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so devoted himself to his law of material affinities, that the law became to him a spell, by which his spirit and mind were confined and bound.
The course of action, and the results, here traced and attributed to the great supporter of that course which is denominated the inductive process of reasoning, are the same in character as those which are presented by our received and prevailing principles and system of Political Economy. In this system, from its beginning, throughout its whole course, self-love, self-esteem, self-interest, concentrated selfishness, is made to be the constituting element. Whenever the question of sacrifice, as connected with social action and progress, is brought upon the discussion table, and this it has of necessity often to be,-- the rule of action laid down, avowed, and attempted to be vindicated by the writers who have constructed our prevailing system of Political Economy, is that by which all social right and justice being suppressed, a sacrifice however destructive and painful its character may be-of the interests of the weaker members is to be made for the purpose of insuring and of increasing the riches and enjoyments of the stronger members. The Baconian process having been adopted, hence the principle of reconciliationthat principle by which a due union of interests, a plurality of interests, could alone be established, -is wholly absent, and so our writers on Political Economy have announced to the world the course which Dr. Kuno Fischer, the commentator on Bacon's writings and philosophy, has so pointedly adduced as the very peculiar feature of his practical philosophy. They, like Bacon, have propounded their doctrine under the following terms: If you cannot see the way to reconcile the interest of your friend and neighbour with your own interest, take especial care of your own interest, do not sacrifice yourself for your neighbour-but sacrifice your neighbour for
yourself; think, and believe, and proclaim to the world, that the more wealth you get for yourself, the more you will add to the stock of the community. This last asseveration serves to allay the warnings of conscience, and serves also to delude the world by a superficial profession and announcement of beneficence.
On seeing it proved that analogy subsists between Bacon's philosophy of induction, in the first instance; the practical philosophy and course adopted by this great man, in the second instance; and the general social philosophy that is incorporated in our prevailing system of Political Economy, in the third instance, it has not to be assumed, hence, that the large and strong mind of our great philosophical reasoner was not able to discern the all-comprehensive power, or the perfect social philosophy, that inheres in religion.
Few men have given stronger proof than Bacon has given of a perception that religion is the source of all true social principle and philosophy. As the evidence contributed by him on this point is of great weight and value, I will adduce some of it here. In the treatise of his denominated " Of the Interpretation of Nature," and under the head "Of the limits and end of knowledge "-Bacon has given us as follows:
"Seeing that knowledge is of the number of those things which are to be accepted of with caution and distinction; being now to open a fountain, such as it is not easy to discern where the issues and streams thereof will take and fall; I thought it good and necessary in the first place to make a strong and sound head or bank to rule and guide the course of the waters; by setting down this position or firmament, namely, That all knowledge is to be limited by religion, and to be referred to use and action.”
"For if any man shall think, by view and inquiry into these sensible and material things, to attain to any light for
the revealing of the nature or the will of God, he shall dangerously abuse himself.”*
Again; in the same treatise there is the following:"But yet evermore it must be remembered that the least part of knowledge passed to man by this so large a charter from God must be subject to that use for which God hath granted it; which is the benefit and relief of the state and society of man; for otherwise all manner of knowledge becometh malign and serpentine, and therefore as carrying the quality of the serpent's sting and malice it maketh the mind of man to swell; as the Scripture saith excellently, Knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up. And again the same author doth notably disavow both power and knowledge such as is not dedicated to goodness or love, for, saith he, If I have all faith so as I could remove mountains, (there is power active,) if I render my body to the fire, (there is power passive,) if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, (there is knowledge, for language is but the conveyance of knowledge,) all were nothing."
A noble argument here follows, in which the philosopher directs attention to the true object of all knowledge, which is not that of gratifying individual desire and ambition, but reestablishing and fulfilling that GENERAL law of God by which all material things are made to serve the Creator's purpose of universal sustainment. The passage is this: "And therefore it is not the pleasure of curiosity, nor the quiet of resolution, nor the raising of the spirit, nor victory of wit, nor faculty of speech, nor lucre of profession, nor ambition of honour or fame, nor enablement for business, that are the true ends of knowledge; some of these being more worthy than other, though all inferior and degenerate: but it is a restitution
* Lord Bacon, on the Interpretation of Nature, vol. ii. p. 128.
and reinvesting (in great part) of man to the sovereignty and power (for whensoever he shall be able to call the creatures by their true names he shall again command them) which he had in his first state of creation. And to speak plainly and clearly, it is a discovery of all operations and possibilities of operations from immortality (if it were possible) to the meanest mechanical practice. And therefore knowledge that tendeth but to satisfaction is but as a courtesan, which is for pleasure and not for fruit or generation. And knowledge that tendeth to profit or profession or glory is but as the golden ball thrown before Atalanta, which while she goeth aside and stoopeth to take up she hindereth the race. And knowledge referred to some particular point of use is but as Harmodius which putteth down one tyrant, and not like Hercules, who did perambulate the world to suppress tyrants, and giants, and monsters in every part."
"For as in the inquiry of divine truth, the pride of man hath ever inclined to leave the oracles of God's word, and to vanish in the mixture of their own inventions; so, in the selfsame manner, in inquisition of nature, they have ever left the oracles of God's works, and adored the deceiving and deformed imagery, which the unequal mirrors of their own minds had represented unto them. Nay, it is a point fit and necessary in the front and beginning of this work, without hesitation or reservation to be professed, that it is no less true in this human kingdom of knowledge, than in God's kingdom of heaven, that no man shall enter into it, except he become first as a little child."*
Again; Bacon wrote as follows:- 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." ↑
* Lord Bacon, on the Interpretation of Nature, vol. ii. pp. 134, 138. † Ibid., Essays Civil and Moral, vol. ii. p. 254.
I have now quoted of the fruit of Bacon's mind sufficient to show that whatever accusation may be brought, and proof established, against him, on the point of surrendering himself up to the influence and dominion of his own material philosophy, and that in a degree so large, as to have no hesitation when brought to the trial of a social sacrifice, to sacrifice the interest of his friend for the sake of insuring his own interest, yet the spirit and mind of the great philosopher discerned, and acknowledged, principles of social action of a very different character. I have adduced evidence, transmitted to us from him, showing that he discerned in religion the sourcethe one and only source-of all right social action; hence, of all social science, the light guiding into all the paths of profitable construction and sustaining knowledge. Instead of advocating that kind of knowledge and of progress which is founded on the selfish principle of action, by the influence of which man converts and perverts his character into that of a cold, calculating, unsympathising, and unsocial matterist, -the fundamental and pervading principle of our received system of Political Economy being of this character, and so conducing necessarily to this conversion and perversion,Bacon, in his mind and by his words, scorned this; but then it is alleged against him, that, nevertheless, he was influenced by it, for he acted in accordance with it.
In his treatise "On the Advancement of Learning," Bacon has partially discussed this point. On treating of the use intended to be made, and of the use actually made, of logic and rhetoric, and on maintaining that the proper course and end of them are to uphold and establish truth, and not by low and mean ingenuity and subtlety to mystify and pervert it, he has lamented that Plato should have been led, by his contempt and hatred of the rhetoricians of his time, to take the false step of denying the useful and noble character of logic