A MORAL ESSAY, PREFERRING SOLITUDE TO PUBLICK EMPLOYMENT, And all it's Appanages; such as Fame, Command, Riches, Pleasures, Conversation, &c.

2 King. 4. 13. ‘—Wouldest thou be spoken for to the King, or to the Captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.’

EDINBVRH, Printed for Robert Brown, and are to be sold at his Shop, at the Sign of the Sun, on the North-side of the Street, over against the Cross, 1665.



SEing man can glory in nothing, but in that he is GOD's Image; certainly, that must be his most glorious state wherein that Image is most clearly seen, and this is solitude; wherein his composed soul (like the smooth face of the Ocean) represents, with much advantage, this glorious image which the [Page 4] unequal risings of stormy and aspire­ing waves of ambition do exceedingly conceal. The heathen Poet Lucretius describes the great perfections of the Deity to consist in that it is,

—Privata dolore omni privatapericlis Ipsa suis pollens opibus—

And Cicero upon this score confesses, that the Philosophers life was of all others most preferable, because of all others, it approached nearest to that of the gods. This, my Lord, invited me to write this Discourse in it's fa­vours; which because I intended as a bundle of rods, for whipping such as were fondly ambitious, I did therefore strip naked of these leaves and flourishes of Eloquence, which by making them more pleasant, could not but make them less sharp. And if any tax me for send­ing this Book to publick view, from that solitude which both it and I so much com­mend; my answer is, That either it will convince these who read it, and then it will gratifie that solitude which it hath left; or else it will meet with censure and [Page 5] disdain, and then it's fate will demon­strate how dangerous it is to gaud abroad; to press which, is another of my great designs.

I intend not really to depreciat such by this Discourse as injoy Honours and Em­ployment; that design lyes as far out of my road, as it is rais'd above my power: but I intend by it to congratulate with such as either undervalue them out of in­clination, or have lost them by accident; and to discipline such unquiet humours, as like powder, do, in blowing up them­selves, destroy all that is above them, or resists their violent ascent: wherein, as I obliege Philosophers, by complementing the object of their complacency; So I gratifie States-men, by reclaiming such as are the ordinary object of their fears. Neither should any thing in this Dis­course, which is picquant against those Courtiers who have been rather great then good, displease such as are both good and great, more then it should displease a Gen­tleman of noble shapes and features, to see a Painter draw another man (though of [Page 6] the same species with himself) under all the disadvantages that can be trac'd by a deforming Pencile.

That I should choose your Lordship for my Patron, is no act of virtue; because your condition, as it stands circumstan­tiat, made you almost the only person who deserv'd it at all, and altogether the per­son who deserv'd it most; for, being the best Pattern for solitary persons, ye were the person who deserv'd most to be the Pa­tron of solitude it self: especially, having oblieged it so far, as to prefer it to that rival against which it now disputes for precedency; and prefer'd it, after it's adverse party had been your old acquain­tance, and had offer'd to bribe you, for your suffrage, with a purse heavy enough to have weighed down a light spirit. Fear not, my Lord, the want of fame (which is the only thing that solitude is thought to want) For, as the heathens resembled it to a Maid, so it hath this of a coy Maid likewise, that it courts most these who seem most to undervalue it; and rarely any person admires his own servants so [Page 7] much, as it doth these who are stranger▪ to it. And great men have this loss, that their superiors will not admire them, as being less then themselves; their equals will not, because they hate them; nor their inferiours, because they envy them, and do but too oft imagine that they are opprest for feeding their luxury. That famous rod which wrought so many mi­racles for others openly in Aegypt, did never it self flourish till it was laid up in the tabernacle, (according to their opi­nion, who will have both these to have been one and the same) and the Dia­mond ceases not to enjoy a greater lustre, though hid in the darkest corner, then these pleasing blossoms do, which the weakest breath of a storm will command down from the highest branch upon which they pearch. Fame then shall transmit your name to posterity, as the Iews did their embalm'd bodies which they pre­serv'd perfumed and odoriferous in se­cret and retired Grotts and Sepulchres; whereas it will preserve that of more publick persons, only as the Aegyp­tians [Page 8] did theirs, whom by exposing to the open Sun, they kept as mummie, but so black and parcht, as that it had been better they had return'd to their former ashes. But, though fame should not thus gratifie you, yet virtue (who hath so few deserving followers now, that it cannot but pile up pyramids of favours upon such as are) will recommend you to succeeding ages, both to let see that she wants not her Trophees even in this dotage of the world (wherein she is not so de­form'd by age, as not to have charmes strong enough to conquer such as deserve her favour) and to engage others, by this act of gratitude, to a dependence upon her. And amongst her admirers, you, as one of her Minions, shall have still all defe­rence paid you, by

Your Lordships most humble Servant.

SOLITUDE prefer'd to publick EMPLOYMENT.

Generous CELADOR,

I Know that your ad­vancement was to you, but as the being thrown up is to solide bodies; from which state they cannot be so properly said to fall, as to run with inclination to that beloved centre and level, from which they were at first rais'd. I know you made no other use of that height which makes others gid­die, then to take from off it's loftiest tops, a full prospect of all these vanities which so much ravish mean spirits. And your publick deportment being [Page 2] thus, so exact a picture of true Virtue, I hope your retirement will be the sha­dowing of that noble draught.

In the confidence of this, I send you this Elogy of solitude; not as Physi­cians send Pills, with praises to their averse Patients: for, as it were below your Stoicisme to need such; So it is above my skill, to be able to admini­strat the meanest remedy, to so well a complexion'd soul as yours. But I praise it to you, as we use to praise a Mistris to her enamoured Gallant, whose intimacy with her, though it far exceeds the acquaintance of the praiser, yet it breeds not in her enamorato, an unwillingness to hear what he already knows; complacency being oftner the product of our knowledge, then the oc­casion of our enquiry. In paralleling greatness and solitude, as to their moral advantages, I shall first make some few reflections upon the ends for which both are sought, upon the employ­ments wherein both are exercised, and lastly upon the revenue made upon ei­ther [Page 3] of these enjoyments, when fate or death shall force us to leave both.

As to the design which men pro­pose to themselves,Sect. 1. The mo­tives to both compar­ed. in pursuing Great­ness and publick Employment; all will tell you, that they seek these, ei­ther to under-prop their falling fami­lies, (whose proud tops begin to bow, in homage to that mortality, which will needs one day triumph over us and ours) or else to defend themselves against some considerable enemy; or to wipe off the stains and scarres of dis­loyalty or prejudice. For, when opu­lent or great Persons undertake them, the very rabble have so much prudence, as to condemn these for mad men; when Philosophers or strong Spirits embarque in them, they say they do it to serve their Countrey, and not their inclinations; and flatterers pretend, that they design in these, the pleasing of their Prince, and not of their hu­mour; So that as if all were ashamed of them, all do excuse their zeal after them: whereas, solitude (like a great [Page 4] beauty) is courted for it self, and not for it's portion. And such as intend pub­lick Employments, will pretend a love and design for solitude; and when they have attained their honours, they will still praise retirement: whereas, such as live privatly may sometimes pity, but will never seem to envy such as are in publick Employment. And not only is solitude courted for it self, and Greatness for some remoter end; but even Greatness and publick Employ­ment are themselves oft (if not al­wayes) design'd as subservient to soli­tude. Thus Merchants hazard drown­ing, and like the Sun, reel about the world, that they may gain as much as may affoord them the conveniency of a recess. For this Lawyers empty their brains, and Souldiers open their veins; and have oft nothing to sweeten their anxieties, but the remote prospect of a solacing retirement: So that solitude must be excellent, seing it's enemies buy it at so dear a rate. And even Cesar behoved to recreat himself, with [Page 5] an aliquando mihi licebit, mihi vivere, esteeming that part of his life to belong to others, which was spent on other mens employments. And seing all aim at solitude, it must certainly be by as much more nobler then publick Emplyoment as the end is more noble then the means: and in this it approaches very near the nature of happiness, which is defined to be that, to which all things tend, and which it self respects nothing yet acquireable. But yet I must con­demn these, who are at all this pains to gain Solitude, whom for this I esteem as unskilfull in the art of happiness, as these Navigators in Solomons time, were of the art of Sailing; who crused alongst so many tedious shoars for reaching the gold of Ophir, a journey easily to be accomplished, in far less then half the time. Happiness is not the product of such endeavours, and these are rather hinderances then helps to Solitude. And this remembers me of that notable answer, given by Cineas the philosopher to Pyrrhus; who when [Page 6] he told him that he intended to con­quer Greece, then Rome, and so all the world; askt him, why he proposed all that toil to himself? To which Pyrrhus answering, that he would do it, to the end he might at his return live happily and merrily with his friends the residue of his life. Cineas tancing him most sharply, told him, that he might live so, and do so presently, and so needed not be at so much super­fluous pains.

Man is so frail a Creature, and his im­perfections are so great and many, that that can only make him be reputed ex­cellent, which can best conceal his natu­ral frailties: And albeit our judgements are but shallow, yet here lyes our mis­fortune, that we are not able to abide the test of one anothers judgement. And this is the knack, for which men who are silent and reserved, or melan­choly and dumpish, are reputed wise for we admire not what we see, but what we see not. And yet, neither melan­choly nor silence serve so to skreen out [Page 7] infirmities, as solitude does; seing such as converse in the world may be fa­thomed by other means then discourse, and may, upon unexpected rencounters, be even provoked to that likewise. Wherefore it is a virtuous imposture, and an allowable charltanry, to design retirement; because that secures against all the inconveniences of either of these, by abstracting us from the temp­tations of the one, and from the en­gines of the other: and if melancholy or silence possesses any thing in their nature, which can be thought excellent, certainly solitude enjoys the same in a more eminent measure; for these make but parcels of that noble state, silence being but a solitude in discourse, and melancholy a solitude in humour: whereas solitude is more excellent then these, because in possessing both their advantages, it wants the adust, bile and jealousness of melancholy, and the con­stipation of silence.

Except some volatile Heads, whose mercurial Complexion hath inclined [Page 8] them rather to a restlessness, then vir­tuous activity, and who like the wind, are nothing at all when they are not moving: and ye will find the residue of men so averse from toil and employ­ments, that they must be either bryb'd to them by gain, or baited with ho­nour: and the most diligent amongst active States-men will wish, that their long'd-for triumphs, or desired em­ployments, were at a period, that they might enjoy themselves (for so they terme it) in a solitary retirement; which is that Canaan of rest, which like Mo­ses on Pisgah, they see afar off, but without hopes of enjoyment: and so fond are these upon one moment of it, when enjoyed, that they will disobliege for it on-waiters, neglect their interest, and slight oft great advantages. Thus then we see, that nature, inclination and pleasure, vote all for solitude; and that publick Employment is unnatural in it's rise, and wearying in it's sequel, as it is dangerous (if not fatal) in it's ter­mination.

[Page 9] I know that there are some great per­sons, who like great fishes, never come to shoar till they be wounded, dis­asters, affronts and necessities driving them there for shelter, rather then choice; and this makes many think, that these encomiums given to solitude, are either contrived by Pedants, who could never reach preferments, or by degraded Courtiers, who after they have been outed of their publick Em­ployments, harrangue against what they have lost, to satisfie, not their reason, but their revenge. But, to these I an­swer, that solitude is by this objection prov'd to be an excellent state, seing even the distrest expect an asyle and protection there: for distress makes us run where we may expect help; and that must be the securest harbour, to which the distrestest vessels make their application. And I believe best these Elogies, which solitude gets from such who know both states; and because some use this as a Pretext, therefore it must be excellent: for the excellen­test [Page 10] things are only used, and can only serve as Pretexts; and that cannot but be much respected amongst men, whose very shadow can make misery pass for virtue, and make misfortunes be esteem­ed happiness. Yet, certainly, misfor­tunes may make men real Philosophers, as afflictions makes real Christians: and it is very probable, that one, who after much confidence in Court and Riches, hath been tumbled down unexpected­ly, will be more really convinced of it's slipperiness and emptiness, then such as never found the effects of so much revolution. But there are many also, such as Dioclesian and Charles the fifth, both Emperors, and many others, who after a compleat fruition of all Courtly successe and pleasure, have taken a solemn congy of it, whilst it yet smiled upon them, and I am con­fident many moe would, if they did not apprehend much hazard in their retreat, from these who thought themselves injured by them in their prosperity.

