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they who crudely alleged them against him are called false wit-
ceit.” Deceiving is the proper work of slander : and truth abused to that end putteth on its nature, and will engage into like guilt."
6. Another kind of calumny is, by instilling sly suggestions; which although they do not downrightly assert falsehoods, yet they breed sinister opinions in the hearers; especially in those who from weakness or credulity, from jealousy or prejudice, from negligence or inadvertency, are prone to entertain them. This is done many ways; by propounding wily suppositions, shrewd insinuations, crafty questions, and specious comparisons, intimating a possibility, or inferring some likelihood of, and thence inducing to believe the fact. Doth not, saith this kind of slanderer, his temper incline him to do thus? may not his interest have swayed him thereto 7 had he not fair opportunity and strong temptation to it? hath he not acted so in like cases 2 Judge you therefore whether he did it not. Thus the close slanderer argueth ; and a weak or prejudiced person is thereby so caught, that he presently is ready thence to conclude the thing done. Again; he doeth well, saith the sycophant, it is true; but why, and to what end ? Is it not, as most men do, out of ill design may he not dissemble now 7 may he not recoil hereafter ? have not others made as fair a show 2 yet we know what came of it. Thus do calumnious tongues pervert the judgments of men to think ill of the most innocent, and meanly of the worthiest actions. Even commendation itself is often used calumniously, with intent to breed dislike and illwill toward a person commended in envious or jealous ears; or so as to give passage to dispraises, and render the accusations following more credible. It is an artifice commonly observed to be much in use there, where the finest tricks of supplanting are practised with greatest effect: so that, pessimum inimicorum genus, laudantes; there is no more pestilent enemy than a malevolent praiser. All these kinds of dealing, as they issue from the principles of slander, and perform its work, so they deservedly bear the guilt thereof.
* Vid. Herm. Pastor. Where the Pastor observes, that the devil doth in his temptations intersperse some truths, serving to render his delusions passable.
7. A like kind is that of oblique and covert reflexions; when a man doth not directly or expressly charge his neighbor with faults, but yet so speaketh that he is understood, or reasonably presumed to do it. This is a very cunning and very mischievous way of slandering; for therein the skulking calumniator keepeth a reserve for himself, and cutteth off from the person concerned the means of defence. If he goeth to clear himself from the matter of such aspersions; What need, saith this insidious speaker, of that ? must I needs mean you? did I name you? why do you then assume it to yourself? do you not prejudge yourself guilty? I did not, but your own conscience it seemeth doth, accuse you. You are so jealous and suspicious, as persons over-wise or guilty use to be. So meaneth this serpent out of the hedge securely and unavoidably to bite his neighbor; and is in that respect more base and more hurtful than the most flat and positive slanderer.
8. Another kind is that of magnifying and aggravating the faults of others; raising any small miscarriage into a heinous crime, any slender defect into an odious vice, and any common infirmity into a strange enormity; turning a small mote in the eye of our neighbor into a huge beam, a little dimple in his face into a monstrous wen. This is plainly slander, at least in degree, and according to the surplusage whereby the censure doth exceed the fault. As he that, on the score of a small debt, doth extort a great sum, is no less a thief, in regard to what amounts beyond his due, than if without any pretence he had violently or fraudulently seized on it; so is he a slanderer, that by heightening faults or imperfections, doth charge his neighbor with greater blame, or loads him with more disgrace than he deserves. It is not only slander to pick a hole where there is none, but to make that wider which is, so that it appeareth more ugly, and cannot so easily be mended. For charity is wont to extenuate faults, justice doth never exaggerate them. As no man is exempt from some defects, or can live free from some misdemeanors, so by this practice every man may be rendered very odious and infamous.
9. Another kind of slander is, imputing to our neighbor's practice, judgment, or profession, evil consequences (apt to render him odious or despicable) which have no dependence
on them, or connexion with them. There do in every age occur disorders and mishaps, springing from various complications of causes, working some of them in a more open and discernible, others in a more secret and subtile way; (especially from divine judgment and providence checking or chastising sin:) from such occurrences it is common to snatch occasion and matter of calumny. Those who are disposed this way are ready peremptorily to charge them on whomever they dislike or dissent from, although without any apparent cause, or on most frivolous and senseless pretences; yea, often, when reason showeth the quite contrary, and they who are so charged are in just esteem of all men the least obnoxious to such accusations. So usually the best friends of mankind, those who most heartily wish the peace and prosperity of the world, and most earnestly to their power strive to promote them, have all the disturbances and disasters happening charged on them by those fiery vixens, who (in pursuance of their base designs, or gratification of their wild passions) really do themselves embroil things, and raise miserable combustions in the world. So it is, that they who have the conscience to do mischief, will have the confidence also to disavow the blame and the iniquity, to lay the burden of it on those who are most innocent. Thus, whereas nothing more disposeth men to live orderly and peaceably, nothing more conduceth to the settlement and safety of the public, nothing so much draweth blessings down from heaven on the common-weal, as true religion; yet nothing hath been more ordinary, than to attribute all the miscarriages and mischiefs that happened unto it; even those are laid at its door, which plainly do arise from the contempt or neglect of it: being the natural fruits, or the just punishments of irreligion. King Ahab, by “forsaking God's commandments,’ and following wicked superstitions, had ‘troubled Israel, drawing sore judgments and calamities thereon; yet had he the heart and the face to charge those events on the great assertor of piety, Elias: “Art thou he that troubleth Israel 7’ The Jews by provocation of divine justice had set themselves in a fair way toward desolation and ruin; this event to come they had the presumption to lay on the faith of our Lord's doctrines: “If,’ said they, “we let him alone, all men will believe on him, and the Romans shall come, and take away our place and nation:’ whenas, in truth, a compliance with his directions and admonitions had been the only means to prevent those presaged mischiefs. And, Si Tibris ascenderit in mania," if any public calamity did appear, then Christianos ad leones, Christians must be charged and persecuted as the causes thereof. To them it was that Julian and other Pagans did impute all the concussions, confusions, and devastations falling on the Roman empire. The sacking of Rome by the Goths they cast on Christianity: for the vindication of it from which reproach St. Austin did write those renowned books de Civitate Dei. So liable are the best and most innocent sort of men to be calumniously accused in this manner. Another practice (worthily bearing the guilt of slander) is, being aiding and accessory thereto, by anywise furthering, cherishing, abetting it. He that by crafty significations of illwill doth prompt the slanderer to vent his poison; he that by a willing audience and attention doth readily suck it up, or who greedily swalloweth it down by credulous approbation and assent; he that pleasingly relisheth and smacketh at it, or expresseth a delightful complacence therein; as he is a partner in the fact, so he is a sharer in the guilt. There are not only slanderous throats, but slanderous ears also; not only wicked inventions, which ingender and brood lies, but wicked assents, which hatch and foster them. Not only the spiteful mother which conceiveth such spurious brats, but the midwife that helpeth to bring them forth, the nurse that feedeth them, the guardian that traineth them up to maturity, and setteth them forth to live in the world; as they do really contribute to their subsistence, so deservedly they partake in the blame due to them, and must be responsible for the mischief they do. For indeed were it not for such free entertainers, such nourishers, such encouragers of them, slanders commonly would die in the womb, or prove still-born, or presently entering into the cold air would expire, or for want of nourishment soon would starve. It is such friends and patrons of them who are the causes that they are so rife; they it is who set ill-natured, base, and de