Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books
Charles W. Eliot

Part 2 out of 9

increases, till at length he completes it at the day of regeneration
or resurrection of the body, so that in eternal life and the heavenly
inheritance his praises are celebrated for such stupendous mercy.




I can easily conceive, most Holy Father, that as soon as some
people learn that in this book which I have written concerning the
revolutions of the heavenly bodies, I ascribe certain motions to
the Earth, they will cry out at once that I and my theory should be
rejected. For I am not so much in love with my conclusions as not to
weigh what others will think about them, and although I know that the
meditations of a philosopher are far removed from the judgment of the
laity, because his endeavor is to seek out the truth in all things, so
far as this is permitted by God to the human reason, I still believe
that one must avoid theories altogether foreign to orthodoxy.
Accordingly, when I considered in my own mind how absurd a performance
it must seem to those who know that the judgment of many centuries has
approved the view that the Earth remains fixed as center in the midst
of the heavens, if I should, on the contrary, assert that the Earth
moves; I was for a long time at a loss to know whether I should
publish the commentaries which I have written in proof of its
motion, or whether it were not better to follow the example of the
Pythagoreans and of some others, who were accustomed to transmit the
secrets of Philosophy not in writing but orally, and only to their
relatives and friends, as the letter from Lysis to Hipparchus bears
witness. They did this, it seems to me, not as some think, because of
a certain selfish reluctance to give their views to the world, but
in order that the noblest truths, worked out by the careful study of
great men, should not be despised by those who are vexed at the idea
of taking great pains with any forms of literature except such as
would be profitable, or by those who, if they are driven to the study
of Philosophy for its own sake by the admonitions and the example
of others, nevertheless, on account of their stupidity, hold a place
among philosophers similar to that of drones among bees. Therefore,
when I considered this carefully, the contempt which I had to fear
because of the novelty and apparent absurdity of my view, nearly
induced me to abandon utterly the work I had begun.

My friends, however, in spite of long delay and even resistance on my
part, withheld me from this decision. First among these was Nicolaus
Schonberg, Cardinal of Capua, distinguished in all branches of
learning. Next to him comes my very dear friend, Tidemann Giese,
Bishop of Culm, a most earnest student, as he is, of sacred and,
indeed, of all good learning. The latter has often urged me, at times
even spurring me on with reproaches, to publish and at last bring to
the light the book which had lain in my study not nine years merely,
but already going on four times nine. Not a few other very eminent and
scholarly men made the same request, urging that I should no longer
through fear refuse to give out my work for the common benefit of
students of Mathematics. They said I should find that the more absurd
most men now thought this theory of mine concerning the motion of the
Earth, the more admiration and gratitude it would command after
they saw in the publication of my commentaries the mist of absurdity
cleared away by most transparent proofs. So, influenced by these
advisors and this hope, I have at length allowed my friends to publish
the work, as they had long besought me to do.

But perhaps Your Holiness will not so much wonder that I have ventured
to publish these studies of mine, after having taken such pains in
elaborating them that I have not hesitated to commit to writing my
views of the motion of the Earth, as you will be curious to hear
how it occurred to me to venture, contrary to the accepted view of
mathematicians, and well-nigh contrary to common sense, to form a
conception of any terrestrial motion whatsoever. Therefore I would not
have it unknown to Your Holiness, that the only thing which induced
me to look for another way of reckoning the movements of the heavenly
bodies was that I knew that mathematicians by no means agree in their
investigations thereof. For, in the first place, they are so much in
doubt concerning the motion of the sun and the moon, that they can
not even demonstrate and prove by observation the constant length of
a complete year; and in the second place, in determining the motions
both of these and of the five other planets, they fail to employ
consistently one set of first principles and hypotheses, but use
methods of proof based only upon the apparent revolutions and motions.
For some employ concentric circles only; others, eccentric circles and
epicycles; and even by these means they do not completely attain the
desired end. For, although those who have depended upon concentric
circles have shown that certain diverse motions can be deduced from
these, yet they have not succeeded thereby in laying down any sure
principle, corresponding indisputably to the phenomena. These, on the
other hand, who have devised systems of eccentric circles, although
they seem in great part to have solved the apparent movements
by calculations which by these eccentrics are made to fit, have
nevertheless introduced many things which seem to contradict the first
principles of the uniformity of motion. Nor have they been able to
discover or calculate from these the main point, which is the shape of
the world and the fixed symmetry of its parts; but their procedure
has been as if someone were to collect hands, feet, a head, and other
members from various places, all very fine in themselves, but not
proportionate to one body, and no single one corresponding in its turn
to the others, so that a monster rather than a man would be formed
from them. Thus in their process of demonstration which they term a
"method," they are found to have omitted something essential, or to
have included something foreign and not pertaining to the matter in
hand. This certainly would never have happened to them if they had
followed fixed principles; for if the hypotheses they assumed were
not false, all that resulted therefrom would be verified indubitably.
Those things which I am saying now may be obscure, yet they will be
made clearer in their proper place.

Therefore, having turned over in my mind for a long time this
uncertainty of the traditional mathematical methods of calculating
the motions of the celestial bodies, I began to grow disgusted that
no more consistent scheme of the movements of the mechanism of the
universe, set up for our benefit by that best and most law abiding
Architect of all things, was agreed upon by philosophers who otherwise
investigate so carefully the most minute details of this world.
Wherefore I undertook the task of rereading the books of all the
philosophers I could get access to, to see whether any one ever was of
the opinion that the motions of the celestial bodies were other than
those postulated by the men who taught mathematics in the schools. And
I found first, indeed, in Cicero, that Niceta perceived that the Earth
moved; and afterward in Plutarch I found that some others were of this
opinion, whose words I have seen fit to quote here, that they may be
accessible to all:--

"Some maintain that the Earth is stationary, but Philolaus the
Pythagorean says that it revolves in a circle about the fire of the
ecliptic, like the sun and moon. Heraklides of Pontus and Ekphantus
the Pythagorean make the Earth move, not changing its position,
however, confined in its falling and rising around its own center in
the manner of a wheel."

Taking this as a starting point, I began to consider the mobility of
the Earth; and although the idea seemed absurd, yet because I knew
that the liberty had been granted to others before me to postulate all
sorts of little circles for explaining the phenomena of the stars, I
thought I also might easily be permitted to try whether by postulating
some motion of the Earth, more reliable conclusions could be reached
regarding the revolution of the heavenly bodies, than those of my

And so, after postulating movements, which, farther on in the book, I
ascribe to the Earth, I have found by many and long observations that
if the movements of the other planets are assumed for the circular
motion of the Earth and are substituted for the revolution of each
star, not only do their phenomena follow logically therefrom, but
the relative positions and magnitudes both of the stars and all their
orbits, and of the heavens themselves, become so closely related that
in none of its parts can anything be changed without causing confusion
in the other parts and in the whole universe. Therefore, in the course
of the work I have followed this plan: I describe in the first book
all the positions of the orbits together with the movements which I
ascribe to the Earth, in order that this book might contain, as it
were, the general scheme of the universe. Thereafter in the remaining
books, I set forth the motions of the other stars and of all their
orbits together with the movement of the Earth, in order that one
may see from this to what extent the movements and appearances of the
other stars and their orbits can be saved, if they are transferred to
the movement of the Earth. Nor do I doubt that ingenious and learned
mathematicians will sustain me, if they are willing to recognize and
weigh, not superficially, but with that thoroughness which Philosophy
demands above all things, those matters which have been adduced by me
in this work to demonstrate these theories. In order, however, that
both the learned and the unlearned equally may see that I do not avoid
anyone's judgment, I have preferred to dedicate these lucubrations of
mine to Your Holiness rather than to any other, because, even in this
remote corner of the world where I live, you are considered to be the
most eminent man in dignity of rank and in love of all learning and
even of mathematics, so that by your authority and judgment you can
easily suppress the bites of slanderers, albeit the proverb hath it
that there is no remedy for the bite of a sycophant. If perchance
there shall be idle talkers, who, though they are ignorant of all
mathematical sciences, nevertheless assume the right to pass judgment
on these things, and if they should dare to criticise and attack this
theory of mine because of some passage of scripture which they have
falsely distorted for their own purpose, I care not at all; I will
even despise their judgment as foolish. For it is not unknown that
Lactantius, otherwise a famous writer but a poor mathematician, speaks
most childishly of the shape of the Earth when he makes fun of those
who said that the Earth has the form of a sphere. It should not seem
strange then to zealous students, if some such people shall ridicule
us also. Mathematics are written for mathematicians, to whom, if
my opinion does not deceive me, our labors will seem to contribute
something to the ecclesiastical state whose chief office Your Holiness
now occupies; for when not so very long ago, under Leo X, in the
Lateran Council the question of revising the ecclesiastical calendar
was discussed, it then remained unsettled, simply because the length
of the years and months, and the motions of the sun and moon were held
to have been not yet sufficiently determined. Since that time, I have
given my attention to observing these more accurately, urged on by a
very distinguished man, Paul, Bishop of Fossombrone, who at that time
had charge of the matter. But what I may have accomplished herein I
leave to the judgment of Your Holiness in particular, and to that of
all other learned mathematicians; and lest I seem to Your Holiness to
promise more regarding the usefulness of the work than I can perform,
I now pass to the work itself.

[Footnote A: Nicolaus Copernicus was born in 1473 at Thorn in West
Prussia, of a Polish father and a German mother. He attended
the university of Cracow and Bologna, lectured on astronomy and
mathematics at Rome, and later studied medicine at Padua and canon law
at Ferrara. He was appointed canon of the cathedral of Frauenburg, and
in this town he died in 1543, having devoted the latter part of his
life largely to astronomy.

The book which was introduced by this dedication laid the foundations
of modern astronomy. At the time when it was written, the earth was
believed by all to be the fixed centre of the universe; and although
many of the arguments used by Copernicus were invalid and absurd, he
was the first modern to put forth the heliocentric theory as "a
better explanation." It remained for Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, to
establish the theory on firm grounds.]


BY JOHN KNOX (C. 1566)[A]

To the gentill readar, grace and peace from God the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, with the perpetuall encrease of the Holy Spreit.

It is not unknowen, Christeane Reader, that the same clud of
ignorance, that long hath darkened many realmes under this accurssed
kingdome of that Romane Antichrist, hath also owercovered this poore
Realme; that idolatrie hath bein manteined, the bloode of innocentis
hath bene sched, and Christ Jesus his eternall treuth hath bene
abhorred, detested, and blasphemed. But that same God that caused
light to schyne out of darknes, in the multitud of his mercyes, hath
of long tyme opened the eis of some evin within this Realme, to see
the vanitie of that which then was universally embrased for trew
religioun; and hes gevin unto them strenth to oppone[1] thame selfis
unto the same: and now, into these our last and moist[2] corrupt
dayis, hath maid his treuth so to triumphs amonges us, that, in
despyte of Sathan, hipochrisye is disclosed, and the trew wyrshipping
of God is manifested to all the inhabitantis of this realme who
eis Sathan blyndis not, eyther by thair fylthy lustes, or ellis by
ambitioun, and insatiable covetousness, which mack them repung to[3]
the power of God working by his worde.

And becaus we ar not ignorant what diverse bruittis[4] war dispersed
of us, the professoures of Jesus Christ within this realme, in
the begynnyng of our interprise, ordour was tackin, that all our
proceidingis should be committed to register; as that thei war, by
such as then paynfullie travailled boith by toung and pen; and so was
collected a just volume, (as after will appeir,) conteanyng thingis
done frome the fyftie-awght[5] year of God, till the arrivall of the
Quenis Majestic[6] furth of France, with the which the Collectour and
Writtar for that tyme was content, and never mynded[7] further to have
travailled in that kynd of writting. But, after invocatioun of the
name of God, and after consultatioun with some faythfull, what was
thought by thame expedient to advance Goddis glorie, and to edifie
this present generatioun, and the posteritie to come, it was
concluded, that faythfull rehersall should be maid of such personages
as God had maid instruments of his glorie, by opponyng of thame selfis
to manifest abuses, superstitioun, and idolatrie; and albeit thare be
no great nomber, yet ar thei mo then the Collectour wold have looked
for at the begynnyng, and thairfoir is the volume somewhat enlarged
abuif his expectatioun: And yit, in the begynnyng, mon[8] we crave
of all the gentill Readaris, not to look[9] of us such ane History
as shall expresse all thingis that have occurred within this Realme,
during the tyme of this terrible conflict that lies bene betuix the
sanctes[10] of God and these bloody wolves who clame to thame selves
the titill of clargie, and to have authentic ower the saules of men;
for, with the Pollicey,[11] mynd we to meddill no further then it hath
Religioun mixed with it. And thairfoir albeit that many thingis which
wer don be omitted, yit, yf we invent no leys,[12] we think our selves
blamless in that behalf. Of one other (thing) we mon[8] foirwarne
the discreat Readaris, which is, that thei be not offended that the
sempill treuth be spokin without partialitie; for seing that of men we
neyther hunt for reward, nor yitt for vane glorie, we litill pass
by the approbatioun of such as seldome judge weill of God and of his
workis. Lett not thairfoar the Readir wonder, albeit that our style
vary and speik diverslie of men, according as thei have declared
thameselves sometymes ennemymes and sometymes freindis, sometymes
fervent, sometymes cold, sometymes constant, and sometymes changeable
in the cause of God and of his holy religioun: for, in this our
simplicitie, we suppoise that the Godlie shall espy our purpose, which
is, that God may be praised for his mercy schawin,[13] this present
age may be admonished to be thankfull for Goddis benefittis offerred,
and the posteritie to cum may be instructed how wonderouslie hath the
light of Christ Jesus prevailled against darkness in this last and
most corrupted age.