[Page 11] In ballancing the employments of Solitude, Sect. 2. The em­ploy­ments and dif­ficulties of both compar­ed. with these of greatness, be­cause greatness will still struggle for precedencie, I shall therefore scann first it's disadvantages; amongst which, this is one, that either publick Persons have attained to the fruition of what they design'd; and in that case, there are many wayes to make them miser­able, because the substraction of any one of these many enjoyments, robs them of all the satisfaction they can en­joy in what remains. And there are but few wayes to make them happy, be­cause little can be added to their pre­sent possessions: or, they have not at­tain'd to what they have projected; and then they fret more, and suffer moe disquietings, then the meanest ser­vant whom they command, And like that man in the Parable, consider more the one lost sheep, then the ninety nine which yet remain. Did the con­quest of all that the Sun sees, restrain, Alexander from weeping, because he could conquer no more? No. For, [Page 12] Ambition is like hunger, which though it is once satisfied, continues no longer so, then it hath for a little time prey'd upon what was at first presented to it: and like the fire, is so far from being satisfied with what is thrown into it, that it is by that new fewel, not only enabled to destroy, but likewise forc'd to seek more aliment for sustaining it's wasting rage.

These who are in publick Employ­ment, have either many dependers, or not; if they have not, they are not sa­tisfied: for, the scope of such is to be depended on, and the missing of this renders them more miserable, then po­verty or sickness could a Stoick: but if they be incircled by crouds of atten­ders, then are they interessed, not only in maintaining their own Posts, but likewise in sustaining their numerous Clients; in whose fall, their reputation is, as in their own standing, equally in­teressed. And when they have been at great pains to effectuat the pretences of these their dependers, if these pre­tences [Page 13] succeed, then either the pre­tenders whom they assist, do arrogat the success to themselves, or their own merits: or else they think it but the price of their attendance, and so look upon it as paid before bestowed: where­as the party with whom these have to do, will ever thereafter carry the Patron at implacable malice: Or, if these pre­tences succeed not, then they impute it to the want of conduct, or of gratitude in these their lofty Patrons. And if any two, or moe of these dependers, should justle amongst themselves (as ordinarily falls out amongst such as are rivalls in favour) then the Grandee is divided in his resolution; and as he gains no new friend by assisting the one, So he losses an old servant by op­posing the other. And when a Grandee hath spawn'd out his Estate amongst his Favourits, one of a thousand will not prove gratefull; but though all the thousand should prove gratefull to one, the ingratitude of that one will be more unpleasant, then can be repair'd by the [Page 14] gratitude of all the remanent nine hun­dred and ninety nine.

As to their equals, such as are in pub­lick Employment, lye under this incon­venience, that either they please them not, and these they either find, or make their enemies; or, if they endeavour to please all, then the task is either impossible, or unprofitable: impossible, because after that they have crook'd their own humour to make it fall pa­rallel to another mans vn-even fancy, then they may instantly loss their pains; when vpon the same principle (of pleasing all) they indeavour to ob­liege one, who either is, or is believed to be, either rival, or enemy to him who was first oblieged. And is there any thing more ordinar (though nothing more vnjust) then to hear, ye must either not be my friend, or that mans enemy? This pleasing all is likewise unprofit­able, because things are not valued by advantage but by propriety: and thus we value that friendship most, which is born to us solely, or in a greater [Page 15] measure then to others. Whereby it appears clearly, that if ye carry equally to all, ye obliege none, and if more to some then to others, ye disobliege these to whom ye carry least; which certainly (because our love is like our selves, most finit) must be the greatest part: and these who are disoblieged, are more zea­lous in their enmity, then these who are oblieged, are in their friendship. The conclusion of all, which is, that al­beit the great pleasure of publick Em­ployment is, that thereby they may obliege many to a dependance upon them, yet men gain by it moe, and more vigorous enemies, then such as are recluse do, albeit they profuse none of their inesteemable time upon so uncer­taine a purchase.

As to their Superiours, it vexes doubt­less such as are at so much toyl to be high themselves, to see any yet higher then themselves; and they count as many crosses, as they do Superiours. If States-men be not at the highest pitch of favour, they fret at the vnluckiness [Page 16] of their own fate, and exclaim against their ill-faced stars: and if they attain to it, then they are oft jealoused by their promotters: And Sejanus is loaded with more contumely by his Patron Tiberius, then ever he was with honours. And after that these ploding pates, have raised their designs to that line, that they conceive, they may justly admire it's noble structure, and their own skill in it's contrivance; then that fabrick, upon which, for (possibly) their whole life, they have laid out the whole stock of their happiness and expectation, may be in one moment, blown over by one word from their Prince, who is a man subject to his own fate, as they are to theirs: and when they perceive that the same Prince is thereafter forc'd to yield to his own destiny, they can­not but conclude, that they have been themselves mean persons, who was so easily destroyed, by one who was so easily destroyed himself. If Parmenio had not killed Attalus, or C [...]eander Par­menio, their disobedience had been a [Page 17] crime; and when they obeyed, their obe­dience was really a crime in them, and was hated as such by Alexander who commanded it: so that superiours do oft tye their favourits to the observance of what is contradictory, and consequent­ly require what is impossible.

It was nobly said,Sect. 3. by that grand Mast­er of Stoicisme, Seneca, that, qui multa agit, saepe se fortunae objecit. And pub­lick persons are in this, like great Gar­risons, which by how much the greater they are, are so much the worse to be defended, and by how much the richer they are, are so much the more stoutly assaulted. For establishing this great truth which is unum ex mirabilibus Stoicorum, I shall under-prop it by these two subservient conclusions; first, that seing that is only, in all the Schools of philosophers, defin'd to be morally good, which is compleat at all points; and that to be evil, which la­bours of the least defect: certainly it must be a great task, not only to do good, but even not to fall into the [Page 18] commission of evil. The second con­clusion shall be, that as it is almost im­possible not to slip into the commit­ting of evil, yet our escapes are never forgot, when once committed; and not only wrong they us as to that action, but they likewise detract from all our subsequent good actions: and albeit it be very hard to do what is good, yet our good actions are most unfrequently remembred; or if they be, then they are esteemed duties, and so they bring us by that remembrance, no other advantage from men, then not to bring a tash upon us. Marshal Biron's many victories, obtained by his valour, for Henry the fourth, Wal­steins for the Emperour, nor Essex's for Queen Elizabeth, did not excuse their after-treason. And Balaams beast (though otherwayes an Ass) could tell it's Master, have not I ridden with thee ever since I was thine without stum­bling? and yet now thou hast struck me thrice? From all which it follows, that publick employments, because [Page 19] they obliedge a man to many actions, they therefore engage him in many misfortunes, and lay him open to much detraction. Neither doth mans mise­ry stint it self here; but, which is worse, envy, malice and mistake, blaze us for more vitious then really we are; we commit some escapes, wherein we mistake our selves, but we are said to commit others, wherein others do but mistake us; we commit: some, which are really our own trans­gressions, but we are said to commit others, which are but other mens im­putations. Such as are in publick Em­ployments can never want rivalls; and such as want not rivalls can never miss mis-reports; especially in our Country, where the way to preferment is so nar­row, that we imagine no man can get by his neighbour, except he run over him. O! what a divine state then must soli­tude be, wherein a virtuous in activity fortifies us against all these inconvenien­ces, and begets in us a tranquillity, not conceivable by such as do not possess it?.

[Page 20] Have ye not, my Lord, oft heard great men say, I must do this, and as­sent to that, though neither the one nor the other satisfies my judgment? Have ye not seen great men forc'd to abandon their most deserving friends, forc'd to connive at, and oft to con­gratulate the promotion of their great­est enemies? will they not be some­times oblieg'd to put on a constrain'd countenance, feign an unnatural mine, and express what is diametrically oppo­sit to their thoughts; all which are servitudes which greatness exacts from us: for every force is a yoke ty'd upon our nature; and man being more noble then brutes, because he is more free then they are, certainly what im­pares his freedom, destroyes his reason: and most of these restraints, as they are against nature, in being servitudes; So they are against virtue, in being opposite to what our reason would (if not over-power'd by interest or fancy) exact of us. And I should think, that the same impulse, which hurries men [Page 21] on to desire to be great, that they may be Masters, should, with far more rea­son carry them to be solitary: for there they are emancipat from these neces­sities, and have none to obey but God and nature; Masters who commands us to do nothing, but what were fit for our selves to do, albeit we were not commanded.

As these Countreys are esteemed most excellent and preferable, whose necessities are supplyed by their native commodities, pulling out of their own bosome all that their Inhabitants re­quire; So by the same rule, solitude must be, by much preferable to publick Employment, seing this re­quires, and wants but little, but the other needs much, and is not satisfied when it gets what it needs. Solitude requires no avarice to maintain it's table, nor oppression to bear up it's train; it is satisfied without Coaches, Lacquies, Treasures and Embroideries: The solitary man is not vext, that others must take the door of himself, or [Page 22] is able to maintain a more sumptuous table then he; he is not disquieted at the infrequency of guests, nor echoes of his equals praises. And seing great men are still disquieted at the advance­ment of others, they must still be un­fortunate; for though they were ca­pable to receive, yet they are not able to sustain the weight of all employ­ments alone.

Consider these clouds which sit oft upon the countenance of men in Em­ployments, their gate like to that of an disrudered Ship, and their discourse dis-joynted, and blown, as it were, all to pieces by their tempestuous passions; and ye will find such (many times) to differ but by an ace, from these who have Keepers at Bedlam: And by these disorders ye may perceive, that em­ployment and madnes are of too near an alliance; and if the one, certainly both must be diseases, seing both have the same symptoms, and the same prog­nosticks. And in these distempers, how oft speak they things, which are [Page 23] thereafter either quarre led openly, or at least are the seed-plot of continual heart-burnings to these at whom they aimed? But to abstract from all these accidental disadvantages, Is it not a madness for a rational Soul, for whom all the world was created, to observe nothing in this world, but whether another manages his Process well, with what harmony stricks another man's pulse, or how to brigue the favour of a Minion? Acts so extrinsick to the na­ture of an immaterial creature, such as the Soul, that if men got not money by these Employments, they would themselves condemn them as ridicu­lous. And is there any thing more ordinar, even amongst the herd of bru­tish busie-bodies, then to chide their friends for attending either the persons or employments of those who reward not such pains, and for so doing up­braid them as mad men? and so they are indeed. By which it is most evident, that men in employment have nothing to excuse their madness, but that they [Page 24] are not madd, but for money or prefer­ment. And is it not a shame for so noble a creature as Man, to be content to shew himself madd for any hire what soever?

