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his phyfical researches, as worthy the imitation of inquirers after truth of every
"PERHAPS you will wonder, fays he, "that in almost every one of the following effays, I fhould use so often, perhaps, it "feems, 'tis not improbable, as arguing a dif"fidence of the truth of the opinions I in"cline to; and that I should be so shy of laying down principles, and fometimes "of fo much as venturing at explications. "But I must freely confefs, that having "met with many things of which I could give myself no one probable caufe, and "fome things of which feveral caufes may "be affigned fo differing, as not to agree "in any thing, unless in their being all of "them probable enough; I have often * found fuch difficulties in fearching into "the causes and manner of things, and I "am fo fenfible of my own disability to "furmount thofe difficulties, that I dare fpeak confidently and pofitively of very "few things, except matter of fact. And when I venture to deliver any thing by of opinion, I fhould, if it were not "for mere fhame, fpeak yet more diffi
dently than I have been wont to do. Nor have my thoughts been altogether idle" in forming notions and attempting to de"vife hypotheses. But I have hitherto (tho' "not always, yet not unfrequently) found "that what pleased me for a while, was "foon after difgraced by fome farther or "new experiment. And, indeed, I have
the less envied many (for I fay not all) "of those writers who have taken upon "them to deliver the causes of things, and explicate the myfteries of nature, fince I "have had the opportunity to observe how 66 many of their doctrines, after having been "for a while applauded and even admired, "have afterwards been confuted by fome "new phænomenon in nature which was "either unknown to fuch writers, or not "fufficiently confidered by them."
IF pofitiveness could become any man in any point of mere fpeculation, it must have been this truly noble philofopher when he was delivering the refult of his studies in a fcience, wherein, by the united confeffion of the whole world, he fo eminently excelled. But he had too much generosity to prescribe his own notions as a measure to
the judgment of others, and too much good fense to affert them with heat or confidence.
WHOEVER, Philotes, pursues his fpeculations with this humble unarrogating temper of mind, and with the beft exertion of thofe faculties which Providence has affigned him; tho' he should not find the conviction, never, furely, can he fail of the reward of truth. I am, &c.
To PALA MEDES.
F malice had never broken loofe upon the
I your reputation, I
might reasonably condole with you on falling the first prey to its unrestrained rage. But this fpectre has haunted merit almost from its earliest existence: and when all mankind were as yet included within a fingle family, one of them, we know, rofe up in malignity of foul against his innocent brother. Virtue, it should feem therefore, has now been too long acquainted with this her conftant perfecutor, to be either terrified
or dejected at an appearance fo common, The truth of it is, fhe muft either renounce her nobleft theatre of action, and feclude herself in cells and defarts, or be contented to enter upon the stage of the world with this fiend in her train. She cannot triumph, if she will not be traduced; and she should confider the clamors of cenfure, when joined with her own confcious applause, as fo many acclamations that confirm her vic
LET thofe who harbor this worst of human difpofitions, confider the many wretched and contemptible circumstances which attend it: but it is the bufinefs of him who unjustly fuffers from it, to reflect how it may be turned to his advantage. Remember then, my friend, that Generofity would lofe half her dignity, if malice did not contribute to her elevation; and he that has never been injured, has never had it in his power to exercise the noblest privilege of heroic virtue. There is another confolation which may be derived from the rancor of the world, as it will inftruct one in a piece of knowledge of the most fingular benefit in our progress thro' it: It will teach us to diftinguish
distinguish genuine friendship from counterfeit. For he only who is warmed with the real flame of amity, will rife up to support his fingle negative, in oppofition to the clamorous votes of an undistinguishing multitude.
HE indeed, who can fee a cool and deliberate injury done to his friend, without feeling himself wounded in his most sensible part; has never known the force of the most generous of all the human affections. Every man who has not taken the facred name of friendship in vain, will subscribe to those fentiments which Homer puts into the mouth of Achilles, and which Mr. Pope has opened and enlarged with such inimitable strength and spirit:
A gen'rous friendship no cold medium knows, Burns with one love, with one refentment glows;
One should our int'refts and our paffions be: My friend muft hate the man that injures me.
It may greatly alfo allay the pain which attends the wounds of defamation, and which are always most severely felt by those who leaft