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remove but a little dexterity of conduct and readiness of expedients.
No degree of knowledge attainable by man is able to set him above the want of hourly 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 interchange of pleasures; but such benefits only can be bestowed as others are capable to receive, ard such pleasures only imparted as others are qualified to enjoy.
By this descent from the pinnacles of art, no honor will be lost; for the condescensions of learning are always overpaid by gratitude. An elevated genius employed in little things, appears, to use the simile of Longinus, like the sun in his evening declination; he remits his splendor but retains his magnitude, and pleases more though he dazzles less.
Rambler, No. 137.
THE RIGHT IMPROVEMENT OF TIME. It is usual for those who are advised to the attainment of any new qualification, to look upon themselves as required to change the general course of their conduct, to dismiss business, and exclude pleasure, and to devote their days and nights to a particular attention. But all common degrees of excellence are attainable at a lower price; he that should steadily and resolutely assign to any science or language those interstitial vacancies which intervene in the most crowded variety of diversion or employment, would find every day new irradiations of knowledge, and discover how much more is to be hoped from frequency and perseverance, than from violent efforts and sudden desires ; efforts which are soon remitted when they encounter difficulty, and desires which, if they are indulged too often, will shake off the authority of reason, and range capriciously from one object to another.
The disposition to defer every important design to a time of leisure and a state of settled uniformity, proceeds generally from a false estimate of the human power. If we except those gigantic and stupendous intelligences who are said to grasp a system by intuition, and bound forward from one series of conclusions to ano. ther, without regular steps through intermediate propositions, thu most successful students make their advances in knowledge by short flights, between each of which the mind may lie at rest. For every single act of progression a short time is sufficient, and it is only necessary, that, whenever that time is afforded, it be well employed. Few minds will be long confined to severe and laborious medi
THE DUTY OF FORGIVENESS.
A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the
Whoever considers the weakness both of himself and others.
tation; and when a successful attack on knowledge has been made, the student recreates bimself with the contemplation of his conquest, and forbears another incursion till the new-acquired truth has become familiar, and his curiosity calls upon him for fresh gratifications. Whether the time of intermission is spent in company or in solitude, in necessary business or in voluntary levities, the understanding is equally abstracted from the object of inquiry; but, perhaps, if it be detained by occupations less pleasing, it returns again to study with greater alacrity than when it is glutted with ideal pleasures, and surfeited with intemperance of application. He that will not suffer himself to be discouraged by fancied impossibilities, may sometimes find his abilities invigorated by the necessity of exerting them in short intervals, as the force of a current is increased by the contraction of its channel.
From some cause like this it has probably proceeded, that, among those who have contributed to the advancement of learning, many have risen to eminence in opposition to all the obstacles which external circumstances could place in their way, amidst the tumult of business, the distresses of poverty, or the dissipations of a wandering and unsettled state. A great part of the life of Erasmus was one continual peregrination ; ill supplied with the gifts of fortune, and led from city to city, and from kingdom to king. dom, by the hopes of patrons and preferment, hopes which always flattered and always deceived him; he yet found means, by unshaken constancy, and a vigilant improvement of those hours, which, in the midst of the most restless activity, will remain unengaged, to write more than another in the same condition would have hoped to read. Compelled by want to attendance and solicitation, and so much versed in common life, that he has transmitted to us the most perfect delineation of the manners of his age, he joined to his knowledge of the world such application to books, that he will stand for ever in the first rank of literary heroes. How this proficiency was obtained he sufficiently discovers, by informing us, that the “ Praise of Folly," one of his most cele. brated performances, was composed by him on the road to Italy, lest the hours which he was obliged to spend on horseback should be tattled away without regard to literature.
An Italian philosopher expressed in his motto, that TIME WAS HIS ESTATE; an estate, indeed, which will produce nothing witbout cultivation, but will always abundantly repay the labors of inMustry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence, to be overrun with noxious plants, or laid out for show rather than for use.
what degree of malignity any injury is to be imputed; or how much its guilt, if we were to inspect the mind of him that com. mitted it, would be extenuated by mistake, precipitance, or negli gence; we cannot be certain how much more we feel than was intended to be inflicted, or how much we increase the mischief lo curselves by voluntary aggravations. We may charge to design the effects of accident; we may think the blow violent only be cause we have made ourselves delicate and tender; we are every side in danger of error and of guilt, which we are certain to avoid only by speedy forgiveness.
