proper colours.

employed the pens of


eminent men, as greatly tending to improve the morals, and reform the loose and vicious habits in young and tender minds, and set vice and virtue in their

For as the mirrour reflects the body, and renders all our personal deformities evidently confpicuous; so these equally expose the inmost recesses of the mind, the seat of all our darling vices and passions; and convinces us we have those errors and foibles in our composition, which we were strangers to before, from too fond a partiality and the want of a thorough knowledge of ourselves.

This kind of writing was in much esteem, as the true utile dulci of the antients, even in the earliest times, though too much neglected by our modern writers, and often thrown aside for works of a

more infe



rior nature, and which rather serve to vitiate than improve our reasoning faculties; and I am convinced, that nothing can be better calculated, or contribute more to form the minds of youth, and give them a just conception of mankind and the world.

The moral writer, who copies from real life, and makes the mind of man, that intricate labyrinth, his constant study, must certainly arrive in time at that knowledge and perfection, which cannot fail of improving the understanding, and making us both wiser and better for such instructions.

The judicious Mr. Addison, so defervedly as well as universally esteemed by all admirers of polite literature, in one of his moral essays, setting forth the many and fingular advantages arising from education, and bewailing the misfortune of those who have


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been unhappy enough not to be born in a nation where wisdom and knowledge flourish, concludes his difcourse (after having illustrated his argument by an example or two) with recommending such works as are an incitement to virtue, and have any tendency to moral instruction. These are his words : Discourses on morality, and reflections on human nature, are the best means we can make use of to improve our minds and gain a true knowledge of ourselves, and consequently to recover our souls out of the vice, ignorance, and prejudice, which naturally cleave to them,

Among all the various authors who have treated on this subject, none have carried off a larger portion of fame, than that celebrated French moralist the duke of Rochefoucault,


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who has always been ranked by many as the greatest, and unanimously acquired the precedency as a moral writer, and who has been thought to dive deeper into the human heart, than any of his predecessors; though with what truth or propriety this unlimited merit is bestowed, I own, I'am à stranger to, and cannot give my opinion, according to the honest fentiments of my heart, without condemning the approbation and universal applause bestowed on him by the world : and I am so far from thinking his knowledge of mankind founded on right principles, that, notwithstanding I condemn him for his uncharitable manner of judging, as unbecoming both a man and a Christian, yet, still I cannot help pitying the unhappiness of his choice or fate, be it which it will,

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that must certainly have condemned him in pursuit of his studies, to men not only of the lowest but most infamous of the human race; and a stranger to those many noble and

generous sentiments, that often thine forth in a mind conscious of its own integrity, and actuated alone by the true principles of honour, virtue, and religion.

However he may have laid himself open to the severest censure, yet I would do him the justice not to derogate from his real merit; and I must say, notwithstanding all his faults and unhappy prejudices, he has undoubtedly many beauties, and has discovered here and there, in several places throughout his writings, a masterly genius, an inimitable fagacity, and an universal knowledge: and had he not been so general and satyrical, in ma


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