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IN our introductory remarks to the present volume, it is unnecessary, after the various panegyrics which have been passed upon its illustrious author, to say much of that original genius, and those vast acquirements which have so justly conferred on him the title of the first great reformer of philosophy, and marked out in the progress of sound knowledge and the elucidation of true science, paths that have been so successfully trodden by a Boyle, a Locke, and even a Newton himself.
This miscellany of Lord BACON's productions, is intended as a companion to the elegant edition of his Essays, just published *; and will, we trust, be found to possess, both in point of judicious selection, and valuable matter, genuine claims to public favour. Among the articles which it contains are his APOPHTHEGMS-ORNAMENTA RATIONALIA; or, ELEGANT SENTENCES-the COLOURS OF GOOD AND EVIL-the NEW ATLANTIS-FILUM LABYRINTHI-SEQUELA CHARTARUM, and the ESSAY ON DEATH.
In the Apophthegms he proves himself a master in the art of relating short pleasant stories, the useful application of which cannot be mistaken by any common understanding; and his Elegant Sentences may even now rank as models of perfection in this species of composition. They are the result of deep and long reflection; for he well knew that nature is a
* See the end of the volume.
labyrinth in which the very haste we move with makes us lose our way. It is in those precepts, the standards of human action, that Bacon particularly excelled. They are all founded in a profound knowledge of life, and in a most accurate discrimination of the motives by which the pussions of mankind are actuated; and they are strengthened by a force of similitude, which neither sophistry nor sarcasm in their happiest vein can weaken. It has been wisely observed by Dr. Johnson, that "he may be justly numbered among the benefactors of mankind, who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind;" and those who peruse the following, will not deny that our author is entitled to an eminent rank in the list:
"Round dealing is the honour of a man's nature; and a mixture of falsehood is like allay in gold or silver, which may make the metal work the better, but embaseth it.
"As in nature things move more violently to their place : so virtue in ambition, is violent, in authority, settled and calm.
"God never wrought miracles to convince atheists, because his ordinary works convince it.
"All precepts concerning kings, are, in effect, comprehended in these remembrances; remember thou art a man ; remember thou art God's vicegerent. The one bridleth their power, and the other their will.
"It were good that men, in their innovations, would foljow the example of time itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived.
"The best governments are always subject to be like the fairest crystals, where every icicle or grain is seen, which in a fouler stone is never perceived."