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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," 1 another saith, "Ecce in Penetralibus ;"2 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 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? turn thee behind me." Peace is not the matter, but following, and party.
1 "Behold, He (the Christ or Messiah) is in the Desert."
2 Behold, He is in the secret chambers of the house."
Contrariwise, certain Laodiceans and lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of religion by middle ways, and taking part of both, and witty reconcilements, as if they would make an arbitrament 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 merely 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.
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, not 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," 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 distance of judgment, which is between man and man, shall we not think that God above, that knows the heart, doth not discern that frail men, in some of their contradictions, intend the same thing and accepteth of both? The nature of such controversies is excellently expressed by St. Paul, in the warning and precept that he giveth concerning the same, "devita profanas
3 There may be variety in the vesture, but let there be no division.
vocum novitates, et oppositiones falsi nominis scientiæ." Men create oppositions which are not, and put them into new terms so fixed as whereas the meaning ought to govern the term; the term in effect governeth the meaning. There be also two false peaces, or unities: the one, when the peace is grounded but upon an implicit ignorance; for all colours will agree in the dark: the other, when it is pieced up upon a direct admission of contraries in fundamental points: for truth and falsehood, in such things, are like the iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image; they may cleave, but they will not incorporate.
Concerning the means of procuring unity, men must beware that, in the procuring or muniting of religious unity, they do not dissolve and 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 Mahomet's sword, or like unto it: that is, so propagate religion by wars, or by sanguinary persecutions to force consciences; except it be in cases of overt scandal, blasphemy, or intermixture of practice against the state; much less to nourish seditions; to authorise conspiracies and rebellions; to put the sword into the people's hands, and the like, tending to the subversion of all government, which is the ordinance of God; for this is but to dash the first table against the second; and so to consider men as Christians, as we forget that they are men. Lucretius the poet, when he beheld the act of Agamemnon, that could endure the sacrificing of his own daughter, exclaimed:
"Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum."2
What would he have said, if he had known of the massacre in France, or the powder treason 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 circumspection in cases
of religion, so it is a thing monstrous to put into the hands of the common people; let that be left unto the anabaptists, and other furies. It was great blasphemy, when the devil said, "I will ascend and be like the Highest;" but it is greater blasphemy to personate God, and bring him in saying, "I will descend, and be like the prince of darkness:" and what is it better, to make the cause of religion to descend to the cruel and execrable actions of murdering princes, butchery of people, and subversion of states and governments? Surely this is to bring down the Holy Ghost, instead of the likeness of a dove, in the shape of a vulture or raven; and to set out of the bark of a Christian church a flag of a bark of pirates and assassins; therefore it is most necessary that the church by doctrine and decree, princes by their sword, and all learnings, both Christian and moral, as by their Mercury rod do damn, and send to hell for ever those facts and opinions tending to the support of the same as hath been already in good part done. Surely in councils concerning religion, that council of the apostle would be prefixed, “Ira hominis non implet justitiam Dei :"3 and it was a notable observation of a wise father, and no less ingenuously confessed, that those which held and persuaded pressure of consciences, were commonly interested therein themselves for their own ends.*
3 The wrath of man fulfilleth not the righteousness of God.
4 The reasoning in the latter part of this Essay is rather inconsistent: Lord Bacon has imposed upon himself by the common sophism that it is part of toleration to tolerate intolerance. Were this conceded, there is scarcely any persecution that may not be justified, and in fact it has been the excuse pleaded by all persecutors from the days of the Syrian kings to those of the Austrian emperors. They have all declared that they proscribed opinions not so much for their inherent evil nature as for their exclusive and destructive tendency, thus making the persecution appear a precautionary act of self-defence. This very apology which Bacon makes here for the penal laws enacted against the Roman Catholics by Elizabeth and James I., was urged as an excuse for the two great atrocities which he adduces as examples of the persecuting spirit of the Romish Church. The associates of Guy Fawkes averred that they were actuated chiefly by the fear of persecution, and the King of France was persuaded that the destruction of the Huguenots was necessary to the safety of his throne. The error
