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leads him to hope that there yet remains a great mass of inventions which might be gained, not only from uncovering new properties, but also from transferring and applying those already known.

things. But if men had passed through the course of so many years, without being able to make any progress, no hope could remain. For then it would be clear that the difficulty was in the matter and subject, (which are out of our power,) not in the instrument, (which is within it,) that is, in the things and their obscurity, not in the human mind and its working. But now it appears that the

that, if even a much weaker and less sensible air breathed from that new continent, it should yet be attempted. For there is not the same danger in not trying a thing and not succeeding in it; since, in the former case, the loss of a great benefit, in the latter, of a little human labour is concerned. In truth, both from what has and has not been said, he saw well that there was sufficient hope, not only for a diligent man to make trial, but also for a prudent and sober one to give credit.

hope; but, above all, the most certain hope is from the errors of the time past. And (as some one said of the maladministration of civil government) that may be the best for the future, which is the worst on looking to the past; for if such He accepted also as happy omens what he ob-errors cease, (and giving warning is the first step served in the mechanical arts and their success, towards it,) there would be a very great change in especially when compared with philosophy. For the mechanical arts, as if enjoying a certain vital air, grow and perfect themselves daily; while philosophy, like a statue, is adored and celebrated, but moves not. The former also are seen rude, and commonly without proportion and cumbrous in the hands of their first authors; but afterwards get new strength and aptness. The latter is in its greatest vigour with its first author, and after-way is not stopped up by any block or barrier, but wards declines. And the real cause of this dif- turns from the path of men: it does, therefore, ferent success is that, in the mechanical arts, the cause in some measure the fear of solitude, but wits of many meet together in one; but in philo-threatens nothing more. In fine, he determined sophy the wits of all are spoiled by one. For after they have surrendered themselves they give no increase, but are employed in the servile office of dressing and attending one. Wherefore every philosophy, torn up from the roots of experience, from which it first sprung and grew, becomes dead matter. And, roused by this thought, he observed also, that the means of arts and sciences are, by universal consent, empirical or rational, that is, philosophical; but he has not yet seen these well put together and united. For the empirical, like the ant, only collects and uses; the rational, like the spider, spins from itself. But the practice of the bee is midway, which draws materials from the flowers of both garden and field, but transmutes and digests them by a faculty of its own. Nor is the work of true philosophy different, which stores up the matter supplied by natural history and mechanical experiments, not raw in the memory, but changed and prepared in the understanding. And he is aware that there are some of the empirical who wish not to be held as merely empirical, and of the reasoners who aim at seeming industrious and plain in practice. But these have been and are the artifices of a few, aiming at the character of each excelling in his own sect; though, in reality, there has always been a division and almost antipathy between these faculties. So he thought there was hope of excellent effects from a close and confirmed union of them.

He saw also with pleasure that he found an infinite expense of wit, time, and means, which men employ in matters and pursuits that, rightly considered, are useless; while if a small part of them were turned to what is sound and useful, it might conquer every difficulty. Nor is there any reason to fear the multitude of particulars, since the phenomena of the arts are but a handful to the reasonings of the mind when disunited and distracted from the evidence of things. Now, all this that has been said has its effect in producing VOL. I.-55

He thought also, that, when the desire is kindled, and the hope formed, we must look to the means of performance. This is then what appeared to him generally in that matter; and he thought fit to enclose and embrace it in naked and open sentences.

He saw that things must be done entirely otherwise than they are now; and therefore that the disproving of the past is a kind of oracle for what is to come.

He thought that theories, and opinions, and common notions, as far as can be obtained from the stiffness and firmness of the mind, should be entirely done away with; and that the understanding should begin anew plainly and fairly with particulars; since there is no other entrance open to the kingdom of nature than to the kingdom of heaven, into which no one may enter except in the form of a little child.

