I have considered the 25 Chapter, as representing me a full view of humane policy and cunning: yet me thinks it cannot satisfie a Christian in the causes of the good and bad successe of things. The life of man is like a game at Tables; skill availes much I grant, but that’s not all: play thy game well, but that will not winne: the chance thou throwest must accord with thy play. Examine this; play never so surely, play never so probably, unlesse the chance thou castest, lead thee forward to advantage, all hazards are losses, and thy sure play leaves thee in the lurch. The sum of this is set down in Ecclesiastes chap. 9. v. 11. The race is not to the swift, nor the battell to the strong: neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance hapeneth to them all. Our cunning Author for all his exact rules he delivere in his books, could not fence against the despight of Fortune, as he complaines in his Epistle to this booke. Nor that great example of policy, Duke Valentine, whome our Author commends to Princes for his crafts-master, could so ruffle or force his mistresse Fortune, that he could keep her in obedience. Man can contribute no more to his actions than vertue and wisdome: but the successe depends upon a power above. Surely there is the finger of god; or as Prov. 16. v. 33. ’The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.’ It was not Josephs wisdome made all things thrive under his hand; but because the Lord was with him; and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper, Gen. 39. Surely this is a blessing proceeding from the divine providence, which beyond humane capacity so cooperateth with the causes, as that their effects prove answerable, and sometimes (that we may know there is something above the ordinary causes) the success returns with such a supereminency of worth, that it far exceeds the vertue of the ordinary causes.
An Exhortation to free Italy from the Barbarians.
Having then weighed all things above discours’d, and devising with my self, whether at this present in Italy the time might serve to honor a new Prince, and whether there were matter that might minister occasion to a wise and valorous Prince, to introduce such a forme, that might do honor to him, and good to the whole generality of the people in the countrey: me thinks so many things concurre in favor of a new Prince, that I know not whether there were ever any time more proper for this purpose. And if as I said, it was necessary, desiring to see Moses his vertue, that the children of Israel should be inthrald in AEgypt; and to have experience of the magnanimity of Cyrus his mind, that the Persians should be oppress’d by the Medes; and to set forth the excellency of Theseus, that the Athenians should be dispersed; so at this present now we are desirous to know the valor of an