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diseases appears in the conversation of physicians; fractured limbs in the friendly intercourse of anatomists; and lawyers will put a case amidst the philosophy of Newton, and the imagination of Milton. Upon hearing the Witches in Macbeth say,
we are doing a deed without a name," we do not forget our learned friend in the pit, who exclaimed, " then it's not worth a farthing;" nor do we forget that, after a high encomium by a late eminent lawyer, upon the powers displayed by Bacon in his reading on the statute of uses, he says, "what might we not have expected from the hands of such a master, if his vast mind had not so embraced within its compass the whole field of science, as very much to detach him from professional studies." We wish it was in our power to forget, that Sir Edward Coke, (or that his contracted mind ought to be forgotten,) in Lord Bacon's presentation copy to him of the Novum Organum, which is now at Holkham, wrote with his own hand, under the hand writing of Lord Bacon,
Instaurare paras, veterum documenta sophisma,
and over the device of the ship, passing between Hercules' pillars:
"It deserveth not to be read in schools,
We lament, that within the limits of a review, instead of a minute explanation of the various remedies which, in different parts of his works, Bacon has suggested for these defects, we are compelled to confine ourselves to a mere enumeration of his admonitions:
1. That the mind should not be fixed, but kept open to receive continual improvement, which, he says, is exceeding rare. 2. That the mind should be daily employed upon some subject from which it is averse, and that we should bear ever toward the contrary of that whereunto we are by nature inclined like as when we row against the stream, or when we make a crooked wand straight, by bending it the contrary way.
3. That, if the mind is too discursive, the habit of fixedness should be formed by engaging in studies that will not admit mental aberration; and particularly in the study of the mathematics, of which he says, if a man be bird-witted, that is, quickly carried away, and hath not the patient faculty of attention, the mathematics give a remedy thereunto, wherein, if the wit be caught away but for a moment, the demonstration is new to begin.
"And, indeed, men do not sufficiently understand the excellent use of the pure mathematics, in that they do remedy and cure many defects in the wit and faculties intellectual. For if the wit be too dull, they sharpen it: if too wandering, they fix it: if too inherent in the sense, they abstract it. So that as tennis is a game of no use in itself, but of great use in respect it maketh a quick eye and a body ready to put into all postures; so in the mathematics, that use which is collateral and intervenient is no less worthy than that which is principal and intended."
In his sentiments of the importance of the habit of intellectual fixedness, Bacon is not peculiar. Locke, in his Conduct of the Understanding, intimates that it is the cause upon which mental perfection chiefly depends. It was, we understand, a common observation of Newton's, that if there were any difference between him and other men, it consisted in his fixing his eye steadily on the object which he had in view, and waiting patiently for every idea as it presented itself, without wandering or hurrying; and Burke, we have been told, always read a book as if he never were to see it again.
"4. In general there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies. Like as diseases of the body may have appropriated exercises: bowling is good for the stone and reins: shooting for the lungs and breast: gentle walking for the stomach riding for the head, and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again: if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen : for they are Cymini sectores: if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases: so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt."
Such is the nature of these Idols of the Den, with some of their consequences and remedies,
"Of which Plato's cave is an excellent emblem: for certainly if a man were continued from his childhood to mature age in a grotto or dark and subterraneous cave, and then should come suddenly abroad and should behold the stately canopy of heaven and the furniture of the world, without doubt he would have many strange and absurd imaginations come into his mind and people his brain. So in like manner we live in the view of heaven, yet our spirits are enclosed in the caves of our bodies, complexions and customs, which must needs minister unto us infinite images of error and vain opinions, if they do seldom and for so short a time appear above ground out of their holes, and do not continually live under the contemplation of nature as in the open air."
The next species is
Idols of the Market, or defects of Words.
The names of non-existences, or confused names of existences which latter species, as the subtlety of nature is infinite, and the subtlety of words limited and finite, must, to a greater or less extent, always exist.-Words may tell the minutes, but not the seconds.-When we attempt to rear a temple to heaven, we must not be unmindful of the confusion of languages.
The last species is,
Idols of the Theatre; or, erroneous Theories;
of which Bacon says:
"The Idols of the Theatre, or Theories, are many, and will probably grow much more numerous; for, if men had not, through many ages, been prepossessed with religion and theology, and if civil governments, but particularly monarchies, had not been averse to innovations of this kind, though but intended, so as to make it dangerous and prejudicial to the private fortunes of such as take the bent of innovating, not only by depriving them of advantages, but also by exposing them to contempt and hatred, there would, doubtless, have been numerous other sects of philosophies and theories introduced, of kin to those that, in great variety, formerly flourished among the Greeks. And these theatrical fables have this in common with dramatic pieces, that the fictitious narrative is neater, more elegant, and pleasing, than the true history."