He thought that a body and mass of particulars, both from their number, kind, and certainty or subtility sufficient for information, might be collected and stored up, both from natural history and mechanical experiments, the latter especially because nature displays herself more fully when she is held and pressed by art than at her own liberty. He thought that this mass should be re duced and digested into tables and regular order, that the understanding may be able to act upon it and perform its office; since even the divine word did not work upon a mass of things without order. He thought that we must not suddenly pas 20

but yet that he must needs descend to the recol-
|lection, (unless indeed he were very inexperienced
in affairs and minds, and would begin his journey
without any search,) that inveterate errors, like
the ravings of the lunatic, must be subdued by
art and contrivance, and are aggravated by vio-
lence and opposition. We must, therefore, use
prudence, and humour them, (as far as we can
with simplicity and candour,) that contradictions
may be extinguished before they are inflamed.
For this object he is preparing a work on nature,
which may destroy errors with the least harsh-

from the particulars digested into tables, to the | was handling a subject which it were unbecominquisition after new particulars, (which is never- ing to defile with any ambition or affectation; theless itself a useful thing, and like a kind of learned experience,) but that we should first proceed to general and large comprehensions, and so far indulge the natural bent of the understanding. But at the same time he saw that the natural but viɔus motion and impulse of the mind to jump from particulars to high and general comprehensions, (such as what are called the first principles of arts and things,) and to get at the rest by descending through the middle ones, must be altogether checked; but the nearest comprehensions must be first drawn out and discovered, and then the middle ones, and we must climb the true lad-ness, and enter the senses of mankind without der by repeated steps. For the paths of thought and understanding almost agree with that twofold way in morals, sung by the ancients; for one road, smooth at the entrance, leads to pathless wilds, the other, steep and difficult at first, ends in level road.

violence; which would be easier from his not bearing himself as a leader, but bringing and scattering light from nature herself, so that there may be no future need of a leader. But as time meanwhile glides away, and he has been more engaged in business than he wished; it seems a long work; especially when he considers the uncertainty of life, and pants to lay up something in safety. It therefore seemed to him that something simpler might be proposed which, though not uttered to the many, might perchance at least be sufficient to preserve so salutary a matter

He thought that such a form of induction should be introduced as should conclude generally from certain instances, so that it can be proved that there cannot be found a contradictory instance, lest by chance we pronounce from fewer than are adequate, and from those which are at our feet; and (as one of the ancients said) | from abortion. And after considering the matter, seek knowledge in our private worlds, and not in the public one. He saw that that comprehension only should be approved of and received, which was not made and fitted to the measure of the particulars from which it was derived, but which was rather more ample and lax, and supported its amplitude and laxity by the designation | of new particulars, as a sort of suretiship, lest we should stop at what is already known, or perchance in too wide an embrace catch shadows and abstract forms. He saw that many things besides these should be invented to work notably, not so much to the perfecting of the matter, as to the shortening of the labour, and to the speeding of men's harvest from it. And whether all this be rightly thought or otherwise, we must, if need be, appeal from the opinions, and stand by the effects.

He thought, also, that what he is treating of is rather performance than opinion, and that it lays the foundations, not of any sect or school, but of immense utility and enlargement. Wherefore thought must be taken not only about accomplishing the matter, but about communicating and transmitting it, which is of equal consequence. But he found that men minister to their love of fame and pomp by sometimes publishing, sometimes concealing the knowledge of things which they think they have got; and that they who propose what is least solid are, more than others, used to barter what they offer in an obscure and doubtful light, that they may more easily swell the sails of their vanity. But he thought that he

and weighing it long and attentively, it seemed to him the best way that tables of invention, or formulæ of just inquisition, that is, a mass of particulars, arranged for the work of the understanding, should be offered in some subjects, by way of an exemplar and almost visible description of the work. For nothing can be found to place in a clearer light the right road or the wanderings of error; or show more plainly that what is offered is but words: nor which would be more carefully avoided by the man who either mistrusted his scheme, or desired it to be caught at and celebrated above its deserts. But, if it is not allowed him to complete his designs, as there are nevertheless human minds of a strong and lofty character, it may be that, even without more assistance, taking the hint from what is offered, they may be able to look for and master the rest of themselves. For he is almost of opinion (as some one said) that this will be enough for the wise, though even more would not be for the dull. But he saw that it would be too abrupt to begin his teaching with the tables themselves; and, therefore, that he should say something suitable by way of preface, which he thinks he has now done, and that all which has been hitherto said leads only thither. Lastly, he saw that, if any good be found in what has been or shall be said, it should be dedicated as the fat of the sacrifice to God, and to men in God's similitude, who procure the good of mankind by true affection and benevolence.

