The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10)
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In this section, according to its mystical interpretation, we have a summary description of the state of the Church, from the coming of the Savior to the end of the world. For the Lord constrained his Disciples to get into a ship, when he committed the Church to the government of the Apostles and their followers. And thus to go before him unto the other side,—that is, to bear onwards towards the haven of the celestial country, before he himself should entirely depart from the world. For, with his elect, and on account of his elect, he ever remains here until the consummation of all things; and he is preceded to the other side of the sea of this world by those who daily pass hence to the Land of the Living. And when he shall have sent all that are his to that place, then, leaving the multitude of the reprobate, and no longer warning them to be converted, but giving them over to perdition, he will depart hence that he may be with his elect alone in the kingdom.

Whence it is added, "while he sent the multitude away." For in the end of the world he will "send away the multitude" of his enemies, that they may then be hurried by the Devil to everlasting vdamnation. "And when he had sent the multitude away, he went up in a mountain to pray." He will not send away the multitude of the Gentiles till the end of the world; but he did dismiss the multitude of the Jewish people at the time when, as saith Isaiah, "He commanded his clouds that they should rain no rain upon it"; that is, he commanded his Apostles that they should preach no longer to the Jews, but should go to the Gentiles. Thus, therefore, he sent away that multitude, and "went up into a mountain"; that is, to the height of the celestial kingdom, of which it had been written, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, or who shall rise up in his holy place?" For a mountain is a height, and what is higher than heaven? There the Lord ascended. And he ascended alone, "for no man hath ascended up into heaven save he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven." And even when he shall come at the end of the world, and shall have collected all of us, his members, together, and shall have raised us into heaven, he will also ascend alone, because Christ, the head, is one with his body. But now the Head alone ascends,—the Mediator of God and man —the man Christ Jesus. And he goes up to pray, because he went to the Father to intercede for us. "For Christ is not entered into holy places made with hands, which are figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

It follows: "And when the evening was come, he was there alone." This signifies the nearness of the end of the world, concerning which John also speaks: "Little children, it is the last time." Therefore it is said that, "when the evening was come, he was there alone," because, when the world was drawing to its end, he by himself, as the true high priest, entered into the holy of holies, and is there at the right hand of God, and also maketh intercession for us. But while he prays on the mountain, the ship is tossed with waves in the deep. For, since the billows arise, the ship may be tossed; but since Christ prays, it cannot be overwhelmed. ...

We may notice, also, that this commotion of the waves, and tottering or half-sinking of Peter, takes place even in our time, according to the spiritual sense daily. For every man's own besetting sin is the tempest. You love God; you walk upon the sea; the swellings of this world are under your feet. You love the world; it swallows you up; its wont is to devour, not to bear up, its lovers. But when your heart fluctuates with the desire of sin, call on the divinity of Christ, that you may conquer that desire. You think that the wind is then contrary when the adversity of this world rises against you, and not also when its prosperity fawns upon you. For when wars, when tumults, when famine, when pestilence comes, when any private calamity happens even to individual men, then the wind is thought adverse, and then it is held right to call upon God; but when the world smiles with temporal felicity, then, forsooth, the wind is not contrary. Do not, by such tokens as these, judge of the tranquillity of the time; but judge of it by your own temptations. See if you are tranquil within yourself; see if no internal tempest is overwhelming you. It is a proof of great virtue to struggle with happiness, so that it shall not seduce, corrupt, subvert. Learn to trample on this world; remember to trust in Christ. And if your foot be moved,—if you totter,—if there be some temptations that you cannot overcome,—if you begin to sink, cry out to Jesus, Lord, save me. In Peter, therefore, the common condition of all of us is to be considered; so that, if the wind of temptation endeavor to upset us in any matter, or its billows to swallow us up, we may cry to Christ. He shall stretch forth his hand, and preserve us from the deep.

It follows: "And when he was come into the ship, the wind ceased." In the last day he shall ascend into the ship of the Church, because then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory; which throne may not unfitly be understood of the Church. For he who by faith and good works now and always dwells in the Church shall then, by the manifestation of his glory, enter into it. And then the wind shall cease, because evil spirits shall no more have the power of sending forth against it the flames of temptation or the commotions of troubles; for then all things shall be at peace and at rest.

It follows: "Then they that were with him in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." They who remain faithfully in the Church amidst the tempests of temptations will approach to him with joy, and, entering into his kingdom with him, will worship him; and, praising him perpetually, will affirm him of a truth to be the Son of God. Then, also, that will happen which is written concerning the elect raised from death: "All flesh shall come and shall worship before my face," saith the Lord. And again: "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will always be praising thee." For him, whom with their heart they believe unto righteousness, and with their mouth confess to salvation, him they shall see with their heart to light, and with their mouth shall praise to glory, when they behold how ineffably he is begotten of the Father, with whom he liveth and reigneth, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God to all ages of ages. Amen.

THOMAS ARNOLD (1795-1842)

Doctor Thomas Arnold, the celebrated head master of Rugby was born June 13th, 1795, at West Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, where his father, William Arnold, was a Collector of Customs. After several years at Winchester school, he went to Oxford where in 1815 he was elected a fellow of Oriel College. His intellectual bent showed at Oxford, on the one hand, in fondness for Aristotle and Thucydides, and on the other in what one of his friends has described as "an earnest, penetrating, and honest examination of Christianity." As a result of this honesty and earnestness, he became and remains a great force wherever English is spoken. Elected head master of Rugby in December 1827, and remaining in charge of that school for nearly fourteen years, he almost revolutionized and did much to civilize the English system of public education. When he left Rugby, in December 1841, it was to go to Oxford as professor of Modern History, but his death, June 12th, 1842, left him remembered by the English-speaking world as "Arnold of Rugby." He left five volumes of sermons, an edition of 'Thucydides,' a 'History of Rome' in three volumes, and other works, but his greatest celebrity has been given him by the enthusiastic love which his manly Christian character inspired in his pupils and acquaintances, furnishing as it did the master motive of 'Tom Brown at Rugby,' a book which is likely to hold the place it has taken next to 'Robinson Crusoe' among English classics for the young.

The sermon here republished from the text given in 'Simons's Sermons of Great Preachers,' is an illustration of the eloquence which appeals to the mind of others, not through musical and beautiful language so much as through deep thought and compact expression.


"God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."—Matt. xxii. 32

We hear these words as a part of our Lord's answer to the Sadducees; and, as their question was put in evident profaneness, and the answer to it is one which to our minds is quite obvious and natural, so we are apt to think that in this particular story there is less than usual that particularly concerns us. But it so happens, that our Lord, in answering the Sadducees, has brought in one of the most universal and most solemn of all truths,—which is indeed implied in many parts of the Old Testament, but which the Gospel has revealed to us in all its fullness,—the truth contained in the words of the text, that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

I would wish to unfold a little what is contained in these words, which we often hear even, perhaps, without quite understanding them; and many times oftener without fully entering into them. And we may take them, first, in their first part, where they say that "God is not the God of the dead."

The word "dead," we know, is constantly used in Scripture in a double sense, as meaning those who are dead spiritually, as well as those who are dead naturally. And, in either sense, the words are alike applicable: "God is not the God of the dead."

God's not being the God of the dead signifies two things: that they who are without him are dead, as well as that they who are dead are also without him. So far as our knowledge goes respecting inferior animals, they appear to be examples of this truth. They appear to us to have no knowledge of God; and we are not told that they have any other life than the short one of which our senses inform us. I am well aware that our ignorance of their condition is so great that we may not dare to say anything of them positively; there may be a hundred things true respecting them which we neither know nor imagine. I would only say that, according to that most imperfect light in which we see them, the two points of which I have been speaking appear to meet in them: we believe that they have no consciousness of God, and we believe that they will die. And so far, therefore, they afford an example of the agreement, if I may so speak, between these two points; and were intended, perhaps, to be to our view a continual image of it. But we had far better speak of ourselves. And here, too, it is the case that "God is not the God of the dead." If we are without him we are dead; and if we are dead we are without him: in other words, the two ideas of death and absence from God are in fact synonymous.

