תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

liity of Behaviour, such as naturally flows from a generous Heart softened by Humanity, elevated by Religion, and directed by Prudence; conscious of none but virtuous Designs, and honourable Intentions; In him you see the sincere Christian, the loyal Subject, the firm Patriot, the indulgent Husband, the tender Father, the faithful Friend, the merciful Land- lord, the compassionate Master, the generous Patron* the unwearied Advocate for the Poor, the Miserable, and Helpless; and in a Word the compleat fine Gentle man. He passes through all the various Scenes of Life like a River flowing with Blessings, conveying Beauty, Riches, and Plenty into every Channel and Country through which it passes.

Clodius is a Person of Honour, a scrubby Branch of an antient and honourable Stock, which for many Years has borne neither Fruit nor Blossom, but projected a noxious baneful Shade around it, where the Sun Beams never enter to chear the Earth, or produce either Food or Flower for Man or Beast. Clodius bears himself high upon account of his honourable Birth and Title, and never fails to exert an aukward ridiculous Superiority whenever he falls in Company with wiser or better Men than himself. But he has heard that 'Humility is a certain Token of good Sense and true Honour, which he is resolved to shew upon proper Occasions, and when the humble Fit comes upon him, he will crack Jokes with his Footmen, get drunk with a Hackney Coachman, and bestow his bodily Favours upon any pretty cleanly Female, without inquiring into her Quality; but he never forgets to resume his Superiority, whenever he is conversing with a Man of real Merit, who cannot reckon

Vox.. I. G se so many honourable Grandfathers as himself- I had once the Honour to meet this extraordinary Person among other Company at a Gentleman's Table, who was the Delight of his Friends, a Blessing to his Neighbourhood, and an Ornament to his Country. In the Course of Converfation, honourable Mention was made of a late noble Lord, who, by a Train of meritorious Services to his Prince and Country, had raised himself from an obscure Birth and Fortune to the Dignity of Peerage. Clodius took sire at once, all his illustrious Blood boiled with Indignation, and he insulted his Memory with all those Expressions of Scorn and Contempt, which Fools of Distinction usually pour out upon their Betters. My Friend had Patience to hear his String of abusive Stories, and scurrilous Reflections, and then replied, Sir, says he, Lord **** was my Friend, and had he been living, you durst not have used him at this rate; and to attack his Memory with reproachful Language is mean and ungenerous, and which I cannot help resenting. The very Reflections you have made upon the Obscurity of his Birth and Fortune, are the highest Compliment you can make to his personal Merit, which, in spite of those Difadvantages, could so effectually recommend him to the Favour of his King and Country. The Advantages of Birth and Fortune, on which you set so immoderate a Value, are no Man's Merit, and are as often the Lot of a Fool as of a wise Man; and whenever that is the Case, they are so far from doing him Honour, that they only serve to make him more egregioufly ridiculous, by setting his Folly in a more conspicuous Point of View. If poor Tray could speak (pointing to a Spaniel that stood by him)

he he might justly boast of a more numerous Train of Ancestors than the greatest Monarch in the Universe; he might add too, that none of them had .ever degenerated from the Dignity of their Kind, or disgraced themselves or their Family by base and unworthy Actions, and yet he would be but a Puppy for all that. Pray, Sir, give me leave to aslc you (what you will think) an odd Question, What do you think of me f Of you, Sir? quoth the Oaf! You are esteemed by all that know you to be as worthy a Gentleman as any in our Country. Sir (faid he) I thank you for the Compliment, and in Return I will let you into a Secret. My Birth was as obscure, and my Fortune as mean as that noble Lord's whom you have been reproaching upon that Account. I was born to no more than the meanest of my Servants, but by God's Blessing on a religious Education, an honest Heart, and a tolerable Understanding, you see I am enabled to support a decent Figure, and do a great deal of Good, which I do with the utmost Gratitude to Almighty God, who has enabled me to do it, and the sincerest Benevolence to my FellowCreatures who are so unhappy as to want it: And I have Vanity enough to think myself no whit inserior to any Man, of what Rank or Quality soever, who has nothing but an Estate and a Title to recommend him.

G 2 LETTER LETTER III.

FROM certain Premises laid down in my two last Letters upon the Subject of Honour, I think I may venture to draw this certain Conclusion, That an irreligious immoral Man, dejtitute of all Sense of Duty and Devotion towards God, and of "Jujtice towards Men3 can never be a Man of Honour.

That Honour, properly so called, arises from a certain Greatness of Mind, exerting itself upon all Occasions with a Propriety and Dignity of Behaviour, I presume, will hardly be denied me: And that lrreligion and Immorality proceed purely from a certain Littleness of Mind, a Meanness of Soul, an Emptiness of Head, and a Baseness of Heart, \ shall endeavour to prove, and leave the honest Reader to judge whether two such Contrarieties can subsist in the fame Subject, much less whether the one can produce the other.

This View of the Case suggests to me, (by the bye) a charitable Ground of Hope for many of our modern Unbelievers, that their poor Souls will fare better at the last, than at present they seem either to desire or deserve; as their Infidelity proceeds purely from a Poverty of Genius, and Shortness of Understanding, we charitably hope, that merciful Abatements will be made on that Account, and that they will be treated rather with the Indulgence due to Blockheads, than the Severity due to obstinate Disobedience and Impenitence; that their irreligious Contempt of Divine Worship will be imputed to

a

a natural Coldness and Heaviness of Soul, which renders them as uncapable of exerting exalted Acts of Piety or Devotion, as of composing an heroic Poem, or a fine Piece of Music; and therefore, like other Idiots, whilst they continue tame and inoffensive, they may be tolerated with proper Restrictions in Civil Societies; but if they grow ungovernable and mischievous, they ought to be laid under proper Restraints and Confinement, that they may neither injure the Properties of private Persons, nor disturb the Peace of the Public.— But to return.

True Greatness of Mind discovers itself in great and extensive Views, and generous Designs, it endeavours to enter into the true Nature of Things, to consider the true State of every momentous Question in a just Light, to procure all possible Means and Assistance to form a right Judgment upon it, and a Fineness of Mind to act agreeably to such practical Conclusions as naturally and clearly flow from them. This is true Greatness of Mind iii the Exercise of its intellectual Faculties.— This was the glorious Character given to the Beraan Jews, Ails xvii. 11. that they were more noble («5*«s-sfoi W>) than those of Tbejfalonica, in that they searched the Scriptures daily, to know whether the Doctrines preached by St. Paul, concerning "Jesus Clmft, as proved from the Writings of the Old Testament, were true or no. The Jews of' Thessaionica, like our modern Unbelievers, being moved •with Envy, (v. 5.) at their believing Christian Neighbours and the Apostles, who had been the Preachers 0/ this New Religion, would not so much as bestow

G3

« הקודםהמשך »