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than before.” The way was thus prepared for the third book, which treated of “Laws concerning Ecclesiastical Polity; whether the form thereof be in Scripture so set down that no addition or change is lawful ?” Hooker contended that this was not so, that at different times and in different countries laws might be made best suited for the Church at that time, and of that nation. The fourth and fifth books defended the system of Church government and the order of service arranged for the English Church at the time of the accession of Queen Elizabeth. The sixth book examined into the plan followed in the Geneva Church, of placing power in the hands of the members of the congregation. The seventh defended the rule of bishops; and the eighth the supreme authority of the sovereign as the head of a national Church. Hooker's “Ecclesiastical Polity” has a place in English literature apart from the purpose which he intended it to serve, on account of its clear penetration of thought and sound good sense, as well as of the singular fitness in the illustrations employed. The style is grave, earnest, and eloquent, and in the five books which were first published, and which he revised himself, there is the most careful finish in the expression.
FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626).
Up to this time the story of our English Literature has been the story of writers who have striven to set before us the true ideal, and in this way to waken in us a greater love for God, and a more earnest striving to make our lives complete in duty. This we have seen is the soul of the poems, stories, plays, and other writings, ever since the very early times; but while men thought earnestly and felt deeply about the things belonging to God and to human life, very few persons had tried to find out anything about the great world of Nature around them. We see, it is true, that our forefathers had from the earliest times a simple, hearty love for nature ; they saw its beauty, and it spoke to them, as it does to men now, and always will do, many great and precious truths. Thus the daisy represented to Chaucer the perfect beauty of the highest type of womanhood, in its purity, sweetness, and serviceableness ; but no one had then thought of asking how the life came into the little seed which grew up into the daisy plant, nor how it got its nourishment out of the earth, the air, and the sunshine. Nor had any one found out how wonderfully it was made, and how its roots, its leaves, its little golden head, and pure white crown were all parts of the most exquisite and perfect arrangement, in order that the little daisy might live its life without care and do its true work.
Whilst men could see and love the beauty of form and colour in nature, and feel a certain sympathy with it, the love was overbalanced by a larger amount of fear—that fear which we feel respecting anything unknown, and especially in the presence of power, when we know nothing of the laws which govern and direct it. This fear was also increased by the false idea which prevailed of the character of God. During the corrupt times of the Romish Church the people had been taught to think of God, their Father, as an angry tyrant ready to destroy; and they had come to look upon Nature, not as a manifestation of Divine wisdom and love, so much as a mysterious agency for punishing and tormenting man. So great was the prevailing dread of Nature during the Middle Ages, that if any one were sus pected of trying to find out its laws and processes, he was looked upon with horror, as a man who had cast off the fear of God, and was probably in alliance with evil spirits.
This came to be the common belief about Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar, who in the thirteenth century had the courage to lift the veil, as it were, from Nature, and who, amidst the greatest difficulties and constant opposition, devoted his life to trying to understand something of the world around him. But for the most part all students were content to take what the Greeks taught about Nature, without making any observations or experiments of their own, in order to prove the truth of what they learned, or to find out anything more. No advance could of course be made in this way, and the stock of knowledge could never be increased ; but the old facts and blunders were learned and repeated generation after generation.
This was the state of Natural Science down to the sixteenth century; then a change began to take place in regard to the feelings with which men looked upon Nature, and the little stock of knowledge they possessed of its works and laws.
After the revival of learning the keen spirit of inquiry began to be turned to the facts taught about Nature in the old books, and the truth of some of them was questioned. Then came the Reformation, when the good news was spread abroad that God loved the world, and had given His Son that men might not perish, but have everlasting life.
This better knowledge of God gave men courage in seeking to know His works, and love cast out the old fear of Nature and its processes.
The world was now prepared to receive the teaching of a new philosopher, who was to show men how they must enter the kingdom of Nature humbly and patiently, learning by careful observation and experiment to understand its wonders, and to use its powers for the help and comfort of mankind.
This philosopher was Francis Bacon. He was the son of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Keeper, and was born at York House, in the Strand, on the 22nd of January, 1561. As a boy he was grave and studious, so much so that Queen Elizabeth used to call him her "little Lord Keeper,” and she often liked to puzzle him with questions. At twelve years old he went to Trinity College, Cambridge. A great part of the training at the universities consisted at that time of the teaching of logic according to Aristotle's method. Under this system the time of the students was taken up in defending, by a process of reasoning, certain propositions and definitions; but Bacon saw that while they were learning how to make these assertions appear true, they were taking no real means of ascertaining their truth. He felt that the system did not teach them how to distinguish the true from the false, nor could they in its practice gain any new knowledge. He left college, therefore, persuaded that some new plan of study was needed by which men might be trained to find out by real tests what was true, rather than to defend what might be false. This idea laid strong hold of Bacon, and became the starting point of his philosophy.
On leaving college, Bacon went to France for two years. When he returned, in 1579, his father was dead, and it was necessary for him to earn a living in some more profitable way than by maturing his idea of how to gain new knowledge. He entered Gray's Inn, and in 1582 was called to the Bar. He found time, however, to set forth the first sketch of his idea in a Latin tract. He obtained a seat in Parliament, and took part in the Mar-prelate controversy, of which we have already spoken ; but Bacon's position in relation to these disputes was that of moderator, and not of partisan.
Meantime Bacon worked at his profession, and made attempts, through the interest of the Earl of Essex with the queen, to get appointed Attorney-General; but the post was given to Sir Edward Coke. He also tried to gain in marriage a rich young widow, Lady Hatton, but here again Sir Edward Coke was his successful rival.
We must keep in mind that throughout his life Bacon's great desire was to devote his time to the working out of his scheme of philosophy—that he looked upon the law, and everything else by which money could be made, as second to this great object. He had dreams of a day to come, when he might have gained money enough to retire to Cambridge, with two or three students like-minded with himself, and there study Nature, and teach others how to learn its secrets. This was the one hope and prayer of his life, and he looked to it so strongly as the highest good that he became at last blinded to the means by which he sought to bring it about. His mind dwelt constantly on the perfecting of his system of philosophy, and on how he should be able to give it to the world; and yet, having no private property, he had to make money by a profession which he looked down upon as an insignificant employment compared with the service he desired to render to the world by his philosophy. This low view of his work separated it from all his nobler aspirations and convictions, so that he did not bring his conscience to bear upon it; and