Page images


1. Prayers.


I. A Prayer, or Psalm, made by the Lord
Bacon, Chancellor of England.

2. A Prayer made by the Lord Chancellor

3. The Student's Prayer.

4. The Writer's Prayer.

2. A Confession of Faith.

3. The Characters of a Believing Christian, in Paradoxes and seeming Contradictions.

4. An Advertisement touching the Controversies of the Church of England.

5. Certain Considerations, touching the better Pacification and Edification of the Church of England.

6. The Translation of certain Psalms into English Verse.

7. An Advertisement touching a Holy War. 8. Questions about the Lawfulness of a War for the Propagating of Religion.



1. Mr. Bacon's Discourse in praise of his Sovereign.

2. A Proclamation drawn for his Majesty's first coming in.

3. A Draught of a Proclamation touching his Majesty's style.

4. Physiological Remains.

5. Medical Remains.

1. Speeches.

1. On taking his place in Chancery.
2. Before the Summer Circuits.
3. To Sir W. Jones.

4. To Sir J. Denham.

5. To Justice Hutton.

2. Ordinances for regulating the Court of

3. Papers relating to Sir Edw. Coke.
4. Charge against Whitelocke.

5. Letters relating to Legal Proceedings.
6. Innovations introduced into the Laws and

§ 1.


Archbishop Tenison's Baconiana contains the following passage: "Last of all, for his lordship's writings upon pious subjects, though for the nature of the argument, they deserve the first place, yet they being but few, and there appearing nothing so extraordinary in the composure of them, as is found in his lordship's other labours, they have not obtained an earlier mention. They are only these "His Confession of Faith, written by himself in English, and turned into Latin by Dr. Rawley, the questions about a Holy War, and the Prayers in these Remains, and a translation of certain of David's Psalms into English verse. With this last pious exercise he diverted himself in the time of his sickness, in the year twenty-five. When he sent it abroad into the world, he made a dedication of it to his good friend, Mr. George Herbert, for he judged the argument to be suitable to him, in his double quality of a divine and a poet."

[ocr errors]

In the life of Lord Bacon, by Dr. Rawley, "his lordship's first and last chaplain," as he always proudly entitles himself, there is the following passage: "This lord was religious; for though the world be apt to suspect and prejudge great wits and politics to have somewhat of the atheist, yet he was conversant with God, as appeareth by several passages throughout the whole current of his writings; otherwise he should have crossed his own principles, which were, that a little philosophy maketh men apt to forget God, as attributing too much to second causes; but depth of philosophy bringeth men back to God again.' Now I am sure there is no man will deny him, or account otherwise of him, but to have him been a deep philosopher. And not only so, but 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. He repaired frequently, when his health would permit him, 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.”

The passage to which Dr. Rawley alludes, is in the "Advancement of Learning," where he says, 1 1658, in the Opuscula. 2 Baconiana, 72.

VOL. II.-50


"It is an assured truth, and a conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism, but a farther proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion, for in the entrance of philosophy, when the second causes, which are next unto the senses, do offer themselves to the mind of man, if it dwell and stay there, it may induce some oblivion of the highest cause; but when a man passeth on farther, and seeth the dependence of causes, and the works of Providence, then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily believe that the highest link of nature's chain must needs be tied to the foot of Jupiter's chair. To conclude, therefore, let no man, upon a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or the book of God's works-divinity or philosophy." The same sentiment, and almost the same words, may be found in his "Meditations on Atheism," in the "Meditationes Sacræ," and in his "Essay on Atheism" in his Essays.1

The several passages throughout the current of his writings, in which it appears that Lord Bacon was conversant with God, it would not, I fear, be proper for me in this place to do more than enumerate. They may be found in two volumes, entitled, "Le Christianisme de François Bacon," " and there is scarcely a work of Lord Bacon's, in which his religious sentiments may not be discovered. Amongst his minor productions, they may be seen; in the "Meditationes Sacræ;" in the "Wisdom of the Ancients;" in the Fables of Pan, of Prometheus, of Pentheus, and of Cupid in various parts of the Essays, but particularly in the Essay on Atheism and Goodness of Nature, in the "New Atlantis," an imaginary college amongst a Christian people, full of piety and humanity, whose prayer is— "Lord God of heaven and earth, thou hast vouchsafed of thy grace, to those of our order, to know thy work of creation, and the secrets of them; and to discern, as far as appertaineth to the generations of men, between divine miracles, works of nature, works of art, and impostures and illusions of all sorts. I do here acknowledge and testify before this people, that the thing which we now see before our eyes, is thy finger, and a true miracle; and forasmuch as we learn in our books, that thou never workest miracles, but to a divine and excellent end, for the laws of nature are thine own laws, and thou exceedest them not but upon great cause, we most humbly beseech thee to prosper this great sign, and to give us the interpretation and use of it in mercy; which thou dost in some part secretly promise by sending it unto us ;" and the conditions of entities in the Baconiana, thus concludes: "This is the Form and Rule of our Alphabet. May God, the Creator, Preserver, and Renewer of the Universe, protect and govern this work, both in its ascent to his glory, and in its descent to the good of mankind, for the sake of his mercy and good will to men though his only Son [Immanuel] Godwith-us."

