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THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE WORK.
IT CONSISTS OF SIX PARTS.
1. DivisionS OF THE SCIENCES.
INTERPRETATION OF NATURE.
TURAL AND EXPERIMENTAL HISTORY ON
4. SCALE OF THE UNDERSTANDING.
6. SOUND PHILOSOPHY, OR Active Science.
THE ARGUMENTS OF THE SEVERAL in our conception and contemplation,) we will PARTS,
always take care to subjoin to an instance of the One point of our design is, that every thing whole, some precepts for perfecting it, or perhaps should be set out as openly and clearly as possi- a completion of a part of it by ourselves. For, ple. For this nakedness, as once that of the we consider it to concern our own character as hody, is the companion of innocence and siin- well as the advantage of others, that no one may plicity. The order and method of the work, imagine a mere passing idea of such matters to therefore, shall first be explained. We divide it have crossed our mind, and that what we desire into six parts. The first part exhibits a summary, and aim at resembles a wish; whilst in reality it or universal description of such science and learn- is in the power of all men, if they be not wanting as mankind is, up to this time, in possession ing to themselves, and we ourselves are actually of. For we have thought fit to dwell a little even masters of a sure and clear method. For we on received notions, with a view the more easily have not undertaken to measure out regions in to perfect the old, and approach the new; being our mind, like angurs for divination, but like nearly equally desirous to improve the former and generals to invade them for conquest.to attain the latter. This is of avail also towards And this is the first part of the work. our obtaining credit: according to the text, “ The Having passed over the ancient arts, we will unlearned receives not the words of knowledge, prepare the human understanding for pressing on unless you first speak of what is within his own beyond them. The object of the Second Part, neart."* We will not, therefore, neglect coasting then, is the doctrine touching a better and more the shores of the now received arts and sciences, perfect use of reasoning in the investigation of and importing thither something useful on our things, and the true helps of the understanding; passage.
that it may by this means be raised, as far as our But we also employ such a division of the human and mortal nature will admit, and be ensciences as will not only embrace what is already larged in its powers so as to master the arduous discovered and known, but what has hitherto been and obscure secrets of nature. And the art which omitted and deficient. For there are both culti- we employ (and which we are wont to call the vated and desert tracts in the intellectual as in the interpretation of nature) is a kind of logic. For terrestrial globe. It must not, therefore, appear common logic professes to contrive and prepare extraordinary if we sometimes depart from the helps and guards for the understanding, and so common divisions. For additions, whilst they far they agree. But ours differs from the comvary the whole, necessarily vary the parts, and mon, chiefly in three respects, namely, in its end, their subdivisions, but the received divisions are the order of demonstration, and the beginning of only adequate to the received summary of the the inquiry. sciences, such as it now exists.
For the end of our science is not to discover With regard to what we shall note as omitted, arguments, but arts, nor what is agreeable to cerwe shall not content ourselves with offering the tain principles, but the principles themselves, nor mere names and concise proofs of what is defi- probable reasons, but designations and indications cient: for if we refer any thing to omissions, of of effects. Hence, from a diversity of intention a high nature, and the meaning of which may be follows a diversity of consequences. For, in rather obscure, (so that we may have grounds to in the one an opponent is vanquished and consuspect that men will not understand our inten- strained by argument, in the other, nature by tion, or the nature of the matter we have embraced effects.
And the nature and order of the demonstrations * Prov. xviii. 2. “A fool hath no delight in understanding agree with this end. For in common logic almost out that his heart may discover itself." Bacon quotes from the Vulgate.
our whole labour is spent upon the syllogism.
