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it seems to differ from the spirit which moved upon the mind of Lord Bacon ; (a) and if the MSS.
of the Characteristics was published. The following is a copy of the title page of this tract: Characteristics of a Believing Christian in Paradoxes and Seeming Contradictions. By Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount of St. Alban, and Lord High Chancellor of England, with a Preface by a Clergyman. The Third Edition. London, Printed by M. Lewis, in Paternoster Row, 1762, (Price one Penny.) The following is the Preface: In order to prevent a misconstruction of the following paradoxes, it may be needful to inform the reader, that when rightly considered, they are no ways ludicrous, sarcastical or prophane, but solid, comfortable and godly truths, taught by the Holy Ghost in the school of experience, and well understood by them who are truly Christians. I do not say, that
babe in Christ can understand them all, but this I think I may venture to affirm, he that understands none of them, hath not yet learned his A. B. C. in the school of Christ. But if
should ask me, why I choose to publish his lordship’s paradoxes rather than any other? I answer-1st, Because, though very comprehensive, yet they are but short, and may therefore be easily purchased by the poorer sort of christians. 2ndly, That the minute philosophers and ignoble gentlemen of our day might hence be taught, that a fine gentleman, a sound scholar, and a great philosopher, may be a christian; since we find not only Paul, a Justin Martyr, &c. but even in our own nation, so great a philosopher as my Lord Bacon, espousing and confessing the christian verity. In a word, reader, if thou understandest these few paradoxes, bless God for them; if thou understandest them not, thou mayest, like the Eunuch, call in some Philip to thy assistance: but above all permit me to advise ibee to ask of the Father of Lights, who giveth wisdom liberally and upbraideth not. I am, for Christ's sake, thy Friend and Servant,
F. GREEN. (a) Take any, for instance Paradox 34.-" His Advocate, his VOL. VII.
of this Essay, of which there is not any evidence, had been found amongst the papers of Lord Bacon, would it not be more probable that they were the effusion of one of his pious friends, Herbert for instance, than that they were Lord Bacon's own production ? 2d. If the Paradoxes are supposed to be polluted by an under current of infidelity, the very supposition is evidence against their authenticity, “ for this lord was religious, and was able to render a reason of the hope which was in him. (w) He repaired fre
Surety shall be his Judge; his mortal part shall become immortal; and what was sown in corruption and defilement shall be raised in incorruption and glory; and a finite creature shall possess an infinite happiness. Glory be to God.”--Compare this with his prayer. “ Remember, O Lord, how thy seryant hath walked before thee: remember what I have first sought, and what hath been principal in my intentions. I have loved thy assemblies : I have mourned for the divisions of thy Church : I have delighted in the brightness of thy sanctuary. This vine which thy right hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever prayed unto thee, that it might have the first and the latter rain; and that it might stretch her branches to the seas and to the floods. The state and bread of the poor and oppressed have been precious in mine eyes : I have hated all cruelty and hardness of heart: I have, though in a despised weed, procured the good of all men. If any have been my enemies, I thought not of them ; neither hath the sun almost set upon my displeasure ; but I have been as a dove, free from superfluity of maliciousness. Thy creatures have been my books, but thy Scriptures much more. I have sought thee in the courts, fields, and gardens, but I have found thee in thy temples.”
(2) So in the Religio Medici, Sir Thomas Brown says, “. For my religion, though there be several circumstances that might
quently to the service of the church, to hear sermons, to the administration of the sacrament of the blessed body and blood of Christ, and died in the true faith, established in the Church of England.” (a)
The internal evidence against the authenticity of the Parodoxes from the style is, that-- 1st. They in style, are in opposition to the whole tenor of Lord Bacon's works, which endeavours to make doubtful things clear, not clear things doubtful. (p)
perswade the world I have none at all, as the generall scandal of my profession, the natural course of my studies, the indifferency of my behaviour, and discourse in matters of religion, neither violently defending one, nor with that common ardour and contention opposing another ; yet in despight hereof I dare, without usurpation, assume the honorable stile of a Christian ; not that I meerely owe this stile to the font, my education or clime wherein I was borne as being bred up either to confirme those principles my parents instilled into my unwary understanding; or by a generall consent proceed in the religion of my countrey. But having, in my riper years, and confirmed judgment seene and examined all, I find myselfe obliged by the principles of grace, and the law of mine owne reason to embrace no other name but this; neither doth herein my zeale so fare make me forget the general charitie I owe unto humanity, as rather to hate than pity Turkes, Infidels and (what is worse) Jewes, rather contenting myself to enjoy that happy stile, than maligning those who refuse so glorious a title.”
