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of them, they pass over altogether, or slightly and unprofitably. We may discourse as much as we please that the moral virtues are in the mind of man by habit, and not by nature, and we may make a formal distinction that generous spirits are won by doctrines and persuasions, and the vulgar sort by reward and punishment; or we may give it in precept that the mind like a crooked stick must be straightened by bending it the contrary way', and the like scattered glances and touches; but they would be very far from supplying the place of that which we require.

The reason of this neglect I suppose to be that hidden rock whereupon both this and so many other barks of knowledge have struck and foundered; which is, that men have despised to be conversant in ordinary and common matters which are neither subtle enough for disputation, nor illustrious enough for ornament. It is hard to compute the extent of the evil thus introduced; namely, how from innate pride and vain glory men have chosen those subjects of discourse, and those methods of handling them, which rather display their own genius than benefit the reader. Seneca says well, "Eloquence is injurious to those whom it inspires with a fondness for itself, and not for the subject';" for writings should be such as should make men in love with the lesson, and not with the teacher. They therefore are on the right path, who can say the same of their counsels as Demosthenes did of his, and conclude with this sentence, "If you do what I advise you will not only praise the orator at the time, but in no long time yourselves also, by reason of the better condition of your affairs."3 For myself, most excellent king, I may truly say that both in this present work, and in those I intend to publish hereafter, I often advisedly and deliberately throw aside the dignity of my name and wit (if such thing be) in my endeavour to advance human interests; and being one that should properly perhaps be an architect in philosophy and the sciences, I turn common labourer, hodman, anything that is wanted; taking upon myself the burden and execution of many things which must needs be done, and which others through an inborn pride shrink from and decline. But to return to the subject: moral philosophers have chosen for themselves a certain glittering and lustrous


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mass of matter, wherein they may principally glorify themselves for the point of their wit, or the power of their eloquence; but those which are of most use for practice, seeing that they cannot be so clothed with rhetorical ornaments, they have for the most part passed over.

Neither needed men of so excellent parts to have despaired of a fortune, which the poet Virgil promised to himself, and indeed obtained; who got as much glory of eloquence, wit, and learning in the expressing of the observations of husbandry, as of the heroical acts of Eneas;

Nec sum animi dubius, verbis ea vincere magnum
Quam sit, et angustis his addere rebus honorem.1

And surely, if the purpose be in good earnest, not to write at leisure that which men may read at leisure, but really to instruct and suborn action and active live, these Georgics of the Mind are no less worthy to be had in honour than the heroical descriptions of virtue, goodness, and felicity, whereon so much labour has been spent.

Wherefore I will divide moral knowledge into two principal parts; the one "the Exemplar or Platform of Good," the other "the Regiment or Culture of the Mind," which I also call the Georgics of the Mind; the one describing the nature of good, the other prescribing rules how to accommodate the will of man thereunto.

The doctrine touching the platform or nature of good, considers good either Simple or Comparative: either the kinds of good, or the degrees of good; in the latter whereof those infinite disputations and speculations touching the supreme degree thereof, which they termed "Felicity," "Beatitude," or the "Highest Good" (which were as the heathen Divinity), are by the Christian faith removed and discharged. And as Aristotle says, "That young men may be happy, but only by hope," 2 so we, instructed by the Christian faith, must all acknowledge our minority, and content ourselves with that felicity which rests in hope.

Freed therefore happily, and delivered from this doctrine of the heathen heaven, whereby they certainly imagined a higher

Virg. Georg. iii. 289.:

How hard the task, alas, full well I know,
With charms of words to grace a theme so low.

2 Arist. Nic. Eth. i. 10.

elevation of man's nature than it is really capable of (for we see in what height of style Seneca writes, "It is true greatness to have the frailty of a man and the security of a god 1"), we may with more sobriety and truth receive the rest of what they have delivered concerning the doctrine of the Exemplar; wherein, for the nature of good Positive or Simple, they have painted it excellently and to the life, as in a picture, diligently representing the forms of virtues and duties, their situations and their postures, kinds, relations, parts, subjects, provinces, actions, administrations, and the like; nay further, they have commended and insinuated them into man's nature and spirit with great quickness of argument and beauty of persuasions; yea, and fortified and entrenched them, as much as discourse can do, against corrupt and popular opinions. Again, for the nature of Comparative Good, they have also excellently well handled it, in their triplicity of good; in the comparison between a contemplative and active life; in the distinction between virtue with reluctation, and virtue settled and secured; in their encounters between honesty and profit; in their balancing of virtue with virtue, as to which outweighs the other, and the like; so that I find that this part is excellently laboured, and that the ancients have done their work admirably therein, yet so as the pious and earnest diligence of divines, which has been employed in weighing and determining duties, moral virtues, cases of conscience, the bounds of sin, and the like, has left the philosophers far behind.

Notwithstanding (to return to the philosophers), if before they had come to the popular and received notions of virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, and the rest, they had stayed a little longer upon the inquiry concerning the roots of good and evil, and the strings of those roots; they had given in my opinion a great light to those questions which followed; and especially if they had consulted with the nature of things, as well as moral axioms, they had made their doctrines less prolix, and more profound; which being by them in part omitted, and in part handled with much confusion, I will briefly resume; and endeavour to open and cleanse the fountains of morality, before I come to the knowledge of the culture of the mind, which I set down as deficient. For this will in my opinion reinforce the doctrine of the exemplar with new strength.

1 Seneca, Epist. 53.

There is formed and imprinted in everything an appetite toward two natures of good; the one as everything is a total or substantive in itself, the other as it is a part or member of a greater body; whereof the latter is in degree the greater and the worthier, because it tends to the conservation of a more general form. The former of these may be termed "Individual or Self-good," the latter the "Good of Communion." Iron in particular sympathy moves to the loadstone, but yet, if it exceed a certain quantity it forsakes its affection to the loadstone, and like a good patriot moves to the earth, which is the region and country of its connaturals; so again, compact and massy bodies move to the earth, the great collection of dense bodies; and yet rather than suffer a divulsion in nature and create a vacuum, they will move upwards from the centre of the earth, forsaking their duty to the earth in regard to their duty to the world. Thus it is ever the case, that the conservation of the more general form controls and keeps in order the lesser appetites and inclinations. This prerogative of the communion of good is much more engraven upon man, if he be not degenerate; according to that memorable speech of Pompey, when being in commission of purveyance for a famine at Rome, and being dissuaded with great vehemency and instance by his friends about him that he should not hazard himself to sea in an extremity of weather, he said only to them, "It is needful that I go, not that I live 1;" so that the love of life, which is the predominant feeling in the individual, did not with him outweigh affection and fidelity to the commonwealth. But why do I dwell on this point? for never in any age has there been any philosophy, sect, religion, law, or other discipline, which did so highly exalt the good which is communicative, and depress the good which is private and particular, as the Holy Christian Faith; well declaring that it was the same God, who gave the Christian law to men, that gave also those laws of Nature to inanimate creatures; whence we read that some of the elected saints of God have wished, rather than that their brethren should not obtain salvation, that they themselves should be anathematized and erased out of the book of life, in an ecstasy of charity and infinite feeling of communion.2

This being set down and strongly planted, judges and de

' Plut. in Pomp. c. 50.

2 St. Paul, Romans, ix. 3.; and Exod. xxxii, 32.


termines some of the most important controversies in moral philosophy. For first it decides the question touching the preferment of the contemplative or active life, and decides it against Aristotle. For all the reasons which he brings for the contemplative respect private good, and the pleasure or dignity of a man's self; in which respects no question the contemplative life has the pre-eminence, being not much unlike that comparison which Pythagoras made for the gracing and magnifying of philosophy and contemplation; who, being asked by Hiero what he was, answered, "that if Hiero were ever at the Olympian games, he knew the manner, that some came to try their fortune for the prizes; and some came as merchants to utter their commodities; and some came to make good cheer, and meet their friends; and some came to look on; and that he was one of them that came to look on."! But men must know that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and Angels to be lookers on; neither could the like question ever have been raised in the Church (notwithstanding it has been in the mouths of many, "Right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints," by which text they used to exalt that civil death of theirs, and the orders and rules of the life monastic); were it not true withal that the monastical life is not simply contemplative, but engaged also in the performance of certain ecclesiastical duties, such as continual prayer, and votive sacrifices offered to God, and the leisurely writing of theological books for advancing the knowledge of the divine law; as Moses did, when he abode so long in the Mount. And so we see, that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, who seems to have been the first contemplative (for he is said to have walked with God 3), yet also endowed the Church with a book of prophecy, which St. Jude cites. But for mere contemplation which should be finished in itself without casting beams of heat and light upon society, assuredly divinity knows it not. It decides also the question so earnestly argued between the schools of Zeno and Socrates on the one hand, who placed felicity in virtue simple or attended, which is ever chiefly concerned with the duties of life; and on the other hand, the numerous other sects, as the Cyrenaics and Epicureans, who placed it in pleasure, and made virtue (as it is used in some comedies, wherein the mistress and the maid

Iamblichus in Vitâ, and Cic. Tusc. Quæst. v. 3.

3 Gen. v. 24.

2 Psalm cxvi. 15.


Jude, Epist. 14.

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