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ESSAY X.

OF COHABITATION.

N.

O subject is of more importance in the morality of private life than that of cohabitation.

Every man has his ill humours, his fits of peevishness and exacerbation. Is it better that he should spend these upon his fellow beings, or suffer them to subside of themselves ?

It seems to be one of the most important of the arts of life, that men should not come too near each other, or touch in too many points. Excessive familiarity is the banc of social happiness.

There is no practice to which the human mind adapts itself with greater facility, than that of apologising to itself for its miscarriages, and giving to its errors the outside and appearance of virtues,

The passionate man, who feels himself continually prompted to knock every one down that seems to him pertinacious and perverse, never fails to expatiate upon the efficacy of this mode of correcting error, and to satirise with great vehemence the Utopian absurdity of him

who

chimney-sweeper and a scavenger, who, if their existence is of any benefit to mankind, are however rather tolerated in the world, than thought entitled to the testimonies of our gratitude and elteem.

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indeed, I shall take no notice of

yoll,

for

you have done wrong.

All this is the excess of familiarity.

The tyrant governor practises this, and applauds himself for his virtue. He reviews his conduct with self-complacence; he sees in fancy the admirable consequences that will refult from it; and, if it fails, he congratulates himself at least that he has proceeded with the most exemplary virtue.

He does not know that, through the whole scene, he has been only indulging the most Thameful vices. He had merely been accumulating a certain portion of black bile, and in this proceeding he has found a vent for it. There was no atom of virtue or benevolence in his conduct. He was exercising his despotism in fecurity, because its object was unable to refift. He was giving scope to the overflowings of his spite, and the child, who was placed under his direction, was the unfortunaté victim.

There is a reverence that we owe to every thing in human shape. I do not say that a child is the image of God. But I do affirm that he is an individual being, with powers of reasoning, with sensations of pleasure and pain, and with principles of morality; and that in this descrip

who would set them right by ways of mildness and expoftulation.

The dogmatist, who, satisfied of the truth of his own opinions, treats all other modes of thinking as absurd, and can practise no forbearance for the prejudices of his neighbours, can readily inform you of the benefit which the mind receives from a rude shock, and the unceasing duration of errors which are only encountered with kindness and reason.

The man who lives in a state of continual waspishness and bickering, easily alleges in his favour the falutary effects which arise from giving pain, and that men are not to be cured of their follies but by making them severely feel the ill consequences that attend on them.

The only method therefore of accurately trying a maxim of private morality, is to put out of the question all personal retrospect, and every inducement to the apologising for our own habits, and to examine the subject purely upon its general merits.

In the education of youth no resource is more frequent than to a harsh tone and a peremptory

The child does amiss, and he is rebuked. If he overlook this treatment, and make overtures of kindness, the answer is, No,

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you, for

indeed, I shall take no notice of

you have done wrong.

All this is the excess of familiarity.

The tyrant governor practises this, and applauds himself for his virtue. He reviews his conduct with self-complacence; he sees in fancy the admirable consequences that will result from it; and, if it fails, he congratulates himself at least that he has proceeded with the most exemplary virtue.

He does not know that, through the whole scene, he has been only indulging the most Thameful vices. He had merely been accumulating a certain portion of black bile, and in this proceeding he has found a vent for it. There was no atom of virtue or benevolence in his conduct. He was exercising his despotism in fecurity, because its object was unable to refift. He was giving scope to the overflowings of his spite, and the child, who was placed under his direction, was the unfortunaté victim.

There is a reverence that we owe to every thing in human shape. I do not say that a child is the image of God. But I do affirm that he is an individual being, with powers of reasoning, with sensations of pleasure and pain, and with principles of morality; and that in this descrip

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