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neither good nor harm, may save you from detestation, though it cannot procure esteem; but should you encourage false hopes, and practise on the unsuspecting to deceive, you do an injury for which you can never atone; and if you have any conscience you wound it to the core.
The courtier's promise, the lover's vow, and fashion's smile, are proverbial for their insincerity; but the frequency and justice of this remark can never lessen the infamy of those who deserve it; for till right and wrong are lost in undistinguishable confusion, truth will still be the ornament of human nature -and falsehood its disgrace. But it is not only by words and smiles that a person
Hope may be wafted on a breath-it may be founded on a look-it may be sanctioned by , minute regards which it would argue insensibility rather than vanity not to understand and apply. A number of slender circumstances combining to favour the delusion of expectation, so natural to the human breast, may amount to absolute demonstration; and mean is the subterfuge of a cautious suppression of words, or of freedom from the legal forms of agreement.
However fashionable insincerity may be, still pride yourself on adhering to the golden maxims of truth. This conduct will secure your own peace of mind, it will promote the happiness of your connections, and render you estimable and esteemed. The smoothness of hypocrisy, and the gloss of artifice, may obtain you the character of being a man of the world;
but they will debar you from ever reaching the character of being a good man.
Be scrupulously attached to your word this is no more than common justice; be also careful not to excite hopes which you either cannot or mean not to gratify. Whether this is done by direct profession, or indirect innuendo, the guilt and the misery are the same. Numbers, whose unsuspecting, innocence have rendered them credulous, and whom it is the greater villany to deceive, have forfeited every sublunary joy by an insinuation from the artful, or a promise from the unprincipled. The virtuous mind is averse to suspicion; it is only a long habitude with vice, and a conscious sense of moral depravity, that teaches the low caution of distrust, and the vigilance of jealousy.
In the soft intercourse of hearts which cannot exist without a virtuous confidence, how base is it to dissemble! In such a case as this, to plant the tender shoots of hope, and not to nourish them, or to pluck them up again, is to tear the faithful heart whose fibres cling round them, and to cloud the eye that beams, perhaps, with the pure splendours of a generous love.
Bút cases might be multiplied without end, where deception is frequently fatal--and surely it is always criminal. Be extremely cautious, then, of inspiring hope; but when once you have encouraged its delightful visions in others, if possible, never frustrate its reasonable expectations. Remember, that truth and sincerity are virtues which will dignify the lowest station ; while no splendour of birth, no accumulation of honours or wealth, can compensate for their want. These, indeed, will render the deficiency more conspicuous and deplorable; for greatness should always be united to superior goodness.
majority of mankind than the appetites of nature. Most of those who publish their sentiments, have passed their lives rather in turning over volumes, than in tracing accurately the shifting scene, and deliberately considering the written page with a design to enrich themselves with original ideas; rather in rapid reading than in correct thinking. On the other hand, the majority of those who are most eager after the pursuits of books, are directed by tutors to read a certain set, on the faith and credit of which, their future maxims, opinions, and behaviour, are to be formed. Thus both writers and readers go in leading-strings. The one prints what has been printed, with some slight alteration; the other considering as incontestible, those tenets which they have found in their favourite authors, or heard from the lips of friends and masters, who are probably under the dominion of equally strong prejudices.
There are, indeed, certain self-evident propositions, the truth of which, like the sun at its meridian, strike unobstructed light upon the mind. To cavil or conjecture against these, would be to war with demonstration, and combat Heaven. There are, also, a variety of opinions, rendered awful by the general belief of men, which have been adopted as maxims out of the reach of confutation. On this account, if at any time a man has dared to opposé a notion, handed down from father to son with the same care as the rent-rolls of a family estate ; which was put into our mouths with the milk of our mothers, and pinned upon our understandings as early as the bibs on our bosoms; what is the consequence ? He is condemned as a dangerous innovator; as one, who would overset the established system of things, a system which antiquity has rendered venerable and decisive. Strange bigotry! 'tis a despondency beneath the natural freedom of the mind. An intellectual obligation is more servile than a pecuniary one. One would not, indeed, like Mandeville, oppose every thing from the obstinate tenacity of founding a new system upon the ruins of the old"; since that were as absurd as setting fire to one's house, because some flaws and errors were perceptible through the building; but it would be an act of wisdom to do the best to repair it.
It is likely, I may advance opinions, not wholly correspondent to the general imitation of thinking,-for, I am sorry to say, that our usual ideas are derived from a very silly, as well as a very servile imitation; the most sensible people are frequently parroted: they think as they are bid to think, and talk the dull dialect of their teachers, from the cradle to the coffin. A man of original contemplation, is therefore a prodigy; and, like a prodigy, the eyes of every body are upon him the moment he appears; even the few that are pleased with his fortitude, admit the very conviction they feel with some reluctance; we part from nothing we have for any length of time been accustomed to venerate, without pain. Hence, many who have talents for speculation, check the generous impulse, through a dislike of being thought particular. On this account genius rusts in inactivity, and men content themselves with going on, in the old road, to avoid the charge of singularity, and the smile of derision; not considering that a smile much oftener betrays ignorance, than it discovers sagacity.
TRANSMIGRATIONS of an EASTERN PRINCE,
EING a warm admirer of the metempsychosical
doctrine of Pythagoras, I was one evening amusing myself with reading the adventures of a flea : and, while my passions were much agitated with the recital, my meditations were disturbed by the discord
ant strains of two noisy cats, who had chosen a situation near my study, for the scene of their nocturnal amusement.
Vexed at this unseasonable and ungrateful interruption, I rung ny bell, and ordered a servant to renove those teasing animals. He obeyed me in an instant; and, with a heart glowing with every tender and humane sensation, I soon committed myself to the arms of Morpheus.
I had not, however, long enjoyed my slumbers, before Fancy began to exert her mimic power, and to present her train of varied illusions.
Things past, present, and future, crowded into my imagination at once, and I was perplexed with a multiplicity of objects; when, methought, a young man of extraordinary beauty entered the room, and waving his hand, demanded my attention.
I am well acquainted, said he, with the philanthropy of your disposition, and I am convinced it will afford you the highest satisfaction, to find you have unknowingly contributed to my felicity. The sense of gratitude, which must ever fill my bosom, at present impels me to relate the adventures in which I have been engaged: to you, they will no doubt appear very extraordinary; and happy, indeed, shall I esteem myself, if the only return I am able to make you should prove any way acceptable.
Know, then, that the first time I assumed the human form, and consequently the æra from which I must date my faculty of recollection,' was about half a century ago.
I was born the heir-apparent of the Rajah of Cananore; and brought up with a tenderness and care to which my expectations entitled me. My early years were spent in acquiring the literature of the east, and in hearing precepts of wisdom and virtue from the best and most enlightened men in my father's court. youth as chiefly spent in the gratification of those passions to which the cus