(a) Such are the words of Dr. Rawley. See ante page üi.
(p) In some part of his works, I do not recollect where, he says, * I endeavour not to inflate trifles into marvails, but to reduce marvails to plain things :"and Rawley, in his life of Lord Bacon, says, “ In the composing of his books he had rather drive at a masculine and clear expression, than at any fineness or affectasion of phrases, and would often ask if the meaning were ex
2d. The style of the Paradoxes, if they are supposed to contain an indirect attack upon
Christianity, are in opposition to Lord Bacon's opinion of the proper style for religious controversy.
" To search, he says, and rip up wounds with a laughing countenance, to intermix Scripture and scurrility sometimes in one sentence, is a thing far from the devout reverence of a Christian, and scant beseeming the honest regard of a sober man.
· Non est major confusio quam serii et joci. There is no greater confusion than the confounding of jest and earnest. The majesty of religion, and the contempt and deformity of things ridiculous, are things as distant as things may be. Two principal causes have I ever known of atheism; curious controversies, and profane scoffing: (6) 3d. They have not any resemblance to the style of Lord Bacon; they are neither poetical adorned by imagery, (c) nor learned enriched by rare quotation, nor familiar illustrated by examples, (d) as in most of his philosophical works; nor written
pressed plainly enough, as being one that accounted words to be but subservient, or ministeriall to matter; and not the principall. And if his stile were polite, it was because he could do no otherwise; neither was he given to any light conceits; or descanting upon words, but did ever, purposely and industriously avoyd them; for he held such things to be but digressions or diversions from the scope intended; and to derogate from the weight and dignity of the stile.
(6) See page 32 of this volume.
(c) As a specimen of his mode of illustrating by imagery, see the Advancement of Learning, vol. ii, page 63. In “ Orpheus's theatre, where all beasts and birds assembled; and, forgetting their several appetites, some of prey, some of game, some of quarrel, stood all sociably together listening to the
airs and accords of the harp; the sound whereof no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some louder noise, but every beast returned to his own nature : wherein is aptly described the nature and condition of men, who are full of savage and unreclaimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge; which as long as they give ear to precepts, to laws, to religion, sweetly touched with eloquence and persuasion of books, of sermons, of harangues, so long is society and peace maintained; but if these instruments be silent, or that sedition and tumult make them not audible, all things dissolve into anarchy and confusion."
(d) In the Treatise De Augmentis, lib. v. 2, upon literate experience or invention, not by art but by accident, he says, speaking of the error in supposing that experiments will succeed without due consideration of quantity of matter, “ It is not altogether safe to rely upon any natural experiment, before proof be made both in a lesser, and greater quantity. Men should remember the mockery of Æsop's housewife, who conceited that by doubling her measure of barley, her hen would daily lay her two eggs; but the hen grew fat, and laid none.” As specimens of his familiar illustration, see also the Advancement of Learning, vol. ii. p. 44, when speaking of studies teeming with error, he
says, Surely to alchemy this right is due, that it may be compared to the husbandman whereof Esop makes the fable ; that, when he died, told his sons, that he had left unto them gold buried under ground in his vineyard ; and they digged over all the ground, and gold they found none: but by reason of their stirring and digging the mould about the roots of their vines, they had a great vintage the year following: so assuredly the search and stir to make gold hath brought to light a great number of good and fruitful inventions and experiments, as well for the disclosing of nature as for the use of man's life.” See again in exhibiting the nature of the philosophy of universals, “ Philosopha Prima,” the connec tion between all parts of nature, he says, “ Is not the delil