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These ills are supported by the arbitrary sway of legislative ridicule, while by, I know not what pedantry of good breeding, conversation is confined to indifferent, low, or perhaps vicious subjects; and all that is serious, good, or great, almoft banished the world: for in imitation of those we have mentioned, there daily arise so many pretenders to do mischief, that what seemed at first but a conspiracy, is now a general insurrection against virtue; and when they who really have wit lead the way, it is hardly to be prevented, but that they must be followed by a crowd who would be such, and make what shift they can to appear to, by helping one defect with another, and supplying want of wit with want of grace, and want of reputation with want of shame
Thus are men hurried away in the prosecution of mean and sensual desires, and instead of employing their pafsions in the service of life, they spend their life in the service of their pafsions; yet though it is a truth very little received, that virtue is its own reward, it is surely an undeniable one, that vice is its own punishment; for when we have given our appetites a loose rein, we are immediately præcipitated by them into unbounded and endless wishes, while we repine at our fortune, if its narrowness curbs them, though the gratifications of them were a kindness, like the indulgence of a man's thirst in a dropsy; but this distemper of mind is never to be remedied, till men will more unreservedly attempt the work, and will resolve to value themselves rather upon a strong reason to allay their passions, than à fine imagination to raise them.
For if we best judge of things when we are not aetually engaged and concerned in them, every man's
own experience must inform him, that both the pleaa Lures .we follow, and the sorrows we thun, are in nature very different from what we conceive them, when we observe that part enjoyments are anxious, past sufferings pleasing in the reflection; and since the memory of the one makes us apprehend our strength, the other our weakness, it is an argument of a trivial mind to prefer the satisfactions that lead to inquietude before pains that lead to tranquility.
But if that consists (as it certainly does) in the mind's enjoyment of truth, the most vexatious circumstance of its anguish, is that of being in doubt; from which' men, will find but a very short relief if they draw it from the collections or observations of sedentary men, who have been called wise. for pro- . posing rules of active life, which they cannot be supposed to understand : for between the arrogant and fanatic indolence of some, and the false and pleasurable felicity of others (which are equally chimæra's) a man is so utterly divided, that the happiness of phiJosophers appears as fantastic as the misery of lo
We shall not, it is hoped, be understood by saying this, to imagine that there is a sufficient force in the Ihort following essay, to item the universal and destructive torrent of error and pleasure; it is sufficient if we can stand without being carried away with it, and we shall very willingly resign the glory of an opposition, if we can enjoy the safety of a defence ;, and as it was at first attempted to disengage my own .mind from deceiving appearances, so it can be published for no other end, but to set others a thinking with the same inclination : which whoever will please to do, will make a much better arguinent for B
his own private use, than any body else can for him: for ill habits of the mind, no more than those of the body, are eured by the patients approbation of the medicine, except he'll resolve to take it; and if my fellow soldiers (to whole service more especially I would dire my thoughts I were capable of) would form to theinfelves, (if any do not) a constant reafon of their actions, they would find themselves better prepared for all the vicissitudes they are to meet with, when instead of the changeable heat of mere courage and blood, they acted upon the firm motives of duty, valour, and conitancy of foul.
For (however they are dif-efteemed ty fome unthinking, not to say ungrateful men) to profess arms, is to profess being ready to die for others; nor is it an ordinary ftruggle between reason, fenfe, and paffion, that can raise men to a calm and ready negiigence of life, and animate them to asfault without scar, pursue without cruelty, and fab without hatred..
But virtuous principles must infallibly be not only better than any other we can embrace, to warm us to great attempts, but also to make our days in their ordinary pafrage flide away agreeably: for as nothing is more daring than truth, so there is nothing more cheerful than innocence; and indeed I need not have been beholden to the experience of a various life to have been convinced, that true happiness is not to be
found but where ! at present place it; for I was long 1.290 informed where only it was to be had, by the reverend Dr Ellis, my ever honoured tutor; which great obligation I could not but mention, though my gratitude ic him is perhaps an accusation of myself
who shall appear to have fo little profited by the inftitution of fo solid and excellent a writer, though he is above the temptation of (what is always in his power) being famous.