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But we do hate all impostures and lies: insomuch we think fit to keep secret : though some of those as we have severely forbidden it to all our fellows, we do reveal sometimes to the state, and some not. under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not ** For our ordinances and rites : we have two very show any natural work or thing, adorned or swell-long and fair galleries : in one of these we place ing; but only pure as it is, and without all affecta- patterns and samples of all manner of the more rare tion of strangeness.
and excellent inventions; in the other we place the " These are, my son, the riches of Solomon's statues of all principal inventors. There we have House,
the statue of your Columbus, that discovered the
West Indies: also the inventor of ships: your monk " For the several employments and offices of our that was the inventor of ordnance, and of gunpowfellows; we have twelve that sail into foreign der: the inventor of music: the inventor of letters : countries, under the names of other nations, for our the inventor of printing : the inventor of observaown we conceal, who bring us the books, and ab- tions of astronomy: the inventor of works in metal: stracts, and patterns of experiments of all other the inventor of glass : the inventor of silk of the parts. These we call merchants of light.
worm : the inventor of wine: the inventor of corn " We have three that collect the experiments and bread : the inventor of sugars: and all these which are in all books. These we call depredators. by more certain tradition than you have. Then
“We have three that collect the experiments of have we divers inventors of our own of excellent all mechanical arts; and also of liberal sciences; works; which since you have not seen, it were too and also of practices which are not brought into arts. long to make descriptions of them; and besides, in These we call mystery-men.
the right understanding of those descriptions, you “ We have three that try new experiments, such might easily err. For upon every invention of value, as themselves think good. These we call pioneers we erect a statue to the inventor, and give him a or miners.
liberal and honourable reward. These statues are, " We have three that draw the experiments of some of brass; some of marble and touchstone ; the former four into titles, and tables, to give the some of cedar, and other special woods gilt and better light for the drawing of observations and adorned; some of iron ; some of silver; some of axioms out of them. These we call compilers. gold.
“ We have three that bend themselves, looking “We have certain hymns and services, which we into the experiments of their fellows, and cast about say daily, of laud and thanks to God for his marvelhow to draw out of them things of use and practice lous works : and forms of prayers, imploring his for man's life and knowledge, as well for works, as aid and blessing for the illumination of our labours ; for plain demonstration of causes, means of natural and the turning of them into good and holy uses. divinations, and the easy and clear discovery of the “ Lastly, we have circuits or visits of divers prinvirtues and parts of bodies. These we call dowry- cipal cities of the kingdom ; where, as it cometh to men or benefactors.
pass, we do publish such new profitable inventions " Then after divers meetings and consults of our as we think good. And we do also declare natural whole number, to consider of the former labours divinations of diseases, plagues, swarms of hurtful and collections, we have three that take care, out of creatures, scarcity, tempests, earthquakes, great inthem, to direct new experiments, of a higher light, undations, comets, temperature of the year, and dimore penetrating into nature than the former. These vers other things; and we give counsel thereupon we call lamps.
what the people shall do for the prevention and “We have three others that do execute the ex- remedy of them." periments so directed, and report them. These we call inoculators.
And when he had said this, he stood up; and I, “ Lastly, we have three that raise the former as I had been taught, kneeled down ; and he laid discoveries by experiments into greater observa- his right hand upon my head and said : “ God bless tions, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call inter- thee, my son, and God bless this relation which I preters of nature.
have made. I give thee leave to publish it for the “ We have also, as you must think, novices and good of other nations; for we here are in God's apprentices, that the succession of the former em- bosom, a land unknown." And so he left me; havployed men do not fail : besides a great number of ing assigned a value of about two thousand ducats, servants, and attendants, men and women. And this for a bounty to me and my fellows. For they give we do also: we have consultations, which of the in- great largesses where they.come upon all occasions. ventions and experiences which we have discovered shall be published, and which not: and take all an
[The rest was not perfected.] oath of secrecy, for the concealing of those which
IN PRAISE OF KNOWLEDGE.
