Page images

of these later ages, has all the innocence and fimplicity of the earliest: that he enforces the doctrines of his facred function, not with the vain pomp of oftentatious eloquence, but with the far more powerful perfuafion of active and exemplary virtue: that he foftens the severity of precept with the ease and familiarity of conversation, and by generously mingling with the meanest committed to his care, infinuates the inftructor under the air of the companion : that whilst he thus fills up the circle of his private station, he still turns his regards to the public, and employs his genius, his induftry, and his fortune in profecuting and perfecting those difcoveries, which tend most to the general benefit of mankind: in a word, that whilft others of his order are contending for the ambitious prizes of ecclefiaftical dignities, it is his gloricus preheminence to merit the highest, without enjoying, or foliciting, even the lowest. This, and yet more than this, the world fhould hear of your friend, if the world were inclined to listen to my voice. But tho you perhaps, Philotes, may be willing to give audience to my Mufe,

[blocks in formation]


namque Tu folebas

Meas effe aliquid putare nugas.


can fhe hope to find favor likewife in the fight of the public? Let me then, rather content myself with the filent admiration of thofe virtues, which I am not worthy to celebrate; and leave it to others to place the good works of Eufebes where they may Shine forth before men. I am, &c.



To the fame.

Dec. 7 1747.

HE vifits of a friend, like thofe of

the fun at this season, are extremely enlivening. I am fure at least they would both be particularly acceptable to me at prefent, when my mind is as much overcaft as the heavens. I hope, therefore, you will not drop the defign your Letter intimates, of fpending a few days with me in your way to ***. Your company will greatly contribute to disperse those clouds of melancholy which the loss of a very valuable friend has


hung over me. There is fomething, indeed, in the first moments of feparation from those, whom a daily commerce and long habitude of friendship has grafted upon the heart, that disorders our whole frame of thought, and difcolors all one's enjoyments. Let Philofophy affift with the utmost of her vaunted strength, the mind cannot immediately recover the firmness of its posture, when those amicable props upon which it used to reft, are totally removed. Even the most indifferent objects with which we have long been familiar, take fome kind of root in our hearts; and "I should hardly "care" (as a celebrated author has, with great good-nature, observed)" to have an "old post pulled up, which I remember'd "ever fince I was a child."


To know how to receive the full fatisfaction of a present enjoyment, with a dispofition prepared at the same time to yield it without reluctance, is hardly, I doubt, reconcileable to humanity: pain in being difunited from those we love, is a tax we must be contented to pay, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the focial affections. One would not wifh, indeed, to be whol

[blocks in formation]

ly infenfible to difquietudes of this kind: and we must renounce the most refined relish of our being, if we would upon all occasions. poffefs our fouls in a Stoical tranquility.

THAT antient philofopher whofe precept it was, to converfe with our friends as if they might one day prove our enemies, has been justly cenfured as advancing a very ungenerous maxim. To remember, however, that we must one day most certainly be divided from them, is a reflection, methinks, that should enter with us into our tender connections of every kind. From the present discompofure, therefore, of my own breaft, and from that share which I take in whatever may affect the repofe of yours, I cannot bid you adieu, without reminding you at the fame time of the useful caution of one of your poetical acquaint


Quicquid amas, cupias non placuisse nimis,

I am, &c.




I to true

Feb. 13, 1741.

F one would rate any particular merit according to its true valuation, it may be neceffary, perhaps, to confider how far it can be justly claimed by mankind in general. I am fure at least, when I red the very uncommon fentiments of your last letter, I found their judicious author rife in my esteem, by reflecting, that there is not a more fingular character in the world, than that of a thinking man. It is not merely having a fucceffion of ideas, which lightly fkim over the mind, that can with any propriety be styled by that denomination. It is obferving them feparately and diftinctly, and ranging them under their respective claffes; it is calmly and fteddily viewing our opinions on every fide, and resolutely tracing them thro all their confequences and connexions, that conftitutes the man of reflexion, and distinguishes reason from fancy. Providence, indeed, does not feem to have formed any very confiderable number A a 4


« PreviousContinue »