What is truth; said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. certainly there be, that delight in giddiness; and count it a bondage, to fix a belief, affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. and though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them, as was in those of the ancients.
But it is not only the difficulty, and labour, which men take in finding out of truth; nor again, mat when it is found, it imposed upon men s thoughts; that doth bring lies in favour: but a natural, though corrupt love, of the lie itself. One of the later school of me Grecians, examined the matter, and is at a stand, to think what should be in it, mat men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for advantage, as with me merchant; but for the lie's sake. but i cannot tell: this same truth, is a naked, and open day light, mat doth not show, the masques, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately, and daintily, as candlelight. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showed best by day: but it will not rise, to me price of a diamond, or carbuncle, that showed best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, mat if there were taken out of men's minds, vain opinions, nattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like; but it would leave the minds, of a number of men, poor shrunken things; full of melancholy, and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy, vinum doemonum; because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is, but with me shadow of a lie. but it is not me lie, that passeth through the mind, but me lie mat sink in, and settle in it, that doth me hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things arc thus, in men's depraved judgment, and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teaches, that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the sovereign good of human nature.
The first creature of god, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last, was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of his spirit first he breathed light, upon the face, of the matter or chaos; then he breathed light, into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light, into the face of his chosen. The poet, that beautified the sect, that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: 'it is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof, below: but no pleasure is comparable, to the standing, upon the vantage ground of truth:' (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene;) 'and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below:' so always, that this prospect, be with pity, and not with swelling, or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth. To pass from theological, and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged, even by those mat practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the honour of man's nature;and that mixture of falsehood, is like allay in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it for these winding and crooked courses, are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet there is no vice, that doth so cover a man with shame, as to be found false, and perfidious. And therefore mountaigny saith prettily, when he enquired the reason, why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge? saith he, 'if it be well weighed, to lay that a man lieth, is as much to say, as mat he is brave towards god, and a coward towards men.' For a lie faces god, and shrinks from man. surely the wickedness of falsehoods, and breach of faith, cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in mat it shall be the last peal, to call the judgements of god upon the generations of men, it being foretold, that when christ cometh. he shall not find faith upon the earth.