Solitude has likewayes this advan­tage over publick Employment, that there is no vice commissable in solitude, to which men in publick lye not yet more open; whereas, there are some crimes, such as, treason, sedition, osten­tation, and a whole tribe of the like nature, which retired persons can hardly commit; and though they could, yet hardly does that state admit of these temptations, which are previously ne­cessar to the commission of them. Is there any thing more ordinar, then to hear one who is accused for deserting his friend, or party, to answer, that his office, or present designs, occasion­ed and required that defection? And are not men, for accomplishing their projects, tempted to betray secrets, to become rivals to their friends, and as­sisting to their enemies? Whereas, no [Page 25] Record can witness against retired per­sons, that they ever either ruined their native Country, betrayed their Prince, or deserted their Friend? At least, if any in that state have been tempted to the least degree of any such crime, cer­tainly they had committed moe, and greater villanies, if they had lived in publick, where those wicked inclina­tions might have been strengthned, by example, design, passion, revenge, or some such temptatoin. And if our in­clinations be so wild, when they are caiged up in solitude, how untame will they become, when they are licenced to range abroad? He who would stob his Prince, who had never the occasion to offend his remote Cell, would burn the world, if he had a design, to which that might be subservient. Did not Nero, Ti­berius, Heliog abulus and others, enjoy the repute of noble souls, before their mounting the Imperial Throne, brought them new vices, with new honours, and made them as much beyond other in their debauches, as they were in the [Page 26] power, which fed them in that their dissolut humour. Since then no honest person can deny, but that it were bet­ter never to have the greatest honour, then to be said by after-ages to have committed the least villany: certainly the state of publick Employment is scarce to be wished for, seing therein men are tempted to commit the great­est of crimes; especially, seing these their escapes must be committed in publick, where they are never con­cealed, and but seldom (if ever) par­doned.

As to the periods of both,Sect. The pe­riods of both. certainly solitude hath by much the advantage: For, look over the Callendar of all these Heroes or Grandees who have govern­ed Kingdoms, or were Favourites of the first rate to such as did govern them; and ye will find most of their fates marked with the red Letters of a vio­lent death, or the black Letters of shame. Ignominy overtakes, whom fate hath left undestroyed; and Gleans the grapes, after the other hath cut down it's vintage:

[Page 27]
—Sine caede, & sanguine pauci
Descendunt Reges & sicca morte tyranni.

It is observed, that betwixt Iulius Ce­sar and Charlemain, thirty Roman Em­perors have been slain, and many since. And I am so ashamed of the cruelty of those who are of the same species with my self, that I must conceal the many other murders of King's and Gran­dees: and as to the disgrace of others, these can hardly be sufficiently either numbered or regrated. And albeit others are not deter'd from embracing those honours under which their first owners have been crush'd upon the ac­count, that they imagine their Prede­cessors ruine to have flow'd from some personal frailty or error, against which they are confident they can guard; yet certainly all should, even from this an­swer, conclude, that greatness must be most undesirable, seing, at least, it dis­covers these frailties, or tempts men to commit these errors, which thereafter occasions these ruines. Neither find we any such dangers to attend solitude, [Page 28] either necessarily▪ or by accident: So that albeit these be the misfortunes of those men, and not of the employ­ment, yet seing these are only the mis­fortunes of men in employment, I see not why employment should be so desi­rable by men who fear misfortunes. But the truth is, it is impossible to warde against the unexpected blows which are thrust in at such, for they are so cunningly contrived by the attacquers (because of the danger of being disco­vered) that they are sooner felt then foreseen. Who could dis-appoint the malice of those who killed these noble Princes, Henry the third, and Henry the fourth of France? Who could have targetted Buckingham against Feltons thrust? And all the prudence of Cesars Court could not avert his massacre in the Senat, especially being contrived by his confident, Brutus; Et tu fili Brute said that great Empe­rour. And that which renders the suddain fall of these Heroes the more deplorable, is, that by being suddain, [Page 29] it not only disorders their affairs and endangers their souls, but likewise so amazes their friends and followers, that they are thereby incapacitate from pro­viding against the sequels of that fall, and are themselves (who only can help their falling friend) brought to fall with him. I have oft remarked with wonder, how ghastly the favorites of a falling Minion do look, and how asto­nishingly they are lookt at by their for­mer intimats; and which is strange, not only do the enemies of a fallen Grandee insult over his misfortunes, but even these who were his former well-wishers, are (to avert the jealousie of those who occasioned his fall) necessi­tate to enveigh most bitterly against his memory;

Dum jacet in ripa calcemus Cesaris hostem.

Neither can I see how greatness can be defended against misfortunes; for ordinarly these rise from such unexpect­ed beginnings, that none see in (or ap­prehend the least danger by) them: and [Page 30] all the world is not able, by conjecture, to fall upon that medium by which pro­vidence intends to infer their ruine. Who could have guessed, that Morde­cay's discovering a plot to Ahasuerus wherein Haman was not concerned, would be the mean to destroy that great Favourite? I have oft heard the friends of those who are now low, ask at such as told them of the slipperiness of fa­vour, how could their Patron ever be destroyed? and it was impossible that could fall out during such a Govern­ment. And yet I have my self seen these men outed of all their confident expectations; a passionat expression, a rash act, a jealousie or mis-information which could not be foreseen, because then there was no bottom for such a conjecture, hath ruined oft-times such as never expected any alteration: and who can promise that they shall never drop one word in passion, act any thing without a previous deliberation, or ne­ver fall under mis-information? And which is yet worse, when mis-informa­tions [Page 31] are forged against great men: They are not acquainted by such as either gives or receives them, and so their de­fence becomes imprestable. I have heard of Favourits who have been ruined, be­cause the Queen said they were hand­some men, or the King thought them to excell himself in any thing wherein himself pretended to a mastership: and what plodding pate could have stav'd off, or foreseen these misfortunes? No, no.

Ludit in humanis divina prudentia rebus.

And seing there are many who have the courage to throw away their lives upon the revenge of a small affront, or to hazard them in an open, and yet almost a barren robbery, why should it be thought, that to saitsfie so impe­tuous a passion as Revenge, there should not be some found who will ha­zard death, by giving it in the revenge of either an injury done to a Family or Nation, much more of an affront fixt upon the undertaker himself, in [Page 32] his honour, or entire fortune, as oft falls out?

But albeit great men and publick Ministers escape the fate of a murder or massacre, yet how is their happiness founded? is it not either upon the humour of a capricious people, if in a Commonwealth? and then how un­solid is that happiness where the foun­dation is so fleeting? Consider Rome, which, though the wisest of all Repub­licks, yet, upon a jealousie or a mistake, or some times out of wantonness, de­stroyed in an instant the most carressed, and most deserving of her Favourits, Or, upon the favour of a Prince, if in a Monarchy; and then ye must confess them oft-times subject to all the capri­ces of a lofty humour, licenc'd by the extent of his power, to equal his power and his humour; and entic'd, by the instigation of enemies or rivals, to stretch his humour beyond his allowed power. Why did Solyman the Mag­nificent, cut the throat of Ibrahim Bas­sa his Confident? was it not to satisfie [Page 33] the fancy of a Concubine? Or Iusti­nian pull out the eyes of valiant Bellisa­rius? was it not to gratifie an insolent Wife? So that a States-man lyes open, not only to the hazard of his Masters fancy, but to the passion of his Wife, his Concubines, his Favourits and Fel­low-servants, and even to Fate it self, which is the most comprehensive of all dangers.

But albeit a States-man were able to escape privat revenge, and to mannage, with success, his Princes humour, and to satisfie that of his Favourits, yet he is still obnoxious to ragione del stato, and interest of State, by which his Prince is oft (to evite the rage of a mul­titude) either forc'd to object his Mini­on to their rage, as the head in a natural body defends it self by throwing up it's hand or arm to receive the stroak, or else he may be pull'd from the kind bosome of his unwilling Master: And of this hazard our own age affords us a lamentable instance in the person of the great Earl of Strafford, whom [Page 34] popular fury did drag to the Scaffold; his Princes protection not being suffi­cient for his defence; who viewing, from that deplorable Stage, the incon­stancy of Courtship and Advancement, did leave in legacie to his Son, a strait command never to aim at higher pro­motion then that of a Justice of Peace in his own County.

Consider likewayes how sometimes the satiety of a Prince produces the same ruine of Favourits, which is at other times the product of his cruelty. And Comines observes, that Lewis the eleventh of France used to say, that se­ing Princes did weary of Houses, Coun­tries and other inanimat things, which could never offend them, and which no rival or enemy was at the pains to tra­duce, It was no wonder that they weari­ed of Favourits, who were subject to all these inconveniences. Princes do like­wise ruine their Grandees, sometimes to satisfie their vanity, in shewing that their power is able to remove those who think they cannot fall without a [Page 35] miracle; and sometimes to make way to new Favourits, thinking it injustice to entail all honours upon the same persons. And, as in the body natural; So likewise in the politick, it is ob­servable, that nature hath provided more diseases, then the best of Physici­ans can prevent by remedies.

To conclude this period, be pleased to conclude the unluckiness of publick Employment from this, That not only amongst rivals, one of two pre­tenders satisfie, by their fall, the rage of fate, but when it hath assisted the one to destroy the other, it then turns it's fury against the late victor: Thus Pompey and Cesar's blood purpl'd equal­ly the swords of murderers, agreeing in nothing but their destiny. Hanni­bal beats the Romans; Scipio beats Hannibal, and the Romans banish Scipio. Bellisarius makes Gilimer King of the Goths ridiculous, leading him as a prisoner in his triumph; and Fate renders Bellisarius yet more ridi­culous, driving him to beg, with this [Page 36] expression, bestow but a farthing upon Bellisarius. And it is most observable, that during our civil wars, four most eminent persons, who did head con­trary, as well as different parties, did all loss both their heads, and their for­tunes in the quarrel; whereas it might have been expected, that at least one of the opposits, should have worn un­fadeing lawrels: and really there was more hazard in the fear, of being the one who was to be destroyed (for they might certainly have expected, that one of themselves, should fall) then all the grandour, which the survivers, might expect, could sufficiently requite.

And when the monarch or common­wealth, which a States-man hath long served, intends either in compliance with their interests, or to gratifie their humour, to out their servant of his employment, or in order thereto to fix a crime upon him: then how can he escape from that tryal, or defend his right against that persuit? for where [Page 37] the Judge is party, there the Law may prove Advocat. And in these contrasto's, I remember few dicisi­ons, amongst all who have collected them, of any subject, who came off with honour.

Seing as of all other things,Sect. 3. Motives to soli­tude from re­ligion. so of our thoughts the first-born should be sacri­ficed to our almighty Maker; I there­fore resolved, to begin my first dis­course with these reflections, which Solitude might borrow from devotion. But, since Orators recommend the last place in our discourse, to the strongest perswasives (as being able when plac'd there to leave the freshest impressions; upon the leaving Reader) I shall there­fore in this last place, (which is, alas! the too ordinar room allowed to devotion) recommend to you, to con­sider, that GOD possesses moe excel­lencies, and we labour under moe sins, then can be fully contemplated, in the one case, or lamented in the other, throughout the whole flux of eternity. And after that we have evacuated our [Page 38] more refined spirits; in chase of these fleeing follies, will it satisfie him to to have our dulled thoughts (the lame of the flock) served up upon his holy Altars? And seing he stiles himself a jealouse GOD: certainly he cannot but be jealous, that because we con­verss with others more then with him; we must therefore, either love these better or expect more, either advantage or pleasure in their society then in his.

I confess that publick Employment, is lawfull in it self, and necessar to the Common-wealth, and that men may serve GOD in the intervalls of their other publick negotiations. But the question is not, what is lawfull in it self; but what is convenient for us, and seing we run already, but too slow­ly that divine race; I see not why we should slow our pace yet more by ta­king on the burthen of publick em­ployment. And seing all our time is but too short, for the service of him whom far more excellent creatures then [Page 39] we worship uncessantly, time without end: I think it strange, that we should content our selves to serve him per parenthesin, or by intervals.

To these I shall add this import con­sideration, that most of temptations, are in Solitude disarm'd of these charms, which renders them formidable to us in publick: love wants there the pre­sence of an enflaming object to se­cond it; revenge wants the presence of the party injured to press it: and vanity when it wants admirers, wants force. Though Moses was the meekest man upon the earth, whilst he lived in the desert; yet the extravagancy of those whom he governed, when providence had advanced him, made him offend his Maker, so highly, that all his former services, could not obtain, even from the Father of mercies, a liberty to enter into an earthly Canaan. If Naaman had lived an Hermit, he needed not have crav'd the Prophet leave, to bow to the idols of his master; in the house of Rimmon. And if Da­vid [Page 40] had not been governor of Israel he had wanted the means both to humble Bath-sheba; and kill Urriah, such is the ill fate of publick Employ­ment, that it not only affords us temp­tations, but the means likewise of effectuating that to which we are tempted.

