A Discourse of Constancy in Two Books. Chiefly containing Consolations against Publick Evils/Book 2

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Chap. I.

The occasion of renewing the Discourse; the going to Langius his Gardens. Their commendations.

The next day it pleased Langius to conduct me to his gardens which with a great deal of cost and curiosity he had planted in two places, the one upon a gentle rise of ground opposite to his house: the other somewhat farther off, in a lower place, and close by the River Maes

Whose Christall streams do gentle slide
Along the pleasant City's side.

Surprising me therefore in my Chamber very early in the morning shall we walk Lipsius say'd he, or whether had you rather repose upon a Chair here within doors? Walk Langius (said I) provided it be with you; but whither shall we go? If you approve it (reply'd he) to my Gardens which are by the waters side, they are not farr distant, and by the way you shall exercise your Body; see the City, and besides we shall there meet with a cool and desirable air; in the midst of this heat: With all my heart (said I) nor in your Company is it possible that any way should seem tedious to me, though it were to the utmost Indies. And with this we called for our Cloakes, cast them upon us, went forth, and got thither. Assoon as I entred I took their prospect, with a wandring and curious Eye; and really wondring at the elegancy, and culture of the place? My Father (said I) what pleasantness, what splendour is this? You have here Langius a Heaven rather than a Garden: Nor certainly do those Starry Fires above, shine out more illustriously in a clear and open Night; than these your flowers, do even sparkle and glitter in a most delectable Variety. Talk we of the Gardens of Adonis or Alcinous? compar'd with these, they are doubtless inconsiderable trifles, and such things as are next to nothing. And with this being come somewhat nearer, beholding some; and smelling to others: Oh! said I, which should I rather wish the Eyes of Argus or the Nose of Catullus? So equally doth this pleasure even tickle and delight both Senses. Hence, hence all ye Odours of Arabia which serve only to provoke a loathing, in respect of that pure and truly Celestial sweetness that breaths from hence: Langius gently wringing my hand, and not without a smile or too; Fair fall my Gardens, Lipsius saies he; for neither I nor this rustical Flora of mine can pretend any Title to so skilfull and ingenious a commendation. It is yet a true one, Langius (reply'd I) suppose you that I flatter? I speak it with all the seriousness imaginable, the Elysian Fields, are less so than these Gardens of yours. For see what a comeliness and order is every where? How fitly all things are disposed in their Beds and Borders? That the different coloured Marbles in a pavement are not placed with a more becoming Beauty and exactness. What plenty of Herbs and Flowers? What rarity and strangeness? Insomuch as within the narrow limits of this one place, Nature seems to have enclosed all those excellencies, which either this of ours, or that other World is able to boast off.

Chap. II.

The praise of Gardens in general. Delight taken in them is ancient, and from Nature. Kings and other excellent persons addicted to them. The pleasures of them.

And truly Langius this your divertisment is a praise-worthy and commendable one; a pleasure whereunto (if I am not deceived) the more excellent and ingenuous persons are by Nature it self inclin'd. I am rather induc'd to believe this; inasmuch as it is not very easie to think of any one pleasure, in which the most eminent amongst the Nations have in all ages so willingly consented. If we turne over the sacred Volume, we shall there find that the World and Gardens were made together, which God himself bestow'd upon the first Man, as the Seat of a blessed Life: If we search into prophane Stories, Proverbs and Fables every where tell us of the Gardens of Adonis and Alcinous, Tantalus and the Hesperides: and in true and credible Histories, we meet the mention of King Cyrus his Orchards, that were planted with his own Hands: The airy and pendulous Gardens of Semiramis, and that new and celebrated Plat of Masanissa which Affrick wondred at. Amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans, how many illustrious persons am I able to name; who casting off all other cares, have betaken themselves only to this? Amongst the former, it will suffice to say in short, that most of the Philosophers and Sages, removing from Cities and the wild clamour of the Courts; have cloystred up themselves within private limits and bounds. And amongst the latter, methinks I see King Tarquine (in that then ancient Rome) diverting himself in his Gardens, and smiting off the heads of the Poppyes. Cato the Censour applying himself to this study, and writing Books with all seriousness about these matters. Lucullus retiring to his Gardens, after all his Asiatique Triumphs. Sylla having lay'd down his Dictatorship doth here more contentedly grow old; and Dioclesian the Emperour preferres his Sallads and Lettuce at Salona; before the imperial purple, and all the Scepters of the Universe. Nor have the Vulgar receded from the Judgement of their superiours; but even amongst them the honester sort, and such as were free from ambition; were generally this way addicted. For certainly there is a kind of secret impulse, that with us is born; the hidden Causes of which I cannot easily explicate; which thrusts into this innocent and ingenuous delight; not only us who bend that way, but even those serious and severe persons; who both resist and deride it. And as none do behold the Heavens, and those eternal Fires; without a secret kind of horror and Religion; so neither do any take a view of the Sacred Treasures of the Earth, and the beautiful Ornaments of this lower World, without a silent kind of Gust and Titillation of delight. Enquire but of your Mind and Soul, and it will confess it self not only to be surpriz'd; but even fed with such a prospect. Ask your Eyes and Senses and they will acknowledge, that they do not any where more willingly repose themselves. Look round about I beseech you for a while, and observe the several troops of Flowers, together with the manner of their growth. Behold how this uncupps, and that unsheathes, and this other swells it self out of the rich inclosure of it's Gemm-like Bud. See how suddenly the one expires, and the other shoots out to succeed it; to conclude, observe in any one kind of them, the Beauty, Forme, and Appearance, a thousand wayes divers and the same. What Mind is there so rigid, that in such entertainments as these, will not withdraw and melt it self, into soft and pleasing Meditations? Let the curious Eye dwell a while upon those Orient and dazeling Colours: Behold this native Purple, this Blood, this Ivory, this Snow, this Flame, this Gold, and such diversity of Colours; as a skilful Pencil may possibly emulate, but can never be able to express? To conclude what exhaling Odors, what subtile and piercing Spirit, and I know not what part of the Heavenly Air breathed from above? So that our Tribe of Poets seem not in vain to have feign'd, that most Flowers are born of the Blood and juice of the Immortal Gods. O thou true Fountain of dissolved pleasure! O thou happy Seat of Venus and the Graces! May I ever pass my dayes, and repose myself in these your shades; may it be lawful for me (thus remote from popular tumults) with a cheerful yet unsatisfy'd Eye; to wander amongst the Plants and Flowers of the known and unknown World; busying my self now with the Rise of this, and than with the Set of that, and with a wandring kind of deceit here to lose the memory of all my cares and sorrows.

Chap. III.

Against some curious People, who abuse their Gardens to Vanity and Sloth. Their proper use. That they are places fit for wise and learned Men; and that Wisdom it self is bred and cherished there.

When I had spoken this somewhat earnestly, and with a kind of Ardour both in voice and countenance; Langius looking mildly upon me: Certainly said he Lipsius, you are enamour'd of this florid and purple Nymph; and I am solicitous, lest you should love her immodestly. For you praise Gardens, but yet so, as to admire only those things which are vain and external; while you omit to speak of the true and lawful Pleasures of them. You greedily behold the colours, and repose in the beds, and enquire after Flowers from the known and unknown World? But for what purpose I pray? Is it to assure me that you also are one of that newly sprung up Sect of curious and idle persons; who have converted the most excellent and simple delight, into the instrument of a couple of Vices; Vanity, and Sloth? For to this end have they their Gardens, with an ambitious curiosity they search after a few forraign Plants and Flowers; and when they have them, they cherish and attend them, with the same anxiety and passion, as a Mother doth her Son. These are they whose Letters wander into Thrace, Greece, India, for some little parcel of seed, a Clove, or off-set of a Flower: Who more passionately lament the withering of some new fashioned Slipps; than the Death of an old try'd Friend. Does any Man laugh at that Roman, who put on mourning for the Death of his Lamprey? After the same manner bewail they the Funerals of their Flowers. Now if any of these Candidates of Flora have got any thing more new or rare, O how he boasts it! How do his Corrivals emulate and envy him? Some of whom return no less pensive to their Houses than Sylla or Marcellus when they were rejected in their suit for the Pretorship. What shall I call this but a merry kind of madness? Not unlike to that of children turning pale, and quarrelling for their Topps and Counters. Understand also how these men imploy themselves in their Gardens; they sit, they walk round about, they gape and sleep, and nothing else; as if they intended them not as places of retirement, but as Sepulchres of Sloth. A prophane Generation, and such as I may justly exclude from the Orgyes of the true and sacred Garden, which I know to be consecrate to modest pleasure, not to Vanity, to ease, but not at all to Sloth. Should I be of so feeble a temper, that the gain or loss of a poor Flower, should either exalt or depress me? No, I esteem things at their just rates, and setting aside the meretricious advantage of Novelty: I know they are but Plants; I know they are but Flowers: that is, short-liv'd and transitory things; of which the Prince of Poets hath pertinently spoken,

When the soft Western winds abroad do flye,
Some Flowers they make to spring, and others dye.

I do not then despise these elegancies and delights (as you see) but herein I differ from these delicate Hortensii; that as I get such things as these without anxiety, so I keep, and so I lose them. Nor am I so stupid, or rather so dead, that I should cloyster up, and (as it were) bury my self in these Garden shades: For even in these retirements, I find business, and my Mind doth here meet with something which it may performe without action. I am never less alone than when alone (said one;) nor ever less at leisure than when so. An excellent saying, and which I dare affirm had its birth in such Gardens as these, which are intended for the Mind, not the Body; to recreate that, not to dissolve and soften this; and for a safe retreat both from Company and Cares. Is company troublesome? Here you shall be with your self: Have employments exhausted your Spirits? Here they shall be repayr'd, where the Mind shall be refresh'd with its proper food of quiet, and where from this purer air, you shall have as it were the inspiration of a new life. If you look therefore upon the ancient Sages, they dwelt in Gardens; or upon the more learned and improved Spirits of our times, they delight in Gardens: And in those for the most part are those divine pieces compos'd, which are the wonder of Mankind, and which no Age, or successions of time shall ever abolish. To this green Lycæum do we stand indebted for so many Lectures upon Nature: To this shady Academy we owe those discourses about manners, and from the apartments of these Gardens are those abundant springs of Wisdom diffus'd, which we drink of, and which with their fertill inundations have enrich'd the World. For the Mind doth raise and advance it self to higher and greater things; when free and at large; it beholds its own Heaven, then when 'tis cloyster'd up within the Prison of a House or City. Here O ye Poets frame an everlasting and immortal Verse; here let the learned meditate and write; here O ye Philosophers dispute of Tranquility, of Constancy, of Life, and Death. See Lipsius the true end and use of Gardens; it is rest, secession, meditation, reading, writing; and yet all these by way of recreation only, and divertisement. As Painters who by long poring have wearied and dimm'd their sight, call it off to certain glasses and green objects, thereby to quicken and refresh it; so do we the Mind when it either straggles or is tyred. And why should I conceal my Custome from you? Do you see that Arbour set out with Topiary work? 'Tis the place I have consecrated to the Muses. It is my School of Wisdom. There I either satisfie my Mind with serious and retir'd reading, or improve it with the Seeds of profitable Meditation? And as arms are lay'd up in a Magazene: So do I from them, store up precepts in my Mind, which are alwayes ready by me, against every battery and impression of Fortune. As oft as I enter there, I forthwith command all base and servile cares to absent themselves; and (asmuch as I may) with an elevated Mind, I despise the studies of the prophane vulgar, and this great vanity in the affairs of Men. Yes, I seem to my self to be wholly divested of humanity; and to be transported into Heaven it self, in the fiery Chariot of Wisdome. Do you think it there troubles me, what the French or Spaniard are designing? Who keeps, or loses the Scepter of Belgia? That the Tyrant of Asia, now threatens us by Land or by Sea? Or to conclude;

What Plots that King is forging in his brains,
That in the North and frozen Climate raigns?

none of all these I will assure you. Securely fortify'd against all that is external; I retreat within my self, free from all sorts of cares except this one, how I may subject this broken and subdued Mind of mine to Right Reason, and to God: And all other humane things to my Mind, that whensoever that fatal day shall come that must put a period to my Life; I may receive it with a compos'd, and unsadded countenance; and may so depart out of this life, not as he that is forc'd into exile, but as one that is set at liberty. These are my musings in my Gardens Lipsius; and these the fruits which (so long as I am my self) I shall not willingly exchange for all the Persian and the Indian treasures.

