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in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt that, if there were taken out of men’s minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum doemonum,” because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and His sabbath work ever since is the illumination of His Spirit. First, He breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then He breathed light into the face of man; and still He breatheth and inspireth light into the face of His chosen. The poet that beautified the sect," that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well : “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth,” (a hill not to be commanded,” and where the air is always clear and Serene,) “and to see the errors and wanderings, and mists and tempests, in the vale below:”" so always that this prospecto be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly it is Heaven upon Earth to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest in Providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
4 “The wine of evil spirits.”
5 The allusion is to Lucretius, the Roman poet, and to the Epicurean sect of philosophers, whose doctrines Lucretius clothed in their most attractive garb. Epicurus himself was of a pure and blameless life; but his leading tenet was that the chief aim of all philosophy should be to secure health of body and tranquillity of mind. The using, however, of the term pleasure, to express this object, has at all times exposed the system to reproach; and, in fact, the name of the sect has too often served as a cloak for luxury and libertinism.
6 That is, a hill having no higher hill in its neighbourhood. So, in a military sense, a higher hill commands a lower one standing near it.
7 This is rather a paraphrase than a translation of the fine passage in Lucretius.
8 Prospect is here used actively; that is, in the sense of overlooking or looking down upon.
To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business: It will be acknowledged, even by those that practise it not, that clear and round 9 dealing is the honour of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent ; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious: and therefore Montaigne! saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace and such an odious charge: saith he, “If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man.” Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men; it being foretold that, when “Christ cometh,” He shall not “find faith upon the Earth.”
MEN fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto Nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars' books of mortification, that a man should think with himself what the pain is, if he have but his finger's end pressed or tortured; and thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the whole
9 Plain, direct, downright are among the old senses of round.
1 Michael de Montaigne, the celebrated French Essayist. His Essays embrace a variety of topics, which are treated in a sprightly and entertaining manner, and are replete with remarks indicative of strong native good sense. He died in 1592. The quotation is from the second book of his Essays: “Lying is a disgraceful vice, and one that Plutarch, an ancient writer, paints in most disgraceful colours, when he says that it is “affording testimony that one first despises God, and then fears men.' It is not possible more happily to describe its horrible, disgusting, and abandoned nature; for can we imagine any thing more vile than to be cowards with regard to men, and brave with regard to God?”
2 A portion of this Essay is borrowed from the writings of Seneca.
body is corrupted and dissolved; when many times death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb ; for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense. And by him that spake only as a philosopher and natural man, it was well said, Pompa mortis magis terret quam mors ipsa.” Groans and convulsions, and a discoloured face, and friends weeping, and blacks” and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible. It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak but it mates" and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such terrible enemy, when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honour aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupateth " it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds, niceness and satiety: Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris : mori velle, non tantum fortis aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest." A man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over. It is no less worthy to observe, how little alteration in good spirits the approaches of death make ; for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. Augustus Caesar died in a compliment: Livia, conjugii nostri memor, vive et vale:* Tiberius in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him : Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant : * Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon a stool: Ut puto, Deus fio:” Galba with a sentence, Feri, si eac re sit populi Itomani,” holding forth his neck: Septimus Severus in despatch : Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum ;” and the like. Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better
3 “The array of the death-bed has more terrors than death itself.” This quotation is from Seneca. 4 He probably alludes to the custom of hanging the room with black where the body of the deceased lay; a practice usual in Bacon's time. 5 To mate, or to amate, is to overpower, to subdue. So in Macbeth, v., 1: “My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.” 6 Preoccupate in the Latin sense of anticipate. 7 “Reslect how often you do the same things: a man may wish to die, not only because he is either brave or wretched, but even because he is surfeited With life.” 8 “Livia, mindful of our union, live on, and fare thee well.” 9 “His bodily strength and vitality were now forsaking Tiberius, but not his duplicity.” 1 “I am growing into a god, I reckon.” This was said as a rebuke of his flatterers, as in the well-known case of Canute reproving his courtiers. 2 “Strike, if it will do the Roman people any good.” 3 “Be quick, if there remains any thing for me to do.”
saith he, qui finem vitae extremum inter mumera pomit maturae.” It is as natural to die as to be born ; and to a little infant perhaps the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good doth avert the dolours of death : but, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is Nunc dimittis, when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy : Eactinctus amabitwr idem.”
