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ment, with a due bent and inclination of the affection. But which of you hath so kept his hopes within limits, as when it is so that you have out of a watchful and strong discourse of the mind set down the better success to be in apparency the more likely; you have not dwelt upon the very muse and fore-, thought of the good to come, and giving scope and favour unto your mind to fall into such cogitations as into a pleasant dream? Aud this it is which makes the mind light, frothy, unequal, and wandering. Wherefore all our hope is to be bestowed upon the heavenly life to come: but here on earth the purer our sense is from the infection and tincture of imagination, the better and wiser soul.
66 The sum of life to little doth amount,
Aud therefore doth forbid a longer count.”
The Eighth, “Of Impostors," is very short:
" Whether we be transported in mind, it is to Godward ; or whether we be sober, it is to youward.”—This is the true image and true temper of a man, and of him that is God's faithful workman; his carriage and conversation towards God is full of passion, of zeal, and of tramisses ; thence proceed groans unspeakable, and exultings likewise in comfort, ravishment of spirit, and agonies; but contrariwise, his carriage and conversation towards men is full of mildness, sobriety, and appliable demeanour. Hence is that saying, “I am become all things to all men," and such like. Contrary it is with hypocrites and impostors, for they in the church and before the people set themselves on fire, and are carried as it were out of themselves, and becoming as men inspired with holy furies, they set heaven and earth together; but if a man did see their solitary and separate meditations and conversation, whereunto God is only privy, he might, towards Gud, find them not only cold and without virtue, but also full of ill.nature and leaven; “Sober enough to God, and transported only towards men."
We add the Tenth, “ Of Atheism," as an example of the manner in which parts of these Meditations were afterwards worked up into Essays. The reader may compare the following with the Sixteenth Essay, which has the same title :
“ The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.”—First, it is to be noted, the Scripture saith, “ The fool hath said in
his heart," and not “thought in his heart;" that is to say, he doth not so fully think it in judgment, as he hath a good will to be of that belief; for seeing it makes not for him that there should be a God, he doth seek by all means accordingly to persuade and resolve himself, and studies to affirm, prove, and verify it to himself as some theme or position: all which labour notwithstanding, that sparkle of our creation light whereby men acknowledge a Deity burneth still within; and in vain doth he strive utterly to alienate it or put it out, so that it is out of the corruption of his heart and will, and not out of the natural apprehension of his brain and conceit, that he doth set down his opinion, as the comical poet saith, “Then came my mind to be of mine opinion," as if himself and his mind had been two divers things ; therefore the atheist hath rather said, and held in his heart, than thought or believed in his heart that there is no God. Secondly, it is to be observed, that he hath said in his heart, and not spoken it with his mouth. But again you shall note, this smothering of this persuasion within
the heart cometh to pass for fear of government and of speech amongst men; for as he saith, “To deny God in a public argument were much, but in a familiar conference were current enough :' for if this bridle were removed, there is no heresy which would contend more to spread and multiply, and disseminate itself abroad, than atheism : neither shall you see those men which are drenched in this frenzy of mind to breathe almost anything else, or to inculcate even without occasion anything more than speech tending to atheism, as may appear in Lucretius the Epicure, who makes of his invectives against religion as it were a burthen or verse of return to all his
other discourses; the reason seems to be, for that the atheist not relying sufficiently upon himself, floating in mind and unsatisfied, and enduring within many faintings, and as it were fails of his opinion, desires, by other men's opinions agreeing with his, to be recovered and brought again; for it is a true saying, “ Whoso laboureth earnestly to prove an opinion to another, himself distrusts it.” Thirdly, it is a fool that hath so said in his heart, which is most true; not only in respect that he hath no taste in those things which are supernatural and divine, but in respect of human and civil wisdom. For first of all, it you mark the wits and dispositions which are inclined to atheism, you shall find them light, scoffing, impudent, and vain; briefly, of such a constitution as is most contrary to wisdom and moral gravity. Secondly, amongst statesmen and politics, those which have been of greatest depths and compass, and of largest and most universal understanding, have not only in cunning made their profit in seeniing religious to the people, but in truth have been touched with an inward sense of the knowledge of Deity, as they which you shall evermore note to have attributed much to fortune and providence. Contrariwise, those who ascribed all things to their own cunning and practices, and to the immediate and apparent causes, and as the prophet saith, “ Have sacrificed to their own nets," have been always but petty counterfeit statesmen, and not capable of the greatest actions. Lastly, this I dare affirm in knowledge of nature, that a little natural philosophy, and the first entrance into it, doth dispose the opinion to atheism; but on the other side, much natural philosophy and wading deep into it will bring about men's minds to religion. Wherefore atheism every way seems to be joined and combined with folly and ignorance, seeing nothing can be more justly allotted to * be the saying of fools than this. There is no God.
