Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 439
We gave ourselves for lost men, and prepared for death. Yet we did lift up our hearts and voices to God above, who "showeth His wonders in the deep"; beseeching Him of His mercy, that as in the beginning He discovered the face of the deep, and brought forth dry land, so He would now discover land to us, that we might not perish.
The quote above acts as a plot device, showing how the Europeans arrive at the island of Bensalem in the Pacific Ocean. However, it also suggests from the start that this will be a book that marries Christian faith to reason. Unlike today, faith and science (the empirical method) in the novel are not separated and opposed. Instead, Bacon conceives of science as that which upholds and explains God's universe. This unity of faith and reason is illustrated in the quote below, in which we note that the men of the scientific academy Salomon House,
have certain hymns and services, which we say daily, of Lord and thanks to God for His marvellous works; and some forms of prayer, imploring His aid and blessing for the illumination of our labors, and the turning of them into good and holy uses.
It is unlikely that a college of science today would engage in hymns and prayers.
The importance of the scientific method is, however, emphasized alongside the Christian faith, which arrived at the island early on. Men at the college gather preexisting wisdom, which is a method of knowledge that relies on tradition and authority associated with medieval thought, and some of the men engage in new experimentation, showing Bacon's interest in the scientific method that would take precedence during the Enlightenment:
We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call pioneers or miners. . . . Then after diverse meetings and consults of our whole number, to consider of the former labours and collections, we have three that take care out of them to direct new experiments, of a higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former. These we call lamps.
However, Salomon House does not necessarily share all of its discoveries and wisdom with the state. This college, which joins faith and reason together, discerns what to publish and what to keep hidden:
And this we do also: we have consultations, which of the inventions and experiences which we have discovered shall be published, and which not; and take all an oath of secrecy for the concealing of those which we think fit to keep secret; though some of those we do reveal sometime to the State, and some not.