[Footnote A: John Knox (1505-1571), the leader of the Scottish
Reformation and its historian, was educated at Glasgow University; was
pastor to English congregations at Frankfort-on-Maine and at Geneva,
where he met Calvin; returned to Scotland in 1559; and from that time
till his death was active in the establishment of the Presbyterian
organization, through which his powerful personality has continued
to influence the Scottish national character to the present day. His
preface, which is printed here in the original Scottish spelling,
gives some indication of the sternness, not to say virulence, of his
temper towards the Roman Church.]

[Footnote 1: Oppose]

[Footnote 2: Most]

[Footnote 3: Resist.]

[Footnote 4: Rumors.]

[Footnote 5: I.e. 1558.]

[Footnote 6: Mary, Queen of Scots, arrived in Scotland, Aug. 19,

[Footnote 7: Intended.]

[Footnote 8: Must.]

[Footnote 9: Expect.]

[Footnote 10: Saints.]

[Footnote 11: Civil or State politics.]

[Footnote 12: Lies.]

[Footnote 13: Shown.]




To the Right Noble, and Valorous, Sir Walter Raleigh, Knight, Lord
Wardein of the Stanneryes, and Her Majesties Liefetenaunt of the
County of Cornewayll

Sir, knowing how doubtfully all allegories may be construed, and this
booke of mine, which I have entituled the _Faery Queene_, being a
continued allegory, or darke conceit, I have thought good, as well for
avoyding of gealous opinions and misconstructions, as also for your
better light in reading thereof, (being so by you commanded,) to
discover unto you the general intention and meaning, which in the
whole course thereof I have fashioned, without expressing of any
particular purposes or by accidents therein occasioned. The generall
end therefore of all the booke is to fashion a gentleman or noble
person in vertuous and gentle discipline: which for that I conceived
shoulde be most plausible and pleasing, being coloured with an
historicall fiction, the which the most part of men delight to read,
rather for variety of matter then for profile of the ensample, I chose
the historye of King Arthure, as most fitte for the excellency of
his person, being made famous by many mens former workes, and also
furthest from the daunger of envy, and suspition of present time. In
which I have followed all the antique poets historicall: first Homere,
who in the persons of Agamemnon and Ulysses hath ensampled a good
governour and a vertuous man, the one in his Ilias, the other in his
Odysseis; then Virgil, whose like intention was to doe in the person
of AEneas; after him Ariosto comprised them both in his Orlando; and
lately Tasso dissevered them againe, and formed both parts in two
persons, namely that part which they in philosophy call Ethice, or
vertues of a private man, coloured in his Rinaldo; the other named
Politice in his Godfredo. By ensample of which excellente poets, I
labour to pourtraict in Arthure, before he was king, the image of
a brave knight, perfected in the twelve private morall vertues, as
Aristotle hath devised, the which is the purpose of these first
twelve bookes: which if I finde to be well accepted, I may be perhaps
encoraged to frame the other part of polliticke vertues in his person,
after that hee came to be king. To some, I know, this methode will
seeme displeasaunt, which had rather have good discipline delivered
plainly in way of precepts, or sermoned at large, as they use, then
thus clowdily enwrapped in allegoricall devises. But such, me seeme,
should be satisfide with the use of these dayes, seeing all things
accounted by their showes, and nothing esteemed of, that is not
delightfull and pleasing to commune sence. For this cause is Xenophon
preferred before Plato, for that the one, in the exquisite depth of
his judgement, formed a commune welth such as it should be, but the
other in the person of Cyrus and the Persians fashioned a governement,
such as might best be: so much more profitable and gratious is
doctrine by ensample, then by rule. So have I laboured to doe in
the person of Arthure: whome I conceive, after his long education by
Timon, to whom he was by Merlin delivered to be brought up, so soone
as he was borne of the Lady Igrayne, to have seene in a dream or
vision the Faery Queen, with whose excellent beauty ravished, he
awaking resolved to seeke her out, and so being by Merlin armed, and
by Timon throughly instructed, he went to seeke her forth in Faerye
Land. In that Faery Queene I meane glory in my generall intention, but
in my particular I conceive the most excellent and glorious person of
our soveraine the Queene, and her kingdome in Faery Land. And yet,
in some places els, I doe otherwise shadow her. For considering she
beareth two persons, the one of a most royall queene or empresse, the
other of a most vertuous and beautifull lady, this latter part in some
places I doe expresse in Belphoebe, fashioning her name according to
your owne excellent conceipt of Cynthia, (Phaebe and Cynthia being
both names of Diana.) So in the person of Prince Arthure I sette
forth magnificence in particular, which vertue, for that (according
to Aristotle and the rest) it is the perfection of all the rest, and
conteineth in it them all, therefore in the whole course I mention the
deedes of Arthure applyable to that vertue which I write of in that
booke. But of the xii. other vertues I make xii. other knights the
patrones, for the more variety of the history: of which these three
bookes contayn three. The first of the Knight of the Redcrosse, in
whome I expresse holynes: The seconde of Sir Guyon, in whome I sette
forth temperaunce: The third of Britomartis, a lady knight, in whome I
picture chastity. But because the beginning of the whole worke seemeth
abrupte and as depending upon other antecedents, it needs that ye
know the occasion of these three knights severall adventures. For the
methode of a poet historical is not such as of an historiographer. For
an historiographer discourseth of affayres orderly as they were donne,
accounting as well the times as the actions; but a poet thrusteth into
the middest, even where it most concerneth him, and there recoursing
to the thinges forepaste, and divining of thinges to come, maketh a
pleasing analysis of all.

The beginning therefore of my history, if it were to be told by an
historiographer, should be the twelfth booke, which is the last; where
I devise that the Faery Queene kept her annuall feaste xii. dayes,
uppon which xii. severall dayes, the occasions of the xii. several
adventures hapned, which being undertaken by xii. severall knights,
are in these xii. books severally handled and discoursed. The first
was this. In the beginning of the feast, there presented him selfe
a tall clownish younge man, who, falling before the Queen of Faries,
desired a boone (as the manner then was) which during that feast she
might not refuse: which was that hee might have the atchievement of
any adventure, which during that feaste should happen: that being
graunted, he rested him on the floore, unfitte through his rusticity
for a better place. Soone after entred a faire ladye in mourning
weedes, riding on a white asse, with a dwarfe behind her leading a
warlike steed, that bore the armes of a knight, and his speare in the
dwarfes hand. Shee, falling before the Queene of Faeries, complayned
that her father and mother, an ancient king and queene, had bene by an
huge dragon many years shut up in a brasen castle, who thence suffred
them not to yssew: and therefore besought the Faery Queene to assygne
her some one of her knights to take on him that exployt. Presently
that clownish person, upstarting, desired that adventure: whereat the
Queene much wondering, and the lady much gainesaying, yet he earnestly
importuned his desire. In the end the lady told him, that unlesse that
armour which she brought would serve him (that is, the armour of a
Christian man specified by Saint Paul, vi. Ephes.), that he could not
succeed in that enterprise: which being forthwith put upon him with
dewe furnitures thereunto, he seemed the goodliest man in al that
company, and was well liked of the lady. And eftesoones taking on him
knighthood, and mounting on that straunge courser, he went forth with
her on that adventure: where beginneth the first booke vz.

A gentle knight was pricking on the playne, &c.

The second day ther came in a palmer bearing an infant with
bloody hands, whose parents he complained to have bene slayn by
an enchaunteresse called Acrasia: and therfore craved of the Faery
Queene, to appoint him some knight to performe that adventure; which
being assigned to Sir Guyon, he presently went forth with that same
palmer: which is the beginning of the second booke and the whole
subject thereof. The third day there came in a groome, who complained
before the Faery Queene, that a vile enchaunter, called Busirane,
had in hand a most faire lady, called Amoretta, whom he kept in most
grievous torment, because she would not yield him the pleasure of her
body. Whereupon Sir Scudamour, the lover of that lady, presently tooke
on him that adventure. But being unable to performe it by reason
of the hard enchauntments, after long sorrow, in the end met with
Britomartis, who succoured him, and reskewed his love.

But by occasion hereof, many other adventures are intermedled, but
rather as accidents then intendments: as the love of Britomart, the
overthrow of Marinell, the misery of Florimell, the vertuousnes of
Belphoebe, the lasciviousnes of Hellenora, and many the like.

Thus much, Sir, I have briefly overronne, to direct your understanding
to the wel-head of the history, that from thence gathering the whole
intention of the conceit, ye may, as in a handfull, gripe al the
discourse, which otherwise may happily seeme tedious and confused. So
humbly craving the continuance of your honourable favour towards me,
and th' eternall establishment of your happines, I humbly take leave.

23. January, 1589. Yours most humbly affectionate, Ed. Spenser.

[Footnote A: Edmund Spenser was born in London about 1552, and died
there in 1599. He was the greatest of the non-dramatic poets of the
age of Elizabeth; and the "Faerie Queene" is the longest and most
famous of his works. The first three books were published in 1590, the
second three in 1596; of the remaining six which he had planned some
fragments were issued after his death. The poem is a combination of
allegory and romance; and in this prefatory letter to Raleigh the
poet himself explains the plan of the work and its main allegorical



How unfit and how unworthy a choice I have made of myself, to
undertake a work of this mixture, mine own reason, though exceeding
weak, hath sufficiently resolved me. For had it been begotten then
with my first dawn of day, when the light of common knowledge began to
open itself to my younger years, and before any wound received either
from Fortune or Time, I might yet well have doubted that the darkness
of Age and Death would have covered over both It and Me, long before
the performance. For, beginning with the Creation, I have proceeded
with the History of the World; and lastly purposed (some few sallies
excepted) to confine my discourse with this our renowned Island of
Great Britain. I confess that it had better sorted with my disability,
the better part of whose times are run out in other travails, to have
set together (as I could) the unjointed and scattered frame of our
English affairs, than of the universal in whom, had there been no
other defect (who am all defect) than the time of the day, it were
enough, the day of a tempestuous life, drawn on to the very evening
ere I began. But those inmost and soul-piercing wounds, which are ever
aching while uncured; with the desire to satisfy those few friends,
which I have tried by the fire of adversity, the former enforcing,
the latter persuading; have caused me to make my thoughts legible, and
myself the subject of every opinion, wise or weak.

To the world I present them, to which I am nothing indebted: neither
have others that were, (Fortune changing) sped much better in any
age. For prosperity and adversity have evermore tied and untied vulgar
affections. And as we see it in experience, that dogs do always bark
at those they know not, and that it is their nature to accompany one
another in those clamors: so it is with the inconsiderate multitude;
who wanting that virtue which we call honesty in all men, and that
especial gift of God which we call charity in Christian men, condemn
without hearing, and wound without offence given: led thereunto by
uncertain report only; which his Majesty truly acknowledged for the
author of all lies. "Blame no man," saith Siracides, "before thou have
inquired the matter: understand first, and then reform righteously.
'Rumor, res sine teste, sine judice, maligna, fallax'; Rumor is
without witness, without judge, malicious and deceivable." This vanity
of vulgar opinion it was, that gave St. Augustine argument to affirm,
that he feared the praise of good men, and detested that of the evil.
And herein no man hath given a better rule, than this of Seneca;
"Conscientiae satisfaciamus: nihil in famam laboremus, sequatur vel
mala, dum bene merearis." "Let us satisfy our own consciences, and not
trouble ourselves with fame: be it never so ill, it is to be despised
so we deserve well."

For myself, if I have in anything served my Country, and prized it
before my private, the general acceptation can yield me no other
profit at this time, than doth a fair sunshine day to a sea-man after
shipwreck; and the contrary no other harm, than an outrageous tempest
after the port attained. I know that I lost the love of many, for my
fidelity towards Her,[1] whom I must still honor in the dust; though
further than the defence of her excellent person, I never persecuted
any man. Of those that did it, and by what device they did it, He that
is the Supreme Judge of all the world, hath taken the account: so as
for this kind of suffering, I must say With Seneca, "Mala opinio, bene
parta, delectat."[2] As for other men; if there be any that have made
themselves fathers of that fame which hath been begotten for them, I
can neither envy at such their purchased glory, nor much lament mine
own mishap in that kind; but content myself to say with Virgil, "Sic
vos non vobis,"[3] in many particulars. To labor other satisfaction,
were an effect of frenzy, not of hope, seeing it is not truth, but
opinion, that can travel the world without a passport. For were it
otherwise; and were there not as many internal forms of the mind, as
there are external figures of men; there were then some possibility to
persuade by the mouth of one advocate, even equity alone.

But such is the multiplying and extensive virtue of dead earth, and
of that breath-giving life which God hath cast upon time and dust, as
that among those that were, of whom we read and hear; and among those
that are, whom we see and converse with; everyone hath received a
several picture of face, and everyone a diverse picture of mind;
everyone a form apart, everyone a fancy and cogitation differing:
there being nothing wherein Nature so much triumpheth as in
dissimilitude. From whence it cometh that there is found so great
diversity of opinions; so strong a contrariety of inclinations;
so many natural and unnatural; wise, foolish, manly, and childish
affections and passions in mortal men. For it is not the visible
fashion and shape of plants, and of reasonable creatures, that makes
the difference of working in the one, and of condition in the other;
but the form internal.

And though it hath pleased God to reserve the art of reading men's
thoughts to himself: yet, as the fruit tells the name of the tree; so
do the outward works of men (so far as their cogitations are acted)
give us whereof to guess at the rest. Nay, it were not hard to express
the one by the other, very near the life, did not craft in many,
fear in the most, and the world's love in all, teach every capacity,
according to the compass it hath, to qualify and make over their
inward deformities for a time. Though it be also true, "Nemo potest
diu personam ferre fictam: cito in naturam suam residunt, quibus
veritas non subest": "No man can long continue masked in a counterfeit
behavior: the things that are forced for pretences having no ground of
truth, cannot long dissemble their own natures." Neither can any
man (saith Plutarch) so change himself, but that his heart may be
sometimes seen at his tongue's end.

In this great discord and dissimilitude of reasonable creatures, if we
direct ourselves to the multitude; "omnis honestae rei malus judex
est vulgus": "The common people are evil judges of honest things, and
whose wisdom (saith Ecclesiastes) is to be despised": if to the better
sort, every understanding hath a peculiar judgment, by which it both
censureth other men, and valueth itself. And therefore unto me it will
not seem strange, though I find these my worthless papers torn with
rats: seeing the slothful censurers of all ages have not spared to tax
the Reverend Fathers of the Church, with ambition; the severest men
to themselves, with hypocrisy; the greatest lovers of justice,
with popularity; and those of the truest valor and fortitude, with
vain-glory. But of these natures which lee in wait to find fault, and
to turn good into evil, seeing Solomon complained long since: and
that the very age of the world renders it every day after other
more malicious; I must leave the professors to their easy ways of
reprehension, than which there is nothing of more facility.

To me it belongs in the first part of this Preface, following the
common and approved custom of those who have left the memories of
time past to after ages, to give, as near as I can, the same right to
history which they have done. Yet seeing therein I should but borrow
other men's words, I will not trouble the Reader with the repetition.
True it is that among many other benefits for which it hath been
honored, in this one it triumpheth over all human knowledge, that it
hath given us life in our understanding, since the world itself had
life and beginning, even to this day: yea, it hath triumphed over
time, which besides it nothing but eternity hath triumphed over: for
it hath carried our knowledge over the vast and devouring space of
many thousands of years, and given so fair and piercing eyes to our
mind; that we plainly behold living now (as if we had lived then) that
great world, "Magni Dei sapiens opus," "The wise work (saith Hermes)
of a great God," as it was then, when but new to itself. By it (I say)
it is, that we live in the very time when it was created: we behold
how it was governed: how it was covered with waters, and again
repeopled: how kings and kingdoms have flourished and fallen, and
for what virtue and piety God made prosperous; and for what vice and
deformity he made wretched, both the one and the other. And it is
not the least debt which we owe unto history, that it hath made us
acquainted with our dead ancestors; and, out of the depth and darkness
of the earth, delivered us their memory and fame. In a word, we may
gather out of history a policy no less wise than eternal; by the
comparison and application of other men's fore-passed miseries with
our own like errors and ill deservings. But it is neither of examples
the most lively instruction, nor the words of the wisest men, nor the
terror of future torments, that hath yet so wrought in our blind and
stupified minds, as to make us remember, that the infinite eye and
wisdom of God doth pierce through all our pretences; as to make us
remember, that the justice of God doth require none other accuser than
our own consciences: which neither the false beauty of our apparent
actions, nor all the formality, which (to pacify the opinions of men)
we put on, can in any, or the least kind, cover from his knowledge.
And so much did that heathen wisdom confess, no way as yet qualified
by the knowledge of a true God. If any (saith Euripides) "having
in his life committed wickedness, thinks he can hide it from the
everlasting gods, he thinks not well."

To repeat God's judgments in particular, upon those of all degrees,
which have played with his mercies would require a volume apart: for
the sea of examples hath no bottom. The marks, set on private men,
are with their bodies cast into the earth; and their fortunes, written
only in the memories of those that lived with them: so as they who
succeed, and have not seen the fall of others, do not fear their own
faults. God's judgments upon the greater and greatest have been left
to posterity; first, by those happy hands which the Holy Ghost hath
guided; and secondly, by their virtue, who have gathered the acts and
ends of men mighty and remarkable in the world. Now to point far off,
and to speak of the conversion of angels into devils; for ambition: or
of the greatest and most glorious kings, who have gnawn the grass of
the earth with beasts for pride and ingratitude towards God: or of
that wise working of Pharaoh, when he slew the infants of Israel,
ere they had recovered their cradles: or of the policy of Jezebel, in
covering the murder of Naboth by a trial of the Elders, according to
the Law, with many thousands of the like: what were it other, than to
make an hopeless proof, that far-off examples would not be left to the
same far-off respects, as heretofore? For who hath not observed, what
labor, practice, peril, bloodshed, and cruelty, the kings and princes
of the world have undergone, exercised, taken on them, and committed;
to make themselves and their issues masters of the world? And yet
hath Babylon, Persia, Syria, Macedon, Carthage, Rome, and the rest,
no fruit, no flower, grass, nor leaf, springing upon the face of
the earth, of those seeds: no, their very roots and ruins do hardly
remain. "Omnia quae manu hominum facta sunt, vel manu hominum
evertuntur, vel stando et durando deficiunt": "All that the hand of
man can make, is either overturned by the hand of man, or at length
by standing and continuing consumed." The reasons of whose ruins, are
diversely given by those that ground their opinions on second causes.
All kingdoms and states have fallen (say the politicians) by outward
and foreign force, or by inward negligence and dissension, or by a
third cause arising from both. Others observe, that the greatest have
sunk down under their own weight; of which Livy hath a touch: "eo
crevit, ut magnitudine laboret sua":[4] Others, That the divine
providence (which Cratippus objected to Pompey) hath set _down_ the
date and period of every estate, before their first foundation and
erection. But hereof I will give myself a day over to resolve.

For seeing the first hooks of the following story, have undertaken the
discourse of the first kings and kingdoms: and that it is impossible
for the short life of a Preface, to travel after, and overtake far-off
antiquity, and to judge of it; I will, for the present, examine
what profit hath been gathered by our own Kings, and their neighbour
princes: who having beheld, both in divine and human letters, the
success of infidelity, injustice, and cruelty; have (notwithstanding)
planted after the same pattern.

True it is, that the judgments of all men are not agreeable; nor
(which is more strange) the affection of any one man stirred up alike
with examples of like nature: but every one is touched most, with that
which most nearly seemeth to touch his own private, or otherwise best
suiteth with his apprehension. But the judgments of God are forever
unchangeable: neither is He wearied by the long process of time, and
won to give His blessing in one age, to that which He hath cursed in
another. Wherefor those that are wise, or whose wisdom if it be not
great, yet is true and well grounded, will be able to discern the
bitter fruits of irreligious policy, as well among those examples that
are found in ages removed far from the present, as in those of latter
times. And that it may no less appear by evident proof, than by
asseveration, that ill doing hath always been attended with ill
success; I will here, by way of preface, run over some examples, which
the work ensuing hath not reached.

Among our kings of the Norman race, we have no sooner passed over the
violence of the Norman Conquest, than we encounter with a singular and
most remarkable example of God's justice, upon the children of Henry
the First. For that King, when both by force, craft, and cruelty, he
had dispossessed, overreached, and lastly made blind and destroyed his
elder brother Robert Duke of Normandy, to make his own sons lords
of this land: God cast them all, male and female, nephews and nieces
(Maud excepted) into the bottom of the sea, with above a hundred and
fifty others that attended them; whereof a great many were noble and
of the King dearly beloved.

To pass over the rest, till we come to Edward the Second; it is
certain, that after the murder of that King, the issue of blood then
made, though it had some times of stay and stopping, did again break
out, and that so often and in such abundance, as all our princes of
the masculine race (very few excepted) died of the same disease. And
although the young years of Edward the Third made his knowledge of
that horrible fact no more than suspicious; yet in that he afterwards
caused his own uncle, the Earl of Kent, to die, for no other offence
than the desire of his brother's redemption, whom the Earl as then
supposed to be living; the King making that to be treated in
his uncle, which was indeed treason in himself, (had his uncle's
intelligence been true) this I say made it manifest, that he was
not ignorant of what had past, nor greatly desirous to have had it
otherwise, though he caused Mortimer to die for the same.

This cruelty the secret and unsearchable judgment of God revenged on
the grandchild of Edward the Third: and so it fell out, even to the
last of that line, that in the second or third descent they were all
buried under the ruins of those buildings, of which the mortar had
been tempered with innocent blood. For Richard the Second, who saw
both his Treasurers, his Chancellor, and his Steward, with divers
others of his counsellors, some of them slaughtered by the people,
others in his absence executed by his enemies, yet he always
took himself for over-wise to be taught by examples. The Earls of
Huntingdon and Kent, Montagu and Spencer, who thought themselves as
great politicians in those days as others have done in these: hoping
to please the King, and to secure themselves, by the murder of
Gloucester; died soon after, with many other their adherents, by the
like violent hands; and far more shamefully than did that duke. And
as for the King himself (who in regard of many deeds, unworthy of his
greatness, cannot be excused, as the disavowing himself by breach of
faith, charters, pardons, and patents): he was in the prime of his
youth deposed, and murdered by his cousin-german and vassal, Henry of
Lancaster, afterwards Henry the Fourth.

This King, whose title was weak, and his obtaining the Crown
traitorous; who brake faith with the lords at his landing, protesting
to intend only the recovery of his proper inheritance, brake faith
with Richard himself; and brake faith with all the kingdom in
Parliament, to whom he swore that the deposed King should live. After
that he had enjoyed this realm some few years, and in that time
had been set upon all sides by his subjects, and never free from
conspiracies and rebellions: he saw (if souls immortal see and discern
anythings after the bodies' death) his grandchild Henry the Sixth,
and his son the Prince, suddenly and without mercy, murdered; the
possession of the Crown (for which he had caused so much blood to
be poured out) transferred from his race, and by the issues of
his enemies worn and enjoyed: enemies, whom by his own practice he
supposed that he had left no less powerless, than the succession of
the Kingdom questionless; by entailing the same upon his own issues
by Parliament. And out of doubt, human reason could have judged no
otherwise, but that these cautious provisions of the father, seconded
by the valor and signal victories of his son Henry the Fifth, had
buried the hopes of every competitor, under the despair of all
reconquest and recovery. I say, that human reason might so have
judged, were not this passage of Casaubon also true; "Dies, hora,
momentum, evertendis dominationibus sufficit, quae adamantinis
credebantur radicibus esse fundatae:" "A day, an hour, a moment, is
enough to overturn the things, that seemed to have been founded and
rooted in adamant."

Now for Henry the Sixth, upon whom the great storm of his
grandfather's grievous faults fell, as it formerly had done upon
Richard the grandchild of Edward: although he was generally esteemed
for a gentle and innocent prince, yet as he refused the daughter of
Armagnac, of the House of Navarre, the greatest of the Princes
of France, to whom he was affianced (by which match he might have
defended his inheritance in France) and married the daughter of Anjou,
(by which he lost all that he had in France) so in condescending to
the unworthy death of his uncle of Gloucester, the main and strong
pillar of the House of Lancaster; he drew on himself and this kingdom
the greatest joint-loss and dishonor, that ever it sustained since the
Norman Conquest. Of whom it may truly be said which a counsellor of
his own spake of Henry the Third of France, "Qu'il estait tme fort
gentile Prince; mais son reigne est advenu en une fort mauvais
temps:" "He was a very gentle Prince; but his reign happened in a very
unfortunate season."