Chap. IV.

An exhortation to Wisdom; thereby a Man may attain to Constancy. An admonition to Youth, to conjoyn the more serious studies of Philosophy to the more pleasant and liberal ones.

Langius had finish'd, and I confess seriously that this last generous and constant speech of his, had cast me into some amazement, which when I had recovered, O happy Man (said I) both in your business and retirements! O that more than humane life; which I have met with in a Man! Would to God I were able in any Measure to imitate, and to creep along after these footsteps, though it were at a considerable distance. Langius as reprehending me; imitate sayes he? Yes excell. You have right here not only to follow, but to lead the way. For in this Path of Constancy and Vertue Lipsius, we have made but a small, a very small progress. As yet we are not comparable to the more Heroick and excellent Persons, though possibly a little more assured than the utterly enfeebled and debauched sort. But you whose Youthfull inclinations are Generous and Lofty, prepare your self; and agreeable to my instructions, assay that path which doth directly lead to firmness and Constancy. The way I speak of is Wisdom, whose smooth and even path, I beseech and advise you no longer to decline: Hath learning and the Nine Goddesses hitherto delighted you? I approve it. For I know the Mind ought first to be subacted and prepar'd with this more pleasing and external knowledge, as being before unfit to have divine Seeds intrusted with it. But withall I approve not that you should so farr dote upon this as to make it both the beginning and end of your studies. These are to be our rudiments but not our work; our way but not our Goale. In a feast (I suppose) you would not feed only upon Quelkchoses or Junkets; but would gratifie your stomach with something that is more solid. In this publick banquet of Learning, why do you not the same? Why add you not the firmer food of Philosophy, to those delicious Viands of Oratours and Poets? For (mistake me not) I would not that the one should be deserted, but that the other should be superadded, and that those looser, and by themselves more fluid Nymphs should be tempered and mixed, with this (as I may call it) severer Bacchus. Penelope's Suitors in Homer are justly laughed at; who deserting the Mistress fell to courting the Maids: Take heed you do not the same, that despising the great and excellent Princess, you should remain enamour'd of her handmaids. It is a desirable purchase to attain the praise of a learned Man; that of a wise Man is beyond it, but that of a good Man surpasses all. Hereafter let us aim at these; and by all our labours endeavour not only to know, but to be wise and do:

How vaine's that knowledge where
No Wisdome doth appear?

sayes that old and true Verse. How many are there in this our Assembly of the Muses, who dishonour both themselves, and the very name of Learning? Some in that they are even covered with the black spots of detestable impieties; and the most because they are vain, light Meteours only, and of no worthy designment. Do they learn languages? Yes, but languages alone. Do they understand the Greek and Latine Authors? Yet they do but understand them, and as Anacharsis said well of the Athenians heretofore; they used money only to count it: so these their knowledge only to know. So utterly regardless are they of their lives, and of what they do, that (even in my judgement) the vulgar seem with some reason to look upon learning as the Mistress of vice: But it is indeed the Directress to vertue; if we use it as we ought, and conjoyn it with wisdom; to which learning should prepare our Minds, but not seize upon them, and detain them to it self: For as there are some sorts of Trees, that will bear no fruit, unless they are planted by other male ones (as I may call them) so will the Virgin Muses remain barren, unless wedded to the Masculine strength of wisdom. To what end dost thou correct Tacitus? and at the same time suffer so many Errata's in thine own life? Why dost thou illustrate Tranquillus? and yet permit thy self to be benighted with Errour? Dost thou carefully expunge the faults out of Plautus, when thou sufferest thy Mind to be over-grown and neglected? Espouse at the last more worthy designs, and look after such a kind of learning as may serve, not only for austentation and applause, but also for use. Betake your self unto Wisdom which may reform your manners; calme and enlighten your troubled and dark Soul. For 'tis she alone that can fix upon you the impress of vertue; and consign you to Constancy, and give you a free admission into the Temple of a good Mind.

Chap. V.

Wisdom is not acquir'd by wishes, but endeavours. The discourse of Constancy renew'd. The desire of knowledge, a happy presage in a Young Man.

This admonition so inflam'd me, that not able to dissemble it; My Father said I, with my Mind I follow you already; but when shall I with my Actions also? When shall that day appear, which releasing me from these cares, shall place me in the path of true wisdom; that thereby I may attain to true Constancy? Langius as one reproving me. Do you then (said he) choose rather to wish, than to act? It is to no purpose at all; and as the vulgar use to do. However Ceneus in the Fable was transformed from a Woman to a Man by wishing: Yet hope not you after the same manner, to pass from a fool to a wise, or from a wavering to a constant Man. It will concern you to use your utmost endeavour, to turn every stone, and that with an industrious diligence; you must seek, read, and learn: Here interrupting him, I know it Langius reply'd I; but do you also I beseech you lend me your assistance, and continue the thread of Yesterdays discourse, which our summons to supper did unhappily break off. Return I sav unto Constancy, whose intermitted rites, it will be dangerous to deferre. Langius as refusing, shall I again said he be shut up in that School? I will not Lipsius, at least not in this place, which you should consider I have devoted to my recreations and not to business, another time we will attend it. Yes at this time reply'd I, for what place is more fit for a discourse of wisdom, than this her dwelling? I mean that Arbour, which to me seems a Temple, and the little Table in it, no other than an Altar, at which sitting down let us Sacrifice to the Goddess. Besides I take an Omen from the very place. What Omen (sayes Langius?) 'Tis this said I, that as he who sits in a place where Odors and sweet Unguents are, carrys along with him in his Garments the perfume and scent of the place. So I am not without hope, that some Air and Odour of Wisdom may adhere unto my Mind, by sitting in this her Store-house. I am afraid (sayes Langius smiling) there is but little of weight in so light an Omen: Howsoever Lipsius let us set forward, for not to dissemble with you, this so ingenious heat of yours does excite and warm me too. And as the searchers after springs, when in the Morning they observe a certain vapour exhailing from the Earth, do forthwith conclude that there they shall meet with water: So have I hopes of a plentiful spring of vertue, wheresoever I observe in Youth an early desire of knowledge to betray it self: And with this he led me into the Arbour, and seated himself at the Table. But I first turning my self and calling to the Boyes; stay there said I and wait, but be sure you lock the door, and observe what I say; upon your lives see that no Man, nor Dog, nor Woman enter; no though good Fortune her self should come; and with that I sat down. But Langius laughing out-right, did you ever sway Scepter Lipsius (said he) so Princelike and so severe are your edicts? Yesterdays misfortune (reply'd I) has dictated to me this necessary caution, and now in Gods name proceed.

Chap. VI.

A third Argument for Constancy drawn from utility: Calamities are good both in their Original and End. Their Original is from God; who being eternally and immutably good, cannot be the cause of any Evil.

Langius without any considerable pawse thus began. In my discourse of Constancy it is fit I be constant, I shall therefore observe the same order and method which Yesterday I propounded. Then (as you know) I form'd Four Squadrons (as I call them) to fight in its behalf against grief and dejectedness. The two former of these, from Providence and Necessity; I have already drawn forth, and have sufficiently evinc'd that publick evils are sent down from God; as also that they are necessary and impossible to be declin'd. I shall now therefore bring up my Third Squadron led by Utility; which I may truly call the Legion Adjutrix, a Valiant and subtile power, which I know not how doth convey and insinuate it self into the Minds of Men, and with a pleasing kind of violence so overcomes them, as that themselves are not unwilling to be conquer'd. It rather gains upon us by degrees, than by violent impressions, and rather perswades than compells us. For we as readily permit our selves to be led by Utility, as drawn by Necessity. This Lipsius I now oppose against you and your failing troops. For these publick evils which we suffer are profitable, and contribute much to our inward advantage. Did I call them Evils? They are rather goods; if removing this veil of Opinion, we have a due recourse unto their Original and End; of which the former is from good, and the latter is for good. For the Original of these Calamities (as Yesterday I sufficiently prov'd) is certainly from God: That is, not only from the chiefest good it self, but from the Author, cause, and Fountain of all other good whatsoever; from whom it is as utterly impossible that any evil should proceed, as that himself should be evil. That power is only benign and healthful, equally despising to receive and to do wrong, and whose sole and chief prerogative it is to benefit. And therefore those ancient and blinder sort of Men, conceiving something of the supream Being in their Minds; did rightly give him his Name from helping. Suppose you that he is exasperated, and that as one in a passion, he hurles down these evils as so many deadly Arrows upon mankind? No. Anger and Revenge are humane Affections, and being the effects of weakness, are found only amongst the infirm. But that excellent Being doth eternally persevere in its benignity, and those very severities which we cast off from him, are only as Medicines; sharp and bitter to the sense, but healthful in their issue and events. That Homer of Philosophers said rightly God doth no evil, and therefore cannot be the cause of any. But better and more fully that wise one of ours. What is the cause of the Gods doing good? Their Nature. He errs that imagines they are either desirous or able to do hurt. As they cannot receive, so neither can they do an injury. The first honor that we owe to the Gods, is to believe that they are, the next is to ascribe Majesty to them, and goodness without which there is no Majesty. To know they are those, who preside over the world; who govern all things as their own; who are the Guardians of Mankind, and of every particular person, and that no evil is in them, neither doth any proceed from them.

Chap. VII.

The end of Calamities alwayes directed to good; though often administred by wicked Men, and for their evil ends. The force of them is broken and allay'd by God. All things are guided to our advantage. Why God uses wicked Men as his Instruments therein.

Calamities then are good in their Original; they are so also in their End, because they are alwayes directed to our good. You will say which way? Is not mischief and ruine the manifest end of Warr and Slaughter? It is I confess if you look at Men, but not if you look upon God. That you may the more clearly apprehend this, It will be requisite thus to distinguish of divine punishments; some are simple and others are mixt: Those I call simple which are immediately from God; without the intervening of any humane Contrivance or Assistance: The mixt, are such as are from God too; but acted and performed by Men. Of the former kind are Famine, Barrenness, Earth-quakes, Inundations, Diseases, and Death: Of the latter, Tyrannies, Warres, Oppressions, Slaughters. The first sort are pure and innocent, as being deriv'd to us from the purest Fountain: In the other I will not deny, but there is some mixture of filth, inasmuch as they pass through, and are convey'd to us by the impure Channels of Affections. Man intermeddles therein, and then what wonder is it, if Sin and corruption do discover it self? That is the wonder that such is the merciful Providence of God, as can convert that poyson into Medicine, and that Sin into good. See you that Tyrant there, who breaths out nothing but threatnings and slaughter, whose delights are in doing mischief, and who could be content to perish himself, provided he might thereby accomplish the destruction of others: Let him alone a while, he shall fail in his designes; and God by a secret and indiscernible thread (while he thinks and wills nothing less) shall guide him to his end. As the Arrow without any sense of its own, arrives at that mark which the Archer intended; so do wicked Men. For that supream power doth inhibit and restrain all humane powers, directing and disposing all their wandring steps unto that best end of his. As in an Army the Souldiers are variously affected; spoile encourages this, glory him, and hatred that other; but all fight for their Prince and Victory: So every of these wills of ours, whether they are good or evil, serve under, and fight for God, and amidst the greatest variety of their own designed ends, do at last touch upon this (as I may so call it) End of Ends. But you will say why does God use the help of the wicked? Why does not he himself send that better sort of Calamities amongst us; at least the worser by more desirable instruments? Thou art over curiously inquisitive O Man: Neither am I certain whether I am able to explain these Mysteries of Providence. But this I know, that he sufficiently comprehends the reason of his actings; even at such times as we are not able to discern the least of it in them. But what is it that appears so strange, and unusual to us? The Ruler of a Province condemnes a malefactour according to the Laws; and commits the Execution of his Sentence to Brutianus or the Lictor. The Father of a great Family sometimes corrects his Son himself; at others commits it to the care of a Servant or Tutor. Why should not God have the same liberty? Why should not he when he so pleases chastise us with his own hand? And when he sees it good with anothers? There is no wrong or injury done to us in all this. Does that Servant hate you? Doth he come with a Mind to do you a mischief? It matters not, overlooking the instrument of what you suffer: Look back to the Mind of him that hath commanded it. For assuredly the Father that requires it stands by; nor will he suffer one stripe to be superadded to what himself hath prescribed. But you ask again; why is Sin here immixed? and why are these divine Arrowes dipp'd in the poyson of Affections? You put me upon a difficult task, which yet I shall adventure upon; and my answer is, that God may declare his Wisdom and Power. They are St. Austine's words; he judg'd it better to make evils good, than to permit no evills at all. For what greater instance can there be of Wisdom and Goodness, than to bring good out of evil, and to make those things Conspire our welfare, which were found out for our ruine. You commend that Physitian who successefully mixes his Treacle with a Viper. And why should you resent it in God, if with this Plaister of Calamities, he shall intermixe something that is hurtfull, without any damage of yours. For he doth certainly decoct and evaporate all the adhering poyson, by the secret fire of his Providence. Lastly, this magnifyes his power and glory; to which all things are by himself of Necessity referr'd. For what can more lively express his power than this? That he not only overcomes those Enemies that wrastle with him; but also overcomes them in such a manner, as brings them over to himself, and causes them to take Armes in the pursuance of his Victories: Which every day comes to pass, when the will of God is done by evill Men, though not of them; since he so manages all those things which the wicked do in opposition to his will; that none of them are besides his will. And what greater miracle can there be, than that wicked Men should make wicked Men good? Approach thou Cajus Cæsar, and at once tread under Foot the two Sacred Names of thy County, and Son in Law. This thy ambition without thy knowledge shall be subservient to God; yes to thy Country it self, against which it was taken up: For it shall prove the reparation and establishment of the Roman State. Thou Attila fly from the remotest parts of the World, and thirsting after blood and spoile, Sack, kill, burn, and wast; all this cruelty shall fight for God, and prove nothing else but an awakening of the Christians from slumbring in the Beds of Pleasure and Security. You two Vespasians what do you? Ruine Judea and the Jews: Take, and raze the whole City; but for what end? As you indeed intend it; for the glory and enlargement of the Empire, but you mistake your selves, you are only the Lictours and Executioners of the divine vengeance upon an impious Nation. Go ye who possibly have martyr'd the Christians at Rome, and revenge the Death of Christ in Iudæa. All ages are full of such examples, how God by the sinful desires of some Men hath accomplished his own good pleasure; and by the injustice of others, hath executed his own just and righteous Judgments. Let us therefore Lipsius rather admire than busily pry into this recluded Power of his Wisdom, and let us know, that all sorts of Calamities are good in their events: Although this Mind of ours be so blind as not to discern it, or so slow in its apprehensions as not to reach and comprehend it. For their true ends are oftentimes obscure as to us; to which notwithstanding (though we are ignorant) they at last arrive: not unlike those Rivers which though they retire from our sight, and creep under ground, do nevertheless find the way to pour themselves into the bosome of their own Seas.

