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according to the ends whereunto they are referred; for man's labour is to invent that which is sought or propounded; or to judge that which is invented; or to retain that which is judged; or to deliver over that which is retained. So as the arts must be four; art of inquiry or invention; art of examination or judgment; art of custody or memory; and art of elocution or tradition.
Invention is of two kinds, much differing; the one of arts and sciences, and the other of speech and arguments. The former of these I do report deficient ; which seemeth to me to be such a deficience, as if in the making of an inventory, touching the state of a defunct, it should be set down, That there is no ready money. For as money will fetch all other commodities, so this knowledge is that which should purchase all the rest. And like as the West-Indies had never been discovered, if the use of the mariner's needle had not been first discovered, though the one be vast regions, and the other a small motion; so it cannot be found strange, if sciences be no farther discovered, if the art itself of invention and discovery hath been passed over.
That this part of knowledge is wanting, to my judgment, standeth plainly confessed: for first, logic doth not pretend to invent sciences, or the axioms of sciences, but passeth it over with a cuique in sua arte credendum. And Celsus acknowledgeth it gravely, speaking of the empirical and dogmatical sects of physicians, "That medicines and cures were first "found out, and then after the reasons and causes were discoursed; and not the causes first found out, and by light from them the medicines and "cures discovered." And Plato, in his Theatetus, noteth well, "That particulars are infinite, and the
higher generalities give no sufficient direction; " and that the pith of all sciences, which maketh the "artsman differ from the inexpert, is in the middle "propositions, which in every particular knowledge "are taken from tradition and experience." And therefore we see, that they which discourse of the in
ventions and originals of things, refer them rather to chance than to art, and rather to beasts, birds, fishes, serpents, than to men.
Dictamnum genetrix Cretea carpit ab Ida, Puberibus caulem foliis, et flore comantem Purpureo: non illa feris incognita capris, Gramina cum tergo volucres hæsere sagittæ. So that it was no marvel, the manner of antiquity being to consecrate inventors, that the Ægyptians had so few human idols in their temples, but almost all brute;
Omnigenumque Deum monstra, et latrator Anubis, Contra Neptunum, et Venerem, contraque Miner
And if you like better the tradition of the Grecians, and ascribe the first inventions to men, yet you will rather believe that Prometheus first struck the flints, and marvelled at the spark, than that when he first struck the flints he expected the spark; and therefore we see the West-Indian Prometheus had no intelligence with the European, because of the rareness with them of flint, that gave the first occasion: so as it should seem, that hitherto men are rather beholden to a wild goat for surgery, or to a nightingale for music, or to the ibis for some part of physic, or to the potlid that flew open for artillery, or generally to chance, or any thing else, than to logic, for the invention of arts and sciences. Neither is the form of invention which Virgil describeth much other.
Ut varias usus meditando extunderet artes
For if you observe the words well, it is no other method than that which brute beasts are capable of and do put in ure: which is a perpetual intending or practising some one thing, urged and imposed by an absolute necessity of conservation of being; for so Cicero saith very truly, Usus uni rei deditus, et naturam et artem sæpe vincit. And therefore if it be said of men,
Labor omnia vincit
it is likewise said of beasts, Quis psittaco docuit suum zaige; Who taught the raven in a drought to throw pebbles into an hollow tree, where she espied water, that the water might rise so as she might come to it? Who taught the bee to sail through such a vast sea of air, and to find the way from a field in flower, a great way off, to her hive? Who taught the ant to bite every grain of corn that she burieth in her hill, lest it should take root and grow? Add then the word extundere, which importeth the extreme difficulty; and the word paulatim, which importeth the extreme slowness; and we are where we were, even amongst the Ægyptians gods; there being little left to the faculty of reason, and nothing to the duty of art, for matter of invention.
Secondly, the induction which the logicians speak of, and which seemeth familiar with Plato, whereby the principles of sciences may be pretended to be invented, and so the middle propositions by derivation from the principles; their form of induction, I say, is utterly vicious and incompetent; wherein their error is the fouler, because it is the duty of art to perfect and exalt nature; but they contrariwise have wronged, abused, and traduced nature. For he that shall attentively observe how the mind doth gather this excellent dew of knowledge, like unto that which the poet speaketh of, Aërei mellis cælestia dona, distilling and contriving it out of particulars natural and artificial, as the flowers of the field and garden, shall find, that the mind of herself by nature doth manage and act an induction much better than they describe it. For to conclude upon an enumeration of particulars without instance contradictory, is no conclusion, but a conjecture; for who can assure, in many subjects, upon those particulars which appear of a side, that there are not other on the contrary side which appear not. As if Samuel should have rested upon those sons of Jesse, which were brought before him, and failed of David which was in the field. And this form, to say truth, is so gross, as it had not been possible for wits so subtile, as have managed these
things, to have offered it to the world, but that they hasted to their theories and dogmaticals, and were imperious and scornful toward particulars, which their manner was to use but as lictores and viatores, for serjeants and whifflers, ad summovendam turbam, to make way and make room for their opinions, rather than in their true use and service: certainly it is a thing may touch a man with a religious wonder to see how the footsteps of seducement are the very same in divine and human truth; for as in divine truth man cannot endure to become as a child; so in human, they reputed the attending the inductions, whereof we speak, as if it were a second infancy or childhood.
Thirdly, allow some principles or axioms were rightly induced, yet nevertheless certain it is, that middle propositions cannot be deduced from them in subject of nature by syllogism, that is, by touch and reduction of them to principles in a middle term. It is true that in sciences popular, as moralities, laws, and the like; yea and divinity, because it pleaseth God to apply himself to the capacity of the simplest, that form may have use, and in natural philosophy likewise, by way of argument or satisfactory reason, Quæ assensum parit, operis effeta est; but the subtilty of nature and operations will not be inchained in those bonds: for arguments consist of propositions, and propositions of words, and words are but the current tokens or marks of popular notions of things; which notions, if they be grossly and variably collected out of particulars, it is not the laborious examination either of consequences of arguments, or of the truth of propositions, that can ever correct that error, being, as the physicians speak, in the first digestion; and therefore it was not without cause, that so many excellent philosophers became sceptics and academics, and denied any certainty of knowledge or comprehension, and held opinion, that the knowledge of man extended only to appearances and probabilities. It is true, that in Socrates it was supposed to be but a form of irony, Scientiam dissimulando simulavit: for he
rata, et in
used to disable his knowledge, to the end to enhance
This part of invention, concerning the invention entia lite of sciences, I purpose, if God give me leave, hereafter terpretatio to propound, having digested it into two parts; whereof the one I term experientia literata, and the other, interpretatio natura: the former being but a degree and rudiment of the latter. But I will not dwell too long, nor speak too great upon a promise.
The invention of speech or argument is not properly an invention; for to invent, is to discover that we know not, and not to recover or resummon that which we already know; and the use of this invention is no other, but out of the knowledge, whereof our mind is already possessed, to draw forth or call before