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OF THE WORKS OF GOD AND THE WORKS OF MAN.
God saw all that he had made and behold it was very
good : But man when he turned to look on the works that his hands had wrought, found that all was vanity and vexation of spirit.
Wherefore if thou labour in God's works, thy sweat shall be as a sweet ointment, and thy rest as the Sabbath of God: thou shalt labour in the sweat of a good conscience, and thou shalt take rest in the leisure of delightful contemplation. But if thou follow after the mighty things of men, thou shalt work in pain and distress, and thou shalt look back upon thy work with disgust and reproach. And justly doth it happen to thee, O man, that seeing thou thyself that art the work of God requitest him not with well pleasing, even so thine own works bear thee the like fruit of bitterness,
OF THE MIRACLES OF OUR SAVIOUR.
He hath done all things well.
A true applause. God, when he created all things, saw that each and all was exceeding good. God the
Word, in the miracles which he wrought (and every miracle is a new creation, and not according to the law of the first creation), would do nothing that was not altogether matter of grace and beneficence. Moses wrought miracles, and destroyed the Egyptians with many plagues : Elijah wrought miracles, and shut up heaven that no rain should fall upon the earth; and again called down fire from heaven to consume the captains and their fifties: Elisha wrought miracles, and brought she-bears out of the wood to tear the little children: Peter smote Ananias the sacrilegious hypocrite with death; Paul, Elymas the Sorcerer with blindness. But nothing of this kind was done by Jesus. Upon him the spirit descended in the form of a dove; whereof he said, ye know not of what spirit ye
The spirit of Jesus was the spirit of the dove. Those servants of God were as God's oxen, treading out the corn and trampling the chaff under their feet; Jesus was the Lamb of God, without wrath or judgments. All his miracles were for the benefit of the human body, his doctrine for the benefit of the human soul. The body of man stands in need of nourishment, of defence from outward accidents, of medicine. He gathered the multitude of fishes into the nets, whereby to supply men with more plentiful food. He turned water into the worthier nourishment of wine, to glad man's heart. He caused the fig tree, because it failed of its appointed office (that of yielding food for man), to wither away. He multiplied the scanty store of loaves and fishes that the host of people might be fed. He rebuked the winds because they threatened danger to them that were in the ship. He restored motion to the lame, light to the blind, speech to the dumb, health to the sick, cleanness to the lepers, sound mind to them that were possessed of devils, life to the dead. There was no miracle of judgment, but all of mercy, and all upon the human body. For with reference to riches, he deigned not to work any miracles; except that one about giving tribute to Cæsar.
OF THE INNOCENCY OF THE DOVE AND THE WISDOM
OF THE SERPENT.
The fool receiveth not the word of wisdom, except thou
discover to him what he hath in his heart.
To a man of perverse and corrupt judgment all instruction or persuasion is fruitless and contemptible which begins not with discovery and laying open of the distemper and ill complexion of the mind which is to be recured: as a plaster is unseasonably applied before the wound be searched. For men of corrupt understanding, that have lost all sound discerning of good and evil, come possessed with this prejudicate opinion, that they think all honesty and goodness proceedeth out of a simplicity of manners, and a kind of want of experience and unacquaintance with the affairs of the world. Therefore except they may perceive those things which are in their hearts, that is to say their own corrupt principles and the deepest reaches of their cunning and rottenness, to be throughly sounded and known to him that goes about to persuade with them, they make but a play of the words of wisdom. Therefore it behoveth him which aspireth to a goodness not-retired or particular to himself, but a fructifying and begetting goodness, which should draw on others, to know those points which be called in the Revelation the deeps of Satan; that he may speak with authority and true insinuation. Hence is the precept: Try all things, and hold that which is good: which induceth a discerning election out of an examination whence nothing at all is excluded. Out of the same fountain ariseth that direction : Be you wise as Serpents, and innocent as
: Doves. There are neither teeth nor stings, nor venom, nor wreaths and folds of serpents, which ought not to be all known, and as far as examination doth lead, tried: neither let any man here fear infection or pollution ; for the sun entereth into sinks and is not defiled. Neither let any man think that herein he tempteth God; for his diligence and generality of examination is commanded; and God is sufficient to preserve you immaculate and pure.
OF THE EXALTATION OF CHARITY.
If I rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,
and lifted up myself when evil found him. The protestation of Job. To love them that love us is the charity of the Publicans, upon contract of utility : but to be kindly disposed towards our enemies is one of the highest points of the Christian law, and an imitation of divinity. Yet again of this charity there are many degrees. Whereof the first is to forgive our enemies when they repent: and of this there is found even among the more generous kinds of wild beasts some shadow or image: for lions also are said to be no longer savage towards those who yield and prostrat 2 themselves. The second degree is to forgive our ene nies liough they be more obstinate, and without ctferings of reconciliation. The third degree is, not on to accord pardon and grace, but to confer upon them favours and benefits. Nevertheless all these degrees have, or may have, something in them of ostentation, or at least of magnanimity, rather than of pure charity. For when a man feels that virtue is proceeding from him, it may be that he feels a pride in it, and is taking delight more in the fruit of his own virtue than in the welfare and good of his neighbour. But if evil overtake your enemy from elsewhere, and you in the inmost recesses of your heart are grieved and distressed, and feel no touch of joy, as thinking that the day of your revenge and redress has come ;- this I account to be the summit and exaltation of Charity.
1 I have here merely transcribed the old translation; which seems to me particularly well done, and being rather freer and fulier than the others, may possibly have some of Bacon's own hand in it.
OF MODERATION OF CARES.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. There ought to be a measure kept in human cares. Else are they both unprofitable, as oppressing the mind and confounding the judgment; and profane, as savour
; ing of a mind which promises to itself a kind of perpetuity in things of this world. For we ought to be creatures of to-day, by reason of the shortness of life, not of to-morrow : but, as he says, seizing the present time : for to-morrow will have its turn and become today: and therefore it is enough if we take thought for the present. Not that moderate cares, whether for a man's family or for the public or for business committed to his charge, are reprehended. But herein is a twofold excess. The first, when we carry our cares to too