Chap. VIII.

More distinctly of the Ends themselves. They are Three-fold; and to whom each belongs. Of the first End, which is for the exercise of the Good. It is advantageous three wayes. It strengthens them; tryes them, and fits them to be exemplary to others.

If I may therefore hoise Sail and pass on further into this depth of divine matters; I may possibly discover some things more fully and distinctly concerning the Ends themselves. But it is fit I should preface an attempt of this Nature with that of Homer,

If it may be done by me,
Or the thing it self can be.

For there are some of them, which methinks I am able with some certainty to comprehend and point out, but there are others which I can only rove and guess at. Of the more apparent ones, are these three; to Exercise, Chastise, and Punish us. For if you observe it, the most usual and ordinary calamities do either exercise the good, or chastise the offending, or punish the wicked; and all this for our good. For (to illustrate and dwell awhile upon the first End) we daily see the best Men either press'd by calamities singly and apart by themselves; or else inclosed by them, in society with the wicked. We observe and wonder at it; as neither sufficiently comprehending the cause; nor rightly considering the End. Now the cause is the love of God towards us, not his hate; and the End is not our hurt, but our benefit. For this exercise doth advantage us more wayes than one: It strengthens us, it tryes us, and it fits us to lead on others. It strengthens us, being (as it were) that School; wherein God trains up his in Fortitude and Virtue. We see wrastlers inure themselves to sharp Tryals; that they may overcome at last: think the same of us in this School of Afflictions. For that great Master of ours is a sharp and severe exerciser of us; and exacts our labours and patience not only unto sweat but blood: Suppose you that he fondly trains up his, and that he cherishes them in the soft blandishments of pleasure and delight? No. They are Mothers which soften and enervate their children, by an over-tenderness in their education; but Fathers who preserve them, by acquainting them with hardship. Now God is our Father, and therefore as he doth truly so he severely loves us. If you would be a Pilot, you must be brought up amongst stormes; if a Souldier, you must be trained up in dangers; and if you would be truly a Man, why do you start at afflictions, since there is no other way to acquire strength. Do you see those languishing and retir'd Bodies, whom the Sun seldom looks upon, the wind never assails, and the more piercing air never lights upon; the Minds of those soft and ever happy Men, are such as the least gust of an angry Fortune will overturn and dissolve. Afflictions then do strengthen us, and as trees fasten their roots the deeper by how much the more they are shaken with the Winds; so good Men become the more fixed in vertue, when attempted by the storms of adversity. Afflictions do also prove and try us; for otherwise how shall any Man be able to judge of his firmness and proficiency? If a prosperous wind do ever fill the Sail, the Pilot has no opportunity to display his skill; and if all things still evenly and happily succeed to Man, he shall lose the glory of his vertue; for the only undeceivable touch-stone of it, is affliction. It was a gallant Speech of Demetrius: Nothing seems to me more unhappy than that Man who ha's never tasted of Adversity, and it is most true. For our Great General doth not exempt such Men, but distrusts them; he doth not indulge, but discards and contemns them. He rases I say their names out of the Muster Rolls of his Legions, as a sort of feeble and unserviceable persons. Lastly, they adapt us to lead on others; for the courage and patience of good Men in their sufferings, is a light to this benighted World. They invite others by their example to the same things, and as it were trace out a path of vertue for them to walk in. Bias lost at once his Fortunes and his Country; but he yet calls out to Men, that they be sure to carry all their Treasure about them. Regulus in the midst of his Torments unworthily expir'd: But that excellent and noble example of promise keeping doth yet survive. Papinianus is slain by the Tyrant; but his Axe hath taught us securely to abide it, when we must dye in the maintenance of Justice. To conclude, there are a number of most admirable Persons, that through violence or injustice, have been banished or slain: but from those Rivers of blood; we daily suck and drink in our improvements in Constancy and Vertue: All which notwithstanding would for ever have been concealed in darkness, were it not for this Torch of afflictions. For as Spices do every way emit and disperse their Odours when they are pounded; so Vertue doth then chiefly display her Glories, when she is oppressed.

Chap. IX.

Of Chastisement, the Second End. That it avails us two wayes.

The Second End is to Chastise us, than which there could not be a more gentle or effectual means found out for our preservation. For it benefits and preserves us two wayes, either as a scourge, when we have offended, or as a Bridle lest we should offend. As a scourge, since it is the hand of a Father which often corrects an offendor for his faults; but it is an Executioner, that slowly and only once punishes. As we use fire or water for the cleansing and purging away of filth and dross: So doth God make use of afflictions to take away that of our sins. And it is deservedly a scourge upon us at this time Lipsius; for we Belgians had before offended; and being corrupted with wealth and pleasures, we Ran on Headlong in the Way of Vice. But our God gently warnes and recalls us; and scourges us with some stripes, that forewarned by these, we may return to our selves and to him. He takes away our Estates, we abused them to Luxury; our liberty, because we enlarg'd it to licentiousness? And with this gentle Ferula of Calamities, he doth (as it were) expiate and purge away our offences. A gentle one indeed, for how slight a satisfaction is this? They say the Persians when they are to punish some Illustrious and great Person, use to stripp him of his Robes and Tiara; and hanging them up they scourge these instead of the Man: So doth this Father of ours, who in every of his chastisements overpasses us, and touches onely upon our Bodies, our Lands, our Goods, and our outward Enjoyments. This Chastisement serves us also for a bridle, which he opportunely casts over us, when he sees we are about to offend. As Physitians do sometimes advisedly breath a vein, not because we are sick, but that we may not be; so by these Calamities God doth withdraw from us some such things, as would otherwise become incentives and fewel to our Vices. For he who gave a being to all things doth well understand their Natures; nor doth he judge of their Diseases, by the Complexion and Pulse; but by the Heart and Reins. Doth he see the Genius of the Hetrurians to be over-haughty and raised? He rules them by a Prince: The Helvetians easy and quiet? He indulges them liberty: The Venetians of a temper betwixt both? He fits them with a middle way of Government; and will possibly change all these hereafter; as the persons shall vary their Conditions. Nevertheless, we complain, and why (say we) are we longer harras'd with war than others? and why are we crush'd under a heavier Yoke of servitude? Thou Fool, and now really sick! Art thou wiser than thy Maker? Tell me why doth the Physitian prescribe more Wormwood or Hellebore for this than for that Man? Is it not because his Disease or Constitution requires it? Think the same here; possibly he sees this people more stubborn, and therefore to be subdued by stripes; that other more tractable and apt to be reduced with the shaking of the Rod. But you do not think so: It may be so. Our Parents will not trust a Knife or Sword in the Hand of their Child (though he cry for it) as foreseeing his hurt. Why then should God indulge us to our destruction; since we are truly Children, and neither know how to ask those things which are expedient for us; nor how to part with those that will be fatal to us? You may therefore lament if you please, and as much as you please, but you shall notwithstanding drink of that cup of sorrowes, which that Heavenly Physitian presents you with, and which he hath (not unadvisedly) filled so full for you.

Chap. X.

Of punishment the Third End; that it is good both in respect of God, Men, and him that is punished.

Punishment I confess respects evil Men, but is no evil it self. For First, it is good if you respect God, whose eternal and immoveable law of Justice doth require that the crimes of Men be either amended, or removed out of the way. Now chastisement amends those that can be washed out; and those which cannot, punishment takes away. It is good also in respect of Men, amongst whom no society could stand and continue; if all things were permitted with impunity to turbulent and desperate spirits. As the punishment of petty Thieves and Murtherers, conduces to every Mans private security: So does that of the greater and most famous ones to that of the publick welfare. Those divine animadversions upon Tyrants, and the great riflers of the World ought necessarily sometimes to intervene, that there may be examples to admonish us,

———That there is a wakeful Eye
Of justice, which doth all descry.

And which to other Potentates and people may cry out,

———Thus warn'd by others miseries,
Learn justice and the Gods not to despise.

It is good: Thirdly, if you consider those very persons that are punished. For it is for their sakes; since it is not so properly a revenge, or an utterly destroying judgement, as a gentle cohibition and restraint from Sin, or to speak it fully with the Græcians a punishment not a revenge, for that Gracious Diety

Never consults his Anger that from thence
He may severest punishments dispense.

As that Impious Poet said piously. As Death is sometimes sent in Mercy to good Men before they sin: So to the incorrigeable wicked in the midst of their Sins, because they are so devoted to them, that unless they be cut off, they cannot be divorced. God therefore stops their unbridled course, and while they are commiting sin for the present, and designing others for the future; he mercifully takes them away. To conclude all punishment is good, as it respects justice, as on the contrary impunity is evil, which makes Men sinful, that is miserable Men to continue so longer. Boetius said well, wicked Men are more happy under punishment, than if Justice should inflict none at all upon them; and he gives this reason, because some good is come amongst them (to wit) punishment, which in all the heap of their other crimes they never yet had.

Chap. XI.

Of a fourth End; which pertains either to the Conservation and defence of the Vniverse, or its Ornament. The Explication of each.

