Medela, when seeing the offences of our friends, or of them whom we defend, to be so great that we cannot honestly defend them, or so manifest that we cannot well deny them, we seeke to heale them with plastures of good words and pleasing pseech: When there was a greater luxuritie and ryot objected against Caelius, then Cicero durst defend, and more evident then he could deny: not withstanding he did extenuate the fault with gentle words, and as much as he could pacified the judges, who were vehemently kindled against him, he said that those things were partly the vices of times rather then of the man, he contended that soem thing ought to be yelded to age, he opposeth against the offence a hope of future regard and diligence. And also as a remedie against new sprung envy, by the acts and enterprises which now Caelius tooke upon him, he applieth his own expettation of Caelius modestie and honest behaviour for the time to come.
The Apostle Paul giveth a verie good example of this figure in his Epistle to Philemon, where he useth sundry reasons & diverse meanes to salve and cure the fault of Onesimus, and to appease and pacifie the displeasure of Philemon: which example may be a very good president for the use for this figure, both in respect of the forme, and also of the equitie & lawfulnesse of the effect, which are two points necessarie to be observed in all formes of speech.
The use of this figure.
This figure or forme of speech pertaineth properly to extenuate offences, to excuse infirmities, to appease displeasure, and reconcile friends offended.
It behoveth the vertuous Orator to regard these necessarie observations in Caution, that he never defend things unlawfull, nor denieth matter evident, nor excuse offences that be wilful, nor extenuate transgressions that be great, otherwise he shal appeare both impudent and wicked: notwithstanding which of all these faults will not blind affection, selfelove, evil conscience, and corrupted indes take in hand, and either subtilly worke, or audaciously performe.