is the same thing to us, that a Worm, a Gudgeon, a grain of Corn, or a piece of Flesh is to those Animals: We snap at the Bait without ever dreaming of the Hook, the Trap, or the Snare, that goes along with it.

Men never can bear to be over-reach'd by their Enemies, or betray'd by their Friends; and yet they are often contented to be both cheated and betray'd by their own felves.

He is an unhappy Man that lives in the World without being deceiv'd.

The Pleasure of Deceit goes sometimes so far, that the greatest of your Enemies makes himself agreeable when he imposes upon you; and the best of your Friends feldom undeceives you, but you are offended at it.

* It is in some fort natural to be a Knave. We were made fo, in the very composition of our Flesh and Blood : Only Fraud is call’d Wit in one case, Good Husbandry in another, &c. while 'tis the whole Business of the World for one Man to Cozen another. But there's this to be said fort yet, that we play the Fool by consent. We Co. zen in our Words, and in our Actions; only we are agree'd upon't, that such and such Forms of Civility, like some Adulterations, Thall pass current for so much.

A fashionable Impofture or Hypocrisie, shall be called Good Manners, and so we make shift,in some fort, to legitimate the Abuse.

* There is nothing more agreeable in Converfation, than a frank, open way of Dealing, and a fimplicity of Manners; but yet, where there is an habitual Hardness of ill-Nature, it must be a Diamond that cuts a Diamond for one Fraud is

' belt undermind and disappointed by another.


* When

* When a Crafty Knave is Infatuated, any filly Wretch may put Tricks upon him.

* The main Bufiness of the World is nothing but Sharping, and putting Tricks upon one another by Turns.

Clemency, Good-Nature. TH "He Clemency of Princes is very often little less

but a Stute Trick, to gain upon the Affection of their Subjects.

That Clemency which is so mightily cry'd up in the World for a Vertue, is often practis'd out of Pride; sometimes out of Sloth and Neglect, fometimes out of Fear, and generally out of a mixture of all these Motives together.

* No Vertue is so often in fault as Clemency.

* Good Nature is a great Misfortune when it is not manag'd with Prudence.

* A bare easiness of Pardoning, has often the force of a Temptation to offend again.

* 'Tis a great Error to take Facility for Good Nature: Tenderress without Discretion, is no better than a more pardonable Folly.

Aljurance, Balbfulness. IT T is good not to conceive such a high Notio

of People, as to become Bashful in their Prefence. Some appear to be Men of Importance, till others Treat with them ; but Communicarion foon undeceives the Credulous, Dignity gives

[ocr errors]

an apparent Authority, but it is rare when the Personal Qualities answer it; For Fortune is wont to clog the superiority of the Employment, by the inferiority of Merits. Imagination is always upon the Wing, and represents things greater than they are ; but Reafon having been undeceived by so many Experiences, ought to undeceive it. În a Word, it neither becomes Ignorance to be bold, nor Capacity to be bashful. And if Confidence bé useful to them, who have but a small stock, upon stronger Reason it ought to be useful to thofe who have a great deal.

Confidence, Secrecy.

THe Confidence we have in our felves, creates a

great part of that Trust which we have in others.

The greatest part of our Confidence proceeds from a defire either to be pitied or admired.

We often dare not disclose our Hearts to our Friends, not fo much out of any distrust we have of 'em, as that we have of our felves.

There is feldom any thing but a Noble Birth, or good Education, that can

make a Man capable of being Secret.

All manner of Confidence, which is not abfolute and intire, is dangerous : There are few occasions, but where a Man ought either fay all, or conceal all; and how little foever you have reveald your Secret to a Friend, you have already said too much, if you think it not safe to make himn privy to all the Particulars.

* 'Tis ill trusting a Reconcild Enemy; but 'tis werse yet, to proceed at one step from Clemency and Tenderness, to Confidence, especially where there are so many Memorials in fight, for Hatred and Revenge to work upon.

* A Supine, Credulous Facility, exposes a Man to be both a Prey and a Laughing-stock at once ; and the Imposture can hardly miscarry, where there is a full Confidence on the one side, and a plausible Address and Disposition on the other.

'Tis a great point of skill not to be too free nor open, for it is the Admiration of Novelty that makes Events to be valued, there's neither Pleasure nor Profit in playing ones Game too openly, and therefore we ought to hold Minds in Suspence, especially in matters of Importance, which are the Object of universal Expectation. That makes every thing to be thought a Mystery, and the Secret of that raises Veneration. He that declares himself, is obnoxious to Censure, and if he succeeds not, he is doubly Miserable.

Confidence, which ought to make the ties of Friendship stronger, does generally produce a contrary Effect; so that it is a Wise Man's Part to be as reserved in this particular as is consistent with the Laws of Decency and united Affections. But above all, let us have a care not to disclose our Hearts to those who shut up theirs from us.


Conversation Society,Civility,Politeness.

F a Man did seriously consider how flat and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

versations are, he would be ashamed both to Speak and to Hear, and perhaps condemn himself to a perpetual Silence, which would still be better than frivolous Discourses. Therefore we must condescend to and adapt our felves to all sorts of Persons, and bear as a neceffary Evil, the spreading of false Reports; the empty Reflections upon the Government and State Affairs of every Pretender to Politicks. We must allow Dullman perpetually to talk Morals ; Orontes to bring in his Proverbs over Head and Shoulders, and Melinda to be still talking of her self, and entertaining us with her Dreams, Vapours, Head-aches and such-like Stuff.

There is a middle course to be taken in Conversation, betwixt the being too backward to Speak, or wandering from what others say to us, (which often occasions filly Questions, as well as impertinent Answers ) and the being two fcrupulously attentive to every trifling Word, playing upon it, and finding a Mystery in it which no body else can see, and which ferves but to expose a Man's finical and ridiculous Subtilty.

There are a fort of blunt petulant Fops, who tho’ they have no Business at all, yer affect being in a Hurry,and will not allow a Man two Minutes Audience, but presently dispatch him away; we do often speak to them when they are Vanish'd out

« VorigeDoorgaan »