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of ancient time, were wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana without so much as squeaking. I remember in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time, of England, an Irish rebel condemned, put up a petition to the Deputy that he might be hanged in a wyth, and not in a halter, because it had been so used with former rebels. There be monks in Russia, for penance, that will sit a whole night in å vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples may be put down of the force of Custom, both upon mind and body. Therefore since Custom is the principal magistrate of 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 Custom. 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, the 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 quicken
eth, glory raiseth: so as in such places the force of Custom is in his exaltation. Certainly the great multiplication of virtues upon human nature, resteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined: for Commonwealths and good Governments do nourish virtue grown, 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 desired.
IT 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.
Every man is the maker of his own Fortune," saith 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 others errors. "A serpent, unless he devours a serpent, does not become a dragon." 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 stands nor restiveness in a man's nature, but that the wheels of
his mind keep way with the wheels of his Fortune. For so Livy (after he had described Cato Major, in these words, "There was such strength of body and mind in that man, that, in whatsoever place he had been born, he seemed as if he would have made his own Fortune") falleth upon that that he had a versatile genius. Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune: for though she 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 honest. 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. An hasty Fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover, (the French hath it better, enterprenant, or remuant); but the exercised Fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be ho
noured and respected, if 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 power. So Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, "You carry Cæsar and his Fortune.” So Sylla chose the name of Felix, " Fortunate," and not of Magnus, "Great." 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 his 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 easiness more than the verses of other poets; as Plutarch saith 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.
MANY have made witty invectives against Usury. They say, That it is a pity that 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:
All with united force combine to drive
The lazy drones from the laborious hive.
That the Usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall; which was, "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread,” and not" in the sweat of another man's"-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 thing allowed on account of the
hardness of the
human heart:" for since 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 suspicious and cunning propositions of banks, discovery of men's estates, and other inventions; but few have spoken of Usury usefully. It is good to set before us the incommodities and commodities