Billeder på siden



Of the three prayers wbich follow, the two first come from the Baconiana, and would be accepted as genuine compositions of Bacon's on Tenison's authority, even if we did not find Latin versions of them in works published by himself. The third is of more doubtful authenticity; being attributed to Bacon on no better authority (so far as I know) than that of the unknown editor of the Remains ; who prints it at the end of the volume, immediately after the Confession of Faith. That Dr. Rawley makes no mention of it, is not perhaps to be taken as a proof that he thought it not genuine; because it belongs to a class of compositions which he did not consider proper for publication; and Tenison's silence may mean no more than that he had no evidence that it was genuine; for if he had found any copy of it among Bacon's papers, he would probably either have

, printed it with the other two, or referred to it as already printed. The external evidence therefore cannot be considered conclusive either way; but inclines if anything against it. Nor does the internal evidence help much to settle the question. The language of devotion is a common language and tends to drown the distinctions of personal style. I cannot say that there is any thing in it which strikes me as decidedly unlike Bacon ; and my chief reasons for doubting that it is his, is that neither does it contain anything which strikes me as decidedly like him. And with this mark of doubt upon it, it may take its place with the others.

A fourth prayer of Bacon's there is, of the authenticity of which I have no doubt. But as its peculiar significance depends upon the occasion on which it was composed, I reserve it for its place among the Occasional Works.

[blocks in formation]

P R A Y E R s.




The first Prayer, called by his Lordship


To God the Father, God the Word, God the Spirit, we pour forth most humble and hearty supplications ; that He, remembering the calamities of mankind and the pilgrimage of this our life, in which we wear out days few and evil, would please to open to us new refreshments out of the fountains of his goodness, for the alleviating of our miseries. This also we humbly and earnestly beg, 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, anything of incredulity or intellectual night may arise in our minds towards the Divine Mysteries. But rather that by our mind throughly cleansed and purged from fancy and vanities, and yet subject and perfectly given up to the Divine Oracles, there may be given unto Faith the things that are Faith's. Amen.

The second Prayer, called by his Lordship

THE WRITER'S PRAYER, Thou, O Father! who gavest the Visible Light as the first-born of thy 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 Good

| Baconiana, p. 18).

« ForrigeFortsæt »