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God, no knowledge, but wonder; which is nothing | lineages and propagations, yet nevertheless honour else but contemplation broken off, or losing itself. the remembrance of the inventor both of music Nay further, as it was aptly said by one of Plato's and works in metal. Moses again, who was the school," the sense of man resembles the sun, reporter, is said to have been seen in all the Egypwhich openeth and revealeth the terrestrial globe, tian learning, which nation was early and leading but obscureth and concealeth the celestial;" so in matter of knowledge. And Solomon the king, doth the sense discover natural things, but darken as out of a branch of his wisdom extraordinarily and shut up divine. And this appeareth sufficient- petitioned and granted from God, is said to have ly in that there is no proceeding in invention of written a natural history of all that is green, from knowledge, but by similitude; and God is only the cedar to the moss, which is but a rudiment beself-like, having nothing in common with any tween putrefaction and an herb, and also of all creature, otherwise as in shadow and trope. There- that liveth and moveth. And if the book of Job fore attend his will as himself openeth it, and be turned over, it will be found to have much asgive unto faith that which unto faith belongeth; persion of natural philosophy. Nay, the same for more worthy it is to believe than to think or Solomon the king affirmeth directly, that the glory know, considering that in knowledge, as we now of God "is to conceal a thing, but the glory of are capable of it, the mind suffereth from inferior the king is to find it out," as if, according to the natures; but in all belief it suffereth from a spirit, innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty which it holdeth superior, and more authorized took delight to hide his works, to the end to have than itself. them found out; for in naming the king he intendeth man, taking such a condition of man as hath
To conclude; the prejudice hath been infinite, that both divine and human knowledge hath re-most excellency and greatest commandments of ceived by the intermingling and tempering of the one with the other: as that which hath filled the one full of heresies, and the other full of speculative fictions and vanities.
But now there are again, which, in a contrary extremity to those which give to contemplation an over-large scope, do offer too great a restraint to natural and lawful knowledge; being unjustly jealous that every reach and depth of knowledge wherewith their conceits have not been acquainted, should be too high an elevation of man's wit, and a searching and ravelling too far into God's secrets; an opinion that ariseth either of envy, which is proud weakness, and to be censured and not confuted, or else of a deceitful simplicity. For if they mean that the ignorance of a second cause doth make men more devoutly to depend upon the providence of God, as supposing the effects to come immediately from his hand; I demand of them, as Job demanded of his friends, "Will you lie for God, as man will for man to gratify him?” But if any man, without any sinister humour, doth indeed make doubt that this digging further and further into the mine of natural knowledge, is a thing without example, and uncommended in the Scriptures, or fruitless; let him remember and be instructed for behold it was not that pure light of natural knowledge, whereby man in paradise was able to give unto every living creature a name according to his propriety, which gave occasion to the fall; but it was an aspiring desire to attain to that part of moral knowledge, which defineth of good and evil, whereby to dispute God's commandments, and not to depend upon the revelation of his will, which was the original temptation. And the first holy records, which within those brief memorials of things which passed before the flood, entered few things as worthy to be registered, but only
wits and means, alluding also to his own person, being truly one of those clearest burning lamps, whereof himself speaketh in another place, when he saith, "The spirit of man is as the lamp of God, wherewith he searcheth all inwardness;" which nature of the soul the same Solomon, holding precious and inestimable, and therein conspiring with the affection of Socrates, who scorned the pretended learned men of his time for raising great benefit of their learning, whereas Anaxagoras contrariwise, and divers others, being born to ample patrimonies, decayed them in contemplation, delivereth it in precept yet remaining, "Buy the truth and sell it not; and so of wisdom and knowledge."
And lest any man should retain a scruple, as if this thirst of knowledge were rather an humour of the mind, than an emptiness or want in nature, and an instinct from God; the same author defineth of it fully, saying, "God hath made every thing in beauty according to season; also he hath set the world in man's heart, yet can he not find out the work which God worketh from the beginning to the end :" declaring not obscurely that God hath framed the mind of man as a glass, capable of the image of the universal world, joying to receive the signature thereof, as the eye is of light; yea, not only satisfied in beholding the variety of things, and vicissitude of times, but raised also to find out and discern those ordinances and decrees, which throughout all these changes are infallibly observed. And although the highest generality of motion, or summary law of nature, God should still reserve within his own curtain; yet many and noble are the inferior and secondary operations which are within man's sounding. This is a thing which I cannot tell whether I may so plainly speak as truly conceive, that as all knowledge appeareth to be a plant of God's own planting, so it may seem the spreading and flourishing, or at least the bear
ing and fructifying of this plant, by a providence | active; "If I render my body to the fire," there of God, nay, not only by a general providence is power passive; "If I speak with the tongues but by a special prophecy, was appointed to of men and angels," there is knowledge, for lanthis autumn of the world: for to my understand-guage is but the conveyance of knowledge, "all ing, it is not violent to the letter, and safe now were nothing." after the event, so to interpret that place in the prophecy of Daniel, where, speaking of the latter times, it is said, "Many shall pass to and fro, and science shall be increased;" as if the opening of the world by navigation and commerce, and the further discovery of knowledge, should meet in one time or age.
