صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man's motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest : for if a man can be partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God's rest. And God having turned to behold the works which his hands had made, saw that all were very good." And then the Sabbath. In the discharge of the place, set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts. And after a time set before thee thine own example; and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory; but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform therefore without bravery or scandal of former times and persons : but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein, and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times, of the antient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular that men may know before-hand what they may expect, but be not too positive and peremptory;

1

[ocr errors]

and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence and de facto, than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honour to direct in chief, than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices, touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring the information, as meddlers, but accept of them in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly four: Delays, Corruption, Roughness, and Faction. For Delays: give easy access, keep times appointed, go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For Corruption : not only bind thine own hands, or thy servants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering: for integrity used, doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly, without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption. Therefore always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal it. A servant, or a favourite, if he be inward, and no other appa

rent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For Roughness: it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery: for bribes come but now and then ; but if importunity, or idle respects lead a man, he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, To respect persons is not good; for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.” It is most true that was antiently spoken: " A Place showeth the man:" and it showeth some to the better, and some to the worse.

“ He would have been considered by the common consent of all, as capable of governing the Empire, if he had never been Emperor;" saith Tacitus of Galba : but of Vespasian he saith : “ Vespasian was the only one of the Emperors, who was changed into a better character by being Emperor." Though the one

was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends : for honour is, or should be, the place of virtue : and as in nature, things move violently to their place, and calmly in their place; so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm. All rising to Great Place, is by a winding stair ; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's.

self, whilst he is in the rising; and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly: for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them, and rather call them when they look not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible, or too remembering of thy place in conversation, and private answers to suitors; but let - it rather be said, When he sits in place, he is another man.”

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 there

fore 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 Boļdness 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, 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

ир
his
prayers

for the observers of his law. The people assembled ; Mahomet called the hill to him again and again; and when the hill stood still, he wasnever a whit abashed, but said: “ If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will

« السابقةمتابعة »