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Francis Bacon: A Moralist

Bacon is not a true moralist. His morality is a saleable morality. He is a moralist-cum-worldly wise man. Bacon appears as a moralist in his essays, for he preaches high moral principles and lays down valuable guidelines for human conduct. Some of his essays show him as a true lover and preacher of high ethical codes and conducts. For instance, in “Of Envy”, he puts:

“A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others.”

Then, in his essay “Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature” he says:

“But in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it.”

Again, he appears to be a lover of justice in his essay “Of Judicature”:
“The principal duty of a judge is to suppress force and fraud.”

In spite of all given examples, one cannot deny the fact that Bacon was a “Man of Renaissance”. He had a deep insight in human nature. He knew that man is naturally more prone to evil than good. He was a clear-eyed realist who saw the weakness in human nature and drawbacks of human conduct and also knew that man is not capable of acting according to noble set of ‘ideals’. Though Bacon’s morality was greater than that of average man’s, yet it was not of the highest order. The matter of good and right was important for him but not if it proved too costly in worldly terms. On one hand, he preached high moral principles and on the other hand, he also expressed a mean capacity by compromising upon those morals for the sake of worldly success. For this reason, William Blake, a spiritual poet says about his essays:
“Good advice for Satan’s Kingdom.”

Blake considers any utilitarian advice contrary to God’s ways, but Bacon does not bother for that. He considers this world more important and striving after the success in this world is equally important. Bacon discusses man as he “appears” and not as he “ought to...

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