It is true that the imagination is an agent or nuncius in both
provinces, both the judicial and the ministerial. 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 voluntary 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 faces,

"Quales decet esse sororum."

Neither is the imagination simply and only a messenger; but is
invested with, or at least wise usurpeth no small authority in
itself, besides the duty of the message. 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 magistrate hath over a free
citizen," who may come also to rule in his turn. For we see that,
in matters of faith and religion, we raise our imagination above our
reason, which is the cause why religion sought ever access to the
mind by similitudes, types, parables, visions, dreams. And again,
in all persuasions that are wrought by eloquence, and other
impressions of like nature, which 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 a
pleasure or play of imagination 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 produceth (for that extendeth to all
philosophy), but of such knowledges as do handle and inquire of the
faculty of reason: so as poesy had his true place. As for the
power of the imagination in nature, and the manner of fortifying the
same, we have mentioned it in the doctrine De Anima, whereunto most
fitly it belongeth. And lastly, for imaginative or insinuative
reason, which is the subject of rhetoric, we think it best to refer
it to the arts of reason. So therefore we content ourselves with
the former division, that human philosophy, which respecteth the
faculties of the mind of man, hath two parts, rational and moral.

(2) The part of human philosophy which is rational is of all
knowledges, to the most wits, the least delightful, and seemeth but
a net of subtlety and spinosity. For as it was truly said, that
knowledge is pabulum animi; so in the nature of men's 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, though it were celestial, yet seemed less
nutritive and comfortable. So generally men taste well knowledges
that are drenched in flesh and blood, civil history, morality,
policy, about the which men's affections, praises, fortunes do turn
and are conversant. But this same lumen siccum doth parch and
offend most men's watery and soft natures. But to speak truly of
things as they are in worth, rational knowledges are 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.

(3) The arts intellectual are four in number, divided according to
the ends whereunto they are referred--for man's labour is to invent
that which is sought or propounded; or to judge that which is
invented; or to retain that which is judged; or to deliver over that
which is retained. So as the arts must be four--art of inquiry or
invention; art of examination or judgment; art of custody or memory;
and art of elocution or tradition.

XIII. (1) Invention is of two kinds much differing--the one of arts
and sciences, and the other of speech and arguments. The former of
these I do report deficient; which seemeth to me to be such a
deficience as if, in the making of an inventory touching the state
of a defunct, it should be set down that there is no ready money.
For as money will fetch all other commodities, 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 further discovered, if the art itself of invention and
discovery hath been passed over.

(2) That this part of knowledge is wanting, to my judgment 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 discoursed; and not the causes first found out, and
by light from them the medicines and cures discovered." And Plato
in his "Theaetetus" noteth well, "That particulars 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 discourse 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 Cretaea carpit ab Ida,
Puberibus caulem foliis et flore camantem
Purpureo; non illa feris incognita capris
Gramina, cum tergo volucres haesere sagittae."

So that it was no marvel (the manner of antiquity being to
consecrate inventors) that the Egyptians had so few human idols in
their temples, but almost all brute:

"Omnigenumque Deum monstra, et latrator Anubis,
Contra Neptunum, et Venerem, contraque Minervam, &c."

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 stroke the flints, and marvelled at the spark, than
that when he first stroke the flints he expected the spark; and
therefore we see the West Indian Prometheus had no intelligence 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 pot-lid
that flew open for artillery, or generally to chance or anything
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 meditande extunderet artes

For if you observe the words well, it is no other method than that
which brute beasts are capable of, and do put in ure; which is a
perpetual intending or practising some one thing, urged and imposed
by an absolute 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 ?a??e? Who
taught the raven in a drought to throw pebbles into a hollow tree,
where she spied water, that the water might rise so as she might
come to it? Who taught the bee to sail through such a vast sea or
air, and to find the way from a field in a 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 extundere, which importeth the extreme difficulty, and the
word paulatim, which importeth the extreme slowness, and we are
where we were, even amongst the Egyptians' gods; there being little
left to the faculty of reason, and nothing to the duty or art, for
matter of invention.

(3) Secondly, the induction which the logicians speak of, and which
seemeth familiar with Plato, whereby the principles 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 attentively observe how the mind doth gather this excellent
dew of knowledge, like unto that which the poet speaketh of, Aerei
mellis caelestia dona, distilling and contriving it out of
particulars natural and artificial, 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 subtle 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 toward particulars;
which their manner was to use but as lictores and viatores, for
sergeants and whifflers, ad summovendam 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 how the footsteps of seducement 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 we speak), as if it were a second infancy or childhood.

(4) Thirdly, allow some principles or axioms were rightly induced,
yet, nevertheless, certain it is that 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 pleaseth 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
assensum parit operis effaeta est; but the subtlety of nature and
operations will not be enchained in those bonds. For arguments
consist of propositions, and propositions of words, and words are
but the current tokens 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 either of
consequences of arguments, or of the truth of propositions, 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 philosophers 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 Socrates 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 knowledge; 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 sincerely; 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 variable discourses; being rather like
progresses of pleasure than journeys to an end. But assuredly many
scattered in both academies did hold it in subtlety 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 sufficient to certify and report truth,
though not always immediately, yet by comparison, by help of
instrument, and by producing and urging such things as are too
subtle for the sense to some effect comprehensible by the sense, and
other like assistance. But they ought to have charged the deceit
upon the weakness 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.

(5) This part of invention, concerning the invention of sciences, I
purpose (if God give me leave) hereafter to propound, having
digested it into two parts: whereof the one I term experientia
literata, and the other interpretatio naturae; 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.

(6) The invention of speech or argument is not properly an
invention; for to invent is to discover that we 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, with an application; which is the cause why the schools
do place it after judgment, as subsequent and not precedent.
Nevertheless, because we do account it a chase as well of deer in an
enclosed 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 discerned, that the scope and end of this invention is readiness
and present use of our knowledge, and not addition or amplification

(7) To procure this ready use of knowledge there are two courses,
preparation and suggestion. The former of these seemeth scarcely a
part of knowledge, consisting rather of diligence than of any
artificial erudition. 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 how to make up
a shoe, but only exhibit in a readiness a number of shoes of all
fashions and sizes." But yet a man might reply, that if a shoemaker
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
householder, that bringeth forth both new and old store;" and we see
the ancient writers of rhetoric do give it in precept, 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 interpretation 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), he may have it in
effect premeditate and handled in thesi. So that when he cometh 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 likewise 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 Aristotle's opinion, that would have us change a rich
wardrobe for a pair of shears.

(8) 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 further handling of it to

(9) The other part of invention, which I term suggestion, doth
assign and direct us to certain marks, or places, which may excite
our mind to return and produce 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, probably with
others, but likewise to minister unto our judgment to conclude
aright within ourselves. Neither may these places serve only to
apprompt our invention, 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
compendious 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 invention, which is
that which the schools call topics, is deficient.

(10) Nevertheless, topics are of two sorts, general and special.
The general we have spoken to; but the particular hath been touched
by some, but rejected generally as inartificial and variable. But
leaving the humour which hath reigned too much in the schools (which
is, to be vainly subtle in a few things which are within their
command, and to reject the rest), I do receive particular topics;
that is, places or directions of invention 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
inveniendi adolescit cum inventis; for as in going of a way, 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 science giveth a light to that which
followeth; which light, if we strengthen by drawing it forth into
questions or places of inquiry, we do greatly advance our pursuit.

XIV. (1) Now we pass unto the arts of judgment, which handle the
natures of proofs and demonstrations, which as to induction hath a
coincidence with invention; for all inductions, whether in good or
vicious form, the same action of the mind which inventeth, 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 invention of the
mean is one thing, and the judgment of the consequence is another;
the one exciting 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.

