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The reformation under Luther broke this mighty power. It was necessary that some tremendous shock should be given to the Roman see, and set the human mind at liberty, and it was done. God raised up men formed for those times, men evidently adapted to make vast changes, and originate stupendous revolutions among men. The papal power once broken; the project of confining all learning to the cells of the monastery being for ever put to an end by the discovery of printing; the terrors of the inquisition, and the anathemas of the triple crown being ineffectual to prove the telescope to be false; and the superincumbent load of superstition, and crimes, in the papal dominion being beyond human endurance, the reformation by one mighty effort threw off the incumbent mass, and man walked forth dignified with the privilege withheld for centuries, of thinking for himself. The great truth went forth, never more to be recalled, that man was to be at liberty to frame his own opinions, and that the last successful effort had been made effectually to fetter and paralyze the human powers.
It is interesting to the friends of science, to trace the slow advances which were made toward the great truths which now ennoble science. We have already adverted to the labors of Roger Bacon, and the discovery of the telescope by Galileo. We may now remark, that many of the maxims of the inductive philosophy were acted on before they were collected and arranged by Bacon. Thus in the year 1596, John Kepler published his peculiar views on the Harmonies and Analogies of Nature. This was a book constructed wholly on the prevalent system of philosophy, in which he attempts to solve what he calls "the cosmographical mystery of the admirable proportion of the planetary orbits;" and by means of the six regular geometrical solids he endeavors to assign a reason why there are six planets, and why the dimensions of their orbits, and the time of their periodical revolutions, were such as Copernicus found them. Perhaps not even in the trifling, but more laborious toils of the schoolmen, could there be found a more melancholy illustration of the prevalent philosophy. A copy of this work was presented by its author to Tycho Brahe, who had been too long versed in the realities of close observation to attach any value to such wild theories. He advised his young friend, "first to lay a solid foundation for his views by actual observation, and then by ascending from these, to strive to reach the causes of things." On this principle Brahe had long acted, and by the aid of it had reached a distinguished elevation in the philosophical world. On this principle Kepler appears afterwards to have
At this auspicious period Bacon rose.
acted, and under the guidance of the Baconian philosophy thus compressed into a single paragraph, he abandoned his visionary inquiries, and laid the foundation of that distinguished character for philosophic inquiry, which he subsequently obtained. Philosophers were beginning gradually to abandon the long established maxims of the schools. They began to discover the inutility and barrenness t their speculations. Incidentally, and at intervals, they expressed some great sentiment, which if followed out would have freed them from the domination of the prevailing systems. They saw that under the advancing prevalence of the new principles of inqui ry, the universe began, to their view, to assume a new aspect; discoveries in science had already characterized the sixteenth century, far more in number and importance than had marked the whole reign of the philosophy of Aristotle, and the way was manifestly opening for some still more splendid advances in science. The world had manifestly worked itself into a form adapted to the molding of some such mighty mind. Some comprehensive genius was demanded by the circumstances of the age, that could look at once at all the depart ments of science, ascertain and record all that had been done, and that was still defective; point out the errors that had pervaded all the investigations of past generations, expose the causes of the slow progress of science, of its repeated defeats, its little utility, and point out the true paths of philosophic research. Some single mind of vast native powers and attainments, was needed to collect the incipient, though scattered maxims of the true philosophy, and present them in an embodied form; that should trace their real influence in the hands of Friar Bacon, of Galileo, of Tycho Brahe, and of Kepler; and that should show in what way the same prin ciples might be applied to all the departments of human investi gation. Such a man was Bacon. Nor was there ever a human be ing so well fitted to occupy this ground as he. He seems to have been fitted by a wise providence, to stand at the base of the towering and superincumbent system, which had so long held in ignoble bondage all the human powers, and to hasten its decline; and to frame a scheme that should be adapted to all future times, and to set up land-marks along the paths of all the departments of science. Nor do we know that there have ever been put forth more vast and comprehensive views, than those which characterized this illustrious man. The principles of his philosophy are simple, even to the comprehension of a child; and yet vast enough to meet all the investigations of the modern astronomy, to di rect all the inquiries of the natural philosopher and chimist, and to give law to all the investigations of mind.
The two great departments of Bacon's work were designed to
state what are the proper objects of science, its advances, and its defects; and to submit the outlines of a new method of philosophic inquiry. The first of these he accomplished in his treatise on the Advancement of Learning; the latter in the Novum Organum. The first of these, we regard as presenting even now, by far the best view to be found, of the various objects of human pursuit. With a comprehensiveness of mind, which shows that he had looked at all the inquiries of the illustrious men of other times, at their successes, and their failures, at the true compass of the field of inquiry, and at its actual results, he states what are the proper objects of human pursuit; what advances had been made; and what remained yet to be accomplished. It is lamentable, in looking at this work, to see how little had been accomplished by the toils of so many centuries, and no survey could more completely have shown the necessity of some new mode of investigation. Men had speculated and framed visionary theories age after age, and yet scarcely a truth in the science of astronomy had been established; and few of the facts of the universe had been subjected to the test of the inductive philosophy. Men had been so bewildered in the pursuit of substantial forms, and real essences, they had been so tossed in vortices, and had listened so anxiously to the imagined music of the spheres; they had so loved the great maxim of the Aristotelian philosophy, that the way to investigate truth is to frame a theory, and construct a syllogism; that science, even down to the time of Bacon, was a vast chaos, and the entire field was to be re-surveyed, and subjected to a better and different
This test he proposed in the Novum Organum. Never was there a more comprehensive maxim, or one more fitted to revolutionize all the prevalent systems of philosophy-though to us perfectly simple and obvious-than the first sentence of this wonderful work. Never was there an announcement more fitted to arrest the thoughts of a philosophic mind, or to produce a pause in all the inquiries that the world was then making, than when he proclaimed, "Homo, naturæ minister et interpres, tantum facit et intelligit, quantum de naturæ ordine, re vel mente observaverit; nec amplius scit, aut potest." It is not our purpose to attempt an analysis of this vast and comprehensive work. It is perhaps of all works, except Butler's Analogy, least capable of abridgment. Our regret is that it is so little known and so little understood by theologians. Its great principles are better understood in all other departments of inquiry than in theology. We were about to add that divinity is almost the only science on which it has not cast a flood of light. We shall have occasion hereafter to call the attention of our readers to what we conceive would be the effect of an unsparing application
of its principles to theology. Our object in this article will be accomplished, if we can direct the attention of our readers to this great work.
