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defence against both extremes of religion, superstition and infidelity; for both it freeth the mind from a number of weak fancies and insaginations, and it raiseth the mind to acknowledge that to God all things are possible: for to that purpose speaketh our Saviour in that first canon against heresies, delivered upon the case of the resurrection, You err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God; teaching, that there are but two fountains of heresy, not knowing the will of God revealed in the scriptures, and not knowing the power of God revealed or at least made most sensible in his creatures. So as he saw well, that natural philosophy was of excellent use to the exaltation of the divine Majesty; and that which is admirable, that being a remedy of superstition, it is nevertheless an help to faith. He saw likewise, that the former opinions to the prejudice hereof, had no true ground; but must spring either out of mere ignorance, or out of an excess of devotion, to have divinity all in all, whereas it should be only above all, (both which states of mind may be best pardoned ;) or else out of worse causes, namely, out of envy which is proud weakness, and deserveth to be despised; or out of some mixture of imposture, to tell a lye for God's cause; or out of an impious diffidence, as if men should fear to 'disa cover some things in nature, which mought subvert
faith. But still he saw well, howsoever these opinions are in right reason reproved, yet they leave not to be most effectual hindrances to natural philosophy and invention. 18. He thought also, that there wanted not great contrariety to the further discovery of sciences, in regard of the orders and customs of universities, and also in regard of common opinion. For in universities and colleges men's studies are almost confined to certain authors, from which if
any dissenteth or propoundeth matter of redargution, it is enough to make him thought a person turbulent; whereas if it be well advised, there is a great differenee to be made between matters contemplative and active. For in government change is suspected though to the better ; but it is natural to arts to be in perpetual agitation and growth. Neither is the danger alike of new light and of new motion, or remove ; and for vulgar and received opinions, nothing is more usual, or more usually complained of, than that it is imposed for arrogancy and presumption, for men to authorize themselves against antiquity and authors, towards whom envy iş ceased, and reverence by time amortised; it not being considered what Aristotle himself did, (upon whom the philosophy that now is chiefly dependeth ;) who came with a professed contradiction to all the world, and did put all his
opinions upon his own authority and argument, and never so much as nameth an author, but to confute and reprove him ; and yet his success well fulfilled the observation of him that said, If a man come in his own name, him will you receive. Men think likewse, that if they should give themselves to the liberty of invention and travail of enquiry, that they shall light again upon some conceits and contemplations which have been formerly offered to the world, and have been put down by better, which have prevailed and brought them to oblivion ; not seeing that howsoever the property and breeding of knowledge is in great and excellent wits, yet the estimation and price of them is in the multitude, or in the inclinations of princes and great persons meanly learned. So as those knowledges are like to be received and honoured, which have their foundation in the subtility or finest trial of common sense, or such as fill the imagination, and not such knowledge as is digged out of the hard mine of history and experience, and falleth out to be in some points as adverse to common sense or popular reason, as religion, or more. Which kind of knowledge, except it be delivered with strange advantages of eloquence and power, may be likely to appear and disclose a little to the world, and straight to vanish and shut again. So that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or food,
that bringeth down to us that which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is solid and grave. So he saw well that both in the state of religion, and in the administration of learning, and in common opinion, there were many and continual stops, and traverses to the course of invention.
9. He thought also, that the invention of works and further possibility was prejudiced in a more special manner than that of speculative truth; for besides the impediments common to both, it hath by itself been notably hurt and discredited by the vain promises and pretences of alchemy, magic, astrology, and such other arts, which (as they now pass) hold much more of imagination and belief, than of sense and demonstration. But to use the poet's language, men ought to have remembered, that although Ixion of a cloud in the likeness of Juno begat Centaurs and Chimæras, yet Jupiter also of the true Juno begat Vulcan and Hebe. Neither is it just to deny credit to the greatness of the acts of Alexander, because the like or more strange have been feigned of an Armadis or an Arthur, or other fabulous worthies. But though this in true reason should be, and that men ought not to make a confusion of unbelief; yet he saw well, it could not otherwise be in event, but that
experience of untruth had made access to truth more difficult, and that the ignominy of vanity had abated all greatness of mind.
10. He thought also, there was found in the mind of man an affection naturally bred and fortified, and furthered by discourse and doctrine, which did pervert the true proceeding towards active and operative knowledge.
This was a false estimation, that it should be as a diminution to the mind of man to be much conversant in experiences and particulars, subject to sense and bound in matter, and which are laborious to search, ignoble to meditate, harsh to deliver, illiberal to practise, infinite as is supposed in number, and no ways accommodate to the glory of arts. This opinion or state of mind received much credit and strength by the school of Plato, who thinking that particulars rather revived the notions, or excited the faculties of the mind, than merely informed ; and having mingled his philosophy with superstition, which never favoureth the sense, extolleth too much the understanding of man in the inward light thereof. And again, Aristotle's school, which giveth the dew to the sense in the assertion, denieth it in practice much more than that of Plato. For we see the schoolmen, Aristotle's successors, who were utterly ignorant of history, rested only