Gassendi’s Epicurus – Part 2D – The Third Part of Philosophy, Ethick, or Morals

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The Third Part of Philosophy, Ethick, or Morals

The Third Part of Philosophy – Ethick or Morals

Chap 1 – Of Felicity, Or the End of Good as Farre As Man Is Capable of It

Chap 2 – That Pleasure, Without Which there is no notion of Felicity, Is in Its Own Nature Good

Chap 3 – That Felicity Consists Generally in Pleasure

Chap 4 – That the Pleasure, Wherein Consists Felicity, Is Indolence of Body, and Tranquility of Mind

Chap 5 – Of the Means To Procure this Felicity; and of Virtues the Chiefe

Chap 6 – Of Right-Reason and Free-Will, From Which The Vertues Have All Their Praise

Chap 7 – Of the Vertues In General

Chap 8 – Of Prudence in General

Chap 9 – Private Prudence

Chap 10 – Domestick Prudence

Chap 11 – Civill Prudence

Chap 12 – Of Temperance in Generall

Chap 13 – Of Sobriety Opposite to Gluttony

Chap 14 – Of Continence, Opposite to Lust

Chap 15 – Of Meeknesse, Opposite to Anger

Chap 16 – Of Modesty, Opposite to Ambition

Chap 17 – Of Moderation, Opposite to Avarice

Chap 18 – Of Mediocrity, Betwixt Hope and Despair of the Future

Chap 19 – Of Fortitude In Generall

Chap 20 – Of Fortitude, As To Fear Of the Gods

Chap 21 – Of Fortitude, As to Fear of Death

Chap 22 – Of Fortitude Against Corporeall Pain

Chap 23 – Of Fortitude, Against Discontent of Mind

Chap 24 – Of Justice In Generall

Chap 25 – Of Jus (Right) or Just, Whence Justice Is Denominated

Chap 26 – Of The Originall of Right And Just

Chap 27 – Between Whom, Right And Justice Is To Be Exercised

Chap 28 – With What Right Justice Is To Be Exercised

Chap 29 – Of Beneficence, Gratitude, Piety, Observance

Chap 30 – Of Friendship

Chap 31 – Wherein Epicurus, Asserting Pleasure To Be The Ultimate Good, Differs From The Cyrenaicks





The Third Part of Philosophy – Ethick or Morals

It resteth that we speak of Ethick, or the Philosophy of Manners; neither is  it without cause that we said at first, that this is to be esteemeth the principall part of Philosophy, because that which is, of Nature would be useless, unless it conferred to the end of life with an Ethicall consideration.  Even Prudence it selfe, which belongs to this part, therefore excells naturall Philosophy, because it rules it, and useth it as a means to moral Philosophy.

In saying this part concerns the end of life, I show why it is commonly called the Philosophy concerning Life and Manners, or concerning the Institutions of the actions of life (for Manners are no other than the customary actions of humane life); likewise concerning the End, that is, the extream or greatest good which we pursue, and concerning things eligible and avoidable, inasmuch as it prescribeth the election of such things as conduce to that end, and the avoidance of such as divert from it.

For the end of life by the tacit consent of all men, is Felicity; and since almost all miss of that end, must it not happen either for that they propose not to themselves that felicity which they ought, or that they use not the right means to attain it?

When we behold so many, who, abounding in all things necessary to the use of life (swimming in wealth, adorn’d with titles, flourishing in a hopefull issue; in fine, possessed of all things commonly esteemed desirable) are not withstanding anxious and querulous, full of cares and solicitudes, distracted with terrours, in a word, leading a miserable life; thence we may inferre that they know not wherein true felicity consists, and by what means it may be attained; their hearts resembling a vessell, which either being leaky and full of holes, can never be filled; or being tainted with ill liquor, corrupts and spoyles whatsoever it receives.

It is therefore worth our paines, by the benefit of this Philosophy (which treats of the End and of Felicity) to cleanse and mend our heart, that it may be satisfi’d with a little, [1] and be pleased in the enjoying of any thing, we must Philosophize nor for show but seriously; for it is requisite not that we seem sound, but that we be sound[2] We must philosophize forthwith, and not deferre it to the morrow; for even to day it concerns us to live happily, and it is a mischief of folly that it always begins to live, or defers to begin, but in the mean time liveth never.

A strange thing it is! [3] We have been borne once, we cannot be borne twice, and age must have an end; Yet Thou O Man, though the morrow be not in thy power, in confidence of living tomorrow, put’st thy self off to the future, and loosest the present:  So mens lives waste with delay, and hence it is that some of us dye in the midst of business; Every man leaves the World as if he had but newly entred it; and therefore old men are upbraided with infancy, because, as if employed in a business that concerns them not, they do not take notice that they live, and so their whole life passeth away with the benefit of life.

Let us therefore endeavour so to live that we may not repent of the time past; and so enjoy the present, as if the morrow nothing concerned us.  He most sweetly attains the morrow who least needs or desires the morrow; and that hour overtakes a man most welcome, whereof he had framed to himself the least hope.  And since it is troublesome always to begin life, [4] let life be alwayes to us as it were perfect and absolute, and as if there wanted nothing to its measure.  The life of a fool is unpleasant, it is timorous, it is wholly carried on in the future; [5] let us endeavor that ours be pleasant, secure, not only present, but even now settled in safety.

Doubtlesse, the way to fly folly is to ascend that watch-tower (as it were) of wise men, from whence we may behold the rest wandering, and, in life, vainely seeking life.  If you think it is pleasant from Land to behold Mariners striving with storms, or, without endangering your self, see Armies joyning battell; certainly, nothing can be more delightfull than from the calm throne of Wisdome to view the tumults and contentions of fools.  Not that it is pleasant that others be afflicted; but it pleaseth, that we are not involved in the same evills.

But that we may in some measure, to our ability, help those who desire to attain this height of wisdom, we will collect our meditations upon these things, treating first of Felicity, which is man’s greatest good, and then of those things which conduce to the making and preserving of it, which are nothing else but the Virtues themselves.

Chap 1 – Of Felicity, Or the End of Good as Farre As Man Is Capable of It

OF Felicity we must first take notice, it is termed the End, that is, the last, the extream and greatest of Goods; because since those things are called Goods which allure the appetite to pursue them, and of these Goods some are desired for themselves, some for other things, Felicity is such a Good as all goods ought to be referred unto, it selfe to none.

And though Felicity, or Beatitude, and happy life be the same thing, yet that doth not hinder us, but that we sometimes mention the end of happy life, which we do according to the vulgar phrase taking the end of happy life, and happy life, for the same thing; but not implying any farther end, to which happy life may be thought to be referred.

This premised, we must first distinguish felicity into two kinds; one supream, incapable of intension and remission; the other subalternate in which there may be addition and detraction of pleasure.

The first, is conceived to be a state, than which none can be imagined, better, sweeter, more desirable, in which there is no ill to be feared, no good wanting: there is nothing that would and may not be done; and which is so sure that it can at no time be lost.

By the other, we understand a state, in which it is as well as may be, or in which there are very many necessary goods, very few ills, and in which it is permitted to lead a life so sweetly, so quietly, and constantly, as the Company, Course of life, Constitution of Body, Age, and other circumstances will allow.

Nor without reason is it I make this distinction and definition. For, though it seem manifest, that the first kind is proper only to God; yet there are, who, having a high opinion of themselves, and of their own wisdom, dare promise and arrogate it to themselves, and therefore affirm, that they are equall to God; and modest amongst them are they who repute themselves inferiour to none but Jupiter.

But these truly seem forgetfull of their own mortality and weaknesse, when as all, who are conscious thereof, cannot but acknowledge, that men are capable onely of the latter, and that wisdom doth much, if all men being in some manner miserable, it place thee in a state, wherein thou shalt be the least miserable of all men. Or, if among the severall degrees of miseries, to which thou art obnoxious by birth, it place thee in that wherein thou shalt be least miserable. For that is to be happy, to be free from those ills, wherewith thou mightest be afflicted; and in the mean time to enjoy such goods, than which, greater cannot be had in the condition wherein thou art.

This indeed is the reason, why I conceive a wise man, though deprived of sight and hearing, may neverthelesse partake of happy life, because he will yet persevere in as many goods as he can, and be free from those ills, if not of body, at least of mind, which otherwise might have afflicted him.

I further declare, that a wise man, though he should be cruelly tormented, will yet be happy, by felicity, not divine but human; which in a wise man is alwaies as great, as can be for the condition of the time.

For in torments he feels the pain indeed, sometimes groans and cries out; but because there is a necessity of suffering them, he not exasperates or makes them greater, by impatience or dispair, but rather, with as great constancy of mind as is possible, mitigates and renders them somewhat more easie. Herein certainly he is more happy than if he sunck under them, like those, who being under the same torments, bear them not with equall courage and constancy, nor have the like assistance from wisdom (which confers at least innocence of life, and security of confidence) to lighten them.

Therefore neither is there any reason to cavill, that the Bull of Phalaris, and a bed of Rofes, are all one to us; and the wise man, burning in that Bull, must cry out, How pleasant is this! how unconcern’d am I! how little care I! Since there are somethings, which a wise man had rather should happen to him, as rest of body free from all disturbance, and leisure of mind, rejoycing in contemplation of its own good. There are other things, which, though he would not have them, yet, when they do come, he bears them constantly, even commends and approves them, inasmuch as they give him occasion to please himself in his own constancy, and to say, I burn, but yield not. Why may it not be wished, not indeed to be burnt, but to be vanquished?

This I say, in regard a wise man is obnoxious, both to the pains of sicknesse, and the tortures of Tyrants, although he neither invites those, nor provokes these, so far as decently he may. Besides, the times are not such alwaies to all men, as that they may by indolence live happy.

Chap 2 – That Pleasure, Without Which there is no notion of Felicity, Is in Its Own Nature Good

SEeing that to live without pain is sweet or pleasant, and to enjoy good things, and be recreated by them; it followes, that Felicity cannot consist without both, or at least one of these; (by pleasure, suavity, jucundity, and the like terms, I understand the same thing): yet some there are, who, with great flourishes, have so discoursed against pleasure it self, as if it were something ill in its own nature, and consequently not appertaining to Wisdom and Felicity.

Therefore before we enquire, whether felicity really consists in pleasure, we must show, that Pleasure is in its own nature good, as its contrary, Pain, is in its own nature ill.

Certainly, since that is good which delighteth, pleaseth, is amiable, and allures the appetite; that, consequently, ill which harmeth, is unpleasant, and therefore excites hate and aversion; There is nothing pleaseth more then pleasure, delighteth more, is lov’d more, is desired more; as on the contrary, nothing incommodes more than pain, displeaseth, is abhorred, and shunned. So as Pleasure seems not onely to be a good, but the very essence of good, it being that by which any thing is good or desirable: Pain not onely an ill, but the very essence of ill, as being that by which any thing is ill or hatefull.

For though we sometimes shun pleasure, yet it is not the pleasure it self which we shun, but some pain annexed accidentally to it; as, if at any time we pursue pain, it is not the pain it self that we pursue, but some pleasure accidentally joyned to it.

For, (to expresse this more plainly) no man sleights, hates, or shuns pleasure, as pleasure; but because great pains overtake those, who know not how to follow pleasure with reason. Nor is there any who loves, pursues, would incur pain, simply as pain; but because sometimes it so happens, as that with labour and pain he must pursue some great pleasure.

For to instance in the least things; Who amongst us undertakes any laborious exercise of body, unlesse that some commodity arise by it? Who can justly blame him, who defires to be in that pleasure which hath no trouble? Or him, who shuns that pain which procures no pleasure? But we accuse and esteem those worthy of contempt, who, blinded and corrupted with the blandishments of present pleasures, foresee not the troubles that must ensue. Alike faulty are they, who desert their duties out of softnesse of mind, that is, the avoidance of labour and pains.

Of these things, the distinction is easie and ready. For at a free time, when our election is at liberty, and nothing hinders, but that we may do what pleaseth us most, all pleasure is to be embraced, all pain to be expelled. But at sometimes it often falleth out, that pleasures are to be rejected, and troubles not to be declined.

Thus, although we esteem all pleasures a good, and all pain an ill; yet we affirm not, that we ought at all times to pursue that, or to avoid this; but that we ought to have regard, as to their quantity, so also to their quality; since it is better for us to undergo some pains, that we may thereby enjoy the more abundant pleasures; and it is expedient to abstain from some pleasures, lest they prove the occasion of our incurring more grievous pains.

Hereupon this was, as it were, the fountain, from which, in treating of Criteries, we deduced severall Canons concerning Affection or Passion, esteeming pleasure or pain the Criterie of Election and Avoidance. And not without reason, forasmuch as we ought to judge of all these things, by the commensuration and choice of things profiting or hurting, since we sometimes use a good as an ill; and, on the contrary, sometimes an ill as a good.

Hence therefore, to presse this further, I say, that no pleasure is ill in it self, but some things there are which procure some pleasures, but withall, bring pains far greater than the pleasures themselves. Whereupon I add, that if every pleasure might, be so reduced within it self, as that it neither should comprise within it, nor leave behind it any pain, every pleasure, by this reduction, would be no lesse perfect and absolute, than the principall works of Nature, and consequently there would be no difference amongst pleasures, but all would be expectible alike.

Moreover, if those very things which afford pleasure to luxurious persons, could free them from the fear of Meteors, and death, and pain, and could instruct them what are the bounds of defires; I could not find any fault, forasmuch as they would be every way repleat with pleasures, and have nothing grievous or painfull, that is, ill.

Chap 3 – That Felicity Consists Generally in Pleasure

NOw to come to what was proposed, Felicity seems plainly to consist in Pleasure. This is first to be proved in generall, then we must show in what pleasure particularly it consists.

In generall, Pleasure seems to be, as the beginning, so the end also of happy life, since we find it to be the first good, and convenient to our, and to all animal nature; and is that from which we begin all election and avoidance, and in which at last we terminate them, using this affection as a rule to judge every good.

That Pleasure is the first and connaturall good, or (as they tearm it) the first thing suitable and convenient to Nature, appeareth; for that [6] every animal, as soon as born, desireth pleasure, and rejoyceth in it, as the chief good; shunneth pain as its greatest ill, and, to its utmost ability, repells it. We see that [7] even Hercules himselfe, tormented by a poisonous shirt, could not with-hold from tears;

Crying and howling whilst the Locrian stones,
And high Eubaean hills retort his grones.

[8] Thus doth every undepraved Animal, its own nature judging incorruptly and entirely.

[9] There needs not therefore any reasoning to prove, that pleasure is to be desired, pain to be shunned; for this is manifest to our sense, as that fire is hot, snow white, honey sweet. We need no arguments to prove this; it is enough that we give notice of it. For since that if we take away from man all his senses, there is nothing remaining, it is necessary, that what is couvenient or contrary to nature, be judged by nature her self, and that pleasure be experible in it self, and pain in it self to be avoided: For what perceives, or what judgeth, either to pursue or avoid any thing, except pleasure and pain?

That pleasure, as being the first thing convenient to nature, is also the last of expetibles, or the end of good things, may be understood even from this, Because it is pleasure onely, for whose sake we so desire the reft, that it self is not desired for the sake of any other, but onely for it self; for we may desire other things to delight or please ourselves, but no man ever demanded a reason, why we would be delighted and pleased. Certainly no more, than for what cause we desire to be happy; since pleasure and felicity ought to be reputed, not onely in the same degree, but to be the very same thing, and, consequently, the end, or ultimate, and greatest good, on which the rest depend, but it self depends on none.

This is further proved, for that Felicity is, as we hinted formerly, no otherwise, than because it is that state, in which we may live more sweetly and most pleasantly, that is, with the greatest pleasure that may be. For, take from life this sweetnesse, jucundity, pleasure; and Where, I pray, will be your notion of felicity, not of that felicity onely which I tearmed divine, but even of the other, esteemed human? Which is no otherwise capable to receive degrees of more and lesse, or intension and remission, than because addition or detraction of pleasure may befall it.

To understand this better, by comparing pleasure with pain, [10] let us suppose a man, enjoying many great incessant pleasures, both in mind and body, no pain hindring them, nor likely to disturb them; What state, can we say, is more excellent, or more desirable than this? For in him who is thus affected, there must necessarily be a constancy of mind, fearing neither death nor pain, because death is void of sense; pain, if long, useth to be leight; if great, short, so as the shortnesse makes amends for its greatnesse, the leightnesse for its length. When he arrives at such a condition, as he trembles not with horrour of the Deity, nor suffereth the present pleasures to passe away, whilst his mind is busied with the remembrance of past, or expectation of future good things, but is daily joyed with the reflecting upon them; What can be added to better the condition of this person?

Suppose, on the other side, a man afflicted with as great pains of body, and griefs of mind, as mans nature is capable of, no hope that they shall ever be eased, no pleasure past, present, or expected; what can be said or imagined more miserable than he?

If therefore a life full of pains be of all things most to be avoided, doubtlesse the greatest ill is to live in pain; whence it followeth, that the greatest good is to live in pleasure. Neither indeed hath our mind any thing else, wherein, as its center, it may rest; all sicknesses and troubles are reduced to pain, nor is there any thing else which can remove nature out of her place, or dissolve her.