These are the three certain evident Ends, which I have pass'd with a sure and steady Foot: the fourth remains which I must adventure upon with a doubtful one. For it is more remov'd and obscure, than that our humane capacities should perfectly reach it. I discover it only through a Cloud, and I may guess and offer at it, but never certainly know and attain to it. The End which I mean hath a double respect and regards either the conservation or the beauty of the Universe. I therefore suppose it is for its conservation; because that God who made and disposed all things by an excellent wisdom; did so make them, that he bounded every of them within a certain number, measure, and weight: Nor can any particular Creature transgress these limits, without the weakning or ruine of the whole. Thus those great bodies the Heavens, the Earth, the Sea have their bounds; thus every Age hath its appointed number, and thus both Men, Cities, and Kingdomes have their stated accounts. Will they exceed these? It is necessary that some storme and tempest of Calamities do check and retard them: For otherwise they would endanger and bring damage to, this beautiful frame of the World. But those things especially would exceed these bounds very often, that are under the command of Encrease and Multiply. Look upon Men, who can deny that by nature we are born faster, than we naturally dye? So that in a few years from two persons a family of a hundred may be propagated; of which in that space not above ten or twenty may dye. Look upon a flock of Sheep; how numerous would the encrease be, if the Shepheard should not yearly choose out and set apart some to the Slaughter? The Birds and Fishes would in a short time fill the Air and Waters, if there were not certain dissentions; and (as it were) warrs amongst themselves, and the endeavours of Men to diminish them. Every age is building of Cities and Towns; and if fire or other wayes of destruction should not interpose; neither this world of ours, nor the other world would be able to contain them. The same may we imagine of the whole Creation. What wonder therefore is it if our Saturn doth sometimes thrust his Sickle into this over-grown Field; and reap thence some superfluous thousands, either by the pestilence or warr? Which if he should not do, what Country would be able to hold us, or what Land could afford us sustenance? It is therefore requisite that something should perish from the parts; that so the whole may be eternal. For as to Rulers in States the safety of the People is the supream Law: So is it to God in respect of the World. For the beauty or Ornament of the World I conceive calamities make two wayes. First, because I apprehend no beauty any where in this great frame without variety, and a distinct succession and change of things. I acknowledge the Sun is exceedingly beautiful, but he becomes more acceptable to us at his return; through the interposition of the dew-engendring Night; and those black Curtains which she shuts him out with. The Summer is a most pleasant season, but yet the winter sets it off, with it's icy marbles, and hoary Frosts: Which if you take away, you really destroy the true rellish, and that particular gust of Joy, which it's light and Warmth afford us. In this Country of ours, one and the same face of things delights me not; but I am pleasingly affected to behold the Valleys and Hills, and Rocks, fruitful and wast places, Meadows and Woods, for satiety and loathing are alwayes the Companions of Equality. And why then in this Scene of life (as I may so call it) should the same dress and countenance of things delight us? In my Mind it should not: Let there be sometimes some smooth and Halcyon Calmes; and let those after a while be discompos'd and ruffled with the whirlewinds of Warr, and the boysterous stormes of succeeding Tyrannies. For who would wish that this Universe should be like the dead Sea; without Wind or Motion? But there is also another Ornament which I guess at which is more serious and inwardly fruitful. Histories informe me, that better and smoother times, do still succeed storms. Do Warrs molest any people? Yet for the most part they refine and sharpen them; by introducing the Arts, and a various culture of ingenuity. The Romans of old impos'd a heavy yoke upon the world; but withall it prov'd a happy one in the event; for as the Sun chases away darkness from our Eyes: So did that ignorance and barbarisme from their Minds. What had the Gaules or we Germans now been, if the light of that great Empire had not risen to us? A sort of wild and inhumane savages, glutting our selves with our own and others blood; and despisers both of God and Man. And if I rightly divine, the same will befal this new World; which the Spaniards with an advantageous kind of cruelty have exhausted; but will again restore, and otherwise replenish. And as those who have great plantations; remove some trees elsewhere, and cut down others: Skilfully disposing all things, to make them more fruitful and to prosper the better: So doth God in this vast Field of the World. For he is the most excellent improver, in some places he prunes and cuts off the luxuriant branches of some Families, and in others (as I may so say) he plucks off some leaves of persons. This helps the stock, though the branches fall, and the leaves that drop off, become the mockery of the winds. He sees this Nation scorched and withered away; as having out-liv'd their Vertues, and he casts them out. That other he observes to be wild and unfruitful; he therefore transfers them; and others he mingles together, and engrafts them (as it were) into one another. You Italians in the declining of the Empire, being now decayed and enfeebled: Why cumber you any longer that choice part of Earth? Depart and let those hardy and unbroken Lombards more happily improve that soil. You vicious and effeminate Græcians perish and let the harsh and sowre Scythians be mellowed there. So also by a kind of confusion of Nations, you French possess Gaul, you Saxons Brittain, you Normans Belgia and the places adjoyning. All which and more Lipsius will readily occurre to him that is versed in Histories and the Events of things. Let us take courage then and know, that whatever private Calamity comes upon us; is some way or other advantageous to some part of the Universe. The setting of this Nation or Kingdom shall be the rise of another. The ruines of this City, the foundation of a new one, nor can any thing here be properly said to dye, but to change only. Shall we Belgians think to be the only choice ones with God; that shall be perpetually wedded to felicity; and the only white boyes of Fortune. Fooles that we are. That great Father hath many more Children whom (because he will not all at once) permit to cherish, and receive by turnes into his bosome. We have already had our Sun-shines; let the Night succeed awhile, and let those beauteous rayes withdraw to the Western Nations. Seneca (as he uses) speaks aptly and wisely to this purpose. Let a wise Man repine at nothing that befalls him; but let him know that those very things under which he seems to suffer; do make to the conservation of the Vniverse, and are of that number which fullfil that Law and Order which the World is confin'd to.

Chap. XII.

An old and common objection against the Divine Justice; why punishments are unequal. Its inquisition remov'd from Man; and therefore unlawful.

Langius paws'd here; and thus I broke forth. What a spring of water is to the thirsty Traveller in the heats of Summer: such is this your discourse to me. It refreshes, it enlivens, and with its cooling juice, it mitigates and allayes my heat and Feaver. But it doth but allay; it does not quench it; for that thorne which also molested the ancients (about the inequality of punishments) remains still fixed in my breast. For Langius, if that ballance of Justice be even; how comes it to pass that this arrow of Calamities,

So oft the nocent passes, but is sent
Amongst the Virtuous still and innocent?

Why (I say) are some guiltless people rooted out? and what have our wretched posterity done, that they should rue the crimes of their ancestours? This is that thick and troublesome mist that is got before my Eyes; which (if you can) I pray dissolve and scatter with some ray of Reason. Langius frowning upon me, Young man (said he) dost thou thus again begin to wander from the path I set thee in? I may not suffer it; for as skillful Huntsmen, suffer not their Doggs to change; but force them to persist in the chase of that first buck they were lay'd into: So I am resolved you shall follow me in that track which I first trac'd out to you. I was discoursing you the Ends of Calamities; that if you are good, you may know your self exercised by them, if offending corrected, if wicked punish'd, and you forthwith hale me away to speak of the causes. And what would that wandring Mind of yours, by its so curious an inquisition? Would you touch those heavenly fires? They will melt you. Would you scale that Tower of Providence? You will fall headlong. As Moths and other little winged insects, towards Night, will fly round about a Candle till they are burnt: With the same danger doth the Mind of Man, sport it self and wanton about that secret fire. Assign the causes (say you) why divine vengeance overpasses these; and seises upon these? The causes? I may lawfully say I know them not. For that Heavenly Court never admitted me, nor I its decrees. This only I know, that the chief cause of all other causes is the will of God: Beyond which if any Man enquire, after any force or power; he is ignorant of the Divine Nature. For it is necessary that every cause be both before and greater than its effect; but than God and his Will, there is nothing either before or greater. There is therefore no cause of it. God strikes, and God passes by; what would you have more? As Salvian sayes piously and truly; the will of God is the perfection of Justice: But you will say, we desire some reason of this inequality from, whom? from God? To whom alone it is lawful to do whatsoever he pleases, and who is pleased to do nothing but what is lawful? Shall a Servant call his Master; or a Subject his Prince to account? The one would call it an affront; and the other Rebellion: and will you be more insolent against God himself? Away with this perverse curiosity! This reason doth not otherwise appear to be one, than because it may be rendred to none. And yet when you have all done, you shall never be able to disingage your self from these shades; nor ever arrive to the knowledge of those (truly so called) Privy Councels. Sophocles said excellently;

Divine decrees thou shalt not know
Though thou knew'st all beside;
For those from us who are below
The Gods themselves do hide.

Chap. XIII.

Yet to satisfie the curious, three usual Objections are answered: First, of that; that evil Men are not punished. To which is reply'd; that though their punishments are deferred, they are not remitted. And this comes to pass either for Mans sake, or from the Nature of God which is slow to Revenge.

This rude and simple way Lipsius is here the only safe one; the rest are slippery and deceitful. In superiour and divine things, the only acuteness is to discern nothing; and the only knowledge is to be ignorant. But forasmuch as this Cloud hath heretofore, and doth still rest upon the Minds of Men; in a few words (if possible) I shall endeavour to remove it, and waft you (now at a-stand) over this River also. Pardon me, O thou Heavenly Mind said he (lifting up his Eyes) if I shall deliver any thing of these secrets (yet with a pious intention) less pure and pious than I ought. And first of all Lipsius methinks I am able in general to vindicate the justice of God with this one Argument. If God doth behold humane things, he doth also care for them, if he cares for them, he governs them, if he governes them it is with judgement, and if with judgement, how then unjustly? For without judgement there is no government, but a meer heap, confusion and Tumult. What have you to oppose against this Javelin; What Shield or what armes? If you will confess it, nothing but humane ignorance; I cannot conceive (say you) why these should be punish'd, and those other escape. Be it so; will you therefore add impudence to your imprudence; and carp at the power of that Divine Law, which you cannot conceive of? What more unjust way of proceeding against justice can there be than this? If any stranger should take upon him to judge of the Laws and Constitutions of your Country; you would command him to desist and be silent, because he understands them not, and shall you who are the inhabitant of earth, presume rashly to censure the Laws of Heaven, you understand not? Or you that are the work to question your Maker? But it matters not, go on, for I shall now come up more close to you, and distinctly examine (as you desire me) these misty calumnies of yours by the Sun of Reason. Three things you object, that God doth not punish the wicked; that he doth punish the innocent; and that he substitutes and and exchanges offendours. You say first divine vengeance doth ill to pass by wicked men. Doth it then overpass them? In my apprehension it doth not, but rather deferrs their punishment. If divers Men owe me money; and I require it of this debtour assoon as it becomes due, and allow to that other a longer time of payment: Am I therefore culpable? Or are not these things at my own dispose? The same does our Great God; to whom all wicked men owe a punishment: He requires it presently of these, but gives day to others; yet to be paid with interest, and what injustice is this? unless (possibly) you are solicitous for God, and fear he should lose part of his debt, by his merciful forbearance: But you need not fear it; no Man ever prov'd bankrupt to this supream Creditour. We are all under his Eye wheresoever we betake our selves; nay already in his shackles and custody. But I would (say you) have such a Tyrant immediately punished, that by his present slaughter, he may satisfie so many as he hath oppressed. For this way the Justice of God would shine out the more illustriously to us. Rather your stupidity in my Mind. For who art thou that not only presumest to lead on the judgements of God, but also to prescribe him his season? Do you think him your judge, or rather your Lictour or Executioner? Dispatch, lead him off (say you) scourge him, cover his face, and hang him up: For it is my will it should be so. O impudence! But God wills it otherwise, who (you ought to know) sees more clearly into these matters, and punishes for other ends. The heats of passion, and a certain desire of Revenge transport us; from all which God is most remotely distant, and intends the warning and correction of others: For he best knowes to whom and when these things may be useful. The choice of times is of great moment, and for want of a due and seasonable administration, the safest medicines do oftentimes prove fatal to us. He took away Caligula in the first setting out of his Tyranny: He suffered Nero to run on longer, and Tiberius beyond either; and this no doubt for the good of those very Men, who then also complain'd. Our vicious and uncorrected manners, do often stand in need of a lasting and continued scourge, though we would have it straight remov'd, and thrown into the Fire. This is one cause of the forbearance of God, which respect us; the other respects himself. To whom it seems natural to proceed on to his Revenge with a slow pace; and to recompence the delay of his punishment with the weignt of it. Synecius said well, the Divine inquisition moves on slowly and by degrees: And so did the Ancients who from this property of his; feign'd God to have feet of Wool. So that although you are passionately hasty of Revenge; you cannot yet accuse this delay, since it is so only a respite of punishment; that it may be also an encrease. Tell me, were you present at a Tragedy; would you stomach it that the Atreus there, or the Thyestes; in the first or second act, should in a glorious garbe, and with a stately tread, pass through the Scenes: That they should rule there, threaten and command all? I suppose you would not, for you know that felicity is but short-liv'd: And expect that all this grandeur should finish in a fatal Catastrophe. In this Play and Fable of the World, why are you more offended with God, than you would be with any Poet? That wicked Man flourishes, and that Tyrant lives happy. Be it so; but think withall that this is but the first Act: And before possess your self inwardly with this, that tears and sorrows press on hard to overtake those joyes. This Scene shall shortly flow with blood, and then those robes of Gold, and Purple shall be rowled up and down, and trampled in it. For that great Master of ours is a good Poet, and will not rashly exceed the Lawes of his Tragedy. Do we not willingly bear with Discords in Musick for some time; because we know that the last closures will end in comfort? Do so here. But you will say those miserable Creatures that have suffered under this Tyranny, do not alwayes see the punishment. What wonder is it? For the Play is oftentimes somewhat long; and they are not able to sit it out in this Theatre. But others see it and fear; because they see that though (in this severe Court of Judicatory) some Men are reprieved; yet they are not pardoned: And though the day of execution is prolonged, yet it is not forgot. Wherefore Lipsius remember this; that wicked Men are sometimes forborne, but never acquited: Nor is there any Man that entertains a crime into his brest, but who also hath a Nemesis at his back; for that Goddess is in pursuit of him and as I may say with Euripides,

With silent unsuspected pace
She doth the guilty Sinner trace.
And though he strive with utmost hast
To scape; she seiseth him at last.

