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moralist in the heathen world, the great the marks of deformity and guilt on the and immortal Socrates, fell a sacrifice to features of innocence and beauty. Thus this pernicious talent : ridicule first misre. may our perfections conspire to render us presented, and afterwards destroyed him; both unhappy and contemptible ! the deluded multitude condemned him, The lover of ridicule will, no doubt, not for what he was, but for what he ap- plead in the defence of it, that his design peared to be, an enemy to the religion of is to reclaim and reform mankind; that he his country,
is listed in the service of Virtue, and en. The folly and depravity of mankind will gaged in the cause of Truth ;-but I will always furnish out a sufficient fund for ri- venture to assure him, that the allies he dicule; and when we consider how vast boasts of disclaim his friendship and despise and spacious a field the little scene of hu- his assistance. Truth desires no such solman life affords for malice and ill-nature, dier to fight under his banner; Virtue we shall not so much wonder to see the wants no such advocate to plead for her. lover of ridicule rejoicing in it. Here he As it is generally exercised, it is too great has always an opportunity of gratifying a punishment for small faults; too light and his pride, and satiating his malevolence: inconsiderable for great ones: the little from the frailties and abou ties of others, foibles and blemishes of a character de. he forms a wreath to adorn his own brow; serve rather pity than contempt; the more gathers together, with all his art, the fail. atrocious crimes call for hatred and abhorings and imperfections of others, and rence. Thus, we see, that in one case the offers them up a sacrifice to self-love. The medicine operates too powerfully, and in lowest and most abandoned of mankind the other is of no effect. can ridicule the most exalted beings; those I might take this opportunity to add, who never could boast of their own per- that ridicule is not always contented with fection,
ravaging and destroying the works of man,
but boldly and impiously attacks those of Nor raise their thoughts beyond the carth thry God; enters even into the sanctuary, and tread;
prophanes the temple of the Most High. Even these con censure, those can dare deride
A late noble writer has made use of it to A Bacon's avarice, or a Tully's pride.
asperse the characters and destroy the vali. It were well indeed for mankind, if ri- dity of the writers of both the Old and dicule would confine itself to the frailties New Testament; and to change the soand imperfections of human nature, and lemn truths of Christianity into matter of not extend its baleful influence over the mirth and laughter. The books of Moses few good qualities and perfections of it: are called by him fables and tales, fit only but there is not perhaps a virtue to be for the amusement of children : and St. named, which may not, by the medium Paul is treated by him as an enthusiast, an through which it is seen, be distorted into idiot, and an avowed enemy to that relia vice. The glass of ridicule reflects things gion which he professed. One would not not only darkly, but falsely also: it always surely think that there was any thing in discolours the objects before it ventures to Christianity so ludicrous as to raise laughrepresent them to us. The purest metal, ter, or to excite contempt; but on the by the mixture of a base alloy, shall seem contrary, that the nature of its precepts, changed to the meanest. Ridicule, in the and its own intrinsic excellence, would at same manner, will clothe prudence in the least have secured it from such indignigarb of avarice, call courage rashness, and ties. brand good-nature with the name of pro- Nothing gives us a higher opinion of digality ; will laugh at the compassionate those ancient heathens whom our modern man for his weakness, the serious man for bigots are so apt to despise, than that air of his preciseness, and the pious man for his piety and devotion which runs through all hypocrisy.
their writings ; and though the Pagan theModesty is one of virtue's best supports; ology was fully of absurdities and incon. and it is observable, that wherever this sistencies, which the more refined spirits amiable quality is most eminently conspi- among their poets and philosophers must cuous, ridicule is always ready to attack have doubtless despised, rejected, and conand overthrow it. The man of wit and temned; such was their respect and vene
humour is never so happy as when he can ration for the established religion of their . raise the blush of ingenuous merit, or stamp country, such their regard to decency and
teriousness, such their modesty and diffi. void alike of knowledge and of virtue ? By deace in affairs of so much weight and whom is his profusion praised, but by iniportance, that we very seldom meet wretches who consider hiin as subservient with jest or ridicule on subjects which they to their purposes ; Syrens that entice him beld thus sacred and respectable.
to shipwreck; and Cyclops that are gaping The privilege of publicly laughing at to devour him? religion, and the profession of it, of mak- Every man whose knowledge, or whose ing the laws of God, and the great con- virtue, can give value to his opinion, looks cerns of eternity, the objects of mirth and with scorn or pity (neither of which can ridicule, was reserved for more enlight- afford much gratification to pride) on him ened ages; and denied the more pious whom the panders of luxury have drawn heathens, to reflect disgrace and ignominy into the circle of their influence, and whom on the Christian æra.
