صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

count of Moliere's life, we find that as he once crossed the Seine, along with his company of comedians; a learned dehate arose among the principal actors. In the heat of the dispute, they frequently appealed to a monk, who happened to be in the boat. The monk had a venerable aspect, and held his tongue; whence they thought, that by nodding his head, and wrinkling his brow, he either approved or disapproved of their arguments. This reserved gravity so heightened their opi. nion, that they looked upon him as too acute a philosopher, to engage in the dispute. Their esteem continued till the boat landed, when they saw the monk take up his wallet, and throw it across his shoulders: by which they found he was only a lay brother, whose office is that of a carrier, to fetch in provisions for the cloister.-Ibid.

· LXIV. The Sanction of Great Names.-Great names have con. tributed to render customs venerable. It was a sufficient sanction to an ancient Greek or Roman, if a philosopher of his own sect had delivered an opinion upon the case. The like weakness has prevailed among Christians, with regard to the fathers, whose opinions have been looked upon as oracles, though we discover various errors in their morality. Clemens Alexandrinus holds the eating of white bread unlawful; forbids music and singing; declares that the wearing of different coloured clothes is a sign of falsehood, &c, Lactantius condemns all going to war, even for self defence; and does not allow of putting out money to interest.-Ibid.

LXV. Religion.-Every one has a right belonging to man, and a natural power to worship that which he shall think

right; nor is any one injured or benefited by the religion of another. Nor is it any part of religion to force religion, which ought to be taken up spontaneously, not by force.-Tertullian.

LXVI. The effect of Fear as a Moral Agent -The fear of punishment may certainly produce sorrow and penitence. Strong apprehensions of future evil, coinciding with present distress, may force men into a change of conduct; and the satisfaction arising from the change may induce them to persevere a sufficient time to prevent a relapse: but this is barely a possibility. Fear produces only temporary effects-it produces a species of sorrow, and occasions restraint, but never influences the inclination or habit. Three vices incident to ill-educated youth are, falsehood, intrigue, and dishonesty respecting property, and which may often be discovered to have arisen from the restraints of poverty, or the injudicious authority of parents and instructers. The power of the laws over poverty, or of austere parents and tutors over children, may impress fear or terror, without materially affecting the vicious dispositions which are gratified by deceit. The first practices of youth are the first efficient lessons of their education; their first sufferings inure their minds to pain and punishment; and they gradually improve in fortitude and callousness, until their virtues or vices be established in habits. This may account for the risks they run without apprehension, or the celerity with which they recover from circumstances of shame and humiliation. It is commonly observed, that the vices of lying, intrigue, and fraud, are incurable. We generally have recourse to power and terror, which are the sources of the evils; and if they do not frighten a man out of the vice, and deprive him of the inclination to return to it, they blunt his sen. sibility, improve his artifice, and secure him in its practice. Severity of punishment increases that meanness which is the origin of deceit, induces greater caution in future attempts, and occasions improvements in the secret practice of vice. The best effect ever produced by such means is the acquisition of outward decency in the operations of vice; the fear of pain or reproach having given them cau. tion and dexterity in the practice of vice.-- Anon.

LXVII. Sympathy between the Mental and Physical Constitutions.—The subjection of mental feelings to corporal inHuences is a humiliating doctrinc, but is nevertheless a sound one; the stomach, is a more faithful barometer of the changes in human temperature than we are always disposed to admit.-Lubrications of Major Rapelin. .**r 'n

" 'LXVIII. Of Governments.-Reason and ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself, and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. The two modes of government which prevail in the world, are, first, government by election and representation-secondly, government by hereditary succession. The former is generally known by the name of republic, and the second by that of monarchy or aristocracy-those two distinct and opposite forms, erect them. selves on the two distinct and opposite bases of reason and ignorance. As the exercise of government requires talents

and as talents cannot have hereditary descent, it is evi. dent that hereditary succession requires a belief from man to which his reason cannot subscribe, and which can only be established on his ignorance; and the more ignorant any country is, the better it is fitted for this species of government. On the contrary, government in a well regulated republic, requires no belief beyond what his own reason can give. He sees the rationale of the whole sys. tem, its origin, and its operation; and it is best supported when it is best understood.

LXIX. Death.Men fear death, as children fear the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by frightful tales, so is the other. Groans, convulsions, weeping friends, and the like, show death terrible; yet there is no passion so weak but conquers the fear of it, and therefore death is not such a terrible enemy. Revenge triumphs over death, love slights it, honour aspires to it, dread of shame prefers it, grief flies to it, and fear anticipates it.Lord Bacon.

[ocr errors]

Gifts.—Its kind, its value, and appearance; the silence or the pomp that attends it; the style in which it reaches us may decide the dignity or vulgarity of the giver.Rev. J. Lavater.

LXXI. Man's Free Agency. Even your free-willers admit the connexion between cause and effect--they admit such a determination, such a direction, such a course, for instance that a human being may fall into ; but then, they say, we have of ourselves the power to get into this direction, into

such a new course. This, I say, is atheistical, for it sets God aside, and nullifies his power; it destroyeth the ex. act sciences; for a cardinal mathematical proposition is, that the minor is contained in the major: finite intelli. gence, then, is contained in infinite. How then can finite intelligence run contrary to infinite ?-Maltravers.

LXXII. On Friendship.—The world are so busied with selfish pursuits, ambition, vanity, interest, or pleasure, that very few think it worth their while to make any observation on what passes around them, except where that observation is the branch or sucker of the darling plant they are rearing in their fancy. Nor am I sure that, notwithstanding all the sentimental flights of novel writers, and the sage philosophy of moralists, whether we are capable of so intimate and cordial a coalition of friendship as, that one man may pour out his bosom-his every thought and floating fancy-his very inmost soul, with unreserved con. fidence to another, without hazard of losing part of that respect which man deserves from man; or, from the un. avoidable imperfections attending human nature-of onc day repenting his confidence.—Burn.

LXXIII. Unsociable Tempers.Unsociable tempers are con. tracted in solitude, which will in the end not fail of cor. rupting the understanding as well as the manners, and of utterly disqualifying a man for the satisfactions and duties of life. Men must be taken as they are, and we neither make them nor ourselves better, by flying from or quarralling with them.--Burke.

VOL. 1.-4

« السابقةمتابعة »