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friends and dependants from becoming yours ; — let your enemies be disarmed by the gentleness of your manner, but let them feel, at the same time, the steadiness of your just resentment; for there is a great difference between bearing malice, which is always ungenerous, and a resolute self-defener, which is always prudent and justifiable.
13. I conclude with this observation, That gentleness of manners, with firmness of mind, is a short but full description of human perfection, on this side of religious and moral duties.
LESSON XCIX. Desire of the Happiness of Others. — Dr. Thomas Brown.*
1. It is the desire of the happiness of those whom we love which gives to the emotion of love itself its principal delight, by affording to us constant means of gratification. He vvho truly wishes the happiness of any one, cannot be long without discovering some mode of contributing to it.
2. Reason itself, with all its light, is not so rapid, in dis? coveries of this sort, as simple Affection, which sees means of happiness, and of important happiness, where Reason scarcely could think that any happiness was to be found; and has, already, by many kind offices, produced the happiness of hours, before Reason could have suspected that means so slight could have given even a moment's pleasure.
3. It is this, indeed, which contributes in no inconsiderable degree to the perpetuity of affection. Love, the mere feeling of tender admiration, would, in many cases, have soon lost its power over the fickle heart, and in many other cases would have had its power greatly lessened, if the desire of giving happiness, and the innumerable little courtesies and cares to which this desire gives birth, had not thus in a great measure diffused over a single passion the variety of many emotions.
4. The love itself seems new at every moment, because there is every moment some new wish of love that admits of being-gratified; or rather it is at once, by the most delightful of all combinations, new, in the tender wishes and cares with
which it occupies us, and familiar to us, and endeared the more by the remembrance of hours and years of well-known happiness.
Causes of Weakness in Men's Understandings. —Locke.
1. Besides the want of determined ideas, and of sagacity and exercise in finding out and laying in order intermediate ideas, there are three miscarriages that men are guilty of in reference to their reason, whereby this faculty is hindered in them from that service it might do, and was designed for. And he that reflects upon the actions and discourses of mankind, will find their defects in this kind very frequent and very observable.
2. The first is of those who seldom reason at all, but do. and think according to the example of others, whether parents, neighbors, ministers, or who else they are pleased to make choice of to have an implicit faith in, for the saving of themselves the pains and trouble of thinking and examining for themselves.
3. The second is of those who put passion in the place of reason, and being resolved that shall govern their actions and arguments, neither use their own, nor hearken to other people's reason, any further than it suits their humor, interest, or party; and these, one may observe, commonly content themselves with words which have no distinct ideas to them, though in other matters, that they come with an unbiased indifferency to, they want not abilities to talk and hear reason, where they have no secret inclination that hinders them from being untractable to it.
4. The third sort is of those who readily and sincerely follow reason, but, for want of having that which one may call large, sound, round-about sense, have not a full view of all that relates to the question, and may be of moment to decide it. We are all short-sighted, and very often see but one side of a matter; our views are not extended to all that has a connection with it.
5. From this defect I think no man is free. We see but in part, and we know but in part, and therefore it is no gander we conclude not right from our partial views. This might instruct the proudest esteemer of his own parts how useful it is to talk and consult with others, even such as came^short with-him in capacity, quickness, and penetration; for, since no one sees all, and we generally have different prospects of the same thing, according to our different, as I may say, positions to it, it is not incongruous to think, nor beneath any man to try, whether another may not have notions of things which have escaped him, and which his reason would make use of, if they came into his mind.
6. The faculty of reasoning seldom or never deceives those who trust to it; its consequences from what it builds on are evident .and certain: but that which it oftenest, if not only, misleads us in, is, that the principles from which we conclude, the grounds upon which we bottom our reasoning, are but a part; something is left out which should go into the reckoning, to make it just and exact. * * *
7. In this we may see the reason why some men of study and thought, that reason right, and are lovers of truth, do make no great advances in their discoveries of it. Error and truth are uncertainly blended in their minds, their decisions are lame and defective, and they are. Very often mistaken in their judgments.
