Imágenes de páginas

Unto this part, touching respective duty, doth also appertain the duties between husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant: so likewise the laws of friendship and gratitude, the civil bond of companies, colleges, and politic bodies, of neighbourhood, and all other proportionate duties; not as they are parts of government and society, but as to the framing of the mind of particular persons.

extern glory, but a Moses or a David, pastors of | envy and sting, and the rest; that is, all forms their people. Neither can I ever leese out of my and natures of evil: for without this, virtue lieth remembrance, what I heard your majesty in the open and unfenced. Nay, an honest man can do same sacred spirit of government deliver in a no good upon those that are wicked, to reclaim great cause of judicature, which was, "That them, without the help of the knowledge of evil. kings ruled by their laws, as God did by the laws For men of corrupted minds presuppose that hoof nature; and ought as rarely to put in use their nesty groweth out of simplicity of manners, and supreme prerogative as God doth his power of believing of preachers, schoolmasters, and men's working miracles." And yet notwithstanding, in exterior language: so as, except you can make your book of a free monarchy, you do well give them perceive that you know the utmost reaches men to understand, that you know the plenitude of their own corrupt opinions, they despise all of the power and right of a king, as well as the morality; "Non recipit stultus verba prudentiæ, circle of his office and duty. Thus have I pre- nisi ea dexeris quæ versantur in corde ejus." sumed to allege this excellent writing of your majesty, as a prime or eminent example of tractates concerning special and respective duties: wherein I should have said as much, if it had been written a thousand years since: neither am I moved with certain courtly decencies, which esteem it flattery to praise in presence: no, it is flattery to praise in absence; that is, when either the virtue is absent, or the occasion is absent; and so the praise is not natural, but forced, either The knowledge concerning good respecting so in truth or in time. But let Cicero be read in his ciety doth handle it also, not simply alone, but oration pro Marcello, which is nothing but an ex- comparatively; whereunto belongeth the weighcellent table of Cæsar's virtue, and made to his ing of duties between person and person, case face; besides the example of many other excel- and case, particular and public: as we see in the lent persons, wiser a great deal than such ob-proceeding of Lucius Brutus against his own servers; and we will never doubt, upon a full sons, which was so much extolled; yet what was occasion, to give just praises to present or absent. | said? But to return: there belongeth further to the handling of this part, touching the duties of professions and vocations, a relative or opposite, touching the frauds, cautels, impostures, and vices of every profession, which hath been likewise handled: but how? rather in a satire and cynically, than seriously and wisely: for men have rather sought by wit to deride and traduce much of that which is good in professions, than with judgment to discover and sever that which is corrupt. For, as Solomon saith, he that cometh to seek after knowledge with a mind to scorn and censure, shall be sure to find matter for his humour, but no matter for his instruction: "Quærenti derisori scientiam ipsa se abscondit; sed studioso fit obviam." But the managing of this argument with integrity and truth, which I note as deficient, seemeth to me to be one of the best fortifications for honesty and virtue that can be planted. For, as the fable goeth of the basilisk, that if he see you first, you die for it; but if you see him first, he dieth: so is it with deceits. and evil arts; which, if they be first espied, they leese their life; but if they prevent, they endanger. So that we are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do. For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with the columbine innocency, except men know exactly all the conditions of the serpent; his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubricity, his

"" Infelix, utcumque ferent ea fata minores." So the case was doubtful, and had opinion cn both sides. Again, we see when M. Brutus and Cassius invited to a supper certain whose opinions they meant to feel, whether they were fit to be made their associates, and cast forth the question touching the killing of a tyrant being an usurper, they were divided in opinion; some holding that servitude was the extreme of evils, and others that tyranny was better than a civil war: and a number of the like cases there are of comparative duty; amongst which that of all others is the most frequent, where the question is of a great deal of good to ensue of a small injustice, which Jason of Thessalia determined the truth: "Aliqua sunt injuste facienda, ut multa juste fieri possint." But the reply is good, "Auctorem præsentis justitiæ habes, sponsorem futuræ non habes." Men must pursue things which are just in present, and leave the future to the divine Providence. So then we pass on from this general part touching the exemplar and description of gocd.

