Изображения страниц

makes me hope you will gain, both for We know, by the life of this memorable yourself and me, an immortal reputation. hero, to which of these two ladies he gave But before I invite you into my society up his heart; and, I believe, every one and friendship, I will be open and sincere who reads this, will do him the justice to with you; and must lay this down as an approve his choice.

Tatler. es:ablished truth, that there is nothing truly valuable, which can be purchased $ 89. On Entrance into Life, and the

, without pains and labour. The Gods have

Conduct of early Manhood. set a price upon every real and noble plea- There seems to be a peculiar propriety sure. If you would gain the favour of the in addressing moral precepts to the rising Deity, you must be at the pains of wor- generation. Besides that, like travellers shipping him; if the friendship of good entering on a journey, they want direcmen, you must study to oblige them; if tion, there are circumstances which render you would be honoured by your country, it probable that instruction will be more you must take care to serve it; in short, efficacious in youth than at a maturer if you would be eminent in war or peace, period. Long habits of business or plean you must become master of all the quali- sure, and an indiscriminate intercourse fications that can make you so. These are with mankind, often superinduce a great the only terms and conditions upon which degree of insensibility; and the battered I can propose happiness."

veteran at last considers the admonitions The Goddess of Pleasure here broke in of the moralist as the vain babbling of a upon her discourse: “You see,” said she, sophist, and the declamation of a school“Hercules, by ber own confession, the boy. The keen edge of moral perception way to her pleasures is long and difficult; is blunted by long and reiterated collision; whereas that which I propose is short and and to him who has lost the finer sensi

I easy.”

. ** Alas!" said the other lady, bilities, it is no legs fruitless to address a whose visage glowed with passion, made moral discourse than to represent to the up of scoro and pity," what are the plea- deaf the charms of melody, or to the sures you propose? To eat before you blind the beauties of a picture. are hungry, drink before you are athirst, But youth possesses sensibility in persleep before you are tired; to gratify ap- fection; and unless education has been petites before they are raised, and raise totally neglected, or erroneously pursued, such appetites as nature never planted. its habits are usually virtuous. Innocence You never heard the most delicious music, leaves the mind at liberty, in early youth, which is the praise of one's-self; nor saw to soar after every thing which is generous, the most beautiful object, which is the noble, or sublime, in morals and intellecwork of one's own hands. Your votaries tuals. Furnished with a natural susceppass away their youth in a dream of mis- tibility, and free froin any acquired imtaken pleasures; while they are hoarding up pediment, the mind is then in the most anguish, torment, and remorse, for old age. favourable state for the admission of in

“ As for me, I am the friend of Gods struction, and for learning how to live. and of good men; an agreeable com

I will, then, suppose a young man prepanion to the artisan ; an household guar- sent who has passed through the forms of dian to the fathers of families; a patron a liberal education at school, and who is and protector of servants; an associate just entering on the stage of life, to act in all true and generous friendships. The his part according to his own judgment. banquets of my votaries are never costly, I will address himn with all the affection but always delicious; for none eat or drink and sincerity of a parent, in the following at them, who are not invited by hunger manner : and thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and “ You have violent passions implanted their wakings cheerful. My young men “ in you by Nature for the accomplishhave the pleasure of hearing themselves “ment of her purposes; but conclude praised by those who are in years ; and not, as many have done to their ruin,that those who are in years, of being honoured “because they are violent, they are by those who are young. In a word, my “ irresistible. The same Nature which followers are favoured by the Gods, be- gave you passions, gave you also reason, loved by their acquaintance, esteemed by " and a love of order. Religion, added their country, and, after the close of their “ to the light of Nature and the experilabours, honoured by posterity."

“ence of mankind, has concurred in




your hands.

establishing it as an unquestionable companied with shame. Far “ truth, that the irregular or intemperate “ have taken pains to shine, ainidst the “ indulgence of the passions is always “ little circle of their vicious acquaint“ atiended with pain, in some mode or ance, in the character of

gay libertines, s other, which greatly exceeds its pleasure. " than to acquire, by useful qualities, the

