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A sudden, bold, and unexpected Question, doth many times surprise a Man, and lay him open. Like to him, that having changed his Name, and walking in Paul's, another fuddenly came behind him, and called him by his true Name, whereat ftraightways he looked back.
But these small Wares, and petty Points of Cunning, are infinite: And it were a good deed, to make a Lift of them: for that nothing doth more hurt in a State, than that Cunning Men pafs for Wife.
But certainly, fome there are, that know the Reforts and Falls of Business, that cannot fink into the Main of it: like a House that hath convenient Stairs, and Entries, but never a fair Room. Therefore, you shall see them find out pretty Looses in the Conclufion, but are no ways able to examine, or debate Matters. And yet commonly they take advantage of their Inability, and would be thought Wits of direction. Some build rather upon the abufing of others, and (as we now say ;) putting Tricks upon them; than upon Soundness of their own Proceedings. But Salomon faith; Prudens advertit ad Greffus fuos: Stultus divertit ad Dolos.
XXIII. Of Wisdom for a Man's
N Ant is a wife Creature for it Self; but it is a fhrewd Thing, in an Orchard, or Garden. And certainly, Men that are great Lovers of Themfelves, wafte the Publick. Divide with reafon between Self-love, and Society: and be so true to thy Self, as thou be not false to Others; fpecially to thy King, and Country. It is a poor Centre of a Man's actions, Himfelf. It is right Earth. For that only stands faft upon his own Centre; whereas all Things, that have Affinity with the Heavens, move upon the Centre of another, which they benefit. The Referring of all to a Man's Self, is more tolerable in a Sovereign Prince; because Themfelves are not only Themfelves; but their Good and Evil, is at the peril of the publick Fortune. But it is a desperate Evil in a Servant to a Prince, or a Citizen in a Republick. For whatsoever Affairs pass fuch a Man's Hands, he crooketh them to his own Ends: which muft needs be often Eccentrick to the Ends of his Mafter, or State. Therefore let Princes, or States, choose fuch Servants, as have not this mark; except they mean their Service should be made but the Acceffary. That which maketh the Effect more pernicious is, that all Proportion is loft. It were Disproportion enough, for the Servant's Good, to be preferred
before the Master's; but yet it is a greater Extreme, when a little Good of the Servant, fhall carry Things against a great Good of the Mafter's. And yet that is the cafe of bad Officers, Treasurers, Ambaffadors, Generals, and other falfe and corrupt Servants; which fet a Bias upon their Bowl, of their own petty Ends, and Envies, to the overthrow of their Master's great and important Affairs. And for the most part, the Good fuch Servants receive, is after the Model of their own Fortune; but the Hurt they fell for that Good, is after the Model of their Mafter's Fortune. And certainly, it is the Nature of extreme Self-Lovers; as they will fet an House on Fire, and it were but to roaft their Eggs and yet these Men, many times, hold credit with their Mafters; because their Study is but to please Them, and profit Themfelves: and for either refpect, they will abandon the Good of their Affairs.
Wisdom for a Man's Self, is in many Branches thereof, a depraved Thing. It is the Wisdom of Rats, that will be fure to leave a House, somewhat before it fall. It is the Wisdom of the Fox, that thrufts out the Badger, who digged and made Room for him. It is the Wisdom of Crocodiles, that shed tears, when they would devour. But that which is fpecially to be noted is, that thofe, which (as Cicero fays of Pompey) are, Sui Amantes fine Rivali, are many times unfortunate. And whereas they have all their time facrificed to Themselves, they become in the end themselves Sacrifices to the Inconftancy of Fortune; whofe Wings they thought, by their Self-Wifdom, to have pinioned.
XXIV. Of Innovations.
S the Births of Living Creatures, at first, are ill fhapen; fo are all Innovations, which are the Births of Time. Yet
notwithstanding, as thofe that first bring Honour into their Family, are commonly more worthy, than most that fucceed; fo the first Precedent (if it be good) is feldom attained by Imitation. For Ill, to Man's Nature, as it stands perverted, hath a natural Motion, strongest in continuance but Good, as a forced Motion, strongeft at first. Surely every Medicine is an Innovation; and he that will not apply new Remedies, must expect new Evils: for Time is the greatest Innovator and if Time, of course, alter Things to the worse, and Wisdom, and Counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the End? It is true, that what is settled by Custom, though it be not good, yet at least it is fit. And those Things, which have long gone together, are as it were confederate within themselves: whereas new Things piece not fo well; but though they help by their utility, yet they trouble, by their Inconformity. Befides, they are like Strangers; more admired, and lefs favoured. All this is true, if Time ftood ftill; which contrariwife moveth so round, that a froward Retention of Custom, is as turbulent a Thing, as an Innovation: and they that reverence too much Old Times, are but a Scorn
to the New. It were good therefore, that Men in their Innovations, would follow the Example of Time itself; which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees, fcarce to be perceived: for otherwise, whatsoever is new, is unlooked for; and ever it mends fome, and pairs other and he that is holpen, takes it for a Fortune, and thanks the Time; and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the Author. It is good alfo, not to try Experiments in States; except the Neceffity be urgent, or the Utility evident: and well to beware, that it be the Reformation, that draweth on the Change; and not the defire of Change, that pretendeth the Reformation. And lastly, that the Novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be held for a Sufpect and, as the Scripture faith; That we make a ftand upon the Ancient Way, and then look about us, and difcover, what is the ftraight, and right way, and fo to walk in it.
xxv. Of Difpatch.
FFECTED Difpatch is one of the most dangerous things to Bufinefs that can be. It is like that, which the Phyficians call Predigeftion, or Hafty Digeftion; which is fure to fill the Body, full of Crudities, and fecret Seeds of Difeafes. Therefore, measure no Difpatch, by the Times of Sitting, but by the Advancement of the Bufinefs. And as in