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Matters, that one would say, others discharged their Duty, when they grant them what they ask, fo dextrous they are in inverting the Order of Obligations, by a fingular knack of Policy.
Some Men when they do you a Kindness, are presently for ringing the Obligation in
; others are more Modest than this comes However, they remember the Favour, and look upon you as their Debtor. A third fort shall be every jot as much Benefactors, and yet scarce know any thing of the matter. These are much like a Vine, which is satisfied by being Fruitful in its Kind, and bears a bunch of Grapes, without expecting any Thanks for it. A fleet Horse or a Grey-Hound don't use to make a noise when they have perform'd handfomely, and thus a Man that's rightly kind, never proclaims a good Turn, but does another as soon as he can, just like a Vine that bears again the next Season.
Ill Nature is a contradiction to the Laws of Providence and the Interest of Mankind; a pu. nishment no less than a Fault, to those that have it.
You have done a Kindness to such a Person, and because he makes no return, you grow Peevish, and Satyrical upon him: In earnest, this is a Sign that you had a Mercenary View, and that you were but a Huckster in the Mask of a Friend, for otherwise you would have been fatisfied with a gea nerous Action, and made Vertue her own Reward. You have oblig'd a Man, 'tis very well, what would you have more. Is not the consciousness of a good Office, a sufficient Confideration.
You have humour’d your own Nature, and acted upon your Conftitution, and must you still have something over
and above? For Man is made to be kind and oblige, and his Faculties are order'd accordingly, and therefore when he does a good Office, he follows the Bent, and answers the end of his Being.
Operation is the right proof of Nature : Trees are distinguish'd by their Fruit, and Dogs by the qualities proper to their Kind; And thus it holds with Men too, who ought to quit that Name, unless they can answer the Idea, and make out their Claim by their A&tions.
'Tis hard to find one that a Man of Spirit would be Oblig’d to; for generally Men are as Sordid in their Favours, as in their Interests, and remember the Obligation they have bestow'd, when they forget the Return they have receiv’d.
It often comes to pass, that when we think we do a Man a good Office, we incur his Indignation. The Wise Palemon had the misfortune to fall in Disgrace with his Protector Daphnis, by endeavouring to cure him of the Passion he had for Julia, who both Jilts and Ruins him; for having thewn him invincible Proofs of her Infidelity, the infatuated Daphnis instead of thanking Palemon, gavę Cședit to Julia's pretended Justification, and Sacrific'd his Friend to her Refentment.
Readiness in Obliging shews both the Merit of him that receives the Benefit, and the Zeal of him that bestows it, whereas by delaying a good Office, we seem to doubt the Merit of him we design to Oblige.
That Man sets too high a rate upon his Favours, who expects Cringes, and Intreaties for them.
“When a Benefit is Honourable to him that re"ceives it, we ought to accompany it with all the
Pomp that can contribute to make it publick; “ for by that means we multiply the Obligation; « but when the usefulness of a good Office is at“tended with some Disgrace, as when we relieve
an indigent Person, we ought by our Secrecy to
spare him the Confusion of having his wants se proclaim'd; for the least grain of shame, over
pays the most bountiful Relief.
* What a cruel Torment it is to be beholden to one we Despise! and how sweet it is to owe a Favour to a Perfon we are enclin’d to Love, even tho' he should do us an Injury!
* The fame Qualifications which render Men Worthy of Favours, are the fame which make 'em capable and desirous to acknowledge them: And on the contrary, the same ill Qualities which make Men unworthy of Favours, are the same which make them ungrateful.
* Many Men have good Sentiments in the moment you Oblige them; but the Constitution of their Nature sways them foon after, and they eafily forget what they owe others, because they only Love themselves. And as Fire, converts all things into its own Substance, they only consider publick Interests to convert 'em to their own Advantage, and equally despise those who do them Good, and the state in which they receive it.
Some Men are not only apt to forget both kind Turns, and Injuries that have been done them, but even to hate their very Benefactors, and to lay aside their Resentments against their perfecutors. The Application of acquitting Obligations and revenging of Wrongs appears to them a kind of slavery, which they are loath to undergo,
Gratitude in most Men is nothing else but a fecret defire to hook in greater Benefits.
The generality of Men take a delight to acquit small Obligations ; a great many pay their Acknowledgments for moderate ones; but there is scarce any Body but is unthankful for such as are Extraordinary.
It is with Gratitude among Friends, as with Honesty among Traders, it keeps business and Commerce: Moft Men don't quit Scores because it is just to pay Debts, but to secure their Credit, and so be trusted again the easier.
The common Mistake in the Computations of Men, when they expect Returns for Favours, proceeds from the Pride both of the Giver and Receiver, which cannot agree, upon the Estimate of the Benefit.
To be uneasie, and make too much haste to return an Obligation, is a sort of Ingratitude.
There is a fort of free and generous Gratitude, whereby a Man not only acquits a past Obligation, but lays a new one upon his Benefa&tor.
The Error of the Giver does oftentimes excuse the Ingratitude of the Receiver.
The good turns that we have receiv'd from a Man, ought to make us Reverence his Malice.
We meet with little or no Ingratitude, as long as we are able to oblige.
We should not regard how much Good a Friend has done us, fo much, as how much he desired and endeavour'd to do us.
Men are often more defirous to feem forward and busię to serve others, than to be succesful in
it; and had rather have it in their power to upbraid their Friends with an Obligation, than really to oblige them.
In the matter of Benefits, Pride is unwilling to own the Obligation, and Self-Love to acquit
'Tis as great an Ingratitude to publish the Favour of a Mifress, as to conceal those of a Friend. I 'Tis a kind of Ingratitude for a Man to be
too inquisitive into the Motives of the Benefit he - receives.
The great Cautions of some People against Ingratitude, denotes less of Hatred for that, than Averfion for Generosity.
There are not so many Ungratefull Men, as there are thought to be ; because there are not so many Generous Men as we imagine. He that in silence suppresses a Favour receivd is an unthankful Fellow, that deserv'd it not : But he that publishes one that he has done, turns it to an Injury, shewing, to your disgrace, the necessity you had of him.
Court-Acknowledgements have not so much respect to the Pajt, as design upon the Future. They acknowledge Obligations to all that are in any Post to oblige, and by an affected Gratitude for Favours never done, insinuate themselves into those in whose fower it is to do 'em.
The Great Ones in requital have a Trick as artificial to excuse themselves from doing Kindnesses, as the Courtiers have to engage them to it. They reproach Men with Services never done, and complain of Ingratitude, though they have hardly obsig'd any one to draw from hence a specious Pretence to oblige no body