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2nd excerpt from "Temperance and Patience", 1654


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2nd excerpt from "Temperance and Patience", 1654

Posted 11-19-2013 at 01:31 PM by GerandTwine
Updated 11-19-2013 at 01:53 PM by GerandTwine

The second and final excerpt from Juan Eusebio Nieremberg's writing, translated by Henry Vaughan.

Conscience, even amongst the Pelusians, was held a legal

and politick punishment, that in Phalaris it was a Tyrannical devise, in Cain the Divine vengeance, and in Adam and Eve, the Justice of Nature. God, Nature, Reason, and fury it selfe (which in this case must not be defined madnesse,) do all beare witnesse, that selfe-condemnation, or the guilt of conscience is of all others the most bitter and avenging torment.
...Adde to this, that the certainty of it is as infallible, and inevitable, as the extremity and fiercenesse of it are implacable: there was never any Tyrant so cruel, but would pardon some offender: There was none so severely inquisitive, but some might either escape from him, or deceive him: But the rigour of conscience permits neither favour, flight, nor fraud. It is utterly inexorable, and neither our feete will serve us to run away, nor our hands to free us: whither shall a man run from himselfe, from the secrets of his own spirit, from his life? No man can be an Impostour or dissembler with his own heart, no man can undo what he hath already done: to have sinned is the remediless plague of the Soul. It was a slow expression of [Marius] Victor, that Vengeance is near to sinne. It is swifter then so: It is not consectaneous, or in chase of it, but coetaneous with it, and its softer-sister:


The punishment hath the same birth with the offence, and proceedes from it; It is both the Sister, and the Daughter of it: Wickedness cannot be brought forth without its penalty: The brest that conceives the one, is big with the other, and when the one is borne, he is delivered of both. It is fruitfullnesse like that of Mice, whose young ones are included the one in the other, and generate in the very wombe. Conscience, while man thinkes of Evill, even before he acts, doth rebuke that thought: so that the punishment is praeexistent to the crime, though in the reigne of Virtue it is noiselesse and uselesse; as penal Lawes are dead letters, untill they are quickned by offenders. It is then in its minority, and without a sting, or else it is asleep, untill the Cry of Sinne awakes it. In the state of Evill, Conscience is the first and the last revenger: when smal offences are wiped out, enormous crimes like capital letters will still remain.
...No man can find a Sanctuary to save him from himself. No evill doer can so fly for refuge, as to be secure, though he may be safe: Hee will be afraid in that place, where he thought not to fear: Though he fears not the friends of the murthered, yet


he finds that within him, which makes him sore afraid: He may escape the Executioner and the sword but he will be overtaken by himselfe; and being safe, hee will be afraid even of his safety: Though he may find fidelity in his fellow-Tyrants, yet shall he find none in his own bosome, which is ever clamorous, and spues out blood and guilt. Nature deviseth such a punishment for evill doers, as that which tyed living Malefactors unto the putrid Carkasses of dead men, that the horrour and stench of them might afflict their spirits, and the quick flesh be infected and devoured by the dead and rotten. The punishment sticks fast unto us after the offence, whose carkasse is terrour of Conscience, Shame, and a gnawing remorse, that feeds still upon the faulty, but is not satisfied. The guilty person can have noe peace,
...But night and day doth his owne life molest,
...And bears his Judge and witnesse in his brest.
...Adde to this, that Reason which in all other pressures and misfortunes is the great Auxiliary and Guardian of man, is in an offended Conscience his greatest Enemy,