SILENCE were the best celebration of that which I causes, they can reduce them to their principles. If mean to commend; for who would not use silence, any instance of experience stand against them, they where silence is not made ? and what crier can make can range it in order by some distinctions. But all silence in such a noise and tumult of vain and popu- this is but a web of the wit, it can work nothing. I lar opinions ? My praise shall be dedicated to the do not doubt but that common notions which we call mind itself. The mind is the man, and the know- reason, and the knitting of them together, which we ledge of the mind. A man is but what he knoweth. call logic, are the art of reason and studies. But The mind itself is but an accident to knowledge; for they rather cast obscurity, than gain light to the knowledge is a double of that which is. The truth contemplation of nature. All the philosophy of of being, and the truth of knowing, is all one. And nature which is now received, is either the philosothe pleasures of the affections greater than the phy of the Grecians, or that other of the alchemists. pleasures of the senses. And are not the pleasures that of the Grecians hath the foundations in words, of the intellect greater than the pleasures of the in ostentation, in confutation, in sects, in schools, in assections? Is it not a true and only natural plea- disputations. The Grecians were, as one of themsure, whereof there is no satiety? Is it not know- selves saith, " you Grecians, ever children." They ledge that doth alone clear the mind of all pertur- knew little antiquity ; they knew, except fables, not bations ? How many things are there which we much above five hundred years before themselves. imagine not? How many things do we esteem and They knew but a small portion of the world. That value otherwise than they are ? This ill-propor- of the alchemists hath the foundation in imposture, tioned estimation, these vain imaginations, these be in auricular traditions and obscurity. It was catchthe clouds of error that turn into the storms of per- ing hold of religion, but the principle of it is, “ Poturbation. Is there any such happiness as for a pulus vult decipi.” So that I know no great differman's mind to be raised above the confusion of ence between these great philosophers, but that the things; where he may have the prospect of the one is a loud crying folly, and the other is a whisorder of nature, and the error of men ? Is this but pering folly. The one is gathered out of a few a vein only of delight, and not of discovery? of con- vulgar observations, and the other out of a few tentment, and not of benefit? Shall we not as well experiments of a furnace. The one never faileth discern the riches of nature's warehouse, as the to multiply words, and the other ever faileth to benefit of her shop? Is truth ever barren ? Shall multiply gold. Who would not smile at Aristotle, he not be able thereby to produce worthy effects, when he admireth the eternity and invariableness and to endow the life of man with infinite commo- of the heavens, as there were not the like in the dities? But shall I make this garland to be put bowels of the earth ? Those be the confines and upon a wrong head? Would any body believe me, borders of these two kingdoms, where the continual if I should verify this, upon the knowledge that is alteration and incursion are. The superficies and now in use ? Are we the richer by one poor inven- upper parts of the earth are full of varieties. The tion, by reason of all the learning that hath been superficies and lower parts of the heavens, which we these many hundred years
s? The industry of arti- call the middle region of the air, is full of variety. ficers maketh some small improvement of things There is much spirit in the one part, that cannot be invented; and chance sometimes in experimenting brought into mass. There is much massy body in the maketh us to stumble upon somewhat which is new: other place, that cannot be refined to spirit
. The but all the disputation of the learned never brought common air is as the waste ground between the borto light one effect of nature before unknown. When ders. Who would not smile at the astronomers, I things are known and found out, then they can mean not these few carmen which drive the earth descant upon them, they can knit them into certain about, but the ancient astronomers, which feign the
moon to be the swiftest of the planets in motion, and temerity to answer, glory to know, doubt to contrathe rest in order, the higher the slower; and so are dict, end to gain, sloth to search, seeking things in compelled to imagine. a double motion : whereas words, resting in part of nature; these and the like, how evident is it, that that which they call a con- have been the things which have forbidden the happy trary motion, is but an abatement of motion. The match between the mind of man and the nature of fixed stars overgo Saturn, and so in them and the things; and in place thereof have married it to rest all is but one motion, and the nearer the earth vain notions and blind experiments : and what the the slower. A motion also whereof air and water posterity and issue of so honourable a match may be, do participate, though much interrupted. But why it is not hard to consider. Printing, a gross invendo I in a conference of pleasure enter into these tion; artillery, a thing that lay not far out of the great matters, in sort that pretending to know much, way; the needle, a thing partly known before: what I should forget what is seasonable ? Pardon me, it a change have these three made in the world in was because all things may be endowed and adorned these times; the one in state of learning, the other with speeches, but knowledge itself is more beauti- in the state of war, the third in the state of treasure, ful than any apparel of words that can be put upon commodities, and navigation! And those, I say, it. And let not me seem arrogant without respect were but stumbled upon and lighted upon by chance. to these great reputed authors. Let me so give Therefore, no doubt, the sovereignty of man lieth every man his due, as I give Time his due, which hid in knowledge ; wherein many things are reserved, is to discover truth. Many of these men had great which kings with their treasure cannot buy, nor with wits, far above mine own, and so are many in the their force command; their spials and intelligenuniversities of Europe at this day. But alas, they cers can give no news of them, their seamen and learn nothing there but to believe : first to believe discoverers cannot sail where they grow: now we that others know that which they know not; and govern nature in opinions, but we are thrall unto after themselves know that which they know not. her in necessity ; but if we would be led by her in But indeed facility to believe, impatience to doubt, I invention, we should command her in action.
