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To do the best can seldom be the lot of man; it is sufficient if, when opportunities are presented, he is ready to do good. How little virtue could be practised if beneficence were to wait always for the most proper objects, and the noblest occasions;-occasions that may never happen, and objects that may never be found!
Ibid, p. 159.
That Charity is best of which the consequences are most extensive.
Of Charity it is superfluous to observe, that it could have no place if there were no want; for of a virtue which could not be practised, the omission could not be culpable. Evil is not only the occasional, but the efficient, cause of charity. We are incited to the relief of misery by the consciousness that we have the same nature with the sufferer; that we are in danger of the same distresses; 'and may some time implore the same assistance.
Idler, vol. 2, p. 209.
CHARITY TO CAPTIVES.
The relief of enemies has a tendency to unite mankind in fraternal affection, to soften the acrimony of adverse nations, and dispose them to peace and amity. In the mean time it alleviates captivity, and takes away something from the miseries of war. The rage of war, however mitigated, will always fill the world with calamity and horror. Let it not then be unnecessarily extended: let animosity and hostility cease together, and no man be longer H 2 deemed
deemed an enemy than while his sword is drawn against us.
Introduction to the Proceedings of the Committee for Clothing French Prifoners, p. 159.
Censure is willingly indulged, because it always implies some superiority. Men please themselves with imagining that they have made a deeper search, or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies which escape vulgar observation.
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 7.
Those who raise envy will easily incur censure. Idler, vol. 1, p. 78.
Established custom is not easily broken, till some great event shakes the whole system of things, and life seems to re-commence upon new principles.
Western Islands, p. 18.
Custom is commonly too strong for the most resolute resolver, though furnished for the assault with all the weapons of philosophy." He that endeavours to free himself from an ill habit (say's Bacon) must not change too much at a time, lest he should be discouraged by difficulty; nor too little, for then he will make but slow advances." Idler, vol. 1, p. 152.
To advise a man unaccustomed to the eyes of the multitude, to mount a tribunal without perturbation; to tell him, whose life has passed in the shades of contemplation, that he must not be disconcerted or perplexed in receiving and returning
the compliments of a splendid assembly, is to advise an inhabitant of Brazil or Sumatra not to shiver at an English winter, or him who has always lived upon a plain, to look from a precipice without emotion. It is to suppose custom instan. taneously controllable by reason, and to endeavour to communicate by precept, that which only time and habit can bestow.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 317.
Cheats can seldom stand long against laughter
Life of Butler.
In cities, and yet more in courts, the minute discriminations of character, which distinguish one man from another, are, for the most part, effaced. The peculiarities of temper and opinion are gradually worn away by promiscuous converse, as angular bodies and uneven surfaces lose their points and asperities by frequent attrition against one another, and approach by degrees to uniform rotundity.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 192.
The opinions of every man must be learned from himself. Concerning his practice it is safest to trust the evidence of others. Where those testimonies concur, no higher degree of certainty can be obtained of his character.
Life of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 286.
To get a name can happen but to few. A name, even in the most commercial nation, is one of the few things which cannot be bought; it is the free gift of mankind, which must be H 3 deserved
deserved before it will be granted, and is at last unwillingly bestowed.
The exhibition of character is the first requisite in dramatic fable.
Universal Visitor, p. 118.
İdler, vol. 1, p. 68.
There are few minds sufficiently firm to be trusted in the hands of chance. Whoever finds himself to anticipate futurity, and exalt possibility to certainty, should avoid every kind of casual adventure, since his grief must be always proportionate to his hope.
Rambler, vol. 4, p. 118.
The most timorous prudence will not always exempt a man from the dominion of chance; a subtle and insidious power, who will sometimes intrude upon the greatest privacy, and embarrass the strictest caution.
Ibid, p. 132.
Whatever is left in the hands of chance must be subject to vicissitude, and when any establishment is found to be useful, it ought to be the next care to make it permanent.
Idler, vol. 1, p. 21.
What cannot be repaired is not to be regretted.
The usual fortune of complaint, is to excite contempt more than pity.
Life of Cowley.
To hear complaints with patience, even when complaints are vain, is one of the duties of friendship: and though it must be allowed, that he suffers most like a hero who hides his grief in silence, yet it cannot be denied, that he who complains, acts like a man-like a social being, who looks for help from his fellow-creatures. Rambler, vol. 2, p. 35.
Though seldom any good is gotten by complaint, yet we find few forbear to complain but those who are afraid of being reproached as the authors of their own miseries.
Idler, vol. 2, p. 137.
The state of the mind oppressed with a sudden calamity is like that of the fabulous inhabitants. of the new created earth, who, when the first night came upon them, supposed that day would
Prince of Abyssinia, p. 211.
Differences are never so effectually laid asleep, as by some common calamity. An enemy unites all to whom he threatens danger.
Rambler, vol. 2, p. 150.
He that never was acquainted with adversity, (says Seneca) has seen the world but on one side, and is ignorant of half the scenes of nature. As no man can enjoy happiness without thinking that he enjoys it, the experience of calamity is necessary to a just sense of a better fortune; for the good of our present state is merely comparative; and the evil which every man feels will be sufficient to disturb and harrass him, if he H 4 does