Chap 4 – That the Pleasure, Wherein Consists Felicity, Is Indolence of Body, and Tranquility of Mind

THere being (as before is intimated) two kinds of pleasures; one in station or rest, which is a placability, calmnesse, and vacuity, or immunity from trouble and grief; the other in motion, which consists in a sweet movement, as in gladnesse, mirth, and whatsoever moveth the sense delightfully, with a kind of sweetnesse and titillation, as to eat and drink out of hunger and thirst: It may be demanded, Whether in both, or in either, and in which consists Felicity?

We say, that pleasure, wherein felicity consists, is of the first kind, the stable, or that which is in station; and so can be no other than indolence of body, and tranquillity of mind.

When therefore we say in generall tearms, Pleasure is the end of happy life, we are far from meaning the pleasures of luxurious persons, or of others, as considered in the motion or act of fruition, by which the sense is pleasantly and sweetly affected; as some, either through ignorance, dissent, or ill will, interpret. We mean no more but this, (to repeat it once more) Not pained in body, nor troubled in mind.

For it is not perpetuall feasting, and drinking; not the conversation of beautifull women; not rarities of fish, nor any other dainties of a profuse table, that make a happy life; but reason, with sobriety, and a serene mind, searching the causes, why this object is to be preferr’d, that to be rejected; and expelling opinions, which occasion much trouble to the mind.

The better to understand why this pleasure only is the End, we may observe, that Nature tends to no other pleasure primarily, as to her end, but to the stable; which followeth upon removall of pain and trouble. The moveable she not proposes as the end, but provides only as a means conducing to the stable, to sweeten (as it were) that operation of hers which is requisite to the extirpation of pain and trouble. For example, Hunger and Thirst being things troublesome and incommodious to an Animal, the primary end of Nature is to constitute the animal in such a state as that it may be free from that trouble and inconvenience; and because this cannot be done but by eating and drinking, she therefore seasons with a sweet relish the action of eating and drinking, that the animall may apply himself more readily thereto.

Most men, indeed, live preposterously; transported inconsiderately and intemperately, they propose for their end the pleasure which consists in motion; but wisdome summon’d to our relief reduceth all pleasures into decent order, and teacheth that pleasure is to be proposed as the end; but that which is the end according to Nature, is no other than that which we have spoken of. For while Nature is our guide, whatsoever we do tends to this; that we neither be pained in body nor troubled in mind: And assoon as we have attained this, all disturbances of the mind are quieted, and there is nothing beyond it that we can aim at to compleat the good both of our Soul and Body. For we then want pleasure when its absence excites pain in us: but as long as we are not pained, we want not pleasure.

Hence comes it that amotion of paine, or the state which followes upon that one-word is the furthest bound or height of pleasures; for, where ever pleasure is, as long as it is there, there is nothing painfull or grievous, or both together. Hence also it comes that the highest pleasure terminated in privation of pain may be varied and distinguished, but not increased and amplified: for Nature, untill she hath quite taken away the pain, increaseth the pleasure; but when the pain is quite removed, she permits not the pleasure to increase in greatnesse, but onely admits some varietyes which are not necessary, as not conducing to our not being pained.

Moreover, hence it appears, that they insult without cause, who accuse us that we mean not by want of pain some middle thing betwixt pain and pleasure, but so confound it with the other part (in the division) as to make it not onely a pleasure, but the very highest of pleasures. For, because when we are delivered out of Pain, we rejoyce at that very freedome and exemption from all trouble, but every thing whereat we rejoyce is pleasure, as every thing whereat we are offended, pain; the privation of all pain is rightly named pleasure. For, when hunger and thirst are expelled by eating and drinking the very detraction of the trouble brings pleasure; so in every thing else, the removall of pain causeth sucession of pleasure.

Hence also may be shown the difference when they objectt, that there is no reason why this middle state should rather be esteemed a pleasure than a pain. For discontent ensues not immediately upon detraction of pleasure, unlesse some pain chance to succeed in the room of the pleasure: but on the contrary, we rejoyce at the Iosse of pain, though none of those pleasures which move the sense succeed. By this we may understand, how great a pleasure it is, not to be pained; which if any doubt, let him aske those who are oppressed with sharp sicknesses.

Some laugh hereat; They object, that this pleasure is like the condition of one that sleeps, and accuse us of sloath, never considering that this constitution of ours is not a meer stupidity, but rather a state wherein all actions of life are performed pleasantly and sweetly. For, as we would not have the life of a wise man to be like a torrent or rapid stream, so we would not it should be like a standing dead-pool: but rather like a river gliding on silently and quietly. We therefore hold his pleasure is not unactive, but that which reason makes firm to him.

But to omit these, and return to our subject, there are two good things of which our chiefest Felicity consists; That the mind be free from trouble, the body from pain; and so as that these goods be so full, and all trouble taken away, that they admit not increase. For how can that increase, which is full? If the body be free from all pain, what can be added to this indolence? If the mind from perturbation, what can be added to this tranquillity? As the serenity of Heaven being refin’d to the sincerest splendor, admits no greater splendor; so the state of a man who takes care of his body and foul, and connects his good out of both, is perfect, and he hath attained the end of his desires, if his body be neither subject to pain, nor his mind to disturbance. If any externall blandishments happen, they increase not the chief good, but, as I may say, season and sweeten it; for that absolute good of humane nature is contained in the peace of the soul and the body.

Chap 5 – Of the Means To Procure this Felicity; and of Virtues the Chiefe

Now seeing this peace of body and mind, tranquillity in one, indolency in the other, is the compleat felicity of man; nothing more concerns us, than to consider what things will procure and preserve it; for when we have it, we want nothing; while wee want it, all we do is to obtain it; and yet (as we said) for the most part we fail of ir.

First, therefore, we must consider of Felicity no otherwise then as of Health; it being manifest, that the state in which the mind is free from, perturbation, the body from pain, is no other then the perfect health of the whole man. Whence it comes that as in the body, so in the mind also, those things which produce and conserve health are the fame with those which either prevent diseases, or cure and expell them.

Now seeing that to provide against the diseases of the body belongs to the art of Medicine, as well for the prevention as cure of them, we shall not need to say much hereupon, but onely give two cautions which may be sufficient.

One, that for the driving away all diseases, or at least making them leighter and easier to be cured, we use Temperance and a sober continent life.

The other, that when there is a necessity of our suffering them, we betake our selves to fortitude and undergo them with a constant mind, not exasperating them by impatience, but comforting our selves with considering that, if great, they must be short; if long, leight.

Against the diseases of the Mind, Philosophy provides, when we justly esteem it the medicine of the mind: but it is not with equall facility, consulted, nor applyed, by those who are sick in mind. For we judge of the diseases of the body by the mind; but the diseases of the mind, we

neither feel in the body, not know or judge as we ought by the mind, because that whereby we should judge is distempered. Whence we may understand, that the diseases of the mind are more pernicious then those of yhe body; as amongst those of the body, the worst and most dangerous are such as make the patient insensible of them; as the Apoplexy, or a violent feaver.

Moreover, that the diseases of the mind are worse than those of the body, is evident from the same reason which demonstrates that the pleasures of the mind are better than those of the body; viz., because in the body we feel nothing but what is present, but in the mind we are sensible also of the past and future. For, as the anxiety of the mind, which ariseth from pain of the body, may be highly aggravated, if we conceit (for instance) that some eternall and infinite Evill is ready to fall on us; so (to transferre the instance) pleasure is the greater, if we fear no such thing; it being manifest, that the greatest pleasure or trouble of the mind doth more conduce to a miserable or happy life, then either of the other two, though they should be equally lasting in the body.

Now forasmuch as there are two principall diseases of the mind, Desire, and Fear with their severall off-springs, and accompany’d with discontent and trouble, in the same manner as pain is joyned to the diseases of the body; it is therefore the office of Philosophy to apply such remedyes as may prevent them from invading the mind, or, if they have invaded it, expell them. Such chiefly, are the vain desires of wealth, of honours, fear of the gods, of death, and the like, which having but once taken possession of the mind they leave no part thereof found.

The remedyes which Philosophy applyeth, are the Virtues, which, being deriv’d from reason, or the more generall prudence, easily drive away and expell the affections. I say, from Reason, or the more generall prudence; because, as there is a more particular prudence, serving for the direction of all the particular actions of our life; so is there a more generall prudence, which is no other than reason it self, or the dictate of reason, and is by most esteemed the same with wisdome; whereas, virtue is only a perfect disposition of the mind, which reason or prudence doth create and oppose to the diseases of the Mind, the vices.

Chap 6 – Of Right-Reason and Free-Will, From Which The Vertues Have All Their Praise

BEing therefore to proceed in our discourse to Vertue and its severall kinds, we must premise something concerning Reason it self, and likewise concerning the Free-will which is in it; for thence is derived all the praise belonging to Vertue; as also its opposite, the reproach due to Vice.

Forasmuch as Reason generally is nothing but the faculty of ratiocinating or judging and inferring one thing from another, we here take it particularly for that which judgeth, inferreth, and ratiocinates in things of action, subject to election or avoidance.

But whereas, judgement or reasoning may be either right or wrong, that reason, whose judgement is false, is not properly reason, and therefore we terme it opinion; yet in respect it is the common phrase, you may call it also reason if you please, meaning wrong reason; as right reason may be tearmed Opinion, meaning sound Opinion.

Right reason ariseth either from ingenuity, or experience, and sedulous observation. Being grounded upon firm and correct principles, but ratiocination becomes solid; and justly do we appeal to the judgment of him, who is expert and knowing in things. But of this already in the Canonick part, concerning the Criteries, which need not repetition.

When I say, things subject to election and avoidance; I take for granted, that there is in us a free or arbitrary power of reason, that is, a faculty elective and prosecutive of that which reason hath judged good, and of avoiding and shunning what it hath judgeth ill.

That it really is in us, is proved even by experience, and by common sense, which manifests, that nothing is worthy of praise or dispraise, but what is done freely, voluntarily, deliberately, and by election; and therefore must depend on something within us, which is beyond companion, and in respect whereunto, all rewards and punishment are rightly ordained by the Laws: than which, nothing were more unjust, if the actions of men were to be imputed to that rigid Necessity, which some assert, derived from Fate, as the sole commandresse of all things, declaring, that whatsoever comes to passe, floweth from an eternall truth, and continuation of causes.

[11] Truly it is much better to be addicted to the fabulous (that is, the common) opinion of the gods, than to be slaves to the belief of Fate, according as some Naturalists hold it, emposing it upon our necks as an everlasting Lord or Tyrant, whom we are to stand in awe of, night and day. For, the other opinion hath some comfort in it, that the gods will be moved with our prayers; but this, imports an inexorable necessity.

True indeed it is, that, in things void of reason, some effects are necessary, (yet not so necessary, but that they might have been prevented, as we declared in the Canonick; and where we treated of causes) but, in Man, endew’d with reason, and as far as he makes use of that reason, there can be no Necessity. Hence it was, we endeavoured to assert the declination of motions in atoms, that we might from thence deduce, how Fortune might sometimes intervene, and put in for a share amongst human affaires, yet, that which is in us, our Will, not be destroy’d.

It behooves us to employ all our wit and endeavours to maintain our owne free-will against that sempiternall motion, and not to suffer wickednesse to escape unculpable.

But what I say of fortune, implies not that we ascribe any divinity to it, not onely as the vulgar, but even as those Philosophers, who esteeming her an unstable Cause; though they conceive not, that she bestowes on men, any thing of good or ill that may conduce to happy life, yet think that she gives occasions of very considerable goods and ills. We imply not this I say, but onely mean, that, as many things are effected by necessity and counsell, so also by Fortune; and therefore, it is the duty of a wise man to arme himselfe against Fortune.

Now seeing, what ever good or ill there is in human actions, depends onely upon this, that a man doth it knowingly, and willingly, or freely; therefore the mind muft be accustomed to know truely, that is, to use right reason; and to will truely, that is, to bend the free will to that which is truly good, from that which is truly ill. Forasmuch, as this accustoming begets that disposition in the mind, which we described to be vertue; as the accustoming of it to the contrary, begets that disposition which we may justly define Vice.

Not to mention, that what produceth pleasure, sincere without any pain, trouble, or repentance, attending or ensuing thereupon, is truly good; that which produceth pain, sincere without any pleasure, or joy succeeding upon it, is truly ill; I only give this hint of both to distinguish each of them from what is only apparent and dissembled: such as that good which begets present pleasure and afterwards introduceth pain, and trouble; and that ill which procures pain or trouble, but afterwards pleasure and cheerfullnesse.

Chap 7 – Of the Vertues In General

FOrasmuch as all Vertue, is either Prudence or the dictate of right reason, as we accustom our selves to it, or is directed by, and dependent on Prudence, and the dictate of right reason; it is manifest, that to this latter kind belongs, as well, that whereby a man is affected toward himselfe, as that, whereby he is affected towards another: for by Prudence, a man is made capable to govern not onely himselfe, but others.

The Virtue which relates to others, is generally called Justice; that which concerns our selfe, is ordinarily distinguished into Temperance, and Fortitude. But we use to comprise both under the terme Honesty, as when we say, to act virtuously is no other, then to act Prudently, Honestly, Justly; they who live soberly and continently, are said to live Honestly or Decently; they who do valiantly, are thought to behave themselves honestly or decently.

Hereupon, we (as others) distinguish Virtue into four kinds, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice; but so, as that we oppose not Prudence to any affection so much as to Incogitance, Ignorance, Folly, (except by accident, in as much as perturbation blinds reason and cauaeth a man to act imprudently); nor Justice, to any affection so much as to Malice, whereby a man is prone to deceits (unlesse by accident in as much as anger, hatred, coveteousnesse, or some other passion may cause a man to do unjustly); temperance we oppose to desire; fortitude, to feare.

Hence is manifest, when I formerly said, A sober or well-orderd reason procures a pleasant or happy life; we are to understand that it procures it by means of the Vertues which it ingenerates and preserves. And whereas I added that it searched out the causes why things are to be embraced or avoided, and chaseth away opinions with occasion great trouble in the mind, we are to understand that it is all one with generall prudence, the principle of all things expetible and avoidable, and consequently the greatest because the vertues which arise from it appease perturbations, teaching that we cannot live pleasantly, unlesse prudently, honestly, and justly; not prudently, honestly, and justly, unlesse pleasantly.

By this you find, why I conceive, that the Vertues are con-naturall to a happy life, and that it is impossible to seperate happy life from them. All other things, as being frail and mortall, are transitory, seperable from true and constant pleasure; onely Vertue, as being a perpetuall and immortall good, is inseperable from it.

By this also you may understand, that all the vertues are connected within one another, and that by one; because to the principal, Prudence, all the rest are conjoyned, as the members to the head, or as rivers to the spring from which they flow; the other, because as well prudence, as all the rest cohere with happy life, there cannot be a happy life where the vertues are not; neither can the vertues be there, where the life is not happy.

Notwithstanding, that the Vertues are all connected within one another, yet are they not therefore all equall, as some conceive, who bold that all vices and faults are also equall. For a man may be more inclin’d to Justice, then to Temperance; and temperance may be more perfect in one, then in another. As for indance, (without envy be it spoken) my selfe, by length of time have made so great a progresse in sobriety, as lesse then an obolus serves me for a meal; Metrodorus, who hath not yet made so great a progresse, a whole obolus. And it is evident, that, of men, one is wiser then another; and of them, who do rightly according to vertue, equall rewards are not allotted to all, as neither equall punishments to all offenders. Even sense and manners confuse them, who make all equall, and hold that they offend alike, he who beats his servant wrongfully, and he who his parent; seeing, some there are who make no difference betwixt eating a bean, and the head of our father.

Others condemne, and exclaim on us, for affirming, that the vertues are of such a nature as that they conduce to pleasure or felicity, as if we meant, that pleasure which is obscene and infamous; but let them raile as they please. For as they make vertue the chief good, so do we: if the discourse be of the means conducing to happy life, neither is there any of so great power as vertue, therefore not more excellent, (not wealth, not honour, not friends, not children, &c.) But if the discourse be of living happily or felicity, why should not this be a good, superiour to vertue, to the attainment whereof, vertue it selfe is but subservient?

They exlaime again, that we enervate Vertue, in not allowing her so much power, as to render a wise man free from all passion or affection, but to permit him to be moved therewith, as (for instance) to grieve, weep, and sigh at the death of friends: but as we set a high value upon vertue, as being able to deliver us from vain terrours and superfluous desires, the chief heads of all grievous perturbations; so likewise not a little esteem it, for that it reduceth the reft of the affections to such a mediocrity, in which there remains some sense as it were of humanity.

Certainly, that totall exemption from grief, which these men boast of, proceeds from some greater ill, cruelty, and immoderate ambition of vain glory, and a kind of madnesse. So that it seems much better, to feel some passion, to be affected with some grief, to shed some tears, such as proceed from persons, touched with Love and tendernesse, then to be wise as these would have us, and grin like brute beasts.

Chap 8 – Of Prudence in General

WE must now say something of every virtue in particular, beginning with Prudence, whose office being to govern the life, and so to provide for every occurrent in life, as to direct it to happinesse; it seems alone to comprize the offices of all vertues.

