HOW MUCH FORTUNE CAN DO IN HUMAN AFFAIRS
AND HOW IT MAY BE OPPOSED
It is not unknown to me how many have been and are of opinion that worldly events are so governed by fortune and by God, that men cannot by their prudence change them, and that on the contrary there is no remedy whatever, and for this they may judge it to be useless to toil much about them, but let things be ruled by chance. This opinion has been more believed in in our day, from the great changes that have been seen, and are daily seen, beyond every human conjecture.
When I think about them at times, I am partly inclined to share this opinion. Nevertheless, that our freewill may not be altogether extinguished, I think it may be true .that fortune is the ruler of half our actions, but that she allows the other half or a little less to be governed by us. I would compare her to an impetuous river that, when turbulent, inundates the plains, ruins trees and buildings, removes earth from this side and places it on the other; every one flies before it, and everything yields to its fury without being able to oppose it; and yet though it is of such a kind, still when it is quiet, men can make provision against it by dams and banks, so that when it rises it will
either go into a canal or its rush will not be so wild