« AnteriorContinuar »
not pass by one proof thereof, which he gave in his disputation with Christianus Francken. This fellow, in the session of the synod of Chmelnica, desiring to shew a proof of his learning and wit, did, in a more arrogant manner than was meet, challenge those pastors to dispute, slighting the mean learning of every one. And that he might with very plenty, puzzle and overwhelm him that was to dispute, having beforehand provided himself, he together proposed fifty arguments, against the adoration of Christ. This matter troubled some, and they, though the church had so often rejected Socinus, did yet enjoin him to make an answer. He, attentively hearing the man, who had on a sudden entered upon an unjust way of arguing, and did, with one breath almost, pour out so many prepared shafts, was admonished to take in writing, at least, the heads of the reasons, to which an answer Was to be returned. But he, in confidence of his memory, slighted the assistance of his pen, and patiently heard the man uttering those reasons of his, as long as he pleased; and by and by, in the same order, repeating the long series of his arguments, gave such a solid answer to each of them, that the adversary had hardly any thing to mutter against him. Whereupon having professed that he was unskilled and unprepared, he went away confounded, to the admiration of all. And, because we have touched the endowments of his nature, if any man be curious to know the figure of his body also, let him know that he wanted not a form answerable to his disposition, being of such a stature, as exceeded not the just size, yetwas nearer to tallness. The habit of his body was somewhat slender, yet within measure; in his countenance, the dignity of his high forehead and masculine beauty of his eyes did cast a glance. Nor did the comeliness and grace of his look diminish the vigour and majesty thereof. He was somewhat sparing of meat and sleep, and abstinent of all pleasures, without affectation; only, in the conservation of his health, he seemed scrupulous, and oftentimes over-diligent; yet was he, for the most part, of a prosperous health, but that he was sometimes troubled with the pains of the stone, and with the cholick. Moreover, being grown somewhat old, he complained of the dimness of his sight, contracted with over-much watching; the genius of his life was gentle and innocent. There was a marvellous simplicity in his manners, which was so tempered with gravity, that he was free from all superciliousness. Whence it came to pass, that you would sooner reverence him, than you could fear him. He was very affable, giving honour to every one exceedingly; and would you desire to reprove any thing in him, there was nothing nearer to discommendation, than the over-much debasement of himself.
The clothing of his body was modest, but yet neat and spruce; and, though he was at a remote distance from bravery, yet was he less averse from slight ornaments. He was officious towards his friends, and diligent in all parts of his life. He had so won the affection of the princes, in whose service he spent part of his life, that neither could long absence extinguish the desire of him, nor manifest offence obliterate the favour to him. Having shewed all manner of officiousness towards his uncles, brethren, and male kindred, he chiefly regarded and reverenced Larlius. Amongst his female-kindred, besides his grandmother Car milla, a most choice matron, he exceedingly loved his aunt Porcia, and his sister Phyllis, and that according to their deserts. The former of which twain, being, whilst she lived, an example of most commendable chastity, did by her discretion, and incredible gentleness of manners, so gain the affection of her husband, Laelius Beccius, a man of rank and quality, that he would often say with tears, that he was unworthy of such and so great a wife. The latter, by the sanctity of her manners and discipline in governing the house, had so approved herself to her husband Cornelius Marsilius, a great nobleman, that, at her death, she left behind her an immortal desire of her company. And, forasmuch, as we are long since slipped from the endowments of nature, to those which he acquired by his own industry, we must not pass over in silence some of his virtues, whereby he was eminent above many. I cannot easily say, whether there was more fire, or wit, in so vehement a disposition, so prone to choler had nature framed him, before he had allayed those violent motions with reason. Nevertheless, he did so break and tame his cholerick temper, that the mildness, which afterwards shined forth in him, seemed to very many to be the praise of nature, not of industry. The commendation of his patience likewise is enhanced, as by the indignity of his fortune and injuries, so also by his delicate, and consequently touchy disposition. No evil is wont to happen unto such persons, without an exquisite resentment; nor is it so much to be wondered at, that oftentimes a larger wit is capable of more sorrow.
But he in this fight also appeared conqueror, of his fortune and nature, after he had, with a Christian greatness of mind, borne and undergone so many calamities from strangers, so many injuries from his countrymen, perils from enemies, ingratitude from friends, envy from the learned, hatred from the ignorant, infamy from all, poverty from fortune, in fine, a continual repulse, not without ignominy from that very church which he had chiefly beautified. I have almost done an injury to fortune, in seeming to have ascribed unto her the cause of his poverty. But I have not now accused her fault, but intimated her condition; which Socinus might, perhaps, by fortune's means, have escaped, would either his conscience, or a certain generosity of mind, have permitted him. Certainly he never sought after the flame of holiness by beggary. Nevertheless, as often as he was able to sustain his condition with the smallest means, he could not be brought to take such gifts as were freely offered him. Yea, he did of his own accord, expend his means on the poor. Nor was he only conversant in every kind of alms, but in every kind of liberality also; so as you may thereby understand that his charity was inflamed with the promiscuous love of all men. Likewise he published certain books at his own charges, that he might omit nothing for the accomplishment of his ardent zeal to promote divine truth, which he had undertaken to propagate, what with so many writings, what with so many letters, what with so many private and publick disputations, what with so many informations of them, who were in all places the interpreters of his mind; what with so many long journies, most of them from the utmost border of Silesia, to the midst of Lithuania; what with tke loss of health, fame, and fortunes; what,
Tol. vi. A a
finally, with the hazard of his life. That very thing, which had been the only solace to sustain him in the midst of so great labours and perils, did he continually inculcate to the whole church, as the only remedy to lead a holy life, namely, a continual hope of immortality, which he thought was to be carefully and delicately cherished. So that when a certain old man shewed a tomb built for himself in token of piety, saying, that he did perpetually meditate on death: Socinus replied, that he would do more rightly, if he did meditate on the reason of the resurrection. Certainly his prudence shined forth in all the parts of his life, but chiefly in his judgment of spiritual things, and was, as it were, a certain fruit of his humility and modesty, a virtue so inbred and peculiar to his nature, that, in other virtues, he may seem to have vied with others; in this with himself. He never despised any man, never attempted any thing, but with advice and circumspection. In his very studies also he was so far from all self-confidence, that he never essayed to write any thing, but what had been concocted with long and mature meditation. And this may easily be discerned in his works. How often did he go very gingerly through those rough ways, which others would have securely trodden? So that no man sremeth to. have distrusted another's wit, as he did his own; which, as we have said, was then the reward, and now the token of his singular modesty. But especially his faith did much shine forth amongst other praises. None, in the memory of men, was better furnished with all helps whereby we ascend to fame, and wealth, and the highest pitch of this life: nature, fortune, and, finally, industry, had cmulously accumulated nobility of stock, splendor of friendships, grace of princes, liberal means, health, wit, eloquence, learning, and a natural reach capable of the greatest matters. Obedience to the call of God, and the pledge of truth intrusted to him, cost him the loss of so great privileges. It was a small matter to have forsaken so many pledges of the greatest hope, had he not also, as a sacrifice devoted to the publick hatred, wittingly and willingly exposed himself to infinite miseries, want, hazards, enmities, universal contempt, reproaches, contumelies, and to an execrable memory of his name in all places. Nor indeed looked he for any other reward at present, or shortly after. His wishes reached beyond the bounds of his life, yea, beyond the race of the present age; and his hope was so truly erected towards heaven, that it rested on noprop of earthly solace. I detract not from the praises due to the merits of other men; each of them hath his proper honour. Yet will I, by their good leave, say, that some famous men have perhaps made an attempt at so sublime a proof of faith, but I cannot tell whether any one hath reached it. For the greatest part wanted not helps whereby their virtue was soon relieved, so that they were not long God's creditors. The magnanimity of Luther, and others, was quickly entertained with the applause and affections of princes and people. How many others, otherwise poor and obscure, were, by the maintenance of God's cause, advanced to riches and power? Whom nevertheless this vicissitude doth not exclude from the praise of faith, if that which was the cause of their advancement did grow up to maturity, together with them..
But they cannot easily be admitted into this number, who, even with the great detriment of their estates, espouse the cause of God (whether truly such, or pretended) being now in a flourishing condition, and come to maturity. For they have what to hope for on the earth, even without respect to heaven; and, in the expectation of such present rewards, you cannot always easily discern, whether they repose greater confidence in God, than in their own industry.
