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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.
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.
F a Man did seriously consider how flat and
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
of sight; These People are no less impertinent than those who stop a Man only to plague him with a thousand foolish Questions; but perhaps of the two these are belt to be born with.
To Speak and to Abuse, are convertible Terms with a sort of snarling, biting Penple. Their Tongues are erer dipp'd in Gall and Wormwood; Scoffing, Censure, Satyr, and Lampoons, trickle down their Lips as naturally as Spittle: It were good for them to be either dumb or Sottish, for their Wit and Liveliness do 'em more prejudice than Dulness would. They do not content themselves to give a Man a blunt or a cross Answer, but provoke him with Infolence. Nothing can e. scape the lash of their malicious Tongues, they slander both the Present and the Absent ; they gall us Front and Side-wife like Rams; Can we expect that Rams should have no Horns? And likewise can we hope to reform by this Picture, a Nature fo Fierce, so Stern, so Surly and Untractable. The best we can do, is to fly from them as soon as ever we perceive them, without so much as turning our Head back to give 'em a look.
There is a Character of imperious and arrogant People, with whom it is dangerous to engage, that always arrogate Reason and Sense to themselves, and will not allow any Body else to be in the Right, nor so much as complain of their Proceeding
'Tis none of the best Characters for a Man to find fault and pick a Quarrel with all the Bad People he meets with in the World : We should consider, that it is with familiar Society and Conversation, as with Trade and Commerce, where pieces of Silver, nay Copper Farthings, are as necessary as Guinea's.
In the common intercourse of Society and Converfation, 'tis Reason that yields first; the Wiseft Man is generally led by the more Foolish and Fantastical ; We study his weak fide, we accommodate our selves to his Humour and Caprices, and take care not to contradi&t him in any thing; the least Serenity that appears in his Looks, is extolld to the Skies, and we account it a great Merit in him, not to be always Intolerable ; he is Fear’d, Respected, Obey'd, nay sometimes lov'd into the Bargain.
I know not what difference to make betwixt talking Nonsense, or saying Good Things, which all the World knows already, and giving them for New.
The nicest part in humane Conversation, and the fineft Probe of the Recesses of the Heart of Man, is to guess at the meaning of the little Hints that are given by the by, and to know how to make the best of them. There are some malicious and angry jerks, dipp'd in the gall of Passion, and these are imperceptible Thunder-bolts, that strike down thofe whom they are level'd at. Many times a Word has thrown down headlong from the Pinacle of Favour, those whom the Murmurings of a whole People combined against them, could not so much as shake. There are other Hints which produce an Effect quite contrary; that is to fay, which support and encrease the Reputation of a Man, to whom they are address’d. But seeing they are cunningly glanced, so are they to be clitiously received, for the Security consists in fin :ling out the Intention, and the Blow foreseen, is always warded.