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them, whether they are his supplications as a student, as an author, or as a preserver, when Chancellor, of the religious sentiments of the country.
As a student, he prays, that he may not be inflated or Student's misled by the vanity which makes man wise in his own prayer. conceit: “To God the Father, God the Word, God the Spirit, we put forth most humble and hearty supplications, that human things may not prejudice such as are divine; neither that from the unlocking of the gates of sense, and the kindling of a greater natural light, any thing of incredulity or intellectual night may arise in our minds towards divine mysteries.” (b)
As an author (c) he prays in the same spirit: “Thou, O Author's Father, who gavest the visible light as the first-born of thy prayer. creatures, and didst pour into man the intellectual light as the top and consummation of thy workmanship, be pleased to protect and govern this work, which coming from thy goodness, returneth to thy glory.”
The same spirit did not forsake him when Chancellor : Chancel“ Most gracious Lord God, my merciful Father from my prayer. youth up, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Comforter. 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. Thy creatures have been
the second prayer, entitled, “A Prayer made and used by the Lord Chan-
(c) Vol. vii. p. 9. VOL. XV.
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." (a)
The same holy feeling appears in all his important works. The preface to his Instauratio Magna opens (6) and concludes (c) with a prayer. The treatise " De
(a) Vol. vii. p. 5.
(6) “ We in the beginning of our work pour forth most humble and ardent prayers to God the Father, God the Word, and God the Spirit, that mindful of the cares of man, and of his pilgrimage through this life, in which we wear out some few and evil days, thou would vouchsafe through our hands to endow the family of mankind with these new gifts; and we moreover humbly pray that human knowledge may not prejudice divine truth, and that no incredulity and darkness in regard to the divine mysteries may arise in our minds upon the disclosing of the ways of sense, and this greater kindling of our natural light; but rather that from a pure understanding, cleared of all fancies and vanity, yet no less submitted to, nay wholly prostrate before the divine oracles, we may render unto faith the tribute due unto faith: and lastly, that being freed from the poison of knowledge, infused into it by the serpent, and with which the human soul is swoln and puffed up, we may neither be too profoundly nor immoderately wise, but worship truth in charity."*
(c) The preface to the Instauration concludes thus: “Neque enim hoc sinerit 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 pro
• Vol. ix. p. 260.
Augmentis Scientiarum" abounds with religious sentiments, De Augcontains two tracts, one upon natural, the other upon revealed religion," the sabbath and port of all men's labours :" and concludes, “ Attamen, quoniam etiam res quæque
fectum, 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."*
“ May God never permit us to give out the dream of our fancy as a model of the world, but rather in his kindness vouchsafe to us the means of writing a revelation and true vision of the traces and stamps of the Creator on his creatures. May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first fruits of creation, and hast inspired the 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 upou the works of thy hands, thou sawest that all were very good and restedst. 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. Wherefore if we labour in thy works, thou wilt make us partakers of that which thou beholdest and of thy rest. We humbly pray that our present disposition may continue firm, and that thou mayest be willing to endow thy family of mankind with new gifts through our hands, and the hands of those to whom thou wilt accord the same disposition.”
* Vol. ix. p. 178.
maximæ initiis suis debentur, mihi satis fuerit sevisse posteris et Deo immortali: cujus numen supplex precor, per filium suum et servatorem nostrum, ut has et hisce similes intellectus humani victimas, religione tanquam sale respersas, et gloriæ suæ immolatas, propitius accipere
dignetur.” In the midst of his profound reasoning in the Novum Novum Organum, there is a passage in which his opinion Organum. of our incorporeal nature is disclosed. (x) And the third 3rd Part part of the Instauration concludes thus: “ Deus Universi Instauratio
Conditor, Conservator, Instaurator, hoc opus, et in ascensione ad gloriam suam, et in descensione ad bonum humanum pro sua erga homines, benevolentia, et misericordia, protegat et regat, per Filium suum unicum,
nobiscum Deum.” Minor In his minor publications the same piety may be seen. publications.
It appears in the Meditationes Sacræ ; (a) in the Wisdom of the Ancients ;(b) in the Fables of Pan,(c) of Prometheus,(d) of Pentheus, (e) and of Cupid :(f) in various parts of the Essays, but particularly in the Essay on Atheism (g) and Goodness of Nature:(h) in the New Atlantis:(i) in his tract, “ De principiis,” and the tract, entitled “The Conditions of Entities. (k)
(x) “ Quare actio magnetica poterit esse instantia diuortii circa naturam corpoream, et actionem naturalem. Cui hoc adjici potest tanquam corollarium aut lucrum non prætermittendum: viz. quod etiam secundum sensum philosophanti sumi possit probatio, quod sint entia et substantiæ separatæ et incorporeæ. Si enim virtus et actio naturalis, emanans a corpore, subsistere possit aliquo tempore, et aliquo loco, omnino sine corpore; prope est ut possit etiam emanare in origine sua a substantia incorporea. Videtur enim non minus requiri natura corporea ad actionem naturalem sustentandam et deprehendam, quam ad excitandum aut generandam.”
(a) See vol. i. p. 203, and preface to vol. i. p. xxiii.
(c) Vol. iii. p. 11.
There is a tract entitled, “ The Characters of a believing Paradoxes. christian, in paradoxes and seeming contradictions,” which is spurious.(a)
Such are his religious sentiments in different parts of his works; but they are not confined to his publications. They appear where, according to his own doctrine, our opinions may always be discovered, in his familiar letters, in the testimony of his friends, in his unguarded observations, and in his will.
In a letter to Mr. Mathew, imprisoned for religion, he Letters. says,
pray God, who 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.” In the decline of his life, in his letter 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. 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.” (6)
In his essay on Atheism there is an observation, which Sceptics. may appear to a superficial observer hasty and unguarded, inconsistent with the language of philosophy, and at variance with his own doctrines. It was written, not in prostration to any idol, but from his horror of the barren and desolate minds that are continually saying, “ There is no God,”(c) and his preference, if compelled to elect, of the least of two errors. “I had rather,” he says, “ believe all
of our alphabet. May God the Creator, Preserver, and Restorer of the
(a) The evidence of this may be found in the preface to vol. vii.