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"Purpureo: non illa feris incognita capris
Gramina, cum tergo volucres hæsere sagittæ."
So that it was no marvel, the manner of antiquity being to consecrate inventors, that the Egyptians had so few human idols in their temples, but almost all brute.
"Omnigenumque Deum monstra, et latrator Anubis,
"Contra Neptunum, et Venerem, contraque Minervam, &c." And if you like better the tradition of the Grecians, and ascribe the first inventions to men; yet you will rather believe that Prometheus first struck the flints, and marvelled at the spark, than that when he first struck the flints he expected the spark: and therefore we see the West-Indian Prometheus had no intelligence with the European, because of the rareness with them of flint, that gave the first occasion. So as it should seem, that hitherto men are rather beholden to a wild goat for surgery, or to a nightingale for music, or to the ibis for some part of physic, or to the pot lid that flew open for artillery, or generally to chance, or any thing else, than to logic, for the invention of arts and sciences. Neither is the form of invention which Virgil describeth much other :
"Ut varias usus meditando extunderet artes
For if you observe the words well, it is no other method than that which brute beasts are capable of, and to put in use; which is a perpetual intending or practising some one thing, urged and imposed by an absolute necessity of conservation of being for
so Cicero saith very truly, "Usus uni rei deditus et "naturam et artem sæpe vincit." And therefore if it be said of men,
"Labor omnia vincit
Improbus, et duris urgens in rebus egestas!"
it is likewise said of beasts, " Quis psittaco docuit "suum xaipe? Who taught the raven in a drought to throw pebbles into an hollow tree, where she espied water, that the water might rise so as she might come to it? Who taught the bee to sail through such a vast sea of air, and to find the way from a field in flower, a great way off, to her hive? Who taught the ant to bite every grain of corn that she burieth in her hill, lest it should take root and grow? Add then the word " extundere," which importeth the extreme difficulty, and the word " pau
" latim," which importeth the extreme slowness, and we are where we were, even amongst the Ægyptians' gods; there being little left to the faculty of reason, and nothing to the duty of art, for matter of invention.
Secondly, the induction which the logicians speak of, and which seemeth familiar with Plato, (whereby the principles of sciences may be pretended to be invented, and so the middle propositions by derivation from the principles ;) their form of induction, I say, is utterly vicious and incompetent : wherein their error is the fouler, because it is the duty of art to perfect and exalt nature; but they contrariwise have wronged, abused, and traduced nature. For he that shall attentively observe how
the mind doth gather this excellent dew of knowledge, like unto that which the poet speaketh of, "Aërei mellis cœlestia dona," distilling and contriving it out of particulars natural and artificial, as the flowers of the field and garden, shall find that the mind of herself by nature doth manage and act an induction much better than they describe it. For to conclude upon an enumeration of particulars, without instance contradictory, is no conclusion, but a conjecture; for who can assure, in many subjects upon those particulars which appear of a side, that there are not other on the contrary side which appear not? As if Samuel should have rested upon those sons of Jesse which were brought before him, and failed of David, which was in the field. And this form, to say truth, is so gross, as it had not been possible for wits so subtile as have managed these things to have offered it to the world, but that they hasted to their theories and dogmaticals, and were imperious and scornful toward particulars; which their manner was to use but as "lictores and viatores," for sarjeants and whifflers," ad summovendam "turbam," to make way and make room for their opinions, rather than in their true use and service. Certainly it is a thing may touch a man with a religious wonder, to see how the footsteps of seducement are the very same in divine and human truth: for as in divine truth man cannot endure to become as a child; so in human, they reputed the attending the inductions whereof we speak, as if it were a second infancy or childhood.
Thirdly, allow some principles or axioms were rightly induced, yet nevertheless certain it is that middle propositions cannot be deduced from them in subject of nature by syllogism, that is, by touch and reduction of them to principles in a middle term. It is true that in sciences popular, as moralities, laws, and the like, yea and divinity (because it pleaseth God to apply himself to the capacity of the simplest), that form may have use; and in natural philosophy likewise, by way of argument or satisfactory reason, "Quæ assensum parit, operis. "effœta est:" but the subtlety of nature and operations will not be enchained in those bonds: for arguments consist of propositions, and propositions of words; and words are but the current tokens or marks of popular notions of things; which notions, if they be grossly and variably collected out of particulars, it is not the laborious examination either of consequences of arguments, or of the truth of propositions, that can ever correct that error, being, as the physicians speak, in the first digestion: and therefore it was not without cause, that so many excellent philosophers became sceptics and academics, and denied any certainty of knowledge or comprehension; and held opinion, that the knowledge of man extended only to appearances and probabilities. It is true that in Socrates it was supposed to be but a form of irony, "Scientiam "dissimulando simulavit:" for he used to disable his knowledge, to the end to enhance his knowledge; like the humour of Tiberius in his beginnings, that
would reign, but would not acknowledge so much; and in the later Academy, which Cicero embraced, this opinion also of "acatalepsia," I doubt, was not held sincerely for that all those which excelled in "copia" of speech seem to have chosen that sect, as that which was fittest to give glory to their eloquence and variable discourses; being rather like progresses of pleasure, than journeys to an end. But assuredly many scattered in both Academies did hold it in subtilty and integrity: but here was their chief error; they charged the deceit upon the senses; which in my judgment, notwithstanding all their cavillations, are very sufficient to certify and report truth, though not always immediately, yet by comparison, by help of instrument, and by producing and urging such things as are too subtile for the sense to some effect comprehensible by the sense, and other like assistance. But they ought to have charged the deceit upon the weakness of the intellectual powers, and upon the manner of collecting and concluding upon the reports of the senses. This I speak, not to disable the mind of man, but to stir it up to seek help: for no man, be he never so cunning or practised, can make a straight line or perfect circle by steadiness of hand, which may be easily done by help of a ruler or compass.
This part of invention, concerning the invention of sciences, I purpose, if God give me leave, hereafter to propound, having digested it into two parts; whereof the one I term " Experientia Literata," and the other "Interpretatio Naturæ:" the former being