But howsoever that be, there are besides the authorities of Scriptures before recited, two reasons of exceeding great weight and force, why religion should dearly protect all increase of natural knowledge: the one, because it leadeth to the greater exaltation of the glory of God; for as the Psalms and other Scriptures do often invite us to consider, and to magnify the great and wonderful works of God; so if we should rest only in the contemplation of those shows which first offer themselves to our senses, we should do a like injury to the majesty of God, as if we should judge of the store of some excellent jeweller, by that only which is set out to the street in his shop. The other reason is, because it is a singular help and preservative against unbelief and error: for saith our Saviour, "You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God;" laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error; first the Scriptures revealing the will of God, and then the creatures expressing his power; for that latter book will certify us, that nothing which the first, teacheth shall be thought impossible. And most sure it is, and a true conclusion of experience, that a little natural philosophy inclineth the mind to atheism, but a further proceeding bringeth the mind back to religion.
To conclude then: Let no man presume to check the liberality of God's gifts, who, as was said, "hath set the world in man's heart." So as whatsoever is not God, but parcel of the world, he hath fitted it to the comprehension of man's mind, if man will open and dilate the powers of his understanding as he may.
But yet evermore it must be remembered, that the least part of knowledge passed to man by this so large a charter from God, must be subject to that use for which God hath granted it, which is the benefit and relief of the state and society of man: for otherwise all manner i knowledge becometh malign and serpentine, and therefore, as carrying the quality of the serpent's sting and malice, it maketh the mind of man to swell; as the Scripture sayeth excellently, "Knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up." And again, the same author doth notably disavow both power and knowledge, such as is not dedicated to goodLess or love; for saith he, "If I have all faith, so as could remove mountains," there is power
ག And therefore it is not the pleasure of curiosity, nor the quiet of resolution, nor the raising of the spirit, nor victory of wit, nor faculty of speech, nor lucre of profession, nor ambition of honour or fame, or inablement for business, that are the true ends of knowledge; some of these being more worthy than other, though all inferior and degenerate: but it is a restitution and reinvesting, in great part, of man to the sovereignty and power, for whensoever he shall be able to call the creatures by their true names, he shall again command them, which he had in his first state of creation. And to speak plainly and clearly, it is a discovery of all operations and possibilities of operations from immortality, if it were possible, to the meanest mechanical practice. And therefore knowledge, that tendeth but to satisfaction, is but as a courtesan, which is for pleasure, and not for fruit or generation. And knowledge that tendeth to profit or profession, or glory, is but as the golden ball thrown before Atalanta; which while she goeth aside, and stoopeth to take up, she hindereth the race. And knowledge referred to some particular point of use, is but as Harmodius, which putteth down one tyrant: and not like Hercules, who did perambulate the world to suppress tyrants and giants and monsters in every part.
It is true, that in two points the curse is peremptory, and not to be removed: the one, that vanity must be the end in all human effects; eternity being resumed though the revolutions and periods may be delayed. The other, that the consent of the creature being now turned into reluctation, this power cannot otherwise be exercised and administered but with labour, as well in inventing as in executing; yet nevertheless chiefly that labour and travel which is described by the sweat of the brows, more than of the body; that is, such travel as is joined with the working and discursion of the spirits in the brain: for as Solomon saith excellently, "The fool putteth to more strength, but the wise man considereth which way;" signifying the election of the mean to be more material than the multiplication of endeavour. It is true also that there is a limitation rather potential than actual, which is when the effect is possible, but the time or place yieldeth not the matter or basis whereupon man should work. But notwithstanding these precincts and bounds, let it be believed, and appeal thereof made to time, with renunciation nevertheless to all the vain and abusing promises of alchemists and magicians, and such like light, idle, ignorant, credulous, and fantastical wits and sects, that the new-found world of land was not greater addition to the ancient continent, than there remaineth at this day a world of inventions and
sciences unknown, having respect to those that | saith, "Nihil aliud quam bene ausus vana conare known, with this difference, that the ancient temnere:" in which sort of things it is the manregions of knowledge will seem as barbarous, compared with the new; as the new regions of people seem barbarous, compared to many of the old.
ner of men first to wonder that any such thing should be possible, and after it is found out, to wonder again how the world should miss it so long. Of this nature I take to be the invention and discovery of knowledge, &c.