he sees parcelled out among the different It hath indeed been the fate of the best ministers of folly, and about to be torn to and purest religion in the world, to be- pieces by tailors and jockies, vintners and come the jest of fools; and not only, with attornies; who at once rob and ridicule its Divine Founder, to be scourged and him, and who are secretly triumphing over persecuted, but with him to be mocked his weakness, when they present newinand spit at, trampled on and despised. citements to his appetite, and heighten his But to consider the dreadful consequences desires by counterfeited applause. of ridicule on this occasion, will better Such is the praise that is purchased by become the divine than essayist; to him prodigality. Even when it is not yet distherefore shall I refer it, and conclude this covered to be false, it is the praise only of essay by observing, that after all the unde. those whom it is reproachful to please, and served encomiums, so lavishly bestowed on whose sincerity is corrupted by their inthis child of wit and malice, so univer- terest; men who live by the riots which sally approved and admired, I know of they encourage, and who know, that whenDO service the pernicious talent of ridicule ever their pupil grows wise, they shall lose can be of, unless it be to raise the blush of their power. Yet with such flatteries, if modesty, and put virtue out of counte. they could last, might the cravings of va. nance; to enhance the miseries of the nity, which is seldom very delicate, be sawretched, and poison the feast of happi- tisfied: but the time is always hastening ness ; to insult man, affront God; to make forward, when this triumph, poor as it is, us, in short, hateful to our fellow-creatures, shall vanish, and when those who now suruneasy to ourselves, and highly displeasing round him with obsequiousness and comto the Almighty.
Smollett. pliments, fawn among his equipage, and
animate his riots, shall turn upon him with 113. On Prodigalily. insolence, and reproach him with the vices It is the fate of almost every passion, promoted by themselves. when it has passed the bounds which nature And as little pretensions has the man pracribes, to counteract its own purpose. who squanders his estate by vain or vicious Too much rage binders the warrior from expenses, to greater degrees of pleasure circumspection ; and too much eagerness than are obtained by others. To make any of profit hurts the credit of the trader. Too happiness sincere, it is necessary that we much ardour takes away from the lover believe it to be lasting ; since whatever we that easiness of address with which ladies suppose ourselves in danger of losing, must are delighted. Thus extravagance, though be enjoyed with solicitude and uneasiness, dictated by vanity, and incited by volup- and the more value we set upon it, the *lousness, seldom procures ultimately more must the present possession be em. either applause or pleasure.
bittered. How can he, then, be envied for If praise be justly estimated by the cha- his felicity, who knows that its continuance racter of those from whom it is received, cannot be expected, and who is conscious Lule satisfaction will be given to the spend that a very short time will give him up to thrift by the encomiums which he purchases. the gripe of poverty, which will be harder For who are they that animate him in his to be borne, as he has given way to more parsuits
, but young men, thoughtless and excesses, wantoned in greater abundance, abandoned like himself, unacquainted with and indulged his appetite with more proall on which the wisdom of nations has im- fuseness ? pressed the stamp of excellence, and de- It appears evident, that frugality is ne. cessary even to complete the pleasure of regard to those who have a right notion of expense ; for it may be generally remarked it. Secondly, with regard to those who of those who squander what they know their have a mistaken notion of it. And thirdly, fortune not sufficient to allow, that in their with regard to those who treat it as chime. most jovial expense there always breaks rical, and turn it into ridicule. out some proof of discontent and impa- In the first place, true honour, though tience ; they either scatter with a kind of it be a different principle from religion, is wild desperation and affected lavishness, that which produces the same effects. The as criminals brave the gallows when they lines of action, though drawn from difcannot escape it; or pay their money with ferent parts, terminate in the same point. a peevish anxiety, and endeavour at once Religion en braces virtue as it is enjoined to spend idly, and to save meanly ; having by the laws of God; honour, as it is grace. neither firmness to deny their passions, nor
ful and ornamental to human nature. The courage to gratify then, they murinur at religious man fears, the man of honour their own enjoyments, and poison the bowl scorns, to do an ill action. The latter conof pleasure by reflection on the cost. siders vice as something that is beneath
Among these men there is often the vo- him ; the other, as something that is offen. ciferation of merriment, but very seldom sive to the Divine Being: the one, as what the tranquillity of cheerfulness ; they in- is unbecoming; the other, as what is for. fame their imaginations to a kind of mo- bidden. Thus Seneca speaks in the natural mentary jollity, by the help of wine and and genuine language of a man of honour, riot ; and consider it as the first business when he declares, “ that were there no of the night to stupify recollection, and God to see or punish vice, he would not lay that reason asleep, which disturbs their commit it, because it is of so mean, so gaiety, and calls upon them to retreat base, and so vile a nature." trom ruin.
