« AnteriorContinuar »
or out of an impious diffidence, as if men should fear to discover some things in nature which might subvert faith. But still he saw well, howsoever these opinions are in right reason reproved, yet they leave not to be most effectual hindrances to natural philosophy and invention,
8. He thought also, that there wanted not great contrariety to the further discovery of sciences in, regard of the orders and customs of universities, and also in regard of common opinion. For in universi ties and colleges mens studies are almost confined to certain authors, from which if any dissenteth or propoundeth matter of redargution, it is enough to make him thought a person turbulent; whereas if it be well advised, there is a great difference to be made between matters contemplative and active. For in government change is suspected, though to the better ; but it is natural to arts to be in perpetual agitation and growth. Neither is the danger alike of new light, and of new motion or remove; and for vulgar and received opinions, nothing is more usual, or more usually complained of, than that it is imposed for arrogancy and presumption, for men to authorise themselves against antiquity and authors, towards whom envy is ceased, and reverence by time amortised: it not being considered what Aristotle himself did, upon whom the philosophy that now is chiefly dependeth, who came with a professed contradiction to all the world, and did put all his opinions upon his own authority and argument, and never so much as nameth an author, but to confute and reprove him; and yet his success well fulfilled the observation of Him that said, If a man come in his own name, him will you receive. Men think likewise, that if they should give themselves to the liberty of invention and travail of inquiry, that they shall light again upon some conceits and contemplations which have been formerly offered to the world, and have been put down by better, which have prevailed and brought them to oblivion; not seeing, that howsoever the property and breeding of knowledges, is in great and excellent
wits, yet the estimation, and price of them is in the multitude, or in the inclinations of princes and great persons meanly learned. So as those knowledges are like to be received and honoured, which have their foundation in the subtilty or finest trial of common sense, or such, as fill the imagination, and not such knowledge as is digged out of the hard mine of history and experience, and falleth out to be in some points as adverse to common sense, or popular reason, as religion, or more. Which kind of knowledge, except it be delivered with strange advantages of eloquence and power, may be likely to appear and disclose a little to the world, and straight to vanish and shut again. So that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or flood, that bringeth down to us that which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is solid and grave. So he saw well, that both in the state of religion, and in the administration of learning, and in common opinion, there were many and continual stops, and traverses to the course of invention.
9. He thought also, that the invention of works, and further possibility was prejudiced in a more spe cial manner than that of speculative truth; for be sides the impediments common to both, it hath by itself been notably hurt and discredited by the vain promises and pretences of alchemy, magic, astrology, and such other arts, which, as they now pass, hold much more of imagination and belief, than of sense and demonstration. But to use the poet's language, men ought to have remembered, that although Ixion of a cloud in the likeness of Juno begat Centaurs and Chimæras, yet Jupiter also of the true Juno begat Vulcan and Hebe. Neither is it just to deny credit to the greatness of the acts of Alexander, because the like or more strange have been feigned of an Amadis or an Arthur, or other fabulous worthies. But though this in true reason should be, and that men ought not to make a confusion of unbelief; yet he saw well it could not otherwise be in event, but that experience of untruth had made access to truth more dif
ficult, and that the ignominy of vanity had abated all greatness of mind.
10. He thought also, there was found in the mind of man an affection naturally bred and fortified, and furthered by discourse and doctrine, which did pervert the true proceeding towards active and operative knowledge. This was a false estimation, that it should be as a diminution to the mind of man to be much conversant in experiences and particulars, subject to sense, and bound in matter, and which are laborious to search, ignoble to meditate, harsh to deliver, illiberal to practise, infinite as is supposed in number, and no ways accommodate to the glory of arts. This opinion or state of mind received much credit and strength by the school of Plato, who thinking that particulars rather revived the notions, or excited the faculties of the mind, than merely informed; and having mingled his philosophy with superstition, which never favoureth the sense, extolleth too much the understanding of man in the inward light thereof. And again, Aristotle's school, which giveth the due to the sense in assertion, denieth it in practice much more than that of Plato. For we see the schoolmen, Aristotle's successors, which were utterly ignorant of history, rested only upon agitation of wit; whereas Plato giveth good example of inquiry by induction and view of particulars; though in such a wandering manner as is of no force or fruit. So that he saw well, that the supposition of the sufficiency of man's mind hath lost the means thereof.
THE Sun-beams hot to sense.
The moon-beams not hot, but rather conceived to have a quality of cold, for that the greatest colds are noted to be about the full, and the greatest heats about the change. Query.
The beams of the stars have no sensible heat by themselves; but are conceived to have an augmentative heat of the sun-beams by the instance following. The same climate arctic and antarctic are observed to differ in cold, viz. that the antarctic is the more cold, and it is manifest the antarctic hemisphere is thinner planted with stars.
The heats observed to be greater in July than in June; at which time the sun is nearest the greatest fixed stars, viz. Cor Leonis, Cauda Leonis, Spica Virginis, Sirius, Canicula.
The conjunction of any two of the three highest planets noted to cause great heats.
Comets conceived by some to be as well causes as effects of heat, much more the stars.
The sun-beams have greater heat when they are more perpendicular than when they are more oblique; as appeareth in difference of regions, and the difference of the times of summer and winter in the same
region; and chiefly in the difference of the hours of mid-day, mornings, evenings in the same day.
The heats more extreme in July and August than in May or June, commonly imputed to the stay and continuance of heat.
The heats more extreme under the tropics than under the line: commonly imputed to the stay and continuance of heat, because the sun there doth as it were double a cape.
The heats more about three or four of clock than at noon; commonly imputed to the stay and continuance of heat.
The sun noted to be hotter when it shineth forth between clouds, than when the sky is open and se
The middle region of the air hath manifest effects of cold, notwithstanding locally it be nearer the sun, commonly imputed to antiperistasis, assuming that the beams of the sun are hot either by approach or by reflexion, and that falleth in the middle term between both; or if, as some conceive, it be only by reflexion, then the cold of that region resteth chiefly upon distance. The instances shewing the cold of that region, are the snows which descend, the hails which descend, and the snows and extreme colds which are upon high mountains.
But Qu. of such mountains as adjoin to sandy vales, and not to fruitful vales, which minister no vapours; or of mountains above the region of vapours, as is reported of Olympus, where any inscription upon the ashes of the altar remained untouched of wind or dew. And note, it is alo reported, that men carry up sponges with vinegar to thicken their breath, the air growing too fine for respiration, which seemeth not to stand with coldness.
The clouds make a mitigation of the heat of the sun. So doth the interposition of any body, which we term shades; but yet the nights in summer are many times as hot to the feeling of mens bodies as the days are within doors, where the beams of the sun actually beat not.