THE INTERPRETATION OF NATURE:
ANNOTATIONS OF HERMES STELLA.
A FEW FRAGMENTS OF THE FIRST BOOK
[None of the Annotations of Stella are set down in these Fragments.]
and all other errors of religion have ever confessed CHAPTER I.
that it sounds not like man, “ Love your enemies;
be you like unto your heavenly Father, that sufferOf the limits and end of knowledge.
eth his rain to fall both upon the just and the unIn the divine nature, both religion and philo-just,” doth well declare, that we can in that point sophy hath acknowledged goodness in perfection, commit no excess. So again we find it often rescience or providence comprehending all things, and peated in the old law, " Be you holy as I am holy;" absolute sovereignty or kingdom. In aspiring to and what is holiness else but goodness, as we conthe throne of power, the angels transgressed and sider it separate, and guarded from all mixture, and fell; in presuming to come within the oracle of all access of evil? knowledge, man transgressed and fell; but in pur- Wherefore seeing that knowledge is of the numsuit towards the similitude of God's goodness or ber of those things which are to be accepted of with love, which is one thing, for love is nothing else caution and distinction; being now to open a founbut goodness put in motion or applied, neither tain, such as it is not easy to discern where the man or spirit ever hath transgressed, or shall issues and streams thereof will take and fall; I transgress.
thought it good and necessary in the first place, to The angel of light that was, when he presumed make a strong and sound head or bank to rule and before his fall, said within himself, “ I will ascend guide the course of the waters ; by setting down and be like unto the Highest;" not God, but the this position or firmament, namely, “That all knowHighest. To be like to God in goodness, was no ledge is to be limited by religion, and to be referred part of his emulation : knowledge, being in creation to use and action.” an angel of light, was not the want which did most For if any man shall think, by view and inquiry solicit him; only because he was a minister he into these sensible and material things, to attain to aimed at a supremacy; therefore his climbing or any light for the revealing of the nature or will of ascension was turned into a throwing down or pre-God; he shall dangerously abuse himself. It is cipitation.
true, that the contemplation of the creatures of God Man on the other side, when he was tempted be- hath for end, as to the natures of the creatures fore he fell, had offered unto him this suggestion, themselves, knowledge; but as to the nature of God, " that he should be like unto God.” But how? not no knowledge, but wonder : which is nothing else simply, but in this part, “ knowing good and evil." | but contemplation broken off, or losing itself. Nay For being in his creation invested with sovereignty farther, as it was aptly said by one of Plato's school, of all inferior creatures, he was not needy of power 66 The sense of man resembles the sun, which openor dominion. But again, being a spirit newly en- eth and revealeth the terrestrial globe, but obscureth closed in a body of earth, he was fittest to be allured and concealeth the celestial ;" so doth the sense with appetite of light and liberty of knowledge. discover natural things, but darken and shut up Therefore this approaching and intruding into God's divine. And this appeareth sufficiently in that there secrets and mysteries, was rewarded with a farther is no proceeding in invention of knowledge, but by removing and estranging from God's presence. similitude ; and God is only self-like, having nothing But as to the goodness of God, there is no danger in common with any creature, otherwise than as in in contending or advancing towards a similitude shadow and trope. Therefore attend his will as thereof; as that which is open and propounded to himself openeth it, and give unto faith that which our imitation. For that voice, whereof the heathen I unto faith belongeth ; for more worthy it is to believe, than to think or know, considering that in condition of man as hath most excellency and knowledge, as we now are capable of it, the mind greatest commandment of wits and means, alluding suffereth from inferior natures ; but in all belief it also to his own person, being truly one of those suffereth from a spirit, which it holdeth superior, clearest burning lamps, whereof himself speaketh and more authorized than itself.
