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lightened by Faith, and animated by Charity; and it is really a mortifying Thought, to consider, how seldom a clear rational Head, and an honest upright Heart meet together. I have often reflected, with Grief and Pity, upon several eminent Characters, both among the Living and the Dead; Persons blested with superior Talents, great intellectual Abilities, Men that could reason, compute, and inser, and draw rational Conclusions, who yet employed them to no better Purpose than to contrive and execute the base ungenerous Designs of a covetous, proud, ambitious ^leart; who, whilst they were capable of advising and assisting the Helpless, the Ignorant, and Unknowing, in the fraudulent Ways of this crooked World, yet have not Honesty enough to advise you for your Interest, if they could mislead you, in order to improve their own, and make your Ignorance and Credulity a Step to their own Promotion, and the Advancement of their Fortunes. Hence you too often see, in almost all Societies, even of learned Men (I wish I could except the most sacred!) from the Conclave, down to the Governors of a petty GrammarSchool, as much Artifice, Intrigue, Chicane, and
as in a poor little Country Corporation. In
short, we may pronounce, as the Apostle did upon another Occasion, All Men seek their Own. All that Sincerity, Generosity, Charity, and public Spirit, which are inseparable from great and noble Minds, are buried under the low Views, the sordid Designs, the selfish ambitious Schemes, of corrupt ungenerous Hearts. There is nothing more frequent, nor more to be lamented, than to see the greatest Patrons, Ecclesiastical as well as Civil, betrayed by their too great Confidence in the treacherous Prosessions and
Pretences Pretences of selfish and designing Favourites, into such unworthy Promotions, as their own generous Hearts, if not deceived, would abhor; whilst Men of equal or superior Merit, are neglected or discouraged, for sear they should stand in the way, and obstruct the covetous or ambitious Views of the reigning Favourite.
I am led into this Way of Thinking, by the Remembrance of my own particular Sufferings, which, though I have long ago forgiven, I mail never forget. Give me leave to tell you my own Story, which I fliall make as short as I can. At my first setting out from the University to try my Fortune among other Adventurers in the great Lottery of the World, I had the good Fortune to be well recommended to three eminent Persons in Town. They quickly agreed to present me to a certain great Minister and Patron, who received me in a Manner, as much exceeding my Expectations as my Desert, and dismissed me with strong Assurances of his Favour. A favourite Domestic, who was a kind ot Premier in the Family, who really wanted nothing but an honest Heart to make him truly a Great Man, congratulated me upon the kind Reception I had met with, and promised to improve every Opportunity of promoting my Interest. I departed, well fatisfied that my Fortune was made, that I had nothing more to do but to qualify myself for future Favours, by endeavouring to deserve them. Accordingly, I retired to my Studies, and was, in my own Imagination, possesied of every thing that could make my future Lise happy: It was not long before a Vacancy happened, which my Friends immediately concluded would just answer my reasonable Expectations, and determined to wait upon his Lordship,
and and beg it for me. They were received by my worthy Friend, who had promised to be my Advocate, and were told, that his Lordship was at present engaged, but he would watch a proper Opportunity of recommending me in such a Manner, that he could scarce doubt of Success. Upon the first Insormation, I hastened to Town, to wait upon my Patron, and acknowledge his Favour; but, to my great Surprize, I found it had been given away, the Day before, to another, upon the sole Recommendation of my very worthy and learned Friend, upon whose Assurances I had so heartily depended. However, I rallied up all the Philosophy I was Master of, and, like the Honest Man in the Oxford Jesis, determined, since I could not get a Place in Town, to take one in the Stage-Coach, and leave the treacherous and cunning Seekers of this World to scramble and divide its Favours among them. Accordingly I retired to my little Patrimony, where I have lain many Years buried among the Ignorant and the Merry, the Noisy and the Loud; neglected and forgotten by all, but Him that made me. I am so much a Philosopher and a Christian, as freely to forgive my very worthy Friend for falling into the Ways of the fashionable World, in which his Ambition tempted him, and his Talents enabled him, to appear to Advantage; but had I been in his Case, and he in mine, I think I could never have forgiven myself such treacherous inhuman Behaviour to an open-hearted, undesigning Person, whom I had encouraged to depend upon my Assistance, only that I might have an Opportunity to difappoint and betray him.
I had not mentioned this Story of my departed Friend, (Rest and Peace to his Soul!) but as a friendly Admonition to the Living, who may be tempted by the fame corrupt Views, in like Circumstances, to fall into the (ame indirect Practices. Insincerity, even among the Insincere, even in Courts and High Places,. is condemned as detestable by those who practise it, but as horrid and execrable by those who suffer by it.— Not to distinguish a Man of real Merit, is a Mark of Ignorance; not to preser such a Man, in my Judgment and Esteem, shews a Meanness of Soul; not to endeavour to procure him the Rewards of such Merit, when I have it in my Power to do it, is an Argument of an indolent, selfish, or envious Spirit; to refuse him my best Assistance, when he humbly craves it, is inhuman, ungenerous, and dishonourable. But if, unasked and unsought, I offer my Assistance, and pretend to serve him; if my insincere Professions of Friendship betray him into an unhappy Dependence upon me, and a Neglect of other Applications, which might have been made with better Success; if I improve his unhappy Security into an Occasion of betraying htm, whilst I pretend to serve him: If, not content with this, I should Jesuit the unhappy Sufferer, make a Jest of his Credulity, and expose him to the Ridicule of others— I should abhor myself, and think I deferved to be kicked out of the Creation.
AS my Hopes and Fears for this World are very moderate, I endeavour to pass through it with a philosophical Indifference, rather as a silent and impartial Spectator, than as one that has any real Interest in it, or Concern about it. I often see, with a Mixture of Indignation and Pity, the mean Shifts, the dirty Services, the abject Compliances, that are necessary to engage the Favour of the Great, and make a tolerable Appearance among the Candidates for Wealth and Power. Selfishness, a Narrowness of Soul, and Baseness of Heart, are the bitter Root of this pernicious Evil. Every Man of this Make is his own first Cousin, nearest Relation, and best Friend; and considers his present Portion of Interest, Wealth, and Power, in no other Light than that of an improvable Stock for the the sole Behoof and Benefit of the Proprietor, and therefore turns his whole Attention to Ways and Means of making the faid Improvements. This is his single View; whatever Character he assumes, whatever Prosessions he makes, all terminates in himself. All his Pretensions to Generosity, Friendship, Honour, and public Spirit, are only thin Disguises to conceal the abject Views, and base Designs, of a selfish ungenerous Heart. Those, whom he pretends to honour with his Friendship and Confidence, in his Heart he regards only as so many Tools, or Instruments, necessary for the Execution and Support of this great and important Point, to blow up an immense Bubble of Vanity, and preserve it as long as possible from bursting. This is the true