A1r

Poems
and
Essays,


by a Lady
Lately Deceased.

Vol. I

“Vattene in pace alma beata & bella! Vattene in pace a la superna sede, E lascia al mondo esempio di tua fede!”
Ariosto.

Bath,
Printed by R. Cruttwell.
1786M DCC LXXXVI.

A1v A2r

Preface.

The following Poems and Essays
were written to relieve the tedious
hours of pain and sickness. The Reader
who seeks for amusement only, may possibly
receive no gratification from the
perusal of them; but for such readers they
are not intended.

To the humble and pious Christian,
who feels the pressure of distress, and seeks
in religion for that support and consolation
which nothing else can bestow; to A2him A2v iv
him is presented an example of patience
and resignation which no sufferings could
conquer.

He will not find in the following pages
the pride of Stoicism, or the cold precepts
of unfeeling prosperity. The Author of
these Essays felt, with the keenist sensibility,
the uncommon misfortune which
condemned her for ten years, in the prime
of life, to constantly increasing sufferings;
but she found, in the principles which are
here laid down, such motives of consolation
as rendered her superior to all the
sorrows of life, and to the lingering tortures
of a most painful death.

They A3r v

They who were present at that awful
scene, can need no other evidence in support
of a truth which the reader will find
often repeated in these Essays, viz. that
“though Religion cannot prevent losses
and disappointments, pains and sorrows;
yet in the midst of them all, and when
every earthly pleasure fails, it commands,
it instructs, it enables us, to
be happy.”

Contents. A3v
A4v
B1r 1

Poems.

Ode to Hope.

Friend to the wretch whose bosom knows no joy!

Patent of bliss beyond the reach of fate!

Celestial Hope, thou gift divine!

Sweet balm of grief, O still be mine!

When pains torment, and cares annoy,

Thou only canst their force abate,

And gild the gloom which shades this mortal state.

Tho’ oft thy joys are false and vain,

Tho’ anxious doubts attend thy train,

B B1v 2

Tho’ disappointment mocks thy care,

And points the way to fell despair,

Yet still my secret soul shall own thy pow’r,

In sorrow’s bitterest pang, in pleasure’s gayest hour.

For from the date of Reason’s birth

That wond’rous pow’r was given,

To soften every grief on earth,

To raise the soul from thoughtless mirth,

And wing its flight to heaven:

Nor pain, nor pleasure, can its force destroy,

In every varied scene it points to future joy.

II.

Fancy, wave thy airy pinions,

Bid the soft ideas rise,

Spread o’er all thy wide dominions

Vernal sweets and cloudless skies.

And lo! on yonder verdant plain

A lovely youthful train appear,

Their gentle hearts have felt no pain,

Their guiltless bosoms know no fear:

B2r 3

In each gay scene some new delight they find,

Yet fancy gayer prospects still behind.

Where are the soft delusions fled?

Must wisdom teach the soul to mourn?

Return, ye days of ignorance, return!

Before my eyes your fairy visions spread!

Alas! those visions charm no more,

The pleasing dream of youth is o’er,

Far other thoughts must now the soul employ,

It glows with other hopes, it pants for other joy.

III.

The trumpet sounds to war;

Loud shouts re-echo from the mountain’s side,

The din of battle thunders from afar,

The foaming torrent rolls a crimson tide—

The youthful warrior’s breast with ardour glows,

In thought he triumphs o’er ten thousand foes;

Elate with hope he rushes on,

The battle seems already won,

B2 B2v 4

The vanquish’d hosts before him fly,

His heart exults in fancied victory,

Nor heeds the flying shaft, nor thinks of danger nigh.

Methinks I see him now—

Fallen his crest—his glory gone—

The opening laurel faded on his brow—

Silent the trump of his aspiring fame—

No future age shall hear his name,

But darkness spread around her sable gloom,

And deep oblivion rest upon his tomb.

IV.

Thro’ seas unknown, to distant lands,

In quest of gain the bold adventurer goes,

Fearless roves o’er Africa’s sands,

India’s heats, or Zembla’s snows;

Each rising day his dang’rous toil renews;

But toils and dangers check his course in vain,

Chear’d by Hope he still pursues,

Fancy’d good thro’ real pain,

Still in thought enjoys the prize,

And future happy days in long succession rise;

B3r 5

Yet all his bliss a moment may destroy,

Frail are his brightest hopes, uncertain all his joy.

V.

Hark! the sprightly voice of Pleasure

Calls to yonder rosy bow’r,

There she scatters all her treasure,

There exerts her magic pow’r.

Listen to the pleasing call,

Follow, Mortals, follow all,

Lead the dance, and spread the feast,

Crown with roses every guest:

Now the sprightly minstrels sound,

Pleasure’s voice is heard around,

And Pleasure’s sprightly voice the hills and dales resound.

Whence rose that secret sigh?――

What sudden gloom o’er clouds thy cheerful brow?

Say, does not every pleasure wait thee now,

That e’er could charm the ear, or court the eye?

In vain does Nature lavish all her store,

The conscious spirit still aspires,

Still pursues some new desires,

And every wish obtain’d, it sighs and pants for more.

B3v 6

VI.

Are these, O Hope, the glories of thy reign,

The airy dreams of Fancy and of Youth?

Must all thy boasted pleasures lead to pain?

Thy joys all vanish at the light of truth?

Must wretched man, led by a meteor fire,

To distant blessings still aspire?

Still with ardour strive to gain,

Joys he oft pursues in vain,

Joys which quickly must expire?

And when at length the fatal hour is come,

And death prepares th’ irrevocable doom,

Mourn all his darling hopes at once destroy’d,

And sigh to leave that bliss he ne’er enjoy’d?

VII.

Rise, heavenly visions, rise!

And every vain delusive fear controul!

Let real glory charm my wond’ring eyes,

And real happiness enchant my soul!――

Hail glorious dawn of everlasting day!

Tho’ faintly seen at distance here,

Thy beams the sinking heart can chear,

B4r 7

And light the weary pilgrim on his way:

For not in vain did heaven inspire

That active spark of sacred fire,

Which still with restless ardour glows;

In pain, in pleasure, still the same,

It seeks that heav’n from whence it came,

And scorns all meaner joys, all transient woes.

The soul for perfect bliss design’d

Strives in vain that bliss to find,

’Till wing’d by Hope at length it flies

Beyond the narrow bounds of earth, and air, and skies.

VIII.

Still unmov’d, let Hope remain

Fix’d on true substantial joy;

Dangers then shall threat in vain,

Pains torment, or cares annoy:

Then shall ev’ry guiltless pleasure

Smile with charms unknown before,

Hope, secure in real treasure,

Mourn her blasted joys no more:

B3 B4v 8

Then thro’ each revolving year;

Tho’ earthly glories fade away,

Tho’ youth, and strength, and life itself decay;

Yet still more bright the prospect shall appear,

Happier still the latest day,

Brightest far the parting ray.

O’er life’s last scene celestial beams shall shine,

’Till death at length shall burst the chain,

While songs of triumph sound on high;

Then shall Hope her power resign,

Lost in endless extasy,

And never fading joy, in heaven’s full glories reign.

B5r 9

On the Death of
Mr. Garrick.

The last sad rites were done—the sacred ground

Was clos’d—and Garrick’s dust to dust return’d:

In life, in death, with general honours crown’d,

A nation own’d his worth—applauded—mourn’d.

For who, like him, could every sense controul,

To Shakespeare’s self, new charms, new force,
impart,—

Bid unknown horrors shake the firmest soul,

And unknown feelings melt the hardest heart?

B5v 10

Oft when his eye with more than magic pow’r

Gave life to thoughts which words could ne’er reveal,

The voice of praise awhile was heard no more,

All gaz’d in silence, and could only feel.

Each thought suspended in a general pause,

All shar’d his passions, and forgot their own—

’Till rous’d at length, in thunders of applause,

Th’ accordant dictates of each heart were known.

O lost for ever to our wond’ring view!—

Yet faithful memory shall preserve thy name,

Even distant times thy honours shall renew,

And Garrick still shall share his Shakespeare’s
fame.

Thus musing thro’ the lonely isle I stray’d,

Recall’d the wonders of his matchless pow’rs,

And many a former scene in thought survey’d,

While all unheeded pass’d the silent hours.

B6r 11

With mournful awe I trod the sacred stones,

Where kings and heroes sleep in long repose,

And trophies mould’ring o’er the warrior’s bones,

Proclaim how frail the life which fame bestows.

Now sunk the last faint beam of closing day,

Each form was lost, and hush’d was ev’ry sound,

All, all was silent as the sleeping clay,

And darkness spread her sable vail around.

At once, methought, a more than midnight gloom

With death-like horror chill’d my throbbing breast,

When lo! a voice deep murmuring from the tomb,

These aweful accents on my soul impress’d:—

“Vain are the glories of a nation’s praise,

The boast of wit, the pride of genius, vain;

A long, long night succeeds the transient blaze,

Where darkness, solitude, and silence, reign.

B4 B6v 12

The shouts of loud applause which thousands gave,

On me, nor pride, nor pleasure now bestow—

Like the chill blast that murmurs o’er my grave,

They pass away――nor reach the dust below.

One virtuous deed, to all the world unknown,

Outweighs the highest bliss which these can give,

Can cheer the soul when youth and strength are flown,

In sickness triumph, and in death survive.

What tho’ to thee, in life’s remotest sphere,

Nor nature’s gifts, nor fortune’s are consign’d,

Let brightest prospects to thy soul appear,

And hopes immortal elevate thy mind.

The sculptur’d marble shall dissolve in dust,

And fame, and wealth, and honours, pass away:

Not such the triumphs of the good and just,

Not such the glories of eternal day.

B7r 13

These, these shall live, when ages are no more,

With never-fading lustre still shall shine:—

Go then, to heaven devote thy utmost pow’r,

And know—whoe’er thou art—the prize is Thine.”

B7v
B8r 15

A Ballad. This little Poem was occasioned by the following fact:—A postboy
was apprehended on suspicion of stealing a bank-note from a letter,
which the author, at the request of a friend, had conveyed to the
post-office. This circumstance obliged her to appear as an evidence
against the unfortunate young man, where she was witness to the distress
of his aged parents, who were waiting at the door of the Hall, to
learn the event of a trial which was to decide on the life of an only son.
The innocence of his intentions appearing very evident, the youth was
acquitted.

“Return, return, my hapless spouse,

Nor seek the fatal place

Where thoughtless crowds expecting stand,

To see thy child’s disgrace.

B8v 16

Methinks I see the judges set,

The council all attend,

And Jemmy trembling at the bar,

Bereft of every friend.

How shall a mother’s eye sustain

The dreaful sight to see?――

Return, return, my hapless spouse,

And leave the task to me.”

“Persuade me not, my faithful love,

Persuade me not, to go,

But let me see my Jemmy’s face,

And share in all his woe.

I’ll kneel before his judge’s feet,

And prayers and tears employ—

For pity take my wretched life,

But spare my darling boy.

C1r 17

When trembling, prostrate in the dust,

My heartfelt sorrows flow,

Sure, sure, the hardest heart will melt

To see a mother’s woe.

How did I watch his infant years

Thro’ fond affection blind!

And hop’d the comfort of my age

In Jemmy’s love to find.

Oft when he join’d the youthful train,

And rov’d the woods among,

Full many a wishful look I sent,

And thought he staid too long.

And when at length I saw my boy

Come bounding o’er the plain,

(The sprightliest of the sprightly throng,

The foremost of the train.)

B C1v 18

How have I gaz’d with fond delight,

His harmless joy to see,

As home he brought a load of flow’rs,

And chose the best for me.

Why would’st thou seek the noisy town,

Where fraud and cunning dwell?—

Alas! the heart that knows no guile

Should choose the humble cell.

So might I still with eager joy

Expect my child’s return;

And not as now, his hapless fate

In bitter sorrow mourn.

Last night when all was dark and still,

(O wond’rous tale to tell)

I heard a mournful solemn sound—

Methought ’twas Jemmy’s knell.

C2r 19

And oft amidst the dreary gloom

I heard a dismal groan—

And oft I felt a clay-cold hand

Which fondly press’d my own.

Anon I heard the sound confus’d

Of all the rustic train,

And Jemmy’s fainting trembling voice

For pity begg’d in vain.

Methought I saw the fatal cord,

I saw him dragg’d along—

I saw him seiz’d”――She could no more,

For anguish stopp’d her tongue.

Her faithful partner gently strove

Her sinking heart to cheer,

But while his lips of comfort spoke,

He could not hide a tear.

C2 C2v 20

But now the voice of joy or woe

To her alike was vain;

Her thought still dwelt on Jemmy’s fate,

Her lips on Jemmy’s name.

Thus on, the mournful pair advanc’d,

And reach’d the fatal place,

Where thoughtless crowds were gather’d round

To see their child’s disgrace.

Such crowds as run with idle gaze

Alike to every shew;

Nor heed a wretched father’s tears,

Nor feel a mother’s woe.

Sudden she stopp’d—for now in view

The crowded Hall appear’d—

Chill horror seiz’d her stiffen’d frame,

Her voice no more was heard.

C3r 21

She could not move, she could not weep,

Her hands were clasp’d on high;

And all her soul in eager gaze

Seem’d starting from her eye.

For her the husband trembled now

With tender, anxious fear!――

“O Lucy, turn and speak to me!”――

But Lucy could not hear.

Still fix’d she stood in silent woe,

Still gazing on the door;

When lo! a murmur thro’ the croud

Proclaim’d the trial o’er.

At once the blood forsook her cheek,

Her feeble spirits fled;—

When Jemmy flew into her arms,

And rais’d her drooping head.

C3v 22

The well-known voice recall’d her soul,

She clasp’d him to her breast:――

O joy too vast for words to tell!

Let Fancy paint the rest.

C4r 23

Subject,
Love.

For the Vase, at Bath-Easton Villa.

With bow unstrung, and arrows broke,

Young Cupid to his mother ran,

And tears fast flowing as he spoke,

He thus his sad complaint began:

“Ah! where is now that boasted pow’r,

Which kings and heroes once confess’d?

I try my arrows o’er and o’er,

But find they cannot reach the breast.

C4 C4v 24

I seek the rooms, the play, the ball

Where beauty spreads her brightest charms;

But lost in crowds my arrows fall,

And Pleasure slights my feeble arms.

Yet real pleasure is not there,

A phantom still deludes their aim;

In Dissipation’s careless air

They seek her charms, but seek in vain.

Here Pride essays my darts to throw,

But from her hand they ne’er can harm,

For still she turns aside the blow;—

Not Beauty’s self with Pride can charm.

Coquetry here with roving eyes,

Quick darts a thousand arrows round;

She thinks to conquer by surprize—

But ah! those arrows never wound.

C5r 25

Here Cunning boasts to guide their course

With cautious aim and sly design;

But still she checks their native force—

Touch’d by her hand, they drop from mine.

Here Affectation taints the smile,

Which else had darted Love around.—

The charms of Art can ne’er beguile:――

But where shall Nature’s charms be found?

While these their various arts essay,

And vainly strive to gain the heart,

Good-Sense disdainful turns away,

And Reason scorns my pointless dart.

Yet they to Love were once ally’d

For Love could ev’ry joy dispense,

Sweet Pleasure smil’d by Virtue’s side,

And Love was pair’d with Innocence.”

C5v 26

Fair Venus clasp’d her darling child,

And gently sooth’d his anxious breast;

“Resume thy darts, she said, and smil’d,

Thy wrongs shall quickly be redress’d.

With artless blush and gentle mein,

With charms unknowing pride or care,

With all the graces in her train,

My lovely Anna Miss Anne M――ll; now Mrs. D――n. shall appear.

Go then, my boy, to earth again,

Once more assume despotic pow’r,

For Modesty with her shall reign,

And Sense and Reason shall adore.”

C6r 27

To Miss ――:

Then Two Years Old.

Sweet blossom, opening to the beams of day!

Dear object of affection’s tender care!

For whom she gently smooths the painful way,

Inspires the anxious wish, the ardent pray’r!

How pleasing in thy infant mind to trace

The dawn of reason’s force, of fancy’s fire,

The soft impression of each future grace,

And all a parent’s warmest hopes desire!

C6v 28

How sweet that smile unknown to ev’ry art,

Inspir’d by innocence, and peace, and joy!

How pure the transports of thy guiltless heart,

Which yet no fears alarm, no cares annoy!

No airy phantoms of uncertain woe,

The blessings of the present hour allay;

No empty hopes a fancied good bestow,

Then leave the soul to real grief a prey.

Gay pleasure sparkles in thy gentle eye,

Some new delight in every scene appears—

Yet soft affection heaves a secret sigh,

And sends an anxious look to distant years.

While those dear smiles with tender love I view,

And o’er thy infant charms enraptur’d bend,

Does my fond hope a real good pursue?

And do these arms embrace a future friend?

C7r 29

Should heaven to me a lengthen’d date assign,

Will e’er that love thy gentle heart engage

With friendship’s purest flame to answer mine,

And charm the languor of declining age?

Yet not for me these ardent wishes rise—

Beyond the limits of my fleeting years,

For thee, dear babe, my prayers ascend the skies,

And pleasing hope my anxious bosom cheers.

May innocence still guard thy artless youth,

Ere vice and folly’s snares thy breast alarm,

While sweetness, modesty, and spotless truth,

Beam from thy soul, and brighten ev’ry charm!

May heaven to thee its choicest gifts impart,

Beyond what wealth bestows, or pride pursues,

With ev’ry virtue animate thy heart,

And raise thy efforts to the noblest views!

C7v 30

In transport wrapt may each fond parent see

Thro’ rising years those virtues still improve,

While every tender care now felt for thee,

Thy heart repays with never-ceasing love.

When pleasure smiles, and strews thy path with flow’rs,

And youthful fancy doubles ev’ry joy,

May brighter hopes attend thy gayest hours,

And point to bliss which time can ne’er destroy!

And when the pangs of woe thy breast must tear,

When pleasure fades, and fancy charms no more,

Still may those hopes the gloomy prospect cheer,

Unmov’d by grief, unchang’d by fortune’s pow’r.

May love, esteem, and friendship, crown thy days,

With joys to guilt unknown, from doubt secure,

While heavenly truth inspires the voice of praise,

And bids that praise beyond the world endure!

C8r 31

Thro’ life to virtue’s sacred dictates true,

Be such thy joys as angels must approve,

Such as may lead to raptures ever new,

To endless peace, and purest bliss above!

C8v D1r 33

Louisa.

A Tale.

“O lend your wings, ye fav’ring gales,

And gently wave the sea,

And swell my husband’s spreading sails,

And waft him home to me!

His toils and dangers all are past,

And blest with fortune’s store

From distant climes he comes at last

To view his native shore.

D D1v 34

And with him comes the faithful youth,

Who gain’d my daughter’s love,

Whose virtue, constancy, and truth,

The coldest heart might move.

May all the graces wait around,

And heighten all her charms!

He comes with wealth and glory crown’d

To my Louisa’s arms.

Now Fancy flies to distant days,

And views the lovely pair,

And hears the voice of general praise

Their matchless worth declare.

