« VorigeDoorgaan »
on unequal terms with the juft and upright, and ferve their own wicked ends by honest and law. ful means.
'Indeed, if a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and thould never have occafion to converfe more with mankind, never more need their good opinion or good word, it were then no " great matter (fpeaking as to the concernments of this world) if a man spent his reputation all at once, and ventured it at one throw: but if ⚫he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of converfation whilft he is in it, let him make use of truth and fincerity in all his words and actions; for nothing but this will last and hold out to the end: all other arts • will fail, but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and beat him out to the laft.'
I am acquainted with two perfons who were formerly fchool-fellows, and have been good 'friends ever fince. One of them was not only thought an impenetrable blockhead at school, but ftill maintained his reputation at the univerfity; the other was the pride of his master, and the most celebrated person in the college of which he was a member. The man of genius is at prefent buried in a country parfonage of eight-fcore pounds a year; while the other, with the bare abilities of a common fcrivener, has got an estate of above an hundred thousand pounds.
1 fancy, from what I have faid, it will almost appear a doubtful cafe to many a wealthy citizen, whether or no he ought to with his fon fhould be a great genius: but this I am fure of, that nothing is more abfurd than to give a lad the education of one, whom nature has not favoured with any particular marks of distinction.
The fault therefore of our grammar-schools is, that every boy is pushed on to works of ge ⚫nius: whereas it would be far more advan'tageous for the greatest part of them to be taught fuch little practical arts and sciences as do not require any great fhare of parts to be master of them, and yet may come often into play during the course of a man's life.
The pofts which require men of shining and uncommon parts to discharge them, are fo very few, that many a great genius goes out of the world without ever having had an opportunity *to exert itself; whereas perfons of ord nary endowments meet with occafions fitted to their ¿ parts and capacities every day in the common occurrences of life.
Such are all the parts of practical geometry. 'I have known a man contract a friendship with C a minifter of ftate, upon cutting a dial in his 'window; and remember a clergyman who got ' one of the best benefices in the weft of England, by fetting a country gentleman's affairs in fome method, and giving him an exact survey of his • estate.
While I am upon this subject, I cannot for bear mentioning a particular which is of use in every station of life, and which methinks every mafter should teach his scholars; I mean the writing of English letters. To this end, instead of perplexing them with latin epiftles, themes and verfes, there might be a punctual corre'fpondence established between two boys, who might act in any imaginary parts of business, or
allowed fometimes to give a range to their own fancies, and communicate to each other whatever trifles they thought fit, provided nei⚫ther of them ever failed at the appointed time to ⚫ answer his correfpondent's letter.
The defign of learning is, as I take it, either to render a man an agreeable companion to himself, and teach him to support folitude with pleasure, or if he is not born to an eftate, to fup-be ply that defect, and furnish him with the means of acquiring one. A perfon who applies himfelf to learning with the firft of thefe views may be faid to ftudy for ornament, as he who proposes to himself the fecond, properly ftudies for ufe. The one does it to raife himself a fortune, the other to fet off that which he is poffeffed of. But as the far greater part of mankind are * included in the latter clafs, I fhall only propofe * fome methods at prefent for the fervice of fuch who expect to advance themselves in the world by their learning: in order to which I fhall premife, that many more eftates have been acquired by little accomplishments than by extraordinary ones; thofe qualities which make the greatest figure in the eye of the world, not being always the most useful in themfelves, or the moft advantageous to their owners.
'I believe I may venture to affirm, that the ge'nerality of boys would find themselves more advantaged by this custom, when they come to be men, than by all the Greek and Latin their mafters can teach them in feven or eight years.
The want of it is very visible in many learned 'perfons, who, while they are admiring the ftiles of Demofthenes or Cicero, want phrases to exprefs themselves on the most common occafions, I have feen a letter from one of these Latin orators, which would have been deservedly laughed at by a common attorney.
Under this head of writing cannot omit accounts and short-hand, which are learned with little pains, and very properly come into the number of fuch arts as I have been here re⚫commending.
You must doubtlefs, Sir, obferve, that I have hitherto chiefly infifted upon these things for fuch boys as do not appear to have any thing extraordinary in their natural talents, and confequently are not qualified for the finer parts of learning;
If at any
'mixed with her contempt of it.
