« AnteriorContinuar »
fpecies, fish of that, and flesh of the third. Man falls upon every thing that comes in his way; not the fmalleft fruit or excrefcence of the earth, fcarce a berry or a mushroom, can escape him. I would copy the following rules of a very eminent phyfician. Make your whole repast out of one difh; if you indulge in a fecond, avoid drinking any thing frong till you have finished your meal: At the fame time, abfain from all fauces, at leaft fuch as are not the most plain and fimple. And in the article of drinking, obferve Sir William Temple's method, viz. The first glass for myself, the fecond for my friend, the third for good-humour, and the fourth for mine enemies.
It is obferved by two or three ancient authors, that Socrates, notwithstanding he lived in Athens during the great plague, which has made fo much noife throughout all ages, and has been celebrated at different times by fuch eminent hands, notwithstanding he lived in the time of this devouring peftilence, never caught the leaft infection; which thefe writers unanimoufly afcribe to that uninterrupted temperance which he always obferved.--Spe&ator.
THE man who is constantly ferved up with adulation, muft be a first-rate philofopher, if he can liften without contracting new affections. The opinion we form of ourselves, is generally measured by what we hear from others; and when they confpire to deceive, we too readily concur in the delufion. Amorg the number of much applauded men in the circle of our own friends, we can recollect but few that have heads quite ftrong enough to bear a loud acclamation of public praife in their favor; among the whole lift, we shall scarce find one that has not thus been made, on fome fide of his character, a coxcomb.-Goldfinish.
ARISTOCRACY and DESPOTISM.
IT is now found, by abundant experience, that an aristocracy ard a defpotifm differ but in name; and that a people, who are in general excluded from any fhare of the legislative, are, to all intents and purpofes, as much flaves, when twenty, independent of them, govern, as when but one domineers. The tyranny is even more felt; as every individual of the
bles has the haughtiness of a fultan; the people are more referible, as they feem on the verge of liberty, from which
y are forever debarred. This fallacious idea of liberty,
whilft it prefents a vain fhadow of happiness to the fubject, binds fafter the chains of his fubjection. What is left undone, by the natural avarice and pride of those who are raised above the others, is completed by their fufpicions, and their dread of lofing an authority, which has no fupport in the common utility of the nation.-Burke.
PLATO lays it down as a principle, that whatever is permitted to befall a juft man, whether poverty, fickness, or any of those things which feem to be evils, fhall either in life or death conduce to his good. My reader will obferve how agreeable this maxim is to what we find delivered by a greater authority. Seneca has written a difcourfe purpofely on this fubject, in which he takes pains, after the doctrine of the Stoics, to fhew, that adverfity is not in itself an evil; and mentions a noble faying of Demetrius, that nothing would be more unhappy than a man who had never known affliction. He compares profperity to the indulgence of a fond mother to a child, which proves its ruin; but the affection of the divine Being, to that of a wife father who would have his fons exercifed with hard labour, difappointment, and pain, that they may gather ftrength, and improve their fortitude. On this occafion, the philofopher rifes into that celebrated fentiment, that there is not on earth a spectacle more worthy the regard of a Creator intent on his works, than a brave man fuperior to his fufferings; to which he adds, that it must be a pleasure to the Deity himself, to look down from heaven, and fee Cato amidst the ruins of his country preferving his integrity. Spectator. L
HE that can heroically endure adverfity, will bear profperity with equal greatnefs of foul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former, is not likely to be tranfported with the latter-Fielding.
THERE are two confiderations, which, by properly fixing our thoughts upon them, will greatly fupport us under all adverfities. The one is the brevity of life, which, even at its longeft duration, the wifeft of men hath compared to the fhort dimenfion of a fpan; and the fecond, the uncertainty of it. Could the moft worldly men fee this in the light in which they examine all other matters, they would foon fed and acknowledge the force of this way of reafoning. For which of them would give any price for an eftate, from which they
Tribute of Affection.
are liable to be immediately ejected; or would they not laugh at him as a madman, who accounted himself rich from fuch an uncertain poffeffion?-Ibid.
TRIBUTE of AFFECTION.
MY heart flops me to pay thee, my dear uncle Toby, once for all, the tribute I owe thy goodness. Here let me thrust my chair afide, and kneel down upon the ground, whilst I am pouring forth the warmest fentiments of love for thee, and veneration for the excellency of thy character, that ever virtue and nature kindled in a nephew's bofom.. Peace and comfort rest for evermore upon thy head!-Thou enviedst no man's comforts, infultedft no man's opinions.-Thou blackenedit no man's character,-devouredst no man's bread. Gently, with faithful Trim behind thee, didft thou amble round the little circle of thy pleafures, jofiling no creature in the way. For each one's forrows thou hadst a tear,—for each man's need thou hadít a fhilling. Whilft I am worth one, to pay a weeder, the path from thy door to the bowling-green Thall never be grown up. Whilft there is a rod and a half of land in the Shandy family, thy fortifications, my dear uncle Toby, fhall never be demolifhed.-Sterne.