It was I confess GODS own verdict of man, that it was not good for him to be alone, but this was when because of his congenial innocence, he needed not fear the contamination of society; but to demonstrat what the hazard of being in company is: even Adam could not live one day in it, and live innocent, for the first news we hear of him, after that Eve was associat to him, is, that he had forefeited that native purity.

I know that our Saviour, was carried by Satan to the wilderness, that he might tempt him there. But it is most ob­servable, that after that experienced enemy, found that his Divinity would not yeild to any thing therein repre­sented; he thereafter (as the last and [Page 41] so the strongest shift left to him un­essayed, did bring him to Ierusalem; and having advanced him above the tem­ple, he proffer'd him the halfe of the belted world, and all it's glories; a temptation, sitted only for such as value honour and publick Employ­ment.

When GOD Almighty intended to converse with Moses, He called him from the populous camp, to the top of Mount Sinai. And our Saviour did not disclose the glories of his Transfiguration at Ierusalem, but up­on the top of the Mount of Olives. The Widow who intended a lodging for Elisha that great Prophet, did build it apart upon the wall,2 Kings 4. 10. furnishing it only with a Stool and Candlestick: and when he asked her, if he should speak for her to the King, or Captain of his Hoast, she told him, without farther answer, that she dwelt amongst her own Friends, and in her own Countrey; 2 Kings 4. 12. intimating thereby, that there was no need of any favour Kings [Page 42] could bestow upon such as enjoy'd so happy a recess. I recreat my self to think I see Elijah sitting under a juniper Tree, or in a concealed Grove, visited in that solitude by the same GOD, who refused His presence to mighty Ahab; and to contemplat how Ahaziah was able to find no ease upon his purpred couch, till he dispatched in quest of it some of his chiefest Cap­tains to court it from the same Pro­phet, sitting upon the top of a moun­tain: By all which places and postures, the Spirit of GOD (who losses no ob­servation) intends doubtless to enamour us of solitude and recess. And it is very observable, that none of these old Prophets are found, in Scripture, at Court or in Publick, but as bearded Comets appear in the air, where they have no other earand then to denounce Judgments to the place over which they hover.

GOD Almighty, who because he is the object as well as enjoyner of our de­votions, should, and does upon these and [Page 43] many other scores, best know how to address them; hath commanded us to retire into our Closets (the most soli­tary of all our rooms) and to make these yet more retired, hath ordained us to close our doors behind us when we make any religious applications to him; promising, that he who seeth in secret, will reward us openly: And if we will consider these gawdy distractions, whereby our publick devotions are al­most rendered no devotion at all, and that there is more noise in the world then will suffer us to hear that still voice which cryes behind us, This is the way, walk ye in it; certainly we may conclude, from both reason and expe­rience, (as well as out of obedience to divine Commands) that solitude is the true forge of the purest devotions. When GOD did intend to discipline his beloved (though rebellious) Israel, he chose first the wilderness of Sinai, and then the two Captivities to be his sacred School. And, Hosea 2. 14. he tells his own people, that he will allure [Page 44] her (meaning the Jewish Church) and bring her to the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.

Religion hath another quarrel at Ad­vancement, which is, that it devests oft-times it's enjoyers, not only of devo­tion and of friendship, which is a moral virtue, but even of affection; which is so natural to brutes themselves, that a man is worse then these when he wants it: and not only forget they it upon such necessities as might at least excuse, if not justifie, their so doing, but do so likewise to satisfie their humour; a slavery which deserves to be condemn­ed, though it's object were in it self ju­stifiable. No man could have believ­ed, if Scripture had not told it,1 Sam. 18. that Saul would, from being an absolute Mo­narch, descend to so low a baseness, as to cast away his daughter Michael meerly that he might destroy her Husband: Or that a Prince of Midian would have prostitute his daughter Cozbi, Numb. 25. to the promiscuous multitudes of the Israeli­t [...]sh camp, of design to tempt them [Page 45] to a sin: which could not but be at­tended with his own infamy, as well as their ruine. Was it not for this that Romulus cemented the first foundation of the Roman walls with the blood of his brother Remus? And though Abel and Cain had the division, of what tempts (I will not say) satisfies now the ambition of many thousands to gratifie their expectations; yet, was not so ample a partage able to prevent the spil­ling even of a brothers blood, by one whose crime was so much the greater that it was without president, and was to become an example to many thou­sands of succeeding ages? Many where­of might, and have been thereby not only encouraged to commit afresh this old sin, but likewayes to seek, in the greatness of this offence, excuses, where­by to lessen their own barbarity.

But if any call in question the advantages that accrew to devotion by solitude, let him cast back his eye up­on the primitive Church, wherein the material fabrick was contriv'd dark, [Page 46] and situat in the remotest corners and solitary Groves, both by Pagans and Christians; as if that black enamel hightned the lustre of the golden Candlesticks: and upon the infinit swarms of such as became Moncks and Hermits, encourag'd thereto by the homilies and entreaties of the noblest Fathers; of which state the Emperour Iustinian did, after he had kept that oecumenick Councel, become so ena­mour'd, that he hath registrat it's noble Elogies in the Frontis-piece of his di­vine codex. Whilst, upon the other hand, the Heathens of old, and now the Mahumetans did, and do teach, that one of the chief torments in their hell shall be, that men will there be cast louse to to these occupations and civil employ­ments which here exercis'd them; esteeming it a torture for illuminat spi­rits, and such as are defecat from sensu­ality, to be re-embarast with such ter­restrial affairs as busie us in this our earthly state. Pardon, my Lord, this in-road I have made upon devotion; [Page 47] and learn from it, that solitude and de­votion are so nearly related, that we can hardly praise the one, and not com­mend the other.

I shall hear use the authority of great Hero's; who, after the fruition of both, have by much prefer'd solitude, whereas (which is very strange) there is not a single testimony to be had from such as these, in favours of publick Em­ployment.

The first shall be of Charles the Great,Mari­neus lib. 18. who, being to die, cry'd out to these who stood about him; O! how vain are the thoughts of men? and how wretched are they that aspire to glo­ry? What hath my Kingdom, or the ser­vice of so many men gain'd me? Much more happy had I been, if in stead of a Scepter, I had weilded an hedging Bill; and if of a King I should have made my self a Clown: Following in this almost the very expressions of Alphonsus his brother: Suatocopius King of Bohe­mia and Moravia, having lost a battel against the Emperour Arnold, did retire [Page 48] himself into a wilderness, where, after he had lived a long time with three Hermits, he at his death told them, that there was not any greatness preferable to the tranquillity of that solitude. The safe sleep (said he) which we enjoy here, makes the roots savoury, and the waters sweet; whereas the cares of a Kingdom makes all meat and drink taste bitter. That part of my life, which, I have past with you, was true happiness; whereas that which I led upon my royal Throne deserves more the title of death then of life. And Giges King of Lydia, puff'd up with his great wealth and many victories, having asked the Oracle of Apollo, if there was any man happier in the world then himself, had Agesilaus the poor Arcadian sheepheard prefered to him. And Similis, one of Adrian the Em­perours chief Captains, having retir'd to the Countrey, after all his preferments, caused grave this Epitaph upon his own Tomb, Here lyes Similis, of a very great age, who yet lived but seven years. [Page 49] I might here cite Constantine, that ex­cellent King of Scotland; Theodatus King of the Goths; Charles the fifth; Sertorius, and hundreds of other Prin­ces, if I thought it not more of advan­tage to solitude to say of these, that they are so many, they cannot be cited.

Seing then reason and experience do impresse us with so pungent dis­swasives from greatness,Sect. 3 [...]an 6. exa­mined. let us a little examine what can be in it, able to pre­ponder to so weighty discouragements.

The first prize contended for by great persons, is Fame, a revenue payable only to our ghosts; and to deny our selves all present satisfaction, or to ex­pose our selves to so much hazard for this, were as great madness as to starve our selves, or fight desperatly for food to be layed on our Tombs after our death. Either publick Ministers va­lue much the discourses of the multi­tude; and if so, they erre in offending them as oft as their gain or pleasure af­fords them the meanest temptation, or else they value these not; and if so, [Page 50] why is there so much pains, taken for Fame, which is nothing else but a col­lection of their suffrages: which re­flection recommends much to me, that stoical fear, given to Hannibal by Iuvenal,

—I demens, & savas carre per Alpes,
Ut pueris place as, & declamatio fias.

—Climb over the Alps, thou mad, vain glorious fool,
That thou may children please, & be their theme at school.

For convincing us of the folly of this passion, be pleased to consider, that either our souls, have the same per­iod with our life, and then to talk of us after death, is to talk, of what is not; and what advantage brings it to us when seing we are not, what is said o [...] us, cannot affect what is not, or our de [...] ­parted souls survive, in eternal bless. And then the loud Halelujahs of my riads of Angels, will easily drown so the voice of Fame in our ears, that it will not be heard by us; and our souls will be so replet with infinit joyes, that there will be no room for it's report, though it were exauceable; for Fame, being b [...] [Page 51] air, must yeild and flee out at the ac­cess of any thing, that is more solide, or else the souls of these, who are praised, will be damned: and then they will not be susceptible of any pleasing impressions. And I am confident that one of the torments of damned spirits, is that they imagine all the world to be full of their infamy. And seing the Fame of the greatest of men, is not able to solace him in the fit of a feaver, or gravel; Why should we imagine that it can lessen the weight of such pressing torments, as infernal horrour, or eter­nal damnation? To talk of Amphialus, who never was, is the same thing as to talk of Alexander: only Amphialus, can­not be stained with cruelty, vanity and drunkenness as Alexander is: but albeit Fame were to be courted, what share of it can we expect, who are scarce known beyond the line of our own History, and but transiently in that likewise? Who amongst us would toil as we do, to be esteemed, as Popen­ham or Bajard, (whom I believe very [Page 52] few have heard of) and yet these acted upon the continent of the world, and did greater things then the present state of affairs will admit us to do. And I am confident, that there liv'd lately at the Court of France and Spain, hun­dreds of Courtiers, who injoyed fat taller honours then we, and who would not have embraced the honours we grasp after; and yet Fame scornes to be at so much pains as once to mention their names. How many know not at present, the name of that grand Vi­sier, who but lately made Germany trem­ble? and to say that it was the grand-Visier, is to praise his Office, and not himself. Who can name the greatest Cardinals at Rome, or Dogi of Venice? And yet, what infinit pains is taken to gain these employments, by such as live upon the place?

I smile to see underling pretenders, and who live in a Country, scarce design'd in the exactests maps, sweat and toil for so unmassie a reputation, that when it is hammered out to the most stretch­ing [Page 53] dimensions, will not yet reach the nearest towns of a neighbouring Coun­try: Whereas, examine such as have but lately returned from travelling in most floorishing Kingdoms, and though cu­riosity was their greatest errand, yet ye will find that they scarce know who is Chancellour or first President in these places; and in the exactest Histories, we hear but few news of the famousest Pleaders, Divines or Phisitians; and by Souldiers these are under-valued as pedants, and these by them as madcaps, and both by Philosophers as fools.