'Hiftory is full of examples of perfons, who, though they have had the largest abilities, have ⚫ been obliged to infinuate themselves into the fa-fhock-dog with bells under her arm, nor a • vour of great men by these trivial accomplish-squirrel or dormouse in her pocket, but always 'ments; as the complete gentleman in fome of an abridged piece of morality to steal out when · our modern comedies, makes his first advances the is fure of being obferved. When the wont C to his mistress under the difguife of a painter, to the famous afs-race (which I must confeís · or a dancing master. was but an odd diverfion to be encouraged by people of rank and figure) it was not, like other ladies, to hear those poor animals bray, nor to fee fellows run naked, or to hear coun try-fquires in bob wigs and white girdles make love at the fide of a coach, and cry, madam, this is dainty weather. Thus the defcribed the diverfion; for he went only to pray heartily that nobody might be hurt in the croud, and to fee if the poor fellow's face, which was dif torted with grinning, might any way be brought to itself again. She never chats over her tea, but covers her face, and is fuppofed ' in an ejaculation before the tastes a fup. This ' oftentatious behaviour is fuch an offence to true • fanctity, that it difparages it, and makes virtue not only unamiable, but also ridiculous. The 'facred writings are full of reficêtions which ab'hor this kind of conduct; and a devotee is fo far from promoting goodness, that the deters others by her example. Folly and vanity in ⚫ one of these ladies, is like vice in a clergyman; it does not only debase him, but makes the inconfiderate part of the world think the worse of religion.
learning; yet I believe I might carry this mat⚫ter ftill further, and venture to affert that a lad of genius has fometimes occafion for these little ' acquirements, to be as it were the fore-runners of his parts, and to introduce him into the ' world.
The difference is, that in a lad of genius thefe are only fo many accomplishments, which in another are effentials; the one diverts himfelf with them, the other works at them. In fhort, I look upon a great genius, with these little additions, in the fame light as I regard the Grand Signior, who is obliged by an exprefs command in the Alcoran, to learn aud practife fome handicraft trade. Though I need not 6 to have gone for my inftance farther than Germany, where several emperors have voluntarily ⚫ done the fame thing, Leopold the last worked in wood; and I have heard there are feveral handicraft works of his making to be seen at Vienna fo neatly turned, that the best joiner in Europe might fafely own them without any difgrace to his profeffion.
"I would not be thought, by any thing I have faid, to be against improving a boy's genius to the utmost pitch it can be carried. What I would endeavour to fhew in this effay, is, that there may be methods taken to make learning ⚫ advantageous even to the meanest capacities. I am, Sir, your's, &c.'
où have in fome of your difcourfes described moft forts of women in their ⚫ diftinct and proper claffes, as the ape, the coquette, and many others: but I think you ⚫ have never yet faid any thing of a devotee. A ⚫ devotee is one of those who difparage religion
by their indifcreet and unfeasonable introduc⚫tion of the mention of virtue on all occafions › The profeffes she is what nobody ought to doubt 'fhe is; and betrays the labour she is put to, to be what the ought to be with chearfulness and alacrity. She lives in the world, and denies herself none of the diverfions of it, with a conftant declaration how infipid all things in it are to her. She is never herself but at church; there the displays her virtue, and is fo fervent in her devotions, that I have frequently feen her pray herself out of breath. While other young ladies in the house are dancing, or play ing at questions and commands, the reads aloud in her closet. She fays all love is ridicu lous, except it be celestial; but the fpeaks of the paffion of one mortal to another with too ¶ much bitterness, for ons that had no jealousy
Your humble fervant,
behaviour of their young men in the streets, fays, there was fo much modesty in their looks, that you might as foon have turned the eyes of a marble ftatue upon you, as theirs; and that in all their behaviour they were more modeft than a bride when put to bed on her weddingnight This virtue, which is always fubjoined to magnanimity, had fuch an influence upon their courage, that in battle an enemy could not look them in the face, and they durft not but die for their country. "Whenever I walk into the ftreets of London and Westminster, the countenances of all the 'young fellows that pass by me, make me with • myself in Sparta: I meet with fuch blustering airs, big looks, and bold fronts, that to a fu'perficial obferver would befpeak a courage above thofe Grecians. I am arrived to that perfection in speculation, that I understand the language of the eyes, which would be a great misfortune to me, had I not corrected the testinefs of old age by philosophy. There is scarce a man in a red coat, who does not tell me, with a full ftare, he is a bold man: I fee feveral fwear inwardly at me, without any of, fence of mine, but the oddnefs of my person I meet contempt in every street, expreffed in different manners, by the fcornful look, the elevated