“Your passions will be easily restrained “ esteem of the good. From motives of “ from enormous excess, if you really vanity, health and peace are sacrificed, “ wish and honestly endeavour to restrain

o fortunes lavished without credit or en" them. But the greater part of young “joyment, every relative and personal “men study to' inflame their fury, and duty neglected, and religion boldly set

give them a degree of force which they “ at defiance. To be admitted into the

possess not in a state of nature. They company of those who disgrace the “ run into temptation, and desire not 10 family title which they inherit, ihou“ be delivered from evil. They know- “sands plunge into debauchery without

ingly and willingly sacrifice to momen- passion, into drunkenness without con

tary gratifications the comfort of all “ vivial enjoyment, into gaming without “ which should sweeten the remainder of “ the means or inclination for play. Old “ life. Begin, then, with most sincerely “ age rapidly advances. When vanity

wishing to conquer those subtle and at length retreats from insult and from “ powerful enemies whom you carry in “ mortification, avarice succeeds; and

your bosom. Pray for Divine assist- meanness, and disease, and disgrace, “ ance. Avoid solitude the first mo. “ and poverty, and discontent, and “ ment a loose thought insinuates itself, despair, diffuse clouds and darkness “ and hasten to the company of those over the evening of life. Such is the “ whom you respect. Converse not on “ lot of those who glory in their shame, “ subjects which lead to impure ideas. " and are ashamed of their glory. “ Have courage to decline reading im- Have sense and resolution enough, “ moral books, even when they fall into “ therefore, to give up all pretensions to If, at a proper age, you

“ those titles, of a fine fellow, a rake, or “ form a strong attachment to a virtuous “ whatever vulgar name the temporary

woman, dare, with the sanction of “cant of the vicious bestows on the dis“ parental approbation, to marry. It is “tinguished libertine.

Preserve your “ better to be poor than wicked. Cherish principles, and be steady in your con“ the object of your early love. Be in

And though your exemplary “ dustrious, and trust in Providence. "behaviour may bring upon you the

“ Thus shall you avoid the perpetual “insulting and 'ironical appellation of

torments of unruly affection, the most a Saint, a Puritan, or even a Method“ loathsome of diseases, and the thousand “ ist, persevere in rectitude. It will “ penalties of selfish celibacy. Thus

“ be in your power soon not indeed “ shall you please God and your own “ to insult, but 10 pity. Have spirit, and “ heart, if it is a good one; and dis- display it. But let it be that sort of

please none but an ill-judging and spirit which urges you to proceed in the “ wicked world, and perhaps a few of “ path in which you were placed by the your covetous relations, whom avarice

faithful guide

your infancy. Exhibit “ may have rendered insensible to any a noble superiority in daring to disre“ charins but those of sordid lucre.

gard the artful and malicious reproaches “ But really you have not so much to of the vain and vicious, who labour to “ fear from the violence of the concupisci- “ make you a convert to folly, in order to “ ble affections, when unassisted by volun- keep them in countenance. They will “ tary compliance, as from vanity. The “ laugh at first, but esteem you in their “ perverse ambition of arriving at the “ hearts even while they laugh, and in “ character of a man of spirit by vicious " the end revere your virtue. “ audacity, has of late universally prevail- ** Let that generous courage which “ed, and has ruined a great part of the “ conscious rectitude inspires, enable you “ rising generation. I have known many “ to despise and neglect the assaults of

young men proud of the inpurest dis- “ ridicule. When all other modes of

tempers, and boasting of misfortunes “ attack have failed, ridicule bas succeed" which are attended with the greatest "ed. The bulwark of virtue, which “pain and misery, and onght to be ac- “ stood firmly agaiust the weapons of

“ duct.




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


* argument, has tottered on its basis, or “ manners, let the beautiful Christian “ fallen to the ground, touched by the graces

of Meekness and Benevolence “ wand of magic ridicule. In the school, “ shine most conspicuous. Relieve dis“ in the college, in the world at large, it “tress, prevent mischief, and do good, “ is the powerful engine which is used to “ wherever you can; but be neither “ level an exalted character. You will 6 ostentatious nor censorious. “ infallibly be attacked with it, if you “ Be cheerful, and gratefully enjoy the are in

any respects singular; and singu- good which Providence has bestowed “ lar in many respects you must be, if “ upon you.

But be moderate. Modeyou are eminently virtuous.

“ ration is the law of enjoyment. All be“ Love truth, and dare to speak it at yond is nominal pleasure and real pain. “ all events. The man of the world will “ I will not multiply my precepis. “ tell you, you must dissemble; and so “ Choose good books, and follow their “ you must, if your objects and pursuits “ direction. Adopt religious, virtuous,

are like his, mean and selfish. But "manly principles. Fix them deeply in

your purposes are generous; and your your bosom, and let them go with you " methods of obtaining them are therefore

“ unloosened and unaltered to the grave. undisguised. You mean well. Avow “ If you follow such advice as, from “ your meaning, if honour requires the “ the pure motive of serving you most “ avowal, and fear nothing. You will, essentially, I have given you, I will not, " indeed, do right to wish to please; but “indeed, promise that you shall not be “ you will be anxious to please the worthy“ unfortunate, according to the common “ only, and none but worthy actions will “ idea of the word; but I will confidently “ effect that purpose. With respect 10 “ assure you, that you shall not be un“ that art of pleasing which requires the “ happy. I will not promise you worldly “ sacrifice of your sincerity, despise it, success,

but I will engage


shall the base quality of flatterers, syco

“ deserve it, and shall know how to bear phants, cheats, and scoundrels. An 66 its absence.

