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There is nothing under heaven, saving a true friend, who cannot be counted within the number of moveables, unto which my heart doth lean. And this dear freedom hath begotten me this peace, that I mourn not for that end which must be, nor spend one wish to have one minute added to the uncertain date of my years. It was no mean apprehension of Lucian, who says of Menippus, that in his travels through hell he knew not the kings of the earth from other men, but only by their louder cryings and tears: which was fostered in them through the remorseful memory of the good days they had seen, and the fruitful havings which they so unwillingly left behind them: he that was well seated, looked back at his portion, and was loth to forsake his farm; and others, either minding marriages, pleasures, profit, or preferment, desired to be excused from death's banquet: they had made an appointment with earth, looking at the blessings, not the hand that enlarged them, forgetting how unclothedly they came hither, or with what naked ornaments they were arrayed.
5. But were we servants of the precept given, and observers of the heathen's rule, " memento mori," and not become benighted with this seeming felicity, we should enjoy it as men prepared to lose, and not wind up our thoughts upon so perishing a fortune: he that is not slackly strong, as the servants of pleasure, how can he be found unready to quit the veil and false visage of his perfection? The soul having shaken off her flesh, doth then set up for herself, and contemning things that are under, shows what finger hath enforced her; for the souls of idiots are of the same piece with those of statesmen, but now and then nature is at a fault, and this good guest of ours takes soil in an imperfect body, and so is slackened from showing her wonders; like an excellent musician, which cannot utter himself upon a defective instrument.
6. But see how I am swerved, and lose my course, touching at the soul, that doth least hold action with death, who hath the surest property in this frail act; his stile is the end of all flesh, and the beginning of incorruption.
This ruler of monuments leads men for the most part out of this world with their heels forward; in token that he is contrary to life; which being obtained, sends men headlong into this wretched theatre, where being arrived, their first language is that of mourning. Nor in my own thoughts, can I compare men more fitly to any thing, than to the Indian fig-tree, which being ripened to his full height, is said to decline his branches down to the earth; whereof she conceives again, and they become roots in their own stock.
So man having derived his being from the earth, first lives the life of a tree, drawing his nourishment as a plant, and made ripe for death he tends downwards, and is sowed again in his mother the earth, where he perisheth not, but expects a quickening.
7. So we see death exempts not a man from being, but only presents an alteration; yet there are some men, I think, that stand otherwise persuaded. Death finds not a worse friend than an alderman, to
whose door I never knew him welcome; but he is an importunate guest, and will not be said nay.
And though they themselves shall affirm, that they are not within, yet the answer will not be taken; and that which heightens their fear is, that they know they are in danger to forfeit their flesh, but are not wise of the payment day: which sickly uncertainty is the occasion that, for the most part, they step out of this world unfurnished for their general account, and being all unprovided, desire yet to hold their gravity, preparing their souls to answer in scarlet.
Thus I gather, that death is disagreeable to most citizens, because they commonly die intestate: this being a rule, that when their will is made, they think themselves nearer a grave than before: now they, out of the wisdom of thousands, think to scare destiny, from which there is no appeal, hy not making a will, or to live longer by protestation of their unwillingness to die. They are for the most part well made in this world, accounting their treasure by legions, as men do devils, their fortune looks toward them, and they are willing to anchor at it, and desire, if it be possible, to put the evil day far off from them, and to adjourn their ungrateful and killing period.
No, these are not the men which have bespoken death, or whose looks are assured to entertain a thought of him.
8. Death arrives gracious only to such as sit in darkness, or lie heavy burdened with grief and irons; to the poor christian, that sits bound in the galley; to despairful widows, pensive prisoners, and deposed kings; to them whose fortune runs back, and whose spirit mutinies; unto such death is a redeemer, and the grave a place for retiredness and rest.
These wait upon the shore of death, and waft unto him to draw near, wishing above all others to see his star, that they might be led to his place, wooing the remorseless sisters to wind down the watch of their life, and to break them off- before the hour.
9. But death is a doleful messenger to a usurer, and fate untimely cuts their thread: for it is never mentioned by him, but when rumours of war and civil tumults put him in mind thereof.
And when many hands are armed, and the peace of a city in disorder, and the foot of the common soldiers sounds an alarm on his stairs, then perhaps such a one, broken in thoughts of his monies abroad, and cursing the monuments of coin which are in his house, can be content to think of death, and, being hasty of perdition, will perhaps hang himself, lest his throat should be cut; provided that he may do it in his study, surrounded with wealth, to which his eye sends a faint and languishing salute, even upon the turning off; remembering always, that he have time and liberty, by writing, to depute himself as his own heir.