Thus, in the account given of the fall of man, the sentence of death and of being cast out of Eden go together; and if any one compares the description of the second Eden in the Revelation, and recollects how especially it is there said, that God dwells in the midst of it, and is its light by day and night, he will see that the banishment from the first Eden means a banishment from the presence of God. And thus, in the day that Adam sinned, he died; for he was cast out of Eden immediately, however long he may have moved about afterwards upon the earth where God was not. And how very strong to the same point are the words of Hezekiah's prayer, "The grave cannot praise thee, Death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth"; words which express completely the feeling that God is not the God of the dead. This, too, appears to be the sense generally of the expression used in various parts of the Old Testament, "Thou shalt surely die." It is, no doubt, left purposely obscure; nor are we ever told, in so many words, all that is meant by death; but, surely, it always implies a separation from God, and the being—whatever the notion may extend to—the being dead to him. Thus, when David had committed his great sin, and had expressed his repentance for it, Nathan tells him, "The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die": which means, most expressively, thou shalt not die to God. In one sense David died, as all men die; nor was he by any means freed from the punishment of his sin: he was not, in that sense, forgiven; but he was allowed still to regard God as his God; and, therefore, his punishments were but fatherly chastisements from God's hand, designed for his profit, that he might be partaker of God's holiness. And thus, although Saul was sentenced to lose his kingdom, and although he was killed with his sons on Mount Gilboa, yet I do not think that we find the sentence passed upon him, "Thou shalt surely die;" and, therefore, we have no right to say that God had ceased to be his God, although he visited him with severe chastisements, and would not allow him to hand down to his sons the crown of Israel. Observe, also, the language of the eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel, where the expressions occur so often, "He shall surely live," and "He shall surely die." We have no right to refer these to a mere extension on the one hand, or a cutting short on the other, of the term of earthly existence. The promise of living long in the land, or, as in Hezekiah's case, of adding to his days fifteen years, is very different from the full and unreserved blessing, "Thou shalt surely live." And we know, undoubtedly, that both the good and the bad to whom Ezekiel spoke died alike the natural death of the body. But the peculiar force of the promise, and of the threat, was, in the one case, Thou shalt belong to God; in the other, Thou shalt cease to belong to him; although the veil was not yet drawn up which concealed the full import of those terms, "belonging to God," and "ceasing to belong to him": nay, can we venture to affirm that it is fully drawn aside even now?

I have dwelt on this at some length, because it really seems to place the common state of the minds of too many amongst us in a light which is exceedingly awful; for if it be true, as I think the Scripture implies, that to be dead, and to be without God, are precisely the same thing, then can it be denied that the symptoms of death are strongly marked upon many of us? Are there not many who never think of God or care about his service? Are there not many who live, to all appearances, as unconscious of his existence as we fancy the inferior animals to be? And is it not quite clear, that to such persons, God cannot be said to be their God? He may be the God of heaven and earth, the God of the universe, the God of Christ's Church; but he is not their God, for they feel to have nothing at all to do with him; and, therefore, as he is not their God, they are, and must be, according to the Scripture, reckoned among the dead.

But God is the God "of the living." That is, as before, all who are alive, live unto him; all who live unto him are alive. "God said, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;" and, therefore, says our Lord, "Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob are not and cannot be dead." They cannot be dead because God owns them; he is not ashamed to be called their God; therefore, they are not cast out from him; therefore, by necessity, they live. Wonderful, indeed, is the truth here implied, in exact agreement, as we have seen, with the general language of Scripture; that, as she who but touched the hem of Christ's garment was, in a moment, relieved from her infirmity, so great was the virtue which went out from him; so they who are not cast out from God, but have anything: whatever to do with him, feel the virtue of his gracious presence penetrating their whole nature; because he lives, they must live also.

Behold, then, life and death set before us; not remote (if a few years be, indeed, to be called remote), but even now present before us; even now suffered or enjoyed. Even now we are alive unto God or dead unto God; and, as we are either the one or the other, so we are, in the highest possible sense of the terms, alive or dead. In the highest possible sense of the terms; but who can tell what that highest possible sense of the terms is? So much has, indeed, been revealed to us, that we know now that death means a conscious and perpetual death, as life means a conscious and perpetual life. But greatly, indeed, do we deceive ourselves, if we fancy that, by having thus much told us, we have also risen to the infinite heights, or descended to the infinite depths, contained in those little words, life and death. They are far higher, and far deeper, than ever thought or fancy of man has reached to. But, even on the first edge of either, at the visible beginnings of that infinite ascent or descent, there is surely something which may give us a foretaste of what is beyond. Even to us in this mortal state, even to you advanced but so short a way on your very earthly journey, life and death have a meaning: to be dead unto God or to be alive to him, are things perceptibly different.

For, let me ask of those who think least of God, who are most separate from him, and most without him, whether there is not now actually, perceptibly, in their state, something of the coldness, the loneliness, the fearfulness of death? I do not ask them whether they are made unhappy by the fear of God's anger; of course they are not: for they who fear God are not dead to him, nor he to them. The thought of him gives them no disquiet at all; this is the very point we start from. But I would ask them whether they know what it is to feel God's blessing, For instance: we all of us have our troubles of some sort or other, our disappointments, if not our sorrows. In these troubles, in these disappointments,—I care not how small they may be,—have they known what it is to feel that God's hand is over them; that these little annoyances are but his fatherly correction; that he is all the time loving us, and supporting us? In seasons of joy, such as they taste very often, have they known what it is to feel that they are tasting the kindness of their heavenly Father, that their good things come from his hand, and are but an infinitely slight foretaste of his love? Sickness, danger,—I know that they come to many of us but rarely; but if we have known them, or at least sickness, even in its lighter form, if not in its graver,— have we felt what it is to know that we are in our Father's hands, that he is with us, and will be with us to the end; that nothing can hurt those whom he loves? Surely, then, if we have never tasted anything of this: if in trouble, or in joy, or in sickness, we are left wholly to ourselves, to bear as we can, and enjoy as we can; if there is no voice that ever speaks out of the heights and the depths around us, to give any answer to our own; if we are thus left to ourselves in this vast world,—there is in this a coldness and a loneliness; and whenever we come to be, of necessity, driven to be with our own hearts alone, the coldness and the loneliness must be felt. But consider that the things which we see around us cannot remain with us, nor we with them. The coldness and loneliness of the world, without God, must be felt more and more as life wears on: in every change of our own state, in every separation from or loss of a friend, in every more sensible weakness of our own bodies, in every additional experience of the uncertainty of our own counsels,—the deathlike feeling will come upon us more and more strongly: we shall gain more of that fearful knowledge which tells us that "God is not the God of the dead."

And so, also, the blessed knowledge that he is the God "of the living" grows upon those who are truly alive. Surely he "is not far from every one of us." No occasion of life fails to remind those who live unto him, that he is their God, and that they are his children. On light occasions or on grave ones, in sorrow and in joy, still the warmth of his love is spread, as it were, all through the atmosphere of their lives: they for ever feel his blessing. And if it fills them with joy unspeakable even now, when they so often feel how little they deserve it; if they delight still in being with God, and in living to him, let them be sure that they have in themselves the unerring witness of life eternal:—God is the God of the living, and all who are with him must live.

Hard it is, I well know, to bring this home, in any degree, to the minds of those who are dead: for it is of the very nature of the dead that they can hear no words of life. But it has happened that, even whilst writing what I have just been uttering to you, the news reached me that one, who two months ago was one of your number, who this very half-year has shared in all the business and amusements of this place, is passed already into that state where the meanings of the terms life and death are become fully revealed. He knows what it is to live unto God and what it is to die to him. Those things which are to us unfathomable mysteries, are to him all plain: and yet but two months ago he might have thought himself as far from attaining this knowledge as any of us can do. Wherefore it is clear, that these things, life and death, may hurry their lesson upon us sooner than we deem of, sooner than we are prepared to receive it. And that were indeed awful, if, being dead to God, and yet little feeling it, because of the enjoyments of our worldly life these enjoyments were of a sudden to be struck away from us, and we should find then that to be dead to God is death indeed, a death from which there is no waking and in which there is no sleeping forever.