Chap. XIV.

That there are divers sorts of punishments; some occult and internal, which accompany the crime it self; and which the wicked never escape. That such are more grievous than any external ones.

Which notwithstanding that you may more clearly apprehend; and that I may once lead you into the height of this cause: You must know; that Divine punishments are threefold; Internal, Posthumous, and External. Those I call Internal which are inflicted on the Soul, while it is yet in the Body; such are Anxiety, Penitence, Fears, and a thousand pangs and stings of Conscience. Those are Posthumous; which are inflicted upon the same Soul, but then when it is freed and separate from the Body. Such are those torments which even the Ancients (most of them) were of opinion did await the wicked after Death. The third sort are such as touch upon the Body, or the things that belong to it; as Poverty, Banishment, Pain, Diseases, Death. All which do (sometimes) by the just Judgment of God concurr against the Wicked; but the two former alwayes. To speak of internal punishments; where shall we find the Man, so profusely and audaciously wicked; that hath not sensibly felt in his Soul some of these sharp scourges, and stripes either in the Commission of his crimes or at least after he hath acted them. So true is that which Plato said of old; that punishment treads upon the heels of sin: or as Hesiod more properly, it is coeval and twinns with it. The punishment of evil is not only ally'd to; but is bred within that evil. nor is there any thing in this Life, that can pretend to calmness and security; besides innocence alone. As the Roman custome did enforce the Malefactour to bear that Cross which was streight to bear him: So hath God impos'd upon all wicked Men, this Cross of Conscience; on which they shall begin to suffer, before their further and worse sufferings do begin. Do you suppose that only to be punishment, which we can look upon, and which this Body doth sensibly undergo? No. All those external things do but lightly, and for no long time touch upon us; they are the internal that more exquisitely torment us. As we judge them to be more desperately sick, who languish away under an inward waste; than those that are seised with some visible inflammation, or preternatural heats, though these last are more apparent: So are wicked Men under a more grievous punishment, who with so low and indiscernible procedures are lead on to their eternal Death. It used to be the cruel command of Caligula; so strike as that he may feel he dyes; the same befalls these Men, whom their Conscience as an Executioner, doth daily torture, and even kill by these slow degrees of lesser and repeated stripes. Nor let the splendour or the inlarged power and wealth of those Men impose upon you: Since they are no more happy and fortunate for these than they are healthful, whose Gout or Feaver rests it self upon a purple Couch. Do you see a beggarly Fellow represent in some Play the person of a Prince, all Pompous and brave? You behold him yet without envy; for you know how under those golden Robes his Sores and Filth, and Poverty lye hid: Think the same of all those great and proud Tyrants: In whose Minds if they lay open to us saith Tacitus, we might behold gashes and wounds: For as Bodies are torn with stripes; so are the Souls of Men miserably dilacerated with blood, lust, and other impious contrivances. They laugh I confess sometimes, but it is no true laughter: They rejoyce, but their joyes are not genuine and kindly; but it fares with them as with condemned wretches in a prison, who endeavour with Dice and Tables to shake out of their Memories the thoughts of their execution, but are not able: For the deep impression of their approaching punishment, remains with them; and the fearful Image of pale Death is continually before their Eyes. Look now upon the Sicilian Tyrant, with-drawing only the Veil of his outward happiness.

A drawn Sword hangs in a twine thread
Over the wretches impious head.

Hear that Roman lamenting, let the God's and Goddesses destroy me worse then I every day perceive my self to perish. Hear that other thus sighing; Am I then that only one, who have neither Friend nor Enemy? These Lipsius are the true torments and agonies of Souls; to be in perpetual Anguish, Sorrow, Dread, and which are incomparably beyond any Racks; or other invented wayes for the torture of the Body.

Chap. XV.

That punishments after Death do await the wicked, and that for the most part they are not acquitted from External ones, is proved by examples.

Adde to these those Posthumous and External pains wihch we have learned from Divinity; and which without further discussion it will be sufficient only thus to mention. Adde to those also external punishments; which yet if they should be wanting, since the former are inflicted, who could reasonably blame the external Justice? But they are not wanting. Nor was it ever, at least very seldom, but that publick oppressours, and Men openly wicked; do undergo publick and open punishments; some sooner, others later; some in their own persons, and others in those of their posterity. You complain of Dionysius in Sicily that for many years with impunity, he exercises his Lusts, Rapine, and Murthers: Forbear awhile, and you shall behold him inglorious, exiled, pennyless; and from a Sceptre (who would believe it) reduc'd to a Ferula. The King of that great Island shall teach School at Corinth, being himself become the mockery of Fortune: On the other side you resent it with passion that Pompey and his Army of Patricians should be vanquished in the Plains of Pharsalia; and that the conquerour for some time, doth wanton and even sport himself with Civill blood. I do not wonder at you: For I see here the helm of right reason wrested out of the hands of Cato himself, and this faltering expression falls from him: Divine things have much of obscurity in them. But yet thou Lipsius, thou Cato, turn your eyes this way a little. One sight shall reconcile you both to God. See that ambitious Cæsar; that prov'd commander in his own opinion, and in others too almost a God; see him slain in the Senate house, and by the hands of Senatours; not falling by a single Death, but secured by Three and twenty wounds; like some wild beast, weltring in his blood (and what would you more) in Pompey's own Court, and at the foot of Pompey's Statue falling a great Sacrifice to that great shade. So methinks I pitty Brutus slain for and with his Country in the Fields of Philippi; but withall I am some what satisfyed, when not long after I behold, those victorious armies like gladiatours slaughtering one another at his Sepulchre; and one of the Generalls Marcus Antonius vanquished both by Sea and land; in the Company of three Women, with that effeminate Arme of his scarce finding the Death he sought. Where art thou now thou once Lord of all the East; thou Butcher of the Roman armies; the pursuer of Pompey and the Commonwealth? See how with thy bloody hand, thou hangest in a Cord; how being yet alive thou creepest into thy monument, and how even in Death it self thou art unwilling to be divorc'd from her that was the cause of thy Death; and then judge whether dying Brutus spent his last breath and wish in vain.

Jove suffer not to scape from thee
The cause of this Calamity.

No Brutus, he was not hid; neither did he escape. No more did that other General who smarted for his youthful crimes, not obscurely in his own person, but most evidently in all his posterity. Let him be the fortunate and great Cæsar, and truly Augustus, but withall let him have a Iulia for his Daughter, and another for his Grandchild. Let him lose some of his Grandchildren by fraud; others by force, and let himself force others into exile: and out of the impatience of these crosses, let him attempt to dye by a four dayes abstinence but not be able. To conclude let him live with his Livia dishonestly married, and dishonestly detain'd, and let him dye an unworthy Death by her, on whom he so unworthily doted. In summe saith Pliny that Diety, and who I know not more whether he attain'd Heaven, or merited it: Let him dye and leave the Son of his Enemy to succeed him. These and such like are to be thought of Lipsius as oft as complaints of injustice are ready to break from us: and the Mind is presently to reflect upon these two things; the slowness and the variety of punishments. Is not that offendour punished now? But he shall be. Not in his Body? Yet in his Conscience and Soul. Not while he lives? Yet most certainly, when he is dead.

Seldome slow punishments lame Feet forsake,
The wicked Wretch what hast soe're he make.

For that Divine Eye doth alwayes wake; and when we suppose him to sleep, he doth but wink: Only see you entertain not any prejudice against him: Nor go about rashly to judge him by whom shortly thy self is to be judged.

Chap. XVI.

The Second Objection answered, that all have deserved punishment; in regard all have offended: That Men cannot judge who is more or less culpable. 'Tis God only that clearly discerns betwixt crimes, and therefore most justly punishes.

Buut (say you) there are some people punished that are guiltless, and have no way deserved it: For this is your Second complaint or rather Calumny. Unadvised Youngman! Are there then any punished who have not deserved it? Where I beseech you are those innocent Nations to be found? It is an excess of confidence, yes absolute rashness and presumption to assert thus much concerning any one single person; and shall you dare to justifie whole Nations. But to small purpose this; for I am satisfyed that all of us have sined, and do still every day repeat it. We are born in sin, and so we live in it; and to speak with the Satyrist the Magazeens of Heaven had been long since emptyed, if its Thunder-bolts had alwayes fallen upon the Heads of such as deserved them. For we must not think that as Fishes, though encreas'd and bred up in the Sea, do yet retain nothing of its saltness; so Men in the filthiness of this World should contract nothing of uncleaness. If then all are in fault? where are those guiltless people you speak of, who have not deserved the punishments they undergo; since it is most righteous that punishment should be the inseparable companion of unrighteousness But you will say it is the inequality of it that displeases me: For we see them heavily scourged that have but lightly offended; while those that are outragiously wicked, do continue and flourish in the height of all their grandeurs. Would you then wrest the ballance out of the hands of the Heavenly Justice, and poise it with your own weights agreeable to your own apprehensions? For what else can you mean by that bold pronouncing upon the equality or inequality of crimes, otherwise than God hath done before you? You are therefore here Lipsius to consider of two things: First, that a true estimation of the crimes of others, neither can nor ought to be attempted by Man: For how shall he do it; that not so much as observes them? And which way shall he put an exact difference, betwixt those things which he hath not so much as seen? For you will easily grant it me that it is the Mind that sins; by the Body and senses indeed as its instruments, but yet so as that the main business and weight of the crime, doth in the mean time depend upon it self. This is so exactly true; that if it appear any one hath unwillingly sinned; he is clear of the sin. And if this be so how is it possible I beseech you, that you should throughly discern of Sin, who are not able to reach to the residence and seat of it. For so farr are you from seeing into the Heart and Soul of another; that you cannot attain to the knowledge of your own: It is therefore a wonderful vanity; and no less a temerity, to pretend to the Censure and Arbitration of such things, as are neither fully seen, nor to be seen; neither known, nor to be known. Consider secondly, that if what you say were true, there were yet neither Evil nor injustice done to them. No Evil; because its done for their good, who are presently punished, even for smaller offences. 'Tis rather the love of God to them; since that punishment which is delayed is justly to be suspected; as portending a heavier judgment is to come. Neither is it unjust; because (as I said) we have all deserved punishment: Nor can the best of us pretend to so unblemished a purity; but there will be found some such spots in it, as are to be washed out (as I may say) with this salt water of Affliction. Forbear therefore young-man this intricate pursuit of the respects and proportions of crimes: And since thou art but an earthly and pedaneous judge; leave it to God, who from his higher tribunal will determine of it; with greater equity and certainty. 'Tis he only that can distinguish of our deserts; and 'tis he alone who (notwithstanding all artificial disguises) can behold both vice and vertue in their proper countenances. Who can impose upon him who equally searches into things internal and external; that sees at once the Body and the Mind, the Tongue and the Heart: And (to conclude) those things that are open, with those that are recluded and retyred? Who doth not only most clearly behold our actions themselves, but also their causes, and the whole progress of them. When Thales was ask'd, whether a Man might hide his evil actions from God: He answered truly; no nor his evil thoughts neither. Whereas on the contrary we are here so benighted; that we do not only not see those close sins commited in the bosome, and (as they say) within the Buttons; but scarcely those which are open and dragged into the light. For we cannot behold the Crime it self, and the vigour of it; but some certain footsteps of it, when it is already committed, and upon its departure: They oftentimes are the best Men to us, who are the worst in the sight of God; as on the contrary they are reprobates in our esteem, who are the choicest to him. Forbear therefore (if you are wise) to discourse or judge of persons that deserve or deserve not their punishments; for such obscure causes as these are not to be decided, by some light and superficial appearances.

Chap. XVII.