8. The reason whereof is, they converse but with one sort of men, they read but one sort of books, they will not come in the hearing but of one sort of notions; the truth is, they canton out to themselves a little Goshen in the intellectual world, where light shines, and, as they conclude, day blesses them; but the rest of that vast expansum they give up to night and darkness, and so avoid coming near it.
9. They have a petty traffic with known correspondents in some little creek; within that they confine themselves, and are dexterous managers enough of the wares and products of that corner with which they content themselves; but will not venture out into the great ocean of knowledge, to survey the riches that Nature hath stored other parts with, no less genuine, no less solid, no less useful, than what has fallen to their lot in the admired plenty and sufficiency of their own little spot, which to them contains whatsoever is good in the universe.
10. Those who live thus mewed up within their own contracted territories, and will not look abroad beyond the boundaries that chance, conceit, or laziness, has set to their inquiries, but live separate from the notions, discourses and attainments, of the rest of mankind, may not amiss be represented by the inhabitants of the Marian islands, which, being separated by a large tract of sea from all communion with the habitable parts of the earth, thought themselves the only people of the world.
11. And though the straitness and conveniences of life amongst them had never reached so far as to the use of fire, till the Spaniards, not many years since, in their voyages from Acapulco to Manilla, brought it amongst them, yet, in the want and ignorance of almost all things, they looked upon themselves, even after that.the Spaniards had brought amongst them the noticeof a varietyof nations, abounding in sciences, arts, and conveniences of life, of which they knewvnothing, — they looked upon themselves, I say, as the happiest and wisest people in the universe.
Matrimonial Happi?iess.—* Lady Mary Wortley Montagce.
- 1. If we marry, our happiness must consist in loving one another; it is principally my concern to think of the most probable method of making that love eternal. You object against living in the city; I am not fond of it myself, and readily give it up to you, though I am assured there needs more art to keep a fondness alive, in solitude, where it generally preys upon itself.
2. There is one article absolutely necessary — to be ever beloved, one must be ever agreeable. There is no such thing as being agreeable, without a thorough good humor, a natural sweetness of temper, enlivened by cheerfulness. Whatever natural funds of gayety one is born with, it is necessary to be entertained with agreeable objects.
3. Anybody capable of tasting pleasure, when he confines himself to one place, should take care it is the place in the world the most agreeable. Whatever you may now think (now, perhaps, you have some fondness for me), though your love should continue in its full force, there are hours when the most beloved mistress would be troublesome.
A. People are not forever (nor is it human nature that they should be) disposed to be fond; you would be glad to find in me the friend and the companion. To be agreeably the last, it is necessary to be gay and entertaining. A perpetual solitude, in a place where you see nothing to raise your
* A tew sentences in this Lesson might be .improved, did the author feel at liberty to make any alterations from the original pieces.
spirits, at length wears them out, and conversation insensibly falls into dull "and insipid.
-5. When I have no more to say to you, you will like me no longer. How dreadful is that view! You will reflect, for my sake, you have abandoned the conversation of a friond that you liked, and your situation in a country where all things would have contributed to make your life pass in a smooth tranquillity. I shall lose the vivacity which should entertain you, and you will have nothing to recompense you for what you have lost.
6. Very few people that have settled entirely in the country, but have grown at length weary of one another. The lady's conversation generally falls into a thousand impertinent effects of idleness; and the gentleman falls in love with his dogs and his horses, and out of love with everything else.
7. I am not now arguing in favor of the town; you have answered me as to that point. In respect of your health, it is the first thing to be considered, and I shall never ask you to do anything injurious to that. But, it is my opinion, it is neeessary to be happy, that we neither of us think any place more agreeable than that where we are.
Duke. Go and make you ready.
Juliana. I take no pleasure in these rural sports.
Duke. Then you shall go to please your husband. Hold! I '11 have no glittering gewgaws stuck about you, To stretch the gaping eyes of idiot wonder, And make men stare upon a piece of earth As on the star-wrought firmament, — " no feathers To wave as streamers to your vanity, — Nor cumbrous silk, that with its rustling sound Makes proud the flesh that bears it." She's adorned Amply, that in her husband's eye looks lovely, — The truest mirror that an honest wife Can see her beauty in!
Jul. I shall observe, sir.
Duke. I should like to see you in the dress I last presented you.