« ForrigeFortsæt »
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 Mahomets Sword, or like unto it; that is, to propagate Religion by Wars, or by fanguinary Perfecutions to force Confciences, xcept it be in cafes of overt Scandal, blafphemy or intermixture of practice against the State; much less to nourish Seditions, to authorize Confpiracies and Rebellions, to put the Sword into the peoples hands, and the like, tending to the fubversion of all Government, which is the Ordinance of God. For this is but to dash the First Table against the Second, and so to confider Men as Christians, as we forget that they are Men. Lucretius the Poet, when he beheld the Act of Agamemnon, that could endure the facrificing of his own Daughter, exclaimed ;
Tantum Relligio potuit fuadere malorum.
What would he have faid, if he had known of the Maffacre in France, or the Powder-Treafon 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 circumfpection in cafes of Religion; fo it is a thing monstrous, to put it into the hands of the common people. Let that be left unto the Anabaptifts, and other Furies. It was great blaf
phemy, when the Devil faid, I will afcend, and be like the Highest but it is greater blafphemy to perfonate God, and bring him in, faying, Į will defcend and be like the Prince of Darkness; And what is it better, to make the caufe of Religion to defcend to the cruel and execrable actions of Marthering Princes, Butchery of People, and Subverfion of States and Governments? Surely this is to bring down the Holy Ghoft, instead of the likeness of a Dove, in the shape of a Vulture or Raven; and to fet out of the Bark of a Chriftian Church, a Flag of a Bark of Pyrates and Affaffins. Therefore it is moft neceffary, that the Church by Doctrine and Decree, Princes by their Sword, and all Learnings both Chriftian and Moral, as by their Mercury Rod, do damn and fend to Hell for ever thofe Facts and Opinions, tending to the fupport of the fame, as hath been already in good part done. Surely in Councils concerning Religion, that Counsel of the Apostle would be prefixed, Ira hominis non implet juftitiam Dei. And it was a notable obfervation of a wife Father, and no less ingenuoufly confeffed, That those which held and perfwa ded preffure of Confciences, were commonly intereffed therein themselves for their own ends.
Evenge is a kind of wild Juftice; which the more Mans Nature runs to, the more ought Law to weed it out. For as to the firft 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 paffing it over he is fuperior: for it is a Princes part to pardon. And Solomon, I am fure, faith, It is the glory of a Man to pass by an offence. That which is palt, is gone, and irrecoverable; and wife Men have enough to do with things prefent, and to come: therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labour in paft matters. There is no Man doth a wrong for the wrongs fake, but thereby to purchafe 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 meerly out of ill nature, why? yet it is but like the Thorn or Bryar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other. The most tolerable fort of Revenge, is for those wrongs which there is no Law to remedy: But then let a man take heed, that the Revenge be fuch, as there is no Law to punish; elfea Mans Enemy is ftill before-hand, and it is two for one.
Some when they take Revenge, are defirous the Party fhould know whence it cometh: this is the more generous. For the delight feemeth to be not fo much in doing the hurt, as in making the Party repent. But bafe and crafty Cowards are like the Arrow that flieth in the dark. Cofmus Duke of Florence had a defperate faying againft perfidious or neglecting Friends, as if thofe wrongs were unpardonable: You shall read (faith 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 me (faith he) take good at Gods band, and not be content to take evil alfo ? And fo of Friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a Man that ftudieth Revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwife would heal, and do well: Publick Revenges are for the moft part fortunate, as that for the death of Cafar, for the death of Pertinax, for the death of Henry the Third of France, and many more. But in private Revenges it is not fo. Nay, rather vindicative perfons live the life of Witches, who as they are mischievous, fo end they unfortunate.
Imanner of the Stoicks) That the good things
T was an high Speech of Seneca, (after the
which belong to profperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adverfity are to be admired: Bona rerum fecundarum optabilia, adverfarum mirabilia. Certainly, If Miracles be the command over Nature, they appear moft in Adversity. It is yet a higher fpeech of his, than the other, (much too high for a Heathen) It is true greatnefs to have in one the frailty of a Man, and the fecurity of a God: Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, fecuritatem Dei. This would have done better in Poefie, where tranfcendencies are more allowed. And the Poets indeed have been bufie with it; for it is in effect the thing, which is figured in that ftrange Fiction of the ancient Po ets, which feemeth not to be without mystery;" nay, and to have fome approach to the State of a Chriftian: That Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus, (by whom Human Nature is reprefented) failed the length of the great Ocean' in an Eartben Pot or Pitcher; Lively defcribing Chriftian refolution, that faileth in the frail Bark of the Flefh, through the waves of the world. But to fpeak in a mean: The Vertue of Profperity is Temperance; the Vertue of Adversity