(2) For the other judgment by syllogism, as it is a thing most
agreeable to the mind of man, so it hath been vehemently end
excellently laboured. For the nature of man doth extremely covet to
have somewhat in his understanding fixed and unmovable, and as a
rest and support of the mind. And, therefore, as Aristotle
endeavoureth to prove, that in all motion there is some point
quiescent; and as he elegantly expoundeth the ancient fable of Atlas
(that stood fixed, and bare up the heaven from falling) to be meant
of the poles or axle-tree of heaven, whereupon the conversion is
accomplished, so assuredly men have a desire to have an Atlas or
axle-tree within to keep them from fluctuation, which is like to a
perpetual peril of falling. Therefore men did hasten to set down
some principles about which the variety of their disputatious might

(3) So, then, this art of judgment is but the reduction of
propositions to principles in a middle term. The principles to be
agreed by all and exempted from argument; the middle term to be
elected at the liberty of every man's invention; the reduction to be
of two kinds, direct and inverted: the one when the proposition is
reduced to the principle, which they term a probation ostensive; the
other, when the contradictory of the proposition is reduced to the
contradictory of the principle, which is that which they call per
incommodum, or pressing an absurdity; the number of middle terms to
be as the proposition standeth degrees more or less removed from the

(4) But this art hath two several methods of doctrine, the one by
way of direction, the other by way of caution: the former frameth
and setteth down a true form of consequence, by the variations and
deflections from which errors and inconsequences may be exactly
judged. Toward the composition and structure of which form it is
incident to handle the parts thereof, which are propositions, and
the parts of propositions, which are simple words. And this is that
part of logic which is comprehended in the Analytics.

(5) The second method of doctrine was introduced for expedite use
and assurance sake, discovering the more subtle forms of sophisms
and illaqueations with their redargutions, which is that which is
termed elenches. For although in the more gross sorts of fallacies
it happeneth (as Seneca maketh the comparison well) as in juggling
feats, which, though we know not how they are done, yet we know well
it is not as it seemeth to be; yet the more subtle sort of them doth
not only put a man besides his answer, but doth many times abuse his

(6) This part concerning elenches is excellently handled by
Aristotle in precept, but more excellently by Plato in example; not
only in the persons of the sophists, but even in Socrates himself,
who, professing to affirm nothing, but to infirm that which was
affirmed by another, hath exactly expressed all the forms of
objection, fallace, and redargution. And although we have said that
the use of this doctrine is for redargution, yet it is manifest the
degenerate and corrupt use is for caption and contradiction, which
passeth for a great faculty, and no doubt is of very great
advantage, though the difference be good which was made between
orators and sophisters, that the one is as the greyhound, which hath
his advantage in the race, and the other as the hare, which hath her
advantage in the turn, so as it is the advantage of the weaker

(7) But yet further, this doctrine of elenches hath a more ample
latitude and extent than is perceived; namely, unto divers parts of
knowledge, whereof some are laboured and other omitted. For first,
I conceive (though it may seem at first somewhat strange) that that
part which is variably referred, sometimes to logic, sometimes to
metaphysic, touching the common adjuncts of essences, is but an
elenche; for the great sophism of all sophisms being equivocation or
ambiguity of words and phrase, specially of such words as are most
general and intervene in every inquiry, it seemeth to me that the
true and fruitful use (leaving vain subtleties and speculations) of
the inquiry of majority, minority, priority, posteriority, identity,
diversity, possibility, act, totality, parts, existence, privation,
and the like, are but wise cautions against ambiguities of speech.
So, again, the distribution of things into certain tribes, which we
call categories or predicaments, are but cautions against the
confusion of definitions and divisions.

(8) Secondly, there is a seducement that worketh by the strength of
the impression, and not by the subtlety of the illaqueation--not so
much perplexing the reason, as overruling it by power of the
imagination. But this part I think more proper to handle when I
shall speak of rhetoric.

(9) But lastly, there is yet a much more important and profound kind
of fallacies in the mind of man, which I find not observed or
inquired at all, and think good to place here, as that which of all
others appertaineth most to rectify judgment, the force whereof is
such as it doth not dazzle or snare the understanding in some
particulars, but doth more generally and inwardly infect and corrupt
the state thereof. For the mind of man is far from the nature of a
clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect
according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an
enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not
delivered and reduced. For this purpose, let us consider the false
appearances that are imposed upon us by the general nature of the
mind, beholding them in an example or two; as first, in that
instance which is the root of all superstition, namely, that to the
nature of the mind of all men it is consonant for the affirmative or
active to affect more than the negative or privative. So that a few
times hitting or presence countervails ofttimes failing or absence,
as was well answered by Diagoras to him that showed him in Neptune's
temple the great number of pictures of such as had escaped
shipwreck, and had paid their vows to Neptune, saying, "Advise now,
you that think it folly to invocate Neptune in tempest." "Yea,
but," saith Diagoras, "where are they painted that are drowned?"
Let us behold it in another instance, namely, that the spirit of
man, being of an equal and uniform substance, doth usually suppose
and feign in nature a greater equality and uniformity than is in
truth. Hence it cometh that the mathematicians cannot satisfy
themselves except they reduce the motions of the celestial bodies to
perfect circles, rejecting spiral lines, and labouring to be
discharged of eccentrics. Hence it cometh that whereas there are
many things in Nature as it were monodica, sui juris, yet the
cogitations of man do feign unto them relatives, parallels, and
conjugates, whereas no such thing is; as they have feigned an
element of fire to keep square with earth, water, and air, and the
like. Nay, it is not credible, till it be opened, what a number of
fictions and fantasies the similitude of human actions and arts,
together with the making of man communis mensura, have brought into
natural philosophy; not much better than the heresy of the
Anthropomorphites, bred in the cells of gross and solitary monks,
and the opinion of Epicurus, answerable to the same in heathenism,
who supposed the gods to be of human shape. And, therefore,
Velleius the Epicurean needed not to have asked why God should have
adorned the heavens with stars, as if He had been an aedilis, one
that should have set forth some magnificent shows or plays. For if
that great Work-master had been of a human disposition, He would
have cast the stars into some pleasant and beautiful works and
orders like the frets in the roofs of houses; whereas one can scarce
find a posture in square, or triangle, or straight line, amongst
such an infinite number, so differing a harmony there is between the
spirit of man and the spirit of Nature.

(10) Let us consider again the false appearances imposed upon us by
every man's own individual nature and custom in that feigned
supposition that Plato maketh of the cave; for certainly if a child
were continued in a grot or cave under the earth until maturity of
age, and came suddenly abroad, he would have strange and absurd
imaginations. So, in like manner, although our persons live in the
view of heaven, yet our spirits are included in the caves of our own
complexions and customs, which minister unto us infinite errors and
vain opinions if they be not recalled to examination. But hereof we
have given many examples in one of the errors, or peccant humours,
which we ran briefly over in our first book.

(11) And lastly, let us consider the false appearances that are
imposed upon us by words, which are framed and applied according to
the conceit and capacities of the vulgar sort; and although we think
we govern our words, and prescribe it well loquendum ut vulgus
sentiendum ut sapientes, yet certain it is that words, as a Tartar's
bow, do shoot back upon the understanding of the wisest, and
mightily entangle and pervert the judgment. So as it is almost
necessary in all controversies and disputations to imitate the
wisdom of the mathematicians, in setting down in the very beginning
the definitions of our words and terms, that others may know how we
accept and understand them, and whether they concur with us or no.
For it cometh to pass, for want of this, that we are sure to end
there where we ought to have begun, which is, in questions and
differences about words. To conclude, therefore, it must be
confessed that it is not possible to divorce ourselves from these
fallacies and false appearances because they are inseparable from
our nature and condition of life; so yet, nevertheless, the caution
of them (for all elenches, as was said, are but cautions) doth
extremely import the true conduct of human judgment. The particular
elenches or cautions against these three false appearances I find
altogether deficient.