How shall thy mother’s heart expand

With joys unknown before,

When thousands bless the bounteous hand

That gave thee wealth and pow’r!

D2r 35

Do I not see a distant sail

O’er yonder waves appear?

Our ardent vows at length prevail,

My heart proclaims them near.

With us in every joy to share,

Our much-lov’d heroes come—

Propitious heaven, O hear our pray’r,

And guide them safely home!

Propitious heaven, O hear our pray’r,”

Louisa trembling cry’d

For ah! the chill blast wav’d her hair,

The rising cloud she spy’d.

Near and more near the tempest drew,

The clouds obscur’d the sky,

The winds in hoarser murmurs blew,

The waves were toss’d on high:

D2 D2v 36

And now they dash againt the shore,

And shake the solid ground;

The thunder rolls, the torrents roar,

The lightnings flash around.――

Ah! who can paint Louisa’s fear,

Her agonies impart?

The shrieks of death assail her ear,

And horror chills her heart.――

At length the raging tempest o’er,

She view’d the fatal coast;

A wreck appear’d upon the shore—

She sunk,—in terror lost.

“My life! my joy! my only love!”

A voice at distance cries:—

That voice her inmost soul could move,

She starts with wild surprize.

D3r 37

Now o’er the beach with eager haste

She sees her Henry fly:—

No more she feels her terrors past,

’Twas bliss—’twas extasy.

Her aged father too appears,

He press’d her to his heart;

But as he press’d, his streaming tears

Some secret grief impart.

His much-lov’d wife in transport flies

In all their joy to share;

Yet views her lord with anxious eyes,

And feels a tender fear.

The fond embrace he oft renews,

And oft, with grief oppress’d,

The fatal wreck again he views,

And smites his trembling breast.

D3v 38

“Lo! there,” he cry’d, “the sad remains

Of my once boasted store,

For all the fruit of all our pains

Is sunk—to rise no more.

Yet should this breast ne’er heave a groan

For all my fruitless care:

Did sorrow seize on me alone,

My woes I well could bear:

But ah! for thee my heart must grieve,

For thee I priz’d my gain;—

And did I them my child deceive

With hopes believ’d in vain?

Still to our humble home confin’d,

Must rural tasks employ

A nymph to shine in courts design’d,

And brighten ev’ry joy.

D4r 39

In thought, by pleasing hope inspir’d,

I saw my child appear,

By all belov’d, by all admir’d,

The fairest of the fair.

I saw her rais’d to pomp and state,

And rich in Fortune’s store:

I heard the praises of the great,

The blessings of the poor.

With fond delight my bosom glow’d,

By soothing Fancy led,

And heaven the wish’d success bestow’d—

But ah! the dream is fled.

And thou, dear partner of each care,

This anxious heart has known;

Thou too, with me, hast felt thy share

Of hopes, for ever gone.

D4v 40

Thy thoughts, like mine, in time to come,

A scene of bliss enjoy’d,

’Till one sad moment’s fatal doom

The airy good destroy’d.

And thou, with me, our loss must mourn,—

Thy tears with mine descend;

And thus, alas! my wish’d return

Our transient joy must end.”

While thus with agonizing sighs

They view’d the fatal place,

Louisa’s mild, yet steadfast eyes

Were fix’d on Henry’s face.

By her own heart, his heart she knew,

She read his virtues there:—

Ah! blest indeed the chosen few

Who thus each thought can share!

D5r 41

Serene and firm their joys shall prove,

And every change endure,

No mean suspicion taint their love,

In just esteem secure.

And now her soul with transport glows,

And animates each grace,

A smile, beyond what pleasure knows,

Adorns her lovely face.

“And is it thus, my friends, she cry’d,

When every storm is past,

When all our fears at once subside,

Thus do we meet at last?

O lift with me your hearts to Heav’n

In strains of ardent praise,

With transport own the blessings giv’n,

To crown our future days.

D5v 42

How oft my fervent prayers arose

While terrors shook my soul,

To Him who could the storm compose,

And winds and waves controul?

My prayers are heard—my fears are gone,

My much-lov’d friends I see,

I feel a joy till now unknown,――

And can ye grieve for me?

Content I shar’d an humble fate,

Nor wish’d in courts to shine;—

The airy dream which pleas’d of late,

With joy I now resign.

What tho’ no scenes of gay delight

Amuse each idle guest,

No costly luxuries invite

To share the splendid feast,

D6r 43

Yet Peace and Innocence shall smile,

And purer joys afford,

And Love secure from doubt or guile

Shall bless our humble board.

What tho’ we boast nor wealth nor pow’r,

Each sorrow to relieve,

A little from our little store,

The poor shall yet receive;

And words of peace shall soothe the woe

Which riches could not heal,

And sweet benevolence bestow

An aid which all must feel;

Beyond the reach of fortune’s pow’r,

Her gentle force extends,

She chears affliction’s darkest hour,

And joy her steps attends.

D6v 44

Tho here to narrow bounds confin’d,

Ordain’d to lowly views,

For ever free, the virtuous mind

Her glorious path pursues;

In prosp’rous state, o’er all she show’rs

The various blessings given;

In humble life exerts her pow’rs

And trusts the rest to Heav’n.

The lofty dwellings of the great

Full many a wretch contain,

Who feel the cares of pomp and state,

But seek their joys in vain:

Yet starting from his short repose

Alarm’d at ev’ry blast,

With anxious fear he dreads to lose

That good he ne’er could taste:

D7r 45

And oft beneath the silent shade

A noble heart remains,

Where Heaven’s bright image is display’d,

And ev’ry virtue reigns:

Sweet peace and joy that heart shall find

Unmov’d by grief or pain,

Be such the lot to us assign’d,

And fortune’s frowns are vain.――

O ye who taught me first to know

Bright Virtue’s sacred flame,

To whom far more than life I owe,

Who more than duty claim――

Ah! let me dry each tender tear,

And ev’ry doubt destroy,

Dispel at once each anxious fear,

And call you back to joy.

D7v 46

And thou, my Henry, dearer far

Than fortune’s richest prize,

I know thy heart――and thou canst dare

Her treasures to despise:

A purer bliss that heart shall prove

From care and sorrow free,

Content with innocence and love,

With poverty and Me.――”

In transport lost, and freed from fears,

The happy parents smil’d,

And blushing dry’d the falling tears,

And clasp’d their matchless child.

Her Henry fix’d in silent gaze

Beheld his lovely bride

“O Heav’n, accept my humble praise!”

At length entranc’d he cry’d.

D8r 47

“To all my storms and dangers past,

If joys like these succeed,

My utmost wish is crown’d at last,

And I am rich indeed.

Then rise, ye raging tempest, rise,

And fortune’s gifts destroy—

Thy Henry gains the noblest prize,

He feels the purest joy.

Extatic bliss his heart shall prove,

From care and sorrow free,

While blest with Innocence and Love,

With boundless wealth—in thee.

Sweet Hope o’er every morn shall shed

Her soul-enliv’ning ray,

Celestial Peace, by virtue led,

Shall cheer each closing day.

D8v 48

Far from ambition’s train remov’d,

And pleasure’s giddy throng,

Our blameless hours, by Heav’n approv’d,

Shall gently glide along.

O may I catch that sacred fire

Which animates thy breast!

Like thee to noblest heights aspire,

Like thee be truly blest!

Thus shall the pleasing charm of love

Bright Virtue’s force increase—

Thus every changing scene shall prove

The road to lasting peace:

And thus, thro’ life, our hearts shall know

A more than mortal joy,

Beyond what fortune can bestow,

Or time, or death, destroy.”

E1r 49

Envy,

A Fragment.

Argument.

Envy, her character; her dwelling near the road that leads
to the Temple of Virtue. A fruit tree gives shelter and refreshment
to travellers, she tears all the buds to prevent it, &c.
A lamb takes shelter from the snow in her hut; she tears down
the roof that it may not protect him, and leaves it so, that none
may ever find shelter there.—Disturbs all travellers.—Schemes
laid to defeat her.—Nothing will do but the shield of Truth,
which is so bright that none dare carry it, because they cannot
themselves stand it. At last Innocence, attended by Modesty,
undertakes it. Envy attacks them with Fury, throws a dart,
which instead of hurting, only strikes off the veil which hid the
face of Modesty, and makes all the world admire her. Envy
blushes for the first time; Innocence holds up the shield.—
Envy is dazzled, and becomes almost blind;— she flees from
them, and wanders about the world, trying to hurt every body,
but being too blind to direct her darts, though they sometimes
do harm, yet they always recoil upon herself, and give her the
severest wounds.

E E1v E2r 51

Envy,

A Fragment.

I.

Ye pleasing dreams of heavenly Poesy,

Which oft have sooth’d my throbbing heart to rest,

And in soft strains of sweetest minstrelsy

Have lull’d the tumults of this anxious breast,

Or charm’d my soul with pleasures unpossess’d:

How sweet with you to wander all the day

In airy scenes, by Fancy’s pencil dress’d,

To trace the windings of her devious way,

To feel her magic force, and own her boundless sway.

E2 E2v 52

II.

See at her call the awful forms arise

Of ancient heroes, moulder’d in the tomb;

Again Vice trembles thro’ her deep disguise,

And Virtue triumphs in a dungeon’s gloom,

Or smiles undaunted at a tyrant’s doom.

Again she waves on high her magic wand――

The faded glories rise of Greece and Rome,

The heavenly muses lead a tuneful band,

And Freedom’s fearless sons unnumber’d hosts withstand.

III.

And now to softer scenes my steps she leads,

The sweet retreats of Innocence and Love,

where freshest flow’rets deck th’ enamell’d meads,

And Nature’s music warbles through the grove,

’Mongst rocks and caverns now she loves to rove

And mark the torrents tumbling from on high,

And now she soars on daring wings, above

The vast expanse of yon etherial sky,

Or darts thro’ distant time, and long futurity.

E3r 53

IV.

And oft when weary nature sinks oppress’d

Beneath the load of sickness and of pain,

When sweetest music cannot lull to rest,

And present pleasure spreads her charms in vain,

Bright Fancy comes and bursts the mental chain,

And bears the soul on airy wings away,

Well pleas’d it wanders o’er her golden reign,

Enjoys the transports of some distant day,

And Pain’s suspended force a moment owns her sway.

V.

Ev’n in the loneliest wild, the deepest shade,

Remote from ev’ry pleasing, social scene,

New wonders rise, by Fancy’s pow’r display’d;

She paints each heavenly grace with gentle mein,

Celestial Truth, and Innocence serene,

And Hope, exulting still in future joy,

Tho’ dangers threat and tempests intervene;

And Patience, ever calm tho’ cares annoy,

And sweet Benevolence, whose pleasures ne’er can cloy.

E3 E3v 54

VI.

In dangers firm, in triumphs ever mild,

The awful form of Fortitude appears,

Pure joy, of heavenly Piety the child,

Serenely smiles, unmov’d by grief or fears,

Soft Mercy dries Affliction’s bitter tears,

Still blest in ev’ry blessing she bestows:

While Friendship’s gentle voice each sorrow cheers,

Sweet are her joys, and pleasing e’en her woes,

When warm’d by Virtue’s fire the sacred ardour glows.

VII.

Thus Fancy’s pow’r in solitude can charm,

Can rouse each latent virtue in the heart,

Preserve the heavenly spark for ever warm,

And guiltless pleasures ev’ry hour impart.

Yet oh! beware—lest Vice with fatal art

Should taint the gift for Virtue’s aid design’d;

Lest Fancy’s sting should point Affliction’s dart,

Or empty shadows check th’ aspiring mind,

By vain delights subdu’d, or vainer fears confin’d.

E4r 55

VIII.

For oft when Virtue prompts the gen’rous deed,

And points the way to gain the glorious prize,

Imagin’d ills her upward flight impede,

And all around fantastic terrors rise:

Ev’n Vice itself can Fancy’s pow’r disguise

With borrow’d charms, enchanting to betray:—

Oh then let Reason watch with cautious eyes,

Secure its active force in Virtue’s way,

Then slack the rein at will, and free let Fancy stray.

IX.

Thus musing late at evening’s silent hour,

My wandring footsteps sought the lonely shade,

And gently led by Fancy’s magic pow’r,

Methought at once, to distant realms convey’d,

New scenes appear’d, by mortal ne’er survey’d;

Such as were fabled erst in fairy land,

Where elfin knights their prowess oft display’d,

And mighty Love inspir’d the warlike band

To seek adventures hard at Beauty’s high command.

E4v 56

X.

Full many a path there was on ev’ry side,

These waste and wild, and those beset with flow’rs;

Where many a pilgrim wander’d far and wide,

Some bent to seek gay Pleasure’s rosy bow’rs,

And some to gain Amibition’s lofty tow’rs;

While others view their labours with disdain,

And prize alone the gifts which Fortune show’rs;

With careless steps some wander o’er the plain,

And some with ardor strive bright Virtue’s hill to gain.

XI.

But many foes in ev’ry path were seen

Who strove by ev’ry art to stop the way;

Here Indolence appear’d with vacant mein,

And painted forms of terror and dismay;

And there the Passions rose in dread array,

And fill’d with clouds and darkness all the air;

While empty fears and hope alike betray,

And Pride and Folly join’d, destructive pair!

Drew many from each path, then left them to despair.

E5r 57

XII.

Yet still distinguish’d o’er the hostile band,

By all detested, and to all a foe,

Pale Envy rose; while trembling in her hand,

Her poison’d shaft still aim’d some deadly blow,

Her eyes still wander’d in pursuit of woe:

For her, in vain rises the cheerful morn,

In vain the flow’rs with freshest lustre glow,

Vain all the charms which Nature’s face adorn,

They cannot cheer a heart with ceaseless anguish torn.

XIII.

Beside the way that leads to Virtue’s shrine,

This wicked hag her fav’rite dwelling chose,

Around her walls did baneful nightshade twine,

And twisted thorns did all her hut compose;

And still from morning’s dawn to ev’ning’s close,

Some horrid purpose would her thoughts employ;

For never could her heart enjoy repose,

Nor e’er her restless spirit taste of joy,

Save when her cruel arts could others’ peace destroy.

E5v 58

XIV.

The sprightly voice of guiltless Pleasure’s train,

The pleasing smile which Peace and Virtue wear,

Whose gentle force might charm the sense of pain,

Suspend distress, and smooth the brow of care,

Still with new pangs her cruel heart would tear:

But when she heard Affliction’s bitter cries,

Or view’d the horrid form of dark Despair,

A transient gladness lighten’d in her eyes—

But transient still and vain are Envy’s wretched joys.

E6r 59

On the
New Year.

’Tis past—another year for ever gone

Proclaims the end of all;—with aweful voice

It calls the soul to thought:—Awhile she turns

From present scenes, and wanders o’er the past;

Or darting forward strives to pierce the veil

Which hides from mortal eyes the time to come.

O Thou, to grateful mem’ry ever dear!

Whom fond affection still delights to name!

Whom still my heart exults to call my Friend!

In Fancy yet be present.—Oft with Thee,

E6v 60

In many a lonely walk and silent shade,

My soul holds converse;—oft recalls the hours

When pleas’d attention hung upon thy voice,

While the pure dictates of celestial Truth

In Friendship’s gentlest accents charm’d my ear,

And sooth’d each anxious thought, and shew’d the way

Which leads to present peace, and future bliss:—

Tho’ now far distant, yet in thought be near,

And share with me Reflection’s sacred hour.

And oh! to Thee may each revolving year

Its choicest blessings bring! May heavenly peace—

To every thoughtless mind unknown—pursued

In vain thro’ scenes of visionary good—

That peace which dwells with piety alone—

Still on thy steps thro’ every stage attend!

And purest joy from Virtue’s sacred source

Blest in the thought of many a well-spent day,

Blest in the prospect of unbounded bliss,

Cheer every hour, and triumph in the last!

As when a traveller, who long has rov’d

Through many a varied path, at length attains

E7r 61

Some eminence, from whence he views the land

Which late he pass’d—groves, streams, and lawns
appear,

And hills with flocks adorn’d, and lofty woods;

And ev’ry charm which Nature’s hand bestows

In rich profusion decks the smiling scene—

No more he views the rugged thorny way,

The steep ascent, the slippery path, which led

High o’er the brink of some rude precipice;

Unnumber’d beauties scarce observ’d before

At once combine to charm his raptur’d view,

And backward turning, oft in trasport lost,

His toils and dangers past no more are felt,

But long and tedious seems the road to come.

Thus oft, when youth is fled, when health decays,

And cares perplex, and trifling pleasures cloy,

Sick of vain hopes, and tired of present scenes,

The soul returns to joys she feels no more,

And backward casts her view:—then Fancy comes,

In Memory’s form, and gilds the long-past days,

Recalls the faded images of joy,

E7v 62

Paints every happy moment happier still;

But hides each anxious fear, and heartfelt pang,

Each pleasure lost, and hope pursued in vain,

Which oft o’erspread with gloom the gayest hour,

And taught ev’n Youth and Innocence to mourn.

O Happiness, in every varied scene,

Thro’ toil, thro’ danger, and thro’ pain, pursued!

Yet oft when present scarce enjoy’d;—when past,

Recall’d to wound the heart, to blast the sweets

Yet given to life:――How are thy votaries,

Misled by vain delusions, thus deceiv’d?

Let rising Hope for ever on the wing

Still point to distant good, to perfect bliss;

While conscious of superior pow’rs, the soul

Exulting hears her call, and longs to soar

To scenes of real and unfading joy.—

Yet while on earth, some feeble rays are shed

To cheer the mournful gloom:――O let not man

Reject the proffer’d gift!—with innocence

And gratitude enjoy’d, each present good

Beyond the fleeting moment may extend

E8r 63

Its pleasing force.—When Nature’s varied charms

In all the gayest lustre of the spring

Delight the wond’ring view;—while every grove

With artless music hails the rising morn,

The sportive lambkins play, the shepherd sings,

Creation smiles, and every bosom feels

The general joy:――O say, from scenes like these

Shall not the sweet impressions still remain

Of Innocence, and Peace, and social Love,

To bless the future hour?――When the glad heart

Exulting beats at Friendship’s sacred call,

And feels what language never can express;

While every joy exalted and refin’d,

And each tumultuous passion charm’d to peace,

Owns the sweet influence of its matchless power;

(That power which ev’n o’er grief itself can shed

A heavenly beam, when pleasure courts in vain,

And wealth and honours pass unheeded by:)

Shall joys like these, on Virtue’s basis rais’d,

Like Fancy’s vain delusions pass away?

O no!—Nor time nor absence shall efface

The ever dear remembrance;—ev’n when past,

E8v 64

When deep Affliction mourns the blessing gone,

Yet shall that blessing be for ever priz’d,

For ever felt.—When heaven-born Charity

Expands the heart, and prompts the liberal hand

To soothe distress, supply the various wants

Of friendless poverty; and dry the tears

Which bathe the widow’s cheek, whose dearest hope

Is snatch’d away, and helpless orphans ask

That aid she cannot give:—Say, shall the joy

(Pure as the sacred source from whence it springs)

Which then exalts the soul, shall this expire?

The grass shall wither, and the flower shall fade,

But Heaven’s eternal word shall still remain,

And Heaven’s eternal word pronounc’d it blest.