From this pacific and harmless temper, thus propitious to other
It may be laid down as an unfailing and universal axiom, thu
bility of our wants.
Nothing can be great which is not right. Nothing which te
The utmost excellence at which humanity can arriva
THE DUTY OF FORGIVENESS.
A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unneces. sary pain. He that willingly suffers the corrosions of inveterate hatred, and gives up his days and nights to the gloom of malice and perturbations of stratagem, cannot surely be said to consult his ease. Resentment is a union of sorrow with malignity, a combination of a passion which all endeavor to avoid with a passion which all concur to detest. The man who retires to mediiate mischief, and to exasperate his own rage; whose thoughis are employed only on means of distress and contrivances of ruin ; whose mind never pauses from the remembrance of his own sufferings, but to indulge some hope of enjoying the calamities of another, may justly be numbered among the most miserable of human beings, among those who are guilty without reward, who have neither the gladness of prosperity nor the calm of innocence.
Whoever considers the weakness both of himself and others, will not long want persuasives to forgiveness. We know not to what degree of malignity any injury is to be imputed; or how much its guilt, if we were to inspect the mind of him that committed it, would be extenuated by mistake, precipitance, or negligence; we cannot be certain how much more we feel than was intended to be inflicted, or how much we increase the mischief to ourselves by voluntary aggravations. We may charge to design the effects of accident; we may think the blow violent only because we have made ourselves delicate and tender; we are on every side in danger of error and of guilt, which we are certain to avoid only by speedy forgiveness.
From this pacific and harmless temper, thus propitious to others and ourselves, to domestic tranquillity and to social happiness, no man is withheld but by pride, by the fear of being insulied by his adversary, or despised by the world. .
It may be laid down as an unfailing and universal axiom, that “all pride is abject and mean.” It is always an ignorant, lazy, or cowardly acquiescence in a false appearance of excellence, and proceeds not from consciousness of our attainments, but insensibility of our wants.
Nothing can be great which is not right. Nothing which rea. son condemns can be suitable to the dignity of the human mind. To be driven by external motives from the path which our own heart approves, to give way to any thing but conviction, to suffer the opinion of others to rule our choice or overpower our resolves, is to submit tamely to the lowest and most ignominious slavery, and to resign the right of directing our own lives.
The utmost excellence at which humanity can arrive, is a con
There is a set of recluses, whose intention entitle: spect, and whose motives deserve a serious considera retire from the world, not merely to bask in ease or osity; but that, being disengaged from common car employ more time in the duties of religion ; that the late their actions with stricter vigilance, and purify ti by more frequent meditation.
To men thus elevated above the mists of morta írom presuming myself qualified to give directions, appears “to pass through things temporal," with n than “ not to lose finally the things eternal," I loo
stant and determined pursuit of virtue, without regard to present dangers or advantages ; a continual reference of every action to the divine will; an habitual appeal to everlasting justice; and an unvaried elevation of the intellectual eye to the reward which perseverance only can obtain. But that pride which many, who presume to boast of generous sentiments, allow to regulate their measures, has nothing nobler in view than the approbation of men, of beings whose superiority we are under no obligation to acknowledge, and who, when we have courted them with the utmost assiduity, can confer no valuable or permanent reward; of beings who ignorantly judge of what they do not understand, or partially determine what they never have examined; and whose sentence is, therefore, of no weight till it has received the ratification of our own conscience.
He that can descend to bribe suffrages like these at the price of his innocence; he that can suffer the delight of such acclama. tions to withhold his attention from the commands of the universal Sovereign, has little reason to congratulate himself upon the greatness of his mind : whenever he awakes to seriousness and reflection, he must become despicable in his own eyes, and shrink with shame from the remembrance of his cowardice and folly.
