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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, so 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 sometimes Mixture of Vanity and of Superstition. You shall read, in some of the Friars' Books of Mortification, that a Man should think with himself 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 ipake only as a Philosopher and Natural Man, it was well said ; Pompa Mortis magnis terret, quàm Mors ipfa. 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 Paffion in the Mind of Man fo 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 Nights it; Honour aspireth to it; Grief Alieth to it; Fear pre-occupateth it: nay, we read, after Otho the Emperor had Nain himself, Pity (which is the tenderest of Affections) provoked many to die out of mere Compassion to their Sovereign, and as the truest fort of Followers.. Nay, Seneca adds, Niceness and Satiety ; Cogita quàm diù eadem feceris ; Mori velle, non tantùm Fortis, aut Miser, sed etiam Faftidiofus poteft.3 A Man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over. 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 nostri memor vive, et vale.4 Tiberius in Diffimulation; as Tacitus faith of him; Jam Tiberium Vires, et Corpus, non Dissimulatio deferebant.5 Vefpafian in a Jeft; fitting upon the Stool, Ut puto Deus fio. Galba with a Sentence; Feri, si ex re fit Populi Romani ; 7 holding forth his Neck. Septimius Severus in Dispatch ; Adeste, fi quid mihi reftat agendum ;8 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 Vita extremum inter Munera ponit Naturæ.9 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
It has been supposed that the reference here is to Seneca, but it is undoubtedly to Montaigne, whose Essays were evidently much in Bacon's mind. The Latin is merely a version of Montaigne's thought :-“ Je croy à la vérité que ce sont ces mines et appareils effroyables, de quoy nous l'entourons qui nous font plus de peur qu'elle : une toute nouvelle forme de vivre : les cris des mères, des femmes, et des enfans, la visitation des personnes estonnés et transies, l'affiftance d'un nombre de valets pasles et éplorez, un chambre fans jours : des cierges allumez: noftre chevet afliegé de Medecins et de Precheurs : fomme, toute horreur et tout effroy autour de nous. Nous voila deja ensevelis et enterrez,"- MONTAIGNE, Efrais, lib. i. c. 19. Que Philosopher, c'est apprendre à mourir. 3 Tacit. Hift. ii. 49.
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 : 10
Extinctus amabitur idem.11
o Sueton. Vesp. Vit. c. 23.
7 Tacit. Hift. i. 41. 8 Dio, Caff. 76. ad fin.
9 Juv. Sat. x. 357. It is spatium vitæ in the poet. Lord Bacon has here quoted from memory, but has correctly given the sense of the passage. Spatium extremum, finem, vitæ, mortem imminentem. Gifford renders it, -- " That reckons death a blessing.”
10 With respect to this Elay compare the hints given in the rhe. torical common places entitled Exempla Antithetorum in the Sixth Book De Augmentis Scientiarum, Art. XII. « Vita.".
11 Hor. Ep. II. i. 14.
111. Of Unity in Religion.
ELIGION being the chief Band of human Society, it is a happy thing when itself is well contained within the true
Band of Unity. The Quarrels and Divisions about Religion were evils unknown to the Heathen. The Reason was, because the Religion of the Heathen consisted rather in Rites and Ceremonies than in any constant Belief: for you may imagine what kind of Faith theirs was, when the chief Doctors and Fathers of their Church were the Poets. But the true God hath this Attribute, that he is a Jealous God ;1 and therefore his worship and Religion will endure no Mixture nor Partner. We shall therefore speak a few words concerning the Unity of the Church; What are the Fruits thereof; what the Bounds; and what the Means ?
The Fruits of Unity (next unto the well Pleasing of God, which is all in all) are two; the One, towards those that are without the Church ; the Other, towards those that are within. For the Former, it is certain, that Heresies and Schisms are of all others the greatest Scandals ; yea more than Corruption of Manners. For as in the Natural Body a Wound or Solution of Continuity is worse than a corrupt Humour ; so in the Spiritual.
1 Exodus xx.
So that nothing doth so much keep Men out of the Church, and drive Men out of the Church, as Breach of Unity; and therefore, whensoever it cometh to that pass, that one faith, Ecce in Deserto; another faith, Ecce in penetralibus ;o that is, when some Men seek Christ in the Conventicles of Heretics, and others in an Outward Face of a Church, that Voice had need continually to sound in Men's Ears, Nolite exire, Go not out. The Doctor of the Gentiles (the Propriety of whose Vocation drew him to have a special care of those without) faith, If an Heathen come in, and hear you speak with several Tongues, will be not say that you are mad? And certainly, it is little better, when Atheists and profane Persons do hear of fo many Discordant and Contrary Opinions in Religion, it doth avert them from the Church, and maketh them to sit down in the Chair of the Scorners. It is but a light thing to be vouched in so Serious a Matter, but yet it expresseth well the Deformity. There is a Master of Scoffing, that, in his Catalogue of Books of a feigned Library, sets down this Title of a Book; The Morris-dance of Heretics.5 For indeed, every Sect of them hath a divers Posture, or cringe, by themselves, which cannot but move Derision in Worldlings and depraved Politickes, who are apt to contemn Holy Things.
As for the Fruit towards those that are within,
1 Cor. xiv. 23. 4 Psalm i. I.
2 Matth. xxiv, 26.
5 Rabelais, Pantag. ii. 7. 6 Thus the original: the word was then used for politic persons.