Ye calm delights of Innocence and Peace!

Ye joys by Virtue taught, by Heaven approved!

Is there a heart, which lost in selfish views

Ne’er felt your pleasing force, ne’er knew to share

Another’s joy, or heave a tender sigh

For sorrows not its own;—which all around

Beholds a dreary void, where Hope perhaps

F1r 65

May dart a feeble ray, but knows not where

To point its aim, for real good, unknown,

While present is pursued, but ne’er attain’d?

Is there a heart like this?—At such a sight,

Let soft Compassion drop a silent tear,

And Charity reluctant turn away

From woes she ne’er shall feel, nor can relieve.

But oh! let those whom heaven has taught to feel

The purest joys which mortals e’er can know,

With gratitude recall the blessings given,

Tho’ grief succeed,—nor e’er with envy view

That calm which cold indifference seems to share,

And think those happy who can never lose

That good they never knew;—for joys like these

Refine, ennoble, elevate the mind,

And never, never shall succeeding woes

Efface the blest impression;—Grief itself

Retains it still; while Hope exulting comes

To snatch them from the power of Time and Death,

And tell the soul—“They never shall decay”.

F F1v 66

When Youth and Pleasure gild the smiling morn,

And Fancy scatters roses all around,

What blissful visions rise! In prospect bright

Awhile they charm the soul: but scarce attain’d,

The gay delusion fades.――Another comes,

The soft enchantment is again renew’d,

And Youth again enjoys the airy dreams

Of fancied good.――But ah! how oft ev’n these

By stern Affliction’s hand are snatch’d away,

Ere yet experience proves them vain, and shews

That earthly pleasures to a heavenly mind

Are but the shadows of substantial bliss?

But Pleasure rais’d by Virtue’s powerful charm

Above each transient view, each meaner aim,

Can bless the present hour, and lead the soul

To brighter prospects, rich in every good,

Which man can feel, or heaven itself bestow.

While thus returning o’er the long-past scenes

Of former life, the mind recalls to view

The strange vicissitudes of grief and joy,

O may the grateful heart for ever own

F2r 67

The various blessings given; nor dare repine

At ills when all must share; or deem those ills

From chance or fate (those empty names which veil

The ignorance of man) could ever flow;

But warn’d alike by Pleasure and by Pain,

That higher joys await the virtuous mind

Than aught on earth can yield: in every change

Adore that Power which rules the whole, and gives,

In Pleasure’s charms, in Sorrow’s keenest pangs,

The means of good,—the hope—the pledge of bliss.

Thou rising year, now opening to my view,

Yet wrapp’d in darkness—whither dost thou lead?

What is Futurity?――It is a time

When joys, unknown to former life, may shed

Their brightest beams on each succeeding day;

When Health again may bloom, and Pleasure smile

(By Pain no more allay’d,) and new delights

On every changing season still attend;

Each morn returning wake the soul to joy

From balmy slumbers, undisturb’d by care;

F2 F2v 68

Success still wait on Hope, and every hour

In peace and pleasure gently glide away.—

But ah! how rare on earth are years like this!

In the dark prospect of Futurity

Far other scenes than these may yet remain;

Affliction there may aim her keenest shafts

To tear the heart,—while pain and sickness waste

The feeble frame by slow comsuming pangs,

And ease and comfort lost are sought in vain;

For there, perhaps, no friendly voice may cheer

The tedious hours of grief, but all around

Expiring joys and blasted hopes appear,

New woes succeed to woes, and every good

On earth be snatch’d away.――How then shall man

Salute the rising year?—Shall cheerful hope

Receive the welcome guest? or terror wait

In speechless anguish the impending storm?

Presumptuous mortal, cease:—O turn thine eyes

On the dark mansions of the silent dead,

And check the bold enquiry;—never more

The rising sun may shed its beams on thee;

Perhaps, even now, the fatal hour is come

F3r 69

Which ends at once thy earthly hopes and fears,

And seals thy doom thro’ vast eternity.—

How awful is the thought! and who shall say

It is not just? What mortal shall disclose

The dark decrees of heaven?—But grant, to life

A longer date assign’d,—another year

On earth bestow’d,—in deepest shades conceal’d

Its good or ill remains, no mortal hand

Can draw the veil which hides it from thy view:

Hence then, ye airy dreams by fancy led!

Vain hopes, and vainer fears—deceive no more!

In native lustre bright let Truth appear,

With her pure beams illume the dark unknown,

And shew what man of future days can know.

What is Futurity? It is a time

By heaven in mercy given, where all may find

Their best, their truest good,—the means, the power,

To elevate their nature,—to exert

Each nobler faculty,—and still to rise

In every virtue.――Here the best may find

Improvement: for what mortal e’er attain’d

F3v 70

Perfection’s utmost point?—And here ev’n those

Who long by vice and folly led astray

Forsook the paths of wisdom and of truth,

May yet return, and with new ardour seek

That long-neglected good, which, though despis’d,

Rejected once, may here be yet attain’d.――

Know then, whoe’er thou art on whom high heaven

Another year of life will now bestow,

That year may lead thee to eternal peace,

May cancel follies past, redeem the time

In thoughtless dissipation once abus’d,

Dispel the shades of vice, the gloom of care,

Call forth each latent virtue, and impart

New strength, new hopes, and joys which ne’er shall fail.

Then hail, bright prospect of the rising year!

The school of virtue, and the road to bliss!—

No more the shades of doubt are spread around;

No more ideal pleasures deck the scene

With airy forms of good, which Fancy’s self

Scarce dares enjoy; no more by terror led

F4r 71

A train of woes in long succession rise,

And deepest horror o’er the time to come

Extends her baleful influence;—by the power

Of Truth subdued, at once they disappear,

And surer hopes, and brighter views, arise,

Than Pleasure e’er could give, or Pain destroy,

To chase each vain delusion far away,

And shew the glorious prize which future days

May yet attain.――This, this alone is sure:

The rest, involv’d in dark uncertainty,

But mocks our search:—But oh! how blest the path

(Whate’er it be) which leads to endless rest!――

Then, let Affliction come;—shall man complain

Of seeming ills, which heaven in mercy sends

To check his vain pursuits, exalt his views,

Improve his virtues, and direct the soul

To seek that aid which ne’er can fail,—that aid

Which all who seek shall find?—Oh! in the hour

Of deepest horror, when the throbbing heart

Oppress’d with anguish can sustain no more,

May Patience still, and Resignation, come

F4v 72

To cheer the gloom!—not such as his who boasts

Superior powers, a mind above the reach

Of human weakness,—yet with ardour seeks

The frail support of transitory praise;

Or his, who trembling at an unknown power,

Submits in silence to Omnipotence,

And struggling checks the murmurs of his breast;—

But that sweet peace, that heartfelt confidence

(By heavenly hope and filial love inspir’d,

In Truth’s inviolable word secure)

Which pain and sorrow never can destroy;

Which smile triumphant in the gloom of woe,

And own a Father’s power, a Father’s love

O’er all presiding.――Blest in thoughts like these

The mourner’s heart still feels a secret joy

Which pleasure ne’er could yield:—no murmurs now

Disturb its peace;—but every wish resign’d

To wisdom, power, and goodness infinite,

Celestial hope and comfort beam around

O’er all the prospect of succeeding time,

And never-fading glories close the scene.

F5r 73

O Thou, great source of every good! by whom

This heart was taught to beat,—these thoughts to range

O’er the wide circuit of the universe,

To soar beyond the farthest bounds of time,

And pant for bliss which earth could ne’er bestow;—

While worlds unnumber’d tremble at thy power,

And hosts celestial own their loftiest strain

Too weak to tell thy praise;—O how shall man

E’er lift his voice to Thee?――Yet at thy call

Thy servant comes. O hear my humble prayer:—

By thy Almighty power direct, sustain

My feeble efforts; and whate’er the lot

To me on earth assign’d, O guide me still,

By the blest light of thy eternal truth,

Thro’ every varied scene of joy or woe;

Support my weakness by thy mighty aid,

And lead my soul to Peace—to Bliss—to Thee!

F5v F6r

Essays.

On
Sensibility.

It is a common observation, that in this world
we stand more in need of comforts than
of pleasures. Pain, sickness, losses, disappointments,
sorrows of every kind, are sown so
thick in the path of life, that those who have attempted
to teach the way to be happy, have in
general bestowed more attention on the means of
supporting evil, than of seeking good;—nay,
many have gone so far as to recommend insensibilitybility F6v 76
as the most desirable state of mind, upon
a supposition, that evil (or the appearance of
evil) so far predominates, that the good, in general,
is not sufficient to counterbalance it, and
that therefore, by lessening the sense of both, we
should be gainers on the whole, and might purchase
constant ease, and freedom from all anxiety,
by giving up pleasures which are always
uncertain, and often lead to the severest sufferings:
and this, taking all circumstances together,
it has been thought would be a desirable
exchange.

On the same principle much serious advice
has been bestowed on the young, the gay, and
the happy, to teach them to be moderate in
their pursuits and wishes, that they may avoid
the pangs of disappointment in case they should
not succeed;—to allay the pleasure they might
receive from the enjoyment of every good they possess, F7r 77
possess, by dwelling continually on the thought
of its uncertainty;—to check the best affections
of their hearts, in order to secure themsselves from
the pain they may afterwards occasion;—in short,
to deprive themselves of the good they might
enjoy, from a fear of the evil which may follow:
—which is something like advising a man to
keep his eyes constantly shut, as the most certain
way to avoid the sight of any disagreeable object.

Those on the other hand who are in a state
of affliction, are advised to moderate their grief,
by considering that they knew before-hand the
uncertainty of every good they possessed;—that
nothing has befallen them but what is the common
lot of mankind;—that the evil consists
chiefly in the opinion they form of it;—that
what is independent on themselves, cannot really
touch them but by their own fault, and their
concern cannot make things better than they are. F7v 78
are. Many other considerations of the same kind
are added, to which probably no person, under
the immediate influence of real affliction, ever
paid the least attention, and which, even if they
are allowed their greatest force, could only silence
complaints, and lead the mind into a state of
insensibility, but could never produce the smallest
degree of comfort, or of happiness.

In order to determine whether this be really
the way to pass through life with the greatest
ease and satisfaction, it may not be useless to
enquire in what state the mind of man would
be, supposing it really to have attained that insensibility
both as to pain and pleasure, which
has been represented as so desirable:—I speak of
a mind possessed of its full powers and faculties,
and capable of exerting them; for there may be
some who from natural incapacity, or want of
education, are really incapable of it, and can drudge F8r 79
drudge on through life with scarce any feelings
or apprehensions beyond the present moment:—
But if these are supported to be the happiest of
mankind, then the end of the argument will be, “In happiness the beast excels the man,The worm excels the beast, the clod the worm.”
And it seems scarce possible to suppose any rational
creature (not under the immediate influence
of passion) to be really so far convinced of this,
as to wish to exchange his situation in the scale
of being, with the beast, or the clod. If then
we suppose the mind in full possession of its
powers, is it possible to suppose, that the way
to enjoy happiness, or even peace, is by preventing
their exertion? If positive pain and pleasure
are taken away, if all the objects proposed
to it make no impression, will the mind therefore
be at ease? Far from it surely. On the contrary,
it will be torn in pieces by wishes which will F8v 80
will have no object whereon to fix;—it will feel
in itself powers and capacities for happiness,
but finding nothing to make it happy, those
very powers will make it miserable;—having no
motive for action, no object to pursue, every rising
day will present a blank which it will be impossible
to fill up with any thing that can give
pleasure; and the wish of every morning will be
that the day were past, though there is no prospect
that the next will produce any thing more
satisfactory. Could it be possible for any person
really to have attained to such a state as this,
instead of finding it a state of ease and satisfaction,
we should see him weary of himself and
all around him, unhappy with nothing to complain
of, and without any hope of being ever
otherwise, because he would have no determinate
wish, in the accomplishment of which he could
promise himself any enjoyment.

But G1r 81

But, happily for mankind, a state like this is
not to be attained by any thinking person; and
those who place their notion of happiness in
mere freedom from suffering, must be reduced
to envy the happiness of the beasts of the field;
—for it is not the happiness of man.

Those indeed, who, from a state of excessive
suffering, are suddenly relieved, and restored to
ease of body and mind, may, at the time, feel
more joy from that ease than they would have
felt from the greatest positive pleasure; but then
that joy will be transient indeed, since it arises
only from a comparison of past sufferings, the
sense of which is quickly lost; and as soon as
the mind returns to its natural state, it feels again
the want of that enjoyment for which it was
formed, and becomes miserable, not from any
positive sufferings, but merely from the want of
happiness.

G Those G1v 82

Those who take pleasure in arguments which
answer no other purpose but to exercise their
ingenuity, may amuse themselves with disputing
whether this inextinguishable thirst after happiness
be really a desirable gift, and whether it
might not have been happier for man, to have
been formed without that activity of mind which
prompts him continually to seek for some enjoyment;
but to those who feel its force, it
is surely a more important point to enquire
how it may best be satisfied; and whether it
may not be possible to regulate those affections
which they cannot suppress, and, by directing
them to proper objects, to find in them a source
of happiness, which, though it can neither prevent
sufferings, nor take away the sense of them,
may yet be felt at the same time, and serve
in a great degree to counterbalance the effect
of them.

It G2r 83

It must, I believe, be allowed, that every man
who reflects on his own situation, will find that
it has its pleasures and its pains,—unmixed happiness
or misery not being the lot of this life,
but reserved for a future state: the happiness
of life must then be estimated by the proportion
its joys bear to its sorrows; and if what has
been before supposed concerning the state of the
the mind be just, he will not be found to be the
happiest man who has the fewest sorrows, but
he whose joys overbalance his sorrows in the
greatest degree.

This then should be our aim in the pursuit of
happiness:—not to conquer the sense of suffering,
for that is impossible; not to suppress our desires
and hopes, for that (if it were possible)
would only debase the mind, not make it happy:
—but to cultivate every faculty of the soul
which may prove a source of innocent delight,— G2 to G2v 84
to endeavour as far as possible to keep the mind
open to a sense of pleasure, instead of sullenly
rejecting all, because we cannot enjoy exactly
what we wish;—above all, to secure to ourselves
a lasting fund of real pleasures, which may compensate
those afflictions they cannot prevent, and
make us not insensible, but happy in the midst
of them.

It is very certain that nothing can fully do
this, except Religion, and the glorious prospects
it offers to our hopes;—this is the only foundation
of lasting happiness,—the only source of
never-failing comfort. While our best affections
are fixed on any thing in this world, they must
always give us pain, because they will find nothing
which can fully satisfy them; but when once they
are fixed on infinite Perfection as their ultimate
object, the subordinate exercises of them will
furnish many sources of pleasure and advantage, and G3r 85
and should be cultivated, both with a view to
present and future happiness.

It seems strange to observe, that there are
few, if any, in the world, who enjoy all the
blessings which are bestowed upon them, and
make their situation in life as happy as it might
be. Wherever the selfish passions are indulged
to excess, this must always be the consequence;
for none can be happy while they make others
miserable. Whoever is possessed of any degree
of power, from the greatest monarch on the
throne, to the master of the meanest cottage,
must depend for his happiness on those over
whom that power is exercised, and whether he
will or no, must share in the sufferings which he
inflicts, and feel the want of that satisfaction,
which he might have received from a different
employment of his power. The truth of this
observation has been experienced by all who ever G3 endea- G3v 86
endeavored to purchase their own happiness at
at the expence of that of others: but even where
this is not the case, where the intentions are
good, and the pleasures of life are not embittered
by the sense of guilt, it often happens,
that disappointments bring on disgust; the pleasures
which were expected are not found, and
therefore those which might be found, are undervalued;
—the mind is dissatisfied, and seeks for
reasons to justify itself for being so, and when
sorrows are sought for, it is not difficult to find
them. Such a disposition can poison every
pleasure, and add numberless imaginary evils
to those which must inevitably be met with in
the path of life. By degrees the activity of the
soul is lost; every sorrow appears insupportable;
every difficulty unconquerable; no object is
thought worth pursuing; and life itself becomes
a burden.

To G4r 87

To guard against the fatal effects which disappointments
are apt to have upon the mind,
is a point of the utmost consequence towards
passing through life with any tolerable degree
of comfort and satisfaction; for disappointments,
more or less, must be the lot of all.

At the first entrance into the world, when the
imagination is active, the affections warm, and
the heart a stranger to deceit, and consequently
to suspicion, what delightful dreams of happiness
are formed! Whatever may be the object
in which that happiness is supposed to consist,
that object is pursued with ardour;—the gay
and thoughtless seek for it in dissipation and
amusement; the ambitious, in power, fame, and
honours; the affectionate, in love and friendship:
—but how few are there who find in any
of these objects that happiness which they expected?
Pleasure, fame, &c. even when they are G4v 88
are in any degree obtained, still leave a void in
the soul, which continually reminds the possessor,
that this is not the happiness for which
he was formed; and even the best affections are
liable to numberless disappointments, and often
productive of the severest pangs. The unsuspecting
heart forms attachments before reason
is capable of judging whether the objects of
them are such as are qualified to make it happy;
and it often happens, that the fatal truth is not
discovered till the affections are engaged too far
to be recalled, and then the disappointment must
prove a lasting sorrow.

But it is not necessary to enumerate the disappointments
which generally attend on the pursuits
of youth, and indeed the prospect is too
painful to dwell upon; the intention of mentioning
them is only to guard against the effects
they may produce.

The G5r 89

The imagination has painted an object which
perhaps is not to be found in this world; that
object has been pursued in vain: but shall we
therefore conclude, that no object is worth pursuing,
and sink into a listless, inactive state, in
which we must grow weary of ourselves, and all
the world?

The young are too apt to fancy that the affections
of their hearts will prove the source of
nothing but pleasure;—those who are farther advanced
in life, are much too apt to run into the
contrary extreme. The error of the first, even
taking it in the worst light, is productive of some
pleasure as well as pain; that of the last, serves
only to throw a damp over every pleasure, and
can be productive of nothing but pain. It leads
indeed to the most fatal consequences, since it
tends to make self the only object, and the heart
which is merely selfish must ever be incapable of G5v 90
of virtue and of happiness, and a stranger to
all the joys of affection and benevolence, without
which the happiest state in this world must be
insipid, and which may prove the source of
many pleasures, even in the midst of the severest
afflictions.

In every state of life, in spite of every disappointment,
these should still be cherished and
encouraged; for though they may not always
bestow such pleasures as the romantic imaginations
of youth had painted, yet they will still
bestow such as can be found in nothing else
in this world; and indeed they are necessary in
order to give a relish to every enjoyment.

I mention an affectionate and a benevolent disposition
together, because I believe, when they are
genuine, they never can be separated, and, perhaps,
the disappointments so often complained of, G6r 91
of, may sometimes be occasioned by a mistake
upon this subject; for there is a selfish attachment
which often usurps the name of friendship,
though it is indeed something totally different.
It is an attachment like that which a
musician feels for his instrument, or a virtuoso
for his pictures and his statues;—the affection is
not fixed on the object itself, but merely on the
pleasure received from it. Such an attachment
as this is liable to numberless little jealousies
and uneasinesses;—the smallest doubt is sufficient
to awaken its fears, the most trifling error excites
its resentment, and that resentment is immediately
expressed by complaints, and often by
upbraidings.

True friendship is not indeed less quicksighted;
it watches with a tender and anxious
solicitude to promote the welfare and happiness
of the object which it loves;—it is a kind of G6v 92
of microscope which discovers every speck,
but then the discovery does not excite anger
and resentment, still less could it lead to unkindness
and upbraidings;—it inspires a concern
like that which we feel for our own errors
and imperfections, and produces an earnest desire,
and sincere endeavour to remove them.

With such a friend, the heart may appear just
as it is, and enjoy the pleasure of an unbounded
confidence;—but with those whose affection is
founded on a regard to themselves, every word
and action must be weighed, and the fear of
giving offence must throw a restraint over every
conversation.

The real friend will be disposed to love all
those who are any way connected with the object
of his affection, he will be sincerely interested
for their welfare, and will wish to gain their
affection and promote their happiness.

G7r 93

The selfish will view them with a jealous
eye, continually apprehensive that they may rob
him of some part of a treasure which he would
wish to engross.

It would be easy to carry on the contrast much
farther; for indeed it might be shewn in almost
every instance. But what has been said may be
sufficient to shew how very wide is the difference
between that sort of artachmentattachment of which a selfish
heart is capable, and that which alone deserves
the name of real friendship, though it is
often too indiscriminately given to both: the
one is an enemy to general benevolence, the
other flows from the same source, and belongs
to the same character.

Such a disposition, it must be allowed, may
prove the source of many pleasures; but it may
be objected, that it will prove the source of many G7v 94
many sorrows also: and indeed, in this imperfect
state, this truth is too certain to be disputed.
But if it can be proved that on the whole it affords
more joys than sorrows, that will be sufficient
to the present purpose; if it be allowed
that the happiness of man must consist in positive
enjoyment, not in mere freedom from suffering.
And surely much more than this might
easily be proved, since it not only can afford
pleasures of the most exalted kind, and give new
relish to every other pleasure, but even in the
midst of the most painful sufferings it ever occasioned,
it can at the same time inspire a secret
satisfaction, of which those who never felt it,
can hardly form any idea.

With such a disposition, power and riches
may be real blessings: since they furnish frequent
opportunities of bestowing happiness, and consequently
of enjoying it in the highest degree. But G8r 95
But even without these advantages, the truly benevolent,
in whatever situation in life they may
be placed, will find numberless sources of pleasure
and delight, which to others must be for
ever unknown. All the happiness they see, becomes
in some sort their own; and even under
the pressure of the greatest afflictions, they can
rejoice at the good which others enjoy; and far
from repining at the comparison, they find in
the thought of it, a pleasure and satisfaction to
which no suffering of their own can render them
insensible; but which, on the contrary, prove
a powerful cordial to help them to support those
sufferings.

Even the face of inanimate nature fills them
with a satisfaction which the insensible can
never know, while they are warmed with gratitude
to the Giver of every good, and joy at the
thought that their fellow-creatures share those blessing G8v 96
blessings with them. They may even experience
something like the pleasure of bestowing
happiness, while they rejoice in all that is bestowed,
and feel in their hearts that they would
bestow it if they could.

It is true indeed, that they must share in the
sorrows of others, as well as in their joys; but
then this may often lead to the heavenly pleasure
of relieving them, if not as fully as they
could wish, yet at least in some degree; for true
benevolence can discover numberless methods
of relieving distress, which would escape the
notice of the careless and insensible. When relief
is not in their power, some expressions of
kindness, and the appearance of a desire to give
comfort and assistance, may at least contribute
to soothe the wounded mind, and they may still
enjoy the pleasure which attends on every endeavour
to do good, even on the unsuccessful; and H1r 97
and when they are placed beyond the reach of
this, and can only offer up a secret prayer for
those whose sufferings they cannot alleviate,
even this will be attended with a heartfelt satisfaction,
more than sufficient to suppress every
wish that they could behold the sorrows of others
with indifference, if it were possible that such a
wish could ever arise in a truly benevolent heart.

Such a disposition will be a powerful preservative
against that weariness of mind which is
so often an attendant on what is generally
esteemed a happy situation in this world.

Those who are freed from cares and anxieties,
who are surrounded by all the means of enjoyment,
and whose pleasures present themselves
without being sought for, are often unhappy in
the midst of all, merely because that activity of
mind, in the proper exercise of which our hapinessH piness H1v 98
consists, has in them no object on which
it may be employed. But when the heart is
sincerely and affectionately interested for the
good of others, a new scene of action is continually
open, every moment may be employed in
some pleasing and useful pursuit. New opportunities
of doing good are continually presenting
themselves; new schemes are formed, and
ardently pursued; and even when they do not
succeed, though the disappointment may give
pain, yet the pleasure of self-approbation will
remain, and the pursuit will be remembered
with satisfaction. The next opportunity which
offers itself will be readily embraced and will
furnish a fresh supply of pleasures; such pleasures
as are secure from that weariness and disgust,
which sooner or later are the consequences
of all such enjoyments as tend merely to gratify
the selfish passions and inclinations, and which
always attend on an inactive state of mind, from whatever H2r 99
whatever cause it may proceed; whether it may
be the effect of satiety or disappointment, of
prosperity or despair.

Even in the most trifling scenes of common
life, the truly benevolent may find many pleasures
which would pass unnoticed by others;
and in a conversation, which to the thoughtless
and inattentive would afford only a trifling
amusement, or perhaps no amusement at all,
they may find many subjects for pleasing and
useful reflections, which may conduce both to
their happiness and advantage; and that not
only by being continually upon the watch for
every opportunity of doing good to others, even
in the most trifling instances, (which alone
would afford a constant source of pleasure) but
also by the enjoyment of all the good they can
observe in others.

H2 If H2v 100

If any action is related, or any expression
dropped, which indicates true goodness of heart,
they will be heard with satisfaction; the most
trifling instance of kindness and attention will
be received with a sort of pleasure, of which the
selfish can form no idea. Every appearance or
description of innocent happiness will be enjoyed,
every expression of real friendship and
affection will be felt, even though they are not
the objects of it.

In short, all the happiness, and all the virtues
of others, are sources of delight to them; and it
is a pleasing, as well as useful exercise to the
mind, to be employed, when engaged in society,
in seeking out for these;—to trace to their spring
the little expressions of benevolence which often
pass unnoticed;—to discover real merit through
the veil which humility and modesty throw over
it;—to admire true greatness of mind, even in the H3r 101
the meanest situation in life, or when it exerts
itself upon occasions supposed to be trifling, and
therefore, in general, but little attended to.

In these, and in numberless instances of the
same kind, much real pleasure might be found,
which is too generally overlooked, and which
might prove the source of many advantages
both to ourselves and others; for those who
really enjoy the good of others, will certainly
wish and endeavour to promote it. And by such
exercises as these, the best affections of the
heart are continually called forth to action, and
the pleasures which they afford may be enjoyed
and improved in every different situation in life;
for these are pleasures, which, more or less, are
within the reach of all.

In these, the rich and prosperous may find
that satisfaction which they have sought in vain H3 in H3v 102
in selfish gratifications; and the afflicted may
yet enjoy that happiness which they are too apt
to imagine is entirely lost:—but the selfish heart
can neither enjoy prosperity, nor support affliction;
it will be weary and dissatisfied in the first,
and totally dejected in the last.

In order to administer consolation to the afflicted,
the usual methods are, either to endeavour
to lessen their sense of the evil, by shewing
them that it is not really so great as they imagine;
or by comparing it with greater evils endured
by others; or else to drive it from the thought
by the hurry of dissipation and amusement.

The first of these methods may serve to display
the talents of the person who undertakes it, and
perhaps such arguments may sometimes prevail
upon vanity to assume an appearance of fortitude.
But how can he, whose heart feels the pangs H4r 103
pangs of real affliction, be convinced by argument
that he does not feel it? or what relief can
it give to his sufferings, to be told that another
suffers more? Nor can dissipation and amusement
afford a more efficacious remedy, since in
these the heart has nothing to do:—in the midst
of the gayest scenes, and surrounded by all that
the world calls pleasure, it will shrink into itself,
and feel its own bitterness with redoubled
force.

It is vain to endevour to take from the
wretched, the sense of suffering; pain and grief
must be felt; they can neither be subdued by
argument, nor lost in dissipation; and while they
remain, it is impossible to enjoy that ease which
by some is represented as the greatest good of
man—they must exclude it:――But must they
therefore exclude all positive happiness? Surely
no. The wounded heart may still be open to H4 enjoyment, H4v 104
enjoyment, and here it must seek for consolation;
it cannot indeed by insensible of pain,
but it may yet be sensible of pleasure. And
happy indeed are they who have acquired a relish
for such pleasures as pain and sorrow cannot
take away; since these, sooner or later, must
be the lot of all.

Of this kind are the pleasures of affection
and benevolence; they enlarge the heart, they
prevent it from dwelling on its own sorrows,
and teach it to seek for happiness in the good of
others; and those who in their happiest days
were accustomed to do this, will not become
insensible to such pleasures, because they are
themselves in a state of suffering. Every instance
of kindness, every friendly endeavour to
give ease and comfort, will still rejoice the
heart; the pleasure of seeing others virtuous
and happy, may still be felt; the earnest desire to H5r 105
to make them so, may still be cherished; and
that desire is in itself a pleasing sensation. The
endeavour which it excites affords still higher
pleasure; and when that endeavour is blessed
with success, the benevolent heart will feel a real
joy, to which it’s own sufferings cannot render
it insensible.

By every such exertion, the mind will gain
new strength, and enjoy new pleasure; its native
vigour, which sorrow had depressed, and which
no interested views could have called forth to
action, will be restored by benevolence;—the
wounded heart wmay feel the delight of self-approbation;
—in short, the afflicted may enjoy
the best pleasures of the happy.

But after all, it must be allowed that all our
pleasures, in this imperfect state, even those of
the most refined and exalted kind, are liable to H5v 106
to numberless sorrows and disappointments:—
Friends may be removed by absence, or by
death; the faults and imperfections of those we
love, may wound the heart; affection may be
repaid with unkindness, and benefits with ingratitude;
the most earnest endeavour to relieve
the distressed, may prove unsuccessful; and the
sincerest desire to promote the happiness of
others, may miss its aim: in short, every pursuit
in this world may end in disappointment.
And this thought might indeed be sufficient to
check the ardour of the mind, and discourage
the best endeavours, had we not a never-failing
resource in that assistance and support which
religion offers.

It is in the power of every one to secure to
himself a Happiness of which nothing in this
world can deprive him;—a Hope which is not
liable to disappointment;—a Friend who never will H6r 107
will forsake him, and who will be always willing
and able to assist him.

Those who are placed in a happy situation in
this world, if at the same time they can rejoice
in such thoughts as these, may enjoy the good
which they possess:—Every blessing bestowed
upon them will fill their hearts with love and
gratitude to Him from whom it comes, and
these sentiments will add new relish to every
pleasure, and make them become real and lasting
advantages; means to promote their eternal
felicity, not hindrances to stop them in their
way, as, by the perverse use of them, they too
often are.

Prompted by the same love and gratitude,
they will indeed rejoice in giving the best proof
of them, by an earnest endeavour to do good
to others; and in this aim they cannot be disappointed,appointed, H6v 108
though they should prove unsuccessful;
for the honest endeavour, they may be
certain will be accepted. The fear of losing
the blessings they possess, will not deprive them
of the pleasure of enjoying them; for they remember
in whose hands they are; they know
they shall enjoy them as long as is really best
for them; and that if all else were taken from
them, they are secure of an unfailing resource,
an Almighty Comforter.

They consider their best enjoyments as independent
on this world; the pleasures of friendship
and benevolence, though here allayed by
disappointment, and interrupted by death, they
hope will be renewed hereafter, and enjoyed,
pure and unmixed, through eternity.

The love and gratitude they feel, the delight
they take in every means of expressing them, will H7r 109
will constitute a part of their happiness hereafter.
The heavenly contemplations which exalt
their minds, and make them feel that they were
formed for higher enjoyments than this world
affords, will raise their hopes to that state where
alone they can find objects suited to them.

And thus every blessing bestowed upon them
will be so received, that it will be truly enjoyed
here, and will prove a source of real and lasting
happiness: and the present good will neither
be allayed by anxiety, nor succeeded by weariness
and disgust. While it remains, it will be
enjoyed to the utmost; and when it is taken
away, it will not be immoderately regretted,
since that to which it owed its greatest relish
will still remain, and prove a source of happiness
in the days of affliction and disappointment,
as well as in those of prosperity and
success.

It H7v 110

It is very certain that there are few, if any,
either amongst the afflicted, or amongst the
happy, who enjoy to the utmost all the blessings
which are bestowed upon them. Those who
take a view of their own situation in life, with a
sincere desire to make the best of it, will probably
find much more happiness within their
power, than in the moments of uneasiness and
discontent they are apt to imagine. This observation
is generally true, even of the greatest
sufferers.

But let us suppose that this were not the
case, for it must be allowed to be possible that
all earthly comforts may be taken away:—A
person who has long been struggling against
the severest afflictions of body and of mind,
may have met with nothing but disappointments;
and in the midst of all, he may find no
friend to assist and support him, and bestow that H8r 111
that tender soothing consolation, which can almost
convert afflictions into pleasures; or what
is still more painful, the friend from whom he
expected this may change, and embitter those
sufferings he should alleviate; the endeavours
to do good which benevolence inspires, may
prove unsuccessful: in a word, all in this world
may fail.

This is indeed a case rarely, if ever, to be
met with; but as it must be allowed to be possible,
let us take things in the worst light imaginable,
and then consider the happiness which
yet remains to balance these afflictions, in the
heavenly comforts which religion offers.

The most unhappy may yet find a Friend to
whom they may freely unbosom all their sorrows
with the fullest confidence, and rest secure
of finding that consolation which is really best for H8v 112
for them, since he is both able and willing to
bestow it:—this is a happiness of which none
but themselves can ever deprive them. Though
slighted and neglected, perhaps oppressed and
injured by the world, yet are they certain that
he regards their sufferings, he hears their prayers,
and will reward their patience.

When they consider that all events are at
his disposal, and these sufferings are permitted
for their greater good, their submission, instead
of being full of terror and anxiety, will be an
act of love and confidence;—even the wish that
they could choose their own lot, will be suppressed,
and they will rejoice in the thought that
Infinite Wisdom and Goodness will do it for
them.

When they remember that all afflictions are
trials, and that, by bearing them as they ought, they I1r 113
they may best express their love and gratitude,
and secure his favour and protection;—the activity
of their minds will be again awakened,
and their utmost efforts again exerted, with
a pleasure and satisfaction which can attend on
no other pursuit, since all but this are liable to
disappointment. Here the intention, not the
success, will be considered, and the sincere wish,
when nothing more is in their power, will be
accepted.

If we are engaged in the service of a friend,
every difficulty becomes a source of pleasure; we
exert ourselves with delight in finding means
to conquer it; we even enjoy any suffering which
can procure his advantage, or express our affection.

A satisfaction of the same kind may continually
be enjoyed by the afflicted. It is true I their I1v 114
their sufferings can bring no advantage to their
Creator; his happiness can receive no addition
from the feeble efforts of his creatures; yet still,
to a heart full of love and gratitude, there is a
pleasure in exerting every effort to express those
sentiments, in doing or suffering any thing which
may conduce to that end. In this view, afflictions
may be received with real satisfaction,
since they afford continual opportunities of expressing
our readiness to conform to his will,
even when it is most contrary to our own; and
this is the strongest proof of love and confidence
we are able to give; and therefore, to the heart
which truly feels them, must be attended with a
satisfaction such as pleasure cannot bestow.

When we read the histories of those who
have voluntarily undergone the most painful sufferings,
rather than transgress their duty, we
admire their virtues, and esteem them happy. Those I2r 115
Those who receive as they ought the trials which
are sent them, do all in their power to follow
their examples, and may, in a great degree, enjoy
the same happiness; their aims, their wishes,
are the same; like them, they bless Him who
permits the trial, they would detest the thought
of escaping from it, by being guilty of the
smallest crime; they rejoice in suffering for his
sake, and depend, with entire confidence, on
his assistance and support.

If at any time the affliction seems too severe
to be supported, and nature almost sinks under
the trial, let them anticipate the future time, and
think with what sentiments they shall look back
upon it;—think, if they can, what joy it will afford
them to reflect, that no sufferings could ever
shake their resolution; that their love to their
Almighty Father, and desire to be conformable
to his will, have been still the ruling principles I2 of I2v 116
of their hearts, even in the midst of the severest
trials; that their afflictions have not made them
neglect their duty to him, or to their fellowcreatures;
that their best endeavours have been
still exerted, and their entire confidence ever
placed in him.

Then let them look farther still, and think of
the time when all earthly joys and sorrows will
be for ever passed away, and nothing of them
will remain but the manner in which they have
been received; let them think of the happiness
of those who have been “made perfect through
sufferings,”
and who will then look forward
to an eternity of bliss.

Will they then wish that they had suffered
less? Or who would wish it now, if such are
the blessed fruits of sufferings? And it depends
on ourselves to make them so: for the assistance of I3r 117
of Him who alone can support our weakness,
will never be wanting to those who seek it.

Such reflections, such hopes, as these, can
surely afford pleasures more than sufficient to
over-balance any afflictions to which we may be
liable in this world:—and these are pleasures
which the greatest sufferer may feel, and in
which the most unhappy may rejoice.

To conclude: Religion cannot prevent losses
and disappointments, pains and sorrows; for to
these, in this imperfect state, we must be liable;
nor does it require us to be insensible to them,
for that would be impossible; but in the midst
of all, and even when all earthly pleasures fail,
it commands—it instructs—it enables—us to be
happy.

I3 On
I3v I4r

On the
Character of Lætitia.

In the midst of a chearful and animated conversation,
the attention of a large company
was suddenly called off by the tolling of a neighbouring
bell, and the appearance of a funeral
passing by the windows. An enquiry was made
whose it was? with that sort of indolent curiosity
which is sometimes excited by things supposed
to be no way interesting, and which hardly attends
to the answer;—but a gloom was spread
over every countenance, when it was known to
be the funeral of the young and beautiful
Lætitia, who had lately been the ornament of I4 every I4v 120
every assembly in which she appeared, the admiration
of all beholders, and the delight of all
who knew her intimately.

As several in the company had been acquainted
with Lætitia, the conversation naturally turned
upon her character:—The thought of youth and
beauty thus nipped in their bloom, impresses an
awful, yet tender melancholy in the minds even
of indifferrent persons, which disposes them to
serious thoughts, and makes them anxious to
know particulars: and the accounts now given
of her engaged the attention of all who were
present.

Lætitia had just entered her eighteenth year,
her person was uncommonly beautiful, animated
by all the vivacity which is natural to that age,
and all the sweetness of the most amiable character.
Her youthful spirits had never been damped I5r 121
damped by ill health, nor checked by unkindness
and severity; her tender parents, far from
restraining her pleasures, had only endeavoured
to secure them by innocence, improve them by
virtue, and exalt them by religion.

