« السابقةمتابعة »
poral Sword is to be drawn, with great circumspection, in Cases of Religion ; so it is a thing monstrous, to put it into the hands of the Common People. Let that be left unto the Anabaptists, and other Furies. It was great Blasphemy, when the Devil faid, I will ascend, and be like the Highest; but it is greater Blasphemy to personate God, and bring him in saying; I will descend, and be like the Prince of Darkness. And what is it better, to make the cause of Religion to descend, to the cruel and execrable Actions of Murdering Princes, Butchery of People, and Subversion of States and Governments ? Surely, this is to bring Down the Holy Ghost, instead of the Likeness of a Dove, in the shape of a Vulture, or Raven: And to set, out of the Bark of a Christian Church, a Flag of a Bark of Pirates, and Asasins. Therefore it is most necessary, that the Church by Doctrine and Decree ; Princes by their Sword; and all Learnings, both Christian and Moral, as by their Mercury Rod; do damn and send to Hell, for ever, those Facts and Opinions, tending to the Support of the same; as hath been already in good part done. Surely in Counsels concerning Religion, that Counsel of the Apostle would be prefixed; Ira Hominis non implet Justiciam Dei. And it was a notable Observation, of a wise Father, and no less ingenuously confessed; That those, which held and persuaded, presure of Consciences, were commonly interested therein themselves, for their own ends.
IV. Of Revenge.
EVENGE is a kind of Wild Justice ; which the more Man's Nature runs to, the more ought Law to weed it
out. For as for the first Wrong, it doth but offend the Law; but the Revenge of that wrong putteth the Law out of Office. Certainly, in taking Revenge, a Man is but even with his Enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior: For it is a Prince's Part to pardon. And Solomon, I am sure, faith, It is the Glory of a Man to pass by an Offence. That which is paft, is gone and irrevocable; And wise Men have enough to do with things present and to come. Therefore, they do but trifle with themselves, that labour in past matters. There is no Man doth a wrong, for the wrong's fake; but thereby to purchase himself Profit, or Pleasure, or Honour, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry with a Man, for loving himself better than me? And if
Man should do wrong, merely out of ill nature; why? Yet it is but like the Thorn, or Briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other. The most tolerable Sort of Revenge, is for those Wrongs which there is no Law to remedy: But then, let a man take heed, the Revenge be such as there is no Law to punish : Else, a Man's Enemy is still beforehand; and it is two for one. Some, when they take Revenge, are desirous the Party should know whence it cometh; This is the more generous : For the Delight seemeth to be, not so much in doing the Hurt, as in making the Party repent. But base and crafty Cowards are like the Arrow that flyeth in the Dark. Cofmus Duke of Florence, had a desperate Saying, against Perfidious or Neglecting Friends, as if those Wrongs were unpardonable: You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our Enemies ; but you never read, that we are commanded to forgive our Friends. But yet the Spirit of Job was in a better tune ; Shall we (faith he) take Good at God's Hands, and not be content to take Evil also? And so of Friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a Man that ftudieth Revenge keeps his own Wounds green, which otherwise would heal, and do well. Public Revenges are, for the most part, fortunate : as that for the Death of Cæsar; for the Death of Pertinax; for the Death of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private Revenges it is not so. Nay rather, Vindictive Perfons live the Life of Witches; who as they are mischievous, so end they unfortunate.
v. Of Adversity.
T was a high Speech of Seneca (after
the manner of the Stoics), That the good Things, which belong to Prosperity,
are to be wished; but the good Things, that belong to Adversity, are to be admired. Bona Rerum Secundarum optabilia, Adversarum mirabilia. Certainly, if Miracles be the command over Nature, they appear most in Adversity. It is yet a higher Speech of his, than the other, (much too high for a Heathen): It is true Greatness, to have in one the Frailty of a Man, and the Security of a God. Verè magnum habere Fragilitatem Hominis, Securitatem Dei. This would have done better in Poesy, where Transcendencies are more allowed. And the Poets, indeed, have been busy with it : For it is, in effect, the thing which is figured in that strange Fiction of the Ancient Poets, which seemeth not to be without Mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the State of a Christian : That Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus, (by whom Human Nature is represented) failed the length of the great Ocean, in an Earthen Pot, or Pitcher : lively describing Christian Refolution, that faileth, in the frail Bark of the Flesh, through the Waves of the World. But to speak in a Mean. The Virtue of Prosperity is Temperance; the Virtue of Adversity is Fortitude ; which in Morals is the more Heroical Virtue. Prosperity is the Blessing of the Old Testament; Adversity is the Blessing of the New; which carrieth the greater Benediction, and the clearer Revelation of God's Favour. Yet, even in the old Teftament, if you listen to David's Harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like Airs, as Carols : And the Pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more, in describing the Amictions of job, than the Felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many Fears and Distastes; and Adversity is not without Comforts and Hopes. We see in Needleworks and Embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively Work, upon a Sad and Solemn Ground, than to have a dark and melancholy Work, upon a lightsome Ground : Judge, therefore, of the Pleasure of the Heart, by the Pleasure of the Eye. Certainly, Virtue is like precious Odours, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed. For Prosperity doth best discover Vice; but Adversity doth best discover Virtue.
vi. Of Simulation and Dif
|ISSIMULATION is but a faint kind
of Policy, or Wisdom ; for it asketh a strong Wit, and a strong Heart, to
know when to tell Truth, and to do it : Therefore it is the weaker Sort of Politicians, that are the great Diffemblers.
Tacitus faith, Livia forted well with the Arts of