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Which I believe no Man elected into those illustrious Bodies would, at the Time of Election, think to be an unreasonable Punishment, however he may alter his Opinion afterwards, for sundry and special Reasons him thereunto moving. Now, I fay, if a Train of virtuous and meritorious Actions, which alone could intitle a Man to those Honours, could not be able to protect him from the Infamy due to his Afterdemerit, it seems to be a peculiar Kind of Indulgence to the worthlefe Descendants of honourable Ancestors, who subsist purely upon the original Stock of Family Merit, (which they have been so for from improving that they have done nothing to support it) should yet upon that single Consideration, be screened from the' Infamy due to their own personal Demerit.
That personal Merit is the sole Foundation of Honour is always consessed by those that bestow them and whatever secret Services, or peculiar Kinds of Merit, were the real Ground of their Promotion, yet Forms and Appearances must still be kept up, all the public and private Virtues that can dignify and enoble human Nature are recited in the Body of the Patent, as the only meritorious Demand upon the Royal Fountain of Honour. This, at once, purges, as the Grave buries, all the natural and moral Desects of the Bearer; and the Encomiums in the Patens and the Epitaph are generally in Truth and Substance much the fame. If it should ever happen under a weak or wicked Prince, or a corrupt Minister, (for soch there have been, and may be again in the World,) that the only successful Recommendation to both should be a servile shameless Compliance with the Vices and Follies of a Court, or being thoroughly
dipped in all the dirty Schemes of Avarice and Ambition; if a Person who had no other Kind or Degree of Merit but an absolute Submission to their Commands, or a dexterous Execution of their most infamous Designs, should be rewarded with a Patent, what a glorious Catalogue of sublime Virtues, consummate Abilities, and heroic Actions would be crowded together to fill it up, and stuff out the solemn Farce of titular Greatness, to illustrate the Reason of the Grant, the Merit of the Receiver, and Justice and Favour of the Giver? Such the Satyrist tells us was once the State of Merit and Reward in antient Rome.
Me crucem feeler is pretium tulit, hie Diadema.
The same Villany that raised one Rogue to a Gibbet,
raised another to a It must indeed be allowed that
this was in a Heathen Country, and can never be suspected to happen in a Christian Nation; but if it should be possible for Christians to turn Heathens, as Heathens have turned Christians, the fame Thing might perhaps happen again; and, in such a Case, all the Titles, Coronets, and Ribbands in the Universe could no more cure the moral Desects of such a Character than they could a wry Neck, a hump Back, a leprous Skin, or a rotten Constitution, though perhaps it might answer all the popular Notions and Purposes of Honour, more than the Integrity of a Saint, or the Knowledge of an Angel. The Bulk of Mankind, qui jiupet in titulis & imaginibus, are caught by Noise and Shew. The pompous Sound of Titles and Glitter of Ornaments strike their Senses, attract their Atten
trori; raise their Admiration, and extort from them all that Reverence and Regard, that are due ordy to eminent and distinguished Merit; while real Virtue and true Honour pass silently through the World, tmheeded* and unrewarded, but by the happy discerning Few, who are sensible of its Merit, or injoy the blessed Communications of its Influence.
When the glorious Spirits, whom Providence has appointed to be our Guardians and Protectors in this present State of Impersection and Probation, survey the disordered State of human Nature, agitated by blind Passions, prejudiced by false Opinions, into erroneous Conclusions and wild Pursuits, they view us with the fame Light, and with the fame Emotions of Compassion and Charity, as Monroe did his Lunatic Patients in Bedlam, who mifcal and mifapply almost every Instance in which their Duty and Happiness is concerned. To those blessed Intelligences the silent- Life of a ge■serous, compassionate, beneficent Man is more truly honourable, than the Pageantry of Princes,- the Pomp ©f Conquerors, and all the glorious Impertinence of State. To them an obscure good Man, doing secret Acts- of Charity, relieving the Distressed,- comforting the Miserable, and approving himself by Habits of Piety and' Devotion to the great Author of his Being, appears more truly glorious than the Conqueror at die Head of an hundred thoufand Men. To them she Man of Ross appears in a fairer Light in the Book ofRemembrance, and will-make a much more illustrious Figure at the last great Day than Alexander or G<ejarf or William the Conqueror, though a Christian. For my own Part, when I consider the Bulk of Military Heroes, the Conquerors of Nations who stand
foremost in the Lists of Fame, I esteem them no better than so many glorious Robbers, and illustrious Plunderers, born to be the Scourges and Plagues of Mankind, whose Memory descends to Posterity in no better Light than the Ravage of a Pestilence, the Sweep of an Inundation, the Burst of an Earthquake, or the Fury of a Conflagration; something magnificently dreadful, something very astonishing, but very shocking, full of Terror and big with Destruction: But to do. Good, to be Lovers of Mankind, to alleviate the Distresses-, and promote the Peace and Happiness of bur Fellow-Creatures, is the highest Honour, the noblest Ambition, that can enter into the Heart of Man. But the Bulk of Mankind judge quite otherwife. Noise and Shew, Title and Equipage, Glitter and Grandeur constitute the whole Idea of Honour; and whoever can command an Interest sussicient to procure, and an Affluence sussicient to support them, becomes thereby not only a Man of Honour, but even a subordinate Fountain of Honour, enabled to produce others aster his Kind,- and propagate the honourableSpecies from Generation to Generation.
From what has been faid, there appears to be a real and necessary Distinction betwixt a Man of Honouri and a Person of Honour, which, notwithstanding the Similitude of Sounds, and the seeming Assinity of Characters, are so far from being convertible Terms, that they convey quite distinct Ideas, and are very often as different as Light from Darkness. The Man of Honour is an Internal, the Person of Honour an External, the one a real, the other a fictitious, Character. The Words Person and Persona are generally viewed in that Light. No body imagines that the Dramatis Persona are real Characters, but bor* rowed Representations of Princes or Peafants, Heroes or Lovers, Harlequins or Philosophers. I am therefore never surprised to see or hear such Things attempted, faid, or done, by a Person of Honour, which a Man of Honour would blush to think of. Would you sec this Opposition of Characters, set in a true beautiful Light, please to read the famous Speech of Caius Marius (recorded by Sallust) to the Roman People upon his being chosen Commander in Chief in the Expedition against Juguriha.
A Person of Honour may be a propbane irreligious Libertine, a penurious, proud, revengeful Coward, may insult his Inseriors, oppress his Tenants and Servants, debauch his Neighbours Wives or Daughters, defraud his Creditors, and prostitute his public Faith for a Protection, may associate with Sots and Drunkards, Sharpers, and Gamesters, in order to increase his Fortune: I fay, it is not impossible that a Person of Honour may be guilty of all these; but it is absolutely impossible for a Man of Honour to be guilty of either.
Lucilius is a Man of Honour, though not——
His Estate honourably raised by his virtuous Ancestors, and improved by himself, is sussicient to support a handsome Figure, which he does with a decent Frugality; and to do a great deal of Good, which he does with Chearfulncss, Generosity, and Prudence. In all his Commerce with Mankind, in every Article os public or private Lise, he exerts a peculiar Dig