Page images

high Opinion of our Honour ; it affečts Character and Distinction among its Equals and Superiors; it disdains every thing that is little and base; it breaks out into surprizing Acts of Munificence, and exceeds the Expectation of its most forward Dependants. You see plainly that this moves in a higher Orb, and shines with a stronger Lustre than the other. It is extremely active in its Undertakings, and quick in its Resolutions; Courage is its near Ally, and conftant Companion: Its Presents are like Jacob's, they pass before ic in Droves; its Returns for Favours offered, like David's to Araunah, who as a King gave unto the King his Oxen for å Sacrifice and his Instruments of Husbandry for Wood. But the King said unto him, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a Price: neither will I offer Burnt Offerings unto the Lord my God, of that which doth cost me no

thing. : Here was a Contest of truc Generosity. Here the Lord was ena treated for the Land, and the Plague was stayed from Israel. This is perhaps the most dazzling and admired of all Characters: One Act of Generosity shall be more talk'd of, than a whole Life of Good-nature. But this has likewise its Imperfections; as what, that is merely Human, has not?. As it acts chiefly from a high Sense of Honour, and consults Grandeur and Dignity, the lower Ranks of Men are seldom the better for it. Occasions of Misery which are deem'd little, tho they are really great in themselves, do not often fall under its Consideration; it is not apt to descend to the Cottages of the Poor, nor to attend to the Cry of the Widow and Fatherless. It is not indeed so liable to be impos’d upon by specious Appearances, as Good-nature,

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

but it neglects many good Offices, which never escape the other.

The next Kind of real and undifsembled Love, is that of Friendship. This Sort of Love seldom appears in the World; but when it does, it is greatly and justly admired. The Ancients laid it down as a Maxim, That none were capable of it but the Wise, or Virtuous ; for where Folly or Vice take place, they always bring with them Occasions of Dislike, and Difcord; and Friendship cannot long subsist with them. This Love is of far


before enumerated : It is one of the strongest Enthusiasms of the Soul; it swallows up all Selfish Regards, and is always ready to make a Freewill-Offering of all, even of Life itself. But how great soever its Force may be, it is very narrow and confined : All its Intercourse is betwixt two Persons only; and tho’ it makes them extremely Vol. I.

P happy

greater Force, than

happy in each other, yet it is to be question’d, whether it would not be of more Use to the World, were there no such strict Unions, which thus engross the whole Regard of two virtuous Persons; whether it would not be better to have them friendly, than Friends. But as this is a Case which very rarely happens, so we need not raise any further Questions or Speculations upon it.

The next Kind is the Love of our Country, much talked of by the Ancients, and as much pretended to, but perhaps less known, in later Days. Where it is real, it is doubtless a most noble, generous, and extensive Pafsion: By its Regard to the whole, it includes every Member. It displays a great and comprehensive Genius, to take in so large an Object; and the most unbounded and disinterested Generosicy to provide for it; and requires a high Station, and great Op


portunities to furnish such a Capacity with a Sphere of Action. It supersedes even the Power of Friendfhip, is superior to all Influence, which a single Object or Relation can lay upon it. It arises from the most generous Principles, and is of the utmost Advantage in all Communities, where the lealt Remains of Freedom are left. Nay, the very

Affectation of it, if not carried too far, is of great Use; as it is a strong Check to the Encroachments of a Court, and the Love and Abuse of Power, which are its too frequent Attendants. But it is hard to distinguish this Love of our Country, this real Patriotism, from Relentment and Ambition ; which very often assume that Character, and shelter themselves under the Cover and Protection, which it gives them. And the true publick Spirit is by that means as often mistaken. Be it ever so sincere, it is sel

« PreviousContinue »