Last modified on November 30, 2019, at 15:55

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon.jpg

Francis Bacon was an English scientist, Christian, politician, and polymath during the Age of Exploration who lived from 1561 to 1626 and promoted research based on experimentation. In addition to his scientific work he wrote many books, and some have even suggested that he was the true author of William Shakespeare's plays.[1] He died from hypothermia sustained from stuffing a snow-packed chicken inside his shirt.

Bacon is famous for his role in the Scientific Revolution, promoting scientific experimentation as a way of glorifying God and fulfilling scripture. He is also famous as a politician in Elizabethan England, as he held the office of Lord Chancellor. He also was against the splintering within Christianity, believing that it would ultimately lead to the creation of atheism as a dominant worldview, as indicated with his quote that "The causes of atheism are: divisions in religion, if they be many; for any one main division, addeth zeal to both sides; but many divisions introduce atheism."[2]

His views also proved influential to the Encyclopédistes, with D'Alembert and Diderot specifically crediting him with their creation of the Encyclopedie.[3] Though as noted above, it was extremely unlikely that Bacon would have ever approved of the Encyclopedistes' usage of his scientific reasoning in the book due to their trying to promote atheism.

Select Works

  • The Advancement of Learning
  • The Great Instauration
  • New Atlantis
  • Novum Organum
  • A History of the Reign of King Henry VII

He is not to be confused with the 20th Century Anglo-Irish painter (1909-1992) [4] of the same name, although the artist Francis Bacon was what is known as a 'collateral descendant' of his earlier namesake.[5]


  • Knowledge is power.
  • A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.
  • There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.
  • There never was found, in any age of the world, either religion or law that did so highly exalt the public good as the Bible.
  • "A good name is like precious ointment"; it filleth all round about, and will not easily away; for the odors of ointments are more durable than those of flowers.
  • A man shall see, where there is a house full of children, one or two of the eldest restricted, and the youngest ruined by indulgence; but in the midst, some that are, as it were, forgotten, who many times, nevertheless, prove the best.
  • A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.
  • A man that hath no virtue in himself ever envieth virtue in others; for men's minds will either feed upon their own good or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other.
  • A man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket, and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable, and should be secured, because they seldom return.
  • A just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of war.
  • A steady hand in military affairs is more requisite than in peace, because an error committed in war may prove irremediable.
  • All the crimes on earth do not destroy so many of the human race, nor alienate so much property, as drunkenness.[6]

See also