I shall conclude this head with the de. But this poor broken satisfaction is of scription of honour in the part of young short continuance, and must be expiated by Juba : a long series of misery and regret. In a
Honour's a sacred tie, the law of kings, short time the creditor grows impatient, The noble mind's distinguishing perfection, the last acre is sold, the passions and ap- That aids and strengthens virtue when it meets petites still continue their tyranny, with her, incessant calls for their usual gratifica
And imitatcs her actions where she is not; tions; and the remainder of life passes
It ought not to be sported with. CATO. away in vain repentance, or impotent de- In the second place, we are to consider sire,
Rambler. those who have mistaken notions of honour.
any thing Ø 114. On Honour,
to themselves for a point of honour, which Every principle that is a motive to good is contrary either to the laws of God, or actions ought to be encouraged, since men of their country ; who think it more ho. are of so different a make, that the same nourable to revenge, than to forgive an inprinciple does not work equally upon all jury; who make no scruple of telling a minds. What some men are prompted to lie, but would put any man to death that by conscience, duty, or religion, which are accuses them of it ; who are more careful only different names for the same thing, to guard their reputation by their courage others are prompted to by honour. than by their virtue. True fortitude is in.
The sense of honour is of so fine and deed so becoming in human nature, that he delicate a nature, that it is only to be met who wants it scarce deserves the name of with in minds which are naturally noble, a man ; but we find several who so much or in such as have been cultivated by great abuse this notion, that they place the whole examples, or a refined education. This idea of lionour in a kind of brutal
courage: essay therefore is chiefly designed for those by which means we have had many among who by means of any of these advantages us, who have called themselves men of hoare, or ought to be, actuated by this glo- nour, that would have been a disgrace to rious principle.
a gibbet. In a word, the man who sacris But as nothing is more pernicious than fices any duty of a reasonable creature to a principle of action, when it is misunder. a prevailing mode or fashion; who looks stood, I shall consider honour with respect upon any thing as honourable that is disa to three sorts of men. First of all, with pleasing to his
Maker, or destructive to so7
cer; who thinks himself obliged by this principle to the practice of some virtues,
$ 115. On Modesty. and not of others, is by no means to be I know no two words that have been reckoned among true men of honour. more abused, by the different and wrong
Timogenes was a lively instance of one interpretations which are put upon them, atuted by false honour. Í'imogenes would than these two, Modesty and Assurance. smile at a man's jest who ridiculed his Ma. To say such a one is a modest man, someber, and at the same time run a man through times indeed passes for a good character; the body that spoke ill of his friend. Ti- but at present is very often used to signify mo, tocs would have scorned to have be- a sheepish, awkward fellow, who has neitray cu a secret that was entrusted with him, ther good-breeding, politeness, nor any though the fate of his country depended knowledge of the world. upoa the discovery of it. Timogenes took Again: A man of assurance, though at away the life of a young fellow in a duel, first it only denoted a person of a free and for having spoken ill of Belinda, a lady open carriage, is now very usually applied whom he himself had seduced in her to à profligate wretch, who can break youth, and betrayed into want and igno- through all the rules of decency and mo. miny. To close his character, Timoge- rality without a blush. nes, after having ruined several poor I shall endeavour, therefore, in this es. trdesmen's families who had trusted him, say, to restore these words to their true sold bis estate to satisfy his creditors; but, meaning, to prevent the idea of Modesty like a man of honour, disposed of all the from being confounded with that of Sheepmoney he could make of it, in paying off ishness, and to hinder Impudence from bis play debis, or, to speak in his own lan- passing for Assurance. guage, his debts of honour.
If I was put to define Modesty, I would In the third place, we are to consider call it, The reflection of an ingenuous those persons, who treat this principle as mind, either when a man has committed chumerical, and turn it into ridicule. `Men an action for which he censures himself, or who are professedly of no honour, are of a fancies that he is exposed to the censure of Dore profligate and abandoned nature than others. even those who are actuated by false no- For this reason a man, truly modest, is tions of it; as there is more hope of an as much so when he is alone as in comheretic than of an atheist. These sons of pany; and as subject to a blush in his infamy consider honour, with old Syphax closet as when the eyes of multitudes are in the play before-mentioned, as a fine ima- upon him. ginary notion that leads astray young un. I do not remember to have met with any experienced men, and draws them into real instance of modesty with which I am so Tischiefs, while they are engaged in the well pleased, as that celebrated one of the pa sait of a shadow. These are generally young Prince, whose father, being a tripers.ns who, in Shakespeare's phrase, "are butary king to the Romans, had several worn and backneyed in the ways of men ;" complaints laid against him before the se. whose imaginations are grown callous, and nate, as a tyrant and oppressor of his subhave lost all those delicate sentiments jects. The Prince went to Rome to dewhich are natural to minds that are inno- fend his father ; but coming into the se. Cent and undepraved. Such old battered nate, and hearing a multitude of crimes miscreants ridícule every thing as romantic proved upon him, was so oppressed when that comes in competition with their present it came to his turn to speak, that he was interest; and treat those persons as visiona. unable to utter a word. The story tells nes, who dare to stand up, in a corrupt us, that the fathers were more moved at aze, for what has not its immediate reward this instance of modesty and ingenuity, jured to it. The talents, interest, or ex- than they could have been by the most perience of such men, make them very pathetic oration; and, in short
, pardoned often useful in all parties, and at all times. the guilty father for this early promise of But whatever wealth and dignities they virtue in his son. may arrive at, they ought to consider that I take Assurance to be, The faculty of frery one stands as a blot in the annals of possessing a man's self, or of saying and dobis country, who arrives at the temple of ing indifferent things without any uneasihonour by any other way than through ness or emotion in the mind. That which
Guardian. generally gives a man assurance, is a moderate knowledge of the world; but above
that of virtue.
