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into nocturnal exploits, breaking of windows, finging of catches, beating the watch, getting drunk twice a day, killing a great number of horses; with many other enterprises of the like fiery nature : For certainly many a man is more rakish and ex;travagant than he would willingly be, were there not others to look on and give their approbation.

One very common, and at the same time the most absurd ambition that ever shewed itself in human nature, is that which comes upon a man with experience and old age, the season when it might be expected he should be wiseft ; and therefore it cannot receive any of those lessening circumstances which do, in fome meafure, excuse the disorderly ferments of youthful blood: I mean the paffion for getting money, exclusive of the character of the provident father, the affectionate husband, or the generous friend. It may be remarked, for the comfort of honest poverty, that this defire reigns most in those who have but few good qualities to recommend them. This is a weed that will grow in a barren foil. Huinanity, good-nature, and the advantages of a liberal education, are incompatible -with avarice. It is strange to see how suddenly this abject pallion kills all the noble sentiments and generous ambitions that adorn human nature; it renders the man who is over-run with it a peevith and cruel master, a severe parent, an unfociable husband, a distant miftruftful friend. But it is more to the present purpose to consider it as an abjurd pasion of the heart, rather than as a vicious affection of the mind. As there are frequent in{tances to be met with of a proud humility, so this paflion, contrary to most others, affects applause, by avoiding all show and appearance ; for this refon it will not sometimes endure even the common decencies of apparel. A covetous man will call himself poor, that you may footh his vanity by contradieting-hin. Love and the desire of glory, as they are

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the most natural, so they are capable of being refined into the most delicate and rational paflions. It is true, the wisë man who strikes, out of the fecret paths of a private life for honour and dignity, allured by the splendour of a court, and the unfelt: weight of publick employment, whether he fucceeds in his attempt or no, usually comes near enough to this painted greatness to discern the daubing; he is then desirous of extricating himself out of the hurry of life, that he may pass away the remainder of his days in tranquillity and retirement.

It may be thought then, but common prudence in a man not to change a better state for a worse, nor ever to quit that which he knows he shall take up again with pleasure ; and yet if human life be not a little moved with the gentle gales of hopes and fears, there may be some danger of its stagnating in an unmanly indolence and security. It is a known story of Domitian, that after he had poffeffcd himself of the Roman empire, his desires turned upon catching flies. Active and masculine fpirits in the vigour of youth neither can nor ought to remain at rest ; if they debar themselves from aiming at a noble object, their desires will move downwards, and they will feel themselves actuated by some low and abject paffion. Thus if you cut off the top branches of a tree, and will not suffer it to grow any higher, it will not therefore cease to grow, but will. quickly shoot out at the bottom. The man indeed who goes into the world only with the narrow views of felf-interest, who catches at the applause of an idle multitude, as he can find no folid contentment at the end of his journey, so he deferves to meet with disappointments in his way; but he who is actuated by a noble principle, whose mind is so far enlarged as to take in the prospect of his country's good, who is enamoured with that praise which is one of the fair attendants of virtue,

and

X. 2.

and values not those acclamations which are not feconded by the impartial testimony of his own mind; who repines not at the low' station which Providence has at present allotted him, but yet would willingly advance himself by justifiable means to a more rising and advantageous ground; fuch a man is warmed with a generous emulation; it is a virtuous movement in him to willy and to endeavour that his power of doing good may be equal to his will.

The man who is fitted out by nature, and sent into the world with great abilities, is capable of doing great good or mischief in it. It ought therefore to be the care of education to infuse into the untainted youth early notices of justice and honour, that so the posfible advantages of good parts may not take an evil turn, nor be perverted to base and unworthy purposes. It is the business of religion and philofophy not fo much to extinguish our paffions, as to regulate and direct them to valuable and well-chosen objects : When these have pointed out to us which course we may lawfuily steer, it is no harm to set out all our sail; if the storms and tempests of adversity should rise upon us, and not fuffer us to make the haven where we would be, it will however prove no small confolation to us in these circumstances, that we have neither mistaken our course, nor fallen into calamities of our own procuring.

Religion therefore (were we to consider it no farther than as it interposes in the affairs of this life) is highly valuable, and worthy of great veneration; as it fettles the various pretensions, and otherwise interfering interests of mortal men, and thereby consults the harmony and order of the great community; as it gives a man room to play his part, and exert his abilities; as it animates to actions truly laudable in themselves, in their effects benefi

cial to fociety; as it inspires rational ambition, corrects love, and elegant desire. foodotatoologicagodocto-clocanokokoogcokoolicitodo No 225: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17.

Nullum numen abeft fi fit prudentia

Juv. Sat. x. ver. 363,Prudence supplies the want of every god. I

HAVE often thought if the minds of men were:

laid open, we should see but little difference be-tween that of the wife man and that of the fool. There are infinite Reveries; numberless extravagancies, and a perpetual train of vanities which pass through both. The great difference is, that they first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for: conversation, by fupprefling fome, and communis cating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words. This fort of discretion, however, has no place in private conversation between intimate friends. On such occasions the wifest men very often talk like the weakest; for: indeed the talking with a friend is nothing elfe but: thinking aloud.

Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept . delivered by fome ancient writers, That a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to become his friend; and with his friend in such a manner, that if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power to hurt him. The first part of this rule; which regards our behaviour towards an enemy, is indeed very: reasonable, as well as very prudential ; but the lata. ter part of it which-regards our behaviour towards a friend, favours more of cunning than of discrea tion, and would cut a man off from the greatest : pleasures of life, which are the freedoms of conversation with a bofom friend. Besides that when

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a friend is turued into an enemy, and, (as the fon of Sirach calls him) a bewrayer of fecrets, the world is just enough to accuse the perfidiousness of the friend, rather than the indiscretion of the

perfon who confided in him.

Discretion does not only shew itself in words, but in all the circumstances of action; and is like an under-agent of Providence, to guide and direct us in the ordinary concerns of life.

There are many more thining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion; it is this indeed which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the advantage of the person who is poffeffed of them. Without it learning is pedantry, and wit impertinence; virtie itself looks like weakness; the best parts only quality a inan to be more 1prightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice.

Nor does discretion only make a man the mafter of his own parts, but of other mens. The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper uses. Accordingly, if we look into particular communities and divisions of men, we may observe that it is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to the society. A man with great talents, but void of discretion, is like Polyphemus in the fable, strong and blind, endued with an irrefiftible force, which, for want of fight, is of no use to him.

Though a man has all other perfections, and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this fingle talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his particular station of life. At the same time that I think discretion the most

useful

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