Thus concludes Bacon's doctrine of Idols, which, considering Idols of the Theatre, as in the Advancement of Learning, rather as consequences of Idolatry, than a separate species, appear to us, as we have already intimated, reduceable to two classes.
(1. Idols of the Tribe.
2. Idols of the Theatre.
2. Particular Idols, or Idols of Individuals.
1. General Idols.
But whatever may be the limits within which they may be included, to their baneful influence Bacon ascribes the prevalence of error: and on their destruction, in chasing and dislodging them from the mind by legitimate induction, he rests his hope of the ultimate ascendancy of truth. "For the kingdom of man, which is founded in the sciences, can be entered only as the kingdom of God, in the condition of little children."
Upon our motives for the acquisition of knowledge,*
There are, in different parts of Bacon's works, various scattered observations, but no systematic treatise: not because he did not suppose the subject worthy of arrangement, for these were not his sentiments upon any subject.
"Pragmatical men should know," he says, in his tract on the art of Advancement in life," that learning is not like some small bird, as the lark, that can mount and sing, and please herselfe, and nothing lese; but that she holds as well of the hauke, that can soare aloft, and after that when she sees her time, can stoop and seize upon her prey. Againe this kind of wisdom much respects the perfection of learning; because it is the right rule of a perfect enquiry, that nothing be found in the globe of matter, that hath not a parallel in the christalline globe, or the intellect. That is, that there be not any thing in being and action, that should not be drawne and collected into contemplation and doctrine."
Nor did he think that the mere exhibition of the advantage of knowledge, upon which he is so diffuse, was sufficient, for "To speak of virtue," he says, "without shewing from whence she proceeds, is only to exhibit a statue, lovely to behold, but dead and motionless." His silence did not originate in either of these causes; but, absorbed himself in the delights of contemplation, in his hope and endeavors to extend and to enable his successors to extend the bounds of apprehension, and enlarge the territories of reason: he seems not, indeed, to have despised men dead to such motives, for he was not of a nature to feel contempt for any living being, nor proudly to have said, " eorum vitam mortemque juxta æstimo;" but, knowing the impossibility of gathering grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, he contents himself with saying,
"Neverthelesse I doe not take upon me, neither can I hope to obtaine by any perorations, or pleadings of this case touching learning, to reverse the judgement either of Esop's Cock, that preferred the barley-corne before the gemme; or of Midas, that being chosen Judge between Apollo, president of the Muses, and Pan, president of sheep, judged for plenty; or of Paris, that judged for pleasure and love,
See our 5th number, p. 155, where we have divided the introductions into
1. Survey of our powers.
2. Motives of their exercise.
3. Obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge.
against wisdom and power, for these things must continue as they have been, but so will that also continue, whereupon learning hath ever relied as on a firm foundation which can never be shaken: justificata est sapientia à filiis suis."
Bacon saw clearly that our motives for the acquisition of knowledge are either a love of excelling, or a love of excellence, as he has stated in a beautiful passage, which we will venture to repeat,
"Men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity and inquisitive appetite: sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight: sometimes for ornament and reputation: and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction: and most times for lucre and profession: and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of man: as if there were sought in knowledge a couch whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit: or a terrace, for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down with a fair prospect, or a tower of state, for a proud mind to raise itself upon: or a fort or commanding ground, for strife or contention: or a shop, for profit or sale, and not a rich storehouse, for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man's estate."
He saw the true nature of the love of excelling, that it is only a temporary motive, and that it has a tendency to generate bad passions; but he was not blind to its advantages: he saw that it led to the acquisition of that portion of knowledge for which it operated, and that it was attended with the chance of sinking into the affection and being productive.
Seeing the advantages attendant upon the love of excelling, Bacon was, of all men living, the least disposed to disregard them. There is no description of human being, no motive of human conduct, which he was not desirous to convert to its own use, and to the service of mankind. When speaking of ambition, he says:
"Good commanders in the wars must be taken, be they never so ambitious; for the use of their service dispenseth with the rest; and to take a soldier without ambition, is to pull off his spurs. There is also great use of ambitious men, in being screens to princes, in matters of danger and envy; for no man will take that part, except he be like a sealed dove, that mounts, and mounts, because he cannot see about him."
And, even when speaking of misanthropy, he says:
"Such men, in other men's calamities, are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading part: not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus's sores, but like flies, that are still buzzing upon any thing