But though Fame were desirable, yet publick Employment is not always at­tended by it: for, either advancment is attributed to the fancy of the ad­vancer, or to fate and hazard. And in either of these cases, the person pro­moted is not honoured, but his fate; and it will be loudly proclaimed as a thing most strange, that one of so mean merit or so rebellious principles, or tainted with any such vice (as envy [Page 54] will either find or make) should be pro­moted to such honours: whereas if the same person had satisfied himself with a solitary life, his reall vices had neither been discovered, nor such forged vices proclaimed; and because people blame Minions, whilst they live for what they dare not charge upon their Master, their envy or revenge transmits to posterity, that character which was received to their prejudice, whil'st they yet governed. Was Perenni [...] famous, though Commodus then Em­perour rais'd him next to the throne? or Oliver the Barber, though Lewis 11. made him his Minion? No, for Princes can bestow greatness, but Fame lies no more under their jurisdiction the [...] the winds do, from which it doth b [...] little differ. Of all witnesses Fame [...]s the most suspect, because it ordinarily flatters most these who depended most upon it, and were at greatest to [...] to gain it's sufferage, and to depon [...] falsly against the greatest of such [...] value not it's testimony: and as it's [Page 55] report, is by law judged, to be unstable as water, So in this it resembles much the water that it presents (like to it) the straightest objects to our sight, as crooked and uneven. And since Fame depends upon the credulous multitude, and upon unrestrainable accidents, who can assure himself of it's suffrage? or believe it when it is obtained? If the Souldiers prove cowardly, and lose a battle, the General is for ever affront­ed, and yet he cannot help it: or if a Servant betray a States-mans secret, then the Masters prudence is for ever traduced. Ignominy being like all other black spots (a tenaciousness pecu­liar only to that colour) which cannot be worn off, nor washt out: And the designs of States-men being as latent, as the springs which do inwardly move mechanick machins, the people (whose intelligence cannot reach these) judge of the designs by the events: And if at any time the event answer the contrivers expectation, then the malicious multitude ascribe this [Page 56] success, either to hazard, or to their power. And, to speak seriously, power is so happy a suffragant, that it takes off much of that repute which is due to the contriver: for, who can be foyl'd having such a second? And to con­vince us, that power and command conceals what strength and energie there is really in the Governours wit, reflect but a little upon those pitifull rebels, who govern'd lately this Coun­trey, and did seem most wise, whilst they were vested with power: Of which, being now again devested, their wit falls far short of the first cast. Like those Venetian Ladies, whose native stature rises, and lowes in appearance, according to the height of these, soc­culi whereupon they walk. But if Fame be the great prize, I see not why the Literati and Virtuosi, or retir'd Curiosi, may not put in for as large a share in it, as most (if not any) States-man: For, if that maxime hold, that propter quod unum quodque est tale, propter hoc, illud ipsum est majus [Page 57] tale: certainly it follows in true Lo­gick, that seing solitary persons are the dispensers and bestowers of Fame upon great men, they cannot miss it themselves. How had Aeneas con­duct, or Achilles valour, been forgot, had not Homer or Virgil sung their Elogies? And after a great man hath defeated Kingdoms, a pedant is (like the sillie worm) able in one night, to consume that blossoming gourd of his reputation: And seing the world know not what the one did, they will be­lieve what the other said. History (which is the grand-register of Fame) is known for the most part only to re­tir'd persons, and these will admire most what suites most with their own humour: And Fame it self being most oblieged to such as study solitude, it ob­lieges ordinarily these most, because they have oblieged it. Aristotle hath prov'd himself, by his Syllogisms, a grea­ter person then Alexander his famous Schollar; Solon is more famous for his moral advice to Cresus, then Cresus, [Page 58] who possest those mountains of gold; which were the subject of his advice: and Cicero's tongue, though pull'd out of his head by Anthony, hath spoke out his praises louder, then all the accla­mations of the Roman legions and echoing artillerie could proclaim that more then Monarch. And seing that man is happiest, who is happy whil'st he is a man, such as attain to Fame by solitude, are happier then great men, because they are happy whil'st they are able to find it, whil'st the others have it only when they are not sen­sible of what they have. Compare Iulius Cesar (to the stature of whose repute our dwarffish endeavours will never be able to rise) with Lucan, who wrote the story of his wars, and ye will find Lucan the much happier: Consider Cesar, macerat oft with hun­ger, stiffned with unrewarded toil, jealous of his own souldiers, and ap­prehensive of the Senat, tortured with the uncertain events of the war, and terrified by the having kill'd his Son [Page 59] in law Pompey, after he was sure of the victory. And then return your re­flections upon Lucan, sitting in the bosome of a shaddowie grove, flanckt with a christal stream, and there creat­ing those noble lines, which have since carried his fame as far as Cesars actions; and having in this the advan­tage of Cesar, even as to posterity, that Cesars souldiers, Pompey's ill fate, the Senats irresolution, and the coward­liness of their Auxiliaries, share with Cesar in the event, and really more then he; whereas Lucan inherits the sole praise of his story now, as he did the pleasure of having wrote it whil'st he was yet alive. But to conclude the folly of Fame, consider even this gene­rous Lucan, falling under the sword of Nero; because that cruel Prince was ashamed to see himself so far out-done in wit by one of his own Subjects: and from this learn, that Fame is suspici­ous to its dependers, when it bestows it's favours, and injust, when it denyes them.

[Page 60] Next to this,Sect. 6. The pleasure of com­mand­ing others exa­min'd. the satisfaction re­ceived in commanding others, is ad­mir'd as one of the ravishing advan­tages of publick Employment: And the soul of man in this, seems to have retain'd still a false appetite of being like to it's Maker. But seing this de­sign could not be managed even by the judgement and purity of the great­est of Angels, so as not to deserve the severest punishment, and did in them prove also ineffectual; I find that little hopes can be entertained of our succeeding in it. But consider seri­ously, that it being a congenial humour in all mankind, to desire freedom; certainly great men must conclude, that their dependers would not bow to such homages, If they thought not thereby to obliege their Patrons, to the full requitall of what they so highly value: And therefore, these being debts, rather contracted by us then favours done us, I see not why we should so highly prise them; and seing in return to these, protection, sal­laries [Page 61] and Offices are expected, all which put us to real pains; consider if these imaginary pleasures deserve to be bought at the rate of such real vexa­tions. The Magnifico must himself bow to his Prince, bear his extravagan­cies, swear a friendship with these whom he hates, dispence with affronts, spend all his time in attendance at Court, and in observing these humours, which he must thereafter supersti­tiously obey; and all this, that he may gain wherewith to repay saluta­tions, flatteries, legs, congies, and such like pittifull pleasures; and that he may scrue himself so far into the respect of the people, that he may have hats pull'd off to him, which will be likewayes done (and for the same reason likewayes) to a lifeless chair of State or the meanest fool, if his shoul­ders be strong enough to bea [...] a tittle, or any other the meanest mark of his Princes favour. And that he may be magnified by his dependers, whom be­cause of their interest none will believe, [Page 62] being bribed to depone what they say of him, is not this satisfaction a meer act of fancy? And is it not saifer to translate our fancy to some other ob­ject, then to moderat it here? And who can assure himself, that when he hath arrived at that pitch of command which he presently proposes, that this shall terminat his ambition? and is not the French King as much troubled, that he cannot command the Grand-signior, as a french courtier is for being lower then his King. And after that a Chancellor, hath rendred his place, by any short possession familiar to him, he then despises what he enjoys, by the same principle which invited him to de­sire that imployment, when it was yet above his reach. But abstracting from these considerations, what can it advan­tage any man that another bows to him? It can neither cure Gout nor Gravel: And when he is displeased at any thing else, it is so far from being able to solace him, that that which vexes him most, is, that any person can [Page 63] be found who dares displease one who is so great as he: and if he had not been so great, that accident which now grieves him, could not have vexed him: so that in wishing to be great, we wish that we may be made more susceptible of affronts, then nature hath already made us.

I need not tell you, Celador, that great men are oblieg'd to attend more submis­sively their Superiors, then we do them: because these have moe designs then we; and design is the occasion of our de­pendance. So that if there be any plea­sure in liberty, we enjoy it more then these; and if there be none, why is there so much pains taken to be great, upon expectation, that greatness sets at liberty? A private man is not ob­lieged to oppose his Relations, fight against his Country, give his own Judgement the lye; all which are but the meanest impositions that some Prin­ceslay upon greatness: and why should men purchase, at so dear a rate, the li­berty to serve others, which is all that greatness can bestow?

[Page 64] I know that society is one of these satisfactions which we rank amongst the pleasures of the first magnitude;Se. ct 7. The sa­tisfacti­on of so­ciety examin'd. and that as to the possession of this, so­litariness seems to cede to publick Em­ployments. But when we consider, that the prerogative of society stands not in seeing one another, but in rational conversation, it will appear that the dif­ference is not wide. For, what plea­sure can be received by talking of new Fashions, buying and selling of Lands, advancement or ruine of Favourits, victories or defeats of stranger Princes, which is the ordinary subject of ordi­nary conversation? And really I have admir'd to see persons of virtue and honour long much to be in the City, where when they come, they found nor sought for no other divertisement then to visit one another, and there to do nothing else then to make legs, view others habit, talk of the weather, or some such pitifull subject: and it may be, if they made a farther inroad upon any other affair, they did so pick [Page 65] one another, that it afforded them mat­ter of eternal quarrel; for what was at first but an indifferent subject, is by interest adopted into the number of our own quarrels. This begets heats; heats opprobries; opprobries revenge; and revenge leads either to fret, if we cannot satisfie its thirst; or to ruine, if we cannot quench it. How many likewise are in these rencounters, tempted either to betray their igno­rance or malice? and if one know not the new name of such a dish or dress, such an intrigue, or such a quarrel or marriage, then they are esteemed block-heads. Most of men desire to frequent their Superiors, and there men must either suffer their raillery, or must not be suffered to continue in their society: If we converse with these who speak with more address then our selves, then we repine equally at our own dulness, and envy the acute­ness that accomplishes the speaker; or, if we converse with duller ani­mals then our selves, then we weary [Page 66] to draw the yoke alone, and fret at our being in ill company: But, if chance blow us in amongst our equals, then we are so at guard to catch all ad­vantages, and so interressed in point d' honneur, that it rather cruciats then recreats us: How many makes them­selves cheap by these occasions, whom we had valued highly if they had fre­quented us less? and how many fre­quent persons, who laugh at that sim­plicity which the addresser admires in himself as wit, and yet both recreat themselves with double laughters? It is remarked by Geographers, that no King alive is worship'd by his Subjects but the King of Binon, and that he is never seen by them▪ and certainly, if he were seen, he would not be worship'd. And thus these ancient Hero's were never deifi'd, till death had, by bury­ing themselves, buried the memory of these infirmities, which, though they were but few in some, and mean in others, had notwithstanding enough of allay in them to make the commit­ters, [Page 67] not only be conceived no gods, but oft-times to represent them as frail men. Familiarity is (in the proverb) said to breed contempt; which it does not only by that natural saciety, where­by nothing can become common and continue (to our apprehension) good, but likewise, by laying open to conver­sers these lapses and failours, which if they deserve not contempt, do, at least, lessen that repute which was in others founded for them rather upon Idea's which they framed of our per­fections, then upon these merits which might justly challenge them. Fami­liarity hath likewise this prejudice in it, that it blunts those endeavours in us, whereby repute is ordinarily acqui­red; and in remitting that exactness whereby we entertain strangers, we loss that share of esteem which exact­ness and politness deserves; these ex­traordinary parad's, made ordinarily to our less familiars, being a holy-dayes dress in conversation, which though it flatters, ceases not therefore to weary [Page 68] us. Our Saviour does himself, and of himself, say it in holy Scriptures, that a Prophet hath no honour iu his own countrey; and the foolish Jews gave him ground to say so, when they con­cluded that he could not work miracles, because his mother and brethren dwelt amongst them, and because they did know him and his extraction.

