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admire his excellencies, or folicit his favours; for admiration ceases with novelty, and intereft gains its end and retires. A man whofe great qualities want the ornament of fuperficial attractions, is like a naked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequented only till the treasure is exhausted.
ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD.
NOTHING has fo much expofed men of learning to
contempt and ridicule, as their ignorance of things which are known to all but themfelves. Thofe who have been taught to confider the inftitutions of the schools, as giving the laft perfection to human abilities, are surprised to fee men wrinkled with ftudy, yet wanting to be inftructed in the minute circumftances of propriety, or the neceffary forms of daily tranfaction; and quickly fhake off their reverence for modes of education, which they find to produce no ability above the rest of mankind.
Books, fays Bacon, can never teach the ufe of books. The ftudent muft learn by commerce with mankind to reduce his fpeculations to practice, and accommodate his knowledge to the purposes of life.
Ir is too common for those who have been bred to scholaftic profeffions, and paffed much of their time in academies, where nothing but learning confers honours, to difregard every other qualification, and to imagine that they shall find mankind ready to pay homage to their knowledge, and to crowd about them for instruction. They therefore step out from their cells into the open world, with all the confidence
of authority and dignity of importance; they look round about them at once with ignorance and fcorn on a race of beings to whom they are equally unknown and equally contemptible, but whofe manners they muft imitate, and with whofe opinions they must comply, if they defire to pafs their time happily among them.
To leffen that difdain with which scholars are inclined to look on the common bufinefs of the world, and the unwillingness with which they condefcend to learn what is not to be found in any system of philofophy, it may be neceffary to confider, that though admiration is excited by abftruse researches and remote difcoveries, yet pleafure is not given, nor affection conciliated, but by fofter accomplishments, and qualities more eàfily communicable to thofe about us. He that can only converse upon questions, about which only a fmall part of mankind has knowledge fufficient to make them curious, mult lofe his days in unfocial filence, and live in the crowd of life without a companion. He that can only be useful in great occafions, may die without exerting his abilities, and stand a helpless spectator of a thousand vexations which fret away happiness, and which nothing is required to remove but a little dexterity of conduct and readinefs of expedients.
No degree of knowledge attainable by man is able to fet him above the want of hourly affiftance, or to extinguish the defire of fond endearments, and tender officioufnefs; and therefore, no one should think it unneceffary to learn thofe arts by which friendship may be gained. Kindness is preferved by a conftant reciprocation of benefits or interchange of pleasures; but fuch benefits only can be bestowed, as others are capable of receiving, and fuch pleasures only imparted, as others are qualified to enjoy.
By this descent from the pinnacles of art no honour will be loft; for the condefcenfions of learning are always overpaid by gratitude. An elevated genius employed in little things, appears, to use the fimile of Longinus, like the fun in his evening declination; he remits his fplendor but retains his magnitude; and pleases more though he dazzles less. RAMBLER.
CHA P. VII.
ON THE ADVANTAGES OF UNITING GENTLE,
Mentioned to you, fome time ago, a sentence, which I would most earnestly wish you always to retain in your thoughts, and observe in your conduct; it is fuavitèr in modo, fortitèr in re. I do not know any one rule fo unexceptionably ufeful and neceffary in every part of life.
THE fuaviter in modo alone would degenerate and fink into a mean, timid complaisance, and paffiveness, if not fupported and dignified by the fortitèr in re; which would also run into impetuofity and brutality, if not tempered and foftened by the fuavitèr in modo: however, they are feldom united. The warm choleric man, with ftrong animal spirits, defpifes the fuavitèr in modo, and thinks to carry all before him by the fortitèr in re. He may poffibly, by great accident, now and then fucceed, when he has only weak and timid people to deal with; but his general fate will be, to fhock, offend, be hated, and fail. On the other hand, the cunning crafty man thinks to gain all his ends by the fuavitèr in modo only: he becomes all things to all men ; he feems to have no opinion of his own, and fervilely adopts the prefent opinion of the prefent perfon; he infinuates himfelf
felf only into the esteem of fools, but is foon detected, and furely defpifed by every body elfe. The wife man (who differs as much from the cunning, as from the choleric man) alone joins the fuavitèr in modo with the fortitèr in re.
If you are in authority, and have a right to command, your commands delivered fuavitèr in modo will be willingly, cheerfully, and confequently well obeyed; whereas if given only fortitèr, that is brutally, they will rather, as Tacitus fays, be interpreted than executed. For my own part, if I bade my footman bring me a glass of wine, in a rough infulting manner, I fhould expect, that in obeying me, he would contrive to fpill fome of it upon me; and I am fure I should deserve it. A cool fteady refolution should show, that where you have a right to command, you will be obeyed; but, at the fame time, a gentleness in the manner of enforcing that obedience, fhould make it a cheerful one, and foften, as much as poffible, the mortifying consciousness of inferiority. If you are to ask a favour, or even to folicit your due, you must do it suavitèr in modo, or you will give thofe, who have a mind to refuse you either, a pretence to do it, by refenting the manner; but, on the other hand, you must by a steady perfeverance and decent tenaciousness, fhow the fortitèr in re. In fhort, this precept is the only way I know in the world, of being loved without being despised, and feared without being hated. It conftitutes the dignity of character, which every wife man muft endeavour to establish.
IF therefore you find that you have a haftiness in your semper, which unguardedly breaks out into indifcreet fallies, or rough expreffions, to either your fuperiors, your equals, or your inferiors, watch it narrowly, check it carefully, and call the suavitèr in modo to your affiftance: at the first imH 2 pulfe
pulfe of paffion be filent, till you can be foft. Labour even to get the command of your countenance fo well, that those emotions may not be read in it: a moft unfpeakable advantage in bufinefs! On the other hand, let no complaifance, no gentleness of temper, no weak defire of pleafing on your part, no wheedling, coaxing, nor flattery, on other people's, make you recede one jot from any point that reason and prudence have bid you pursue; but return to the charge, perfift, perfevere, and you will find moft things attainable that are poffible. A yielding, timid meekness is always abufed and infulted by the unjust and the unfeeling; but meekness, when sustained by the fortitèr in re, is always refpected, commonly fuccefsful. In your friendships and connections, as well as in your enmities, this rule is particularly ufeful; let your firmnefs and vigour, preferve and invite attachments to you; but, at the fame time, let your manner hinder the enemies of your friends and dependents from becoming your's: let your enemies be difarmed by the gentleness of your manner, but let them feel at the fame. time, the steadinefs of your just refentment; for there is a great difference between bearing malice, which is always ungenerous, and a refolute felf-defence, which is always prudent and juftifiable.
I CONCLUDE with this obfervation, That gentleness of manners, with firmnefs of mind, is a fhort, but full defcription of human perfection, on this fide of religious and moral duties.