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mood; but it is not easy to remove griefs which touch the heart, by applying remedies which only entertain the imagination. As therefore this paper is to consist of any thing which concerns human life, I cannot help letting the present subject regard what has been the last object of my eyes, though an entertainment of sorrow.
I'went this evening to visit a friend, with a design to rally him upon a story I bad beard of his intending to steal a marriage without the privity of us his intimate friends and acquaintance. I came into his apartment with that intimacy which I have done for very many years, and walked directly into his bed-chamber, where I found my friend in the agonies of death, What could I do? The iudocent mirth in my thoughts struck upon me like the most flagitious wickedness : I in vain called upon him; he was senseless, and too far spent to have the least knowledge of my sorrow, or any pain in himself. Give me leave then to transcribe my soliloquy, as I stood by his mother, dumb with the weight of grief for a son who was her honour and her comfort, and never until that hour since his birth had been an occasion of a moment's sorrow to her.
“ How surprising is this change! from the possession of vigorous life and strength, to be reduced in a few hours to this fatal extremity! Those lips which look so pale and livid, within these few days gave delight to all who heard their utterance; it was the business, the purpose of his being, next to obeying him to whom he is going, to please and instruct, and that for no other end but to please and instruct. Kindness was the motive of his actions, and with all the capacity requisite for making a figure in a contentious world, moderation, good nature, affability, temper. ance, and chastity, were the arts of his excellent life. There, as he lies in helpless agony, no wise man who knew bim so well as I, but would resign all the world can bestow to be so near the end of such a life. Why
does my heart so little obey my reason as to lameut thee, thou excellent man? Heaven receive him, or restore him! Thy beloved mother, thy obliged friends, thy helpless servants, stand around thee without dis. tinction. How much wouldst thou, hadst thou thy senses, say to each of us!
“ But now that good heart bursts, and he is at restwith that breath expired a soul who never indulged a passion unfit for the place be is gone to: wbere are now thy plans of justice, of truth, of bononr? Of what use the volumes thou hast collated, the arguments thou hast invented, the examples thou hast followed ? Poor were the expectations of the studious, the mo. dest, and the good, if the reward of their labours were only to be expected from man. No, my friend, thy intended pleadings, thy intended good offices to thy friends, thy intended services to thy country, are already performed, as to thy concern in them, in his sight before whom the past, present, and future, appear at one view. While others with thy talenis were tormented with ambition, with vaiuglory, with envy, with emulation, how well didst thou turn thy mind to its own improvement in things out of the power of fortune; in probity, in integrity, in the practice and study of justice, how silent thy passage, how private thy journey, how glorions thy end ! many have I known more famous, some more knowing, not one so ippocent. »
ABUSE OF THE UNDERSTANDING..
Credebant hoc grande nefas, et morte piandum Si juvenis vetulo non assurrexerat
JUV. 'Twas impious then; (so much was age reverd) For youth to keep their seat, when an old man ap
KNOW no evil under the sun so great as the abuse of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice
It has diffnsed itself hrough both sexes and all qualities of mankind; and there is bardly that person to be found, who is not more concerned for the reputation of wit and sense, than honesty and virtue. But this unhappy affectation of being wise rather than honest, witty than good natured, is the source of most of the ill habits of life. Such false impressions are owing to the abandoned writings of men of wit, and the awkward imitation of the rest of mankind.
The reflections of men of fine parts are so delicate upon all occurrences which they are concerned in, that they should be exposed to inore than ordinary infamy and punishment for offending against such quick adınonitions as their own souls give them, and blunting the fine edge of their minds in such a manner, that they are no more shocked at vice and folly, than men of slower capacities. There is no greater monster in being, than a very ill man of great parts: he lives like a man in a palsy, with one side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the satisfaction of luxury, of wealth, of ambition, he bas lost the taste of good-will, of friendship, of innocence. Scarecrow, the beggar in Lincoln’s- Inn-Fields, who disabled himself in his right leg, and asks alms all day to get bimself a warm sup. per and a trull at night, is pot half so despicable a wretch as such a man of sense. The beggar has no
relish above sensations; he finds rest more agreeable than motion; and while he has a warm fire and his doxy, never reflects that he deserves to be whipped. Every man who terminates his satisfactions and en. joyments within the supply of his own necessities and passions, is, in my eye, as poor a rogue as Scarecrow. But, for the loss of public and private virtue, we are behoiden to your men of parts forsooth; it is with them no matter what is done, so it is done with an air. But to him, who in a corrupt age acts according to nature and reason, a selfish man, in the most shining circumstance and equipage, appears in the same condition with the fellow above mentioned, but mo contemptible, in proportion to what more he robs the public of and enjoys above him. I lay it down there. fore for a ruie, that the whole man is to move together; that every action of any importance, is to bave a prospect of pnblic good; and that the general ten dency of our indifferent actions, ought to be agreeable to the dictates of reason, of religion, of good breeding; without this, a man, as I before have hinted, is hopping instead of walking, he is not in his entire and proper motion.
I am of opinion, that to polish our understandings and neglect our manners, is of all things the most inexcusable. Reason should govern passion, but instead of that, you see, it is often subservient to it; and as unaccountable as one would think it, a wise man is not always a good man. This degeneracy is not only the guilt of particular persons, but also at some times of a whole people; and perhaps it may appear upon examination, that the most polite ages are the least virtuous. This may be attributed to the folly of admitting wit and learning as merit in themselves, with. out considering the application of them. By this means it becomes a rule, not so much to regard wbat we do, as how we do it. But this false beauty will not pass upon men of honest ininds and true taste: Sir Richard Blackmore says, with as much good sense as
virtue, It is a mighty dishonour and shame to employ excellent faculties and abundance of wit, to humour and please men in their vices and follies. The great enemy of mankind, notwithstanding luis wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious being in the wbole creation. He goes on soon after to say very generously, that he undertook the writing of his poem to rescue the Muses ont of the hands of ravishers, to restore them to their sweet and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an employment suitable to their diguity. This certainly ought to be the purpose of every man who appears in public; and whoever does not proceed up that foundation, injures his country as fast as he succeeds in his studies. When modesty ceases to be the chief ornament of one sex, and integrity of the other, society is upon a wrong basis, and we shall be ever after without rules to guide our judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and reason direct one thing, passion and ha' mour another: to follow the dictates of the two latter, is going into a road that is both endless and intricate; when we pursue the other, our passage is delightful, and what we aim at easily attainable.
I do not doubl but England at present as polite a nation as any in the world; but any man who thinks can easily see, that the affectation of being gay and in fashion, has very near eaten up our good sense and our religion. Is there any thing so just, as that mode and gallantry should be built upon exerting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to the institutions of justice and piety among us? and yet is there any thing more common, than that we run in perfect contradiction to them? all which is supported by no other pretension, than that it is done with what we call a good grace.
Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, but what nature itself should promp us to think so. Respect to all kind of superiors is founded, methinks, upon instinct; and yet wbat is so ridiculous as age? I