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* Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and
extinguisheth envy.' Bacon might have added, that the generosity extended to the departed is sometimes carried rather to an extreme. To abstain from censure of them is fair enough. But to make an ostentatious parade of the supposed admirable qualities of persons who attracted no notice in their life-time, and again (which is much more common), to publish laudatory biographies (to say nothing of raising subscriptions for monumental testimonials) of persons who did attract notice in a disreputable way, and respecting whom it would have been the kindest thing to let them be forgotten,—this is surely going a little too far.
But private friends and partisans are tempted to pursue this course by the confidence that no one will come forward to contradict them: according to the lines of Swift,
De mortuis nil nisi bonum;
When scoundrels die, let all bemoan 'em.' Then, again, there are some who bestow eulogisms that are really just, on persons whom they had always been accustomed to revile, calumniate, thwart, and persecute on every occasion; and this they seem to regard as establishing their own character for eminent generosity. Nor are they usually mistaken in their calculation; for if not absolutely commended for their magnanimous moderation, they usually escape, at least, the well-deserved reproach for not having done justice, during his life, to the object of their posthumous praises,- for having been occupied in opposing and insulting one who—by their own showing—deserved quite contrary treatment.
It may fairly be suspected that the one circumstance respecting him which they secretly dwell on with the most satisfaction, though they do not mention it, is that he is dead ; and that they delight in bestowing their posthumous honours on him, chiefly because they are posthumous ; according to the concluding couplet in the Verses on the Death of Dean Swift:
And since you dread no further lashes,
Methinks you may forgive his ashes.” But the Public is wonderfully tolerant of any persons who will but, in any way, speak favourably of the dead, even when by so doing they pronounce their own condemnation.
Sometimes, however, the opposite fault is committed. Strong party feeling will lead zealous partisans to misrepresent the conduct and character of the deceased, or to ignore (according to the modern phrase) some of the most remarkable things done by him."
But then they generally put in for the praise of generosity by eulogizing some very insignificant acts, and thus • damn with faint praise.
1 See an instance of this alluded to in the Remains of Bishop Copleston, pp. 89--93.
ESSAY III. OF UNITY IN RELIGION.
PELIGION being the chief bond of human society, it is a
I happy thing when itself is well contained within the true bond 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 ;2 and therefore his 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 bonds; 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,5_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.'6 The Doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety of whose vocation® drew him to
| Doctors. Teachers. "Sitting in the midst of the doctors.'—Luke ii. 46. 9 Exodus XX. 5.
3 Solution of continuity. The destruction of the texture, or cohesion of the parts of an animal body. The solid parts may be contracted by dissolving their continuity:'--Arbuthnot.
.Lo! in the desert.' 5.Lo! in the sanctuary.'—Matt. xxiv. 26. 6. Go not out.'
7 Propriety. Peculiar quality ; property. $ Vocation. Calling ; state of life and duties of the embraced profession. That every member of thy holy church in his vocation and ministry.'—Collect for Good Friday.
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? 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 :3 for, indeed, every sect of them hath a diverse4 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 controversies into treatises of mortification and devotion.
Concerning the bonds 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? turn thee behind me.”? Peace is not the matter, but following and party. Contrariwise, certain Laodiceans and lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of religion by middle ways, and taking part of both, and wittyreconcilements, 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 : “He that is not with us is against us;' and again, “He that is not against us is with us;' that is, if the points fundamental, and of substance in religion, were truly discerned and distinguished from points not merelys of faith, but of opinion, order, or good intention. This is a thing may seem to many a matter trivial, and done already; but if it were done less partially, it would be embraced more generally.
Ti Cor, xiv. 23.
2 Avert. To repel; to turn away. Even cut themselves off from all opportunities of proselytizing others by averting them from their company.'— Venn.
3 Rabelais. Pantag. ii. 7.
4 Diverse. Different. “Four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.'— Daniel vii. 3. 5 Cringe. A bow. Seldom used as a substantive.
Far from me
· With sacrifice of knees, of crooks, and cringe.'-- Ben Jonson. 6 Politics. Politicians. That which time-servers and politics do for earthly advantages, we will do for spiritual.'— Bishop Hall.
7 Mortification. The subduing of sinful propensities. (Our modern use never occurs in Scripture, where the word always means 'to put to death.') 'You see no real mortification, or self-denial, or eminent charity in the common lives of Christians.'— Lawe. 8 Import. To be of weight or consequence.
• What else more serious
Of this I may give only this advice, according to my small model. Men ought to take heed of rending God's Church by two kinds of controversies: the one is, when the matter of the point controverted is too small and light, nor worth the heat and strife about it, kindled only by contradiction; for, as it is noted by one of the fathers, Christ's coat indeed had no seam, but the Church's vesture was of divers colours; whereupon he saith, “In veste varietas sit, scissura non sit,'6_they be two things, unity, and uniformity; the other is, when the matter of the point controverted is great, but it is driven to an over-great subtilty and obscurity, so that it becometh a thing rather ingenious than substantial. A man that is of judgment and understanding shall sometimes hear ignorant men differ, and know well within himself that those which so differ mean one thing, and yet they themselves would never agree: and if it come so to pass in that
11 Kings ix. 13.
2 Accommodate. To reconcile what seems inconsistent. Part know how to accommodate St. James and St. Paul better than some late reconcilers.'-- Norris. 3. Witty. Ingenious ; inventive.
•The deep-revolving witty Buckingham. Shakespere. 4 Arbitrement. Final decision ; judgment,
We of the offending side Must keep aloof from strict arbitrements.'—Shakespere. - Merely. Absolutely; purely ; unreservedly (from the Latin merus ).
• We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards.'—Shakespere. 6. Let there be variety in the robe, but let there be no rent.'