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war against the gods, the Earth their mother, in revenge thereof, brought forth Fame:
Illam Terra parens ira irritata deorum,
Extremam, ut perhibent, Cao Enceladoque sororem Progenuit.
Expounded, that when princes and monarchies have suppressed actual and open rebels, then the malignity of people, which is the mother of rebellion, doth bring forth libels and slanders, and taxations of the states, which is of the same kind with rebellion, but more feminine. So in the fable, that the rest of the gods having conspired to bind Jupiter, Pallas called Briareus with his hundred hands to his aid: expouned, that monarchies need not fear any curbing of their absoluteness by mighty subjects, as long as by wisdom they keep the hearts of the people, who will be sure to come in on their side. So in the fable, that Achilles was brought up under Chiron the Centaur, who was part a man and part a beast: expounded ingeniously, but corruptly by Machiavel, that it belongeth to the education and discipline of princes, to know as well how to play the part of the lion in violence, and the fox in guile, as of the man in virtue and justice.
Nevertheless in many the like encounters, I do rather think that the fable was first, and the exposition devised, than that the moral was first, and thereupon the fable framed. For I find it was an ancient vanity in Chrysippus, that troubled himself with great contention to fasten the assertions of the Stoics upon fictions of the ancient poets; but yet that all the fables and fictions of the poets were but pleasure and not figure, I interpose no opinion.
Surely of those poets which are now extant, even Homer himself, notwithstanding he was made a kind of Scripture by the latter schools of the Grecians, yet I should without any difficulty pronounce, that his fables had no such inwardness in his own meaning; but what they might have upon a more original tradition, is not easy to affirm, for he was not the inventor of many of them.
In this third part of learning, which is poesy, I can report no deficience. For being as a plant that cometh of the lust of the earth, without a formal seed, it hath sprung up, and spread abroad more than any other kind: but to ascribe unto it that which is due, for the expression of affections, passions, corruptions, and customs, we are beholden to poets more than to the philosophers works; and for wit and eloquence, not much less than to orators harangues. But it is not good to stay too long in the theatre. Let us now pass on to the judicial place or palace of the mind, which we are to approach and view with more reverence and attention.
THE knowledge of man is as the waters, some descending from above, and some springing from beneath; the one informed by the light of nature, the other inspired by divine revelation.
The light of nature consisteth in the notions of the mind, and the reports of the senses; for as for knowledge which man receiveth by teaching, it is cumulative and not original, as in a water, that, besides his own spring-head, is fed with other springs and streams. So then, according to these two differing illuminations or originals, knowledge is first of all divided into Divinity and Philosophy.
In Philosophy, the contemplations of man do either penetrate unto God, or are circumferred to nature, or are reflected or reverted upon himself. Out of which several inquiries there do arise three knowledges, Divine philosophy, Natural philosophy, and Human philosophy or humanity. For all things are marked and stamped with this triple character, of the power of God, the difference of nature, and the use of man. But because the distributions and partitions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle, and so touch but in a point; but are like branches of a tree, that meet in a stem, which hath a dimension and quantity of intireness and continuance, before it come to discontinue and break itself into arms and boughs: therefore it is
good, before we enter into the former distribution, to erect and constitute one universal science, by the name of Philosophia prima, primitive or summary philosophy, as the main and common way, before we come where the ways part and divide themselves; which science, whether I should report as deficient or no, I stand doubtful.
For I find a certain rhapsody of natural theology, and of divers parts of logic; and of that other part of natural philosophy, which concerneth the principles; and of that other part of natural philosophy, which concerneth the soul or spirit; all these strangely commixed and confused: but being examined, it seemeth to me rather a depredation of other sciences, advanced and exalted unto some height of terms, than any thing solid or substantive of itself.
Nevertheless I cannot be ignorant of the distinction which is current, that the same things are handled but in several respects. As for example, that logic considereth of many things as they are in notion; and this philosophy, as they are in nature; the one in appearance, the other in existence: but I find this difference better made than pursued. For if they had considered quantity, similitude, diversity, and the rest of those external characters of things, as philosophers, and in nature; their inquiries must of force have been of a far other kind than they are.
