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molesty and ingenuit * than they could have been by the most patetic oration, and, in short, pardoned the guilty father for this early promise of virtue in the son.
I takes assurame to be the faculty of possessing a man's sell, or of saving and doing inditterent things without any uncanness or emotion in the mind. That which generally gives a man assurance is a moderate knowledge of the world, but above a'l, a mind fixed and determined in itself to do nothing against the rules of honour and decency. An open and asured behaviour is the natural consequence of such a resolution. A man thus armed, if his words or actions are at any time misrepresented, retires within himself, and, from a consciousness of his own integrity, assumes force enough to despise the little censures of ignorance and malice.
Every one ought to cherish and encourage in himself the modesty and assurance I have here mentioned.
A man without assurance is liable to be made uneasy by the folly or ill-nature of every one he conversex with. A man without modestý is lost to all sense of honour and virtue.
It is more than probable that the prince above mentioned possessed both these qualifications in a very eminent degree. Without assurance, he would never have undertaken to speak before the most august assembly in the world without modesty, he would have pleaded the cause he had taken upon him, though it had appeared ever so scandalour.
From what has been said, it is plain that modesty and assurance are both amiable, and may very well meet in the same person. When they are thus mixed and blended together, they compose what we endeavour to express when we say a modest assurance;' by which we understand the just mean between bashfulness and impudence.
* Ingenuity seems here to be used in the sense of ingonu.
I shall conclude with observing, that as the same man may be both modest and assured, so it is also possible for the same to be both impudent and bashful.
We have frequent instances of this odd kind of mixture in people of depraved minds and mean education, who, though they are not able to meet a man's eyes, or pronounce a sentence without confusion, can voluntarily commit the greatest villanies or most indecent actions.
Such a person seems to have made a resolution to do ill even in spite of himself, and in defiance of all those checks and restraints his temper and complexion seem to have laid in his way.
Upon the whole, I would endeavour to establish this maxim, that the practice of virtue is the most proper method to give a man a becoming assurance in his words and actions. Guilt always seeks to shelter itself in one of the extremes, and is somez times attended with both.
N° 374. FRIDAY, MAY 9, 1712.
Nil actum reputans si quid superesset agendum.
LUCAN ii. 57.
There is a fault, which, though common, wants a name. It is the very contrary to procrastination. As we lose the present hour by delaying from day to day to execute what we ought to do immediately, so most of us take occasion to sit still and throw away the time in our possession, by retrospect on what is past, imagining we have already acquitted ourselves, and established our characters in the sight of mankind. But when we thus put a value upon ourselves for what we have already done, any farther than to explain ourselves in order to assist our future conduct, that will give us an over-weening opinion of our merit, to the prejudice of our present industry. The great rule, methinks, should he, to manage the instant in which we stand, with fortitude, equanimity, and moderation, according to men's respective circumstances. If our past actions reproach us, they cannot be atoned for by our own severe reflexions so effectually as by a contrary behaviour. If they are praise-worthy, the memory of them is of no use but to act suitably to them. Thus a good present behaviour is an implicit repentance for any miscarriage in what is past; but present slackness will not make up for past activity. Time has swallowed up all that we contemporaries did yesterday, as irrevocably as it has the actions of the antede.
luvians. But we are again awake, and what shall we do to-day-to-day which passes while we are yet speaking ? Shall we remember the folly of last night, or resolve upon the exercise of virtue tomorrow? Last night is certainly gone, and to-morrow may never arrive. This instant make use of. Can you oblige any man of honour and virtue? Do it immediately. Can you visit a sick friend? Will it revive him to see you enter, and suspend your own ease and pleasure to comfort his weakness, and hear the impertinences of a wretch in pain? not stay to take coach, but be gone. Your mistress will bring sorrow, and your bottle madness. Go to neither Such virtues and diversions as these, are mentioned because they occur to all men. But every man is sufficiently convinced, that to suspend the use of the present moment, and resolve better for the future only, is an unpardonable folly. What I attempted to consider, was the mischief of setting such a value upon what is past, as to think we have done enough
Let a man have filled all the offices of life with the highest dignity till yesterday, and begin to live only to himself to-day, he must expect he will, in the effects upon his reputation, be considered as the man who died yesterday. The man who distinguishes himself from the rest, stands in a press of people: those before him intercept his progress; and those behind him, if he does not urge on, will tread him down. Cæsar, of whom it was said that he thought nothing done while there was left any thing for him to do, went on in performing the greatest exploits, without assuming to himselta privilege of taking rest upon the foundation of the merit of his former actions. It was the manner of that glorious captain to write down what scenes he had passed through ; but it was rather to
N° 373. TIICNSDAY, MAY 8, 1712.
Tallut enn vitium spot ie virtutis et umbra,
juv, pal, xi, 10
MR. Lockk, in his treatise of Human Understanding has spent two chapters upon the abuse of words. The first and most palpable abuse of words, he says, is when they are used without clear and distinct ideas; the second, when we are so unconstant and unsteady in the application of them, that we sometimes use them to signily one idea, sometimes another. He ad that the result of our contemplations and reasonings, while we have no precise ideas fixed to our words, must need, be very confused and absurd. To avoid this inconvenience, more especially in moral discourses, where the same word should be constantly used in the same sense, he earnestly recommends the use of definitions, • A delnition,' says he is the only way whereby the precise meaning of moral words can be known,' He therefore accuses those of great negligence who discourse of moral things with the least obscurity in the terms they make use of; since, upon the fore mentioned ground, he does not scruple to say that he thinks' morality is capable of demonstration as well as the mathematics,'
I know no two words that have been more abused by the dillerent and wrong interpretations which are put upon them, than those two, modesty and assurance. "To say such a one is a moderat