The peace and joy of her heart diffused a
charm on every object which surrounded her,
and every employment in which she was engaged,
afforded her new pleasures;—she pursued her
studies, and enjoyed her amusements, with the
same spirit and alacrity;—every kindness she
received filled her heart with gratitude, and all
she could bestow was felt by her with that innocent
exultation which true benevolence inspires,
and in which vanity claims no part.

In the fulness of her heart she might have
related some instance of distress which she had
relieved, with the same sentiments with which she I5v 122
she related any other circumstance that afforded
her the greatest pleasure; for it never entered her
thoughts to admire herself for such things, or
talk of them as if she was surprized at herself for
doing them. They appeared to her so natural,
that she imagined every one would have done
the like, and only thought herself more fortunate
than others, when an opportunity presented itself
for indulging her inclination.

From the same principle proceeded her endeavours
to please in society;—she wished to make
all as happy as she could, she wished to deserve
and gain affection; but she never thought of
supplanting others, or endeavouring to assume a
superiority: and far from desiring to lessen their
merits in order to raise herself by the comparison,
she was eager to procure for all, the good
which she valued herself, and therefore disposed
to represent all in the most favourable light:— Indeed I6r 123
Indeed, it cost her no difficulty to do so,
because all appeared to her in that light.
Happy in herself, and disposed to be pleased,
her attention was naturally turned to the most
pleasing circumstances, in every event, and
every character.

She often appeared delighted with things
which others might have considered as trifles,
and that not only in her amusements, but in the
characters of those with whom she conversed.
Her imagination was disposed to magnify every
good and amiable quality, and every little instance
of kindness and attention bestowed upon
herself; but her affections, though warm and
lively, were far from being indiscriminately lavished
on all; her heart felt a kind word or
look often much more strongly than it deserved,
but its tenderest attachments were reserved for a
chosen few; and her friendship, like her benevolence,volence, I6v 124
was ardent, animated, and disposed to
run almost into excess.

The same disposition appeared in other instances:
she enjoyed amusements as much as
those who think of nothing but pursuing them,
and even found pleasures where many would
have thought they shewed superior sense by being
tired; but from the midst of the gayest assembly,
where her vivacity inspired pleasure to all around
her, she would have flown at the call of benevolence,
friendship, duty, or religion; and far from
thinking she made a sacrifice by doing so, would
have enjoyed the opportunity of exchanging a
pleasure which only amused her fancy, for one
which touched her heart.

In common conversation, her innocent sprightliness,
and artless sweetness of manners, won
the hearts of those who might have been inclined to I7r 125
to envy her uncommon excellencies. There
was a gentle earnestness in her solicitude to
please, which animated every look and action,
and was far different from the studied display
of vanity, and the artificial insinuations of flattery;
it spoke her true and genuine sentiments,
kept her continually upon the watch for every
opportunity of expressing her attention and
regard for others, and added a charm which
can hardly be described, even to the most trifling
instances of them.

The worst tempers were softened in her presence,
and the most gloomy dispositions could
hardly avoid sharing in her pleasures; yet the
greatest flow of spirits could never, even for a
single moment, make her lay aside the gentleness
and modesty of her character;—she even felt in
a great degree that timidity which is natural to
a delicate mind, but it served only to render her I7v 126
her conversation more engaging and interesting;
it was a diffidence of herself, not a fear of
others.

In the midst of the most playful sallies of her
lively fancy, and while she was gaining the admiration
of all, far from appearing to lay claim
to it, her looks and manner seemed continually
to solicit their indulgence, and shewed that she
thought she stood in need of it; yet accustomed
to encouragement from her infancy, and judging
of the benevolence of others by her own, she was
disposed to feel a confidence in all, and to be
very unguarded in her conversation; but the innocence
of her heart afforded her a security
which the greatest caution cannot supply;—she
knew no disguise, but she had need of none.

She felt for the sufferings of others with the
tenderest sensibility, but she expressed it not by boasting I8r 127
boasting of sentiment which has no merit
except in its application, but by an eagerness to
assist and relieve, which made her ready to
attempt even impossibilities, and by those gentle
soothing attentions, from which even hopeless
distress must receive some degree of pleasure.

Her disposition to enjoy every pleasure to the
utmost, made even the least success in her endeavours
of this kind appear to her a happiness
which could hardly be too dearly purchased.—
Her early piety, far from allaying her pleasures,
had added to every enjoyment the pleasing sentiment
of love and gratitude to Him by whom
they were bestowed, and the animating hope of
brighter joys hereafter. She daily offered up
the affections of her innocent heart to Him who
made it, and implored his assistance and protection,
with that delightful confidence which true
religion can alone inspire;—without this, her greatest I8v 128
greatest pleasures would have wanted their
highest relish, and their best security; with it,
she could enjoy them without anxiety, and consider
them as the earnest of future happiness.

Such was Lætitia: when in the full bloom of
youth and health, which seemed to promise
many happy years, she was seized with a sudden
illness, which in a few days brought her to the
grave.

An account like this could not fail to excite
in the mind of every hearer, reflections of the
most serious kind:—such strokes as these, when
youth, beauty, and gaiety, are thus suddenly
snatched away, are felt even by the most thoughtless
characters. The young are warned to consider
the uncertainty of the advantages they
possess, the vanity of every earthly pleasure, and
the transient nature of those qualities which are at K1r 129
at present the objects of general admiration;
while those who are farther advanced in life, are
taught still more powerfully the necessity of preparing
for a change, from which even youth and
health are no security. The importance of the
present moment is impressed on every mind, by
the thought of the uncertainty of the next. All
acknowledge the folly of setting our hearts on
pleasures just ready to escape from us, and the
necessity of providing such comforts, as may support
us in that awful hour which perhaps is
now at hand, and such hopes as death itself
cannot take away.

Such are the reflections which naturally occur
when a sudden stroke brings home the thought
of death to every mind; especially when it has
fallen where there was least reason to expect it,
and when youth and beauty render the object
peculiarly interesting. Such relections afford an K important K1v 130
important and affecting lesson, which all must
feel for the time, and of which all should endeavour
to preserve the impression.

In such a state of mind, when we consider
religion as our support and comfort in the hour
of death, and as affording us a happiness which
shall last beyond the grave, all must be sensible
of its value, and wish to feel its force, and obey
its precepts, that they may share in those blessings
which that religion can bestow. But the
thought of death, even when attended with the
most striking circumstances, seldom makes a
lasting impression; and those who are merely
awed into religion by that consideration, may be
too apt to lay it aside, when a variety of other
objects succeed, and call off their attention; or
may connect the thought of it with a gloomy
idea, which disturbs their pursuits and their
enjoyments, and which therefore they are glad to K2r 131
to drive away. They feel themselves well and
happy; they converse with others who are so;
new scenes arise, and present objects make a
strong impression; and in the hurry of business,
or of pleasure, the funeral of Lætitia is quickly
forgotten.

But it is not from her funeral alone that
instruction may be derived:—The thought of
her early and unexpected death must indeed
impress an awe on every mind, and lead to
many reflections of the highest importance to
all, and which, by such a stroke, are shewn in
the strongest and most affecting light; but those
excited by her life and character may also afford
many useful lessons, which, though less obvious
and striking, are yet well worthy of our attention.

The pleasures of youth are often considered
by those who are farther advanced in life, with a K2 mixture K2v 132
mixture of pity and contempt, as being the
effects of ignorance of the world, and of a kind
of enthusiasm, which embellishes every object,
and feasts on imaginary enjoyments. This opinion
is certainly in some degree true; for none
ever lived to maturity, without feeling and
lamenting the disappointment of their youthful
hopes, and the loss of that pleasing illusion,
which once led the mind from one enjoyment
to another, and filled up the many tedious vacancies
of real life; but the disappointment of
too sanguine hopes is very apt to lead to a contrary
extreme.

The pleasures of youth are indeed greatly
owing to the dispositions of the youthful mind;
and these, it must be owned, are often the effects
of illusions, which time and experience must
dispel; but they are far from being always so;
and many of those dispositions on which the pleasures K3r 133
pleasures of youth are founded, are such as the
wise would wish, and endeavour to preserve,
through every period of life.

That expectation of being pleased, which
prevails so much in young persons, is one great
source of their enjoyments. All are felt beforehand,
and their hopes are not easily given up;
the conviction that they shall be pleased, makes
a strong impression on the imagination, which
often lasts long enough to make them really
be so; when otherwise they would have found
little reaoson for it. This illusion cannot indeed
be preserved in its full force, but the same disposition
to be pleased may yet remain; and there
is hardly any thing of so much importance to
the happiness of life.

We see people seek for sorrows, as if they were
something very scarce and valuable, which it K3 would K3v 134
would be a misfortune to overlook. Would
they but employ as much attention in seeking
for the innocent pleasures which every different
situation might afford, and accustom themselves
to consider every thing in the most favourable
light; such a state of mind would in itself be
pleasing, and would lead to many pleasures
which are too often lost, merely for want of attending
to them.

That desire to please, which is so natural to
youth, may indeed be discouraged by disappointments,
but if preserved through life, will
prove a source of pleasures to ourselves and
others. It can make even trifles appear agreeable
and engaging, and will in a great degree
supply the want of every other talent, and render
those who possess it always acceptable in society;
often indeed much more so than those who are
far superior to them in every other respect, but who K4r 135
who neglect or despise those little attentions
which this disposition will naturally inspire;—
These should, however, always be distinguished
from artifice and flattery, which are the instruments
of vanity, not the expressions of benevolence.

In youth, the affections of the heart are warm
and lively; the pleasures, and even the hopes
which they afford, are pursued, and enjoyed, to
the utmost; probably they may lead to sorrows
and disappointments; but they know little of
their own interests, who endeavour to avoid
these, by checking that activity of the mind,
which is necessary to its improvement, as well
as its happiness; or by suppressing sentiments on
which our enjoyments must depend, and which
(rightly directed) may prove the means of happiness
here and hereafter.

K4 The K4v 136

The innocence of youth is another great
source of its pleasures; but this is a happiness
which, like that of health, is generally estimated
by its loss. It is not necessary to consider the
situation of a person who has been guilty of great
crimes, all must be sensible that it is wretched:
but many things, which, taken separately, may
appear trifles, are yet sufficient to destroy that
purity of heart without which every pleasure
must be attended with some allay.

This indeed, in the strictest sense of the
words, is not to be found in this imperfect state,
even in youth itself; still less can it be expected
in those who are farther advanced in life. But
innocence of intention, integrity of heart, and a
sincere endeavour to do right, are qualities which
all may possess, and which afford a security and
peace of mind, such as they can never enjoy who
are in any degree wanting in them; whose professionsfessions K5r 137
differ from their sentiments; and who
indulge themselves in those little arts which vanity
of self-interest so often suggest, and which
are so common in the general intercourse of society,
that the particular instances of them are
seldom made the objects of attention, or considered
in the light of real faults.

The candour of mind, and unsuspecting temper
so natural to youth, are also productive of
many pleasures which painful experience must
in some degree destroy. But how many, by the
thought of this, are led into errors far more
pernicious, and often not less distant from the
truth; for suspicion can deceive, as well as
simplicity, and frequently misses the mark as
effectually, by going beyond it. How greatly
is the peace of society disturbed, by offences
taken which never were intended, by groundless
doubts and apprehensions, and by the imputationtion K5v 138
of faults and bad intentions, which never
in reality existed.

To avoid all error is certainly desirable, but
the one extreme is liable to it, as well as the
other; and that disposition of mind, which
in cases that can admit a doubt inclines rather
to the most favourable side, is certainly by far
the happiest for the possessor, to say nothing of
the obligations which benvolence and charity
lay upon us in this respect.

Such reflections as these may naturally arise
from the consideration of a Character like that
of Lætitia. Her youth affords many useful
lessons to grey hairs, as well as to those who
like herself are just entering into life, and who
perhaps, like her, may be allowed only a few
short years to prepare themselves for eternity.
Her death sets in a strong light the necessity of such K6r 139
such preparation;—her life shews at the same
time the happiness of it.

That Religion is necessary to our comfort in
the time of affliction, and our support in the
hour of death, all who have any sense of it are
ready to allow; but if considered merely in that
light, it is too apt to be neglected in the days
of health and prosperity, or obeyed with a cold,
and often reluctant submission, as a restraint
with which it is necessary to comply, in order
to obtain the happiness of a future state. Few
consider sufficiently its importance to happiness,
even in this life, and the present pleasures, as
well as future hopes, which it may afford to those
in whom it is not merely a conviction of the
understanding, but a real sentiment of the heart.

Let us then represent to ourselves the situation
of those on whom the great truths which Religion reveals K6v 140
reveals have made just impression; who feel
that love and gratitude which are due to Infinite
Perfection and Infinite Goodness; and in whom
these sentiments are the leading principles and
animating motives for every action.

To such persons, how delightful is the thought
that they are under the guidance and protection
of an indulgent Father, who can and will order
all things for their real good; that every blessing
bestowed in this life is not merely a present
enjoyment, but an instance of his goodness, a
call to that ever pleasing sentiment—affectionate
gratitude, and an earnest of future happiness.
Such thoughts give a security to all pleasures;
they are no longer enjoyed with trembling
anxiety, from a dread that the next moment
may snatch them away; for the next moment
depends on an Almighty Friend, with whom
we can safely entrust our dearest interests.

It K7r 141

It has been well observed, by an excellent
writer, “Qu’il ny a point de sentiment plus doux
au cœur de l’homme que la confiance;”
but if
this be true even in our intercourse with frail and
imperfect beings, in whom we may be mistaken;
and who, though their intentions may be sincerely
good, are often unable to help us, and
ignorant of what is best for us; how much greater
enjoyment must it afford, when fixed where it
can never be mistaken or disappointed!

How encouraging is the certainty, that He
who sees the deepest recesses of the heart, will
observe and accept the secret good intention
which could not be brought to effect, and the
sincere endeavour which has been disappointed,
and perhaps misinterpreted in this world. To
relieve distress, to do good to others and promote
their happiness, must give pleasure to every
one who is not lost to all sense of goodness, but how K7v 142
how greatly is this pleasure increased, if the object
on whom it is exercised be endeared to us
by particular affection, or has been recommended
to us by one who is so, and to whom
we can in this manner express our affection!
What spirit does this consideration give to our
endeavours, and what an exalted pleasure attends
their success!

This pleasure, in the highest degree, religion
adds to every exertion of benevolence; it
strengthens the ties of natural philanthropy, by
shewing us in all mankind the children of one
Common Parent, the objects of the same Redeeming
Love, and the candidates for the same eternal
happiness. In every scene of distress to
which we can afford relief, it reminds us that
our best Friend has assured us, that whatever is
done to one of the least of these his brethren,
will be considered as done unto himself: and this K8r 143
this pleasure depends not on success; for the
endeavour, and even the wish, will be accepted as
a proof of love and gratitude.

From the same consideration, Religion becomes
the only sure foundation of that good-humour
which is the charm of social life. Can beings
who hope in a few years, perhaps in a few hours,
to be united in eternal love and happinss, be
disposed to be angry with each other about trifles,
and find a satisfaction in saying or doing
what may give pain?

Were these truths felt as well as acknowledged,
they must not only put an end to all
violent hatred and animosity, but must also soften
all those little irregularities of temper, which so
frequently prevent even good people from being
as happy in each other as they ought to be.

At K8v 144

At the same time when we are hurt by such
things in others, particularly in those we truly
love and value, (and from whom, therefore, a
trifle can give pain) how pleasing to look forward
to the time when all these imperfections
shall be ended, and we shall find nothing to allay
the pleasures of affection and esteem, which in
this life can never be enjoyed in their utmost
perfection, from the mixture of human frailty,
which is found in a greater or lesser degree even
in truly worthy characters.

But when friendship rises to its purest heights,
and meets with as little of such allay as is possible
in this imperfect state, still how greatly are
even the refined pleasures which it affords, improved
and exalted by religion! How delightful
is the tie which unites two worthy characters
in the noblest pursuits, when each is strengthened
and animated by the other; and their pleasures,sures, L1r 145
far from being allayed by the continual
dread of separation, are heightened by the hope
that they will be lasting as eternity.

When the mind is engaged in the pursuit of
improvement, and pleased with any little advance
it can make; or when it delights itself with the
consideration of what is beautiful and amiable in
the natural or moral system; how greatly is the
pleasure increased by looking forward to a time
when every faculty shall be improved beyond
what we can at present conceive, when we shall
be qualified for the most exalted enjoyments, and
all our contemplations employed on the most
perfect objects!

But when we endeavour to enlarge on a subject
like this, we must find all our expressions fall
short of what we wish to describe.

L These L1v 146

These are but a few instances of the advantages
which may be derived from Religion, even
in the happiest state,—a faint sketch of its power
to refine, exalt, and secure our pleasures:—happy
they to whom experience shall give a more perfect
idea of it! They will not be reduced, in the
day of affliction, to seek for comforts with which
there were before unacquainted, and pleasures
which they know not how to enjoy; for the best
pleasures of their happiest days will remain, unallayed
by any misfortune that can befall them;
and the mind, long accustomed to dwell on them
and enjoy them, will grow more attached to
them, as other pleasures fail, and be enabled to
look forward to the stroke which shall snatch
them all away, not only with calm resignation,
but with joyful hope.

Far be it ever from us to limit the mercies of
the Almighty, or discourage any from having recourse L2r 147
recourse to them, even in their latest moments.
Far be it also from us to judge of the future happiness
of any, by their present state of mind. An
old age of languor and dejection, a death of terror
and anxiety, may often be succeeded by an
eternity of bliss.

But let those who now enjoy health and prosperity
never forget, that they can have no reason
to depend on finding Religion their comfort in
the hour of death, if they do not find it their
happiness in life.

L2 on L2v L3r

On
Politeness.

“L’Hypocrisie est un hommage que le
vice rend a la vertu,”
says La Rochefoucault;
and in one sense it certainly is so,
for it is an acknowledgement of the superior excellence
of virtue; and one who viewed mankind
with the eyes of La Rochefoucault, must consider
Hypocrisy as an advantage to all.

Rousseau, quoting this passage, adds “Oui
comme celui des assassins de Cesar, qui se
prosternoient a ses pieds pour l’egorger plus
surement; couvrir sa mechancetè du dangereuxL3 “reux L3v 150
manteau de l’Hypocrisie, ce n’est point
honorer la Vertu, c’est l’outrager en profanant
ses enseignes.”
It is indeed the homage of an
enemy: and of all the enemies of virtue there is
perhaps none whose attacks have been more pernicious;
and that not only by throwing a disguise
over vice, but by setting up an artificial image
in the place of real virtue, and confounding the
idea of the one with the other, till every appearance
is suspected, and the existence of that
which is true and genuine, is rendered doubtful
to those whose hearts do not bear testimony to
it’s certainty.

There is hardly any thing which (considered
abstractedly) appears so natural as Sincerity.
Speech was given us to express our thoughts and
feelings, and to use it to express what we do not
think and feel, is an evident perversion of it,—
But alas! man, fallen from his native innocence, now L4r 151
now dares not be sincere; conscious of guilt, he
seeks disguise; and conscious of disguise in himself,
he is ready to suspect it in others.

