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I cannot tell : This fame Truth is a naked, and open Daylight, that doth not show the Masques, and Mummeries, and Triumphs of the world, half so stately, and daintily, as Candlelights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a Pearl, that showeth best by Day: But it will not rise to the Price of a Diamond, or Carbuncle, that sheweth best in varied Lights. A mixture of a Lie doth ever add Pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of Men's Minds, vain Opinions, Aattering Hopes, false Valuations, Imaginations as one would, and the like; but it would leave the Minds of a Number of Men, poor shrunken Things ; full of Melancholy, and Indifposition, and unpleasing to themselves ? One of the Fathers, in great Severity, called Poesy, Vinum Demonum; because it filleth the Imagination ; and yet
it is but with the Shadow of a Lie. But it is not the Lie, that passeth through the Mind, but the Lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the Hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus, in Men's depraved Judgements, and Affections; yet Truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the Inquiry of Truth, which is the Love-making, or Wooing of it; the Knowledge of Truth, which is the Presence of it, and the Belief of Truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the Sovereign Good of human Nature.
The first Creature of God, in the Works of the Days, was the Light of the Sense; the last was the Light of Reason; and his Sabbath Work, ever since, is the Illumination of his Spirit. First he breathed Light upon the Face of the Matter, or Chaos; then he breathed Light into the Face of Man; and still he breatheth and inspireth Light into the Face of his Chosen. The Poet, that beautified the Sect, that was otherwise inferior to the rest, faith yet excellently well: It is a Pleasure to stand upon the Shore, and to see Ships tost upon the Sea : a Pleasure to stand in the Window of a Castle, and to see a Battle, and the Adventures thereof, below : But no Pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage Ground of Truth; (A Hill not to be commanded, and where the Air is always clear and serene): and to see the Errors, and Wanderings, and Mists, and Tempests, in the Vale below : So always, that this Prospect be with Pity, and not with Swelling, or Pride. Certainly, it is Heaven
Earth to have a Man's Mind move in Charity, rest in Providence, and turn upon the Poles of Truth.
To pass from Theological and Philosophical Truth, to the Truth of civil Business; it will be acknowledged, even by those that practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the Honour of Man's Nature; and that Mixture of Falsehood is like Alloy in Coin of Gold and Silver, which may make the Metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked Courses, are the Goings of the Serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the Feet.
There is no Vice, that doth so cover a Man with Shame, as to be found false and perfidious. And therefore Montaigne faith prettily, when he enquired the reason why the Word of the Lie should be such a Difgrace, and such an Odious Charge? Saith he, If it be well weighed, To say that a Man lieth, is as much as to say, That he is brave towards God, and a Coward towards Men. For a Lie faces God, and shrinks from Man. Surely the Wickedness of Falsehood, and Breach of Faith, cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last Peal, to call the Judgements of God upon the Generations of Men, it being foretold, that when Christ cometh, He shall not find Faith upon the Earth.
II. Of Death.
EN fear Death, as Children fear to go in the Dark. And as that Natural Fear in Children is encreased with
Tales, fo is the other. Certainly, the Contemplation of Death, as the Wages of Sin, and Passage to another World, is holy, and religious ; but the Fear of it, as a Tribute due unto Nature, is weak. Yet in religious Meditations, there is fometimes, Mixture of Vanity, and of Superstition. You shall read, in some of the Friars' Books of Mortification, that a Man should think with himfelf, what the Pain is, if he have but his Finger's End pressed, or tortured; and thereby imagine what the Pains of Death are, when the whole Body is corrupted and diffolved: when many times Death pafseth with less pain, than the Torture of a Limb: For the most vital parts are not the quickest of Sense. And by him, that spake only as a Philosopher and Natural Man, it was well faid; Pompa Mortis magis terret, quàm Mors ipsa: Groans and Convulsions, and a discoloured Face, and Friends weeping, and Blacks, and Obsequies, and the like, shew Death Terrible. It is worthy the observing, that there is no Passion in the Mind of Man so weak, but it mates and masters the Fear of Death. And therefore Death is no such terrible Enemy, when a man hath so many Attendants about him, that can win the Combat of him. Revenge triumphs over Death; Love flights it; Honour aspireth to it; Grief Alieth to it; Fear pre-occupateth it: Nay, we read, after Otho the Emperor had flain himself, Pity (which is the tenderest of Affections) provoked many to die, out of mere Compassion to their Sovereign, and as the truest sort of Followers. Nay, Seneca adds, Niceness and Satiety ; Cogita quàm diù eadem feceris ; Mori velle, non tantùm Fortis, aut Miser, sed etiam Faftidiosus poteft. A Man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a Weariness to do the same thing, so oft over and
It is no less worthy to observe, how little Alteration, in good Spirits, the Approaches of Death make ; for they appear to be the same Men, till the last Instant. Augustus Cæfar died in a Compliment; Livia, conjugii noftri memor, vive, et vale. Tiberius in Diffimulation; as Tacitus faith of him ; Jam Tiberium Vires, et Corpus, non Difsimulatio deferebant. Vespasian in a Jeft; fitting upon the Stool, Ut puto Deus fio. Galba with a Sentence; Feri, si ex re fit Populi Romani ; holding
forth his Neck. Septimus Severus in Dispatch; Adeste, fi quid mihi reftat agendum. And the like. Certainly, the Stoics bestowed too much Cost upon Death, and by their great Preparations, made it appear more fearful. Better faith he, Qui Finem Vite extremum inter Munera ponit Naturæ. It is as Natural to Die, as to be Born; and to a little Infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot Blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the Hurt: And therefore, a Mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the Dolours of Death. But above all, believe it, the sweetest Canticle is, Nunc dimittis; when a Man hath obtained worthy Ends, and Expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the Gate to good Fame, and extinguisheth Envy:
Extin&tus amabitur idem.