The great principle of the Baconian or inductive philosophy, we have already stated in the advice given by Tycho Brahe to Kepler. It consists in a careful and patient examination of facts, or the phenomena of the universe, and deriving from the observation of those facts the principles of a just philosophy, or the laws by which the natural universe is governed. It supposes that God acts on the same principles in the same circumstances, in all places and at all times; and that when we have carefully examined one phenomenon, and have ascertained its cause,we are qualified and authorized to apply the same explanation to all similar facts in the universe. Till then, we are not qualified to frame a theory. Till then, a theory would be visionary, useless, wild, and probably erroOn this simple precept the whole of the Baconian philosophy rests, and the wonder to us is, that so much time was necessary in the history of philosophy to bring it out, and that the talents of such a man as Bacon were demanded to establish it on an imperishable foundation. Yet it was long before the world saw its value; and to the mistakes and errors of mankind in regard to this single principle, we are indebted for that stupendous production of the human mind-the Novum Organum.
It was sufficient honor for one man to have laid the foundation of the inductive philosophy; in other words, to have taught the race in what way to approach the works of God with the hope of success. This was the honor reserved for Bacon. Hence we are not to expect that he himself would make great advances in experimental philosophy. His discoveries were few, and many of his experiments incomplete. Yet it is amazing that he subjected so many objects to the test of experiment-that with so incomplete and clumsy an apparatus as could be possessed in his time, he attempted an examination of so many phenomena, and even with so much
From the time, however, of the publication of the Novum Organum, the progress of the sciences is well known. As if by the wand of magic, Bacon laid open for correct human investigation all the departments of the material and mental worlds. Galileo had already pointed the telescope to the heavens; and by a single glance had exposed to contempt all the cycles and conjectures of the ancient astronomy. Bacon taught mankind how to look at the stupendous facts which the telescope laid open to view; how to classify and arrange the amazing phenomena which now burst upon the eyes of mankind; how to subject nature to the torture, and how to penetrate into all elements, look at all worlds, and how to listen to the
universal voice which the heavens and the earth, the air, the ocean, and the land, were ready with a harmony more grateful than the feeble music of the spheres, to pour on the human ear in relation to science. Europe was prepared to follow her illustrious guide. Centuries had been opening the way for the Novum Organum; and it was impossible but that the boundaries of human science should at once be enlarged, far, far beyond what the world had ever known. A mighty engine was brought to bear on the works of creation; and never before had man been armed with like power in questioning the elements of the universe. We regard the rise of such a man as Newton, who has by common consent been placed at the head of the race, as an event which the crisis of the world was just fitted to produce. A peculiar juncture of political affairs has commonly raised up men adapted to their times. Such men as Cæsar and Napoleon, as Hannibal and Scipio, as Leonidas and our own Washington, are formed often by great crises in the history of the world. The frame of things makes their existence indispensable; and calls out talent, prowess, and patriotism, which, but for such events, would have slumbered unknown.
Newton we regard as indebted to the state of things formed by Wickliffe and Luther; by Galileo, Kepler, Brahe; by John of Salisbury, Roger Bacon, Ludovicus Vives; by Gilbert, who had investigated the laws of magnetic attraction; by Copernicus who had revived the ancient Pythagorean doctrine of astronomy; by Francis Bacon; and by the prevalence of just principles of philosophy in Europe, for the station which he occupies in fame as at the head of mankind. The development of some such mind, we consider as inevitable in the progress of events, as the formation of the character of Napoleon, fitted to control the whirlwind and direct the storm of revolution in France. And while we wish to concede all honor to his immortal name, we cannot but remark that under other auspices, Aristotle, or even John Duns Scotus, might have filled the space which Newton's name now fills; and that most certainly some La Place, or Herschell, would have opened the eyes of mankind on the modern astonishing theories of the heavens. In less than half a century from the publication of the Novum Organum, Newton had developed the laws of light, strictly on the principles of the inductive philosophy; had invented the science of fluxions; had discovered and demonstrated the grand principles of the modern astronomy; and by one transcendent effort of intellect, had opened to human view the sublimest scenes which had ever appeared to mortal eyes; and while he told us of the amazing distances and magnitudes of the heavenly bodies, seemed almost to annihilate their distances, and made man feel for the first time that he was an inhabitant of the universe, and