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OF CUSTOM AND EDUCATION.
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 tone 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 up the ply, except it be in some minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves
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 its 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: “ Faber quisque fortunæ suæ," 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;
serpens nisi serpentem comederit non sit 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,
“ disemboltura,” 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, “ in illo viro, tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus videretur,") falleth upon that he had,“ versatile ingenium:" 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 enterprizer and remover; (the French hath it better, “ entreprenant,” or “ remuant;") but the exercised fortune maketh the able
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 Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, “ Cæsarem portas, et fortunam ejus." So Sylla chose the name of “ felix,” and not of
" “ magnus:” and it hath been noted, that those who 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 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 pity the devil should have God's part, which is the tithe; that the usurer is the greatest sabbathbreaker, because his plough goeth every Sunday; that the usurer is the drone that Virgil speaketh of:
“ Ignavum fucos pecus a præsepibus arcent;"
that the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall, which was,
“ in sudore vultus tui comedes panem