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is so hardly restrained within any tolerable that concerneth the fellowship of all; and bounds : in like manner, the national laws lastly the law which God himself hath suof natural commerce between societies of pernaturally revealed. It might peradventhat former and better quality might have ture have been more popular and more been other than now, when nations are so plausible to vulgar ears, if this first disprone to offer violence, injury, and wrong. course had been spent in extolling the force Hereupon hath grown in every of these three of laws, in showing the great necessity of kinds that distinction between Primary and them when they are good, and in aggraSecondary laws; the one grounded upon vating their offence by whom public laws sincere, the other built upon depraved na- are injuriously traduced. But forasmuch as ture. Primary laws of nations are such with such kind of matter the passions of as concern embassage, such as belong to men are rather stirred one way or other, the courteous entertainment of foreigners than their knowledge any way set forward and strangers, such as serve for commodi- unto the trial of that whereof there is doubt ous traffic, and the like. Secondary laws made, I have therefore turned aside from in the same kind are such as this present that beaten path, and chosen though a less unquiet world is most familiarly acquainted easy yet a more profitable way in regard with; I mean laws of arms, which yet are of the end we propose. Lest therefore any much better known than kept. But what man should marvel whereunto all these matter the Law of Nations doth contain I things tend, the drift and purpose of all is omit to search.

this, even to show in what manner, as every The strength and virtue of that law is good and perfect gift, so this very gift of such that no particular nation can lawfully good and perfect laws is derived from the prejudice the same by any their several laws Father of lights; to teach men a reason and ordinances, more than a man by his why just and reasonable laws are of so private resolutions the law of the whole great force, of so great use in the world; commonwealth or state wherein he liveth. and to inform their minds with some method For as civil law, being the act of the whole of reducing the laws whereof there is presbody politic, doth therefore overrule each ent controversy unto their first original several part of the same body; so there is no causes, that so it may be in every particureason that any one commonwealth of itself lar ordinance, thereby the better discerned, should to the prejudice of another annihilate whether the same be reasonable, just, and that whereupon the whole world hath agreed. righteous, or no. Is there any thing which For which cause, the Lacedæmonians for- can either be thoroughly understood or bidding all access of strangers into their soundly judged of, till the very first causes coasts, are in that respect both by Josephus and principles from which originally it and Theodoret deservedly blamed, as be- springeth be made manifest? If all parts of ing enemies to that hospitality which for knowledge have been thought by wise men common humanity's sake all the nations on to be then most orderly delivered and proearth should embrace.

ceeded in, when they are drawn to their first

original; seeing that our whole question 5. Her Voice the Harmony of the

concerneth the quality of ecclesiastical laws, World"

let it not seem a labor superfluous that in Thus far therefore we have endeavored the entrance thereunto all these several in part to open, of what nature and force kinds of laws have been considered, inaslaws are, according unto their several kinds; much as they all concur as principles, they the law which God with himself hath eter- all have their forcible operations therein, nally set down to follow in his own works; although not all in like apparent and manithe law which he hath made for his creatures fest manner. By means whereof it cometh to keep; the law of natural and necessary to pass that the force which they have is agents; the law which angels in heaven not observed of many. obey; the law whereunto by the light of Easier a great deal it is for men by law reason men find themselves bound in that to be taught what they ought to do, than they are men; the law which they make by instructed how to judge as they should do composition for multitudes and politic so- of law: the one being a thing which becieties of men to be guided by; the law longeth generally unto all, the other such as: which belongeth unto each nation; the law none but the wiser and more judicious sort: 100


can perform. Yea, the wisest are always by his own proper law, whereas the things
touching this point the readiest to acknowl- themselves are so different, there will be in
edge, that soundly to judge of a law is the our understanding and judgment of them
weightiest thing which any man can take confusion.
upon him. But if we will give judgment of As that first error showeth, whereon our
the laws under which we live, first let that opposites in this cause have grounded them-
law eternal be always before our eyes, as selves. For as they rightly maintain that
being of principal force and moment to God must be glorified in all things, and that
breed in religious minds a dutiful estimation the actions of men cannot tend unto his
· of all laws, the use and benefit whereof we glory unless they be framed after his law;
see; because there can be no doubt but that so it is their error to think that the only law
laws apparently good are (as it were) things which God hath appointed unto men in that
copied out of the very tables of that high behalf is the sacred Scripture. By that
everlasting law; even as the book of that law which we work naturally, as when
hath said concerning itself, “By me kings breathe, sleep, move, we set forth the glory
reign,” and “by me princes decree justice.” of God as natural agents do, albeit we have
Not as if men did behold that book and

no express purpose to make that our end,
accordingly frame their laws; but because it nor any advised determination therein to fol-
worketh in them, because it discovereth and low a law, but do that we do (for the most
(as it were) readeth itself to the world by part) not as much as thinking thereon. In
them, when the laws which they make are reasonable and moral actions another law
righteous. Furthermore, although we per- taketh place; a law by the observation where-
ceive not the goodness of laws made, never- of we glorify God in such sort as no creature
theless sith things in themselves may have else under man is able to do; because other
that which we peradventure discern not, creatures have not judgment to examine the
should not this breed a fear in our hearts quality of that which is done by them, and
how we speak or judge in the worse part

therefore in that they do they neither can concerning that, the unadvised disgrace accuse nor approve themselves. Men do whereof may be no mean dishonor to Him both, as the Apostle teacheth; yea, those towards whom we profess all submission and men which have no written law of God to awe? Surely there must be very manifest show what is good or evil, carry written in iniquity in laws, against which we shall be their hearts the universal law of mankind, able to justify our contumelious invectives. the Law of Reason, whereby they judge as The chiefest root whereof, when we use them by a rule which God hath given unto all men without cause, is ignorance how laws inferior for that purpose. The law of reason doth are derived from that supreme or highest somewhat direct men how to honor God as law.

