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Lord Chancellor of England,” is in the Resuscitatio,(x) The second prayer, (y) entitled, “ A Prayer made and used by the Lord Chancellor Bacon," is in the Remains; and the two remaining prayers, - The Students Prayer,”(z) and “ The Writers Prayer,”() are in the Baconiana. (2)
In the Tatler, No. 267, it is, upon what authority I know not, thus mentioned : “ I have hinted in some former papers, that the greatest and wisest of men in all ages and countries, particularly in Rome and Greece, were renowned for their piety and virtue. It is now my intention to show, how those in our own nation, that have been unquestionably the most eminent for learning and knowledge, were likewise the most eminent for their adherence to the religion of their country. I might produce very shining examples from among the clergy; but because priestcraft is the common cry of every cavilling, empty scribbler, I shall shew that all the laymen who have exerted a more than ordinary genius in their writings, and were the glory of their times, were men whose hopes were filled with immortality, and the prospect of future rewards; and men who lived in a dutiful submission to all the doctrines of revealed religion. I shall in this paper only instance Sir Francis Bacon. I was infinitely pleased to find among the works of this extraordinary man a prayer of his own composing, which, for the elevation of thought, and greatness of expression, seems rather the devotion of an angel than a man. His principal fault seems to have been the excess of that virtue which covers a multitude of faults. This betrayed him to so great an indulgence towards his servants, who made a corrupt use of it, that it stripped him of all those riches and honours which a long series of merits had heaped upon him. But in this prayer, at the same time that we find him prostrating himself before the great mercy-seat, and hum
(y) Page 5, ditto. (2) Baconiana 181, and 8 and 9 of this vol.
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH.
Of the authenticity of this Essay no doubt can be entertained ; it was published in a separate tract in 1641, (d) and by Dr. Rawley in the Resuscitatio, (e) by whom it was translated into Latin, and published in the Opuscula. (f) In the Resuscitatio, Dr. Rawley, in his address to the Reader, says, " For that treatise of his Lordship's, inscribed, A Confession of the Faith, I have ranked that, in the close of this whole volume : thereby to demonstrate to the world that he was a master in divinity, as well as in philosophy or politics; and that he was versed no less in the saving knowledge,
bled under afflictions, which at that time lay heavy upon him, we see him supported by the sense of his integrity, his zeal, his devotion, and his love to mankind; which give him a much higher figure in the minds of thinking men, than that greatness had done from which he was fallen. I shall beg leave to write down the prayer itself, with the title with it, as it was found amongst his Lordship’s papers, written in his own hand.”
(d) The following is an exact transcript of the title page: “ The Confession of Faith," written by Sir Francis Bacon, printed in the year 1641. In the title page, there is a wood engraving of Sir Francis Bacon : it is a thin 4to of twelve pages, without any printer's name. . Mr. D'Israeli kindly lent me a copy. It is similar, but not the same as the present copy. Of the Confession of Faith there are various MSS. in the British Museum; Sloane's 23, 2 copies; Harleian, Vol. 2, 314 ; Vol. 3,61 : Hargrave's, page 62; the MSS. Burch, 4263 is, I suspect, in Lord Bacon's own writing, with his signature.
() Opuscula varia posthuma. Londini, ex officin nielis, 1658.
than in the universal and adorning knowledges ; for though he composed the same many years before his death, yet I thought that to be the fittest place, as the most acceptable incense unto God of the faith wherein he resigned his breath; the crowning of all his other perfections and abilities; and the best perfume of his name to the world after his death." In his Life he says, “He was able to render a reason of the hope which was in him; which that writing of his of the Confession of the Faith doth abundantly testify;" and in the address to the Reader, in the Opuscula, he says, “Supererat tandem scriptum illud Confessionis Fidei ; quod auctor ipse, plurimis ante obitum annis, idiomate Anglicano concepit: operæ pretium mihi visum est Romana civitate donare; quo non minus exteris, quam popularibus suis, palam fiat, qua fide imbutus, et quibus mediis fretus, illustrissimus heros, animam Deo reddiderit ; et quod theologicis studiis, æque ac philosophicis et civilibus, cum commodum esset, vacaverit. Fruere his operibus, et scientiarum antistitis olim Verulamii ne obliviscaris. Vale.”
