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sciences are accustomed to regard, as the sole test of service to knowledge, a palpable addition to its store.'
To judge of Bacon by such a test is wholly to overlook the real character of his genius and philosophy. What he did aim at in his Instauration we have in the foregoing pages endeavoured to explain. True it is, he made no discoveries; but with untiring zeal and fervid eloquence, he taught the method by which discoveries are made. He endeavoured (and most successfully) to withdraw science from the sterile philosophy of the schools; and pointed to the land of promise. Bacon's eminent services in this respect were early acknowledged, and thus elegantly expressed, by Cowley, in an Ode to the Royal Society, then lately founded:-*
Bacon, like Moses, led us forth at last,
The barren wilderness he past,
Of the blest promised land;
Saw it himself, and showed us it.
In order to prove our position that Bacon's Philosophical Writings did accelerate the progress of physical science, we must have recourse to the testimonies of those who early experienced or acknowledged their operation. If sir David Brewster's opinion be correct, no such testimonies are to be found; but the truth is, they are so numerous and conclusive, that the difficulty is not where to find them, but which to select.
From a passage already quoted * it appears, that before the publication of the Novum Organum, the Advancement of Learning had been well tasted,' not only in our own universities, but in the English colleges abroad. "Dr. Collins, Provost of King's College, Cambridge, a man of no vulgar wit, affirmed unto me,' says Dr. Rawley, 'that after reading the Advancement of Learning, he found himself in a case to begin his studies anew, and that he had lost
* Ante, p. 203.
all the time of his studying before.'* In 1623, the University of Oxford honourably distinguished itself by presenting to Bacon an address of thanks, in which he is represented as a "mighty Hercules, who had by his own hand further advanced those pillars in the learned world, which by the rest of that world were supposed immovable.' † The testimonies of Ben Jonson and sir Henry Wotton-two of the most learned and eminent men among Bacon's contemporaries—may likewise be adduced. . The Novum Organum,' said Jonson, 'is not penetrated or understood by superficial men,
Rawley's Life of Bacon, prefixed to his Resuscitatio.
+ Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 209. “This most accurate pledge of your understanding [De Augmentis Scientiarum) has been,' says the University, 'with the most solemn reverence, received in a very full congregation, both by the doctors and masters; and that which the common vote hath placed in our public library, every single person hath gratefully deposited in his memory.'
who cannot get beyond nominals, but it really openeth all defects of knowledge whatsoever; and is a book
Qui longum noto scriptori proroget ævum.'*
Writing to Bacon from Germany, I have received,' says Wotton, 'three copies of that work, wherewith your lordship has done à great and everlasting benefit to all the children of nature, and to nature herself in her uttermost extent of latitude, who never before had so noble nor so true an interpreter, or never so inward a secretary of her cabinet.'p Duly estimating the importance
* Jonson's Discoveries.
# Reliquiæ Wottoniana, p. 298, (fourth edit.) In this letter sir Henry Wotton gives a very interesting account of his meeting with Kepler at Lintz, in Austria; and he mentions to Bacon his intention of giving a copy of the Novum Organum to that celebrated philosopher. At this time Kepler could only have just returned to Lintz, after having saved his mother, then nearly seventy years old, from the rack.–See Mr. Drinkwater's interesting Life of Kepler, p. 50, published in the Library of Useful Knowledge.
and influence of the Baconian philosophy, this acute observer, says Dr. Beale, in a letter to Mr. Boyle, written about forty years afterwards, would often please himself in lashing the schoolmen; and would often declare it as a serious prediction, that in this age their reputation would yield to more solid philosophy;' and Dr. Beale adds, that he had himself been weaned from the errors of the schools by the early perusal of Bacon's philosophical writings.*
The influence of the Baconian or New Philosophy,' as it began to be called, may be proved as well by the testimony of those who relished its principles, as by the alarm which it produced among the Aristotelians. Not only the weapons of controversy, but of bigotry and falsehood, were called into action to arrest the progress of doctrines whose aim was to overthrow the barren phy
* Boyle's Works, vol. 6, p. 355, quoted by Professor Napier in his very able article, before alluded to, in the Ed. Phil. Trans. vol. 8, p. 393.