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Advice, as it always gives a temporary appearance of fuperiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most necessary or most judicious. But for the same reason every one is eager to instruct his neigh. bours. To be wise or to be virtuous, is to buy dignity and importance at a high price; but when no. thing is necessary to elevation but detection of the follies or the faults of others, no man is so insensible to the voice of fame as to linger on the ground.

Tentanda via eft, qua me quoque polím
Tollere humo, victorque virûm volitare per ora.


New ways I must attempt, my groveling name
To raise aloft, and wing my flight to fame.


Vanity is so frequently the apparent motive of advice,, that we, for the most part, summon our powers to oppose it without any very accurate enquiry whether it is right. It is sufficient that another is growing great in his own eyes at our expence, and affumes authority over us without our permission; for many would contentedly suffer the consequences of their own mistakes, rather than the insolence of him who triumphs as their deliverer.

It is, indeed, seldom found that any advantages are enjoyed with that moderation which the uncertainty of all human good so powerfully enforces; and therefore the adviser may justly suspect, that he has inflamed the opposition which he laments by arroa gance and superciliousness. He may suspect, but needs not hastily to condemn himself, for he can rarely be certain that the softest language or moft



humble diffidence would have escaped resentment ; since scarcely any degree of circumspection can prévent or obviate the rage with which the flothful, the impotent, and the unsuccessful, vent their discontent upon those that excel them. Modesty itself, if it is praised, will be envied ; and there are minds so im. patient of inferiority, that their gratitude is a species of revenge, and they return benefits, not because recompence is a pleasure, but because obligation is a pain.

The number of those whom the love of them. felves has thus far corrupted, is perhaps not great ; but there are few so free from vanity, as not to dictate to those who will hear their instructions with a visible sense of their own beneficence; and few to whom it is not unpleasing to receive documents, however tenderly and cautiously delivered, or who are not willing to raise themselves from pupilage, by difputing the propofitions of their teacher.

It was the maxim, I think, of Alphonsus of Arragon, that dead counsellors are safeft. The grave puts an ends to flattery and artifice, and the informa. tion that we receive from books is


from interesi, fear, or ambition. Dead counsellors are likewise most instructive; because they are heard with patience and with reverence. We are not unwilling to believe that man wiser than ourselves, from whose abilities we may receive advantage, without any danger of rivalry or opposition, and who affords us the light of his experience, without hurting our eyes by flashes of infolence.

By the consultation of books, whether of dead or living authors, many temptations to petulance and

opposition, oppofition, which occur in oral conferences, are avoided. An author cannot obtrude his service un. asked, nor can be often suspected of any malignant intention to insult his readers with his knowledge or his wit. Yet so prevalent is the habit of comparing ourselves with others, while they remain within the reach of our passions, that books are seldom read with complete impartiality, but by those from whom the writer is placed at such a distance that his life or death is indifferent.

We see that volumes may be perused, and perused with attention, to little effect; and that maxims of prudence, or principles of virtue, may be treasured in the memory without influencing the conduct. Of the numbers that pass their lives among books, very few read to be made wiser or better, apply any general reproof of vice to themselves, or try their own manners by axioms of justice. They purpose either to consume those hours for which they can find no other amusement, to gain or preserve that respect which learning has always obtained ; or to gratify their curiosity with knowledge, which, like treasures buried and forgotten, is of no use to others or themselves.

« The preacher (says a French author) may spend

an hour in explaining and enforcing a precept of “ religion, without feeling any impression from his

own performance, because he may have no further design than to fill up his hour.”

A student may easily exhaust his life in comparing divines and moralists, without any practical regard to morality or religion; he may be learning not to live, but to reason; he may regard only the elegance of style, justH 3


ness of argument, and accuracy of method; and may enable himself to criticise with judgment, and dispute with subtilty, while the chief use of his volumes is unthought of, his mind is unaffected, and his life is unreformed.

But though truth and virtue are thus frequently defeated by pride, obstinacy, or folly, we are not allowed to desert them; for whoever can furnish arms which they hitherto have not employed, may enable them to gain some hearts which would have refifted any other method of attack. Every man of genius has some arts of fixing the attention peculiar to himfelf, by which, honestly exerted, he may benefit mankind; for the arguments for purity of life fail of their due influence, not because they have been considered and confuted, but because they have been passed over without consideration. To the position of Tully, that if Virtue could be seen, she must be loved, may be added, that if Truth could be heard, the must be obeyed.

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Numb. 88. SATURDAY, January 19, 1751.

Cum tabulis animum cenforis sumet honesti :
Audebit quæcunque minus fplendoris habebunt,

Aut fine pondere erunt, et honore indigna ferentur,
Verba movere loco, quamvis invita recedant,
Et verfentur adhuc intra penetralia Vefa.


But he that hath a curious piece design'd,
When he begins must take a cenfor's mind,
Severe and honest, and what words appear
Too light and trivial, or too weak to bear
The weighty sense, nor worth the reader's care,
Shake off ; tho' stubborn, they are loth to move,
And tho' we fancy, dearly tho' we love. CREECH.


* THERE is no reputation for genius,” says

Quintilian, “ to be gained by writing on things, which, however necessary, have little fplen“ dor or shew. The height of a building attracts “ the eye, but the foundations lie without regard. “ Yet since there is not any way to the top of sci. ence,

but from the lowest parts, I shall think no“ thing unconnected with the art of oratory, which 6 he that wants cannot be an orator.”

Confirmed and animated by this illustrious precedent, I shall continue my enquiries into Milton's art of versification. Since, however minute the em. ployment may appear, of analysing lines into fyllables, and whatever ridicule may be incurred by a solemn deliberation upon accents and pauses, it is



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