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Da han blev indkaldt til Karls første Parlament for, som det hedder, at raade hans Majestæt i vigtige og vanskelige Rigsanliggender* *), sagde han: „I have done with such vanities“. Den korte Rest af sit Liv tilbragte han i værdig Indgetogenhed og døde den 9de April 1626. I sit Testamente havde han kort forud skrevet: „My name and memory I leave to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next ages“.

Den Opgave, Bacon havde stillet sig som Filosof, er betegnet ved Navnet Instauratio Magna: Videnskaben skulde kaldes tilbage fra de falske Retninger, den hidtil havde fulgt, og bygges paa en ny og sandere Grundvold. De Hovedskrifter, hvori han har nedlagt Ideerne til denne store Reformation, ere allerede nævnte, nemlig: Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum, og Novum Organum. I Advancement of Learning og De Augmentis gives en encyklopædisk Oversigt over samtlige Videnskaber tilligemed Anvisning til deres rette Behandling og videre Udvikling. I Novum Organum eller det Nye Instrument, hans Hovedværk, redegjøres, som Navnet viser, for Maaden og Midlerne, hvorved man skal komme til den sande Videnskab. Denne bør, i Modsætning til den tidligere Spekulation, som troede ved den blotte Tænkning at kunne trænge ind i Tingenes Væsen, bygges paa Erfaringen, paa en omfattende Granskning af den virkelige Verdens Aabenbarelser. Det første, som kræves, er derfor en rig og paalidelig Samling af Kjendsgjerninger, vunden gjennem sikker og rigtig Iagttagelse; det andet, ligesaa væsentlige, er en rigtig Methode, fra Kjendsgjerningerne skrider frem til Udforskningen af Aarsagerne, fra Trin til Trin stiger op til stedse høiere og almindeligere Love, indtil man kommer til de høieste, alt omfattende Principer; kjendes først disse, ligger Naturen aaben for os, og vi behøve blot at anvende vor Kundskab for at beherske den. Dette udvikles i en Række Aforismer i Værkets første Bog. I den anden Bog bliver nærmere beskrevet og ved Exempler anskueliggjort den nye Methode, hvilken han betegner som den sande Induktion eller Fremadskriden fra det Enkelte til det Almindelige. Med den samme Sikkerhed, hvormed man med Passeren beskriver en Cirkel, skal man ved denne Methode kunne komme til Axiomer og derfra til nye Opfindelser.

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De Augmentis og Noyum Organum udgjøre de to første Dele af Instauratio Magna. Værket var beregnet at skulle i alt udgjøre sex Dele, men af de fire sidste har han kun efterladt korte Brudstykker.

Et eiendommeligt Træk i Bacons Filosofi er den stærke Betoning af det Nyttige. Han bebreider den tidligere Videnskab, at den har været ufrugtbar for Menneskeheden i det Hele, og ser i denne dens Ufrugtbarhed et Bevis for, at den ikke har været nogen sand Viden. Den sande og virkelige Viden viser sig nemlig som saadan derved, at den udvider Menneskenes Magt. Thi Magt og Viden er Eet: knowledge is power; Mennesket behersker Tingene,

*) De engelske Pairer danne ifølge Konstitutionen Kronens høieste Raad; ogsaa den enkelte

Pair har Ret til at meddele Kongen Raad og kan til den Ende begjære en Audiens, som maa bevilges ham.

idet det kjender dem; derfor skal Videnskaben være nyttig. Ved siden heraf har han dog ikke undladt at bemærke, at Sandheden er Videnskabens bøieste Maal: den rene Betragtning af Tingenes Væsen er mere værd end Udbyttet af alle Opfindelser *). Men, mener han, hvad man forlanger paa det religiøse Gebet, at Troen skal vise sig i Gjerningen, det kan man ogsaa overføre paa Filosofien, nemlig at man dømmer den efter Frugterne og erklærer den for intetsigende, naar den er ufrugtbar. Forskningens Frugter have sit høieste Værd deri, at de ere et Pant paa Sandheden **).