That the propriety of Prudence, is to dispose all accidents and actions of life to felicity, or pleasure, is most manifest. As we value Medicine, not for the science it selfe, but for health; and the art of steering, not for its ingenuity, but use in navigation; so Prudence, the art of living, would never be desired, if it were nothing efficacious in life; but being so, it is desired, as the art, by which pleasure is sought and obtained.

For Prudence,·οr (if you like the word better) Wisdome, alone it is, which not onely provides, that nothing happen which may afflict the body; but likewise above all, expells sadness from the mind, nor permitting us to be daunted with fear; Under which governesse we may live in tranquillity, extinguishing the ardor of all desires. For desires are insatiable, they subvert not onely single persons, but families, many times a whole Common-wealth. From desires arise hatreds, dissentions, discords, seditions, warres; neither do these onely revell abroad, or with blind fury assault others onely, but likewise, shut up in the breast, they disagree and quarrell with one another, which must necessarily make life exceeding bitter. Only the prudent and wise person, cutting off all vanity and error, content with the limits of nature, can live without discontent, and without fear.

Now seeing life is disturbed by errour and ignorance, and that it is prudence alone, which rescues us from the violence of Lusts and fears, teacheth us temperately to sustain the injuries of Fortune, and showeth us all the wayes that lead to quiet and tranquillity, Why should we stick to affirm, that Prudence is expetible in order to pleasure, and imprudence to be shunned, for trouble’s fake?

That we say, A prudent Person temperately sustains the injuries of fortune, the reason is, that he fore-sees them, if not in particular, at least in the generall; Neither, if any thing happen contrary to his expectation or designes, is he troubled, for that he knoweth it, not to be within the reach of human industry, sagacity, or power, either to fore-see, or to prevent, that nothing adverse or troublesome happen. He judgeth it better to be, with Well-ordered reason, (as far as human frailty will admit) unfortunate, then with inconsideration fortunate; and thinks nothing more handsome, than, if fortune bring about a thing fairly and prosperously, that it was not undertaken without judgment and deliberation.

But indeed, a wise man orders so himself, that cutting off vain desires, he contracts himselfe within necessaries, which are so few and small, as hardly any fortune can snatch them from him. Thus, since none, or very little fortune can intervene to a wise man, he may say to her, I have seized on thee, (Fortune) and intercepted thee, so as thou canst not come at me.

Concerning the cutting off all desires, we shall speak hereafter. Now forasmuch as prudence may be considered, either as it governs our selves, or a house, or a family, or a City, or a Common-wealth, and so is distinguished into Private, Domestick, Civill; let us say something upon each.

Chap 9 – Private Prudence

PRivate Prudence consisteth almost wholly in this, that a man understand his own Genius, and undertake nothing whereto his nature is averse, that he deliberately pre-examine the state in which he is to spend his whole life, and to which he must so accommodate all the actions of life, as that, as much as possible, he may live in indolence and tranquillity.

For he ought to have the end or scope of life fixt, and constantly set before his eyes, and, consult with right reason, according to all evidence, whereby we use to weigh whatsoever we think or determine. For unlesse this be done, all will be full of indiscreet temerity and confusion, and our designs and enterprises will be overtaken by too late repentance.

Besides, if upon every emergent occasion, you refer not each of your actions both to this kind of scope, and to that end of nature which you proposed to your self in designing it, but turn aside to pursue or flye some other thing, the actions of your life will not correspond to your own words. For example, you extoll tranquillity in words, but in actions discover your self busie and obnoxious to trouble.

He understands the bounds prescribed by Nature, to those who enter the course of life, who discern, how easily procurable that is which is necessary to life, or what is sufficient to remove any thing that afflicts the body with indigence. Thereby he knowes so well to order the whole series of life, as never to need such things or businesse as are contentious, and consequently full of hazard and danger.

Hence it is, that a wise man is not much afraid of poverty, it happening seldom, that any man wants the things necessary to life. Yet if those should chance to be wanting, and he not have mony to procure them, he will not betake himself to beg, as the Cynicks; but rather apply himself to instruct some persons in learning: thus taking an employment not misbecomming wisdom, and at the same time supplying himself with necessaries from those, who have full estates.

Whilst we are obliged to this or the like employment, [12] if necessaries fail us, and our businesse be, to entertain daily occurrences with a setled courage, we must have recourse to wisdom or Philosophy for relief. To an ill counsellor we resigne the ordering of the things that concern us, if, what is necessary to nature, we measure and provide without Philosophy.

It therefore imports a Philosopher to bestow time in looking after these things, untill by diligent care he hath furnished him self with them. But as Iong as he hath so much of these, as that he can spend of them, yet retain perfect confidence, he is not to apply himself to acquisition of wealth and provisions.

Thus is Philosophy to be our guide in these things, by which we shall soon perceive, what a vertue, and how great a good it is, to require onely what is simple, light, and very small; because what is most sweet and free from trouble in all a man’s life, depends upon our being contented with the least. But, by those impediments which a sollicitous acquisition of things drawes upon us, being quickly discover’d, either by the pains and toil of the body, or by the difficulty of their procurement, or by their drawing the mind away from the most advantageous speculations, (which we ought evermore highly to esteem) or by someother cause; we shall clearly find, that it is altogether fruitlesse, and not of countervalue with the troubles which follow it.

I advised, that every man should examine his own genius, and advise with himself, that he may apply himself to that which is proper for him; because otherwise, nothing can be more miserable, and more at a distance with tranquillity, than to be engaged in a course of life, for which nature hath rendred thee unfit.

For neither is an active life to be undertaken by an unactive person, nor an unactive life by an active person. To one, rest is quiet, and action labour; to the other, rest is labour, and action quiet. A timorous and soft person must avoid the military life; a bold and impatient, the easie; for one cannot brook war, nor the other peace. The same it is in all the rest. So that nothing can be more safe, then to undertake that course onely which thou canst run through, without any reluctance or repugnance of nature.

I shall onely add this, That every man, as far as lies in his power, to the end the state of life which he chooseth may be the more secure and quiet, ought to choose it mean, neither very eminent, nor very abject. For it behoves him to live in a civil society, neither as a Lion, nor as a Gnat, lest, resembling the one, he be cast out; the other, caught in a snare.


Chap 10 – Domestick Prudence

DOmestick Prudence being either conjugall and paternall, or dominative and possessory; we shall in the first, onely consider that which ariseth from what hath been said, concerning the Institution of life.

If you find that you cannot, without much trouble, live single; that you can patiently bear with a crosse-wise, and disobedient-children; that you will not so much as vex, to behold your children crying before you; that you shall not be perplexed and distracted with various sollicitudes, how to provide all things requisite to a married life, how to prevent all inconveniences, and the like: in this case, to marry a wife, and to beget children, for whom you may provide with a conjugall and fatherly prudence, is lawfull. But unlesse you know your self to be such, you see, by Marriage and Issue, how much you will hinder the happinesse of your life, True tranquillity.

Presume you may, of having a loving wife, dutifull children, cares neither great nor many; but you can onely presume it, there is not any god will warrant the successe of your presumption. Since therefore the case is hazardous, it is no wisdom voluntarily to undergo the venture, and throw your self into a condition; out of which, should you afterwards repent, you can never retire.

I say, voluntarily; for some circumstance of life may exact, that, though unwilling, you marry and beget children; as if your condition he such, as that it requires you to serve your Country herein. For whereas some pretend propagation of the species, to which we are in a manner oblig’d, certainly there is no danger, that there should be wanting such as will marry and procreate; so that some few wise men, maybe allowed to abstain from this employment.

But if some case, or certain counsell, or necessity, enforce you to marry, you must so dispose your wife, as that she may be loving to you, and and a partner in your cares. You must take such care for your children, as is partly prescribed by Nature, which instigates us to love them as soon as born, (common also to sheep, woolvs, and other living creatures); partly by prudence, which adviseth so to bring them up, as they may be obedient to the Lawes of their Country, and desirous themselves may become wise.

Neither is this care to be taken for our own children onely, but likewise for the children of our friends, especially if they are our Pupills; there being nothing more beseeming friendship, than to be Guardian in the room of a parent to those, whom our deceased friend entirely loved, and hath left Orphans needing protection.

For the other kind, as having slaves and Servants under us, (a possession, though necessary, yet for the most part not very pleasant) a wise man must take order, they grow not insolent and froward, that he may behave himself mildly (as far as is fitting) towards them, and chastise the disobedient, remembring they are men; with a kind of unwillingnesse; being ever ready to forgive, especially if they are diligent, nor of an ill disposition. And not onely this, but if he find any enclined to learning, (such as we had, particularly Mus) let him delight to further them, call them Friends, and study Philosophy with them.

As to his Estate, he must take care of it, and provide for the future, but so, as without covetousnesse, and the desire of growing rich, of which hereafter. A wise man must not neglect his estate, because it is his livelihood; lest, if that be consumed, and he want the necessaries of life, his study of Philosophy be hindred, whilst he either gains by labour what might with little or no pains have been preserved; or begs, and by importunity extorts from another, what every one with little endeavour might provide for himself; or, growing old, fall sick, and die in want, which not a little hinders the tranquillity of the mind.

Besides the things necessary to the uses of life, there may be others, which, according to the condition of the person, place, time, must be esteemed necessary, and therefore not to be neglected. But our chiefest care must be for things requisite, to the prevention of naturall indigence, without which, nature her self would suffer; such is the provision of corn. Those who store their houses with corn, are to be commended above those, who adorn them with rich furniture. I rejoyce exceedingly, that lately in a strict Siege, when many perished in our City by famine, we were able to sustain so many good friends with food (no delicacies, but a provident quantity of Beans) which we distributed daily to every one by tale.

Chap 11 – Civill Prudence

LAstIy, as to Civill prudence, we must likewise repeat what we insinuated concerning the choice of a course of life.

They who are naturally ambitious, desirous of honour, active withall, and fit to manage publick affairs; as also they, whom the quality of their birth, or fortune, and opportunity invite, by an easie accession to publick government; those men may decline quiet, and comply with their own nature, by addicting themselves to publick government, and an active life. For their disposition is such, that a quiet life gives them trouble and molestation, whilst they obtain not what they desire.

But they who either are naturally enclined to quiet, or have suppress’d ambition and vanity by the power of reason; or, having made triall hereof, have escaped, as out of a storm, or tooke warning by many eminent precedents; these will justly conceive, that quiet is much the best for them, and that it is not convenient to exchange it for an active life, unlesse by chance some accident intervene in the Common-wealth, requiring their industry. Whence we conclude, that a wise man must not involve himself in publick affairs, unlesse upon some intervening necessity.

What else? since he in pursuing quiet, may far more easily and safely attain to that end, which the ambitious aim at by dangers and labours.

For to speak of their scope, there never wanted some, who, to procure security of men, (according to the condition of soveraignty and rule, by which they commonly think it gained) have affected to excell in honour, and to become illustrious, thinking by this means to attain a secure and quiet estate. But if their life be secure and quiet, they have acquired the chief good of nature; if not secure and quiet, (as indeed it can hardly be) then have they lost it, because they fought that which is convenient to nature in Dominion.

But the wise man’s scope being the same, security and tranquillity of life, by how much nearer a way doth he arrive at that end, when flying the troubles of civill life, he directly and immediately settles himself in a most profound quiet, as in a still calm haven? Happy indeed, who knowes The chief good and a blessed life, consists not in Soveraignty or power, not

in numerous wealth or plenty, but in indolence, composure of affections, and such a disposition of mind, as, circumscribing all things by the boundaries of nature, makes him, in being content with little, obtain that which they, who rule over many, and possesse great treasures, despair ever to arrive at.

Truely, if it be fit to speak of my self, I esteem it a great happinesse that I was never engaged in the factions of our City, and never studied to flatter and please the people. To what end should I? when as, what I know, the people approve not; what the people approve, I know not. That Metrodorus and I lived private, How far was it from doing us harm, when among the large goods enjoyed in narrow gardens, and in obscure Melite, Greece was so farre from knowing us, that she had scarce ever heard of us?

I said, unless something intervene as to the Common-wealth: because, if the Common-wealth should summon and really need our assistance, we should be inhumane, where we might benefit many, not to do it: injurious also to our selves; for unless the common-wealth be safe, we cannot be what we most defire, quiet.

A wise man therefore doth not like some, who, professing wisdome; have, through excessive pride, so great an opinion of their own judgement in civill government that they think they could equalize Lycurgus and Solon.

But if he be desired to make lawes, and to prescribe a form of Government, and the offices of Magistrates, he will not refuse it; knowing that they who first made laws and ordinances and constituted Government and Magistracy in citties, setled life in a secure and quiet condition: for if that be taken away, we shall live like beasts, and every man devour the next he meets with.

And if he be called to the supream power to govern the Common-wealth according to the lawes and form of Government already established, he shall not refuse; knowing that though the thing it selfe is for the most part full of hazard, yet a wise man may have such regard to all things, and such a provident care of all, as that little of fortune, as I said before, shall intervene to him; but the greatest things, and such as are of most concernment be managed by his advice and conduct. He will first take care that the weaker sort of men, discharging their duty towards the more powerfull, be neither oppressed by them nor permitted to want those necessaries of life wherewith the others abound; it being the end of every society and common-wealth, that by mutuall assistance the lives of all be safe, and as happy as is possible.

Lastly, if he be summoned by his Prince, and some occasion require that he serve him either with his advice or help, neither shall he refuse this, knowing that as it is, not only more honourable, but more pleasant to give then to receive a benefit, it is: as the most honourable, so the most pleasant thing to oblige a Prince who confers so many obligations on others. Hitherto of Prudence.

Chap 12 – Of Temperance in Generall

NExt follows Temperance, the first part, as we said, of honesty, and which seems to contain the greatest share of what is honest and decent. For it being the office of Temperance to suppress the mind when it desires, as of Fortitude to exalt it when it fears; it is esteemed less undecent to be dejected by pusillanimity, than exhalted by desire; and therfore to resist desire, is more decent than to oppose fear.

Concerning Temperance, we must first observe, that it is desired not for its own sake, but for that it procureth pleasure, that is, brings peace to the minds of men, pleasing and soothing them with a kind of concord. For, it being employed in moderating desires, and consequently in advising that in things to be pursued or avoided we follow reason, it is not enough that we judge what is to be done or not to be done, but we must fix upon that which is judged.

But most men, not able to hold and keep to what they have resolved on, being vanquish’d and debilitated by the appearance of a present pleasure, resign themselves to the fetters of Lust, not foreseeing what will follow; and hereupon for a small unnecessary pleasure, which might otherwise have been procured, or wholly wanted without incurring pain, they fall into great sicknesses, Iosses, and infamy, and many times into the penalties of Law.

But they who so enjoy pleasures as that no pain shall ensue, and who preserve their judgment constant, nor are overcome by pleasure, to the doing of what they know ought not to be done; these men obtaine the greatest pleasure, by pretermitting pleasure: they also many times suffer some pain to prevent falling into greater.

Hence is it understood, that Temperance is to be desired, not for that it avoids some pleasures, but because he who refrains from them declines troubles; which being avoided, he obtains greater pleasures. Which it so doth, as that the action becomes honest and decent, and we may cleerly understand, that the same men may be Lovers both of pleasure and of decency, and that such as esteem and practise all vertues perform for the most part those actions and attain those ends, as that by them it is manifest, how odious to all men cruelty is, and how amiable, goodnesse and clemency; and that those very things which ill men most desire and aim at, happen also to the good.

Now forasmuch as of the desires about which Temperance is employ’d, some are naturall, others vain; and of the naturall, some necessary, others not necessary (to omit, that, of the necessary, some pertain simply to life, as that of meat and drink, and the pleasure which consists in motion; others to felicity it selfe, (as that of indolence and tranquillity or stable pleasure): it is manifest, that not without good cause we in our Phisiology distinguished desires into three kinds, some both naturall and necessary; others naturall but not necessary; others neither naturall nor necessary, but vaine, or arising from vain opinion.

And for as much as we said, that those are naturall and necessary, which, unlesse they be satisfied, cause dammage and pain in the body; it is evident, that those which infer no dammage nor pain, though not satisfi’d yet are accompanied with earnest and vehement instigations, are such not by necessity, but vain opinions, and though they have some beginning from nature, yet their diffusion and excesse they have not from nature, but from the vanity of opinions; which render men worse than beasts, that are not obnoxious to such diffusion or excesse. Likewise, that such desires are not only not necessary, but not naturall, maybe proved, for that they have a diffluent excessive apparition, very hardly or never to be fatisfi’d; and are, for the most part, justly esteemed causes of harme.

But to discourse of some chief kinds of Temperance, according to some chief kinds of desires, we may make choyce of Sobriety opposed to Gluttony, or the excessive desire of meat and drink; Continence, to Lust, or the unbridled defire of coition; Mildness, to Anger or desire of Revenge; Modesty, to ambition or desire of honour; Moderation, to Avarice or desire of riches; and lastly, in respect of the affinity betwixt desire and hope, Mediocrity, which consists betwixt hope and desperation of the future.

Chap 13 – Of Sobriety Opposite to Gluttony

ITt can hardly be expressed how great a good Sobriety is, which reduceth us to a thin simple and spare dyet, teaching us how little that is which Nature requires, and clearly showing that the necessities she lies under may be abundantly satisfi’d with things leight, and easily provided, as barly-cakes, fruits, herbs, and water.