IV. OF REVENGE.
REVENGE is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out: for as for the first 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 passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon and Solomon, I am sure, saith, “It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.” That which is past is gone and irrevocable, and wise men have enough to do with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves that labour in past matters. There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake, but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honour, or the
arises from supposing that persons who hold opinions which we deem intolerant, hold also the inferences which we think may be legitimately deduced from these opinions. A little consideration ought to convince us that the connexion between opinion and action is not quite so logical as such a mode of reasoning would infer. Articles of faith are received by the great bulk of mankind with an otiose assent, a passive acknowledgment of their truth, without any impulse to giving them practical operation. Penal legislation should consequently be directed against the action and not against the opinion presumed to be its motive. The Mussulmans of Hindustan firmly believe that Paradise is the certain portion of those who fall fighting for Islamism against Christians; but they do not the less faithfully serve the company, even in wars against Mohammedan princes. The true theory of persecution is contained in the concluding clause of the essay; cupidity has ever veiled itself under the mask of religion:-had the Albigenses been destitute of commercial wealth they would never have been invaded by Simon de Montfort,-had there been no forfeited estates in Ireland, there would have been no penal laws.
like; therefore why should I be angry with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong, merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or brier, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other. The most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then, let a man take heed the revenge be such as there is no law to punish, else a man's enemy is still beforehand, and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous the party should know whence it cometh: this is the more generous; for the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent: but base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus, Duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable. "You shall read," saith 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 we," saith he, " take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil also?" and so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Cæsar: for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private revenges it is not so; nay, rather vindictive persons live the life of witches: who, as they are mischievous, so end they unfortunate.
[Seneca. From a Drawing by Rubens, after an Antique Bust.]
Ir was a high speech of Seneca (after the
1 These passages are translated in the text.
adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the
author's treatise on the Wisdom of the Ancients,
VI.-OF SIMULATION AND DISSIMULATION.
DISSIMULATION is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it: therefore it is the weaker sort of politicians that are the greatest dissemblers.
Tacitus saith, "Livia sorted well with the arts of her husband, and dissimulation of her son; attributing arts or policy to Augustus, and dissimulation to Tiberius:" and again, when Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to take arms against Vitellius, he saith, "We rise not against the piercing judgment of Augustus, nor the extreme caution or closeness of Tiberius;" these properties of arts or policy, and dissimulation or closeness, are indeed habits and faculties several, and to be distinguished; for if a man have that penetration of judgment as he can discern what things are to be laid open, and what to be secreted, and what to be showed at halflights, and to whom and when, (which indeed are arts of state, and arts of life, as Tacitus well calleth them,) to him a habit of dissimulation is a hinderance and a poorness. But if a man cannot attain to that judgment, then it is left to him generally to be close, and a dissembler: for where a man cannot choose or vary in particulars, there it is good to take the safest and wariest way in general, like the going softly, by one that cannot well see. Certainly, the ablest men
that ever were, have had all an openness and frankness of dealing, and a name of certainty and veracity: but then they were like horses well managed, for they could tell passing well when to stop or turn; and at such times when they thought the case indeed required dissimulation, if then they used it, it came to pass that the former opinion spread abroad, of their good faith and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.
There be three degrees of this hiding and veiling of a man's self; the first, closeness, reservation, and secrecy, when a man leaveth himself without observation, or without hold to be taken, what he is; the second dissimulation in the negative, when a man lets fall signs and arguments, that he is not that he is; and the third simulation in the affirmative, when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be that he is not.
For the first of these, secrecy, it is indeed the virtue of a confessor; and assuredly the secret man heareth many confessions; for who will open himself to a blab or babbler? But if a man be thought secret, it inviteth dis covery, as the more close air sucketh in the more open; and, as in confession, the revealing is not for worldly use, but for the ease of a man's heart, so secret men come to the knowledge of many things in that kind; while men rather discharge their minds than