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He then proceeds to weigh the dignity of knowledge in the balance with other things, to take the true value thereof by testimonies and arguments, divine and human; and with this the first book concludes.
The second book opens with an examination of the places of learning, the books of learning, and the persons of the learned, in which the author animadverts on various defects therein. The removing of these, he says, are for the most part "opera basilica," towards which the endeavours of a private man may be but as an image in a crossway, that may point at the way, but cannot go it. But the survey of learning may be set forward by private travel. “Wherefore,' he adds, 'I will now attempt to make a general and faithful perambulation of learning, with an inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh and waste, and not improved and converted by the jindustry of man. In the handling and undertaking of which work, I am not ignorant what it is that I do now move and attempt, nor insensible of mine own weakness to sustain my purpose: but my hope is, that if my extreme love to learning carry me too far, I may obtain the excuse of affection; for that it is not granted to man to love and to be wise. I shall be content,' he adds, that my labours be esteemed but as the better sort of wishes; for as it asketh some knowledge to demand a question not impertinent, so it requireth some sense to make å wish not absurd.'
In this grand survey, Bacon adopts a new arrangement of the sciences, classing all human knowledge relatively to the three intellectual faculties of memory, imagination, and reason; comprehending in the first of these divisions whatever is narrative or History; in the second, Poetry; and in the third, Philosophy.
1. History he distributes into natural, civil, ecclesiastical, and literary. In Bacon's time there did not exist any history of literature, representing the general state of learning from age to age; but foreseeing the great
utility of such a work, he, with his accustomed sagacity, not only suggested that a just story of learning should be written, but, with wonderful minuteness, delineated the plan of its composition. “It should contain,' he said, "the antiquities and originals of knowledges and their sects, their inventions, their traditions, their diverse administrations and managings, their flourishings, their oppositions, decays, depressions, oblivions, removes, with the causes and occasions of them, and all other events concerning learning, throughout the ages of the world.' • The use and end of which work,' adds Bacon, 'I do not so much design for curiosity, or satisfaction of those that are the lovers of learning, but chiefly for a more serious and graver purpose, which is this, in a few words, that it will make learned men wise in the use and administration of learning.'
Natural History, he says, is of three sorts,-history of creatures, of marvels, and of arts. As to the second, i. e., history of marvels, he at once rejects from it all fables and popular errors, of which it then principally consisted, truly observing, that 'if an untruth in nature be once on foot, what by reason of the neglect of examination, and countenance of antiquity, and what by reason of the use of the opinion in similitudes and ornaments of speech, it is never called down.' He suggests, however, that a substantial and severe collection of the heteroclites or irregulars of nature should be made, because it would enable us to correct the partiality of axioms and opinions, which are commonly framed upon common examples, and, by becoming familiar with the wonders of nature, we shall be led to discover the wonders of art; “for,' says Bacon, it is no more but by following, and, as it were, hounding nature in her wanderings, to be able to lead her afterwards to the same place again.'
Civil History, he comprises Memorials, Perfect Histories, and Antiquities. Again, he divides Memorials into Commentaries and Registers, the one containing a bare account of events and actions, without adverting to the motives or designs, the counsels, the speeches, or the pretexts; the other being a mere collection of public acts, as decrees of council, judicial proceedings, declarations and letters of state, orations, and the like. As for epitomes, they are, says Bacon, the corruptions and moths of history, and deserve to be banished, as all men of sound judgment have confessed.'
Perfect history he distributes according to the object which it propounds or pretends to represent; for it represents either a time, a person, or an action. The first is called Chronicles, the second, Lives or Biography, and the third, Narratives.
Ecclesiastical history may be divided into the history of the church, of prophecy, and of providence. • The first,' says Bacon,