G. W.






later era.

THE fables of the ancients repecting Cupid or certain light of the Divine Word has shone Love, cannot be made to agree in one and the upon men. That chaos therefore which was same person. They indeed profess to speak of coeval with Cupid, signified the confused and two Cupids of two different periods, the one the disordered mass or collection of matter. But most ancient of the gods, the other of a much matter itself, with its power and nature, in a At present we will treat of the ancient word, the elements of things were shadowed out Cupid. They relate that this Cupid was the in Cupid himself. He is introduced without a most ancient of the gods, and therefore of all parent, that is, without a cause: for cause is, as things, excepting chaos, which is said to have it were, the parent of effect; and in tropical disbeen coeval with him. This Cupid had no pa- course nothing is therefore more usual than for rent, but being united to heaven, was the father the parent to stand for cause, and the offspring of the gods and of all things. Some indeed for effect. But there cannot be in nature (for we would derive him from an egg over which Night always except God) any cause of the first matbrooded. Different atttributes are ascribed to ter, and of its proper influence and action, for him, so that he is represented as a boy blind, there is nothing prior in time to the first matter. naked, winged, and armed with darts. His Therefore there is no efficient nor any thing more chief and especial influence is over the uniting known to nature; there is therefore neither genus of bodies. To him were given the keys of the nor form. Wherefore whatever primitive matter earth, the sea, and the sky. Another and younger is, together with its influence and action, it is sui Cupid is also celebrated in fable, the son of Ve- generis, and admits of no definition drawn from perception, and is to be taken just as it is found, and not to be judged of from any preconceived idea. For the mode of it, if it is given to us to know it, cannot be judged of by means of its cause, seeing that it is, next to God, the cause of causes, itself without a cause. For there is a certain real limit of causes in nature, and it would argue levity and inexperience in a philosopher to require or imagine a cause for the last and positive power and law of nature, as much as it would not to demand a cause in those that are subordinate.


To him are ascribed the attributes of the ancient Cupid, besides many peculiar to himself. This fable, with the sequel respecting heaven, seems to embrace in a concise parable the doctrine of the elements of things and of the origin of the world, and to agree with that of Democritus, except that it appears somewhat closer, more reasonable, and clearer. For the observations of that confessedly acute and accurate philosopher nevertheless were of a too diffusive nature, and did not seem to keep their proper limit, and to confine and support themselves sufficiently. And indeed these dogmas, which lie On this account the ancients have fabled Cupid veiled in the parable, although better regulated, to be without a parent, that is, without a cause. are yet of such a nature as to appear to have come And they did so not without design. Nay, perfrom the mind left to itself, and not uniformly haps there is not any thing more important; for and gradually assisted by experience; for this nothing has more corrupted philosophy than the seems to have been the common fault of antiqui- seeking after the parents of Cupid; I mean, that ty. But it must first be remarked, that the opi-philosophers have not received and embraced the nions brought forward in this part of my treatise elements of things as they are found in nature, as were the conclusions and productions of unassisted reason, and rested on perception alone, the failing and imperfect oracles of which are deservedly rejected, now that the higher and more

a certain fixed and positive doctrine, and as it were by an experimental trust in them; but have rather deduced them from the laws of words, and from dialectics and slight mathematical conclu


sions and common notions, and similar wander- fire, nor any other thing, the body of which is ings of the mind beyond the bounds of nature. This, therefore, must be constantly in the philosopher's thoughts, that Cupid is without parents, lest perchance his understanding turn aside to empty questions; because in universal perceptions of this kind the human mind becomes diffusive, and departs from the right use of itself and of its objects, and, whilst it tends toward things more distant, falls back upon those that are nearer. For when, through its own limited capacity, it is accustomed to be most affected by those things which occur familiarly to it, and which can enter and strike the mind suddenly; it comes to pass that when it stretches itself toward those things which, according to experience, are for the most part universal, and, nevertheless, is unwilling to rest satisfied, then, as if desirous of something more within the reach of its knowledge, it turns itself to those things which have most effected or allured it, and imagines them to be more causative and palpable than those universals. Therefore, it has been now laid down that the first essence of things, or Cupid, is without a cause.