and imploys all her forces to his vexation and ruine.
...Fortune therefore is not the onely cause of our contristation; we our selves do arm adversities, and put a sword into the hand of griefe to wound us with; we are sticklers against our selves. Evill Actions afflict more then Evill Fortune; We are not onely troubled that it was Chaunce, but that it was our Choice. It is the worst kind of misery, to be made miserable by our owne approbation. That evill which we procure to our selves, must needs grieve us more, then that which we casually suffer: Noe damage is so doleful, as a condemning conscience. Truly, I do believe, that the onely misfortune of Man is Sinne. And so very bad and mischievous a Cheat it is, that when it is most punished, wee think it most prospers; neither can Fortune be justly termed Evil, but when she is the Assistant of Evill men, and the surety for Evill doing. This permitted successe makes the affaires of the most unrighteous to be esteemed Just: This is a felicity like that of beasts, which we put into pleasant and well watered pastures, that they may be fed for slaughter. Against this true misfortune, as well as the false and seeming, Patience must be our Antidote; not by bearing, but by


abstaining from it. Patience in this Case must elevate it selfe, and passe into a virtuous anger and contempt of sinfull prosperity: We must be piously impatient of all their proffers and poisonous allurements; Impatient, I say, that we may patiently overcome them.
...Therefore as I have formerly exhibited the Art of bearing well to be the onely remedy against Fortune: So now I shall demonstrate to you, that the Art of abstaining well, is the sole medicine against these true and inward misfortunes: Differing diseases must have different cures. Patience is the poyson that kills Fortune, and the Balm that heales her stripes: but a sacred impatience, or abstinence from Sinne is the Antidote of Conscience; and the Basis or foundation of this holy impatience is transcendent and triumphant Patience. To mitigate or overcome Fortune is a trivial trick: Flattery will do it, if we can but descend to approve of, and commend all that she doth. To preserve the peace of Conscience, wee must be rigid, and censorious: We must speak home, and truly: We must examine before we Act, and admit of no Action that wil be a just cause but for to blush. The approaches of Fortune are abstruse: She moves not within the light of


Humane wisedome; or if she doth, the strength of her Prerogative lies betwixt Willingnesse and Constraint: It is a kind of fatal fooling: Man playes with his Stars until they hurt him: But the cause of an evill Conscience is within our view, and may be prevented by Counsell; For no man can Sinne against his Will, or without his Knowledge. One naile must drive out another: He that would avoyd damnation, must avoid also those things which are damnable: He cannot grieve too much, that grieves only to prevent Eternal griefe. The helps we use against Fortune are after-games. But the Salves of Conscience must precede the wound; the cure of spirituall diseases is their prevention. In the affaires of this World the best man is the experienced: But in the distresses and affaires of Conscience, he is the wisest that is most ignorant. A noxious Knowledge is death, and every Sinner is a Fool. The wisedome of Doves is innocence, and that which makes the light to shine is its simplicity. Light is a Type of Joy, and Darknesse of Sorrow: Joy is the fruit of innocence, and sorrow of Sinne. The sorrow we take for Fortune is hurtfull: Those teares, like tempestuous droppings, if not kept out, will rot the house: But the sorrow for sinne


is healing. Penitential tears are the Oile of the Sanctuary: God gives them, and afterwards accepts them: they both cleanse us and cherish us. When Marble weepes, it washeth off the dust: Worldly teares are the waters of Marah; the tree that sweetens them, must be shewed by the Lord: The waters of the pool *Bethesda heal'd not, untill the Angel stirred them; without true remorse teares profit not: but if they have that Ingredient, they are showers which the Lord hath blessed, and must not be stopped, although they might. As courage and a joyfull heart are the ripe fruits of innocence, so shame and sorrow are the hopefull buds and primroses of it. Contrition is the infancie of Virtue: Therefore that sadness must not be expelled which expelleth Vice. It is an invention of the Diety to destroy Sinnes: That they might be either unfruitfull, or fruitfull onely to their owne destruction: For this we have two instances from Nature, in the Mule and the Viper: Wherof the one is barren, and the other unhappily fruitfull. Nature is carefull that Evills may not multiply, or if they do, that they may not prosper. The Mule is barren, lest there

*the word in the He brew signifies, the house of powring out: which in a secret Allegorie may very well concerne man.


