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Man's Life ; let Men by all Means endeavour to obtain good Customs. Certainly Custom is most perfect, when it beginneth in young
Years : This we call Education; which is, in Effect, but an early Cuftom. So we see, in Languages the Tongue is more Pliant to all Expressions and Sounds, the Joints are more Supple to all Feats of Activity, and Motions, in Youth than afterwards. For it is true, that late Learners, cannot so well take the Ply; except it be in some Minds, that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual Amendment, which is exceeding rare. But if the Force of Custom simple and separate, be great; the Force of Custom copulate, and conjoined, and collegiate, is far greater. For there Example teacheth; Company comforteth, Emulation quickeneth ; Glory raiseth: So as in such Places the Force of Custom is in his Exaltation. Certainly, the great Multiplication of Virtues upon human Nature, refteth upon Societies well ordained, and disciplined. For Commonwealths, and good Governments, do nourish Virtue
but do not much mend the Seeds. But the Misery is, that the most effectual Means, are now applied to the Ends, least to be defired
XL. Of Fortune.
T cannot be denied, but outward Accidents conduce much to Fortune : Favour, Opportunity, Death of Others,
Occasion fitting Virtue. But chiefly, the Mould of a Man's Fortune is in his own hands. Faber quisque Fortunæ suæ ; faith the Poet. And the most Frequent of external Causes is, that the Folly of one Man is the Fortune of Another. For no man prospers so suddenly, as by other's Errors, Serpens nisi Serpentem comederit non fit Draco. Overt, and apparent Virtues bring forth Praise ; but there be secret and hidden Virtues, that bring Forth Fortune. Certain Deliveries of a Man's Self, which have no Name. The Spanish Name, Desemboltura, partly expresseth them : When there be not Stonds, nor Restiveness in a Man's Nature; but that the wheels of his Mind keep way, with the wheels of his Fortune. For fo Livy (after he had described Cato Major, in these words ; In illo viro, tantum Robur Corporis et Animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, Fortunam fibi facturus videretur ;) falleth upon that, that he had, versatile Ingenium. Therefore, if a Man look sharply, and attentively, he shall fee Fortune : For though the be blind, yet she is not invisible. The Way of Fortune is like the Milky Way in the Sky; which is a Meeting or Knot, of a Number of small Stars ; not Seen asunder, but giving Light together. So are there, a Number of little, and scarce discerned Virtues, or rather Faculties and Customs, that make Men Fortunate. The Italians note some of them, such as a Man would little think. When they speak of one, that cannot do amiss, they will throw in, into his other Conditions, that he hath, Poco di Matto. And certainly, there be not two more Fortunate Properties; than to have a little of the Fool; and not too much of the Honeft. Therefore, extreme Lovers of their Country, or Masters, were never Fortunate, neither can they be. For when a Man placeth his Thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own Way. A hafty Fortune maketh an Enterpriser, and Remover (the French hath it better; Entreprenant, or Remuant). But the exercised Fortune maketh the able Man. Fortune is to be honoured, and respected, and it be but for her Daughters, Confidence and Reputation. For those two Felicity breedeth: The first within a Man's Self; the latter, in others towards Him. All wise Men, to decline the Envy of their own Virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune ; for so they may the better assume them: And besides, it is Greatness in a Man, to be the Care of the Higher Powers. So Cæfar said to the Pilot in the Tempest, Cæfarem portas, et Fortunam ejus. So Sylla chose the Name of Felix, and not of Magnus. And it hath been noted, that those, that ascribe openly too much to their own Wisdom, and Policy, end Unfortunate. It is written, that Timotheus the Athenian, after he
had, in the Account he gave to the State, of his Government, often interlaced this Speech ; And in this Fortune had no Part; never prospered in any thing he undertook afterwards. Certainly, there be, whose Fortunes are like Homer's Verses, that have a Slide, and Eafiness, more than the Verses of other Poets : As Plutarch faith of Timoleon's Fortune, in respect of that of Agesilaus, or Epaminondas. And that this should be, no doubt it is much, in a Man's Self.
XLI. Of Usury.
ANY have made witty Invectives
against Ufury. They say, that it is Pity, the Devil should have God's
Part, which is the Tithe. That the Usurer is the greatest Sabbath Breaker, because his Plough goeth every Sunday. That the Usurer is the Drone, that Virgil speaketh of:
Ignavum Fucos Pecus à præsepibus arcent. That the Usurer breaketh the first Law, that was made for Mankind, after the Fall ; which was, In Sudore Vultús tui comedes Panem tuum ; Not, In Sudore Vultús alieni. That Usurers should have Orange-tawny Bonnets, because they do Judaize. That it is against Nature, for Money to beget Money; and the like. I say this only, that Usury is a Conceffum propter Duritiem Cordis : For fínce
there must be borrowing and lending, and Men are so hard of Heart, as they will not lend freely, Usury must be permitted. Some Others have made fuspicious, and cunning Propositions, of Banks, Discovery of Men's Eftates, and other Inventions. But few have spoken of Usury usefully. It is good to set before us, the Incommodities, and Commodities of Ufury; that the Good may be, either weighed out, or culled out; and warily to provide, that while we make forth, to that which is better, we meet not, with that which is worse.
The Discommodities of Usury are: First, that it makes fewer Merchants. For were it not, for this lazy Trade of Usury, Money would not lie still, but would, in great Part, be employed upon Merchandizing; which is the Vena Porta of Wealth in a State. The Second, that it makes poor Merchants. For as a Farmer cannot husband his Ground so well, if he fit at a great Rent; so the Merchant cannot drive his Trade so well, if he sit at great Ufury. The Third is incident to the other two; and that is, the Decay of Customs of Kings or States, which ebb or flow with Merchandizing. The Fourth, that it bringeth the Treasure of a Realm or State, into a few Hands. For the Usurer being at Certainties, and others at Uncertainties, at the end of the Game; most of the Money will be in the Box; and ever a State flourisheth, when Wealth is more equally spread. The Fifth, that it beats down the Price of Land : For the Employment of Money is chiefly, either Merchandizing, or Purchasing; and Usury Waylays both.