These sentiments are not confined to the minor productions of Lord Bacon, but pervade all his works. They may be seen in his tract,-" De principiis atque originibus secundum fabulas Cupidinis et Cœli sive Parmenidis et Telesii, et præcipue Democriti philosophia, tractata in fabula." The introduction to his "Historia Naturalis et Experimentalis, Quæ est Instaurationis magnæ pars tertia," concludes thus: "Deus Universi Conditor, conservator. Instaurator, hoc opus, et in ascensione ad Gloriam suam, et in descensione ad bonum humanum, pro suâ erga Homines, Benevolentiâ, et Misericordiâ, protegat et regat, per Filium suum unicum, Nobiscum Deum."4 And in the conclusion of the preface to the Instauration he says, "Neque enim hoc siverit Deus, ut phantasiæ nostræ somnium pro exemplari mundi edamus: sed potius benigne faveat, ut apocalypsim, ac veram visionem vestigiorum et sigillorum Creatoris supercreaturas, scribamus. Itaque tu, Pater, qui lucem visibilem primitias creaturæ dedisti, et lucem intellectualem ad fastigium operum tuorum in faciem hominis inspirasti ; opus hoc, quod a tua bonitate profectum, tuam gloriam repetit, tuere et rege. Tu, postquam conversus es ad spectandum opera, quæ fecerunt manus tuæ, vidisti quod omnia essent bona valde; et requievisti. At homo, conversus ad opera, quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent vanitas et vexatio spiritus; nec ullo modo requievit. Quare si in operibus tuis sudabimus, facies nos visionis tuæ et sabbati tui participes. Supplices petimus, ut hæc mens nobis constet: utque novis eleemosynis per manus nostras et aliorum, quibus eandem mentem largieris, familiam humanam dotatam velis."s

1 The following similar sentiment is in the general corollary to Hume's Essays: "Though the stupidity of men, barbarous and uninstructed, be so great, that they may not see a sovereign Author in the more obvious works of nature, to which they are so much familiarized; yet it scarce seems possible, that any one of good understanding should reject that idea, when once it is suggested to him. A purpose, an intention, a design is evident in every thing; and when our comprehension is so far enlarged as to contemplate the first rise of this visible system, we must adopt, with the strongest conviction, the idea of some intelligent cause or Author."

2 Published at Paris, An. VII.

3 Baconiana, 91.

4 May God the Creator, Preserver, and Restorer of the universe, out of his kindness and compassion towards mankind protect and govern this work, both when ascending towards his glory, and descending to the improvement of man, through his only son, God with us.

5 May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first-fruits of the creation, and hast inspired the

The Treatise "De Augmentis Scientiarum," abounds with religious sentiments, and contains two tracts, one upon natural,' the other upon inspired divinity, "the Sabbath and port of all men's labours."" In the Novum Organum, under the head of Instances of Divorce, there is the following observation: "Atque in radiis opticis, et sonis, et calore, et aliis nonnullis operantibus ad distans, probabile est media corpora disponi et alterari: eò magis, quòd requiratur medium qualificatum ad deferendum operationem talem. At magnetica illa sive Coitua virtus admittit media tanquam adiaphora, nec impeditur virtus in omnigeno medio. Quod si nil rei habeat virtus illa aut actio cum corpore medio, sequitur quod sit virtus aut actio naturalis ad tempus nonnullum, et in loco nonnullo, subsistens sine corpore: cum neque subsistat in corporibus terminantibus, nec in mediis. Quare actio magnetica poterit esse instantia diuortii circa naturam corpoream, et actionem naturalem. Cui hoc adjici potest tanquam corollarium aut lucrum non prætermittendum: viz. quòd etiam secundùm sensum philosophanti sumi possit probatio, quòd sint entia et substantiæ separatæ et incorporeæ. Si enim virtus et actio naturalis, emanans à corpore, subsistere possit aliquo tempore, et aliquo loco, omninò sine corpore; propè est ut possit etiam emanare in origine suâ à substantiâ incorporeâ. Videtur enim non minus requiri natura corporea ad actionem naturalem sustentandam et deuehendam, quam ad excitandam aut generandam."4