If "Eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary and no more." President Arthur's inaugural address is one of its best examples. He was placed in a position of the gravest difficulty. He had been nominated for Vice-President as a representative of the "Stalwart" Republicans when that element of the party had been defeated in National convention by the element then described as "Half-Breeds." After the assassination of President Garfield by the "paranoiac" Guiteau, the country waited with breathless interest to hear what the Vice-President would say in taking the Presidency. With a tact which amounted to genius, which never failed him during his administration, which in its results showed itself equivalent to the highest statesmanship, Mr. Arthur, a man to whom his opponents had been unwilling to concede more than mediocre abilities, rose to the occasion, disarmed factional oppositions, mitigated the animosity of partisanship, and during his administration did more than had been done before him to re-unite the sections divided by Civil War.

He was born in Fairfield, Vermont, October 5th, 1830. His father, Rev. William Arthur, a Baptist clergyman, born in Ireland, gave him a good education, sending him to Union College where he graduated in 1848. After teaching school in Vermont, he studied law and began practice in New York city. Entering politics as a Henry Clay Whig, and casting his first vote in 1852 for Winfield Scott, he was active as a Republican in the Fremont campaign of 1856 and from that time until elected to the Vice-Presidency took that strong interest in public affairs which led his opponents to class him as a "professional politician." During the Civil War he was inspector-general and quarter-master general of New York troops. In 1871 President Grant appointed him collector of the port of New York and he held the office until July 1878. when he was suspended by President Hayes. Taking an active part in the movement to nominate General Grant for the Presidency to succeed Mr. Hayes. he attended the Republican convention of 1880, and after the defeat of the Grant forces, he was nominated as their representative for the Vice-Presidency. He died suddenly in New York city, November 18th, 1886, having won for himself during his administration as President the good-will of so many of his political opponents that the future historian will probably study his administration as that during which the most notable changes of the decade were made from the politics of the Civil War period.

INAUGURAL ADDRESS (Delivered September 22d, 1881)

For the fourth time in the history of the Republic its chief magistrate has been removed by death. All hearts are filled with grief and horror at the hideous crime which has darkened our land, and the memory of the murdered President, his protracted sufferings, his unyielding fortitude, the example and achievements of his life and the pathos of his death will forever illumine the pages of our history.

For the fourth time, the officer elected by the people and ordained by the constitution to fill a vacancy so created, is called to assume the executive chair. The wisdom of our fathers, foreseeing even the most dire possibilities, made sure that the government should never be imperiled because of the uncertainty of human life. Men may die but the fabric of our free institutions remains unshaken. No higher or more assuring proof could exist of the strength and permanence of popular government than the fact that though the chosen of the people be struck down, his constitutional successor is peacefully installed without shock or strain except that of the sorrow which mourns the bereavement. All the noble aspirations of my lamented predecessor, which found expression during his life, the measures devised and suggested during his brief administration to correct abuses, to enforce economy, to advance prosperity, to promote the general welfare, to insure domestic security and maintain friendly and honorable relations with the nations of the earth, will be garnered in the hearts of the people and it will be my earnest endeavor to profit and to see that the nation shall profit by his example and experience.

Prosperity blesses our country. Our fiscal policy as fixed by law is well-grounded and generally approved. No threatening issue mars our foreign intercourse and the wisdom, integrity, and thrift of our people may be trusted to continue undisturbed the present career of peace, tranquillity, and welfare. The gloom and anxiety which have enshrouded the country must make repose especially welcome now. No demand for speedy legislation has been heard; no adequate occasion is apparent for an unusual session of Congress. The constitution defines the functions and powers of the executive as clearly as those of either of the other two departments of the government, and he must answer for the just exercise of the discretion it permits and the performance of the duties it imposes. Summoned to these high duties and responsibilities, and profoundly conscious of their magnitude and gravity, I assume the trust imposed by the constitution, relying for aid on divine guidance and on the virtue, patriotism, and intelligence of the American people.

ATHANASIUS (298-373)

Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, owes his great celebrity chiefly to the controversy with the Arians, in which for half a century he was at the head of the orthodox party in the Church. He was born at Alexandria in the year 298, and was ordained a priest at the age of twenty-one. He accompanied his bishop, Alexander, to the Council of Nice in 325, and when under thirty years old succeeded to the bishopric, on the death of Alexander, His success in the Arian controversy was not achieved without cost, since, as an incident of it, he spent twenty years in banishment. His admirers credit him with "a deep mind, invincible courage, and living faith," but as his orations and discourses were largely controversial, the interest which now attaches to them is chiefly historical. The following was preached from the seventh and eighth verses of the Forty-Fifth Psalm.


Behold, O ye Arians, and acknowledge hence the truth. The Psalmist speaks of us all as fellows or partakers of the Lord, but were he one of things which come out of nothing and of things generated he himself had been one of those who partake. But since he hymned him as the eternal God, saying, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever," and has declared that all other things partake of him, what conclusion must we draw, but that he is distinct from generated things, and he only the Father's veritable word, radiance, and wisdom, which all things generate partake, being sanctified by him in the Spirit? And, therefore, he is here "anointed," not that he may become God, for he was so even before; nor that he may become king, for he had the kingdom eternally, existing as God's image, as the sacred oracle shows; but in our behalf is this written, as before. For the Israelitish kings, upon their being anointed, then became kings, not being so before, as David, as Ezekias, as Josias, and the rest; but the Savior, on the contrary, being God, and ever ruling in the Father's kingdom, and being himself the Dispenser of the Holy Ghost, nevertheless is here said to be anointed, that, as before, being said as man to be anointed with the Spirit, he might provide for us more, not only exaltation and resurrection, but the indwelling and intimacy of the Spirit. And signifying this, the Lord himself hath said by his own mouth, in the Gospel according to John: "I have sent them into the world, and for their sakes do I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified in the truth." In saying this, he has shown that he is not the sanctified, but the Sanctifier; for he is not sanctified by other, but himself sanctifies himself, that we may be sanctified in the truth. He who sanctifies himself is Lord of sanctification. How, then, does this take place? What does he mean but this? "I, being the Father's Word, I give to myself, when become man, the Spirit; and myself, become man, do I sanctify in him, that henceforth in me, who am truth (for 'Thy Word is Truth'), all may be sanctified."

If, then, for our sake, he sanctifies himself, and does this when he becomes man, it is very plain that the Spirit's descent on him in Jordan was a descent upon us, because of his bearing our body. And it did not take place for promotion to the Word, but again for our sanctification, that we might share his anointing, and of us it might be said, Know ye not that ye are God's temple, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? For when the Lord, as man, was washed in Jordan, it was we who were washed in him and by him. And when he received the Spirit, we it was who, by him, were made recipients of it. And, moreover, for this reason, not as Aaron, or David, or the rest, was he anointed with oil, but in another way, above all his fellows, "with the oil of gladness," which he himself interprets to be the Spirit, saying by the prophet, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me"; as also the Apostle has said, "How God anointed him with the Holy Ghost." When, then, were these things spoken of him, but when he came in the flesh, and was baptized in Jordan, and the spirit descended on him? And, indeed, the Lord himself said, "The Spirit shall take of mine," and "I will send him"; and to his Disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." And, notwithstanding, he who, as the word and radiance of the Father, gives to others, now is said to be sanctified, because now he has become Man, and the Body that is sanctified is his. From him, then, we have begun to receive the unction and the seal, John saying, "And ye have an unction from the Holy One"; and the Apostle, "And ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Therefore, because of us, and for us, are these words. What advance, then, of promotion, and reward of virtue, or generally of conduct, is proved from this in our Lord's instance? For if he was not God, and then had become God—if, not being king, he was preferred to the kingdom, your reasoning would have had some faint plausibility. But if he is God, and the throne of his kingdom is everlasting, in what way could God advance? Or what was there wanting to him who was sitting on his Father's throne? And if, as the Lord himself has said, the Spirit is his, and takes of his, and he sends it, it is not the Word, considered as the Word and Wisdom, who is anointed with the Spirit, which he himself gives, but the flesh assumed by him, which is anointed in him and by him; that the sanctification coming to the Lord as man, may come to all men from him. For, not of itself, saith he, doth the Spirit speak, but the word is he who gives it to the worthy. For this is like the passage considered above; for, as the Apostle hath written, "Who, existing in form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled himself, and took a servant's form," so David celebrates the Lord, as the everlasting God and king, but sent to us, and assuming our body, which is mortal. For this is his meaning in the Psalm, "All thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia"; and it is represented by Nicodemus's and by Mary's company, when he came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weight; and they took the spices which they had prepared for the burial of the Lord's body.

