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himself by their destruction, or to share their spoils with a stronger savage.
Virtue presented singly to the imagination or the reason, is so well recommended by its own graces, and so strongly supported by arguments, that a good man wonders how any can be bad; and they who are ignorant of the force of passion and interest, who never observed the arts of seduction, the contagion of example, the gradual descent from one crime to another, or the insensible depravation of the principles by loose conversation, naturally expect to find integrity in every bosom, and veracity on every tongue.
It is, indeed, impossible not to hear from those who have lived longer, of wrongs and falsehoods, of violence and circumvention; but such narratives are commonly regarded by the young, the heady, and the confident, as nothing more than the murmurs of peevishness, or the dreams of dotage; and, notwithstanding all the documents of hoary wisdom, we commonly plunge into the world fearless and credulous, without any foresight of danger, or apprehension of deceit.
I have remarked, in a former paper, that credulity is the common failing of unexperienced virtue; and that he who is spontaneously suspicious, may be justly charged with radical corruption; for, if he has not known the prevalence of dishonesty by information, nor had time to observe it with his own eyes, whence can he take his measures of judgment but from himself?
They who best deserve to escape the snares of dit be artifice, are most likely to be entangled. He that som endeavours to live for the good of others, must al- erstu ways be exposed to the arts of them who live only by pho for themselves, unless he is taught by timely precepts the caution required in common transactions, smile and shewn at a distance the pitfalls of treachery.
To youth, therefore, it should be carefully inculcated, that, to enter the road of life without caution or reserve, in expectation of general fidelity and x dign justice, is to launch on the wide ocean without the sto instruments of steerage, and to hope that every wind will be prosperous, and that every coast will afford a harbour.
To enumerate the various motives to deceit and injury, would be to count all the desires that prevail among the sons of men; since there is no am 5 bition however petty, no wish however absurd, that by indulgence will not be enabled to overpower the influence of virtue. Many there are, who openly and almost professedly regulate all their conduct by their love of money; who have no other reason for action 1 or forbearance, for compliance or refusal, than that they hope to gain more by one than by the other. These are indeed the meanest and cruellest of human beings, a race with whom, as with some pestiferous animals, the whole creation seems to be at war; but who, however detested or scorned, long continue to add heap to heap, and when they have reduced one to beggary, are still permitted to fasten on another. Others, yet less rationally wicked, pass their lives
:s of in mischief, because they cannot bear the sight of that success, and mark out every man for hatred, whose it al fame or fortune they believe increasing. only Many who have not advanced to these degrees pre of guilt are yet wholly unqualified for friendship, ON and unable to maintain any constant or regular
course of kindness. Happiness may be destroyed cul not only by union with the man who is apparently ion the slave of interest, but with whom a wild opinion ind of the dignity of perseverance, in whatever cause, the disposes to pursue every injury with unwearied and nd perpetual resentment; with him whose vanity inin clines him to consider every man as a rival in every
pretension; with him whose airy negligence puts nd his friend's affairs or secrets in continual hazard,
and who thinks his forgetfulness of others excused
by his inattention to himself; and with him whose t inconstancy ranges without any settled rule of
choice through varieties of friendship, and who adopts and dismisses favourites by the sudden impulse of caprice.
Thus numerous are the dangers to which the converse of mankind exposes us, and which can be avoided only by prudent distrust. He therefore that, remembering this salutary maxim, learns early to withhold his fondness from fair appearances, will have reason to pay some honours to Bias of Priene, who enabled him to become wise without the cost of experience.
HERE are many vexatious accidents and un
easy situations which raise little compassion for the sufferer, and which no man but those whom they immediately distress can regard with seriousness. Petty mischiefs, that have no influence on futurity, nor extend their effects to the rest of life, are always seen with a kind of malicious pleasure. A mistake or embarrassment, which for the present moment fills the face with blushes, and the mind with confusion, will have no other effect upon those who observe it, than that of convulsing them with irresistible laughter. Some circumstances of misery are so powerfully ridiculous, that neither kindness nor duty can withstand them; they bear down love, interest, and reverence, and force the friend, the dependent, or the child, to give way to instantaneous motions of merriment.
Among the principal of comick calamities, may be reckoned the pain which an author, not yet hardened into insensibility, feels at the onset of a furious critick, whose age, rank, or fortune, gives him confidence to speak without reserve; who heaps one objection upon another, and obtrudes his remarks, and enforces his corrections, without tenderness or awe. The author, full of the importance of his work,
and anxious for the justification of every syllable,
As it very seldom happens that the rage of extemporary criticism inflicts fatal or lasting wounds, I know not that the laws of benevolence entitle this distress to much sympathy. The diversion of baiting an author has the sanction of all ages and nations, and is more lawful than the sport of teasing other animals, because, for the most part, he comes voluntarily to the stake, furnished, as he imagines, by the patron powers of literature, with re