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than that which we have passed through; but yet because it hath a full coherence both with that act of radiation (which hath hitherto been conceived and termed so unproperly and untruly by some an effluxion of spiritual species and by others an investing of the intermedium with a motion which successively is conveyed to the eye) and with the act of sense, wherein I should likewise open that which I think good to withdraw, I will omit. Neither do I contend but that this motion which I call the freeing of a direction, in the received philosophies (as far as a swimming anticipation could take hold) might be perceived and discerned; being not much other matter than that which they did not only aim at in the two rules of Axioms before remembered, but more nearly also in that which they term the form or formal cause, or that which they call the true difference; both which nevertheless it seemeth they propound rather as impossibilities and wishes than as things within the compass of human comprehension. For Plato casteth his burden and saith that he will revere him as a God, that can truly divide and define'; which cannot be but by true forms and differences. Wherein I join hands with him, confessing as much as yet assuming to myself little; for if any man can by the strength of his anticipations find out forms, I will magnify him with the foremost. But as any of them would say that if divers things which many men know by instruction and observation another knew by revelation and without those means, they would take him for somewhat supernatural and divine; so I do acknowledge that if any man can by anticipations reach to that which a weak and inferior wit may attain to by interpretation, he cannot receive too high a title. Nay I for my part do indeed admire to see how far some of them have proceeded by their anticipations; but how? it is as I wonder at some blind men, to see what shift they make without their eye-sight; thinking with myself that if I were blind I could hardly do it. Again Aristotle's school confesseth that there is no true knowledge but by causes, no true cause but the form, no true form known except one, which they are pleased to allow; and therefore thus far their evidence standeth with us, that both hitherto there hath been nothing but a shadow of knowledge, and that we propound now that which is agreed to be worthiest to be sought, and hardest to be found. There wanteth now a part 2 See Nov. Org. ii. 26. Vol. I. p. 277.
I than in MS.
very necessary, not by way of supply but by way of caution; for as it is seen for the most part that the outward tokens and badges of excellency and perfection are more incident to things merely counterfeit than to that which is true, but for1 a meaner and baser sort; as a dubline is more like a perfect ruby than a spinel, and a counterfeit angel is made more like a true angel than if it were an angel coined of China gold; in like manner the direction carrieth a resemblance of a true direction in verity and liberty which indeed is no direction at all. For though your direction seem to be certain and free by pointing you to a nature that is unseparable from the nature you inquire upon, yet if it do not carry you on a degree or remove nearer to action, operation, or light to make or produce, it is but superficial and counterfeit. Wherefore to secure and warrant what is a true direction, though that general note I have given be perspicuous in itself (for a man shall soon cast with himself whether he be ever the nearer to effect and operate or no, or whether he have won but an abstract or varied notion) yet for better instruction I will deliver three particular notes of caution. The first is that the nature discovered be more original than the nature supposed, and not more secondary or of the like degree; as to make a stone bright or to make it smooth it is a good direction to say, make it even; but to make a stone even it is no good direction to say, make it bright or make it smooth; for the rule is that the disposition of any thing referring to the state of it in itself or the parts, is more original than that which is relative or transitive towards another thing. So evenness is the disposition of the stone in itself, but smooth is to the hand and bright to the eye, and yet nevertheless they all cluster and concur; and yet the direction is more unperfect, if it do appoint you to such a relative as is in the same kind and not in a diverse. For in the direction to produce brightness by smoothness, although properly it win no degree, and will never teach you any new particulars before unknown; yet by way of suggestion or bringing to mind it may draw your consideration to some particulars known but not remembered; as you shall sooner remember some practical means of making smoothness, than if you had fixed your consideration only upon brightness; but if the direction had been to make brightness
So MS. qu of?
2 neare MS.
by making reflexion, as thus, make it such as you may see your face in it, this is merely secondary, and helpeth neither by way of informing nor by way of suggestion. So if in the inquiry of whiteness you were directed to make such a colour as should be seen furthest in a dark light; here you are advanced nothing at all. For these kinds of natures are but proprieties, effects, circumstances, concurrences, or what else you shall like to call them, and not radical and formative natures towards the nature supposed. The second caution is that the nature inquired be collected by division before composition, or to speak more properly, by composition subaltern before you ascend to composition absolute, &c.1
Of the internal and profound errors and superstitions in the nature of the mind, and of the four sorts of idols or fictions which offer themselves to the understanding in the inquisition of knowledge; being the 16th chapter, and this a small fragment thereof, being a preface to the inward elenches of the mind.2
The opinion of Epicurus that the gods were of human shape, was rather justly derided than seriously confuted by the other sects, demanding whether every kind of sensible creatures did not think their own figure fairest, as the horse, the bull, and the like, which found no beauty but in their own forms, as in appetite of lust appeared. And the heresy of the Anthropomorphites was ever censured for a gross conceit bred in the obscure cells of solitary monks that never looked abroad. Again the fable so well known of Quis pinxit leonem, doth set forth well that there is an error of pride and partiality, as well as of custom and familiarity. The reflexion also from glasses usually resembled to the imagery of the mind, every man knoweth to receive error and variety both in colour, magnitude, and shape, according to the quality of the glass. But yet no use hath been made of these and many the like observations, to move men to search out and upon search to give true cautions of the native and inherent errors in the mind of man which have coloured and corrupted all his notions and impressions.
I do find therefore in this enchanted glass four Idols or false
The word "subaltern" (for which a blank was left by the transcriber) and the "&c." have been inserted by Bacon. The chapter ends nearly at the bottom of the page. 2 The words in Roman character have been added by Bacon, VOL. III.
appearances of several and distinct sorts, every sort comprehending many subdivisions: the first sort, I call idols of the Nation or Tribe; the second, idols of the Palace; the third, idols of the Cave; and the fourth, idols of the Theatre, &c.1
Here followeth an abridgment of divers chapters of the first book of Interpretation of Nature."
That in deciding and determining of the truth of knowledge, men have put themselves upon trials not competent. That antiquity and authority; common and confessed notions; the natural and yielding consent of the mind; the harmony and coherence of a knowledge in itself; the establishing of principles with the touch and reduction of other propositions unto them; inductions without instances contradictory; and the report of the senses; are none of them absolute and infallible evidence of truth, and bring no security sufficient for effects and operations. That the discovery of new works and active directions not known before, is the only trial to be accepted of; and yet not that neither, in case where one particular giveth light to another; but where particulars induce an axiom or observation, which axiom found out discovereth and designeth new particulars. That the nature of this trial is not only upon the point, whether the knowledge be profitable or no, but even upon the point whether the knowledge be true or no; not because you may always conclude that the Axiom which discovereth new instances is true, but contrariwise you may safely conclude that if it discover not any new instance it is in vain and untrue. That by new instances are not always to be understood new recipes but new assignations, and of the diversity between these two. That the subtilty of words, arguments, notions, yea of the senses themselves, is but rude and gross in comparison of the subtilty of things; and of the slothful and flattering opinions of those which pretend to honour the mind of man in withdrawing and abstracting it from particulars, and of the inducements and motives whereupon such opinions have been conceived and received.
The " &c." in Bacon's hand. The chapter ends in the middle of the second page, and the heading of the next (which is the 4th), follows immediately; whence I infer that the whole formed part of the original transcript.
The words "Interpretation of Nature
added in Bacon's hand.
Of the error in propounding chiefly the search of causes and productions of things concrete, which are infinite and transitory, and not of abstract natures, which are few and permanent. That these natures are as the alphabet or simple letters, whereof the variety of things consisteth; or as the colours mingled in the painter's shell, wherewith he is able to make infinite variety of faces or shapes.' An enumeration of them according to popular note. That at the first one would conceive that in the schools by natural philosophy were meant the knowledge of the efficients of things concrete; and by metaphysic the knowledge of the forms of natures simple; which is a good and fit division of knowledge: but upon examination there is no such matter by them intended. That the little inquiry into the production of simple natures sheweth well that works were not sought; because by the former knowledge some small and superficial deflexions from the ordinary generations and productions may be found out, but the discovery of all profound and radical alteration must arise out of the latter knowledge.
Of the error in propounding the search of the materials or dead beginnings or principles of things, and not the nature of motions, inclinations, and applications. That the whole scope of the former search is impertinent and vain; both because there are no such beginnings, and if there were they could not be known. That the latter manner of search (which is all) they pass over compendiously and slightly as a by-matter. That the several conceits in that kind, as that the lively and moving beginnings of things should be shift or appetite of matter to privation; the spirit of *the world working in matter according to platform; the proceeding or fructifying of distinct kinds according to their proprieties; the intercourse of the elements by mediation of their common qualities; the appetite of like portions to unite themselves ; amity and discord, or sympathy and antipathy; motion to the centre, with motion of stripe or press; the casual agitation, aggregation, and essays of the solid portions in the void space; motion of shuttings and openings; are all mere nugations; and that the calculating and ordination of the true degrees,
This last illustration is added in the margin in Bacon's hand.