[13] For these things being every where to bee had, and having the simple nature of moist and dry, moist aliments sufficiently remove the trouble of the body arising from want of sustenance. Whatever is more then this amounts to Luxury, and concerns onely the satisfaction of a desire, which neither is necessary, nor occasion’d by any thing, the want whereof doth necessarily inferre any offence to nature; but partly for that the want of somewhat is born with impatience; purely, for that there is presumption of an absolute delight without mixture of any trouble; partly (to speake in short) for that there are vain and false opinions inherent in the mind, which serve neither for the supplying of any naturall defect, nor tend to the acquisition of anything by the want of which the frame of the body would be dissolved.

Those very things which are ready at hand, abundantly suffice to supply all nature’s wants; and they are such as partly for their simplicity, partly for their slightnesse are easily made ready. Hee, for example, who feeds on flesh, needs other things inanimate to eat with it; whereas he who is content with inanimate, needs but halfe so much as the other, and sustains himselfe with what is easily got, and cheaply dress’d.

There are four benefits arising from Sobriety; the first, that to accustome our selves to a simple diet [14] brings and preserves health: for it is sumptuous feasting and variety of meats which begets, exasperates, and continues crudities, head-aches, rheums, gouts, feavers, and other diseases, not plain and simple food, which nature makes both necessary and wholsome, and not onely to other animals but even to man himselfe, who yet depraves them by his exorbitancy, and corrupts them by such delicates, as which while he affect, he affects onely his own destruction.

Therefore if we are wise, [15] let us beware of that meat which we much desire and long for, but assoon as we have had it, find it was pleasant to us only to our harm. Such are all costly and luscious meats; whence the eating flesh is lesse to be approved, as being rather prejudiciall to health than wholsome, as may be argued because [16] health is preserved by the same means whereby it is recovered; but it is manifest that it is recovered by a thin dyet and abstinence from flesh.

[17] Neither is it any wonder that the ordinary sort of men conceaves the eating of flesh to conduce much to health; for, they in like manner think, that the way to preserve health is to wallow in pleasures, even the venereall; whereof neverthelesse there is none benefits any man, and it is well if it hurt not.

The second, is that [18] it makes a man ready and quick in the offices necessary to life. For if you look upon the functions of the mind, it preserves her serenity, acutenesse, vigour; if upon the functions of the body, it keeps

is sound, active, and hardy. But repletion, over-satiety, forfeiting and drunkennesse cloud the mind, make it blunt and languid; the body diseased, unactive, and burdensome. What, I pray, can you expect extraordinary from that man whose limbs are unweildy, his knees feeble, his tongue faltring, his head swimming, his eyes full of rheum, his mouth of the hick-up, brawling, and clamour; and all this, through excesse of Wine?

Certainly, a wise man who ought to content himself with a hemina of small Wine; or to esteem the next water he comes at to be the most pleasant of all drinks, will be far from spending the night in drunkennesse; and as far from stuffing himself with meats that are high, or burthening his stomack with such as are luscious and grosse, who ought to be concent with the most simple, even the very free gifts of Nature.

Indeed such simple and slender dyet will not make a man as strong as Milo, nor conduceth absolutely to an intense corroboration of the body; but neither doth a wise man need such intense strength, seeing his employment consists in contemplation, not in an active and petulant kind of life.

The third benefit is, that if some times the Table happen to be more plentiously furnished, we shall come much better prepar’d to tast what it yeelds. No but that homely fare affords as much delight as sumptuous feasts, when hunger, which, in want of food, troubleth us, is satisfied (for barley-cakes and water are highly pleasant, if taken onely when we hunger and thirst); but because they who are dayly accustomed to more costly viands are not so sensible of their sweetness by reason of their being almost continually cloyed with them; as a wise man is, who the better to relish them brings along with him a taste prepared by mean dyet: in like manner it comes to pass, that he, if at any time he chance tο be present at publick spectacles, is taken with them more sensibly than are others.

What I affirm concerning the coorsest meat and drink, that it affords no less pleasure than the greatest delicates, cannot be deny’d by any but by him who deceaveth himself with vain opinions; who observes not that they only enjoy magnificence with greatest pleasure, who least need it; who never hath tasted coorse bread and water pressed with hunger and thirst. For my own part, when I eat coorse bread and drink water, or sometimes augment my Commons with a little Cytheridian-cheese (when l have a mind to feast extraordinarily) I take great delight in it, and bid defiance to those pleasures which accompany the usuall magnificence of feasts; so that if I have but bread, or barley-cakes and water, I am furnish’d, to contend even with Jove himself in poynt of Felicity.

Shall I adde that magnificence of feasts, and variety of dishes not onely not free the mind from perturbation, but not so much as augment the pleasure of the body, forasmuch as this also, when that trouble is removed, hath found its end? For example, the eating of flefh (which we lately instanc’d) neither takes away any thing particularly that is a trouble to nature, nor performs any thing which would occasion trouble, if not fulfilled. But it hath a forc’d delight, and perhaps mingled with that which is contrary to these, for it conduceth little to long life, and serveth only to variation of pleasures, like venereall pleasures, and the drinking of forreign wines, without which nature or life may well subsist: for those things without which it cannot subsist, are most compendious, and maybe obtained, easily without breach of Justice, Liberality and Tranquility.

Neither is it any matter, whether the ordinary sort of men be of this beliefe or not; since petulancy and intemperance abound in such persons, so that we need


not fear, but there will be those who will feed on flesh. For though all men had the best and right judgement of things, yet would there be no need of Fowling or Fowlers, or fishers, or Swine-herds; these Animals, living by themselves, free, and without a keeper, would in a short time be destroy’d by others preying upon them, and suppressing the vastnesse of their increase, as happens to infinite others which men eat not. But since there reigneth alwayes a multiplicious, or rather universall folly amongst men, there will never be wanting an innumerable company of gluttons to feed on these.

Lastly, the fourth benefit is, that [19] it renders us fearlesse of fortune. For they onely must stand in awe of Fortune, who, being accustom’d to live sumptuously, conceive their lives cannot be otherwise then most miserable, unlesse they are able to spend Pounds, and Talents every day. Whence it happens, that such men are for the most part subject to a troublesome life, and often commit rapines, murthers, and the like villainies. But he, who is concent with coorse food, as fruits and sallads, who is sacisfy’d with bread and water; who hath confin’d his desire within these, what can he fear from Fortune? For, who is there so poor as to want these? Who so distress’d, that he cannot easily meet with beans, pulse, hearbs, fruits? As for water, what need I mention it?

For my owne part, truly (that I may with modesty instance my selfe) I am content, and highly pleas’d with the plants and fruits of my owne little Gardens; and will, that this Inscription be set over the gate, Stranger, here you may stay; here the supreme Good is Pleasure; the Master of this little house is hospitable, friendly, and will entertain you with polenta, and afford you water plentifully, and will aske you, How you like your entertainment? These little Gardens invite not hunger, but satisfie it; nor encrease thirst with drinks, but extinguish it with the naturall and pleasant remedy.

In this pleasure, I have grown old, finding by account, that my diet amounts not fully to an obolus a day, and yet some dayes there are, in which I abate somewhat even of that, to make tryall, whether I want any thing of full and perfect pleasure, or how much, and whether it be worth great labour.

Chap 14 – Of Continence, Opposite to Lust

Moreover, continence or abstinence from venereall pleasures is a great vertue; for the use of them, as I said formerly, doth never benefit, and it is well if it hurts not.

Certainly to abuse them intemperately, is to make a man destitute of vigour, anxious with cares, painfull with diseases, and of short continuance. Wherefore a wise man must stand upon his guard, and not suffer himselfe to be caught with love, far from conceiving love, to be something sent from the Gods above, and therefore to be cherished.

And that a man may be left subject thereto, and want the chief excitements to venereall delights, nothing more avails then spare diet, of which we lately treated: for excesse in eating, causeth abundance of that humour which is the food and fuell of love’s fire. The next antidotes are, an honest employment, (especially the study of Wisdom) and Meditation upon the inconveniences, to which they, who suffer themselves to be transported with Love, are liable.

The generall inconveniences, which attend love of women and boyes, are, consumption of strength, decay of industry, ruine of estate, mortgages and forfeitures, Iosse of reputation. And while the feet wear Sicyonian buskins, the fingers emeralds, the body other ornaments; the mind in the mean time, conscious to it selfe, is full of remorse, for that she lives idly, and suffers good years to be lost; and the like, which it were easie to instance.

But as to particulars, What ill doth it not draw upon a man to desire the company of a woman prohibited to him by the Lawes? Doubtlesse, a wise man will be very far from thinking of such a thing; it being enough to deterre him from it, to reflect upon the vast sollicitude, which is necessary to precaution, of those many and great dangers which intervene; it happening, for the most part, that they who attempt such things are wounded, murthered, imprison’d, banish’d, or suffer some great punishments. Whence it comes, that (as we said before) for a pleasure which is but short, little, and not-necessary, and which might either have been obtained otherwise, or quite let alone, men expose themselves to great pain, and sad repentance.

Besides, to be incontinent, to resigne up our selves to this one kind of pleasure, were to defraud ourselves in the mean time of other pleasures, many and great; which he enjoyes, who lives continently according to the Lawes. He so applies himself to wisdom as that he neither blunts his mind nor excruciates it with cares, nor disturbs it with other affections; and for his body, he neither enervates it, nor vexeth it with diseases, nor torments it with pains. And thus he attains the chief good, which (as I faid) is not gotten by keeping company with boyes or women, not having a table plentiously furnished with choice of fish or fowl.

Yet there is no reason anyone, from this commendation of generall abstinence from venerall delights, should infer, that therefore a man ought to abstain even from lawfull marriage. What our judgment is of that particular, we have formerly declared. I shall onely adde, that whereas I said, Love is not sent from the gods, it gives us to understand, that if a man hath no children by his wife, he must not attribute it to the anger of Cupid or Venus, or hope to become a Father, by Vowes, Prayers, and Sacrifices, rather then by naturall remedies.

I shall adde, that a Wiseman ought not to live after the manner of the Cynicks, or to behave himselfe with such immodesty as they shew in publick. For whilst they plead they follow Nature, and reprehend and deride us, for esteeming it obscene and dishonest to call things which are not dishonest by their names, but things which are indeed dishonest we call by their proper names; as to rob, to cozen, to commit adultery, are dishonest indeed, but not obscene in name; whereas to performe the act of generation, is honest in deed, but obscene in name, and alledge divers others arguments against modesty: they seem not sufficiently to consider, that they live in a civill society, not in the fields, like wild beasts, and therefore ought not to follow Nature exactly.

For, from the time that we enroll’d our names in a society, Nature commands, that we observe the Lawes and Customs of that Society: to the end, that, participating of the common goods, we draw no evill upon our selves; such as is, (besides all other punishments) the very infamy or ignominy, which attends Impudence, or the want of such modesty, as is prescribed by the Customs and manners of the society wherein we live, and from which, in the voice, the countenance, and behaviour, that modest respect, which is deservedly commended by all, is denominated.

Lastly I adde, that it not a little conduceth as to modesty in particular, so to all kinds of continency, to abstain from Musick and Poerty, for that their pleasing songs and airs are no other then incentives to lust.

Hence is our Maxime, that a wise man onely can treat of Musick and

Iiiii 2

Poety aright, and according to vertue. For others, easily taken with the allurements of both, indulge to both; onely the wise man duely fore-seeing the harm that would ensue, casts them away; declaring that Musick, is, amongst other things, an allurement to drink, an exhauster of Money, a friend to idlenesse, conducing nothing to good, honest, and generous works; that Poetry hath alwaies made men prone to all sorts of vices, especially to lust, even by the examples of the gods themselves, whom it introduceth, inflamed with anger, and raging with lust, and represents not onely their Wars, conflicts, wounds, hatreds, discords, dissentions, births, deaths, but also their complaints, lamentations, imprisonments, coition with mortalls, and mortall children of immortall Parents, and the like; which certainly sober men would abhorre.

Chap 15 – Of Meeknesse, Opposite to Anger

Moreover Lenity or Meekneffe, whereunto are reduced Clemency and Piety, is so excellent an antidote against anger, or desire of revenge, that it is esteemed a most eminent vertue; in as much as anger, especially if excessive, causeth madnesse for the time. For by anger, the mind is heated and darkned, the eyes sparkling with fire, the breast ready to burst with rage, the teeth gnashing, the voice choaked, the hairs standing on end, the face glowing, and distorted with menacing looks, horrid, and ugly to behold, so that the mind seems to have lost the command of her selfe, and to have forgotten all decency. But, lenity cures the mind, or rather preserves it sound, so, that it is neither moved in it selfe, nor is there any eruption of passion into the body, that may cause the least undecency.

Now anger being commonly kindled, and set on fire by opinion of some injury receiv’d; but men are injur’d through hatred, envy, or contempt; how can a wife man so bear an injury, as to behave himselfe with Lenity and sweetnesse towards those who did it? By submitting himselfe to the government of right reafon; whereby, (as I formerly said) he must fortifie himselfe against fortune. For, he accounts an injury among things of chance, and discreetly considers, it is not in his power to make other men just, and free from passion; and therefore, is as little moved at injuries done to him by men, as at the incommodities, or losses which happen by accidents of fortune, of by any other cause above, beyond his owne power.

He is not, for example, troubled at the great heats or colds of the seasons of the year, because it is the nature of the seasons in their vicissitudes which he cannot alter! In like manner, neither is he troubled at the injuries, which dishonest and malicious men do to him, because in doing so they act according to their owne natures, and to make them do otherwise, and to change their natures, is not in his power. Besides, he conceives it not agreeable to Reason, and Wisdom, to adde ill to ill, (to adde, unto the harm which happens to him from without, perturbation within by opinion) or, because another man would afflict his mind with vexation he should be so foolish as to admit that vexation, and further the ill designes of his enemy upon him.

Yet is it fit, that a wise man take such care of his reputation, as not to become contemptible, since there are some pleasures that arise from a good Name, some troubles from an ill, and the contempt that followes it; but he must take care of his reputation, not so much by revenging injuries,

or being offended at those that do them, as by living well, and innocently, giving no man a just cause of contumely or malediction. To do thus, is in our power; not, to hinder another from exercising his owne malice.

Whence, if one that bears you ill-will, and is your profess’d enemy, shall demand any thing of you, you must not deny him, provided what he demand be lawfull, and you are nothing the lesse secure from him; he differs not from a dog, and therefore must be appeased with a morsell. Neverthelesse, nothing is better or safer, than to confront his malice with innocence of life, and the security of your own Conscience, and withall, to show that you are above injury.

Especially, seeing it may so happen, that a wise man (as I said before) may be arraign’d, and suffer not onely injury, but calumny, accusation, condemnation: Even then he considers, that to live well and virtuously, is in his power, but, not to fall into the hands of envious unjust persons; not to be unjustly accused by them; not to be sentenced by unrighteous Judges, is not in his power. He therefore is not angry, either with the accusers, witnesses, or judges but confiding in a good conscience, loseth nothing of his lenity and tranquillity, and esteeming himselfe to be above this chance, he looks upon it undaunted, and behaves himself in his tryall boldly, and with courage.

Let not any object, that, what I here advise concerning lenity, is repugnant, to what I formerly said of the chastising of servants; for I limited castigation, onely to the refractory and perverse. It is manifest, that punishment ought to be inflicted on offenders, as well in a private family, as in a Common-wealth; and that, as a Prince or Magistrate punisheth the offences of his subjects, without anger; so the Father of a family may, without anger, punish the faults of his servants.

Moreover, a wise man must not onely bear injuries, not onely pardon them mildly, but even kindly, encourage, and congratulate him, who betakes himselfe to a better course. For since the beginning of reformation is to know our fault; therefore must this gratulation, and encouragement be given to the penitent offender, that, as he is affected with horrour at this knowledge of his crime, so the excellence, and beauty of that which he ought to have done, and thence forward must do, may be fully represented to him, and the love of it increase daily in him.

Chap 16 – Of Modesty, Opposite to Ambition

AS concerning Modesty, there needs little more to be said, then what we formerly declared, when we show’d it was not the part of a wise man to affect high Offices, or Honours in a Common-wealth, but rather so to contain himselfe, as to live in some private corner: wherefore, here I shall once more give the same counsell, which I give to all my fiends. Live close, or private, (provided no necessities of the Common-wealth, require otherwise) for even experience teacheth, that he hath lived well, who hath well concealed himselfe.

It is but too frequently seen, that they who clime up to the top of Honour, are cast down by envy, as with a Thunder-bolt, and then too late acknowledge, that it is much better, quietly to obey, then by laborious climing up the narrow path of ambition, to aime at command and soveraignty, and to arrive there, where nothing can be expected, but a great and dangerous praecipitation. Befides: Are not they, whom the common people

gaze upon with admiration, glittering with titles and honours, the most unhappy of all men, for that their breasts are gnawn with weighty and troublesome cares? You must not imagine that such persons live quiet and secure in mind; for it is impossible but that they who are feared by many, should themselves fear many.

And though you see them send out great Navies, command Legions, compassed with Guards, yet you must not think they live all quiet, or indeed do at all partake of any true pleasure, for all these things are ridiculous pageantry and dreams: fears and cares are not afraid of the noise of Armes, nor stand in awe of the brightness of gold, or splendor of purple, but boldly intrude amongst Princes & Potentates, and, like the Vulture, which the Poets talk of, gnaw and prey on their hearts.

