Page images
[blocks in formation]

The Art of Instruction.............. 217

1. It contains that difference of tradition which is proper for youth.

2. Different considerations.

1. The timing and seasoning of knowledges. 2. The judicious selection of difficulties and of easy studies.

It is one method to practise swimming with bladders, and another to practise dancing with heavy shoes.

3. The application of learning according to the mind to be instructed.

There is no defect in the faculties intellectual, but seemeth to have a proper cure contained in some studies: as, for example, if a child be bird-witted, that is, hath not the faculty of attention, the mathematics giveth a remedy thereunto; for in them, if the wit be caught away but a moment, one is to begin


4. The continuance and intermission of exercises.. 218

As the wronging or cherishing of seeds or young plants is that that is most important to their thriving: so the culture and manurance

part or member of a greater body; whereof the latter is in degree the greater and the worthier, because it tendeth to the conservation of a more general form. Therefore we see the iron in particular sympathy moveth to the loadstone; but yet if it exceed a certain quantity, it forsaketh the affection to the loadstone, and like a good patriot moveth to the earth, which is the region and country of massy bodies.

Public is more worthy than private good.

Pompeius Magnus, when being in commission of purveyance for a famine at Rome, and being dissuaded with great vehemency and instance by his friends about him, that he should not hazard himself to sea in an extremity of weather, he said only to them, "Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam."

The Degrees of Good.

The questions respecting the supreme good are by Christianity disclosed.

6. An active is to be preferred to contemplative life.

Pythagoras being asked what he was, answered, "That if Hiero were ever at the Olym pian games, he knew the manner, that some came to try their fortune for the prizes, and some came as merchants to utter their commodities, and some came to make good cheer and meet their friends, and some came to look on; and that he was one of them that came to look on." But men must know, that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.

For contemplation which should be finished in itself, without casting beams upon society, assuredly divinity knoweth it not.

of minds in youth hath such a forcible, though 7. The ascendency of public good terminates many

unseen, operation, as hardly any length of time or contention of labour can countervail it afterwards.

OF THE WILL................................... 218 1. Writers on this subject have described virtues without pointing out the mode of attaining them.

Those which have written seem to me to have done as if a man, that professeth to teach to write, did only exhibit fair copies of alphabets and letters joined, without giving any precepts or directions for the carriage of the hand and framing of the letters.

These Georgics of the mind, concerning the husbandry and tillage thereof, are no less worthy than the heroical descriptions of virtue, duty, and felicity.

2. Division of moral philosophy

1. The image of good.

2. The culture of the mind.


1. Describes the nature of good.

2. Division.

1. The kinds of good.

2. The degrees of good.


3 The ancients were defective in not examining the springs of good and evil.

4. Good is: 1. Private. 2. Public.

There is formed in every thing a double nature of good: the one, as every thing is a total or substantive in itself; the other, as it is a

disputes of the ancient philosophers..... 220 1. It decides the controversies between Zeno and Socrates, and the Cyrenaics and Epicureans, whether felicity consisted in virtue or pleasure, or serenity of mind ... 220 2. It censures the philosophy of Epictetus, which placed felicity in things within

our power.

Gonsalvo said to his soldiers, showing them Naples, and protesting, "He had rather die one foot forwards, than to have his life secured for long by one foot of retreat."

The conscience of good intentions, howsoever succeeding, is a more continual joy to nature, than all the provision which can be made for security and repose.

3. It censures the abuse of philosophy in Epictetus's time, in converting it into an occupation or profession....... 220 This philosophy introduces such a health of mind, as was that of Herodicus in body, who did nothing all his life, but intend his health.

'Sustine,' and not 'Abstine', was the commendation of Diogenes.

4. It censures the hasty retiring from business.

The resolution of men truly moral ought to be such as the same Gonsalvo said the honour of a soldier should be, “e tela crassiore,” and not so fine as that every thing should catch in it and endanger it.


1. It is: 1st. Active. 2d. Passive.

Active Private Good.

2. Active is preferable to passive private good.

Vita sine proposito languida et vaga est.

2213. Duties are: 1st. Common to all men. 2d. Peculiar

to professions or particular pursuits..... 222

4. The duties common to all men has been excellently laboured.

5. The duties respecting particular professions have, of necessity, been investigated diffusedly.

3. Active private good has not an identity with the 6. A knowledge of the impostures of professions is

good of society.....

[ocr errors]

Passive Private Good.

4. It is: 1st. Conversative. 2d. Perfective.


Good Perfective..... ...... 221 5. Good perfective is of a higher nature than good conversative.

Man's approach or assumption to divine or angelical nature is the perfection of his form. 6. The imitation of perfection is the tempest of life.

As those which are sick, and find no remedy, do tumble up and down and change place, as if by a remove local they could obtain a remove internal; so is it with men in ambition, when, failing of the means to exalt their nature, they are in a perpetual estuation to exalt their place.

Good Conversative.....

... 221 7. It consists in the practice of that which is agreeable to our nature.

8. It is the most simple, but lowest good.

9. Good conversative consists in the steadiness and intensity of the enjoyment.

10. Doubts whether felicity results most from the steadiness or intensity.

The sophist saying that Socrates's felicity was the felicity of a block or stone; and Socrates saying that the sophist's felicity was the felicity of one that had the itch, who did nothing but itch and scratch.

incident to the knowledge of professional duties, and is deficient.

As the fable goeth of the basilisk, that if he see you first, you die for it; but if you see him first, he dieth: so is it with deceits and evil arts; which, if they be first espied, they lose their life; but if they prevent, they endanger.

We are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do. For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with the columbine innocency, except men know exactly all the conditions of the serpent; his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubri city, his envy and sting, and the rest; that is, all forms and natures of evil: for without this, virtue lieth open and unfenced.

7. To this subject appertains the duties of husband and wife, parent and child, friendship, gratitude, &c.


As we see, upon the lute or like instrument,
a ground, though it be sweet and have show 1.
of many changes, yet breaketh not the hand
to such strange and hard stops and
as a set song or voluntary; much after the
same manner was the diversity between a
philosophical and a civil life. And therefore
men are to imitate the wisdom of jewellers;
who, if there be a grain, or a cloud, or an ice 2.
which may be ground forth without taking 3.
too much of the stone, they help it; but if it
should lessen and abate the stone too much,
they will not meddle with it: so ought men
so to procure serenity as they destroy not mag-

[blocks in formation]

1. It is duty, and relates to a mind well framed towards others.

2. Error in confusing this science with politics.

As in architecture the direction of framing the posts, beams, and other parts of building, is not the same with the manner of joining them and erecting the building; and in mechanicals, the direction how to frame an instrument or engine is not the same with the manner of setting it on work and employing it, so the doctrine of conjugation of men in society differeth from that of their conformity thereunto.

Q. Is not this the difference between the love of excelling and the love of excellence 1


[merged small][ocr errors]

An exhibition of the nature of good without considering the culture of the mind, seemeth to be no better than a fair image, or statue, which is beautiful to contemplate, but is without life and motion.

Morality should be the handmaid of divinity. We ought to cast up our account, what is in our power and what not..


The husbandman cannot command, neither the nature of the earth, nor the seasons of the weather; no more can the physician the constitution of the patient, nor the variety of accidents: so in the culture and cure of the mind of man, two things are without our command; points of nature, and points of fortune; for to the basis of the one, and the conditions of the other, our work is limited and tied.

Of Men's Natures, or Inherent Dispositions The foundation of the culture of the mind is the

knowledge of its nature.

There are minds which are proportioned to great mutters, and others to small.

There are minds proportioned to intend many matters, and others to few.

Some minds are proportioned to that which may be despatched at once, or within a short return of time; others to that which begins afar off, and is to be won with length of pu


VOL. I.-20

There is a disposition in conversation to 14. Of the powers of books and studies upon the soothe and please; and a disposition contrary

to contradict and cross.

There is a disposition to take pleasure in the good of another.

5. This subject has been negligently inquired by moralists, with some beauty by astrologers, and by words in relations.

History, poesy, and daily experience are as goodly fields where these observations grow; whereof we make a few posies to hold in our hands, but no man bringeth them to the confectionary, that receipts might be made of them for the use of life.

6. Natural and accidental impressions should be noted.

The Affections.......

7. Inquiry should be made of the affections.





As the ancient politicians in popular states 16. were wont to compare the people to the sea, and the orators to the winds; "because, as the sea would of itself be calm and quiet, if the 17. vinds did not move and trouble it; so the people would be peaceable and tractable, if the seditious orators did not set them in working and agitation: so it may be fitly said, that the mind in the nature thereof would be temperate and stayed, if the affections, as winds, did not put it into tumult and perturbation.

8. This subject has been investigated by Aristotle, and by the Stoics, and in different scattered works; but the poets and historians are the masters of the passions..

9. Of the opposition of passions to each other.

The Origin of the Mind.



10. Inquiries should be made of custom, exercise, habit, education, friendship, &c.

Of Custom and Habit.

11. Aristotle's error in stating too generally that those things which are natural cannot be changed.

12. Virtues and vices consist in habits.

13. Precepts for the formation of habits.1

1. Beware that at the first a task be taken neither too high nor too weak.2

2. Practise all things at two seasons; when the mind is best disposed and when it is worst disposed.

By the one you may gain a great step; by the other you may work out the knots and stonds of the mind, and make the middle times the more easy and pleasant.

3. Ever bear toward the contrary extreme of that to which you are inclined. Like unto the rowing against the stream, or making a wand straight by bending him contrary to his natural crookedness.

4. The mind is brought to anything with more sweetness; if that whereunto we pretend be not first in the intention, but tanquam aliud agendo.

'See Bacon's Essay "Of Nature in Man," and "Of Custom and Education."

Bacon's Essay "Of Nature in Man."

He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great, nor too small tasks; for the first will make him dejected by often failings; and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings.




Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded, wherein he saith, "That young men are no fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heat of their affections, nor attempered with time and experience ?"

But is it not true also, that much less young men are fit auditors of matters of policy, till they have been thoroughly seasoned in religion and morality; lest their judgments be cor rupted, and made apt to think that there are no true differences of things but according to utility and fortune ? 3

There should be caution lest moral instruction make men too precise, arrogant, and incompatible.....


[blocks in formation]

As when a carver makes an image, he shapes only that part whereupon he worketh, (as if he be upon the face, that part which shall be the body is but a rude stone still, till such time as he comes to it ;) but, contrariwise, when nature makes a flower or living creature, she formeth rudiments of all the parts at one time so in obtaining virtue by habit, while a man practiseth temperance, he doth not profit much to fortitude, nor the like; but when he dedicateth and applieth himself to good ends, what virtue soever the pursuit and passage towards those ends doth commend unto him, he is invested of a precedent dispo sition to conform himself thereunto.

There is a sympathy between the good of the body and of the mind.

As we divided the good of the body into health, beauty, strength, and pleasure; so the good of the mind, inquired in rational and moral knowledges, tendeth to this, to make the mind sound, and without perturbation; beau tiful, and graced with decency; and strong and agile for all duties of life.


Reasons why ethics are in some respects more difficult than politics..... 228

1. Morality relates to man segregate: politics to man congregate.

Cato the censor said, that the Romans were like sheep, for that a man might better drive a flock of them than one of them; for in a flock, if you could get but some few to go right, the rest would follow."

2. The object of morals is internal good; for policy external sufficeth.


3. States are not so suddenly subverted as individuals. .... 228 States, as great engines, move slowly, and are not so soon put out of frame: for as in Egypt the seven good years sustained the seven What says the morality of our universities to this cpinion?

bad, so governments, for a time well grounded, do bear out errors following.

