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have less affinity with arts mechanical and illiberal, in that they are not so subject to be controuled by persons of mean observation, in that they seem to teach men that they know not, and not to refer them to that they know. All which conditions directly feeding the humour of pride, particulars do want. That the majesty of generalities, and the divine nature of the mind in taking them (if they be truly collected, and be indeed the direct reflexions of things,) cannot be too much magnified. And that it is true that interpretation is the very natural and direct intention, action, and progression of the understanding delivered from impediments. And that all Anticipation is but a deflexion or declination by accident.
CAP. 25. Of the impediments which have been in the state of heathen religion and other superstitions and errors of religion. And that in the true religion there hath not? nor is any impediment, except it be by accident or intermixture of humour.
That a religion which consisteth in rites and forms of adoration, and not in confessions and beliefs, is adverse to knowledge; because men having liberty to inquire and discourse of Theology at pleasure, it cometh to pass that all inquisition of nature endeth and limiteth itself in such metaphysical or theological discourse; whereas if men's wits be shut out of that port, it turneth them again to discover, and so to seek reason of reason more deeply. And that such was the religion of the Heathen. That a religion that is jealous of the variety of learning, discourse, opinions, and sects, (as misdoubting it may shake the foundations,) or that cherisheth devotion upon simplicity and ignorance, as ascribing ordinary effects to the immediate working of God, is adverse to knowledge. That such is the religion of the Turk, and such hath been the abuse of Christian religion at some several times, and in some several factions. And of the singular advantage which the Christian religion bath towards the furtherance of true knowledge, in that it excludeth and interdicteth human reason, whether by interpretation or anticipation, from examining or discussing of the mysteries and principles of faith.
Of the impediments which have been in the nature of society and the policies of state. That there is no composition of estate or society, nor order or quality of persons, which have not some point of contrariety towards true knowledge. That monarchies incline wits to profit and pleasure, and commonwealths to glory and vanity. That universities incline wits to sophistry and affectation, cloisters to fables and unprofitable subtilty, study at large to variety; and that it is hard to say, whether mixture of contemplations with an active life, or retiring wholly to contemplations, do disable and hinder the
TIIE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING.
The first edition of the Advancement of Learning is dated 1605. In what month it appeared is doubtful; but from certain allusions in a letter sent by Bacon to Tobie Matthew with a presentation copy, I gather (for the letter bears no date) that it was not out before the latter end of October.
Tobie Matthew, eldest son of the Bishop of Durham, was then about 27 years old, and had been intimate with Bacon, certainly for the last three years, and probably for more. Bacon had a high opinion of his abilities and seems to have consulted him about his works. “I have now at last (he says in this letter) taught that child to go, at the swaddling whereof you were. My work touching the Proficiency and Advancement of Learning I have put into two books, whereof the former, which you saw, I account but as a Page to the latter. I have now published them both, whereof I thought it a small adventure to send you a copy, who have more right to it than any man, except Bishop Andrews, who was my Inquisitor.
Now Matthew had been abroad since April, 1605; and as he had seen the first book only, it is probable that the second was not then written; a circumstance which may be very naturally accounted for, if I am right in supposing that the Advancement of Learning was begun immediately after the accession of James I. From the death of Elizabeth, 24th March, 1602-3, to the meeting of James's first Parliament, 19th March, 1603-4, Bacon had very little to do. He held indeed the same place among the Learned Counsel which he had held under Elizabeth, but his services were little if at all used. On the 3d of July, 1603, we find him writing to Lord Cecil:-“For my
Andrews was made a
"Sir Tobie Matthew's collection of English letters, p. xi. Bishop on the 3d of November, 1605.