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ESSAYS, CIVIL AND MORAL.
was the light of the sense; the last was the
light of reason; and his sabbath work, ever “ What is truth ?” said jesting Pilate, and since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First would not stay for an answer. Certainly there he breathed light upon the face of the matter, be that delight in giddiness, and count it a or chaos; then he breatheth light into the face bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth thinking, as well as in acting: and though light into the face of his chosen.
The poet the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, that beautified the sect, that was otherwise yet there remain certain discoursing wits inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, which are of the same veins, though there be “ It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and not so much blood in them as was in those of to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty to stand in the window of a castle, and to see and labour which men take in finding out of a battle, and the adventures thereof below: truth; nor again, that when it is found, it but no pleasure is comparable to the standing imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth
upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not bring lies in favour; but a natural, though to be commanded, and where the air is always corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later clear and serene), and to see the errors, and schools of the Grecians examineth the matter, wanderings, and mists, and tempests in the and is at a stand to think what should be in it, vale below:” so always that this prospect be that men should love lies, where neither they with pity, and not with swelling or pride. make for pleasure, as with poets ; nor for advan Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a tage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's man's mind move in charity, rest in provisake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a dence, and turn upon the poles of truth. naked and open daylight, that doth not show The pass from theological and philosophical the masks and mummeries, and triumphs of truth, to the truth of civil business, it will be the world, half so stately and daintily as acknowledged, even by those that practise it candlelights. Truth may, perhaps, come to not, that clear and round dealing is the honour the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; of man's nature, and that mixture of falsebut it will not rise to the price of a diarnond hood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied which may make the metal work the better, lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add but it embaseth it: for these winding and pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, which goeth basely upon the belly and not flattering hopes, false valuations, imagina- upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so tions as one would, and the like, but it would cover a man with shame as to be found false leave the minds of a number of men poor, and perfidious: and, therefore, Montaigne shrunken things, full of melancholy and in- saith prettily, when he inquired the reason disposition, and unpleasing to themselves ? why the word of the lie should be such a dis. One of the fathers, in great severity, called grace, and such an odious charge, “ If it be poesy
66 vinum dæmonum, ” because it filleth well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as the imagination, and yet it is but with the much as to say that he is brave towards God, shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that and a coward towards men: for a lie faces passeth through the mind, but the lie that God, and shrinks from man.” Surely the sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith hurt, such as we spake of before. But, how cannot possibly be so highly expressed as in soever, these things are thus in men's depraved that it shall be the last peal to call the judgjudgments and affections, yet truth, which ments of God upon the generations of men: only doth judge itself, teacheth that the it being foretold that when “ Christ cometh,” inquiry of truth, which is the love-making he shall not “ find faith upon earth.” or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of
OF DEATH. truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the sovereign good of human nature. The first MEN fear death as children fear to go into ercature of God, in the works of the days, the dark; and as that natural fear ia childrea
OF UNITY IN RELIGION.
is increased with tales, so is the other. Cer- death: but, above all, believe it, the sweetest tainly, the contemplation of death, as the canticle is, “ Nunc dimittis,” when a man wages of sin and passage to another world, is hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate tribute due unto nature, is weak. Yet in to good fame, and extinguish envy: Exreligious meditation there is sometimes mix tinctus amabitur idem." ture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars' books of mortifica.
