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Evangelists; in whose age, after the coming of the Holy Ghost, the teacher of all truth, the book of the Scriptures is shut and closed, as' to receive any new addition, and that the Church hath no power over the Scriptures to teach or command anything 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.”
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, of 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 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 those that 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 further 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 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 time of 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.
I was shut and closed so as not. R. Probably a conjectural correction ; but not wanted. " as to receive" means “ with regard to the receiving." ? but such only as is conceived from themselves. R, and. R.
which then they shall receive. R VOL. VII.
The Meditationes Sacre were written by Bacon in Latin, and published in 1597 in the same volume with the Essays and the Colours of Good and Eril. This volume was reprinted the next year by the same publisher (whether with Bacon's knowledge and sanction or not, does not appear) — only that an English translation of the Meditationes Sacre, under the title of Religious Meditations, was substituted for the original Latin. The translation is upon the whole good, and may well enough have had Bacon's imprimatur, though I can hardly think it was his own doing; the rather because, though it was afterwards included in all those editions of the Essays which, being merely reprints, may be supposed to have been printer's speculations in which he took no concern, I do not find in any volume subsequently brought out by himself either the translation or the original. Of the original indeed, which had not been reprinted, he may possibly in later years have been unable to procure a copy: but if he ever cared enough for it to translate it into English with his own hand, it seems unlikely that he should not have cared to preserve the translation. I suppose he added it to his Essays of 1597 in order to make that very thin volume a little thicker: but afterwards, judging it too slight a thing to stand by itself under such a title, preferred to disperse through his other writings such of the thoughts as he considered worth preserving
However this may be, there is something in these Meditations very characteristic, and as a sample of what at the age of 37 he thought worth setting down on such subjects, they cannot but be read with interest : none more so perhaps than the meditation de spe terrestri — the doctrine of which is not propounded by him elsewhere, as far as I recollect; certainly not in such latitude. The aphorism attributed to Heraclitus, that dry light is the best soul, was indeed at all times a favourite with him. But I do not think that he has anywhere else made