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dangerous precedent; or concerneth manifestly any great portion of people. And let no man weakly conceive that just laws and true policy have any antipathy; for they are like the spirits and sinews, that one moves with the other. Let judges also remember, that Salomon's throne was supported by lions on both sides : let them be lions, but yet lions under the throne; being circumspect that they do not check or oppose any points of sovereignty. Let not judges also be so ignorant of their own right, as to think there is not left to them, as a principal part of their office, a wise use and application of laws. For they may remember what the apostle saith of a greater law than theirs; Nos scimus quia lex bona est, modo quis eâ utatur legitime. [We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.]
LVII. OF ANGER.
To seek to extinguish Anger utterly is but a bravery of the Stoics. We have better oracles: Be angry, but sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Anger must be limited and confined both in race and in time. We will first speak how the natural inclination and habit to be angry may be attempered and calmed. Secondly, how the particular motions of anger may be repressed, or at least refrained from doing mischief. Thirdly, how to raise anger or appease anger in another.
For the first; there is no other way but to meditate and ruminate well upon the effects of anger, how it troubles man’s life. And the best time to do this, is to look back upon anger when the fit is throughly over. Seneca saith well, That anger is like ruin, which breaks itself upon that it falls. The Scripture exhorteth us To possess our souls in patience. Whosoever is out of patience, is out of possession of his soul. Men must not turn bees;
animasque in vulnere ponunt:
[that put their lives in the sting.]
Anger is certainly a kind of baseness 3; as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns; children, women, old folks, sick folks. Only men must beware that they
? et quousque et quamdiu.
res humilis et infra dignitatem hominis.
anger rather with scorn than with fear'; so that they may seem rather to be above the injury than below it; which is a thing easily done, if a man will give law to himself in it.?
For the second point; the causes and motives of anger are chiefly three. First, to be too sensible of hurt; for no man is angry that feels not himself hurt; and therefore tender and delicate persons must needs be oft angry; they have so many things to trouble them, which more robust natures have little
The next is, the apprehension and construction of the injury offered to be, in the circumstances thereof, full of contempt 3: for contempt is that which putteth an edge upon anger, as much or more than the hurt itself. And therefore when men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of contempt, they do kindle their anger much. Lastly, opinion of the touch of a man's reputation“ doth multiply and sharpen anger. Wherein the remedy is ", that a man should have, as Consalvo was wont to say, telam honoris crassiorem, [an honour of a stouter web.] But in all refrainings of anger, it is the best remedy to win time; and to make a man's self believe, that the opportunity of his revenge is not yet come, but that he foresees a time for it; and so to still himself in the mean time, and reserve it.
To contain anger from mischief, though it take hold of a man, there be two things whereof you must have special caution. The one, of extreme bitterness of words, especially if they be aculeate and proper; for communia maledicta are nothing so much; and again, that in anger a man reveal no secrets; for that makes him not fit for society. The other, that you do not peremptorily break off, in any business, in a fit of anger; but howsoever you shew bitterness, do not act anything that is not revocable.
For raising and appeasing anger in another; it is done chiefly by choosing of times, when men are frowardest and worst disposed, to incense them. Again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out to aggravate the contempt.
· Itaque cum irasci contigerit, caveant homines (si modo dignitatis suæ velint esse memores) ne iram suam cum metu eorum quibus irascuntur, sed cum contemptu, conjungant.
? si quis iram suam paullulum regat et inflectat.
3 si quis curiosus sit et perspicar in interpretatione injuriæ illutæ, quatenus ad circumstantias ejus, ac si contemptum spiraret.
opinio contumelia, sive quod existimatio hominis per consequentiam lædatur et perstringatur.
cui accedit remedium præsentaneum.
And the two remedies are by the contraries. The former to take good times', when first to relate to a man an angry business; for the first impression is much; and the other is, to sever, as much as may be, the construction of the injury from the point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, fear, passion, or what you will.
LVIII. OF VICISSITUDE OF THINGS.
SALOMON saith, There is no new thing upon the earth. So that as Plato had an imagination, That all knowledge was but remembrance; so Salomon giveth his sentence, That all novelty is but oblivion. Whereby you may see that the river of Lethe runneth as well above ground as below. There is an abstruse astrologer? that saith, if it were not for two things that are constant, (the one is, that the fixed stars ever stand at like distance one from another, and never come nearer together, nor go further asunder ; the other, that the diurnal motion perpetually keepeth time,) no individual would last one moment. Certain it is, that the matter is in a perpetual flux, and never at a stay. The great winding-sheets, that bury all things in oblivion, are two; deluges and earthquakes. As for conflagrations and great droughts, they do not merely dispeople and destroy.3 Phaëton's car went but a day. And the three years' drought in the time of Elias was but particular, and left people alive. As for the great burnings by lightnings, which are often in the West Indies, they are but narrow. But in the other two destructions, by deluge and earthquake, it is further to be noted, that the remnant of people which hap to be reserved, are commonly ignorant and mountainous people, that can give no account of the time past; so that the oblivion is all one as if none had been left. If you consider well of the people of the West Indies, it is very probable that they are a newer or a younger people than the people of the old world. And it is much more likely that the destruction that hath heretofore
tempora serena et ad hilaritatem prona. ? astrologus quidam abstrusus et parum notus. 3 illæ populum penitus non absorbent aut destruunt.
