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he should be held up as a warning beacon to teach all men an important lesson; to afford them a sad proof that no intellectual power-no extent of learning,—not even the most pure and exalted moral sentiments, confined to theory, will supply the want of a diligent and watchful conformity in practice to christian principle. All the attempts that have been made to vindicate or palliate Bacon's moral conduct, tend only to lower, and to lower very much, the standard of virtue. He appears but too plainly to have been worldly, ambitious, covetous, base, selfish, and unscrupulous.' And it is remarkable that the Mammon which he served proved but a faithless master in the end. He reached the highest pinnacle, indeed, to which his ambition had aimed; but he died impoverished, degraded, despised, and broken-hearted. His example, therefore, is far from being at all seductive.
But let no one, thereupon, undervalue or neglect the lessons of wisdom which his writings may supply, and which we may, through divine grace, turn to better account than he did himself. It would be absurd to infer, that because Bacon was a great philosopher, and far from a good man, therefore you will be the better man for keeping clear of his philosophy. His intellectual superiority was no more the cause of his moral failures, than Solomon's wisdom was of his. You may be as faulty a character as either of them was, without possessing a particle of their wisdom, and without seeking to gain instruction from it. The intellectual light which they enjoyed, did not, indeed, keep them in the right path; but you will not be the more likely to walk in it, if you quench any light that is The Canaanites of old, we should remember, dwelt in 'a good land, flowing with milk and honey,' though they worshipped not the true God, but served abominable demons with sacrifices of the produce of their soil, and even with the blood of their children. But the Israelites were invited to go in, and take possession of well-stored houses that they builded not, and wells which they digged not;' and they 'took the labours of the people in possession ;' only, they were warned to beware lest, in their prosperity and wealth, they should forget the Lord their God,' and to offer to Him the first fruits of their land.
* This censure of Bacon has actually been complained of as undeserved; not on the ground that his conduct was any better than it is but too well known to have been, but on the ground that his writings contain excellent views of Gospel-truth!
This is exactly the doctrine of the ancient Gnostics; who held that their (socalled) knowledge [Gnosis) of the Gospel would save them, though leading a vicious life.
But when instances of such teaching in our own days are adduced (as unhappily may be done to a great extent), some persons including some who are themselves of blameless life-resolutely shut their ears to evidence, and will not be brought to perceive, or at least to acknowledge, that any such thing as Gnosticism exists among us, or that we are in danger of antinomian doctrine.
So strong is the force of Party!
Neglect not, then, any of the advantages of intellectual cultivation, which God's providence has placed within your reach, nor think scorn of that pleasant land,' and prefer wandering by choice in the barren wilderness of ignorance; but let the intellect which God has endowed you with be cultivated as a servant to Him, and then it will be, not a master, but a useful servant, to you.
ESSAY XL. OF FORTUNE.
fortune; favour, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue: but chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands. “Faber quisque fortunæ suæ,' saith the poet:' and the most frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one man is the fortune of another; for no man prospers so suddenly as by other's errors: “serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.'' Overt and apparent' virtues bring forth praise: but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no name. The Spanish name, 'disemboltura,” partly expresseth them, when there be not stonds and restiveness in a man's nature, but that the wheels of his mind keep way with the wheels of his fortune; for so Livy (after he had described Cato Major in these words, 'in illo viro, tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam, sibi facturus videretur')' falleth upon that he had, ó versatile ingenium." Therefore, if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of fortune is like the milkeno way in the sky; which is a meeting, or knot, of a
* Every man the artificer of his own fortune.'- Appius Claudius; but attributed by Bacon elsewhere (Advancement of Learning) to Plautus.
"Unless the serpent devours the serpent, it does not become a dragon.' Apparent. Evident; known ; visible.
*As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent,
ght to be prevented.'—Shakespere.
-Atterbury. Desenvoltura. Graceful ease. • Stonds. Stops. •The removal of the stonds and impediments of the mind, that often clears the passage and current to a man's fortune.'—Bacon's Letter to Sir Henry Savill. Bacon's Works, vii. 99, ed. Spedding & Ellis. • Way. T'ime.
The time in which a certain space can be passed through
A mile-way.'—Chaucer. 7. In that man there was so much strength of body and of mind, that it seems that in whatever place he had been, he would have made fortune own.' 8. A versatile mind.'
• Milken. Milky. •The remedies are to be proposed from a constant course of the Milken diet.'— Temple.
number of small stars not seen asunder, but giving light together: so are there a number of little and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate: the Italians note some of them, such as a man would little think. When they speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in into his other conditions, that he hath Poco di matto;' and, certainly, there be not two more fortunate properties than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest: therefore extreme lovers of their country, or masters, were never fortunate neither can they be: for when a man placeth his thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own way. A hasty fortune maketh an enterprisers and remover (the French hath it better, “entreprenant,' or óremuant'), but the exercised fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be honoured and respected, and it be but for her daughters, Conscience and Reputation; for those two felicity breedeth; the first within a man's self, the latter in others towards him. All wise men, to decline the envy of their own virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for so they may the better assume them: and besides, it is greatness in a man to be the care of the higher powers, So Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, Cæsarem portes, et fortunam ejus.” So Sylla chose the name of “felix,' and not of magnus :' and it hath been noted, that those who ascribe openly too much to their own wisdom and policy, end unfortunate. It is written, that Timothens, the Athenian, after he had, in the account he gave to the State of his government, often interlaced this speech, • And in this fortune had no part,' never prospered in anything
1. A little of the fool.'
* Wit makes an enterpriser, sense a man.'— Young. s Remover. Agitator.
• Exercised. Made familiar by use. "A heart exercised with covetous prac. tices.'—2 Pet. ii. 14. o And. If.
Nay, and I suffer this, I may go craze.'—Beaumont and Fletcher. 6 Decline. To avoid.
Since the Muses do invoke my power,
Where Gloriana, the great mistress, lies.'—Sir P. Sidney.
be undertook afterward. Certainly there be whose fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a slide' and an easiness more than the verses of other poets; as Plutarch saith of Timoleon’s' fortune, in respect of that of Agesilaus, or Epaminondas; and that this should be, no doubt it is much in a man's self.
ANTITHETA ON FORTUNE.
The folly of one is the good fortune · Virtues that are openly seen obtain
of another.' praise ; but what called luck is the result of unperceived virtues.'
Fortuna veluti galaxia; hoc est, nodus quarundam obscurarum virtutum, sine nomine.
• Fortune is like a galaxy; that is to say, a collection of certain unseen and nameless endonoments.'
“So are there a number of little and scarce discerned faculties or
customs, that make men fortunate.' It is common to hear the lower orders speak of luck, either as their mode of expressing what Bacon here calls small faculties and customs,' or, as attributing to fortune what is a kind of indescribable and imperceptible skill. You may hear them speak of a woman who has good luck in her butter-making or in bread-making; of a gardener who is lucky or who is unlucky in grafting, or in raising melons, &c.
• When they (the Italians) speak of one that cannot do amiss,
they will throw into his other conditions, that he hath · Poco di matto' [a little of the fool].'
This is in accordance with the proverb, “Fortune favours fools;' and it would have been well if Bacon had said some
· Slide. Fluency. Often he had used to be an actor in tragedies, where he had learned, besides a slidingness of language, acquaintance with my passions'Sidney.
; Vit. Timol. 36.