Knox's Essays. “ habitual liar, besides that he will be “ known and marked with infamy, must § 90. On the Wisdom of aiming at

Perfection. “ possess a poor and pusillanimous heart; “ for lying originates in cowardice. It The infirmity of human nature is a

originates also in fraud; and a liar, topic on which the profligate lova to “ whatever may be his station, would enlarge. They are apt to deduce an ar“ certainly, if he were sure of secrecy, be gument from it no less injurious than fala thief.

Sorry am I to say, that this lacious. They infer from the concession “habit is very cominon in the world, that man is naturally weak and corrupt,

even among those who make a figure that the precepts of strict morality are “in the realms of dissipation; those utterly useless, and that they originate in “ whose honour would compel them to one of the principal arguments of human “ stab you to the heart, if you were to imbecility,--an ill-grounded pride. “ tell them plainly the mortifying truth,

Man is, indeed, a weak creature; but " that you convict them of a lie. he is also an improveable creature. He

. With all your good qualities unite has strong passions; but he has also “ the humility of a Christian. Be not strong powers within him to counteract

Be cautious of overvaluing their operation. He possesses reason; and “ yourself. Make allowances for the his happiness certainly depends upon the “ vices and errors which you will daily voluntary use or abuse, the neglect or the

Remember that all have not had exertion, of this noble faculty. “ the benefit of moral instruction; that a It seems probable that many “ great part of mankind are in offect the inefficacy of philosophical and moral “ orphans turned loose into the wide precepts are only endeavouring to excuse “ world, without one faithful friend to their own indolence. They who feel

give them advice; left to find their themselves little inclined to correct their own way in a dark and rugged wilder- misconduct, are very solicitous to persuade

ness, with snares, and quicksands, and themselves that, from the inherent and “ chasms around them. Be candid, general imbecility of human nature, they “ therefore, and, among all the improve

are unable. * ments of education and refinements of Indeed, wherever human creatures are




who urge


found, there are also to be found vice and belief of the possibility of great advances misery. Nor is this appearance only towards perfection. Philosophers have among the rude and the illiterate, but already received it; but philosophers are among those who are adorned with all to the rest of mankind what a drop of the arts of human knowledge. Observa- water is to an ocean. The pretended tion affords many examples of those, who, philosophers are numerous indeed; but after having recommended virtue in the they commonly, in our time, divulge most forcible manner, with all the ap- opinions which tend to degrade and vilify pearance of sincerity, have at last fallen human nature. Popularity seems to be into the disgrace and wretchedness of more their object than the sublime satissiogular profligacy. Contrary to their

Contrary to their faction of discovering and communicating conviction, their interest, their character, useful truth. But were the generality of to all that seemed estimable in their own mankind convinced that they are capable eyes, they have descended from the tower- of arriving at high degrees of excellence, ing heights of virtue into the lowest and consequently led to aspire at it, moral abysses of vice.

evil would certainly decrease, and society Such instances do, indeed, sometimes

assume a fairer appearance. Much misery occur, and they are usually blazoned and and much evil of all kinds will always be exaggerated by triumphant delinquency. in it, during this sublunary state; but In many cases of degeneracy, it is pro- that share of it which is obstinately and bable that the appearances of virtue were presumptuously occasioned by our own insincere. But allowing, what indeed the folly, may certainly be removed when that uniform decisions of observation, reason, folly is corrected. and religion, clearly declare, that human What is done in the works of art may nature is weak in the extreme, yet I often be effected in morals. Were a would draw a different conclusion from musical instrument to be placed in the that which is deduced by the patrons of hands of a peasant who had never heard libertinism.

or seen one, and were he told that he The nature of man is extremely infirm, might, if he were to attend to it, call forth it is granted; and therefore, I argue, let sounds from it which would delight every every

effort be made to acquire new hearer, he would not be induced by any strength and resolution. It cannot be argument to believe the possibility of it. said that the endeavour must of necessity Yet let him regularly learn and practise be abortive; it cannot be said that we a due time, and he will arrive at a degree have not natural incitements sufficient to of skill, which, though far from perfection, encourage a vigorous attempt. We have will appear miraculous on comparison nice sensibilities of moral rectitude, we with his original inability. So in life, if have a natural love of excellence, we have you inform your disciple that he is able intellectual powers capable of infinite im- to reach a great degree of excellence, and provement, we have preceptsinnumerable; urge him to the attempt, he will infallibly and to the honour of human nature, let it be make great advances, and improve to his added, that examples also greatly abound. astonishment. But indulge bis

