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"their natural genius, and, by straining of it, crack " and disable it. And so, it seems, it happened to "that worthy and elegant man. Upon this great
occasion, he would be over-accurate; and he sent " a specimen of such superfine latinity, that the Lord "Bacon did not encourage him to labour further in “that work, in the penning of which, he desired not so much neat and polite, as clear, masculine, and apt expression."
On the 12th of October, 1620, in a letter to the king, presenting the Novum Organum to his majesty, Lord Bacon says, "I hear my former book "of the Advancement of Learning, is well tasted in "the universities here, and the English colleges "abroad and this is the same argument sunk deeper."
An edition in 8vo. was published in 1629; and a third edition, corrected from the original edition of 1605, was published at Oxford in 1633. These are the only editions of the Advancement of Learning, which were published before the year 1636, a period of ten years after the death of Lord Bacon.
The present edition is corrected from the first edition of 1605, and with the hope of making it more acceptable to the public, an Analysis of the whole work with a table of contents is prefixed, and a copious index is annexed.
I. The excellence of knowledge and the merit of propagating it
II. What has been done for the advancement of learn
To clear the way, and, as it were, to make silence, to have the true testimonies concerning the dignity of learning to be better heard, without the interruption of tacit objections.
1. The aspiring to Knowledge was the cause of the fall 2. Knowledge generates pride
3. Solomon says there is no end of making books, and he that
increases knowledge increases anxiety
We must not so place our felicity in knowledge as to forget our mortality: but to give ourselves repose and contentment, and not presume by the contemplation of nature to attain to the mysteries of God.
4. St. Paul warns us not to be spoiled through vain
. 12 The sense of man resembles the sun, which opens and reveals the terrestrial globe but conceals the stars and celestial globe: hence men fall who seek to fly up to the secrets of the Deity by the waxen wings of the senses. 5. Learned men are inclined to be heretics, and learned men to atheism
It is an assured truth and a conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism, but a further proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion.
Let no man, upon a weak conceit of sobriety, or an illapplied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can earch too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; Divinity or Philosophy.
OBJECTIONS WHICH POLITITIANS MAKE TO LEARNING.
1. Learning softens men's minds and makes them unfit for
Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar the dictator ; whereof the one was Aristotle's scholar in philosophy, and the other was Cicero's rival in eloquence: or if any man had rather call for scholars that were great generals, than generals that were great scholars, let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or Xenophon the Athenian.
2. Learning makes men unfit for civil affairs
It is accounted an error to commit a natural body to empiric physicians, which commonly have a few pleasing receipts, whereupon they are confident and adventurous, but know neither the causes of diseases, nor the complexions of patients, nor peril of accidents, nor the true method of
cures; we see it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers, which are only men of practice, and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily surprised, when matter falleth out besides their experience to the prejudice of the causes they handle: so by like reason, it cannot be but a matter of doubtful consequence, if states be managed by empiric statesmen, not well mingled with men grounded in learning.
1. It makes them irresolute by variety of reading
It teacheth them when and upon what ground to resolve, and to carry things in suspense till they resolve. 3. It makes them too peremtory by strictness of rules
It teacheth them when and upon what ground to resolve ; yea, and how to carry things in suspense without prejudice, till they resolve; if it make men positive and regular, it teacheth them what things are in their nature demonstrative, and what are conjectural; and as well the use of distinctions and exceptions, as the latitude of principles and rules.
4. It makes them immoderate by greatness of example
It teacheth men the force of circumstances, the errors of comparisons, and all the cautions of application. It makes them incompatible by dissimilitude of examples 19
Let a man look into the errors of Clement the seventh, so livelily described by Guicciardine, who served under him, or into the errors of Cicero, painted out by his own pencil in his epistles to Atticus, and he will fly apace from being irresolute. Let him look into the errors of Phocion, and he will beware how he be obstinate or inflexible. Let him but read the fable of Ixion, and it will hold him from being vapourous or imaginative. Let him look into the errors of Cato the second, and he will never be one of the Antipodes, to tread opposite to the present world
6. It disposes men to leisure and retirement.
It were strange if that, which accustometh the mind to a perpetual motion and agitation, should induce slothful