What advancement, then, was it to the Immortal to have assumed the mortal? Or what promotion is it to the Everlasting to have put on the temporal? What reward can be great to the Everlasting God and King, in the bosom of the Father? See ye not, that this, too, was done and written because of us and for us, that us who are mortal and temporal, the Lord, become man, might mate immortal, and bring into the everlasting kingdom of heaven? Blush ye not, speaking lies against the divine oracles? For when our Lord Jesus Christ had been among us, we, indeed, were promoted, as rescued from sin; but he is the same, nor did he alter when he became man (to repeat what I have said), but, as has been written, "The word of God abideth forever." Surely as, before his becoming man, he, the Word, dispensed to the saints the Spirit as his own; so also, when made man, be sanctifies all by the Spirit, and says to his Disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." And he gave to Moses and the other seventy; and through him David prayed to the Father, saying, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." On the other hand, when made man, he said, "I will send to you the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth"; and he sent him, he, the Word of God, as being faithful.

Therefore "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever," remaining unalterable, and at once gives and receives, giving as God's Word, receiving as man. It is not the Word then, viewed as the Word, that is promoted,—for he had all things and has had them always,—but men, who have in him and through him their origin of receiving them. For, when he is now said to be anointed in a human respect, we it is who in him are anointed; since also, when he is baptized, we it is who in him are baptized. But on all these things the Savior throws much light, when he says to the Father, "And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given to them, that they may be one, even as we are one." Because of us, then, he asked for glory, and the words occur, "took" and "gave" and "highly exalted," that we might take, and to us might be given, and we might be exalted, in him; as also for us he sanctifies himself, that we might be sanctified in him.

But if they take advantage of the word "wherefore," as connected with the passage in the Psalm, "Wherefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee," for their own purposes, let these novices in Scripture and masters in irreligion know that, as before, the word "wherefore" does not imply reward of virtue or conduct in the Word, but the reason why he came down to us, and of the Spirit's anointing, which took place in him for our sakes. For he says not, "Wherefore he anointed thee in order to thy being God or King or Son or Word,"—for so he was before, and is forever, as has been shown,—but rather, "Since thou art God and king, therefore thou wast anointed, since none but thou couldst unite man to the Holy Ghost, thou the image of the Father, in which we were made in the beginning; for thine is even the Spirit," For the nature of things generate could give no warranty for this, angels having transgressed, and men disobeyed. Wherefore there was need of God; and the Word is God; that those who had become under a curse, he himself might set free. If then he was of nothing, he would not have been the Christ or Anointed, being one among others and having fellowship as the rest. But, whereas he is God, as being the Son of God, and is everlasting King, and exists as radiance and expression of the Father, wherefore fitly is he the expected Christ, whom the Father announces to mankind, by revelation to his holy prophets; that as through him we have come to be, so also in him all men might be redeemed from their sins, and by him all things might be ruled. And this is the cause of the anointing which took place in him, and of the incarnate presence of the Word; which the Psalmist foreseeing, celebrates, first his Godhead and kingdom, which is the Father's, in these tones, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom"; then announces his descent to us thus: "Wherefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."


Saint Augustine who is always classed as one of the four great Latin fathers is generally conceded to be chief among them in natural strength of intellect. Saint Jerome, who excelled him in knowledge of classical literature, is his inferior in intellectual acuteness; and certainly no other theologian of the earlier ages of the Church has done so much as has Saint Augustine to influence the thought of its strongest minds.

Augustine (Aurelius Augustinus) was a Numidian by birth. He had a Christian mother, whose devotion resulted in his conversion, as well as in that of his father, who seems to have been a man of liberal mind, aware of the value of literary education. Augustine was well versed in the Latin classics. The extent of his knowledge of Greek literature has been questioned, but it is conceded that he knew the language, at least well enough for purposes of comparative study of the Scripture text.

As a young man, his ideas of morality, as we know from his 'Confessions,' were not severe. He was not extraordinarily licentious, but he had the introspective sensitiveness which seems to characterize great genius wherever it is found, and in his later life he looked with acute pain on the follies of his youth.

Becoming a Christian at the age of twenty-three, he was ordained a priest four years later, and in 395 became Bishop of Hippo. Of his literary works, his book 'The City of God' is accounted his masterpiece, though it is not so generally read as his 'Confessions.' The sermon on the Lord's Prayer here given as an illustration of his style in the pulpit, is from his 'Homilies on the New Testament,' as translated in Parker's 'Library of the Fathers.'


The order established for your edification requires that ye learn first what to believe, and afterwards what to ask. For so saith the Apostle, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." This testimony blessed Paul cited out of the Prophet; for by the Prophet were those times foretold, when all men should call upon God; "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." And he added, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? Or how shall they hear without a preacher? Or how shall they preach except they be sent?" Therefore were preachers sent. They preached Christ. As they preached, the people heard; by hearing they believed, and by believing called upon him. Because then it was most rightly and most truly said, "How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" therefore have ye first learned what to believe: and to-day have learned to call on him in whom ye have believed.

The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, hath taught us a prayer; and though he be the Lord himself, as ye have heard and repeated in the Creed, the Only Son of God, yet he would not be alone. He is the Only Son, and yet would not be alone; he hath vouchsafed to have brethren. For to whom doth he say, "Say, Our Father, which art in heaven?" Whom did he wish us to call our father, save his own father? Did he grudge us this? Parents sometimes when they have gotten one, or two, or three children, fear to give birth to any more, lest they reduce the rest to beggary. But because the inheritance which he promised us is such as many may possess, and no one be straitened, therefore hath he called into his brotherhood the peoples of the nations; and the only son hath numberless brethren, who say, "Our Father, which art in heaven." So said they who have been before us; and so shall say those who will come after us. See how many brethren the only son hath in his grace, sharing his inheritance with those for whom he suffered death. We had a father and mother on earth, that we might be born to labors and to death; but we have found other parents, God our father and the Church our mother, by whom we are born unto life eternal. Let us then consider, beloved, whose children we have begun to be; and let us live so as becomes those who have such a father. See, how that our Creator hath condescended to be our Father.

We have heard whom we ought to call upon, and with what hope of an eternal inheritance we have begun to have a father in heaven; let us now hear what we must ask of him. Of such a father what shall we ask? Do we not ask rain of him, to-day, and yesterday, and the day before? This is no great thing to have asked of such a father, and yet ye see with what sighings, and with what great desire we ask for rain, when death is feared,—when that is feared which none can escape. For sooner or later every man must die, and we groan, and pray, and travail in pain, and cry to God, that we may die a little later, How much more ought we to cry to him, that we may come to that place where we shall never die!

Therefore it is said, "Hallowed be thy name." This we also ask of him that his name may be hallowed in us; for holy is it always. And how is his name hallowed in us, except while it makes us holy? For once we were not holy, and we are made holy by his name; but he is always holy, and his name always holy. It is for ourselves, not for God, that we pray. For we do not wish well to God, to whom no ill can ever happen. But we wish what is good for ourselves, that his holy name may be hallowed, that that which is always holy, may be hallowed in us.

