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however, his admiration of this prince of philosophical writers seems to be manifestly abated; and in his magnum opus, the "Constitution of Man," it is remarkable, that the name of Bacon is not once mentioned from the beginning to the end of the book. This is the more surprising, as Lord Bacon has delivered his sentiments very fully on the connection between Science and Scripture, to which Mr Combe has devoted an entire chapter. Mr Combe, at one time, quoted Lord Bacon's opinion on this very point, and laid no little stress on his authority; and his subsequent silence on this topic may be sufficiently accounted for, by his finding that the authority of Bacon is entirely against him.

Lord Bacon states it as one great cause of errors in religion," the taking an aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations." Now, this is exactly what Mr Combe has attempted to do; endeavouring, by arguments drawn from human science, to ascertain the character and attributes of the Deity,what is his will concerning us his creatures, and what are the feelings and principles that guide his dealings towards us. In another place, Lord Bacon observes, "The prejudice hath been infinite, that both divine and human knowledge have received by the intermingling and tempering of the one with the other; as that which hath filled the one full of heresies, and the other full of speculative factions and vanities."* Mr Combe has also attempted to do this, and he pours out the vials of his wrath against the divines, because they refuse to do the same thing, and "intermingle and temper" the doctrines of our holy religion with arguments drawn from human philosophy. Against this, Lord Bacon records his opinion in the strongest manner, in various parts of his works.

* Bacon's Works, Montagu's edition, vol. i. p.


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In his Meditationes Sacræ, in treating of heresies, he quotes the following text, to which he afterwards refers on numerous occasions :— "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God."

"This canon," he observes, "is the mother of all canons against heresy. The causes of error are two,— the ignorance of the will of God, and the ignorance, or not sufficient consideration, of his power. The will of God is more revealed in the Scriptures, and therefore the precept is, Search the Scriptures.' The power of God is more revealed by the creatures, and therefore the precept is, 'Behold and consider the creatures.'"* This is a favourite idea with Lord Bacon, and is repeated by him many times in different places.

But the distinction between divine and human knowledge, and the impossibility of our reaching the one of them by means of the other, is more fully set forth in the following passage, in the Discourse on the Interpretation of Nature:-" Wherefore, 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 and 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 revealing of the nature or will of God, He shall DANGEROUSLY ABUSE HIMSELF. It is true, that the contemplation of the creatures of God hath for end, as

* Bacon's Works, ut supra, vol. i. p. 217, 218.

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to the nature of the creatures themselves, knowledge; but, as to the nature of God, no knowledge, but wonder, which is nothing else but contemplation broken off, and losing itself. Nay, farther, as it was aptly said by one


of Plato's school, The sense of man resembles the sun, which openeth and revealeth the terrestrial globe, but obscureth and concealeth the celestial; so doth the sense discover natural things, but darken and shut up the divine. Therefore attend his will as himself openeth it, and GIVE UNTO FAITH THAT WHICH UNTO FAITH BELONGETH."*


The same views are repeated in the treatise, On the Advancement of Learning. "And, as for the third point, (that we do not presume, by the contemplation of nature, to attain to the mysteries of God,) it deserveth to be a little stood upon, and not to be lightly passed For if any man shall think, by view and inquiry into these sensible and material things, to attain that light wherein he may reveal unto himself the nature or will of God, then indeed he is spoiled by vain philosophy. For the contemplation of God's creatures and works produceth (having regard to the works and creatures themselves) knowledge, but, having regard to God, no perfect knowledge, but wonder, which is broken knowledge. And, therefore, it was most aptly said by one of Plato's school, that the sense of man carrieth a resemblance with the sun, which, as we see, openeth and revealeth all the terrestrial globe, but then it obscureth and concealeth the stars and celestial globe; so doth the sense discover natural things, but darkeneth and shutteth up divine.' And hence it is true that it hath proceeded, that diverse great learned men have been heretical, whilst

* Bacon's Works, ut supra, vol. i. p. 257, 258.

they have sought to fly up to the Deity by the waxen wings of the senses.


There are various other passages in Lord Bacon's works to the like purpose and effect. In regard to natural theology, he states, "The bounds of this knowledge are, that it sufficeth to convince atheism, but not to inform religion. Wherefore, by the contemplation of nature, to induce and enforce the acknowledgment of God, and to demonstrate his power, providence, and goodness, is an excellent argument, and has been excellently handled by divers.

"But, on the other side, out of the contemplation of nature, or ground of human knowledge, to induce any verity or persuasion concerning points of faith, is, in my judgment, not safe. Da fidei quæ fidei sunt.”†


The same distinction is again drawn in treating of theology proper. "Wherefore we conclude, that sacred theology, (which, in our idiom, we call divinity,) is grounded only upon the word and oracle of God, and not upon the light of nature; for it is written, Cali enarrant gloriam Dei;' but it is not written, Cali enarrant voluntatem Dei; but of that it is said, To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' (Isaiah, viii. 20.)"‡


I have quoted these repeated statements of the same or similar ideas, because the repetition proves, that what Lord Bacon thus lays down was no unweighed or passing thought, but his fixed and permanent belief concerning the most important of all subjects. Now, what is it that he so repeatedly states? That the Scriptures are the only sure foundation for any speculation respecting the will and purposes of God, as the works of creation are the only sure foundation for any speculation respecting * Bacon's Works, ut supra, vol i. p. 257, 258. + Ibid. ii. 128, 129. Ibid. i. 299.

his power; that it is unwise, and unsafe, and unphilosophical, to mix and confound these two kinds of knowledge—to argue respecting the will of God from any view and inquiry into the works of creation, or to attempt to explain the works of his power by any statements contained in, or arguments drawn from, the Scriptures. Mr Combe has not only himself offended against the first of these rules, but he is angry at our divines for not having offended against it also.

The whole scope of his essay is directed to shew what the intentions and purposes of the Creator are— in other words, what is his will-in the arrangements he has made with regard to the material world, and the relations he has established between us and the objects among which we are placed. He has gone farther, and carried his thoughts to the higher aim of shewing what are and what are not the feelings with which the Deity regards the faults and errors of his creatures.

I do not inquire here, whether, in the conclusions he has come to respecting the purposes, intentions, and will of God, Mr Combe is right or wrong; all I mean to say at present is, that in these speculations he has undoubtedly overstepped that great "position and firmament" which, as if with a prophetic view of such speculations as this, Lord Bacon has laid down "as a strong and sound head and bank, to rule and guide the course of the waters." Neither do I inquire at this point whether the doctrines which divines have deduced from their interpretations of Scripture, which are objected to by Mr Combe, and which he so unceremoniously denounces as errors, be altogether correct in all their parts. Of that I have spoken elsewhere; but what I say here is, that, in resorting to Scripture for information respecting man's original state by nature-the will of God respecting him the moral law-and the nature and

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