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imperfections of our nature-whether our judgment is without its bias from our fears.

Let our ferioufnefs be exhibited to us in that odd figure, which wit and humour can easily give it; we fhall be infenfibly led to judge of it, according to its appear ance, as thus overcharged; and under the difadvantage, in which it is fhewn us: we fhall, firft, feem unconcerned at the greater liberties that others take, and, by degrees, proceed to take the very fame ourselves.

The perfon, whom we most highly and justly honoured, if the buffoonry of our companions were conftantly levelled at him, would foon have his worth overlooked by us; and, though we might not be brought to think of him as contemptibly, as they appeared to do, our reverence of him would certainly, at length abate, and both his advice and example have much lefs influence upon us.

Of this you fhall have an inftance in my

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The helps, that he had not received from reading, he had abundantly supplied the want of, by obfervation and converfation.

The compafs of his knowledge was amazing. There was fcarce any thing, of which one in his ftation ought to be informed, wherein he appeared to be ignorant. Long experience, great fagacity, a ready apprehenfion, a retentive memory, the refort to him of all forts of people, from whom any thing could be learned, and an intimacy with fome of the worthieft perfons of every profeffion, enabled him to

fpeak on moft points with fuch juftness and copioufnefs, as might induce you to conclude, upon first being with him, that the topic, on which his difcourfe turned, was what he had particularly and principally attended to Though he owned himfelf never to have fo much as look'd into the writings of atheifts or deifts; yet, from the promifcuous company he had been obliged to keep, and the freedom, with which ail fpoke their fentiments to him, there was not, perhaps, a material objection to the chriftian religion, of which he was not apprifed, and which he had not well confidered.

Senfible of his strength, and ever defirous to ufe it in the best of caufes—in the fervice of that truth, which operates on men's practice, and would, if attended to, rectify it throughout; he did not difcourage the moft free fpeakers: he calmly and willingly heard what they could fay against his faith, while they ufed reafon and argument; but drollery and jeft he failed not, though with great good-humour, to reprove, as a fpecies of mifreprefentation as a fure evidence, that truth was not fought as an artifice, to which none would apply, who were not conscious of their weakness, who did not defpair of fupporting their notions by rational proofs.

Virtue and true religion had not, perhaps, an abler advocate than this gentleman; but whatever fervice his tongue might do them, his manners, certainly, did them far greater; he convinced you of their excellency, by exhibiting to your fenfes their effects--he left you no room to question how amiable they were, when it was from their influence upon him, that be fo much engaged your esteem and affection; he proved undeniably, how much they fhould be our care, by being himself an intance, how much they contributed to our happiness.

Never, certainly, did piety fit eafier upon any man-Never, perhaps, was any man more efteemed by the very perfons, between whofe practice and his there was the wideft difference.

The fuperior talents he discover'd, and his readinefs to employ them for the benefit of all, who applied to him, engaged alike their admiration and their love.

The obligations, conferred by bim, obtained the height of complaifance towards his fon. Invitations were made the youth from all quarters; and there was not a young man of any figure near him, who


was not introduced to him, and directed to pay him particular civility. They, who fought to attach him clofeft to them by analting his humour, were never without their arguments for licenfing it, "True it "was, this or that parfait might not be to "the taste of his father; but neither did "it fuit his years-When he was a young *man, he, undoubtedly, acted as one; he took the diverfions, allowed himself in "the gratifications, to which youth inclines: no wonder that he fhould now " cenfure what he could not relish that "he thould condemn the draught, which "his head could not bear, and be indiffe"rent to the features, which he could not diftinguith without his fpectacles."

When this kind of language had abated the reverence, due to fo excellent an inftructor, the buffoon interpofed ftill further to weaken his influence; gave an air of affectation to his decorum-of hypocrify to bis ferioufnefs-of timorousness to his prudence of avarice to his wife economyburlefqued the advice, that he might be fuppofed to give, the arguments with which he was likely to fupport it, and the reproof he would naturally ufe, when he did not fee a difpofition to follow it.

Soon as the young man had attained the age, at which the law fuppofes us fufficientdjerect, he expreffed a moft earneft deure to have an opportunity of appearing Jo. Repeated promifes were made, that if a proper allowance was fettled on him, and leave given him to chufe a place of abode, there ihould not be the leaft mifmanagement; the income affigned him should anfwer every article of expence.

The fon's importunity was feconded by the fond mother's, and their joint folicita tions prevailed. The youth was now acceffible, at all times, to the most profligate of his acquaintance: and one part of their entertainment ufually was, to fet his excellent father's maxims and manners in the most difadvantageous light. This failed not to bring on a difregard to both-fo entire a disregard to them, that the whore and the card-table took up all the hours, which the bottle relieved not.

Thus fell the heir of one of the worthieft of our countrymen !-It was to no purpofe, that fuch an admirable example had been fet him by the perfon, he was most likely to regard that fuch particular care had been taken to reafon him into a difcharge of his duty-that he had been prefent, when the moft fubtile advocates for irre

ligion either were filenced, or induced to acknowledge their principles to be much lefs defenfible, than they had hitherto thought them. None of the impreffions of what had been done for him, or faid to him, or had paffed before him, could hold out against ridicule; it effaced every trace of them, and prepared him to be as bad, as his worst companions could be inclined to make him. How great a negle& of him enfued! They who had laugh'd him out of the reverence due to his parent's worth, rendered him foon defpifed by all, whofe elteem could profit or credit him; and he died in the 70th year of his conflitution, when but in the 25th of his age.


Dean Bolton.


My last gave you a melancholy inftance of the hurt, done by ridicule to the heir of a moft worthy man, not many miles from you. What influence it had towards the condemnation of him, to whom the epithet of divine might, perhaps, be more properly applied, than to any one, who ever lived under the fole guidance of reafon, has long, you know, been matter of difpute. I will only obferve, concerning the comic writer's ridicule of Socrates

1. That, when fuch a reprefentation could be made of fo excellent a perfon, it demonftrates, that no degree of worth can secure any perfon from an attempt to deftroy his credit; and that they, whofe capacities fully enable them to difcern this worth, may be its fpitefulleft enemies, and bend their wits to difparage it-

2. That, when fuch a reprefentation could be made by a man of good parts, with any confidence of fuccefs, it is, further, an evidence of the probability, that the highest and moft juft reputation may fuffer from ridicule, and that it may bring into contempt what is entitled to the greatest esteem and honour-

3. That if the Athenians were fo well pleafed with the means ufed to leffen the character of this ornament, not only to his country, but his fpecies, as to render the interpofition of a powerful party in the ftate neceffary, to prevent the poet's abufe from meeting with all the fuccefs, he prom.fed himself in it; we are fully taught, what may be the pernicious effects of ingenious drollery-how much it may weaken the force of any inftruction, or any example.


Where violent methods are purfued, in order to withdraw us from any religious practice or opinion; they who thus oppofe it fhewing thereby, that they look upon it as fomewhat of great importance, teach us to do the fame; and often increase our attachment to it--render us more earnest about it, than we, otherwise fhould have been. But where fuch practice or opinion is treated as a matter of jeft-where it meets with all the flight, that fcoffing and laughter can exprefs, we fcarcely know how to preferve our regard to it, as a thing of much confequence; and from efteeming it of little moment, we easily proceed to judge it of none at all.

The force that is offered us, on account of our perfuafion, either occafions fuch an averfion from him, who applies to it, as prevents his having any influence upon us; or engages us in fo careful an attention to the grounds, upon which we formed our judgment, as fixes us in the refolution not to alter it. But when all paffes under the appearance of good humour-when only mirth and pleafantry are exerted against us, we neither contract that hatred towards thofe, by whom we are thus treated, which will be our fecurity from bad imprefany fions they can make upon us; nor are we excited to any examination of our principles, that can confirm us in them. The freedom which our companions use, in sporting with what we have hitherto reverenced, will tempt us to conclude, that its importance is far from being obvious; nor, indeed, can it fail, unless our minds have a more than ordinary firmness, to raise at length fome doubt in us, whether we have not been too fanciful or too credulous. And as

"The woman, who deliberates, is loft," we may fear the man will be fo likewife, who fuffers himself to queftion, how well founded his fcrioufnefs is, merely because his affociates are continually deriding it.

Would you not, induftriously, keep out of the way of thofe, who had power to torture you, and whom you knew ready to do it; if you would not be guided by them, but was determined to think and act, as your own reason fhould direct? Believe me, Sir, the fcoffer fhould be as much fhunned by the friend to virtue, as the inquifitor by the friend of truth. Whoever would attain or preferve a just sense of his duty, thould have as little intercourfe as

poffible with those who would difcourage fincerity-who would oppose it, either by the faggot, or the fair, of Smithfield. A very uncommon refolution is required to be fteady to the principles, from avowing which we must expect to be the heroes in a farce; though we need not apprehend that it will make us victims to the flames.