For that is a great peace to his end, and reconciles him wonderfully upon the point.
10. Herein we all dally with ourselves, and are without proof till necessity. I am not of those that dare promise to pine away myself in vain-glory, and I hold such to be but feat boldness, and them that dare commit it to be vain. Yet for my part, I think nature should do me great wrong, if I should be so long in dying, as I was in being born.
To speak truth, no man knows the lists of his own patience; nor can divine how able he shall be in his sufferings, till the storm come; the perfectest virtue being tried in action: but I would, out of a care to do the best business well, ever keep a guard, and stand upon keeping faith and a good conscience.
11. And if wishes might find place, I would die together, and not my mind often, and my body once; that is, I would prepare for the messengers of death, sickness, and affliction, and not wait long, or be attempted by the violence of pain.
Herein I do not profess myself a Stoic, to hold grief no evil, but opinion, and a thing indifferent.
But I consent with Ca?sar, that the suddenest passage is easiest, and there is nothing more awakens our resolve and readiness to die, than the quieted conscience, strengthened with opinion that we shall be well spoken of upon earth by those that are just, and of the family of virtue j the opposite whereof is a fury to man, and makes even life unsweet.
Therefore, what is more heavy than evil fame deserved? Or, likewise, who can see worse days, than he that yet living doth follow at the funerals of his own reputation?
I have laid up many hopes, that I am privileged from that kind of mourning, and could wish the like peace to all those with whom I wage love. '12. I might say much of the commodities that death can sell a man; but briefly, death is a friend of ours, and he that is not ready to entertain him, is not at home. Whilst I am, my ambition is not to fore-flow the tide; I have but so to make my interest of it, as I may account for it; I would wish nothing but what might better my days, nor desire any greater place than the front of good opinion. I make not love to the continuance of days, but to the goodness of them; nor wish to die, but refer myself to my hour, which the great Dispenser of all things hath appointed me; yet as I am frail, and suffered for the first fault, were it given me to choose, I should not be earnest to see the evening of my age; that extremity of itself being a disease, and a mere return into infancy: so that if perpetuity of life might be given me, I should think what the Greek poet said, Such an age is a mortal evil. And since I must needs be dead, I require it may not be done before mine enemies, that I be not stript before I be cold; but before my friends. The night was even now; but that name is lost; it is not now late, but early. Mine eyes begin now to discharge their watch, and compound with this fleshly weakness for a time of perpetual rest; and I shall presently be as happy for a few hours, as I had died the first hoar I was born.
A CONFESSION OF FAITH,
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE FRANCIS BACON, BARON OF VERULAM, &c.
I Believe that nothing is without beginning, but God; no nature, no matter, no spirit, but one only, and the same God. That God, as he is eternally almighty, only wise, only good in his nature; so he is eternally Father, Son, and Spirit, in persons.
I believe that God is so holy, pure, and jealous, as 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 for ever.
But that, out of his eternal and infinite goodness and love purposing to become a Creator, and to communicate to his creatures, he ordained in his eternal counsel, that one person of the Godhead should be united to one nature, and to one particular of his creatures; that so, in the person of the Mediator, the true ladder might be fixed, whereby God might descend to his creatures, and his creatures might ascend to God: so that 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 states others might possibly fall, and be restored; and others might fall, and not be restored to their estate, but yet remain in being, though 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.
That he chose, according to his good pleasure, man to be that creature, to whose nature the person
VOL. I. z
of the eternal Son of God should be united: and amongst the generations of men, elected a small flock, in whom, by the participation of himself, he purposed to express the riches of his glory; all the ministration of angels, damnation of devils and reprobates, and universal administration of all creatures, and dispensation of all times, having no other end, but as the ways and ambages of God, to be further glorified in his saints, who are one with their head the Mediator, who is one with God.
That by the virtue of this his eternal counsel he condescended of his own good pleasure, and according to the times and seasons to himself known, to become a Creator; and by his eternal Word created all things; and by his eternal Spirit doth comfort and preserve them.
That he made all things in their first estate good, and removed from himself the beginning of all evil and vanity into the liberty of the creature: but reserved in himself the beginning of all restitution to the liberty of his grace; using, nevertheless, and turning the falling and defection of the creature, which to his prescience was eternally known, to make way to his eternal counsel, touching a Mediator, and the work he purposed to accomplish in him.
That God created spirits, whereof some kept their standing, and others fell: he created heaven and earth, and all their armies and generations; and gave unto them constant and everlasting laws, which we call nature; which is nothing but the laws of the creation; which laws nevertheless have had three changes or times, and are to have a fourth or last. The first, when the matter of heaven and earth was created without forms: the second, the interim of perfection of every day's work: the third, by the curse, which notwithstanding was no new creation: and the last at the end of the world, the manner whereof is not yet fully revealed: so as the laws of nature, which now remain and govern inviolably till the end of the world, began to be in force when God first rested from his works, and ceased to create; but received a revocation, in part, by the curse; since which time they change not
That notwithstanding God hath rested and ceased from creating since the first sabbath, yet nevertheless he doth accomplish and fulfil his divine will in all things, great and small, singular and general, as fully and exactly by providence, as he could by miracle and new creation, though his working be not immediate and direct, but by compass; not violating nature, which is his own law, upon the creature.
That at the first, the soul of man was not produced by heaven or earth, but was breathed immediately from God: so that the ways and proceedings of God with spirits are not included in nature, that is, in the laws of heaven and earth, but are reserved to the law of his secret will and grace: wherein God worketh still, and resteth not from the work of redemption, as he restelh from the work of creation; but continueth working till the end of the world: what time that work also shall be accomplished, and an eternal sabbath shall ensue. Likewise, that whensoever God doth transcend the law of nature by miracles, which may ever seem as new creations, he never cometh to that point or pass, but in regard of the work of redemption, which is the greater, and whereto all God's signs and miracles do refer.
That God created man in his own image, in a reasonable soul, in innocency, in free-will, and in sovereignty: that he gave him a law and commandment, which was in his power to keep, but he kept it not: that 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, and lusted after the knowledge of those imagined beginnings; to the end, to depend no more upon God's will revealed, but upon himself and his own light, as a God; than the which there could not be a sin more opposite to the whole law of God: that yet, nevertheless, this great sin was not originally moved by the malice of man, but was insinuated by the suggestion and instigation of the devil, who was the first defected creature, and fell of malice, not by temptation.
That upon the fall of man, death and vanity entered by the justice of God; and the image of God in man was defaced; and heaven and earth, which were made for man's use, were subdued to corruption by his fall; but then, that instantly, and without intermission of time, after the word of God's law became, through the fall of man, frustrate as to obedience, there succeeded the greater word of the promise, that the righteousness of God might be wrought by faith.
That as well the law of God as the word of his promise endure the same for ever: but that they have been revealed in several manners, according to the dispensation of times. For the law was first imprinted in that remnant of light of nature, which was left after the fall, being sufficient to accuse: then it was more manifestly expressed in the written law; and was yet more opened by the prophets;
and, lastly, expounded in the true perfection by the Son of God, the great Prophet, and perfect interpreter, as also fulfiller of the law. Thaf likewise the word of the promise was manifested and revealed: first, by immediate revelation and inspiration; after by figures, which were of two natures: the one, the rites and ceremonies of the law; the other, the continual history of the old world, and church of the Jews; which though it be literally true, yet is it pregnant of a perpetual allegory and shadow of the work of the redemption to follow. The same promise or evangile was more clearly revealed and declared by the prophets, and then by the Son himself, and lastly by the Holy Ghost, which illuminateth the church to the end of the world.
That in the fulness of time, according to the promise and oath, of a chosen lineage descended the blessed seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God and Saviour of the world; who was conceived by the power and overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and took flesh of the virgin Mary: that the Word did not only take flesh, or was joined to flesh, but was made flesh, though without confusion of substance or nature: so as the eternal Son of God and the ever blessed Son of Mary was one person; so one, as the blessed virgin may be truly and catholicly called Deipara, the Mother of God; so one, as there is no unity in universal nature, not that of the soul and body of man, so perfect; for the three heavenly unities, whereof that is the second, 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 chnrch: 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
That Jesus, the Lord, became in the flesh a sacrifice r, and a sacrifice for sin; a satisfaction and price to the justice of God; a meriter of glory and the kingdom; a pattern of all righteousness; a preacher of the word which himself was; a finisher of the ceremonies; a corner-stone to remove the separation between Jew and Gentile; an intercessor for the church, a Lord of nature in his miracles; a conqueror of death and the power of darkness in his resurrection; and that he fulfilled the whole counsel of God, performing all his sacred offices and anointing on earth, accomplished the whole work of the redemption and restitution of man to a state superior to the angels, whereas the state of man by creation was inferior, and reconciled and established all things according to the eternal will of the Father.
That in time, Jesus the Lord was botn in the days of Herod, and suffered under the government of Pontius Pilate, being deputy of the Romans, and under the high priesthood of Caiaphas, and was betrayed by Judas, one of the twelve apostles, and was crucified at Hierusalem; and after a true and natural death, and his body laid in the sepulchre, the third day he raised himself from the bonds of death, and arose and showed himself to many chosen witnesses, by the space of divers days;, and at the end of those days, in the sight of many, ascended into heaven; where he continueth his intercession; and shall from thence, at the day appointed, come in greatest glory to judge the world.
That the sufferings and merits of Christ, as they are sufficient to do away the sins of the whole world, so they are only effectual to those which are regenerate by the Holy Ghost; who breatheth where he will of free grace; which grace, as a seed incorruptible, quickeneth the spirit of man, and conceiveth him anew a son of God and member of Christ: so that Christ having man's flesh, and man having Christ's spirit, there is an open passage and mutual imputation; whereby sin and wrath was conveyed to Christ from man, and merit and life is conveyed to man from Christ: which seed of the Holy Ghost first figurelh in us the image of Christ slain or crucified, through a lively faith; and then reneweth in us the image of God in holiness and charity; though both imperfectly, and in degrees far differing, even in God's elect, as well in regard of the fire of the Spirit, as of the illumination thereof; which is more or less in a large proportion: as namely, in the church before Christ; which yet nevertheless was partaker of one and the same salvation with us, and of one and the same means of salvation with us.
That the work of the Spirit, though it be not tied to any means in heaven or earth, yet it is ordinarily dispensed by the preaching of the word; the administration of the sacraments; the covenants of the fathers upon the children, prayer, reading; the censures of the church; the society of the godly; the cross and afflictions; God's benefits; his judgments upon others; miracles; the contemplation of his creatures: all which, though some be more principal, God useth as the means of vocation and conversion of his elect; not derogating from his power to call immediately by his grace, and at all hours and moments of the day, that is, of man's life, according to his good pleasure.
That the word of God, whereby his will is revealed, continued in revelation and tradition until Moses; and that the Scriptures were from Moses's time to the times of the apostles and evangelists; in whose age, after the coming of the Holy Ghost, the teacher of all truth, the book of the Scriptures was shut and closed, so as not to receive any new addition; and that the church hath no power over the Scriptures to teach or command any thing contrary to the written word, but is as the ark, wherein the tables of the first testament were kept and preserved: that is to say, the church hath only the custody and delivery over of the Scriptures committed unto the same; together with the interpretation of them, but such only as is conceived from themselves.
That there is a universal or catholic church of God, dispersed over the face of the earth, which is Christ's spouse, and Christ's body; being gathered of the fathers of the old worid, of the church of the Jews, of the spirits of the faithful dissolved, and the spirits of the faithful militant, and of the names yet to l>e bom, which are already written in the book of life. That there is also a visible church, distinguished by the outward works of God's covenant,
and the receiving of the holy doctrine, with the use of the mysteries of God, and the invocation and sanctification of his holy name. That there is also a holy succession in the prophets of the New Testament and fathers of the church, from the time of the apostles and disciples which saw our Saviour in the flesh, unto the consummation of the work of the ministry; which persons are called from God by gift, or inward anointing; and the vocation of God followed by an outward calling and ordination of the church.
I believe, that the souls of such os die in the Lord are blessed, and rest from their labours, and enjoy the sight of God, yet so, as they are in expectation of n farther revelation of their glory in the last day. At which time all flesh of man shall arise and be changed, and shall appear and receive from Jesus Christ his eternal judgment; and the glory of the saints shall then be full: and the kingdom shall be given up to God the Father: from which time all things 6hall continue for ever in that being and state, which then they shall receive. So as there are three times, if times they may be called, or parts of eternity: The first, the time before beginnings, when the Godhead was only, without the being of any creature: the second, the time of the mystery, which continueth from the creation to the dissolution of the world: and the third, the time of the revelation of the sons of God; which time is the last, and is everlasting without change.
A PRAYER, OR PSALM,
MADB BY THE
LORD BACON, CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND
Most gracious Lord God, my merciful Father, from my youth up, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Comforter. Thou, O Lord, soundest and searchest the depths and secrets of all hearts: thou acknowledges! the upright of heart: thou judgest the hypocrite: thou ponderest men's thoughts and doings as in a balance: thou measurest their intentions as with a line: vanity and crooked ways cannot be hid from thee.
Remember, O Lord, how thy servant 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