all, a mind fixed and determined in itself to do nothing against the rules of honour
§ 116. On disinterested Friendship. and decency. An open and assured beha- I am informed that certain Greek writers viour is the natural consequence of such a (Philosophers, it seems, in the opinion of resolution. A man thus armed, if his their countrymen) have advanced some words or actions are at any time misinter. very extraordinary positions relating to preted, retires within himself, and from a friendship ; as, indeed, what subject is consciousness of his own integrity, as- there, which these subtle geniuses have sumes force enough to despise the little not tortured with their sophistry? censures of ignorance or malice.
The authors to whom I refer, dissuade Every one ought to cherish and encou. their disciples from entering into any rage in himself the modesty and assurance strong attachments, as unavoidably creatI have here mentioned.
ing supernumerary disquietudes to those A man without assurance is liable to be who engage in them; and, as every man made uneasy by the folly or ill-nature of has more than sufficient to call forth his every one he converses with. A man with- solicitude in the course of his own affairs, out modesty is lost to all sense of honour it is a weakness they contend, anxiously and virtue.
to involve himself in the concerns of others. It is more than probable, that the Prince They recommend it also, in all connexions above-mentioned, possessed both those of this kind, to hold the bands of union qualifications in a very eminent degree. extremely loose ; so as always to have it Without assurance, he would never have in one's power to straiten or relax them, undertaken to speak before the most au- as circumstances and situations shall rengust assembly in the world; without mo- der most expedient. They add, as a capidesty, he would have pleaded the cause tal article of their doctrine, that “ to live he had taken upon him, though it had exempt from care is an essential ingreappeared ever so scandalous.
dient to constitute human happiness : but From what has been said, it is plain that an ingredient, however, which he, who modesty and assurance are both amiable, voluntarily distresses himself with cares and may very well meet in the same per- in which he has no necessary and personal son. When they are thus mixed and blended interest, must never hope to possess." together, they compose what we endeavour I have been told likewise, that there is to express, when we say, a modest assur- another set of pretended philosophers, of ance; by which we understand, the just the same country, whose tenets, concernmean between bashfulness and impudence. ing this subject, are of a still more illiberal
I shall conclude with observing, that as and ungenerous cast. the same man may be both modest and The proposition they attempt to establish, assured, so it is also possible for the same is, that " friendship is an affair of self-inperson to be both impudent and bashful. terest entirely, and that the proper motive
We have frequent instances of this odd for engaging in it, is, not in order to grakind of mixture in people of depraved tify the kind and benevolent affections,
but minds and mean education ; who, though for the benefit of that assistance and supthey are not able to meet a man's eyes, port which is to be derived from the conor pronounce a sentence without confusion, nexion.” Accordingly they assert, that can voluntarily commit the greatest villa- those persons are most disposed to have renies or most indecent actions.
course to auxiliary alliances of this kind, Such a person seems to have made a who are least qualified by nature, or forresolution to do ill, even in spite of him. tune, to depend upon their own strength self, and in defiance of all those checks and powers: the weaker sex, for instance, and restraints his temper and complexion being generally more inclined to engage in seem to have laid in his way.
friendships, than the male part of our Upon the whole, I would endeavour to species; and those who are deprest by inestablish this maxim, That the practice of digence, or labouring under misfortunes, virtue is the most proper method to give a than the wealthy and the prosperous. man a becoming assurance in his words Excellent and obliging sages, these, unand actions. Guilt always seeks to shelter doubtedly! To strike out the friendly af. itself in one of the extremes; and is some- fections from the moral world, would be cimes attended with both. Spectator, like extinguishing the sun in the natural;