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ANALYSIS OF LORD BACON'S
ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING.
Dedication to King James :
1 Division of the work
7 1. The excellence of knowledge and the merit of propagating it
7 1. Objections to learning 2. Advantages of learning
7, 52 II. What has been done for the advancement of learning; and what is omitted
7, 8, 9
THE EXCELLENCE OF LEARNING,
THE MERIT OF DISSEMINATING IT.
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING.
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, Objections of Divines
8 Objections of Politicians
14 Objections from the Errors of Learned men
OBJECTIONS WHICH DIVINES MAKE TO LEARNING.
1. The aspiring to Knowledge was the cause of the fall 7 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 not to be spoiled through vain philosophy
12 The sense of man resembles the sun, which
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 waren wings of the senses. 5. Learned men are inclined to be heretics, and learned men to atheism
12 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
14 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
16 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
14 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 19
It teachelh 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 teachetn them what things are in their nature demon-. strative, and what are conjecturul; 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 14
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 obslinate 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
ness: of all men they are the most indefatigable, if it be towards any business that can detain their minds
The most active or busy man that hath been or can be, hath, no question, many vacant times of leisure, while he expecteth the tides and returns of business. And then the question is, but, how those spaces and times of - leisure shall be filled and spent; whether in pleasures or in studies ; as was well answered by Demosthenes, to his adversary Æschines, that was a man given to pleasure, and told him, that his orations did smell of the lamp:“ Indeed," said Demosthenes, “ there is a great difference between
“ the things that you and I do by lamp-light.” 1. It relaxes discipline by making men more ready to argue than to obey
To say that a blind custom of obedience should be a surer obligation than duty taught and understood, is to affirm, that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a seeing man can by a light. And it is without all controversy, that learning doth make the minds of men gentle, generous, maniable and pliant to government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwarting, and mutinous.
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE ERRORS OF LEARNED
1. From their fortunes.
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE FORTUNES OF LEARNED
1. Learned men are poor and live in obscurity.
Learned men forgotten in states, and not living in the eyes of men, are like the images of Cassius and Brutus in the funeral of Junia : of which not being represented, as
many others were, Tacitus saith, “ Eo ipso præfulgebant,
quod nou visebantur.” 2. Learned men are engaged in mean employments as the
education of youth.
We see men are more. curious what they put into a new vessel, than into a vessel seasoned ; and what mould they lay about a young plant, than about a plant corroborate : so as the weakest terms and times of all things use to have the best applications and helps.
OBJECTIONS TO LEARNING FROM THE MANNERS OF LEARNED
1. Learned men endeavour to impose the laws of ancient
severity upon dissolute times.
Solon, when he was asked whether he had given his citizens the best laws, answered wisely, “ Yea, of such as they “ would receive;" and Plato, finding that his own heart could not agree with the corrupt manners of his country, refused to bear place or office; saying, “That a man's
country was to be used as "his parents were, that is,
" with humble persuasions, and not with contestations." 2. Learned men prefer the public good to their own interest.
The corrupter sort of mere politicians, that have not their thoughts established by learning in the love and apprehension of duty, nor ever look abroad into uuiversality, do refer all things to themselves, and thrust themselves into the centre of the world, as if all lines should meet in them and their fortunes ; never caring, in all tempests, what becomes of the ship of state, so they may save themselves in
the cockboat of their own fortune. 3. Learned men' fail sometimes in applying themselves to
The reasons of this ; 1. The largeness of their minds, which cannot descend to
He that cannot contract the sight of his mind, as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty.