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phies erected over the enemies of the republic. You forget, cries the dying hero, who had heard all, you for get the most eminent of my praises, while you dwell so much on those vulgar advantages, in which fortune had a principal share. - You have not observed, that no citizen bas ever yet worn mourning on my account *.
In men of more ordinary talents and capacity, the social virtues become, if possible, still more essentially requisite; there being nothing eminent, in that case, to compensate for the want of them, or preserve the person from our severest hatred, as well as contempt. A high ambition, an elevated courage, is apt, says Ci. CERO, in less perfect characters, to degenerate into a turbulent ferocity. The more social and softer virtues are there chiefly to be regarded. These are always good and amiable f.
The principal advantage which JUVENAL discovers in the extensive capacity of the human species, is, that it renders our benevolence also more extensive, and gives us larger opportunities of spreading our kindly influence than what are indulged to the inferior creation 1. It must, indeed, be confessed, that by doing good only, can a man truly enjoy the advantages of being eminent. His exalted station, of itself, but the more exposes him to danger and tempest. His sole prerogative is to afford shelter to inferiors, who repose themselves under his cover and protection... : . :: - But I forget that it is not my present business to recommend generosityzand benevolence; or to paint, in their true colours, all the genuine charms of the social virtues. These, indeed, sufficiently engage every heart, on the first apprehension of them; and it is difficult to
PUs in Besicleder
t.Cic. de Officiis,libe bis 1.
abstain from some sally of panegyric, as often as they occur in discourse or reasoning. But our object here being more the speculative, than the practical part of morals, it will suffice to remark (what will readily, I believe, be allowed), that no qualities are more entitled to the general good-will and approbation of mankind than beneficence and humanity, friendship and gratia tudes natural affection and public spirit; or whatever proceeds from a tender sympathy with others, and a generous concern for our kind and species. These, wherea ver they appear, seem to transfuse themselves, in a manner, into each beholder, and call forth, in their own behalf, the same favourable and affectionate sentis ments which they exert on all around.
.. PART IL : We may observe, that, in displaying the praises of any humane, beneficent man, there is one circumstance which never fails to be amply insisted oni, namely, the happiness and satisfaction, derived to-society from his intercourse and good offices. To his parents, we are apt to say, he endears himself by his pious attachment and duteous care, still more than by the connections of nature. His children never feel his authority, but when employed for their advantage. With him, the ties of love are consolidated by beneficence and friendship. The ties of friendship approach, in a fond observance of each obliging office, to those of love and inclination. His domesties and dependants have in him á sure re. source, and no longer dread the power of Fortune, but so far as she exercises it over him. From him the hungry receive food, the naked clothing, the ignorant and slothes ful skill and industry. Like the sun, an inferior minister of Providence, he cheers, invigorates, and sustains the surrounding world.
If confined to priýate life, the sphere of his activity is narrower ; but his influence is all benign and gentle. If exalted into a higher station, mankind and posterity reap the fruit of his labours.
As these topics of praise never fail to be employed, and with success, where we would inspire esteem for any one; may it not thence be concluded, that the UTILITY, resulting from the social virtues, forms, at least, a part of their merit, and is one source of that ap. probation and regard so universally paid to them.
When we recommend even an animal or a plant as useful and beneficial, we give it an applause and recommendation suited to its nature. As, on the other hand, reflection on the baneful influence of any of these inferior beings always inspires us with the sentiments of aversion. The eye is pleased with the prospect of cornfields and loaded vineyards ; horses grazing, and flocks pasturing : But lies the view of brier and brambles, affording shelter to wolves and serpents.
A machine, a piece of furniture, a vestment, a honse well contrived for use and conveniency, is so far beautiful, and is contemplated with pleasure and approba. tion. An experienced eye is here sensible to many excellencies which escape persons ignorant and unine structed.
Can any thing stronger be said in praise of a profession, such as merchandize or manufacture, than to observe the advantages which it procures to society ? And is not a monk and inquisitor enraged when we treat his order as useless or pernicious to mankind ? · The historian exults in displaying the benefit arising . from his labours. The writer of romance alleviates of denies the bad consequences ascribed to his manner of composition.
In general, what praise is implied in the simple epithet useful! What reproach in the contrary!
Your gods, says CICERO *, in opposition to the EpiCUREANS, cannot justly claim any worship or adoration, with whatever imaginary perfections you may suppose them endowed. They are totally useless and unactive. Even the EGYPTIANS, whom you so much ridicule, never consecrated any animal but on account of its utility.
The sceptics assert t, though absurdly, that the origin of all religious worship was derived from the utility of inanimate objects; as the sun and moon to the support and well-being of mankind. This is also the common reason assigned by historians for the deification of eminent heroes and legislators I.
To plant a tree, to cultivate a field; to beget children ; meritorious acts, according to the religion of ZOROAS. TER:
In all determinations of morality, this circumstance of public utility is ever principally in view; and wherever disputes arise, either in philosophy or common life, concerning the bounds of duty, the question cannot, by any means, be decided with greater certainty; than by ascertaining; on any side, the true interests of mankind. If any false opinion, embraced from appearances, has been found to prevail ; as soon as farther experience and sounder reasoning have given us juster notions of human affairs; we retract our first sentiment, and adjust ane'w the boundaries of moral good and evil.
Giving alms to common beggars is naturally praised; because it seems to carry relief to the distressed and indigent : But when we observe the encouragement thence arising, to idleness and debauchery, we regard that spel cies of charity ráther as a weakness than a virtue, se
* De Nat. Deor. lib. i. + Setx. Emp. adversus Math. lib. viii. Diop. Sic. passion.
Tyrannicide, or the assasination of usurpers and oppressive princes, was highly extolled in ancient times ; because it, both freed mankind from many of these mon. sters, and seemed to keep the others in awe, whom the sword or poinard could not reach. But history and ex. perience having since convinced us, that this practice increases the jealousy and cruelty of princes; a TIMOLEON and a BRUTUS, though treated with indulgence on aca count of the prejudices of their times, are now consi; dered as very improper models for imitation. ., . o
Liberality in princes is regarded as a mark of bene ficence : But when it occurs; that the homely, bread, af the honest and industrious is often thereby converted into delicious cates for the indigent and prodigal; we soon retract our heedless praises. The regrets of a prince, for having lost a day, were noble and generous: But had he intended to have spent it in aets of generosity to his greedy courtiers, it was better lost than misemployed after that manner.
Luxury, or a refinement on the pleasures and conveniencies of life, had long been supposed the source of every corruption in government, and the immediate cause of faction, sedition, civil wars, and the total loss of liberty. It was, therefore, universally regarded as a vice, and was an object of declamation to all satirists, and severe moralists. Those who prove, or attempt to prove, that such refinements rather tend to the increase of industry, civility, and arts, regulate anew our moral as well as political sentiments, and represent, as laudable or innocent, what had formerly been regarded as pernicious and blameable.