Such are specimens of Lord Bacon's religious sentiments, which may be found in different parts of his works; but they are not confined to his intended publications. In a letter to Mr. Mathew, imprisoned for religion, he says, "I pray God, that understandeth us all better than we understand one another, contain you, even as I hope he will, at the least, within the bounds of loyalty to his majesty, and natural piety towards your country. And I entreat you much, sometimes to meditate upon the extreme effects of superstition in this last powder treason: fit to be tabled and pictured in the chambers of meditation, as another hell above the ground: and well justifying the censure of the heathen, that superstition is far worse than atheism; by how much it is less evil to have no opinion of God at all, than such as is impious towards his divine majesty and goodness. Good Mr. Mathew, receive yourself back from these courses of perdition. Willing to have written a great deal more, I continue," etc. In the decline of his life, in his letters to the Bishop of Winchester, he says, "Amongst consolations, it is not the least to represent to a man's self like examples of calamity in others. For examples give a quicker impression than arguments; and, besides, they certify us, that which the Scripture also tendereth for satisfaction; "that no new thing is happened unto us.” “In this kind of consolation I have not been wanting to myself, though, as a Christian, I have tasted, through God's great goodness, of higher remedies ;" and his last will thus begins: "First, I bequeath my soul and body into the hands of God, by the blessed oblation of my Saviour; the one at the time of my dissolution, the other at the time of my resurrection. For my burial, I desire it may be in St. Michael's church, near St. Alban's: there was my mother buried, and it is the parish church of my mansion-house of Gorhambury, and it is the only Christian church within the walls of Old Verulam."

countenance of man with the light of the understanding as the completion of thy works, guard and direct this work, which proceeding from thy bounty, seeks in return thy glory. When thou turnedst to look upon the works of thy hands, thou sawest that all were very good and didst rest. But man, when he turned towards the works of his hands, saw that they were all vanity and vexation of spirit, and had no rest. partakers of that which thou beholdest, and of thy sabbath. firm, and that thou mayest be willing to endow thy family of those to whom thou wilt accord the same disposition.

Wherefore, if we labour in thy works, thou wilt make us We humbly pray that our present disposition may continue mankind with new gifts, through our hands, and the hands of

1 Book 3, c. 2, of the Treatise De Augmentis, and in the Advancement of Learning, page 174.

2 Book ix. 6, of the Treatise De Augmentis.

3 Instance, 37.

4 of the conclusion of this passage I subjoin two translations, the one by Dr. Shaw, the other by my excellent friend, to whom I am indebted for the translation of the Novum Organum.


To this may be added, by way of corollary, the following considerable discovery, viz. that by philosophizing, even according to sense, a proof may be had of the existence of separated and incorporeal beings and substances; for if natural virtues and actions flowing from a body may subsist without a body for some time in space or place, it is possible that such virtues or actions may proceed originally from an incorporeal substance: for a corporeal nature seems no less required to support and convey, than to excite and generate a natural action.


To which we may add as a corollary and an advantage not to be neglected, that it may be taken as a proof of essence and substance being separate and incorporeal, even by those who philosophize according to the senses. For if natural power and action emanating from a body can exist at any time and place entirely without any body, it is nearly a proof that it can also emanate originally from an incorporeal substance. For a corporeal nature appears to be no less necessary for supporting and conveying than for exciting or generating natural action.

6 This letter was published in Letters and Remains by Stephens, 1734, with the following note: "The following letter to the most learned Dr. Andrews, Bishop of Winchester, was written by my Lord St. Alban, in the year 1622, and in the nature of a dedication, prefixed before his dialogue, touching a Holy War; which was not printed, at least correctly, till seven years after, by the care of Dr. Rawley. But because it has been found amongst his lordship's letters and other books, separated from that treatise, and chiefly, because it gives some account of his writings, and behaviour after his retirement, I thought it very proper to insert it in this place."


Of the prayers contained in this volume, the first, entitled, "A Prayer, or Psalm, made by the Lord Chancellor of England," is in the Resuscitatio. The second prayer, entitled, "A Prayer made and used by the Lord Chancellor Bacon," is in the Remains; and the two remaining prayers, “The Student's Prayer," and "The Writer's Prayer," are in the Baconiana.