ENOPHON, in his fhort account of the
elevated eye-brow, and the fwelling noftrils of the proud and profperous. The 'prentice fpeaks his difrefpect by an ex ended finger, and the porter by ftealing out his tongue. If a country gentleman appears a little curious in obferving the edifices, figns, clocks, coaches, and dials, it is not to be imagined how the < polite rabble of this town, who are acquainted with thefe objects, ridicule his rufticity. I have known a fellow with a burden on his head fteal a hand down from his load, and fily twirl the cock of a fquire's hat behind him; while the offended perfon is fwearing, or out of countenance, all the wag-wits in the highway are grinning in applause of the ingenious rogue that gave him the tip, and the folly of him who had not eyes all round his head to prevent receiving it. Those things arite from a general affectation of fmartnefs, wit, and courage. Wycherley fomewhere rallies the pretentions this way, by making a fellow fay, "red breeches are a certain fign of valour;" · and Otway makes a man, to boaft his agility, trip up a beggar on crutches. From tuch hints I beg a fpeculation on this fubject; in the mean time; I fhall do all in the power of ( a weak old fellow in my own defence; for as Diogenes, being in queft of an honest man, fought for him when it was broad day-light with a lanthorn and candle, fo C I intend for the future to walk the ftreets with
a dark lanthorn, which has a convex cryftal in it; and if any man ftares at me, I give fair warning that I will direct the light full into his eyes. Thus defpairing to find men modeft, I hope by this means to evade their impudence. I am, SIR,
Your most humble fervant,
N° 355. THURSDAY, APRIL 17.,
mordaci difrinxi carmine quenquam.
HAVE been very often tempted to write invectives upon thofe who have detracted from my works, or fpoken in derogation of my perfou, but I lock upon it as a particular happiness, that I have always hindered my refentments from proceeding to this extremity. I once had gone through half a fatire, but found fo many motions of humanity rifing in me towards the perfons whom I had feverely treated, that I threw it into the fire without ever finishing it. I have becn angry enough to make feveral little epigrams and lampoons; and after having admired them a day or two, have likewife committed them to the flames. Thefe I look upon as fo many facrifices to humanity, and have received much greater fatisfaction from the fuppreffing fuch performances, than I could have done from any reputation they might have procured me, or from any mortification they might have given my enemies, in cafel had made them public. If a man has any talent in writing, it fhews a good mind forbear anfwering calumnies and reproaches in the fame spirit of bitterness with which they are offerod:"but when a man has been at fome pains
in making suitable returns to an enemy, and has the inftruments or revenge in his hands, to let drop his wrath, and stifie his refentments, feems to have fomething in it great and heroical. There is a particular merit in fuch a way of forgiving an enemy; and the more violent and unprovoked the offence has been, the greater ftill is the merit of him who thus forgives it.
I never met with a confideration that is more finely fpun, and what has better pleased me, than one in Epictetus, which places an enemy in a new light, and gives us a view of him altogether different from that in which we are used to regard him. The fenfe of it is as follows: Does a man reproach thee for being proud or ill-natured, envious or conceited, ignorant or detracting? Confider with thyfelf whether his reproaches are true if they are not, confider that thou art not the person whom he reproaches, but that he reviles an imaginary being, and perhaps loves what thou really art, though he hates what thou appeareft to be. If his reproaches are true, if
thou art the envious ill-natur'd man he takes thee for, give thyfelf another turn, become mild, affable and obliging, and his reproaches of thee naturally ceafe: his reproaches may indeed conți. nue, but thou art no longer the perfon whom he reproaches.
I often apply this rule to myself: and when I hear of a satirical speech or writing that is aimed at me, I examine my own heart, whether I de-` ferve it or not. If I bring in a verdict against myfelf, I endeavour to rectify my conduct for the future in thofe particulars which have drawn the cenfure upon me; but if the whole invective be grounded upon a falfhood, I trouble myself no further about it, and look upon my name at the head of it to fignify no more than one of thofe fictitious names made ufe of by an author to in troduce an imaginary character. Why fhould a man be fenfible of the fting of a reproach who is a franger to the guilt that is implied in it? or fubject himself to the penalty, when he knows he has never committed the crime? This is a piece of fortitude, which every one owes to his innocence, and without which it is impoffible for a man of any merit or figure to live at peace with himself in a country that abounds with wit and liberty.