The logicians appear scarcely to have thought of induction capable of explaining and separating seriously of induction, passing it over with some experiments, and coming to a certain conclusion slight notice, and hurrying on to the formulæ of by a proper series of rejections and exclusions. dispute. But we reject the syllogistic demonstra- If, however, the common judgment of the logition, as being too confused, and letting nature cians has been so laborious, and has exercised escape from our hands. For, although nobody such great wits, how much more must we labour can doubt that those things which agree with the in this which is drawn not only from the recesses iniddle term agree with each other, (which is a of the mind, but the very entrails of nature. sort of mathematical certainty,) nevertheless, there Nor is this all, for we let down to a greater is this source of error, namely, that a syllogism depth, and render more solid the very foundations consists of propositions, propositions of words, of the sciences, and we take up the beginning of and words are but the tokens and signs of things. our investigation from a bigher part than men If, therefore, the notions of the mind (which are have yet done, by subjecting those matters to as it were the soul of words, and the basis of this examination which common logic receives upon whole structure and fabric) are badly and hastily the credit of others. For the logicians borrow abstracted from things, and vague, or not suffi- the principles of one science from another, in the ciently defined and limited, or, in short, faulty next place they worship the first formed notions (as they may be) in many other respects, the of their minds, and, lastly, they rest contented with whole falls to the ground. We reject, therefore, the immediate information of the senses, if well the syllogism, and that not only as regards first directed. But we have resolved that true logic principles, (to which even the logicians do not ought to enter upon the several provinces of the apply them,) but also in intermediate propositions, sciences with a greater command than is poswhich the syllogism certainly manages in some sessed by their first principles, and to force those way or other to bring out and produce, but then supposed principles to an account of the grounds they are barren of effects, unfit for practice, and upon which they are clearly determined. As far clearly unsuited to the active branch of the as relates to the first notions of the understanding, sciences. Although we would leave therefore to not any of the materials which the understanding, the syllogism, and such celebrated and applauded when left to itself, has collected, is unsuspected demonstrations, their jurisdiction over popular by us, nor will we confirm them unless they themand speculative arts, (for here we make no altera-selves be put upon their trial and be judged tion,) yet, in every thing relating to the nature of accordingly. Again, we have many ways of siftthings, we make use of induction, both for our ing the information of the senses themselves: for major and minor propositions. For we consider the senses assuredly deceive, though at the same induction to be that form of demonstration which time they disclose their errors: the errors, howassists the senses, closes in upon nature, and ever, are close at hand, whilst their indication presses on, and, as it were, mixes itself with must be sought at a greater distance. action.
There are two faults of the senses: they either Hence also the order of demonstration is natu- desert or deceive us. For in the first place there sally reversed. For at present the matter is so are many things which escape the senses, however managed, that from the senses and particular well directed and unimpeded, owing either to the objects they immediately fly to the greatest gene- subtilty of the whole body, or the minuteness of ralities, as the axes round which their disputes its parts, or the distance of place, or the slowness may revolve : all the rest is deduced from them or velocity of motion, or the familiarity of the intermediately, by a short way we allow, but an object, or to other causes. Nor are the apprehen. abrupt one, and impassable to nature, though easy sions of the senses very firm, when they grasp the and well suited to dispute. But, by our method, subject; for the testimony and information of the axioms are raised up in gradual succession, so that senses bears always a relation to man and not to we only at last arrive at generalities. And that the universe, and it is altogether a great mistake which is most generalized, is not merely national to assert that our senses are the measure of but well defined, and really acknowledged by things. nature as well known to her, and cleaving to the To encounter these difficulties, we have everyvery pith of things.
where sought and collected helps for the senses By far our greatest work, however, lies in the with laborious and faithful service, in order to form of induction and the judgment arising from supply defects and correct errors : and that not so it. For the form of which the logicians speak, much by means of instruments, as by experiwhich proceeds by bare enumeration, is puerile, ments. For experiments are much more delicate and its conclusions precarious, is exposed to than the senses themselves, even when aided by danger from one contrary example, only consi-instruments, at least if they are skilfully and ders what is habitual, and leads not to any final scientifically imagined and applied to the required result.
point. We attribute but little, therefore, to the The sciences, on the contrary, require a form immediate and proper perception of the senses.