OF UNITY IN RELIGION. tion, that a man should think with himself what the pain is, if he llave but his finger's RELIGION being the chief bond of human end pressed, or tortured, and thereby imagine society, it is a happy thing when itself is what the pains of death are when the whole well contained within the true bond of unity. body is corrupted and dissolved; when many The quarrels and divisions about religion times death passeth with less pain than the were evils unknown to the heathen. The torture of a limb; for the most vital parts are reason was, because the religion of the heathen not the quickest of sense: and by him that consisted rather in rites and ceremonies than spake only as a philosopher and natural man, in any constant belief; for you may imagine it was well said, “ Pompa mortis magis terret what kind of faith theirs was, when the chief quam mors ipsa.” Groans, and convulsions, doctors and fathers of their church were the and a discoloured face, and friends weeping, poets. But the true God hath this attribute, and blacks and obsequies, and the like, show that he is a jealous God; and, therefore, his death terrible. It is worthy the observing, worship and religion will endure no mixture that there is no passion in the mind of man nor partner. We shall, therefore, speak a few so weak, but it mates and masters the fear of words concerning the unity of the church; death; and, therefore, death is no such terrible what are the fruits thereof; what the bonds; enemy when a man hath so many attendants and what the means. about him that can win the combat of him. The fruits of unity (next unto the well. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights pleasing of God, which is all in all) are two; it; honour aspireth to it; grief fieth to it; the one towards those that are without the fear preoccupieth it; nay, we read, after Otho church, the other towards those that are the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is within. For the former, it is certain, that the tenderest of affections) provoked many to heresies and schisms are of all others the die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, greatest scandals; yea, more than corruption and as the truest sort of followers. Nay, of manners ; for as in the natural body a Seneca adds, niceness and satiety: “ Cogita wound or solution of continuity is worse than quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tan a corrupt humour, so in the spiritual : so tum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus that nothing doth so much keep men out of potest.” A man would die, though he were the church, and drive men out of the church, neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a as breach of unity; and, therefore, whensoweariness to do the same thing so oft over and ever it cometh to that pass that one saith,
It is no less worthy to observe, how ecce in deserto," another saith, “ ecce in little alteration in good spirits the approaches penetralibus;” that is, when some men seek of death make; for they appear to be the same Christ in the conventicles of heretics, and men till the last instant. Augustus Cæsar others in an outward face of a church, that died in a compliment: " Livia, conjugii voice had need continually to sound in men's nostri memor, vive et vale:” Tiberius in ears,
66 nolite exire,' go not out.” The dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, “ Jam doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety of whose Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, vocation drew him to have a special care of deserebant:" Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon those without) saith, “ If a heathen come the stool, “ Ut puto Deus fio:" Galba with in, and hear you speak with several tongues, a sentence, " Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani," will he not say that you are mad ?” and, cerholding forth his neck: Septimus Severus in tainly, it is little better: when atheists and dispatch, “ Adeste, si quid mihi restat agen- profane persons do hear of so many discordant dum,” and the like. Certainly the Stoics and contrary opinions in religion, it doth bestowed too much cost upon death, and by avert them from the church, and maketh their great preparations made appear more them 66 to sit down in the chair of the fearful. Better, saith he, “ qui finem vitæ scorners.” It is but a light thing to be extremum inter munera, ponat naturæ.” It vouched in so serious a matter, but yet it exis as natural to die as to be born; and to a presseth well the deformity. There is a master little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as of scoffing, that in his catalogue of books of the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, a feigned library, sets down this title of a is like one that is wounded in hot blood; book, “ The Morris-Dance of Heretics;" for who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and indeed, every sect of them hath a diverse therefore, a mind fixed and bent upon some posture, or cringe, by themselves, which canwhat that is good, doth avert the dolours of not but move derision in worldlings and
OF UNITY IN RELIGION.
depraved politics, who are apt to contemn in the warning and precept that he giveth holy things.
concerning the same “devita profanas vocum As for the fruit towards those that are novitates, et oppositiones falsi nominis scien. within, it is peace which containeth infinite tiæ.” Men create oppositions which are not blessings ; it establisheth faith; it kindleth and put them into new terms so fixed, as charity ; the outward peace of the church whereas the meaning ought to govern the distilleth into peace of conscience, and it term, the term in effect governern the mean. turneth the labours of writing and reading There be also two false peaces or unities: controversies into treatises of mortification the one, when the peace is grounded but upon and devotion.
