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any means of reforming them. These ill-natured people study a man's temper, or the circumstances of his life, merely to know what disgusts him, and what he does not care to hear mentioned; and this they take care to omit no opportunity of disturbing him with. They communicate their wonderful discoveries to others, with an ill-natured satisfaction in their countenances; Say such a thing to such a man and you cannot mortify him worse. They delight (to use their own phrase) in seeing galled horses wince, and, like flies, a sore place is a feast to them. Know, ye wretches, that the meanest insect, the trifling musqueto, the filthy bug, have it in their power to give pain to men; but to be able to give pleasure to your fellow creatures requires good nature and a kind and humane disposition, joined with talents to which ye seem to have no pretension.
If a sound body and a sound mind, which is as much as to say, health and virtue, are to be preferred before all other considerations, ought not men, in choosing a business either for themselves or children, to refuse such as are unwholsome for the body, and such as make a man too dependent, too much obliged to please others, and too much subjected to their humors in order to be recommended and get a livelihood?
I Am about courting a girl I have had but little acquaintance with. How shall I come to a knowledge of her faults, and whether she has the virtues I imagine she has?
Answer. Commend her among her female acquaintance.
The great secret of succeeding in conversation is, to admire little, to hear much; always to distrust our own reason, and sometimes that of our friends; never to pretend to wit, but to make that of others appear as much as possibly we can; to hearken to what is said, and to answer to the purpose.
In vain are musty morals taught in schools,
Charming woman can true converts make,
PROPOSALS AND QUERIES FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE JUNTO.•
That P. S. and A. N. be immediately invited into the Junto.
That all new members be qualified by the four qualifications, and all the old ones take
That these queries, copied at the beginning of a book, be read distinctly at each meeting; a pause between each, while one might fill and drink a glass of wine.
* For an account of the Junto, sec above, p. 9. The Queries appear to have been the author's first thoughts, written down without regard to method, and in parts are unfinished.
That, if they cannot be gone through in one night, we begin the next where we left off; only such as particularly regard the Junto to be read every night.
That it be not hereafter the duty of any member to bring queries, but left to his discretion.
That an old declamation be read without fail every night, when there is no new one.
That Mr. Brientnal's poem on the Junto be read once a month, and hummed in concert by as many as can hum it.
That, in spring, summer, and fall, the Junto meet once a month in the afternoon, in some proper place across the river, for bodily exercise.
That in the aforesaid book be kept minutes, thus;
Friday, June 30th, 1732.
Present, A B, C D, E F, &c.
'1. H. read this maxim, viz., or this experi
. ment, viz., or, &c. 5. Lately arrived one , of such a profession, or such a science, &c. 7. X. Y. grew rich by this means, &c.
That these minutes be read once a year at the anniversary.
That all fines due be immediately paid in, and the penal laws for queries and declamations abolished; only he who is absent above ten times in the year to pay ten shillings towards the anniversary entertainment .
That the Secretary, for keeping the minutes, be allowed one shilling per night, to be paid out of the money already in his hands.
That, after the queries are begun reading, all discourse foreign to them shall be deemed impertinent .
When any thing from reading an author is men
Figures denote queries answered
tioned, if it exceed a line, and the Junto require it, the person shall bring the passage or an abstract of it the next night, if he has it not with him.
When the books of the library come, every member shall undertake some author, that he may not be without observations to communicate.
How shall we judge of the goodness of a writing? Or what qualities should a writing have to be good and perfect in its kind?
Answer. To be good, it ought to have a tendency to benefit the reader, by improving his virtue or his knowledge. But, not regarding the intention of the author, the method should be just; that is, it should proceed regularly from things known to things unknown, distinctly and clearly without confusion. The words used should be the most expressive that the language affords, provided that they are the most generally understood. Nothing should be expressed in two words that can be as well expressed in one; that is, no synonymes should be used, or very rarely, but the whole should be as short as possible, consistent with clearness. The words should be so placed as to be agreeable to the ear in reading; summarily, it should be smooth, clear, and short. For the contrary qualities are displeasing.
But, taking the query otherwise, an ill man may write an ill thing well; that is, having an ill design, he may use the properest style and arguments (considering who are to be readers) to attain his ends. In this sense, that is best wrote, which is best adapted for obtaining the end of the writer.
VOL. II. 70 u u
Can a man arrive at perfection in this life, as some believe; or is it impossible, as others believe?
Jlnswer. Perhaps they differ in the meaning of the word perfection. I suppose the perfection of any thing to be only the greatest the nature of the thing is capable of. Different things have different degrees of perfection, and the same thing at different times. Thus, a horse is more perfect than an oyster, yet the oyster may be a perfect oyster, as well as the horse a perfect horse. And an egg is not so perfect as a chicken, nor a chicken as a hen; for the hen has more strength than the chicken, and the chicken more life than the egg; yet it may be a perfect egg, chicken, and hen.
If they mean a man cannot in this life be so perfect as an angel, it may be true; for an angel, by being incorporeal, is allowed some perfections we are at present incapable of, and less liable to some imperfections than we are liable to. If they mean a man is not capable of being as perfect here as he is capable of being in heaven, that may be true likewise. But that a man is not capable of being so perfect here, as he is capable of being here, is not sense; it is as if I should say, a chicken, in the state of a chicken, is not capable of being so perfect as a chicken is capable of being in that state.
In the above sense, there may be a perfect oyster, a perfect horse, a perfect ship; why not a perfect man? That is, as perfect as his present nature and circumstances admit .
Question. Wherein consists the happiness of a rational creature?
Answer. In having a sound mind and a healthy body, a sufficiency of the necessaries and convenien