(12) There remaineth one part of judgment of great excellency which
to mine understanding is so slightly touched, as I may report that
also deficient; which is the application of the differing kinds of
proofs to the differing kinds of subjects. For there being but four
kinds of demonstrations, that is, by the immediate consent of the
mind or sense, by induction, by syllogism, and by congruity, which
is that which Aristotle calleth demonstration in orb or circle, and
not a notioribus, every of these hath certain subjects in the matter
of sciences, in which respectively they have chiefest use; and
certain others, from which respectively they ought to be excluded;
and the rigour and curiosity in requiring the more severe proofs in
some things, and chiefly the facility in contenting ourselves with
the more remiss proofs in others, hath been amongst the greatest
causes of detriment and hindrance to knowledge. The distributions
and assignations of demonstrations according to the analogy of
sciences I note as deficient.

XV. (1) The custody or retaining of knowledge is either in writing
or memory; whereof writing hath two parts, the nature of the
character and the order of the entry. For the art of characters, or
other visible notes of words or things, it hath nearest conjugation
with grammar, and, therefore, I refer it to the due place; for the
disposition and collocation of that knowledge which we preserve in
writing, it consisteth in a good digest of common-places, wherein I
am not ignorant of the prejudice imputed to the use of common-place
books, as causing a retardation of reading, and some sloth or
relaxation of memory. But because it is but a counterfeit thing in
knowledges to be forward and pregnant, except a man be deep and
full, I hold the entry of common-places to be a matter of great use
and essence in studying, as that which assureth copy of invention,
and contracteth judgment to a strength. But this is true, that of
the methods of common-places that I have seen, there is none of any
sufficient worth, all of them carrying merely the face of a school
and not of a world; and referring to vulgar matters and pedantical
divisions, without all life or respect to action.

(2) For the other principal part of the custody of knowledge, which
is memory, I find that faculty in my judgment weakly inquired of.
An art there is extant of it; but it seemeth to me that there are
better precepts than that art, and better practices of that art than
those received. It is certain the art (as it is) may be raised to
points of ostentation prodigious; but in use (as is now managed) it
is barren, not burdensome, nor dangerous to natural memory, as is
imagined, but barren, that is, not dexterous to be applied to the
serious use of business and occasions. And, therefore, I make no
more estimation of repeating a great number of names or words upon
once hearing, or the pouring forth of a number of verses or rhymes
extempore, or the making of a satirical simile of everything, or the
turning of everything to a jest, or the falsifying or contradicting
of everything by cavil, or the like (whereof in the faculties of the
mind there is great copy, and such as by device and practice may be
exalted to an extreme degree of wonder), than I do of the tricks of
tumblers, funambuloes, baladines; the one being the same in the mind
that the other is in the body, matters of strangeness without

(3) This art of memory is but built upon two intentions; the one
prenotion, the other emblem. Prenotion dischargeth the indefinite
seeking of that we would remember, and directeth us to seek in a
narrow compass, that is, somewhat that hath congruity with our place
of memory. Emblem reduceth conceits intellectual to images
sensible, which strike the memory more; out of which axioms may be
drawn much better practice than that in use; and besides which
axioms, there are divers more touching help of memory not inferior
to them. But I did in the beginning distinguish, not to report
those things deficient, which are but only ill managed.

XVI. (1) There remaineth the fourth kind of rational knowledge,
which is transitive, concerning the expressing or transferring our
knowledge to others, which I will term by the general name of
tradition or delivery. Tradition hath three parts: the first
concerning the organ of tradition; the second concerning the method
of tradition; and the third concerning the illustration of

(2) For the organ of tradition, it is either speech or writing; for
Aristotle saith well, "Words are the images of cogitations, and
letters are the images of words." But yet it is not of necessity
that cogitations be expressed by the medium of words. For
whatsoever is capable of sufficient differences, and those
perceptible by the sense, is in nature competent to express
cogitations. And, therefore, we see in the commerce of barbarous
people that understand not one another's language, and in the
practice of divers that are dumb and deaf, that men's minds are
expressed in gestures, though not exactly, yet to serve the turn.
And we understand further, that it is the use of China and the
kingdoms of the High Levant to write in characters real, which
express neither letters nor words in gross, but things or notions;
insomuch as countries and provinces which understand not one
another's language can nevertheless read one another's writings,
because the characters are accepted more generally than the
languages do extend; and, therefore, they have a vast multitude of
characters, as many, I suppose, as radical words.

(3) These notes of cogitations are of two sorts: the one when the
note hath some similitude or congruity with the notion; the other ad
placitum, having force only by contract or acceptation. Of the
former sort are hieroglyphics and gestures. For as to hieroglyphics
(things of ancient use and embraced chiefly by the Egyptians, one of
the most ancient nations), they are but as continued impresses and
emblems. And as for gestures, they are as transitory hieroglyphics,
and are to hieroglyphics as words spoken are to words written, in
that they abide not; but they have evermore, as well as the other,
an affinity with the things signified. As Periander, being
consulted with how to preserve a tyranny newly usurped, bid the
messenger attend and report what he saw him do; and went into his
garden and topped all the highest flowers, signifying that it
consisted in the cutting off and keeping low of the nobility and
grandees. Ad placitum, are the characters real before mentioned,
and words: although some have been willing by curious inquiry, or
rather by apt feigning, to have derived imposition of names from
reason and intendment; a speculation elegant, and, by reason it
searcheth into antiquity, reverent, but sparingly mixed with truth,
and of small fruit. This portion of knowledge touching the notes of
things and cogitations in general, I find not inquired, but
deficient. And although it may seem of no great use, considering
that words and writings by letters do far excel all the other ways;
yet because this part concerneth, as it were, the mint of knowledge
(for words are the tokens current and accepted for conceits, as
moneys are for values, and that it is fit men be not ignorant that
moneys may be of another kind than gold and silver), I thought good
to propound it to better inquiry.

(4) Concerning speech and words, the consideration of them hath
produced the science of grammar. For man still striveth to
reintegrate himself in those benedictions, from which by his fault
he hath been deprived; and as he hath striven against the first
general curse by the invention of all other arts, so hath he sought
to come forth of the second general curse (which was the confusion
of tongues) by the art of grammar; whereof the use in a mother
tongue is small, in a foreign tongue more; but most in such foreign
tongues as have ceased to be vulgar tongues, and are turned only to
learned tongues. The duty of it is of two natures: the one
popular, which is for the speedy and perfect attaining languages, as
well for intercourse of speech as for understanding of authors; the
other philosophical, examining the power and nature of words, as
they are the footsteps and prints of reason: which kind of analogy
between words and reason is handled sparsim, brokenly though not
entirely; and, therefore, I cannot report it deficient, though I
think it very worthy to be reduced into a science by itself.

(5) Unto grammar also belongeth, as an appendix, the consideration
of the accidents of words; which are measure, sound, and elevation
or accent, and the sweetness and harshness of them: whence hath
issued some curious observations in rhetoric, but chiefly poesy, as
we consider it, in respect of the verse and not of the argument.
Wherein though men in learned tongues do tie themselves to the
ancient measures, yet in modern languages it seemeth to me as free
to make new measures of verses as of dances; for a dance is a
measured pace, as a verse is a measured speech. In these things
this sense is better judge than the art:

"Coenae fercula nostrae
Mallem convivis quam placuisse cocis."