Thus insincerity first made its way amongst
mankind, and by such considerations it has since
been cherished and encouraged, though every
heart in secret bears testimony against it; and
even amongst the greatest hypocrites, few would
venture openly to defend it in matters of importance:
in these all are ready to declare against it,
and sincerity is a quality to which all lay claim;
yet in the daily occurrences of common life,
it seems to be laid aside by a kind of tacit
agreement: few make any scruple of deviating
from it themselves, or seem to expect a conformity
to it in others; but deceit is practised when
it can answer any purpose, and even acknowledged
on many occasions, as if it were in itself
a matter of the greatest indifference.

L4 It L4v 152

It is much too common, in every instance, to
judge of actions, not according to what they
really are, but according to the impression they
make upon us. The man who would be shocked
at the thought of being a butcher, will feel no
remorse at impaling a butterfly; and he who
would scorn to tell a solemn lie, will make no
scruple of professing esteem and regard which
he does not feel, or of encouraging an unexperienced
young woman in follies which in his heart
he despises, and which he knows will render her
ridiculous. Yet the merit of actions depends
not on their apparent effects, nor are we sufficiently
acquainted with the consequences which
may attend them, to be qualified to judge how
far they may extend.

When once we deviate from the straight path,
however small the deviation may be, and however
strong the reasons for it, we can never know L5r 153
know how far we may be led astray, nor what
may be the consequences of that deviation.—
Could these be known at once, the fault which
was considered merely as a trifle, would often
appear shocking, even to those who paid least attention
to it, thought in fact they can make no
difference in its real nature.

If insincerity be in itself a fault, it must be so
independent of the consequencees which may
follow from it; yet the most trifling consideration
seems often to be thought a sufficient excuse for
it, and we even hear it pleaded for, as necessary
to the peace and pleasure of society. But
to whom can it be necessary? Surely to none
but those who have something criminal, or at
least something disagreeable, to conceal, and
whose real characters will not bear the light.—
The good and amiable qualities want only to
be seen as they are, in order to be pleasing and useful; L5v 154
useful; and if every heart were such as it ought
to be, the delight of society would be to throw
aside all disguise, let every one express his genuine
sentiments, and appear to others such as he
really is.

But it is easier to polish the manners, than
to reform the heart; to disguise a fault, than to
conquer it. He who can venture to appear as
he is, must be what he ought to be; ――a difficult
and arduous task, which often requires the sacrifice
of many a darling inclination, and the exertion
of many a painful effort:――and if there can be
any hope of attaining the same end by a shorter
and easier method, it is not wonderful that numbers
are glad to have recourse to it.

This is, in fact, the principal cause of that
insincerity which prevails so much in the ordi—
nary intercourse of society, though there are many L6r 155
many others which contribute to it. Pride
makes men endeavour to seem better than they
really are, by assuming an appearance of those
virtues which they want, and endeavouring to
disguise those vices which they cherish. Selfishness
makes them wish to engross a larger share
of esteem and regard than is bestowed on others,
this introduces Flattery, which is in fact, an endeavour
to purchase esteem, and even affection,
with counterfeit coin. It is playing upon the
weaknesses of others for our own advantage, and
running the hazard of encouraging them in folly,
and even in vice; and thereby doing them a
real and material injury, merely for the sake of
gaining to ourselves the trifling satisfaction of
unmerited approbation.

This, to a person of any delicacy, should give
more pain than pleasure, from a consciousness of
having indeed deserved the contrary: for who that L6v 156
that is not lost to every generous sentiment, could
bear to receive a tribute of gratitude and goodwill,
in return for professions of esteem which
he never felt, and kindness which he never
intended?

He may indeed despise the folly and vanity
of those who can be pleased with such professions,
and possibly the may often be deserving
of contempt; but this is no alleviation
of his fault, nor can even this excuse be always
pleaded. An innocent heart may be pleased
with the flattery, (without giving entire credit to
it) when it is considered as an expression of real
kindness; conscious that its own sentiments are
warm, lively, and apt to run into excess, it may
naturally suppose the same of others, and thus
the poison is received under a pleasing disguise,
till by degrees it grows familiar, and may produce
the most fatal effects.

True L7r 157

True Politeness, like true Benevolence—the
source from which it flows, aims at the real good
of all mankind, and sincerely endeavours to
make all easy and happy, not only by considerable
services, but by all those little attentions which
can contribute to it. In this it differs essentially
from that artificial politeness which too often
assumes its place, and which consists in an endeavour,
not to make others happy, but to serve the
interests of our own vanity, by gaining their favour
and good opinion, though at the expence
of truth, goodness, and even of their happiness,
if the point in view can be obtained by destroying
it.

Flattery is an essential part of this sort of
politeness, the means by which it generally succeeds:
but true politeness stands in need of no
such assistance; it is genuine expression of
the heart, it seeks no disguise, and will never flatter. L7v 158
flatter. He who acts from this principle, will
express to all what he truly feels,—a real goodwill,
a sincere concern for their happiness, and
an earnest desire to promote it. He will not
express admiration for a fool, nor esteem for a
bad man; but he will express benevolence to
all because he feels it; and he will endeavour to
do them good, as far as may be in his power,
because he sincerly wishes it.

Flattery is directly contrary to this; it seeks
its own ends without considering what may be
the consequence with regard to others. It is
also essentially different from that regard which
is certainly its due, and may be both paid and
received with innocence and pleasure; but the
expressions of this, will generally be such as
escape undesignedly from the heart, and are far
different from the studied language of flattery.

Indeed L8r 159

Indeed flattery is not, in general, addressed
to real and acknowledged merit. It has been
observed by one who seems to have studied it
as a science that a professed beauty must not be
complimented upon her person, but her understanding,
beacuse here she may be supposed to
be more doubtful of her excellence; while one
whose pretensions to beauty are but small, will
be most flattered by compliments on her personal
charms.

The same may be observed as to other qualities:
for though most people would consider
flattery as an insult, if addressed to such qualities
as they know they do not possess; yet in general
they are best pleased with it where they feel
any degree of doubt, or suspect that others may
do so. When Cardinal Richelieu expressed
more desire to be admired as a poet and a critic,
than as one of the greatest politicians in the world, L8v 160
world, we cannot suppose it was because he
thought these talents of more consequence in a
prime minister, but he was certain of his excellence
in one respect, and wanted not to be told
what all the world must think of him; in the
other he wished to excel, and was not sure of
success.

The same may probably be the reason of the
partiality which some writers are said to have
expressed for their worst performances. It seems
scarce possible to suppose that Milton really
preferred his Paradise Regained to his Paradise
Lost
; but if had any doubts of its success, it
was very natural for him to feel more anxiety
about it, and to endeavour to persuade others,
and even himself, of its superior merit.

This is a weakness in human nature, of which
flattery generally takes advantage without consideringsidering M1r 161
that by such means it not only encourages
vanity in those to whom it is addressed, but
may also draw them in, to make themselves
appear ridiculous, by the affectation of qualities
to which they have little or no pretensions.

Nor does this artificial kind of flattery generally
stop at such qualities as are in themselves
indifferent; it is too often employed (and perhaps
still more successfully) in disguising and
palliating faults, and therby affording encouragement
to those whose inclinations were
restrained by some degree of remorse.

It is unjust, as well as ill-natured, to take advantage
of the weaknesses of others, in order to
obtain our own ends, at the hazard of rendering
them ridiculous; but it is something far worse
to lend a helping hand to those who hesitate at
engaging in the paths of vice, and feel a painful M conflict M1v 162
conflict between their duty and their inclination;
or to endeavour to lessen the sense of duty
in those who are not free from some degree of
remorse, and desire to amend. Yet these are, in
general, the persons to whom flattery is most
acceptable;—it sooths their inclinations, and
dispels their doubts, at the same time that it
gratifies their vanity; it frees them from a painful
sensation, and saves them the trouble of a
difficult task, while it affords them a present
pleasure; and if it does not entirely conquer
their scruples, at least it removes one restraint
which lay in their way, the fear of being censured.
Yet how often is all this done by those
who would think themsselves insufferably injured
if they were to be supposed capable of
picking a pocket, though in that case the injury
might perhaps be trifling, and hardly worth
a thought.

If M2r 163

If “he who filches from me my good name,”
has made “me poor indeed,” what shall we say
of him, who from selfish views, perhaps merely
for the sake of obtaining a trifling gratification
of his vanity, has done what may lead me to
deserve to forfeit that good name, even in the
smallest instance? And if he has done this by
deceit, and has found means to gain affection or
esteem in return for it, what other act of dishonesty
can exceed the baseness of such a proceeding?
But these things are too apt to make
little impression when practised in what are
called trifles, though that circumstance makes no
change in their real nature, and none can say
how far the consequences, even of trifles, may
extend.

Those who make no scruple of such methods
as these, if at the same time, by being much
accustomed to polite company, they have acquiredM2 red M2v 164
a certain elegance of manners, and facility
of expressing themselves, will seldom fail to
please, upon a slight acquaintance; but the best
actor will find it difficult always to keep up to
his part. He who is polite only by rule, will
probably, on some occasion or other, be thrown
off his guard; and he who is continually professing
sentiments which he does not feel, will
hardly be able always to do it in such a manner
as to avoid betraying himself.

Whatever degree of affection or esteem is
gained without being deserved, though at first it
may be both paid and received with pleasure,
will probably, after a time, vanish into nothing,
or prove a source of disappointment and mortification
to both parties: and even while the
delusion lasts, it is scarce possible it should be
attended with entire satisfaction to the deceiver;
for deceit of all kinds, from the greatest to the most M3r 165
most trifling instance of it, must be attended
with a degree of anxiety, and can never enjoy
that perfect ease and security which attends on
those whose words and actions are the natural
undisguised expressions of the sentiments of
the heart.

But as mankind are apt to run from one
extreme to another, we sometimes see that from
a dislike to this artificial politeness, which is
continually glossing over faults, both in those
who practice it, and those they practice it upon,
a roughness, and even brutality, of manners is
adopted, and dignified with the title of sincerity.
Some persons pique themselves upon saying all
they think, and are continually professing to do
so, and as a proof of this, they will say things
the most shocking to others, and give them pain
without the least remorse, for fear of being suspected
of flattering them.

M3 But M3v 166

But is this then the language of their heart?
Alas! if it is so, let them set about reforming it,
and make it fit to be seen, before they make
their boast of exposing it to publick view: yet
perhaps, there may be as much affectation in
this conduct, as in the contrary extreme. Pride
may think to gain its own ends by an appearance
of singularity, and by setting itself above the approbation
of others, as vanity does by condescending
to the meanest methods, in order to
obtain it.

That sincerity which is displayed with ostentation,
is generally to be suspected; the conduct
which an honest heart inspires, flows naturally
from it, and those who say rough things in order
to convince others of their sincerity, give some
reason to doubt of their being perfectly convinced
of it themselves.

Both M4r 167

Both these extremes are not only pernicious to
the present peace and pleasure of society, but
may also lead to very fatal consequences. The
flatterer encourages vice and folly, undermines
the principles of virtue, and gains by fraud and
artifice a degree of esteem and regard to which
he has no title; the other does what he can to
frighten every one from what is right, for if
sincerity discovers such a heart, disguise must
appear desireable; and few consider sufficiently
how much the cause of virtue must suffer, whenever
a good quality is made to appear in an
unamiable light.

Sincerity is indeed the ground work of all
that is good and valuable: however beautiful
in appearance the structure may be, if it stand
not on this foundation, it cannot last. But sincerity
can hardly be called a virtue in itself,
though a deviation from it is a fault: a man M4 may M4v 168
may be sincere in his vices as well as in his
virtues; and he who throws off all restraint of
remorse or shame, and even makes a boast of
his vices, can claim no merit from the sincerity
he expresses in so doing.

If he who is sincere cannot appear amiable, his
heart is wrong, and his sincerity, far from being
a virtue, serves only to add to the rest of his
faults that of being willing to give pain to others,
and able to throw aside that shame which should
attend on every fault, whether great or small,
and which is sometimes a restraint to such as
are incapable of being influenced by nobler
motives.

Roughness of manners is in fact so far from
being in itself a mark of sincerity, that it is
merely the natural expression of one character,
as gentleness is of another, and it should always be M5r 169
be remembered, that, to connect the idea of a
good quality with a disagreeable appearance, is
doing it a real injury, and leads to much more
pernicious consequences than may at first be apprehended.
Yet this is too often done, in many
instances, not only by those who are interested to
promote such a deception, but also by those who
take up maxims upon credit, and believe what
others have believed, without enquiring into the
grounds of such opinions: and this is too much
the case with the world in general.

Much has been said and written on the subject
of Politeness; but those who attempt to teach
it generally begin where they should end; and
the instruction they give, is something like
teaching a set of elegant phrases in a language not
understood, or instructing a person in musick by
making him learn a few tunes by memory, without
any knowledge of the grounds of the science. The M5v 170
The polish of elegant manners is indeed truly
pleasing, and necessary in order to make the
worthiest character compleatly amiable; but it
should be a polish, and not a varnish, the ornament
of a good heart, not the disguise of a bad one.

Where a truly benevolent heart is joined with
a delicate mind, and both are directed by a solid
and refined understanding, the natural expression
of these qualities will be the essential part of
true politeness; all the rest is mere arbitrary
custom, which varies according to the manners
of different nations, and different times; a conformity
to this is however highly necessary, and
those who neglect to acquire the knowledge and
practice of it betray the want of some of the
above—mentioned qualities.

A person might as well refuse to speak the
language of a country, as to comply with its customs, M6r 171
customs, in matters of indifference; like it they
are signs, which though unmeaning perhaps in
themselves, are established by general consent to
express certain sentiments, and a want of attention
to them would appear to express a want
of those sentiments, and therefore, in regard to
others, would have the same bad effect.. But
though the neglect of these things is blameable,
those who consider them as the essential part of
true politeness, are much wider of the mark, for
they may be strictly observed, where that is entirely
wanting.

To wound the heart, to mislead the understanding,
to discourage a timid character, to
expose an ignorant, though perhaps an innocent
one, with numberless other instances in which a
real injury is done, are things by no means inconsistent
with the rules of politeness, and are
often done by such as would not go out of the room M6v 172
room before the person they have been treating
in this manner; for though doing such things
openly might be considered as ill—manners, there
are many indirect ways which are just as effectual,
and which may be practised without any breach
of established forms. Like the Pharisees of old,
they are scrupulous observers of the letter of the
law in trifles, while they neglect the spirit of it:
and their observance of forms, far from giving
any reason to depend on them, on the contrary
often serves them only as a shelter, under which
they can do such things as others would not dare
to venture upon.

This is also, in general, only put on (like their
best dress) when they are to go into company;
for whenever politeness is not the natural expression
of the heart, it must be in some degree a
restraint, and will therefore probably be laid
aside in every unguarded hour, that is to say, in all M7r 173
all their intercourse with those whom it is of
most consequence to them to endeavour to
make happy; and the unhappiness which sometimes
reigns in families who really possess many
good qualities, and are not wanting in mutual
affection, is often entirely owing to a want of
that true and sincere politeness which should animate
the whole conduct, though the manner of
expressing it must be different according to different
circumstances. Politeness is always necessary
to compleat the happiness of society in
every situation, from the accidental meeting of
strangers, to the most intimate connections of
families and friends; but it must be the genuine
expression of the settled character, or it cannot
be constant and universal.

Let us then endeavour to consider the true
foundation of that ever—pleasing quality distinguished
by the name of true Politeness, leaving the M7v 174
the ornamental part of it, like other ornaments,
to be determined by the fashion of the place
and time.

To enter fully into the detail of such a character,
would be an arduous task indeed; but
the slightest sketch of what is truly pleasing,
cannot fail to afford some satisfaction; and there
can hardly be a more useful exercise to the
mind, than to dwell on the consideration of good
and amiable qualities, to endeavour to improve
upon every hint, and raise our ideas of excellence
as high as possible. We may then apply
them to our own conduct in the ordinary occurrences
of life; we may observe in what instances
we fall short of that perfection we wish to attain,
endeavour to trace the cause of the want of it
in those instances, and learn not to disguise our
faults, but to amend them.

True M8r 175

True benevolence inspires a sincere desire to
promote the happiness of others; true delicacy
enables us to enter into their feelings; it has a
quick sense of what may give pleasure or pain,
and teaches us to pursue the one, and avoid
the other; and a refined understanding points
out the surest means of doing this, in different
cicumstances, and of suiting our conduct to
the persons with whom we are concerned. The
union of all these will constitute that amiable
character, of which true politeness is the genuine
and natural expression.

The person who has not these qualities may
indeed, by other means, attain to something like
politeness on some occasions; but the person
who possesses them in perfection, can never be
wanting in it, even for a moment, in any instance,
or in any company;—with superiors and inferiors,
with strangers and with friends, the same character M8v 176
character is still preserved, though expressed in
different ways. Those pleasing attentions, which
are the charm of society, are continually paid
with ease and satisfaction, for they are the natural
langauge of such sentiments; and to such
a character it would be painful to omit them;
while every thing that can give unnecessary
pain, even in the smallest degree, is constantly
avoided, because directly contrary to it; for no
pain can be inflicted by a person of such a disposition,
without being strongly felt at the same
time.

A superior degree of delicacy may often be
the cause of much pain to those who possess it;
they will be hurt at many things which would
make no impression upon others; but from that
very circumstance, they will be taught to avoid
giving pain on numberless occasions, when others
might do it. Whenever an excess of sensibility is N1r 177
is supposed to produce a contrary effect, we may
be certain it is, in fact, an excess selfishness.

True delicacy feels the pain it receives, but
it feels much more strongly the pain it gives;
and therefore will never give any, which it is
possible to avoid. Far from being the cause
of unreasonable complaints, uneasiness, and fretfulness,
it will always carefully avoid such things;
it will know how to make allowances for others,
and rather suffer in silence, than give them unnecessary
pain. It will inspire the gentlest and
most engaging methods of helping others to
amend their faults, and to correct those irregularities
of temper which disturb the peace of
society, without exposing them to the humiliation
of being upbraided, or even of being made
fully sensible of the offence they give; which
often disposes people rather to seek for excuses,
than to endeavour to amend. In short, it enlightensN lightens N1v 178
and directs benevolence; it discovers numberless
occasions for the exertion of it, which are
too generally overlooked; and points out the
surest and most pleasing means of attaining those
ends which it pursues.

This earnest desire to promote the happiness
of all, which is essential to true politenss, should
always be carefully distinguished from that desire
of pleasing, in which self-love is in fact the object;
for though this may sometimes appear to
produce the same effects with the other, it is by
no means sufficient fully to supply its place. It
is indeed a natural sentiment, which is both pleasing
and useful when kept within due bounds.
To gain the good—will of others, is soothing
to the heart; and they must be proud or insensible,
in a very uncommon degree, who are not
desirous of it; but much more than this is necessary
to inspire true and constant politeness in every N2r 179
every instance; and this desire, carried to excess,
may produce very pernicious consequences.
From hence sometimes proceed endeavours to
supplant others in the favour of those we wish to
please, and to recommend ourselves at their
expence, together with all the train of evils
which attend on envy and jealousy. From hence
also flattery, and all those means of gaining
favour, by which the real good of others is sacrificed
to our own interest; and from hence
much of the insincerity which prevails in common
conversation. False maxims are adopted,
and the real sentiment disguised; a disposition
to ridicule, censoriousness, and many other faults,
are encouraged; and truth and goodness are sacrificed
to the fear of giving offence; and thus
an inclination in itself innocent, and calculated
to promote the pleasure and advantage of society,
is made productive of much evil, by being
suffered to act beyond its proper sphere, and to N2 take N2v 180
take place of others which should always be
preferred before it.