THE great misfortune of affectation is, that men not only lofe a good quality, but alfo contract a bad one. They not only are unfit for what they were defigned, but they affign themselves to what they are unfit for; and, instead of making a very good figure one way, make a very ridiculous one another. If Semanthe would have been fatisfied with her natural complexion, fhe might ftill have been celebrated by the name of the Olive-Beauty: but Semanthe has taken up an affectation to white and red, and is now diftinguished by the character of the lady that paints well. In a word, could the world be reformed to the obedience of that famed dictate, follow nature, which the oracle of Delphos pronounced to Cicero, when he confulted what courfe of ftudies he fhould purfue, we fhould fee almost every man as eminent in his proper fphere, as Tully was in his; and fhould, in a very thort time, find impertinence and affectation banifhed from among the women, and coxcombs and falfe characters from
og the men. For my part, I could never confider this pofterous repugnancy to nature any otherwife, than not ly as the greateft folly, but alfo one of the most heinous
crimes, fince it is a direct oppofition to the difpenfation of providence, and (as Tully expreffes it) like the fin of the giants, an actual rebellion against heaven.-Spectator.
AFFECTATION proceeds from one of these two caufes vanity or hypocrify; for as vanity puts us on affecting falle characters, in order to purchase applaufe; fo hypocrify lets us on an endeavor to avoid cenfure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their oppofite virtues.-Fielding.
HE who propofes the fatisfaction of his own pride from the admiration of others, and will not lower himself to those who cannot rife to him, will never gain his point equal to him who accommodates his talents to times and occafions. In the company of the former, every one is rendered uneafy, laments his own want of knowledge, and longs for the end of the dull affembly. With the latter, all are pleafed and contented with themfelves, in their knowledge of matters which they find worthy the confideration of a man of fenfe. Admiration is involuntarily paid the former; to the latter it is given joyfully. The former receives it with envy and hatred; the latter enjoys it, as the fweet fruit of good-will. The former is fhunned, the latter courted by all.-Fielding.
A ftudent fhould labour, by all proper methods, to acquire a fteady fixation of thought. Attention is a very neceffary thing in order to improve our minds. The evidence of truth does not always appear immediately, nor ftrike the foul at firft fight. 'Tis by long attention and infpection, that we arrive at evidence and it is for want of it we judge falfely of many things. We make hafte to judge and determine upon a flight and fudden view; we confirm our gueffes which arife from a glance; we pafs a judgment while we have but a confused or obfcure perception, and thus plunge ourselves into mistakes. This is like a man, who, walking in a mift, or being at a great distance from any vifible object, (fuppofe a tree, a man, a horfe, or a church) judges much amifs of the figure and fituation and colours of it, and fometimes takes one for the other; whereas, if he would but withhold his judgment, till he come nearer to it, or flay till clearer light come, and then would fix his eyes longer upon it, he would fecure himfire thofe miftakes,-Watts.
MATHEMATICAL ftudies have a ftrong influence towards fixing the attention of the mind, and giving a steadiness to a wandering dipofition, because they deal much in lines, figures, and numbers, which affect and pleafe the fenfe and imagination. Hiltories have a ftroog tendency the fame way; for they engage the foul by a variety of fenfible occurrences; when it has begun, it knows not how to leave off; it longs to know the final event, through a natural curiofity that belongs to mankind. Voyages and travels, and accounts of strange countries and ftrange appearances will affilt in this work. This fort of study detains the mind by the perpetual occurrence and expectation of fomething new, and that which may gratefully strike the imagination.—Ibid.
THE defire of pleasing makes a man agreeable or unwelcome to those with whom he converfes, according to the motive from which that inclination appears to flow. If your concern for pleafing others arife from innate benevolence, it never fails of fuccefs; if from a vanity to excel, its difappointment is no less certain: What we call an agreeable man, is he who is endowed with the natural bent to do acceptable things, from a delight he takes in them merely as fuch: and the affectation of that character is what conftitutes a fop. Under these leaders one may draw up all thofe who make any manner of figure, except in dumb fhow. A rational and felect converfation is compofed of perfons who have the talent of pleafing with delicacy of fentiments, flowing from habitual chaflity of thought. Now and then, you meet with a man fo exactly formed for pleafing, as to make him gain upon every body who hears or beholds him. This felicity is not the gift of nature only, but must be attended with happy circumstances, which add a dignity to the familiar behaviour that diftinguishes him whom we call the agreeable man. It is from this that every body loves and efteems Polycarpus. He is in the vigor of his age, and the gaiety of his life; but has paffed through very confpicuous fcenes in it: though no foldier, he has fhared the danger, and acted with great gallantry and generofity, in a decifive day of battle. To have thofe qualities which only make other men confpicuous in the world, as it were fupernumerary to him, is a circumftance which gives weight to his most indifferent actions: for as a known credit is ready ca to a trader; fo is acknowledged merit immediate diftinc