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weakens authority, by supplying power of resistance, or expedients for escape.
Ibid. p. 263.
Nothing is more uncertain than the estimation. of wealth by denominated money. The precious metals never retain long the same proportion to real commodities, and the same names in different ages do not imply the same quantity of metal; so that it is equally difficult to know how much money was contained in any nominal sum, and to find what any supposed quantity of gold or silver would purchase; both which are necessary to the commensuration of money, or the adjustment of proportion between the same sums at different periods of time. Bread-corn is the most certain standard of the necessaries of life.
Life of Roger Ascham, p. 243.
COMPARISON BETWEEN RICHES AND
As many more can discover that a man is richer than themselves, superiority of understanding is not so readily acknowledged, as that of fortune; nor is that haughtiness, which the consciousness of great abilities incites, borne with the same submission as the tyranny of affluence. Life of Savage.
COMPARISON BETWEEN RICHES AND POWER.
Power and wealth supply the place of each other. Power confers the ability of gratifying our desires without the consent of others; wealth enables us to obtain the consent of others to our gratification. Power, simply considered, whatever it confers on one, must take from another, Wealth
Wealth enables its owner to give it to others, by taking only from himself. Power pleases the violent and the proud; wealth delights the placid and the timorous. Youth therefore flies at power, and age grovels after riches.
Western Islands, p. 216.
The assertion of Shaftesbury, that ridicule is the test of truth, is foolish. If ridicule be applied to any position as the test of truth, it will then become a question, whether such ridicule be just and this can only be decided by the application of truth, as the test of ridicule. Two men fearing, one a real, and the other a fancied danger, will be, for a while, equally exposed to the inevitable consequences of cowardice, contemptuous censure, and ludicrous representation; and the true state of both cases must be known, before it can be decided whose terror is rational, and whose is ridiculous, who is to be pitied, and who to be despised.
Life of Akenfide.
He that indulges himself in ridiculing the litle imperfections and weaknesses of his friends, will in time find mankind united against him.' The man who sees another ridiculed before him, though he may for the present, concur in the general laugh, yet, in a cool hour, will consider the same trick might be played against himself; but when there is no sense of this danger, the natural pride of human nature rises against him, who, by general censures, lays claim to general superiority.
Rambler, vol. 4, p. 81.
It may be laid down as a position which will seldom deceive, that when a man cannot bear his own company, there is something wrong. He must fly from himself, either because he finds a tediousness in the equipoise of an empty mind, which having no tendency to one motion more than another, but as it is impelled by some external power, must always have recourse to foreign objects; or he must be afraid of the intrusion of some unpleasing ideas, and, perhaps, is struggling to escape from the remembrance of a loss, the fear of a calamity, or some other. thought of greater horror.
Ibid. vol. 1, p. 27.
There are few higher gratifications than that of reflection on surmounted evils, when they were not incurred nor protracted by our fault, and neither reproach us with cowardice nor guilt.
Ibid. vol. 4, p. 233.
All useless misery is certainly a folly, and he that feels evils before they come, may be, deservedly censured; yet, surely, to dread the future, is more reasonable than to lament the past. The business of life is to go forward; he who sees evil in prospect, meets it in his way; but he who catches it in retrospection, turns back to find it. Idler, vol. I, p. III.
There is certainly no greater happiness than to be able to look back on a life usefully and virtuously employed; to trace our own progress in existence, by such tokens as excite neither shame nor sorrow. It ought therefore to be the care of those who wish to pass the last hours with comQ 2
fort, to lay up such a treasure of pleasing ideas, as shall support the expences of that time, which is to depend wholly upon the fund already acquired.
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 250 & 252.
The remembrance of a crime committed in vain, has been considered as the most painful of all reflections.
Life of Pope.
To bring misery on those who have not deserved it, is part of the aggregated guilt of rebellion.
Taxation no Tyranny, p. 61.
Nothing can be more noxious to society, than that erroneous clemency, which, when a rebellion is suppressed, exacts no forfeiture, and establishes no securities, but leaves the rebels in their former state.
Ibid. p. 87.
He that pleases himself too much with minute exactness, and submits to endure nothing in accommodations, attendance, or address, below the point of perfection, will, whenever he enters the crowd of life, be harrassed with innumerable distresses, from which those who have not, in the same manner, increased their sensations, find no disturbance. His exotic softness will shrink at the coarseness of vulgar felicity, like a plant transplanted to Northern nurseries, from the dews and sun-shine of the tropical regions. It is well known, that exposed to a microscope, the smoothest polish of the most solid bodies discovers cavities and prominencies; and that the
`softest bloom of roseate virginity repels the eye with excrescences and discolorations. Thus the senses, as well as the perceptions, may be improved to our own disquiet; and we may, by diligent cultivation of the powers of dislike, raise in time an artificial fastidiousness, which shall fill the imagination with phantoms of turpitude, show us the naked skeleton of every delight, and present us only with the pains of pleasure, and the deformities of beauty.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 37.
That which is obvious is not always known; and what is known, is not always present. Sudden fits of inadvertency will surprise viligance ; slight avocations will seduce attention; and casual eclipses of the mind will darken learning; so that the writer shall often, in vain, trace his memory at the moment of need, for that which yesterday he knew with intuitive readiness, and which will come uncalled into his thoughts to
Preface to Dictionary, fol. p. 10.
There is a time when the claims of the public are satisfied; then a man might properly retire to review his life, and purify his heart.
Prince of Abyffinia, p. 135.
Some suspension of common affairs, some pause. of temporal pain and pleasure, is doubtless necessary to him that deliberates for eternity, who. is forming the only plan in which miscarriage cannot be repaired, and examining the only question in which mistake cannot be rectified. Rambler, vol. 3, p. 29.