hut reduce the matter to this, that they should i and a race of such discoveries as will in some decide on the experiment, and the experiment on measure overcome his wants and necessities.the subject of it. Wherefore, we consider that And this is the second part of the work. we have shown ourselves most observant priests It is our intention not only to open and prepare of the senses, (by which all that exists in nature the way, but also to enter upon it. The third must be investigated if we would be rational,) part, therefore, of our work embraces the phenoand not unskilful interpreters of their oracles: for mena of the universe ; that is to say, experience others seein to observe and worship them in word of every kind, and such a natural history as can alone, but we in deed. These then are the means form the foundation of an edifice of philosophy. which we prepare for kindling and transmitting For there is no method of demonstration, or form the light of nature: which would of themselves of interpreting nature, so excellent as to be able be sufficient, if the human understanding were to afford and supply matter for knowledge, as well plain and like a smoothed surface. But since the as to defend and support the mind against error ininds of men are so wonderfully prepossessed, and failure. But those who resolve not to conthat a clear and polished surface for receiving the jecture and divine, but to discover and know, not true rays of things is wholly wanting, necessity to invent buffooneries and fables about worlds, urges us to seek a remedy for this also.
but to inspect, and, as it were, dissect the nature The images or idols by which the mind is pre- of this real world, must derive all from things occupied are either adventitious or innate. The themselves. Nor can any substitution or comadventitious have crept into the minds of men pensation of wit, meditation, or argument, (were either from the dogmas and sects of philosophers, the whole wit of all combined in one,) supply the or the perverted rules of demonstration. But the place of this labour, investigation, and personal innate are inherent to the very nature of the un- examination of the world ; our method then must derstanding, which appears to be much more necessarily be pursued, or the whole forever abanprone to error than the senses. For however men doned. But men have so conducted themselves may be satisfied with themselves, and rush into a hitherto, that it is little to be wondered at if nature blind admiration and almost adoration of the hu- do not disclose herself to them. man mind, one thing is most certain, namely, that For in the first place the defective and fallacious as an uneven mirror changes the rays proceeding evidence of our senses, a system of observation from objects according to its own figure and posi- slothful and unsteady, as though acting from tion, so the mind when affected by things through chance, a tradition vain and depending on comthe senses does not act in the most trustworthy mon report, a course of practice intent upon effects, manner, but inserts and mixes her own nature and servile, blind, dull, vague, and abrupt expeinto that of things, whilst clearing and recollect- riments, and lastly our careless and meagre natural ing her notions.
history, have collected together, for the use of the The first two species of idols are with difficulty understanding, the most defective materials as eradicated, the latter can never be so. We can regards philosophy and the sciences. only point them out, and note and demonstrate In the next place, a preposterous refinement, that insidious faculty of the mind, lest new shoots and, as it were, ventilation of argument, is atof error should happen to spring up, from the de- tempted as a late remedy for a matter become struction of the old, on account of the mind's clearly desperate, and neither makes any improvedefective structure; and we should then find our- ment, nor removes errors.
There remains no selves only exchanging instead of extinguishing hope therefore of greater advancement and proerrors; whilst it ought on the other hand to be gress, unless by some restoration of the sciences. eternally resolved and settled, that the understand- But this must commence entirely with natural ing cannot decide otherwise than by induction history. For it is useless to clean the mirror if it and by a legitimate form of it. Wherefore the have no images to reflect, and it is manifest that doctrine of the purifying of the understanding, so we must prepare proper matter for the understandas to fit it for the reception of truth, consists of ing as well as steady support. But our history, three reprehensions ; the reprehension of the like our logic, differs in many respects, from the schemes of philosophy, the reprehension of me- received, in its end or office, in its very matter thods of demonstration, and the reprehension of and compilation, in its nicety, in its selection, and natural huinan reason. But when these have in its arrangements relatively to what follow's. been gone through, and it has at last been clearly For, in the first place, we begin with that speseen, what results are to be expected from the cies of natural history which is not so much calnature of things and the nature of the mind, we culated to amuse by the variety of its objects, or consider that we shall have prepared and adorned to offer immediate results by its experiments, as a nuptial couch for the mind and the universe; to throw a light upon the discovery of causes, and the divine goodness being our bridemaid. But to present, as it were, its bosom as the first nurse let the prayer of our epithalamium be this; that of philosophy. For, although we regard princifrom this union may spring assistance to man, pally effects and the active division of the sciences,
