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türes, that we have no faculty in the foul adapted to it, 'nor any organ in the body to relish it; an object of desire placed out of the pofibility of fruition. It may indeed fill the mind for a while with a giddy kind of pleasure, but it is such a pleasure as makes a man restless and uneasy under it; and which does not fo much satisfy the present thirit, as it excites fresh desires, and sets the foul on new enterprises. For how few ambitious men are there, who have got as much fame as they desired, and whose thirst after it has not been as eager in the very height of their reputation, as it was before they became known and eminent among men! There is not any circumstance in Cæsar's character which gives me a greater idea of him, than a saying which Cicero tells us he frequently made use of in private conversation, " That he was fatisfied with his share to of life and fame.” Se satis vel ad naturam, vel ad gloriam vixisse. Many indeed have given over their pursuits after fame, but that has proceeded either from the disappointments they have met in it, or from their experience of the little pleasure which attends it, or from the better informations of natural coldness of old age; but feldom from a full satisfaction and acquiescence in their present enjoyments of it.
Nor is fame only unsatisfying in itself, but the defire of it lays us open to many accidental troubles which those are free from who have not such a tender regard for it. How often is the ambitious man cast down and disappointed, if he receives no praise where he expected it? Nay how often is he mortified with the very praises he receives, if they do not rise so high as he thinks they ought, which they seldom do unless increased by flattery, since few men have so good an opinion of us as we ħave of ourselves ? But if the ambicious man can be fo much grieved even with preife itself, how will he be able to bear up under scandal and defamation ? For the dame temper of mind which makes him desire fame, makes himn hate reproach. If he can be transported with the extraordinary praises of men, he will be as much dejected by their censures. How little therefore is the happiness of an ambitious man, who gives every one al dominion over it, :vho thus subjects himself to
the good or ill speeches of others, and puts it in the power of every malicious tongue to throw him into a fit of melancholy, and destroy his natural rest and repose of mind i especially when we consider that the world is more apt to censure than applaud, and himself fuller of imperfections than virtues.
farther observe, that such a man will be more grieved for the loss of fame, than he could have been pleased with the enjoyment of it. For though the prefence of this imaginary good cannot make us happy, the absence of it may make us miserable ; because in the enjoyment of an object we only find that share of pleasure which it is capable of giving us, but in the loss of it we do not proportion our grief to the real value it bears, but to the value our fancies and imaginations set
So inconsiderable is the satisfaction that fame brings along with it, and so great the difquietudes to which it makes us liable. The desire of it stirs up very uneasy motions in the mind, and is rather inflamed than satisfied by the presence of the thing desired. The enjoyment of it brings but very little pleasure, though the loss or want of it be very sensible and afflicting ; and even this little happiness is so very precarious, that it wholly depends on the will of others. We are not only tortured by the reproaches which are offered us, but are disappointed by the filence of men when it is unexpected ; and humbled even by their praises. с
Tuesday, December 25.
-Ουχ εύδει Διός οφθαλμός" έγύς δ' έσι και παρών τόνω.
Incert. ex. Stob, No flumber feals the eye of Providence, Present to ev'ry action we commence.
HAT I might not lose myself upon a subject of
so great extent as that of fame, I have treated it in a particular order and method. I have first of all confidered the reasons why providence may have implanted in our mind such a principle of action. I have.in the next place shewn from many considerations, first, that fame is a thing difficult to be obtained, and easily loft ; secondly, that it brings the ambitious man very little happiness, but fubjects him to much uneasiness and dissatisfaction. I shall in the last place fhew, that it hinders us from obtaining an end which we have abilities to acquire, and which is accompanied with fulness of satisfaction. I need not tell my reader, that I mean by this end that happiness which is reserved for us in another world, which every one has abilities to procure, and which will bring along with it “ fulness of joy and plea« sures for evermore.
How the pursuit after fame may hinder us in the ato tainment of this great end, I shall leave the reader to collect from the three following confiderations.
First, Because the strong desire of fame breeds several vicious habits in the mind.
Secondly, Because many of those actions, which are apt to procure fame, are not in their nature conducive to this our ultimate happiness.
Thirdly, Because if we should allow the fame actions to be the proper instruments, both of acquiring fame, and of procuring this happiness, they would nevertheless fail in the attainment of this last end, if they proceeded from a defire of the first,
These three propositions are self-evident to those who are versed in fpeculations of morality. For which reason I shall not enlarge upon them, but proceed to a point of the same nature, which may open to us. a more uncommon field of speculation.
From what has been already observed, I think we may make a natural conclusion, that it is the greatest folly to feck the praise or approbation of any being, befides the Supreme, and that for these two reasons ; because no other being can make a right judgment of us, and esteem us according to our merits; and because we can procure no confiderable benefit or advantage from the esteem and approbation of any other being.
In the first place, no other being can make a right judgment of us, and esteem us according to our merits.. Created beings see nothing but our outside, and can therefore only frame a judgment of us from our exterior actions and behaviour; but how unfit these are to give us a right notion of each other's perfections, may. appear from several confiderations. There are many virtues, which in their oun nature are incapable of any outward representation : many filent perfections in the foul of a good man, which are great ornaments to human nature, but not able to discover themselves to the knowledge of others; they are transacted in private, without noise or show, and are only visible to the great searcher of hearts. What actions can express the intire purity of thought which refines and fanctifies a virtuous man? That secret rest and contentedness of mind, which gives him a perfect enjoyment of his present condition? that inward pleasure and complacency which he feels in doing good ? that delight and satisfaction which he takes in the prosperity and happiness of another? these and the like virtues are the hidden beauties of a soul, the secret graces which cannot be discovered by a mortal eye, but make the soul lovely and precious in his fight, from whom no secrets are concealed. Again, there are many virtues which want an opportunity of exerting and fhewing themselves in actions. Every vir. tue requires time and place, a proper object and a fit conjunčture of circumstances, for the due exercise of it, A state of poverty obscures all the virtues of liberality
and munificence. The patience and fortitude of a martyr or confeffor lie concealed in the flourishing times of Christianity. Some virtues are only seen in affliction, and some in prosperity ; fome in a private, and others" in a public capacity. But the great Sovereign of the world beholds every perfection in its obfcurity, and not only sees what we do, but what we would do. He: views our behaviour in every concurrence of affairs, and sees us engaged in all the possibilities of action. He discovers the martyr and confessor without the trial of fames and tortures, and will hereafter intitle many to: the reward of actions, which they had never the opportunity of performing. Another reafon why men cannot form a right judgment of us is, because the same actions may be aimed at different ends, and arise from quite contrary principles. Actions are of so mixt a nature and so full of circumstances, that as men pry into them more or less, or observe some parts more than others, they take different hints, and put contrary interpretations on them ; so that the same actions may represent a minn as hypocritical and designing to one, which make him appear" a saint or hero to another. He therefore who looks upon the foul through its outward actions, often fees it through a deceitful medium, which is apt to difcolour and pervert the object: so that on this account alfo, He is the only proper judge of our perfections, who does not guess at the fincerity of our intentions from the goodness of our' actions, but weighs the goodness of our actions by the fincerity of our intentions,
But further; it is impossible for outward actions to represent the perfections of the foul, because they can never shew the strength of those principles from whence tirey proceed. They are not adequate expressions of our virtues, and can only shew us what habits are in the foul, without discovering the degree and perfection of such: Irabits. They are at best but weak refemblances of our intentions, faint and imperfect copies that may acquaint us with the general design, but can never express the beauty and life of the original. But the great Judge of all the earth knows every different ffate and degree of human improvement, from those