It is true that Buckingham and Suffolk were the practicers and
contrivers of the Duke's death: Buckingham and Suffolk, because the
Duke gave instructions to their authority, which otherwise under the
Queen had been absolute; the Queen in respect of her personal wound,
"spretaeque injuria formae,"[5] because Gloucester dissuaded her
marriage. But the fruit was answerable to the seed; the success to
the counsel. For after the cutting down of Gloucester, York grew up so
fast, as he dared to dispute his right both by arguments and arms;
in which quarrel, Suffolk and Buckingham, with the greatest number of
their adherents, were dissolved. And although for his breach of oath
by sacrament, it pleased God to strike down York: yet his son the Earl
of March, following the plain path which his father had trodden out,
despoiled Henry the father, and Edward the son, both of their lives
and kingdom. And what was the end now of that politic lady the Queen,
other than this, that she lived to behold the wretched ends of all her
partakers: that she lived to look on, while her husband the King, and
her only son the Prince, were hewn in sunder; while the Crown was set
on his head that did it. She lived to see herself despoiled of her
estate, and of her moveables: and lastly, her father, by rendering up
to the Crown of France the Earldom of Provence and other places, for
the payment of fifty thousand crowns for her ransom, to become a
stark beggar. And this was the end of that subtility, which Siracides
calleth "fine" but "unrighteous:" for other fruit hath it never
yielded since the world was.

And now it came to Edward the Fourth's turn (though after many
difficulties) to triumph. For all the plants of Lancaster were rooted
up, one only Earl of Richmond excepted: whom also he had once bought
of the Duke of Brittany, but could not hold him. And yet was not
this of Edward such a plantation, as could any way promise itself
stability. For this Edward the King (to omit more than many of his
other cruelties) beheld and allowed the slaughter which Gloucester,
Dorset, Hastings, and others, made of Edward the Prince in his own
presence; of which tragical actors, there was not one that escaped the
judgment of God in the same kind And he, which (besides the execution
of his brother Clarence, for none other offence than he himself had
formed in his own imagination) instructed Gloucester to kill Henry the
Sixth, his predecessor; taught him also by the same art to kill his
own sons and successors, Edward and Richard. For those kings which
have sold the blood of others at a low rate; have but made the market
for their own enemies, to buy of theirs at the same price.

To Edward the Fourth succeeded Richard the Third, the greatest master
in mischief of all that fore-went him: who although, for the necessity
of his tragedy, he had more parts to play, and more to perform in his
own person, than all the rest; yet he so well fitted every affection
that played with him, as if each of them had but acted his own
interest. For he wrought so cunningly upon the affections of Hastings
and Buckingham, enemies to the Queen and to all her kindred, as he
easily allured them to condescend, that Rivers and Grey, the King's
maternal uncle and half brother, should (for the first) be severed
from him: secondly, he wrought their consent to have them imprisoned:
and lastly (for the avoiding of future inconvenience) to have their
heads severed from their bodies. And having now brought those his
chief instruments to exercise that common precept which the Devil hath
written on every post, namely, to depress those whom they had grieved,
and destroy those whom they had depressed; he urged that argument
so far and so forcibly, as nothing but the death of the young King
himself, and of his brother, could fashion the conclusion. For he
caused it to be hammered into Buckingham's head, that, whensoever the
King or his brother should have able years to exercise their power,
they would take a most severe revenge of that cureless wrong, offered
to their uncle and brother, Rivers and Grey.

But this was not his manner of reasoning with Hastings, whose fidelity
to his master's sons was without suspect: and yet the Devil, who never
dissuades by impossibility, taught him to try him. And so he did. But
when he found by Catesby, who sounded him, that he was not fordable;
he first resolved to kill him sitting in council: wherein having
failed with his sword, he set the hangman upon him, with a weapon
of more weight. And because nothing else could move his appetite,
he caused his head to be stricken off, before he ate his dinner. A
greater judgment of God than this upon Hastings, I have never observed
in any story. For the selfsame day that the Earl Rivers, Grey, and
others, were (without trial of law, of offence given) by Hastings'
advice executed at Pomfret: I say Hastings himself in the same day,
and (as I take it) in the same hour, in the same lawless manner had
his head stricken off in the Tower of London. But Buckingham lived a
while longer; and with an eloquent oration persuaded the Londoners
to elect Richard for their king. And having received the Earldom of
Hereford for reward, besides the high hope of marrying his daughter
to the King's only son; after many grievous vexations of mind, and
unfortunate attempts, being in the end betrayed and delivered up
by his trustiest servant; he had his head severed from his body at
Salisbury, without the trouble of any of his Peers. And what success
had Richard himself after all these mischiefs and murders, policies,
and counter-policies to Christian religion: and after such time
as with a most merciless hand he had pressed out the breath of his
nephews and natural lords; other than the prosperity of so short a
life, as it took end, ere himself could well look over and discern
it? The great outcry of innocent blood, obtained at God's hands the
effusion of his; who became a spectacle of shame and dishonor, both to
his friends and enemies.

This cruel King, Henry the Seventh cut off; and was therein (no doubt)
the immediate instrument of God's justice. A politic Prince he was if
ever there were any, who by the engine of his wisdom, beat down and
overturned as many strong oppositions both before and after he wore
the Crown, as ever King of England did: I say by his wisdom, because
as he ever left the reins of his affections in the hands of his
profit, so he always weighed his undertakings by his abilities,
leaving nothing more to hazard than so much as cannot be denied it in
all human actions. He had well observed the proceedings of Louis the
Eleventh, whom he followed in all that was royal or royal-like, but
he was far more just, and begun not their processes whom he hated or
feared by the execution, as Louis did.

He could never endure any mediation in rewarding his servants, and
therein exceeding wise; for whatsoever himself gave, he himself
received back the thanks and the love, knowing it well that the
affections of men (purchased by nothing so readily as by benefits)
were trains that better became great kings, than great subjects. On
the contrary, in whatsoever he grieved his subjects, he wisely put it
off on those, that he found fit ministers for such actions. Howsoever
the taking off of Stanley's head, who set the Crown on his, and the
death of the young Earl of Warwick, son to George, Duke of Clarence,
shows, as the success also did, that he held somewhat of the errors
of his ancestors; for his possession in the first line ended in his
grandchildren, as that of Edward the Third and Henry the Fourth had

Now for King Henry the Eighth; if all the pictures and patterns of
a merciless prince were lost in the world, they might all again be
painted to the life, out of the story of this king. For how many
servants did he advance in haste (but for what virtue no man could
suspect) and with the change of his fancy ruined again; no man knowing
for what offence? To how many others of more desert gave he abundant
flowers from whence to gather honey, and in the end of harvest burnt
them in the hive? How many wives did he cut off, and cast off, as his
fancy and affection changed? How many princes of the blood (whereof
some of them for age could hardly crawl towards the block) with a
world of others of all degrees (of whom our common chronicles have
kept the account) did he execute? Yea, in his very death-bed, and when
he was at the point to have given his account to God for the abundance
of blood already spilt, he imprisoned the Duke of Norfolk the father;
and executed the Earl of Surrey the son; the one, whose deservings he
knew not how to value, having never omitted anything that concerned
his own honor, and the King's service; the other never having
committed anything worthy of his least displeasure: the one exceeding
valiant and advised; the other no less valiant than learned, and
of excellent hope. But besides the sorrows which he heaped upon
the fatherless and widows at home: and besides the vain enterprises
abroad, wherein it is thought that he consumed more treasure than all
our victorious kings did in their several conquests; what causeless
and cruel wars did he make upon his own nephew King James the First?
What laws and wills did he devise to cut off, and cut down those
branches, which sprang from the same root that himself did? And in
the end (notwithstanding these his so many irreligious provisions) it
pleased God to take away all his own, without increase; though, for
themselves in their several kinds, all princes of eminent virtue.
For these words of Samuel to Agag King of the Amalekites, have
been verified upon many others: "As thy sword hath made other women
childless, so shall thy mother be childless among other women." And
that blood which the same King Henry affirmed, that the cold air of
Scotland had frozen up in the North, God hath diffused by the sunshine
of his grace: from whence his Majesty now living, and long to live, is
descended. Of whom I may say it truly, "That if all the malice of the
world were infused into one eye: yet could it not discern in his
life, even to this day, any one of these foul spots, by which the
consciences of all the forenamed princes (in effect) have been
defiled; nor any drop of that innocent blood on the sword of his
justice, with which the most that fore-went him have stained both
their hands and fame." And for this Crown of England; it may truly he
avowed: that he hath received it even from the hand of God, and hath
stayed the time of putting it on, howsoever he were provoked to hasten
it: that he never took revenge of any man, that sought to put him
beside it: that he refused the assistance of Her enemies, that wore
it long, with as great glory as ever princess did: that his Majesty
entered not by a breach, nor by blood; but by the ordinary gate,
which his own right set open; and into which, by a general love and
obedience, he was received. And howsoever his Majesty's preceding
title to this Kingdom was preferred by many princes (witness the
Treaty at Cambray in the year 1559) yet he never pleased to dispute
it, during the life of that renowned lady his predecessor; no,
notwithstanding the injury of not being declared heir, in all the time
of her long reign.

Neither ought we to forget, or neglect our thankfulness to God for
the uniting of the northern parts of Britain to the south, to wit,
of Scotland to England, which though they were severed but by small
brooks and banks, yet by reason of the long continued war, and the
cruelties exercised upon each other, in the affections of the nations,
they were infinitely severed. This I say is not the least of God's
blessings which his Majesty hath brought with him unto this land:
no, put all our petty grievances together, and heap them up to their
height, they will appear but as a molehill compared with the
mountain of this concord. And if all the historians since then have
acknowledged the uniting of the Red Rose, and the White, for the
greatest happiness (Christian Religion excepted), that ever this
kingdom received from God, certainly the peace between the two lions
of gold and gules, and the making them one, doth by many degrees
exceed the former; for by it, besides the sparing of our British
blood, heretofore and during the difference, so often and abundantly
shed, the state of England is more assured, the kingdom more
enabled to recover her ancient honor and rights, and by it made more
invincible, than by all our former alliances, practises, policies, and
conquests. It is true that hereof we do not yet find the effect.
But had the Duke of Parma in the year 1588, joined the army which he
commanded, with that of Spain, and landed it on the south coast; and
had his Majesty at the same time declared himself against us in the
North: it is easy to divine what had become of the liberty of England,
certainly we would then without murmur have bought this union at far
greater price than it hath since cost us. It is true, that there was
never any common weal or kingdom in the world, wherein no man had
cause to lament. Kings live in the world, and not above it. They are
not infinite to examine every man's cause, or to relieve every man's
wants. And yet in the latter (though to his own prejudice), his
Majesty hath had more comparison of other men's necessities, than of
his own coffers. Of whom it may he said, as of Solomon,[6] "Dedit Deus
Solomon! latitudinem cordis": Which if other men do not understand
with Pineda, to be meant by liberality, but by "latitude of
knowledge"; yet may it be better spoken of His Majesty, than of
any king that ever England had; who as well in divine, as human
understanding, hath exceeded all that fore-went him, by many degrees.

I could say much more of the King's majesty, without flattery: did I
not fear the imputation of presumption, and withal suspect, that it
might befall these papers of mine (though the loss were little) as
it did the pictures of Queen Elizabeth, made by unskilful and common
painters, which by her own commandment were knocked in pieces and
cast into the fire. For ill artists, in setting out the beauty of the
external; and weak writers, in describing the virtues of the internal;
do often leave to posterity, of well formed faces a deformed
memory; and of the most perfect and princely minds, a most defective
representation. It may suffice, and there needs no other discourse; if
the honest reader but compare the cruel and turbulent passages of our
former kings, and of other their neighbor-princes (of whom for that
purpose I have inserted this brief discourse) with his Majesty's
temperate, revengeless and liberal disposition: I say, that if the
honest reader weigh them justly, and with an even hand; and withal but
bestow every deformed child on his true parent; he shall find, that
there is no man that hath so just cause to complain, as the King
himself hath. Now as we have told the success of the trumperies and
cruelties of our own kings, and other great personages: so we find,
that God is everywhere the same God. And as it pleased him to punish
the usurpation, and unnatural cruelty of Henry the First, and of our
third Edward, in their children for many generations: so dealt He
with the sons of Louis Debonnaire, the son of Charles the Great, or
Charlemagne. For after such time as Debonnaire of France, had torn
out the eyes of Bernard his nephew, the son of Pepin the eldest son
of Charlemagne, and heir of the Empire, and then caused him to die in
prison, as did our Henry to Robert his eldest brother: there followed
nothing but murders upon murders, poisoning, imprisonments, and civil
war; till the whole race of that famous Emperor was extinguished. And
though Debonnaire, after he had rid himself of his nephew by a violent
death; and of his bastard brothers by a civil death (having inclosed
them with sure guard, all the days of their lives, within a monastery)
held himself secure from all opposition: yet God raised up against him
(which he suspected not) his own sons, to vex him, to invade him,
to take him prisoner, and to depose him; his own sons, with whom
(to satisfy their ambition) he had shared his estate, and given them
crowns to wear, and kingdoms to govern, during his own life. Yea his
eldest son, Lothair (for he had four, three by his first wife, and one
by his second; to wit, Lothair, Pepin, Louis, and Charles), made it
the cause of his deposition, that he had used violence towards his
brothers and kinsmen; and that he had suffered his nephew (whom he
might have delivered) to be slain. "Eo quod," saith the text,[7]
"fratribus, et propinquis violentiam intulerit, et nepotem suum,
quern ipse liberate poterat, interfici permiserit": "Because he used
violence to his brothers and kinsmen, and suffered his nephew to be
slain whom he might have delivered."