Neither must you think that the body is any thing the better for this, since you see that Feavers go away nothing the soorer, if you lye in a bed of Tyrian purple, in a Chamber funished with rich Tapistry, than under a plain homely coverlet; and that we take no harme by the want of purple robes, embroidered with Gold and Pearle, as long as we have a coorse plain Garment sufficient to keep away the cold. And what, if, being cheerfull and contented with raggs and a bed of straw, you should instruct men how vain those are who with astonish’d and turbulent minds gape and thirst after the trifles of magnificence, not understanding how few and small those things are which make a happy life? Beleeve me, that which you shall say will appear far more magnificent and high, being delivered from a mattress covered with coorse cloath; for it is not onely spoken but practised.

Though your house shine not with silver and gold, resound not with musick, hath not any golden images of boyes holding tapers to light you at your nightly Revells and Banquets; truly, it is not a whit lesse plesant to repose your selfe on the soft grass by a purling stream, underneath a spreading tree, and especially in the spring, at what time the fields are besprinkled with flowers, the birds entertain you with their musick, the West wind fans you, and Nature her self smiles on you.

Why therefore should any man, that may live thus in his own fields and garden, pursue honour; and not rather modestly restrain his desires within this compass? For to aim at glory by ostentation of Vertue, Science, eloquence, nobility, wealth, attendants, attire, beauty, meen, and the like, is a ridiculous vanity: in all these, Modesty requires no more than that we transgress not decency through rusticity, stupidity, or negligence. It is (as I said) equally base and abject, to grow insolent, upon possession of these, as to be cast down at their loss.

Hereupon a wise man, if he happen to have the images or starues of his Ancestors or other persons, will be far from taking pride in them, or showing them as badges of honour; yet on the other side, he will not neglect them, but place and keep them carefully in his gallery.

In like manner, neither will he be sollicitous about his own funerall, or give order that it be performed magnificently. He will only consider what may be beneficiall and pleasant to his successours, knowing that as for himself or his dead body, it is all one what becomes of it. For to propagate vanity even beyond death is madness, and such also is the fancy of those who would not that their dead bodyes should be devoured by wild beasts. For, if that be an ill, must it not be very bad to have them burnt, embalmed, and immersed in honey, to grow cold and still under a Marble-stone, to be pressed and consumed with earth?

Chap 17 – Of Moderation, Opposite to Avarice

THe next is moderation, or that disposition of mind by which a man is contented with little, and than which he cannot have a greater good. To be content with little is the greatest wealth in the world, forasmuch as a mean estate proportion’d to the law of nature is great riches. To have wherewithall to prevent hunger, thirst, and cold, is a felicity equall to that of the Divinity; and who possesses so much, and desires no more, however the World may esteeme him poore, is the richest man.

How sweet a thing is this poverty, cheerfull and contented with what is enough, that is, with those riches of nature which suffice to preserve from hunger, thirst, and cold? Truly, seeing the riches of nature are finite and easie to be had, but those that are coveted out of vain opinions, are without measure and infinite, we ought to be thankfull to kind Nature, for making those things necessary, that are easie to be had, and those that are hard to be got, unnecessary.

And since it behoves a wise man to hope he shall never, as long as he lives, want necessaries, doth not the easie acquisition of these cheap and common things abundantly cherish that hope? Whereas, on the contrary, things of magnificence affords him not the like hope. And this is the reason why ordinary men, though they have great possessions, yet as if they feared those might faile them, labour still to heap up more, never thinking their store compleat.

This may teach us to content our selves with the most simple things, and such as are easily gotten, remembring that not all the wealth in the World put together is able in the least measure to allay the perturbation of the mind, whereas things that are mean, ordinary, and easie to be had, remove that indigence which is incommodious to the body, and besides are such that the thought of parting with them is nothing grievous to him who reflects upon death.

Miserable indeed are the minds of men and their hearts blind, in as much as they will not see that Nature dictates nothing more to them than this, that they supply the wants of the body, and withall enjoy a well pleased mind, without fear or trouble; not that they should employ their whole life in scraping together that which is necessary to life, and that with such greedinesse as if they were to out-live death, never thinking how deadly a cup, from our very birth, we are design’d to pledge.

What though those things which are purely necessary, and in respect whereunto no man is poore, yield not the delights which vulgar minds dote on? Nature wants them not, and yet she ceaseth not to afford reall and sincere pleasures, in the fruition of those mean and simple things, as we already have declared. Whence a wise man is so indifferently affected towards those things, for whose sake money is coveted (to supply the dayly expences of love, and ambition) as that being at a great distance from them all, he hath no reason either to desire or care for mony.

Whereas I said, that the riches which are covered through opinions, have not any measure or bound, the reason is, that though Nature is satisfied with little, yet vaine opinion, ushering-in desire, alwayes thinks of something which we have not, and, as if it were really needfull, directs the desire to that thing. Whence it happens, that he who is not satisfied with a little, can never have enough; but the more wealth he hath, the more he conceives himself to be in want.

Wherefore seeing there can never be want of a little, a wise man, possessing that little, ought to esteem it great riches, because therein is no want; whereas other riches, how great soever in esteem, are indeed small, because they want multiplication to infinity. Whence it follows, that he who thinks not what he possesseth is sufficient and plenteous, though he were master of the whole world, would yet be miserable. For misery is the companion of want, and the same vain opinion which first perswaded him, that his own estate was not sufficient, will continue to perswade him, that one world is not sufficient, but that he wants more and more to infinity.

Would you then make a man rich? Know, that it must be done, not by adding to his riches, but by detracting from his desires. For when having cut off all vain and superfluous desires, he shall compose himself to the rules of nature, and covet no more then she requires, then shall he find himself to be rich indeed, because he shall then find that he wants nothing. Whence this also should be inculcated to him, If you live according to Nature, you shall never be poor; but if according to Opinion, never rich. Nature desires little, Opinion infinite.

Certainly this disposition or faculty of the mind, whereby a man moderating himself, cuts off from his defires whatsoever is not necessary to nature, and contents himself with such things as are most simple and easie to be got; this disposition, I say, begets that security which is found in a quiet retirement, and avoidance of the multitude; moreover, by it, even he who lives with much company wants no more, than he who lives alone.

Hence also it proceeds, that whosoever endeavours to beget a confidence and security to himself out of externall things, the best way that may be, seeks after things possible to be got, as being not unsuitable to him; but the impossible he esteems unsuitable. Besides, even of the possible, there are many which he attains not; and all those which it is not necessary for him to attain, he renounceth.

Now for want of this renouncing or detraction, how great misery is it for a man, to be continually pouring into a bored vessell, never able to fill his mind? For not to mention, that many who have heaped up wealth, have therein found onely a change, not an end, of their misery; either because they run themselves into new cares, to which they were not subject before, or because they made way for snares, in which they were entangled and taken. Not to mention this, I say, the greatest misery is, that the more thou feedest, the more thou art tormented with hunger.

Chap 18 – Of Mediocrity, Betwixt Hope and Despair of the Future

LAstly, seeing that all desire whatsoever is carried to that which is not possessed, but proposed as possible to be attained, and accompany’d with some hope of obtaining it; which hope, cherishing the desire, is accompanyed with a certain pleasure; as its contrary, Despair, fomenting a fear, that what is desired cannot be obtained, is not without trouble. Something therefore must be added concerning Mediocrity, which is of great use, as well in the generall, concerning things hoped or despaired, as in the particular, concerning the duration, or rather perpetuity of life, whereof, as there is a desire kindled in the breasts of men, the despair of it torments them.

[20] In the first place therefore we must look upon this as a generall rule; In contingent things, that which is to come is neither absolutely ours, nor absolutely not ours; so that we are neither to hope for it, as if it must certainly come to pass, because it may be diverted by some accident intervening; nor to dispair of it, as if it must certainly not come to pass, because it may fall out, that no accident may intervene to divert it. Thus, not being destitute of all hope, we shall not be without some pleasure; nor being quite frustrated of our hope, we shall not receive any trouble.

This difference there is betwixt a wise man and a fool; the wise man expects future things, but depends not on them, and in the mean time enjoyes the present, (by considering how great and pleasant they are) and remembers the past with delight. But the life of a fool (as I said before) is unpleasant and timorous; for that it is wholly carried on to the future.

How many may we see, who neither remember the past good, nor enjoy the present? they are wholly taken up with expectation of future things, and those being uncertain, they are perpetually afflicted with anguish and fear, and are exceedingly grieved when they too late perceive, that they have in vain·addicted themselves to the getting of riches, or honours, or power, or glory; for they fail of obtaining those pleasures, with the hopes whereof being enflamed, they had undergone many and great labours. Not to say any thing of those others, who being abject and narrow-hearted, despair of all things, and are for the most part malevolent, envious, morose, shunners of the light, evill speakers, monstrous.

I say, a wise man remembers the past goods with delight and gratitude; but indeed it cannot sufficiently be lamented, that we are too ungratefull towards the past, in not calling to mind, nor accounting amongst pleasures all the good things we have received; forasmuch as no pleasure is more certain, than that which cannot now be taken from us. The present goods are not yet consummate and wholly solid, some chance or other may intervene and cut them off in half; the future are dependent and uncertain; what is already past is onely safe, and out of all danger to be lost.

Among the past goods I reckon, not onely such as we have enjoyed, but even the avoidance of the ills that might have befaln us; as also our deliverance out of such ills as did fall on us, and might have lasted longer; likewise the remembrance and delight, that we sustained them constantly and bravely.

As to the desire of prolonging life to a vast extent, I already hinted, that a wise man must cut off that desire, because there would immediately upon it follow desperation, which is never without trouble and anguish. Hither it conduceth to consider, that no greater pleasure can be received from an age of infinite duration, than may be received from this which we know to be finite, provided a man measure the bounds of it by right reason.

For seeing that to measure the bounds of nature by right reason, is nothing else but to consider, (as I said before) that the supream pleasure is no other, then an exemption from pain and trouble, it is manifest, that it can neither be made greater by length, nor lesser, or more remisse, by shortnesse of time.

And though the hopes of a more prolonged pleasure, or of a longer age, seems to render the present pleasure more intense; yet it is onely so with those, who measure the bound of pleasure, not by right reason, but by vain desire; and who look upon themselves so, as if, when they die and cease to be, they should yet be troubled at the privation of pleasure, as if they had been alive. Whence it happens, that, as I hinted formerly, To understand fully, that death nothing concerns us, much conduceth to our enjoyment of this mortall life, not by adding any thing of uncertain


time, but by casting away the desire of immortality.

Wherefore seeing that since Nature hath prescribed bounds to corporeall pleasure, and the desire of eternall duration takes them away, it is necessary, that the mind or reason interpose, that, by discoursing upon those bounds, and extirpating the desire of sempiternity, it may make life every way perfect, so that we being content therewith, shall not want a longer duration.

Moreover, neither shall we be deprived of pleasure, even then when death shall summon us, forasmuch as we have attained the perfect and delightfull end of the best life, departing like guests full and well satisfied with life, and having duly discharged that office, to acquit our selves of which we received life.

Chap 19 – Of Fortitude In Generall

WE come next to Fortitude, which I affirmed to be the other part of Honesty, because it withstands fear, and all things that use to cause fear; whereby, they who behave themselves not timorous and cowardly, but valiantly and stoutly, are said to behave themselves honestly and beseemingly. This may be manifested many wayes, especially from War, wherein, they who behave themselves with courage and honesty, get honour above the rest. Whence Honest is almost the very same with that, which in the common esteem is Honourable.

That this vertue conduceth also to pleasure, may be inferred from hence, for that neither the undergoing of Labours, nor the suffering of Pains, are things in themselves allective, nor patience, nor assiduity, nor watchings, nor industry, though so highly commended, nor Fortitude it selfe; but we pursue these, to the end we may live without care and fear, and so (as much as possible) free both the body and mind from molestation.

For as by the fear of death, (for example) all the quiet of life is disturbed; and as to sink under pains, and to bear them with a dejected and weak mind, is a great misery, and by such lownesse of spirit, many have quite undone their Parents, Friends, Country, and even themselves: so on the other side, a strong and gallant mind is free from all care and anguish, for it contemns death, because they who suffer it, are in the same case, as before they were born; and is so fortify’d against all pains, as to remember, That the greatest are determined by death, the least have many intervalls of ease, the middle sort we our selves can master; if they are tolerable, we can endure them, we can contentedly quit this life, when it no longer pleaseth us, as if we went off from a stage.

Hence is it manifest, that timidity and cowardlinesse are not dispraised, nor fortitude and patience praised, for their owne sakes; but, those are rejected, for that they cause pain; and these desired, for that they produce pleasure.

Whereas I said, that Fortitude withstands fear, and all things that use to cause fear, it tends to let us understand, that they are the very same ills, which torment when they are present, and are feared, when expected as future; and therefore, we must learn not to fear those ills, which we either fancy to our selves, or any wayes apprehend as future, but to bear those which are present with constancy and patience.

Of the Ills, which we fancy to our selves, but are not really future, the chiefest are those, which we fear either from the Gods, as if they were ill themselves, or could be the Authors of any ill to us; or from death, as if that brought along with it, or after it, some sempiternall ill. Of the Ills which we fear, for that they may happen, and yet in the mean time are so present, that they afflict and trouble us, are, those which either cause pain in the body, or discontent in the mind.

Those which cause pain are, sicknesses, stripes, fire, sword, and the like: those which cause discontent, are such as are termed externall ills; and of these some are publick, as Tyranny, war, destruction of our Country, pestilence, famine, &c. Others private, of which sort are servitude, banishment, imprisonment, infamy, losse of friends, and the like.

The difference betwixt all these things on one part; and pain, and discontent on the other; is this, that pain and discontent are absolute ills in themselves, the others are not so, but onely in as much as they relate to pain and discontent, as causes; for if they did not cause pain and discontent, there were no reason why we should shun them.

We shall say something, in order, upon these: but first take notice, that fortitude is not to be looked upon, as if ingenerate in us by nature, but acquired by reason. Fortitude is different from audacity, ferocity, inconsiderate temerity, for those are found even in brute Animals also, but this is proper to man, and to such men onely as act advisedly and prudently; and therefore it is to be measured, not by the strength, and violent carriage of the body, but by the firmnesse of the mind, constantly adhearing to an honest intention or purpose.

Chap 20 – Of Fortitude, As To Fear Of the Gods

WE must first treat of a twofold fear, far transcending the rest: For if any thing ever produced the ultimate good, and chief pleasure, proper to the mind; it was the expunction of those opinions, (and all allied to them) which have impress’d the greatest fear upon the mind. Such is the condition of miserable Mortalls, that they are not led by sound opinions, but by some affection void of reason; so that not discerning what is ill indeed, by reason they suffer an equall, and no lesse intense perturbation, then as if these things, for which they are troubled, were indeed such.

That, which in the first place, useth to possesse men with greatest fear, and consequently, cause in them the greatest perturbation, is this, that, conceiving there are certain blessed and immortall Natures, they do yet think them to have wills, passions, and operations, plainly repugnant to those attributes, (of beatitude and immortality) as perpetuall sollicitude, businesse, anger, favour; whereby it comes to passe, that ill men receive great harms by way of punishment, the good protection and benefits, from these Natures, that is, from the Gods. Thus men being nursed up in their owne, that is, in human affections, fancy and admit Gods like to themselves; and whatsoever suits not with their owne dispositions, that they conceive incompetent to them.

Hereupon, it cannot be express’d, how great unhappinesse mankind hath drawn upon it self, by attributing such things to the Gods, especially anger, and severicy; by reason whereof, Mens minds being dejected, every one trembles with fear, when the Heaven Thunders, or the Earth quakes, or the Sea is Tempestuous, or any other thing happens, whereby he is perswaded, that the gods intend to punish him, miserable man:

But it is not so with those, who, instructed by reason, have learnt, that

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the gods live in perpetuall security and tranquillity, and that their natures is too far remov’d from us, and our affairs, for them to be either pleased, or displeased with us. Truly if they were, and did hear the prayers of men, how soon would all men be destroy’d, who continually imprecate mischief on one another?

Therefore, when you conceive God to be an immorrall and blessed Animal, (as the common notion concerning God suggests) take heed of attributing any thing to him, which is either incompetent with immortality, or repugnant to beatitude; but let all your conceptions be such, as may consist with immortality and beatitude.

Gods indeed there are, for the knowledge of them is evident, as we formerly proved; but such as men commonly conceive them, they are not. For first, they describe them by some adjuncts or properties, as when they say, they are immortall and blessed, and then overthrow what they averted, by applying other attributes to them, repugnant to the former, as when they say, that they have businesse, or create businesse for others; that they are affevted with anger or favour, which, as I hinted formerly, imply imbecillity, fear, and want of externall assistance.

Neither need you fear, that this will make you esteemed impious; for he is impious indeed, not, who denies the vulgar Gods of the multitude, but he who ascribes to the Gods the opinions of the multitude. For those things which are commonly delivered concerning the Gods, are not genuine praenotions, but false opinions.

