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If this is a man of pleasure, what is a man of pain ? How quick, how total, is the transit of such persons ! In what a dismal gloom they set forever! How short, alas! the day of their rejoicing !--For a moment they glitter—they dazzle! In a moment, where are they? Oblivion covers their meniories. Ah! would it did ! Infamy snatches them from oblivion. In the long living annals of infamy their triumphs are recorded. Thy sufferings, poor Altamont! still bleed in the bosom of the heart stricken friend-for Altamont had a friend. He might have had many. His transient morning might have been the dawn of an inmortal day. His name might have been gloriously enrolled in the records of eternity. His menory might have left a sweet fragrance behind it, grateful to the surviving friend, salutary to the sueeeeding generation. With what capacity was he endow. ed? With what advantages for being greatly good! But, with the talents of an angel, a man may be a fool. If lie judges amiss in the supreme point, judging right in all else, but aggravates his folly; as it shows him wrong, though blessed with the best capacity of being right.
DEMOCRITUS AND HERACLITUS.* The Vices and Follies of Men should excite Compassion rath
er than Ridicule. Democritus. I FIND it impossible to reconcile myself to a melancholy philosophy,
Heraclitus. And I am equally unable to approve of that vain philosophy, which teaches men to despise and ridicule one another. To a wise and feeling mind, the world appears in a wretched and painful light.
Dem. Thou art too much affected with the state of things, and this is a source of misery to thee.
ller. And I think thou art too little moved by it. Thy mirth and ridicule bespeak the buffoon, rather than the philosopher. Does it not excite thy compassion, to see mankind so frail, so blind, so far departed from the rules of virtue ?
* Democritus and Heraclitus were two ancient philosophers, the former of whom laughed, and the latter wept, at the errors and follies of mankind.
Dem. I am excited to laughter, when I see so much impertinence and folly.
Her. And yet, after all, they who are the objects of thy ridicule, include, not only mankind in general, but the persons with whom thou livest, thy friends, thy family; nay, even thyself.
Dem. I care very little for all the silly persons I meet with: and think I am justifiable in diverting myself with their folly.
Her. If they are weak and foolish, it marks neither wislom nor humanity, to insult rather than pity them : But is it certain, that thou art not as extravagant as they are ?
Dem. I presume that I am not : since in every point, my sentiments are the very reverse of theirs.
Her. There are follies of different kinds. By constantly amusing thiyself with the errors and misconduct of others, thou mayest reuder thyself equally ridiculous and culpable.
Dem. Thou art at liberty to indulge such sentiments ; and to weep over me too, if thou hast any tears to spare. For my part, I cannot refrain from pleasing myself with the evities and ill conduct of the world about me. Are not al snen foolish or irregular in their lives ?
Her. Alas! there is but too inuch reason to believe, they are so: and on this ground, I pity and deplore their condition. We agree in this point, that men do not conduct themselves according to reasonable and just principles : but 1, who do not suffer myself to act as they do, must yet regard the dictates of my understanding and feelings, which compel me to love them; and that love fills me with compassion for their mistakes and irregularities. Canst thou condemn me for pitying my own species, my brethren, persons born in the same condition of life, and destined to the same hopes and privileges ? If thou shaaldst enter a hospital
, where sick and wounded persons reside, would their woundsand distresses exeite thy mirth ? And yet, the evils of the body bear no comparison with those of the mind. Thou wouldst certainly blush at thy barbarity, if thou hadst been so unfeeling, as to laugh at or despise a miserable being who had lost one of his legs: and yet thou art so destitute of humanity, as to ridicule those who appear to be depriyed. of the noble powers of the understanding, by the litile regard which they pay to its dictates.
Den. He who hast lost a leg is to be pitied, because the oss is not to be imputed to himself: but he who rejects the
dietates of reason and conscience, voluntarily deprives himself of their aid. The loss originates in his own folly.
Her. Ah! so much the more is he to be pitied! A furious maniac, who should pluck out his own eyes, would de serve more compassion than an ordinary blind man.
Dem. Come, let us accommodate the business. There is something to be said on each side of the question. There is every where reason for laughing, and reason for weeping. The world is ridiculous, and I laugh at it; it is deplorable, and thou lamentest over it. Every person views it in his own way, and according to his own temper. One point is unquestionable, that mankind are preposterous; to think : right, and to act well, we must think and act differently from them: To submit to the authority, and follow the ex ample of the greater part of men, would render us foolishi and miserable.
Her. All this is, indeed, true; but then, thou hast no real love or feeling for thy species. The calamities of mankin excite thy mirth : and this proves that thou hast 10 regar for men, nor any true respect for the virtues which they have unhappily abandoned. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray.
SECTION 11. DIONYSIUS, PYTHIAS, AND DAMON. Genuine Virtue commands Respect, even from the bad. Dionysius. AMAZING! What do I see? It is Pythias just arrived. It is indeed Pythias. I did not think it possible He is come lo die, and redeem his friend !
