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A CONFESSION OF FAITH,'
I BELIEVE that nothing is without beginning but God; no nature, no matter, no spirit, but one only and the same God. That God as he is eternally almighty, only wise, only good, in his nature, so he is eternally Father, Son, and Spirit, in persons.
I believe that God is so holy, pure, and jealous, as it is impossible for him to be pleased in any creature, though the work of his own hands; So that neither Angel, Man, nor World, could stand, or can stand, one moment in his eyes, without beholding the same in the face of a Mediator; And therefore that before him with whom all things are present, the Lamb of God was slain before all worlds; without which eternal counsel of his, it was impossible for him to have descended to any work of creation; but he should have enjoyed the blessed and individual society of three persons in Godhead only for ever.
1 A Confession of the Faith, written by the Right Honourable Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, &c. R.
2 So R. The old MS. has "through."
8 So R. The MSS. omit "he."
But that out of his eternal and infinite goodness and love purposing to become a Creator, and to communicate with his creatures, he ordained in his eternal counsel, that one person of the Godhead should in time2 be united to one nature and to one particular of his creatures that so in the person of the Mediator the true ladder might be fixed, whereby God might descend to his creatures, and his creatures might ascend to God: so that God, by the reconcilement of the Mediator, turning his countenance towards his creatures, (though not in the same light and degree,) made way unto the dispensation of his most holy and secret will; whereby some of his creatures might stand and keep their state, others might possibly fall and be restored, and others might fall, and not be restored in their state, but yet remain in being, though under wrath and corruption: all in the virtue of the Mediator; which is the great mystery and perfite centre of all God's ways with his creatures, and unto which all his other works and wonders do but serve and refer.
That he chose (according to his good pleasure) Man to be that creature, to whose nature the person of the eternal Son of God should be united; and amongst the generations of men, elected a small flock, in whom (by the participation of himself) he purposed to express the riches of his glory; all the ministration of angels, damnation of devils and reprobate, and universal administration of all creatures, and dispensation of all
1 to. R.
2 R. omits" in time."
3 though not in equal light. R. The MS. 6828. has "though not in the same height;" which is perhaps right. In 4263. the word is illegible from damp.
4 estate. R.
6 perfect. R.
5 with respect to. R.
7 reprobates. R.
times, having no other end, but as the ways and ambages of God to be further glorified in his Saints, who are one with the Mediator, who is one with God.
That by the virtue of this his eternal counsel touching a Mediator,2 he descended at his own good pleasure, and according to the times and seasons to himself known, to become a Creator; and by his eternal Word created all things, and by his eternal Spirit doth comfort and preserve them.
That he made all things in their first estate good, and removed from himself the beginning of all evil and vanity into the liberty of the creature; but reserved in himself the beginning of all restitution to the liberty of his grace; using nevertheless and turning the falling and defection of the creature, (which to his prescience was eternally known) to make way to his eternal counsel touching a Mediator, and the work he purposed to accomplish in him.
That God created Spirits, whereof some kept their standing, and others fell. He created heaven and earth, and all their armies and generations, and gave unto them constant and everlasting laws, which we call Nature, which is nothing but the laws of the creation ; which laws nevertheless have had three changes or times, and are to have a fourth and last. The first, when the matter of heaven and earth was created without forms: the second, the interim of every day's work: the third, by the curse, which notwithstanding
1 their head the Mediator. R.
2 R. omits the words" touching a Mediator."
3 condescended of his own good pleasure. R.
or last. R.
5 the interim of the perfection of every day's work. R.
was no new creation, but a privation of part of the virtue of the first creation:1 and the last. at the end of the world, the manner whereof is not yet revealed.2 So as the laws of Nature, which now remain and govern inviolably till the end of the world, began to be in force when God first rested from his works and ceased to create; but received a revocation in part by the curse, since which time they change not.
That notwithstanding God hath rested and ceased from creating since the first Sabbath, yet nevertheless he doth accomplish and fulfil his divine will in all things great and small, singular and general, as fully and exactly by providence, as he could by miracle and new creation, though his working be not immediate and direct, but by compass; not violating Nature, which is his own law upon the creature.
That at the first the soul of Man was not produced by heaven or earth, but was breathed immediately from God; so that the ways and proceedings of God with spirits are not included in Nature, that is, in the laws of heaven and earth; but are reserved to the law of his secret will and grace: wherein God worketh still, and resteth not from the work of redemption, as he resteth from the work of creation: but continueth working till the end of the world; what time that work also shall be accomplished, and an eternal sabbath shall ensue. Likewise that whensoever God doth break the law of Nature by miracles, (which are ever5 new creations,) he never cometh to that point or
1 This last clause (“but a privation," &c.,) is omitted in R.
2 fully revealed. R.
8 "Sabaoth" in MS.: a mistake, but probably a mistake of Bacon's See "Advancement of Learning," Book 2. 4 transcend. R.
may ever seem as.