Images de page
PDF
ePub

yet the

What is the body t'ien, but the Ilabit of this Spirit, which it may change, or put o 1 without change; as under divers suits we still wear the same skin? If we had been on the scaffold, to see a man challenging the dogs in the disguise of a bear's hide, would we have said, "Now two beasts are fighting?”

The shape therefore may well belie the substance. Our English Navigations report, that, on some Indian shores, men have heen seen with the faces of beasts; and ye know the old verse, Simia quàm similis ! Yea, both our stories and the Netherlandish tell us of sea-monsters, that have been taken up in the full form of men: if the outside seemed human, while the inside was mute and reasonless, who would honour that creature with the style of man? What should I tell you, that evil spirits have not seldoin appeared in the shapes of men; as that Devil of Endor, in Samuel's likeness? If the outward figure could have made the man, the Prophet had survived his death.

To these let me add, that the shape is changed with disease, or casualty, or age; while the man is the same: the Face, that was fair, is now distorted and morphewed; the Hair, that was yellow or black, turned white or vanished; the Body, that was erect, bowed double; the Skin, that was white and smooth, turned tawny and writheled; and the whole Frame so altered, as if it had been moulded anew, that, while all others mis-kvow it, he, that dwells in that tenement, can scarce know it to be his own: and owner will not say, with tlrat mortified spirit, Ego non sun ego

What shall we say of the proud monarch of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, during the seven years of his transformation? His outward shape was not changed: his heart was. It was the word of his vision, Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; Dan. iv. 16. What was he now, for the time, but a beast, even in his own sense? His diet was with the oxen; his hair like eagle's feathers; his nails like birds' claws: all was, obbrutescebat animus, “his heart was bestial” in a case of human flesh.

It is not therefore the Simpe, that can forbid man to be a beast. And it was not for nothing, that the Cynic sought in the full streets for a man; and would not allow that acclamation to Doxippus, in the Olympian games, Doxippus viros vicit.

(2) Let us see what Speech and reason can do; Ratio et Oratio.

Every living creature hath a peculiar sound, whereby to express itself; and that, not without some variety of signification and change of note. If man only speak articulately words of voluntary formation and arbitrary imposition; yet even brutes have such natural language, as whereby each of the same kind do mutually understand other: and what can our words obtain more? If an Apollonius Tyanæus could construe them in their sense, it is all one as if he listened to his gossips.

But, besides the natural tone, have we not heard birds taught so to imitate the voice of men, that they have received replies, as not distinguished? Do not our books tell us of the Hyæna, that learns the shepherd's name, and calls him forth to his cost; so cunningly

[ocr errors]

Counterfeiting the voice, that the man pays his blood for his credulity?

A dumb man is no less a man than a prattler. Balaam’s ass was a beast still; and yet not only spake, but spake in a man's voice; 2 Pet. ji. 16. Besides that, man, when he comes to his best, shall have no use of speech: although there want not some, as Gerson, Salmeron and others, that hold a vocal Quire in Heaven. The angels praise God and understand each other, without use of a tongue: once we shall be like them.

It is not Speech therefore, that makes the man; since man shall be most himself, when he shall not speak.

(3) It is Reason, that mainly differenceth man from beast; and the improvement of it, in a free deduction of consequences and conclusions: that divine power dwells only in the immortal soul of man, and is not communicable to the lower forin of creatures.

Let me have leave still to put you in mind, that I speak not of man created in innocence; I speak not of man, as renewed by grace, and by that initiated in glory: I speak of man, as depraved by sin. Now he hath indeed the light of reason, but so dim and dusky, that we may well say he looks through horn, not through crystal: he, that was an eagle, is now an owl to this sun. As his best graces are lost, so his second powers are marred: he is therefore now become like the beast that perisheth; not in frailty only, but in ignorance: for it follows, This their way is their folly; Psalm xlix. 13.

Besides, we see the outside of those creatures we call brute: we see not what is within them. Not to speak of the excellency of their common-sense and strength of memory; surely their phantasy yields such interences, as would seem to evince an inferior and mongrel kind of ratiocination. Who, that should see Plutarch's Crow coming to the pail to drink, and, finding it not full enough for her reach, carrying stones to raise up the water; who, that should see the Beavers framing their den, or some Birds building their nests; who, that should see the Lion plaining the impression of his paws with his stern; who, that should see the Cranes ballasting themselves, when they are to fly over the mountains; who, that shall see the wily tricks of the Fox, or the witty feats of the Monkey or Baboon; who, that shall read of the Elephant learning letters and numbers, and plotting his cunning revenges; would not say, that these, and a thousand the like, must needs argue a baser kind of sensitive discourse: such as, wherein Imagination doth notably counterfeit Reason; and, in some weak subjects, so transcend it, as that Lactantius (De Irà Dei. I. 1. c. 7.) dares say, (I dare not,) Isla non facerent, nisi inesset illis intelligentia et cogitatio?

