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even whilst he was living : It was usual also to ornament the prefs, where any considerable author's works were contained, with his figure in brass or plaister of a small fize.

There is one more circumstance attending these public libraries, which ought not to be omitted, as it marks the liberal spirit of their institution: It was usual to appropriate an adjoining building for the use and accommodation of students, where every thing was furnished at the emperor's cost; they were lodged, dieted and attended by servants specially appointed, and supplied with every thing, under the eye of the chief librarian, that could be wanting, whilst they were engaged in their studies and had occasion to consult the books: This establishment was kept up in a very princely stile at Alexandria in particular, where a college was endowed and a special fund appointed for its support, with a president, and proper officers under him, for the entertainment of learned strangers, who resorted thither from various parts to consult those invaluable collections, which that famous library contained in all branches of science.

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N° LXVIII.

PEOP

EOPLE have a custom of excusing the

enormities of their conduct by talking of their passions, as if they were under the controul of a blind necesity, and sinned because they could not help it. Before any man resorts to this kind of excuse it behoves him to examine the justice of it, and to be sure that these passions, which he thus attempts to palliate, are strictly natural, and do not spring either from the neglect of education or the crime of selfindulgence.

Of our infancy, properly so called, we either remember nothing, or few things faintly and imperfe&tly; some paffions however make their appearance in this stage of human life, and appear to be born with us, others are born after us; some follow us to the grave, others forsake us in the decline of

age, The life of man is to be reviewed under three periods, infancy, youth, and manhood ; the first includes that portion of time before reason shews itself; in the second it appears indeed, but being incompetent to the proper government of the creature, requires the aid,

support support and correction of education ; in the third it attains to its maturity.

Now as a person's responsibility bears respect to his reason, so do human punishments bear respect to his responsibility : Infants and boys are chastised by the hand of the parent or the mafter; rational adults are amenable to the laws, and what is termed mischief in the first case becomes a crime in the other. It will not avail the man to plead loss of reason by temporary intoxication, nor can he excuse himself by the plea of any sudden impulse of paffion. If a prisoner tells his judge that it is his nature to be cruel, that anger, lust or malice are inherent in his constitution, no human tribunal will admit the defence ; yet thus it is that all people deal with God and the world, when they attempt to palliate their enormities, by pleading the uncontroulable propensity of their natural desires, as if the Creator had set up a tyrant in their hearts, which they were neceffitated to obey

This miserable subterfuge is no less abject than impious; for what can be more degrading to a being, whose inherent attribute is freeagency and whose distinguishing faculty is reafon, than to shelter himself from the dread of responsibility under the humiliating apology of

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mental slavery? It is as if he should say. Excuse the irregularities of my conduct, for I am a brute and not a man; I follow instinct and renounce all claim to reason ; my actions govern me, not I my actions ;-and yet the people, to whom I allude, generally set up this plea in excuse for those passions in particular, which have their origin in that ftage of life, when the human mird is in the use and possession of reason; an impofition so glaring that it convicts itself; notwithstanding this it is too often seen, that whilst the sensualift is avowing the irresistible violence of his propensities, vanity shall receive it not only as an atonement for the basest attempts, but as an expected tribute to the tempting' charms of beauty ; nay such is the perversion of principle in some men, that it ihall pass with them as a recommendation even of that fex, the purity of whose minds should be. their sovereign grace and ornament.

The paffion of fear seems coæval with our nature; if they, who have our infancy in charge, suffer this passion to fix and increase upon us; if they augment our infant fears by invented terrors, and present to our fight frightful objects to scare us; if they practise on our natural and defenceless timidity by blows and menaces, and cruth us into absolute subjection of spirit

in our early years, a human creature thus abused has enough to plead in excuse for cowardice; and yet this, which is the strongest defence we can make upon the impulse of passion, is perhaps the only one we never resort to: In most other passions we call that confti. tution, which is only habit.

When we reflect upon the variety of paflions, to which the human mind is liable, it should seem as if reason, which is expressly implanted in us for their correction and controul, was greatly overmatched by such a host of turbulent: insurgents; but upon a closer examination we may find that reason has many aids and allies, and though her antagonists are also many and mighty, yet that they are divided and distracted, whilst the can in all cases turn one pasion against another, so as to counterbalance any power by its opposite, and make evil instruments in her hands conducive to moral cnds: Avarice for instance will act as a counterpoise to luft, and intemperance, whilft vanity on the other hand will check avarice ; fear will keep a bad man honest, and pride will sometimes make a coward brave,

Observe the manners of Palpatius in company with his patron; asliduous, humble, obliging; for ever smiling, and so supple and obse.

quious,

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