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enumeration, without proper rejections and exclusions, leading only to uncertainty and error; and repudiating the other, (i. e., the syllogistic method,) because its discoveries are not those of first principles, but only of what seems to agree with them. If, therefore, the leading axioms be hastily abstracted or ill-defined, the whole falls to the ground. Accordingly, says Bacon, we reject the syllogism, and make use of genuine induction both for our major and minor propositions. Hence, he continues, the order of demonstration is reversed; for instead of flying forthwith from a few particulars to the highest abstractions, which are the pivots of controversy; and thence intermediately deducing all the rest, by a short way, it is true, but abrupt; impassable to nature, though accessible and suited to dispute;-our method, on the contrary, is to raise up axioms in gradual succession; from the less general to the more general; so that the ultimate gene
ralization is not merely notional, but recognised by nature as her own.
The sciences which existed in Bacon's time were principally derived from the Greeks;-a people, acute and subtle above all others; but aiming rather at founding sects than finding truth; so that their doctrines, says Bacon, resembled “the talk of idle old men to ignorant youths.' From so corrupt a source, therefore, little or no true knowledge could be derived. Neither did Bacon augur more favourably of the existing systems of philosophy from the ages in which they took their rise; for then the world had been but partially explored; countries, where nature wantons in all her luxuriance and teems with wonders, were then unknown, or heard of only from tradition; and even history, limited as it was, told little more than those fabulous stories which ignorance
* Novum Organum, lib. 1, aph, 12, 69, 82, 104, 125; and vol. 9, pp. 166, 167.
and credulity had imposed upon the minds
In adverting to the causes which had obstructed the progress of philosophy, Bacon mentions, among others, that blind attachment which men have to antiquity and the authority of great names; truly observing, that 'those times are the ancient times when the world is ancient; and not those which we account ancient, “ ordine retrogrado," by a computation backward from ourselves.' Another obstacle to the progress of knowledge is superstition, and a misdirected zeal in matters of religion. Among the Greeks, those who first attempted to assign the physical causes of thunder and storms, were condemned as guilty of impiety. Nor did the early Fathers of the Church, says Bacon, treat those much better, who showed, upon the most conclusive evidence, that the earth is a sphere; and, consequently, that there are antipodes. It was the same blind zeal which condemned Galileo Galilei, (Bacon's most illustrious contemporary,) to the prison of the unholy Office of the Inquisition for having maintained that the earth moves round its own axis;* and even Bacon himself-he who had nobly and eloquently said, that 'I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal
frame is without a mind,' +-escaped not the bigoted attacks of the school-divines, who attempted to cry down his philosophical writings, by falsely asserting that they favoured atheism. I
• See Drinkwater's Life of Galileo, ch. xiii., published in the Library of Useful Knowledge. + Bacon's Works, vol. 1, p. 53.
Osborn's Works, p. 446, (tenth edition.) The passage from which we learn this fact is too interesting not to be given in the words of the anthor, who was a contemporary observer :- Sir Walter Raleigh was the first (as I have heard) that ventured to tack about, and sail aloof from the beaten track of the schools; who, upon the discovery of so apparent an error, as a torrid zone, intended to proceed in an inquisition after more solid truths, till the meditation of some, whose livelihood lay in hammering shrines for this superannuated study,
For the original source of such prejudices as these, we must look into that peculiar system of theoretic or speculative divinity which formerly prevailed. The scholastic philosophy, whose
origin and character have recently been so ably and ingeniously investigated and explained by Dr. Hampden, was the acknowledged system of the Church, and soon stamped its metaphysical character upon theology, which became the master science. The Trivium and Quadrivium of the schools * were studied in sub
possessed queen Elizabeth, that such doctrine was against God no less than her Father's honour, whose faith (if he owned any) was grounded upon school-divinity: whereupon she chid him, who was (by his own confession) ever after branded with the title of an Atheist, though a known asserter of God and Providence. A like censure fell to the share of venerable Bacon till overbalanced by a greater weight of glory from strangers: nor could desert, and the name of the English Jewel, given Selden beyond sea, free him from a like imputation at home.'-Francis Osborn's Works,
* The Trivium was a term invented to express the