Of the authenticity of this Essay no doubt can be entertained; it was published in a separate tract in 1641,3 and by Dr. Rawley in the Resuscitatio, by whom it was translated into Latin, and published in the Opuscula. In the Resuscitatio, Dr. Rawley, in his address to the reader, says, "For that treatise of his lordship's, incribed, 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, 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.”6 "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, as the archbishop, in describing

1 In Sloane's MSS. 23, there is a MS. prayer.

2 Although the first part of the Resuscitatio was published by Dr. Rawley, and the second part (which contains this prayer) was published in his name, and during his life, it contains matter of which Lord Bacon was not the author. Archbishop Tenison, in his Baconiana, p. 59, speaking of the apophthegms, says, "Besides, his lordship hath received much injury by late editions, of which some have much enlarged, but not all enriched the collection, stuffing it with tales and sayings, too infacetious for a ploughman's chimney-corner." And, in a note, he adds, "Even by that added (but not by Dr. Rawley) to the Resuscitation, Ed. III." I mention this fact, not as intending to infer that this prayer was not “made by Lord Bacon," but that the evidence may be duly weighed. B. M.

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 show 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 humbled 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."

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.

4 1457.

5 Opuscula varia posthuma. Londini, ex officina, R. Danielis, 1658.

6 Baconiana, 72.

7 The following is in the "Baconiana," p. 209 :—

"A letter written by Dr. Roger Maynwaring, to Dr. Rawley concerning the Lord Bacon's Confession of Faith. "SIR,

"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


the letters to Lord Bacon,' says, "The second is a letter from Dr. Maynwaring to Dr. Rawley, concerning his lordship's Confession of Faith.' This is that Dr. 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 mind, the times in which his lordship wrote them, and the distaste of that court against the proceedings of Barnevelt, whose state-faction blemished his creed.

Of this tract there are various MSS. in the British Museum, and one apparently in Lord Bacon's handwriting. It is stated in one of the MSS. to have been written before or when Sir Francis Bacon was Solicitor General, and in the Remains it is entitled, "Confession of Faith, written by Sir Francis Bacon, knight, Viscount St. Albans, about the time the Solicitor General to our late Sovereign Lord King James."5

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 forever.'

"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:

"God, by the reconcilement of the Mediator, turning his countenance towards his creatures, (though not in equal light 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 least wise his lordship seems to say, that 'twas God's will that some should fall, unless that may be meant of voluntas permissival, (his will of permission.)

"In page 414, l. 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.'

"Consider 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 sins which the schools call specifical.

"In page 415, 1. antepen. are these words:

"The three heavenly unities exceed all natural unities. That is to say, the unity of the three Persons in Godhead, the unity of God and man in Christ, and the unity of Christ and the church; the Holy Ghost being the worker of both these latter unities; for by the Holy Ghost was Christ incarnate, and quickened in flesh; and by the Holy Ghost is man regenerate, and quickened in spirit.'

"Here two of the unities are ascribed to the Holy Ghost. The first seems excluded; yet divines say, that Spiritus Sanctus & amor, & vinculum Patris & Filii, (the Holy Ghost is the love and the bond of the Father and the Son.) "In page 416, 1. 12, are these words:

"Christ accomplished the whole work of the redemption and restitution of man to a state superior to the angels.' "This (superior) seems to hit upon that place, ioáyytλot, Luke xx. 36, which argues but equality. Suarez (De Angelis, lib. 1, cap. 1,) saith, that angels are superior to men, quoad gradum intellectualem, & quoad immediatam habitationem ad Deum, (both in respect of the degree of their intellectual nature, and of the nearness of their habitation to God.) Yet St. Austin affirmeth, naturam humanam in Christo perfectiorem esse angelica, (that the human nature in Christ is more perfect than the angelical.) Consider of this. And thus far, not as a critic, or corrector, but as a learner. For, Corrigere, res est tanto magis ardua, quanto Magnus, Aristarcho major, Homerus erat.

In haste.

1 Baconiana, 103.

Your servant,


2 Sloans, 2 copies, 23 Cat. Harleian, vol. 2, 314—vol. 3, 61. Hargrave's p. 62. 3 MSS. Burch, No. 4263.

4 Sloane's, 23, and see in Rawley's observations, ante, 396, where he says, "though he composed the same many years before his death," and the same expression is in the passage from the Opuscula.

5 This tract was republished in 1757. A Confession of Faith, written by the Right Honourable Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, republished with a Preface on the Subject of Authority in Religious Matters, and adapted to the Exigency of the present Times. London, printed for W. Owen, at Temple-Bar, 1757, 8vo. pp. 26, and in the second volume of Butler's Reminiscences, recently published, in page 232, there is a letter from Dr. Parr containing the following, "You know there is no doubt as to the authenticity of the Confession of Faith, ascribed to Lord Bacon. I am perplexed with it. Was he serious? I mean serious all through? Does he mean it for a tentamen? What inference would Hume have drawn from it ?" And in a manuscript kindly communicated to me by Mr. Barker, the doctor says, "that Bacon admitted the received doctrine of the Trinity, is obvious, from the prayer made by him when Chancellor of England, and from various passages of the most unequivocal and emphatical kind in his Confession of Faith.

* 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.

« PreviousContinue »