Obrázky na stránke

having stoned him, drew him for dead out of the city. It might have hazarded the sides of Democritus had he been present at that tumult of Demetrius, when, the people flocking together in great numbers, some cried one thing and some another, and the assembly was confused, and the most part knew not wherefore they were come together; notwithstanding, all with one voice for the space of two hours cried out, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians."

It had overcome the patience of Job, as it did the meekness of Moses, and would surely have mastered any but the longanimity and lasting sufferance of God, had they beheld the mutiny in the wilderness, when, after ten great miracles in Egypt and some in the same place, they melted down their stolen ear-rings into a calf, and monstrously cried out, “ These be thy gods, Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” It much accuseth the impatience of Peter, who could not endure the staves of the multitude, and is the greatest example of lenity in our Saviour, when he desired of God forgiveness unto those, who having one day brought him into the city in triumph, did presently after act all dishonor upon him, and nothing could be heard but “ Crucifige” in their courts. Certainly he that considereth these things in God's peculiar people will easi

ly discern how little of truth there is in the ways of the multitude ; and though sometimes they are flattered with that aphorism, will hardly believe the voice of the people to be the voice of God.

Lastly, being thus divided from truth in themselves, they are yet farther removed by advenient deception. For true it is, (and I hope I shall not offend their vulgarities if I say,) they are daily mocked into error by subtler devisors, and have been expressly deluded by all professions and ages. Thus the priests of elder time have put upon them many incredible conceits, not only deluding their apprehensions with ariolation, soothsaying, and such oblique idolatries, but winning their credulities unto the literal and downright adorement of cats, lizards, and beetles. And thus also in some Christian churches, wherein is presumed an irreprovable truth, if all be true that is suspected, or half what is related, there have not wanted many strange deceptions, and some thereof are still confessed by the name of pious frauds. Thus Theudas, an impostor, was able to lead away four thousand into the wilderness, and the delusions of Mahomet almost the fourth part of mankind. Thus all heresies, how gross soever, have found a welcome with the people. For thus many of the Jews were wrought into

the belief that Herod was the Messias; and David George of Leyden, and Arden, were not without a party amongst the people, who maintained the same opinion of themselves almost in our days.

Saltinbancoes, quacksalvers, and charlatans deceive them in lower degrees. Were Æsop alive, the Piazza and Pont-Neuf could not but speak their fallacies; meanwhile there are too many, whose cries cannot conceal their mischief. For their impostures are full of cruelty and worse than any other, deluding not only unto pecuniary defraudations, but the irreparable deceit of death.

Astrologers, which pretend to be of Cabala with the stars, (such I mean as abuse that worthy inquiry.) have not been wanting in their deceptions; who, having won their belief unto principles whereof they make great doubt themselves, have made them believe that arbitrary events below have necessary causes above ; whereupon their credulities assent unto any prognostics, and daily swallow the predictions of men, which, considering the independency of their causes and contingency in their events, are only in the prescience of God.

Fortunetellers, jugglers, geomancers, and the like incantatory impostors, though commonly men of inferior rank, and from whom without

illumination they can expect no more than from themselves, do daily and professedly delude them ; unto whom (what is deplorable in men and Christians) too many applying themselves, betwixt jest and earnest, betray the cause of truth, and insensibly make up the legionary body of error.

Statists and politicians, unto whom “ragione di stato" is the first considerable, as though it were their business to deceive the people, as a maxim do hold that truth is to be concealed from them; unto whom although they reveal the visible design, yet do they commonly conceal the capital intention. And therefore have they ever been the instruments of great designs, yet seldom understood the true intention of any; accomplishing the drifts of wiser heads, as inanimate and ignorant agents the general design of the world ; who though in some latitude of sense and in a natural cognition perform their proper actions, yet do they unknowingly concur unto higher ends and blindly advance the great intention of nature. Now how far they may be kept in ignorance, a great example there is in the people of Rome, who never knew the true and proper name of their own city. For beside that common appellation received by the citizens, it had a proper and secret name concealed from them.

Cujus alterum nomen dicere secretis ceremoniarum nefas habetur," says Pliny; lest the name thereof being discovered unto their enemies, their penates and patronal gods might be called forth by charms and incantations. For according unto the tradition of magicians, the tutelary spirits will not remove at common appellations, but at the proper names of things whereunto they are protectors.

Thus having been deceived by themselves, and continually deluded by others, they must needs be stuffed with errors, and even over-run with these inferior falsities; whereunto whosoever shall resign their reasons, either from the root of deceit in themselves, or inability to resist such trivial ingannations from others, although their condition and fortunes may place them many spheres above the multitude, yet are they still within the line of vulgarity, and democratical enemies of truth,


The falling of salt is an authentic presagement of ill luck, nor can every temper contemn it; from whence notwithstanding nothing can be naturally feared ; nor was the same a gene

« PredošláPokračovať »