We have now to inquire into the mode of this thing which is uncaused; and the mode of it is likewise very obscure, which indeed the fable elegantly hints in Cupid being hatched beneath the brooding wing of night. So at least the inspired philosopher saith, "God hath made all things beautiful in their seasons: He hath also set the world in their heart, yet so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning unto the end." For the great law of essence and nature which cuts and runs through the vicissitudes of things, (which law seems to be described in the compass of the words, "the work which God wrought from the beginning even to the end,") the power lodged by God in the primitive particles, from the multiplication of which, the whole variety of things might spring forth and be composed, may indeed just strike, but cannot enter deeply the mind of man. But, that saying concerning the egg of night, is very aptly referred to those proofs by means of which our Cupid is brought to light. For those proofs which are concluded by means of affirmatives, seem to be the offspring of light; those which are concluded by means of negatives and exclusions, may be called the offspring of darkness and night: and Cupid is in truth the egg sprung from night; for all the knowledge we can gather respecting him comes by the way of negatives and exclusions. But a proof gathered by exclusions has still some degree of ignorance in it, and is a kind of night as to that which is included in it: whence Demoeritus admirably remarked, that the atoms or seeds and their properties were like nothing that falls under the observation of sense, and held them to be of a dark and secret nature. He there

perceptible by sense, or open to the touch." And again he says of their nature, but it is requisite the elements in the work of creation, should put forth a secret and dark nature, lest any contrarious and opposing principle arise." Therefore atoms are neither like sparks of fire, nor drops of water, nor bubbles of air, nor grains of sand, nor the minute particles of spirit or ether. Nor, is the power and form of them a something heavy or light, or hot or cold, or dense or rare, or hard or soft, as are found in larger bodies, since those powers, and the rest of that order, are compounded and wrought together. And, in like manner, the natural motion of an atom is neither that motion of descent which is called natural, nor a motion opposed to that force, nor a motion of expansion and contraction, nor of impulsion and connexion, nor the rotatory motion of the heavenly bodies, nor any other of the greater motions simply. But, notwithstanding this, in the body of an atom are the elements of all bodies, and in the nature of an atom the beginning of all motions and natural properties. But, yet, in this very point, namely, the motion of an atom as compared with the motion of greater substances, the philosophy of the parable appears to differ from that of Democritus. For he is not only opposed to the parable, but inconsistent, if not contradictory in his more copious assertions on this head. For he should have ascribed a heterogeneous motion to an atom not less than a heterogeneous body and power. But, he out of the motions of greater substances, has chosen two, to ascribe them as primitive motions to atoms, namely, the descent of heavy and the ascent of light bodies, (which he explained by the striking or the percussion of the more heavy, in forcing upwards the less heavy bodies.) But the parable all along preserves the heterogeneous and exclusive nature it ascribes to atoms, as well in speaking of its motion as of its substance. But the parable further intimates, that this exclusion has its limit, for night does not brood over the egg forever: and it is certainly proper to the Deity, that in our inquiry into his nature by means of the senses, exclusions should not terminate in affirmatives. And there is another reason for this, namely, that after the due exclusions and negations, something should be affirmed and settled, and that the egg should be produced as it were by a seasonable and mature incubation; not only that the egg should be brought forth by night, but also that the person of Cupid should be delivered of the egg: that is, that not only should an obscure notion upon this subject be originated, but one that is distinct. Thus much upon demonstrations, as far as they can be given, upon the first matter, and I think in accordance with the parable.

