THAT IT IS GOOD to be in Debt.







































































































































































































































































WE are fallen into that dotage of the World,

in which, the worſt things doe ouertop

the worthieſt, Sence doth beſot the Vnder-

ſtanding, drinke ouercommeth the braine,

and the eye beguileth and miſleadeth the ſight. And

therefore in tender commiſeration of mankinde, I

will endeuor to rectifie their iudegment in a Paradox,

then which there hath none more intricate, been diſ-

cuſſed and canuaſſed among the Stoikes in Zeno’s

porch, that is, That it is better for a man to liue in

debt, then otherwiſe.

       Ordiar ab ouo, I will begin from the Egge, that your

concoction may be the eaſier. In the whole courſe and

frame of Nature, we ſee that nothing is made for it

ſelfe, but each hath a bond of duty, of vſe or of ſer-

uice, by which it is indebted to other. The Sunne by

his ſplendor to lighten all the world; by his warmth

and heate, to cheriſh and comfort each liuing and

vegetable thing. Yea, man himſelfe is ſo framed of

God, that not onely his Countrey, his Parents and

his friends claime a ſhare in him, but he is alſo indeb-

ted to his dogge, and to his Oxe, to teach the one to

hunt for his pleaſure, the other to labour for his pro-

fit: ſo that quicquid habet genij, ingenij moris, amoris,

the abilities of his ſpirit, the affections of his minde,

he hath them for others, as much as for himſelfe; nay,                     ||



the more for others, by how much he deſired to be

the greater Lord ouer others. Let him but looke into

himſelfe, & ſee how his conſtitutiue parts are debters

each to other, the ſoule doth quicken and giue life to

the body, the body like an Automaton, doth moue

and carry it ſelfe and the ſoule. Suruey him in his

parts, the eye ſeeth for the foote, the foote ſtandeth

for the hand, the hand toucheth for the mouth, the

mouth taſteth for the ſtomacke, the ſtomacke eateth

for the whole body, the body repayeth backe againe

that nutriment which it hath receiued, to al the parts,

diſcharging the retriments by the Port-Eſquiline; and

all this in ſo comely an order, and by a Law ſo cer-

taine, and in ſo due a time, as if Nature had rather

man ſhould not haue beene at all, then not to be a

debter in euery part of him; which hath made me re-

ſolue, that to whomſoeuer I meane to be a friend, I

will ſtriue to be in his debt: and what can I do leſſe?

for to him that doth mee a good turne, I am bound

to returne him the greateſt pleaſure; which I can no

way do, but by being in his debt: for what content-

ment will it be vnto him, when I ſhall repay him his

owne againe? The Alchymiſts, who promiſe to them-

ſelues to turne Tin into ſiluer, and Copper into gold,

how will they bee tranſported out of themſelues

with ioy, if they ſhould but ſee a happy iſſue of their

attempt? How much more a Creditor, when hee

ſhall recouer a deſperate debt? It is like the ioy of a

Father that receiues his loſt Childe.

     Againe, he that is in debt, hath this great priui-

ledge aboue other men, that his Creditors powre

out hearty prayers for him: they wiſh that hee may

liue, and thriue and proſper, and grow rich, and all                          ||



for their owne aduantage. They ſeeme to be carefull

for their debtors, that they may not loſe their princi-

pall with the intereſt, for their money is their life, wit-

neſſe thoſe Vſurers of France, who, when they heard

that the price of Corne was fallen, went and hanged

themſelues for griefe.

     What a command doth the debtor gaine ouer his

Creditors? He becommeth in a manner their Land-

lord, to whom they cap, crouch, and kneele, as if they

did owe him all ſuits and ſeruices, and are as ambiti-

ous of their fauours, as they who in Rome did canuas

the people for their voyces to attaine the greateſt offi-

ces: but here is their cunning: Laudant vt Ledant,

they praiſe them, that they may prey vpon. And ther-

fore, you braue gallants & ſpendthrifts, who finde by

your wofull experience, that no whip giues a ſhrew-

der laſh then the labels of a Bond or Obligation, with

a Nouerint vniuerſi Skinner & Lacy. Whenſoeuer you

fall into the Mercers books, neuer take care, or make

conſcience of paying your debts, for by that meanes

you ſhall keepe your Creditor in awe, and ſhall haue

him wonderfull courteous & officious, & obſequious

towards you, and a great mint-maſter of faire words.

