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plauds the follies, though the most ridiculous, he soothes the vices, though the most flagrant, of other men. He never contradicts, though in the softest form of insinuation; he never disapproves, though by a respectful silence; he never condemns, though it be only by a good example. In short, he is solicitous for nothing, but by some studied devices to bide from others, and, if possible, to palliate to himself, the grossness of his illiberal adulation.
Lastly; we may be sure, that the ultimate ends for which these different objects are pursued, and by so different means, must also lie wide of each other.
Accordingly, the true polite man would, by all proper testimonies of respect, promote the credit and estimation of his neighbour ; because he sees that, by this generous consideration of each viher, the peace of the world is, in a good degree, preserved; because he knows that these mutual attentions prevent animosities, soften the fierceness of men's manners, and dispose them to all the offices of benevolence and charity ; because, in a word, the interests of society are best served by this conduct; and because he understands it to be his duty to love his neighbour.
The falsely polite, on the contrary, are anxious, by all means whatever, to procure the favour and consideration of those they converse with; because they regard, ultimately, nothing more than their private interest; because they perceive, that their own selfish designs are best carried on by such practices : in a word, because they love themselves.
Thus we see, that genuine virtue consults the honour of others by worthy means, and for the noblest purposes; the counterfeit solicits their favour by dishonest compliances, and for the basest end..
ON THE CHOICE OF COMPANY. That we may be known by our company, is a truth become proverbial. 'The ends we have to serve may, indeed, occasion us to be often with the persons whom we by no means resemble; or, the place in which we are settled keeping us at a distance from others, if we will converse at all, it must be with some whose manners we least approve. But when we have our choice; when, if we like the company of the wise and considerate, we may have it; that we then court the one, and shun the other, seems as full a proof as we can well give, that, if we avoid vice, it is not from the sense we have of the amiableness of virtue.
For many years of our life we are forming ourselves upon what we observe in those about us. We learn not only their phrases but their manners. The civility and courtesy, which, in a wellordered family, are constantly seen by its younger members, fail not to influence their deportment, and, whatever their natural vulgarity may be, will dispose them to check its appearance. Let the descendant of the meanest cottager be placed from bis infancy where he perceives every one mindful of decorum; the marks of his extraction are soon obliterated; at least his carriage does not discover it. And were the heir of a dukedom to be continually in the kitchen or stable, the young lord would soon be recognized only by his clothes and title: in other respects, he might be taken for the son of the groom or the scullion.
Nor is the disposition to imitate confined to childhood; when this is past, the man continues to take his colours from those he is near; he copies their appearance; he seldom is what the use of his reason, or what his own inclinations, would make him.
An ancient historian, mentioning the laws which Charondas gave the Thurians, says: 'He enacted a law with reference to an evil, on which former lawgivers had not animadverted--that of keeping bad company. As he conceived, that the morals of the good were sometimes quite ruined by their dissolute acquaintance; tliat vice was apt, like an infectious disease, to spread itself and extend its contagion; he expressly enjoined that none should engage in any intimacy or familiarity with immoral persons; appointed that an accusation might be exhibited for keeping bad company; and laid a heavy fine on such as were convicted of it.' - The impression made on us by what we hear is usually much stronger than that received by us from what we read. That which passes in our usual intercourse is listened to without fatiguing us ; each then taking his turn in speaking, our attention is kept awake; we mind throughout what is said, while we are at liberty to express our own sentiments of it, to confirm, or object to it; to hear any part of it repeated, or to ask what questions we please concerning it. Discourse is an application to our eyes as well as ears; and the one organ is here so far assistant to the other, that it greatly increases the force of what is transmitted to our minds by it. The air and action of the speaker give no small importance to his words; and the very tone of his voice adds weight to his reasoning.
That bad companions will make us as bad as themselves, I do not absolutely affirm. When we are not kept from their vices by our principles, we may be by our constitutions; we may be less profligate than they, by being more cowardly; but what I advance as certain is, that we cannot be safe among them, and that they will in some degree, and may in a very great one, hurt our morals. Pythagoras, before he admitted any one into his school, inquired who were his intimates; justly concluding, that they who could choose immoral companions would not be much profited by his instructions.
ON TRUTH AND SINCERITY. TRUTH and reality have all the advantages of appearance, and many more. If the show of any thing be good for any thing, I am sure sincerity is better : for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to ? for to counterfeit and dissemble, is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now the best way in the world for a man to seem to be any
thing, is really to be what we would seem to be. Besides, that it is many times as troublesome to make good the pretence of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is discovered to want it, and then all his pains and labour to seem to have it are lost. There is something unnatural in painting, which a skilful cye will easily discern from native beauty and complexion.
It is hard to personate and act a part long; for where truth is not at the bottom, nature will always be endeavouriug to return, and will peep out and betray herself one time or other. Therefore, if any man think it convenient to seem good, let him be so indeed, and then his goodness will appear to every hody's satisfaction; so that, upon all accounts, sincerity is true wisdom. Particalarly as to the affairs of this world, integrity hath many advantages over all the fine and artificial ways of dissimulation and deceit; it is much the plainer and easier, much the safer and more secure way of dealing in the world; it has less of trouble and difficulty, of entanglement and perplexity, of danger and hazard in it; it is the shortest and nearest way to our end, carrying us thither in a straight line, and will hold out and last longest. The arts of deceit and cunning do continually grow weaker, and less effectual and serviceable to them that use them; whereas integrity gains strength by use; and the more and longer any man practiseth it, the greater service it does him, by confirming his reputation, and encouraging those with whom he hath to do to repose the greatest trust and confidence in hin,