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tience; that thereby he gives them xpóvov após cravopAw- CHAP. om, a space to repent in, as the Scripture calls it. For — men, saith Plutarch, in their punishments look at no- Rev. ii. 2 thing further than mere satisfying their revenge and malice, and that makes them pursue those that have offended them with so much rage and eagerness; but God, saith he, aims at the cure of those who are not utterly incurable ; to such he gives metabaréobar xpóvov, a time to reform in. Here he brings in the examples of such who were bad at first, and came afterwards to be changed from what they were; for which he instances in Cecrops, who was thence called Alguns, because, from a cruel severe prince, he became gentle and mild; and so Gelon and Hieron of Sicily, and Pi. sistratus the son of Hippocrates, who, from being usurpers, became excellent princes. If Miltiades, saith he, had been cut off while he acted the part of a tyrant, and Cimon in his incest, or Themistocles in his debaucheries, what had become of Marathon, Eurymedon, Dianium, by which the Athenians got so great glory and liberty? And, as he well observes, O'lèv ydp Plutarch. ai qeyánar búoels mikpòv #køépovoiv, great spirits do no- P. 552. thing mean ; Oidè åpyeñ 81 btnta Tò opodpòv év avtais kai δραστήριον, αλλ' εν σάλο διαφέρονται, πριν εις το μόνιμον και KABEOTYKÒS Vos érdeñv, That sharp and active spirit that is in them can never lie at rest by reason of its vigour, but they are tossed up and down, as it were in a tempest, till they come to a settled composed life. But as the multitude of weeds argues the richness and softness of the ground, though for the sake of those weeds one not skilled in husbandry would not account such ground worth looking after, so, saith he, örona πολλά και φαύλα προεξανθούσιν αι μεγάλαι φύσεις, great spirits usually bring forth no commendable fruits at first; which we considering the danger and hurtful
BOOK ness of, are presently for cutting them down; but one
that more wisely considers the generous nature which may lie under this ill fruit, waits time and leisure, till reason and age begin to master these headstrong passions. And therefore, according to the prudent law of the Egyptians, the woman with child must be reprieved till the time of her delivery.
3. God spares some wicked men from punishment, to make them instruments of his justice in punishing others. 'Evious ydp áué el kai kodao Taís étépwv Troumpôv, olov Onpokoivois, anexeñoato TÒ Salpovov, as Plutarch goes on, God spares some from punishment, that by them he might punish others. Which he supposeth to be the case of all tyrants: and thereby Cotta's difficulty concerning Marius, Cinna, Sylla, and those other cruel and tyrannical persons who usurped authority among them, is clearly taken off: for Divine Providence might let those trees grow, from whence he intended to take his rods to scourge others withal. God makes the same use of tyrants (saith Plutarch) to commonwealths, that physicians do of the gall of a hyæna and other hurtful creatures; which may be good for curing some dangerous diseases; so may the tyrannical severity and sharpness of such persons be continued Tò νοσούν απαλλάξαι και καθάραι, till the diseases of the political body be cured by these sharp medicines. Such a one was Phalaris to the Agrigentines, and Marius to
the Romans; and the oracle told the Sicyonians in exp. 553.
press terms, μαστιγονόμων δείσθαι την πόλιν, the city wanted some severe discipline. Thence Totilas, when he found what strange success he had in his enterprises, called himself Flagellum Dei, and thought God raised him up on purpose to be a scourge for the sins of the world. And no doubt those strange passages of the Roman commonwealth, (which made Cato at least dispute Pro
vidence, and say, Res divinas multum habere caligi. CHAP. nis, when he saw Pompey successful as long as he. served his ambition, but presently overthrown when he stood for the commonwealth ;) these things, I say, had a higher end than they looked at, which was to make both Pompey and Cæsar the instruments of Divine justice to punish the Romans for their lusts, ambition, and cruelty, which were never greater than in that age. Now then, if God must justly punish offenders, why may he not spare some to make them his instruments in the punishing of others : especially since, after he hath used his rods, he may cast them into the fire too? As was evident in the instance of Cæsar, who, after all his slaughters and triumphs, was murdered in the senate, and that by some who had been as active as any for him. And herein Divine justice, both as to the punishment of the persons, and the means of it, hath been very remarkable in a multitude of instances; which every one's reading may afford him.
4. Therefore another account why God may spare wicked men a while, is, that Divine Providence might more remarkably be observed in the manner of their punishment afterwards. Plutarch tells us of Callippus, who was stabbed by his enemies with the same dagger with which he had killed Dion under a pretence of friendship. And when Mitius, the Argive, was killed in a tumult afterwards, upon the day of a solemn show, a brass statue in the market-place fell upon his murderer, and killed him there. But most remarkable is the story of Bessus, recorded by the same author, who having killed his father, and a long time concealed it, goes one night to supper to some friends; and while he was there, thrusts up his spear into a swallow's nest, and pulls it down, and kills the
BOOK young ones. His friends asking him the reason of so
strange an action, Oủ yap (éon) uoũ trádal katamapTupowo w αύται ψευδώς και καταβοώσιν, ως απεκτονότος τον πατέρα, Do not you hear, saith he, how they falsely accuse me, and cry out that I have killed my father ? Which being by the persons present carried to the king, and the truth of it found out, he was executed for it. Such strange ways doth Providence sometimes use to shew how vigilant it is, even when we think it sleeps the most!
5. Though God spares the persons of wicked men, he doth not defer their punishment, when the thoughts of their evil actions is the greatest torment to them; Maxima peccati poena est, peccasse, as Seneca speaks ; sin bears its own punishment along with it. Wickedness is δεινή τις βίου δημιουργός οίκτρού, the most exquisite contriver of misery, which fills the minds of those who commit it with continual consternations, anxieties, and perplexities of mind. But as that often and deservedly cited author on this subject, Plutarch, tells us, most men are in this like children, who when they behold malefactors in the theatres in their cloth of gold and purple robes, with their crowns on their heads dancing about, they admire them, and imagine them to be most happy men, till they see them lashed and beaten, and fire come out from their brave apparel ; so, saith he, as long as men see others in their pomp and grandeur, they think them very far from punishment, till they behold their execution; which, adds he, is not so much the entrance of their punishment, as the perfection of it. So that the longer the time of their lives is, the longer is the time of their punishment here; Ουδε γηράσαντες εκολάσθησαν, άλλ' έγήρασαν κολαζόμενοι. They are not punished when they grow old, but are grown old in punishments. Cannot we say a person
is punished while he is in prison, and hath his fetters CHAP.
III. upon him, till his execution comes ? nor that one that hath drunk poison, is a dying while he walks about, till the cold comes to his heart and kills him ? If we deny, saith he, that all the inquietudes, horrors, and anxieties of mind, which wicked men have, are no part of their punishment, we may as well say that a fish which hath swallowed the hook is not taken, because he is not fried, or cut in pieces. So it is with every wicked man; he hath swallowed the hook when he hath committed an evil action, (To Yukù rñs ådıkías Konep déreap eylès égedýdloke,) and this conscience within him, as he expresseth it, Θύννος βολαίος πέλαγος ως διαστροβεί
p. 554. Which in the prophet's expression is, The wicked are Isa. Ivii. 21. like a troubled sea, which casts forth nothing but mire and dirt. As Apollodorus dreamt that he was flayed and boiled by the Scythians, and that his heart spake to him out of the cauldron, 'Ey 001 TOÚTwv aitía, I am the cause of all this. God deals by wicked men, as Caligula was wont to say of those he commanded to be executed, Ferit ut sentiant se mori, he so punishes them, as to make them sensible of their punishments. And as Tacitus speaks of cruel and wicked persons, quorum mentes si recludantur, possint aspici laniatus et ictus ; quando ut corpora verberibus, ita sævitia, libidine, malis consultis animus dilaceretur. Wickedness is the only fury which continually haunts and lashes those who delight in it, and leaves still behind it αισχρά και φοβερά πάθη, Ioathsome and terrible perturbations, secret gripings of conscience, and self-condemning thoughts for their folly and wickedness; like Lysimachus, who for extreme thirst offered his kingdom to the Getæ to quench it, which when he had done, φεύ της έμής κακίας, δς δι' ηδονήν ούτω βραχείαν, έστέ
STILLINGFLEET, VOL. II.