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you may not look to perform and overcome any great task.

Another precept is, to practise all things chiefly at two several times, the one when the mind is best disposed, the other when it is worst disposed; that by the one you may gain a great step, by the other you may work out the knots and stonds of the mind, and make the middle times the more easy and plea

sant.

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.

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 necessity and constraint. Many other axioms there are touching the managing of exercise and custom; which, being so conducted, doth prove indeed another nature; but being governed by chance, doth commonly prove but an ape of nature, and bringeth forth that which is lame and counterfeit.

So if we should handle books and studies, and what influence and operation they have upon manners, are there not divers precepts of great caution and direction appertaining thereunto? Did not one of the fathers in great indignation call poesy "vinum

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dæmonum," because it increaseth temptations, perturbations, and vain opinions? Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded, wherein he saith, That young men are no fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heat of their affections, nor attempered "with time and experience?" And doth it not hereof come, that those excellent books and discourses of the ancient writers, (whereby they have persuaded unto virtue most effectually, by representing her in state and majesty, and popular opinions against virtue in their parasites' coats, fit to be scorned and derided,) are of so little effect towards honesty of life, because they are not read and revolved by men in their mature and settled years, but confined almost to boys and beginners? But is it not true also, that much less young men are fit auditors of matters of policy, till they have been thoroughly seasoned in religion and morality; lest their judgments be corrupted, and made apt to think that there are no true differences of things, but according to utility and fortune, as the verse describes it,

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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 pleaseth Machiavel to say, "that if Cæsar had been overthrown,

"he would have been more odious than ever was "Catiline;" as if there had been no difference, but in fortune, between a very fury of lust and blood, and the most excellent spirit (his ambition reserved) of the world? Again, is there not a caution likewise to be given of the doctrines of moralities themselves, (some kinds of them,) lest they make men too precise, arrogant, incompatible; as Cicero saith of Cato, "In Marco Catone hæc bona quæ videmus "divina et egregia, ipsius scitote esse propria; quæ

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nonnunquam requirimus, ea sunt omnia non a na"turâ, sed a magistro?" Many other axioms and advices there are touching those proprieties and effects, which studies do infuse and instil into manAnd so likewise is there touching the use of all those other points, of company, fame, laws, and the rest, which we recited in the beginning in the doetrine of morality.

ners.

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 an 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 resolute, constant, and true unto them; it will follow that he shall mould himself into all virtue at once. And this indeed is like the work of nature; whereas the other course is like the work of the hand. For as when a carver makes an image, he shapes only that part whereupon he worketh, (as if he be upon the face, that part which shall be the body is but a rude stone still, till such time as he comes to it ;) but, contrariwise, when nature makes a flower or living creature, she formeth rudiments of all the parts at one time: so in obtaining virtue by habit, while a man practiseth temperance, he doth not profit much to fortitude, nor the like; but when he dedicateth and applieth himself to good ends, look, what virtue soever the pursuit and passage towards those ends doth commend unto

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him, he is invested of a precedent disposition to conform himself thereunto. Which state of mind Aristotle doth excellently express himself, that it ought not to be called virtuous, but divine: his words are these: "Immanitati autem consentaneum "est opponere eam, quæ supra humanitatem est, "heroicam sive divinam virtutem :" and a little after, "Nam ut feræ neque vitium neque virtus est, sic neque Dei: sed hic quidem status altius "quiddam virtute est, ille aliud quiddam a vitio." And therefore we may see what celsitude of honour Plinius Secundus attributeth to Trajan in his funeral oration; where he said, 66 that men needed to make no other prayers to the gods, but that they would "continue as good lords to them as Trajan had ❝ been ;" as if he had not been only 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

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