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PRE FA CE.
LoRD BACON, in the midst of his laborious occupations, published, in the year 1605, his celebrated work “The Advancement of Learning,” which professes to be a survey of the then existing knowledge, with a designation of the parts of science which were unexplored; the cultivated parts of the intellectual world and the desarts; a finished picture with an outline of what was untouched. Within the outline is included the whole of science. After having examined the objections to tearning ; —the advantages of learning; — the places of learning or universities;–the books of learning or libraries, “the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed;"—after having thus cleared the way, and, as it were, “made silence to have the true nature of learning better heard and understood,” he investigates all knowledge:
1st. Relating to the Memory, or History.
2nd. Relating to the Imagination, or Poetry.
3rd. Relating to the Understanding, or Philosophy.
Such is the outline: within it the work is minutely
by such arrangement, with the mere exhibition of
into marvels, but to reduce marvels to plain things. Of these simple modes of illustrating truth it appears, from a volume of Apothegms, published in the decline of his life, and a recommendation of them, in this treatise, as a useful appendage to history, that he had formed a collection.
When the subject required it, he, without departing from simplicity, selected images of a higher nature; as, when explaining how the body acts upon the mind, and anticipating the common senseless observation, that such investigations are injurious to religion, “Do not,” he says, “imagine that inquiries of this nature question the immortality of the soul, or derogate from its sovereignty over the body. The infant in its mother's womb partakes of the accidents of its mother, but is separable in due season.” So, too, when explaining that the body is decomposed by the depredation of innate spirit and of ambient air, and that if the action of these causes can be prevented, the body will defy decomposition: “Have you never,” he says, “seen a fly in amber, more beautifully entombed than an Egyptian monarch 7” and, when speaking of the resemblance in the different parts of nature, and calling upon his readers to observe that truths are general, he says, “Is not the delight of the quavering upon a stop in music the same with the playing of light upon the water,