get we wait for the time of harvest, and do not go miraculous, but our reports are pure and unadulabout to reap moss and a green crop: being suf- terated by fables and absurdity. Nay, the com. ficiently aware that well formed axioms draw monly received and repeated falsehoods, which by whole crowds of effects after them, and do not some wonderful neglect have held their grouno manifest their effects partially, but in abundance. for many ages and become inveterate, are by us But we wholly condemn and banish that unrea- distinctly proscribed and branded, that they may sonable and puerile desire of immediately seizing no longer molest learning. For, as it has been some pledges as it were of new effects, which, well observed, that the tales, superstitions, and like the apple of Atalanta, retard our course, trash which nurses instil into children, seriously such then is the office of our natural history. corrupt their minds, so are we careful and anxious
With regard to its compilation, we intend not whilst managing and watching over the infancy, tu form a history of nature at liberty and in her as it were, of philosophy committed to the charge usual course, when she proceeds willingly and of natural history, that it should not from the first acts of her own accord, (as for instance the history become habituated to any absurdity. In every of the heavenly bodies, meteors, the earth and sea, new and rather delicate experiment, although to minerals, plants, animals,) but much rather a his- us it may appear sure and satisfactory, we yet tory of nature constrained and perplexed, as she publish the method we employed, that, by the is seen when thrust down from her proper rank discovery of every attendant circumstance, men and harassed and modelled by the art and contri- may perceive the possibly latent and inherent vance of man. We will therefore go through all errors, and be roused to proofs of a more certain the experiments of the mechanical and the opera- and exact nature, if such there be. Lastly, we tive part of the liberal arts, and all those of dif- intersperse the whole with advice, doubts, and ferent practical schemes which have not yet been cautions, casting out and restraining, as it were, put together so as to form a peculiar arı: as far all phantoms by a sacred ceremony and exorcism. as we have been able to investigate them and it Finally, since we have learned how much expewill suit our purpose. Besides, (to speak the rience and history distract the powers of the truth,) without paying any attention to the pride human mind, and how difficult it is (especially for of man, or to appearances, we consider this young or prejudiced intellects) to become at the branch of much more assistance and support than first acquainted with nature, we frequently add the other: since the nature of things betrays some observations of our own, by way of showing itself more by means of the operations of art than the first tendency, as it were, and inclination or when at perfect liberty.
aspect of history towards philosophy ; thus asNor do we present the history of bodies alone, suring mankind that they will not always be debill have thought it moreover right to exert our tained in the ocean of history, and also preparing diligence in coinpiling a separate history of pro- for the time when we shall come to the work of perties: we mean those which may be called the the understanding. And by such a natural biscardinal properties of nature, and of which its very tory as we are describing, we think that safe and elements are composed, namely, matter with its convenient access is opened to nature, and solid first accidents and appetites, such as density, and ready matter furnished to the understanding. rarity, heat, cold, solidity, fluidity, weight, levity, But after furnishing the understanding with the and many others.
most surest helps and precautions, and having But, with regard to the nicety of natural history, completed, by a rigorous levy, a complete hest we clearly require a much more delicate and sim- of divine works, nothing remains to be done but ple form of experiments than those which are ob- to attack Philosophy herself. In a matter so arrious. For we bring out and extract from obscurity duous and doubtful, however, a few reflections many things which no one would have thought must necessarily be here inserted, part!y for inof investigating, unless he were proceeding by struction and partly for present use. a sure and steady path to the discovery of causes; The first of these is, that we should offer some since they are in themselves of no great use, and examples of our method and course of investigait is clear that they were not sought for on their tion and discovery, as exhibited in particular sub. own account, but that they bear the same relation jects; preferring the most dignified subjects of to things and effects, that the letters of the al- our inquiry, and such as differ the most from each phabet do to discourse and words, being useless other, so that in every branch we may have an indeed in themselves, but the elements of all example. Nor do we speak of those examples, language.