     Without debt and loane the Fabricke of the world

will be diſioynted and fall aſunder into its firſt Chaos.

The beauty of the Starres, what would it be but vaſt-

neſſe and deformity, if the Sunne did not lend them

light? The earth would remaine vnfruitfull, if we did

not borrow refreſhing dewes from the watery Signes

and Planets. The Summer is pleaſant, and promiſeth

great hopes of plenty, but it is, becauſe it taketh vp

much vpon truſt, from the friendly & ſeaſonable tem-

perment of the Elements. And to ſay the truth, there                        ||



is nothing good or great in the world, but that it bor-

roweth ſomething from others to make it great, or

lendeth to another to make it good. And therefore I

maruaile why Antiquity, who made Mildew, Feauer,

and Scuruineſſe Goddeſſes, did not matriculate loane

and debt among the reſt.

     The Elements who are linked together by a league

of aſſociation, and by their ſymbolizing qualities, doe

barter and truck, borrow and lend one to another, as

being the Burſſe and Royall-Exchange of nature:

they are by this traffique and intercourſe, the very

life and nouriſhment of all ſublunary bodies, & there-

fore are called Elimenta quaſi alimenta, whoſe happy

concord and coniunction hath brought forth thoſe,

whom the World for the good done to mankinde,

hath eſteemed Gods, as Bacchus the great Vintner,

Ceres the Meale-mother, Flora the Tutty-maker, Ver-

tumus and Pomona Coſtard-mongers.

     Now, if euery man would render and repay in full

waight, that which by due debt hee oweth and hath

borrowed from others, Saturnes golden age would

returne againe, in which there was no differrence of

mettals, but gold and ſiluer were all one Oare, and

made the yelke of the earth, Natures great Egge, nei-

ther did Meum and Tuum bound out, and apportio-

nate Lands and Lordſhips, by meare-ſtones, and di-

uerſity of Tenures of ſockage and ſocadge; ſince

when, Qui habet terras, habet guerras, and the King

of heauens peace hath beene diſturbd amongſt men:

but then all things were all mens, as neceſſity did allot

and award, who was then the onely Iudge and Ar-

bitrator, competently allowing to euery man, that

which he ſtood in need of.                                                                ||



     With what deareneſſe haue both Gods and good

men countenanced and graced debtors? To whom

Diana the great Goddeſſe of Epheſus, granted her tem-

ple for a Sanctuary, to keepe them out of Bagwell: Pi-

geon-houſes. Or if they were caught, Solon, by a ſolemn

Law inacted, would not haue their bodies to be fette-

red or manacled amongſt malefactors, but that they

ſhould enioy their liberty throughout all the Parkes

and Purlues of the priſon, or to ſpeake more mildly,

of their reſtraint and indurance: For the Priſon is

built Purgatory-wiſe, after the Architecture of Rome,

with a Limbus and Tullianum. The dungeon is the Di-

uils pinſold and the very ſuburbs of Hell, where var-

lets, roarers, and ſtiletto-ſtabbers are let downe, as the

proper food that ſtuffes that great greedy maw. The

next roome is the Lollard of trunck-hoſed familiſts

and ſeparatiſts, who after they haue beene rowelled

in the necke, to cure them of the Megrim of the head,

they are by the gentle flame of this Stoue, and the

heat of their owne zeale, made to ſweat out their con-

tumacy and other peccant humors. The vpper skirt

and ſtage of this building, is the Garret of expence-

full waſters, gameſters, and vnthrifty debtors, where

though they liue robbed of their liberty, as they ri-

fled others of their money; yet is it their great happi-

neſſe, that being glutted, as it were, with an Apolau-

ſticke voluptary life, they haue an eaſie ouverture

made to the contemplatiue and practicke life of Ver-

tue. Who euer liued more like a Souc’d-gurn-head

amongſt men, then Diogenes the Cynicke, barrelling

himſelfe vp in his Tubbe like a Kegge of Sturgion?

Yet was the happineſſe of his contented life enuyed

of the greateſt Monarchs, who hauing made their                            ||



throats the through-face and the cullenders of meats

and drinkes, found an ouergorged belly, to be Wits

clog, Reaſons ſepulcher, Luſts Arſenall, the Maga-

zin of lewd practiſes, and the Nurſery of all vices: all

which prouocations are defalted by Debts, wants and


       And laſtly, the Lumbards, Vſurers, and Scriue-

ners, who are the Bedles of Beggars, and are accoun-

ted the Tetters vpon the body politike of the Com-

mon-weale, who turne the Calends & new Moones,

and the Feſtiuall dayes of quarter-gaudies, into the

Octaues of diſaſter and Doomes-day reckonings,

when any of theſe come to Heauen, there is a won-

derment amongſt the Angels, and they cry out with

Sir GuZman of Alfarache, fruta nueua, fruta nueua; Here

is a new kinde of fruit ſtart vp, a Pum-paradice vpon a

Crab-ſtocke, Lumbards and Scriueners are become

the Popes canonized and beatified Saints.

       Farewell then, Vlpianus, Modeſtinus, and other pet-

tifoggers of the Law, Sollicitors, and moleſters of

cauſes, who account being in debt a kinde of bondage

and ſeruitude. I pittie Seneca’s weakneſſe, who bluſh-

ed to borrow; miſerum verbum & dimiβo vultu profe-

rendum, Rogo: That Poet Laureat for-faited his wreath

of Bayes and Iuie twine, who made his prayers to his

purſe to keepe him out of debt, in this manner:


To you my Purſe, and to none other Wight

Complaine I, for you be my Lady deere:

I am ſorry now that you be light,

For certes yee now make me heauy cheere,

Mee were as lefe laid upon a Beere.

For which vnto your mercy thus I cry,

Be heauy againe, or elſe mote I dye.                                              ||



Now vouchſafe this day, or it might be night,

That I of you the blisfull ſound may heare,

Or ſee your colour like the Sunne bright.

That of wellowneſſe had neuer Pere,

Ye be my life, ye be my hearts flere;

Queene of comfort, and of good company,

Be heauy againe, or elſe mote I dye.


Now Purſe, that art to me my liues light

And ſauiour as downe in this world here,

Out of this Towne helpe me by your might,

Sith that you will not be my Treaſure,

For I am shaue as neere as any frere:

But I may vnto your curteſie,

Be heauy againe, or elſe mote I dye.


       Yet wellfare the Prodigall vnthrift, who is magis

promus quam condus, and ſerues at the Buttry-hatch,

whatſoeuer is in his Binn or his Barrell, and there-

fore could neuer indure the complaint of his Purſe,

who thus bemoan’d her ſelfe vnto him:


Materia infœlix, detracta cadauere; forma,

     Tam varia, vt nec ego me mihi noſſe queam.

Haud melius fatum, nam pendeo more latronis,

     Ingenium ſic me fueris habere putant.

Si dederis ſeruo; ſeruatum redo petenti

     Non niſi at auriculis tracta referre volo.

A skinne flayed off, yeelds my materials,

       My forme is various, where my ſelfe I looſe,

My doome’s a fellons death and funerals,

       For at a Belt I am hanged by a nooze.

I doe not filch for mine owne thrift and gaine,

       But what you giue, I cloſely keepe and beare,

And when you aske, I it reſtore againe,

       Yet not, except you plucke me by the eare.                                 ||



For the Al-te-mael, and foote of the reckoning,

this is the ſumma ſummarum: Debemur morti nos no-

ſtrag. So that whilſt I liue, I muſt reſolue to liue in

debt, in debt to God, for my being; in debt to

Christ, for my well-being; in debt to Gods

ſanctifying Spirit, for my new-being: And I will

euer be ready to pawne my life for my Countries li-

berty, I will owe Obedience to my Parents, Faith and

Loyalty to my Prince: And when I ſhall pay my

great debt vnto Nature, I will render my ſpirit

    into the hands of God; bequeath my body

         to be depoſed in the lap and boſome

           of the earth, and cry, Domine,

                       dimitte debita mea.












































































































1. AErugo.

2. Febris.

3. Pſora.

[Cornwallis’s own note].























































































Th. Ocleue

in Chaucher.

[Cornwallis’s own note]