But even considered in the most favourable
light, the desire of pleasing others falls far short
of that endeavour to make them happy which
benevolence inspires; for the one is only exerted
in such instances as can gain observation;
the other extends to every thing within its power,
and can sacrifice even the desire of pleasing, to
that of doing real good, whenever the one is
inconsistent with the other. Yet where this is
done with that true politeness which is the effect
of those qualities already mentioned, it is very
likely to succeed better in the end, even as to
gaining favour with all those whose favour is
truly valuable; but it depends not on such circumstances,
it is a settled character, which is
naturally displayed in every instance without art
or study.

It N3r 181

It may also be observed, that though a great
degree of affection may subsist where this quality
is wanting, yet that want will always prove an
allay to the pleasure of it. We see persons who
really feel this affection, who would do and
suffer a great deal to serve each other, and
would consider a separation by absence or death
as one of the greatest of evils; and who yet,
merely from the want of this quality, lose a
thousand opportunities of promoting the happiness
of those they truly love and value, and
often give them real pain, without ever suspecting
themselves of being wanting in regard and
affection, because they feel that they would be
ready to exert themselves in doing them any
essential service. Thus the pleasure of society
is destroyed, and the supposed consciousness of
possessing good qualities (for the exertion of
which it is possible no opportunity may ever
offer) is thought to make amends for the N3 want N3v 182
want of such as are truly pleasing and useful in
every day and hour of our intercourse with each
other.

Happiness consists not in some extraordinary
instance of good fortune, nor virtue in some
illustrious exertion of it; for such things are in
the power of few; but if they are true and genuine,
the one must be practised and the other
enjoyed in the constant and uniform tenor of
our lives. The person who, on some extraordinary
occasion, does another some signal piece
of service, is by no means so great a benefactor
as one who makes his life easy and happy by
those pleasing attentions, the single instances of
which too often pass unnoticed, but which altogether
form the delight of social intercourse,
and afford a calm and serene pleasure, without
which, the most prosperous fortune can never
bestow happiness.

There N4r 183

There is a security in all our intercourse with
persons of this character, which banishes that
continual anxiety, and dread of giving offence,
which so often throw a restraint on the freedom
of conversation. Such persons wish all mankind
to be amiable and happy, and therefore would
certainly do their utmost to make them so; and
far from taking offence where none was intended,
they will be disposed to see all in the most favourable
light; and even where they cannot
approve, they will never be severe in their censures
on any, but always ready to endeavour to
bring them back to what is right, with that gentleness
and delicacy, which shew it is for their
sakes they wish it, and not in resentment of an
injury received, or with a view to assume to
themselves a superiority over them. They will
make allowances for all the little peculiarities of
humour, all the weaknesses, and even the faults,
as far as possible, of those with whom they converse,N4 verse, N4v 184
and carefully avoid whatever may tend to
irritate and aggravate them, which is often done
by such things as would be trifling and indifferent
in other circumstances.

This not only has a bad effect, by giving
present uneasiness, but serves to strengthen a
bad habit; for every fault (particularly a fault
of the temper) is increased by exercise, and trifles,
which might have been immediately forgotten,
are kept up by being taken notice of till
they become real evils. They will also carefully
avoid exposing peculiarities and weaknesses, and
never engage in the cruel sport of what is called
“playing off a character,” by leading others
to betray their own follies, and make themselves
ridiculous without suspecting it.

Such an amusement is by no means inconsistent
with artificial politeness, because the person N5r 185
person who suffers by it is not sensible of the
injury; but it directly contrary to that politeness
which is true and sincere, because none of
the qualities on which it is founded could ever
inspire such conduct, or find any gratification in
it. On the contrary, they would give a feeling
of the injury of which the person who suffers it
is insensible. There is indeed something particularly
ungenerous in this conduct; it is like a
robbery committed in breach of trust, and not
only the benevolent, but the honest heart must
be shocked at it. To say it is deserved, is no
excuse; a punishment may often be deserved,
but it can never be a pleasure to a benevolent
heart to inflict it.

But it is impossible to enter into a particular
detail of the conduct which this sincere politeness
would inspire on every occasion. Its motive
remaining always the same, the manner of expressing N5v 186
expressing it will readily be varied as different
circumstances may require; it will observe
forms, where a neglect of them would give
offence; it will be gentle, mild, and unaffected
at all times; compassionate, and tenderly attentive
to the afflicted; indulgent to the weak,
and ready not only to bear with them without
impatience, but to give them all possible assistance.
Ever disposed to make the best of all,
easy, chearful, and even playful in familiar intercourse,
and on suitable occasions; since far from
being a restraint upon the freedom of society,
it is indeed the only way of throwing aside all
restraint, without introducing any bad consequences
by doing so. It needs no artifice and
disguise; it pursues no sinister aims, no selfish
views; but seeks the real good of all, endeavours
to express what it feels, and to appear such
as it truly is.

How N6r 187

How pleasing were general society, if such a
disposition prevailed! How delightful all family
intercourse, if it were never laid aside!
Even friendship itself cannot be compleatly
happy without it: even real affection will not
always supply its place. It is an universal
charm, which embellishes every pleasure in social
life, prevents numberless uneasinesses and disgusts
which so often disturb its peace, and softens
those which it cannot entirely prevent. It adds
lustre to every good and valuable quality, and
in some degree, will atone for many faults, and
prevent their bad effects.

But it may be asked, how is this quality to be
attained? And it must indeed be owned, that
to possess it in its utmost perfection requires a
very superior degree both of delicacy and good
sense, with which all are not endowed. But this
should never discourage any from the endeavour; for N6v 188
for all may improve their talents if they will
exert them, and by aiming at perfection, may
make continual advances towards it. Every
good quality is best understood by endeavouring
to practise it.

Let us consider what conduct the sentiments
described would dictate on every different occasion;
let us endeavour to form to ourselves the
best notion of it we are able; and then watch for
opportunities to put it in practice. Such an
attention will discover many which were overlooked
before; it will shew us where we have
been wanting, and to what cause it has been
owing; and point out to us those qualities in
which we are deficient, and which we ought to
endeavour to cultivate with the greatest care.
Our sphere of action will be enlarged, and many
things, too generally considered as matters of indifference,
will become objects of attention, and afford N7r 189
afford means of improving ourselves, and benefiting
others. Nothing will be neglected as trifling,
if it can do this even in the smallest degree,
since in that view even trifles become valuable.
Our ideas of excellence will be raised by continually
aiming at it, and the heart improved by
the thoughts of being thus employed.

Above all, let us subdue those passions which
so often oppose what reason approves, and what
would afford the truest pleasures to the heart;
and let us fix all that is good and amiable on
the only sure and immoveable foundation—
the precepts of that Religion which alone can
teach us constant, universal, and disinterested
Benevolence.

On N7v N8r

On the
Character of Curio.

“’Tis his way,” said Alcander, as Curio
went out of the room: “indeed my
friend, you must not mind it, he is an honest
fellow as ever lived.”

“It may be so,” replied Hilario, “but really
his honesty is nothing to me; and had he
picked my pocket, and conversed with good
humour, I should have spent a much more
agreeable evening. He has done nothing
but vent his spleen against the world, and “contradict N8v 192
contradict every thing that was said; and you
would have me bear with all this, because he
does not deserve to be hanged!”

“Indeed” said Alcander, “you do not know
him; with all his roughness, he has a worthy,
benevolent heart;—his family and friends
must bear with the little peculiarities of his
temper, for in essential things he is always
ready to do them service, and I will venture to
say, he would bestow his last shilling to assist
them in distress. I remember, a few weeks
ago, I met him on the road in a violent rage
with his servant, because he had neglected
some trifle he expected him to have done;
nothing he did could please him afterwards,
and the poor fellow’s patience was almost
exhausted, so that he was very near giving
him warning. Soon after, the servant’s horse
threw him, and he was very dangerously hurt. “Curio O1r 193
Curio immediately ran to him, carried him
home in his arms, sent for the best assistance,
and attended him constantly himself, to see
that he wanted for nothing; he paid the whole
expence; and as he has never recovered so far
as to be able to do his work as he did before,
Curio has taken care to spare him upon every
occasion, and has increased his wages, that he
may be able to afford the little indulgencies
he wants.”

“How lucky it was,” replied Hilario, “that
the poor fellow happened to meet with this
terrible accident, for otherwise he would never
have known that he had a good master, but
might have gone to his grave with the opinion
that he was an ill-natured churl, who cared for
nobody but himself. The other day I met one
of his nephews who had just been at dinner
with him; the young fellow was come to town O “from O1v 194
from Cambridge, for a few days, and had been
to visit his uncle, but happening unfortunately
to be dressed for an assembly, the old gentleman
was displeased with his appearance, and
began railing at the vices and follies of the
age, as if his nephew had been deeply engaged
in them, though I believe no one is less inclined
to them; but every thing he did or
said was wrong through the whole day, and
as he has really a respect for his uncle, he
came away quite dejected and mortified at his
treatment of him.”

“And a few days after,” replied Alcander,
“when that nephew called to take leave of him,
he slipt a bank-note of one hundred pounds
into his hands at parting, to pay the expences
of his journey, and ran out of the room to
avoid receiving his thanks for it.”

“So O2r 195

“So then,” returned Hilario, “if the young
man is of a sordid disposition, and thinks
money a better thing than friendship, goodhumour,
and all the amiable qualities which
render life agreeable, he has reason to be perfectly
satisfied with his uncle; if he is not, the
old gentleman has done his part to make him
so, by shewing him, that according to his
notions, kindness consists in giving money.
For my part, if ever I should be a beggar,
and break my bones, I may perhaps be glad
to meet with your friend again; but as I hope
neither of those things are ever likely to happen
to me, I am by no means ambitious of
the honor of his acquiantance:—his good
qualities are nothing to me, and his bad ones
are a plague to all who come in his way.”

“One may bear with them,” replied Alcander,
“where there is so much real worth; the whole O2 “world O2v 196
world could not bribe that man to do a base
action.”

“So much the better for him,” returned Hilario;
“but really, as I said before, it is nothing
to me; and after all, whatever excuses your
good-nature may find for him, there must be
something wrong in the heart, where the manners
are so unpleasant.”

“He has not a good temper,” said Alcander,
“and every man has not the same command
over himself, but indeed he has a good heart,
and if you knew him as well as I do, you must
love him with all his oddities.”

“His oddities are quite enough for me,”
returned Hilario, “and I desire to know no
more of him; he might make me esteem him,
but he could never make me love him, and it is” O3r 197
is very unpleasant to feel one of these where
one cannot feel the other.”

Alcander could not but be sensible of the
truth of many of Hilario’s observations;—he
sighed in secret for the friend whose good qualities
he valued, and whose foibles gave him
pain; and could Curio have known what his
friend felt for him at that moment, it might
perhaps have gone farther than all he ever read
or thought upon the subject, towards correcting
a fault for which he often blamed himself, but
which he still continued to indulge, and to imagine
himself unable to subdue.

Perhaps neither of the parties concerned in
this dispute were well qualified to judge as to
the subject of it. Esteem and regard influenced
the one, and added strength to his good-nature;
while the other, whose patience was wearied O3 out O3v 198
out by the ill-humours of a stranger, of whose
merits he was ignorant, was naturally disposed
to view them in an unfavourable light. But
such a conversation must induce every indifferent
person to reflect on the importance of a
quality which could oblige a friend to blush
for the person he esteemed, and make an enemy
at first sight of one by no means wanting in
good-nature, who came into company with a
disposition to please and to be pleased, and
whose disgust was occasioned by a disappointment
in that aim.

Can such a quality be a matter of little consequence,
which those who are punctual in their
duty in more essential points may be permitted
to neglect? Can it be a disposition so strongly
implanted in the heart of any man, that his
utmost efforts cannot conquer it? — The first
supposition might furnish an excuse for giving way O4r 199
way to any fault, since all may fancy they have
virtues to counterbalance it. The last would
reduce us almost to mere machines, and discourage
every effort to reform and improve
the heart, without which, no real and solid
virtue can be attained.

O4 on O4v O5r

On
Candour.

There are many people who take the
measure of a character, like the taylor in
Laputa, who, in order to make a suit of cloaths
for Gulliver, took the size of his thumb, and
concluded that the rest was in proportion; they
form their judgment from some slight circumstance,
and conclude that the rest of the character
must be of a piece with it.

Were all bodies formed according to the
exact rules of proportion, this method of taking
the measure would be infallible, supposing the taylor O5v 202
taylor perfectly acquainted with those rules;
but in order to find the same certainty in this
method of judging of characters, we must not
only suppose that the person who is to judge of
them is equally well informed of all the different
variations, but we must also suppose that
the same motives regularly produce the same
actions, and that the same feelings are always
expressed in the same manner; and a very little
observation is sufficient to shew that this is far
from being the case.

Human nature, it is said, is always the same.
But what is human nature?—and who could
ever enumerate all its various powers, inclinations,
affections, and passions, with all the different
effects they may produce by their different
combinations, the objects on which they may
be employed, and the variety of circumstances
which may attend them?

This O6r 203

This leaves a wide field for imagination to
exert itself; but attention and observation might
serve to perplex and make us diffident of our
own judgment; and as it is much easier, as well
as more flattering to vanity, to judge from a
first impression, than from reason and reflection,
a favourable or unfavourable prejudice is apt to
take the lead in the opinions formed of the
actions of those about whom we are much interested;
and where this is not the case, most
people measure by a certain line of their own,
beyond which they know not how to go; and
when they meet with refinements of which they
are incapable, they can form no idea of them
in another; and therefore, by assigning some
other motive to such actions, they reduce them
to their own standard; and being then able to
comprehend what was unintelligible before,
they conclude that their present opinion must
certainly be right, and form their judgement of
the rest of the character according to it.

O6v 204

From these, and many other causes which
might be assigned, it appears that there must
always be great uncertainty in the opinions we
form of the actions of others, and in the inferences
we draw from particular actions concerning
the general character; the obvious
conclusion from which is, that we should be
always upon our guard against forming an hasty
judgment, or laying too much stress upon those
judgments which we cannot help forming, and
be very cautious that we do not suffer our own
prejudices and fancies to acquire the force of
truth, and influence our opinions afterwards.

Yet still, whilst we live in this world, and
converse with others, it is impossible to avoid
forming some opinion of them from their
words and actions, and it is not always easy to
ascertain the just bounds within which this
opinion ought to be confined, and to distinguish between O7r 205
between the dictates of reason, and those of
prejudice and imagination.

Since then we cannot shut our eyes, it may
be useful to us to procure as much light as we
can; not that we may be continually prying into
what does not concern us, but that where we
cannot avoid forming some judgment, we may
do it with justice and candour; that we may
learn to avoid being positive, where we must be
uncertain; and to see and confess our error,
where we may have been wrong.

A benevolent heart, even desirous of considering
the actions of others in the most favourable
light, will indeed be less liable than any other to
the bad consequences which may follow from
the difficulties attending on our judgment of
others: for an error on the favourable side is
far less pernicious to them, or to ourselves, than the O7v 206
the contrary would be; yet every error is liable
to bad consequences. The person who has
formed an hasty favourable judgment, may
probably in time be convinced of his mistake;
having been deceived, he may grow suspicious,
till every appearance of good is mistrusted, and
he falls by degrees into the contrary extreme:
for error cannot be the foundation of real and
lasting good, since, sooner or later, it must be
shaken, and then the superstructure, however
beautiful in appearance, will fall to ruins.

True Charity and Benevolence certainly do
not consist in deceiving ourselves and others;
they do not make us blind and insensible, nor do
they give a false light, to lead us astray from the
truth, and then leave us bewildered in darkness
and error, seeking in vain to return, and mistrusting
every appearance of light which would
conduct us back again. Like all other virtues, they O8r 207
they flow from the Source of Eternal Truth;
they must be firmly rooted in the heart, and continually
exercised in every different situation,
not merely the transient effect of good spirits and
good-humour, which sometimes make a person
disposed to be pleased with others, only because
he is pleased with himself; for then he will be
displeased again, with as little reason, whenever
the present humour gives place to another.
Still less are they the effect of weakness of judgment,
and want of discernment and penetration,
which, in fact, are more likely to lead to the
contrary extreme.

That they are sometimes considered in this
last point of view, may perhaps be one of the
chief reasons for that want of them which so
often appears in general conversation. The
vanity of displaying superior talents, is very
prevalent, and it is often much more from this principle, O8v 208
principle, than from real ill-nature, that the
faults and imperfections of the absent are exposed.
To gain admiration is the object of
pursuit; any other way by which it might be
attained, would answer the purpose just as well;
but unfortunately all others are more difficult,
while this is within the reach of all; for the
weakest have penetration enough to discover
imperfections in those whose excellencies are
far above their reach.

Those who have no solid virtues of their own
may assume a temporary superiority, by declaiming
against the faults of others; and those who
have neither wit, nor any talents to amuse,
may yet raise a laugh by exposing what is ridiculous,
or may be made to appear so. A
little more of that penetration which they are so
desirous of being thought to possess, might help
to a farther insight into themselves and others, and P1r 209
and they might perhaps find that they have
only been exposing what was obvious to everybody,
and gaining the reputation of ill-nature,
in fact without deserving it (any otherwise than
by inattention;) for admiration was their point
in view, and it is very possible that the consequences
of what they said, might never enter
their thoughts; and that they would have been
really shocked had they considered them in their
true light. But raising themselves, not depreciating
others, was the object of their pursuit; and
the means of attaining it were considered merely,
as such, without any attention to their consequences.

Perhaps some rigid censor, who heard the
conversation, may fall into an error of the same
kind with their own, and for want of sufficiently
penetrating their motives, may suppose them
lost to all sense of candour and benevolence, and P actuated P1v 210
actuated solely by malice and ill-nature; while
a person of real discernment would have avoided
the errors of both; and not from weakness, but
from strength of judgment, would have acted a
more charitable part: for nothing is more just
than the observation of an excellent author:
“Ce n’est point au depens de l’esprit qu’on est
bon.”
The faults and follies are often the
most obvious parts of character, while many
good qualities remain unnoticed by the generality
of the world, unless some extraordinary
occasion call them forth to action.

It is wonderful to observe, how many unfavourable
and unjust opinions are formed, merely
by not sufficiently considering the very different
lights in which the same action will appear to
different persons on different occasions. How
many things are said in general conversation,
from thoughtlessness and inattention, from a flow of P2r 211
of spirits, and a desire to say something, which
will not stand the test of a severe censure, and
which, considered seperately, may appear in
such a light as the speaker never thought of!
Not only the ill-natured, but the superficial
observer, may often be misled by such appearances,
and shocked at things which want only
to be understood in order to secure them a more
favourable judgement.