It is true, our reasonable soul is furnished with higher powers; but it is not more honour to have had them, than shame to have impaired them. If God doth not breathe upon our dim glasses and wipe them clear, they shew us nothing.

To speak plainly: indeed it is our illumination, that perfects reason; and that illumination is from the Father of Lights, without whose divine light natural reason is but as a dial without the sul, ,Jumentum בעיר whence is ;בער other than

eyes without light. For the natural man perccireth not the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned ; i Cor. ii. 14. And in that person it is, that Agur, the son of Jakeh, speaks, I am more brutish than man: I have not the understanding of a man; Prov. xxx. 2. Why this? I have not the knowledge of the holy; verse 3. The word is remarkable; no ; ,

a beast:" the same, that Ezekiel uses, when he says, I will give thee over into the hands of brutish men; Ezek. xxi. 31: and the Psalmist, when he says, o ye foolish, or brutish, among the people, when will ye understand? So as, notwithstanding this muddy and imperfect reason, God sees a kind of brutality in the natural man.

Whereto it may please you to add, that in a man debauched reason is so much worse than brutishness, by how much wickedness is worse heinous than simplicity: and, if want of reason make a beast, abuse of reason makes a devil. It is a miserable advantage, that makes us only apt to evil, and capable of a hell: small cause have we to brag of those powers, which so distinguish us from beasts, that they make us worse than beasts.

In short, therefore, notwithstanding Shape, Speech, Reason, a natural (and thereby a vicious) man may well pass for a beast.

2. And now, that we see it apparent that he is so, let us a little enquire how HE BECAME SO.

Čertainly, God made man upright; as in shape, so in disposition. What wrought this miserable metamorphosis? What could do it but sorcery? and what witch could this be, but the old Circe of the world, Sensuality ? Man is led and informed by reason; beasts, by sense: now when man abandons reasor and gives himself up to sense, he casts off the man and puts on the beast.

Neither is this sensuality in the affection only, but it goes through the whole soul: there is a sensual understanding, as well as a sensual appetite: the one makes a beast in opinion; the other, in practice: gross error doth the one; vice, the other. Whosoever therefore is transported with either, is turned beast. Give me a man, that is given up to his filthy lusts; give me a man, whose reason is drawn through his maw, or his spleen: let him be otherwise what he will, I dare say he is no other than a beast. 3. And now, what VARIETY think

you

is there of several kinds? no wilderness affords so many. Nero is a Lion; 2 Tim. iv. 17: Herod, a Fox; Luke xiii. 32: the Jewish false-teachers, Dogs; Phil. iii. 2: David's persecutors, Bulls of Basan, and Unicorns, Psalm xxii. 12, 21: the Egyptian enemies, Dragons; Psalm lxxiv. 13: the Scribes and Pharisees, Serpents, Vipers; Matt. xxiii. 33: the Babylonian Monarch, an Eagle-winged Lion; the Persian, a Bear; the Macedonian, a Leopard; Dan. vii. 4, 5, 6: the enemies of the Church, Wild Boars; Psalm 1xxx. 13: greedy judges, Evening Wolves; Zeph. iii. 3: schismatics, Fores' Cubs; Cant. ij. 15. The time and my breath would fail me, if I should reckon up all the se. veral kinds of beasts in the skins of men. Surely, as there is thought to be no beast upon earth, which hath not his fellow in the sea, and which hath not his semblance in plants; so I may truly say, there is no beast in the vast desert of the world, which is not parallelled in man. Yea, as effects and qualities are in a higher degree found in causes and subjects equivocal than in their own; as heat is more excellently in the sun than in the fire: so certainly is brutishness more eminent and notorious in man than in beast.

