Gambar halaman

moralist in the heathen world, the great the marks of deformity and guilt on the and immortal Socrates, feli 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, not The lover of ridicule will, no doubt, for what he was, but for what he appeared plead in the defence of it, that his design to be, an enemy to the religion of his is to reclaim and reform mankind; that he country.

is listed in the service of Virtue, and enThe folly and depravity of mankind gaged in the cause of Truth ;-but I will will always furnish out a sufficient fund for venture to assure him, that the allies he ridicale; and when we consider how valt boasts of disclaim his friendship and despise and ipacious a field the little scene of hu his asiitance. Truth desires no such folman life affords for malice and ill-nature, dier to fight under his banner; Virtue wants we shall not so much wonder to see the no such advocate to plead for her. As it lover of ridicule rejoicing in it. Here he is generally exercised, it is too great a puhas always an opportunity of gratifying nitħment for sinall faults, too light and inhis pride, and satiating his malevolence: considerable for great ones: the little foifron the frailties and absurdities of others, bles and blemishes of a character deserve he forms a wreath to adorn his own brow; rather pity than contempt; the more atrogathers together, with all his art, the fail. cious crimes call for hatred and abhor. ings and imperfections of others, and offers rence. Thus, we see, that in one case the them up a sacrifice to self-love. The low medicine operates too powerfully, and in eft and must abandoned of mankind can the other is of no effect. ridicule the moit exalted beings; those who I might take this opportunity to add, never could boait of thcir own perfec- that ridicule is not always contented with tion,

ravaging and destroying the works of man, Nor raise their thoughts beyond the earth they God; enters even into the sanctuary, and

but boldly and impiouliy attacks those of tread, Even these can censure, those can dare deride

prophanes the temple of the Moit High. A Bacon's avarice, or a Tully's pride.

A late noble writer has made use of it to

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 a idiot, and an avowed enemy to that relivice. Th" glass of ridicule reflects things gion which he profesied. One would not not only darkly, but falsely alto : it always furely think that there was any thing in discolours the objects before it ventures to Christianity fo ludicrous as to raise laughrepr. fent them to us. The purest metal, ter, or to excite contempt; but on the by the mixture of a base alloy, mall seem contrary, that the nature of its precepts, changed to the meanelt. Ridicule, in the and its own intrinsic excellence, would at fame manner, will cloath prudence in the least have secured it from such indigni garb of avarice, call courage rashness, and ties. brand good-nature with the name of pro Nothing gives us a higher opinion of digalisy; will laugh at the compaliionate those ancient heathens whom our modern man for his weakness, the serious man for bigots are io apt to despise, than that air of his preciseness, and the pious man for his piety and devotion which runs through all hypocrisy, Modenly is one of virtue's best supports; ology was full of abfurdities and inconfif

their writings; and though the Pagan theand it is observable, that wherever this tencies, which the more refined spirits aamiable quality is most eminently confpi- mong their poets and philofophers must Cuous, ridicule is always ready to attack have doubtleis despised, rejected, and conand overthrow it. The man of wit and temned; fuch was their respect and vene. humour is never fo happy as when he can ration for the established religion of their ralie the bluil of ingenuous merit, or stamp country, such their regard to decency and


their power:

feriousness, such their modesty and diffi- void alike of knowledge and of virtue? By desce in affairs of so much weight and im- whom is his profufion praised, but by portance, that we very seldom meet with wretches who consider him as subfervient jert or ridicule on subjects which they held to their purposes; Syrens that entice him thus facred 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 enlightened afford much gratification to pride) on him ages; and denied the more pious heathens, whom the panders of luxury have drawn to reflect disgrace and ignominy on the

into the circle of their influence, and whom Chriftian æra.

