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doth naturally result a note, what things are yet held impossible, or not invented: which calendar will be the more artificial and serviceable, if to every reputed impossibility you add what thing is extant which cometh the nearest in degree to that impossibility; to the end that by these optatives and potentials man's inquiry may be the more awake in deducing direction of works from the speculation of causes: and secondly, that those experiments be not only esteemed which have an immediate and present use, but those principally which are of most universal consequence for invention of other experiments, and those which give most light to the invention of causes; for the invention of the mariner's needle, which giveth the direction, is of no less benefit for navigation than the invention of the sails, which give the motion.

Thus have I passed through natural philosophy, and the deficiences thereof; wherein if I have differed from the ancient and received doctrines, and thereby shall move contradiction,-for my part, as I affect not to dissent, so I purpose not to contend. If it be truth,

"Non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylvæ:" (Not to the deaf our notes in vain we sing, Each wood shall with responsive echoes ring.) The voice of nature will consent, whether the voice

of man do or no. And as Alexander Borgia was wont to say of the expedition of the French for Naples, that they came with chalk in their hands to mark up their lodgings, and not with weapons to fight: so I like better that entry of truth which cometh peaceably, with chalk to mark up those minds which are capable to lodge and harbour it, than that which cometh with pugnacity and contention.

But there remaineth a division of natural philosophy according to the report of the inquiry, and nothing concerning the matter or subject; and that is positive and considerative; when the inquiry reporteth either an assertion or a doubt. These doubts or .66 non liquets" are of two sorts, particular and total. For the first, we see a good example thereof in Aristotle's Problems, which deserved to have had a better continuance; but so nevertheless, as there is one point whereof warning is to be given and taken. The registering of doubts hath two excellent uses: the one, that it saveth philosophy from errors and falshoods, when that which is not fully appearing is not collected into assertion, whereby error might draw error, but reserved in doubt: the other, that the entry of doubts is as so many suckers or spunges to draw use of knowledge ; insomuch as that which, if doubts had not preceded,

one

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a man should never have advised, but passed it over without note, by the suggestion and solicitation of doubts is made to be attended and applied. But both these commodities do scarcely countervail an inconvenience which will intrude itself, if it be not debarred; which is, that when a doubt is once received, men labor rather how to keep it a doubt still, than how to solve it, and accordingly bend their wits. Of this we see the familiar example in lawyers and scholars, both which, if they have once admitted a doubt, it goeth ever after authorised for a doubt. But that use of wit and knowledge is to be allowed, which laboreth to make doubtful things certain, and not those which labor to make certain things doubtful. Therefore these calendars of doubts I commend as excellent things; so that there be this caution used, that when they be thoroughly sifted and brought to resolution, they be from thenceforth omitted, discarded, and not continued to cherish and encourage men in doubting. To which calendar of doubts or problems, I advise be annexed another calendar, as much or more material, which is a calendar of popular errors; IX mean chiefly in natural history, such as pass in speech and conceit, and are nevertheless apparently detected and convicted of untruth; that man's know

ledge be not weakened nor imbased by such dross

and vanity.

As for the doubts or 66 non liquets" general or in total, I understand those differences of opinions touching the principles of nature, and the fundamental points of the same, which have caused the diversity of sects, schools, and philosophies, as that of Empedocles, Pythagoras, Democritus, Parmenides, and the rest. For although Aristotle, as though he had been of the race of the Ottomans, thought he could not reign, except the first thing he did he killed all his brethren; yet to those that seek truth and not magistrality, it cannot but seem a matter of great profit, to see before them the several opinions touching the foundations of nature; not for any exact truth that can be expected in those theories for as the same phænomena in astronomy are satisfied by the received astronomy of the diurnal motion, and the proper motions of the planets, with their eccentrics and epicyles, and likewise by the theory of Copernicus, who supposed the earth to move, and the calculations are indifferently agreeable to both; so the ordinary face and view of experience is many times satisfied by several theories and philosophies; whereas to find the real truth requireth another manner of severity and attention. For as Aristotle saith, that children at the first will

call every woman mother, but afterward they come to distinguish according to truth; so experience, if it be in childhood, will call every philosophy mother, but when it cometh to ripeness, it will discern the true mother.

So as in the mean time it is good to see the several glosses and opinions upon nature, whereof it may be every one in some one point hath seen clearer than his fellows; therefore I wish some collection to be made painfully and understandingly "de antiquis philosophiis" (of the ancient philosophies), out of all the possible light which remaineth to us of them: which kind of work I find deficient. But here I must give warning, that it be done distinctly and severally, the philosophies of every one throughout by themselves, and not by titles packed and faggotted up together, as hath been done by Plutarch. For it is the harmony of a philosophy in itself which giveth it light and credence; whereas if it be singled and broken, it will seem more foreign and dissonant. For as when I read in Tacitus the actions of Nero or Claudius, with circumstances of times, inducements, and occasions, I find them not so strange; but when I read them in Suetonius Tranquillus, gathered into titles and bundles, and not in order of time, they seem more monstrous and incredible so is it of any philosophy reported

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