This tract is thus noticed by Archbishop Tenison in the “ Baconiana.” (8) “ His Confession of Faith,” written by him in English, and turned into Latin by Dr. Rawley ; upon which there was some correspondence between Dr. Maynwaring and Dr. Rawley, (h) as the archbishop, in describing the
(3) Baconiana, 72.
“ A letter written by Dr. Roger Maynwaring, to Dr. Rawley concerning the Lord Bacon's Confession of Faith.
letters to Lord Bacon,(d) says, “ The second is, a letter from Dr. Maynwaring to Dr. Rawley, concerning his lordship's Confession of Faith.' This is that Dr.
“I have, at your command, surveyed this deep and devout tract of your deceased lord, and send back a few notes upon it.
“ In page 413, 1.5, (of this volume) are these words:
«« I believe that God is so holy, pure, and jealous, that it is impossible for him to be pleased in any creature, though the work of his own hands; so that neither angel, man, nor world, could stand, or can stand, one moment in his eyes, without beholding, the same in the face of a mediator; and therefore that before him, with whom all things are present, the Lamb of God was slain before all worlds; without which eternal counsel of his, it was impossible for him to have descended to any work of creation; but he should have enjoyed the blessed and individual society of three persons in Godhead only for ever.'
“ This point I have heard some divines question, whether God,without Christ, did pour his love upon the creature ? and I had sometimes a dispute with Dr. Sharp* of your university, who held that the emanation of the Father's love to the creature was immediate. His reason, amongst others, was taken from that text, ' So God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.' Something of that point I have written amongst my papers, which on the sudden I cannot light upon. But I remember that I held the point in the negative, and that St. Austin, in his comment on the fifth chapter to the Romans, gathered by Beda, is strong that way.
“ In page 413, line penult, are these words :
66. God, by the reconcilement of the Mediator, turning his countenance towards his creatures, (though not in equal light
(d) Baconiana, 103. * The same, I think, who was committed to the Tower, having taught Hoskins his allusion to the Sicilian Vespers. See Reliqu. Wotton, p. 434. Dr. Tenison.
Maynwaring, whose sermon upon Eccles. viii. 2, etc. gave such high offence, about one hundred and fifty years ago. “For some doctrines, which he noteth in his lordship’s confession, the reader ought to call to
and degree) made way unto the dispensation of his most holy and secret will, whereby some of his creatures might stand and keep their state; others might, possibly, fall, and be restored; and others might fall, and not be restored in their estate, but yet remain in being, although under wrath and corruption; all with respect to the Mediator ; which is the great mystery, and
perfect centre of all God's.ways with his creatures; and unto which all his other works and wonders do but serve and refer.'
“ Here absolute reprobation seems to be defended, in that the will of God is made the reason of the not-restitution of some; at leastwise his Lordship seems to say, that 'twas God's will that some should fall, unless that may be meant of voluntas permissiya (his will of permission).
“ In page 414, 1. 10, where he saith, (amongst the generations of men he elected a small flock,) if that were admitted (of fallen men,) it would not be amiss; lest any should conceive that his Lordship had meant, the decree had passed on massa incorrupta, (on mankind considered before the fall).
“ In page 415, 1. 8, are these words:
« « Man made a total defection from God, presuming to imagine, that the commandments and prohibitions of God, were not the rules of good and evil, but that good and evil had their own principles and beginnings.'
“ Coasider whether this be a rule universal, that the commands and prohibitions of God are the rules of good and evil. For, as St. Austin saith, many things are prohibita quia mala (for that reason forbidden, because they are evil :) as those sin which the schools call specifical.
“ In page 415, 1. antepen. are these words : “ . The three heavenly unities exceed all natural unities. VOL, VII.