"Thy kingdom come." Come it surely will, whether we ask or no. Indeed, God hath an eternal kingdom. For when did he not reign? When did he begin to reign? For his kingdom hath no beginning, neither shall it have any end. But that ye may know that in this prayer also we pray for ourselves, and not for God (For we do not say, "Thy kingdom come," as though we were asking that God may reign); we shall be ourselves his kingdom, if believing in him we make progress in this faith. All the faithful, redeemed by the blood of his only son, will be his kingdom. And this his kingdom will come, when the resurrection of the dead shall have taken place; for then he will come himself. And when the dead are risen, he will divide them, as he himself saith, "and he shall set some on the right hand, and some on the left." To those who shall be on the right hand he will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom." This is what we wish and pray for when we say, "Thy kingdom come"; that it may come to us. For if we shall be reprobates, that kingdom shall come to others, but not to us. But if we shall be of that number, who belong to the members of his only-begotten son, his kingdom will come to us, and will not tarry. For are there as many ages yet remaining as have already passed away? The Apostle John hath said, "My little children, it is the last hour." But it is a long hour proportioned to this long day; and see how many years this last hour lasteth. But, nevertheless, be ye as those who watch, and so sleep, and rise again, and reign. Let us watch now, let us sleep in death; at the end we shall rise again, and shall reign without end.

"Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." The third thing we pray for is, that his will may be done as in heaven so in earth. And in this, too, we wish well for ourselves. For the will of God must necessarily be done. It is the will of God that the good should reign, and the wicked be damned. Is it possible that this will should not be done? But what good do we wish for ourselves, when we say, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth?" Give ear. For this petition may be understood in many ways, and many things are to be in our thoughts in this petition, when we pray God, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." As thy angels offend thee not, so may we also not offend thee. Again, how is "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth," understood? All the holy Patriarchs, all the Prophets, all the Apostles, all the spiritual are, as it were, God's heaven; and we in comparison of them are earth. "Thy will be done in heaven, so in earth"; as in them, so in us also. Again, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth"; the Church of God is heaven, his enemies are earth. So we wish well for our enemies, that they too may believe and become Christians, and so the will of God be done as in heaven, so also in earth. Again, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." Our spirit is heaven, and the flesh earth. As our spirit is renewed by believing, so may our flesh be renewed by rising again; and "the will of God be done as in heaven, so in earth." Again, our mind whereby we see truth, and delight in this truth, is heaven; as, "I delight in the law of God, after the inward man." What is the earth? "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind?" When this strife shall have passed away, and a full concord be brought about of the flesh and spirit, the will of God will be done as in heaven, so also in earth. When we repeat this petition, let us think of all these things, and ask them all of the Father. Now all these things which we have mentioned, these three petitions, beloved, have respect to the life eternal. For if the name of our God is sanctified in us, it will be for eternity. If his kingdom come, where we shall live forever, it will be for eternity. If his will be done as in heaven, so in earth, in all the ways which I have explained, it will be for eternity.

There remain now the petitions for this life of our pilgrimage; therefore follows, "Give us this day our daily bread." Give us eternal things, give us things temporal. Thou hast promised a kingdom, deny us not the means of subsistence. Thou wilt give everlasting glory with thyself hereafter, give us in this earth temporal support. Therefore is it day by day, and to-day, that is, in this present time. For when this life shall have passed away, shall we ask for daily bread then? For then it will not be called day by day, but to-day. Now it is called day by day, when one day passes away, and another day succeeds. Will it be called day by day when there will be one eternal day? This petition for daily bread is doubtless to be understood in two ways, both for the necessary supply of our bodily food, and for the necessities of our spiritual support. There is a necessary supply of bodily food, for the preservation of our daily life, without which we cannot live. This is food and clothing, but the whole is understood in a part. When we ask for bread, we thereby understand all things. There is a spiritual food, also, which the faithful know, which ye, too, will know when ye shall receive it at the altar of God. This also is "daily bread," necessary only for this life. For shall we receive the Eucharist when we shall have come to Christ himself, and begun to reign with him forever? So then the Eucharist is our daily bread; but let us in such wise receive it, that we be not refreshed in our bodies only, but in our souls. For the virtue which is apprehended there, is unity, that gathered together into his body, and made his members, we may be what we receive. Then will it be, indeed, our daily bread. Again, what I am handling before you now is "daily bread"; and the daily lessons which ye hear in church are daily bread, and the hymns ye hear and repeat are daily bread. For all these arc necessary in our state of pilgrimage. But when we shall have got to heaven, shall we hear the Word, we who shall see the Word himself, and hear the Word himself, and eat and drink him as the angels do now? Do the angels need books, and interpreters, and readers? Surely not. They read in seeing, for the truth itself they see, and are abundantly satisfied from that fountain, from which we obtain some few drops. Therefore has it been said touching our daily bread, that this petition is necessary for us in this life.

"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Is this necessary except in this life? For in the other we shall have no debts. For what are debts, but sins? See, ye are on the point of being baptized, then all your sins will be blotted out, none whatever will remain. Whatever evil ye have ever done, in deed, or word, or desire, or thought, all will be blotted out. And yet if in the life which is after baptism there were security from sin, we should not learn such a prayer as this, "Forgive us our debts." Only let us by all means do what comes next, "As we forgive our debtors." Do ye then, who are about to enter in to receive a plenary and entire remission of your debts, do ye above all things see that ye have nothing in your hearts against any other, so as to come forth from baptism secure, as it were, free and discharged of all debts, and then begin to purpose to avenge yourselves on your enemies, who in time past have done you wrong. Forgive, as ye are forgiven. God can do no one wrong, and yet he forgiveth who oweth nothing. How then ought he to forgive who is himself forgiven, when he forgiveth all who oweth nothing that can be forgiven him?

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Will this again be necessary in the life to come? "Lead us not into temptation," will not be said except where there can be temptation. We read in the book of holy Job, "Is not the life of man upon earth a temptation?" What, then, do we pray for? Hear what. The Apostle James saith, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God." He spoke of those evil temptations whereby men are deceived, and brought under the yoke of the devil. This is the kind of temptation he spoke of. For there is another sort of temptation which is called a proving; of this kind of temptation it is written, "The Lord your God tempteth [proveth] you to know whether ye love him." What means "to know"? "To make you know," for he knoweth already. With that kind of temptation whereby we are deceived and seduced, God tempteth no man. But undoubtedly in his deep and hidden judgment he abandons some. And when he hath abandoned them, the tempter finds his opportunity. For he finds in him no resistance against his power, but forthwith presents himself to him as his possessor, if God abandon him. Therefore, that he may not abandon us, do we say, "Lead us not into temptation." "For every one is tempted," says the same Apostle James, "when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." What, then, has he hereby taught us? To fight against our lusts. For ye are about to put away your sins in holy baptism; but lusts will still remain, wherewith ye must fight after that ye are regenerate. For a conflict with your own selves still remains. Let no enemy from without be feared; conquer thine own self, and the whole world is conquered. What can any tempter from without, whether the devil or the devil's minister, do against thee? Whosoever sets the hope of gain before thee to seduce thee, let him only find no covetousness in thee; and what can he who would tempt thee by gain effect? Whereas, if covetousness be found in thee, thou takest fire at the sight of gain, and art taken by the bait of this corrupt food. But if we find no covetousness in thee, the trap remains spread in vain. Or should the tempter set before thee some woman of surpassing beauty; if chastity be within, iniquity from without is overcome. Therefore, that he may not take thee with the bait of a strange woman's beauty, fight with thine own lust within; thou hast no sensible perception of thine enemy, but of thine own concupiscence thou hast. Thou dost not see the devil, but the object that engageth thee thou dost see. Get the mastery then over that of which thou art sensible within. Fight valiantly, for he who hath regenerated thee is thy judge; he hath arranged the lists, he is making ready the crown. But because thou wilt without doubt be conquered, if thou have not him to aid thee, if he abandon thee, therefore dost thou say in the prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." The judge's wrath hath given over some to their own lusts; and the Apostle says, "God gave them over to the lusts of their hearts." How did he give them up? Not by forcing, but by forsaking them.