The Third Objection; that punishments are transferred, answered. That Men do the same; why God doth so?

But you have cast another Cloud upon Justice; which I must disperse: It is concerning substitutes. For say you it is not so just that God should transferre punishments; and 'tis somewhat hard that posterity should rue the crimes of their Ancestours. But where is the wonder and strangeness of it. I rather wonder at these wonderers that they can find a wonder in that which is every day done by themselves here on Earth. Pray tell me; do not those honours, which for his vertue a Prince hath conferred upon the Ancestours, descend to his posterity? Yes they do; and so also do those mulcts and punishments, which are inflicted on him for his offences. In attaindours for treason or rebellion it is manifest that these are guilty; but others share in the punishment which humane cruelty doth so farr enlarge; as to make Lawes that follow the innocent Children with perpetual wants; such as make life a burthen, and death a comfort. Perverse Minds, who will permit that to be lawful to a Prince or Magistrate; which you forbid to God: Who yet if you examine it rightly hath a juster reason for his severity. For all of us in one have sinned, and rebelled against this great King; and through so many successive Generations that first blot hath been derived to the unhappy Children: So that there is to God a continued twist and chain of Crimes. For instance; my Father or yours did not begin to sin, but all the Fathers of our Fathers: What wonder then is it if he punish in their posterity not (properly) divers offences; but such as by a kind of communion of seed, have been still linked and coupled together, and never discontinued. But to omit these higher speculations, and to deal with you, in a more popular way of reasoning. You must know this that God joynes those things, which we (through ignorance and unskilfulness) use to sever, and that he considers Families, Cities, and Kingdomes; not as divided but as one Body and Nature: The Family of the Scipio's or the Cæsars is one thing to him. Rome or Athens, for the whole time of their duration, were but one to him; and so was the Roman Empire, and that very justly, for the Society of the same laws, and priviledges, is that bond which unites these great bodyes, and intitles them though in several ages, to a communion in partaking of rewards and punishments. Were then the Scipio's of old good? That Heavenly judge will remember it to the advantage of their posterity. Were they Evil? It shall be hurtful to them. Were the Belgians some years ago; Lascivious, Covetous, Impious? We shall suffer for it. For in every external punishment, God not only beholds the present, but also looks back upon pass'd times; and with the weights of them both, doth most equally poise the ballance of his Justice. I sayd in external punishments and I would have you to observe it. For crimes themselves are not transferr'd, nor is there a kind of confusion of them: God forbid there should. But certain punishments and corrections only, such as are about us not in us; and which properly respect the Body, or estate; but not this inward Mind of ours. And in all this where is the injury? We are doubtless willing to be heirs of those advantages, and rewards (if any) that are due to our ancestours: And if so; why do we refuse the burdens, and punishments?

Those Plagues for which the former times did call
On thee poor Roman undeservedly fall;

Sings the Roman Poet, and truly; had he not added undeservedly. For 'tis most deservedly, since our ancestours did deserve it. But the Poet could only see the effect: He ascended not to the cause; but as in one and the same Man, we justly punish in his old age, that offence, which he committed in his youth: So doth God the elder crimes of Empires and Kingdomes, because in respect of their outward communion, they are to him but one conjoyned thing. These intervalls of time do not divide us with him who comprehends all eternity in the vastness of his Mind. Should those martial Wolves, heretofore rase so many Cities, and break so many Scepters with impunity? Should they broach so much blood by the slaughters of others; and themselves never bleed for't? I should then indeed confess that God to be no avenger, who yet hears and sees all that we do. But they shall not scape so, at length of Necessity they must undergo punishments at least in their posterity; such as are slow indeed, but not too late. Nor is there a conjunction of time only with God but of parts too. I mean thus, that as in a Man the whole Body suffers, when possibly only the hand, or groin, or belly has offended: So is it in great Societies. All many times do account for the faults of a few: Especially if those that have sinned are (as it were) the more principal members; as Kings, Princes, and Magistrates. Hesiod spake truly, and from the most inward recess of Wisdom it self.

For one Mans crime, oft the whole City smarts
For his oppressive sacrilegious Arts;
Jove from high Heaven his dreadful vengeance sheds
Of Plague or Famine upon all their heads.

So the whole Navy of the Græcians perished.

For ones offence what Ajax did commit
In the distemper of a brain-sick fit.

Thus in Judea threescore and ten thousand were slain with a single pestilence; for the unlawful pleasure of their King. And sometimes on the other side; God singles out one or but some few; to be the expiatours of a general sin. In which if he recede something from the rigid Law of parity; yet out of that very disparity a new equity is raised; and that is a merciful act of Justice towards many; which seems cruelty upon a few. Does not the School-master give the Ferula to some one of his wantonizing Scholars? And does not a General chastize his cowardly Army, by the decimation of them? And both these upon the safest considerations: because the punishment though but of those few does terrify and amend all. I have often seen the Physitian strike a vein in the Foot or Arm, when the whole body was distempered: how know I but it may be thus here. These are secrets Lipsius, secrets I say, and if we are wise let us presume no nearer unto this sacred fire, some sparkling emanations and bright emissions of which Men may possibly behold, but it self they cannot. As they lose their sight that too daringly gaze upon the Sun; So they all the light of their Minds, who too intentively fix it upon this more glorious light. Let us therefore abstain from that which is at once of so curious and so dangerous a disquisition: And let us rest satisfied at least in this, that crimes neither can not ought to be estimated by Men, that the ballance and tribunal of God is different from that of ours; and that how abstruse soever those judgments are, yet they are not to be blamed, but patiently undergone and trembled at by us. This one Sentence I shall immind you of, and with it, shall both close this discourse and shut the mouths too of all those Curioso's. The judgments of God are many of them hidden; but none of them unjust.

Chap. XVIII.

A transition to the last Argument for Constancy, from Examples. That sometimes it is adviseable to mix harsher Physick with such things as are pleasant.

This is that Lipsius which I thought meet to say in the behalf of Divine justice against these unjust Cavillers. And though (I confess) it doth not directly lead on my discourse: Yet neither is it at all besides it. For we shall doubtless undergo our Calamities with greater cheerfulness and patience; when once we are throughly satisfyed that they are not unjust. And here Langius pawsing a while, he suddenly broke forth again. 'Tis well (said he) I have recovered breath; I have got beyond all those Rocks of objections; and now (methinks) I may with full Sails spoom away into the Haven. I discover my fourth and last Brigade; which I shall very cheerfully lead up. And as Marriners in a tempest when they behold the Twins are full of hopes and mirth: So also am I (after all these storms) at the appearance of my Twinny Legion. I may safely call it so after the old custom since it is double. And two things I shall evince by it; that these miseries which we now suffer are neither grievous, nor new. Which while I shall dispatch in those few things that remain yet to say; see Lipsius, that you be attentive. Never more Langius (reply'd I) for it joyes me to have passed these difficulties; and after these scrious and severer Medicines, I greedily long after this gentle and more popular one; for so the Title promises me it is. Nor are you mistaken said Langius, for as Physitians after they have sufficiently made use of Causticks and Incisions; do not so cast off and relinquish their patients; but apply some gentle somentations, and other remedies to asswage their pains: So will I deal with you; whom (because I have enough followed with the sharper methods of wisdom) I will now cherish with milder discourses, and handle (as they say) with a Ladies hand. I shall descend from that steep hill of Philosophy; and take a turn or two with you, in the pleasant plains of your Philology, and that not so much to recreate you as to compleat your cure. As they say Demochares the Physitian did to the Lady Considia since she refused all harsher prescriptions he caused her to drink the Milk of Goats; but yet such as he had fed with the Branches of the Lentisk Tree: So I will administer to you, Historical and pleasing things, which yet shall have a secret tincture of the juice of Wisdom. What matter is it how we cure our patient, so we make a perfect cure of it.

Chap. XIX.

That publick Evils are not so great as they seem, proved first by Reason. That we fear the circumstance and dress of things rather than themselves.

March on then my Legion; and before the rest, let that cohort first advance, with which we shall maintain that these publick evils are not grievous, this shall be performed with the double weapon of reason and comparison of reason. First, for if we respect that, all those evils which are either present or imminent, are not really either great or grievous, but are so only in appearance. It is Opinion that heightens and aggravates our calamities, and presents them to us in so tragical a garbe. But (if you are wise) disperse this circumjected Cloud, and examine things by a clearer light. For instance, you fear Poverty amongst these publick Evils, Banishment, Death: All which notwithstanding, if you look upon them with a perfect and setled Eye, what are they? If you examine them by their own just weights, how light are they? This Warr or Tyranny by multiplyed contributions will exhaust you; what then? You shall be a poor Man. Did not Nature it self bring you into the World so? And will it not hurry you thence in the same manner? But if the despised and infamous name of it, displease you; change it, call your self free and delivered. For Fortune (if you know it not) hath disburdened you and placed you in a securer station, where none shall exhaust you any more: So that what you esteemed a loss, is no other than a remedy. But say you I shall be an exile; call it (if you please) a stranger. If you change your affection; you change your Country. A wise Man wheresoever he is, is but a sojourner; a Fool is ever banished. But I daily expect Death from the Tyrant: As if you did not do the same from Nature. But that is an infamous Death that comes by the Ax or Halter: Fool! nor that nor any other Death is infamous; unless your life be so. Recall to your thoughts all the excellent and more illustrious persons since the world began; and you shall find them snatched away by a violent and untimely Death. Thus Lipsius you must examine (for I have given you but a tast) all those things which have so frightfull an appearance, you must look upon them naked and apart, from those vizards and disguises; which opinion hath put upon them. But alass poor creatures; we gaze only upon the vain outsides of things: Nor do we dread the things themselves, so much as we do the circumstantial dresses of them. If you put to Sea, and it swell high, your heart fails, and you tremble at such a rate, as if (should you suffer Shipwrack) you were to swallow it all; when alass one or two Sextaries would be sufficient. If there be a sudden Earth-quake; what a cry, and what fears it raises? You apprehend immediately, that the whole City (or house at least) will fall upon you: Not considering how sufficient any single stone is to perform the work of Death. 'Tis thus in all these calamities; in which it is the noise and vain image of things that chiefly affrights us. See that Guard; these Swords. And what can that Guard, or those Swords do? They will kill. And what is that being kill'd? 'Tis only a single Death; and lest that name should affright you: It is the departure of the Soul from the Body. All those military troops, All those threatning Swords, shall perform no more than what one Feaver, one Grapestone, or one Insect can do. But this is the harsher way of dying. Rather it is much the milder; for that Feaver which you would preferr, does often torture a Man for a year together; but these dispatch him with a blow, in an instant. Socrates therefore said well; who was wont to call all these things by no other name than that of Goblins and Vizzards, which (if you put on you) will fright the children; but if you take them off again, and appear with your own face, they'l come again to you and embrace you. 'Tis the very same with these evils; whose Vizzards if you pluck off, and behold them apart from their disguises; you will confess you were scared with a childish fear. As Hail falling upon a house dashes it self in pieces: So if these calamities light upon a constant Mind, they do not break it but themselves.

Chap. XX.

A Second proof by way of Comparison. But first the Calamities of the Belgians, and of the Age heightned. That common Opinion refuted. And proved that the Nature of Man is prone to aggravate our own Afflictions.

I did not expect so serious a discourse from Langius and therefore interrupting him; whether go you said I, was this it you promised? I expected the sweet and delicious wines of History; and you bring me such harsh and unpleasant ones, as scarce all the stores of Wisdom will afford their like. Suppose you that you are speaking to some Thales? 'Tis to Lipsius a Man; and that of the middle rank; who desires remedies that are somewhat more humane than these. Langius with a mild countenance and tone, I acknowledge (said he) you justly blame me. For while I followed that pure ray of reason; I perceive I am got out of the common Road, and unawares again fallen into the path of Wisdom. But I return now; to walk with you in a way that is better known; since the austerity of that wine doth displease you; I shall quallify and allay it with the sweets of examples. I come now to comparison; and I will clearly shew you that in all these calamities which every way surround us, there is nothing great or grievous, if you compare them with those in times past. For those of old were greater by many degrees, and more truly to be lamented. I replyed with a gesture that discovered something of impatience. Will you averre this said I

———and hope you to perswade
Me to believe what you have said?

Never Langius so long as I am Master of my reason; for what former age (if you rightly consider it) was ever so calamitous as this of ours, or what after one shall be? What Nation? What Country ever endured,

So heavy miscries and manifold
Grievous, or to be suffered, or be told?

