Of the internal and profound errors and superstitions in the nature of the mind, and of the four sorts of idols or fictions which offer themselves to the understanding in the inquisition of knowledge; being the 16th chapter, and this a small fragment thereof, being a preface to the inward elenches of the mind.
The opinion of Epicurus that the gods were of human shape, was rather justly derided than seriously confuted by the other sects, demanding whether every kind of sensible creatures did not think their own figure fairest, as the horse, the bull, and the like, which found no beauty but in their own forms, as in appetite of lust appeared. And the heresy of the Anthropomorphites was ever censured for a gross conceit bred in the obscure cells of solitary monks that never looked abroad. Again the fable so well known of Quis pinxit leonem, doth set forth well that there is an error of pride and partiality, as well as of custom and familiarity. The reflexion also from glasses so usually resembled to the imagery of the mind, every man knoweth to receive error and variety both in colour, magnitude, and shape, according to the quality of the glass. But yet no use hath been made of these and many the like observations, to move men to search out and upon search to give true cautions of the native and inherent errors in the mind of man which have coloured and corrupted all his notions and impressions.
I do find therefore in this enchanted glass four Idols or false appearances of several and distinct sorts, every sort comprehending many subdivisions: the first sort, I call idols of the Nation or Tribe; the second, idols of the Palace; the third, idols of the Cave; and the fourth, idols of the Theatre, &c.
[@ Works III, 241-2]