But Laelius and Faustus, men of so great judgment, and so great knowledge and experience of the age wherein they lived, what solace could they promise themselves in the earth whilst they lived, yea, in the next ensuing age, for so many labours and dangers, having professed such tenets as were set off with no pomp of authority, no engagement of parties, no connivance ata more dissolute life, yea, no other blandishment whatsoever, but were rather distasteful and odious unto all, by reason of their austerity? Certainly I can here espy no crevice of earthly hope, which may detract a whit from the praise of a most noble faith, which, how great soever it was, being excluded out of all the earth, was mounted up to heaven, and there conversed with the clemency of God alone.
Ignatius also, that I may omit others, in the memory of our fathers, contemned his country, kindred, wealth, honours, and other allurements, and also underwent many labours and dangers of his own accord, having professed a zeal to God's glory, and the warfare of faith. I slightnot the greatness of mind, which shewed itself in him, or some like to him. For neither did they hasten unto glory, through such a way as was altogether pleasant. Nevertheless, I do not yet here behold that difficult proof of a more noble faith, which we seek for. I assume not so much to myself, nor is it at present very material, as to pronounce sentence concerning the purpose of any one's mind, which will, at length, be performed by an infallible judge. Wherefore, I regard not what Ignatius had in his mind, since for the present business it is sufficient what he might have. It is true, he saw the Pope's affairs in some provinces afflicted, but could not be ignorant, that in most, or at least in the more powerful ones, and consequently in his country, and where he intended to fix his abode, they were well established and flourishing. Who would affirm, that the immense rewards, which that church presently repayeth to her defenders, were unknown to Ignatius? Certainly, the spur of glory is very sharp in generous minds. Wheresoever an illustrious field of glory is opened, not only pleasures and riches become sordid in comparison thereof, but very life itselfis vilified. And, therefore, even martyrdoms are easily undergone for a prosperous and rich church, without a more noble proof of religious faith; nor, consequently, can they deserve more admiration, than those brave lads of Canna and Trebia, who were born for the Punick times; or, if you like not the common soldiery, than Codrus, who feared not to die for his country. Indeed, whosoever hath sought after eternity of name in the church of Rome, did wisely chuse a race for his glory. For the Roman commonwealth heretofore, although she grew great by this means chiefly, did never propose so many and so great rewards to dangers undertaken for her sake, as the Roman church doth hold forth. For those sump
tuous beds and altars were a late invention of the commonwealth, and that to gratify the emperors only. Whereas the church doth confer upon her benefactors, not only everlasting veneration of name, but also temples and orders, and an honourable place amongst the canonised saints. What higher thing can the most ardent thirst of glory aspire unto? Wherefore, when so large offers are proposed, and almost grasped with the hand, whosoever, though with some loss of his estate, entered into that warfare, hath no great reason to boast of his faith before God. Whilst the riches of the Roman church, the power of so many princes, and thehugeness of the Spanish empire dispersed over the world,came into his aid, it was an easy matter, even in the greatest danger, to run before the ensigns. That was an essay of a human and military fortitude, not rising up to the more sacred glory of the martyrs or confessors of the primitive church. For they did so sincerely mind heaven, that they had nothing left them to be hoped for in the earth. After their example, Laelius and Faustus did so trust God with those things which they lost for his sake, that they received hardly any earthly pledges of the reward to come, no human security for the divine hope, no solace. They followed the faith and clemency of God alone, in expectation to receive the same a long time after their decease. And, having been through the course of their lives perpetually despised, and inglorious, and only famous for the hatred conceived against them, they did not so much as at their death receive a taste of a more honourable report. Nevertheless, the beneficence of the most faithful God did never turn bankrupt to any one that had trusted him: Nor would have that noble pair of his servants to be buried in perpetual oblivion, but shewed them to the world, on that side of them where they might be gloriously known, having brought to light so many famous monuments of their wits.
And, although the wages of their warfare consisted not in this reward, yet, nevertheless, he hath begun so bountifully to assert the very honour of their name amongst men, that it is, perhaps, more to be feared, lest posterity should confer on them too much dignity, than none at all.
A BRIEF AND PERFECT JOURNAL
OF THE LATE PROCEEDING! AMI SUCCESS OF THE
ENGLISH ARMY IN THE WEST INDIES,
Continued until June the 24M, 1655.
Together with some queries inserted and answered. Published for satisfaction of all such who desire truly to be informed in these particulars. By I. S. an eye-witness.
Veritas nudata celari non potest.
IN all records, ancient or modern, of the actions and transactions of kingdoms and nations, there are not to be seen more suitable successes, attending strange and occult proceedings, than lately in the West