Pythias. Yes, it is Pythias. I left the place of my con: finement, with no other views than to pay to Heaven the vows I had made; to settle my family concerns according to the rules of justice ; and to bid adieu to my children, that I might die tranquil and satisfied.
Dio. But why dost thou return? Hast thou no fear of: death ? Is it not the character of a madman, to seek it thus voluntarily?
Py. I return to suffer, though I have not deserved death, Every principle of honour and goodness, forbids me to allow my friend to die for me.
Dio. Dost thou then, love him better than thyself?
Py. No; I love him as myself. But I am persuaded that I ought to suffer death, rather than my friend ; since it was Pythias whom thou hadst decreed to die. It were not just Uhrt Damon should suffer, to deliver me from the death which was designed, not for him, but for me only.
Dio. But thou supposest,that it is as unjust to infliet death upon thee, as upon thy friend.
Py. Very true; we are both perfectly innocent; and it equally, unjust to make either of us suffer.
Dio. Why dost thou then assert, that it were injustics to put him to death, instead of thee ?
Py. It is unjust, in the same degree, to inflict death, either on Damon or on myself; but Pythias were highly eulpable to let Damon suffer that death, which the tyrant had pre pared for Pythias only.
Dio. Dost thou then return hither, on the day appointed with no other view, than to save the life of a friend, by losing ihy own
Py. I return in regard to thee, to suffer an act of injus tice which it is common for tyrants to inflict; and, with respect to Damon, to perform my duty, by rescuing bin from the danger he incurred by his generosity to me.
Dio. And now, Damon, let me address myself to thee. Didst thou not really fear, that Pythias would never return; and that thou wouldst be put to death on his account?
Da. I was but too well assured, that Pythias would punctually return; and that he would be more solicitous to keep his promise than to preserve his life. Would to Hear: en, that his relations and friends had forcibly detained him! He would then have lived for the comfort and benefit good men; and I should have the satisfaction of dying for
Dio. What! Does life displease thee?
Da. Yes; it displeases me when I see and feel the pow er of a tyrant.
Dio. It is well? Thou shalt see him no more. I will order thee to be put to death immediately.
Py. Pardon the feelings of a man who sympathises with his dying friend. But remember it was Pythias who was devried hy thee to destruction. I come to submit to it, tist redeem
friend. Do not refuse me this consolation in my last hour.
Dio. I cannot endure men, who despise death, and set my power at defiance.
Da. Tliou canst not, then, endure virtue.
Dio. No: I cannot endure that proud, disdainful virtue, which contemnns life ; which dreads no punishment; and which is insensible to the charms of riches and pleasure.
Da. Thou seest, however, that it is a virtue, which is not insensible to the dictates of honour, justice and friendship
Dio. Guards, take Pythias to execution. We shall see whether Damon will continue to despise my authority.
Da. Pythias, by returning to submit himself to thy pleasure, has inerited his life, and deserved thy favour ; but I have excited thy indignation, by resigning myself to thy power, in order to save hin: be satisfied, then, with this sacrifice, and put me to death.
Py. Hold, Dionysius ! remember, it was Pythias, alone : who offended thee: Damon could not.
Dio. Alas! what do I see and hear! where am I! How miserable; and how worthy to be so! I have hitherto known nothing of true virtue. I have spent my life in darkness and )
my power and honours are insufficient to produce love. I cannot boast of having acquired a single friend, in the course of a reign of thirty years. And yet these two persons, in a private condition, love one another tenderly, unre. servedly confide in each other, are mutually happy, and ready to die for each other's preservation.
Py. How couldst thou, who hast never loved any person, expect to have friends ? If thou hadst loved and respected men, thou wouldst have secured their love and respect. Thou hast feared mankind ; and they fear thee; they detest thee.
Dio. Damon, Pýthias, condescend to admit me as a third friend in a connexion so perfect. I give you your lives; and I will load you with riches.
Da. We have no desire to be enriched by thee; and, in regard to thy friendship, we cannot accept or enjoy it, till thou become good and just. Without these qualities, thou canst be connected with none but trembling slaves and base flatterers. To be loved and esteemed by men of free and generous minds, thou must be virtuous, affectionate, disinterested, beneficenta and know how to live in a sort of equality with those who share and deserve thy friendship. Fenelon,Archbishop of Cambrau.
SECTION III. .
LOCKE AND BAYLE.
Christianity Defended against the Cavils of Scepticism. Bayle. Yes, we both were philosophers; but my philosophy was the deepest. You dogmatized: 1 doubted.
Locke. Do you make doubting a proof of depth in philosophy ? It may be a good beginning of it; but it is a bad end.
Bay. No: the more profound our researches are into the nature of things, the more uncertainty we shall find ; and the most subtle minds see objections and difficulties in eve