But if variety be that which is ad­mired in society, certainly our own thoughts, or other mens Books, can in these far exceed conversation; posses­sing above it this advantage, that we can never be either importun'd or betray'd by these, as is much to be fear'd from the other. And it is most remarkable, that after Solomon hath fixt a vanity and vexation of spirit upon all the act­ings of men, and hath after several times subjoyned it to publick Employment, he only sayes, that reading is a weary­ness to the flesh, without adding it to be a vexation of spirit. But albeit so­ciety were to be valued at the rate ima­gin'd, yet solitary persons injoy more [Page 69] [...]he sweets of society then great men [...]o: for, in all addresses to these, the addressers consider only what is sit for their private interest, and little else is added, besides the dropping of a flat­tering expression or two: and when any dis-interessed subject is fallen upon with them, it is spoke to with so much constraint, and the speakers are so hem'd in by discretion and respect, that the discourse is manag'd with much dis­advantage. And our very duty teach­eth us, that to speak learnedly, is pe­dantry there, and to speak religiously is impertinent: So that we must either transgresse our duty, or else be mean in our conversation. But, albeit the hu­mour of the Grandee were so noble, as to admit of freedom in conversation; yet few ingenuous spirits (who are the only best companions) can speak freely in publick, or to publick persons: where­as, the most hide-bound Orator can pour his conceptions into his neighbours bo­som, in their natural set and fashion, and with as little alteration as a discourse [Page 70] receives, by being cast off the Press upon paper.

Reflect but upon these many thou­sand apologies which are carry'd up and down amongst such as converse much together; and which, as they make up the greatest part both of their em­ployment and vexation; So are not in­cident to any who live solitarly, these being the natural product of conference and rencounters: And ye may con­clude, that either these who make such apologies, are as real in making them, as they seem passionat in having them to be believed; and then, con­versation may appear to be most dan­gerous, seing these prove, that men may easily mistake, and are so easily mistaken by such as daily frequent them, as yet to need so solemn and so numerous apologies; or else these are but feing'd, and then they prove con­versation to be yet more dangerous; see­ing, as men are subject to mistake and be mistaken, so our own real apologies [Page 71] for those mistakes will not be belie­ved, because of the frequency of other counterfeits; nor can we, for the same reason, discern whether such as are made to us be real or not: what was the subject of this dayes conference, will be the subject of an accusation to morrow; and that secret, which we thought we did but lately depositate in our friends breasts, will shortly fly in our faces from the mouth of our ene­mies: But though our friend were real and secret, yet his inconstancy may make these either no virtues at all, or ineffectual and unprofitable ones; a quality now so ordinary, that I take pleasure to see both my self and others mistake the several interests which they knew intimatly a year ago, cabals and intrigues moulding them­selves almost every month in different shapes, according to the humours or interests of the parties concern'd: And so pestilential is the malignity of con­versation, that even Ladies fail here, and this piece of frailty they are suffer'd [Page 72] to cary about them to keep them from being ador'd,, because of their other amiable qualities: For, if their con­verse were not dangerous, because that any error is there a crime, and no af­front can there be reveng'd, certainly there should no place else be frequent­ed. Consider, I pray you, how dis­courses are laught at, though never so witty, if three or four combine to re­present them as ridiculous; how a slip, either in the choice or accent of a word, becomes irreparable, by being in­curr'd in a society where nothing is de­sign'd but censure; and when any proves happy in that trade of jybing, they must be gauding abroad (so tempting is this folly) though sure to meet in these journeys the repute of slight or dishonest; and that Jearer, who at the beginning was esteem'd a wit, is, by continuing his trade (yea though he improve in it) undervalued as a Buffoon.

It was nobly observed by Marcus An­tonius, that great Emperour and Phi­losopher, [Page 73] that a Weaver or Cobler, would willingly sequestrat themselves from all society, that they might prose­cute their several trades; and yet man cannot retire himself, that he may ad­mire the creation, and exercise his own soul, which is the great trade of a rati­onal Creature, and of a true Philoso­pher. And since gain can prevail with all so far, as to make them renounce society, and esteem company an idle folly; certainly, if we would reflect upon the great advantages of solitude, both as to morality and devotion, it were an easie matter to prefer it to those which are in themselves but trifles, if not burthens.

I have these three Arguments to perswade me,Sect 8. that solitude, That solitude is more pleasing then publick Em­ploy­ment. Contem­plation, or a Countrey-life, have more of pleasure in them then publick Em­ployment. The first is, that pleasure, being in men, an act of the fancy, and consequently of the soul; certainly these pleasures, which do more imme­diatly affect the soul, must needs be the [Page 74] most active pleasures; and such are these which arise from contemplation: whereas sensual pleasures, and such as arise from exterior objects, do arrive but consequentially at that immaterial agent, and so they do move it with far less vigour. A second is, that Contemplation does often drive our souls into extasies, and is so charming, that it may be rather said to ravish then please, committing so open a rap­ture upon our souls, that it pulls them almost into a state of separation: Thus those old Hermits are the members of the ancient Church, who are oftest re­mark't to have become thus nobely sensless, being as far transported out of themselves, as they had transported themselves formerly out of the world, and lying whole weeks under that spi­ritual amazement, and drunk, as it were, with those streams of consolati­ons which slow from those blessed Cisterns, the open wounds of our glo­rious Saviour. And amongst the Heathens, did not Pithagoras almost [Page 75] distract with the satisfaction conceiv'd in finding that noble and famous de­monstration mention'd in the second Book of Euclide? Was not Pliny so ravisht with the pleasure of contem­plating the rarities of the hill Vesuvius, as, for further enquiry to approach so near, that he lost himself in its flames? And was not Archimedes so much pleas'd with his demonstration upon the sands of Siracuse, that he would not lose so much time from it as where­in he might beg his life from the rude conquerours: Whereas, besides what comes from fear or revenge, we read nor hear of no such mighty passion in any of these who live in the fruition of publick Employments, or sophisti­cat satisfactions. The third Argu­ment is, that we find the satisfaction resulting from honour and ambition, to ced to very mean pleasures, and to such as have nothing of satisfying in them, besides what they owe to the corruption of our senses, and to be such as do themselves yield easily to this [Page 76] energetick pleasure of contemplation.

Is not a Gallant, and even a States­man, who is in love with a Mistris, and sometimes with a whore, or hath an unquenchable thirst for wine or com­panionrie, willing to prefer the satis­faction of these passions to all advance­ment, or the pleasures which he can receive by them? And this evidences, that this desire to govern, is, of it's own nature, none of the strongest; at least that our fancy may have other objects less dangerous, and equally pleasing, whereupon to dote. And a Pedant, reading Pompey's actions in good Latine, is as much enchanted with it, at least with the having writ­ten handsomely his Epitaph, as Pom­pey could have been himself in the fru­ition of all his glories, and the most spreading ruff of his pride. And a Countrey Gentleman is as much taken with a happy chase, or a Clown with a mean hire, as the happiest Favourit can be with the purchase of the highest office, which the fear to lose, or new pre­tences, [Page 77] and much anxious attendance, doth lessen much to him: But if these concessions of gain or honour occasion raptures in the receivers, that joy brings more tickling with it, then is fit for the spirit of man to receive; and occasions want of sleep, discomposure in dis­course, and all these other extravagan­cies which proceed from grief at other times: Whereas, Solitude gives no other pleasures then what is fit for our recrea­tion, or sutable to our reason and stoicall indifferency; so that seing eve­ry state hath pleasant objects provided for the enjoyers fancy, that state must be most preferable which fancies objects the least dangerous; and such is Solitude, but such is not publick Employment.

I think the ancient Philosophers put but a mean complement upon man, when they call'd him a little world: for certainly, his vast soul hath in it nobler idea's of all that is created, then the finitness of matter will allow to the Creation it self; whose spirit is so nar­row, but it can in one thought repre­sent [Page 78] larger Sphears, a more vast Globe, and more boundless Seas, then all these which were brought from the bosom of the first Chaos? And after infinit expence hath impoverished a building Prince, the meanest Peasant can in his fancy add exceedingly to it's bulkish­ness; and which is more, that faculty can mould idea's of thousands of species never yet created, that can bring forth moe monsters then Africk, and can pro­duce moe novelties then America: and as we cannot but admire these pro­ductions, for their variety; So we can­not but love them, because they are our own. And thus, seing there can be no pleasure in that variety which is to be decerned in the world, but what our fancy takes, (for, what else is there in beholding real Castles, Navies, Courts or Cities, but a divertising of our fan­cies? for nature needs none of those) certainly, retirement hath in this the start of it's rival: for there, fancy is at fuller freedom, and roaves with less contraction then when it is limited by [Page 79] the narrowness of the senses; through which wickets, certainly nothing can enter which is angust or ample. In publick we see the same men most or­dinarily still act the same things; and we our selves are so much busied with our interest, that we regard little even the small variety which is discoverable in them. And certainly, it is a great dis­paragement to the Creation to think, that there is not variety enough there, to busie our meditation; or that there is less there then in a City or Court: It is true that we'll see there variety of Hangings, Cabinets, and such like toys; but if we would view the various faces of the sky but one day, we would perceive more of variety in those, more of excellent colours and various mo­tions, then in ten thousand such trifles as these. Consider but the beau­ty of one tulip, and it's several freckles; the motion of one Bird, and it's several wheelings; the shapes of several worms, and their different crawlings; and ye will find task enough, and more [Page 80] variety there, then a City can afford, wherein they may represent you a painted Rose, but not it's smell; the shape of a Foule, but not it's motion: And yet men there dot upon that one quality of shape in pictures, more then upon ten thousand reall species in the complex of all their excellent qualities; which if ye call fineness, I see no reason why ye may not call madness virtue. It is not then want of variety in na­ture, but want of observation in us, which occasions this errour; and he understood all things infinitly better then we, who said, that Solomon in all his glory was not like one Lily of the field. It's reported of a great Phi­losopher, that for fifty years he em­ployed himself in the observation of Bees, and all that time found both new task and pleasure; and never any could say that he had observed fully all that was to be observed in floures, Anatomy, Astrology, or any of these Sciences, amongst which the least co­pius in measuring lengths hath advan­tage [Page 81] of our lives; and yet we com­plain. that retirement (where these are only to be found) hath not employ­ment or divertisement enough for us.

But if these suffice not, my dear Celador, enter into your own breast, and there survey the several operations of your own soul, the progress of your passions, the struglings of your appe­tite, the wandrings of your fancy; and ye will find, I assure you, more variety in that one piece, then there is to be learned in all the Courts of Chri­stendome. Represent to your self the last age, all the actions and interests in it, how much this person was infatuat with zeal, that person with lust; how much one pursued honour, and ano­ther riches; and in the next thought, draw that Scene, and represent them all turn'd to dust and ashes.

The world is a Comedy, where eve­ry man acts that part which providence hath assigned him; and as it is esteem­ed more noble to look on then to act, So really, I know no securer box, from [Page 82] which to behold it, then a safe solitude, and it is easier to feel then to express the pleasure which may be taken in standing aloof, and in contemplating the reelings of the multitude, the ex­centrick motions of great men, and how fate recreats it self in their ruine, as if it fed them with success, as the Ro­mans fed their Gladiators, who serv'd for nothing else but in beating one another, to recreat the disinteressed beholders. Consider how some are cartelling for not drinking of a glass, others fretting at the promotion of their equals; one vext that he was not safely delivered of his prepared har­rangue; another scanning every syl­lable of his frowning Mistris letter:Hera­clitus. Demo­critus. Sect. 9. Soli­tude enriches more then publick Employ­ment. And even these humours again laugh't at by some; and that laughter weept at by others of these Virtuosi's, who pretend to a Dictatorship in moral philosophy.