* Fabula Phaëtontis brevitatem conflagrationis, ad unius diei tantum spatium, representavit.
5 The translation adds : Pestilentias etiam prætereo quia nec illæ totaliter absorbent. 6 ut oblivio non minus omnia intolrat,
been there, was not by earthquakes (as the Ægyptian priest told Solon concerning the island of Atlantis, that it was swallowed by an earthquake), but rather that it was desolated by a particular deluge. For earthquakes are seldom in those parts. But on the other side, they have such pouring rivers, as the rivers of Asia and Africk and Europe are but brooks to them. Their Andes likewise, or mountains, are far higher than those with us; whereby it seems that the remnants of generation of men were in such a particular deluge saved. As for the observation that Machiavel hath, that the jealousy of sects doth much extinguish the memory of things; traducing Gregory the Great, that he did what in him lay to extinguish all heathen antiquities; I do not find that those zeals do any great effects, nor last long; as it appeared in the succession of Sabinian, who did revive the former antiquities.?
The vicissitude or mutations in the Superior Globe are no fit matter for this present argument. It may be, Plato's great year, if the world should last so long, would have some effect; not in renewing the state of like individuals, (for that is the fume of those that conceive the celestial bodies have more accurate influences upon these things below than indeed they have,) but in gross.3 Comets, out of question, have likewise power and effect over the gross and mass of things; but they are rather gazed upon, and waited upon in their journey, than wisely observed in their effects 4 ; specially in their respective effects; that is, what kind of comet, for magnitude, colour, version of the beams, placing in the region of heaven', or lasting, produceth what kind of effects.
There is a toy which I have heard, and I would not have it given over, but waited upon a little. They say it is observed in the Low Countries (I know not in what part) that every five and thirty years the same kind and suit of years and weathers comes about again ; as great frosts, great wet, great droughts,
| unde credibile est reliquias stirpis hominum apud eos post tale diluvium particulare conservatas fuisse.
? The translation adds: Tum vero prohibita, licet tenebris cooperta, obrepunt tamen et suas nanciscuntur periodos.
s in summis et massis rerum.
4 Verum homines, ut nunc est, indiligentes, aut curiosi, circa eos sunt : eosque potius mirabundi spectant, atque itineraria eorundem conficiunt, quam effectus eorum prudenter et sobrie notant.
s The translation adds : tempestatis anni ; semitæ aut cursûs.
6 Similem annorum temperaturam, et tempestatem cæli, velut in orbem redire. VOL. VI.
warm winters, summers with little heat, and the like ; and they call it the Prime. It is a thing I do the rather mention, because, computing backwards, I have found some concurrence.
But to leave these points of nature, and to come to men. The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men, is the vicissitude of sects and religions. For those orbs rule in men's minds most. The true religion is built upon the rock; the rest are tossed upon the waves of time. To speak therefore of the causes of new sects; and to give some counsel concerning them, as far as the weakness of human judgment can give stay to so great revolutions.
When the religion formerly received is rent by discords ; and when the holiness of the professors of religion is decayed and full of scandal ; and withal the times be stupid, ignorant, and barbarous; you may doubt the springing up of a new sect; if then also there should arise any extravagant and strange spirit to make himself author thereof. All which points held when Mahomet published his law. If a new sect have not two properties, fear it not3; for it will not spread. The one is, the supplanting or the opposing of authority established; for nothing is more popular than that. The other is, the giving licence to pleasures and a voluptuous life. For as for speculative heresies, (such as were in ancient times the Arians, and now the Arminians,) though they work mightily upon men’s wits, yet they do not produce any great alterations in states; except it be by the help of civil occasions. There be three manner of plantations of new sects. By the power of signs and miracles ; by the eloquence and wisdom of speech and persuasion; and by the sword. For martyrdoms, I reckon them amongst miracles; because they seem to exceed the strength of human nature: and I may do the like of superlative and admirable holiness of life. Surely there is no better way to stop the rising of new sects and schisms, than to reform abuses; to compound the smaller differences; to proceed mildly, and not with sanguinary persecutions; and rather to take off the principal authors by winning and advancing them, than to enrage them by violence and bitterness.
I Congruentiam, haud eractam sane, sed non mullum discrepantem.
nova secta licet pullulet, duobus si destituatur adminiculis, ab eâ non metuus.