which are added to particular precepts and rules In the selection of our reports and experiments, by way of illustration, (for we have furnished then we consider that we have been more cautious for abundantly in the second part of our work,) bun mankind than any of our predecessors. For we we mean actual types and models, calculated to admit nothing but as an eyewitness, or at least place, as it were, before our eyes the whole prosupon approved and rigorously examined testi- cess of the mind, and the continuous frame and mony; so that nothing is magnified into the order of discovery in particular subjects, selected for their variety and importance. For we recol-method of investigation previously taught and lected that in mathematics, with the diagram be- prepared. But it is both beyond our power and fore our eyes, the demonstration easily and clearly expectation to perfect and conclude this last part. followed, but without this advantage every thing We will, however, furnish no contemptible beappeared intricate and more subtile than was ginning, (if our hopes deceive us not,) and men's really the case. We devote, therefore, the FOURTH good fortune will furnish the result; such, perPart of our work to such examples, which is in haps, as men cannot easily comprehend or define fact nothing more than a particular and fully de- in the present state of things and the mind. For veloped application of the second part.
we treat not only of contemplative enjoyment, But the FIFTH PArt is only used for a tempo- but of the common affairs and fortune of man
а rary purpose, whilst the rest are being perfected, kind, and of a complete power of action. For and is paid down as interest, until the principal man, as the minister and interpreter of nature can be raised. For we rush not so blindly to our does, and understands, as much as he has obobject, as to neglect any thing useful on our way. served of the order, operation, and mind of naWe compose this fifth part of the work therefore ture; and neither knows nor is able to do more. of those matters which we have either discovered, Neither is it possible for any power to loosen tried, or added; without, however, employing or burst the chain of causes, nor is nature 10 our own method and rules for interpretation, but be overcome except by submission. Therefore merely making the same use of our understand- those two objects, human knowledge and power, ing as others are wont to do in their investiga- are really the same; and failure in action chiefly tions and discoveries. For, from our constant inter- arises from the ignorance of causes. For every course with nature, we both anticipate greater re- thing depends upon our fixing the mind's eye sults from our meditations than the mere strength steadily in order to receive their images exactly of our wit would warrant; and yet such results as they exist, and may God never pernit us to as have been mentioned may also serve as inns give out the dream of our fancy as a model of the upon the road for the mind to repose itself a while world, but rather in his kindness vouchsafe to us on its way to more certain objects. We protest, the means of writing a revelation and true vision in the mean time, against any great value being of the traces and stamps of the Creator on his set upon that which has not been discovered or creatures. proved by the true form of interpretation. There May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest is no reason, however, for any one to be alarmed the light of vision as the first-fruits of creaat such suspense of judgment in our method of tion, and hast inspired the countenance of teaching, which does not assert absolutely that man with the light of the understanding as the nothing can be known, but that nothing can be completion of thy works, guard and direct this known without a determined order and method; work, which, proceeding from thy bounty, and in the mean time has settled some determined seeks in return thy glory. When thou turnedst gradations of certitude, until the mind can repose to look upon the works of thy hands, thou in the full developement of causes. Nor were sawest that all were very good, and restedst. those schools of philosophers, who professed ab. But man, when he turned towards the works of solute skepticism, inferior to the others which his hands, saw that they were all vanity and took upon themselves to dogmatise. They did vexation of spirit, and had no rest. Wherefore, not, however, prepare helps for the senses and if we labour in thy works, thou wilt make us understanding, as we have done, but at once abo- partakers of that which thou beholdest and of lished all belief and authority, which is totally thy rest. We humbly pray that our present disdifferent, nay, almost opposite matter.
position may continue firm, and that thou mayest Lastly, the sixth Part of our work (to which be willing to endow thy family of mankind with the rest are subservient and auxiliary) discloses new gifts through our hands, and the hands of and propounds that philosophy which is reared those to whom thou wilt accord the same disand formed by the legitimate, pure, and strict position.
The First Part of the Instauration, which comprehends the Divisions of the Sciences, is wanting.
But they can be partly taken from the Second Book, “ On the Progress to be made in Dirine and Human Learning."
Nect followeth the Second Part of the Instauration, which exhibits the Art of interpreting Nature and
of making a right Use of the Understanding; not, however, imbodied in a regular Treatise, but only summarily digested in Aphorisms.