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of a more sedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company, but myself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that sort of man who is usually called a well-bred fine gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concerned, he is an honest, worthy man.
I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I am next to speak of as one of our company, for he visits us but seldom; but when he does, it adds to every man else a new enjoyment of himself. He is a 10 clergyman, a very philosophic man, of general learning, great sanctity of life, and the most exact good breeding. He has the misfortune to be of a very weak constitution, and consequently cannot accept of such cares and business as preferments in his function 15 would oblige him to; he is therefore among divines what a chamber-counselloro is among lawyers. The probity of his mind, and the integrity of his life, create him followers, as being eloquent or loud advances others. He seldom introduces the subject he 2c speaks upon; but we are so far gone in years, that he observe when he is among us,
earnestness to have him fall on some divine topic, which he always treats with much authority, as one who has no interests in this world, as one who is hastening to the object of 25
all his wishes, and conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. These are my ordinary companions. III. SIR ROGER'S OPINION OF TRUE WISDOM.
I KNOW no evil under the sun so great as the abuse of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice
It has diffused itself through both sexes and all qualities of mankind; and there is hardly that person to be found, who is not more concerned for the reputation of wit and sense, than hon
esty and virtue. But this unhappy affectation of 10 being wise rather than honest, witty than good
natured, is the source of most of the ill habits of life. Such false impressions are owing to the abandoned writings of men of wit, and the awkward imitation of the rest of mankind.
For this reason Sir Roger was saying last night, that he was of opinion that none but men of fine parts deserve to be hanged. The reflections of such men are so delicate upon all occurrences which they are
concerned in, that they should be exposed to more 20 than ordinary infamy and punishment, for offending
against such quick admonitions as their own souls give them, and blunting the fine edge of their minds in such a manner, that they are no more shocked ar
vice and folly than men of slower capacities. There is no greater monster in being than a very ill man of great parts. He lives like a man in a palsy, with one side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the satisfaction of luxury, of wealth, of ambition, he has lost 5 the taste of good-will, of friendship, of innocence. Scarecrow, the beggar, in Lincoln's Inn-Fields, who disabled himself in his right leg, and asks alms all day to get himself a warm supper and a trull at night, is not half so despicable a wretch, as such a man of 10
The beggar has no relish above sensations; he finds rest more agreeable than motion; and while he has a warm fire and his doxy, never reflects that he deserves to be whipped. Every man who terminates his satisfaction and enjoyments within the supply of 1 his own necessities and passions, is, says Sir Roger, in my eye, as poor a rogue as Scarecrow.
But," continued he, "for the loss of public and private virtue, we are beholden to your men of parts forsooth; it is with them no matter what is done, so it is done 20 with an air. But to me, who am so whimsical in a corrupt age as to act according to nature and reason, a selfish man, in the most shining circumstance and equipage, appears in the same condition with the fellow above-mentioned, but more contemptible in pro- 25
portion to what more he robs the public of, and enjoys above him. I lay it down therefore for a rule, that the whole man is to move together; that every action
of any importance is to have a prospect of public 5 good; and that the general tendency of our indifferent
actions ought to be agreeable to the dictates of reason, of religion, of good-breeding; without this, a man, as I have before hinted, is hopping instead of walking, he is not in his entire and proper motion."
While the honest knight was thus bewildering himself in good starts, I looked intentively upon him, which made him, I thought, collect his mind a little. “What I aim at,” says he, “is to represent that I am
of opinion, to polish our understandings, and neglect 15 our manners, is of all things the most inexcusable.
Reason should govern passion, but instead of that, you see, it is often subservient to it; and, as unaccountable as one would think it, a wise man is not
always a good man." This degeneracy is not only 20 the guilt of particular persons, but also, at some
times, of a whole people; and perhaps it may appear upon examination, that the most polite ages are the least virtuous. This may be attributed to the folly
of admitting wit and learning as merit in themselves, 25 without considering the application of them.
By this means it becomes a rule, not so much to regard what we do, as how we do it. But this false beauty will not pass upon men of honest minds and true taste.
Sir Richard Blackmoreo says, with as much good sense as virtue, “It is a mighty dishonor and shame to employ 5 excellent faculties and abundance of wit, to humor and please men in their vices and follies. The great enemy of mankind, notwithstanding his wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious being in the whole creation.' He goes on soon after to say, very gener- 10 ously, that he undertook the writing of his poem
“ to rescue the Muses out of the hands of ravishers, to restore them to their sweet and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an employment suitable to their dignity.” This certainly ought to be the purpose of every 15 man who appears in public, and whoever does not proceed upon that foundation injures his country as fast as he succeeds in his studies. When modesty, ceases to be the chief ornament of one sex, and integrity of the other, society is upon a wrong basis, and 20 we shall be ever after without rules to guide our judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and reason direct one thing, passion and humor another. To follow the dictates of the two latter is going into a road that is both endless and intricate; 25