The following is the Twelfth Meditation, “Of the Church and the Scriptures :
“ Thou shalt protect them in thy tabernacle from the contradiction of tongues.”—The contradiction of tongues doth everywhere meet with us out of the tabernacle of God, therefore whithiersoever thou shalt turn thyself thou shalt find no end of controversies, except thou withdraw thyself into that tabernacle. Thou wilt say it is true, and that it is to be understood of the unity of the church. But hear and note. There was in the tabernacle the ark, and in the ark the testimony or tables of the law: what dost thou tell me of the husk of the tabernacle without the kernel of the testimony ? the tabernacle was ordained for the keeping and delivering over from hand to hand of the testimony. In like manner, the custody and passing over the Scriptures is committed unto the Church, but the life of the tabernacle is the testimony.
The most considerable of Bacon's theological writings are his pieces entitled “ An Advertisement touching the Controversies of the Church of England,” and “ Certain Considerations touching the better Pacification and Edification of the Church of England.” In his Life (cxl.) Mr. Montagu tells us that he produced these publications” both in the same year 1606. But it is
clear from the discourses themselves that the one was written a long time before the other. They appear to have been first published in 1640 or 1641. There is a copy of the “Considerations” in the British Museum in small quarto with the date 1640; and in one of the volumes of the King's Pamphlets, preserved in the same collection, is a copy, in the same size, of the “ Advertisement,” with the title of “A Wise and Moderate Discourse concerning Church Affairs; as it was written long since by the famous author of those Considerations, which seem to have some reference to this; now published for the common good; imprinted in the year 1641." This description would seem to imply that the “ Considerations” had been originally prefixed; and it will be found on examining the pamphlet that the beginning is evidently wanting, for the above title, besides that it is not in capitals as if it were intended to stand at the commencement of the publication, is printed not on the first but on the second leaf of the sheet. The Discourse which it heads had probably been added to a second edition of the “ Considerations ;” and it would not appear to have been published anonymously, as Blackburn and Mr. Montagu assert. There are MŠ. copies in the Museum both of the Advertisement and the Considerations; of the latter at least more than one copy. Both tracts were afterwards authenticated by being inserted by Dr. Rawley in the Resuscitatio (1657); and they may be considered to be alluded to in the following paragraph of the Preface to that collection :-" It is true that, for some of the pieces herein contained, his lordship did not aim at the publication of them, but at the preservation only, and prohibiting them from perishing; so as to have been reposed in some private shrine or library. But now, for that, through the loose keeping of his lordship’s papers whilst he lived, divers surreptitious copies have been taken, which have since employed the press with sundry corrupt and mangled editions, whereby nothing hath been more difficult than to find the Lord Saint Alban in the Lord Saint Alban, and which have presented (some of them) rather a fardle of nonsense
than any true expressions of his lordship’s happy vein, I thought myself, in a sort, tied to vindicate these injuries and wrongs done to the monuments of his lordship’s pen, and at once, by setting forth the true and genuine writings themselves, to prevent the like evasions for the time to come.'
The Considerations appear to have been addressed to King James very soon after his accession ;* and the author there speaks of having long held the same opinions, as may appear," he adds, “by that which I have
many years since written of them, according to the proportion nevertheless of my weakness.”
There can hardly be a doubt that these words refer to the Advertisement, which must therefore have been written long before the end of the reign of Elizabeth. The manner in which it is spoken of might very well be taken to carry it back to 1590, when Bacon was only about thirty ; but even if we should assign it to a date two or three years later, it would still be his earliest known composition. It is a very able and striking discourse, remarkable both for the writing and for the thought or reasoning, and curious for a display of theological learning, a familiarity with the original authorities in that department of scholarship, which in our degenerate day would be thought to do honour to a bishop, and which we might safely defy the united force of all the inns of court to match. It commences thus :
It is but ignorance, if any man find it strange, that the state of religion, especially in the days of peace, should be exercised and troubled with controversies : for as it is the condition of the Church militant to be ever under trials, so it cometh to pass, that when the fiery trial of persecution ceaseth, there succeedeth another trial, which, as it were, by contrary blasts of doctrine, doth sift and winnow men's faith, and proveth whether they know God aright; even as that other of afflictions disco
* The heading of a copy in Ayscough MS. 4263, describes them as “ dedicated to his Most Excellent Majesty at his first coming in:" (the last five words, however, being in a different hand from the rest of the title).