"Deliver us from evil," may belong to the same sentence. Therefore, that thou mayst understand it to be all one sentence, it runs thus, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Therefore, he added "but," to show that all this belongs to one sentence, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." How is this? I will propose them singly. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." By delivering us from evil, he leadeth us not into temptation; by not leading us into temptation, he delivereth us from evil.

And, truly, it is a great temptation, dearly beloved, it is a great temptation in this life, when that in us is the subject of temptation whereby we attain pardon if, in any of our temptations, we have fallen. It is a frightful temptation when that is taken from us whereby we may be healed from the wounds of other temptations. I know that ye have not yet understood me. Give me your attention, that ye may understand. Suppose, avarice tempts a man, and he is conquered in any single temptation (for sometimes even a good wrestler and fighter may get roughly handled): avarice, then, has got the better of a man, good wrestler though he be, and he has done some avaricious act. Or there has been a passing lust; it has not brought the man to fornication, nor reached unto adultery—for when this does take place, the man must at all events be kept back from the criminal act. But he "hath seen a woman to lust after her"; he has let his thoughts dwell on her with more pleasure than was right; he has admitted the attack; excellent combatant though he be, he has been wounded, but he has not consented to it; he has beaten back the motion of his lust, has chastised it with the bitterness of grief, he has beaten it back; and has prevailed. Still, in the very fact that he had slipped, has he ground for saying, "Forgive us our debts." And so of all other temptations, it is a hard matter that in them all there should not be occasion for saying, "Forgive us our debts." What, then, is that frightful temptation which I have mentioned, that grievous, that tremendous temptation, which must be avoided with all our strength, with all our resolution; what is it? When we go about to avenge ourselves. Anger is kindled, and the man bums to be avenged. O frightful temptation! Thou art losing that, whereby thou hadst to attain pardon for other faults. If thou hadst committed any sin as to other senses, and other lusts, hence mightest thou have had thy cure, in that thou mightest say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." But whoso instigateth thee to take vengeance will lose for thee the power thou hadst to say, "As we also forgive our debtors." When that power is lost, all sins will be retained; nothing at all is remitted.

Our Lord and Master, and Savior, knowing this dangerous temptation in this life, when he taught us six or seven petitions in this prayer, took none of them for himself to treat of, and to commend to us with greater earnestness, than this one. Have we not said, "Our Father, which art in heaven," and the rest which follows? Why after the conclusion of the prayer, did he not enlarge upon it to us, either as to what he had laid down in the beginning, or concluded with at the end, or placed in the middle? For why said he not, if the name of God be not hallowed in you, or if ye have no part in the kingdom of God, or if the will of God be not done in you, as in heaven, or if God guard you not, that ye enter not into temptation; why none of all these? but what saith he? "Verily I say unto you, that if ye forgive men their trespasses," in reference to that petition, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Having passed over all the other petitions which he taught us, this he taught us with an especial force. There was no need of insisting so much upon those sins in which if a man offend, he may know the means whereby he may be cured; need of it there was with regard to that sin in which, if thou sin, there is no means whereby the rest can be cured. For this thou oughtest to be ever saying, "Forgive us our debts." What debts? There is no lack of them, for we are but men; I have talked somewhat more than I ought, have said something I ought not, have laughed more than I ought, have eaten more than I ought, have listened with pleasure to what I ought not, have drunk more than I ought, have seen with pleasure what I ought not, have thought with pleasure on what I ought not; "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." This if thou hast lost, thou art lost thyself.

Take heed, my brethren, my sons, sons of God, take heed, I beseech you, in that I am saying to you. Fight to the uttermost of your powers with your own hearts. And if ye shall see your anger making a stand against you, pray to God against it, that God may make thee conqueror of thyself, that God may make thee conqueror, I say, not of thine enemy without, but of thine own soul within. For he will give thee his present help, and will do it. He would rather that we ask this of him, than rain. For ye see, beloved, how many petitions the Lord Christ hath taught us; and there is scarce found among them one which speaks of daily bread, that all our thoughts may be molded after the life to come. For what can we fear that he will not give us, who hath promised and said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you; for your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things before ye ask him." "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." For many have been tried even with hunger, and have been found gold, and have not been forsaken by God. They would have perished with hunger, if the daily inward bread were to leave their heart. After this let us chiefly hunger. For, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." But he can in mercy look upon our infirmity, and see us, as it is said, "Remember that we are dust." He who from the dust made and quickened man, for that his work of clay's sake, gave his only son to death. Who can explain, who can worthily so much as conceive, how much he loveth us?

FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626)

Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam and Viscount St. Albans, is called by one of his contemporaries, "the eloquentest man in England." Perhaps those who read his legal arguments before the Star Chamber may not see this eloquence so fully exemplified in them as in his incomparable essays; but wherever he speaks, it is Francis Bacon speaking. It is doubtful if any other man ever lived who has even approached him in the power of controlling his own and subsequent times by purely intellectual means. Until his time, Aristotle had no rival in the domain of pure intellect Since he lived, the higher mind of the world has owned his mastery and has shown the results of the inspiration of his intellectual daring in following, regardless of consequences, the "inductive method," the determination to make truth fruitful through experiment, which has resulted in the scientific accomplishments of the modern world. Lucretius writes of the pleasure of knowing truth as like that a man on shore in a storm has in seeing the struggles of those who are about to be shipwrecked:—

"'Tis sweet when the seas are roughened by violent winds to view on land the toils of others; not that there is pleasure in seeing others in distress, but because man is glad to know himself secure. It is pleasant, too, to look with no share of peril on the mighty contests of war; but nothing is sweeter than to reach those calm, undisturbed temples, raised by the wisdom of philosophers, whence thou mayst look down on poor, mistaken mortals, wandering up and down in life's devious ways."—(Lucretius ii 1, translated by Ramage.)

"Suave mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis, E terra magnum altcrius spectare laborem; Non quia vexari quenquam est jucunda voluptas, Sed quibus ipse malis careas, quia cernere suave est," etc.

Perhaps the spirit of the ancient learning was never so well expressed elsewhere as in these lines. In what may be called a plea for the possibilities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Bacon answered it.

"Is there any such happiness for a man's mind to be raised above the confusion of things where he may have the prospect of the order of nature and error of man? But is this view of delight only and not of discovery—of contentment, and not of benefit? Shall he not as well discern the riches of Nature's warehouse as the beauties of her shop? Is truth ever barren? Shall he not be able thereby to produce worthy effects and to endow the life of man with infinite commodities?"

Among the "infinite commodities" already developed from the thought flowing into and out of the mind which framed these sublime sentences are the steam engine, the electric motor, the discoveries of the microscope in the treatment of disease, the wonders of chemistry, working out practical results to alleviate human misery, and to increase steadily from year to year, and from century to century, the sum of human comfort. Looking forward to this, Bacon worked for it until his whole life became a manifestation of his master-thought. It may be said with literal truth that he died of it, for the cold which brought him his death resulted from his rashness in leaving his carriage, when sick, to experiment on the arrest of putrefaction by freezing. The idea came to him. It was winter and the ground was covered with snow. He was feeble, but he left his carriage to stuff snow into the carcass of a chicken he had procured for the experiment. The experiment succeeded, and centuries later, as a result of it, England is fed with the meat of America and Australia, But Bacon died after it, leaving behind him ideas which stamp him as the greatest and brightest, whether or not he was also "the meanest of mankind." On this latter point, he may speak for himself, as he does thus in the volume 'State Trials' from which his speech on Dueling, before the Star Chamber, here used, is extracted:—

(Howell's, Vol. ii.): "Upon advised consideration of the charge, descending into my own conscience and calling my memory to account, as far as I am able, I do plainly and ingenuously confess that I am guilty of corruption, and do renounce all defense and put myself upon the grace and mercy of your lordships. ... To the nineteenth article, vis., 'That in the cause between Reynell and Peacock, he received from Reynell two hundred pounds and a diamond ring worth four or five hundred pounds,' I confess and declare that on my first coming to the Seal when I was at Whitehall, my servant Hunt delivered me two hundred pounds from Sir George Reynell, my near ally, to be bestowed upon furniture of my house, adding further that he had received divers former favors from me. And this was, as I verily think, before any suit was begun. The ring was received certainly pendente lite, and though it was at New Year's tide it was too great a value for a New Year's gift, though, I take it, nothing near the value mentioned in the article."