(1) Look into all herds and droves, and see if you can find so very a beast as the Drunkard. It was St. Austin's reason of old, Those beasts will drink no more than they think enough: and if the panther, which they say is the drunkennest beast, or the swine, be overtaken with unaccustomed liquor, it is upon ignorance of the power of it: so a Noah himself may be at first mistaken. But man's reason foretels him, that those intoxicating draughts will bereave him of reason: yet he swills them down wilfully; as if it were a pleasure to forego that, whereby he is a man. The beast, when he hath his load, may frisk a little, and move inordinately; and then lie down in an ordinary posture of harmless rest: but, for the drunkard, his tongue reels straight, either into railing or ribaldry; his hands, into swaggering and bloodshed; all his motions are made of disorder and mischief; and his rest is no less odious, than his moving. See how he lies wallowing in his own filthy excretions; in so loathsome a fashion, as were enough to make the beholder hate to be a man. And now, when we have all done, after all the shame and scorn, here is sus ad volutabrun. All the world cannot reclaim a habituated drunkard. That, which the beasts know not how to do, his wit projects when he is sober, how he may be drunk; and, which St, Chrysostom well observes, as more transcending all humours of beasts, how he may force others to his own shaineful excess, Far, far be this abominable vice from any of you, Courtiers. That, which the Lacedæmonians scorned in their very slaves; that, which our former times had wont to disdain in beggars; let not that, stain the honour of a Christian Court, Or, if any such should hear me this day, Awake, ye drunkards; and weep, and howl, ye 'drinkers of wine ; Joel i. 5. Return back your superfluous liquor into tears: or, if ye will not weep, ye shall howl; if ye will not weep with penitents, ye shall bowl with hell-hounds; and ye, that now pour down vessels more to make than quench thirst, shall one day in vain wish to give all the world, for but one drop of water to cool that Aaming tongue, which a whole ocean cannot so much as moisten.

(2) Look, if in all the mountains or stalls, there be any such goat or stallion as the Voluptuous man. Those silly beasts are carried, with the sway of their natural desires, into those actions of lust, which are uncapable both of shame and sin; but, in their own seasons, and within their own line: these high-fed steeds are ever neighing after strange flesh; and, as was said of beastly Messalina, may be wearied, cannot be satisfied. Those beasts affect not to go in any other, than the ordinary road of nature: but these prodigies of Sodomitical lewdness, as St. Paul speaks to his Romans, even then infamous for this not-to-be-nained villainy, burn in lust one we wards another, and man with man work that which is unseemiy. In that impure city, beasts might have been saints to the men; even out of that reason, which the wanton Roman Dame gave of old for their silly innocence, because they are beasts.

(5) Look into all the cribs and troughs of brutish diet, and see whether you can find such a beast as a Glutton. Those irrational creatures take that simple provision which nature yields them, but to a sufficiency; not affecting curiosity of dressings, varieties of mixtures, surcharges of measures: whereas, the liquorous palate of the glutton ranges through seas and lands, for uncouth delicacies; kills thousands of creatures, for but their tongues or giblets; makes but one dish of the quintessence of a hundred fowls or fishes; praises that, for the best flesh, that is no flesh; cares only to solicit that, which others would be glad to satisfy, appetite. What shall I say more? this gourmand sacrifices whole hecatombs to his paunch; and whists himself away, in Necotian Incense, to the idol of his vain intemperance; and tears his own bowels, yea his soul, with his teeth.

(4) Look into all the caves and dens of the wildest desert; see if there be any such tiger or wolf, as an Enemy, as an Usurping Oppressor. Even the savagest beasts agree with themselves : 'else the wilderness would soon be unpeopled of her four-footed inhabitants. Cruel man falls upon his own kind; and spills that blood, which, when both are shed, he cannot distinguish from his own. The fiercest beast, if he seize upon a weaker prey, is incited by a necessity of hunger, and led by a natural law of self-preservation, which, once satisfied, puts an end to his cruelty: man is carried with a furious desire of revenge, which is as unsatiable as hell itself. Hence are murders of men, rapes of virgins, braining and broaching of infants, mangling of carcases, carousing of blood, refossion of graves, torturing of the surviving worse than many deaths; firing of cities, demolishing of temples, whole countries buried in rubbish and ashes, and even the Christian World turned to a shambles or slaughter-house. It were too easy for me to prosecute the rest; and, in every

vicious man, to find more beasts, than hides, or horns, or hoofs, or paws can discover.

Brag of thyself therefore, O Man, that thou art a noble creature; and vaunt of thine own perfections : look big, and speak high: but, if thou be no other than thou hast made, yea marred, thyself, the very brute beasts, if they could speak as thou dost, would in pity call thee, as the philosopher did in Laertius, spirávaqwme," thrice man," instead of thrice miserable. God and his angels and good men look upon thee, with no less scorn, than thou lookest upon that, which thou art, and thinkest not, a beast; yea, it were well if no worse. Let me say, there is not the most Joathly and despicable creature that crawls upon the earth, which thou shalt not once envy; and wish to have been, rather than what thou art. Raise up thyself therefore froin this woeful condition of depraved Humanity: naturam vincat institutio, as Ambrose: and let it be thy holy ambi

« PrécédentContinuer »