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The rite of Confirmation also appears to Bacon to be a mistake, at all events in its present shape:

"For Confirmation, to my understanding, the state of the question is whether it be not a matter mistaken and altered by time; and whether that be not now a subsequent to Baptism, which was indeed an inducement to Communion. For whereas in the primitive Church children were examined in their faith before they were admitted to the Communion, time may seem to have turned it to refer as if it had been to receive a confirmation of their Baptism."

To private Baptism he utterly objects as superstitious and unnecessary; and the use of the ring in the Marriage Service appears to him repellent even to common sense and still more to the feelings of the learned and pious:

"For private baptism by women or lay persons, the best divines do utterly condemn it, and I hear it not generally defended. And I have often marvelled that when the book, in the Preface to Public Baptism, doth acknowledge that Baptism, in the practice of the primitive Church, was anniversary, and but at set and certain times, which sheweth that the primitive Church did not attribute so much to the ceremony as they would break an outward and general order for it-the book should. afterwards allow of private Baptism, as if the ceremony were of that necessity, as the very Institution which committed Baptism only to the Ministers should be broken in regard of the supposed necessity. And therefore this point, of all others, I think was but a concessum propter duritiem cordis.

"For the form of celebrating matrimony, the ring seemeth to many, even of vulgar sense and understanding, a ceremony not grave-specially to be made (as the words make it) the essential part of the action. Besides some other of the words are noted in common speech to be not so decent and fit."

He would retain the use of music in churches, while condemning "the curiosity of division and reports and other figures of music" which have "no affinity with the reasonable service of God, but were added in the more pompous times." The cap and surplice he would give up.

"For the cap and surplice-since they be things in their nature indifferent and yet held by some superstitious, so that the question is between science and conscience-it seems to fall within the compass of the Apostle's rule, which is that the stronger do descend and yield to the weaker. Only the difference is, that it will be materially said, that that rule holds between private man and private man, but not between the conscience of a private

man and the order of a Church. But, since the question, at this time, is of a toleration, not by connivance which may encourage disobedience, but of a law which may give a liberty, it is good again to be advised whether it fall not within the equity of the former rule; the rather because the silencing of Ministers by this occasion is (in this scarcity of good preachers) a punishment that lights upon the people, as well as upon the party."

The discontinued exercise of "prophesying," i.e., expounding the Scriptures, at meetings of the clergy, should be revived. Ministers should be more deliberately and regularly ordained; excommunications should be issued only for weighty offences and then not from the deputies, but from the Bishops themselves assisted by assessors. As the number of benefices exceeds the number of suitable Ministers, pluralities must be allowed, or else preachers must be allowed to serve, by turn, parishes that are without Ministers. Impropriations ought to be, but cannot be, restored to the Church; and therefore, as the State took away the tithes from the Church it is bound to do somewhat for the support of Ministers.1

This treatise completely disposes of the notion that Bacon was a sound Anglican and an approver of Whitgift's attitude toward the Puritans. All the reforms he advocates, the abolition of private baptism by laymen, the discontinuance of the rite of confirmation, of the ring in the marriage service, of the cap and surplice, and of ornate church music, were demanded in the petition presented to James, on his progress to London in 1603 by Puritan Ministers, and commonly called the Millenary Petition. As far as regards religious ceremonial, Bacon was himself at this time (1604) a Puritan in his personal inclinations, though not a Puritan in the sensible, statesmanlike breadth of mind with which he regarded the bitter controversies of the extreme parties concerning matters in themselves petty. Of all the papers composed by Bacon on ecclesiastical subjects, this is by far the most important, because here, and here alone, he is speaking his own mind, feed from external pressure.2

1 In July 1603 James informed the Universities that he intended to devote to the maintenance of preaching Ministers such impropriate tithes as he was able to set aside for that purpose. But Whitgift immediately remonstrated, and the matter was dropped.-Gardiner, History, i. 151.

2 Yet Dean Church-who merely alludes to this treatise in three or four words as "a moderating paper on the Pacification of the Church" (Bacon, p. 69)—gives

In the Advice to Queen Elizabeth (1584) he dares not express his opinion that the expulsion of the Puritan preachers by the Bishops is "a very evil and unadvised course," without "first protesting to God Almighty" that he is not "given over, nor so much as addicted, to their preciseness;" in the treatise On the Controversies of the Church (1589), although he condemns principally the injuries that come from "them that have the upper hand," he does not venture to suggest any changes in the Prayer Book, and arbitrates so impartially between the two parties that he himself does not expect "to be grateful to either part." In a letter about the same date (1589-90)—apparently modified at the suggestion of Whitgift,' and then re-written by Bacon-in which he defends the Queen's treatment of the Puritans, he still further does violence to his own feelings and has nothing but condemnation for the Nonconformist party three or four pages to the discussion of the paper on Controversies in the Church, and adds, "Certainly, in the remarkable paper on Controversies in the Church (1589) Bacon had ceased to feel or to speak as a Puritan" (ib. 12). Possibly Bacon was too broad-minded, too much centered in philosophy, and too much detached from formal theology, ever to "feel or speak as a Puritan." But it is certain that he advocated changes in the direction of Puritanism far more strongly in 1603 than in 1589.

1 Spedding, i. 96, 97. It is perhaps in reference to this letter that Dean Church says (Bacon, p. 12), "He was proud to sign himself the pupil of Whitgift and to write for him.'