The disposition of the hearer, as well as that
of the speaker, may also contribute greatly to
make things appear different from what they
really are; and great allowances should be made
for his own passions and prejudices, as well as
for those of others; for though they may be
supposed to be better known to him, yet it is
evident that every one, while under their immediate
influence, is very ill qualified to judge how
far they may affect his opinions.

P2 A person P2v 212

A person who is under any particular dejection
of spirits, and feels that a kind word or look
would be a cordial to his heart, may be overcome
by the mirth of a cheerful society, and inclined
to attribute to insensibility what perhaps
was merely owing to ignorance of his situation,
and the lively impression of present pleasure;
while another, whose heart is elated by some
little success which his imagination has raised
far above its real value, may be shocked at the
coldness of those, who being more rational, and
less interested, see the matter in its true light,
and therefore cannot share in his joy in the
manner he expects and wishes.

What multitudes of unfavourable and unjust
opinions would be at once removed, if we could
put ourselves in the place of others, and see
things in the light in which they appear to them,
—the only way of forming a right estimate of their P3r 213
their conduct in regard to them. But while we
judge of the actions of others by our own feelings,
or rather by our own reasonings, upon what we
choose to suppose would be our feelings on the
like occasion, we must be liable to continual
mistakes.

To feel for others, is a quality generally
claimed by all, and which certainly, in some degree,
seems to be implanted in human nature;
they must be insensible indeed, or something far
worse, who can see others happy without being
pleased, or miserable, without sympathising in
their sufferings, and wishing to relieve them.
But to enter fully into the feelings of others, to
be truly sensible of the impression every circumstance
makes in their situation, is much more
difficult, and more uncommon, than at first sight
may appear; and yet, unless we could do this
there must always be great uncertainty in our P3 opinions P3v 214
opinions of their conduct; and it may afford no
small satisfaction to a person of true benevolence,
when he feels the pain of being obliged to think
unfavourably of another, to consider at the same
time, that if he knew all, he might find many
reasons to abate the severity of the censure which
he hears pronounced by others, and to which
he is unable to give a satisfactory answer, because,
according to appearances, it seems to
have been deserved.

Most people act much more from their feelings,
than from reason and reflection; those who consider
coolly of circumstances in which they are
no way interested, may lay a plan of conduct
which may may appear to them so rational and natural,
that they wonder how any one could miss
it; while those who are engaged in action, are
often hurried on by the impulse of the present
moment, and without having any bad intention, may P4r 215
may fall into such errors as the cool reasoner
would think almost impossible; or perhaps sometimes,
without considering the matter, they may
rise to heights of excellence which would never
have occurred to him, and which, for that reason,
he may probably be unable to comprehend,
and therefore very liable to misinterpret.

It may generally be observed, that in every
science a slight and superficial knowledge often
makes a person vain and positive, while long and
attentive study, and a deep insight into the real
nature of things, produce a contrary effect, and
lead to humility and diffidence; this may be
partly owing to that desire of displaying what
they possess, which is often found in those who
possess but little, and are therefore amibitious of
making the most of it, in order to impose upon
the world by false appearances, and prevent a
discovery of that poverty which they wish to P4 conceal; P4v 216
conceal; but it is also often owing to a real
misapprehension of things.

The superficial observer considers the object
only in one point of view, which perhaps is new
to him, and therefore strikes his imagination
strongly; and it does not occur to him that it
may be considered in other lights, and that, upon
farther enquiry, he might find reason to change
his opinion, or at least to doubt of what at first
appeared to him clear and evident. Pleased
with what he has acquired, and ignorant of what
farther might be acquired, he is satisfied and
positive; while those who are farther advanced,
see a vast field of knowledge open before them, of
which they are sensible that they can explore only
a very small part; and by taking an enlarged
view of things, and observing how often they
have been deceived by considering them in
a false light, are taught to avoid being positive,tive, P5r 217
where they are sensible their knowledge
is imperfect.

This may be applied to the study of the
human heart, as well as to every other, in which
we can only judge from appearances. Those who
know least are often most ready to decide, and
most positive in their decisions; and positiveness
generally gains more credit than it deserves.
The consequences of this are perhaps more pernicious
in regard to this subject than any other,
because it requires much less penetration to discover
faults and weaknesses, than real and solid
good qualities.

From hence may appear the injustice of supposing,
that persons of deep knowledge and
observation of mankind are to be avoided, as
being inclined to pass the severest judgments
on the conduct of others. Those indeed who harbour P5v 218
harbour any criminal designs, and conceal vice
under the mask of hypocrisy, may tremble under
the eye of a keen observer; for such an one may
see through their deepest disguises, and expose
them in their true light when it is necessary,
in order to prevent the mischief they might do.
He may also detect the fallacy of an assumed
merit, and false virtue, which have passed upon
the world for real; but he will see at the same
time the allowances which candour may make
for every fault and weakness; he will discover
many an humble excellence which seeks not to
display itself to the world, and many an instance
of true goodness of heart, and delicacy of sentiment,
expressed in trifling circumstances, which
would pass unobserved, or perhaps be totally
misinterpreted, by a person of less observation
and knowledge of mankind; he will also be
more open to conviction, and ready to acknowledge
a mistake, because he is not under the necessitycessity P6r 219
of endeavouring to impose upon the
world by a false appearance of knowledge, which
always indicates a deficiency in what is true
and genuine.

Ignorance alone pretends to infallibility. A
person of real knowledge is sensible that he
must be liable to error, and has not the same
reason to be afraid of acknowledging it in any
particular instance; and if his knowledge be
joined with true benevolence, he will be continually
watching for an oppurtunity to change
his opinion, if that opinion has been formed on
the unfavourable side, or at least to discover
some good qualities which may counterbalance
the fault he could not help observing. For the
same reasons, he will be always ready and willing
to observe an alteration for the better in
those of whom he has thought most unfavourably,
instead of being glad (as is sometimes the case P6v 220
case with others) of any new instance which
may serve to confirm the opinion formerly pronounced,
and afraid of any thing which may
contradict it. He will always remember, that
the worst character may improve; and the severest
judgments ever pronounced by the ignorant
and ill-natured, even those which have
been assented to with regret the sensible and
benevolent, may afterwards be changed: but
the first will be afraid and unwilling to acknowledge
that they have been obliged to change
their opinion; the last will be ever ready to do it,
and not ashamed to own it, when they can
observe a change of conduct.

Knowledge is indeed quick-sighted, but ignorance
is improperly represented as being blind;
it rather furnishes a false light, which leads into
a thousand errors and mistakes. The difference
between them does not consist in the number of their P7r 221
their observations, but in the truth and justness
of them. Penetration may discover those faults
and weaknesses which really exist, but ignorance
will fancy it has discovered many which never
existed at all; and it is difficult indeed to convince
ignorance of a mistake.

It may also be observed, that those qualities
which dispose us to make a right use of the
knowledge of mankind, contribute at the same
time to increase that knowledge. The heart
which is merely selfish does not understand the
language of benevolence, disinterestedness, and
generosity, and therefore is very liable to misinterpret
it; while those who feel themselves capable
of great and worthy actions, will find no difficulty
in believing that others may be so too,
and will have an idea of a character which can
hardly ever be perfectly understood by those
who feel nothing like it in themselves.

Vice, P7v 222

Vice, even in spite of itself, must pay a reverence
to virtue, considered in general, but
the most exalted heights, and most refined instances
of it, are far above its comprehension.
This observation holds not only in regard to
such characters as are entirely abandoned to
vice, but to all the lesser degrees of it, which
always, more or less, tend to inspire suspicion,
and make it difficult to understand an opposite
character, or believe it to be such as to an
honest and good heart it would immediately
appear.

It is impossible to read or hear the observations
of those who are celebrated for the deepest
knowledge of mankind, without being hurt to
observe that vice and folly, with the means of
playing upon them, and making advantage of
them, are made the general objects of attention;
while true goodness of heart, and rectitude of character, P8r 223
character, are hardly ever mentioned. And yet,
if such things can exist, (and what must his
heart be who believes they do not) he who leaves
them entirely out in his account, must have but
an imperfect knowledge of mankind.

Another way in which a slight and superficial
knowledge of mankind is very apt to mislead, is
that love of reducing every thing to general rules
which is always found in those whose views
are not very extensive. A few such rules are
easily remembered; and they have an appearance
of conveying a great deal of knowledge at
once, which often procures them a favourable
reception, not only from those who are desirous
of concealing their ignorance under an appearance
of knowledge, but even from such as might
be capable of detecting their fallacy, if they
would give themselves the trouble of examining
them.

To P8v 224

To say that all men act from pride, self-interest,
&c. and then to explain every action accordingly,
is much easier than to trace the motives of different
actions in different characters, and discover
the various sources from whence they spring;
and this is much more flattering to vanity, than to
acknowledge ourselves unable to explain them.
A general rule, which has been found to answer
in some instances, is a most valuable acquisition
to those who talk more than they think and are
more desirous of the appearance of knowledge
and penetration, than of the reality; and such
rules are often repeated from one to another,
without being sufficiently examined till they
gain the force of truth, and are received as
maxims, which it would be thought unreasonable
to controvert.

The necessity of using metaphorical language,
to express the sentiments of the heart, may perhapshaps Q1r 225
often have given occasion to mistakes of
this kind; the qualities which belong to the
literal sense of the word, are applied to it when
used metaphorically; and from a habit of connecting
the word with those qualities, such
reasonings often pass current, though a little
attention might easily have discovered the mistake
on which they are founded. This is still
more likely to happen when the same metaphor
is used to express different sentiments, which
from the poverty of language upon such subjects
must sometimes happen.

The words warmth and heat, (for example)
originally denoting the properties of fire, have
been metaphorically used to express those of affection,
and those of anger or resentment. This
circumstance alone has probably given rise to an
observation often repeated, and very generally
received, “that a warm friend will be equally Q “warm Q1v 226
warm in his anger and resentment, and consequently
will be a bitter enemy.”
It would be just
as rational to say, “he will burn your fingers;” for
it is only from reasoning upon words without ideas,
that either the one or the other can be asserted.

That tender affectionate disposition, which
constitutes the character of a warm friend, and
disposes him even to forget himself for the sake
of the object beloved, is not more different from
the qualities of natural fire, than from that proud
and selfish spirit which inspires violent anger
and resentment. To the first (according to the
expression of an elegant writer) “la haine seroit
un tourment;”
but the last finds his satisfaction
(if that word can ever be applied to such
a character) in the indulgence of his hatred,
and the endeavour to express it.

A very little attention to the real qualities of
these characters, might surely be sufficient to Q2r 227
shew that they are widely different, though the
habit of using the same words to express them,
has led to an habitual connexion of the ideas,
and prevents this difference from striking us at
first sight.

The same would be found to be the case in
many other instances, where general observations
have been received, merely because they found
plausible, and are repeated so often that they are
believed of course, without enquiring into the
truth and justice of them. And when such are
made the ground-work of the judgments formed
in particular instances, those judgments must be
liable to numberless errors, which will easily gain
ground, because they favour a received opinion.

That this method of judging by general rules,
on subjects so various and complicated as the
dispositions of the human heart, is very liable to Q2 error, Q2v 228
error, should alone be sufficent to put us on our
guard against it; but there is an additional
reason for this, from the probability that they
may be founded on observations drawn from the
most unfavourable views of human nature; the
effects of bad qualities being in general, more
extensive, and more apparent, than those of good
ones, since the last are frequently employed in
preventing mischief, and they are scarce ever
taken notice of. They also make the deepest
impression; for all are sensible of the evils they
have suffered; few pay sufficient attention to
those they have escaped.

Whenever, therefore, the application of a
general rule disposes us to an unfavourable
judgment in any particular instance, that circumstance
should render it suspected, and make
us less ready to admit the conclusions which
may be drawn from it.

This Q3r 229

This again may serve to shew that persons of
enlarged views, and extensive knowledge, are far
from being on that account disposed to be severe,
but on the contrary, if they make a right
use of them, will thereby be enabled to correct
the errors of others, and be led to a more candid
and liberal way of judging than the rest of the
world.

They cannot indeed retain that disposition to
think well of every-body, which is sometimes
found in those who are just entering into life,
and know not how to suspect any insincerity in
words, or bad design in actions; this belongs
only to youth and inexperience, and therefore
cannot last long in any one. A little knowledge
of mankind must destroy the pleasing illusion,
and shew a world far different from what the
imagination of an innocent and benevolent heart
had represented it.

Q3 Such Q3v 230

Such a discovery is unavoidable. That there
are vices and follies in the world must be evident
to all who are not quite strangers to it; and
there can be no dependance on a favourable
opinion founded on ignorance, and which time
must destroy. It when this ignorance is dispelled
(as it must be) that the prospect of the
world is opened before us, and opinons are
formed upon observation; and then the worst
parts of it, the consequences attending vice and
folly, are in general most exposed to view, while
a greater degree of attention and penetration is
necessary, to discover the humble excellence, and
secret influence of virtue,—to convince us that
actions are often far different from what they
appear to be,—that our judgments of them must
always be uncertain, and that therefore reason
and justice require us to be very diffident of
them; while candour teaches us to make every
allowance which the circumstances of the case (according Q4r 231
(according to the best view we are able to make)
can admit; and charity gladly cherishes the
hope that we might find reason for many more,
if we were able to look into the heart.

But while we admire this candid and liberal
way of judging, which belongs to an enlarged
mind and a benevolent heart, we should at the
same time be careful not to confound it with a
false kind of benevolence, which sometimes
assumes the appearance of the true, and tends to
produce very pernicious effects. This is, when
faults, not persons, are made the objects of what
is called good-nature; and excuses are found for
them, (considered in themselves) not for the
persons who are, or appear to be guilty of them.

To justify, or even palliate vice, is inconsistent
with truth, and beneath the dignity of virtue,
and therefore can never belong to real candour, Q4 which Q4v 232
which is exercised on the circumstances of the
person, not on the crime itself. It is by no
means improbable, that many may have fallen
into errors of this kind with very good intentions,
deceived by an appearance of indulgence
towards others, which gratifies their good-nature;
but such should remember, that whatever tends
to lessen the horror of vice, must be a general
injury to all mankind, for which no advantage to
particular persons can make amends; and perhaps
few are sufficiently sensible, how greatly the
progress of vice is promoted, by the softening
terms so generally used in speaking of it, and
the favourable light in which it is so often
represented. By such means the mind by degrees
grows familiar with what it would have
considered as an object of detestation, had it
been shewn in its true colours; and none can
say how far the consequences of this may
extend.

Others Q5r 233

Others again are led into this way of judging
by their own interest, and are glad to find excuses
for what they are conscious of in themselves,
and to shelter their self-indulgence under
a pretence of indulgence towards others. It is
even possible that they may impose upon themselves,
as well as the world, by this method of
proceeding, and may persuade themselves that
the favourable judgements they pronounce on
their neighbours, are really the effects of true
benevolence.

Self-indulgence is not the only bad effect
which is likely to follow hence; for others,
who observe their sentiments and conduct, and
are sensible of the bad consequences they are
likely to produce, may from thence be disposed
to run into a contrary extreme, and to believe
that a superior regard to virtue is shewn by being
very severe in their censures upon the conduct of Q5v 234
of others, and condemning, without mercy, all
those who appear to be in any degree blameworthy.

But it should always be carefully observed,
as a great and discriminating character of true
candour, by which it may be distinguished from
all false pretences, that the motives by which it
teaches us to be indulgent towards others, are
such as cannot have the effect when applied to
ourselves, if we should ever indulge ourselves in
those faults which we condemn in others.

We cannot see their hearts, and know their
motives; and it is very possible that many an
action which is generally condemned, might, if
all the circumstances were known, appear to be
really deserving of commendation. Perhaps
they could explain it, and clear themselves from
the blame thrown on them, but are restrained from Q6r 235
from doing it by consideration for others, or
some other good and charitable motive, which
makes them willingly submit to the censure they
might avoid, and dare to do right, not only
without the support of that approbation which
should be the consequence of it, but even when
they know it will expose them to the contrary.

Perhaps from real and unavoidable ignorance
of circumstances which are known to us, they
may have been induced to consider the matter
in a very different light, and with very good
intentions may have done what appears to us
unjustifiable.

From such considerations as these, it will often
appear, that what would be a fault in our situation
and circumstances, is really far otherwise
in those of others, or at least may be so, for
ought we can possibly know to the contrary.

But Q6v 236

But even where there is no room for any
considerations of this sort, and where we cannot
doubt that what we condemn was really a fault,
still the case is widely different between the faults
of others, and our own. Their’s might proceed
from ignorance, prejudice, misapprehension, and
a thousand other causes, which he who condemns
it can never plead in his own excuse, if
he should be guilty of the like. They may
have been hurried on to act without reflection;
but he who observes and censures their conduct,
cannot pretend that this is the case with him.
They may not have been aware of the consequences
which would attend their action; but he
who sees them, and condemns the cause of
them, may surely be upon his guard against it.
After the greatest faults, and the longest deviations
from what is right, they may become sensible
of their errors, and reform their lives; but
he who dares wilfully to indulge himself even in Q7r 237
in the smallest fault, with a view to this, will
find his task become continually more and more
difficult, and has little reason to expect that he
shall ever accomplish it.

Thus reason and justice teach us to be candid,
by shewing us how very uncertain our judgments
on the actions of others must always be; and
how many circumstances, with which we cannot
possibly be fully acquainted, may contribute to
alleviate their faults, though they cannot have
that effect in regard to our own. They teach
us to check that pride which would decide upon
every thing, and exalt ourselves at the expence
of others; to be sensible that there are many
things of which we cannot judge, and that the
smallest deviation from what is right, is inexcusable
in ourselves, though the greatest (for
ought we know) may admit of many excuses in
the case of others.

But Q7v 238

But true charity goes farther still;—it shews
us in all mankind our brethren and fellow-creatures,
from whom we should be truly and affectionately
interested. It teaches us to grieve for
their faults as well as for their sufferings, and
sincerely and earnestly to wish their welfare,
and endeavour to promote it.

He who sees the faults of others with real
concern, will not be inclined to aggravate them,
nor can he delight to dwell upon them. He
who enjoys all the good he sees, will naturally
wish to see all in the most favourable light, and
that wish will contribute greatly to enable him
to do so. It will extend even to those by whose
faults he is himself a sufferer; far from being
desirous of revenge, he will grieve for the offender,
in this case, as in every other, and
endeavour by the gentlest means to bring him
back to what is right.

Our Q8r 239

Our passions may oppose what reason and
judgment approve; and without being able to
silence them, may yet often prove too strong
for them: but that charity which religion inspires,
must be firmly rooted in the heart. It
exalts the affections to the highest object, and
subdues the excess of passion by nobler and
stronger inclinations. It extends its influence
over the whole character, and is expressed in
the most trifling conversation, as well as in the
most important actions. It is the source of all
those dispositions which are most amiable and
pleasing in society, which contribute most to
the happiness of ourselves and others here, and
which will make us infinitely happy hereafter.

End of the First Volume.