« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
religion is built upon the rock, the rest are tossed upon the waves of time. To speak therefore of the causes of new sects, and to give some counsel concerning them, as far as the weakness of human judgment can give stay to so great revolutions.
When the religion, formerly received, is rent by discords; and when the holiness of the professors of religion is decayed, and full of scandal, and withal the times be stupid, ignorant, and barbarous, you may expect the springing up of a new sect, if then also there should arise any extravagant and strange spirit to make himself author thereof: all which points held, when Mahomet published his law. If a new sect have not two properties, fear it not; for it will not spread. The one is, the supplanting or the opposing of authority established : for nothing is more popular than that. The other is, the giving licence to pleasures and voluptuous life. For as for speculative heresies, (such as were in ancient times the Arrians, and now the Arminians) though they work mightily upon men's wits, yet they do not produce any great alteration in States, except it be by the help of civil occasions. There be three manner of plantations of new sects; by the power of signs and miracles; by the eloquence and wisdom of speech and persuasion; and by the 'sword: for martyrdoms, I reckon them amongst miracles, because they seem to exceed the
strength of human nature; and I may do the like of superlative and admirable holiness of life. Surely there is no better way to stop the rising of new sects and schisms, than to reform abuses, to compound the smaller differences, to proceed mildly, and not with sanguinary persecutions; and rather to conciliate the principal authors by winning and advancing them, than to enrage them by violence and bitterness.
The changes and vicissitude in wars are many, but chiefly in three things . in the seats or stages of the war; in the weapons; and in the manner of the conduct. Wars in ancient time seemed more to move from East to West: for the Persians, Assyrians, Arabians, Tartars, (which are the invaders) were all Eastern people. It is true, the Gauls were Western, but we read but of two incursions of theirs, the one to Gallo-Græcia, the other to Rome. But East and West have no certain points of Heaven; and no more have the wars, eith from the East or West, any certainty of observation. But North and South are fixed, and it hath seldom or never been seen that the far Southern people have invaded the Northern, but contrarywise. Whereby it is manifest, that the Northern tract of the world is in nature the more martial region; be it in respect of the stars of that hemisphere, or of the great continents that are upon the North, whereas the Southern tract, for aught that is known, is almost all sea; or (which is most apparent) of the cold of the Northern parts, which is that which, without aid of discipline, doth make the bodies hardest, and the courages warmest.
Upon the breaking and shivering of a great State and Empire, you may be sure to have wars. For great Empires, while they stand, do enervate and destroy the forces of the natives which they have subdued, resting upon their own protecting forces; and then when they fail also, all goes to ruin, and they become a prey. So was it in the decay of the Roman Empire; and likewise in the Empire of Almain, after Charles the Great, every bird taking a feather; and also not unlike to befall to Spain if it should break. The great accessions and unions of kingdoms do likewise stir up wars. For when a State grows to an over-power, it is like a great flood that will be sure to overflow: as it hath been seen in the States of Rome, Turkey, Spain, and others. Look when the world hath fewest barbarous people, but such as commonly will not marry or generate, except they know means to live, (as it is almost every where at this day, except Tartary), there is no danger of inundations of people ; but when there be great shoals of people, which on to populate without foreseeing means of life and sustentation, it is of necessity that once in an agę
or two, they discharge a portion of their people upon other nations, which the ancient Northern people were wont to do by lot, casting lots what part should stay at home, and what should seek their fortunes. When a warlike State grows soft and effeminate, they may
be sure of a war; for commonly such States are grown rich in the time of their degenerating; and so the prey inviteth, and their decay in valour encourageth a war.
As for the weapons, it hardly falleth under rule and observation; yet we see even they have returns and vicissitudes. For certain it is, that ordnance was known in the city of the Oxydrakes in India ; and was that which the Macedonian's called thunder and lightning, and magic. And it is well known, that the use of ordnance hath been in China above 2000 years. The conditions of weapons, and their improvement, are,—first, the striking afar off; for that outruns the danger, as it is seen in ordnance and muskets. Secondly, the strength of the percussion, wherein likewise ordnance do exceed all battering rams, and ancient inventions. The third is, the commodious use of them; as that they may serve in all weathers, that the carriage may be liglit and manageable, and the like.
For the conduct of the war: at the first, men rested extremely upon number; they did put the wars likewise upon main force and valour, pointing days for pitched fields, and so trying it out upon an even match; and they were more ignorant in ranging and arraying their battles. After they grew to rest upon number, rather competent than vast, they grew to advantage of place, cunning diversions, and the like; and they grew more skilful in the ordering of their battles.
In the youth of a State, arms do flourish ; in the middle age of a State, learning; and then both of them together for a time : in the declining age of a State, mechanical arts, and merchandize. Learning hath his infancy when it is but beginning, and almost childish; then his youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; then his strength of years, when it is solid and reduced ; and lastly, his old age; when it waxeth dry and exhausted. But it is not good to look too long upon these turning wheels of Vicissitude, lest we become giddy. As for the philology of them, that is but a circle of tales, and therefore not fit for this writing.
A Fragment of an Essay of Fame.
The poets make Fame a monster. They describe her, in part, finely and elegantly; and in part, gravely and sententiously. They say-Look how many feathers she hath, so many eyes she hath un