As we Belgians do at this day? You see we are involved in a Warr; not in a forreign one only, but a civil; and that in the very bowels of us. For there are not only parties amongst us, but (O my Country what hand shall preserve thee) a subdivision of those parties. Add to this the Pestilence, add Famine, add Taxes, Rapines, Slaughters, and the height of all the Tyranny and Oppression, not of our Bodies only, but our Souls too. And in the rest of Europe what is there? Either Warr or the expectation of Warr, or if there be peace, it is conjoyned with a base subjection to petty Rulers; and not a whit eligible before Warr it self. Which way soever you turn your Eyes or thoughts, you will find all things full of suspition and suspense: And as in a house that is ill underpropt; many visible signes of an approaching ruine. To conclude Langius as there is a General rendezvous of all Rivers at the Ocean: So all sorts of Calamities seem to Centre in this Age. And yet I now speak only of such as are at present upon us; what are those that await us? Of which I may justly sing that of Euripides,

Such spacious Seas of ills I see
As cannot safely passed be.

Langius looking severely upon me; do you again (said he) cast your self down with these complainings? I thought by this time you had stood firme; and that your wound had been closed: But you relapse. If ever you will recover, it is requisite, that there be a kind of calmness in your Mind. This Age say you is the most unhappy. It is an old complaint; I know your Gransier said the same, and so likewise your Father; I know also your posterity will have the same complaint. Nature has riveted this into the Disposition of Man; to look fixedly upon his Evils; and to shut his Eyes upon his mercies. As Flyes and other Insects, do not rest long upon smooth and polished places, but stick to those that are rough and soiled: So this querulous Mind of ours, lightly overpasses our better fortunes: But will not be withdrawn from its contemplations of that which is worse. It handles and pryes into its evils, and for the most part shews it self witty, in the aggravating comments that it maks upon them. As lovers ever find something in their mistress; for which she must needs surpass all others in excellency: So do those that are afflicted, with their miseries. Yes we fancy to our selves vain additions, and lament not only our present, but future Calamities. And what is the reward of this too too inquisitive Genius of ours? No other, than as some Armies are frighted out of their Camp, by the dust that is raised afarr off: So we are often cast down, by the false shaddow of a future danger.

Chap. XXI.

A more strict confutation of it, by comparing the present Evils, with those of former times. First, of Warrs, of the wonderfull slaughter of the Jews.

Leave then those vulgar things Lipsius, and follow me to that comparison which you challenge me to make. By this I shall clear it to you, that as to all the sorts of Calamities, not only the like have happened of old, but also greater; and that the age we live in, ha's rather matter of triumph than complaint. We are engaged in a Warr say you. What? Were there then no Warrs amongst the ancients? Yes Lipsius they were begun with the world; nor are they like to end but with it. But possibly they were not so great, so grievous as ours. So farr are you from the truth; that (I speak seriously) these wars of ours, are onely pastime and sport, if compar'd with those of the Antients. I cannot easily find an entrance or an exit, if I should once lanch forth into this depth of examples. Nevertheless, will you that we travel through the parts of the World? Let us set forward then, and begin with Judea, that is to say, with the holy Land and Nation. I omit what they suffered in Ægypt, and what after their departure from thence; for those are recorded, and easily to be met with in the Scriptures. I come to their later sufferings, and such as did accompany their funerals; which I will place severally as in an Index. They suffered what by civil and what by forreign warres, all that followes. viz.

Slaine at Jerusalem by the command of Florus six hundred and thirty.

At Cæsaræa by the inhabitants out of hate to the Nation and their Religion; twenty thousand.

At Scythopolus a City of Cælosyria, thirteen thousand.

At Ascalon in Palestine by the inhabitants also, two thousand five hundered.

At Ptolemais in like manner, two thousand.

At Alexandria in Ægypt under Tyberius Alexander the then Governour; fifty thousand.

At Damascus, ten thousand.

All this was done seditiously, and by way of tumult; but there were slain besides in a just and open warr by the Romans

At the taking of Ioppa by Cæsius Florus, eight thousand and four hundred.

On a Mountain called Cabulon, two thousand.

In a fight at Ascalon, ten thousand.

Besides by stratagem, eight thousand.

At the taking of Aphaca; fifteen thousand.

At mount Garizim were slain; eleven thousand six hundred.

At Iotapa where Iosephus himself was present, about thirty thousand.

At the second taking of Ioppa there were drowned, four thousand and two hundred.

Amongst the Tarychæans were slain, six thousand and five hundred.

At Gamala that were killed, and that precipitated themselves, nine thousand.

Nor were any of that City saved, besides two women that were Sisters.

In the desart of Giscala were killed in flight two thousand, and taken of women and children, three thousand.

Slain of the Gadarens, thirteen thousand,

Taken two thousand two hundered.

Besides infinite numbers of those that perished in the waters.

In the Villages of Idumæa ten, thousand.

At Gerasa, one thousand.

At Machærus, one thousand seven hundred.

In the Wood Iardes, three thousand.

In the castle of Maßada which slew themselves, nine hundred and sixty.

In Cyrene by Catulus the Governour were slain, three thousand.

But in the City of Ierusalem throughout the whole time of the siege, the number of them that dyed or were slain is, ten hundred thousand.

Taken ninety seven thousand.

The whole number amounts to (besides infinite omitted) twelve hundred and forty thousand.

What say you Lipsius? Do you cast down your Eyes at these things? Look up rather; and (if you dare) compare with the Massacres of this one Nation, the Warrs of the Christian world for some years. And yet how small and inconsiderable is either this Country or people; in comparison of all Europe?

Chap. XXII.

Of the Calamities of the Græcians and Romans too occasioned by Warr. the vast number of Men slain by some particular Commanders. The Desolations of the new found world, and the miseries of captivity.

Not to stay here any longer; let us pass over into Greece, to recount orderly all those warrs they maintained both against forraigners and amongst themselves; would be too tedious and to little purpose. This I say it was so exhausted and lop't with a constant continued Ax of Calamities; That Plutarch tells us (which I never read without wonder and indignation) all of it in his age was not able to muster up three thousand Souldiers; which number yet, the one small City of Megara (saith he) had formerly set forth in the Persian Warr. Ah! whither art thou fallen, thou once the glory of the Earth, the light and leader of the nations? There is scarce a Town at this day (of any name) in this our wasted Belgia, but is able to raise such a number of Men fit to bear Armes. Let us take now a view of Italy and the Romans. Augustine and Orosius have already eased me of this trouble. Consult them and there you will meet with Seas of evils. The second Punick warr it self, in less than seventeen years (for I have exactly computed it) consumed in Italy Spain and Sicily only, above fifteen hundred thousand men. The civill war betwixt Pompey and Cæsar three hundred thousand. And the Arms of Brutus, Cassius, and Sextus Pompeius a greater number. But why should I insist upon such Warrs, as were managed by the conduct of several Commanders? That one Caius Cæsar (the plague and poyson of mankind) confesses and that in a way of triumph, that there fell by him in several batails, eleven hundred ninety and two thousand men; not reckoning into this number the slaughters of the civil Warrs; But only those of forraign Nations, which he had made in those few years wherein he had the Government of Spain and Gaul. In which notwithstanding (greater in this too) the Great Pompey out-went him; who wrote in the Temple of Minerva that there were by him vanquished, put to flight, slain and taken One and twenty hundred, and eighty three thousand men. To these (if you will) you may adde Quintus Fabius who slew one hundred and ten thousand Gauls. Caius Marius two hundred thousand Cimbrians. And in the latter ages Ætius who in that memorable Catalaunican Field slew one hundred sixty two thousand Hunnes. And lest you should think that in these Warrs, there were only Carcases of Men; there were those of Cities too. That Cato the Censour boasts that he took more Towns in Spain than he continued dayes there: Sempronius Gracchus (if we may believe Polybius) raised Three hundred in the same Spain, nor hath any age (as I think) any thing to add to these Examples; unless it be our own, though acted in another World. A few Spaniards about Eighty years ago; passing over into those vast and new found Lands: Good God! what funeralls, what slaughters did they make? I do not discourse the causes and justness of that Warr; but only the events. I see that huge space of Earth (which eertainly was a great enterprize to discover, not to say to overcome) overrun by twenty or thirty Souldiers, and those unarmed multitudes every where mow'd down as corn is by the sythe. Where art thou Cuba the greatest of Islands, Haytus or you Iucayans? Which heretofore were each of you guarded with six or ten hundred thousand men; but have now (some of you) scarce preserved fifteen of them for seed. Shew thy self awhile thou Peru and thou Mexico. O wonderful and miserable face! that immense tract, and such as may well be called another World, appears vast and desolate, in such a manner as if it had been blasted with a fire from Heaven. My Tongue and Heart fail me Lipsius, as oft as I remember these things; and I look upon all that hath befallen us (in comparison of these) to be but pieces of strawes (as the Comædian words it) or little mites. Nor do I here represent to you, the condition of captivity, than which nothing was more bitter in the Warrs of the Ancients. Free, noble, Men, Women and Children, all sorts were hurried away by the Victour; and who knowes but it was into eternal slavery? Into slavery it was. The footsteps of which, I justly rejoyce, have not been nor yet are in the Christian World. 'Tis true the Turks practise it, nor is there any thing that ought to render that Scythian Tyranny more detestable or dreadfull to us.

Chap. XXIII.

Wonderful examples of Plagues and Famines in Former times. Also of excessive Taxes and Rapines heretofore.

But you goe forward in your complaints, and speak of the plague and Famine, of Taxes and Rapines. Will you then that we proceed with each of these in our comparison, though briefly. Tell me in these five or six years, how many thousands, hath this plague snatched away in all Belgia? As I guess fifty or at the most one hundred thousand. But in Iudæa a single plague in the reign of King David, swept away seventy thousand in less than a day. When Gallus and Volusianus were Emperours, a plague beginning in Æthiopia passed through all the Roman Provinces; and for fifteen years together did incredibly exhaust them. Nor did I ever read of a mortality that lasted so long, or that spread it self so wide. But that which seised upon Constantinople and the neighbouring places in the reign of Iustinian the Emperour is more remarkable for the fury and fierceness of it: which was such that it made every day five thousand funerals and sometimes ten. I should not be forward to speak this; but should my self remain doubtful of the credit of this report: were it not confirmed by unquestionable witnesses, that lived in the same age. Nor was that African plague less wonderful, which began upon the ruine of Carthage and destroyed in Numidia alone eighty thousand men, in the Sea costs of Africa two hundred thousand: about Vtica thirty thousand Souldiers left there as the guard of those parts. Again in Greece in the reign of Michael Ducas there was so raging a plague that (they are Zonaras his words) the living did not suffice to bury the dead. To conclude in Petrarchs time (as himself reports it) so direful a one sate brooding upon Italy, that of every thousand men scarce ten survived. I come now to speak of Famine: Certainly we of this Age have seen nothing, if we consider the times past. When Honorius was Emperour, there was such a dearth and scarcity of all sorts of provisions, that men were ready to eat one another, For it was openly cried at the Cirque, set the price of mans flesh. In the reign of Iustinian throughout Italy (after the Goths had wasted it) there was one so great, that in Picenum alone, there were fifty thousand men famished to death: and all about, they eat not only the flesh of men, but their own excrements. Two women (I tremble to speak it) had at several times by night treacherously killed seventeen men and eaten them: and were themselves slain by the eighteenth who had discovered their practise. I forbear to relate the famine in Ierusalem and the well known examples of it there. If I must say something of Taxes also; I deny not but they are heavy ones with which we are pressed. But they are such only, when you look upon them by themselves; not when you compare them with those of old. All, most all the Provinces of the Roman Empire, payed yearly the fifth part of the profits of their pasture, and the tenth of their arable. Nor did Anthony and Cæsar forbear to exact the tributes of nine or ten years to be payed in one. When Iulius Cæsar was slain, and armes were taken up for their liberty, every Citizen was commanded to pay down the five and twentyeth part of all their goods. And more than this all that were Senatours payed for every tile of their house six asses. An immense contribution, above the reach of our senses as well as of our Estates. But Octavianus Cæsar (probably with some reference to his name,) exacted and received of all freed men the eighth part of their Estates. I omit what the Triumvir's and other Tyrants have done, lest I should teach those of our times, by the recitall of them. Let that one of Colonies, be instead of all examples of Exactions and Rapines. An invention then which nothing did more contribute to the strength of the Empire: and nothing could be devised more grievous to the Subject. Veterane Legions and Cohorts were drawn out into Towns and Fields, and the miserable Provincials, (in a moment of time) were thrust out of all their Estates and Fortunes, and that for no offence or unlawful attempt, their riches onely and plentiful possessions were their crimes. In which certainly the sum of all calamities is comprized. It's a great misfortune to be robbed of our money, what is it then to be deprived of our houses and lands? And if it is grievous to be driven thence: what is it to be forced from our Country, our Temples and Altars? You might see some thousands of woful people hurryed away, children from their Parents, Masters from their Families, Wives from their Husbands, and thrown out into divers Countryes, as their lot designed them. Some amongst the thirsty Affricans, and as the Poet saith in this very case,

Others were into Scythia hurl'd,
Or Brittain sever'd from the world.