he sees parcelled out among the different It hath indeed been the fate of the ministers of folly, and about to be torn to bet and purest religion in the world, to pieces by tailors and jockies, vintners and become the jest of fools; and not only, attornies; who at once rob and ridicule with its Divine Founder, to be fcourged him, and who are fecretly triumphing over and perfecuted, but with him to be mock his weakness, when they present new ined and spit at, trampled on and despised. citements to his appetite, and heighten his But to conlider the dreadful consequences desires by counterfeited applause. of ridicule on this occasion, will better be Such is the praise that is purchased by come the divine than essayist; to him prodigality. Even when it is yet not dis. therefore I shall refer it, and conclude covered to be false, it is the praise only of this effay by obferving, that after all the those whom it is reproachful to please, and ordele ved encomiums so lavishly bestowed whose fincerity is corrnpted by their inon this child of wit and malice, so univer- terest; men who live by the riots which faily approved and admired, I know of no they encourage, and who know, that whenservice the pernicious talent of ridicule can ever their pupil grows wise, they shall lose be of, unless it be to raise the blush of mo

Yet with such flatteries, if dely, and put virtue out of countenance; they could laft, night the cravings of vato enhance the miseries of the wretched, nity, which is seldom very delicate, be sa2nd poison the feast of happiness; to insult tisfied : but the time is always hastening man, afront God; to make us, in short, forward, when this triumph, poor as it is, hateful to our fellow-creatures, uneasy to

fall vanith, and when those who now surourielves, and highly displeasing to the round him with oblequiousness and compli. Almighty.

Smollet. ments, fawn among his equipage, and ani.

mate his riots, shall turn upon him with in§ 113. On Prodigality.

solence, and reproach him with the vices It is the fate of almost every paflion, promoted by themselves. when it has passed the bounds which nature And as little pretensions has the man, prescribes, to counteract its own purpose. who squanders his estate by vain or viciToo much rage hinders the warrior from ous expences, to greater degrees of pleacrenmipection ; and too much eagerness sure than are obtained by others. To make of pronii hurts the credit of the trader. Too any happiness sincere, it is necefiary that mich ardour takes away from the lover we believe it to be lasting; since whatever that easiness of address with which ladies we suppose ourselves in danger of losing, are delighted. Thus extravagance, though must be enjoyed with solicitude and uneaciâated by vanity, and incited by volup- finess, and the more value we set upon it, tuoainess, seldom procures ultimately either the more must the present poffeffion be imapplause or pleasure.

bitrcred. 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 httle satisfaction will be given to the spend that a very short time will give him up to trift 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 pursuits, but young men, thoughtless and excelles, 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. prefied the stamp of excellence, and de It appears evident, that frugality is ne.



ceffary even to compleat the pleasure of ex- regard to those who have a right notion of pence; for it may be generally remarked it. Secondly, with regard to those who of those who squander what they krow their have a mistaken notion of it. And thirdly, fortune not suficient to allow, that in their with regard to those who treat it as chiine, most jovial expence there always breaks rical, and turn it into ridicule. out some proof of discontent and impa In the first place, true honour, though it tience; they either scatter with a kind of be a different principle from religion, is wild desperation and affected lavishness, as that which produces the same effects. The criminals brave the gallows when they con- lines of action, though drawn from difnot escape it; or pay their money with a ferent parts, terminate in the same point. peevish anxiety, and endeavour at once to Religion embraces virtue as it is enjoined spend idly, and to save meanly; having by the laws of God; honour, as it is graceneither firmness to deny their passions, nor ful and ornamental to human nature. The courage to gratify them, they murmur 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. fiders vice as something that is beneath

Among these men there is often the vo- him; the other, as something that is offenciferation of merriment, but very feldom five to the Divine Being: the one, as what the tranquillity of chearfulness; they in- is unbecoming; the other, as what is forflame their imaginations to a kind of mo bidden. Thus Sencca speaks in the natural mentary jollity, by the help of wine and and genuine language of a man of honour, siot; and consider it as the firit business of when he declares “ that were there no God the night to ftupify recollection, and lay to fee or punish vice, he would not commit that reason ascep, which disturbs their it, becaule it is of so mean, fo base, and so gaiety, and calls upon them to retreat from vile a nature.” ruin.