Now therefore that we have spoken of this fruit of life, it remaineth to speak of the husbandry that belongeth thereunto; without which part the former seemeth to be no better than a fair image, or statua, which is beautiful to contemplate, but is without life or motion: whereunto Aristotle him self subscribeth in these words: "Necesse est scilicet de virtute dicere, et quid sit, et ex quibus gignatur. Inutile enim fere fuerit virtutem qui

"Vincenda est omnis fortuna ferendo ;"

"Vincenda est omnis natura ferendo."

dem nosse, acquirendæ autem ejus modos et vias | In these things, therefore, it is left unto us to proignorare: non enim de virtute tantum, qua specie ceed by application. sit, quærendum est, sed et quomodo sui copiam faciat ; utrumque enim volumus, et rem ipsam nosse, et ejus compotes fieri; hoc autem ex voto non succedet, nisi sciamus et ex quibus et quomo- But when that we speak of suffering, we do not do." In such full words and with such iteration speak of a dull and neglected suffering, but of a doth he inculcate this part. So saith Cicero in wise and industrious suffering, which draweth great commendation of Cato the Second, that he and contriveth use and advantage out of that which had applied himself to philosophy, "non ita dis- seemeth adverse and contrary; which is that proputandi causâ, sed ita vivendi." And although perly which we call accommodating or applying. the neglect of our times, wherein few men do hold Now the wisdom of application resteth principally any consultations touching the reformation of in the exact and distinct knowledge of the precetheir life, (as Seneca excellently saith,) " De par-dent state or disposition, unto which we do apply : tibus vitæ quisque deliberat, de summâ nemo," for we cannot fit a garment, except we first take may make this part seem superfluous; yet I must measure of the body. conclude with that aphorism of Hippocrates, “ Qui gravi morbo correpti dolores non sentiunt, iis mens ægrotat;” they need medicine, not only to assauge the disease, but to awake the sense. And if it be said, that the cure of men's minds belongeth to sacred divinity, it is most true: but yet moral philosophy may be preferred unto her as a wise servant and humble handmaid. For as the psalm saith, that the eyes of the handmaid look perpetually towards the mistress, and yet no doubt many things are left to the discretion of the handmaid, to discern of the mistress's will; so ought moral philosophy to give a constant attention to the doctrines of divinity, and yet so as it may yield of herself, within due limits, many sound and profitable directions.


So then the first article of this knowledge is, to set down sound and true distributions and descriptions of the several characters and tempers of men's natures and dispositions; especially having regard to those differences which are most radical, in being the fountains and causes of the rest, or most frequent in concurrence or commixture; wherein it is not the handling of a few of them in passage, the better to describe the mediocrities of virtues, that can satisfy this intention. For if it deserve to be considered, "That there are minds which are proportioned to great matters, and others to small," (which Aristotle handleth, or ought to have handled, by the name of magnanimity ;) doth it not deserve as well to be considered, "That there are minds proportioned to intend many matters, and others to few?" So that some can divide themselves; others can perchance do exactly well, but it must be but in few things at once and so there cometh to be a narrowness of mind, as well as pusillanimity. And again, "That some minds are proportioned to that which may be despatched at once, or within a short return of time; others to that which begins a far off and is to be won with length of pursuit ;"

This part therefore, because of the excellency thereof, I cannot but find exceeding strange that it is not reduced to written inquiry: the rather, because it consisteth of much matter, wherein both speech and action is often conversant; and such wherein the common talk of men, (which is rare, but yet cometh sometimes to pass,) is wiser than their books. It is reasonable therefore that we propound it in the more particularity, both for the worthiness, and because we may acquit ourselves for reporting it deficient, which seemeth almost incredible, and is otherwise conceived and presupposed by those themselves that have writWe will therefore enumerate some heads or points thereof, that it may appear the better what it is, and whether it be extant.