The famous Monfieur Balzac, in a letter to the chancellor of France, who had prevented the publication of a book against him, has the following words which are a lively picture of the greatness of mind fo vifible in the works of that author. "If it was a new thing, it may be I fhould not be 'difpleafed with the fuppreffion of the firft libel
that fhould abufe me; but fince there are enough of them to make a small library, I am fecretly pleafed to fee the number increased, and take delight in raifing a heap of ftones that envy has caft at me without doing me any harm.'
The author here alludes to thofe monuments of the eaftern nations, which were mountains of tones raifed upon the dead body by travellers, that ufed to caft every one his ftone upen it as they paffed by. It is certain that no monument is fo glorious as one which is thus raifed by the hands of envy. For my part 1 admire an author for fuch a temper of mind as enables him to bear an undeferved reproach without refentment, more than for all the wit of any of the finest fatirical reply. Thus
Thus far I thought neceffary to explain myself in relation to thofe who have animadverted on this paper, and to fhew the reafons why I have not thought fit to return them any formal answer. I must further add, that the work would have been of very little ufe to the public, had it been filled with perfonal reflections and debates; for which reafon I have never once turned out of my way to obferve those little cavils which have been made against it by envy or ignorance. The common fry of fcriblers, who have no other way of being taken notice of but by attacking what has gained fome reputation in the world, would have furnished me with bufinefs enough, had they found me difpofed to enter the lifts with them.
Tis owing to pride, and a fecret affectation of a certain felf-existence, that the nobleft motive for action that ever was propofed to man, is not acknowledged the glory and happiness of their being. The heart is treacherous to itfelf, and we do not let our reflections go deep enough to receive religion as the most honourable incentive to good and worthy actions. It is our natural weaknefs, to flatter ourselves into a belief, that if we fearch into our inmost thoughts, we find ourselves wholly difinterested, and divested of any views arifing from felf-love and vain-glory. But however fpirits of fuperficial greatnefs may difdain at first fight to do any thing, but from a noble impulfe in themfelves, without any future regards in this or any other being; upon ftricter inquiry they will find, to act worthily, and expect to be rewarded only in another world, is as heroic a pitch of virtue as human nature can arrive at. If the tenor of our actions have any other motive than the defire to be pleafing in the eye of the Deity, it will neceffarily follow that we must be more than men, if we are not too much exalted in profperity and depressed in adverfity. But the chriftian world has a leader, the contemplation of whofe life and fufferings muft adminifter comfort in affliction, while the fenfe of his power and omnipotence must give them humiliation in prof perity.
It is owing to the forbidden and unlovely conftraint with which men of low conceptions at when they think they conform themselves to religion, as well as to the more odious conduct of hypocrites, that the word Christian does not carry
with it at first view all that is great, worthy friendly, generous and heroic. The man who fufpends his hopes of the reward of worthy actions until after death, who can bestow unfcen, who can overlook hatred, do good to his flanderer, who can never be angry at his friend, never be revengeful to his enemy, is certainly formed for the benefit of fociety: yet thefe are fo far from heroic virtues, that they are but the ordinary duties of a chriftian.
When a man with a fteady faith locks back on the great catastrophe of this day, with what bleeding emotions of heart muft he contemplate the life and fufferings of his deliverer? When his agonies occur to him, how will he weep to reflect that he has often forgot them for the glance of a wanton, for the applause of a vain world, for an heap of fleeting past pleasures, which are at prefent aking forrows?
How pleafing is the contemplation of the lowly fteps our almighty leader took in conducting us to his heavenly manfions! In plain and apt parable, fimilitude, and allegory, our great master enforced the doctrine of our falvation; but they of his acquaintance, inftead of receiving what they could not oppofe, were offended at the prefumption of being wifer than they they could not raife their little ideas above the confideration of him, in thofe circumftances familiar to them, or conceive that he, who appeared not more terrible or pompous, fhould have any thing more exalted than themselves; he in that place therefore would no longer ineffectually exert a power which was incapable of conquering the prepofleffion of their narrow and mean conceptions.
Multitudes followod him, and brought him the dumb, the blind, the fick, and maimed ; whom when their creator had touched, with a fecond life they faw, fpoke, leaped, and ran. In affection to him, and admiration of his actions, the croud could not leave him, but waited near him until they were almoft as faint and helplefs as others they brought for fuccour. He had compaffion on them, and by a miracle fupplied their neceffities. Oh, the ecftatic entertainment, when they could behold their food immediately increase to the diftributor's hand, and fee their God in perfcn feeding and refreshing his creatures! Oh envied happiness! But why do I fay envied ? as if our God did not still prefide over cur temperate meals, chearful hours, and innocent converfations.