in another place, when he saith, " The spirit of man To conclude; the prejudice hath been infinite, that is as the lamp of God, wherewith he searcheth all both divine and human knowledge hath received by inwardness ;" which nature of the soul the same the intermingling and tempering the one with the Solomon holding precious and inestimable, and therein other : as that which hath filled the one full of conspiring with the affection of Socrates, who scornheresies, and the other full of speculative fictions ed the pretended learned men of his time for raisand vanities.
ing great benefit of their learning, whereas AnaxaBut now there are again, which, in a contrary goras contrariwise, and divers others, being born to extremity to those which give to contemplation an ample patrimonies, decayed them in contemplaover-large scope, do offer too great a restraint to tion, delivereth it in precept yet remaining, “Buy natural and lawful knowledge ; being unjustly jealous the truth, and sell it not ;” and so of wisdom and that every reach and depth of knowledge wherewith knowledge. their conceits have not been acquainted
, should be And lest any man should retain a scruple, as if too high an elevation of man's wit, and a searching this thirst of knowledge were rather a humour of and ravelling too far into God's secrets ; an opinion the mind, than an emptiness or want in nature, and that ariseth either of envy, which is proud weakness, an instinct from God; the same author defineth of and to be censured and not confuted, or else of a it fully, saying, “God hath made every thing in deceitful simplicity. For if they mean that the ig- beauty according to season ; also he hath set the norance of a second cause doth make men more de- world in man's heart, yet can he not find out the voutly to depend upon the providence of God, as work which God worketh from the beginning to the supposing the effects to come immediately from his end :” declaring not obscurely that God hath framed hand ; I demand of them, as Job demanded of his the mind of man as a glass, capable of the image of friends, “Will you lie for God, as man will for man the universal world, joying to receive the signature to gratify him ?" But if any man, without any thereof, as the eye is of light; yea, not only satissinister humour, doth indeed make doubt that this fied in beholding the variety of things, and vicissitude digging farther and farther into the mine of natural of times, but raised also to find out and discern those knowledge, is a thing without example, and uncom- ordinances and decrees, which throughout all these mended in the Scriptures, or fruitless ; let him re- changes are infallibly observed. And although the member and be instructed: for behold it was not highest generality of motion, or summary law of that pure light of natural knowledge, whereby man nature, God should still reserve within his own curin paradise was able to give unto every living crea- tain; yet many and noble are the inferior and secondture a name according to his propriety, which gave ary operations which are within man's sounding. occasion to the fall ; but it was an aspiring desire This is a thing which I cannot tell whether I may so to attain to that part of moral knowledge, which de- plainly speak as truly conceive, that as all knowfineth of good and evil, whereby to dispute God's ledge appeareth to be a plant of God's own planting, commandments, and not to depend upon the revela- so it may seem the spreading and flourishing, or at tion of his will, which was the original temptation. least the bearing and fructifying of this plant, by a And the first holy records, which within those brief providence of God, nay not only by a general provimemorials of things which passed before the flood, dence, but by a special prophecy, was appointed to entered few things as worthy to be registered, but this autumn of the world : for to my understanding, only lineages and propagations, yet nevertheless it is not violent to the letter, and safe now after the honour the remembrance of the inventor both of event, so to interpret that place in the prophecy of music and works in metal. Moses again, who was Daniel, where, speaking of the latter times, it is said, the reporter, is said to have been seen in all the Many shall pass to and fro, and science shall be Ægyptian learning, which nation was early and increased ;” as if the opening of the world by navileading in matter of knowledge. And Solomon the gation and commerce, and the farther discovery of king, as out of a branch of his wisdom extraordi- knowledge, should meet in one time or age. narily petitioned and granted from God, is said to But howsoever that be, there are besides the auhave written a natural history of all that is green, thorities of Scriptures before recited, two reasons of from the cedar to the moss, which is but a rudiment exceeding great weight and force, why religion between putrefaction and an herb, and also of all should dearly protect all increase of natural knowthat liveth and moveth. And if the book of Job be ledge: the one, because it leadeth to the greater turned over, it will be found to have much aspersion exaltation of the glory of God; for as the Psalms of natural philosophy. Nay, the same Solomon the and other scriptures do often invite us to consider, king affirmeth directly, that the glory of God “is and to magnify the great and wonderful works of to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to God; so if we should rest only in the contemplation find it out,” as if, according to the innocent play of of those shows which first offer themselves to our children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his senses, we should do a like injury to the majesty of works, to the end to have them found out; for in God, as if we should judge of the store of some exnaming the king he intendeth man, taking such a cellent jeweller, by that only which is set out to the