We come now to Cupid himself, the primitive fore pronounced of them, "They are neither like | matter and its properties, involved in so great

darkness; and let us see what light the parable | mostly present to the human understanding which can throw upon it. And here I am aware that it most imbibes, and with which itself is most opinions of this sort the most incredible have moved. Hence it is that forms, as they are called, entered men's mind. Certainly was this danger seem to exist more than either matter or action, incurred here by the philosophy of Democritus because the one is hid, the other glides before us; itself upon atoms, which, from its seeming acute- the one is not so strongly impressed, the other ness and profundity, and for its remoteness from constantly inheres. But forms, on the other hand, common notions, was childishly entertained by are deemed evident and lasting, so that the primithe vulgar, but unsettled, and nearly overthrown tive and common matter seems as it were an by the arguments of other philosophies which accessory, and to be in the place of a support to came nearer to the vulgar comprehension: and yet them; but every sort of action only an emanation he was the admiration of his age, and was styled from the form, and forms, therefore, to be in every Pentathlus for his multifarious erudition, and was respect worthy of the higher rank. And hence, deemed by universal consent the greatest of also, seems to be derived the kingdom of forms natural philosophers, and obtained the name of a and ideas in essences, by the addition of a kind wise man. Nor could even the opposition of of fantastic matter. Some things moreover have Aristotle (who, like the Ottomans, could not feel grown out of this superstition; (from want of firm upon his throne until he had murdered his judgment having, as might have been expected, brother philosophers; and who was solicitous, as followed this error;) abstract ideas and their powers appears from his own words, that posterity should have been introduced with such confidence and not doubt his dogmas) effect by his violence, nor authority, that this troop of dreamers had nearly the majesty of Plato effect by reverence the demo- overpowered the more sober class of thinkers. lition of this philosophy of Democritus. But these follies have for the most part disapwhilst the dicta of Aristotle and Plato were cele-peared, although one person in our age, with more brated with applause and professorial ostentation in the schools, the philosophy of Democritus was in great repute amongst the wiser sort, and those who more closely gave themselves to the depths and silence of contemplation. It kept its ground and was approved in the era of Roman letters; for Cicero every where makes mention of him with perfect approbation; and soon after we read the panegyric of the poet, who appears to echo after the manner of the poets the sentiment of his times, whose wisdom shows that in a land of dulness and beneath a Bœotian sky, the greatest and the most illustrious men can spring up. (Juv. Sat. 10, v. 48.)


daring than advantage, made it his endeavour to raise and prop them up when they were of themselves on the decline. I think, however, that it can to an unprejudiced person be easily shown how, contrary to reason, abstract matter was made into an element. It arose thus; men supposed that forms endued with action subsisted by themselves, but none thought that matter thus subsisted by itself; not even those who considered it an element; and it seemed unreasonable and contrary to the nature of an inquiry upon the elements of things to make entities out of mere imaginations And it is not our object to search how we can most conveniently conceive of the nature of enNeither Aristotle, therefore, nor Plato, but tities or distinguish them, but what are in truth Genseric, Attila, and the barbarians were the the first and simplest possible of all entities, from ruin of this philosophy. For, then, after that which all others are derived. But the first ones human learning had suffered shipwreck, those ought no less to possess a real existence than records of the Aristotelian and Platonic philo- those which flow from it; rather more. For it sophy, as being lighter and more inflated matter, has its own peculiar essence, and from it come all were preserved and came down to our times, the rest. But the assertions that have been made whilst the more solid sank and went into oblivion. respecting abstract matter are as absurd as it I cannot but consider, on the other hand, the would be to say that the universe and nature were philosophy of Democritus worthy of being rescued made out of categories and such dialectic notions, from neglect, especially since it agrees in most as out of elements. For the difference is by no things with the authority of antiquity. In the means important between asserting that the world first place, then, Cupid is described as a certain sprang from matter and form and privation, and person, and to him are attributed infancy, wings, asserting that it arose out of substance and the arrows, and other attributes, concerning which contrary qualities. But almost all the ancients, we will afterward speak separately. But this Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Anaximenes, Heracliwe assume in the mean while, that the ancients tus, Democritus, though disagreeing in other laid down the primitive matter (such as can be respects upon the prime matter, joined in this, the origin of things) with a form and properties, that they held an active matter with a form, both not abstract, potential, and informal. And cer- arranging its own form and having within itself tainly that matter which is stripped and passive the principle of motion. Nor can any one think seems altogether an invention of the human mind, otherwise without leaving experience altogether. and to have sprung thence, for those things are | All these, then, submitted their mind to nature.

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