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in the pursuit and ascent of their greatness, and so much good when they were established : yet these compensations and satisfactions are good to be used, but never good to be purposed. And, lastly, it is not amiss for men in their race towards their fortune, to cool themselves a little with that conceit which is elegantly expressed by the emperor Charles the fifth, in his instructions to the king his son, “ that fortune “ hath somewhat of the nature of a woman, that if “ she be too much wooed, she is the farther off.” But this last is but a remedy for those whose tastes are corrupted : let men rather build upon that foun-. dation which is as a corner-stone of divinity and philosophy, wherein they join close, namely, that same Primum quærite. For divinity saith, Primum quarite regnum Dei, et ista omnia adjicientur vobis : and philosophy saith, Primum quærite bona animi, cætera aut aderunt, aut non oberunt. And although the human foundation hath somewhat of the sands, as we see in M. Brutus, when he brake forth into that speech,
Te colui, virtus, ut rem: ast tu nomen inane es : yet the divine foundation is upon the rock. But this may serve for a taste of that knowledge which I noted as deficient.
Concerning Government, it is a part of knowledge, secret and retired in both these respects, in which things are deemed secret; for some things are secret because they are hard to know, and some because they are not fit to utter; we see all governments are obscure and invisible.
Totamque infusa per artus, Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet. Such is the description of governments : we see the government of God over the world is hidden, insomuch as it seemeth to participate of much irregularity and confusion : the government of the soul in moving the body is inward and profound, and the passages thereof hardly to be reduced to demonstration. Again, the wisdom of antiquity, the shadows whereof are in the poets, in the description of torments and pains, next unto the crime of rebellion, which was the giants offence, doth detest the crime of futility, as in Sisyphus and Tantalus. But this was meant of particulars; nevertheless even unto the general rules and discourses of policy and government there is due a reverent and reserved handling.
But, contrariwise, in the governors towards the governed, all things ought, as far as the frailty of man permitteth, to be manifest and revealed. For so it is expressed in the Scriptures touching the government of God, that this globe which seemeth to us a dark and shady body, is in the view of God as crystal, Et in conspectu sedis tanquam mare vitreum simile crystallo. So unto princes and states, specially towards wise senates and councils, the natures and dispositions of the people, their conditions and necessities, their factions and combinations, their animosities and discontents, ought to be, in regard of the variety of their intelligences, the wisdom of their observations, and the height of the station where they keep centinel, in great part clear and transparent. Wherefore, considering that I write to a king that is a master of this science, and is so well assisted, I think it decent to pass over this part in silence, as willing to obtain the certificate which one of the ancient philosophers aspired unto; who being silent, when others contended to make demonstration of their abilities by speech, desired it might be certified for his part,
" that there was one that knew how to 6 hold his peace."
Notwithstanding, for the more public part of government, which is laws, I think good to note only one deficience : which is, that all those which have written of laws, have written either as philosophers, or as lawyers, and none as statesmen. As for the philosophers, they make imaginary laws for imaginary commonwealths, and their discourses are as the stars, which give little light, because they are so high. For the lawyers, they write according to the states where they live, what is received law, and not what ought to be law; for the wisdom of a law-maker is one, and of a lawyer is another. For there are in nature certain fountains of justice, whence all civil laws are derived but as streams: and like as waters do take tinctures and tastes from the soils through which they run, so do civil laws vary according to the regions and governments where they are planted, though they proceed from the same fountains. Again, the wisdom of a law-maker consisteth not only in a platform of justice, but in the application thereof; taking into consideration, by what means laws may be made certain, and what are the causes and remedies of the doubtfulness and incertainty of law; by what means laws may be made apt and easy to be executed, and what are the impediments and remedies in the execution of laws; what influence laws touching private right of meum and tuum have into the public state, and how they may be made apt and agreeable; how laws are to be penned and delivered, whether in texts or in acts, brief or large, with preambles, or without; how they are to be pruned and reformed from time to time, and what is the best means to keep them from being too vast in volumes, or too full of multiplicity and crossness; how they are to be expounded, when upon causes emergent, and judicially discussed; and when upon responses and conferences touching general points or questions; how they are to be pressed, rigorously or tenderly; how they are to be mitigated by equity and good conscience, and whether discretion and strict law are to be mingled in the same courts, or kept apart in several courts; again, how the practice, profession, De pruand erudition of law is to be censured and
gislatoria, verned; and many other points touching the adminis- sive de tration, and, as I may term it, animation of laws. fontibus Upon which I insist the less, because I propose, ifjuris. God give me leave, having begun a work of this nature, in aphorisms, to propound it hereafter, noting it in the mean time for deficient.