The dignity of this end, of endowment of man's life with new commodities, appeareth by the estimation that antiquity made of such as guided The impediments which have been in the times, and thereunto; for whereas founders of states, lawin diversion of wits.
givers, extirpers of tyrants, fathers of the people, Being the Vth chapter, a small fragment in the
were honoured but with the titles of worthies or demigods, inventors were ever consecrated amongst the gods themselves. And if the ordinary ambitions of men lead them to seek the amplification of their own power in their countries, and a better ambition than that hath moved men to seek the amplification of the power of their own countries amongst other nations: better again and more worthy must that aspiring be, which seeketh the amplification of the power and kingdom of mankind over the world: the rather, because the other two prosecutions are ever culpable of much perturbation and injustice; but this is a work truly divine, which cometh "in aura leni," without noise or observation.
beginning of that chapter.
THE encounters of the times have been nothing favourable and prosperous for the invention of knowledge, so as it is not only the daintiness of the seed to take, and the ill mixture and unliking of the ground to nourish or raise this plant, but the ill season also of the weather, by which it hath been checked and blasted. Especially in that the seasons have been proper to bring up and set forward other more hasty and indifferent plants, whereby this of knowledge hath been starved and overgrown; for in the descent of times always there hath been somewhat else in reign and reputation, which hath generally aliened and diverted wits and labours from that employment.
The access also to this work hath been by that port or passage, which the Divine Majesty, who is unchangeable in his ways, doth infallibly continue and observe; that is, the felicity wherewith he hath blessed an humility of mind, such as rather laboureth to spell, and so by degrees to read in the volumes of his creatures, than to solicit and urge, and as it were to invocate a man's own spirit to divine, and give oracles unto him. For as in the inquiry of divine truth, the pride of man hath ever inclined to leave the oracles of God's word, and to vanish in the mixture of their own inventions; so in the selfsame manner, in inqui-as Aristotle doth, that saith our ancestors were
sition of nature, they have ever left the oracles of God's works, and adored the deceiving and deformed imagery, which the unequal mirrors of their own minds have represented unto them. Nay, it is a point fit and necessary in the front, and beginning of this work, without hesitation or reservation to be professed, that it is no less true in this human kingdom of knowledge, than in God's kingdom of heaven, that no man shall enter into it, "except he become first as a little child."
Of the impediments of knowledge. Being the IVth chapter, the preface only of it. In some things it is more hard to attempt than to achieve; which falleth out, when the difficulty is not so much in the matter or subject, as it is in the crossness and indisposition of the mind of man to think of any such thing, to will or to resolve it; and therefore Titus Livius in his declainatory digression, wherein he doth depress and extenuate the honour of Alexander's conquests
For as for the uttermost antiquity, which is like fame that muffles her head, and tells tales, I cannot presume much of it; for I would not willingly imitate the manner of those that describe maps, which when they come to some far countries, whereof they have no knowledge, set down how there be great wastes and deserts there: so I am not apt to affirm that they knew little, because what they knew is little known to us. But if you will judge of them by the last traces that remain to us, you will conclude, though not so scornfully
extreme gross, as those that came newly from being moulded out of the clay, or some earthly substance; yet reasonably and probably thus, that it was with them in matter of knowledge, but as the dawning or break of day. For at that time the world was altogether home-bred, every nation looked little beyond their own confines or territories, and the world had no thorough lights then, as it hath had since by commerce and navigation, whereby there could neither be that contribution of wits one to help another, nor that variety of particulars for the correcting the customary conceits.
And as there could be no great collection of wits of several parts or nations, so neither could there be any succession of wits of several times, whereby one might refine the other, in regard they had not history to any purpose. And the manner of their traditions was utterly unfit and unproper for amplification of knowledge. And again, the stu dies of those times, you shall find, besides wars, incursions, and rapines, which were then almos*
everywhere betwixt states adjoining, the use of leagues and confederacies being not then known, were to populate by multitude of wives and generation, a thing at this day in the waster part of the West Indies principally effected; and to build, sometimes for habitation, towns and cities; sometimes for fame and memory, monuments, pyramids, colosses, and the like. And if there happened to rise up any more civil wits; then would he found and erect some new laws, customs, and usages, such as now of late years, when the world was revolute almost to the like rudeness and obscurity, we see both in our own nation and abroad many examples of, as well in a number of tenures reserved upon men's lands, as in divers customs of towns and manors, being the devises that such wits wrought upon in such times of deep ignorance, &c,
The impediments of knowledge for want of a true succession of wits, and that hitherto the length of one man's life hath been the greatest measure of knowledge.
Being the VIth chapter, the whole chapter.
The error is both in the deliverer and in the receiver. He that delivereth knowledge, desireth to deliver it in such form as may be soonest believed, and not as may easiliest be examined. He that receiveth knowledge desireth rather present satisfaction than expectant search, and so rather not to doubt than not to err. Glory maketh the author not lay open his weakness; and sloth maketh the disciple not to know his strength.
man's life, and then vain was the complaint, that "life is short, and art is long:" or else, that the knowledge that now is, is but a shrub; and not that tree which is never dangerous, but where it is to the purpose of knowing good and evil; which desire ever riseth upon an appetite to elect, and not to obey, and so containeth in it a manifest defection.
That the pretended succession of wits hath been evil placed, for as much as after variety of sects and opinions, the most popular and not the truest prevaileth and weareth out the rest.
Being the VIIth chapter, a fragment.
It is sensible to think, that when men enter first into search and inquiry, according to the several frames and compositions of their understanding, they light upon differing conceits, and so all opinions and doubts are beaten over; and then men having made a taste of all, wax weary of variety, and so reject the worst, and hold themselves to the best, either some one, if it be eminent: or some two or three, if they be in some equality; which afterwards are received and carried on, and the rest extinct.
IN arts mechanical the first devise cometh shortest, and time addeth and perfecteth. But in But truth is contrary; and that time is like a sciences of conceit, the first author goeth furthest, river which carrieth down things which are light and time leeseth and corrupteth. Painting, artil- and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that lery, sailing, and the like, grossly managed at which is sad and weighty. For howsoever first, by time accommodate and refined. The governments have several forms, sometimes one philosophies and sciences of Aristotle, Plato, governing, sometimes few, sometimes the multiDemocritus, Hippocrates, of most vigour at first, tude; yet the state of knowledge is ever a demoby time degenerated and imbased. In the former, cracy, and that prevaileth which is most agreeable many wits and industries contributed in one. In to the senses and conceits of people. As for exthe latter many men's wits spent to deprave the ample, there is no great doubt, but he that did put wit of one. the beginnings of things to be solid, void, and motion to the centre, was in better earnest than he that put matter, form, and shift; or he that put the mind, motion, and matter. For no man shall enter into inquisition of nature, but shall pass by that opinion of Democritus; whereas he shall never come near the other two opinions, but leave them aloof, for the schools and table-talk. Yet those of Aristotle and Plato, because they be both agreeable to popular sense, and the one was uttered Then begin men to aspire to the second prizes, with subtilty and the spirit of contradiction, and to be a profound interpreter and commenter, to be the other with a style of ornament and majesty, a sharp champion and defender, to be a methodical | did hold out, and the other gave place, &c. compounder and abridger. And this is the unfortunate succession of wits which the world hath Of the impediments of knowledge, in handling it yet had, whereby the patrimony of all knowledge goeth not on husbanded or improved, but wasted and decayed. For knowledge is like a water, that will never arise again higher than the level from which it fell. And therefore to go beyond Aristotle by the light of Aristotle, is to think that a borrowed light can increase the original light from whom it is taken. So then, no true succession of wits having been in the world; either we must conclude, that knowledge is but a task for one
by parts, and in slipping off particular sciences from the root and stock of universal knowledge. Being the VIIIth chapter, the whole chapter.