One single Octavianus Cæsar placed eight and twenty colonies in Italy only; and in the Provinces as many as he pleased. Nor was there any thing (I know) that was more destructive to the Gauls as Germans, and the Spaniards.

Chap. XXIV.

A rehearsall of some strange Cruelties and murthers in time past, above the guilt of this Age.

But yet (say you) there are such cruelties and murthers at this day, as the like have not been heard of. I know what you point at, and what was done of late, but I appeal to your conscience Lipsius, was their no such thing amongst the ancients? How ignorant are you if you know it not, and how wicked if you dissemble it? For there is such a plenty of Examples in this matter, and they lye so ready, that it is some trouble even to choose. Know you not the name of Sylla the Fortunate? If you doe, you remember that infamous and cruel prescription of his, by which he cast out of one City four thousand seven hundred Citizens. Nor were they of the meaner sort; but one hundred and forty of them were Senators. Nor do I touch upon those infinite slaughters that were usually acted either by his permission or command. So that not undeservedly those words burst from Quintus Catulus with whom at length shall we live; if in Warr we kill armed Men, and in peace the disarmed. But shortly after; this same Sylla was imitated by his Disciples: I mean the triumvirs, who in like manner proscribed three hundred Senators, and above two thousand Roman Knights. O wickedness! A greater cruelty than this the Sun in all its travels from the East unto the West, did never yet behold; nor is like to do hereafter. If you please you may look into Appianus; and there you may behold the various and deformed condition of those times: Of those that lay hid, and fled; of those that stopped their flight, and halled them forth: the woful wailings of Wives and Children; so that you would believe humanity itself had perished and fled from that savage and inhumane age. These cruelties were acted upon the persons of Senatours and Knights, that is to say, upon so many little less than Kings and Princes; but possibly the Commons were more favourably dealt with. No such matter. Look upon the same Sylla, who commanded four Legions of the contrary party (for whose security he had given his faith) to be murthered in the publick Villa; they in vain imploring the mercy of his treacherous right hand: Whose dying groans reaching the Curia and the Senate being startled and amazed at it: Let us mind our business Conscript Fathers, (said he) a few seditious fellows are punished by my command. I know not which I should most wonder at; that a Man could do so, or that he could speak so. Will you have more examples of cruelty? Take them. Servius Galba in Spain summoning the people of three Cities together, as if to communicate to them something to their advantage; suddenly commanded seven thousand of them to be slain; amongst which was the flower of their youth. In the same Country Lucius Licinius Lucullus the Consul sent his Souldiers into the City of the Caucæans, and slew twenty thousand of them contrary to the Articles agreed upon at their yielding. Octavianus Augustus when he had taken Perusia; chose out three hundred of the chiefest of both orders, and though they had yielded themselves, he slew them as Sacrifices before an Altar which he had erected to D. Julius Antonius Caracalla, (being offended with those of Alexandria; for I know not what jests upon him) enters that City in a semblance of peace, and when he had commanded all their young Men into the Field; he surrounds them with his Souldiers, upon a Signal given he kills them every one, and using the same cruelty to the remaining multitude, he utterly exhausted that populous and most frequented City. King Mithridates by one letter caused eighty thousand Roman Citizens to be slain; that were dispersed throughout Asia about their mercandise. Volesus Messalla the Proconsul of Asia, in one day caused three hundred to be beheaded; and strutting amongst the dead bodyes with his armes on his sides, as if he had done some glorious act; cryed out aloud; O Princely deed! Hitherto I have only spoken of prophane and impious persons; but behold amongst those that are devoted to the service of the true God: You will find it of the Emperour Theodosius that having by the highest wickedness and deceit, betrayed seven thousand innocent people of Theßalonica into the Theatre, under pretence of exhibiting some playes; He sent his Souldiers amongst them, and murthered them all: Than which fact nothing is to be found more impious in the records of all the Heathen impieties. Go now my Belgians, and after all this, accuse the cruelty and treachery of the Princes of this Age.

Chap. XXV.

Of the present Tyranny. That it is from humane Nature or Malice. Oppressions external and internal were heretofore.

Lastly, you complain of the Tyranny that is now adayes, and the oppressions at once both of our Bodies and Souls. My purpose is not (at this time) to applaud, or condemn our own age; for to what end were it? My business is to compare only. I ask you therefore when ever those evils were not; and where that place was. Assign me any one Age, any one Nation, without a remarkable Tyranny in it; and (for I'le run the hazzard) I will then confess, that we are the most wretched of all that are miserable Why do you not reply? I see that old Sarcasme is true; all the good Princes may be registred in a Ring. For it is natural to Man to use authority insolently, and hardly to keep a mean in that which it self is above it. Even we our selves who complain of Tyranny, do yet carry the seeds of it inclosed in our bosoms: Nor is there a Will wanting in most of us to discover them, but the power. A Serpent when he is benummed with cold, hath poyson within him, though he do not exert it; 'Tis the same in us, whom only weakness keeps innocent, and a kind of Winter in our Fortunes. Give but power, give means, and I fear that the most of those that accuse would transcend the example of their superiours. This is every dayes instance; see that Father stern with his Children, that Master with his Servants, and that School-Master with his Scholars. Each of them is a Phalaris in his kind, and raise the same waves in their Brooks, as Kings do in their greater Seas. The same Nature is discernible in other creatures; most of which prey upon their own kind, both in the Air, the Earth, and the Water:

So greater Fish devour the smaller fry,
And weaker Fowle under the Goshauks die.

sayes Varro truly; but you will say these are the oppressions of Bodies only: But this is the peculiar of our age, that ours are of the Soul also. Take heed you speak not this with more malice than truth. That Man seems to me to be little skilled in the knowledge of himself, and the heavenly nature of the Soul; that thinks it can be forced or compelled. For no outward violence whatsoever can make you will, that which you do not will; or to yield to that which you do not assent to. Some have power over the bond and tye of the Soul; but none over it self. A tyrant may loose it from the Body, but he cannot dissolve the nature of it, which being pure, eternal, fiery, dispises every external or violent attempt. But we may not speak our own thoughts. Be it so. The bridle then curbs your Tongue only, not your Mind; your Actions, but not your Judgment. But even this is new, and unheard of. Good Man! how are you mistaken? How many can I point you out, who have suffered under Tyrants, for their opinions? through the heedlesness of their tongues? How many of those Tyrants have endeavoured to compel mens Judgements, and their Judgements too in matters of Religion? It was the common custom of the Persians and the Eastern Nations to adore their Kings, and we know that Alexander challenged to himself that divine adoration, with the ill will of his ruder Macedonians. Amongst the Romans that good and moderate Emperour Augustus had in the Provinces, yes in every house, Flamens and Priests as a God. Caligula cutting off the Heads from the Statues of the Gods, with a ridiculous impiety, caused his own to be placed upon them. The same instituted a Temple, Priests and chosen Sacrifices to his own deity. Nero would be taken for Apollo, and the most illustrious of the City were slain, under this accusation; that they had never sacrificed to the heavenly voice. Domitian was openly called our Lord and God. Which vanity or impiety if it were found at this day, in any of our Kings; what would you then say Lipsius? I will sail no nearer this Scylla, into which no winds of ambition shall either betray or force me: For a secure old age is the reward of silence. I will bring in only one testimony of the ancient slavery, in this respect; and that shall be out of an Author you are well acquainted with, and I would have you to attend him. 'Tis Tacitus in the reign of Domitian: We read (sayes he) that when Petus Thrasea was praised by Arulenus Rusticus, and Priscus Helvidius by Herennius Senecio; it was capital to them both. Nor did the cruelty extend it self only to the Authors, but also to their Works. Charge being given to the Triumvirs, that the monuments of those excellent wits should be burnt in the Forum and Comitium, supposing by that one fire, to have suppressed the voice of the people of Rome; the liberty of the Senate, and the conscience of Mankind. The professours also of Wisdom were banished; and all ingenious arts proscribed, lest there should any where appear the least footsteps of honesty. We gave certainly a grand example of our patience; and as the foregoing ages saw the utmost height of liberty, so did we of slavery, the commerce of hearing and speaking being barred; and in danger by informers. We had certainly lost our memories together with our speech if it had been as much in our power to forget, as it was to be silent.

Chap. XXVI.

Lastly, that these evils are neither strange nor new. But common to all Nations and Men; whence we may derive comfort.

I have done with comparison; and now I bring up the other Brigade of my Legion, which opposes the novelty of these Calamities: But briefly and by way of Triumph. For it rather takes the spoiles of the already conquered enemy; than fights with him. And to speak truth, what is there in these things, that can appear new to any man, that is not himself a gross Ignaro in humane affairs? Crantor said excellently and wisely; who alwayes had this verse in his Mouth.

———Ah me! and why ah me?
We suffered but a humane misery.

For these Calamities do daily move in a Circle, and in a kind of round pass through this round World. Why do you sigh that these sad things fall out? Why do you wonder at it?

O Agamemnon thou wert not
To pleasing things alone begot,
But to equal hopes and fears
Interchange of joys and tears.
For thou art mortal humane born, and though
Thou should'st refuse, the Gods will have it so.

It were rather a wonder that any should be exempted from this common Law; and should not have his part in that burthen, which lyes upon the backs of all. Solon when a friend of his at Athens was sadly bewailing himself; he brings him into the Tower, and from the top of it shews him all the houses of that great City. Think with your self (sayes he) how many sorrows have heretofore been under these roofs; now are, and hereafter shall be: And then cease to lament the evils of Mankind, as if they were your own only. I wish I could give you the like prospect of this wide World Lipsius, but since it is not to be done actually, let us imagine it. I place you upon the top of some high Mountain (Olympus if you please) look down now upon all those Cities, provinces and Kingdoms beneath: And think that you see but so many inclosures of humane Calamities; the Amphitheatres, and (as it were) the Sands, in which the bloody sports of Fortune are exhibited. You need not look farr from hence; do you see Italy? It is not yet thirty years since it rested from sharp and cruel warrs on every side. See you the spacious Germany? The dangerous sparks of a Civil discord were there but of late, which threaten to break forth afresh (and if I am not deceived) into a more destructive flame. Do you see Brittain? Warrs and slaughters are perpetually in it, and that peace which it now awhile enjoyes; it owes to the government of the middle Sex. See you France? Behold and pitty it. Even now the Gangrene of a bloody warr, creeps into all the Joints of it: Nor is it otherwise in all the rest of the World. Think upon these things Lipsius, and let this communion in miseries help to alleviate those of yours. And as they used to place a slave behind the Triumpher, who in the midst of all the joyes of the triumph, was often to cry out to him; thou art yet but a Man: So let this Monitour alwayes stand by to remember you, that these are humane things. For as labour in Society with others is more easy; so is also our grief.

Chap. XXVII.

The conclusion of the whole discourse, and a short exhortation to consider seriously of it.

I have drawn forth all my forces Lipsius; and you have had what I thought meet to say for constancy against Grief: which I wish may not onely be pleasant to you, but healthful, not only delight you, but (which is more) be helpful to you. This it will doubtless be if you admit it not only into your Ears, but into your Mind; and if you suffer not what you have heard to lye and wither as seed that is cast upon the surface of the ground. Lastly, if you seriously digest and ruminate upon it: For as fire is not forced from the flint with one stroke; so in these cold bosomes of ours, that retired and failing spark of goodness, is not enkindled by a single admonition. That at last it may truly flame in you; not in words and appearance only, but in reality and deed; I humbly beg and beseech of that divine fire. When he had thus said, he rose up hastily; I go Lipsius (sayes he) the Sun at this Noon height remembers me it is dinner time; do you follow. That I will readily and cheerfully (said I) justly making that acclamation, which they use to do in their mysteries;

I have the Evil fled,
And the Good discovered.