OF UNITY IN RELIGION.
RELIGION being the chief band of human society, it is a happy thing when itself is well contained within the true band of unity. The quarrels and divisions about religion were evils unKnown to the heathen. The reason was, because the religion of the heathen consisted rather in rites and ceremonies than in any constant belief; for you may imagine what kind of faith theirs was, when the chief doctors and fathers of their church were the poets. But the true God hath this attribute, that He is a jealous God; and therefore IIis worship and religion will endure no mixture nor partner. We shall therefore speak a few words concerning the unity of the Church: what are the fruits thereof; what the bounds; and what the means. The fruits of unity (next unto the well-pleasing of God, which is all in all) are two ; the one towards those that are without the - Church, the other towards those that are within. For the former, it is certain that heresies and schisms are of all others the greatest scandals; yea, more than corruption of manners: for as in the natural body a wound or solution of continuity" is worse than a corrupt humour, so in the spiritual. So that nothing doth so much keep men out of the Church, and drive men out of the Church, as breach of unity: and therefore, whensoever it cometh to that pass that one saith, Ecce in Deserto," another saith, Ecce in penetralibus;* that is, when some men seek Christ in the conventicles of heretics, and others in an outward face of a church ; that voice had need continually to sound in men's ears, nolite exire, “go not out.” The Doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety of whose vocation” drew him to have a special care of those without) saith, “If a heathen come in, and hear you speak with several tongues, will he not say that you are mad?” and, certainly, it is little better. When atheists and profane persons do hear of so many discordant and contrary opinions in religion, it doth avert 1 them from the Church, and maketh them “to sit down in the chair of the scorners.” It is but a light thing to be vouched in so serious a matter, but yet it expresseth well the deformity : there is a master of scoffing,” that in his catalogue of books of a feigned library sets down this title of a book, The Morris-Dance of Heretics: * for, indeed, every sect of them hath a diverse posture, or cringe, by themselves, which cannot but move derision in worldlings and depraved politics,” who are apt to contemn holy things. As for the fruit towards those that are within, it is peace, which containeth infinite blessings: it establisheth faith; it kindleth charity; the outward peace of the Church distilleth into peace of conscience, and it turneth the labours of writing and reading of controversies into treatises of mortification and devotion. Concerning the bounds of unity, the true placing of them importeth exceedingly.” There appear to be two extremes; for to certain zealots all speech of pacification is odious. “Is it peace, Jehu ?” “What hast thou to do with peace 2 turn thee behind me.” Peace is not the matter," but following and party. Contrarivise, certain Laodiceans and lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of religion by middle ways, and taking part of both, and witty 7 reconcilements, as if they would make an arbitrement between God and man. Both these extremes are to be avoided; which will be done if the league of Christians, penned by our Saviour himself, were in the two cross clauses ... thereof soundly and plainly expounded: “IIe that is not with
4 “Who regards death as one of Nature's boons.” The passage is quoted, but with some inaccuracy, from Juvenal.
5 “The Same man Will be loved When dead.”
6 A solution of continuity is, for instance, a severing of a muscle or a sinew by a transverse cut.
7 “Dehold, he is in the desert.”
8 “Behold, he is in the secret chambers.”
9 That is, the peculiar nature of whose calling. 1 A vert in the Latin sense of turn away, or repel. 2 The allusion is to Rabelais, the great French humorist. 3 This dance, which was originally called the Morisco dance, is supposed to have been derived from the Moors of Spain; the dancers in earlier times blackening their faces to resemble Moors. It was probably a corruption of the ancient Pyrrhic dance, which was performed by men in armour. 4 Politics was often used for politicians. 5 To import exceedingly is to be of the utmost importance. 6 That is, peace is not what they want. 7 Here witty is ingenious; and to “accommodate points” is to harmonize differences.