By the same reason likewise, he is not pious, who out of fear to the gods addresseth himselfe to every stone, to every altar, besprinkles every Temple with the blood of Victims: but he, who, contemplating all things with a serene and quiet soul, conceiveth aright of the Gods, and worshipping them in his mind, not induced thereto by hope or reward, but for their excellent Majesty and supreme nature, observes all kind of veneration towards them, and useth expressions suggesting such thoughts, is out of them arise no opinions repugnant to veneration, and consequently, suffereth not that which others suffer, in whose minds, this contrariety causeth an extraordinary perturbation.

Chap 21 – Of Fortitude, As to Fear of Death

THat which next striketh greatest terrour into the minds of men is Death, for that they expect, and fear, I know not what everlasting ill, as Fables tell them, (and which is strange; in the very privation of sense which then happens, as if they should still have being) not knowing that all stories concerning the infernall places, (which we spoke of formerly) are meer fictions of Poets; or if they contain any thing of truth, it is made good in this life, by vain fears, superfluous cares, insatiable desires, and other violent passions, which torture unhappy men in such manner, that their life is worse then hellish.

That you may exempt your selfe, therefore, from these terrours, accustome [21] your selfe to this thought, That death nothing concerns us; and to this argument, That all good or ill that happens to us is with sense; but death is a privation of sense, for death is a dissolution, and what is dissolved, remains without sense. So that death seems easie to be contemn’d, because it is an ineffectuall Agent, and in vaine threatens paine, when the patient is not.

[22] Indeed the ordinary sort of men abhor death, because they look upon it sometime times at the greatest of pains, sometimes because they apprehend it as the cessation of all things that we enjoy in life; but without cause is it, that not to live, or not to be, is fear’d; for when it comes to that, we shall not have any faculty left whereby to know, that, not to live, is ill.

Hence we may conclude, that they are very foolish who abhorre, amongst other things, to think, that after death their bodyes should be torne by wild beasts, burnt by fire, devoured by worms; for, they doe not consider, that then they shall not be, and so not feel nor complain, that they are torn, burnt, devoured, turned into corruption. As also, those who are troubled to think that they shall no longer enjoy the conversation of their Wives, Children, Friends; no longer do them good offices nor assist them; for, these consider not that then they shall have no desire of such things.

[23] Death therefore, which it esteemed the most horrid of all ills, doth (at I said) nothing concern us, because, while we are, Death is not; and when Death is, we are not: so that it concerns neither the living nor the dead; the living it toucheth not, the dead are not.

Now the assured knowledge that death nothing concerns us makes us enjoy this mortall life, not adding uncertain time to it, but casting away the desire of immortality. For, in life, there can be nothing of ill to him, who perfectly understands, that there can be nothing of ill in the privation of life. Whence, as we make choice not of the most meat, but of the best, so should we covet, not the longest, but most pleasant life.

Neither can he be acquitted of folly, who sayes he fears death, for that, when it comes, it brings not any trouble, but because it afflicts the mind with griefe before it comes: for, that which brings no trouble with it, when it comes, ought not to make us sad with expectation. Certainly, if there be any thing of inconvenience or fear in this businesse, it is the fault of him that is dying, not of Death: nor, is there any trouble in death, those then there is after it, and it is no lesse folly to fear death, than to fear old age, since as old age follows youth, so death follows old age.

Moreover, we are to hope at least, that either we shall feel no pain at the point of death; or if any, so short, as the very consideration of that may comfort us; for no great pain lasts long; and every man ought to beleeve, that, though the dissolution of his Soul and body be accompanied with some torment, yet that being past he shall feel no more pain.

[24] He also who advised young men to live well, and old to dye well, was very ridiculous, for those are not to be parted; the meditation of living well and of dying well is one and the same, seeing that a young man may dye suddenly, and an old man hath something more of life behind: besides, the last act is a part, even the crown of life.

Both young and old ought to consider, that though men may provide for their security in other things; yet as to death it self, all men live as it were in a City without walls or bulwarks.

Besides, a young man may dye happy, if he consider that he should find nothing more in a longer life, than what he hath already seen and experienc’d; and an old man may live unhappy, if, like a vessell full of holes, he suffer the goods of life only to run thorough him, and so is never full of them, nor, as a sober guest of Nature, after a plentiful feast of life, is willing to go away, and take his repose.

Think not any old man happy for dying old, but for dying full and well satisfi’d with goods.

[25] Lastly far more foolish and ridiculous is he, who saith, It is good either not to be born at all; or as soon as born to passe the gates of death. For, if he speak this in earnest, why does he not presently rid himself of life, it being very easie for him so to do, if he hath well deliberated upon it? If in jest, he is perfectly mad, because, these are things that admit not of jeasting. Again, in life there is something amiable in it self; and therefore they are no lesse to be reproved who desire death, than they who are afraid of it. What can be so ridiculous as to desire death, having made your own life unquiet by fear of death? Or, out of a wearinesse of life, to runne to death, when your own imprudent and constant course of life is the cause of that wearinesse.

You must rather take care to make life not tedious to you, that you be not willing to part with it, unlesse either nature, or some intolerable chance summon you to surrender it. And in that respect we ought seriously to consider, whether it be more commodious, that death come to us, or that we go to death. For though it be an evill indeed to live in necessity, yet is there no necessity we should live in necessity; since Nature though she hath given us but one way into life, yet hath furnish’d us with many to get out of it.

But though it may sometimes so fall out, that it behoves us to hasten and flye to death, before some greater power intercept and rob us of the liberty to quit life; yet ought we not to attempt any thing, but when it may be attempted conveniently and opportunely, and when that long waited for time comes, then to leap out of life resolutely. For neither is it fit for him, who thinks of flight, to sleep; nor ought we to despair of a happy exit even out of the greatest difficulties, if we neither hasten it before the time; nor, when the time is come, delay it.

Chap 22 – Of Fortitude Against Corporeall Pain

COrporeall pain is that which alone would deserve the name of ill, even of the greatest ill, did we not of our selves adde to it the pain of the mind, which is worse than that of the body, For discontent of mind taken at the losse of riches, honours, children, and the like, many times becomes more intolerable than the greatest corporeall pains; but this is by reason of our own opinion, which if it were right and sound, we should not be moved by any such losse, in regard that all such things are without or beyond us, and touch us not indeed, but onely by mediation of that opinion which we frame to our selves. And thereupon we may inferre, that there is no reall ill, but the pain of the body, and that the mind ought not to complain of any thing, which is not joyned to some pain of the body, either present or to come.

He therefore who is wise will be very cautious that he draw not any corporeall pain upon himself, or do any thing upon which corporeall pain may ensu ; unlesse it be done either for avoidance of some greater pain or acquisition of some greater pleasure, as we formerly declared. Hence we may well wonder at those Philosophers, who accounting health, which is the state of indolence, a very great good, as to all other respects, do yet, as to this, hold it to be a thing indifferent; as if it were not a triviall playing with words, or rather a high folly, to affirm, that to be in pain, and to be free from pain, is all one thing.

But if any necessity either of the naturall constitution, whereby the body is obnoxious to diseases, or of any externall violence done to him, which, as humane affairs stand, cannot sometimes be avoided (for that a wise and innocent person may sometimes be arraigned, condemned, beaten and tortur’d, is manifest) if either of these shall bring pain upon him, then is it his part to endure that pain, with a constant and valiant mind, and patiently to expect, either the solution or relaxation of it.

Certainly, pain never continues long in the body, but that which is great, or highly intense soon ceaseth, for eitber it is determined of it selfe, and succeeded, if not by absolute indolence, yet by very great mitigation, or is taken away by death, in which there is no pain. And as for that pain which is lasting, it is not onely gentle, but hath many lucid intervalls; so that it will not be many dayes, nay not hours, ere the body hath not onely ease, but pleasure.

And may we not observe, that long or Chronicall diseases have more hours of ease, and quiet intervalls, then of pain and trouble? For, (not to mention that the thirst which they raise, increaseth the pleasure of drinking) they allow as time for repast, strength to talk, some recreation and sports, and for the most part have many long intermissions, in which we may apply our selves to studies and businesse. Whence it is evident, that as great pain usually is short, so long pain is leight; thus the shortnesse makes amends for the greatnesse, the remissenesse, for it’s length.

Let us therefore often reflect, that pain either is not intolerable, or not perpetuall; for if it be long, it is leight; if great, short. Provided, that you remember the bounds, prescribed to the things themselves by nature, and adde nothing through your owne opinion, whereby you may think, and make it greater then it is; and oppressing your selfe with complaints, and impatient exasperations, help onely to render it more insupportable: whereas, on the other side, nothing doth asswage pain more then constancy, and inurance to suffering. Whence it comes, that a wise man, accustom’d to pain, can many times rejoyce and smile, even in the height of his sicknesse.

Thus much we can testifie of our friend Metrodorus, who hath at all times behaved himselfe undauntedly, as well against death, as pain. For concerning my selfe, I need not say anything, who frequently suffer such pain in the bladder and bowells, as none can be greater: and yet full amends for all these, is made by the alacrity of mind which redounds to us, from the remembrance of our dissertations and inventions, and by our constant patience; whereby we forbear not to esteem those very dayes, in which we are tormented with those diseases and pains, happy.

And this indeed is the reason, why we formerly said, that a wise man, though in torments, may yet be happy; because he both softens, by his patience, the necessity which he cannot break; and, as much as possible, with-drawes his mind from his suffering body, conversing no otherwise with it, then as with a weak and querulous part. He bethinks himselfe, what he hath at any time done honestly and generously; and fixing his memory upon those things, which he hath most admired, and have most delighted him, cheers himself with the past goods, for which he is far from shewing himselfe, as fools usually do, unthankfull.

He also considers, that he can do nothing, more worthy that vertue and wisdome which he professeth, than not to yield the victory to pain, though the most hard to be sustained of all things, to bear up couragiously, to repulse by patience so dangerous an enemy; and at length to make so perfect a conquest, as that the very remembrance of it will be most delightfull, and especially, through absolute indolency, which will be so much the more pleasing, as a quiet Haven is most welcome after a Tempest.

Now if a wise man, is not without his alleviations and comforts in the greatest pain, what shall we say of him in remisse and gentle pains, or at the Iosse of some limb or sense? Truly, it was not without reason, that I said formerly, A wise man, though depriv’d of the best of senses, Sight, would yet be happy: for if the night doth not diminish the happinesse of life, why should blindnesse, that so neerly resembles night? However he may want some pleasures that depend upon the light, yet are there severall others left Him, and what is much above all the rest, he may delight his mind with many things, and many wayes without Seeing.

For since to a wise man, to live is to think, certainly his thoughts are not oblig’d to his eyes in the businesse of searching into truth. And that man, to whose doctrine I gave up my name, could live long and happy, without being able to distinguish colours: but without the knowledge of things, he could not have lived happy. Moreover, he was of opinion, that the perspicacity of the mind was very much dim’d by the sight of the eyes; and while others, could scarcely be said to see things that were before them, he travelled abroad into all infinity, not stopping at any bounds.

Chap 23 – Of Fortitude, Against Discontent of Mind

I Said, that Discontent of mind is commonly taken at such things, as are conceived to be externall ills, and the contraries to those goods, which we most love and desire. For men call some things adverse, others prosperous: and we may generally observe, thas the mind, which is elevated, and insolent with prosperity, and cast down with adversity, is abject and base. Hence is it, that all we should here say, concerning the ills which cause discontent, and against which we have need of fortitude, may be sufficiently inferred from what we formerly said, touching those goods which are the generall objects of our desires or inclinations, and in respect whereof we have need of Temperance.

Let it suffice in generall, to repeat what we formerly said, that discontent of mind is not grounded upon Nature, but meerly upon opinion of ill. Wherefore, who conceives himselfe to lye under some ill, whether onely fore-seen and expected, or already come upon him, must of necessity be discontented. For how comes it, that a Father whose son is kill’d, and he knowes it not, is not a whit lesse cheerfull or merry, than if he were alive? Or that he, who hath lost much of his good fame abroad, or all his goods, and cattell by robbery at home, is not at all sensible of either losse till he hear of it? Is it not opinion onely which discontents him? For, if Nature did it, at the same minute wherein the Son was slain, the father’s mind would be struck with a sense of his death; the like would be perceived in the Iosse of honours or goods.

Therefore, to raise discontent in the mind, it is necessary that opinion, not nature, intervene. And that you may doubt the lesse of this, observe, that a man who thinks a supposititious child his owne, and his owne supposititious; if news be brought him of the death of his owne son, he will not be moved, but if of his supposititious, he will be exceedingly afflicted; and this comes not from nature, but Opinion.

But that those things which afflict us, are not indeed ills to us, appears even from this, that they are without or beyond us, and cannot reach us of themselves, but onely by our owne opinion are made ills to us. And hence it was that I said, it is reason, which makes life happy or pleasant, by expelling opinions, for which the mind is possess’d with trouble. For it is discontent alone which disturbs the mind, and its quiet and content.

But how can reason expell these opinions? By, teaching a wise man to arm his mind against fortune. For the externall things which we think Goods, and the Iosse of which causeth discontent in our minds, are tearmed the goods of fortune, because indeed they are not ours, but come and go as Fortune pleaseth.

For this reason, a wise man esteems them no more belonging to him, nor to others; nor possesseth them so, as not to be ready to part with them. He hath cast off that opinion which tells us, Such goods are our own, and can never be lost; and hath put on the right opinion, which assures him they are uncertain and transitory, as indeed they are. And hereupon he considers with himself before-hand, what he shall do if he chance to lose them; he considers, I say, before-hand, that when it happens, he may not be afflicted with vain grief, but take it quietly that fortune re-demands, what she give not, but onely lent.

Certainly to those who think, that to be deprived of these goods is an ill, the most unhappy thing of all, is, that premeditation encreaseth the ills, which it might have much diminished, if not wholly prevented; and thus becomes onely a foolish consideration of ill to come, and which perhaps will never come. Every ill is of it self troublesome enough when it comes; and if it chance never to come, we draw a voluntary misery upon our selves to no purpose, and by that means shall never be free from trouble, either by receiving or apprehending some ill; for he who alwaies thinks, that some ill or adversity will befall him, to him that very thought is a continuall ill.

Now if it shal happen also to a wise man, that, by being long accustomed to the possession, and use of the goods of fortune, he hath not quite blotted that opinion out of his mind, and so some little of Fortune intervene, and give him a blow, by reason whereof, he falls into some discontent, and perhaps grieves: In this case, the asswagement of his discontent consist in two things, formerly prescribed as remedies against corporeall pain; viz. Diversion of his thoughts from his losse, or the cause of it; and an application of them to those things, which he knowes to be gratefull and pleasant to his mind.

For the mind of a wise man is conformed to reason, and followes the conduct thereof; but reason forbids to look on those things, which create and nourish discontent; and thus he abstracts the mind from bitter thoughts, to convert it to think upon goods, either future or past, especially those which he knowes please him most.

Those sad and importune thoughts indeed are very apt to return, but he must insist upon that diversion and application of the mind whereby it is brought by little and little to wear out, and deface its sorrow. Neither doth time diminish discontent any other way, than by exhibiting various occasions of divertisement, which, by degrees, take the mind off, and make her forget, as it were, the things that caused her discontent.


Chap 24 – Of Justice In Generall

IT rests we speak of Justice, which, as I said before, wholly relates to others, and therefore belongs to a man, as living in a civill society. And certainly it is a common tye, without which, no society can subsist, it being a vertue which gives to every one that which is his, and takes care that none receive injury.

And to begin with that with which I used to begin, in treating of the other vertues, truely not unlike are the things that may be said of this. For, as I showed, that Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, are inseparably joyned to pleasure, the same may be said of Justice, which not onely never hurts anyone, but, on the contrary, alwaies preserves and nourisheth something, that calms and quiets the mind; and this as well by its own power and nature, as by a hope, that none shall ever want any of those things, which pure undepraved Nature desires.

Now forasmuch as temerity, lust, and cowardice, alwaies excruciate the mind, alwaies perplex and trouble it; it is impossible, that a mind in which Injustice dwells, should, for that very reason, because injustice dwells in it, be otherwise than unquiet: because though such a mind should attempt any unjust action with the greatest secrecy imaginable, yet can it not perswade it self, but that it will at last come to light. And though some men may think their consciences sufficiently barricado’d and fortifi’d by their wealth, yet they dread the divine powers, and imagine, that those very sollicitudes and troubles, which torture their souls day and night, are sent by the immortall gods for their punishment.

But, how can we expect, that unjust actions should diminish the troubles of life, so much as remorse of conscience, penalties of the Law, and the being hated by our country-men encrease them? And yet, in some men, there is not any bound or moderation of wealth, of honour, of power, of lust, of gluttony, and other defires, which nothing that is unjustly gotten diminisheth, but rather encreaseth and enflameth, so that they are fitter for restraint than instruction.

All sound and judicious persons therefore, are, by right reason, induced to justice, equity, honesty; but neither can unjust actions benefit a child or impotent person, for such can neither easily effect what they endeavour, nor obtain their ends when they have effected it. Besides riches are more suitable to fortune, or a noble genius, which they who enjoy, procure to themselves a generall respect and good-will, and (what most conduceth to quiet living) an endearment from others, especially there being no cause of offending.

For the desires which proceed from Nature are easily satisfi’d, without injuring any man; those which come from vain opinions are not to be followed, for they aim at nothing which is desirable; and there is more detriment in the injury it self, than advantage or benefit in the things that are gained by the injury.

