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"The degree of privation seems greater than the degree of diminution: and again, the degree of inception (or beginning) seems greater than the degree of increase."
XT is a position in the Mathematics, that there is no proportion between somewhat and nothing: therefore the degree of nullity and quiddity (or act) seemeth larger, than the degrees of increase and decrease. As to a monoculus, it is- more to lose one eye, than to a man that hath two eyes. So, if one have lost divers children, it is more grief to him to lose the last, than all the rest; because he is the hope of his stock. And therefore Sybilla, when she brought three books, and had burned two, doubled the whole price of both the other ; because the burning of that had been " a degree of privation," and not of diminution. This appearance is confuted: First, In those things, the use and service whereof resteth in sufficiency, competency, or determinate quantity: as, if a man be to pay one hundred pounds upon penalty, it is more to him to want twelve pence, than after that twelve pence, supposed to be wanting, to want teti shillings more. So the decay of a man's estate seems to be. most touched in the degree, when he first grows behind, more than afterwards, when he proves nothing worth. And hereof the common phrases are: " It is too late to pinch, when the purse is at the bottom ;" and, " As good never a whit as never the better."
It is objected to also in respect of that notion: "That the corruption of one thing is the generation of another." So that the privative degree is many times less matter, because it gives the cause and motive to some new course. As when Demosthenes reprehended the people for hearkening to the conditions offered by King Philip, being not honourable, nor equal, he saith: " They were but elements of their sloth and weakness; which if they were taken away, necessity would teach them stronger resolutions." So Doctor Hector was wont to say to the dames of London, when they complained, they were they could not tell how, but yet they could not endure to take any medicine; he would tell them, their way was only to be sick; for then they would be glad to take any medicine.
Thirdly, This appearance may be denied in respect that the degree of decrease is more sensitive than the degree of privation; for in the mind of men, the degree of decrease may work a wavering between hope and fear, and keep the mind in suspense, from settling, and accommodating in
patience and resolution. Hereof the common phrases are: " Belter cry out, than always ask; make or mar," &c.
For the second branch of this appearance, it depends upon the same general reason: hence grew the common place of extolling the beginning of every thing,
"He hath his work half done,
This made the Astrologers so silly, as to judge of a man's nature and destiny, by the constellation of the moment of his nativity or conception.
This appearance is also denied, because many inceptions are but (as Epicurus tenneth them) tentamenta, that is, imperfect offers and essays, which vanish, and come to no substance, without any iteration : so as, in such cases, the second degree seems the worthiest; as the body-horse in the cart, that draweth more than the fore-horse. Hereof the common adages are: "The second blow makes the fray. The second word makes the bargain." The one began, the other kept no mean.
Another objection to this appearance, is in respect of wearisomeness, which makes perseverance of greater dignity, than inception: for chance or instinct of nature may cause inception; but settled affection, or judgment, maketh the continuance.
Thirdly, This appearance is denied in such things, which have a natural course and inclination contrary to an inception. So that the inception is continually evacuated, and gets no start, but that there be always a beginning; as in the common forms: " Not to go forward, is to go backward." "He who makes no progress, decays." "Running against a hill; rowing against the stream," &c. For if it be with the stream, or with the hill, then the degree of inception is more than all the rest.
Fourthly, This appearance is to be understood "of the degree of inception, in comparison of the power with the act, not of the degree from the act to the increase." For otherwise, the degree from impotency to potency seems greater, than from the power to the act.
"That which men praise and celebrate, is good; that which they disgrace and reprehend, is bad."
X HIS appearance deceives four ways, viz, either through ignorance, or through want of integrity; or through particular respect and faction; or through the natural inclination of those that praise or dispraise. First, Through ignorance; for what signifies the judgment of the rabble in distinguishing and determining Good and Evil? Phocion knew well enough, who, when the people applauded him more than ordinary, asked, "Whether he had done any thing amiss 1" Secondly, Through want of integrity; for those that praise and dispraise, commonly carry on their own designs and do not speak what they think.
"Every man praises the wares he would put off."
It is naught, it is naught, says the buyer; but when he is gone, he vaunteth. Thirdly, out of partiality; for every one knows, that men use to extol with immoderate praise those that are on their own side, and to depress those of the adverse party below their desert. Lastly, through a natural inclination; for some men are by nature framed and moulded for servile fawning and flattery, whilst others on the contrary are stiff, captious, and morose; and when these commend or inveigh, they do but comply with their own humours, not troubling their beads overmuch about the truth of the business.
'' That which draws commendation even from Enemies, is a great Good; but that-which is reprehended even by Friends, is a great Evil."
X HIS appearance seems to stand upon this foundation, That it may well be believed, that the force of Truth extorts from us whatsoever we affirm to be