« 上一頁繼續 »
want the ornament of superficial attractions, is like a naked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequented only till the treasure is exhausted.
ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD.
Nothing has so much exposed men of learning to contempt and ridicule, as their ignorance of things which are known to all but themselves. Those who have been taught to consider the instirutions of the schools, as giving the last perfection to human abilities, are surprised to see men wrinkled with study, yet wanting to be instructed in the minute circumstances of propriety, or the necessary forms of daily transaction; and quickly shake off their reverence for müdes of education, which they find 10 produce no ability above the rest of ma! kind.
Books, says Bacon, can never teach the use of books. The student must learn by conimerce with mankind 10 reduce his speculations to practice, and accommodate his knowledge to the purposes of life.
It is too common for those who have been bred to scho. lastic professions, and passed much of their time in academies, where nothing but learning confers honours, to disregard every other qua'ification, and to imagine that they shall find mankind really to pay homage to their knoita ledge, and to crowd about them for instruction. They therefore step out from their cells into the open world, with all the confidence of authority and dignity of importance; they look round about them at once with igno. tance and scorn on a race of beings 10 whom they are equally unknown and equally contemptible, but whose manners they must imira'e, and with whese opinions they must comply, if they desire to pass their tinae happily
To lessen that disdain with which scholars are inclined to look on the common business of the world, and the unwillingness with which they condescend to learn what is not to be found in any system of philosophy, it may be necessary to consider, that though admiration is excited by abstruse researches and remote discoveries, yet pleasure is not given, nor affection conciliated, but by softer accomplishments, and qualities more easily comni unicable to those about us. He that can only converse upon questions, about which only a small part of mankind has knowledge sufficient to make them curious, must lose his days in ursocial silence, and live in the crowd of life without a conpanion. He that can only be useful on great occasions, may die without exerting his abilities, and stand a helpless spectator of a thousand vexations which fret away happiness, and which nothing is required to remove but a little dexterity of conduct and readiness of expedients,
No degree of koowledge attainable by man is able to set him above the want of liourly assistance, or to extinguish the desire of fond endearments, and tender officiousness; and therefore no one should think it unnecessary to learn those arts by which friendship may be gained. Kindness is preserved by a constant reciprocation of benefits or ilie terchange of pleasures; but such berefits only can be be. stowed, as others are capable of receiving, and such pleas sures only imparted, as others are qualified to enjoy.
By this descent from the pinnacles of art no hopaur will be lost; for the condescensions of learning are always overpaid by gratitude. An elevated genius employed in little things, appears, to use the siinile of Longinus, like the sun in his evening declination ; be renuits his
splendour, but retains bis magnitude; and pleases more, though he dazzles less.
ON THE ADVANTAGES OF UNITING GENTLE
NESS OF MANNERS WITH FIRMNESS OF
I MENTIONED to you, some time ago, a sentence, which I would most earnestly wish you always to retain in your thoughts, and observe in your conduci; it is suavitèr in modo, furtitèr in re. I do not know any one rule so un. exceptionably useful and uecessary in every part of life.
The suavitèr in modo alone would degenerate and sink iņio a mean timid complaisance, and passiveness, if not supported and dignified by the fortiter in re;, which would also run into impetuosity and brutality, if not tempered and softened by the suavitèr in modo : however, they are seldom united. Tbe warm choleric maq, with strong animal spirits, despises the suuvilèr in modo, and thinks w carry all before bim by the forritèr in re. possibly, by great accident, now and ihen succeed, wben he has only weak and timid people to deal with; but his general fate will be, to shock, offerre, be based, and fail. On the other hand, the cunning crafty nan thinks to gain all his ends by the suavitèr in modo only: he becoines all things to all men; he seems to have no opinion of his own, and servilely adopts the present opinion of the present person: he insinuales hiniseif only in the esteem of fools, but is soon detected, and surely despised, by every body else. The wise man (who differs as much from the conning, as from the choleric man) alone joins the suavitèr in modo with the fortitèr in re.
If you are in authority, and have a right to command, your commands delivered suupitèr in modo will be willing, ly, cheerfully, and consequently well obeyed; whereas if given only fortisèr, what is brutally, they will rather, as Tacitus says, be interpreted than executed.
For my own parı, if I bade my foorman briog me a glass of wine, in a rough iusulting manner, I should expect that in obeying me, he would contrive to spill suine of it upon me; and I am sure I should deserve it. A cool steady resolution
should sbow, that where you have a right to commmand, you will be obeyed; but at the same time, a genıleness in the manner of enforcing that obedienee, should make it a eheerful one, and soften, as much as possible, the mortify. ing consciousness of inferiority. If you are to ask a favour, or even to solicit your due, you must do it suavilèr in modr, or you will give those who have a mind to refuse you either, a pretence to do it, by resenting the manner; but, on the other hand, you must, by a steady perseverance and decent tenaciousness, show the fortilèr in re. In short, this precept is the only way I know in the world, of being loved without being despised, and feared without being hated. It constitutes the dignity of character, which every wise man must endeavour to esiablish.
If therefore you find that you have a hastiness in your temper, whieh unguardedly breaks out into indiscreet sal. lies, or rough expressions, to either your superiors, your equals, or your inferiors, wateh it narrowly, check it carefully, and call the suavitèr in modo 10 your assistance : at the first impulse of passion be silent, till you can be soft. Labour even to get the comınand of your countenance so well, that those emotions may not be read in it: a most unspeakable advantage in business ! On the other hand, let no complaisance, no gentleness of terper, wo weak desire of pleasing on your part, no wheedling, coaxing, nor fattery, on other people's, make you recede one jot from any point that reason and prúdence have bid you pursue ; but return to the charge, persist, persevere, and you will find most things attainable that are possible. A yielding, timid meekness is always abused and insulted by the un just and the unfeeling; but meekness, when sustained by the fortièr in re, is always respected, commonly successful. In your friendships and connections, as well as in your enmities, this rule is particularly useful : let your firmuess and vigour preserve and invite attachments, to you; but, at the same time, let your manner hinder the enemies of
your friends and dependents from beaning yours; let
your eneinies be disaimed by the gentleness of your mainer, but let them feel, at the same time, the sleadiness of your just resentment; for there is a great difference between bearing malice, which is always ungs nerous, and a resolute self-defence, which is always prudent and justifiable.
I conclude njih this observation, That genileness of njanners, with firmness of mind, is a sliert, but full de scription of human persection, on this side of religious and moral duties.
LORD CHESTE FIELD.
ON GOOD SENSE.
Were I to explain what I understand by good sense, I should call it right reason; but right reason that arises not from formal and logical deductions, but from a sort of intuitive facully in the soul, which distinguishes by in. mediate perception: a kind of innate sagacity, that in many of its properties seems very much to resemble instinct. It would be improper, therefore, to say, that Sir Isaac Newton showed his good sense, by those anıazing discoveries which he made in natural philosophy; the operations of this gift of Heaven are rather instantaneous than the result of any tedious process. Like Dioniede, after Minerva had enduell him with the power of discerning gods from mortals, the man of good sense discovers at once the truth of those objects he is most concerned to distinguish: and conducts himself with suitable caution and securi!y;
It is for his reason, possibly, that this quality of the mind is not so often found united with learning as one could wish: for good sense being accustomed to receive her discoverjes without labour or study, she cannot so easily wait for those truths, which being placed at a distance, and lying concealed under numberless covers,' require much pains and applications to unfold.
But though good sense is not in the number, nor always, it must be owned, in the company of the sciences; yet is it (as the most sensible of poets has justly observed)
Pairly worth the seren.'