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what we think, not credulous, not inconstant; that we be deliberate in our election and vigorous in our prosecutions; that we suffer not good nature to discompose our duty, but that we separate images from substances, and the pleasing of a present company from our religion to God and our eternal interest for sometimes that which is counselled to us by Christian prudence, is accounted folly by human prudence, and so it is ever accounted when our duty leads us into a persecution. Hither also appertain, that we never do a thing, that we know we must repent of; that we do not admire too many things, nor any thing too much; that we be even in prosperity and patient in adversity, but transported with neither into the regions of despair or levity, pusillanimity or tyranny, dejection or garishness; always to look upon the scar we have impressed upon our flesh, and no more to handle dangers and knives; to abstain from ambitious and vexatious suits; not to contend with a mighty man; ever to listen to him, who, according to the proverb, "hath four ears, reason, religion, wisdom, and experience;" rather to lose a benefit, than to suffer a detriment and an evil; to stop the beginnings of evil; to pardon and not to observe all the faults of friends or enemies; of evils to choose the least, and of goods to choose the greatest, if it be also safest; not to be insolent in success, but to proceed according to the probability of human causes and contingencies; ever to be thankful for benefits, and profitable to others, and useful in all that we can; to watch the seasons and circumstances of actions; to do that willingly which cannot be avoided, lest the necessity serve another's appetite, and it be lost to all our purposes. 66 Insignis enim est prudentiæ ut quod non facere non possis, id ita facere ut libenter fecisse videaris;" not to pursue difficult, uncertain, and obscure things with violence and passion. These if we observe, we shall do advantage to ourselves and to the religion; and avoid those evils which fools and unwary people suffer for nothing, dying or bleeding without cause and without pity. I end this with the saying of Socrates : Χωριζόμενα δὲ φρονήσεως, καὶ ἀλλαττόμενα ἀντὶ ἀλλήλων, μὴ σκιαγραφία τις ᾗ ἡ τοιαύτη ἀρετὴ, καὶ τῷ ὄντι ἀνδραποδώδης τε, καὶ οὐδὲν ὑγιὲς, οὐδ ̓ ἀληθὲς, ἔχῃ· "Virtue is but a shadow and a servile employment, unless
it be adorned and instructed with prudence;" which gives motion and conduct, spirits and vigorousness, to religion, making it not only human and reasonable, but Divine and celestial.
OF CHRISTIAN SIMPLICITY.
And harmless as doves.-Matt. x. latter part of verse 16. OUR blessed Saviour having prefaced concerning prudence, adds to the integrity of the precept, and for the conduct of our religion, that we be simple as well as prudent, innocent as well as wary. Harmless and safe together do well: for without this blessed union, prudence turns into craft, and simplicity degenerates into folly. Prudens simplicitas' is Martial's character of a good man; a wary and cautious innocence, a harmless prudence and provision; Vera simplicitate bonus.' A true simplicity is that which leaves to a man arms defensive, his castles and strong forts; but takes away his swords and spears, his anger and his malice, his peevishness and spite. But such is the misery and such is the iniquity of mankind, that craft hath invaded all the contracts and intercourses of men, and made simplicity so weak a thing, that it is grown into contempt, sometimes with, and sometimes without reason: "Et homines simplices, minimè malos," the Romans called " parum cautos, sæpe stolidos;" unwary fools and defenceless people were called simple. And when the innocence of the old simple Romans in Junius Brutus's time, in Fabricius and Camillus's began to degenerate, and to need the Aquilian law to force men to deal honestly; quickly the mischief increased, till the Aquilian law grew as much out of power as honesty was out of countenance; and there, as every where else, men thought they
Plat. Phædo. Fischer. p. 288.
got a purchase, when they met with an honest man: and ἠλίθιον Aristotle calls χρηστὸν, and τὸν ὀργίλον καὶ τὸν μανικὸν, άжλour “A fool is a profitable person, and he that is simple is little better than mad:" and so it is when simplicity wants prudence. He that, because he means honestly himself, thinks every man else does so, and therefore is unwary in all or any of his intercourses, is a simple man in an evil sense and therefore St. Gregory Nazianzen remarks Constantius with a note of folly, for suffering his easy nature to be abused by Georgius, Οἰκειοῦται τὴν βασιλέως ἁπλότητα· ὅντως γὰρ ἐγὼ καλῶ σὴν κουφότητα, αἰδούμενος τὴν εὐλάβειαν· “ The prince's simplicity, so he calls it for reverence;" but indeed it was folly, for it was zeal without knowledge. But it was a better temper which he observed in his own father, ἡ ἁπλότης καὶ τὸ Toù nous adorov, such "a simplicity which only wanted craft or deceit," but wanted no prudence or caution: and that is truly Christian simplicity, or the sincerity of an honest, and ingenuous, and a fearless person; and it is a rare band, not only of societies and contracts, but also of friendships and advantages of mankind.