Yet did he that which few kings do; namely, repent him of his cruelty.
For, among many other things which he performed in the General
Assembly of the States, it follows: "Post haec autem palam se errasse
confessus, et imitatus Imperatoris Theodosii exemplum, poenitentiam
spontaneam suscepit, tarn de his, quam quae in Bernardum proprium
nepotem gesserat": "After this he did openly confess himself to
have erred, and following the example of the Emperor Theodosius, he
underwent voluntary penance, as well for his other offences, as for
that which he had done against Bernard his own nephew."

This he did; and it was praise-worthy. But the blood that is unjustly
spilt, is not again gathered up from the ground by repentance. These
medicines, ministered to the dead, have but dead rewards.

This king, as I have said, had four sons. To Lothair his eldest he
gave the Kingdom of Italy; as Charlemagne, his father, had done to
Pepin, the father of Bernard, who was to succeed him in the Empire. To
Pepin the second son he gave the Kingdom of Aquitaine: to Louis,
the Kingdom of Bavaria: and to Charles, whom he had by a second wife
called Judith, the remainder of the Kingdom of France. But this second
wife, being a mother-in-law[8] to the rest, persuaded Debonnaire
to cast his son Pepin out of Aquitaine, thereby to greaten Charles,
which, after the death of his son Pepin, he prosecuted to effect,
against his grandchild bearing the same name. In the meanwhile, being
invaded by his son Louis of Bavaria, he dies for grief.

Debonnaire dead, Louis of Bavaria, and Charles afterwards called the
Bald, and their nephew Pepin, of Aquitaine, join in league against the
Emperor Lothair their eldest brother. They fight near to Auxerre the
most bloody battle that ever was stroken in France: in which, the
marvellous loss of nobility, and men of war, gave courage to the
Saracens to invade Italy; to the Huns to fall upon Almaine; and the
Danes to enter upon Normandy. Charles the Bald by treason seizeth upon
his nephew Pepin, kills him in a cloister: Carloman rebels against
his father Charles the Bald, the father burns out the eyes of his son
Carloman; Bavaria invades the Emperor Lothair his brother, Lothair
quits the Empire, he is assailed and wounded to the heart by his own
conscience, for his rebellion against his father, and for his other
cruelties, and dies in a monastery. Charles the Bald, the uncle,
oppresseth his nephews the sons of Lothair, he usurpeth the Empire to
the prejudice of Louis of Bavaria his elder brother; Bavaria's armies
and his son Carloman are beaten, he dies of grief, and the usurper
Charles is poisoned by Zedechias a Jew, his physician, his son Louis
le Begue dies of the same drink. Begue had Charles the Simple and two
bastards, Louis and Carloman; they rebel against their brother, but
the eldest breaks his neck, the younger is slain by a wild boar; the
son of Bavaria had the same ill destiny, and brake his neck by a fall
out of a window in sporting with his companions. Charles the Gross
becomes lord of all that the sons of Debonnaire held in Germany;
wherewith not contented, he invades Charles the Simple: but
being-forsaken of his nobility, of his wife, and of his understanding,
he dies a distracted beggar. Charles the Simple is held in wardship by
Eudes, Mayor of the Palace, then by Robert the brother of Eudes: and
lastly, being taken by the Earl of Vermandois; he is forced to die in
the prison of Peron, Louis the son of Charles the Simple breaks his
neck in chasing a wolf, and of the two sons of this Louis, the one
dies of poison, the other dies in the prison of Orleans; after whom
Hugh Capet, of another race, and a stranger to the French, makes
himself king.

These miserable ends had the issues of Debonnaire, who after he had
once apparelled injustice with authority, his sons and successors took
up the fashion, and wore that garment so long without other provision,
as when the same was torn from their shoulders, every man despised
them as miserable and naked beggars. The wretched success they had
(saith a learned Frenchman) shows, "que en ceste mort il y avait plus
du fait des homines que de Pieu, ou de la justice": "that in the death
of that Prince, to wit, of Bernard the son of Pepin, the true heir of
Charlemagne, men had more meddling than either God or justice had."

But to come nearer home; it is certain that Francis the First, one of
the worthiest kings (except for that fact) that ever Frenchmen had,
did never enjoy himself, after he had commended the destruction of the
Protestants of Mirandol and Cabrieres, to the Parliament of Provence,
which poor people were thereupon burnt and murdered; men, women, and
children. It is true that the said King Francis repented himself of
the fact, and gave charge to Henry his son, to do justice upon the
murderers, threatening his son with God's judgments, if he neglected
it. But this unseasonable care of his, God was not pleased to accept
for payment. For after Henry himself was slain in sport by Montgomery,
we all may remember what became of his four sons, Francis, Charles,
Henry, and Hercules. Of which although three of them became kings,
and were married to beautiful and virtuous ladies: yet were they,
one after another, cast out of the world, without stock or seed. And
notwithstanding their subtility, and breach of faith; with all their
massacres upon those of the religion,[9] and great effusion of blood,
the crown was set on his head, whom they all labored to dissolve; the
Protestants remain more in number than ever they were, and hold to
this day more strong cities than ever they had.

Let us now see if God be not the same God in Spain, as in England and
France. Towards whom we will look no further back than to Don Pedro
of Castile: in respect of which Prince, all the tyrants of Sicil, our
Richard the Third, and the great Ivan Vasilowich of Moscow, were but
petty ones: this Castilian, of all Christian and heathen kings, having
been the most merciless. For, besides those of his own blood and
nobility, which he caused to be slain in his own court and chamber,
as Sancho Ruis, the great master of Calatrava, Ruis Gonsales, Alphonso
Tello, and Don John of Arragon, whom he cut in pieces and cast into
the streets, denying him Christian burial: I say, besides these, and
the slaughter of Gomes Mauriques, Diego Peres, Alphonso Gomes, and the
great commander of Castile; he made away the two infants of Arragon
his cousin germans, his brother Don Frederick, Don John de la Cerde,
Albuquergues, Nugnes de Guzman, Cornel, Cabrera, Tenorio, Mendes de
Toledo, Guttiere his great treasurer and all his kindred; and a world
of others. Neither did he spare his two youngest brothers, innocent
princes: whom after he had kept in close prison from their cradles,
till one of them had lived sixteen years, and the other fourteen, he
murdered them there. Nay, he spared not his mother, nor his wife
the Lady Blanche of Bourbon. Lastly, as he caused the Archbishop of
Toledo, and the Dean to be killed of purpose to enjoy their treasures;
so did he put to death Mahomet Aben Alhamar, King of Barbary, with
thirty-seven of his nobility, that came unto him for succor, with a
great sum of money, to levy (by his favor) some companies of soldiers
to return withal. Yea, he would needs assist the hangman with his
own hand, in the execution of the old king; in so much as Pope Urban
declareth him an enemy both to God and man. But what was his end?
Having been formerly beaten out of his kingdom, and reestablished by
the valor of the English nation, led by the famous Duke of Lancaster:
he was stabbed to death by his younger brother the Earl of Astramara,
who dispossessed all his children of their inheritance; which, but for
the father's injustice and cruelty, had never been in danger of any
such thing.

If we can parallel any man with this king, it must be Duke John of
Burgogne, who, after his traitorous murder of the Duke of Orleans,
caused the Constable of Armagnac, the Chancellor of France, the
Bishops of Constance, Bayeux, Eureux, Senlis, Saintes, and other
religious and reverend Churchmen, the Earl of Gran Pre, Hector of
Chartres, and (in effect) all the officers of justice, of the Chamber
of Accounts, Treasury, and Request, (with sixteen hundred others to
accompany them) to be suddenly and violently slain. Hereby, while he
hoped to govern, and to have mastered France, he was soon after struck
with an axe in the face, in the presence of the Dauphin; and, without
any leisure to repent his misdeeds, presently[10] slain. _These were
the lovers of other men's miseries: and misery found them out_.

Now for the kings of Spain, which lived both with Henry the Seventh,
Henry the Eighth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth; Ferdinand of
Arragon was the first: and the first that laid the foundation of the
present Austrian greatness. For this King did not content himself
to hold Arragon by the usurpation of his ancestor; and to fasten
thereunto the Kingdom of Castile and Leon, which Isabel his wife held
by strong hand, and his assistance, from her own niece the daughter
of the last Henry: but most cruelly and craftily, without all color
or pretence of right, he also cast his own niece out of the Kingdom
of Navarre, and, contrary to faith, and the promise that he made to
restore it, fortified the best places, and so wasted the rest, as
there was no means left for any army to invade it. This King, I say,
that betrayed also Ferdinand and Frederick, Kings of Naples, princes
of his own blood, and by double alliance tied unto him; sold them
to the French: and with the same army, sent for their succor under
Gonsalvo, cast them out; and shared their kingdom with the French,
whom afterwards he most shamefully betrayed.

This wise and politic King, who sold Heaven and his own honor, to make
his son, the Prince of Spain, the greatest monarch of the world; saw
him die in the flower of his years; and his wife great with child,
with her untimely birth, at once and together buried. His eldest
daughter married unto Don Alphonso, Prince of Portugal, beheld her
first husband break his neck in her presence; and being with child
by her second, died with it. A just judgment of God upon the race of
John, father to Alphonso, now wholly extinguished; who had not only
left many disconsolate mothers in Portugal, by the slaughter of their
children; but had formerly slain with his own hand, the son and only
comfort of his aunt the Lady Beatrix, Duchess of Viseo.

The second daughter of Ferdinand, married to the Arch-Duke Philip,
turned fool, and died mad and deprived.[11] His third daughter,
bestowed on King Henry the Eighth, he saw cast off by the King: the
mother of many troubles in England; and the mother of a daughter, that
in her unhappy zeal shed a world of innocent blood; lost Calais to the
French; and died heartbroken without increase. To conclude, all those
kingdoms of Ferdinand have masters of a new name; and by a strange
family are governed and possessed.

Charles the Fifth, son to the Arch-Duke Philip, in whose vain
enterprises upon the French, upon the Almains, and other princes
and states, so many multitudes of Christian soldiers, and renowned
captains were consumed; who gave the while a most perilous entrance to
the Turks, and suffered Rhodes, the Key of Christendom, to be taken;
was in conclusion chased out of France, and in a sort out of Germany;
and left to the French, Mentz, Toule, and Verdun, places belonging
to the Empire, stole away from Inspurg; and scaled the Alps by
torchlight, pursued by Duke Maurice; having hoped to swallow up all
those dominions wherein he concocted nothing save his own disgraces.
And having, after the slaughter of so many millions of men, no one
foot of ground in either: he crept into a cloister, and made himself
a pensioner of an hundred thousand ducats by the year, to his son
Philip, from whom he very slowly received his mean and ordinary

His son again King Philip the Second, not satisfied to hold Holland
and Zeeland, (wrested by his ancestors from Jacqueline their lawful
Princess) and to possess in peace many other provinces of the
Netherlands: persuaded by that mischievous Cardinal of Granvile, and
other Romish tyrants; not only forgot the most remarkable services
done to his father the Emperor by the nobilities of those countries,
not only forgot the present made him upon his entry, of forty millions
of florins, called the "Novaile aide"; nor only forgot that he had
twice most solemnly sworn to the General States, to maintain and
preserve their ancient rights, privileges, and customs, which they
had enjoyed under their thirty and five earls before him, Conditional
Princes of those provinces: but beginning first to constrain them, and
enthrall them by the Spanish Inquisition, and then to impoverish them
by many new devised and intolerable impositions; he lastly, by strong
hand and main force, attempted to make himself not only an absolute
monarch over them, like unto the kings and sovereigns of England and
France; but Turk-like to tread under his feet all their natural and
fundamental laws, privileges, and ancient rights. To effect which,
after he had easily obtained from the Pope a dispensation of his
former oaths (which dispensation was the true cause of the war and
bloodshed since then;) and after he had tried what he could perform,
by dividing of their own nobility, under the government of his base
sister Margaret of Austria, and the Cardinal Granvile; he employed
that most merciless Spaniard Don Ferdinand Alvarez of Toledo, Duke
of Alva, followed with a powerful army of strange nations: by whom he
first slaughtered that renowned captain, the Earl of Egmont, Prince of
Gavare: and Philip Montmorency, Earl of Horn: made away Montigue,
and the Marquis of Bergues, and cut off in those six years (that Alva
governed) of gentlemen and others, eighteen thousand and six hundred,
by the hands of the hangman, besides all his other barbarous murders
and massacres. By whose ministry when he could not yet bring his
affairs to their wished ends, having it in his hope to work that
by subtility, which he had failed to perform by force; he sent for
governor his bastard brother Don John of Austria, a prince of great
hope, and very gracious to those people. But he, using the same papal
advantage that his predecessors had done, made no scruple to take oath
upon the Holy Evangelists, to observe the treaty made with the General
States; and to discharge the Low Countries of all Spaniards, and other
strangers therein garrisoned: towards whose pay and passport, the
Netherlands strained themselves to make payment of six hundred
thousand pounds. Which monies received, he suddenly surprised the
citadels of Antwerp and Nemours: not doubting (being unsuspected by
the states) to have possessed himself of all the mastering places
of those provinces. For whatsoever he overtly pretended, he held
in secret a contrary counsel with the Secretary Escovedo, Rhodus,
Barlemont, and others, ministers of the Spanish tyranny, formerly
practised, and now again intended. But let us now see the effect and
end of this perjury and of all other the Duke's cruelties. First, for
himself, after he had murdered so many of the nobility; executed (as
aforesaid) eighteen thousand and six hundred in six years, and most
cruelly slain man, woman, and child, in Mechlin, Zutphen, Naerden,
and other places: notwithstanding his Spanish vaunt, that he would
suffocate the Hollanders in their own butter-barrels, and milk-tubs;
he departed the country no otherwise accompanied, than with the curse
and detestation of the whole nation; leaving his master's affairs in a
tenfold worse estate, than he found them at his first arrival. For
Don John, whose haughty conceit of himself overcame the greatest
difficulties; though his judgment were over-weak to manage the least:
what wonders did his fearful breach of faith bring forth, other than
the King his brother's jealousy and distrust, with the untimely death
that seized him, even in the flower of his youth? And for Escovedo his
sharp-witted secretary, who in his own imagination had conquered for
his master both England and the Netherlands; being sent into Spain
upon some new project, he was at the first arrival, and before any
access to the King, by certain ruffians appointed by Anthony Peres
(though by better warrant than his) rudely murdered in his own
lodging. Lastly, if we consider the King of Spain's carriage, his
counsel and success in this business, there is nothing left to the
memory of man more remarkable. For he hath paid above an hundred
millions, and the lives of above four hundred thousand Christians,
for the loss of all those countries; which, for beauty, gave place to
none; and for revenue, did equal his West Indies: for the loss of a
nation which most willingly obeyed him; and who at this day, after
forty years war, are in despite of all his forces become a free
estate, and far more rich and powerful than they were, when he first
began to impoverish and oppress them.

Oh, by what plots, by what forswearings, betrayings, oppressions,
imprisonments, tortures, poisonings, and under what reasons of state,
and politic subtlety, have these fore-named kings, both strangers,
and of our own nation, pulled the vengeance of God upon themselves,
upon theirs, and upon their prudent ministers! and in the end have
brought those things to pass for their enemies, and seen an effect so
directly contrary to all their own counsels and cruelties; as the
one could never have hoped for themselves; and the other never have
succeeded; if no such opposition had ever been made. God hath said it
and performed it ever: "Perdam sapientiam sapientum"; "I will destroy
the wisdom of the wise."

But what of all this? and to what end do we lay before the eyes of
the living, the fall and fortunes of the dead: seeing the world is
the same that it hath been; and the children of the present time, will
still obey their parents? It is in the present time that all the wits
of the world are exercised. To hold the times we have, we hold all
things lawful: and either we hope to hold them forever; or at least we
hope that there is nothing after them to be hoped for. For as we are
content to forget our own experience, and to counterfeit the ignorance
of our own knowledge, in all things that concern ourselves; or
persuade ourselves, that God hath given us letters patents to pursue
all our irreligious affections, with a "non obstante"[12] so we
neither look behind us what hath been, nor before us what shall be. It
is true, that the quantity which we have, is of the body: we are by
it joined to the earth: we are compounded of earth; and we inhabit
it. The Heavens are high, far off, and unsearchable: we have sense and
feeling of corporal things; and of eternal grace, but by revelation.
No marvel then that our thoughts are also earthly: and it is less to
be wondered at, that the words of worthless men can not cleanse them:
seeing their doctrine and instruction, whose understanding the Holy
Ghost vouchsafed to inhabit, have not performed it. For as the Prophet
Isaiah cried out long ago, "Lord, who hath believed our reports?" And
out of doubt, as Isaiah complained then for himself and others: so are
they less believed, every day after other. For although religion, and
the truth thereof be in every man's mouth, yea, in the discourse of
every woman, who for the greatest number are but idols of vanity: what
is it other than an universal dissimulation? We profess that we know
God: but by works we deny him. For beatitude doth not consist in the
knowledge of divine things, but in a divine life: for the Devils know
them better than men. "Beatitudo non est divinorum cognitio, sed vita
divina." And certainly there is nothing more to be admired, and more
to be lamented, than the private contention, the passionate dispute,
the personal hatred, and the perpetual war, massacres, and murders for
religion among Christians: the discourse whereof hath so occupied the
world, as it hath well near driven the practice thereof out of the
world. Who would not soon resolve, that took knowledge but of the
religious disputations among men, and not of their lives which
dispute, that there were no other thing in their desires, than the
purchase of Heaven; and that the world itself were but used as it
ought, and as an inn or place, wherein to repose ourselves in passing
on towards our celestial habitation? when on the contrary, besides the
discourse and outward profession, the soul hath nothing but hypocrisy.
We are all (in effect) become comedians in religion: and while we act
in gesture and voice, divine virtues, in all the course of our lives
we renounce our persons, and the parts we play. For Charity, Justice,
and Truth have but their being _in terms_, like the philosopher's
_Materia prima_.

Neither is it that wisdom, which Solomon defineth to be the
"Schoolmistress of the knowledge of God," that hath valuation in the
world: it is enough that we give it our good word: but the same which is
altogether exercised in the service of the world as the gathering of
riches chiefly, by which we purchase and obtain honor, with the many
respects which attend it. These indeed be the marks, which (when we have
bent our consciences to the highest) we all shoot at. For the obtaining
whereof it is true, that the care is our own; the care our own in this
life, the peril our own in the future: and yet when we have gathered the
greatest abundance, we ourselves enjoy no more thereof, than so much as
belongs to one man. For the rest, he that had the greatest wisdom and
the greatest ability that ever man had, hath told us that this is the
use: "When goods increase (saith Solomon) they also increase that eat
them; and what good cometh to the owners, but the beholding thereof with
their eyes?" As for those that devour the rest, and follow us in fair
weather: they again forsake us in the first tempest of misfortune, and
steer away before the sea and wind; leaving us to the malice of our
destinies. Of these, among a thousand examples, I will take but one out
of Master Danner, and use his own words: "Whilest the Emperor Charles
the Fifth, after the resignation of his estates, stayed at Flushing for
wind, to carry him his last journey into Spain; he conferred on a time
with Seldius, his brother Ferdinand's Ambassador, till the deep of the
night. And when Seldius should depart, the Emperor calling for some of
his servants, and nobody answering him (for those that attended upon
him, were some gone to their lodgings, and all the rest asleep), the
Emperor took up the candle himself, and went before Seldius to light him
down the stairs; and so did, notwithstanding all the resistance that
Seldius could make. And when he was come to the stair's foot, he said
thus unto him: "Seldius, remember this of Charles the Emperor, when he
shall be dead and gone, that him, whom thou hast known in thy time
environed with so many mighty armies and guards of soldiers, thou hast
also seen alone, abandoned, and forsaken, yea even of his own domestical
servants, &c. I acknowledge this change of Fortune to proceed from the
mighty hand of God, which I will by no means go about to withstand."

But you will say, that there are some things else, and of greater
regard than the former. The first is the reverend respect that is held
of great men, and the honor done unto them by all sorts of people. And
it is true indeed: provided, that an inward love for their justice and
piety accompany the outward worship given to their places and power;
without which what is the applause of the multitude, but as the outcry
of an herd of animals, who without the knowledge of any true cause,
please themselves with the noise they make? For seeing it is a thing
exceeding rare, to distinguish Virtue and Fortune: the most impious
(if prosperous) have ever been applauded; the most virtuous (if
unprosperous) have ever been despised. For as Fortune's man rides the
horse, so Fortune herself rides the man; who when he is descended and
on foot, the man taken from his beast, and Fortune from the man, a
base groom beats the one, and a bitter contempt spurns at the other,
with equal liberty.

The second is the greatening of our posterity, and the contemplation
of their glory whom we leave behind us. Certainly, of those which
conceive that their souls departed take any comfort therein, it may
be truly said of them, which Lactantius spake of certain heathen
philosophers, "quod sapientes sunt in re stulta."[13] For when our
spirits immortal shall be once separate from our mortal bodies,
and disposed by God; there remaineth in them no other joy of their
posterity which succeed, than there doth of pride in that stone, which
sleepeth in the wall of the king's palace; nor any other sorrow for
their poverty, than there doth of shame in that, which beareth up a
beggar's cottage. "Nesciunt mortui, etiam sancti, quid agunt
vivi, etiam eorum filii, quia animae mortuorum rebus viventium non
intersunt": "The dead, though holy, know nothing of the living, no,
not of their own children: for the souls of those departed, are not
conversant with their affairs that remain."[14] And if we doubt of St.
Augustine, we can not of Job; who tells us, "That we know not if our
sons shall be honorable: neither shall we understand concerning
them, whether they shall be of low degree." Which Ecclesiastes also
confirmeth: "Man walketh in a shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain:
he heapeth up riches, and can not tell who shall gather them. The
living (saith he) know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing
at all: for who can show unto man what shall be after him under the
sun?" He therefore accounteth it among the rest of worldly vanities,
to labor and travail in the world; not knowing after death whether
a fool or a wise man should enjoy the fruits thereof: "which made me
(saith he) endeavor even to abhor mine own labor." And what can other
men hope, whose blessed or sorrowful estates after death God hath
reserved? man's knowledge lying but in his hope, seeing the Prophet
Isaiah confesseth of the elect, "That Abraham is ignorant of us, and
Israel knows us not." But hereof we are assured, that the long and
dark night of death (of whose following day we shall never behold the
dawn till his return that hath triumphed over it), shall cover us
over till the world be no more. After which, and when we shall again
receive organs glorified and incorruptible, the seats of angelical
affections, in so great admiration shall the souls of the blessed be
exercised, as they can not admit the mixture of any second or less
joy; nor any return of foregone and mortal affection towards friends,
kindred, or children. Of whom whether we shall retain any particular
knowledge, or in any sort distinguish them, no man can assure us; and
the wisest men doubt. But on the contrary, if a divine life retain any
of those faculties which the soul exercised in a mortal body, we shall
not at that time so divide the joys of Heaven, as to cast any part
thereof on the memory of their felicities which remain in the world.
No, be their estates greater than ever the world gave, we shall (by
the difference known unto us) even detest their consideration. And
whatsoever comfort shall remain of all forepast, the same will consist
in the charity which we exercised living; and in that piety, justice,
and firm faith, for which it pleased the infinite mercy of God to
accept of us, and receive us. Shall we therefore value honor and
riches at nothing? and neglect them, as unnecessary and vain?
Certainly no. For that infinite wisdom of God, which hath
distinguished his angels by degrees; which hath given greater and
less light and beauty to heavenly bodies; which hath made differences
between beasts and birds; created the eagle and the fly, the cedar and
the shrub; and among stones, given the fairest tincture to the ruby,
and the quickest light to the diamond; hath also ordained kings,
dukes, or leaders of the people, magistrates, judges, and other
degrees among men. And as honor is left to posterity, for a mark and
ensign of the virtue and understanding of their ancestors: so (seeing
Siracides preferreth death before beggary: and that titles, without
proportionable estates, fall under the miserable succor of other men's
pity) I account it foolishness to condemn such a care: provided, that
worldly goods be well gotten, and that we raise not our own buildings
out of other men's ruins. For, as Plato doth first prefer the
perfection of bodily health; secondly, the form and beauty; and
thirdly, "Divitias nulla fraude quaesitas":[15] so Jeremiah cries,
"Woe unto them that erect their houses by unrighteousness, and their
chambers without equity": and Isaiah the same, "Woe to those that
spoil and were not spoiled." And it was out of the true wisdom of
Solomon, that he commandeth us, "not to drink the wine of violence;
not to lie in wait for blood, and not to swallow them up alive, whose
riches we covet: for such are the ways (saith he) of everyone that is
greedy of gain."

And if we could afford ourselves but so much leisure as to consider,
that he which hath most in the world, hath, in respect of the world,
nothing in it: and that he which hath the longest time lent him to
live in it, hath yet no proportion at all therein, setting it either
by that which is past, when we were not, or by that time which is to
come, in which we shall abide forever: I say, if both, to wit, our
proportion in the world, and our time in the world, differ not
much from that which is nothing; it is not out of any excellency of
understanding, that we so much prize the one, which hath (in effect)
no being: and so much neglect the other, which hath no ending:
coveting those mortal things of the world, as if our souls were
therein immortal; and neglecting those things which are immortal, as
if ourselves after the world were but mortal.

But let every man value his own wisdom, as he pleaseth. Let the rich
man think all fools, that cannot equal his abundance: the revenger
esteem all negligent, that have not trodden down their opposites; the
politician, all gross that cannot merchandise their faith: yet when we
once come in sight of the port of death, to which all winds drive us,
and when by letting fall that fatal anchor, which can never be weighed
again, the navigation of this life takes end; then it is, I say, that
our own cogitations (those sad and severe cogitations, formerly beaten
from us by our health and felicity) return again, and pay us to the
uttermost for all the pleasing passages of our lives past. It is then
that we cry out to God for mercy; then when our selves can no longer
exercise cruelty to others; and it is only then, that we are strucken
through the soul with this terrible sentence, "That God will not be
mocked." For if according to St. Peter, "The righteous scarcely be
saved: and that God spared not his angels"; where shall those appear,
who, having served their appetites all their lives, presume to think,
that the severe commandments of the all-powerful God were given but
in sport; and that the short breath, which we draw when death presseth
us, if we can but fashion it to the sound of mercy (without any kind
of satisfaction or amends) is sufficient? "O quam multi," saith
a reverend father, "cum hac spe ad aeternos labores et bella
descendunt!"[16] I confess that it is a great comfort to our friends,
to have it said, that we ended well; for we all desire (as Balaam
did) "to die the death of the righteous." But what shall we call a
disesteeming, an opposing, or (indeed) a mocking of God: if those men
do not oppose Him, disesteem Him, and mock Him, that think it enough
for God, to ask Him forgiveness at leisure, with the remainder and
last drawing of a malicious breath? For what do they otherwise,
that die this kind of well-dying, but say unto God as followeth?
"We beseech Thee, O God, that all the falsehoods, forswearings, and
treacheries of our lives past, may be pleasing unto Thee; that Thou
wilt for our sakes (that have had no leisure to do anything for Thine)
change Thy nature (though impossible,) and forget to be a just God;
that Thou wilt love injuries and oppressions, call ambition wisdom,
and charity foolishness. For I shall prejudice my son (which I am
resolved not to do) if I make restitution; and confess myself to have
been unjust (which I am too proud to do) if I deliver the oppressed."
Certainly, these wise worldlings have either found out a new God,
or made one: and in all likelihood such a leaden one, as Louis the
Eleventh wore in his cap; which when he had caused any that he feared,
or hated, to be killed, he would take it from his head and kiss it:
beseeching it to pardon him this one evil act more, and it should be
the last; which (as at other times) he did, when by the practice of a
cardinal and a falsified sacrament, he caused the Earl of Armagnac to
be stabbed to death: mockeries indeed fit to be used towards a leaden,
but not towards the ever-living God. But of this composition are all
devout lovers of the world, that they fear all that is dureless[17]
and ridiculous: they fear the plots and practises of their
opposites,[18] and their very whisperings: they fear the opinions
of men, which beat but upon shadows: they flatter and forsake the
prosperous and unprosperous, be they friends or kings: yea they dive
under water, like ducks, at every pebblestone, that is but thrown
toward them by a powerful hand: and on the contrary, they show an
obstinate and giant-like valor, against the terrible judgments of
the all-powerful God, yea they show themselves gods against God, and
slaves towards men; towards men whose bodies and consciences are alike

Now for the rest: If we truly examine the difference of both
conditions; to wit, of the rich and mighty, whom we call fortunate;
and of the poor and oppressed, whom we account wretched we shall find
the happiness of the one, and the miserable estate of the other, so
tied by God to the very instant, and both so subject to interchange
(witness the sudden downfall of the greatest princes, and the speedy
uprising of the meanest persons) as the one hath nothing so certain,
whereof to boast; nor the other so uncertain, whereof to bewail
itself. For there is no man so assured of his honor, of his riches,
health, or life; but that he may be deprived of either, or all, the
very next hour or day to come. "Quid vesper vehat, incertum est,"
"What the evening will bring with it, it is uncertain." "And yet ye
cannot tell (saith St. James) what shall be tomorrow. Today he is set
up, and tomorrow he shall not be found; for he is turned into dust,
and his purpose perisheth." And although the air which compasseth
adversity be very obscure; yet therein we better discern God, than in
that shining light which environeth worldly glory; through which, for
the clearness thereof, there is no vanity which escapeth our sight.
And let adversity seem what it will; to happy men ridiculous, who make
themselves merry at other men's misfortunes; and to those under the
cross, grievous: yet this is true, that for all that is past, to the
very instant, the portions remaining are equal to either. For be it
that we have lived many years, "and (according to Solomon) in them all
we have rejoiced;" or be it that we have measured the same length of
days and therein have evermore sorrowed: yet looking back from our
present being, we find both the one and the other, to wit, the joy and
the woe, sailed out of sight; and death, which doth pursue us and hold
us in chase, from our infancy, hath gathered it. "Quicquid aetatis
retro est, mors tenet:" "Whatsoever of our age is past, death holds
it." So as whosoever he be, to whom Fortune hath been a servant, and
the Time a friend; let him but take the account of his memory (for we
have no other keeper of our pleasures past), and truly examine what it
hath reserved either beauty and youth, or foregone delights; what
it hath saved, that it might last, of his dearest affections, or of
whatever else the amorous springtime gave his thoughts of contentment,
then unvaluable; and he shall find that all the art which his elder
years have, can draw no other vapor out of these dissolutions, than
heavy, secret, and sad sighs. He shall find nothing remaining, but
those sorrows, which grow up after our fast-springing youth; overtake
it, when it is at a stand; and overtopped it utterly, when it begins
to wither: in so much as looking back from the very instant time, and
from our now being, the poor, diseased, and captive creature, hath as
little sense of all his former miseries and pains, as he, that is
most blessed in common opinions, hath of his fore-passed pleasure and
delights. For whatsoever is cast behind us, is just nothing: and what
is to come, deceitful hope hath it: "Omnia quae eventura sunt, in
incerto jacent."[19] Only those few black swans, I must except: who
having had the grace to value worldly vanities at no more than their
own price; do, by retaining the comfortable memory of a well acted
life, behold death without dread, and the grave without fear; and
embrace both, as necessary guides to endless glory.

For myself, this is my consolation, and all that I can offer to
others, that the sorrows of this life are but of two sorts: whereof
the one hath respect to God, the other, to the world. In the first we
complain to God against ourselves, for our offences against Him; and
confess, "Et Tu Justus es in omnibus quae venerunt super nos." "And
Thou, O Lord, are just in all that hath befallen us." In the second we
complain to ourselves against God: as if he had done us wrong, either
in not giving us worldly goods and honors, answering our appetites: or
for taking them again from us having had them; forgetting that humble
and just acknowledgment of Job, "the Lord hath given, and the Lord
hath taken." To the first of which St. Paul hath promised blessedness;
to the second, death. And out of doubt he is either a fool, or
ungrateful to God, or both, that doth not acknowledge, how mean soever
his estate be, that the same is yet far greater than that which God
oweth him: or doth not acknowledge, how sharp soever his afflictions
be, that the same are yet far less, than those which are due unto
him. And if an heathen wise man call the adversities of the world
but "tributa vivendi," "the tributes of living;" a wise Christian man
ought to know them, and bear them, but as the tributes of offending.
He ought to bear them manlike, and resolvedly; and not as those
whining soldiers do, "qui gementes sequuntur imperatorem."[20]

For seeing God, who is the author of all our tragedies, hath written
out for us and appointed us all the parts we are to play: and hath
not, in their distribution, been partial to the most mighty princes of
the world: that gave unto Darius the part of the greatest emperor, and
the part of the most miserable beggar, a beggar begging water of an
enemy, to quench the great drought of death: that appointed Bajazet
to play the Grand Signior of the Turks in the morning, and in the same
day the footstool of Tamerlane (both which parts Valerian had also
played, being taken by Sapores): that made Belisarius play the most
victorious captain, and lastly the part of a blind beggar: of which
examples many thousands may be produced: why should other men, who are
but as the least worms, complain of wrong? Certainly there is no other
account to be made of this ridiculous world, than to resolve, that
the change of fortune on the great theatre, is but as the change of
garments on the less. For when on the one and the other, every man
wears but his own skin, the players are all alike. Now, if any man
out of weakness prize the passages of this world otherwise (for saith
Petrarch, "Magni ingenii est revocare mentem a sensibus"[21]) it is by
reason of that unhappy phantasy of ours, which forgeth in the brains
of man all the miseries (the corporal excepted) whereunto he is
subject. Therein it is, that misfortunes and adversity work all that
they work. For seeing Death, in the end of the play, takes from all
whatsoever Fortune or Force takes from any one; it were a foolish
madness in the shipwreck of worldly things, where all sinks but the
sorrow, to save it. That were, as Seneca saith, "Fortunae succumbere,
quod tristius est omni fato:" "To fall under Fortune, of all other the
most miserable destiny."

But it is now time to sound a retreat; and to desire to be excused of
this long pursuit: and withal, that the good intent, which hath moved
me to draw the picture of time past (which we call History) in so
large a table, may also be accepted in place of a better reason.

The examples of divine providence, everywhere found (the first divine
histories being nothing else but a continuation of such examples) have
persuaded me to fetch my beginning from the beginning of all things:
to wit, Creation. For though these two glorious actions of the
Almighty be so near, and (as it were) linked together, that the one
necessarily implieth the other: Creation inferring Providence (for
what father forsaketh the child that he hath begotten?) and Providence
pre-supposing Creation: yet many of those that have seemed to excel in
worldly wisdom, have gone about to disjoin this coherence; the epicure
denying both Creation and Providence, but granting the world had a
beginning; the Aristotelian granting Providence, but denying both the
creation and the beginning.

Now although this doctrine of faith, touching the creation in time
(for by faith we understand, that the world was made by the word of
God), be too weighty a work for Aristotle's rotten ground to bear
up, upon which he hath (notwithstanding) founded the defences and
fortresses of all his verbal doctrine: yet that the necessity of
infinite power, and the world's beginning, and the impossibility
of the contrary even in the judgment of natural reason, wherein he
believed, had not better informed him; it is greatly to be marvelled
at. And it is no less strange, that those men which are desirous of
knowledge (seeing Aristotle hath failed in this main point; and taught
little other than terms in the rest) have so retrenched their
minds from the following and overtaking of truth, and so absolutely
subjected themselves to the law of those philosophical principles;
as all contrary kind of teaching, in the search of causes, they have
condemned either for phantastical, or curious. Both doth it follow,
that the positions of heathen philosophers are undoubted grounds and
principles indeed, because so called? Or that _ipsi dixerunt_, doth
make them to be such? Certainly no. But this is true, that where
natural reason hath built anything so strong against itself, as the
same reason can hardly assail it, much less batter it down: the same
in every question of nature, and infinite power, may be approved for
a fundamental law of human knowledge. For saith Charron in his book of
wisdom, "Toute proposition humaine a autant d'authorite quel'autre,
si la raison n'on fait la difference;" "Every human proposition hath
equal authority, if reason make not the difference," the rest being
but the fables of principles. But hereof how shall the upright and
impartial judgment of man give a sentence, where opposition and
examination are not admitted to give in evidence? And to this purpose
it was well said of Lactantius, "Sapientiam sibi adimunt, qui sine
ullo judicio inventa maiorum probant, et ab aliis pecudum more
ducuntur:" "They neglect their own wisdom, who without any judgment
approve the invention of those that forewent them; and suffer
themselves after the manner of beasts, to be led by them;" by the
advantage of which sloth and dullness, ignorance is now become so
powerful a tyrant, as it hath set true philosophy, physics, and
divinity in a pillory; and written over the first, "Contra negantem
principia;"[22] over the second, "Virtus specifica;"[23] over the
third, "Ecclesta Romana."[24]

But for myself, I shall never be persuaded, that God hath shut up all
light of learning within the lanthorn of Aristotle's brains: or that
it was ever said unto him, as unto Esdras, "_Accendam in corde tuo
Lucernam intellectus_";[25] that God hath given invention but to the
heathen, and that they only invaded nature, and found the strength
and bottom thereof; the same nature having consumed all her store,
and left nothing of price to after-ages. That these and these be
the causes of these and these effects, time hath taught us; and not
reason: and so hath experience without art. The cheese-wife knoweth it
as well as the philosopher, that sour rennet doth coagulate her milk
into a curd. But if we ask a reason of this cause, why the sourness
doth it? whereby it doth it? and the manner how? I think that there
is nothing to be found in vulgar philosophy, to satisfy this and many
other like vulgar questions. But man to cover his ignorance in the
least things, who can not give a true reason for the grass under his
feet, why it should be green rather than red, or of any other color;
that could never yet discover the way and reason of nature's working,
in those which are far less noble creatures than himself; who is far
more noble than the heavens themselves: "Man (saith Solomon) that
can hardly discern the things that are upon the earth, and with great
labor find out the things that are before us"; that hath so short a
time in the world, as he no sooner begins to learn, than to die;
that hath in his memory but borrowed knowledge; in his understanding,
nothing truly; that is ignorant of the essence of his own soul, and
which the wisest of the naturalists (if Aristotle be he) could never
so much as define, but by the action and effect, telling us what it
works (which all men knew as well as he) but not what it is, which
neither he, nor any else, doth know, but God that created it; ("For
though I were perfect, yet I know not my soul," saith Job). Man, I
say, that is but an idiot in the next cause of his own life, and in
the cause of all actions of his life, will (notwithstanding) examine
the art of God in creating the world; of God, who (saith Job) "is so
excellent as we know him not"; and examine the beginning of the work,
which had end before mankind had a beginning of being. He will disable
God's power to make a world, without matter to make it of. He will
rather give the motes of the air for a cause; cast the work on
necessity or chance; bestow the honor thereof on nature; make two
powers, the one to be the author of the matter, the other of the
form; and lastly, for want of a workman, have it eternal: which latter
opinion Aristotle, to make himself the author of a new doctrine,
brought into the world: and his Sectators[26] have maintained it;
"parati ac conjurati, quos sequuntur, philosophorum animis invictis
opiniones tueri."[27] For Hermes, who lived at once with, or
soon after Moses, Zoroaster, Musaeus, Orpheus, Linus, Anaximenes,
Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Melissus, Pherecydes, Thales, Cleanthes,
Pythagoras, Plato, and many other (whose opinions are exquisitely
gathered by Steuchius Eugubinus) found in the necessity of invincible
reason, "One eternal and infinite Being," to be the parent of the
universal. "Horum omnium sententia quamvis sit incerta, eodem tamen
spectat, ut Providentiam unam esse consentiant: sive enim natura, sive
aether, sive ratio, sive mens, sive fatalis necessitas, sive divina
lex; idem est quod a nobis dicitur Deus": "All these men's opinions
(saith Lactantius) though uncertain, come to this; That they agree
upon one Providence; whether the same be nature, or light, or reason,
or understanding, or destiny, or divine ordinance, that it is the same
which we call God." Certainly, as all the rivers in the world, though
they have divers risings, and divers runnings; though they sometimes
hide themselves for a while under ground, and seem to be lost in
sea-like lakes; do at last find, and fall into the great ocean:
so after all the searches that human capacity hath, and after all
philosophical contemplation and curiosity; in the necessity of this
infinite power, all the reason of man ends and dissolves itself.

As for the others; the first touching those which conceive the matter
of the world to have been eternal, and that God did not create
the world "Exnihilo,"[28] but "ex materia praeexistente":[29] the
supposition is so weak, as is hardly worth the answering. For
(saith Eusebius) "Mihi videntur qui hoc dicunt, fortunam quoque Deo
annectere," "They seem unto me, which affirm this, to give part of the
work to God, and part to Fortune"; insomuch as if God had not found
this first matter by chance, He had neither been author nor father,
nor creator, nor lord of the universal. For were the matter or chaos
eternal, it then follows, that either this supposed matter did fit
itself to God, or God accommodate Himself to the matter. For the
first, it is impossible, that things without sense could proportion
themselves to the workman's will. For the second: it were horrible to
conceive of God, that as an artificer He applied himself, according to
the proportion of matter which He lighted upon.

But let it be supposed, that this matter hath been made by any power,
not omnipotent, and infinitely wise; I would gladly learn how it came
to pass, that the same was proportionable to his intention, that was
omnipotent and infinitely wise; and no more, nor no less, than served
to receive the form of the universal. For, had it wanted anything of
what was sufficient; then must it be granted, that God created out of
nothing so much new matter, as served to finish the work of the world:
or had there been more of this matter than sufficed, then God did
dissolve and annihilate whatsoever remained and was superfluous. And
this must every reasonable soul confess, that it is the same work of
God alone, to create anything out of nothing, and by the same art
and power, and by none other, can those things, or any part of that
eternal matter, be again changed into nothing; by which those things,
that once were nothing, obtained a beginning of being.

Again, to say that this matter was the cause of itself; this, of all
other, were the greatest idiotism. For, if it were the cause of itself
at any time; then there was also a time when itself was not: at
which time of not being, it is easy enough to conceive, that it could
neither procure itself, nor anything else. For to be, and not to be,
at once, is impossible. "Nihil autem seipsum praecedit, neque; seipsum
componit corpus": "There is nothing that doth precede itself, neither
do bodies compound themselves."

For the rest, those that feign this matter to be eternal, must of
necessity confess, that infinite cannot be separate from eternity. And
then had infinite matter left no place for infinite form, but that
the first matter was finite, the form which it received proves it. For
conclusion of this part, whosoever will make choice, rather to believe
in eternal deformity, or in eternal dead matter, than in eternal light
and eternal life: let eternal death be his reward. For it is a madness
of that kind, as wanteth terms to express it. For what reason of man
(whom the curse of presumption hath not stupefied) hath doubted, that
infinite power (of which we can comprehend but a kind of shadow, "quia
comprehensio est intra terminos, qui infinito repugnant"[30]) hath
anything wanting in itself, either for matter of form; yea for as many
worlds (if such had been God's will) as the sea hath sands? For where
the power is without limitation, the work hath no other limitation,
than the workman's will. Yea reason itself finds it more easy for
infinite power to deliver from itself a finite world, without the help
of matter prepared; than for a finite man, a fool and dust, to change
the form of matter made to his hands. They are Dionysius his words,
"Deus in una existentia omnia praehabet"[31] and again, "Esse omnium
est ipsa divinitas, omne quod vides, et quod non vides",[32] to wit,
"causaliter",[33] or in better terms, "non tanquam forma, sed tanquam
causa universalis"[34] Neither hath the world universal closed up all
of God "For the most part of his works (saith Siracides) are hid".
Neither can the depth of his wisdom be opened, by the glorious work of
the world, which never brought to knowledge all it can, for then were
his infinite power bounded and made finite. And hereof it comes, That
we seldom entitle God the all-showing, or the all-willing, but the
Almighty, that is, infinitely able.

But now for those, who from that ground, "that out of nothing, nothing
is made," infer the world's eternity, and yet not so savage therein,
as those are, which give an eternal being to dead matter, it is true
if the word (nothing) be taken in the affirmative, and the making,
imposed upon natural agents and finite power; that out of nothing,
nothing is made. But seeing their great doctor Aristotle himself
confesseth, "quod omnes antiqui decreverunt quasi quodam return
principium, ipsumque infinitum" "That all the ancient decree a kind
of beginning, and the same to be infinite"; and a little after, more
largely and plainly, "Principium eius est nullum, sed ipsum omnium
cernitur esse principium, ac omnia complecti ac regere",[35] it is
strange that this philosopher, with his followers, should rather make
choice out of falsehood, to conclude falsely, than out of truth, to
resolve truly. For if we compare the world universal, and all the
unmeasureable orbs of Heaven, and those marvellous bodies of the sun,
moon, and stars, with "ipsum infinitum": it may truly be said of them
all, which himself affirms of his imaginary "Materia prima,"[36] that
they are neither "quid, quale," nor "quantum "; and therefore to bring
finite (which hath no proportion with infinite) out of infinite ("qui
destruit omnem proportionem"[37]) is no wonder in God's power. And
therefore Anaximander, Melissus, and Empedocles, call the world
universal, but "particulam universitatis" and "infinitatis," a parcel
of that which is the universality and the infinity inself; and Plato,
but a shadow of God. But the other to prove the world's eternity,
urgeth this maxim, "that, a sufficient and effectual cause being
granted, an answerable effect thereof is also granted": inferring that
God being forever a sufficient and effectual cause of the world, the
effect of the cause should also have been forever; to wit, the world
universal. But what a strange mockery is this in so great a master,
to confess a sufficient and effectual cause of the world, (to wit,
an almighty God) in his antecedent; and the same God to be a God
restrained in his conclusion; to make God free in power, and bound in
will; able to effect, unable to determine; able to make all things,
and yet unable to make choice of the time when? For this were
impiously to resolve of God, as of natural necessity; which hath
neither choice, nor will, nor understanding; which cannot but work
matter being present: as fire, to burn things combustible. Again he
thus disputeth, that every agent which can work, and doth not work,
if it afterward work, it is either thereto moved by itself, or by
somewhat else: and so it passeth from power to act. But God (saith he)
is immovable, and is neither moved by himself, nor by any other: but
being always the same, doth always work. Whence he concludeth, if the
world were caused by God, that he was forever the cause thereof: and
therefore eternal. The answer to this is very easy, for that God's
performing in due time that which he ever determined at length to
perform, doth not argue any alteration or change, but rather constancy
in him. For the same action of his will, which made the world forever,
did also withhold the effect to the time ordained. To this answer, in
itself sufficient, others add further, that the pattern or image
of the world may be said to be eternal: which the Platonics call
"spiritualem mundum"[38] and do in this sort distinguish the idea
and creation in time. "Spiritualis ille mundus, mundi huius exemplar,
primumque Dei opus, vita aequali est architecto, fuit semper cum illo,
eritque semper. Mundus autem corporalis, quod secundum opus est Dei,
decedit iam ab opifice ex parte una, quia non fuit semper: retinet
alteram, quia sit semper futurus": "That representative, or the
intentional world (say they) the sampler of this visible world, the
first work of God, was equally ancient with the architect; for it was
forever with him, and ever shall be. This material world, the second
work or creature of God, doth differ from the worker in this, that it
was not from everlasting, and in this it doth agree, that it shall
be forever to come." The first point, that it was not forever, all
Christians confess: the other they understand no otherwise, than that
after the consummation of this world, there shall be a new Heaven and
a new earth, without any new creation of matter. But of these things
we need not here stand to argue; though such opinions be not unworthy
the propounding, in this consideration, of an eternal and unchangeable
cause, producing a changeable and temporal effect. Touching which
point Proclus the Platonist disputeth, that the compounded essence of
the world (and because compounded, therefore dissipable) is continued,
and knit to the Divine Being, by an individual and inseparable power,
flowing from Divine unity; and that the world's natural appetite of
God showeth, that the same proceedeth from a good and understanding
divine; and that this virtue, by which the world is continued and knit
together, must be infinite, that it may infinitely and everlastingly
continue and preserve the same. Which infinite virtue, the finite
world (saith he) is not capable of, but receiveth it from the divine
infinite, according to the temporal nature it hath, successively every
moment by little and little; even as the whole material world is not
altogether: but the abolished parts are departed by small degrees, and
the parts yet to come, do by the same small degrees succeed; as the
shadow of a tree in a river seemeth to have continued the same a long
time in the water, but it is perpetually renewed, in the continual
ebbing and flowing thereof.

But to return to them, which denying that ever the world had any
beginning, withal deny that ever it shall have any end, and to this
purpose affirm, that it was never heard, never read, never seen,
no not by any reason perceived, that the heavens have ever suffered
corruption; or that they appear any way the older by continuance; or
in any sort otherwise than they were; which had they been subject to
final corruption, some change would have been discerned in so long a
time. To this it is answered, that the little change as yet perceived,
doth rather prove their newness, and that they have not continued
so long; than that they will continue forever as they are. And if
conjectural arguments may receive answer by conjectures; it then
seemeth that some alteration may be found. For either Aristotle,
Pliny, Strabo, Beda, Aquinas, and others, were grossly mistaken; or
else those parts of the world lying within the burnt zone, were not in
elder times habitable, by reason of the sun's heat, neither were the
seas, under the equinoctial, navigable. But we know by experience,
that those regions, so situate, are filled with people, and exceeding
temperate; and the sea, over which we navigate, passable enough. We
read also many histories of deluges: and how in the time of Phaeton,
divers places in the world were burnt up, by the sun's violent heat.

But in a word, this observation is exceeding feeble. For we know it
for certain, that stone walls, of matter mouldering and friable, have
stood two, or three thousand years; that many things have been digged
up out of the earth, of that depth, as supposed to have been buried
by the general flood; without any alteration either of substance or
figure: yea it is believed, and it is very probable, that the gold
which is daily found in mines, and rocks, under ground, was created
together with the earth.

And if bodies elementary, and compounded, the eldest times have not
invaded and corrupted: what great alteration should we look for in
celestial and quint-essential bodies? And yet we have reason to think,
that the sun, by whose help all creatures are generate, doth not


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