« AnteriorContinuar »
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 born 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 shewed 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 figureth 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 der grees 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 an 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 world, 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 be born, 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 an 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 as 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 a 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 shall 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 iş everlasting without change.
A PRAYER, OR PSALM,
MADE 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 acknowledgest the upright of heart : thou judgest the hypocrite : thou ponderest mens 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 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 gardens, 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, and by thy most visible providence. As thy favours 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 honour, thy 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 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 mispent 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.
Made and used by the Lord Chancellor Bacon..
O ETERNAL God, and most merciful Father in Jesus Christ: Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts be now and ever gracious in thy sight, and acceptable unto thee, O Lord, our God, our strength, and our Redeemer.
O Eternal God, and most merciful Father in Jesus