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You may perhaps think this account of those who are distinguished for their good humour, not very confiftent with the praises which I have bestowed upon it. But surely nothing can more evidently shew the value of this quality, than that it recommends those who are deftitute of all other excellencies, and procures regard to the trifling, friendship to the worthless, and affection to the dull.
Good humour is indeed generally degraded by the characters in which it is found; for being considered as a cheap and vulgar quality, we find it often neglected by those that having excellencies of higher reputation and brighter splendor, perhaps imagine that they have some right to gratify themselves expence
of others, and are to demand compliance, rather than to practise it. It is by some unfortunate miitake that almost all those who have any claim to esteem or love, press their pretensions with too little consideration of others. This mistake, my own interest as well as my zeal for general happiness, makes me desirous to rectify, for I have a friend, who because he knows his own fidelity and usefulness, is never willing to sink into a companion. I have a wife whose beau- * ty first fubdued me, and whose wit confirmed her conquest; but whose beauty now serves no other purpose than to entitle her to tyranny, and whose wit is only used to justify perverseness.
Surely nothing can be more unreasonable than to lose the will to please, when we are conscious of the power, or shew more cruelty than to choose any kind of influence before that of kindness. He that regards the welfare of others, should make his virtue approachable, that it may be loved and copied; and he that considers the wants which every man feels, or will feel of external assistance, must rather with to be surrounded by those that love him, than by those that
admire his excellencies, or solicit his favours; for admiration ceases with novelty, and interest gains its end and retires. A man whose great qualities want the ornament of superficial attractions, is like a paked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequented only till the treasure is exhausted.
C H A P. VI.
ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD. NOTHING
OTHING has so much exposed men of learning to contempt and ridicule, as their ignorance of things which are known to all but themselves. Those who have been taught to consider the institutions of the schools, as giving the last perfection to human abilities, are surprised to see men wrinkled with study, yet wanting to be instructed in the minute circumstances of propriety, or the necessary forms of daily transaction; and quickly shake off their reverence for modes of education, which they find to produce no ability above the rest of mankind.
Books, says Bacon, can never teach the use of books. The student must learn by commerce with mankind to reduce his speculations to practice, and accommodate his knowledge to the purposes of life.
It is too common for those who have been bred to schoJastic professions, and passed much of their time in acade. mies, where nothing but learning confers honours, to disregard every other qualification, and to imagine that they shall find mankind ready to pay homage to their knowledge, and to crowd about them for instruction. They therefore step out from their cells into the open world, with all the
confidence of authority and dignity of importance; they look round about them at once with ignorance and scorn on a race of beings to whom they are equally unknown and equally contemptible, but whose manners they must imitate, and with whose opinions they must comply, if they desire to pass their time happily among them.To leffen that disdain with which scholars inclined
to look on the common business of the world, and the unwillingness with which they condescend to learn what is not to be found in any system of philosophy, it may be necessary to consider, that though admiration is excited by abftrufe researches and remote discoveries, yet pleasure is not given, nor affection conciliated, but by softer accomplishments, and qualities more easily communicable to those about us. He that can only converse upon questions, about which only
part of mankind has knowledge sufficient to make them curious, must lose his days in unfocial filence, and live in the crowd of life without a companion. He that can only be useful in great occasions, may die without exerting his abilities, and stand a helpless spectator of a thoufand vexations which fret away happiness, and which nothing is required to remove but a little dexterity of conduct and readiness of expedients.
No degree of knowledge, attainable by man, is able to set him above the want of hourly assistance, or to extinguish the desire of fond endearments, and tender officioufness; and therefore, no one should think it unnecessary to learn those arts by which friendship may be gained. Kindness is preserved by a constant reciprocation of benefits or interchange of pleasures: but fuch benefits only can be bestowed, as others are capable of receiving, and such pleasures only imparted, as others are qualified to enjoy.
By this descent from the pinnacles of art no honour will be loft; for the condescensions of learning are always overpaid by 'gratitude. An elevated genius employed in little things, appears, to use the fimile of Longinus, like the fun in his evening declination: he remits his fplendor but retains his magnitude; and pleases more, tho' he dazzles less.
CH AP. VII. ON THE ADVANTAGES OF UNITING GENTLE.
NESS OF MANNERS WITH FIRMNESS OF MIND. I Mentioned to you, fome time ago, a sentence, which I would most earnestly wish you always to retain in your thoughts, and observe in your conduct; it is fuavitèr in modi, fcriitèr in re. I do not know any one rule so unexceptionably useful and necessary in every part of life.
The fuavitèr in modo alone would degenerate and fink into a mean, timid complaisance, and pasliveness, if not fupported and dignified by the fortitèr in re; which would also run into impetuoufity and brutality, if not tempered and foftened by the Juavitèr in modo: however, they are seldom united. The warm choleric man, with strong animal spirits, despises the fuavitèr in modo, and thinks to carry all before him by the fortiièr in re. He may possibly, by great accident, now and then succeed, when he has only weak and timid people to deal with; but his general fate will be, to shock, offend, be hated, and fail. On the other hand, the cunning crafty man thinks to gain all his ends by the juavitèr in medo only: he becomes all things to all men; he seems to have no opinion of his own, and servilely adopts the present opinion of the present person; he infinuates him
self only into the esteem of fools, but is soon detected, and forely despised by every body else. The wise man (who differs as much from the cunning, as from the choleric man) alone joins the fuavitèr in modo with the fortitèr in re.
If you are in authority, and have a right to command, your commands delivered fuavitèr in modo, will be willingly, cheerfully, and consequently well obeyed; whereas if given only fortiler, that is brutally, they will rather, as Tacitus fays, be interpreted than executed. For my own part, if I bade my footman bring me a glass of wine, in a rough insulting manner, I should expect, that in obeying me, he would contrive to spill fome of it upon me; and I am sure I should deserve it. A cool steady resolution should shew, that where you have a right to command, you will be obeyed; but, at the same time, a gentleness in the manner of enforceing that obedience, should make it a cheerful one, and soften, as much as possible, the mortifying consciousness of inferiori. ty. If you are to ask a favour, or even to solicit
due, you must do it fuavitèr in modo, or you will give those, who have a mind to refuse you, either a pretence to do it, by refenting the manner; but, on the other hand, you must, by a fteady perseverance and decent tenaciousness, shew the
fortiIn short, this precept is the only way I know in the world, of being loved without being despised, and feared without being hated. It constitutes the dignity of character, which every wise man must endeavour to establish.
If therefore you find that you have a hastiness in your temper, which unguardedly breaks out into indiscreet fallies, or, rough expressions, to either your superiors, your equals, or your inferiors, watch it narrowly, check it carefully, and call the fuavitèr in modo to your assistance ; at the first im
tèr in re.