Bacon was always "proud" to write for those in authority and far too willing to make himself the "pen" for expressing opinions which he afterwards disa vowed. But, apart from this general disposition of his, I do not know any evidence that he was specially "proud" to perform this rather insincere service. The letter was not written in his own name, but in the name of Walsingham, addressed to an official in France: and, though Bacon did not decline to do the work nor to "frame the alterations" dictated by the Master of his old college, there is no indication at all that he was "proud" of his work, or satisfied with the alterations. Here is his note to Whitgift to speak for itself :



"I HAVE considered the objections, perused the statutes, and framed the alterations, which I send; still keeping myself within the brevity of a letter and form of narration, not entering into a form of argument or disputation. For, in my poor conceit, it is somewhat against the majesty of princes' actions to make too curious and striving apologies; but rather to set them forth plainly, and so as there may appear an harmony and constancy in them, so that one part upholdeth another. And so I wish your Grace all prosperity. "From my poor lodging this, etc.,

Your Grace's most dutiful


Mr. Spedding remarks on the paper in question: "It is to be remembered indeed that it was not written in his own name, and that his was not the last judgment which was to be satisfied. Whitgift, as well as Walsingham, had a strong personal interest in the matter, nor did he want either authority or oppor tunity to correct his old pupil's exercise. If the original manuscript should ever be discovered I think traces will be found . . . where the style and logic halt a little, of the Primate's hand."


without a word of reproof for the Bishops. Again, later on (1616), when he found that the King was determined to make no concessions to the Puritans, he adapts himself once more to the royal views, and faces about so completely that he actually adopts the tone of one who is more conservative than the King himself and most earnestly hopeful that his Majesty will give way to no innovations. Times, no doubt, had changed. An interval of twelve years (1604-16) had introduced a temporary reaction in some quarters against extreme Puritanism, and had allowed many pleasing and hallowed associations to gather round some of those very rites and forms of the Anglican Church which had previously excited most dislike and suspicion. But we shall be doing no injustice to Bacon by supposing that the Courtier, rather than the Statesman, speaks in the following passage in which Bacon (1616) strenuously warns Villiers, the royal Favourite, against making the slightest concession to these same Nonconformists whose cause the writer had pleaded with equal strenuousness in 1604:


"It is dangerous to give the least ear to such innovators, but it is desperate to be misled by them. Besides the Roman Catholics, there are a generation of sectaries. . . . They have been several times very busy in this kingdom, under the colourable pretensions of zeal for the reformation of religion. The King your Master knows their dispositions very well; a small thing will put him in mind of them. His Majesty had experience of them in Scotland; I hope he will beware of them in England. A little countenance or connivance sets them on fire." 1

It is for these reasons that the paper on the Pacification and Edification of the Church, deserves our special attention as being the truest exponent of Bacon's real ecclesiastical policy. Speaking his own mind, for once, freely, he advocates Church Reform. He pleads, not for a mere "countenance" or " connivance," but for a "law which may give a liberty." He is ready to give up such details as the surplice, the ring in marriage, the name of Priest, the use of Confirmation in its present shape, and the allowance of private Baptism; but he is ready to do much more than this. It is not that he will merely concede a considerable immediate reform; he goes further, and maintains the need of future and periodic reforms in the Church.

1 Spedding, vi. 18-32.


"It is excellently said by the Prophet, State super vias antiquas, et videte quænam sit via recta et vera, et ambulate in ea; so as he doth not say, State super vias antiquas et ambulate in eis. . . . But, not to handle this matter common-place-like, I would only ask why the civil State should be purged and restored by good and wholesome laws made every third or fourth year in Parliaments assembled, devising remedies as fast as time breedeth mischiefs, and contrariwise the ecclesiastical State should still continue upon the dregs of time, and receive no alteration now for these five-andforty years and more? If any man shall object that, if the like intermission had been used in civil causes also, the error had not been great, surely the wisdom of the kingdom hath been otherwise in experience for three hundred years at least. But if it be said to me that there is a difference between civil causes and ecclesiastical, they may as well tell me that churches and chapels need no reparations, though houses and castles do; whereas commonly, to speak truth, dilapidations of the inward and spiritual edification of the Church of God are in all times as great as the outward and material."

Had these sensible and statesmanlike views been adopted, the Church of England might have been made to include, and might perhaps now include, all but a small minority of the nation; and the adoption of this ecclesiastical policy might have gone far to conciliate the House of Commons and to prevent the civil war which was to fall upon the next generation. But the King peremptorily rejected such advice. "I will have none of that," said he to the Puritan Doctors who pleaded for elasticity of ceremonial, “I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one religion, in substance and ceremony. Never speak more on that pointhow far you are bound to obey." The Church historian Fuller, after relating the King's determination, remarks that "thenceforward many cripples in conformity were cured of their former halting therein; and such who knew not their own, till they knew the King's, mind in this matter, for the future quietly digested the Ceremonies of the Church." It is hard to decide to which of these two classes Bacon should be assigned. A sound Anglican would certainly call him "a cripple in Conformity;" on the other hand, his extraordinary power of unconscious self-adaptiveness may perhaps justify the assertion that he knew not his own mind till he knew the King's." Be that as it may, he obeyed to the letter the royal command "never to speak more on that point." The printed copies of the treatise

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