Neverthelesse, no man can say rightly, that Justice is a vertue, expetible onely for it selfe, but because it brings great pleasure along with it. For to be belov’d, and to be dear to others, is pleasant, because it renders life more safe, and pleasure more full. We therefore conceive, that Injustice ought to be avoided, not onely for the inconveniences which

happen to the unjust; but much more, for that as long as it is in the mind, it never suffers it to take breach, never to be at reft.

These considerations might perhaps be sufficient, yet I shall add something, partly concerning Right or Just, from which Justice is denominated, that we may come the better to understand what is its originall, among whom it is practised, what are its benefits; and partly concerning some other vertues nearly allied to Justice, as, Beneficence, Gratitude, Piety, Observance, and Friendship.

Chap 25 – Of Jus (Right) or Just, Whence Justice Is Denominated

First therefore, forasmuch as Justice is so named, for that it preserves the Jus or Right, due to one another, or performs that which is just; it is worth our knowing, what that is which ought to be esteemed Right or Just.

Now in regard Justice was instituted in order to the common good, necessary it is, that Right or Just, to which Justice hath respect, should be such a goood, as is common to all and every member of the Society. And because every one, by the direction of nature, desires what is good for himself; it is also necessary, that what is right or just be conformable to nature; and therefore tearmed naturall.

It is not without cause that I hint this; for sometimes it happens, that in a Society, something is prescribed as Right and Just, which is not good for the Society, and so being not naturall, or contrary to nature, it cannot, but by abuse, and onely in name, be reputed Right or Just, since that which hath the true reason of naturall right or just, is such, as that it is not onely prescribed as profitable and good, but is really such.

Wherefore to speak properly, naturall right or just is no other, than a symbol of utility, or such an utility agreed upon by concurrence of votes, as may keep men from hurting, or being hurt by one another, so that they may live securely; A good which every man is taught by nature to desire.

I here take Profitable and Good for the same thing; and I conceive, that, to a thing’s being just or rightly kept, two things are requisite; One, That it be profitable, or respect the common utility, that is, security: The other, That it be prescribed by the common consent of the Society; For nothing is compleatly just, but what the Society, by common consent or agreement, hath decreed to be observed.

Hence it is, that the name of Right or Just is usually given to both these, since not onely what is profitable is said to be just, but also the very common covenant or prescription of the Society, which is tearmed Law, as being that which prescribes to every one what is profitable or just.

Some there are who conceive all things that are just, to be just of their own proper and unalterable nature, and that Lawes do not make them to be just, but onely declare and prescribe, according to the nature which those things have. But it is not so, but rather after the same manner as is observed in other things, which are profitable, as in those which concern health, and many others of the like nature, which are beneficiall to some men, hurtfull to others; by which means they often fail of their mark, as well in common as in private.

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And seeing that every thing is apprehended every where, alwayes, and by all men, to be really such as it is in its own nature, because its nature is unalterable, whether are those things, which these men call just, just in all places and alwayes, and amongst all men? Ought they not to have observed, that many of those things that are constituted by Laws, and consequently accounted lawfull and just, are not constituted and received amongst all nations alike, but are neglected by many as things indifferent, rejected by others as hurtfull, and condemned as unjust? And are these not some who account things not generally profitable, to be neverthelesse such; and accordingly embrace those things which are not generally approv’d, if they find them advantageous in respect of their own Society, and seem but to promise some generall benefit?

In fine, that is universally just, or hath the nature of just, which is profitable or conformable to the prenotion of right or just even now described: for particularly, according as utility is various among severall nations, so also is right or juft, various; insomuch as what is esteemed just in one, is unjust in another. Whence, if it be demanded, whether just or right be the same among all men, I answer, that, as to the generall, it is the same, for it is something that is profitable in mutuall society: but the differences of severall Countryes, and various causes amongst them being considered in particular, it comes to passe that it is not the same amongst all.

And (to deduce some few particulars hence) whatsoever is by experience found profitable to a mutuall Society, or the common participation of such things as are esteemed just, than thing hath the nature of just or right, if it be such as its utility extends unto all. But if any man shall establish such a thing for just, and yet it shall happen not to be profitable to mutuall Society, it hath not the true nature of just or right.

Again, though sometimes the utility of that which was esteemed just may faile, neverthelesse, if there be sometimes some utility in it, so that it corresponds to the prenotion of just or right, it is truly just for that time: they certainely will esteeme it so who confound not themselves with vaine loquacity, but looke more generally into humane affaires.

Lastly, where no new circumstance of things intervening those very things, which were esteemed just in the actions of men, are found not to correspond with the notion of just, they are not just at all: but where, upon innovation or change of affairs, those things which were formerly decreed to be just, cease to be profitable, they were just, as long as they continued profitable to mutuall Society, but as soon as ever they ceased to be profitable they ceased to be just.

Chap 26 – Of The Originall of Right And Just

But that we may go higher and deduce the thing from its originall, it appears that Right and Just are as ancient, and Justice hath been kept amongst men as long, as they have had societies amongst themselves.

For, in the beginning, Men wandring up and down like wild beads and suffering many inconveniences, as well from beasts as from the injuries of weather, a certain naturall agreement amongst them (by reason of their likenesse in form and soul or manners) perswaded them to joyn together in severall companies, and to make some provision against those inconveniences, by building hutts or cottages, and furnishing themselves with other shelters, as well against wild beasts as the weather. But in regard every one was desirous to be in a better condition than another, hereupon there arose frequent contestations about food, women, and other conveniences, which they took away from one another; untill at length they perceived, that they could not live secure and commodiously, unlesse they made a covenant not to injure one another, and that in case any one did harme and injure another, the rest should punish him.

This was the first band of Society; which, supposing that every one might have something proper to himself, or which he might call his own, as being his, either by first possession, or by gift, or by purchase, or by acquisition through his own industry, or otherwise; decreed, that it should remain in the possession and disposall of that person. Now this band or covenant was no other than a common law, which all were equally bound to observe, and which did confirme to every one a certain right or faculty of using whatsoever was his own. Whereupon that very law also came to be (as I formerly intimated) the common right as it were of the Society.

I need not mention how the whole Society transferr’d their power of restraining or punishing, upon some few wise and good persons, or else on one, who was reputed the wisest and best amongst them. I shall only observe, that in the Society those were accounted just or favourers of justice, who being content with their own rights invaded not those of other men, but did injury to none; those unjust, or doers of injustice, who being not content with their own rights, did assault the rights of other men; and, harming them by rapine, personall violence, or some other way, became injurious to them.

Thus men lived a while peaceably and happily, especially being under one or more Kings or Princes, the wisest and best, who being wholly intent upon the conservation and utility of the publick, made, and with consent of the people, established divers Lawes, to prevent dissentions from rising, or, if any did arise, to compose them. But, such is the corruption of mens manners, in processe of time the government fell into the hands of Princes or Kings that were not good; and those being either deposed or slain it reverted to the people, whereupon tumults were raised by the factions of such as aspired to the supream power, untill at length, the people languishing under emnities and dissentions, and weary of living by force and hostility, became willing to submit again to the government of Magistrates or Princes. But because the wills of Princes

had formerly pass’d for absolute lawes, they made a covenant with their governours, about those Laws, according to which they desired to be governed; and thus brought themselves again under Laws, that is, under strict Rights.

But not to descend to later times, but to touch only upon that chief head, which concerns the preservation of life, for whose security (as being the most precious of all things) care was taken from the beginning, that it might be established by common covenants or Laws; [26] It appears that those most wise and good founders of Laws, having regard to the society of life, and to those things, which men usually do each to other, declared it a wicked act to kill a man, and decreed that the Murtherer should be punish’d with more than common ignominy, and losse of life. And to this they seem to have been induced, partly by considering the conciliation of men among themselves (of which I treated even now) in respect whereof men ought not to be as forward to destroy an animall of their own kind, as one of different kind, which it is lawfull to kill; partly, and indeed chiefly, by considering, that men ought to abborre, what is no way advantageous to life, but tends only to evill.

Indeed from the beginning, to those who had regard to the utility of that constitution, there needed nor any other cause to make them contain themselves from doing any such act: but they who could not sufficiently comprehend of what great concernment it was, abstained from murthering one another, only out of a fear of those great punishments; both which we may observe to have happened even in our own dayes. They who consider the great advantages of such a constitution are sufficiently disposed for a constant observance thereof; but they who are not capable of understanding it conform themselves to it out of fear of the punishments threatned by the laws, and ordained by the most prudent, against such as had no regard to this utility, the greater part of the multitude admitting them as legall.

For none, of the lawes written or not written that have been derived to us, and shall be transmitted to our posterity, did at first subsist by any force or violence, but (as I said) meerly by the consent of those who used it. For it was prudence, not strength of body or imperious sway, wherein they who setled these laws upon the people, transcended the vulgar; and this, by inducing some men to consider, what would be profitable (especially when they did not before so well understand it as they ought) and by terrifying others with the greatnesse of the punishments. Nor could they indeed make us of any other remedy for cure of the peoples ignorance of this utility, than fear of the punishment prescribed by the Law. For even now also, it is fear alone that keeps the ordinary sort of men within the bounds of their duty, and hinders them from committing any thing against either the publick or private good.

Now if all men could alike understand, and bear in mind what is truly profitable, they should need no laws at all, but would of their own accord beware of doing such things as the laws forbid, and do what they enjoyn; since onely to know what is profitable and what hurtfull, is more than sufficient, ty induce them to avoid this, and pursue that. But as for those, who discern not what is beneficiall, what hurtfull, doubtlesse the commination of punishment against such is highly necessary; insomuch, as the fear of the punishment impendent causeth them to suppress and bridle those heats of their passions, which instigate them to unjust actions, and in a manner compel them, though against their wills, to do what is right.

Hereupon was it, the Law-makers ordained, that even involuntary killing of a man, should not be free from all mulct and punishment. Not that they might not, to such as were apt to commit wilfull murder, give any occasion of pretext or excuse, to imitate that on set purpose, which the others did unwittingly; but lest they might seem not to have used sufficient caution, and diligence as to this particular, whereupon many things would fall out, which indeed were not involuntary. Nor could this course but prove beneficiall for the same causes, for which men were expressly prohibited to kill each other. So that considering, that, of these actions, of this kind, that are done involuntarily, same happen from a cause, that could not be fore-seen, nor prevented by human nature, others meerly through our negligence, and heedlenenesse of the imminent danger; therefore to prevent negligence, which might tend to the destruction of others, they provided, that even the involuntary action should not passe altogther unchastised, but took away the frequentcy of this sin, by the fear of Law.

Moreover I conceive, that even those slaughters of men which were permitted by the Law, were made liable, to those accustomed expiations, by publick Lustrations, (and that by order of the same persons, who first ordained them) for no other cause but this, that they had a mind to deterre men from involuntary slaughter, which was too, too frequent.

For the vulgar sort of men, stood in need of something, to restrain them from doing any thing rashly, which might not conduce to the publick. utility; which these first Law-makers understanding, not onely decreed severe punishments, but withall stroak another fear into their minds, the reason of which was not so manifest as the other, declaring that such as had killed a man, by what means or accident soever, should be impure untill they had used lustrations.

Thus the brutish part of the soul, in which the affections and passions reside, being instructed and reform’d, came at length to that gentlenesse which now flourisheth amongst us, by applying the arts of taming and civilizing our savage affections, which were invented, and practised at first, by those who ruled the multitude; of which, this is one chief act among the rest, that men should not destroy one another, without any distinction.

Chap 27 – Between Whom, Right And Justice Is To Be Exercised

NOw since, it may be demanded, Betwixt what Persons, as well Right, and the violation of it, which is Injury, as Justice, and what is opposite to it, Injustice properly consist? We shall therefore explicate this, by comparing men with other living Creatures.

As therefore, there is no reason of Right or injury, or just and unjust betwixt Animals, that could not make a common agreement, not to hurt, nor be hurt by mutuall invasion: so neither, is there between those nations which either would not, or could not, enter into a mutuall engagement, not to hurt, nor be hurt by one another.

For just, or right, the conservation whereof is Justice, hath no being at all, but in mutuall Society, whence Justice is the good of a Society, insomuch as by it, every one of the associated Persons live securely; free from that anxiety, which is caused by the continuall fear of harm. Whence it followes, that whatever Animals, or what Men soever, either cannot, or will not make an association, nor enter into covenant among themselves, must want this good, not being reciprocally oblig’d by any bond of right or Justice, whereby they might live securely: and so to them, there can remain no other reason of security, then onely this, to do harm to others, that they be not harmed themselves.

As therefore, when one of those brute Animals, amongst which there hath past no such agreement or pact, doth hurt another, though it may be said that one hurts the other, yet it cannot be said that one doth an injury to the other, because one was not bound by any right, compact, or Law, not to hurt the other: In like manner,·if on man of that nation, among whom there is no covenant, or association hurts another, it may be said that he hurts him, but not that he wrongs or doth him an injury; because he was not obliged by any compact or Law, not to hurt him.

I speak of brute Animals, not as if there were any even of those who live in heards or flocks, that are capable of entring into covenants, not to harm or be hurt by each other, and so might be conceived to be just, if they do not hurt each other, and unjust if they do; but onely to the end, that from thence it may be the better understood, that even among men, justice in it selfe is nothing, for that it is found onely in mutuall Societies, according to the amplitude of every Country, in which the inhabitants may conveniently enter into agreements, and covenants of not doing, or receiving any hurt; since otherwise, and in a man singly considered, there is no justice at all; and what is Justice in one Society of men, many times is, in respect of contrary covenants, injustice in another.

But can there be justice betwixt Men and other Animals? Certainly not. For if men could make a covenant with brute Animals, as they can with other men, that they should not kill, nor be killed by them, without any distinction; then indeed, might the reason of just or right be founded betwixt them and us, since the end of that covenant would be the security of both parties: but because it is impossible, that Animals void of reason should be obliged by one Law with us, it must also be impossible, for us to obtain more assurance of security from animals, than even from inanimate things. So that, there is no other way for us to secure our selves from brute beasts, but onely to execute that power of destroying them,·which Nature hath given us.

Perhaps you will, by the way, demand, why we kill even such Animals, as can give us no occasion of fear?·This we may do either through intemperance, and a certain naturall savagenesse or cruelty, as we exercise cruelty even upon men, who live out of our society, and cannot give us any fear. But it is one thing, to break the rules of Temperance, or any of its kinds, as Sobriety, Lenity, or Mansuetude, or (if you please) meer humanity or goodnesse of nature; another, to violate justice, which presupposeth Lawes and Covenants established by mutuall consent.

[27] Nor can it be alledg’d, that we have a power granted us by Law, to destroy any such Animals, as are not offensive or destructive to mankind. I confesse, there is not any kind of living Creatures, among all those we are allowed to destroy, which being permitted to increase to vast multitudes, would not prove pernicious to mankind, but being preserved in such number as ordinarily they are,·are not some wayes usefull to life.

For sheep, kine, and all such like, as long as they are preserv’d to a moderate number, afford us many necessaries for life: but if they were suffered to multiply in a far greater manner; certainly, they could not but prove very·hurtfull to us, as well in regard to their strength, as for that they would devour the fruits of the earth, that should serve for our subsistence. And for this very cause is it, that we are not prohibited to destroy such Animals, yet preserve so many of them as may be usefull to us, and easily ruled by us.

For of Lyons, Wolves, and all such as are called wild beasts, (whether little or great) we cannot take a certain number, which being preserved, may afford us any relief necessary to life, as we may of kine, horses,and the rest, that are called tame Creatures. Whence it comes to passe, that we endeavour wholly to exterminate these, and of these cut off onely so many as are over and above a competent stock.

Hereupon (to touch briefly on this also) we may conceive that even among those nations who make their choice of certain sorts of Animalls for food, the matter was determined and prescribed by certain Laws, grounded upon reasons correspondent to those we have now given. And as for those Animals that were not to be eaten, there was respect had to their utility and inutility, and for some reason peculiar to each Country; to the constitutions whereof there is no necessity for us to adhere, who live not in those places.

Hence we come to understand, that, from the very beginning, a difference was put betwixt the killing of Men, and the killing of all other Animals; [28] For as to other Animals it is manifest, that those primitive wise persons, who prescribed what we should do, and what not, did not forbid to kill any of them, because the profit that ariseth from them is perfected by the contrary action, that is, by killing them. For it could not be, that men, living promiscuously amongst beasts, could preserve themselves in safety otherwise, than by expelling or destroying them.

But as concerning Mankind, [29] Some, who at that time were more gratious than the rest, (these perhaps were they, that perswaded men first to enter into the covenant we spoke of) remembered; that, in those places where men lived promiscuously, they had sometimes abstained from slaughter, out of a respect to that utility which conduced to their safety; as also represented to others in their meetings what had happened, that refraining from slaughter of an Animal of the same kind, they might defend the society of life, which it generally the cause of every man’s particular safety. And it was profitable at first to quit the society of either other Animals, or men meeting together, at least not to hurt any, to avoid the incencing of, not onely other Animals of severall kinds, but also men; who are all of the same, and apt enough of themselves to do harm. Whence, upon this account, men refrained laying hands upon an animal of their own species, that offer’d it self to the communication of things necessary, and contributed some benefit to society.