What your temper may be, I cannot affirm; but I really think that, with great numbers, drollery is not only a fpecies of perfecution, but the most dangerous kind of it: they would as foon be fcourged, as mocked; be burthened with the cross, as habited with the purple. You can scarcely be enough aware of the rifk you run from being jefted with, as a vifionary or a bigot-as one of much whim, or very little penetration.

But enough of the inducements, that vitious companions would be under to corrupt you, and the means they would use to do it.

The care you should take, in the choice of your company, will be the subject of but one letter more from Dean Bolton.

§ 129. LETTER X.


All I have to add, on what has lately been the fubject of my correspondence with you, will be contained in this letter. I will not lengthen it, by apologizing for it.

Might I fuppofe you fo fortified by a right difpofition, a wife education, good fenfe, and a thorough knowledge of the reasonablenefs of the practice enjoined by your religion, that every attempt to corrupt your morals would mifcarry; this hurt, however, you would be fure to find from being much in the company of vitious men, that you would be lefs careful to become eminently virtuous-you would be lefs careful to fulfil your obligations, than you otherwife would be. While you faw others fo much worfe than yourself; you would not confider, how much better you ought to be, than you at present areWhile their grofs faults were avoided, you would not confider, how much there is in you, that ought to be amended.

We measure what is, in any way, commendable; by comparing our share of it with that of our neighbour: we do not re

Bartholomew fair, during which plays and farces were formerly, from morning to night, the entertainment of the populace.


gard in what degree, as to itfelf, we poffefs the good, but in how greater a degree it is poffeffed by us, than by others.

Among a very ignorant people, a fcholar of the lowest form will pafs, both in their and his own judgment, for an adept. You would, I am fure, pronounce of any gentleman, who kept mean company, that there was little hope of his ever acting a part, which would greatly credit him: while he loved to be chiefly with thofe, who would own, and do homage to, his fuperiority; you would think him by no means likely to cultivate much real worth. And were it to be faid, that you should make fuch a judgment of him, not because of any impreffion he would receive from bis companions, but becaufe of the difpofition he fhewed in the choice of them; I fhould be glad to know, how that man must be thought affected towards religion and virtue, who could be willingly prefent, where he was fure, that they would be grofsly depreciated. Whoever could bear a difparagement of them, must have fo litthe fenfe of their worth, that we may justly conclude him ill prepared for refifting the attempt, to deprive them wholly of their influence upon him. And, therefore, we may as fitly determine, from the difpofition evidenced by him who keeps bad company, what his morals will at length be; as we can determine from the turn of mind, difcovered by one who keeps mean company, what his figure in the world is likely to be

Thofe among us, whofe capacities quafify them for the moft confiderable attainments who might raise themselves to an equality with the heroes in literature, of the last century, fit down contented with the fuperiority they have over their contemporaries acquiefce in furnishing a bare fpecimen of what they could do, if their genius were roufed, if they were to rt their abilities. They regard only the advantage they poffefs over the idle and illiterate, by whom they are furrounded; and give way to their eafe, when they may take it; and yet appear as confiderable in their times, as the learned men, we mot admire, did in their respective ages.

How many could I mention, to whom nature has been moft liberal of her endowments, who are barely in the lift of authors, who have only writ enough to fhew how much honour they would have done their country, had their application been called out, and if their names must have §

been no better known than thofe of their acquaintance, unless their diligence had equalled their capacity.

What is thus notoriously true of literary defert, is equally fo of moral: the perfons, to whom we allot a greater share of it, than has long been found in any in their ftations, how have they their fenfe of right with-held from exerting itself, by the few they meet with difpofed to animate them to any endeavour towards correcting the general depravity-by the connections they have with fuch numbers, whofe rule is their inclination-by that utter difregard to duty, which they fee in moft of thofe, with whom they have an intercourse.

Alas! in the very best of us, a conviction of what becomes us goes but a little way, in exciting us to practife it. Solicitations to be lefs obfervant of it are, from fome or other quarter, perpetually offering themfelves; and are by no means likely to be withftood, if our refolutions are not ftrengthened by the wife counfels and correfpondent examples of our affociates.

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"Behold! young man-You live in an age, when it is requifite to fortify the "mind by examples of conftancy."

This Tacitus mentions as the fpeech of the admirable Thrafea to the quæftor, fent to tell him, he muft die; and by whom he would have it remarked, with what compofure he died.

Nor is it only when our virtue endangers our life, as was then the cafe, that fuch examples are wanted. Wherever there is a prevailing corruption of manners; they who would act throughout the becoming part, must be animated to it by what they hear from, and fee in, others, by the patterns of integrity, which they have before them.

