Billeder på siden

describeth the times of the "militant church," whether it be fluctuant, as the ark of Noah; or moveable, as the ark in the wilderness; or at rest, as the ark in the temple: that is, the state of the church in persecution, in remove, and in peace. As to the history of prophecy, it consists of two relations, the prophecy and accomplishment. • This is a work,' says Bacon, which I find deficient; but it is to be done with wisdom, sobriety, and reverence, or not at all.' History of providence is designed to show the correspondence which is between God's revealed will and his secret will. Having noticed what he calls the appendices to history, that is, orations, letters, and apophthegms, he concludes this subject by observing, that it is that part of learning which answers to memory, one of the cells, domiciles, or offices of the mind of man.

2. Poetry, which is justly referred to the province of imagination, Bacon considered as distinguished from Prose-not in respect of matter, as some French critics have since contended,) but of style; and it is evident that, in his opinion, Poetry is, strictly speaking, an imitative art, having the same relation to prose as dancing to walking, and singing to speaking. * His division of Poetry is into narrative, representative, and allusive or parabolical; the first being a mere imitation of history; the second, an image of actions as if they were present; and the third, being a narration applied only to express some special purpose or conceit; such as the fables of Æsop, and the brief sentences of the Seven.

• Let us now,' says Bacon, pass on to the judicial place or palace of the mind, which we are to approach and view with more reverence and attention.'

3. Philosophy being concerned with the

* Bacon's Works, vol. 2, pp. 119, 199. See Adam Smith's excellent essay Of the Nature of that Irritution which takes place in what are called the Irritative Arts,' published in his Posthumous Works.

o be

contemplations of man, which relate either to God, to nature, or to himself, Bacon, taking this triple character as the groundwork of his division, distributes this principal department of human knowledge into Divine philosophy, Natural philosophy, and Human philosophy.

Before entering, however, into any minute examination of their details, he suggests that one universal science, by the name of Philosophia Prima,' should be formed; cause,' says Bacon, with his usual felicity of illustration, the distributions and partitions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle, and so touch but in a point; but are like branches of a tree that meet in a stem, which hath a dimension and quantity of entireness and continuance, before it comes to discontinue and break itself into arms and boughs.' This primitive or summary philosophy, he suggests, should be a receptacle for all such profitable observations and axioms as fall not within the province of any of the special parts of philosophy, but are of a higher stage, aptly comparing it to Berecyntia, the fruitful mother of so much heavenly issue,

Omnes cælicolas, omnes supera alta tenentes. *

Divine Philosophy, or Natural Theology, as he also terms it, is justly defined to be that knowledge or rudiment of knowledge concerning God, which may be obtained by the contemplation of his creatures, being divine in respect of the object, and natural in respect of the light. The great end of such contemplations is to induce and enforce the acknowledgment of God, and to demonstrate his power, providence, and goodness. Having offered some admirable observations on the extreme prejudice which both religion and philosophy have received, and may receive, by being commixed together, as that which undoubtedly will make an hereti

* Æneid, lib. vi., 788.

cal religion and fabulous philosophy, * he dismisses the subject of natural theology, and proceeds to the consideration of Natural Philosophy, reserving divinity or inspired theology for the last of all, 'as the haven and sabbath of all man's contemplations.'

As to Natural Philosophy, Bacon divides it into two parts--the inquisition of causes, , and the production of effects; speculative and operative; natural science and natural prudence. Now, although it be true,' he observes, and I know it well, that there is an intercourse between causes and effects, so that both these knowledges, speculative and operative, have a great connection between themselves, yet, because all true and fruitful natural philosophy hath a double scale or ladder, ascendant and descendant; ascending from experiments to the invention of causes, and descending from causes to the invention of new experiments, therefore I judge it

* Bacon's Works, vol. 2, pp. 128-130:

« ForrigeFortsæt »