2. Division of civil knowledge.

1. Conversation for comfort.

2. Negotiation for use.

3. Government for protection.




The open declaration of this is impolitic, being taken and used as spurs to industry, and not as stirrups to insolency, rather for resolution than for presumption or outward declaration, have been ever thought sound and good; and are, no question, imprinted in the greatest minds, who are so sensible of this opinion, as they can scarce contain it within.

3. Wisdom of conversation ought not to be too much 2. The knowledge of the advancement of life is deaffected, much less despised.

4. Of behaviour.

The sum of behaviour is to retain a man's own dignity, without intruding upon the liberty of others.

Behaviour seemeth to me as a garment of the mind, and to have the conditions of a garment. For it ought to be made in fashion; it ought not to be too curious; it ought to be shaped so as to set forth any good making of the mind, and hide any deformity; and above all, it ought not to be too strait, or restrained for exercise or motion.

5. Evils of too much attention to behaviour.

1. The danger of affectation.

2. Waste of time.


231 3. The investigation of this subject concerns learning, both in honour and in substance.

Pragmatical men should not go away with an opinion that learning is like a lark, that can mount, and sing, and please herself, and nothing else; but may know that she holdeth as well of the hawk, that can soar aloft, and can also descend and strike the upon prey.

It is the perfect law of inquiry of truth, "that nothing be in the globe of matter, which should not be likewise in the globe of crystal, or form;" that is, that there be not any thing in being and action, which should not be drawn and collected into contemplation and doctrine.

3. Waste of mind, and checking aspirings to 4. Learning esteems the architecture of fortune as of higher virtues.

4. Retarding action.

an inferior work......

5. This doctrine is reducible to science.

6. The knowledge of conversation is not deficient. 229 6. Precepts respecting this knowledge.


229 1. This knowledge, to the derogation of learning, hath not been collected into writing.

Of the three wisdoms which we have set down to pertain to civil life, for wisdom of behaviour, it is by learned men for the most part despised, as an inferior to virtue, and an enemy to meditation; for wisdom of government, they acquit themselves well when they are called to it, but that happeneth to few; but for the wisdom of business, wherein man's life is most conversant, there be no books of it, except some few scattered advertisements, that have no proportion to the magnitude of this subject.

2. This knowledge is reducible to precept, illustrated by the proverbs of Solomon.


3. Ancient fables and parables contain information upon this subject.....


4. The proper form of writing upon this subject is discourse upon history or examples.

5. Of discourses upon history of times, and upon lives, and upon letters...


KNOWLEDGE OF THE ADVANCEMENT OF LIFE.. 231 1. Preliminary observations.

1. This is the wisdom of pressing a man's own

This is the knowledge " sibi sapere :" sapere
is to move from the centre to the circumfer-
ence:-sibi sapere, from the circumference to
the centre.

2. Many are wise for themselves, yet weak
for the public.


7. The fundamental precept is to acquire knowledge of the particular motives by which those with whom we have to deal are actuated..... 232



Obtain that window which Momus did require: who seeing in the frame of man's heart such angles and recesses, found fault that there was not a window to look into them.

The sinews of wisdom are slowness of belief.
General modes of acquiring a knowledge of



[blocks in formation]

2. A good mediocrity in liberty of speech and secrecy: indulging rather in freedom of speech.

3. A watchful and serene habit of observing when acting.

10. Modes by which the knowledge of man is acquired.

1. By their faces.

2. By words.

3. By deeds.

4. By their natures.

5. By their ends.

6. By the relations of others.

11. More trust is to be given to countenances and 232 deeds, than to words......

[blocks in formation]

Like ants, which are wise creatures for 14. They are full of flattery. themselves, but very hurtful for the garden.

3. Faber quisque fortunæ propriæ.

Livy attributeth it to Cato the first, "in hoc viro tanto vis animi et ingenii inerat, ut quocunque loco natus esset, sibi ipse fortunam facturus videretur."

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

It is an error frequent for men to shoot over, and to suppose deeper ends, and more compass-reaches than are.

