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Cæfar, Mark Antony, and Brutus. When Attićus was young, the sweetness of his aspect and elocution was very remarkable. And it is recorded of him, by C. Nepos, that he Aever managed a criminal process against any one, nor subscribed to an accusation, or ever went to law. If much of this condud might be owing to prudence, is it not apparent that much also was owing to natural temper? Nay, may we not ascribe great part of the former to the latter?
WHAT rendered Sardanapalus, Tiberius Cæfar, Heliogabalus, pope Alexander VI, and his fon Cæsar Borgia, with multitudes more, such prodigies of wickedness? And what caused Titus Vefpafian, Marcus Antoninus, Adrian, Aristides, and a few others among the great, to be such shining examples of virtue?
ALTHOUGH it is as natural for most men to be wicked as for the sparks to fly upward, yet there are a small number naturally good. They are, by nature, fa happily formed that every thing indecent, consequently all vice, is shocking in their fight: to them Vice is a monster of fo frightful
. mein, As, to be bated, needs but to be seen ". And to such virtue appears with a most ami
Pope's Second Epistle.
Mens opinions, even upon speculative subjects, are greatly influenced by their natural dispositions. . How different, many times, are the sentiments of the compaffionate and the cruel, the courageous and the timorous"? Nay, how opposite are the opinions of the same person when in a melancholy mood, to what they are when he is chearful? in a low and desponding state, to what they are in an elevated and happy condition? Thus do our conftitutions greatly influence our way of thinking as well as our manners. When I observe a robust, roundfaced fellow, of a fanguine complection, herding with fanatics and enthusiasts, I cannot help suspecting that his attachments are much more of a fleshly than a spiritual nature, and that he has much closer connections with the fifterhood than with the brotherhood: but when I see a poor weakly creature, with a rueful length of countenance, and of a melancholy complection, among the fraternity, I conclude he may be an enthusiast by conftitution, and consequently in carneft:
Since the natural temper has so great an influence on almost every part we have to act, how unfortunate, by nature, are multitudes of men ! However, in some, this is
not w We see that people of violent tempers are free quently great bigots, and those of fearful dispositions are very apt to be credulous and superstitious.
not without remedy. It has been elsewhere * observed, that Socrates, tho' one of the most virtuous persons the gentile world hath to boast of, yet acknowledged, that he was naturally inclined to be vicious.
PHOCION appeared by nature to be austere and morose, insomuch that he was hardly ever seen to laugh; yet on many occasions shewed remarkable mildness and command of temper. At a time when he was speaking to the people of Athens, on a subject of great public concernment, he was very rudely interrupted and grolly abused by an unmannerly orator: Phocion sat down 'till this fellow had done; then rose up, ceeding with his discourse, took no more notice of any thing the orator had said than if he had not heard him. As this admirable man was passing to the place of his execution, one of the rabble spit in his face : upon which Phocion, turning to the officers, only said, “ Will nobody correct this fellow's 66 rudeness?" And when just before his death a friend asked him if he would send any message to his son; “Yes, by all means," said he, “ command him from me to for
get the Athenians ill treatment of his « father.”
It is not uncommon for great virtues and great vices to exist in the same person: when the former predominate, they many times, in a considerable degree at least, subdue the latter, and form a worthy and an excellent character: when the latter gain an ascendency, the former are frequently destroyed or rendered useless, and the whole man is then so contaminated as to become a mere mass of corruption. Where there are some good qualities, an early cultivation of them by useful precepts and examples, and inuring the poffeffor to right habits, may be attended with the most happy consequences. But where nature has supplied no proper materials, nothing that is valuable can ever be erected. 440
the Elays and Letters on various Subjects.
On the whole, it seems evident, that mens conduct and opinions also are greatly influenced by their natural dispositions, and that happiness depends much more upon our tempers than on our understandings : fór we see many persons of the best sense, tho' in health and plenty, exceedingly unhappy ; but very few so, in the like circumstances, who are remarkably good-natured. Indeed, that quick sensibility which generally accompanies fine sense, notwithstanding it may afford some peculiar pleasures to those who poffess it, yet oftentimes contributes to render them uneasy and uncomfortable.
Ο R Α Τ Ι Ο Ν
IN PRAISE OF
DE CE IT and LYING
Delivered before a
Mixed and numerous Assembly of both Sexes.
Deceit being the Orator. OTWITHSTANDING the high
rank and dignity of our family, its great antiquity, our extensive dominion, and the general use we are of to all orders and degrees of men in every profeffion, art, and trade, and in almost all negotiations and transactions of the world; yet so far are we from obtaining those honours and praises we fo justly merit, that we are universally de
cried • Y Although the author of this trifle is well aware how greatly it must suffer by being named with Erasmus's Moria Encomium, yet he chuses to acknowledge the hint was taken from that celebrated performance; by which he hopes the designing part will be sufficiently warranted, however unworthy of the highly-finished original this flight sketch may be in the execution.