Some admire publick Employment, and prefer it to solitude, because the one gains (whilst the other wastes) an [Page 83] opulent fortune: But these should con­sider, that as these Merchant-ventu­rers would eminently deserve to be esteemed mad, who would hazard their Stock in a voyage, where certainly ten of a thousand bottoms will not return unshipwrack't; So pretenders to advancement must be mad, seing scarce ten of a thousand prove suc­cessfull in the design, so few are the preferments which can enrich, and so many the hazards in reaching them; and which is worse, of these ten which are prefer'd, scarce four will be found, who do not prove so unhap­pily long-liv'd, as not to survive their conquests and honours; and having got a glimpse only of happiness, En passant, do become so much the more miserable, that they have been once happy. And as to these with whom greatness is pleas'd to continue, do they not oft-times, by raising themselves as high as their fancy, raise themselves too high for their estates, and the one by swelling make the other to burst? How few Grandees are not forc'd to [Page 84] eek up their spendings with contracted debts after their own revenues are wasted? whereas such as live privatly, and in a Countrey-life, transmit to their posterity the remainders of that yearly rent which rests after all neces­sities are defray'd: So that the Coun­trey-man must be rich, seing his neces­sities overcome not his fortune; and publick persons must be reputed poor, seing they have not sufficiency for their maintenance. Is not a little man as well cloath'd in his four yards of cloath, as a taler is in six? And are not the Princes of Italy esteem'd but petty Princes, because in desiring to be such, they have made these fortunes which might have made them rich Subjects, too small for the support of so weighty titles, as that of Soveraign? But ad­mit that these enjoyments continued for the enjoyers life-time; yet GOD ordinarily takes from the length of the duration what these added to the breadth of their conquests: As a too hasty concoction destroyes the body; [Page 85] So a too soon conquest estate destroyes the conquest: and what like Ionah's Gourd flourishes in one night, loses the next these blossoms wherewith it was adorn'd. Hasten not to be rich, was the counsel of a great Moralist, as well as Divine, and GOD Almighty gave us no other task, then to gain our bread, and that with the sweat of our brow: So that in desiring great and suddain estates, we are peccant both as to the matter, and manner of our ac­quisition: And what can we propose reasonably to our selves in thus doing? for little can defend us against our pre­sent necessities, and nothing can de­fend against the future. And when these riches are pyl'd up, they serve either to satisfie nature, and that is easie; or to satisfie fancy, and that is impossible. When a publick Mini­ster hath gain'd, by either toil, op­pression, or a long courted favour, a great sum, he possibly makes a great entertainment, or buy's a great Jewel, with that or the equivalent, and [Page 86] either surfets in the one, or vexes him­self in losing the other; and albeit he do not, what pleasure is there in either of these, but the serving of our fancy, af­ter the same manner that children do, when we laugh at them for hugging toyes and bables? Most men are as much troubled in the spending of what they gain, as in gaining it; and thus one trou­ble creates another by an alternat suc­cession. All we gain (saith Solomon) is either for food or rayment (pomp and supersluity being no design allow'd by nature) and much or fine of either of these, serve not to defend against either cold or hunger: And so seing the Pea­sant or solitary Philosopher, attains sooner to the true end of riches by his sobriety, then the other by his abun­dance; certainly he must be the richer; and that is most excellent which at­tains soonest to the end for which it was destinat: If such want money to give Lawers or Physicians, they also want employment for these; and without employment no man desires money: [Page 87] So that riches are really (though they remain) but like the manna, Exod. 16. 18 whereof he who gathered little had abundance; and he who gathered too much, had nothing over: And if riches remain not but take the wings of the morn­ing, and flee away, as oft they do, then consider that publick Persons are most subject to these alterations; for for­feiturs, alterations of Government, or favour, intestine wars, luxurie, gain, popular fury, or an heir confiding in his fathers prosperity, or educat amidst many spending wanters, and such other dissolute persons as frequent publick places, will sooner drive to that necessity, which men should only fear, then moderation or retirement can do: And when great men are im­poverish't by these accidents, they are asham'd, because of their former state, and incapable by want of suitable breeding to repair their losses, or satis­fie their necessities by pains or frugali­ty, as privat men can; and which is worse then all this, their former pros­perity [Page 88] makes want far more unsup­portable to such, then to the other, to whom the greatest hardships have been rendered familiar.

As to such who think,Sect. 10. The sa­tisfacti of lust consi­der'd. that publick Employment and Command will af­ford them convenience to satisfie their lust, I can say nothing, but that it's better to live in a sober solitude, where­in men may so tame their lusts, that they need not satisfie them: There is no pleasure in eating but to such as are hungry; and certainly, it were for our advantage, rather that we could live without being hungry, then even to have as much as might satisfie hunger when it comes: High feeding, and want of better employment, begets this; and what impairs these extin­guishes it: Whereas, I am confident, such as are servilly subject to it, suffer more anxiety in the purchasing of that conveniency, then private men can do by the want of bread: For they will for that purchase disobliege friends, cheat their intimats, prove ungrate to [Page 89] their sweet bed-fellows, suffer them­selves to be talked of, and run a thou­sand other hazards, which they would not encounter for staving off the great­est of these necessities under which mean men suffer; and when this is gain'd, what brings it, but sickness, jealou­sies, horrours in conscience, and re­proach amongst men?

When I compare solitude with pub­lick Employment,Sect. 11. The re­creati­ons of both compa­red. as to their recreati­ons, I find, that the one follows only such as because nature hath invented, it doth therefore sweeten, and such as have no danger in them, besides that of being too much charming; as hunting, hawking, angling, and the like, wherein we have occasion to learn, as well as to praise, the work­manship of our mighty Maker: And in the other, such divertisements are most familiar, as if they have not been invented to gain money, or seed lust, yet are not really recreations, if they look not towards these ends; and which are attended by so much toil, fretting, [Page 90] sweating, swearing, lying, cheating, and other vices, that their great pleasures are the worst of torments except their tragick periods; of which nature, are cards, dice, tennis, danceing, drink­ing, feasting and whooring, which do oftner divert men from being real Christians, then divertise those who are really such. If great men enjoy not recreations, they become unfit for employment, and employment be­comes a burden to them; and if they sequestrat the meanest portion of time for privat recreations, they are curst by those thousands, whom multitude of affairs, rather then laziness, hath de­fer'd, and who are so unreasonable as only to consider that they are put off, but not to consider wherefore.

Though food and rayment are no constituents,Sect. 12. Both compa­red as to their food and ray­ment yet they are too often lookt upon as considerable appa­nages of our more material happiness; and these used by great men, though they cannot make the enjoyer happy, yet serve to make the by-standers con­clude [Page 91] themselves unhappy in the want of them: And therefore I shall make these few reflections upon both, whereby it will appear, that as to these, the meanest men are more happy then the greatest Monarch.

As to Raiment, certainly, that used by private men, is most noble, most easie, and attended by fewest in­conveniences: Most noble, because in these great men follow the mode, but mean men make their own mode, and so the one, as to that, is a Subject, and the other a Soveraign: Great men are servants not only to the fashion, but to such cloaths as are in it, they must abstain from every thing which may soil or disorder them, and must employ much of that time and life, which is the only thing they pray for, and which they buy with much torture and money from Physicians, meerly in adjusting them every morning, and though it should prejudge their health or estate, they must have these fashion­able and rich. How many shifts will [Page 92] be used, and other pleasures abandon­ed, that money may be got to give for these; whereas a solitary person wears such as are convenient for his health, and may be subservient to any em­ployment; and that his are more easie, appears from this, that great men, when they resolve to take their ease, lay aside their robes, which serv'd for no­thing else, but make themselves sweat, and others gaze: Jewels and Em­broderies may make cloaths, by being stiff, useless and insupportable, but neither are necessary to cover our na­kedness, or entertain our natural heat. And wen the fashion changes, these rich sutes serve only either to make the owner ridiculous, if he wear them, or to make him fret and grumble when he must lay them aside; and though they continue fashionable, yet if ano­ther out-strip us in a more sumptuous suit or retinue, then we repine, and by missing our design of being more gallant then others, we likewise miss our happiness; which, because it was [Page 93] not plac'd upon something which was in our own power, it is therefore in the power of every other man to take from us.

As to Food, that which is us'd by mean men is both more natural and more pleasant; more natural, because it is prepar'd with less toil, and being cook'd by nature it self, serves nature more adequatly, as to all intents and purposes; it neither entices men to eat till they be unable for their affairs, nor brings it sickness; it affords strength, and prolongs life; whereas, when publick Employment brings riches, and these have hir'd cooks, all they can do, is to cheat the stomach into an oppression, and by fumes sent from thence, chase away fine thoughts out of our heads to make room for vapours. Solitary persons dine when they please, but great men when it suits with their business; and as they are more subject to invitations, to feasts and entertainments; So they must there sit longer, and eat more then [Page 94] nature requires, and they must either dis-obliege their Hoste, or kill them­selves. I know many, who in place of complementing such as they invite, make them envy them; and many who are vext when they hear of ano­ther who lives at a nobler rate then themselves, and who pillage the poor, that they may entertain the rich; That the Food of private men is more plea­sant, arises from this, that the stomach hath, by its fumes, depraved the taste, so that nothing can rellish; or custome hath render'd the finest de­licacies so ordinary, that nothing can appear pleasant; a Peasant by fast­ing longer, or working more labori­ously then at other times, can thereby heighten the rellish of his dish beyond all the art in the Emperours kitchen, or Apothecaries shop. And I have heard of a Merchants wife, who being much subject to diseases whil'st her husbands trade flourish'd, did live very long, and very healthfully, after he was broke. And when rich persons fall [Page 95] sick, who knows but their Physician may contribute to make the disease continue long, or the apparent air to make it end suddainly: And when the Physician is honest, does he not forbid the use of all these delicacies, whereof greatness boasts of as an advantage?

The greatest pretext used to excuse this zeal,Sect. 3. Object, That the Coun­trey must be serv'd. after publick Employment, is, that the Countrey must be served, and man is not made for himself: To which my answer is, that this makes employment the object of our duty, not of our passion, and infers it as a ne­cessity, not as a choice, which is all that is contended for: Who is so ab­surd as to deny his Countrey that ser­vice, which is really but the return of it's protection? Or, who will be so mad as not to contribute either skill or agility in saving that Ship from sinking, wherein himself sails? And this makes me conclude such as rebell against their Governors, to be as mad as these are, who pull down their own houses, which defends them oft [Page 96] against the circumambient and bluster­ing storms; and gives me a veneration for the persons of such as are my Supe­riours, to whom nothing said here, that is disadvantagious, should be applied. But if the serving of our Countrey be that impulse, which only acts us on to undertake employments, this same design should make us wait till we be called for by our Countrey: do not pre­tenders to employment, in desiring each to enter first, obstruct all entry to employments? As we see, in en­tring at publick places, where the pressing of all hinders the entry of all; do we not upon this account oft re­mark, that offices are kept vacand by Princes, because of the multitude of rivals who compet for preference, and so by their hast to enter, prejudge the Countrey more, then by their entry they can assist it: Whereas, if it were for the publick good that we under­took these employments, all would wait till their rational reluctancy were vanquisht, with either the importu­nities [Page 97] of their Prince, or conveniency of their Countrey: And when that design for which they were called, were satisfi'd or driven to it's design'd pe­riod, they would willingly solace them­selves again, by their retreat to these Countrey-employments, from which they were at first rather driven, then brought. And certainly, if the pub­lick interest were that which only did invite men to appear in publick, they would not repine at their being laid aside, nor force an entry through the very sides of their Countrey, making a breach in its ramparts, because they cannot enter at it's gates, as too many pretenders daily do.