2. Waste of ability.

3. Too sudden elation with applause.

The Art of Covering Defects...... 234 The art of covering defects is of as much importance as a dexterous ostentation of virtue.. 234 Modes of concealing defects.

1. Caution.

2. Colour.

3. Confidence.

19. Princes are best interpreted by their natures; pri- 34. A man should not dismantle himself by showing vate persons by their ends.

20. The variety and predominancy of affections are

[blocks in formation]

Of the Knowledge of Ourselves..... 233 36. 22. A man ought to make an exact estimate of his merits and defects: accounting these with the most, and those with the least.

Though men look oft in a glass, yet they do suddenly forget themselves.

Particular Considerations respecting Self-Knowledge. 23. The consonance, or dissonance of his constitution and temper with the times.

Tiberius was never seen in public. Augustus lived ever in men's eyes.

24. The adaptation of his nature to the different professions and courses of life.

25. The competitors in different professions; that the course may be taken where there is most solitude.

As Julius Cæsar did, who at first was an
orator or pleader; but when he saw the ex-
cellency of Cicero, Hortensius, Catulus, and
others, for eloquence, and saw there was no
man of reputation for the wars but Pompeius,
upon whom the state was forced to rely, he
forsook his course begun toward a civil and
popular greatness, and transferred his designs
to a martial greatness.

26. In the choice of friends to consult similar nature.
As we may see in Cæsar; all whose friends
and followers were men active and effectual,
but not solemn, or of reputation.
27. Caution is not being misled by examples.

In which error it seemeth Pompey was, of
whom Cicero saith, that he was wont often to
say, "Sylla potuit, ego non potero ??

The Art of Revealing a Man's Self.

28 From not properly revealing a man's self, the less able man is often esteemed before the more able.

29. The setting forth virtues, and covering defects is advantageous.....


30. Self-setting-forth requires art, lest it turn to arrogance.

Neither give thou Æsop's cock a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had a barley-corn. The examples of God teaches the lesson truly: "He sendeth his rain, and maketh his sun to shine, upon the just and unjust:" but he doth not rain wealth, nor shine honour and virtues upon men equally common benefits are to be communicated with all, but peculiar benefits with choice.-Bacon's Essay on Gcoaness and Goodness of Nature.

too much dulceness, goodness, and facility of nature, without sparkles of liberty, spirit, and edge. The mind should be pliant and obedient to occa

[blocks in formation]

2. He should be able to plan and to execute 3. He should observe a good mediocrity in the declaring or not declaring himself. 235 4. He should judge of the proportion or value of things.

We shall find the logical part, as I may term it, of some men's minds good, but the mathematical part erroneous; that is, they can well judge of consequences, but not of proportions and comparisons, preferring things of show and sense before things of substance and effect.2

5. He should consider the order in which ob-
jects should be attained.........
.... 236
1. The mind should be amended.
2. Wealth and measure should be at


3. Fame and reputation should be ac


Because of the peremptory tides and cur rents it hath; which, if they be not taken in their due time, are seldom recovered, it being extreme hard to play an after-game of repu tation.4

a Men run after the satisfaction of their sottish appetites,
foolish as fishes pursuing a rotten worm that covers a deadly
hook or like children with great noise pursuing a bubble
rising from a walnut shell.

Money brings honour, friends, conquest and realms:
Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap.-
Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand:
They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain,
While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want.

To whom, thus Jesus patiently replied:
Yet wealth, without these three, is impotent
To gain dominion, or to keep it gained.
Witness, &c.

Bacon says, "God in the first day of creation made nothing but light, allowing one whole day to that work, without creating any material thing therein: so the experiments of light and not of profit should be first investigated,"

There are varions sentiments similar to this in Shaks peare. "There is a tide in the affairs of men," &c. So in Antony and Cleopatra.

Who seeks and will not take when once 'tis offered,
Shall never find it more.

The Advancement of Learning was published in 1005.
Shakspeare died in 1616. There is a copy of the Advance

« PreviousContinue »