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A man, who uses his best endeavours to live according to the dictates of virtue and right reason, has two' perpetual sources of cheerfulness, in the confideration of his own nature, and of that Being on whom he has a dependence. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence, which is so lately bestowed upon him, and which, after millions of ages, will be still new, and still in its beginning. How many self-congratulations naturally rise in the mind, when it reflects on this its entrance into eternity; when it takes a view of those improveable faculties, which in a few years, and even at its first setting out, have made so considerable a progress, and which will be ftill receiving an increase of perfection, and consequently an increase of happiness? The consciousness of such a being spreads a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a virtuous man, and makes him look upon himself every moment as more happy than he knows how to conceive.
The second source of cheerfulness to a good mind, is its consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold him as yet but in the fir it faint discoveries of his perfections, we fee every thing that we can imagine as great, glorious, or amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness, and surrounded with an immenfity of love and mercy. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose power qualifies bim to make us happy by an infinity of means, whose goodness and truth engage him to make those happy who defire it o him, and whose unchangeableness will secure us in this happiness to all eternity.
Such confiderations which every one should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, will banish from us all that secret henviness of heart which unthinking men are subject to when they
lie under no real aMiction; all that: anguish which we may feel from any evil that actually oppresses us; to which I may likewise add those little cracklings of mirth and folly that are apter to betray virtue than support it ; and establish in us such an even and cheerful temper, as makes us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whoin we converse, and to him whom we are made to please.
TRUTH and fincerity have all the advantages of appearance, and many more. If the few of any thing be good. for any thing, I am sure the reality is better; for why does any man diffemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have the qualities he pretends to ? For to counterfeit and dissemble, is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now the best way for a man to seem to be any thing, is really to be what he would seem to be. Besides, it is often as troublesome to support the pretence of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is most likely he will be discovered to want it, and then all his labour to seem to have it is loft. There is something unnatural in painting, which a skilful eye will easily discern from native beauty and complexion.
It is hard to personate and act a part long; for where truth is not at the bottom, nature will always be endeavouring to return, and will betray herself at one time or other...
Therefore if any man think it convenient to seem good, let. him be so indeed, and then his goodness will appear to every one's fatisfaction; for- truth is convincing, and carries its own light and evidence along with it, and will not only commend us to every man's conscience, but, which is much more, to God, who fearcheth our hearts. So that upon all accounts fincerity is true wisdom. Particularly as to the af. fairs of this world, integrity hath many advantages over all the artificial modes of diffimulation and deceit. It is much the plainer and easier ; much the safer and more secure way of dealing in the world; it hath less of trouble and difficulty, of entanglement and perplexity, of danger and hazard in it : it is the shortest and nearest way to our end, carrying us thither in a straight line, and will hold out and last longest. The arts of deceit and cunning continually grow weaker and less effectual and serviceable to those that practife them ; whereas integrity gains ftrength by ufs, and the more and longer any man practiseth it, the greater service it does him, by confirming his reputation, and encouraging those with whom he hath to do, to repose the greatest confidence in him, which is an unspeakable advantage in bufiness and the affairs of life.
A DISSEMBLER mul always be upon his guard, and watch himself carefully, that he do not contradict his own pretensions; for he acts an unnatural part, and therefore must put a continual force and restraint upon himself. Whereas he that acts Sincerely hath the eafieft talk in the world ; because he follows Nature, and so is put to no trouble and care about his words and actions; he needs not invent any pretences before hand, nor make excuses afterwards, for any thing he hath said or done.
But insincerity is very troublesome to manage; a hypocrite has so many things to attend to, as make his life a very perplexed and intricate thing. A liar hath need of a good memory, left he contradiet at one time what he said at another; but truth is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out; it is always near at hand, and fits upon our lips ; , whereas a lie is troublesome, and i needs a great many more to make it good..
Add to all this, that sincerity is the most compendious wisdom, and an excellent instrument for the speedy despatch of business : It creates confidence in those we have to deal with, faves the labour of many inquiries, and brings things to an issue in a few words. It is like travelling in a plain beaten road, which commonly brings a man sooner to his journey's end, than bye-ways, in which men often lose themfelves. In a word, whatfoever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and diflimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honestly. When a man hath once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, nothing will then serve his turn-neither truth nor falsehood.
INDEED, if a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and should never have occafion to converse more with mankind, never more need their good opinion or good word, it were then no great matter (as far as respects the affairs of this world) if he spent his reputation all at once, and ventured it at one throw. But if he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of reputation whilst he is in it, let him make use of truth and sincerity in all his words and actions, for nothing but this will hold out
to the end. All other arts may fail, but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last.
ON HONOUR. Every
VERY principle that is a motive to good, actions ought to be encouraged, since men are of so different a make, that the same principle does not work equally upon all minds. 'What some men are prompted to by conscience, duty, or religion, which are only different names for the same thing, others are prompted to by honour.
The sense of honour is of so fine and delicate a nature, that it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble, or in such as have been cultivated by great examples, or a refined education. This essay therefore is chiefly defigned for those who by means of any of these advantages are, or ought to be actuated by this glorious principle.
But as nothing is more pernicious than a principle of action, when it is misunderstood, I shall consider honour with respect to three sorts of men. First of all with regard to those who have a right notion of it. Secondly, with regard to those who have a mistaken notion of it And, thirdly, with regard to those who treat it as chimerical, and turn it into ridicule.
In the first place true honour, though it be a different principle from religion, is that which produces the same effects. The lines of action, though drawn from different parts, terminate in the same point. Religion embraces virtue, as it is enjoined by the laws of God; honour, as it is graceful and ornamental to human nature. The religious man