Many individuals who enrolled them- natural indolence, timidity, or despair, by selves among the severer sects of ancient expatiating on the irremediable weakness philosophy, have exhibited most animating of human nature, and you effectually preproofs of the strength of human nature. clude even his endeavours, and add to It is not to be supposed that they pos- his natural imbecility by paralysing his sessed faculties inore in number, or more original vigour. perfect in their kind, than the present In the works of art, in sculpture, and

But they loved excellence, and in painting, in the subordinate operations they believed that they were capable of of 'mechanical ingenuity, to what perfect. That belief operated most favourably tion does the hand of man attain ? When on their exertion. They succeeded in

a savage sees a watch, he adores it as a their attempts, and stand forth among god. No earnestness of assertion would

ankind like colossal statues amid a col- convince him that it was the work of a lection of images less than the life. creature in all respects like himself, except

I hope, therefore, it will be rendering in acquired dexterity. And can man iman effectual service to mankind, if I can

prove himself so highly in the manual revive among the gay and careless this arts, in science, and in the productions of



taste, and be unable to arrive at real and for succour? whither shall we turn to find solid improvement in the finest art and that which shall support our weakness, the noblest science, the art and the science and supply our defects ? Philosophy is of conducting life? Half the attention often vain, but religion never. To the and the constancy which is displayed in Deity we must have recourse, who will acquiring skill in an occupation by which certainly strengthen us by his grace, and money is to be gained, if bestowed on the pardon our involuntary failures, of his melioration of the morals, would usually infinite mercy.

Knox's Essays. produce a most laudable character. The state of things is so constituted, ♡ 91. On forming a Taste for simple

Pleusures. that labour, well bestowed and properly directed, always produces a valuable effect. To argue against pleasure in general is That it should find its reward, even in absurd. It is the law of nature, that every this world, seems to be the decree of animal should prefer the agreeable sensaProvidence. Away, then, with the phi- tions to the disagreeable. But it is inlosophy which increases the weakvess of cumbent on the moralist to explode those our nature by representing it as insupera- pleasures, which, though they are transient ble. Our personal excellence and hap- and unsatisfactory in themselves, are yet piness, our friends and our country, are

found ultimately to occasion permanent greatly interested in exploding the pusil. pain and real injury. lanimous doctrine. We shall, indeed, Perhaps the most effectual mode of acoften fall; but let us rise undejected. complishing this purpose, is not to arraign Our failings will be great, but great also pleasure in general, but to substitute other may be our virtues. At least, according pleasures in the place of those which are to an old and just observation, by aiming hurtful. Man must be amused and deat absolute perfection, we shall approach lighted; and pernicious amusements and it much more nearly than if we sit down poisoned delights will be pursued, if others inactive through despair.

cease to be obvious. The modern philosophers and their

It is certain that nature has interspersed disciples, while they assert the inefficacy a great number of objects capable of afof philosophy, of moral precepts, and of fording the liveliest delight, without religious influence, are inclined to main- danger of future pain, and even with the tain, that the effect which these only probability of deriving improvement and pretend to produce may be actually pro- additional pleasure by reflecting on the duced by the principle of modern honour. past enjoyment. Such, indeed, are those I would only, in reply to their insinua- innocent pleasures which we follow in tion, ask them these questions : Who are early youth with cheerful ardour, and the persons who openly and proudly which we enjoy with sincere delight, commit deeds at which the child of nature, before we are vitiated and hardened by a even the savage would shudder; who is long intercourse with a depraved world; guilty of the meanest, cruellest seduction; before the qualities of the dove are exwho wears a sword ready to plunge it changed for the less amiable wisdom of joto the heart of his dearest friend for a

the serpent. trilling provocation; who is ready to Amidst all the improvements which we glory in breaking the peace of conjugal make in a state of high civilization, we life, and ruining a family for the gratifica- lose some natural tastes and propensities tion of lust or vanity ? Unerring expe- which were favourable to virtue. We rience replies, Men of Honour; all, all, acquire wants and notions which disturb honourable men.

our repose, and cause a feverish anxiety, From such delusion let the untainted ever thirsting, and never satisfied. mind of youth hasten to escape.

To The simple and innocent satisfactions religion and inorality let it fly for solid of nature are usually within reach; and, comfort, and for those assistances which as they excite no violent perturbation in alone can repair the ruins that have been the pursuit, so are they enjoyed without made by the fall of Adam in the glorious tumult, and relinquished without long or fabric of human nature. With our utmost painful regret. Ii will, then, render es endeavours, both reason and divinity sential service both to happiness and inform us we shall be at last greatly morality, if we can persuade men in defective. Whither, then, shall we fly general to taste and to contract an habitual

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »