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things which he cannot know; and I know not whether it is not a less evil to be in error on such subjects, than to be indulging an idle curiosity.
18. If the lightning had fallen upon low places, the poets and other men who reason only from such analogies, would have failed of their best proofs.
19. Mind has its own order of proceeding, which is by principles and demonstrations : the heart has another. We do not prove that we ought to be loved, by setting forth systematically the causes of love ; that would be ridiculous.
Jesus Christ and St. Paul have rather followed this way of the heart, which is the way of charity, than that of the intellect; for their chief end was not merely to instruct, but to animate and warm. St. Augustine does the same. This mode consists chiefly in a digression to each several point, which has a relation to the end, so as to aim at that end always.
20. There are men who put an artificial covering on all nature. There is no king with them, but an august monarch: no Paris, but the capital of the empire. There are places where we must call Paris, Paris; and others where we must call it, the capital of the empire.
21. When in a composition we find a word occurring more than once, and on an attempt to alter it, it is found so suitable that a change would weaken the sense ; it should be left. To remove it, is the work of a blind envy, which cannot discern that this repetition is not, in this case, a fault; for there is no absolute general rule.
22. Those who make antitheses by forcing the sense, are like men who make false windows for the sake of symmetry. Their rule is not to speak justly, but to make accurate figures.
23. One language is with respect to another a cypher, in which words stand for words, and pot letters for letters; and hence an unknown language cannot be decyphered.
21. There is a standard of taste and beauty which consists in a certain accordant relation between our nature-it may be weak or strong, but such as it is,and the thing that pleases us. All that is formed by this standard delights us: houses, songs, writings, verse, prose, women, birds, rivers, trees, rooms, and dresses. All that is not formed by this standard, disgusts a man of good taste.
25. As we say, poetic beauty, so also we should say geometrical beauty, and medicinal beauty.
Yet we do not say so, and the reason of this is, that we know distinctly the object of geometry, and the object of medicine; but we do not know so precisely in what consists that delight, which is the object of poetry: We do not rightly know what is that natural model which we ought to imitate ; and, for want of this knowledge, we invent extravagant terms, as, golden age, paragon of our days, fatal laurel, bright star, foc. and we call this jargon poetical beauty. But he who should imagine to himself a lady dressed by such a model, would see a beautiful woman covered with mirrors and chains of brass, and could not refrain from laughing ; because we understand better that which pleases in poetry. But those who are not skilled in These matters, might admire her in this dress; and there are plenty of villages where they would take her for the queen: and hence there are some who call sonnets, made after such a model, village queens.
26. When a discourse paints a passion or an effect naturally, we find in ourselves the truth of what we hear,—and which was there without our knowing it; -and we feel induced to love him who causes discover it, for he does not shew us his good, but our own; and hence, this benefit conferred, makes us love him. Besides, that this community of intellectual enjoyment that we have with him, necessarily inclines the heart to love him.
27. There should be in eloquence that which is pleasing, and that which is real; but that which is pleasing should itself be real.
28. When we meet with the natural style, we are
surprized and delighted, for we expected to find an author, and we have found a man. Whilst those of good taste who look into a book, in the hope of finding a man, are altogether surprized to find an author : plus poetice quam humane locutus est. They confer the greatest honor on nature, who teach her that she can speak on all subjects, even theology.
29. The last thing that we discover in writing a book, is to know what to put at the beginning.
30, In a discourse, it is wrong to divert the mind from one thing to another, except to prevent weariness; and that only in the time when it is suitable, and not otherwise; for he who wishes to amuse inappropriately, wearies,-men will turn away their attention altogether. So difficult is it to obtain any thing from man, but by pleasure,—the current coin for which we are willing to give every thing.
31. What a vanity is painting which attracts admira-tion, by the resemblance of things, that in the original, we do not at all admire ?
32. The same sense is materially affected by the words that convey it. The sense receives its dignity from the word, instead of imparting it to them.
33. Those who are accustomed to judge by feeling, understand but little in matters of reasoning ; for they at once, penetrate the subject with one view, and are not accustomed to search for principles. Others, on the contrary, who are accustomed to reason from principles, comprehend little in matters of feeling; searching for principles, and not being able to discov
34. True eloquence despises eloquence. True morality despises morality ; that is to say, the morality of the understanding, sets light by the morality of the fancy, which knows no rule.
35. All the false beauties that we condemn in Cicero, have their admirers in crowds.
36. To set light by philosophy, is the true philosophy.
37. Many persons understand a sermon, as they understand vespers.
38. Rivers are roads which move forward, and carry us to our destination.
39. Two faces which resemble each other, neither of which is ludicrous alone, excite a smile from their resemblance, when seen together.
40. Astrologers and Alchymists have some sound principles, but they abuse them. Now, the abuse of truth ought to be as much punished as the invention of falsehood.
44. I cannot forgive Descartes. He would willingly, in all his philosophy, have done without God, if he could; but he could not get on without letting him give the world a filip to set it a going ; after that, he has nothing more to do with him.
ON EPICTETUS AND MONTAIGNE.
EPICTETUS* is one of those philosophers of this world who have best known the duties of man. He would have him before all things, to regard God as his chief object, to be persuaded that he governs all things with justice, to submit to him cordially, and to follow him willingly as infinitely wise, and he affirms that this disposition would stay all his complaints and miseries, and prepare him to endure patiently the most distressing events.
Never say, he enjoins, “ I have lost that." Say rather, “I have restored it. My son is dead; I have surrendered him. My wife is dead; I have given her up.” And so of every other good. 66 But he who deprived me of this good, is a wicked man.” Why distress yourself about him, by whom He who lent the
* A Stoic philosopher, who flourished during the latter part of the 1st century. His treatise on Morals has been translated from the Greek, by Mrs. Carter.
It is your
blessing, sent to seek it again? While the use of it is permitted to you, regard it as a good belonging to olhers, as a traveller' does in an inn." 66 You should not wish,” he continues, “ that things should be as you desire, but you should wish that they
as they are. Remember that you are here as an actor, and that you play that part which your master is pleased to appoint. If he gives you a short part, play short; if a long part, play long : remain on the stage as long as he pleases; appear on it rich or poor, according to his command. duty to play well the part assigned; but to choose it, is the part of God. Set always before your eyes death and the evils which seem least bearable, and you would never think slightingly of any thing, nor desire any thing excessively.” He shews in many ways what man should do. He wishes him to be humble, to hide his good resolutions, especially in their commencement, and to fulfil them secretly, for that nothing so much injures them as exposure. He never wearies of repeating that all the study and the desire of men should be, to know and to do the will of God.
Such was the light of this great mind, who so well understood the duties of man; happy if he had as well known his weakness. But, after having so well understood what man ought to do, he loses himself in the presumption of that for which he thinks him equal.“God,” he says, “ has given to every man the means of acquitting himself of all his obligations; these means are always in his power. We should only seek happiness by the means that are in our power. Since God has given them for that end, we ought to ascertain what is our liberty. Wealth, life, respect, are not in our power, and do not lead to God; but the mind cannot be forced to believe that which it knows to be false ; nor the will to love that which it knows will make it miserable. These two powers then are perfectly free; and by these only can we make ourselves perfect,-know God perfectly, love him, obey him, please him, vanquish all vices, attain all virtues, and thus, make ourselves the holy companions of God.”