And for your majesty's laws of England, I could say much of their dignity, and somewhat of their defect; but they cannot but excel the civil laws in fitness for the government; for the civil law was,
Non hos quæsitum munus in usus ; it was not made for the countries which it governeth: hereof I cease to speak, because I will not intermingle matter of action with matter of general learning.
Thus have I concluded this portion of learning touching civil knowledge, and with civil knowledge have concluded human philosophy; and with human philosophy, philosophy in general; and being now at some pause, looking back into that I have passed through, this writing seemeth to me, si nunquam fallit imago, as far as a man can judge of his own work, not
much better than that noise or sound which musicians make while they are in tuning their instru. ments, which is nothing pleasant to hear, but yet is a cause why the music is sweeter afterwards. So have I been content to tune the instruments of the Muses, that they may play that have better hands. And surely, when I set before me the condition of these times, in which learning hath made her third visita. tion or circuit in all the qualities thereof; as the excellency and vivacity of the wits of this age; the noble helps and lights which we have by the travels of ancient writers; the art of printing, which communicateth books to men of all fortunes; the openness of the world by navigation, which hath disclosed multitudes of experiments, and a mass of natural history; the leisure wherewith these times abound, not employing men so generally in civil business, as the states of Græcia did, in respect of their popularity, and the state of Rome in respect of the greatness of their monarchy; the present disposition of these times at this instant to peace; the consumption of all that ever can be said in controversies of religion, which have so much diverted men from other sciences; the perfection of your majesty's learning, which as a phenix may call whole vollies of wits to follow you; and the inseparable propriety of time, which is ever more and more to disclose truth; I cannot but be raised to this persuasion, that this third period of time will far surpass that of the Græcian
and Roman learning : only if men will know their own strength, and their own weakness both; and take, one from the other, light of invention, and not fire of contradiction; and esteem of the inquisition of truth, as of an enterprise, and not as of a quality or ornament; and employ wit and magnificence to things of worth and excellency, and not to things vulgar and of popular estimation. As for my labours, if any man shall please himself, or others, in the reprehension of them, they shall make that ancient and patient request, Verbera, sed audi. Let men reprehend them, so they observe and weigh them.
For the appeal is lawful, though it may be it shall not be needful, from the first cogitations of men to their second, and from the nearer times to the times farther off. Now let us come to that learning, which both the former times were not so blessed as to know, sacred and inspired Divinity, the sabbath and port of all mens labours and peregrinations.
THE prerogative of God extendeth as well to the reason, as to the will of man; so that as we are to obey his law, though we find a reluctation in our will; so we are to believe his word, though we find a reluctation in our reason. For if we believe only 'that which is agreeable to our sense, we give consent to the matter, and not to the author, which is no more than we would do towards a suspected and discredited witness : but that faith which was accounted to Abraham for righteousness, was of such a point, as whereat Sarah laughed, who therein was an image of natural reason.
Howbeit, if we will truly consider it, more worthy it is to believe than to know as we now know. For in knowledge man's mind suffereth from sense, but in belief it suffereth from spirit, such one as it holdeth for more authorised than itself; and so suffereth from the worthier agent. Otherwise it is of the state of man glorified, for then faith shall cease, and we shall know as we are known.
Wherefore we conclude, that sacred theology,