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to recommend them to themselves, by proving that they have not lost the regard of others; and heaven seems to indicate the duty even of barren compassion, by inclining us to weep for evils which we cannot remedy.
Rambler, vol. 2, p. 35.
One of the chief advantages derived by the present generation from the improvement and -diffusion of philosophy, is deliverance from unnecessary terrors, and exemption from false alarms, The unusual appearances, whether regular or accidental, which once spread consternation over ages of ignorance, are now the re'creations of inquisitive security. The sun is no more lamented when it is eclipsed than when it sets, and meteors play their corruscations without prognostic or prediction.
Falfe Alarm, p. z.
The antidotes with which philosophy has medicated the cup of life, though they cannot give it salubrity and sweetness, have at least allayed its bitterness, and contempered its malignity-; the balm which she drops upon the wounds of the mind, abates their pain, though it cannot heal them.
Ibid. p. 265.
A physician in a great city, seems to be the mere plaything of fortune; his degree of reputation is for the most part, totally casual. They that employ him know not his excellence; they that-reject him, know not his deficience. By an P 5
observer, who had looked on the transactions of the medical world for half a century, a very curious book might be written on the fortune of physicians.
Life of Akenfide.
Nothing is so proper as the frequent publications of short papers (like the Tatlers, Spectators, &c.) which we read, not as a study, but amusement. If the subject be slight, the treatise is likewise short. The busy may find time, and the idle may find patience.
Life of Addison.
He that condemns himself to compose on a stated day, will often bring to his task an attention dissipated, a memory embarrassed, an imagination overwhelmed, a mind distracted with anxieties, a body languishing with disease. He will labour on a barren topic, till it is too late to change it; or in the ardour of invention, diffuse his thoughts into wild exuberance, which the pressing hour of publication cannot suffer judgment to examine or reduce.
Rambler, vol. 4, p. 262.
If nothing may be published but what civil authority shall have previously approved, power must always be the standard of truth; if every dreamer of innovations may propagate his projects, there can be no settlement; if every murmurer at government may diffuse discontent, there can be no peace; and if every sceptic in theology may teach his follies, there can be no religion. The remedy against these evils is to
punish the authors; for it is yet allowed, that every society may punish, though not prevent, the publication of opinions which that society shall think pernicious. But this punishment, though it may crush the author, promotes the book; and it seems not more reasonable to leave the right of printing unrestrained because writers may be afterwards censured, than it would be to sleep with doors unbolted, because by our laws we can hang a thief.
Life of Milton.
There is, perhaps, no nation in which it is so necessary as in our own, to assemble, from time to time, the small tracts, and fugitive pieces, which are occasionally published; for, beside the general subjects of enquiry which are cultivated by us in common with every other learned nation, our constitution in church and state, naturally gives birth to a multitude of performances, which would either not have been written, or could not have been made public, in any other place.
Origin and Importance of Fugitive Pieces, p. 1.
A public performer is so much in the power of spectators, that all unnecessary severity is restrained by that general law of humanity which forbids us to be cruel where there is nothing to be feared.
Idler, vol. 1, p. 138.
In every new performer, something must be pardoned. No man can, by any force of resolution, secure to himself the full possession of his powers, under the eye of a large assembly. Va. riation
riation of gesture, and flexion of voice, are to be obtained only by experience.
An historical painter must have an action not successive, but instantaneous; for the time of a picture is a single moment. Tbid. p. 252.
Though genius is chiefly exerted in historical pictures, and the art of the painter of portraits is often lost in the obscurity of his subject; yet it is in painting as in life, what is greatest is not always best. I should grieve to see Reynolds transfer to heroes and to goddesses, to empty splendour and to airy fiction, that art which is now employed in diffusing friendship, in reviving tenderness, in quickening the affections of the absent, and continuing the presence of the dead. Abid p. 251.
if the extent of the human view could comprehend the whole frame of the universe, perhaps it would be found invariably true, that Providence · has given that in greatest plenty, which the condition of life makes of the greatest use; and that nothing is penuriously imparted, or placed far from the reach of men, of which a more liberal distribution, or more easy acquisition, would in crease real and rational felicity.
Ibid. p. 207.
Whatever is found to gratify the public, will be multiplied by the emulation of venders beyond
necessity or use. This plenty, indeed, produces cheapness; but cheapness always ends in negli gence and depravation.
Idler, vol. 1, p. 36.
Every man is taught to consider his own happiness as combined with the public prosperity, and to think himself great and powerful in proportion to the greatness and power of his country. Taxation no Tyranny, p. 19.
Politeness is one of those advantages which we never estimate rightly, but by the inconvenience of its loss. Its influence upon the manners is constant and uniform, so that, like an equal motion, it escapes perception. The circumstances of every action are so adjusted to each other, that we do not see where any error could have been committed, and rather acquiesce in its propriety, than admire its exactness.
-Rambler, vol. 2, p. 261.
The true effect of 'genuine politeness seems to be rather ease than pleasure. The power of delighting must be conferred by nature, and carnot be delivered by precept, nor obtained by imitation; but though it be the privilege of a very small number to ravish and to charm, every man may hope by rules and caution not to give pain, and may, therefore, by the help of good breeding, enjoy the kindness of mankind, though he should have no claim to higher distinctions.