[ Snails Kissing AA 

Meditationes Sacrae

Of the Innocency of the Dove and the Wisdom of the Serpent

The fool receiveth not the word of wisdom,
except thou discover to him what he hath in his heart.

TO a man of perverse and corrupt judgment all instruction or persuasion is fruitless and contemptible which begins not with discovery and laying open of the distemper and ill complexion of the mind which is to be recured: as a plaster is unseasonably applied before the wound be searched. For men of corrupt understanding, that have lost all sound discerning of good and evil, come possessed with this prejudicate opinion, that they think all honesty and goodness proceedeth out of a simplicity of manners, and a kind of want of experience and unacquaintance with the affairs of the world. Therefore except they may perceive those things which are in their hearts, that is to say their own corrupt principles and the deepest reaches of their cunning and rottenness, to be thoroughly sounded and known to him that goes about to persuade with them, they make but a play of the words of wisdom. Therefore it behoveth him which aspireth to a goodness not retired or particular to himself, but a fructifying and begetting goodness, which should draw on others, to know those points which be called in the Revelation the deeps of Satan; that he may speak with authority and true insinuation. Hence is the precept: Try all things, and hold that which is good: which induceth a discerning election out of an examination whence nothing at all is excluded. Out of the same fountain ariseth that direction: Be you wise as Serpents, and innocent as Doves. There are neither teeth nor stings, nor venom, nor wreaths and folds of serpents, which ought not to be all known, and as far as examination doth lead, tried: neither let any man here fear infection or pollution; for the sun entereth into sinks and is not defiled. either let any man think that herein he tempteth God; for his diligence and generality of examination is commanded; and God is sufficient to preserve you immaculate and pure.
[@ Bacon, Works VII, 244-5]