Af Bacons øvrige Skrifter ere hans Essays det bedst kjendte, ligesom det paa Grund af sit Indhold og sin tiltrækkende Fremstilling altid har været det mest populære. Navnet ***) og Ideen tog Bacon fra Montaignes Essais (som udkom første Gang 1580), men Behandlingsmaaden er forskjellig og minder mere om Senecas Breve, hvilke han ogsaa selv betegner som sine Forgjængere. Den fuldstændige Titel er: Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, og Samlingen karakteriseres i det Hele bedst ved den anden Titel: Raad, praktiske Regler eller Forskrifter for, hvorledes man skal indrette sig og komme frem i Livet, fornemmelig det politiske. Det er ikke altid den høieste ideelle Maalestok, som anlægges, men man mærker overalt den erfarne Verdensmand, den fine og skarpe Iagttager. Summen af sin egen verdslige Viisdom har han sammenfattet i følgende betegnende Sats: „By indignities men come to dignities“.

Den første Udgave af Bacons Essays er fra 1597 og indeholdt kun 10 Stykker; i hver af de to følgende Udgaver udvidede han de gamle og tilføiede stadig nye, saa Tallet tilsidst voxede til 58. Af de to, som meddeles nedenfor, aabnede det første, „Om Studeringer“, Rækken af de oprindelige ti, som næsten ikke indeholdt andet end Klogskabsregler, „counsels for those who would be great as well as wise“, som det hedder paa Titelbladet af den første Udgave; fra dette Synspunkt er baade Traktaten i sin Helhed at opfatte, og navnlig den paafaldende Sætning strax i Begyndelsen, at Fordybelse i Studeringer ikke er andet end Tidsspilde. Det andet Stykkė, „Om Sandhed“, har den stille, rolige Betragtnings Karakter; det er skrevet efter hans Fald.

Bacon gjælder, og det med stor Ret, fremdeles for en af Englands bedste Prosaforfattere. Mærkeligt nok havde han selv ingen Tro paa det engelske Sprogs Levekraft som klassisk Sprog: „These modern languages“, sagde han, „will at one time or other play the bankrupts with books". Han oversatte derfor dels selv, dels ved Andre, paa Latin dem af sine Skrifter, som han tillagde størst Betydning. Da disse Oversættelser ere forfattede senere end Originalerne, have de selvstændigt Værd, ligesom de tjene til at forklare den engelske Grundtext, hvor dennes Mening er tvivlsom.

*) Nov. Org. I. Aph. 129, indtaget nedenfor under Nr. 4 i engelsk Oversættelse. **) Nov. Org. I. Aph. 124: Itaque ipsissimæ res sunt in hoc genere veritas et utilitas ; atque opera

ipsa pluris facienda sunt, quatenus sunt veritatis pignora, quam propter vitæ commoda. ***) Essay er her taget i den oprindelige Betydning af Forsøg, en kort Traktat eller Betragtning

(i Lighed med Holbergs Epistler eller Moralske Tanker); ved dette Ord betegnes nu en udførligere Afhandling, især om en historisk Materie.

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(Essay L.) Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and the marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; otủers to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.

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(Essay I.) What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting freewill in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in the finding out of truth; nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candlelights.

Truth may, perhaps, come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy, and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the Fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum dæmonum, because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath-work, ever since, is the illumination of his

Spirit. First he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet that beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of Truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below; so always, that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged, even by those that practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the honour of man's nature; and that mixture of falsehood is like allay in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet.

There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame, as to be found false and perfidious. And therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace and such an odious charge? Saith he, If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say, that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from

Surely the wickedness of falsehood, and breach of faith, cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that when Christ cometh, he shall not find faith upon the earth.

man.

3.

DURABILITY OF LEARNING.

(From Advancement of Learning, Book I.) Lastly, leaving the vulgar arguments, that by learning mah excelleth man in that wherein man excelleth beasts; that by learning man ascendeth to the heavens and their motions, where in body he cannot come, and the like; let us conclude with considering the dignity and excellency of

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