For doth any of them, in handling quantity, speak of the force of union, how, and how far it multiplieth virtue? Doth any give the reason, why some things in nature are so common and in so great mass, and others so rare, and in so small quantity? Doth any, in handling similitude and diversity, assign the cause why iron should not move to iron, which is more like, but move to the loadstone, which is less like? Why, in all diversities of things, there should be certain praticiples in nature, which are almost ambiguous, to which kind they should be referred? But there is a mere and deep silence touching the nature and operation of those common adjuncts of things, as in nature; and only a resuming and repeating of the force and use of them in speech or argument.
Therefore because in a writing of this nature I avoid all subtilty, my meaning touching this original or universal philosophy is thus, in a plain and gross description by negative; "That it be a receptacle for "all such profitable observations and axioms, as fall "not within the compass of any of the special parts "of philosophy or sciences, but are more common "and of a higher stage."
Now that there are many of that kind, need not to be doubted. For example: is not the rule, Si inæqualibus æqualia addas, omnia erunt inæqualia, an axiom as well of justice as of the mathematics? And is there not a true coincidence between commutative and distributive justice, and arithmetical and geometrical proportion? Is not that other rule, Quæ in eodem tertio conveniunt, et inter se conveniunt, a rule taken from the mathematics, but so potent in logic, as all syllogisms are built upon it? Is not the observation, Omnia mutantur, nil interit, a contemplation in philosophy thus, that the quantum of nature is eternal? in natural theology thus; that it requireth the same omnipotence to make somewhat nothing, which at the first made nothing somewhat; according to the Scripture, Didici quod omnia opera, quæ fecit Deus, perseverent in perpetuum; non possumus eis quicquam addere, nec auferre.
Is not the ground, which Machiavel wisely and largely discourseth concerning governments, that the way to establish and preserve them, is to reduce them ad principia; a rule in religion and nature, as well as in civil administration? Was not the Persian magic a reduction or correspondence of the principles and architectures of nature, to the rules and policy of governments? Is not the precept of a musician, to fall from a discord or harsh accord upon a concord or sweet accord, alike true in affection? Is not the trope of music, to avoid or slide from the close or cadence, common with the trope of rhetoric, of deceiving expectation? Is not the delight of the quavering upon a stop in music, the same with the playing of light upon the water?
phia prima, sive
-Splendet tremulo sub lumine pontus. Are not the organs of the senses of one kind with the organs of reflection, the eye with a glass, the ear with a cave or strait determined and bounded? Neither are these only similitudes, as men of narrow observation may conceive them to be, but the same footsteps of nature, treading or printing upon several subjects or matters.
This science therefore, as I understand it, I may justly report as deficient; for I see sometimes the fontibus profounder sort of wits, in handling some particular scientia argument, will now and then draw a bucket of water out of this well for their present use; but the springhead thereof seemeth to me not to have been visited; being of so excellent use, both for the disclosing of nature, and the abridgement of art.
This science being therefore first placed as a common parent, like unto Berecynthia, which had so much heavenly issue, Omnes cælicolas, omnes supera alta tenentes, we may return to the former distribution of the three philosophies, divine, natural, and human.
And as concerning divine philosophy, or Natural Theology, it is that knowledge or rudiment of knowledge concerning God, which may be obtained by the contemplation of his creatures; which knowledge may be truly termed divine, in respect of the object, and natural in respect of the light.
The bounds of this knowledge are, that it sufficeth to convince atheism, but not to inform religion: and therefore there was never miracle wrought by God to convert an atheist, because the light of nature might have led him to confess a God: but miracles have been wrought to convert idolaters and the superstitious, because no light of nature extendeth to declare the will and true worship of God.
For as all works do shew forth the power and skill of the workman, and not his image, so it is of the works of God, which do shew the omnipotency and wisdom of the Maker, but not his image and therefore therein the heathen opinion differeth from