And of the servile expressing antiquity in an unlike and an unfit
subject, it is well said, "Quod tempore antiquum videtur, id
incongruitate est maxime novum."

(6) For ciphers, they are commonly in letters or alphabets, but may
be in words. The kinds of ciphers (besides the simple ciphers, with
changes, and intermixtures of nulls and non-significants) are many,
according to the nature or rule of the infolding, wheel-ciphers,
key-ciphers, doubles, &c. But the virtues of them, whereby they are
to be preferred, are three; that they be not laborious to write and
read; that they be impossible to decipher; and, in some cases, that
they be without suspicion. The highest degree whereof is to write
omnia per omnia; which is undoubtedly possible, with a proportion
quintuple at most of the writing infolding to the writing infolded,
and no other restraint whatsoever. This art of ciphering hath for
relative an art of deciphering, by supposition unprofitable, but, as
things are, of great use. For suppose that ciphers were well
managed, there be multitudes of them which exclude the decipherer.
But in regard of the rawness and unskilfulness of the hands through
which they pass, the greatest matters are many times carried in the
weakest ciphers.

(7) In the enumeration of these private and retired arts it may be
thought I seek to make a great muster-roll of sciences, naming them
for show and ostentation, and to little other purpose. But let
those, which are skilful in them, judge whether I bring them in only
for appearance, or whether in that which I speak of them (though in
few words) there be not some seed of proficience. And this must be
remembered, that as there be many of great account in their
countries and provinces, which, when they come up to the seat of the
estate, are but of mean rank and scarcely regarded; so these arts,
being here placed with the principal and supreme sciences, seem
petty things: yet to such as have chosen them to spend their
labours and studies in them, they seem great matters.

XVII. (1) For the method of tradition, I see it hath moved a
controversy in our time. But as in civil business, if there be a
meeting, and men fall at words, there is commonly an end of the
matter for that time, and no proceeding at all; so in learning,
where there is much controversy, there is many times little inquiry.
For this part of knowledge of method seemeth to me so weakly
inquired as I shall report it deficient.

(2) Method hath been placed, and that not amiss, in logic, as a part
of judgment. For as the doctrine of syllogisms comprehendeth the
rules of judgment upon that which is invented, so the doctrine of
method containeth the rules of judgment upon that which is to be
delivered; for judgment precedeth delivery, as it followeth
invention. Neither is the method or the nature of the tradition
material only to the use of knowledge, but likewise to the
progression of knowledge: for since the labour and life of one man
cannot attain to perfection of knowledge, the wisdom of the
tradition is that which inspireth the felicity of continuance and
proceeding. And therefore the most real diversity of method is of
method referred to use, and method referred to progression: whereof
the one may be termed magistral, and the other of probation.

(3) The latter whereof seemeth to be via deserta et interclusa. For
as knowledges are now delivered, there is a kind of contract of
error between the deliverer and the receiver. For he that
delivereth knowledge desireth to deliver it in such form as may be
best believed, and not as may be best examined; and he that
receiveth knowledge desireth rather present satisfaction than
expectant inquiry; and so rather not to doubt, than not to err:
glory making the author not to lay open his weakness, and sloth
making the disciple not to know his strength.

(4) But knowledge that is delivered as a thread to be spun on ought
to be delivered and intimated, if it were possible, in the same
method wherein it was invented: and so is it possible of knowledge
induced. But in this same anticipated and prevented knowledge, no
man knoweth how he came to the knowledge which he hath obtained.
But yet, nevertheless, secundum majus et minus, a man may revisit
and descend unto the foundations of his knowledge and consent; and
so transplant it into another, as it grew in his own mind. For it
is in knowledges as it is in plants: if you mean to use the plant,
it is no matter for the roots--but if you mean to remove it to grow,
then it is more assured to rest upon roots than slips: so the
delivery of knowledges (as it is now used) is as of fair bodies of
trees without the roots; good for the carpenter, but not for the
planter. But if you will have sciences grow, it is less matter for
the shaft or body of the tree, so you look well to the taking up of
the roots. Of which kind of delivery the method of the mathematics,
in that subject, hath some shadow: but generally I see it neither
put in use nor put in inquisition, and therefore note it for

(5) Another diversity of method there is, which hath some affinity
with the former, used in some cases by the discretion of the
ancients, but disgraced since by the impostures of many vain
persons, who have made it as a false light for their counterfeit
merchandises; and that is enigmatical and disclosed. The pretence
whereof is, to remove the vulgar capacities from being admitted to
the secrets of knowledges, and to reserve them to selected auditors,
or wits of such sharpness as can pierce the veil.

(6) Another diversity of method, whereof the consequence is great,
is the delivery of knowledge in aphorisms, or in methods; wherein we
may observe that it hath been too much taken into custom, out of a
few axioms or observations upon any subject, to make a solemn and
formal art, filling it with some discourses, and illustrating it
with examples, and digesting it into a sensible method. But the
writing in aphorisms hath many excellent virtues, whereto the
writing in method doth not approach.

(7) For first, it trieth the writer, whether he be superficial or
solid: for aphorisms, except they should be ridiculous, cannot be
made but of the pith and heart of sciences; for discourse of
illustration is cut off; recitals of examples are cut off; discourse
of connection and order is cut off; descriptions of practice are cut
off. So there remaineth nothing to fill the aphorisms but some good
quantity of observation; and therefore no man can suffice, nor in
reason will attempt, to write aphorisms, but he that is sound and
grounded. But in methods,

"Tantum series juncturaque pollet,
Tantum de medio sumptis accedit honoris,"

as a man shall make a great show of an art, which, if it were
disjointed, would come to little. Secondly, methods are more fit to
win consent or belief, but less fit to point to action; for they
carry a kind of demonstration in orb or circle, one part
illuminating another, and therefore satisfy. But particulars being
dispersed do best agree with dispersed directions. And lastly,
aphorisms, representing a knowledge broken, do invite men to inquire
further; whereas methods, carrying the show of a total, do secure
men, as if they were at furthest.

(8) Another diversity of method, which is likewise of great weight,
is the handling of knowledge by assertions and their proofs, or by
questions and their determinations. The latter kind whereof, if it
be immoderately followed, is as prejudicial to the proceeding of
learning as it is to the proceeding of an army to go about to
besiege every little fort or hold. For if the field be kept, and
the sum of the enterprise pursued, those smaller things will come in
of themselves: indeed a man would not leave some important piece
enemy at his back. In like manner, the use of confutation in the
delivery of sciences ought to be very sparing; and to serve to
remove strong preoccupations and prejudgments, and not to minister
and excite disputatious and doubts.

(9) Another diversity of method is, according to the subject or
matter which is handled. For there is a great difference in
delivery of the mathematics, which are the most abstracted of
knowledges, and policy, which is the most immersed. And howsoever
contention hath been moved, touching a uniformity of method in
multiformity of matter, yet we see how that opinion, besides the
weakness of it, hath been of ill desert towards learning, as that
which taketh the way to reduce learning to certain empty and barren
generalities; being but the very husks and shells of sciences, all
the kernel being forced out and expulsed with the torture and press
of the method. And, therefore, as I did allow well of particular
topics for invention, so I do allow likewise of particular methods
of tradition.