Of him that hopes to be forgiven, it is indispensably required that he forgive. It is, therefore, superfluous to urge any other motive. On this great duty eternity is suspended; and to him that refuses to practise it, the throne of mercy is inaccessible, and the Saviour of the world has been born in vain. Rambler, No. 185.
SOLITUDE NOT DESIRABLE, Though learning may be conferred by solitude, its application must be attained by general converse. He has learned to no purpose that is not able to teach ; and he will always teach unsuccessfully, who cannot recommend his sentiments by his diction or address,
Even the acquisition of knowledge is often much facilitated by the advantages of society: he that never compares his notions with those of others, readily acquiesces in his first thoughts, and very seldom discovers the objections which may be raised against his opinious; he, therefore, often thinks himself in possession of truth, when he is only fondling an error long since exploded. He that has neither companions nor rivals in his studies, will always applaud his own progress, and think highly of his performances, Because he knows not that others have equalled or excelled him. And I am afraid it may be added, that the student who withdraws nimself from the world, will soon feel that ardor extinguished
vhich praise or emulation had enkindled, and take the advantage uf secrecy to sleep, rather than to labor.
veneration as inclines me to approve his conduct i without a minute examination of its parts; yet I cou bear to wish, that while vice is every day multipl ments, and stalking forth with more hardened efiro would not withdraw the influence of her presence, axsert her natural dignity by open and undaunted in the right. Piety practised in solitude, like the blowns in the desert, may give its fragrance to the w ren, and delight those unbodied spirits that survey Grid and the actions of men; but it bestows no ass eanbly beings, and however free from taints of i wants the sacred splendor of beneficence.
GAVETY AND GOOD-HUMOR. It is imagined by many that whenever they asp they are required to be merry, and to show the glas seuls by flights of pleasantry and bursts of laughter. there men may be for a time heard with applause ai they seldorn delight us long. We enjoy them al retire to easiness and good-humor, as the eye gai eminences glittering with the sun, but soon turns a verdure and to flowers. Gayety is to good-humor, fumes to vegetable fragrance. The one overpower and the other recreates and revives them.
THE CONVERSATION OF AUTHORS, A transition from an author's book to his conus often like an entrance into a large city, after a di Pemotely we see nothing but spires of temples palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, magnificence; but when we have passed the ga! perplesed with narrow passages, disgraced with lager, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded
There is a set of recluses, whose intention entitles them to respect, and whose motives deserve a serious consideration. These retire from the world, not merely to bask in ease or gratify curiosity ; but that, being disengaged from common cares, they may employ more time in the duties of religion ; that they may regu. late their actions with stricter vigilance, and purify their though!s by more frequent meditation.
To men thus elevated above the mists of mortality, I am far from presuming myself qualified to give directions. On him that appears “ to pass through things temporal,” with no other care than “not to lose finally the things eternal," I look with such veneration as inclines me to approve his conduct in the whole, without a minute examination of its parts; yet I could never forbear to wish, that while vice is every day multiplying seducements, and stalking forth with more hardened effrontery, virtun would not withdraw the influence of her presence, or forbear to assert her natural dignity by open and undaunted perseverance in the right. Piety practised in solitude, like the flower that blooins in the desert, may give its fragrance to the winds of heaven, and delight those unbodied spirits that survey the works of God and the actions of men ; but it bestows no assistance upon earthly beings, and however free from taints of impurity, yet wants the sacred splendor of beneficence.
Adventurer, No. 126.
GAYETY AND GOOD-HUMOR. It is imagined by many that whenever they aspire to please, they are required to be merry, and to show the gladness of their souls by flights of pleasantry and bursts of laughter. But though these men may be for a time heard with applause and admiration, they seldoin delight us long. We enjoy them a little, and then retire to easiness and good-humor, as the eye gazes a while on eminences glittering with the sun, but soon turns aching away to verdure and to flowers. Gayety is to good-humor, as animal perfumes to vegetable fragrance. The one overpowers weak spirits, and the other recreates and revives them.
THE CONVERSATION OF AUTHORS. A transition from an author's book to his conversation, is too often like an entrance into a large city, after a distant prospect. Remotely we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence; but when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cuttages, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded with smoke.