I shall conclude this head with the de. But this poor broken satisfaction is of scription of honour in the



young short continuance, and must be expiated by Juba: a long series of mifery and regret. In a short time the creditor grows impatient,

Honour's a sacred tie, the law of kings,

The noble mind's distinguishing perfection, the last acre is fold, the passions and ap

That is and strengthens virtue when it petites fill continue their tyranny, with in

meets her, ceflant calls for their usual gratifications ; And imiotes her actions where she is not ; and the remainder of life passes away in

It ought not to be sported with. CATO. vain repentance, or impotent desire.

In the second place, we are to consider Rambler, those, who have miitaken notions of honour.

And these are such as establish any thing $ 114. On Honour.

to themselves for a point of honour, which Every principie 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 hoare 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 lye, 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 de- deed só becoming in human nature, that he licate a nature, that it is only to be met who wants it scarce deserves the name of with in minds which are naturally noble, à 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 honour 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 facriBut 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 ftood, I shall consider honour with respect upon any thing as honourable that is disto three forts of incn. First of all, with plafing to his Maker, or destructive to fo



ciety; 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
Teckoned among true men of honour. more abused by the different and wrong

Timogenes was a lively instance of one ac- interpretations, which are put upon them,
tuated by falle honour. Ti.nogenes would than these two, Modesty and Assurance.
frile at a man's jell who ridiculed his Ma- To say such a one is a modest man, some-
ker, 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
mogenes would have scorned to have be a sheepish, awkward fellow, who has nei-
traied a secret that was intrusted with him, ther good-breeding, politeness, nor any
though the fate of his country depended knowledge of the world.
upon the discovery of it. Timogenes tock Again: A man of affurance, though at
away the life of a young fellow in a duel, firit 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 youth, to a profligate wretch, who can break
and betrayed into want and igncminy. To through all the rules of decency and moa
cf his character, Timogenes, after hav- rality without a bluth.
ing ruined several poor tradesmen’s fami I shall endeavour, therefore, in this ef-
lies who had truited him, fold his eitate to say, to restore these words to their true
Latisfy his creditors; but, like a man of ho- meaning, to prevent the idea of Modesty
ncar, disposed of all the money he could from being confounded with that of Sheep-
make of it, in paying off his play debts, or, ishness, and to hinder Impudence from
to speak in his own language, his debts of pafling for Assurance.

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 an
chimerica!, and turn it into ridicule. "Men action for which he censures himself, or
who are profefiedly of no honour, are of a fancies that he is exposed to the censure of
more prodigate and abandoned nature than others.
even those who are actuated by false no For this reason, a man, truly modest, is
ticas of it; as there is more hope of an as much so when he is alone as in com-
heretic than of an atheilt. These fons of pany; and as subject to a blush in his clo-
in my confider honour, with old Syphax set as when the eyes of multitudes are upon
in the play before-mentioned, as a fine ima- him.
gucary notion that leads altray young un I do not remember to have met with any
Eiperienced men, and draws them into real instance of modesty with which I am lo
Tütchefs, while they are engaged in the well pleased, as that celebrated one of the
pursuit of a shadow. These are generally young Prince, whose father, being a tri-
parions who, in Shakespeare's phrase," are butary king to the Romans, had several
hon and hackneyed in the ways of men;" complaints laid against him before the se-
wacle imaginations are grown callous, and nate, as a tyrant and oppresor of his sub-
have lost all those delicate sentiments which jects. The Prince went to Rome to de-
are natural to minds that are innocent and fend his father; but coming into the se-
urdepraved. Such oid battered miscreants nate, and hearing a multitude of crimes

cule every thing as romantic, that comes proved upon him, was fo oppressed when it in competition with their present interest; came to his turn to speak, that he was unable and treat those persons as visionaries, who to utter a word. The story tells us, that dare to land up, in a corrupt age, for what the fathers were more moved at this instance ba; pot its immediate reward joined to it. of modefty and ingenuity, than they could The talents, intereit, or experience of such have been by the most pathetic oration; Det, make them very often uteful in all and, in short, pardoned the guilty father parties, and at all times. But whatever for this early promise of virtue in the son. wealth and dignities they may arrive at, I take Aflurance to be, The faculty of they ought to consider, that every one stands possessing a man's self, or of saying and do. as a blot in the annals of his country, who ing indifferent things without any uneafiarrives at the temple of honour by any nels or emotion in the mind. That which ocher way than through that of virtue. generally gives a man assurance, is a mo. Guardian. derate knowledge of the world; but above


