« PreviousContinue »
sel of a friend and of a flatterer; for there is no such flatterer as is a man's self, wnd there is no such remedy against flattery vi a man's self as the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts; the one concerning manners, the other concerning business; for the first, the best preservative to keep the mind in health is the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of a man's self to a strict account is a medicine sometimes too piercing and corrosive; reading good books of morality is a little flat and dead; observing our faults in others is sometimes improper for our case; but ihe best receipt (best I say to work and best to take) is the admonition of a friend. It is a strange thing to behold what gross errors and extreme absurdities many (especially of the greater sort) do commit for want of a friend to tell them of them, to the great damage both of their fame and fortune : for, as St. James saith, they are as men
66 that look sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape and favour;" as for business, a man may think, if he will, that two eyes see no more than one; or, that a gamester seeth always more than a looker-on; or, that a man in anger is as wise as he that hath said over the four-and-twenty letters; or, that a musket may
be shot off as well upon the arm as upon a rest; and such other fond and high imaginations, to think himself all in all · but, when all is done, the help of good counsel is that which settleth business straight; and if any
man think that he will take counsel, but it shall be by pieces;, asking counsel in one business of one man, and in unother business of another
man ; it is as well, (that is to say, better, perhaps, than if he asked none at all, but he runneth two dangers; one, that he shall not be faichfully counselled; for it is a rare thing, except it be from a perfect and entire friend, to have counsel given, but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some ends which he hath that giveth it: the other, that he shall have counsel giveu, hurtful and unsafe, (though with good meaning,) and mixed partly of mischief, and partly of remedy; even as if you would call a physician, that is thought good for the cure of the disease you complain of, but is unacquainted with your body; and, therefore, may put you in a way for present cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind, and so cure the disease, and kill the patient: but a friend, that is wholly acquainted with a man's estate, will beware, by furthering any present business, how he dasheth upon other inconvenience; and, therefore, rest not upon scattered counsels; for they will rather distract and mislead than settle and direct.
After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace in the affections and support of the judgment) followeth the last fruit, which is, like the pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean, aid and bearing a part in all actions and occasions. Here the best way to represent to life
the manifold use of friendship, is to cast and see how many things there are which a man carnot do himself; and then it will appear that it was a sparing speech of the ancients to
" that a friend is another himself; for that a friend is far more than himself.” Men have their time, and die many times in desire of some things which they principally take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he
rest almost secure that the care of those things will continue after him; so that a man hath, as it were, two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is confined to a place; but where friendship is, all offices of life are, as it were, granted to him and his deputy ; for he may exercise them ky his friend. How many things are there which a man cannot, with any
face or comeliness, say or do himself! A man can scarce allege his own merits with modesty, much less extol them; a man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate, or beg, and a n:\mber of the like: but all these things are graceful in a friend's mouth, which are blushing in a man's own. So again, a man's person hath many proper relations which he cannot put off. cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his wife but as a husband; to his enemy
but upon terms. whereas a friend may speak as the case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person ; but to enumerate these things were
endless, I have given the rule, where a man cannot fitly play his own part; if he have not a friend, be may quit the stage.
Riches are for spending, and spending for bonour and good actions; therefore extraordinary expense must be limited by the worth of the occasion; for voluntary undoing may be as well for a man's courtry as for the kingdom of heaven; but ordinary expense ought to be limited by a man's estate, and governed with such regard as it be within his compass; and not subject to deceit and abuse of servants; and ordered to the best show, that the bills may be less than the estiinativa abroad. Certainly, if a man will keep but of even hand, his ordinary expenses ought to be but to the half of his receipts; and if he think to wax rich, but to the third part. It is no baseDess for the greatest to descend and look into their own estate. Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, but doubting to bring themselves into meiancholy, in respect they shall find it broken : but wounds cannot be cured without searching. He that cannot look into his own estate at all had need both choose well those whom he employeth, and change them often; for new are more timorous and less subtle. He that can look into his estate
but seldom, it hehooveth him to turn all to certainties. A man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind of expense, to be as saving again in some other; as, if he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in apparel; if he be plentiful in the hall, to be saving in the stable, and the like: for he that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds will hardly be preserved from decay. In clearing of a man's estate, he may as well hurt himself in being too sudden, as in letting it run on too long; for hasty selling is commonly as disadvantageable as interest. Besides, he that clears at once will relapse; for, finding himself out of straits, he will revert to his customs; but he that cleareth by degrees induceth a habit of frugality, and gaineth as well upon his mind as upon his estate. Certainly, who hath a state to repair may not despise small tuings; and, and menly, it is less dishonourable to abridge petty charges than to stoop to petty gettings. A man ought warily to begin charges, which once begun will continue: but in matters that return not he may be more magnificent.
OF THE TRUE GREATNESS OF KINGDOMS
The speech of Themistocles the Athenian, which was haughty and arrogant, in taking so much to himself, had been a grave and wise observation and censure, applied, at large, to