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Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was the son of Nicolas Bacon, the Lord Keeper of the Seal of Elisabeth I. He entered Trinity College Cambridge at age 12. His father died when he was 18, and being the youngest son this left him virtually penniless. He turned to the law and at 23 he was already in the House of Commons. Bacon rose to become Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans and Lord Chancellor of England. His fall came about in the course of a struggle between King and Parliament where he was accused of having taken a bribe while a judge, tried and found guilty. He thus lost his personal honor, his fortune and his place at court.

Bacon saw himself as the inventor of a method which would kindle a light in nature – “a light that would eventually disclose and bring into sight all that is most hidden and secret in the universe.” This method involved the collection of data, their judicious interpretation, the carrying out of experiments to learn the secrets of nature by organized observation of its regularities. Bacon’s proposals had a powerful influence on the development of science in seventeenth century Europe.

“A little philosophy inclines man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy brings men’s minds about to religion.”

“If a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she is blind, she is not invisible.”

“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.”

“It is an immense ocean that surrounds the island of Truth.”

“Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.”

“Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them; and wise men use them.”

“That men ought to know that in the theatre of human life it only for Gods and angels to be spectators.”

“If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us.”

“The entrance into the Kingdom of man, founded on the sciences, being not much other than the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, where into none may enter except as a little child.”

“It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships lost upon the sea: A pleasure to stand in the window of a Castle, and to see a Battaile, and the Adventures thereof, below: But no pleasure is comparable, to the standing , upon the vantage ground 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.”

“Natural abilities are like natural plants; they need pruning by study.”

“Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with mediocrity of success.”

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

“As the births of living creatures, at first, are ill-shapen: so are the Innovations, which are the births of time.”

“Knowledge and human power are synonymous.”

“Prosperity discovers vice, adversity discovers virtue.”

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”

“Silence is the virtue of fools.”

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”

“Money is like muck, best when it is spread out.”

“All colors will agree in the dark.”

“Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.”

“Beggars should not be choosers.”

“Philosophy when superficially studied, excites doubt, when thoroughly explored, it dispels it.”

“A man is but what he knows.”

“In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.”

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”

“The mold of our fortunes is in our own hands.”