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Almes to Dogs, and Birds: In so much, as Busbechius reporteth; A Christian Boy in Constantinople, had like to have been stoned, for gagging, in a waggishnesse, a long Billed Fowle. Errours, indeed, in this vertue of Goodnesse, or Charity, may be committed. The Italians have an ungracious Proverb; Tanto buon che val niente: So good, that he is good for nothing. And one of the Doctors of Italy, Nicholas Macciavel, had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plaine Termes : That the Christian Faith, had given up Good Men, in prey, to those, that are Tyrannicall, and uniust. Which he spake, because indeed there was never Law, or Sect, or Opinion, did so much magnifie Gooch nesse, as the Christian Religion doth. Therfore to avoid the Scandall, and the Danger both; it is good to take knowledge, of the Errours, of an Habit, so excellent. Seeke the Good of other Men, but be not in bondage, to their Faces, or Fancies; For that is but Facilitie, or Softnesse; which taketh an honest Minde Prisoner. Neither give thou Æsops Cocke a Gemme, who would be better pleased, and happier, if he had had a Barly Corne. The Example of God téacheth the Lesson truly: He sendeth his Raine, and maketh his Sunne to shine, upon the lust, and Uniust; But hee doth not raine Wealth, nor shine Honour, and Vertues, upon Men equally. Common Benefits, are to be communicate with all ; But peculiar Benefits, with choice. And beware, how in making the Portraiture, thou breakest the Patterne: For Divinitie maketh the Love of our Selves the Patterne; The Love of our Neighbours but the Portraiture. Sell all thou hast, and give it to the poore, and follow mee : But sell not all thou hast, except thou come, and follow mee; That is, except thou have a Vocation, wherin thou maist doe as much good, with little meanes, as with great: For otherwise, in feeding the Streames, thou driest the Fountaine. Neither is there only a Habit of Goodnesse, directed by right Reason; but there is, in some Men, even in Nature, a Disposition towards it: As on the other side, there is a Naturall Malignitie. For there be, that in their Nature, doe not affect the Good of Others. The lighter Sort of Malignitie, turneth but to a Crosnesse, or Frowardnesse, or Aptnesse to oppose, or Difficilnesse, or the like; but the deeper Sort, to Envy, and meere Mischiefe. Such Men, in other mens Calamities, are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading Part; Not so good as the Dogs, that licked Lasarus Sores; but like Flies, that are still buzzing, upon any Thing that is raw ; Misanthropi, that make it their Practise, to bring Men, to the Bough; And yet have never a Tree, for the purpose, in their Gardens, as Timon had. Such Dispositions, are the very Errours of Humane Nature: And yet they are the fittest Timber, to make great Politiques of: Like to knee Timber, that is good for Ships, that are ordained, to be tossed; But not for Building houses, that shall stand firme. The Parts and Signes of Goodnesse are many. If a Man be Gracious, and Curteous to Strangers, it shewes, he is a Citizen of the World; And that his Heart, is no Island, cut off from other Lands;
but a Continent, that ioynes to them. If he be Compassionate, towards the Afflictions of others, it shewes that his Heart is like the noble Tree, that is wounded it selfe, when it gives the Balme. If he easily Pardons and Remits Offences, it shews, that his Minde is planted above Iniuries; So that he cannot be shot. If he be Thankfull for small Benefits, it shewes, that he weighes Mens Mindes, and not their Trash. But above all, if he have S. Pauls Perfection, that he would wish to be an Anathema from Christ, for the Salvation of his Brethren, it shewes much of a Divine Nature, and a kinde of Conformity with Christ himselfe.
W E will speake of Nobility, first as a Por
W tion of an Estate ; Then as a Condition of Particular Persons. A Monarchy, where there is no Nobility at all, is ever a pure, and absolute Tyranny; As that of the Turkes. For Nobility attempers Soveraignty, and drawes the Eyes of the People, somewhat aside from the Line Royall. But for Democracies, they need it not; And they are commonly, more quiet, and lesse subiect to Sedition, then where there are Stirps of Nobles. For Mens Eyes are upon the Businesse, and not upon the Persons : Or if upon the Persons, it is for the Businesse sake, as fittest, and not for Flags and Pedegree. Wee see the Switzers last well, notwithstanding their Diversitie of Religion, and of Cantons. For Utility is their Bond, and not Respects. The united Provinces of the Low Countries, in their Government, excell: For where there is an Equality, the Consultations are more indifferent, and the Payments and Tributes more cheerfull. A great and Potent Nobility addeth Maiestie to
a Monarch, but diminisheth Power; And putteth Life and Spirit into the People, but presseth their Fortune. It is well, when Nobles are not too great for Soveraignty, nor for Iustice; And yet maintained in that heigth, as the Insolencie of Inferiours, may be broken upon them, before it come on too fast upon the Maiesty of Kings. A Numerous Nobility, causeth Poverty, and Inconvenience in a State : For it is a Surcharge of Expence; And besides, it being of Necessity, that many of the Nobility, fall in time to be weake in Fortune, it maketh a kinde of Disproportion; betweene Honour and Meanes.
As for Nobility in particular Persons; It is a Reverend Thing, to see an Ancient Castle, or Building not in decay; Or to see a faire Timber Tree, sound and perfect: How much more, to behold an Ancient Noble Family, which hath stood against the Waves and weathers of Time. For new Nobility is but the Act of Power; But Ancient Nobility is the Act of Time. Those that are first raised to Nobility, are commonly more Vertuous, but lesse Innocent, then their Descendants : For there is, rarely, any Rising, but by a Commixture, of good and evill Arts, But it is Reason, the Memory of their vertues, remaine to their Posterity; And their Faults die with themselves. Nobility of Birth, commonly abateth Industry: And he that is not industrious, envieth him, that is. Besides, Noble persons, cannot goe much higher; And he that standeth at a stay, when others rise, can hardly avoid Motions of Envy. On the other side, Nobility extinguisheth the passive Envy, from others