Bacon eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about Bacon.
before his death he sketched out once more, in a letter to a Venetian correspondent, Fra Fulgenzio, the friend of Sarpi, the plan of his great work, on which he was still busy, though with fast diminishing hopes of seeing it finished.  To another foreign correspondent, a professor of philosophy at Annecy, and a distinguished mathematician, Father Baranzan, who had raised some questions about Bacon’s method, and had asked what was to be done with metaphysics, he wrote in eager acknowledgment of the interest which his writings had excited, and insisting on the paramount necessity, above everything, of the observation of facts and of natural history, out of which philosophy may be built.  But the most comprehensive view of his intellectual projects in all directions, “the fullest account of his own personal feelings and designs as a writer which we have from his own pen,” is given in a letter to the venerable friend of his early days, Bishop Andrewes, who died a few months after him.  Part, he says, of his Instauratio, “the work in mine own judgement (si nunquam fallit imago) I do most esteem,” has been published; but because he “doubts that it flies too high over men’s heads,” he proposes “to draw it down to the sense” by examples of Natural History.  He has enlarged and translated the Advancement into the De Augmentis.  “Because he could not altogether desert the civil person that he had borne,” he had begun a work on Laws, intermediate between philosophical jurisprudence and technical law.  He had hoped to compile a digest of English law, but found it more than he could do alone, and had laid it aside.  The Instauratio had contemplated the good of men “in the dowries of nature;” the Laws, their good “in society and the dowries of government.”  As he owed duty to his country, and could no longer do it service, he meant to do it honour by his history of Henry VII.  His Essays were but “recreations;” and remembering that all his writings had hitherto “gone all into the City and none into the Temple,” he wished to make “some poor oblation,” and therefore had chosen an argument mixed of religious and civil considerations, the dialogue of “an Holy War” against the Ottoman, which he never finished, but which he intended to dedicate to Andrewes, “in respect of our ancient and private acquaintance, and because amongst the men of our times I hold you in special reverence.”

The question naturally presents itself, in regard to a friend of Bishop Andrewes, What was Bacon as regards religion?  And the answer, it seems to me, can admit of no doubt.  The obvious and superficial thing to say is that his religion was but an official one, a tribute to custom and opinion.  But it was not so.  Both in his philosophical thinking, and in the feelings of his mind in the various accidents and occasions of life, Bacon was a religious man, with a serious and genuine religion.  His sense of the truth and greatness of religion was as real

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Bacon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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