Saturday, August 28, 2004

It is noteworthy that Bacon had a quaint conceit of the Divine Being which he was never tired of repeating. In the preface to the "Advancement of Learning" (1640), the following passage occurs:--"For of the knowledge which contemplates the works of Nature, the holy Philosopher hath said expressly; that the glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the King is to find it out: as if the Divine Nature, according to the innocent and sweet play of children, which hide themselves to the end they may be found; took delight to hide his works, to the end they might be found out; and of his indulgence and goodness to mankind, had chosen the Soule of man to be his Play-fellow in this game." Again on page 45 of the work itself he says:--"For so he (King Solomon) saith expressly, The Glory of God is to conceale a thing, but the Glory of a King is to find it out. As if according to that innocent and affectionate play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out, and as if Kings could not obtain a greater Honour, then to be God's play-fellowes in that game, especially considering the great command they have of wits and means, whereby the investigation of all things may be perfected." Another phase of the same idea is to be found on page 136. In the author's preface to the "Novum Organum" the following passage occurs:--"Whereas of the sciences which regard nature the Holy Philosopher declares that 'it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but it is the glory of the King to find it out.' Even as though the Divine Nature took pleasure in the innocent and kindly sport of children playing at hide and seek, and vouchedsafe of his kindness and goodness to admit the human spirit for his play fellow in that game." In almost identical words Bacon suggests the same conception in "In Valerius Terminus" and in "Filum Labyrinthi". In the Epistle Dedicatorie of "The French Academie" and elsewhere the author is insisting on the same idea that "He (God) cannot be seene of any mortal creature but is notwithstanding known by his works."

from The Mystery of Francis Bacon By William T. Smedley
Chapter XIV