The Works of Francis Bacon, Volume 2/Bacons Prayers
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, Lord, soundest and searchest the depths and secrets of all hearts: thou acknowledges! 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 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 ire; 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 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, Lord, for my Saviour's sake, and receive me into thy bosom, or guide me in thy way.
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, Lord, our God, our strength, and our Redeemer.
O eternal God, and most merciful Father in Jesus Christ, in whom thou hast made a covenant of grace and mercy with all those that come unto thee in him; in his name and mediation we humbly prostrate ourselves before the throne of thy mercies seat, acknowledging that, by the breich of all thy holy laws and commandments, we are become wild olive branches, strangers to thy covenant of grace; we have defaced in ourselves thy sacred image imprinted in us by creation; we have sinned against heaven and before thee, and are no more worthy to be called thy children. O admit us into the place even of hired servants. Lord, thou hast formed us in our mothers' wombs, thy providence hath hitherto watched over us, and preserved us unto this period of time: stay not the course of thy mercies and loving-kindness towards us: have mercy upon us, O Lord, for thy dear Son Christ Jesus sake, who is the way, the truth, and the life. In him, O Lord, we appeal from thy justice to thy mercy, beseeching thee in his name, and for his sake only, thou wilt be graciously pleased freely to pardon and forgive us all our sins and disobedience, whether in thought, word, or deed, committed against thy divine majesty; and in his precious blood-shedding, death, and perfect obedience, free us from the guilt, the stain, the punishment, and dominion of all our sins, and clothe us with his perfect righteousness. There is mercy with thee, O Lord, that thou mayest be feared; yea, thy mercies swallow up the greatness of our sins: speak peace to our souls and consciences; make us happy in the free remission of all our sins, and be reconciled to thy poor servants in Jesus Christ, in whom thou art well pleased: suffer not the works of thine own hands to perish; thou art not delighted in the death of sinners, but in their conversion. Turn our hearts, and we shall be turned; convert us, and we shall be converted; illuminate the eyes of our minds and understanding with the bright beams of thy Holy Spirit, that we may daily grow in the saving knowledge of the heavenly mystery of our redemption, wrought by our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; sanctify our wills and affection by the same Spirit, the most sacred fountain of all grace and goodness; reduce them to the obedience of thy most holy will in the practice of all piety toward thee, and charity towards all men. Inflame our hearts with thy love, cast forth of them what displeaseth thee, all infidelity, hardness of heart, profaneness, hypocrisy, contempt of thy holy word and ordinances, all uncleanness, and whatsoever advanceth itself in opposition to thy holy will. And grant that henceforth, through thy grace, we may be enabled to lead a godly, holy, sober, and Christian life, in true sincerity and uprightness of heart before thee. To this end, plant thy holy fear in our hearts, grant that it may never depart from before our eyes, but continually guide our feet in the paths of thy righteousness, and in the ways of thy commandments: increase our weak faith, grant it may daily bring forth the true fruits of unfeigned repentance, that by the power of the death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we may daily die unto sin, and by the power of his resurrection we may be quickened, and raised up to newness of life, may be truly born anew, and may be effectually made partakers of the first resurrection, that then the second death may never have dominion over us. Teach us, O Lord, so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom; make us ever mindful of our last end, and continually to exercise the knowledge of grace in our hearts, that in the said divorce of soul and body, we may be translated here to that kingdom of glory prepared for all those that love thee, and shall trust in thee; even then and ever, O Lord, let thy holy angels pitch their tents round about us, to guard and defend us from all the malice of Satan, and from all perils both of soul and body. Pardon all our unthankfulness, make us daily more and more thankful for all thy mercies and benefits daily poured down upon us. Let these our humble prayers ascend to the throne of grace, and be granted not only for these mercies, but for whatsoever else thy wisdom knows needful for us; and for all those that are in need, misery, and distress, whom, Lord, thou hast afflicted either in soul of body; grant them patience and perseverance in the end, and to the end: And that, O Lord, not for any merits of ours, but only for the merits of thy Son, and our alone Saviour Christ Jesus; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be ascribed all glory, &c. Amen.
THE STUDENT'S PRAYER.
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, any thing of incredulity, or intellectual night, may arise in our minds towards divine mysteries. But, rather, that by our mind thoroughly 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 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 goodness, returneth to thy glory. Thou after thou hadst reviewed the works which thy hands had made, beheldest that every thing was very good, and thou didst rest with complacency in them. But man, reflecting on the works which he had made, saw that all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and could by no means acquiesce in them. Wherefore, if we labour in thy works with the sweat of our brows, thou wilt make us partakers of thy vision and thy Sabbath. We humbly beg that this mind may he steadfastly in us; and that thou, by our hands, and also by the hands of others, on whom thou shall bestow the same spirit, wilt please to convey a largess of new alms to thy family of mankind. These things we commend to thy everlasting love, by our Jesus, thy Christ, God with us. Amen.