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other friends. • It is a translation,' says Bacon, but almost enlarged into a new work. I had good helps for the language. I have been also mine own index expurgatorius, that it may be read in all places; for since my end of putting it into latin was to have it read every where, it had been an absurd contradiction to free it in the language, and to pen it up in the matter.' *
The Advancement of Learning opens with a noble defence of the dignity of knowledge against the discredits and disgraces which it had received from ignorance, but ignorance severally disguised ; appearing sometime in the zeal and jealousy of divines; sometimes in the severity and arrogancy of politicians; and sometimes in the errors and imperfections of learned men themselves. I
* Letter to king James, vol. 12, p. 451.
The copy presented to the king is still preserved in the royal library in the British Museum.
+ Bacon's Works, vol, 2, p. 7.
Among various other erroneous opinions held by the divines of that day, the author notices the conceit, that too much knowledge inclines a man to atheism, and that the contemplation of second causes derogates from our dependence upon God. As for this, he says, “It is good to ask the question which Job.asked of his friends : Will you
lie for God, as one man will do for another, to gratify him?” For certain it is, that God worketh nothing in nature but by second causes; and if they would have it otherwise believed, it is mere imposture, as it were in favour towards God; and nothing else but to offer to the Author of Truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie.'
And as to too much knowledge producing scepticism, it is an assured truth, says Bacon, and a conclusion of experience, that though a superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline man to atheism, yet a further proceeding therein brings the mind back again to religion. If we dwell only on second causes, which are next unto the senses, and advance no further; then this may induce some oblivion of the highest cause; but if we pass on, and see the dependence of causes, that universal harmony which exists in the laws of nature, we are irresistibly compelled to acknowledge the existence of a supreme creative power, presiding over the universe; and the blindest scepticism is unscaled. Since the time of Bacon, the result of every extensive generalization or law disclosed by the inductive logic of modern philosophy, has been to amplify and confirm this argument. *
Bacon next proceeds to state and refute the sophisms of politicians on the subject of learning. “As for those particular seducements or indispositions of the mind for policy and government, which learning
* See the late work of a distinguished living philosopher,-Whewell's Astronomy and General Physics.
is pretended to insinuate; if it be granted that
any such thing be, it must be remembered withal, that learning ministereth in every of them greater strength of medicine or remedy, than it offereth cause of indisposition or infirmity; for if, by a secret operation, it make men perplexed and irresolute, on the other side, by plain precept, it teacheth them where and upon what grounds to resolve ; yea, and how to carry things in suspense without prejudice, till they resolve ; if it make men positive and regular, it teacheth them what things are in their nature demonstrative, and what are conjectural; and as well the use of distinctions and exceptions, as the latitude of principles and rules. If it mislead by disproportion, or dissimilitude of examples, it teacheth men the force of circumstances, the errors of comparisons, and all the cautions of application; so that in all these it doth rectify more effectually than it can pervert.
* And for the conceit,' continues Bacon, 'that learning should dispose men to leisure and privateness, and make men slothful; it were a strange thing if that, which accustometh the mind to a perpetual motion and agitation, should induce slothfulness; whereas, contrariwise, it may be truly affirmed, that no kind of men love business for itself, but those that are learned ; for other persons love it for profit, as an hireling, that loves the work for the wages; or for honour, as because it beareth them up in the eyes of men, and refresheth their reputation, which otherwise would wear; or because it putteth them in mind of their fortune, and giveth them occasion to pleasure and displeasure; or because it exerciseth some faculty wherein they take pride, and so entertaineth them in good humour and pleasing conceits toward themselves; or because it advanceth any other their ends. So that, as it is said of untrue valours, that some men's valours are in the