their Creator; but how to glorify God in Our largeness of speech how men do find such sort as is required, to the end he may out what things reason bindeth them of be an everlasting Savior, this we are taught necessity to observe, and what it guideth by divine law, which law both ascertaineth them to choose in things which are left as the truth and supplieth unto us the want of arbitrary; the care we have had to declare that other law. So that in moral actions, the different nature of laws which severally divine law helpeth exceedingly the law of concern all men, from such as belong unto reason to guide man's life; but in supermen either civilly or spiritually associated, natural it alone guideth. such as pertain to the fellowship which na- Proceed we further; let us place man in tions, or which Christian nations, have some public society with others, whether amongst themselves, and in the last place civil or spiritual; and in this case there is no such as concerning every or any of these remedy but we must add yet a further law. God himself hath revealed by his Holy For although even here likewise the laws of Word: all serveth but to make manifest, nature and reason be of necessary use, yet that as the actions of men are of sundry somewhat over and besides them is necesdistinct kinds, so the laws thereof must ac- sary, namely human and positive law, tocordingly be distinguished. There are in gether with that law which is of commerce men operations, some natural, some rational, between grand societies, the law of nations, some supernatural, some politic, some finally and of nations Christian. For which cause ecclesiastical: which if we measure not each the law of God hath likewise said, “Let

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every soul be subject to the higher powers." the law of public should take place, they "he public power of all societies is above breed disturbance. every soul contained in the same societies. Wherefore that here we may briefly end: And the principal use of that power is to of Law there can be no less acknowledged, give laws unto all that are under it; which than that her seat is the bosom of God, her laws in such case we must obey, unless there voice the harmony of the world: all things be reason showed which may necessarily en- in heaven and earth do her homage, the very force that the Law of Reason or of God least as feeling her care, and the greatest doth enjoin the contrary. Because except as not exempted from her power: both our own private and but probable resolu- Angels and men and creatures of what contions be by the law of public determinations dition soever, though each in different sort overruled, we take away all possibility of and manner, yet all with uniform consent, sociable life in the world. A plainer example admiring her as the mother of their peace whereof than ourselves we cannot have. How cometh it to pass that we are at this present day so rent with mutual contentions, and

Two COUNSELS ON GOVERNMENT that the Church is so much troubled about the polity of the Church? No doubt if men had been willing to learn how many laws their actions in this life are subject unto,

[From the Essays] and what the true force of each law is, all

1. Of Empire these controversies might have died the very

It is a miserable state of mind to have day they were first brought forth.

few things to desire, and many things to It is both commonly said, and truly, that

fear; and yet that commonly is the case of the best men otherwise are not always the

kings, who, being at the highest, want matbest in regard of society. The reason where

ter of desire, which makes their minds more of is, for that the law of men's actions is

languishing; and have many representations one, if they be respected only as men; and

of perils and shadows, which makes their another, when they are considered as parts minds the less clear. And this is one reason of a politic body. Many men there are, also of that effect which the Scripture than whom nothing is more commendable

speaketh of, “that the king's heart is inwhen they are singled; and yet in society

scrutable.” For multitude of jealousies, and with others none less fit to answer the duties

lack of some predominant desire that should which are looked for at their hands. Yea, I

marshal and put in order all the rest, makam persuaded, that of them with whom in

eth any man's heart hard to find or sound. this cause we strive, there are whose betters

Hence it comes, likewise, that princes many amongst men would be hardly found, if they

times make themselves desires, and set their did not live amongst men, but in some wil- hearts upon toys: sometimes upon a buildderness by themselves. The cause of which

ing, sometimes upon erecting of an order, their disposition so unframable unto. so- sometimes upon the advancing of a person, cieties wherein they live, is, for that they sometimes upon obtaining excellency in discern not aright what place and force some art or feat of the hand,-as Nero for these several kinds of laws ought to have playing on the harp, Domitian for certainty in all their actions. Is their question either of the hand with the arrow, Commodus for concerning the regiment of the Church in

playing at fence, Caracalla for driving general, or about conformity between one chariots, and the like. This seemeth incredchurch and another, or of ceremonies, offices, ible unto those that know not the principle, powers, jurisdictions in our own church? that the mind of man is more cheered and Of all these things they judge by that rule refreshed by profiting in small things, than which they frame to themselves with some by standing at a stay in great. We see also show of probability, and what seemeth in that kings that have been fortunate conthat sort convenient, the same they think querors in their first years, it being not posthemselves bound to practice; the same by sible for them to go forward infinitely, but all means they labor mightily to uphold; that they must have some check or arrest in whatsoever any law of man to the contrary their fortunes, turn in their latter years to hath determined they weigh it not. Thus by be superstitious and melancholy; as did Alfollowing the law of private reason, where exander the Great, Diocletian, and in our memory Charles V., and others; for he that it be good) is seldom attained by imitation. is used to go forward, and findeth a stop, For Ill, to man's nature as it stands perfalleth out of his own favor, and is not the verted, hath a natural motion, strongest in thing he was.

