« AnteriorContinuar »
great work, to which he gave the title of Instauratio Magna. The design of this work was nothing less than “a universal instauration or reconstruction of the arts and sciences and of all human learning upon a due basis.”
His first contribution to this undertaking was his work entitled The Advancement of Learning, written in English and published in 1605.
This work he afterwards (A.D. 1623) expanded into a Latin treatise with the title De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum; and this treatise constitutes the first part of the Instauratio Magna. It begins with a declaration of the excellence of learning, and a vindication of it from the various discredits and disgraces it has received. After enlarging on these points, the author proceeds to lay down what he calls the Partitions of the Sciences; that is, a classification of the various branches of human knowledge. The survey of these constitutes the main subject of the work.
The second part of the Instauratio is the Novum Organum (New Instrument), and is an exposition of the art of interpreting nature: which art really constitutes what is commonly called the Baconian System of Philosophy.
The Novum Organum is divided into two books, and the matter is arranged in the form of aphorisms. The first book is to some extent preliminary, and is made up of certain fundamental axioms with reference to man's knowledge of and command over nature, and also of confutations of existing notions and of prevailing methods and systems of philosophy.
The second book explains and illustrates the art of interpreting nature by experiment and induction. It is, indeed, a careful and elaborate analysis of the inductive method of reasoning; and Bacon sometimes writes as if he fancied that in furnishing this analysis, and appending examples of it, he was providing mankind with machinery for investigating truth which would enable anybody to be a discoverer. In this he was mistaken, and able and ingenious as his exposition is, it is not perhaps of much practical utility.
The object of the third part of the Instauratio was to furnish materials for the experimentalist and the investigator. This division of the great work consists of a variety of tracts referring to different branches of Natural History, or, as we should now-a-days call it, Physical Science. The most interesting and important of these tracts is the Sylva Sylvarum, containing a large collection of facts and experiments in physics.
It must be observed that almost every part of the Instauratio is unfinished, and that, as originally designed by its author, the work was to consist of six parts. Of the fourth and fifth parts nothing beyond a little introductory matter was ever composed; the sixth part was never begun at all.
Besides the writings of Bacon already classified and described, there are also several tracts by him on legal and political subjects.
It only remains that we add a few remarks on Bacon's style. He was a utilitarian both in morals and philosophy, and his sober and practical turn of mind is reflected in his language. He never aims at fine writing. There is no great elaboration or polish. There is, indeed, an occasional harshness of cadence and ruggedness of expression. But, on the other hand, there is vigour and directness; there is often an epigrammatic turn and an ani: thetical balance in the periods; sometimes also the words flow with a good deiti of harmony, and there are passages that are marked by striking rhetorical excellence. In fact there are a good many of the elements of effective oratory in Bacon's writing; and his originality and condensation of thought find expression a striking, original, and condensed style. Notice must also be taken of the richness of his illustrations and imagery. This feature is the more remarkable because it is found in connection with a cool temperament and a practical turn of mind. There is little warmth of feeling in the sentiments, and yet there is much brightness of colouring in the language. In no other writer are illustration and argument so completely blended and identified as in Bacon.
OF SIMULATION AND DISSIMULATION. Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom ; for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it. Therefore it is the weaker sort of politics that are the great dissemblers.
Tacitus saith : “ 2 Livia sorted well with the arts of her husband and dissimulation of her son ;” attributing arts or policy to Augustus, and dissimulation to Tiberius. And again, when Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to take arms against Vitellius, he saith : “We rise not against the piercing judgment of Augustus, nor the extreme caution or closeness of Tiberius.” These properties of arts or policy, and dissimulation or closeness, are indeed habits and faculties several, and to be distinguished. For if a man have that penetration of judgment 4 as he can discern what things are to be laid open, and what to be 5 secreted, and what to be showed at half-lights, and to whom, and when (which, indeed, are arts of state and arts of life, as Tacitus well calleth them), to him a habit of dissimulation is a hinderance and a poorness. But if a man cannot bobtain to that judg. ment, then it is left to him, generally, to be close and a dissembler. For where a man cannot choose or vary in particulars, there it is good to take the safest and wariest way, in general, like the going softly by one that cannot well see. Certainly the ablest men that ever were have had all an openness and frankness of dealing, and a 7name of certainty and veracity: but then they were like horses well & managed, for they could tell ® passing well when to stop or turn ; and at such times, when they thought the case indeed required dissimulation, if then they used it, it came to pass that the former opinion spread abroad, of their good faith and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.
