"Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse but to weigh and consider.
Lastly, I would address one general admonition to all; that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or any of these inferior things; but for the benefit and use of Life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity. --General Preface to the Great Instauration
He that cometh to seek after knowledge, with a mind to scorn, shall be sure to find matter for his humor, but no matter for his instruction. Advancement of Learning, Book I(1605)
As touching the explication of Mysteries, we see that God vouchsafeth to descend to the weakness of our capacity, so expressing and unfolding His Mysteries as they may be best comprehended by us; and inoculate, as it were, His Revelations upon the conceptions and notions of our Reason; and so applying His inspirations to open our understandings, as the form of the key is fitted to the ward of the lock. In which respect notwithstanding, we ought not to be wanting to our selves; for seeing God makes use of the faculty and function of Reason in His Illuminations, we ought also every way to employ and improve the same, whereby we may become more capable to receive and draw in such Holy Mysteries: with this caution, that the mind for its module be dilated to the amplitude of the Mysteries, and not the Mysteries be girt into the small compass of the mind. Advancement of Learning, Book I (1605)
If a man will begin with certainties, he will end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he will end in certainties.
Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them; and wise men use them.
To write at leisure what is to be read at leisure does not interest me. My concern is with life and human affairs and all their troubles and difficulties. It is these I wish to improve by true and wholesome thoughts.
--Letter to Casaubon, 1609.
--Letter to Casaubon, 1609.
That men ought to know that in the theatre of human life it is only for Gods and angels to be spectators. -Adv. of Learning
But one thing is most admirable, which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects, for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs. For there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less.
Times glory is to calm contending Kings, to unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.
The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his spirit.- from his essay, "Of Truth"
The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
Discovery sooner emerges from error than from confusion.
Laws are made to guard the rights of the people, not to feed the lawyers. The laws should be read by all, known to all. Put them into shape, inform them with philosophy, reduce them in bulk, give them into every man's hand.
The monuments of Wit survive the monuments of power. The verses of a poet endure without a syllable lost, while States and Empires pass many periods. Let him (the poet) not think he shall descend : for he is now upon a hill as a ship is mounted upon the ridge of a wave : but that Hill of the Muses is above tempests, always clear and calm; a hill of the goodliest discovery, that man can have, being a prospect upon all the errors and wanderings of the present and former times. Yea, in some cliff it leadeth the eye beyond the horizon of time, and giveth no obscure divination of time to come.
Men believe what they prefer.
Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.
The best part of beauty is that which a picture cannot express.
Great riches have sold more men than ever they have bought out.
Number itself importeth not much in armies, where the people are of weak courage; for (as Virgil says) it never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be.
There is a great difference betwixt a cunning man and a wise man. There be that can pack the cards, who yet cannot play well;
God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.
Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.
He that studieth revenge, keepeth his own wounds green.
It is a strange desire which men have, to seek power and lose liberty.
That sick man does ill for himself, who makes his physician his heir.
I would live to study, and not study to live.
If money be not they servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be wealth, as that may be said to possess him.
Conscience is worth a thousand witnesses."