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to testify what it is convenient for him to have believed, (though it is not always believed,) these are yet more execrable: the two extremities of aversion are united in our sentiments of them; and they are, at the same time, the most terrible, and most contemptible.

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HE THAT UTTERETH A SLANDER,

IS A FOOL.

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N the large field of falsehood, there is room

for a multitude of offences, not so terribly eminent as that lie, which we confirm by oath, and deliver solemnly in a court of justice.

The first, however, approaches towards it; the calumny, which is known to be

false, false, and spoken with a design to do mischief. The name of God, I grant, is not profaned, it is also something, that the very place and forms of justice, are not defiled and prostituted: in other respects, the injustice is much the same; and the stroke, sometimes, as heavy as that which is given by the hand of the executioner:

Reputation, of all poffeffions, is the most valuable, next to a good conscience; to which indeed it of right belongs, and from which it naturally springs. The root lies out of the reach of injury: Your innocence, by God's grace, no one can take from you, without your own confent: but the fruit of a fair reputation, fo beautiful, and fragrant, and in all respects fo precious, this, alas! hangs exposed to the affault of every passenger: the lowest, as he goes along, can Aling a itone upwards, and laugh to see the prize fall, though he cannot gather it.

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It is an aggravation of the crime, or at least of the folly of calumny, that commonly there is nothing to be gained by the commiffion of it. Men do not despise a Prov. vi. thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul, when he is hungry; but, if he be found, he shall restore feven fold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But he who steals away your reputation, has no pretence to the plea of necessity; fince what he takes

away

from another, does not therefore fall into his own hands; and when he has ruined

you by the robbery, he himself is no richer.

We have an account somewhere, of a certain tribe of Savages, who are poffeffed of a perfuasion, that, whenever they have Nain a man, they are immediately endowed with all his good qualities; which they think are transfused from the soul of the dead, into the person that has killed him. You will not wonder, that murders are frequent in that country; and that it is very dangerous for a man

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