an implicit ignorance ; for all colours will Concerning the bonds of unity, the true agree in the dark: the other, when it is pieced placing of them importeth exceedingly. There up upon a direct admission of contraries in appear to be two extremes : for to certain fundamental points : for truth and falsehood, zealots all speech of pacification is odious. in such things, are like the iron and clay in “ Is it peace, Jehu ?"_“What hast thou the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image ; they to do with peace ? turn thee behind me." may cleave, but they will not incorporate. Peace is not the matter, but following and Concerning the means of procuring unity, party. Contrariwise, certain Laodiceans and men must beware, that, in the procuring or lukewarm persons think they may accommo muniting of religious unity, they do not disdate points of religion by middle ways, and solve and deface the laws of charity and of taking part of both, and witty reconcilements, human society. There be two swords amongst as if they would make an arbitrament be christians, the spiritual and temporal ; and tween God and man. Both these extremes both have their due office and place in the are to be avoided ; which will be done if the maintenance of religion : but we may not league of christians, penned by our Saviour take up the third sword, which is Mahomet's himself, were in the two cross clauses thereof sword, or like unto it: that is, to propagate soundly and plainly expounded : “ He that religion by wars, or by sanguinary persecuis not with us is against us;” and again, tions to force consciences ; except it be in “ He that is not against us is with us ;” that cases of overt scandal, blasphemy, or interis, if the points fundamental, and of sub mixture of practice against the state ; much stance in religion, were truly discerned and less to nourish seditions ; to authorize condistinguished from points not merely of faith, spiracies and rebellions ; to put the sword but of opinion, order, or good intention. into the people's hands, and the like, tending This is a thing may seem to many a matter
to the subversion of all government, which is trivial, and done already; but if it were the ordinance of God : for this is but to dash done less partially, it would be embraced the first table against the second ; and so to more generally.
consider men as christians, as we forget that Of this I may give only this advice, ac they are men. Lucretius the poet, when he cording to my small model. Men ought to beheld the act of Agamemnon, that could take heed of rending God's church by two endure the sacrificing of his own daughter, kinds of controversies; the one is, when the exclaimed : matter of the point controverted is too small
« Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum." and light, not worth the heat and strife about it, kindled only by contradiction ; for, as it What would he have said, if he had known is noted by one of the fathers, Christ's coat of the massacre in France, or the powder indeed had no seam, but the church's vesture treason of England ? He would have been was of divers colours ; whereupon he saith, seven times more epicure and atheist than he 66 in veste varietas sit, scissura non sit,” they was : for as the temporal sword is to be drawn be two things, unity and uniformity : the with great circumspection in cases of religion, other is, when the matter of the point contro so it is a thing monstrous to put into the verted is great, but it is driven to an overgreat hands of the common people ; let that be left subtlety and obscurity, so that it becometh unto the anabaptists, and other furies. It a thing rather ingenious than substantial. A was great blasphemy, when the devil said, man that is of judgment and understanding “ I will ascend and be like the Highest ;' shall sometimes hear ignorant men differ, and but it is greater blasphemy to personate God, know well within himself, that those which and bring him in saying, “ I will descend, so differ mean one thing, and yet they them and be like the prince of darkness :" and selves would never agree : and if it come so what is it better, to make the cause of reli. to pass in that distance of judgment, which gion to descend to the cruel and execrable is between man and man, shall we not think actions of murdering princes, butchery of that God above, that knows the heart, doth people, and subversion of states and governnot discern that frail men, in some of their ments ? Surely this is to bring down the contradictions, intend the same thing, and Holy Ghost, instead of the likeness of a accepteth of both ? The nature of such con dove, in the shape of a vulture or raven; troversies is excellently expressed by St. Paul, and to set out of the bark of a christian
OF REVENGE AND ADVERSITY.
church a flag of a bark of pirates and assas that a man that studieth revenge keeps his sins: therefore it is most necessary, that the own wounds green, which otherwise would church by doctrine and decree, princes by heal and do well. Public revenges are for their sword, and all learnings, both christian the most part fortunate; as that for the death and moral, as by their mercury rod to damn, of Cæsar; for the death of Pertinax; for the and send to hell for ever, those facts and death of Henry the Third of France; and opinions tending to the support of the same, many more. But in private revenges it is ds hath been already in good part done. not so ; nay, rather vindicative persons live Surely in councils concerning religion, that the life of witches; who, as they are mis. counsel of the apostle would be prefixed, chievous, so end they unfortunate. “ Ira hominis non implet justitiam Dei :" and it was a notable observation of a wise father, and no less ingeniously confessed, that those which held and persuaded pressure
OF ADVERSITY. of consciences were commonly interested
It was a high speech of Seneca (after the therein themselves for their own ends.
manner of the Stoics), that the good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished,
but the good things that belong to adversity OF REVENGE.
are to be admired : “ Bona rerum secunda
rum optabilia, adversarum mirabilia.” Cer. REVENGE is a kind of wild justice, which tainly, if miracles be the command over the more man's nature runs to, the more nature, they appear most in adversity. It is ought law to weed it out: for as for the first yet a higher speech of his than the other wrong, it doth but offend the law, but the (much too high for a heathen),
" It is true revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of greatness to have in one the frailty of a man, office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a man and the security of a God :"-" Vere magis but even with his enemy; but in passing num habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem it over he is superior ; for it is a prince's Dei.” This would have done better in poesy, part to pardon : and Solomon, I am sure, where transcendencies are more allowed ; and saith, “ It is the glory of a man to pass by the poets, indeed, have been busy with it ; an offence.”
That which is passed is gorie for it is in effect the thing which is figured in and irrecoverable, and wise men have enough that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which to do with things present and to come; there. seemeth not to be without mystery ; nay, fore they do but trifle with themselves that and to have some approach to the state of a labour in past matters.
There is no man christian, “ that Hercules, when he went to doth a wrong for the wrong's sake, but unbind Prometheus (by whom human nature thereby to purchase himself profit, or plea- is represented), sailed the length of the great sure, or honour, or the like ; therefore why ocean in an earthern pot or pitcher, lively should I be angry with a man for loving him. describing christian resolution, that saileth self better than me? And if any man should in the frail bark of the flesh through the do wrong, merely out of ill-nature, why, yet waves of the world.” But to speak in a it is but like the thorn or brier, which prick mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance, and scratch, because they can do no other. the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in The most tolerable sort of revenge is for morals is the more heroical virtue. Prospe. those wrongs which there is no law to remedy: rity is the blessing of the Old Testament, but then, let a man take heed the revenge adversity is the blessing of the New, which be such as there is no law to punish, else a carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer man's enemy is still beforehand, and it is two revelation of God's favour. Yet even in the for one.
Some when they take revenge, are Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, desirous the party should know when it you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as cacometh : this is the more generous ; for the rols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath delight seemeth to be not so much in doing laboured more in describing the afflictions of the hurt as in making the party repent; but Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prospebase and crafty cowards are like the arrow that rity is not without many fears and distastes ; flieth in the dark. Cosmus, Duke of Florence, and adversity is not without comforts and had a desperate saying against perfidious hopes. We see in needleworks and embroi. or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs deries, it is more pleasing to have a lively were unpardonable. “ You shall read,” saith work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to he, “ that we are commanded to forgive our have a dark and melancholy work upon a enemies ; but you never read that we are lightsome ground: judge, therefore, of the commanded to forgive our friends." But yet pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the the spirit of Job was in a better tune : “Shall eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, we," saith he, “ take good at God's hands, most fragrant where they are incensed or and not be content to take evil also ?" and so crushed : for prosperity doth best discover of friends in a proportion. This is certain, vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
OF SIMULATION AND DISSIMU. impart their minds. In few words, myste LATION.
ries are due to secrecy. Besides (to say truth)
nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as in DISSIMULATion is but a faint kind of po- body; and it addeth no small reverence to licy or wisdom ; for it asketh a strong wit men's manners and actions, if they be not and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, altogether open. As for talkers and futile and to do it: therefore it is the weaker sort of persons, they are commonly vain and credupoliticians that are the greatest dissemblers. lous withal; for he that talketh what he
Tacitus saith, “ Livia sorted well with the knoweth will also talk what he knoweth not; arts of her husband and dissimulation of her therefore set it down, that a habit of secrecy son ; attributing arts or policy to Augustus, is both politic and moral : and in this part it and dissimulation to Tiberius :” and again, is good, that a man's face gives his tongue when Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to leave to speak ; for the discovery of a man's take arms against Vitellius, he saith, “ We self, by the tracts of his countenance, is a rise not against the piercing judgment of Au great weakness and betraying, by how much gustus, nor the extreme caution or closeness
it is many times more marked and believed of Tiberius :” these properties of arts, or than a man's words. policy, and dissimulation and closeness, are For the second, which is dissimulation, it indeed habits and faculties several, and to be followeth many times upon secrecy by a nedistinguished ; for if a man have that pene- cessity; so that he that will be secret must tration of judgment as he can discern what be a dissembler in some degree: for men are things are to be laid open, and what to be too cunning to suffer a man to keep an indifsecreted, and what to be showed at half ferent carriage between both, and to be secret, lights, and to whom and when (which indeed without swaying the balance on either side. are arts of state, and arts of life, as Tacitus They will so beset a man with questions, and well calleth them), to him a habit of dis draw him on, and pick it out of him, that, simulation is a hindrance and a poorness. without an absurd silence, he must show an But if a man cannot attain to that judgment, inclination one way; or if he do not, they then it is left to him generally to be close, will gather as much by his silence as by his and a dissembler ; for where a man cannot speech. As for equivocations, or eraculous choose or vary in particulars, there it is good speeches, they cannot hold out long. So that to take the safest and wariest way in general, no man can be secret, except he give himself like the going softly by one that cannot well a little scope of dissimulation, which is, as see. Certainly the ablest men that ever were it were, but the kirts, or train of secrecy. have had all an openness and frankness of But for the third degree, which is simuladealing, and a name of certainty and vera tion and false profession, that I hold more city : but then they were like horses well ma culpable, and less politic, except it be in naged, for they could tell passing well when great and rare matters : and, therefore, a to stop or turn ; and at such times when they general custom of simulation (which is this thought the case indeed required dissimula- last degree) is a vice rising either of a natural tion, if then they used it, it came to pass falseness, or fearfulness, or of a mind that that the former opinion spread abroad, of their hath some main faults ; which, because a good faith and clearness of dealing, made man must needs disguise, it maketh him them almost invisible.
practise simulation in other things, lest his There be three degrees of this hiding and hand should be out of use. veiling of a man's self; the first, closeness, The advantages of simulation and dissimu. reservation, and secrecy, when a man leaveth lation are three : first, to lay asleep opposihimself without observation, or without hold tion, and to surprise ; for where a man's into be taken, what he is; the second dissimu tentions are published, it is an alarm to call lation in the negative, when a man lets fall up all that are against them; the second is, signs and arguments, that he is not that he to reserve to a man's self a fair retreat; for is, and the third simulation in the affirma if a man engage himself by a manifest detive, when a man industriously and expressly claration, he must go through, or take a feigns and pretends to be that he is not. fall: the third is, the better to discover the
For the first of these, secrecy, it is indeed mind of another ; for to him that opens him. the virtue of a confessor; and assuredly the self, men will hardly show themselves averse; secret man heareth many confessions, for who but will (fair) let him go on, and turn their will open himself to a blab or a babbler ? freedom of speech to freedom of thought; But if a man be thought secret, it inviteth and therefore it is a good, shrewd proverb of discovery, as the more close air sucketh in the Spaniard, “ Tell a lie and find a troth;' the more open ; and, as in confessing, the as if there were no way of discovery but by revealing is not for worldly use, but for the simulation. There be also three disadvanease of a man's heart, so secret men come to tages to set it even; the first, that sinulame knowledge of many things in that kind; tion and dissimulation commonly carry with while men rather discharge their minds than them a show of fearfulness, which in any