But though the facred ftory is every where full of miracies not inferior to this, and though in the midft of thofe acts of divinity he never gave the least hint of a defign to become a fecular prince, yet had not hitherto the apostles themfelves any other than hopes of worldly power, preierment, riches, and pomp; for Peter, upon an accident of ambition among the apoftles, hearing his matter explain that his kingdom was not of this world, was fo fcandalized, that he whom he had fo long followed fhould fuffer the ignominy, fhame, and death, which he foretold, that he took him afide, and faid, 'Be it far from thee, Lord, this fhall not be unto thee:' for which he fuffered a fevere reprehenfion from his mafter, as having in his view the glory of man rather than
that of God.
The great change of things began to draw near, when the Lord of nature thought fit as a faviour and deliverer to make his public entry into Jerufalem with more than the power and joy, but none of the oftentation and pomp of a triumph;
he came humble, meek, and lowly; with an unfelt new echacy, multitudes ftrewed his way with garments and olive-branches, crying, with loud glad nefs and acclamation, Hofannah to the Son of David, bleffed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!' At this great King's acceffion to his throne, men were not ennobled, but faved; crimes were not remitted, but fins forgiven; he did not bestow medals, honours, favours, but health, joy, fight, fpeech. The first object the blind ever faw, was the author of fight; while the lame ran before, and the dumb repeated the Hofannah. Thus attended he entered into his own houfe, the facred temple, and by his divine authority expelled traders and worldlings that profaned it; and thus did he for a time ufe a great and defpotic power, to let unbelievers understand, that it was not want of, but fuperiority to all worldly dominion, that made him not exert it. But is this then the faviour? Is this the deliverer? Shall this obfcure Nazarene command Ifrael, and fit on the throne of David? Their proud and difdainful hearts, which were petrified with the love and pride of this world, were impregnable to the reception of fo mean a benefactor, and were now enough exasperated with benefits to confpire his death. Our Lord was fenfible of their defign, and prepared his difciples for it, by recounting to them now more diftinctly what thould befal him; but Peter with an ungrounded refolution, and in a flush of temper, made a fanguine proteftation, that though all men were offended in him, yet would not he be offended. it was a great article of our Saviour's bufinefs in the world to bring us to a fenfe of our inability, without God's affiftance, to do any thing great or good; he therefore told Peter, who thought fo well of his courage and fidelity, that they would both fail him, and even he fhould deny him thrice that very night.
But what heart can conceive, what tongue utter the fequel? Who is that yonder buffeted, mocked, and spurned? Whom do they drag like a felon? Whither do they carry my Lord, my King, my Saviour, and my God? And will he die to expiate thofe very injuries? See where they have nailed the Lord and Giver of life! How his wounds blacken, his body writhes, and heart heaves with pity and with agony! O Almighty Sufferer, look down, look down from thy triumphant infamy: lo, he inclines his head to his facred bofom! Hark, he groans! fee, he expires! the earth trembles, the temple rends, the rocks burft, the dead arife: Which are the quick? Which are the dead? Sure nature, all nature is departing with her Creator.'
circumstances in which the determination of the action places them.
I fhall therefore confider this book under four
heads, in relation to the celeftial, the infernal, the human, and the imaginary perfons, who have their respective parts allotted in it.
To begin with the celeftial perfons: the guar-
No 357. SATURDAY, APRIL 19.
HE tenth book of Paradife Loft has a greater
The fame Divine Perfon, who in the foregoing parts of this poem interceded for our first parents before their fall, overthrew the rebel angels, and created the world, is now represented as defcending to Paradife, and pronouncing fentence upon the three offenders. The cool of the evening being a circumftance with which Holy Writ introduces this great fcene, it is poetically defcribed by our author, who has kept religiously to the form of words, in which the three feveral fentences were paffed upon Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. He has rather chofen to neglect the numeroufnefs of his verfe, than to deviate from thofe fpeeches which are recorded on this great occafion. The guilt and confufion of our first parents ftanding naked before their judge, is touched with great beauty. Upon the arrival of Sin and Death into the works of the creation, the Almighty is again introduced as fpeaking to his angels that furrounded him.
See with what heat thefe dogs of hell advance,