Love of Men, which varies as his Objects, Profitable, Pleasant, Honest

Love of Men, which varies as his Objects, Profitable, Pleasant, Honest

Valesius, lib. 3. contr. 13, defines this love which is in men, "to be an affection of both powers, appetite and reason." The rational resides in the brain, the other in the liver (as before hath been said out of Plato and others) ; the heart is diversely affected of both, and carried a thousand ways by consent. The sensitive faculty most part overrules reason, the soul is carried hoodwinked, and the understanding captive like a beast. "The heart is variously inclined, sometimes they are merry, sometimes sad, and from love arise hope and fear, jealousy, fury, desperation." Now this love of men is diverse, and varies, as the object varies, by which they are enticed, as virtue, wisdom, eloquence, profit, wealth, money, fame, honour, or comeliness of person, &c. Leon Hubreus, in his first dialogue, reduceth them all to these three, utile, jucundum, honestum, profitable, pleasant, honest; (out of Aristotle belike 8. moral.) of which he discourseth at large, and whatsoever is beautiful and fair, is referred to them, or any way to be desired. "To profitable is ascribed health, wealth, honour, &c., which is rather ambition, desire, covetousness, than love:" friends, children, love of women, all delightful and pleasant objects, are referred to the second. The love of honest things consists in virtue and wisdom, and is preferred before that which is profitable and pleasant: intellectual, about that which is honest. St. Austin calls "profitable, worldly; pleasant, carnal; honest, spiritual. Of and from all three, result charity, friendship, and true love, which respects God and our neighbour." Of each of these I will briefly dilate, and show in what sort they cause melancholy.

Amongst all these fair enticing objects, which procure love, and bewitch the soul of man, there is none so moving, so forcible as profit; and that which carrieth with it a show of commodity. Health indeed is a precious thing, to recover and preserve which we will undergo any misery, drink bitter potions, freely give our goods: restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee, bountiful he is, thankful and beholding to thee; but give him wealth and honour, give him gold, or what shall be for his advantage and preferment, and thou shalt command his affections, oblige him eternally to thee, heart, hand, life, and all is at thy service, thou art his dear and loving friend, good and gracious lord and master, his Mecænas; he is thy slave, thy vassal, most devote, affectioned, and bound in all duty: tell him good tidings in this kind, there spoke an angel, a blessed hour that brings in gain, he is thy creature, and thou his creator, he hugs and admires thee; he is thine for ever. No loadstone so attractive as that of profit, none so fair an object as this of gold; nothing wins a man sooner than a good turn, bounty and liberality command body and soul:

"Munera (crede mihi) placant hominesque deosque;
Placatur donis Jupiter ipse datis."

"Good turns doth pacify both God and men,
And Jupiter himself is won by them."

Gold of all other is a most delicious object; a sweet light, a goodly lustre it hath; gratius aurum quam solem intuemur, saith Austin, and we had rather see it than the sun. Sweet and pleasant in getting, in keeping; it seasons all our labours, intolerable pains we take for it, base employments, endure bitter flouts and taunts, long journeys, heavy burdens, all are made light and easy by this hope of gain: At mihi plaudo ipse domi, simul ac nummos contemplor in arca. The sight of gold refresheth our spirits, and ravisheth our hearts, as that Babylonian garment and golden wedge did Achan in the camp, the very sight and hearing sets on fire his soul with desire of it. It will make a man run to the antipodes, or tarry at home and turn parasite, lie, flatter, prostitute himself, swear and bear false witness; he will venture his body, kill a king, murder his father, and damn his soul to come at it. Formosior auri massa, as he well observed, the mass of gold is fairer than all your Grecian pictures, that Apelles, Phidias, or any doting painter could ever make: we are enamoured with it,

"Prima fere vota, et cunctis notissima templis,
Divitiæ ut crescant." --

All our labours, studies, endeavours, vows, prayers and wishes, are to get, how to compass it.

"Hæc est illa cui famulatur maximus orbis,
Diva potens rerum, domitrixque pecunia fati."

"This is the great goddess we adore and worship; this is the sole object of our desire." If we have it, as we think, we are made for ever, thrice happy, princes, lords, &c. If we lose it, we are dull, heavy, dejected, discontent, miserable, desperate, and mad. Our estate and bene esse ebbs and flows with our commodity; and as we are endowed or enriched, so are we beloved and esteemed: it lasts no longer than our wealth; when that is gone, and the object removed, farewell friendship: as long as bounty, good cheer, and rewards were to be hoped, friends enough; they were tied to thee by the teeth, and would follow thee as crows do a carcass: but when thy goods are gone and spent, the lamp of their love is out, and thou shalt be contemned, scorned, hated, injured. Lucian's Timon, when he lived in prosperity, was the sole spectacle of Greece, only admired; who but Timon? Everybody loved, honoured, applauded him, each man offered him his service, and sought to be kin to him; but when his gold was spent, his fair possessions gone, farewell Timon: none so ugly, none so deformed, so odious an object as Timon, no man so ridiculous on a sudden, they gave him a penny to buy a rope, no man would know him.

'Tis the general humour of the world, commodity steers our affections throughout, we love those that are fortunate and rich, that thrive, or by whom we may receive mutual kindness, hope for like courtesies, get any good, gain, or profit; hate those, and abhor on the other side, which are poor and miserable, or by whom we may sustain loss or inconvenience. And even those that were now familiar and dear unto us, our loving and long friends, neighbours, kinsmen, allies, with whom we have conversed, and lived as so many Geryons for some years past, striving still to give one another all good content and entertainment, with mutual invitations, feastings, disports, offices, for whom we would ride, run, spend ourselves, and of whom we have so freely and honourably spoken, to whom we have given all those turgent titles, and magnificent eulogiums, most excellent and most noble, worthy, wise, grave, learned, valiant, &c., and magnified beyond measure: if any controversy arise between us, some trespass, injury, abuse, some part of our goods be detained, a piece of land come to be litigious, if they cross us in our suit, or touch the string of our commodity, we detest and depress them upon a sudden: neither affinity, consanguinity, or old acquaintance can contain us, but rupto jecore exierit Caprificus. A golden apple sets altogether by the ears, as if a marrowbone or honeycomb were flung amongst bears: father and son, brother and sister, kinsmen are at odds: and look what malice, deadly hatred can invent, that shall be done, Terrible, dirum, pestilens, atrox, ferum, mutual injuries, desire of revenge, and how to hurt them, him and his, are all our studies. If our pleasures be interrupt, we can tolerate it: our bodies hurt, we can put it up and be reconciled: but touch our commodities, we are most impatient: fair becomes foul, the graces are turned to harpies, friendly salutations to bitter imprecations, mutual feastings to plotting villainies, minings and counterminings; good words to satires and invectives, we revile e contra, nought but his imperfections are in our eyes, he is a base knave, a devil, a monster, a caterpillar, a viper, a hog-rubber, &c. Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne ("bust of a beautiful woman with the tail of a fish.") ; the scene is altered on a sudden, love is turned to hate, mirth to melancholy: so furiously are we most part bent, our affections fixed upon this object of commodity, and upon money, the desire of which in excess is covetousness: ambition tyranniseth over our souls, as I have shown, and in defect crucifies as much, as if a man by negligence, ill husbandry, improvidence, prodigality, waste and consume his goods and fortunes, beggary follows, and melancholy, he becomes an abject, odious and "worse than an infidel, in not providing for his family."

 

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