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Louis the XIVth was asked, why, with so much wit he never attempted raillery, he answered, that he who practised raillery, ought to bear it in his turn, and that to stand the butt of raillery was not suitable to the dignity of a king.
Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 5. p. 364.
RESOLUTION.' When desperate ills demand a speedy cure, distrust is cowardice, and prudence folly.
Jrene, p. 52.
Resolution and success reciprocally produce each other.
· Life of Drake, p. 174.
Marshal Turenne, among the acknowledgments which he used to pay in conversation to the memory of those by whom he had been instructed in tlie art of war, mentioned one, with honour, who taught him not to spend his time in regretting any mistake which he had made, but to set himself immediately, and vigorously, to repair it. Patience and submission should be carefully distinguished from cowardice and indolence; we are not to repine, but we may lawfully struggle; for the calamities of life, like the necessities of nature, are calls to labour, and exercises of diligence.
Rambler, vol. 2, p. 195.
Some firmness and resolution is necessary to the discharge of duty, but it is a very unhappy state of life in which the necessity of such struggles frequently occurs; for no man is defeated without some resentment, which will be continued with obstinacy, while he believes himself in the right,
and exerted with bitterness, if, even to his own conviction, he is detected in the wrong.
[bid. vol. 2, p. 37. To have attempted much is always laudable, even when the enterprise is above the strength, that undertakes it. To rest below his own aim, is incident to every one whose fancy is active, and whose views are comprehensive; nor is any man satisfied with himself, because he has done much, but because he can conceive little.
Preface to Diet. fol. p. 5. There is nothing which we estimate so fallaciously as the force of our own resolutions, nor any fallacy which we so unwillingly and tardily detect. He that has resolved a thousand and a thousand times, deserted his own purpose, yet suffers no abatement of his confidence, but still believes himself his own master, and able, by innate vigour of soul, to press forward to his end, through all the obstructions that inconveniences or delights can put in his way..
Idler, vol. I, p. 150.
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome.
- Prince of Abyssinia, p. 40. Most men may review all the lives that have passed within their observation without remembering one efficacious resolution, or being able to tell a single instance of a course of practice suddenly changed, in consequence of a change of opiņion, or an establishment of determination. Many, indeed, alter their conduct, and are not at fifty what they were at thirty, but they com
monly varied imperceptibly from themselves, followed the train of external causes, and rather suffered reformation than' made it.
Idler, vol. 1, p. 151.
RELIGION. To be of no church, is dangerous. Religion, of which the rewards are distant, and which is animated only by faith and hope, will glide by degrees out of the mind, unless it be invigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances, by stated calls to worship, and the salutary influence of example. '
..:-: Life of Milton. . . That conversion of religion will always be sus. pected, that apparently concurs with interest. He that never finds his error, till it hinders his ; progress towards wealth and honour, will not be thought to love truth only for herself. Yet it may happen, information may come at a com- ' modious time, and as truth and interest are not by any fatal necessity at variance, that one may, by accident, introduce the other.
Life of Dryden. Philosophy may infuse stubbornness, but Religion only can give patience.
The Idler, vol. I, p. 234. Malevolence to the clergy, is seldom at a great distance from irreverence to Religion.
Life of Dryden. The great task of him who conducts his life by the precepts of religion, is to make the future predominate over the present, to impress upon
his mind so strong a sense of the importance of obedience to the divine will, of the value of the reward promised to virtue, and the terrors of the punishment denounced against crimes, as may overbear all the tempatations which temporal hope or fear can bring in his way, and enable him to bid equal defiance to joy and sorrow, to turn away at one time from the allurements of ambition, and push forward at another against the threats of calamity.
. Rambler, vol. 1, p. 38. ' A man who has once settled his religious opinions, does not love to have the tranquillity of his conviction disturbed.
Western Islands, p. 280. Men may differ from each other in many religious opinions, yet all may retain the essentials of Christianity; men may sometimes eagerly dispute, and yet not differ much from one another. The rigorous persecutors. of error should there fore enlighten their zeal with knowledge, and temper their orthodoxy with charity; that charity without which, orthodoxy is vain; that charity " that thinketh no evil,” but “ hopeth all things, and endureth all things.”
Life of Sir T. Browne, p. 248.
RICHES. Poverty is an evil always in our view; an evil complicated with so many circumstances of un-. easiness and vexation, that every man is studious to avoid it. Some degree of riches, therefore, is required, that we may be exempt from the gripe of necessity. When this purpose is attained, we naturally wish for more, that the evil
which is regarded with so much horror, may be yet at a greater distance from us; as he that has at once felt, or dreaded the paw of a savage, will not be at rest, till they are parted hy some barrier, which may take away all possibility of a second attack.
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 231. Whoever shall look heedfully upon those who are eminent for their riches, will not think their condition such as that he should hazard his quiet, and inuch less his virtue, to obtain it; for all that great wealth generally gives above a moderate fortune, is more room for the freaks of caprice, and more privilege for ignorance and vice; a quicker succession of flatteries, and a larger circle of voluptuousness.
. Ibid. vol. I, Þ. 232. There is one reason seldom remarked, which makes riches less desirable. Too much wealth is generally the occasion of poverty. He whom the wantonness of abundance has once softened, easily sinks into neglect of his affairs; and he that thinks he can afford to be negligent, is not far from being poor. He will soon be involved in perplexities, which his inexperience will render insurmountable; he will fly for help to those whose interest it is that he should be more distressed; and will be, at last, torn to pieces by the vultures that always hover over our fortunes in decay.
Ibid. p. 233. Wealth is nothing in itself; it is not useful but when it departs from us: its value is found only in that which it can purchase, which if we suppose it put to its best use, seems not much to