Should not such as the State have thought fit to remove from em­ployment,Sect. 14 It is just that there should be chan­ges in favour. consider, that others have an equal title by nature, to ad­vancement with them; and that, as if their predecessors in these offi­ces had not been remov'd, they had not been advanc'd? So either it was injustice to remove these, or else i [...] [Page 98] is no injustice to remove them; and they should rather prove grateful for having enjoy'd these honours so long, then ingrate in repining, that they re­tain'd them not still, which were as unnatural as if the Sun should constant­ly dwell in one of his twelve houses (making that the only Summer-house in heaven) and should not, by successive withdrawings and returns, magnifie his presence by his absence, and by that constant change be so just, as not to gratifie all, that he may please a few. If these, who are in offices, were not subject to alterations, they would presume too much, and such as wanted them would certainly dispair; where­as, now the fear of being degraded, makes such as are in employment vir­tuous and compassionat, fearing least their practice become their dittey; and the hope of advancement makes such as yet have not attain'd to it, walk so as may deserve applause, and so as they may shun reproach: If such alte­rations were not incident to great men, [Page 99] they would oft want occasion and time to repent of those sins which they com­mitted in publick, either by inadver­tence, having their thoughts distracted with many things; or by extravagan­cie, having their thoughts rais'd above their just level. And if there were not such alterations, great men should neither have time to admire GODS many wonders, nor to review his ma­ny mercies, and it should be unknown whether Greatness or solitude were the most Christian state.

Many noble spirits have been fright­ed from solitude, Sect. 15 Soli­tude lessens not our vivaci­ty of spi­rit. as conceiving it to be a state wherein the soul contracts a rust, which cankers it's own substance and makes it unpleasant to others, and that it begets men the name of a Countrey-clown, and unfashions him as to the world. But these should con­sider, that seing the finitness of our souls allows not a compleat accomplish­ment, it is our wisdom to fill our nar­row rooms with the most necessar pro­visions, and these are, the knowledge of [Page 100] God, and his works; from which will result that tranquility of spirit which is peculiar to Philosophy, and is the guest of solitude: So that when in exchange of complement, courtship, knacks, reparties, and such other appanages of conversation, we be­come pious, learned and moral Phi­losophers; I think us losers in no other sense, then a tree is, when it's gaudy flourish ripens into such fruit as can both please the rellish, and feed the body. It may be, a Philosopher may forget by his solitude whether to give a Lady his right or left hand; but if in his solitude he hath learn'd to know what is right or wrong in her or his own actions, I think she should esteem him so much the more, and he is by much the more happier. And if the world conclude him improven, who in learn­ing how to order an Army, hath forgot how to order a ball; I see not why they should account him an Apostate in breeding, who is so intent upon the contemplation of a Deity and it's pro­ductions, [Page 101] as not to care to adore these mortal goddesses, except for whom the pressers of this objection have little or no devotion, being rather devoted ser­vants to these, then devout servants to the Almighty: and how can that soul rust which is in continual exercise, as these of Philosophers are? And this is more to be feared in such, as by living in publick are still busied, and yet idle: for, may not we be busie in soliciting for unnecessary favours to others, in receiv­ing and paying visits, in driving on un­necessary factions, and yet our souls contract a rust, whose cancker may make it at last moulder away to no­thing? For, what share can our souls take in such actions, wherein it hath no other concernment then such as a man hath in the motions of his enemies?

Let us then admire solitude (noble Celador) seing to it religious persons flee when they would seek GODS face; sick men when they would seek health: here States-men find their plots, learn'd men their knowledge, [Page 102] Poets their sublime fancies. In soli­tude, nestle the greatest of Saints; in publick, range the greatest of Sinners, to the one we owe the best of inven­tions, to the other the worst of cheats.

Having thus rais'd this pitifull structure to i'ts Cape-stone, I resolve to furnish it with these two Land­skips; the one of solitude, the other of Greatness.

When I come to represent solitude, Sect. 16 The Land­skip of solitude I must confess that it's advantages are so great, as that if any thing can surpass them, it must be the esteem I have of them. And for contriving it's Land­skip, I represent to my self Quintus Maetius post humius, that noble Roman, who having been brought from his plough to govern that great City, did after he had conquer'd it's enemies, re­turn to his former employment; and being ready to leave them, call'd for a ballance, and▪ by putting the falces (or marks of Authority) in one scale, and his plough in the other, did let [Page 103] them see, that these Imperial Ensigns were the far lighter. Not far from him, I represent Timon the noble Athe­nian, and Gerson Chancellour of France, who starv'd after they had spent their estates in complement and li­berality; exclaiming against all pub­lick persons as perfidious, and friends (as they found) to a mans fortune, but not to himself. Here Diogenes under­values so far all Alexanders presents, as to prefer one sight of the Sun to all that he could command, who com­manded all that the Sun shin'd upon: and there Fiacre, that illustrious Scot, refuses to return from his Hermitage to receive the Crown of his Ancestors. Here lurks St. Ierom, laughing in the midst of his own torments at the fol­lies of the world: and there the great Constantine bewails with tears the want of solitude; and the multitude of these distractions, which though they did not extinguish, yet did disturb his devotions. Below these stands a Countrey-gentleman, admiring the [Page 104] folly of a Venetian Embassador, for be­ing vext to death, because he was at a festival plac'd upon a stool, and not up­on a chair; and smiling to see a Rus­sian Embassador, who could not step (though very sound) till he was led by two attendants; and to hear of the Emperour and Turks Embassadours, who at their last meeting, behov'd like two Pendula's Clocks, either to set their paces equally, or else not to be reputed just. Represent to your self rich Valleys, where the libe­ral soyl needs neither be bryb'd by yearly accessions, nor courted with nice attendance, nor torn by instruments (as in City-gardens) before it will be­stow any thing upon it's Masters; but without keeping close doors (as these do) keeps an open house to all passen­gers for herbs and floures of all tastes and liveries. Here the Nightingale is constrain'd to stay without any other cage, then that of the native pleasures of the place; and here the Sun looks from morning to night with a pleasing [Page 105] countenance, upon the off-spring of his own beams, neither clouded with smoak, nor intercepted by angles of falling houses; and these, in effect, dif­fer from Gardens, but as Prose from Meeter, where the materials are oft­times richer, though the contrivance be not so artificial. Here the levelling, though aspiring, trees, lay their heads together, to protect such as seek shel­ter under their well-cloath'd branches: and the Cristal-streams run slowly and turn many windings, as if by that and their quiet murmurings, they would express an unwillingness to leave so pleasant a field; and in token of their thankfulness, do in a generous manner (because without shewing how) enrich freely the neighbouring Lands, and draws to their Master his picture in one instant, without putting him to the pains of frequent or long sitting, be­yond all the skill of Vandyck or Angelo; entertaining likewise for him whole plantations of fishes, which may afford him both aliment and recreations be­yond [Page 106] all that the City can boast, where water never comes, but empty, and as a prisoner, and like all other things and persons corrupts, if it but stay a while there. Here old age crowns, with in­nocence's livery, these who have inno­cently improven their youth; and youth bestows strength, because it knows that the strength it bestows is not to be revel'd away in whooring and banqueting. Here Ladies scorn, and need not submit their native colours to fairding, and in their blushing at the sins and impudence of City-gallants, shew a scarlet far exceeding the noblest Lillies, though Solomon and all the glo­ry of his Court was not to be compar'd to one of these. Here Complements (which, like cob-webs, are but the ar­tificial texture of pitifull stuff, woven by poisonous spiders) are look'd upon as unnecessar and dangerous; unneces­sar, because there goes much of time and pains to their contrivance, yet do they not perswade such as they are ad­drest to, to believe them so well as [Page 107] Countrey-ingenuity does it's inhabi­tants: and dangerous, because they are ordinarily but handsom disguises for such cheating inclinations as are sent abroad to betray the party concern'd. Here Lovers are not like prisoners, coupled together with chains of met­tal, nor joyn'd, like Princes, in a league for civil interest. Jealousie, that mo­ral feaver which tortures so the soul of man, as that GOD was content to or­dain a miracle for satisfying his doubts, finds no employment here: for virtue entertains these matches which it self hath made, and lengthens out their pro­ductions to many moe ages, then are able to consume thousands of publick families. And (to dispatch) here, Na­ture, the eldest daughter of Providence, governs as Queen-regent, and receives so absolute a difference to all her laws, that man may be here thought to be restor'd to that primitive innocence, which he formerly forfeited by his courtship.

[Page 108] For framing the Land-skip of Great­ness,Sect. 17 The Land­skip of Great­ness. represent to your self Alexander running like a mad man up and down the world, and killing every man who would not call him master (for certain­ly, we would call any man mad, who would behave so in our streets, and yet they might as justly do the one as he the other) and all this to gain as much as might make him a person wor­thy of being poyson'd; and esteeming all his greatness so meanly, as to pre­fer to it's enjoyment the embraces of a whore, who would have prosti­tute her self to the meanest of his at­tenders. Here lies Tiberius toiling more for the title of Emperour, then a Por­ter would do for bread, and yet prefer­ing to all that Roman pomp (after he knew what it was) the pleasure of see­ing a naked Strumpet, then which no man is so mean, as not to enjoy many greater pleasures. There stands Hani­bal, as a Switz, guarding the King of Bithinia; here Chancellor Bacon starts at liberty, and there the Duke d' Alva [Page 109] starv'd in prison; in this bed lyes a jealous Courtier, tortured with ano­thers growing, not only greater, but even equal with him; and in another lyes one loaded with wounds, received for his Countrey or Prince, but not re­garded by them: not far from these lyes Anthony stobbing himself, and Cesar stob'd by the Senate. In another cor­ner, ye may perceive a rich heir selling that rich Suit to a frippery, wherein he had but lately spent a great Fortune at Court; and another despairing under these wounds which he did receive, for challenging one who took the wall of him. Here ye may see the head of a Nobleman, who to be reveng'd of his Prince for complementing another, was content to hazard the happiness both of Prince and Countrey, in a rebellion which at last could not but ruine him­self and his family; and there ye may see the quarters of another, who after he had gain'd much more honour then he at first design'd, yet was so desirous to have more, as that to satisfie that de­sired [Page 110] super-addition, he would hazard what he was already possessed of in jeo­pardies, which any man not blinded by ambition, might have seen to be fatal. In a third corner, lyes heaps of such as Somerset, Marquess D' Ancre, Duke Murdock, Cardinal Wolsey and others, whom nothing but their affronts have made famous, albeit they were the grea­test Ministers and Minions of their age.

In a fourth corner are represented many great men, who having left a pleasant Country to come to a City, covered with smoak and infected with stink, are there vext to get money to entertain their Ladies in that luxury and fineness, whereof the one tempts them, and the other tempts others to entertain these amours which are dan­gerous, and may prove fatal; and who have likewise quit their own families, wherein all these respects were pay'd them, that they are glad to have occa­sion to pay at that Court, for which they exchang'd their former residence; and who, by the diseases occasion'd by [Page 111] want of that free air which they have left, are rendred unable to rellish all the other pleasures which they expected to enjoy in the City. And if after all this, ye will not conclude a solitary Life to be more noble then publick Em­ployment, yet at least ye will, with seraphick Mr. Boyl, confess, that there is such a kind of difference betwixt virtue shaded by a private, and shining in a publick life, as there is betwixt a a candle carryed aloft in the open air, and inclosed in a lantern; in the for­mer of which situations it gives more light, but in the latter it is in less dan­ger to be blown out.

I shall (Celador) in this last place, close this Discourse with the last ad­vantage of solitude; which is, that by abstracting 'its favourits from being rivals to great men, and from being sharers with covetous men, it conci­liats to them that applause, which as it was due to their merit, so was ob­structed by these and the like in­centives.

[Page 112]Defunctus amabitur ide [...] hath been the fare of many who were persecuted whilst they were alive; and death and solitude have this in common, that they suffer enemies and obliege friends, to express their former esteems: fame resembling in this a shot, where the ball is sled, before the report arrive at our ears.

But I have spent so much of the age of this night, in ending this Letter, that it now begins to grow gray; and the dapling twilight brings as much light as to let me see, that I have been rather zealous, then manerly, in shewing you how much I am,

Dear Celador,

Your most humble Servant, and sincere Well-wisher.


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