continuance; but Good has a forced motion, To speak now of the true temper of em- strongest at first. Surely every medicine is pire, it is a thing rare and hard to keep; an innovation, and he that will not apply for both temper and distemper consist of new remedies must expect new evils. For contraries. But it is one thing to mingle time is the greatest innovator; and if time contraries, another to interchange them. of course alters things to the worse, and The answer of Apollonius to Vespasian is wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to full of excellent instruction, Vespasian the better, what shall be the end ? asked him, “What was Nero's overthrow ?It is true that what is settled by custom, He answered, “Nero could touch and tune though it be not good, yet at least it is fit; the harp well; but in government sometimes and those things which have long gone tohe used to wind the pins too high, some- gether are, as it were, confederate with times to let them down too low.” And cer- themselves; whereas new things piece not so tain it is, that nothing destroyeth authority well; but, though they help by their utility, so much as the unequal and untimely inter- yet they trouble by their inconformity. Bechange of power pressed too far, and re- sides, they are like strangers, more admired, laxed too much.

and less favored. All this is true, if time This is true, that the wisdom of all these stood still; which contrariwise moveth so latter times, in princes' affairs, is rather fine round that a froward retention of custom is deliveries, and shiftings of dangers and mis- as turbulent a thing as an innovation; and chiefs when they are near, than solid and they that reverence too much old times, are grounded courses to keep them aloof. But but a scorn to the new. It were good, therethis is but to try masteries with fortune. fore, that men in their innovations would And let men beware how they neglect and follow the example of time itself; which suffer matter of trouble to be prepared, for indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and no man can forbid the spark, nor tell whence by degrees scarce to be perceived; for otherit may come. The difficulties in princes' wise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for : business are many and great; but the great- and ever it mends some, and pairs others; est difficulty is often in their own mind. and he that is holpen takes it for a fortune, For it is common with princes, saith Taci- and thanks the time; and he that is hurt, tus, to will contradictories. "Sunt ple- for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author. rumque regum voluntates vehementes, et It is good also not to try experiments in inter se contrariæ." 1 For it is the solecism States, except the necessity be urgent, or of power to think to command the end, and the utility evident; and well to beware that yet not to endure the mean.

it be the reformation that draweth on the

change, and not the desire of change that 2. Of Innovations

pretendeth the reformation : and lastly, that As the births of living creatures at first the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet are ill-shapen, so are all Innovations, which be held for a suspect; and, as the Scripture are the births of time. Yet, notwithstand- saith, that we make a stand upon the ancient ing, as those that first bring honor into their way, and then look about us, and discover family are commonly more worthy than what is the straight and right way, and so most that succeed, so the first precedent (if to walk in it.


That this huge stage presenteth nought but


Whereon the stars in secret influence com


When I perceive that men as plants increase, When I consider every thing that grows Cheered and check'd even by the self-same Holds in perfection but a little moment,


Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height 1 "The desires of kings are generally violent and arbitrary."



And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my

sight, Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay, To change your day of youth to sullied

night; And all in war with Time for love of you, As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

XXV Let those who are in favor with their stars Of public honor and proud titles boast, Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph

bars, Unlook'd for joy in that I honor most. Great princes' favorites their fair leaves

spread But as the marigold at the sun's eye, And in themselves their pride lies buried, For at a frown they in their glory die. The painful warrior famousèd for fight, After a thousand victories once foil'd, Is from the book of honor razèd quite, And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd:

Then happy I, that love and am beloved Where I may not remove nor be removed.

Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, For precious friends hid in death's dateless

night, And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd

woe, And moan the expense of many a vanish'd

sight: Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, Which I new pay as if not paid before. But if the while I think on thee, dear

friend, All losses are restored and sorrows end.


Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful

rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these

contents Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish

time. When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire

shall burn The living record of your memory. 'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still

find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending

doom. So, till the judgment that yourself arise, You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.


When, in disgrace with fortune and men's

eyes, I all alone beweep my.outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless

cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends

possess'd, Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despis

ing, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's

gate; For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth

brings That then I scorn to change my state with


LXIV When I have seen by Time's fell hand de

faced The rich proud cost of outworn buried age; When sometime lofty towers I see down

razed And brass eternal slave to mortal rage; When I have seen the hungry ocean gain Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, And the firm soil win of the watery main, Increasing store with loss and loss with

store; When I have seen such interchange of state, Or state itself confounded to decay; Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate, That Time will come and take my love away. This thought is as a death, which cannot

choose But weep to have that which it fears to


When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's



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