Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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

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.

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 travel 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 bounded 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 fascination,

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 were 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 politician 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 Cæsar; 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 extasies, 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.

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 especially of the contagion that passeth from body to body, to 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. Deficiencies in these knowledges I will report none, other than the general deficience, that it is not known how much of them is verity, and how much vanity.

The knowledge 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 leastwise usurpeth no small authority in itself, besides the duty of the message. For it was well said by Aristotle, “ the mind hath over the body that commandment, 6 which the lord hath over à bondman; but that

reason hath over the imagination that command“ment 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

66 That

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 its 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.

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 subtilty 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.

The arts intellectual are four in number, divided

« AnteriorContinuar »