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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sayings of a Pope

The historian Platina knew Pius II personally. In his T H E LIVES OF THE POPES FROM THE ACCESSION OF GREGORY VII. TO THE DEATH OF PAUL II.WRITTEN ORIGINALLY IN LATIN, one of the Chapters is devoted to a life of Pius II. The Portrait is affectionate and respectful. In it he records some of the many sayings of the late Pope.

"He left many sayings behind him, of which I thought fit to add some to this account of his life; to wit :

That the divine nature was better understood by believing than by disputing.

That all sects, though confirmed by human authority, yet wanted reason.

That the Christian ought to be received upon its own credit, though it had never been backed with miracles.

That there were three persons in the Godhead, not proved to be so by reason, but by considering who said so.

That those men who pretended to measure the heavens and the earth were rather bold than certain what they did was right.

That to find out the motion of the stars had more pleasure in it than profit.

That God s friends enjoyed both this life and that to come.

That without virtue there was no true joy.

That as a covetous man is never satisfied with money, so a learned man should not be with knowledge ; but that he who knew never so much might yet find somewhat to be studied.

That common men should value learning as silver, noblemen as gold, and princes as jewels.

That good physicians did not seek the money but the health of the party diseased.

That a florid speech did not move wise men, but fools.

That those laws are sacred which restrain licentiousness.

That the laws had power over the commonalty, but were feeble to the greater sort.

That great controversies were decided by the sword and not by the laws.

A citizen should look upon his family as subject to the city, the city to his country, his country to the world, and the world to God.

That the chief place with kings was slippery.

That as all rivers run into the sea, so do all vices into courts.

That flatterers draw kings whither they please.

That kings hearken to none more easily than to sycophants.

That the tongue of a flatterer was a king s greatest plague.

That a king who would trust nobody was good for nothing, and he that be lieved everybody was no better.

That it is necessary he that governs many should himself be ruled by many.

That he deserved not the name of a king who measured the public by his private advantage.

That he who neglected holy duties did not deserve the church revenue, nor a king his taxes, that did not constant justice.

He said those that went to law were the birds ; the court, the field ; the judge, the net ; and the lawyers, the fowlers.

That men ought to be presented to dignities and not dignities to the men.

That some men had offices and did not deserve them, whilst others deserved them and had them not.

That the burthen of a Pope was heavy, but he was happy who bore it stoutly.

That an illiterate bishop was like an ass.

That ill physicians killed the body, and ignorant priests the soul.

That a wandering monk was the devil s bond-slave.

That virtue had enriched the clergy, but vice made them poor.

That there was great reason for the prohibiting of priests to marry, but greater for allowing it again.

That no treasure was preferable to a faithful friend.

That life was like a friend, and envy like death.

That he cherishes an enemy who pardons his son too often.

That a covetous man never pleases anybody but by his death.

That men s faults are concealed by liberality, and discovered by avarice.

That it was a slavish vice to tell lies.

That the use of wine had augmented the cares and the distempers of mankind.

That a man ought to take as much wine as would raise and not overwhelm his soul.

That lust did sully and stain every age of man, but quite extinguish old age.

That gold itself, and jewels could not purchase content.

That it was pleasant to the good, but terrible to the bad, to die.

That a noble death was to be preferred before a dishonourable life in the opinion of all philosophers."