But in processe of time, there being a great encrease on both sides, and animals of different species being forc’d away, men began to make use of their reason, (whereas before that time they had trusted altogether to memory) and to enter into consultation what was to be done in order to their safety, when they should come together, and conjoyn their habitations. For they endeavour’d strongly to refrain those, who rashly and imprudently would murther one another, and thereby made the mutuall assistance, that men were able to afford each other, daily the weaker; and this chiefly, because those great inconveniences, which had frequently fallen out in former times upon the like cases, were utterly forgotten. Now whilst they endeavoured to bring this to passe, they at length introduced the Laws and Constitutions, which continue in all Cities and Nations even to this day, the common people of their own accord consenting to them, as I said; being sensible how much greater utility would from thence accrue to them, living in mutuall society. In like manner, it conduceth also to security, both to destroy without any pitty what is pernicious, and to preserve what ever is usefull to exterminate it.

Thus it is probable, that upon these considerations, the slaughter of alI other animals came to be permitted, and that of men prohibited. But I insist too long hereupon.


Chap 28 – With What Right Justice Is To Be Exercised

Justice being established by a mutuall agreement, it remains, that every man, whether a native or alien, ought, from the time he hath given up his name to a Society, to account himself a member of that Society, upon this condition, either expresly or tacitly, that he hurt none of bis fellow-members, nor be hurt by any other. Wherefore he must either stand to the Covenant, or depart out of the Society; for he is not to be suffer’d to live in the Society upon any other terms. Whence it follows, since by nature, no man is willing to receive harm from another, that he do not that to another, which he would not should be done to himself.

Hereupon it may be imagined, that the Laws in all Societies, were made in favour of the wise, not to prevent wise men from doing unjustly, but that others should not injure them: For as for them, they are so well disposed, as that if there were no Laws, yet would they not do harm to any. They have prescribed bounds to their desires, and accommodate them to nature, which requires nothing that must be obtained by waies of injustice; nor indeed is there any of nature’s pleasures, which induceth a man to do injury to another, but some exorbitant desire arising from vain opinion.

For nature having (for example) provided herbs, corn, fruits, for food, competent and usefull, and water for drink, things easie to be had; it cannot be the pleasure of satisfying hunger and thirst, that should cause a man to rob his neighbour, or commit any of those injuries which they usually do: but the vain desire of living at a higher race, more splendidly and wantonly, that so he may acquire wealth enough to discharge the expences of his luxury. The same may be said also of those, who not content with plain apparell, a plain house, a plain match, and the like, through ambition, pride, lust, and other passions, desire more than nature needs.

Moreover, seeing that a wise man, as I hinted formerly, doth all things for his own sake, nothing certainly can more conduce to his advantage, than to observe justice exactly. For in giving to every one his due, and harming no man he to his utmost, preserves and keeps safe that Society, which, unlesse it be safe, he cannot be safe himself; nor doth he provoke any man to revenge an injury suffered at his hands, or fear any mulct or punishment to be inflicted upon him by publick decree. Thus being conscious to himself of no ill done, he remains free from all perturbation, which is the greatest benefit and fruit of justice; and while he reaps that, what can be more to his own advantage?

Neither ought you to think, that he, who, though secretly and without the knowledge of any man, violates right, or the Covenants ratifi’d by generall consent to prevent the committing and suffering of wrong, can live in the same security and indisturbance as the just man doth, because (as I said) he cannot assure himself, that his injustice shall never be brought to light: for crimes, though they may be secret, can never be secure; nor doth it avail an offendor to be concealed from others, while he can never be concealed from himselfe.

Truely, though his offence were never so well concealed for a time, yet is it very uncertain, whether it will continue so concealed till his death. For first, there is a jealousie and suspition that followes upon ill actions; and again, there have been many who have decided themselves, some in dreams, others in raving fits, others in drink, others through incogitancy. So that a wicked man, though he may for a time lye hid both from gods and men, (as they say;) yet he hath reason to mistrust, that it will not be concealed for ever.

Hence is it, that notwithstanding injustice is not an ill in it self, because what is reputed unjust in one place, may be just in another; yet it is an ill in respect of that fear, which, stinging the confidence, creates in it a continuall suspition, that at some time or other, his unjust deeds will come to the ears of the avengers of injustice, and so he be called to a severe account for them. Thus there is nothing that more conduceth, as to security, so likewise to a quiet and pleasant life, than to live innocently, and upon no occasion to violate the common covenants of peace.

Wherefore since this just and unjust are in this opposition, that the just, of all men, are the most free from perturbations; What can be more profitable to those than justice? what more hurtfull to these than injustice? For how can any anguish of mind, sollicitudes, daily and nightly fears, be profitable to any man?

Justice therefore being so great a good, and injustice so great an ill, let us embrace one, and abhor the other. And if at any time our mind seem to stagger, and we are in suspence what to do, let us fix on some grave good man, and suppose him to be alwaies present with us, that we may live and do all things, as if he looked upon us.

By this means, we shall not onely avoid the doing of any thing openly against justice, but also of offending in secret against the rules of honesty. This good man will be to us in stead of a Guardion or Tutor, whom, because we reverence, we fear to offend. Following this counsell therefore, thus argue; If he were present, I would not do it; Why do l do it in his absence? He would find fault with it, because it is ill; Why do not I shun ill, of my self? Thus, do all things, as if some such person looked on; for if you in this manner reverence another, you will soon come to be reverenced your self.

Chap 29 – Of Beneficence, Gratitude, Piety, Observance

We come next to the Vertues which we said were allied to Justice, for that they have regard to other persons, and though they are not (as Justice is) prescribed by Laws and Covenants, yet they import, out of decency, a certain obligation like that of Justice.

The first is Beneficence, or the doing good to others, whereunto those are obliged, who are able to assist or relieve others, either with their hand or purse.  If they deny the assistance of their hands, they are censured as barbarous, cruell, inhuman; if that of their purse, they are thought the same, as also, sordid, tenacious, covetous, and the like.  But if they assist others, they are accounted courteous, civill, kind, as also liberall, munificent, magnificent, &c.  So that they are obliged for their own sakes to do good to others, so far as may be without prodigality.

For those who practise this vertue procure to themselves good will, and (what most of all conduces to quiet living) and dearnesse or tender estimation from others:  they who use it not, ill will, and (what most occasions troublesome life) contempt and hatred. Take heed therefore you omit not to be beneficent, at least in small matters, that so you lose not the advantage of being accounted ready to gratifie others, even in great.

Not without reason did I say formerly, It is not only more honourable, but also more delightful, to give, than to receive a benefit; because the giver thereby makes himself superior to the receiver, and reaps more over the interest of Thanks; and there is no any thing that joyes a man more than thanks.  A beneficent person is like a fountain, which if you should suppose it to have a reasonable soul, what joy it would not have at the sight of so many corn-fields, and pastures, which flourish and smile as it were with plenty and verdure, and all by the diffusion of its streams upon them?

The second is gratitude, to which every man that receives a benefit, is reciprocally obliged, unlesse he would incurre the greatest hatred and ignominy.  For ingratitude is worthily hatefull to all men; because seeing nothing is more suitable to nature than to propense to receive a good, it is highly contrary to nature not to be readily gratefull toward the author of that good.

Now since, no man is more gratefully affected towards his benefactors than the wise man, we may justly affirm, that only the wise man knows how to fulfill the duty of gratitude, because he alone is ready upon all occasions to express his thankfulness to his friends, both present and absent, even to those that are dead.

Others pay thanks only to present friends, when present, and this perhaps for their own farther ends, to encourage them to some new favour; but how few are there, who gratefully commemorate their absent benefactors?  Who requite the good they did them upon their Children or other relations?  How few who honour their memory after death; who rejoyce not rather, as if their obligations were cancelled?  Who love those that were dear to them, respect them, and as far as in them lyes, do good to them?

The third is Piety, the most sacred species of gratitude. It looks upon our parents in the first place, to whom every man is more obliged than to all the World besides; for to others he may ow other things; but to his parents he owes himself.  Therefore if ingratitude to others be hatefull, that which is shewn to parents must certainly be the most horrid and detestable.

We say, in the first place, because piety in the second place extends to kindred, and chiefly to our Brothers and Sisters, to whom we are obliged by the interest of our parents;  in such manner as that we cannot shew ourselves disrespectful and unkind to them, but we must be at the same time highly ungratefull to our parents, and all our progenitors, who in the circle of their love and experience comprehended all that were, and should afterwards be derived from them.

Nor is this piety distinct from that dearnesse we are to bear toward our native Country, which comprehends our Parents and all our kindred, and receives us at our birth, brings us up and protects us.  And as by the interest of our parents we are obliged to our kindred, so by the interest of our Country we are obliged to respect all our Country-men; but more especially the Magistrates and Princes who defend the Country itself, and the laws of it, and give us this benefit in particular, that under their protection we may live securely and peaceably.

The fourth is observance, or that reverence which we ow to all persons of eminence of any kind.  This is accompany’d partly with gratitude and piety (for we cannot any way better express the gratefulnesse of our minds than by giving due reverence and worship to our Benefactors, Parents, Governours, Princes, and all men of dignity and power) and partly with honour and respect, as it is the best testimony we can give of our internall sentiments of their deservings, who excell in Age, Wisdom, Learning, and Vertue, the most honourable of all things.

To this observance belongs that which men call Religion and Sanctity toward the Gods, whom we are bound to reverence and honor no otherwise than our parents, not through any hope of reward, but (as I said before) for their transcendent majesty and the supremacy of their nature.  Because, whatever is excellent deserves a just veneration, and no excellency is greater than that of the divine Nature, for it is immortall and most blessed.

Thus understanding that the Gods neither create troubles to themselves nor give to others, we piously and holily reverence their most excellent nature.

Chap 30 – Of Friendship

The last is Friendship, to which all are mutually obliged, who love and are reciprocally belov’d.  And well may it be the close and crown of this discourse; for amongst all the means procured by wisdome to make life happy, there is not any thing more full and pleasant than Friendship; and the same reason that confirms the mind not to fear any lasting or eternal ill doth also assure that, in life, there is no Sanctuary so safe, no protection so secure as that of friendship, which together with that security, conferreth also very great pleasures.

For as hatreds, envies, despites are enemies to pleasure; so are friendships, not onely most faithfull conservers, but effectuall causes of pleasures, as well to our friends as to ourselves; by which, men not only enjoy present things more fully, but are cheer’d with hopes of those to come.  And a solitary life destitute of friends being full of fears, and subject to treacheries, reason it selfe adviseth us to procure friendships, by which the mind is confirmed and possessed with hopes of enjoying future pleasures.

Now through friendship is contracted in respect of use and utility in like manner as we sow the earth in hope of a crop thereafter, and the first meetings and conversations of friendship are made in respect of the utility and pleasures which are hoped from thence; Yet when this custom hath gone on to intimacy, then love so flourisheth, that though there were not any benefit of friendship, yet friends would be loved for their own sakes.  If we love places, temples, cities, academies, plains, horses, dogges, sports, out of an habituall custome of exercising or hunting, how much easier and more justly may we do this in conversation with men?

But in the choice of our friends we must be exceeding cautious and prudent; for it concerns us to be more circumspect with whom we eat than what we eat.  And though to eat alone without a friend, be to lead the life of a Lyon or Wolfe, yet we must be carefull to choose such a friend whose conversation may be the best sauce to our meat.  We must seek one to whom nothing is more in esteem than candor, simplicity, and sincerety; one that is not morose, querulous, and murmuring at all things, but who by his complacency, alacrity, and pleasantnesse may render our life sweet to us.

Friendship, I grant, consists in, and is kept alive by, the mutuall participation of pleasures or goods which we may enjoy whilst we live; yet is it not necessary that the goods of friends should be put into one common stock, as he conceived who said: Amongst Friends all things are common.  This implies a diffidence (that all their wills may not continue constant) and they who are diffident are not friends; such only are friends who can with full confidence and freedome take and use so much of their friends goods or estate as they need, although kept in severall not in one joynt-stock, no otherwise than as if it were their own, esteeming them to be no lesse their own, than if they had them in their own possession and keeping.

This sounds strange in the ears of the vulgar:  but what are they to us?  There is no faith or constancy in their kindnesse and friendship, they being incapable of these things and of the least part of commendable Wisdome.

Moreover, he that is one of the vulgar understands not what is profitable in private or publick, nor can distinguish betwixt good manners and bad.

I speak therefore of the wise onely; amongst whom there is a kind of league, and covenant not to love their friends less than themselves, which we know may be done and see if often come to pass; whence it is manifest, that there can be nothing more conducing to pleasant living than such a conjunction.

Whence also we understand, that the placing of the chief good in pleasure is so far from being obstructive hereto, that without it there can be no institution of friendship.

For it being impossible for us to conserve the sweetnesse and security of our lives firme and lasting without friendship, and to preserve friendship, unlesse we love our friends as much as our selves, this therefore and pleasure are the inseparable adjuncts of friendship; for, we rejoyce in our friends joy as much as if it were our own, and are concern’d equally with his grief.

A wise man therefore will be alike towards his friend as toward himself; what labour and pains he undergoes for his own pleasure, the same will he undergo for the pleasure of his friend.  And as he would rejoyce to think that he hath one that will sit by him, if he should be sick, and relieve him if he were cast into prison, or fallen into want; so will he rejoyce at at having one whom, if he should fall sick, he may sit, and whom if imprisoned or fallen into want, relieve.  And not only this, but his love will be so great as to undergo the greatest torments, even death itself, for his friend’s sake.

We have known it certainly happens (and that within the memory of our parents) that many, who had the happinesse of procuring to themselves full confidence and security in the society of men living in the same opinion and the same affections with them, have in the assurance of this comfortable league lived most sweetly together and been conjoyned with so absolute a neerness, as that one could, without the least reluctancy, wish so to suffer for the other condemned to dye.

This is all I had to say concerning ETHICK, which in the beginning I asserted to be the chiefest part of Philosophy.  You whoever you are that aspire to true wisdome, practice and meditate upon these rules, considering them as the grounds of honest, well, and happy living.

Meditate I say upon them day and night, as well when you are alone, as when in the company of some faithfull companion who is like your selfe, and to whom you may say, We are indeed alone, but by this means we have the greater opportunity of making inquisition into truth without prejudice.  I speak not to many, but to you; and you speak not to many, but to me, and that’s enough, since to each other is a theater large enough.

Do you not now grant that no man can be compared to him whose mind is rightly informed concerning the Gods, and is fearlesse of death, and who hath so reasoned concerning the end of nature, and the ultimate good, as to understand, that it may be compleated and attain’d with the greatest facility imaginable, and that whatever ill he must endure, either is short, if vehement, if long, gentle; and telleth himself that there is no such thing as an inevitable necessity of fates concerning him, but that he hath and absolute freedom of will, and that nothing at all or very little of fortune can at any time intervene to crosse him; and the rest which we have laid down.

Certainly when you shall come to be such a man as this, you will never be troubled waking nor sleeping (for even in sleep you will be just as you are when awake by reason of the well-composedness of your mind) but shall live like some Deity among men.[30] For that man who spends his life in the enjoyment of immortall goods is far different from a mortall creature.

Hitherto Gassendus.

Chap 31 – Wherein Epicurus, Asserting Pleasure To Be The Ultimate Good, Differs From The Cyrenaicks

Though Epicurus agrees with the Cyrenaicks in asserting Pleasure to be the ultimate good, yet [31] concerning this Pleasure, they disagree.  The Cyrenaicks admit not pleasure to consist in rest, but in motion onely.  Epicurus allowed both, as well that of the Soul as of the body, as he asserts in his book Of Election and Avoidance, and in his Treatise of the End, and in his first book of Lives, and in his Epistle To the Philosophers at Mitylene.  Likewise Diogenes in the eleventh book of his Select Rules, and Democritus in his Timocrates, say thus; Whereas pleasure is twofold, one consisting in motion, the other in rest &c.  And Epicurus in his Treatise of Elections expresly thus; Of pleasures, indolence and imperturbation consist in rest; joy and delight in motion.

Moreover, he differs from the Cyrenaicks, for that they conceive the pains of the body to be worse than those of the mind; whence it comes to pass, that, upon Malefactors, corporall punishment is inflicted as being the most grievous. But Epicurus held that the pains of the mind are the greatest, for that no ill can afflict the body long than whilst it is present; but besides the present, the past and the future also torment the mind, and by the same reason, the pleasures of the Soul are the greatest.  Thus much of the Epicurean, the last of the Italick Sects.



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[1] Stob. [Joannes Stobaeus]


[2] Seneca Epist. 13


[3] Plut. adv. Colot.; Stob. serm. 16.


[4] Seneca Epist. 23


[5] Seneca


[6] Cic. de fin.


[7] Laert.


[8] Cic. ibid.


[9] Ibid.


[10] Cic. de fin.


[11] Laert.


[12] Porph. de non efu carn.


[13] Porph. de non efu carn.


[14] Laert.


[15] Porph. loc. cit.


[16] Porph. loc. cit.


[17] Porph.


[18] Laert.


[19] Laert.


[20] Laert.


[21] Laert.


[22] Laert.


[23] Laert.


[24] Laert.


[25] Laert.


[26] Porph. de non efu carnium.


[27] Porphyr.


[28] Porph.


[29] Porphyr.


[30] Laert.


[31] Laert.