There be three degrees of this hiding and veiling of a man's self. The first, closeness, reservation, and secrecy; when a man leaveth himself without observation, or without hold to be taken what he is. The second, dissimulation in the negative; when a man lets fall signs and arguments that he is not 10 that he is. And the third, simulation in the affirmative; when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be that he is not.
For the first of these, secrecy. It is indeed the virtue of a confessor : and assuredly the secret man heareth many confessions; for who will open himself to a blab or a babbler ? But if a man be thought secret it inviteth discovery, as the more close air sucketh in the more open; and as in confession the revealing is not for worldly use, but for the ease of a man's heart, so secret men come to the knowledge of many things in that kind, while men 11 rather discharge their minds than impart their minds. In few words, 12 mysteries are due to secrecy. Besides, (to say truth,) nakedness is uncomely as well in mind as body; and it addeth ņo small reverence to men’s manners and actions, if they be not altogether open. As for talkers and futile persons, they are commonly vain and credulous withal ; for he that talketh what he knoweth, will also talk what he knoweth not. Therefore set it down, that an habit of secrecy is both politic and moral. And in this part it is good that a man's face give his tongue leave to speak; for the discovery of a man's self by the 13 tracts of his countenance is a great weakness and betraying, by how much it is many times more marked and believed than a man's words.
For the second, which is qissimulation. It followeth many times
upon secrecy by a necessity; so that he that will be secret must be a dissembler in some degree : for men are too cunning to suffer a man to keep an 14 indifferent carriage between both, and to be secret without swaying the balance on either side. They will so beset a man with questions, and draw him on, and pick it out of him, that, without an absurd silence, he must show an inclination one way; or if he do not, they will gather as much by his silence as by his speech. As for equivocations, or oraculous speeches, they cannot hold out long : so that no man can be secret except he give himself a little scope of dissimulation ; which is, as it were, but the skirts or train of secrecy.
But for the third degree, which is simulation and false profession, that I hold more culpable and less politic, except it be in great and rare matters : and therefore a general custom of simulation (which is this last degree) is a vice, rising either of a natural falseness or fearfulness, or of a mind that hath some main faults ; which because a man must needs disguise, it maketh him practise simulation in other things, leşt his hand should be out of 15 ure.
The great advantages of simulation and dissimulation are three. First, to lay asleep opposition, and to surprise ; for where a man's intentions are published, it is an alarum to call up all that are against them. The second is, to reserve to a man's self a fair retreat ; for if a man 16engage himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through or take a fall. The third is, the better to discover the mind of another; for to him that opens himself men will hardly show themselves adverse, but will (17 fair) let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought. And therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard : "18 Tell a lie and find a troth ;"- '-as if there were no way of discovery but by simulation. There be also three disadvantages to set it even. The first, that simulation and dissimulation commonly carry with them a show of fearfulness, which in any business doth 19 spoil the feathers of round flying up to the mark. The second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits of many that perhaps would otherwise co-operate with him, and makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends. The third and greatest is, that
it depriveth a man of one of the most principal instruments for action, which is trust and belief. The best composition and 20 temperature is, to have openness in fame and opinion ; secrecy in habit; dissimulation in seasonable use; and a power to feign, if there be no remedy.
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; and therefore God never wrought miracle to éconvince Atheism, because his ordinary works convince it. It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to Atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion : for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity. Nay, even that school which is most accused of Atheism doth most demonstrate religion ; that is, the school of Leucippus, and Democritus, and Epicurus : for 4it is a thousand times more credible that four mutable elements, and one immutable fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, need no God, than that an army of infinite small poliuns, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty without a Divine Marshal. The Scripture saith : “ The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” It is not said, the fool hath thought in his heart ; so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it: for none deny there is a God but 5 those for whom it maketh that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more that Atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that Atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others. Nay more, you shall have Atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for Atheism and not recant: