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serve, and that they seek by their inventions. If they persist in seeking it, and treat contemptuously those who have not this talent, they will gain nothing but a few hard names, and they will be treated as visionaries. A man should take care, therefore, not to plume himself upon this advantage, great as it is; and he should be content to be esteemed by the few, who really can appreciate his merits.
DETACHED MORAL THOUGHTS.
There are plenty of good maxims in the world; we fail only in applying them. For instance, it is without doubt that we should expose life to defend the public good; and many do this : but scarcely any one does this for religion. It is necessary that there be inequality in the state of man; but that being granted, the door is opened, not only to the highest domination, but to the highest degree of tyranny. It is needful to allow some relaxation of mind; but this opens the door to the loosest dissipations. The limits should be marked; they are not laid down. The laws would prescribe them, but the human mind will noť endure it.
2. The authority of reason is far more imperious than that of a master: for he who disobeys the one, is unhappy; but he who disobeys the other, is a fool.
3. Why would you kill me? Why? do you not liveacross the water? My friend, if you lived on this side, I should be an assassin ; it would be unjust to kill you in this way; but since you live on the other, I am brave, and the act is just.
4. Those who live irregularly, say to those who live discretly, that it is they who swerve from the dictates of nature, and that they themselves live according to it; as those who are in a vessel, believe that the people on shore are receding from them.
use similar language. There should be a fixed point to decide the case. The port settles the question for those in the vessel, but where shall we find this fixed point in morals ?*
5. As fashion makes pleasure, so does it justice. If men really knew what justice is, they would never have admitted this commonest of all maxims throughout the world, that each should follow the custom of his own country. Real equity would have subjugated all nations, by its native brilliancy; and legislators would not have taken in the stead of this invariable rule of right, the fancies and caprices of Persians and Germans, &c. It would have been set up in all the states of the earth, and at all times.
6. Justice is that which is by law established; and hence all our established laws are to be necessarily accounted just, because they are established.
7. The only universal rules are, the laws of the land in ordinary matters. In extraordinary matters, the majority carries it. Why is this ? From the power that exists in it.
And hence, also, kings who possess an extrinsic force, do not follow even the majority of their ministers.
8. Undoubtedly an equality of rights is just ; but not being able to compel men to be submissive to justice, legislators have made them obedient to force. Unable to fortify justice, they have justified force ; so that justice and force uniting, there might be peace, for that is the sovereign good,-summum jus, summa injuria.
The power of the plurality is the best way; because it is a visible power; and it has force to command obedience. Yet this is the counsel of inferior men.
If they could, they should have put power into the hands of justice ; but since power will not let itself be used as men please, because it is a palpable quality,
The answer of M. Pascal would be, in the Holy Scriptures.
while justice is an intellectual quality, of which they may dispose as they please, they have placed justice in the hands of power, and now they call that justice which power requires to be observed.
9. It is just, that whatever is just should be observed. It is necessary that whatever is the strongest should be obeyed. Justice without power is inefficient : power without justice is tyranny. Justice without power is gainsayed, because there are always wicked men. Power without justice is soon questioned. Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may he just.
Justice may be disputed; but power speaks pretty plainly, and without dispute. So that it needs but to give power to justice; but seeing that it was not possible to make justice powerful, they have made the powerful just.
10. It is dangerous to tell the people that the laws are not just; för they only obey them because they believe them to be just. They must be told therefore at the same time, that they must obey there as laws; as they obey their superiors, not because they are just, buť because they are their superiors. If you make them comprehend this, you prevent all sedition. This is the true definition of justice.
11. It were well for the people to obey laws and customs, because they are laws; and that they understood that this made them just. On this ground, they would never deviate from them: whilst on the other hand, if their justice is to rest on any other basis it may easily be brought into question, and then the people are made liable to revolt.
12. When it is made a question, whether we should make war, and kill so many men, and doom so many Spaniards to die, it is one man only who decides, and he an interested party. It ought to be a third and an indifferent person.
13. Language such as this, is false and tyrannical : “ I am well-looking; then men ought to fear me: I am strong ; then men should love me." Tyranny is to seek to obtain that by one means, which should only be obtained by another. We owe different duties to different kinds of merit; a duty of love to that which is amiable ; of fear, to that which is mighty; of teachableness, to the learned, &c. This duty should be done. It is unjust to withhold this. It is unjust to require more. And it savors equally of error and of tyranny to say, “ He has no might, then I will not esteem him. He has no talent, therefore I will not fear him." Tyranny consists in the desire of universal dominion, unwarranted by our real merit.
14. Their are vices which have nó hold upon us, but in connection with others; and which, when you cut down the trunk, fall like the branches.
15. When malice has reason on its side, it looks forth bravely, displays that reason in its lustre.
When austerity and self-denial have not realized true happiness and ihe soul returns to the dictates of nature, the reaction is fearfully extravagant.
15. To find recreation in amusements, is not happiness; for this joy springs from alien and extrinsic sources, and is therefore dependent upon, and subject to interruption by a thousand accidents, which may minister inevitable affliction.
17. The highest style of mind is accused of folly, as well as the lowest. Nothing is thoroughly approved but mediocrity. The majority has brought this about; and it instantly fixes its fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way. I will not resist their rule. I consent to be ranked among them; and if I object to be placed at the low extreme, it is not because it is low, but because it is the extreme ; for I should in the same way refuse to be placed at the highest. To get really beyond mediocrity, is to pass the limits of human nature. The dignity of the human soul, lies in knowing how to keep the middle course; and so far from there being greatness in leaving it, true greatness consists in never deviating from
18. No man obtains credit with the world for talent
in poetry, who does not fairly hang out the sign of a poet; or for a talent in mathematics, if he has not put up the sign of a mathenatician. But your truly honest men have recourse to no such expedients. They no more play themselves off for poets, than for embroiderers. They are neither called poets nor geometers; but they are at home in all these matters. Men do not make out specifically what they are.
When they enter a room, they speak of the topic then in discussion. They do not discover a greater aptness for one subject than for another, except as circumstances call out their talent; for to such persons it is a matter of equal indifference, that it should not be said, “That man talks remarkably well,” when conversational powers are not the point in question, or that this should be said of them when it is. It is poor praise, therefore, when a man is pointed out, on his entering a room, as a great poet, or that he should only be referred to, where the merit of some verses is to be considered. Man is full of wants ; he only loves those who can satisfy them. 66 He is a good mathematician ; they say, “ but then I must be bored incessantly with mathematics :') or, 56 That man thoroughly comprehends the art of war; but I do not wish to make war with any man.” Give me, then, a polite man, with general talents, to meet and supply my necessities.
19. When in health, we cannot at all judge how we would act in sickness; but when sickness comes, then we submit freely to the needful discipline. The disa ease itself is the cause of this. We feel then no longer the eager
thirst for amusements and visiting, whichoriginates in health, and which is quite incompatible with a state of sickness. Nature, then, gives inclinations and desires conformed to our present state. It is only the fears that originate with ourselves, and not with nature, that trouble us; for they associate with the state in which we then are, the feelings of a state in which we are not.
20. Injunctions to humility, are sources of humiliation to the humble; but of pride, to the proud. So