That while Lord Chancellor of England he took gifts intended to corrupt justice, he confessed to his shame, but he does not seem to have been wholly able to decide whether in doing so he broke faith with those who wished to corrupt him, or with the kingdom and constitution of England he represented, against their desire to purchase justice. He seems to have believed that though his conduct was corrupt, his decisions were honest. He says, indeed, that in spite of his bribe-taking, "he never had bribe or reward in his eye or thought when he pronounced any sentence or order."

This cannot be admitted in excuse even for Bacon, but his moral weakness, if it obscure for the time the splendor of his intellect, died with him, while his genius, marvelously radiant above that of any other of the last ten centuries, still illuminates the path of every pioneer of progress.

His address to the Star Chamber on Dueling was delivered in the proceedings against Mr. William Priest for writing and sending a challenge, and Mr. Richard Wright for carrying it, January 26th, 1615, Bacon being then the King's attorney-general. The text is from T. B. Howell's 'State Trials,' London 1816.


My Lords, I thought it fit for my place, and for these times, to bring to hearing before your lordships some cause touching private duels, to see if this court can do any good to tame and reclaim that evil, which seems unbridled. And I could have wished that I had met with some greater persons, as a subject for your censure; both because it had been more worthy of this presence, and also the better to have shown the resolution I myself have to proceed without respect of persons in this business. But finding this cause on foot in my predecessor's time, I thought to lose no time in a mischief that groweth every day; and besides, it passes not amiss sometimes in government, that the greater sort be admonished by an example made in the meaner, and the dog to be eaten before the lion. Nay, I should think, my lords, that men of birth and quality will leave the practice, when it begins to be vilified, and come so low as to barber-surgeons and butchers, and such base mechanical persons. And for the greatness of this presence, in which I take much comfort, both as I consider it in itself, and much more in respect it is by his Majesty's direction, I will supply the meanness of the particular cause, by handling of the general point; to the end that by the occasion of this present cause, both my purpose of prosecution against duels and the opinion of the court, without which I am nothing, for the censure of them may appear, and thereby offenders in that kind may read their own case, and know what they are to expect; which may serve for a warning until example may be made in some greater person, which I doubt the times will but too soon afford.

Therefore, before I come to the particular, whereof your lordships are now to judge, I think the time best spent to speak somewhat (1) of the nature and greatness of this mischief; (2) of the causes and remedies; (3) of the justice of the law of England, which some stick not to think defective in this matter; (4) of the capacity of this court, where certainly the remedy of this mischief is best to be found; (5) touching mine own purpose and resolution, wherein I shall humbly crave your lordships' aid and assistance.

For the mischief itself, it may please your lordships to take into your consideration that, when revenge is once extorted out of the magistrate's hands, contrary to God's ordinance, mihi vindicta, ego retribuam, and every man shall bear the sword, not to defend, but to assail, and private men begin once to presume to give law to themselves and to right their own wrongs, no man can foresee the danger and inconveniences that may arise and multiply thereupon. It may cause sudden storms in court, to the disturbance of his Majesty and unsafety of his person. It may grow from quarrels to bandying, and from bandying to trooping, and so to tumult and commotion; from particular persons to dissension of families and alliances; yea, to national quarrels, according to the infinite variety of accidents, which fall not under foresight. So that the State by this means shall be like to a distempered and imperfect body, continually subject to inflammations and convulsions. Besides, certainly both in divinity and in policy, offenses of presumption are the greatest. Other offenses yield and consent to the law that it is good, not daring to make defense, or to justify themselves; but this offense expressly gives the law an affront, as if there were two laws, one a kind of gown law and the other a law of reputation, as they term it. So that Paul's and Westminster, the pulpit and the courts of justice, must give place to the law, as the King speaketh in his proclamation, of ordinary tables, and such reverend assemblies; the Yearbooks, and statute books must give place to some French and Italian pamphlets, which handle the doctrines of duels, which, if they be in the right, transeamus ad illa, let us receive them, and not keep the people in conflict and distraction between two laws. Again, my lords, it is a miserable effect, when young men full of towardness and hope, such as the poets call "Aurorae filii," sons of the morning, in whom the expectation and comfort of their friends consisteth, shall be cast away and destroyed in such a vain manner. But much more it is to be deplored when so much noble and genteel blood should be spilt upon such follies, as, if it were adventured in the field in service of the King and realm, were able to make the fortune of a day and change the future of a kingdom. So your lordships see what a desperate evil this is; it troubleth peace; it disfurnisheth war; it bringeth calamity upon private men, peril upon the State, and contempt upon the law.

Touching the causes of it: the first motive, no doubt, is a false and erroneous imagination of honor and credit; and therefore the King, in his last proclamation, doth most aptly and excellently call them bewitching duels. For, if one judge of it truly, it is no better than a sorcery that enchanteth the spirits of young men, that bear great minds with a false show, species falsa; and a kind of satanical illusion and apparition of honor against religion, against law, against moral virtue, and against the precedents and examples of the best times and valiantest nations; as I shall tell you by and by, when I shall show you that the law of England is not alone in this point. But then the seed of this mischief being such, it is nourished by vain discourses and green and unripe conceits, which, nevertheless, have so prevailed as though a man were staid and sober-minded and a right believer touching the vanity and unlawfulness of these duels; yet the stream of vulgar opinion is such, as it imposeth a necessity upon men of value to conform themselves, or else there is no living or looking upon men's faces; so that we have not to do, in this case, so much with particular persons as with unsound and depraved opinions, like the dominations and spirits of the air which the Scripture speaketh of. Hereunto may be added that men have almost lost the true notion and understanding of fortitude and valor. For fortitude distinguisheth of the grounds of quarrels whether they be just; and not only so, but whether they be worthy; and setteth a better price upon men's lives than to bestow them idly. Nay, it is weakness and disesteem of a man's self, to put a man's life upon such ledger performances. A man's life is not to be trifled away; it is to be offered up and sacrificed to honorable services, public merits, good causes, and noble adventures. It is in expense of blood as it is in expense of money. It is no liberality to make a profusion of money upon every vain occasion; nor no more is it fortitude to make effusion of blood, except the cause be of worth. And thus much for the cause of this evil.

For the remedies. I hope some great and noble person will put his hand to this plough, and I wish that my labors of this day may be but forerunners to the work of a higher and better hand. But yet to deliver my opinion as may be proper for this time and place, there be four things that I have thought on, as the most effectual for the repressing of this depraved custom of particular combats.

The first is, that there do appear and be declared a constant and settled resolution in the State to abolish it. For this is a thing, my lords, must go down at once or not at all; for then every particular man will think himself acquitted in his reputation, when he sees that the State takes it to heart, as an insult against the King's power and authority, and thereupon hath absolutely resolved to master it; like unto that which we set down in express words in the edict of Charles IX. of France, touching duels, that the King himself took upon him the honor of all that took themselves grieved or interested for not having performed the combat. So must the State do in this business; and in my conscience there is none that is but of a reasonable sober disposition, be he never so valiant, except it be some furious person that is like a firework, but will be glad of it, when he shall see the law and rule of State disinterest him of a vain and unnecessary hazard.

Secondly, care must be taken that this evil be no more cockered, nor the humor of it fed; wherein I humbly pray your lordships, that I may speak my mind freely, and yet be understood aright. The proceedings of the great and noble commissioners martial I honor and reverence much, and of them I speak not in any sort. But I say the compounding of quarrels, which is otherwise in use by private noblemen and gentlemen, is so punctual, and hath such reference and respect unto the received conceits, what is beforehand, and what is behindhand, and I cannot tell what, as without all question it doth, in a fashion, countenance and authorize this practice of duels as if it had in it somewhat of right.

