« السابقةمتابعة »
would never agree. And if it so come to pass, in that distance of judgment which is between man and man, shall we not think that God above, that knows the heart, doth not discern that frail men in some of their contradictions intend the same thing, and accepteth of both? The nature of such controversies is excellently expressed by Saint Paul, in the warning and precept that he giveth concerning the same : Avoid profane novelties of words or expressions, and the oppositions of science falsely so called.” Men create oppositions which are not, and put them into new terms so fixed; as whereas the the meaning ought to govern the term, the term in effect governeth the meaning. There be also two false peaces, or unities; the one, when the peace is grounded but upon an implicit ignorance; for all colours will agree in the dark: the other when it is pieced up upon a direct admission of contraries in fundamental points. For truth and falsehood in such things, are like the iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image; they may cleave, but they will not incorporate.
Concerning the means of procuring Unity; men must be aware, that in the procuring or muniting of Religious Unity, they do not dissolve and deface the laws of charity, and of human society. There be two swords amongst Christians, the spiritual and temporal; and both have their due office and place
in the maintenance of Religion. But we may not take up the third sword, which is Mahomet's sword, or like unto it; that is, to propagate Religion by wars, or by sanguinary persecutions to force consciences, except it be in cases of overt scandal, blasphemy, or intermixture of practice against the state ; much less to nourish seditions, to authorize conspiracies and rebellions, to put the sword into the people's hands, and the like, tending to the subversion of all Government, which is the ordinance of God. For this is but to dash the first table against the second, and so to consider men as Christians, as we forget that they are men. Lucretius the poet, when he beheld the act of Agamemạon, that could endure the sacrificing of his own daughter, exclaimed:
“ To such a height of evils could superstition persuade him.”
What would he have said, if he had known of the massacre in France, or the powder-treason of England ? He would have been seven times more epicure and atheist than he was: for as the temporal 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 said, “ 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 assassins. 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 councils concerning Religion, that counsel of the Apostle would be prefixed, “ The wrath of man does not fill up the justice of God.” And it was a notable observation of a wise Father, and no less ingenuously confessed, “ that those which held and persuaded pressure of consciences, were commonly interested therein themselves for their own ends."
Of Revenge. REVENGE is a kind of wild justice ; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to
weed it out. For as to 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, saith: “ It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.” That which is past, is gone, and irrecoverable; 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 sake; 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 any 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, that 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 Aieth in the dark. Cosmus 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,” saith he, “ take good at God's hand, and not be content to take evil also ?" And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth 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 vindicative persons live the life of witches; who, as they are mischievous, so end they unfortunate.
Of Adversity. IT
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