[ocr errors]

An open

all, a mind fixed and determined in itself to do nothing against the rules of honour

§ 116. On disinterefied Friendship. and decency.

and assured beha I am informed that certain Greck writers viour is the natural consequence of such a (Philosophers, it seems, in the opinion of resolution. A man thus armed, if his words their countrymen) have advanced some or actions are at any time misinterpreted, very extraordinary positions relating to retires within himself, and from a consci-friendship; as, indeed, what subject is there, ousness of his own integrity, assumes force which these subtle geniuses have not torenough to despise the little censures of ig- tured with their sophiitry? norance or malice.

The authors to whom I refer, diffuade Every one ought to cherish and encourage their disciples from entering into any strong in himself the modesty and assurance I have attachments, as unavoidably creating superhere mentioned.

numerary disquietudes to those who engage A man without assurance is liable to be in them; and, as every man has more than made uneasy by the folly or ill-nature of sufficient to call forth his solicitude in the every one he converses with. A man with course of his own affairs, it is a weakness out modesty is lost to all sense of honour they contend, anxiously to involve himself and virtue.

in the concerns of others. They recomIt is more than probable, that the Prince mend it also, in all connections of this kind, above-mentioned possessed both those qua to hold the bands of union extremely loose; lifications in a very eminent degree. With- fo as always to have it in one's power to out assurance, he would never have under- ftraiten or relax them, as circumstances and taken to speak before the most august af- fituations shall render most expedient. They sembly in the world; without modesty, he add, as a capital article of their doctrine, would have pleaded the cause he had taken that “to live exempt from cares, is an efupon him, though it had appeared ever so sential ingredient to constitute human hapscandalous.

piness: but an ingredient, however, which From what has been said, it is plain that he, who voluntarily distresses himself with modesty and assurance are both amiable, cares in which he has no necessary and and may very well meet in the same per- personal interest, must never hope to pola fon. When they are thus mixed and blend- tess." ed together, they compose what we endea I have been told likewise, that there is vour to express, when we say, a modeft af- another set of pretended philosophers, of surance; by which we understand, the just the same country, whole tenets, concerning mean between bathfulnefs and impudence. this subject, are of a itill more illiberal and I Mall conclude with oblerving, that as

ungenerous caft. the same man may be both modest and al The proposition they attempt to establish, sured, so it is also possible for the same per- is, that friendship is an afi'air of self-inson to be both impudent and bashful. tereit 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 minds tify the kind and benevolent affections, but and mean education; who, though they are for the benefit of that aslistance and supnot able to meet a man's eyes, or pronounce port which is to be derived from the cona fentence without consufion, can volunta- nection.” Accordingly they aflert, that rily commit the greatest villainies or molt those persons are most disposed to have reindecent actions.

course to auxiliary alliances of this kind, Such a person seems to have made a re who are lealt qualified by nature, or forsolution to do ill, even in spite of himself, tune, to depend upon their own strength and in defiance of all those checks and re and powers: the weaker sex, for instance, straints his temper and complexion feem to being generally more inclined to engage in have laid in his way.

friendihips, than the male part of our Upon the whole, I would endeavour to species; and those who are deprest by inetablith 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 and Excellent and obliging sages, thele, unactions. Guilt always seeks to shelter it- doubtedly! To Atrike out the friendly af. felf in one of the extremes; and is fomefections from the moral world, would be times attended with both. Speciater. like extinguishing the fun in the natural;


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »