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and who, upon all occasions which their circumstances of life can administer, do not take a certain unfeigned pleasure in conferring benefits of one kind or other. Those whose great talents and high birth have placed them in conspicuous stations of life, are indispensably obliged to exert some noble inclinations for the service of the world, or else such advantages become misfortunes, and shade and privacy are a more eligible portion. Where opportunities and inclinations are given to the same person, we sometimes see sublime instances of virtue, which so dazzle our imaginations, that we look with scorn on all which, in the lower scenes of life, we ourselves may be able to practise. But this is a vicious way of thinking; and it bears some spice of romantic madness, for a man to imagine that he must grow ambitious, or seek adventures, to be able to do great actions. It is in every man's power in the world, who is above mere poverty, not only to do things worthy, but heroic. The great foundation of civil virtue is self-denial; and there is no one above the necessities of life, but has opportunities of exercising that noble quality, and doing as much as his circumstances will bear for the ease and convenience of other men; and he who does more than ordinary men on such occasions, deserves the value of his friends, as much as if he had done enterprises which are attended with the highest glory. Men of public spirit differ rather in their circumstances than their virtue; and the man who does all he can in a low station, is more a hero than he who omits any worthy action he is able to accomplish in a great one. It is not many years ago since Lapirius, in wrong of his elder brother, came to a great estate by gift of his father, by reason of the dissolute behaviour of the firstborn. Shame and contrition reformed the disinherited youth, and he became as remarkable for his good qualities, as formerly for his errors. Lapirius, who observed his brother's amendment, sent him on a new. year's day in the morning, the following letter :
“ Honoured Brother, I enclose to you the deeds whereby my father gave me this house and land. Had he lived till now, he would not have bestowed it in that manner; he took it from the man you were, and I restore it to the man you are.--I am, Sir,
Your affectionate Brother, and humble Servant,
As great and exalted spirits undertake the pursuit of hazardous actions for the good of others, at the same time gratifying their passion for glory, so do worthy minds, in the domestic way of life, deny themselves many advantages, to satisfy a generous Benevolence, which they bear to their friends oppressed with distresses and calamities. Such natures one may call stores of providence, which are actuated by a secret celestial influence to undervalue the ordinary gratifications of wealth, to give comfort to an heart loaded with affliction, to save a falling family, to preserve a branch of trade in their neighbourhood, to give work to the industrious, preserve the portion of the helpless infant, and raise the head of the mourning father. People whose hearts are wholly bent towards pleasure, or intent upon gain, never hear of the noble occurrences among men of industry and humanity. It would look like a city romance to tell them of the generous merchant, (Sir William Scawen,) who the other day sent this billet to an eminent trader, (Mr. Moreton, a linen-draper,) under difficulties to support himself; in whose fall many hundreds beside himself had perished; but because I think there is more spirit and true gallantry in it than in any letter I have ever read from Strephon to Phillis, I shall insert it, even in the mercantile honest style in which it was sent :
Sir-I have heard of the casualties which have involved you in extreme distress at this time, and knowing you to be a inan of great good-nature, industry, and probity, have resolved to stand by you. Be of good cheer; the bearer brings with him five thousand pounds, and has my order to answer your drawing as much more on my account. I did this in haste, for fear I should come too late for your relief; but you may value yourself with me to the sum of fifty thousand pounds; for I can very cheerfully run the hazard of being so much less rich than I am now, to save an honest man whom I love.--Your friend and servant,
In Montaigne, there is somewhere mention made of a family-book, wherein all the occurrences that happened from one generation of that house to another were recorded. Were there such a method in the families that are concerned in this generosity, it would be an hard task for the greatest in Europe to give, in their own, an instance of a benefit better placed, or conferred with a more graceful air. It has been heretofore urged how barbarous and inhuman is any unjust step made to the disadvantage of a trader; and by how much such an act towards him is detestable, by so much an act of kindness towards him is laudable. A bencher of the Temple used to tell of a tradition in their house, where they had formerly a custom of choosing kings for such a season, and allowing him his expenses at the charge of the society. One of these kings (the celebrated Beau Nash, master of the ceremonies at Bath, and, in the time of King Wikliam, a student in the Temple) carried his royal inclination a little too far, and there was a committee ordered to look into the management of his treasury. Among other things, it appeared, that bis majesty, walking incog in the cloister, had overheard a poor man say to another, “such a small sum would make me the happiest man in the world." The king, out of his royal compassion, privately inquired into his character, and, finding him a proper object of charity, sent kim the money. When the committee read the report, the house passed his accounts with a plaudite! without further examination, upon the recital of this article in them—" For making a man happy-*-£10.”
It was a remark of an ancient heathen philosopher, “that men resemble the gods in nothing so much as in doing good to their fellow-creatures; for human nature appears deformed, or beautiful according to the different lights in which it is viewed.” When we see men of inflamed passions, or wicked designs, tearing one another to pieces by open violence, or undermining each other by secret treachery; when we observe base and narrow ends pursued by ignominious and dishonest means; when we behold men mixed in society as it were for the destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our species, and out of humour with our own being. But in another light, when we behold them good, mild, and benevolent, full of a generous regard for the public prosperity, compassionating each other's distresses, and relieving each other's wants, we can hardly believe them to be creatures of the same kind. In this view they appear gods to each other, in the exercise of the noblest power, that of doing good; and the greatest compliment we have ever been able to make to our own being, has been by calling this disposition of mind, humanity.
Pliny the Younger, who was one of the greatest orators of his age, did not make his profession an object of gain, like the rest of the Roman orators, but refused fees from the richest as well as from the poorest of his clients; and declared that he cheerfully employed himself for the protection of innocence, the relief of the indigent, and the detection of vice. He was the friend of the poor, and the patron of learning. He contributed largely towards the expenses which attended the education of his countrymen; and literally spent part of his estate for the advancement of literature, and for the instruction of those whom poverty otherwise deprived of the advantages of a public education. Dr. Brocklesby, the physician, was so assiduous in being useful to his fellow-creatures, that he was equally acceptable to the poor
and rich. When some of the former, through delicacy, did not apply to him, he would exclaim, “Why am I treated thus? Why was I not sent for?" It is told of Kosciusko, the hero of Poland, that he had been so much in the habit of indulging the benevolent emotions of his mind, that a servant once refused to mount his horse, to go on a necessary errand, unless Kosciusko would give him his purse also; for,
Sir, (said he,) as soon as a poor man on the road takes off his hat and asks charity, the horse immediately stands still, and will not stir till something is given to the petitioner; and, as I had no money about me, I was obliged to feign giving something, in order to satisfy the horse.
Sweet is the joy when science flings
Her light on philosophic thought;
To clasp the lovely truth he sought :
Feels consolation's lenient hand
With friendship’s life-supporting band!
In floods of mental light bestow,
Blest antidote of bitterest woe!
The pleasures of the benevolent are inexhaustible; because opportunities of doing good present themselves every day, and always bring with them the more refined enjoyment. Could that secret be discovered by which metals might be transmuted into gold, how invaluable would it be thought by the man who should possess it! But how much more valuable is the secret of converting the happiness of others into a source of enjoyment to ourselves, the art of making the good of the universe our own!
The man who lives to others, and not merely to himself, enjoys also the consciousness of moral worth and usefulness; a satisfaction of more value than all