Thirdly, I must acknowledge that I learned out of the King's last proclamation, the most prudent and best applied remedy for this offense, if it shall please his Majesty to use it, that the wit of man can devise. This offense, my lords, is grounded upon a false conceit of honor; and therefore it would be punished in the same kind, in eo quis rectissime plectitur, in quo peccat. The fountain of honor is the King and his aspect, and the access to his person continueth honor in life, and to be banished from his presence is one of the greatest eclipses of honor that can be. If his Majesty shall be pleased that when this court shall censure any of these offenses in persons of eminent quality, to add this out of his own power and discipline, that these persons shall be banished and excluded from his court for certain years, and the courts of his queen and prince, I think there is no man that hath any good blood in him will commit an act that shall cast him into that darkness that he may not behold his sovereign's face.

Lastly, and that which more properly concerneth this court. We see, my lords, the root of this offense is stubborn; for it despiseth death, which is the utmost of punishments; and it were a just but a miserable severity to execute the law without all remission or mercy, where the case proveth capital. And yet the late severity in France was more, where by a kind of martial law, established by ordinance of the King and Parliament, the party that had slain another was presently had to the gibbet, insomuch as gentlemen of great quality were hanged, their wounds bleeding, lest a natural death should prevent the example of justice. But, my lords, the course which we shall take is of far greater lenity, and yet of no less efficacy; which is to punish, in this court, all the middle acts and proceedings which tend to the duel, which I will enumerate to you anon, and so to hew and vex the root in the branches, which, no doubt, in the end will kill the root, and yet prevent the extremity of law.

Now for the law of England, I see it excepted to, though ignorantly, in two points. The one, that it should make no difference between an insidious and foul murder, and the killing of a man upon fair terms, as they now call it. The other, that the law hath not provided sufficient punishment and reparations for contumely of words, as the lie, and the like. But these are no better than childish novelties against the divine law, and against all laws in effect, and against the examples of all the bravest and most virtuous nations of the world.

For first, for the law of God, there is never to be found any difference made in homicide, but between homicide voluntary and involuntary, which we term misadventure. And for the case of misadventure itself, there were cities of refuge; so that the offender was put to his flight, and that flight was subject to accident, whether the revenger of blood should overtake him before he had gotten sanctuary or no. It is true that our law hath made a more subtle distinction between the will inflamed and the will advised, between manslaughter in heat and murder upon prepensed malice or cold blood, as the soldiers call it; an indulgence not unfit for a choleric and warlike nation; for it is true, ira furor brevis, a man in fury is not himself. This privilege of passion the ancient Roman law restrained, but to a case; that was, if the husband took the adulterer in the manner. To that rage and provocation only it gave way, that a homicide was justifiable. But for a difference to be made in killing and destroying man, upon a forethought purpose, between foul and fair, and, as it were, between single murder and vied murder, it is but a monstrous child of this latter age, and there is no shadow of it in any law, divine or human. Only it is true, I find in the Scripture that Cain enticed his brother into the field and slew him treacherously; but Lamech vaunted of his manhood, that he would kill a young man, and if it were to his hurt; so as I see no difference between an insidious murder and a braving or presumptuous murder, but the difference between Cain and Lamech. As for examples in civil states, all memory doth consent, that Graecia and Rome were the most valiant and generous nations of the world; and that, which is more to be noted, they were free estates, and not under a monarchy; whereby a man would think it a great deal the more reason that particular persons should have righted themselves. And yet they had not this practice of duels, nor anything that bare show thereof; and sure they would have had it, if there had been any virtue in it. Nay, as he saith, "Fas est et ab hoste doceri" It is memorable, that which is reported by a counsel or ambassador of the emperor, touching the censure of the Turks of these duels. There was a combat of this kind performed by two persons of quality of the Turks, wherein one of them was slain, and the other party was converted before the council of bashaws. The manner of the reprehension was in these words: "How durst you undertake to fight one with the other? Are there not Christians enough to kill? Did you not know that whether of you shall be slain, the loss would be the great seignor's?" So, as we may see, the most warlike nations, whether generous or barbarous, have ever despised this wherein now men glory.

It is true, my lords, that I find combats of two natures authorized, how justly I will not dispute as to the latter of them. The one, when upon the approaches of armies in the face one of the other, particular persons have made challenges for trial of valors in the field upon the public quarrel. This the Romans called "pugna per provocationem." And this was never, but either between the generals themselves, who were absolute, or between particulars by license of the generals; never upon private authority. So you see David asked leave when he fought with Goliath; and Joab, when the armies were met, gave leave, and said "Let the young man play before us." And of this kind was that famous example in the wars of Naples, between twelve Spaniards and twelve Italians, where the Italians bore away the victory; besides other infinite like examples worthy and laudable, sometimes by singles, sometimes by numbers.

The second combat is a judicial trial of right, where the right is obscure, introduced by the Goths and the northern nations, but more anciently entertained in Spain. And this yet remains in some cases as a divine lot of battle, though controverted by divines, touching the lawfulness of it; so that a wise writer saith: "Taliter pugnantes videntur tentare Deum, quia hoc volunt ut Deus ostendat et faciat miraculum, ut justam causam habens victor efficiatur, quod saepe contra accidit." But whosoever it be, this kind of fight taketh its warrant from law. Nay, the French themselves, whence this folly seemeth chiefly to have flown, never had it but only in practice and toleration, and never as authorized by law; and yet now of late they have been fain to purge their folly with extreme rigor, in so much as many gentlemen left between death and life in the duels, as I spake before, were hastened to hanging with their wounds bleeding. For the State found it had been neglected so long, as nothing could be thought cruelty which tended to the putting of it down. As for the second defect, pretended in our law, that it hath provided no remedy for lies and fillips, it may receive like answer. It would have been thought a madness amongst the ancient lawgivers to have set a punishment upon the lie given, which in effect is but a word of denial, a negative of another's saying. Any lawgiver, if he had been asked the question, would have made Solon's answer: That he had not ordained any punishment for it, because he never imagined the world would have been so fantastical as to take it so highly. The civilians dispute whether an action of injury lie for it, and rather resolve the contrary. And Francis I. of France, who first set on and stamped this disgrace so deep, is taxed by the judgment of all wise writers for beginning the vanity of it; for it was he, that when he had himself given the lie and defy to the Emperor, to make it current in the world, said in a solemn assembly, "that he was no honest man that would bear the lie," which was the fountain of this new learning.

As for the words of approach and contumely, whereof the lie was esteemed none, it is not credible, but that the orations themselves are extant, what extreme and exquisite reproaches were tossed up and down in the Senate of Rome and the places of assembly, and the like in Graecia, and yet no man took himself fouled by them, but took them but for breath, and the style of an enemy, and either despised them or returned them, but no blood was spilt about them.

So of every touch or light blow of the person, they are not in themselves considerable, save that they have got them upon the stamp of a disgrace, which maketh these light things pass for great matters. The law of England and all laws hold these degrees of injury to the person, slander, battery, mayhem, death; and if there be extraordinary circumstances of despite and contumely, as in case of libels and bastinadoes and the like, this court taketh them in hand and punisheth them exemplarily. But for this apprehension of a disgrace that a fillip to the person should be a mortal wound to the reputation, it were good that men did hearken unto the saying of Gonsalvo, the great and famous commander, that was wont to say a gentleman's honor should be de tela crassiore, of a good strong warp or web, that every little thing should not catch in it; when as now it seems they are but of cobweb-lawn or such light stuff, which certainly is weakness, and not true greatness of mind, but like a sick man's body, that is so tender that it feels everything. And so much in maintenance and demonstration of the wisdom and justice of the law of the land.

For the capacity of this court, I take this to be a ground infallible, that wheresoever an offense is capital, or matter of felony, though it be not acted, there the combination or practice tending to the offense is punishable in this court as high misdemeanor. So practice to imprison, though it took no effect; waylaying to murder, though it took no effect; and the like; have been adjudged heinous misdemeanors punishable in this court. Nay, inceptions and preparations in inferior crimes, that are not capital, as suborning and preparing of witnesses that were never deposed, or deposed nothing material, have likewise been censured in this court, as appeareth by the decree in Garnon's case.

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