ciple, would scarcely have been credible, had not this lady kindly shewn us how far weakness may be deluded, or indolence amused.

12. But since it appears, that even this sophistry has been able, with the help of a strong desire to repose in quiet upon the understanding of another, to mislead honest intentions, and an understanding not contemptible, it may not be superfluous to remark, that those things which are common among friends are only such as either possesses in his own right, and can alienate or destroy without injury to any other person. Without this limitation, confidence must run on without end, the second person may tell the secret to the third upon the same principle as he received it from the first, and the third may hand it forward to a fourth, till at last it is told, in the round of friendship, to them from whom it was the first intention to conceal it.

13. The confidence which Caius has of the faithfulness of Titus is nothing more than an opinion which himself cannot know to be true, and which Claudious, who first tells his secrets to Caius, may know, at least may suspect to be false ; and therefore the trust is transferred by Caius, if he reveal what has been told him, to one from whom the person originally concerned would probably have withheld it; and, whatever may be the event, Caius has hazarded the happiness of his friend, without necessity and without permission, and has put that trust in the hand of fortune which was given only to virtue.

14. All the arguments upon which a man who is telling the private affairs of another may ground his confidence in security, he must upon reflection know to be uncertain, because he finds them without effect upon himself. When he is imagining that Titus will be cautious from regard to his interest, his reputation, or his duty, he ought to reflect that he is himself at that instant acting in opposition to all these reasons, and revealing what interest, reputation and duty direct him to conceal.

15. Every one feels that he should consider the man incapable of trust, who believed himself at liberty to tell whatever he knew to the first whom he should conclude deserving of his confidence: therefore Caius, in admitting Titus to the affairs imparted only to himself, violates his faith, since he acts contrary to the intention of Claudious, to whom that faith was given.

For promises of friendship are, like all others, useless and vain, unless they are made in some known sense, adjusted and acknowledged by

both parties.

16. I am not ignorant that many questions may be started relating to the duty of secrecy, where the affairs are of public concern: where subsequent reasons may arise to alter the appearance and nature of the trust; that the manner in which the secret was told may change the degree of obligațion; and, that the principles upon which a man is chosen for a confident may not always equally constrain him.

17. But these scruples, if not too intricate, are of too extensive a consideration for my present purpose, nor are they such as generally occur in common life; and though casuistical knowledge be useful in proper hands, yet it ought by no means to be carelessly exposed, since most will use it rather to lull than awaken their own conscience; and the threads of reasoning, on which truth is suspended, are frequently drawn to such subtility, that common eyes cannot perceive, and common sensibility cannot feel them.

18. The whole doctrine as well as practice of secrecy is so perplexing and dangerous, that, next to him who is compelled to trust, I think him unhappy who is chosen to be trusted; for he is often involved in scruples without the liberty of calling in the help of any other understanding; he is frequently drawn into guilt, under the appearance of friendship and honesty; and sometimes subjected to suspicion by the treachery of others, who are engaged without his knowledge in the same schemes; for he who has one confident has generally more, and when he is at last betrayed, is in doubt on whom he shall fix the crime.

19. The rules therefore that I shall propose concerning secrecy, and from which I think it not safe to deviate, without long and exact deliberation, are never to solicit the knowledge of a secret. Nor willingly, nor without many limitations, to accept such confidence when it is offered. When a secret is once admitted, to consider the trust as of a very high nature, important to society, and sacred as truth, and therefore not to be violated for any incidental convenience, or slight appearance of contrary fitness.

Of Cheerfulness. 1. THAVE always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The lat

the ter mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth, who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy; on the contrary, cheerfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of sorrow. - Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of day-light in the inind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

2. Men of austere principles look upon mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a state of probation, and as filled with a certain triumph and insolence of heart that is inconsistent with a life

which is every moment obnoxious to the greatest dangers. Writers of this complexion have observed, that the Sacred Person who was the great pattern of perfection, was never seen to laugh.

3. Cheerfulness of mind is not liable to any of these excepttions; it is of serious and composed nature; it does not throw the mind into a condition improper for the present state of humanity, and is very conspicuous in the characters of those who are looked upon as the greatest philosophers among the heathens, as well as among those who have been deservedly esteemed as saints and holy men among

Christians. 4. If we consider cheerfulness in three lights, with regard to ourselves to those we converse with, and to the great Author of our being, it will not a little recommend itself on each of these accounts. The man who is possessed of this excellent frame of mind, is not only easy in his thoughts, but a perfect master of all the powers and faculties of the soul : his imagination is always clear, 'and his judgment undisturbed: his temper is even and unrufiled, whether in action or solitude. · He comes with a relish to all those goods which nature has provided for him, tastes all the pleasures of the creation which are poured about him, and does not feel the full weight of those accidental evils which may befal him.