First, therefore, in this, as in all things which are practical, we ought to cast up our account, what is in our power, and what not; for the one may be dealt with by way of alteration, but the other by way of application only. The husbandman cannot command, neither the nature of the earth, nor the seasons of the weather; no more can the physician the constitution of the patient, nor the variety of the accidents; so in the culture and cure of the mind of man, two things are without our command; points of nature, and points of fortune: for to the basis of the one, and the condition of the other our work is limited and tied.

and so likewise,

"Jam tum tenditque fovetque."

So that there may be fitly said to be a longanimity, which is commonly also ascribed to God as a magnanimity. So further deserved it to be considered by Aristotle; "that there is a disposition in conversation, (supposing it in things which do in no sort touch or concern a man's self,) to soothe and please; and a disposition contrary to contradict and cross:" and deserveth it not much better to be considered, "that there is a disposition, not in conversation or talk, but in matter of more serious nature, (and supposing it still in things merely indifferent,) to take pleasure in the good of another; and a disposition contrariwise, to take distaste at the good of another? which is that properly which we call good-nature or ill-nature, benignity or malignity: and therefore I cannot sufficiently marvel that this part of knowledge, touching the several characters of natures and dispositions, should be omitted both in morality

and policy; considering it is of so great ministry | grounds and moulds doth to agriculture, and the and suppeditation to them both. A man shall knowledge of the diversity of complexions and find in the traditions of astrology some pretty constitutions doth to the physician; except we and apt divisions of men's natures, according to mean to follow the indiscretion of empirics, the predominances of the planets; lovers of quiet, which minister the same medicines to all patients. lovers of action, lovers of victory, lovers of Another article of this knowledge is the inquiry honour, lovers of pleasure, lovers of arts, lovers touching the affections; for as in medicining of of change, and so forth. A man shall find in the the body, it is in order first to know the divers wisest sort of these relations which the Italians complexions and constitutions; secondly, the make touching conclaves, the natures of the se- diseases; and lastly, the cures : so in medicining veral cardinals handsomely and livelily painted of the mind, after knowledge of the divers charforth: a man shall meet with, in every day's con-acters of men's natures, it followeth, in order, to ference, the denominations of sensitive, dry, for- know the diseases and infirmities of the mind, mal, real, humorous, certain, "huomo di prima which are no other than the perturbations and disimpressione, huomo di ultima impressione," and tempers of the affections. For as the ancient polithe like: and yet nevertheless this kind of obser- ticians in popular states were wont to compare the vations wandereth in words, but is not fixed in people to the sea, and the orators to the winds; beinquiry. For the distinctions are found, many cause as the sea would of itself be calm and quiet, of them, but we conclude no precepts upon them: if the winds did not move and trouble it; so the wherein our fault is the greater: because both people would be peaceable and tractable, if the history, poesy, and daily experience are as goodly seditious orators did not set them in working and fields where these observations grow; whereof agitation: so it may be fitly said, that the mindwe make a few posies to hold in our hands, but in the nature thereof would be temperate and no man bringeth them to the confectionary, that stayed, if the affections, as winds, did not put it receipts might be made of them for the use of into tumult and perturbation. And here again I life. find strange, as before, that Aristotle should have written divers volumes of Ethics, and never handled the affections, which is the principal subject thereof; and yet, in his Rhetorics, where they are considered but collaterally, and in a second degree, as they may be moved by speech, he findeth place for them, and handleth them well for the quantity; but where their true place is, he pretermitteth them. For it is not his disputations about pleasure and pain that can satisfy this inquiry, no more than he that should generally handle the nature of light, can be said to handle the nature of colours; for pleasure and pain are to the particular affections as light is to particular colours. Better travails, I suppose, had the Stoics taken in this argument, as far as I can gather by that which we have at second hand. But yet, it is like, it was after their manner rather in subtilty of definitions, (which in a subject of this nature are but curiosities,) than in active and ample descriptions and observations. So likewise I find some particular writings of an elegant nature, touching some of the affections; as of anger, of comfort upon adverse accidents, of tenderness of countenance, and other.

Of much like kind are those impressions of nature, which are imposed upon the mind by the sex, by the age, by the region, by health and sickness, by beauty and deformity, and the like, which are inherent and not external; and again, those which are caused by external fortune; as sovereignty, nobility, obscure birth, riches, want, magistracy, privateness, prosperity, adversity, constant fortune, variable fortune, rising "per saltum," "per gradus," and the like. And therefore we see that Plautus maketh it a wonder to see an old man beneficent, "benignitas hujus ut adolescentuli est." St. Paul concludeth, that severity of discipline was to be used to the Cretans, "Increpa eos durè," upon the disposition of their country, "Cretenses semper mendaces, malæ bestiæ, ventres pigri." Sallust noteth, that it is usual with kings to desire contradictories: "Sed plerumque regiæ voluntates, ut vehementes sunt, sic mobiles, sæpeque ipsæ sibi adversæ." Tacitus observeth how rarely raising of the fortune mendeth the disposition: "Solus Vespasianus mutatus in melius." Pindarus maketh an observation, that great and sudden fortune for the most part defeateth men, "Qui magnam felicitatem But the poets and writers of histories are the concoquere non possunt." So the Psalm showeth | best doctors of this knowledge: where we may it is more easy to keep a measure in the enjoying | find painted forth with great life, how affections of fortune, than in the increase of fortune: "Di- are kindled and incited; and how pacified and vitiæ si affluant, nolite cor apponere." These refrained; and how again contained from act and observations, and the like, I deny not but are further degree; how they disclose themselves; touched a little by Aristotle, as in passage, in his how they work; how they vary; how they gather Rhetorics, and are handled in some scattered dis- and fortify; how they are inwrapped one within courses: but they were never incorporated into another; and how they do fight and encounter one moral philosophy, to which they do essentially with another; and other the like particularities: appertain; as the knowledge of the diversity of amongst the which this last is of special use in VOL. I.-29

Another precept is, to practise all things chiefly

moral and civil matters; how, I say, to set affec- | so an insatisfaction on the end: if too weak, of tion against affection, and to master one by the other side, you may not look to perform and another; even as we use to hunt beast with beast, overcome any great task. and fly bird with bird, which otherwise perhaps we could not so easily recover: upon which foun- at two several times, the one when the mind is dation is erected that excellent use of "præmium" | best disposed, the other when it is worst disposed; and "pœna," whereby civil states consist; em- that by the one you may gain a great step, by the ploying the predominant affections of fear and other you may work out the knots and stonds of hope, for the suppressing and bridling the rest. the mind, and make the middle times the more For as in the government of states it is some- easy and pleasant. times necessary to bridle one faction with another, so it is in the government within.

Another precept is that which Aristotle mentioneth by the way, which is, to bear ever towards the contrary extreme of that whereunto we are by nature inclined: like unto the rowing against the stream, or making a wand straight by bending him contrary to his natural crookedness.


Now some we to those points which are within our own command, and have force and operation upon the mind, to affect the will and appetite, and to alter manners: wherein they ought to have handled custom, exercise, habit, education, example, imitation, emulation, company, friends, praise, reproof, exhortation, fame, laws, books, studies: these as they have determinate use in moralities, from these the mind suffereth; and of these are such receipts and regimens compounded and de-necessity and constraint. Many other axioms scribed, as may seem to recover or preserve the there are touching the managing of exercise and health and good estate of the mind, as far as per- |custom; which, being so conducted, doth prove intaineth to human medicine: of which number we deed another nature; but being governed by change, will insist upon some one or two, as an example doth commonly prove but an ape of nature, and of the rest, because it were too long to prosecute bringeth forth that which is lame and counterfeit. all; and therefore we do resume custom and habit to speak of.

Another precept is, that the mind is brought to any thing better, and with more sweetness and happiness, if that whereunto you pretend be not first in the intention, but "tanquam aliud agendo," because of the natural hatred of the mind against

So if we should handle books and studies, and what influence and operation they have upon The opinion of Aristotle seemeth to me a negli- manners, are there not divers precepts of great gent opinion, that of those things which consist caution and direction appertaining thereunto? by nature, nothing can be changed by custom; Did not one of the fathers in great indignation using for example, that if a stone be thrown ten call poesy "vinum dæmonum," because it inthousand times up, it will not learn to ascend; creaseth temptations, perturbations, and vain opiand that by often seeing or hearing, we do not nions? Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to learn to see or hear the better. For though this be regarded, wherein he saith, "That young men principle be true in things wherein nature is pe-are no fit auditors of moral philosophy, because remptory, (the reason whereof we cannot now stand they are not settled from the boiling heat of their to discuss,) yet it is otherwise in things wherein affections, nor attempered with time and expenature admitteth a latitude. For he might see rience?" And doth it not thereof come, that that a strait glove will come more easily on with those excellent books and discourses of the anuse; and that a wand will by use bend otherwise cient writers, (whereby they have persuaded unto than it grew; and that by use of the voice we virtue most effectually, by representing her in speak louder and stronger; and that by use of state and majesty, and popular opinions against enduring heat and cold, we endure it the better, virtue in their parasites' coats, fit to be scorned and the like: which latter sort have a nearer and derided,) are of so little effect towards hcresemblance unto that subject of manners he nesty of life, because they are not read and rehandleth, than those instances which he allegeth. volved by men in their mature and settled years, But allowing his conclusion, that virtues and but confined almost to boys and beginners? But vices consist in habit, he ought so much the more is it not true also, that much less young men are to have taught the manner of superinducing that fit auditors of matters of policy, till they have habit: for there be many precepts of the wise or- been throroughly seasoned in religion and modering the exercises of the mind, as there is of rality; lest their judgments be corrupted, and urdering the exercises of the body; whereof we made apt to think that there are no true differwill recite a few. ences of things, but according to utility and fortune, as the verse describes it,

"Prosperum et felix scelus virtus vocatur:

The first shall be, that we beware we take not at the first either too high a strain, or too weak: for if too high, in a diffident nature you discou-and again, rage; in a confident nature you breed an opinion of facility, and so a sloth; and in all natures you breed a further expectation than can hold out, and

"Ille crucem pretium sceleris tulit, hic diadema :” which the poets do speak satirically, and in indignation on virtue's behalf; but books of policy

do speak it seriously and positively; for so it | ing virtue by habit, while a man practiseth templeaseth Machiavel to say, "that if Cæsar had perance, he doth not profit much to fortitude, nor been overthrown, he would have been more odious the like; but when he dedicate th and applieth than ever was Catiline;" as if there had been no himself to good ends, look, what virtue soever difference, but in fortune, between a very fury of the pursuit and passage towards those ends doth lust and blood, and the most excellent spirit (his commend unto him, he is invested of a precedent ambition reserved) of the world? Again, is there disposition to conform himself thereunto. Which not a caution likewise to be given of the doctrines state of mind Aristotle doth excellently express of moralities themselves, (some kinds of them,) himself, that it ought not to be called virtuous, lest they make men too precise, arrogant, incom- but divine: his words are these: "Immanitati patible; as Cicero saith of Cato, "In Marco Ca- autem consentaneum est opponere eam, quæ supra tɔne hæc bona quæ videmus divina et egregia, humanitatem est, heroicam sive divinam virtuipsius scitote esse propria; quæ nonnunquam tem:" and a little after, "Nam ut feræ neque requirimus, ea sunt omnia non a naturâ, sed a vitium neque virtus est, sic neque Dei: sed hic magistro?" Many other axioms and advices there quidem status altius quiddam virtute est, ille aliud are touching those proprieties and effects, which quiddam a vitio." And therefore we may see studies do infuse and instil into manners. And what celsitude of honour Plinius Secundus attriso likewise is there touching the use of all those buteth to Trajan in his funeral oration; where he other points, of company, fame, laws, and the said, "that men needeth to make no other prayers rest, which we recited in the beginning in the to the gods, but that they would continue as good doctrine of morality. lords to them as Trajan had been;" as if he had not been an imitation of divine nature, but a pattern of it. But these be heathen and profane passages, having but a shadow of that divine state of mind, which religion and the holy faith doth conduct men unto, by imprinting upon their souls charity, which is excellently called the bond of perfection, because it comprehendeth and fasteneth all virtues together. And it is elegantly said by Menander of vain love, which is but a false imitation of divine love, "Amor melior sophista. lævo ad humanam vitam," that love teacheth a man to carry himself better than the sophist or preceptor; which he calleth left-handed, because, with all his rules and precepts, he cannot form a man so dexterously, nor with that facility to prize himself and govern himself, as love can do: so certainly, if a man's mind be truly inflamed with charity, it doth work him suddenly into greater perfection than all the doctrine of morality can do, which is but a sophist in comparison of the other. Nay further, as Xenophon observed truly, that all other affections, though they raise the mind, yet they do it by distorting and uncomeliness of ecstasies or excesses; but only love doth exalt the mind, and nevertheless at the same instant doth settle and compose it: so in all other excellencies, though they advance nature, yet they are subject to excess; only charity admitteth no excess. For

But there is a kind of culture of the mind that seemeth yet more accurate and elaborate than the rest, and is built upon this ground; that the minds of all men are at some times in a state more perfect, and at other times in a state more depraved. The purpose therefore of this practice is, to fix and cherish the good hours of the mind, and to obliterate and take forth the evil. The fixing of the good hath been practised by two means, vows or constant resolutions, and observances or exercises; which are not to be regarded so much in themselves, as because they keep the mind in continual obedience. The obliteration of the evil hath been practised by two means, some kind of redemption or expiation of that which is past, and an inception or account "de novo," for the time to come. But this part seemeth sacred and religious, and justly; for all good moral philosophy, as was said, is but a handmaid to religion.

Wherefore we will conclude with that last point which is of all other means the most compendious and summary, and again, the most noble and effectual to the reducing of the mind unto virtue and good estate; which is, the electing and propounding unto a man's self good and virtuous ends of his life, such as may be in a reasonable sort within his compass to attain. For if these two things be supposed, that a man set before him honest and good ends, and again, that he be reso-so we see, aspiring to be like God in power, the lute, constant, and true unto them; it will follow angels transgressed and fell; "Ascendam, et ero that he shall mould himself into all virtue at once. similis Altissimo:" by aspiring to be like God And this indeed is like the work of nature; where- in knowledge, man transgressed and fell; “Eritis as the other course is like the work of the hand. sicut Dii, scientes bonum et malum :" but by asFor as when a carver makes an image, he shapes piring to a similitude of God in goodness or love, only that part whereupon he worketh, (as if he neither man nor angel ever transgressed, or shall be upon the face, that part which shall be the transgress. For unto that imitation we are called : body is but a rude stone still, till such time as he "Diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite eis qui odecomes to it;) but, contrariwise, when nature runt vos, et orate pro persequentibus et calumni makes a flower or living creature, she formeth ru-antibus vos, ut sitis filii Patris vestri qui in cœlis diments of all the parts at one time: so in obtain- est, qui solem suum oriri facit super bonos et malos,

« AnteriorContinuar »