CICERO, the orat, willing to magnify his own profession, and thereupon spending many words to maintain that eloquence was not a shop of good words and elegancies, but a treasury and receipt of all knowledges, so far forth as may appertain to the handling and moving of the minds and
affections of men by speech, maketh great com- | affecting preservation, and the other multiplica. plaint of the school of Socrates; that whereas tion; which appetites are most evidently seen in before his time the same professors of wisdom in living creatures, in the pleasure of nourishment Greece did pretend to teach an universal sapience and generation; and in man do make the aptest and knowledge both of matter and words, Socra- and most natural division of all his desires, being tes divorced them, and withdrew philosophy, and either of sense of pleasure, or sense of power; left rhetoric to itself, which by that destitution and in the universal frame of the world are figured, became but a barren and unnoble science. And the one in the beams of heaven which issue forth, in particular sciences we see, that if men fall to and the other in the lap of the earth which takes subdivide their labours, as to be an oculist in in: and again, if they had observed the motion of physic, or to be perfect in some one title of the congruity, or situation of the parts in respect of law or the like, they may prove ready and subtile, the whole, evident in so many particulars: and but not deep or sufficient, no, not in that subject lastly, if they had considered the motion, familiar which they do particularly attend, because of that in attraction of things, to approach to that which consent which it hath with the rest. And it is a is higher in the same kind: when by these obsermatter of common discourse of the chain of sci- vations, so easy and concurring in natural philoences, how they are linked together, insomuch as sophy, they should have found out this quaternion the Grecians, who had terms at will, have fitted of good, in enjoying or fruition, effecting or operait of a name of Circle-Learning. Nevertheless I tion, consenting or proportion, and approach or that hold it for a great impediment towards the assumption; they would have saved and abridged advancement and further invention of knowledge, much of their long and wandering discourses of that particular arts and sciences have been disin- pleasure, virtue, duty, and religion. So likewise corporated from general knowledge, do not under- in this same logic and rhetoric, or acts of argustand one and the same thing, which Cicero's ment and grace of speech, if the great masters of discourse and the note and conceit of the Gre- them would but have gone a form lower, and cians in their word Circle-Learning do intend. looked but into the observations of grammar conFor I mean not that use which one science hath cerning the kinds of words, their derivations, deof another for ornament or help in practice, as the flexions, and syntax, specially enriching the same, orator hath of knowledge of affections for moving, with the helps of several languages, with their or as military science may have use of geometry differing properties of words, phrases, and tropes; for fortifications; but I mean it directly of that they might have found out more and better footuse by way of supply of light and information, steps of common reason, help of disputation, and which the particulars and instances of one science advantages of cavillation, than many of these do yield and present for the framing or correcting which they have propounded. So again, a man of the axioms of another science in their very should be thought to dally, if he did note how the truth and notion. And therefore that example of figures of rhetoric and music are many of them oculist and title lawyers doth come nearer my the same. The repetitions and traductions in conceit than the other two; for sciences distin- speech, and the reports and hauntings of sounds guished have a dependence upon universal know- in music, are the very same things. Plutarch ledge to be augmented and rectified by the supe- hath almost made a book of the Lacedæmonian rior light thereof; as well as the parts and mem- kind of jesting, which joined every pleasure with bers of a science have upon the maxims of the distaste. "Sir," said a man of art to Philip king same science, and the mutual light and consent of Macedon, when he controlled him in his faculty, which one part receiveth of another. And there-"God forbid your fortune should be such as to fore the opinion of Copernicus in astronomy, which astronomy itself cannot correct, because it is not repugnant to any of the appearances, yet natural philosophy doth correct. On the other side, if some of the ancient philosophers had been perfect in the observations of astronomy, and had called them to counsel, when they made their principles and first axioms, they would never have divided their philosophy, as the cosmographers do their descriptions by globes, making one philosophy for heaven, and another for under heaven, as in effect they do.
So if the moral philosophers, that have spent such an infinite quantity of debate touching good and the highest good, had cast their eye abroad upon nature, and beheld the appetite that is in all things to receive and to give; the one motion
know these things better than I." In taxing his ignorance in his art, he represented to him the perpetual greatness of his fortune, leaving him no vacant time for so mean a skill. Now in music it is one of the ordinariest flowers to fall from a discord, or hard tune, upon a sweet accord. The figure that Cicero and the rest commend, as one of the best points of eleganey, which is the fine checking of expectation, is no less well known to the musicians, when they have a special grace in flying the close or cadence. And these are no allusions but direct communities, the same delights of the mind being to be found not only in music, rhetoric, but in moral philosophy, policy, and other knowledges, and that obscure in the one, which is more apparent in the other; yea, and that discovered in the one, which is not found