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light and clearer knowledge to be sent down among us, would think of other matters to be constituted beyond the discipline of Geneva, framed and fabricked already to our hands. Yet when the new light which we beg for shines in upon us, there be who envy and oppose, if it come not first in at their 15 casements.

What a collusion is this, whenas we are exhorted by the wise man to use diligence, to seek for wisdom as for hidden treasures early and late, that another order shall enjoin us to know nothing but by statute ? When a man hath been 20 laboring the hardest labor in the deep mines of knowledge, hath furnished out his findings in all their equipage, drawn forth his reasons as it were a battle ranged, scattered and defeated all objections in his way, calls out his adversary into the plain, offers him the advantage of wind and sun, 25 if he please, only that he may try the matter by dint of argument --- for his opponents then to skulk, to lay ambushments, to keep a narrow bridge of licensing where the challenger should pass, though it be valor enough in soldiership, is but weakness and cowardice in the wars of Truth. 30 For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty ?

She needs no policies, no stratagems, no licensings to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defenses that error uses against her power. Give her but room, and do 35 not bind her when she sleeps, for then she speaks not true, as the old Proteus did, who spake oracles only when he was caught and bound; but then rather she turns herself into all shapes, except her own, and perhaps tunes her voice according to the time, as Micaiah did before Ahab, until she be ad- 40 jured into her own likeness. Yet it is not impossible that

have more shapes than one. What else is all that rank of things indifferent, wherein Truth may be on this side, or on the other, without being unlike herself? What

she may

45 but a vain shadow else is the abolition of those ordinances,

that hand-writing nailed to the cross? what great purchase is this Christian liberty which Paul so often boasts of ? His doctrine is, that he who eats or eats not, regards a day or

regards it not, may do either to the Lord. How many other 50 things might be tolerated in peace, and left to conscience,

had we but charity, and were it not the chief stronghold of our hypocrisy to be ever judging one another. I fear yet this iron yoke of outward conformity hath left a slavish print

upon our necks; the ghost of a linen decency yet haunts us. 55 We stumble and are impatient at the least dividing of one

visible congregation from another, though it be not in fundamentals; and through our forwardness to suppress, and our backwardness to recover any enthralled piece of truth out of

the gripe of custom, we care not to keep truth separated 60 from truth, which is the fiercest rent and disunion of all.

We do not see that while we still affect by all means a rigid external formality, we may as soon fall again into a gross

conforming stupidity, a stark and dead congealment of wood 65 and hay and stubble forced and frozen together, which is

more to the sudden degenerating of a church than many subdichotomies of petty schisms. Not that I can think well of every light separation, or that all in a church is to be ex

pected gold and silver and precious stones. It is not possible 70 for man to sever the wheat from the tares, the good fish from

the other fry; that must be the angels' ministry at the end of mortal things. Yet if all cannot be of one mind (as who looks they should be?) this doubtless is more wholesome,

more prudent, and more Christian, that many be tolerated, 75 rather than all compelled.


Heaven and Hell

(From Religio Medici) Men commonly set forth the torments of hell by fire, and the extremity of corporal afflictions, and describe hell in the same method that Mahomet doth heaven. This indeed makes a noise, and drums in popular ears : but if this be the terrible piece thereof, it is not worthy to stand in diameter 5 with heaven, whose happiness consists in that part that is best able to comprehend it, that immortal essence, that translated divinity and colony of God, the soul. Surely, though we place hell under earth, the devil's walk and purlieu is about it: men speak too popularly who place it in 10 those flaming mountains, which to grosser apprehensions represent hell. The heart of man is the place the devils dwell in: I feel sometimes a hell within my self ; Lucifer keeps his court in my breast, Legion is revived in me. There are as many hells, as Anaxagoras conceited worlds. There was 15 more than one hell in Magdalene, when there were seven devils, for every devil is a hell unto himself; he holds enough of torture in his own ubi, and needs not the misery of circumference to afflict him: and thus a distracted conscience here, is a shadow or introduction unto hell hereafter. Who 20 can but pity the merciful intention of those hands that do destroy themselves? the devil, were it in his power, would do the like; which being impossible, his miseries are endless, and he suffers most in that attribute wherein he is impassible, his immortality.

25 I thank God, and with joy I mention it, I was never afraid of hell, nor never grew pale at the description of that place. I have so fixed my contemplations on heaven, that I have almost forgot the idea of hell, and am afraid rather to lose the joys of the one, than endure the misery of the other: to 30 be deprived of them is a perfect hell, and needs, methinks, no addition to complete our afflictions. That terrible term hath never detained me from sin, nor do I owe any good action

to the name thereof. I fear God, yet am not afraid of Him: 35 his mercies make me ashamed of my sins, before his judg

ments afraid thereof. These are the forced and secondary method of his wisdom, which he useth but as the last remedy, and upon provocation; a course rather to deter the wicked,

than incite the virtuous to his worship. I can hardly think 40 there was ever any scared into heaven; they go the fairest

way to heaven that would serve God without a hell; other mercenaries, that crouch unto him in fear of hell, though they term themselves the servants, are indeed but the slaves, of the Almighty.


(From Religio Medici) Now for that other virtue of charity, without which faith is a mere notion, and of no existence, I have ever endeavored to nourish the merciful disposition and humane inclination

I borrowed from my parents, and regulate it to the written 5 and prescribed laws of charity. And if I hold the true anatomy of my self, I am delineated and naturally framed to such a piece of virtue; for I am of a constitution so general, that it consorts and sympathiseth with all things. I have

no antipathy, or rather idiosyncrasy, in diet, humor, air, 10 anything. I wonder not at the French for their dishes of

frogs, snails, and toadstools, nor at the Jews for locusts and grasshoppers; but being amongst them, make them my common viands, and I find they agree with


stomach as well as theirs. I could digest a salad gathered in a church15 yard, as well as in a garden. I cannot start at the presence

of a serpent, scorpion, lizard, or salamander: at the sight of a toad or viper, I find in me no desire to take up a stone to


destroy them. I find not in myself those common antipathies that I can discover in others : those national repugnances do not touch me, nor do I behold with prejudice the French, 20 Italian, Spaniard, or Dutch : but where I find their actions in balance with my countrymen's, I honor, love, and embrace them in the same degree. I have been shipwrecked, yet am not enemy with the sea or winds; I can study, play, or sleep in a tempest.

In brief, I am averse from nothing: my conscience would give me the lie if I should say I absolutely detest or hate any essence but the devil; or so at least abhor any thing, but that we might come to composition. I hold not so narrow a conceit of this virtue, as to conceive that to give 30 alms is only to be charitable, or think a piece of liberality can comprehend the total of charity. Divinity hath wisely divided the act thereof into many branches, and hath taught us in this narrow way many paths unto goodness; as many ways as we may do good, so many ways we may be charitable. 35

There are infirmities not only of the body, but of soul, and fortunes, which do require the merciful hand of our abilities. I cannot contemn a man for ignorance, but behold him with as much pity as I do Lazarus. It is no greater charity to clothe his body, than apparel the nakedness of his soul. 40 It is an honorable object to see the reasons of other men wear our liveries, and their borrowed understandings do homage to the bounty of ours: it is the cheapest way of beneficence, and, like the natural charity of the sun, illuminates another without obscuring itself. To be reserved and caitiff in this 45 part of goodness, is the sordidest piece of covetousness, and more contemptible than pecuniary avarice. To this (as calling my self a scholar), I am obliged by the duty of my condition: I make not therefore my head a grave, but a treasure, of knowledge; I intend no monopoly, but a com- 50 munity in learning; I study not for my own sake only, but

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