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fome, or all of which causes, it happens, that the character of men, like the histories of the Egyptians, are to be received and read with caution;—they are generally dreffed out and disfigured with so many dreams and fables, that every ordinary reader shall not be able to diftinguish truth from falsehood.-But allowing these reflections to be too severe in this matter,—that no such thing as envý ever lefsened a man's character, or malice blackened it;--ýet the characters of men are not easily penetrated, as they depend often upon the retired, unseen parts of a man's life.—The best and truest piety is most secret, and the worst of actions, for different reasons, will be fo too. Some men are modest, and seem to take pains to hide their virtues; and from a natural distance and reserve in their tempers, scarce fuffer their good qualities to be known :-others, on the contrary, put in practice a thousand little arts to counterfeit virtues which they háve not, the better to conceal those vices which they really have ;--and this under fair shews of fanctity, good-nature, generosity, or fome virtue or other too fpecious to be seen through,--too amiable and disinterested to be suspected.—These hints may be sufficient to shew how hard it is to come at the matter of fa&t:—but one may go a step further,—and say, that even that, in many cases, could we come to the knowlege of it, is not sufficient by itself to pronounce a man either good or bad. -There are numbers of circumstances which attend every action of a man's life, which can never come to the knowlege of the world, yet ought to be known, and well weighed, before sentence with any justice can be passed upon him.-A man may have different views and a different sense of things from what his judges have; and what he understands and feels, and what passes within him may be a secret treasured up deeply there for ever.-A man, through bodily infirmity, or some complectional defect, which perhaps is not in his power to correct, -may be subject to inadvertencies,

to starts—and unhappy turns of temper; he may


to snares he is not always aware of; or, through ignorance and want of information and proper helps, he may labour in the dark:-in all which cases, he may do

many things which are wrong in themselves, and yet be innocent;—at least an object rather to be pitied than censured with severity and ill-will.—These are difficulties which stand in every one's way in the forming a judgment of the characters of others.-But, for once, let us suppose them all to be got over, so that we could see the bottom of every man's heart ;let us allow that the word rogue, or honest man, was wrote so legibly in every man's face, that no one could poflibly mistake it ;-yet still the happiness of both the one and the other, which is the only fact that can bring the charge home, is what we have fo little certain knowlege of,--that, bating some flagrant instances,whenever we venture to pronounce upon it, our decisions are little more than random guesses.- For who can search the heart of man?-it is treacherous even to ourfelves, and much more likely to impose upon others.--Even in laughter (if you will believe Solomon) the heart is sorrowful;—the mind fits drooping whilst the countenance is gay :and even he, who is the object of envy to those who look no further than the surface of his estate,-may appear at the same time worthy of compassion to those who know his private receffes.-Besides this, a man's unhappiness is

not to be ascertained so much from what is • known to have befallen him,--as from his par

ticular turn and cast of mind, and capacity of bearing it.-Poverty, exile, lofs of fame or friends, the death of children, the dearest of all pledges of a man's happiness, make not equal impreflions upon every temper.-You will see one man undergo, with scarce the expence of a figh, what another, in the bitterness of his foul, would go mourning for all his life long:-nay, a haity word, or an unkind look, to a soft and tender nature, will strike deeper than a sword to the hardened and senfeless.If these reflections hold true with regard to misfortunes—they are the same with regard to enjoyments :--we are formed differently, have different tastes and perceptions of things;

- by the force of habit, education, or a particular cast of mind,—it happens that neither the use or possession of the same enjoyments and advantages, produce the same happiness and contentment;—but that it differs in every


man almost according to his temper and complection :-so that the self-fame happy accidents in life, which shall give raptures to the choleric or sanguine man, shall be received with indifference by the cold and phlegmatic;and so oddly perplexed are the accounts of both human happiness and misery in this world, -that trifles, light as air, shall be able to make the hearts of some men sing for joy ;at the same time that others, with real blesfings and advantages, without the power of using them, have their hearts heavy and difcontented.

Alas! if the principles of contentment are not within us-the height of station and worldly grandeur will as soon add a cubit to a man's ftature as to his happiness.

This will suggest to us how little a way we have gone towards the proof of any man's happiness,-in barely saying,-Lo! this man prospers in the world, and this man has riches in possession.

When a man has got much above us, we take it for granted--that he sees some glorious prospects, and feels fone mighty pleasures

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