Savonarola, "This will be your final destruction"
0h, Florence, I cannot tell you everything I feel, for you could not bear it for the present .Oh, if I could tell you all, you would see that I am like a new vessel full of mist that is sealed up, with a seal on every word to prevent it from issuing forth! Many secrets are sealed up their which cannot be told because he would not believe them! Oh, Florence, if you've still been unable to believe, at least believe now; and if you have believed, believe more than ever little man full of sin! God has wished you to see and to know my incapacity so that you may see and realized so much the better that it is He and not I who does all. . . . You know that in these past years while I have preached to you, when everything seemed to be a piece and Florence was so quiet, I predicted to you that you would see much evil and many tribulations; and you did not believe it because you saw no sign of it. Now you have seen it, and you see that they have begun, and you see the beginning of what I told you, and you cannot deny it. Therefore, you must now believe so much for more what I will tell you, since you have seen what was said in the past begin and be verified. And if, then, I predicted evil and you have seen it, now when I speak of good you must believe, because a prophet does not always predict evil. Listen, Florence, this morning to what I am telling you. Hear what God has inspired in me. I trust only in Christ in what I am telling you; and I would fail if I wished to do good to you by myself.
In the first place, I tell you, do those things I have told you to do before; namely, that each one should confess and be purified of his sins, and that all should attend to the common good of the city. And if you will do this, your city will be glorious, because in this way it will be reformed both spiritually and temporally; and from you will, the reformation of all Italy, and Florence will become more rich and more powerful than she has ever been, and she will extend her empire into many places. But if you will not do this that I tell you . . . this will be your final destruction. . . . I have told you before that God wishes to renew his Church; do not doubt that he will renew its with the sword of tribulation, and soon. . . .
Above all you must take care lest anyone make himself head and dominate others in the city. Such men are deprived of God's grace and other special providence, and they are generally the worst men, lacking in understanding and faithless. . . . Above all such men have no true friendship with anyone; they do not confide in anyone. True and joyous friendship is necessary in human affairs and conserves you in virtue; but such men have no good virtue, nor do they contract true friendship. They always hate good men and . . . employ only wicked and evil people. . . . Furthermore, their rule cannot be long and durable because all the people, even if they do not show it, hate their tyranny. A people under a tyrant is like a body of water compressed and held back by force, which, when it finds a little hole to escape, bursts forth impetuously and ruinously. . . . Have a care, therefore, that such men do not take control in your city, and attend to the common good. Hand how this should be done I will tell you, as God will inspire me.
I have told you, during the last few days, that when the natural agent wishes to do a thing, it must give every consideration to the form of that thing; therefore, I tell you that you must select a good form for your new government, and above all no one must think of making himself head if you wish to live in liberty. . . .
[Source: William J. Bouwsma, trans., in Major Crises in Western Civilization, vol. 1 (New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1965), pp. 165-167.]
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