should be an increase of Monsters. Apposite to this, is that saying of Gregory Cerameus, Egor kachiatz [Greek], Evils (saith he) are denyed from God the power of propagating, as mules have not the faculty to preserve their kind by generating one another. The Viper notwithstanding is a mother, but shee brings forth her owne destruction: The birth of her young ones is her death. So sorrow, that is the child of sinne, is the death of it also. Let therefore this saving destroyer of sins be made much off, let this godly sorrow be still cherished, and never rebuked: he that dryes up his teares, before he is cleansed, takes delight in his filthiness, and like the lothsome drunkard, would sleep in his vomit: Penitent afflictions should never be resisted but by precaution.
...Hee then that would not drink of this Wormwood, must be sure to refuse the sugred venom of sinne: No man is Evill for nothing. Every defect in life is occasioned by a defect of Patience: because we cannot endure to be constantly good: because we are impatient of continuall holiness. Two Evills attend upon Sinners, the Evill of sin, and the Evill of Punishment, which is the Evil of sorrow: To escape the last, we must abstain from the first: wee must be either


impatient of the first, or else the patients of the last: Unless wee will suffer a litle to avoid offences, wee must suffer much after we have fallen into them. A short displeasure is better then a long torment: This previous Patience of abstaining, frees us from two subsequent Evils: The pain of Conscience untill we repent, and after that the pain of Penitence: These two are the Appendants, or retinue of every sinne; A seasonable, innocent forbearance is the fense against them both: one small griefe averts these two great ones: How wholesome and comfortable is that Patience which prevents sinne and sorrow, the Consquent of it? But Virtue, when it is most healthfull, is in the estimation of some reputed to be poyson: For no other reason do they reject it, of whome Theodotus elegantly sings,
...Virtues faire cares some people measure
...For poys'nous works, that hinder pleasure.

...This Patient abstinence from Evill is the Mother of holy Joy, it keeps the mind pleasant and serene: What is there, or what can there be more beneficial, or delightfull to man, then a pure, innocent conscience, where all the Virtues (like


busie Bees) are in constant action, as in a fair, flowry field, or rather in Paradise? where all is Divine, all Peacefull, nothing polluted, no feare, no distraction. In this state, as Theophanes saith, the wise man is adorned with a Godlike Conscience, and a mind becoming the very Diety. What is there more joyful, then to be master of such a Power, as cannot be violated by Tyrants and Torments? It was a golden and Victorious saying of Tiburtius: Every punishment is poor, when a pure Conscience keepes us company: For as the guilty can receive no comfort: So the Innocent cannot lose his Joy. The Joy of Conscience is Natures recompence, the coalescent reward, or fruite of integrity, an entailed happinesse, the native blandishment of life, and the minds mighty purchase: What happier gaine can be, then to rejoice alwaies, for what wee have done but once? or what greater damage then an unrighteous gain? It was bravely said by Chilo, that the heaviest losse was to bee chosen before base gain: That will grieve us but once, the other alwaies. The losse of temporal goods will trouble us but for a time, but a lost Conscience will torment us Eternally. What greater liberty can there be, then not to fear any thing? And


what can he be affeard of, that is not frighted by the guilt of his own spirit? when Periander was asked, what liberty was? he answered, A good Conscience. And another saith, that
...Man should with Virtue arm'd, and hearten,d be,
...And innocently watch his Enemy:
...For fearlesse freedom, which none can controule,
...Is gotten by a pure and upright Soul.

...Sinne makes remisse and cowardly spirits to be the constant slaves of misery: what liberty, yea, what joy can he have, or what dares he do,
...Whose guilty soul with terrours fraught, doth frame
...New torments still, and still doth blow that flame
...Which still burns him: nor sees what end can be
...Of his dire plagues, and fruitful penalty?
...But fears them living, and fears more to dye.
...Which makes his life a constant Tragedy.

...Therefore to preserve the mirth and peace of Conscience, righteous, or honest Actions are mainly conducing, and should


be alwaies our imployment; for this is the appointed task of man, and it is his mysterie too.
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