We do not live in an age in which there is so much need to bid men be wary, as to take care that they be innocent. Indeed in religion we are usually too loose and ungirt, exposing ourselves to temptation, and others to offence, and our name to dishonour, and the cause itself to reproach, and we are open and ready to every evil but persecution: from that we are close enough, and that alone we call prudence; but in the matter of interest we are wary as serpents, subtle as foxes, vigilant as the birds of the night, rapacious as kites, tenacious as grappling-hooks and the weightiest anchors, and, above all, false and hypocritical as a thin crust of ice spread upon the face of a deep, smooth, and dissembling pit; if you set your foot, your foot slips, or the ice breaks, and you sink into death, and are wound in a sheet of water, descending into mischief or your grave, suffering a great fall, or a sudden death, by your confidence and unsuspecting foot. There is a universal crust of hypocrisy, that covers the face of the greatest part of mankind. Their religion consists in forms
a Orat. 21.
and outsides, and serves reputation or a design, but does not serve God. Their promises are but fair language, and the civilities of the piazzas or exchanges, and disband and untie like the air that beat upon their teeth, when they spake the delicious and hopeful words. Their oaths are snares to catch men, and make them confident; their contracts are arts and stratagems to deceive, measured by profit and possibility; and every thing is lawful that is gainful. And their friendships are trades of getting; and their kindness of watching a dying friend is but the office of a vulture, the gaping for a legacy, the spoil of the carcass. And their sicknesses are many times policies of state; sometimes a design to show the riches of our bedchamber. And their funeral tears are but the paranymphs and pious solicitors of a second bride. And every thing that is ugly must be hid, and every thing that is handsome must be seen; and that will make a fair cover for a huge deformity. And therefore it is, as they think, necessary, that men should always have some pretences and forms, some faces of religion or sweetness of language, confident affirmatives or bold oaths, protracted treaties or multitude of words, affected silence or grave deportment, a good name or a good cause, a fair relation or a worthy calling, great power or a pleasant wit; any thing that can be fair or that can be useful, any thing that can do good or be thought good, we use it to abuse our brother, or promote our interest. Leporina resolved to die, being troubled for her husband's danger; and he resolved to die with her that had so great a kindness for him, as not to outlive the best of her husband's fortune. It was agreed; and she tempered the poison, and drank the face of the unwholesome goblet; but the weighty poison sunk to the bottom, and the easy man drank it all off, and died, and the woman carried him forth to funeral; and after a little illness, which she soon recovered, she entered upon the inheritance, and a second marriage.
Tuta frequensque via est
It is a usual and a safe way to cozen, upon colour of friendship or religion; but that is hugely criminal; to tell a lie to abuse a man's belief, and by it to enter upon any thing of his possession to his injury, is a perfect destruction of all
human society, the most ignoble of all human follies, perfectly contrary to God, who is truth itself, the greatest argument of a timorous and a base, a cowardly and a private mind, not at all honest, or confident to see the sun, "a vice fit for slaves;” ἀνόητον καὶ δουλοπρεπὲς, as Dio Chrysostomusb calls it; ὁρῶν καὶ ὅτι θηρίων τὰ δειλότατα καὶ ἀγεννέστερα τὰ ἐκεῖνα ψεύδεται πάντων μάλιστα, καὶ ἐξαπατᾷ· “ for the most timorous and the basest of beasts use craft," and lie in wait, and take their prey, and save their lives by deceit. And it is the greatest injury to the abused person in the world: for, besides that it abuses his interest, it also makes him for ever insecure, and uneasy in his confidence, which is the period of cares, the rest of a man's spirit; it makes it necessary for a man to be jealous and suspicious, that is, to be troublesome to himself and every man else: and above all, lying, or craftiness, and unfaithful usages, rob a man of the honour of his soul, making his understanding useless and in the condition of a fool, spoiled, and dishonoured, and despised. Πᾶσα ψυχὴ ἄκουσα στερεῖται τῆς ἀληθείας, said Plato : “ Every soul loses truth very unwillingly." Every man is so great a lover of truth, that if he hath it not, he loves to believe he hath, and would fain have all the world to believe as he does; either presuming that he hath truth, or else hating to be deceived, or to be esteemed a cheated and an abused person. "Non licet suffurari mentem hominis etiam Samaritani," said R. Moses"; "sed veritatem loquere, atque age ingenuè :" "If a man be a Samaritan, that is, a hated person, a person from whom you differ in matter of religion, yet steal not his mind away, but speak truth to him honestly and ingenuously." A man's soul loves to dwell in truth, it is his resting-place; and if you take him from thence, you take him into strange regions, a place of banishment and dishonour. "Qui ignotos lædit, latro appellatur; qui amicos, paulò minus quam parricida :" "He that hurts strangers is a thief; but he that hurts his friends, is little better than a parricide." That is the brand and stigma of hypocrisy and lying it hurts our friends, 'Mendacium in damnum potens ;' and makes the man that owns it guilty of a crime, that is to be punished by the sorrows usually suffered in the most
b Dissert. 1. de Regno.
e Can. Eth.