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the people of God when they forsake His law. If after his fall, it was the blessed fruit of mortified ambition; the bitter medicine that brought healing to the soul; the grievous chastisement that wrought the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
We incline to the latter opinion. Bacon was a man of contemplative and serious mind; conversant with the Scriptures and with religious truth; and accustomed, according to the style of that age, to the use of a sort of religious dialect. But there is nothing remaining of a probable date earlier than his degradation, that indicates deep religious feeling. If God wrought out His designs of mercy toward that great soul which He had endowed with such rare gifts, by humiliating providences, prostrating his pride, and bringing him into the dust, it is only what Eternity will reveal, as the course by which he has brought many other sons to glory. “ God, before his Son that bringeth mercy, sent his servant, the trumpeter of repentance, to level every high hill, to prepare the way before him, making it smooth and straight. Christ never comes before His way-maker hath laid even the heart with sorrow and repentance. Not only knowledge, but also every other gift which we call the gift of fortune, have power to puff up earth. Afflictions only level these mole-hills of pride, plough the heart, and make it fit for wisdom to sow her seed, and for grace to bring forth her increase. Happy is that man, therefore, that is thus wounded, to be cured; thus broken, to be made straight."'*
Especially towards the wise, mighty, and noble, who have been called,-men whose chief temptation and danger lay in their prosperity and self-confidence, it is probable this has been the common method of grace. It was needful to show that their prosperity was but a reed, and their confidence a dream, before they could be brought to God, as their only satisfying portion. Multitudes in Heaven, and on the way to Heaven, have blessed the kind severity that stripped them of their earthly comforts, and blasted their cherished hopes,
" That forced their conscience to a stand,
And brought their wand'ring souls to God." The theological remains, so called, of Lord Bacon, mostly bear internal evidence of being the work of his last years. The excep. tions are the tracts on Church Controversies, and Pacification og the Church, which were offered to King James in the opening of his reign. Upon these we shall not remark, our object being to illustrate, not the opinions, but the character of the author. They breathe a spirit of moderation and charity, kindred to that of the best British reformers. The undervaluing of mere ceremonies, the tenderness toward those " calling for reformation,” and towards churches under a different regimen, and the zeal for sound intelligent preaching and practical religion, honorably distinguish him from the bigots of that and of subsequent ages. These were lessons he never learned from Whitgift.
* Bacon. An Expostulation to the Lord Chief Justice Coke.
But it is when we turn to the devotional pieces of Lord Bacon, that he appears unambiguously invested with the “highest style of man.” They are few and brief: but such that quantity would not enhance conviction. It is the profound knowledge of Christian experience; the deep humility; the justification of God in his judgments; the filial temper of soul; and the hearty reception of the whole Gospel system, that expresses the genuine penitent. The prayer entitled “A Prayer or Psalm, made by the Lord Bacon, Chancellor of England," for pathetic beauty of expression, is second to nothing of the kind but the penitential Psalms of David. We cannot refrain from quoting this entire.
A PRAYER OR Psalm, &c. “Most precious Lord God, My merciful Father from my youth up; my Creator, my Redeemer, my Comfortor : Thou, o Lord, soundest and searchest the depths and secrets of all hearts; Thou acknowledgest 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 meed, procured the good of all men. If any have been my enemies, I thought not of them; neither hath the sun almost set upon my displeasure, but I have been as a dove free from superfluity of maliciousness. Thy creatures have been my books, but Thy Scriptures much more; I have sought Thee in the courts, fields, and groves, but I have found Thee in Thy temples.
“ Thousands have been my sins, and ten thousands my transgressions : but Thy sanctifications have remained with me, and my heart, through thy grace, hath been an unquenched coal upon Thine altar. O Lord, my strength, I have, since my youth, met with Thee in all my ways, by Thy fatherly compassions, by Thy comfortable chastisements, by Thy most visible providence. As Thy favors have increased upon me, so have Thy corrections ; so as Thou hast been always near me, O Lord ; and ever as my worldly blessings were (exalted, so secret darts from Thee have pierced me; and when I have ascended before men, I have descended in humiliation before Thee. And now when I thought most of peace and honor, Thine hand is heavy upon me, and hath humbled me according to Thy former loving kindness, keeping me still in Thy fatherly school, not as a bastard, but as a child. Just are Thy judgments upon me for my sins, which are more in number than the sands of the sea, but have no proportion to Thy mercies; for what are the sands of the sea ?-earth, heavens, and all, these are nothing to Thy mercies. Besides my innumerable sins, I confess before Thee, that I am a debtor to Thee for the gracious talent of Thy gifts and graces, which I have neither put into a napkin, nor put it, as I ought, to exchangers, where it might have made best profit, but misspent it in things for which I was least fit. So I may truly say, my soul hath been a stranger in the course of my pilgrimage. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for my Saviour's sake, and receive me into Thy bosom, or guide me in Thy ways."
These are worthy to be the last strains of that almost inspired harp; Divini hominis tanquam cycnea vox et oratio. His day, which had deen darkened with such a fearful gloom, was now shining again with a moderated lustre towards its close. The storm subsides. The clouds lift a little above the horizon ; a brief radiance, a fragment of a broken rainbow, the sun's rim dips, and is gone—wat one stride comes the dark.” True to the last to his investigation of nature, Bacon, struck with some thought respecting the preservation of bodies, stopped, while riding towards London, attended with his own hands to the experiment which was performed with snow, and in the operation contracted his deathcold. He was sixty-six years of age,-five years old, to use his own phrase, “in misery," and had arrived at the appointed bound which he could not pass. He took refuge in the house of the Earl of Arundel, which was near, and after a week's illness, of which we have no record, expired. The last glimpse we catch of him is here ; a brief letter to his absent host, written apparently under the impression that the crisis of his danger was past. He
He says he had come near losing his life, as Pliny the elder did, from too great devotion to philosophy. Religious sentiments were scarcely to be expected in a brief note of this kind, nor are they found. He was not now to think of death for the first time; he had often meditated upon it before, and found it the least of evils. He had not made love to the continuance of days, but to the goodness of them;” and without wishing for death, referred himself calmly “ to that bour which the Great dispenser of all things had appointed” him. He maintained these among other “Paradoxes, that a Christian's “death makes not an end of him. His Advocate, his Surety, shall be his Judge; his mortal part shall become immortal ; what was sown in corruption and defilement, shall be raised in incorruption and glory; and a finite creature shall possess an infinite happiness.' It was leaning on this staff, we doubt not, that he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and feared no evil.
The absence of any account of Lord Bacon's last hours, is a loss we cannot sufficiently lament. Did all men abandon fallen greatness at the last hour, in this as in other instances? Why was there no good Griffith, to “tell us how he died?” Where was Doctor Rawley, his lordship’s chaplain? Or did he suppose that posterity would not require, at his hands, even the slightest mention of the way his great master spake and acted in quitting life? And “his very good friend, Mr. George Herbert,” to whom he dedicated his versions of the Psalms-gentle and holy George Herbert, where was he? Might he not have found time during the six years that he survived the Chancellor, to paint his character and end? Something of the kind there may have been among those private papers of his, which, as worthy Izaak says, “were destroyed at Hingham house by the late rebels, and ‘so lost to posterity.” In the meantime we can only know, that
“His overthrow heaped happiness upon him,
And so pass to thy grave, thou great crushed and contrite spirit ! For thee, also, there was balm in Gilead, and a physician there. Thou, too, hast taught us, that though knowledge is great, and faith is great, yet the greatest of these is charity.
THE SCHOLASTIC THEOLOGY OF THE MIDDLE AGES
By Rev. S. M. SCHMUCKER, Germantown, Pa.
SHORTLY after the introduction of Christianity into the world, the spirit of speculative inquiry began to appear, in the examination of its principles. Soon men became wearied with their plain and unsophisticated import, and sought for recondite meanings and farfetched interpretations. On the page of dogmatic, as well as ecclesiastical history, many schools of discordant doctrine stand forth to view. Ere the halo of apostolical purity had faded from the Church, the notions of Cerinthus appeared, containing the germs of Gnosticism, as afterwards developed by Bardesanes, Valentinus, and their coadjutors. Next, this science is handled in the allegorical style of the school of Alexandria, headed by the great Origen. In later ages it is subjected to the philosophical speculations of Leibnitz and Wolf. Now, it is mixed up with the neological perversions of Semler and Eichorn. Then, again, it is expounded in the exegetical mode of Michaelis and Ernesti. Afterward it is discussed in the biblical style of Storr and Knapp; and lastly, it is set forth in the evangelical school of Tholuck and Twesten.
The study of these various systems is deeply interesting and instructive; but none are more worthy of regard than that Scholastic Mode, which held dominion in the schools during the Middle Ages. This department of Dogmatic History has not received as much attention among us as it deserves. We, therefore, propose, in this article, to give a condensed view of its history and most striking features.
The difficulty of producing a thorough exposition of the inward and outward characteristics of the Scholastic Systems, is duly acknowledged by the distinguished Dr. Ritter, in the Preface to the last volume of his History of Philosophy. Says he—“In some cases I have almost despaired of being able to discover the sense of a complicated dialectic, whose doctrines are, for the most part, very far removed from us.”
(Biblioth. Sac., Aug., 1844, p. 598.) No labor, indeed, could be more perplexing, than to trace the intricate thread of some abstract process of ratiocination, of some longa series dialectica, as elaborated by one of the Scholastics. Accordingly, in our present discussion, we do not propose to give an exposition of the esoteric systems of the different schools—their shades of doctrine, or points of difference. For such investigations, we do not indeed possess the proper materials in this coun