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OF BOLDNESS.

It is a trivial grammar school text, but yet worthy a wise man's consideration. Question was asked of Demosthenes, what was the chief part of an orator? he answered, action: what next? action : what next again? action. He said it that knew it best, and had by nature himself no advantage in that he commended. A strange thing, that that part of an orator which is but superficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should be placed so high above those other noble parts of invention, elocution, and the rest; nay almost alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is plain. There is in human nature generally more of the fool than of the wise ; and therefore those faculties by which the foolish part of men's minds is taken, are most potent. Wonderful like is the case of boldness in civil business; what first? boldness: what second and third ? boldness. And yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, far inferior to other parts: but, nevertheless, it doth fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are either shallow in judgment

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or weak in courage, which are the greatest part: yea, and prevaileth with wise men at weak times: therefore we see it hath done wonders in popular states, but with senates and, princes less; and more, ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into action, than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of promise. Surely, as there are mountebanks for the natural body, so are there mountebanks for the politic body; men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out: nay, you shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that he would call an hill to him, and from the top of it offer up

for the observers of his law. The people assembled : Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again ; and when the hill stood still he was never a whit abashed, but said, « If the hill will not come to

Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill.” So these men, when they have promised great matters and failed most shamefully, yet, (if they have the perfection of boldness,) they will but slight it over,

and make a turn, and no more

his prayers

ado. Certainly to men of great judgment, bold persons are sport to behold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous: for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity; especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture, as needs it must: for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold

men, upon

like occasion, they stand at a stay; like a stale at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir : but this last were fitter for a satire, than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed, that boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers and inconveniences: therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execution; so that the right use of bold persons is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds, and under the direction of others : for in counsel it is good to see · dangers, and in execution not to see them, except they be very great.

OF GOODNESS, AND GOODNESS

OF NATURE.

I TAKE goodness in this sense, the affecting of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians call Philanthropia ; and the word humanity (as it is used) is a little too light to express

Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination. This, of all virtues and dignities of the mind, is the greatest, being the characer of the Deity; and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not towards men, it will take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who, nevertheless, are kind to

beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had like to have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long billed fowl. Errors indeed, in this virtue, in goodness or charity, may be committed. The Italians have an ungracious proverb, “ Tanto “ buon che val niente;" “ So good, that he is

good for nothing :" and one of the doctors of Italy, Nicolas Machiavel, had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, " That “the Christian faith had given up good men “ in prey to those that are tyrannical and un“just;" which he spake, because, indeed, there was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth : therefore, to avoid the scandal, and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies ; for that is but facility or sofiness, which taketh an honest mind pri

Neither give thou Æsop's cock a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had a barley-corn. The example of God teacheth the lesson truly; " He sendeth his

soner.

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