5. If we consider him in relation to the persons whom he converses with, it naturally produces love and good will towards him. A cheerful mind is not only disposed to be affable and obliging, but raises the same good humour in those who come within its influence. A man finds himself pleased, he does not know why, with the cheerfulness of his companions; it is like a sudden sunshine that awakens a secret delight in the mind, without her attending to it. The heart rejoices of its own accord, and naturally flows out into friendship and benevolence towards the person who has so kindly an effect


it. 6. When I consider this cheerful state of mind in its third relation, I cannot but look upon it as a constant habitual gratitude to the great author of nature. An inward cheerfulness is an implicit praise and thanksgiving to Providence under all its dispensations. It is a kind acquiescence in the state wherein we are placed, and a secret approbation of the Divine will in his conduct towards man.

7. There are but two things, which, in my opinion, can reasonably deprive us of this cheerfulness of heart. The first of these is the sense of guilt. A man who lives in a state of vice. and impenitence can have no title' to that evenness and tranquillity of mind which is the health of the soul, and the natural effect of virtue and innocence. Cheerfulness in an ill man deserves a

harder name than language can furnish us with, and is in many degrees beyond what we commonly call folly or madness.

8. Atheism, by which I mean a disbelief of a Supreme Being, and consequently of a future state, under whatsoever title it shelters itself, may likewise very reasonably deprive a man of this cheerfulness of temper. There is something so particularly gloomy and offensive to human nature in the prospect of non-existence, that I cannot but wonder with many excellent writers, how is it possible for a man to outlive the expectation of it. For my own part, I think the being of a God is so little to be doubted, that it is almost the only truth we are sure of, and such a truth as we meet with in every object, in every occurrence, and in every thought.

9. If we look into the characters of this tribe of infidels, we generally find they are made up of pride, spleen and cavil: it is indeed no wonder, that men who are uneasy themselves, should be so to the rest of the world: and how is it possible for a man to be otherwise than uneasy in himself, who is in danger every moment of losing his entire existence, and dropping into nothing?

10. The vicious man and Atheist have therefore no pretence to cheerfulness, and would act very unreasonably, should they endeavour after it. It is impossible for any one to live in good humour, and enjoy his present existence, who is apprehensive either of torment or of annihilation; of being miserable, or of not being at all.

After having mentioned these two great principles, which are destructive of cheerfulness in their own nature, as well as in right reason, I cannot think of any other that ought to banish this happy temper from a virtuous mind. Pain and sickness, shame and reproach, poverty and old age, nay death itself, considering the shortness of their duration, and the advantage we may reap from them do not deserve the name of evils.

11. A good mind may bear up under them with fortitude, with indolence, and with cheerfulness of heart. The tossing of a tempest does not discompose him, which he is sure will bring him to a joyful harbour.

A man who uses his best endeavours to live according to the dictates of virtue and right reason, has two perpetual sources of cheerfulness, in the consideration of his own nature, and of that Being on whom he has a dependance.

12. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence, which is so lately bestowed upon him, and which after millions of ages, will be still new, and still in its beginning. How many self-congratulations naturally arise in the mind, when it reflects on this its entrance into eternity, when it takes a view of those improvable faculties, which in a few years, and even af


its first setting out have made so considerable a progress, and which will be still receiving an increase of perfection, and consequently an increase of happiness?

13. The consciousness of such a Being spreads a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a virtuous man, and makes him look upon himself every moment as more happy than he knows how to conceive.

The second sourse of cheerfulness to a good mind is, its consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold him as yet but in the first faint discoveries of his perfections, we see every thing that we can imagine as great, glorious or amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness, and surrounded by an immensity of love and mercy,

14. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose power qualifies him to make us happy by an infinity of means, whose goodness and truth engage him to make those happy who desire it of him, and whose unchangeableness will secure us in this happiness to all eternity.

Such considerations, which every one should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, will banish from us all that secret heaviness of heart which unthinking men are subject to when they lie under no real affliction, all that anguish which we may feel from any evil that actually oppresses us, to which I may likewise add those little cracklings of mirth and folly, that are apter to betray virtue than support it; and establish in us such an even and cheerful temper, as makes us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom we converse, and to him whom we are to please.


On the Advantages of a cheerful Temper.


HEERFULNESS is, in the first place, the best pro

moter of health. Repining and secret murmers of heart give imperceptible strokes to those delicate fibres of which the vatal parts are composed, and wear out the machine insensibly; not to mention those violent ferments which they stir up in the blood, and those irregular disturbed motions, which they raise in the animal spirits.

2. I scarce remember in my own observation, to have met with many old men, or with such, who (to use our English phrase) wear well, that had not at least a certain indolence in their humour, if not a more than ordinary gaiety and cheerfulness of heart. The truth of it is, health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other; with this difference, that we seldom meet with a great degree of health which is not attended with a certain cheerfulness, but very often see cheerfulness where there is no great degree of health.

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