We are eafily induced to judge fome deviation from our rule very excufable; and to allow ourfelves in it: when our thoughts are not called off from our own weakness and the general guilt: but while we are converfant with thole, whofe conduct is as unfuitable, as our own, to that of the multitude; we are kept awake to a fenfe of our obligations-our fpirits are fupported-we feel the courage that we behold-we see what can be done by fuch as fhare our frail nature; and we are afhamed to waver, where they perjevere.

Ariftotle confiders friendship as of three kinds; one arifing from virtue, another from pleafure, and another from intereft; but juilly determines, that there can be no


true friendship, which is not founded in virtue.

The friendship contracted from pleasure, or profit, regards only the pleasure or profit obtained thereby; and ceafes, when thefe precarious motives to it fail: but that, to which virtue gives birth, not having any accidental caufe-being without any dependence on humour or intereft arifing wholly from intrinfic worth, from what we are in ourfelves, never fluctuates, operates fteadily and uniformly, remains firm and uninterrupted, is lafting as our lives. That which is the effential qualification of a friend, fhould be the chief recommendation in a companion. If, indeed, we have any concern for real worth; with whom should we be more defirous to converfe, than with thofe, who would accompany us, and encourage us, in the purfuit of it.

The fame writer, mentioning the ufe, that friends are of to us in every part of life, remarks the benefit, which young men find from them to be-" That they keep "them in their duty."

Had he thought, that any thing could have been urged more in behalf of friendhip; he, undoubtedly, would have obferved it. And when fuch is the language of fo able an instructor, and of one who guided himself in his inftructions only by the certain, the prefent advantage, that would attend a conformity to them; the leffon we have here for the choice of company muft appear worthy the notice even of thofe, who will have no other guides, but reafon

and nature.

If to keep us steady to our duty be the best office, that can be done us.-If they, who are our friends, will be thus ferviceable to us-If the virtuous alone can be our friends, our converfation fhould be chiefly with the virtuous; all familiarity with the vitious fhould be avoided; we fhould confider thofe, who would destroy our virtue, as our enemies-our very worst enemies, whilst endeavouring to deprive us of the greatest bleffing, that it is in our power to obtain. Dean Bolton.

§ 130. On Intemperance in Eating.

...This refpects the quantity of our food, or the kind of it: if, in either of these, we have no regard to the hurt it may do us, we are guilty of intemperance.

From tranfgreffing in the quantity of our food a fpeedier mischief enfues, than

from doing fo in the quality of it; and therein we never can tranfgrefs, without being directly admonished of it, by our very conftitution. Our meal is never too large, but heaviness comes on-the load on our ftomach is our inftant tormentor; and every repetition of our fault a caution to us, that we do not any more thus offend. A caution, alas, how unheeded by us!Crammed like an Englishman, was, I find, a proverbial expreffion in Erafmus's days above two hundred years ago.

An error barely in the kind of our aliment gives us, frequently, no prefent alarm; and, perhaps, but a very flight one, after we have, for fome years, continued in it. In the vigour of youth, fcarce any thing we cat appears to difagree with us: we gratify our palate with whatever pleases it; feeling no ill confequence, and therefore fearing none. The inconveniences, that we do not yet find, we hope we fhall always escape; or we then propofe to ourfelves a restraint upon our appetite, when we experience the bad effects of indulg ing it.

With refpect to the quantity of our food; that may be no excefs in one man, which may be the most blameable in another: what would be the height of glut tony in us, if of a week and tender frame, may be, to persons of much stronger conftitutions, a quite temperate meal. The fame proportions of food can, likewife, never fuit fuch, as have in them difpofitions to particular diseases, and fuch, as have no evils of that nature to guard againft: nor can they, further, fuit thofe, who are employed in hard labour, and thofe, who live wholly at their ease-thofe, who are frequently flirring and in action, and those, whofe life is fedentary and inactive. The fame man may, alío, in the very fame quantity, be free from, or guilty of, excefs, as he is young or old-healthy or difeafed -as he accuftoms his body to fatigue, of to repofe.

The influence that our food has upon our health, its tendency to preferve or to impair our conftitution, is the measure of its temperance or excess.

It may, indeed, fo happen, that our diet fhall be, generally, very fparing, without allowing us any claim to the virtue of temperance; as when we are more defirous to fave our money, than to please our pa lates, and, therefore, deny ourselves at our own table, what we eat with greedinefs, when we feed at the charge of others, as,

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