(10) Another diversity of judgment in the delivery and teaching of
knowledge is, according unto the light and presuppositions of that
which is delivered. For that knowledge which is new, and foreign
from opinions received, is to be delivered in another form than that
that is agreeable and familiar; and therefore Aristotle, when he
thinks to tax Democritus, doth in truth commend him, where he saith
"If we shall indeed dispute, and not follow after similitudes," &c.
For those whose conceits are seated in popular opinions need only
but to prove or dispute; but those whose conceits are beyond popular
opinions, have a double labour; the one to make themselves
conceived, and the other to prove and demonstrate. So that it is of
necessity with them to have recourse to similitudes and translations
to express themselves. And therefore in the infancy of learning,
and in rude times when those conceits which are now trivial were
then new, the world was full of parables and similitudes; for else
would men either have passed over without mark, or else rejected for
paradoxes that which was offered, before they had understood or
judged. So in divine learning, we see how frequent parables and
tropes are, for it is a rule, that whatsoever science is not
consonant to presuppositions must pray in aid of similitudes.

(11) There be also other diversities of methods vulgar and received:
as that of resolution or analysis, of constitution or systasis, of
concealment or cryptic, &c., which I do allow well of, though I have
stood upon those which are least handled and observed. All which I
have remembered to this purpose, because I would erect and
constitute one general inquiry (which seems to me deficient)
touching the wisdom of tradition.

(12) But unto this part of knowledge, concerning method, doth
further belong not only the architecture of the whole frame of a
work, but also the several beams and columns thereof; not as to
their stuff, but as to their quantity and figure. And therefore
method considereth not only the disposition of the argument or
subject, but likewise the propositions: not as to their truth or
matter, but as to their limitation and manner. For herein Ramus
merited better a great deal in reviving the good rules of
propositions--?a????? p??t??, ??ta pa?t?? &c.--than he did in
introducing the canker of epitomes; and yet (as it is the condition
of human things that, according to the ancient fables, "the most
precious things have the most pernicious keepers") it was so, that
the attempt of the one made him fall upon the other. For he had
need be well conducted that should design to make axioms
convertible, if he make them not withal circular, and non-promovent,
or incurring into themselves; but yet the intention was excellent.

(13) The other considerations of method, concerning propositions,
are chiefly touching the utmost propositions, which limit the
dimensions of sciences: for every knowledge may be fitly said,
besides the profundity (which is the truth and substance of it, that
makes it solid), to have a longitude and a latitude; accounting the
latitude towards other sciences, and the longitude towards action;
that is, from the greatest generality to the most particular
precept. The one giveth rule how far one knowledge ought to
intermeddle within the province of another, which is the rule they
call ?a?a?t?; the other giveth rule unto what degree of
particularity a knowledge should descend: which latter I find
passed over in silence, being in my judgment the more material. For
certainty there must be somewhat left to practice; but how much is
worthy the inquiry? We see remote and superficial generalities do
but offer knowledge to scorn of practical men; and are no more
aiding to practice than an Ortelius' universal map is to direct the
way between London and York. The better sort of rules have been not
unfitly compared to glasses of steel unpolished, where you may see
the images of things, but first they must be filed: so the rules
will help if they be laboured and polished by practice. But how
crystalline they may be made at the first, and how far forth they
may be polished aforehand, is the question, the inquiry whereof
seemeth to me deficient.

(14) There hath been also laboured and put in practice a method,
which is not a lawful method, but a method of imposture: which is,
to deliver knowledges in such manner as men may speedily come to
make a show of learning, who have it not. Such was the travail of
Raymundus Lullius in making that art which bears his name; not
unlike to some books of typocosmy, which have been made since; being
nothing but a mass of words of all arts, to give men countenance,
that those which use the terms might be thought to understand the
art; which collections are much like a fripper's or broker's shop,
that hath ends of everything, but nothing of worth.

XVIII. (1) Now we descend to that part which concerneth the
illustration of tradition, comprehended in that science which we
call rhetoric, or art of eloquence, a science excellent, and
excellently well laboured. For although in true value it is
inferior to wisdom (as it is said by God to Moses, when he disabled
himself for want of this faculty, "Aaron shall be thy speaker, and
thou shalt be to him as God"), yet with people it is the more
mighty; for so Solomon saith, Sapiens corde appellabitur prudens,
sed dulcis eloquio majora reperiet, signifying that profoundness of
wisdom will help a man to a name or admiration, but that it is
eloquence that prevaileth in an active life. And as to the
labouring of it, the emulation of Aristotle with the rhetoricians of
his time, and the experience of Cicero, hath made them in their
works of rhetoric exceed themselves. Again, the excellency of
examples of eloquence in the orations of Demosthenes and Cicero,
added to the perfection of the precepts of eloquence, hath doubled
the progression in this art; and therefore the deficiences which I
shall note will rather be in some collections, which may as
handmaids attend the art, than in the rules or use of the art

(2) Notwithstanding, to stir the earth a little about the roots of
this science, as we have done of the rest, the duty and office of
rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of
the will. For we see reason is disturbed in the administration
thereof by three means--by illaqueation or sophism, which pertains
to logic; by imagination or impression, which pertains to rhetoric;
and by passion or affection, which pertains to morality. And as in
negotiation with others, men are wrought by cunning, by importunity,
and by vehemency; so in this negotiation within ourselves, men are
undermined by inconsequences, solicited and importuned by
impressions or observations, and transported by passions. Neither
is the nature of man so unfortunately built, as that those powers
and arts should have force to disturb reason, and not to establish
and advance it. For the end of logic is to teach a form of argument
to secure reason, and not to entrap it; the end of morality is to
procure the affections to obey reason, and not to invade it; the end
of rhetoric is to fill the imagination to second reason, and not to
oppress it; for these abuses of arts come in but ex oblique, for

(3) And therefore it was great injustice in Plato, though springing
out of a just hatred to the rhetoricians of his time, to esteem of
rhetoric but as a voluptuary art, resembling it to cookery, that did
mar wholesome meats, and help unwholesome by variety of sauces to
the pleasure of the taste. For we see that speech is much more
conversant in adorning that which is good than in colouring that
which is evil; for there is no man but speaketh more honestly than
he can do or think; and it was excellently noted by Thucydides, in
Cleon, that because he used to hold on the bad side in causes of
estate, therefore he was ever inveighing against eloquence and good
speech, knowing that no man can speak fair of courses sordid and
base. And therefore, as Plato said elegantly, "That virtue, if she
could be seen, would move great love and affection;" so seeing that
she cannot be showed to the sense by corporal shape, the next degree
is to show her to the imagination in lively representation; for to
show her to reason only in subtlety of argument was a thing ever
derided in Chrysippus and many of the Stoics, who thought to thrust
virtue upon men by sharp disputations and conclusions, which have no
sympathy with the will of man.

(4) Again, if the affections in themselves were pliant and obedient
to reason, it were true there should be no great use of persuasions
and insinuations to the will, more than of naked proposition and
proofs; but in regard of the continual mutinies and seditious of the
affections -

"Video meliora, proboque,
Deteriora sequor,"

reason would become captive and servile, if eloquence of persuasions
did not practise and win the imagination from the affections' part,
and contract a confederacy between the reason and imagination
against the affections; for the affections themselves carry ever an
appetite to good, as reason doth. The difference is, that the
affection beholdeth merely the present; reason beholdeth the future
and sum of time. And, therefore, the present filling the
imagination more, reason is commonly vanquished; but after that
force of eloquence and persuasion hath made things future and remote
appear as present, then upon the revolt of the imagination reason

(5) We conclude, therefore, that rhetoric can be no more charged
with the colouring of the worst part, than logic with sophistry, or
morality with vice; for we know the doctrines of contraries are the
same, though the use be opposite. It appeareth also that logic
differeth from rhetoric, not only as the fist from the palm--the one
close, the other at large--but much more in this, that logic
handleth reason exact and in truth, and rhetoric handleth it as it
is planted in popular opinions and manners. And therefore Aristotle
doth wisely place rhetoric as between logic on the one side, and
moral or civil knowledge on the other, as participating of both; for
the proofs and demonstrations of logic are toward all men
indifferent and the same, but the proofs and persuasions of rhetoric
ought to differ according to the auditors:

"Orpheus in sylvis, inter delphinas Arion."

Which application in perfection of idea ought to extend so far that
if a man should speak of the same thing to several persons, he
should speak to them all respectively and several ways; though this
politic part of eloquence in private speech it is easy for the
greatest orators to want: whilst, by the observing their well-
graced forms of speech, they leese the volubility of application;
and therefore it shall not be amiss to recommend this to better
inquiry, not being curious whether we place it here or in that part
which concerneth policy.

(6) Now therefore will I descend to the deficiences, which, as I
said, are but attendances; and first, I do not find the wisdom and
diligence of Aristotle well pursued, who began to make a collection
of the popular signs and colours of good and evil, both simple and
comparative, which are as the sophisms of rhetoric (as I touched
before). For example -

Quod laudatur, bonum: quod vituperatur, malum.
Laudat venales qui vult extrudere merces."

Malum est, malum est (inquit emptor): sed cum recesserit, tum
gloriabitur! The defects in the labour of Aristotle are three--one,
that there be but a few of many; another, that there elenches are
not annexed; and the third, that he conceived but a part of the use
of them: for their use is not only in probation, but much more in
impression. For many forms are equal in signification which are
differing in impression, as the difference is great in the piercing
of that which is sharp and that which is flat, though the strength
of the percussion be the same. For there is no man but will be a
little more raised by hearing it said, "Your enemies will be glad of
this" -

"Hoc Ithacus velit, et magno mercentur Atridae."

than by hearing it said only, "This is evil for you."

(7) Secondly, I do resume also that which I mentioned before,
touching provision or preparatory store for the furniture of speech
and readiness of invention, which appeareth to be of two sorts: the
one in resemblance to a shop of pieces unmade up, the other to a
shop of things ready made up; both to be applied to that which is
frequent and most in request. The former of these I will call
antitheta, and the latter formulae.

(8) Antitheta are theses argued pro et contra, wherein men may be
more large and laborious; but (in such as are able to do it) to
avoid prolixity of entry, I wish the seeds of the several arguments
to be cast up into some brief and acute sentences, not to be cited,
but to be as skeins or bottoms of thread, to be unwinded at large
when they come to be used; supplying authorities and examples by

"Pro verbis legis.
Non est interpretatio, sed divinatio, quae recedit a litera:
Cum receditur a litera, judex transit in legislatorem.

Pro sententia legis.
Ex omnibus verbis est eliciendus sensus qui interpretatur singula."

(9) Formulae are but decent and apt passages or conveyances of
speech, which may serve indifferently for differing subjects; as of
preface, conclusion, digression, transition, excusation, &c. For as
in buildings there is great pleasure and use in the well casting of
the staircases, entries, doors, windows, and the like; so in speech,
the conveyances and passages are of special ornament and effect.

"A conclusion in a deliberative.
So may we redeem the faults passed, and prevent the inconveniences

XIX. (1) There remain two appendices touching the tradition of
knowledge, the one critical, the other pedantical. For all
knowledge is either delivered by teachers, or attained by men's
proper endeavours: and therefore as the principal part of tradition
of knowledge concerneth chiefly writing of books, so the relative
part thereof concerneth reading of books; whereunto appertain
incidently these considerations. The first is concerning the true
correction and edition of authors; wherein nevertheless rash
diligence hath done great prejudice. For these critics have often
presumed that that which they understand not is false set down: as
the priest that, where he found it written of St. Paul Demissus est
per sportam, mended his book, and made it Demissus est per portam;
because sporta was a hard word, and out of his reading: and surely
their errors, though they be not so palpable and ridiculous, yet are
of the same kind. And therefore, as it hath been wisely noted, the
most corrected copies are commonly the least correct.

The second is concerning the exposition and explication of authors,
which resteth in annotations and commentaries: wherein it is over
usual to blanch the obscure places and discourse upon the plain.

The third is concerning the times, which in many cases give great
light to true interpretations.

The fourth is concerning some brief censure and judgment of the
authors; that men thereby may make some election unto themselves
what books to read.

And the fifth is concerning the syntax and disposition of studies;
that men may know in what order or pursuit to read.

(2) For pedantical knowledge, it containeth that difference of
tradition which is proper for youth; whereunto appertain divers
considerations of great fruit.

As first, the timing and seasoning of knowledges; as with what to
initiate them, and from what for a time to refrain them.

Secondly, the consideration where to begin with the easiest, and so
proceed to the more difficult; and in what courses to press the more
difficult, and then to turn them to the more easy; for it is one
method to practise swimming with bladders, and another to practise
dancing with heavy shoes.

A third is the application of learning according unto the propriety
of the wits; for there is no defect in the faculties intellectual,
but seemeth to have a proper cure contained in some studies: as,
for example, if a child be bird-witted, that is, hath not the
faculty of attention, the mathematics giveth a remedy thereunto; for
in them, if the wit be caught away but a moment, one is new to
begin. And as sciences have a propriety towards faculties for cure
and help, so faculties or powers have a sympathy towards sciences
for excellency or speedy profiting: and therefore it is an inquiry
of great wisdom, what kinds of wits and natures are most apt and
proper for what sciences.

Fourthly, the ordering of exercises is matter of great consequence
to hurt or help: for, as is well observed by Cicero, men in
exercising their faculties, if they be not well advised, do exercise
their faults and get ill habits as well as good; so as there is a
great judgment to be had in the continuance and intermission of
exercises. It were too long to particularise a number of other
considerations of this nature, things but of mean appearance, but of
singular efficacy. For as the wronging or cherishing of seeds or
young plants is that that is most important to their thriving, and
as it was noted that the first six kings being in truth as tutors of
the state of Rome in the infancy thereof was the principal cause of
the immense greatness of that state which followed, so the culture
and manurance of minds in youth hath such a forcible (though unseen)
operation, as hardly any length of time or contention of labour can
countervail it afterwards. And it is not amiss to observe also how
small and mean faculties gotten by education, yet when they fall
into great men or great matters, do work great and important
effects: whereof we see a notable example in Tacitus of two stage
players, Percennius and Vibulenus, who by their faculty of playing
put the Pannonian armies into an extreme tumult and combustion. For
there arising a mutiny amongst them upon the death of Augustus
Caesar, Blaesus the lieutenant had committed some of the mutineers,
which were suddenly rescued; whereupon Vibulenus got to be heard
speak, which he did in this manner:- "These poor innocent wretches
appointed to cruel death, you have restored to behold the light; but
who shall restore my brother to me, or life unto my brother, that
was sent hither in message from the legions of Germany, to treat of
the common cause? and he hath murdered him this last night by some
of his fencers and ruffians, that he hath about him for his
executioners upon soldiers. Answer, Blaesus, what is done with his
body? The mortalest enemies do not deny burial. When I have
performed my last duties to the corpse with kisses, with tears,
command me to be slain besides him; so that these my fellows, for
our good meaning and our true hearts to the legions, may have leave
to bury us." With which speech he put the army into an infinite
fury and uproar: whereas truth was he had no brother, neither was
there any such matter; but he played it merely as if he had been
upon the stage.

(3) But to return: we are now come to a period of rational
knowledges; wherein if I have made the divisions other than those
that are received, yet would I not be thought to disallow all those
divisions which I do not use. For there is a double necessity
imposed upon me of altering the divisions. The one, because it
differeth in end and purpose, to sort together those things which
are next in nature, and those things which are next in use. For if
a secretary of estate should sort his papers, it is like in his
study or general cabinet he would sort together things of a nature,
as treaties, instructions, &c. But in his boxes or particular
cabinet he would sort together those that he were like to use
together, though of several natures. So in this general cabinet of
knowledge it was necessary for me to follow the divisions of the
nature of things; whereas if myself had been to handle any
particular knowledge, I would have respected the divisions fittest
for use. The other, because the bringing in of the deficiences did
by consequence alter the partitions of the rest. For let the
knowledge extant (for demonstration sake) be fifteen. Let the
knowledge with the deficiences be twenty; the parts of fifteen are
not the parts of twenty; for the parts of fifteen are three and
five; the parts of twenty are two, four, five, and ten. So as these
things are without contradiction, and could not otherwise be.

XX. (1) We proceed now to that knowledge which considereth of the
appetite and will of man: whereof Solomon saith, Ante omnia, fili,
custodi cor tuum: nam inde procedunt actiones vitae. In the
handling of this science, those which have written seem to me to
have done as if a man, that professed to teach to write, did only
exhibit fair copies of alphabets and letters joined, without giving
any precepts or directions for the carriage of the hand and framing
of the letters. So have they made good and fair exemplars and
copies, carrying the draughts and portraitures of good, virtue,
duty, felicity; propounding them well described as the true objects
and scopes of man's will and desires. But how to attain these
excellent marks, and how to frame and subdue the will of man to
become true and conformable to these pursuits, they pass it over
altogether, or slightly and unprofitably. For it is not the
disputing that moral virtues are in the mind of man by habit and not
by nature, or the distinguishing that generous spirits are won by
doctrines and persuasions, and the vulgar sort by reward and
punishment, and the like scattered glances and touches, that can
excuse the absence of this part.

(2) The reason of this omission I suppose to be that hidden rock
whereupon both this and many other barks of knowledge have been cast
away; which is, that men have despised to be conversant in ordinary
and common matters, the judicious direction whereof nevertheless is
the wisest doctrine (for life consisteth not in novelties nor
subtleties), but contrariwise they have compounded sciences chiefly
of a certain resplendent or lustrous mass of matter, chosen to give
glory either to the subtlety of disputatious, or to the eloquence of
discourses. But Seneca giveth an excellent check to eloquence,
Nocet illis eloquentia, quibus non rerum cupiditatem facit, sed sui.
Doctrine should be such as should make men in love with the lesson,
and not with the teacher; being directed to the auditor's benefit,
and not to the author's commendation. And therefore those are of
the right kind which may be concluded as Demosthenes concludes his
counsel, Quae si feceritis, non oratorem dumtaxat in praesentia
laudabitis, sed vosmetipsos etiam non ita multo post statu rerum
vestraram meliore.

(3) Neither needed men of so excellent parts to have despaired of a
fortune, which the poet Virgil promised himself, and indeed
obtained, who got as much glory of eloquence, wit, and learning in
the expressing of the observations of husbandry, as of the heroical
acts of AEneas:

"Nec sum animi dubius, verbis ea vincere magnum
Quam sit, et angustis his addere rebus honorem."

And surely, if the purpose be in good earnest, not to write at
leisure that which men may read at leisure, but really to instruct
and suborn action and active life, these Georgics of the mind,
concerning the husbandry and tillage thereof, are no less worthy
than the heroical descriptions of virtue, duty, and felicity.
Wherefore the main and primitive division of moral knowledge seemeth
to be into the exemplar or platform of good, and the regiment or
culture of the mind: the one describing the nature of good, the
other prescribing rules how to subdue, apply, and accommodate the
will of man thereunto.

(4) The doctrine touching the platform or nature of good considereth
it either simple or compared; either the kinds of good, or the
degrees of good; in the latter whereof those infinite disputatious
which were touching the supreme degree thereof, which they term
felicity, beatitude, or the highest good, the doctrines concerning
which were as the heathen divinity, are by the Christian faith
discharged. And as Aristotle saith, "That young men may be happy,
but not otherwise but by hope;" so we must all acknowledge our
minority, and embrace the felicity which is by hope of the future

(5) Freed therefore and delivered from this doctrine of the
philosopher's heaven, whereby they feigned a higher elevation of
man's nature than was (for we see in what height of style Seneca
writeth, Vere magnum, habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei),
we may with more sobriety and truth receive the rest of their
inquiries and labours. Wherein for the nature of good positive or
simple, they have set it down excellently in describing the forms of
virtue and duty, with their situations and postures; in distributing
them into their kinds, parts, provinces, actions, and
administrations, and the like: nay further, they have commended
them to man's nature and spirit with great quickness of argument and
beauty of persuasions; yea, and fortified and entrenched them (as
much as discourse can do) against corrupt and popular opinions.
Again, for the degrees and comparative nature of good, they have
also excellently handled it in their triplicity of good, in the
comparisons between a contemplative and an active life, in the
distinction between virtue with reluctation and virtue secured, in
their encounters between honesty and profit, in their balancing of
virtue with virtue, and the like; so as this part deserveth to be
reported for excellently laboured.

(6) Notwithstanding, if before they had come to the popular and
received notions of virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, and the
rest, they had stayed a little longer upon the inquiry concerning
the roots of good and evil, and the strings of those roots, they had
given, in my opinion, a great light to that which followed; and
specially if they had consulted with nature, they had made their
doctrines less prolix and more profound: which being by them in
part omitted and in part handled with much confusion, we will
endeavour to resume and open in a more clear manner.

(7) There is formed in everything a double nature of good--the one,
as everything is a total or substantive in itself; the other, as it
is a part or member of a greater body; whereof the latter is in
degree the greater and the worthier, because it tendeth to the
conservation of a more general form. Therefore we see the iron in
particular sympathy moveth to the loadstone; but yet if it exceed a
certain quantity, it forsaketh the affection to the loadstone, and
like a good patriot moveth to the earth, which is the region and
country of massy bodies; so may we go forward, and see that water
and massy bodies move to the centre of the earth; but rather than to
suffer a divulsion in the continuance of nature, they will move
upwards from the centre of the earth, forsaking their duty to the
earth in regard of their duty to the world. This double nature of
good, and the comparative thereof, is much more engraven upon man,
if he degenerate not, unto whom the conservation of duty to the
public ought to be much more precious than the conservation of life
and being; according to that memorable speech of Pompeius Magnus,
when being in commission of purveyance for a famine at Rome, and
being dissuaded with great vehemency and instance by his friends
about him, that he should not hazard himself to sea in an extremity
of weather, he said only to them, Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam.
But it may be truly affirmed that there was never any philosophy,
religion, or other discipline, which did so plainly and highly exalt
the good which is communicative, and depress the good which is
private and particular, as the Holy Faith; well declaring that it
was the same God that gave the Christian law to men, who gave those
laws of nature to inanimate creatures that we spake of before; for
we read that the elected saints of God have wished themselves
anathematised and razed out of the book of life, in an ecstasy of
charity and infinite feeling of communion.

(8) This being set down and strongly planted, doth judge and
determine most of the controversies wherein moral philosophy is
conversant. For first, it decideth the question touching the
preferment of the contemplative or active life, and decideth it
against Aristotle. For all the reasons which he bringeth for the
contemplative are private, and respecting the pleasure and dignity
of a man's self (in which respects no question the contemplative
life hath the pre-eminence), not much unlike to that comparison
which Pythagoras made for the gracing and magnifying of philosophy
and contemplation, who being asked what he was, answered, "That if
Hiero were ever at the Olympian games, he knew the manner, that some
came to try their fortune for the prizes, and some came as merchants
to utter their commodities, and some came to make good cheer and
meet their friends, and some came to look on; and that he was one of
them that came to look on." But men must know, that in this theatre
of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers
on. Neither could the like question ever have been received in the
Church, notwithstanding their Pretiosa in oculis Domini mors
sanctorum ejus, by which place they would exalt their civil death
and regular professions, but upon this defence, that the monastical
life is not simple contemplative, but performeth the duty either of
incessant prayers and supplications, which hath been truly esteemed
as an office in the Church, or else of writing or taking
instructions for writing concerning the law of God, as Moses did
when he abode so long in the mount. And so we see Enoch, the
seventh from Adam, who was the first contemplative and walked with
God, yet did also endow the Church with prophecy, which Saint Jude
citeth. But for contemplation which should be finished in itself,
without casting beams upon society, assuredly divinity knoweth it

(9) It decideth also the controversies between Zeno and Socrates,
and their schools and successions, on the one side, who placed
felicity in virtue simply or attended, the actions and exercises
whereof do chiefly embrace and concern society; and on the other
side, the Cyrenaics and Epicureans, who placed it in pleasure, and
made virtue (as it is used in some comedies of errors, wherein the
mistress and the maid change habits) to be but as a servant, without
which pleasure cannot be served and attended; and the reformed
school of the Epicureans, which placed it in serenity of mind and
freedom from perturbation; as if they would have deposed Jupiter
again, and restored Saturn and the first age, when there was no
summer nor winter, spring nor autumn, but all after one air and
season; and Herillus, which placed felicity in extinguishment of the
disputes of the mind, making no fixed nature of good and evil,
esteeming things according to the clearness of the desires, or the
reluctation; which opinion was revived in the heresy of the
Anabaptists, measuring things according to the motions of the
spirit, and the constancy or wavering of belief; all which are
manifest to tend to private repose and contentment, and not to point
of society.

(10) It censureth also the philosophy of Epictetus, which
presupposeth that felicity must be placed in those things which are
in our power, lest we be liable to fortune and disturbance; as if it
were not a thing much more happy to fail in good and virtuous ends
for the public, than to obtain all that we can wish to ourselves in
our proper fortune: as Consalvo said to his soldiers, showing them
Naples, and protesting he had rather die one foot forwards, than to
have his life secured for long by one foot of retreat. Whereunto
the wisdom of that heavenly leader hath signed, who hath affirmed
that "a good conscience is a continual feast;" showing plainly that
the conscience of good intentions, howsoever succeeding, is a more
continual joy to nature than all the provision which can be made for
security and repose.

(11) It censureth likewise that abuse of philosophy which grew
general about the time of Epictetus, in converting it into an
occupation or profession; as if the purpose had been, not to resist
and extinguish perturbations, but to fly and avoid the causes of
them, and to shape a particular kind and course of life to that end;
introducing such a health of mind, as was that health of body of
which Aristotle speaketh of Herodicus, who did nothing all his life
long but intend his health; whereas if men refer themselves to
duties of society, as that health of body is best which is ablest to
endure all alterations and extremities, so likewise that health of
mind is most proper which can go through the greatest temptations
and perturbations. So as Diogenes' opinion is to be accepted, who
commended not them which abstained, but them which sustained, and
could refrain their mind in praecipitio, and could give unto the
mind (as is used in horsemanship) the shortest stop or turn.

(12) Lastly, it censureth the tenderness and want of application in
some of the most ancient and reverend philosophers and philosophical
men, that did retire too easily from civil business, for avoiding of
indignities and perturbations; whereas the resolution of men truly
moral ought to be such as the same Consalvo said the honour of a
soldier should be, e tela crassiore, and not so fine as that
everything should catch in it and endanger it.

XXI. (1) To resume private or particular good, it falleth into the
division of good active and passive; for this difference of good
(not unlike to that which amongst the Romans was expressed in the
familiar or household terms of promus and condus) is formed also in
all things, and is best disclosed in the two several appetites in
creatures; the one to preserve or continue themselves, and the other
to dilate or multiply themselves, whereof the latter seemeth to be
the worthier; for in nature the heavens, which are the more worthy,
are the agent, and the earth, which is the less worthy, is the
patient. In the pleasures of living creatures, that of generation
is greater than that of food. In divine doctrine, beatius est dare
quam accipere. And in life, there is no man's spirit so soft, but
esteemeth the effecting of somewhat that he hath fixed in his
desire, more than sensuality, which priority of the active good is
much upheld by the consideration of our estate to be mortal and
exposed to fortune. For if we might have a perpetuity and certainty
in our pleasures, the state of them would advance their price. But
when we see it is but magni aestimamus mori tardius, and ne
glorieris de crastino, nescis partum diei, it maketh us to desire to
have somewhat secured and exempted from time, which are only our
deeds and works; as it is said, Opera eorum sequuntur eos. The pre-
eminence likewise of this active good is upheld by the affection
which is natural in man towards variety and proceeding, which in the
pleasures of the sense, which is the principal part of passive good,
can have no great latitude. Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; cibus,
somnus, ludus per hunc circulum curritur; mori velle non tantum
fortis, aut miser, aut prudens, sed etiam fastidiosus potest. But
in enterprises, pursuits, and purposes of life, there is much
variety; whereof men are sensible with pleasure in their inceptions,
progressions, recoils, reintegrations, approaches and attainings to
their ends. So as it was well said, Vita sine proposito languida et
vaga est. Neither hath this active good an identity with the good
of society, though in some cases it hath an incidence into it. For
although it do many times bring forth acts of beneficence, yet it is
with a respect private to a man's own power, glory, amplification,
continuance; as appeareth plainly, when it findeth a contrary
subject. For that gigantine state of mind which possesseth the
troublers of the world, such as was Lucius Sylla and infinite other
in smaller model, who would have all men happy or unhappy as they
were their friends or enemies, and would give form to the world,
according to their own humours (which is the true theomachy),
pretendeth and aspireth to active good, though it recedeth furthest
from good of society, which we have determined to be the greater.

(2) To resume passive good, it receiveth a subdivision of
conservative and effective. For let us take a brief review of that
which we have said: we have spoken first of the good of society,
the intention whereof embraceth the form of human nature, whereof we
are members and portions, and not our own proper and individual
form; we have spoken of active good, and supposed it as a part of
private and particular good. And rightly, for there is impressed
upon all things a triple desire or appetite proceeding from love to
themselves: one of preserving and continuing their form; another of
advancing and perfecting their form; and a third of multiplying and
extending their form upon other things: whereof the multiplying, or
signature of it upon other things, is that which we handled by the
name of active good. So as there remaineth the conserving of it,
and perfecting or raising of it, which latter is the highest degree
of passive good. For to preserve in state is the less, to preserve
with advancement is the greater. So in man,

"Igneus est ollis vigor, et caelestis origo."

His approach or assumption to divine or angelical nature is the
perfection of his form; the error or false imitation of which good
is that which is the tempest of human life; while man, upon the
instinct of an advancement, formal and essential, is carried to seek
an advancement local. For as those which are sick, and find no
remedy, do tumble up and down and change place, as if by a remove
local they could obtain a remove internal, so is it with men in
ambition, when failing of the mean to exalt their nature, they are
in a perpetual estuation to exalt their place. So then passive good
is, as was said, either conservative or perfective.

(3) To resume the good of conservation or comfort, which consisteth
in the fruition of that which is agreeable to our natures; it
seemeth to be most pure and natural of pleasures, but yet the
softest and lowest. And this also receiveth a difference, which

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