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mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men, in the same manner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom.

The cast of mind which is natural to a discreet man, makes him look forward into futurity, and consider what will be his condition millions of ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the misery or happiness which are reserved for him in another world, lose nothing of their reality by being placed at so great a distance from him. The objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He considers that those pleasures and pains which lie hid in eternity approach nearer to him every moment, and will be present with him in their full weight and measure, as much as those pains and pleasures which he feels at this very instant. For this reason he is careful to secure to himself that which is the proper happiness of his nature, and the ultimate design of his being. He carries his thoughts to the end of every action, and considers the most distant as well as the most immediate effects of it. He supersedes every little prospect of gain and advantage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent with his views of an hereafter. In a word, his hopes are full of immortality, his schemes are large and glorious, and his conduct suitable to one who knows his true interest, and how to pursue it by proper methods.

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SATURDAY, November 24, 1711.

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A "JUST and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of. It heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the shades in paintings, it raises and rounds every figure, and makes the colours more beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it.

Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue. It has a kind of quick and delicate feeling in the soul which makes her shrink and withdraw herself from every thing that has danger in it. It is such an exquisite sensibility, as warns her to shun the first appearance of every thing which is hurtful.

I cannot at present recollect either the place or time of what I am going to mention; but I have read somewhere in the history of ancient Greece, that the women of the country were seized with an unaccountable melancholy, which disposed several of them to make away with themselves. The senate, after having tried many expedients•to prevent this self-murder, which was so frequent among them, published an edict, that if any woman what'ever should lay violent hands upon herself, her corpse should be exposed naked in the street, and dragged about the city in the most public manner. This edict immediately put a stop to the practice which was before

We may see in this instance the strength of female modesty, which was able to overcome the vio

SO common.

lence even of madness and despair. The fear of shame in the fair sex, was in those days more prevalent than that of death.

If modesty has so great an influence over our actions, and is in many cases so impregnable a fence to virtue; what can more undermine morality than that politeness which reigns among the unthinking part of mankind, and treats as unfashionable the most ingenuous part of our behaviour; which recommends impudence as good-breeding, and keeps a man always in countenance, not because he is innocent, but because he is shameless ?

Seneca thought modesty so great a check to vice, that he prescribes to us the practice of it in secret, and advises us to raise it in ourselves upon imaginary occasions, when such as are real do not offer themselves ; for this is the meaning of his precept, That when we are by ourselves, and in our greatest solitudes, we should fancy that Cato stands before us and sees every thing we do. In short, if you banish Modesty out of the world, she carries

with her half the virtue that is in it. After these reflections on modesty, as it is a virtue ; I must observe, that there is a vicious modesty, which justly deserves to be ridiculed, and which those persons very often discover, who value themselves most upon a well-bred confidence. This happens when a man is ashamed to act up to his reason, and would not upon any consideration be surprised in the practice of those duties, for the performance of which he was sent into the world. Many an impudent libertine would blush to be caught in a serious discourse, and would scarce be able to show his

away

head, after having disclosed a religious thought. Decency of behaviour, all outward show of virtue, and abhorrence of vice, are carefully avoided by this set of shamefaced people, as what would disparage their gaiety of temper, and infallibly bring them to dishonour. This is such a poorness of spirit, such a despicable cowardice, such a degenerate abject state of mind, as one would think human nature incapable of, did we not meet with frequent instances of it in ordinary conversation.

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I do not remember to have read any discourse written expressly upon the beauty and loveliness of virtue, without considering it as a duty, and as the means of making us happy both now and hereafter. I design therefore this speculation as an essay upon that subject; in which I shall consider virtue no farther than as it is in itself of an amiable nature ; after having premised, that I understand by the word virtue such a general notion as is affixed to it by the writers of morality, and which by devout men generally goes under the name of religion, and by men of the world under the name of honour.

Hypocrisy itself does great honour, or rather justice to religion, and tacitly acknowledges it to be an ornament to human nature. The hypocrite would not be at so much pains to put on the appearance of virtue, if he did not know it was the most proper and effectual means to gain the love and esteem of mankind.

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We learn from Hierocles, it was a common saying among the heathens, that the wise man hates nobody, but only loves the virtuous.

Tully has a very beautiful gradation of thoughts to show how amiable virtue is. “We love a virtuous man,' says he, 'who lives in the remotest parts of the earth, though we are altogether out of the reach of his virtue, and can receive from it no manner of benefit.' Nay, one who died several ages ago, raises a secret fondness and benevolence for him in our minds, when we read his story: nay, what is still more, one who has been the

enemy

of our country, provided his wars were regulated by justice and humanity, as in the instance of Pyrrhus whom Tully mentions on this occasion in opposition to Hannibal. Such is the natural beauty and loveliness of virtue.

Stoicism, which was the pedantry of virtue, ascribes all good qualifications of what kind soever to the virtuous man. Accordingly Cato, in the character Tully has left of him, carried matters so far, that he would not allow any one but a virtuous man to be handsome. This indeed looks more like a philosophical rant than the real opinion of a wise man ; yet this was what Cato very seriously maintained. In short, the Stoics thought they could not sufficiently represent the excellence of virtue, if they did not comprehend in the notion of it all possible perfection; and therefore did not only suppose that it was transcendently beautiful in itself, but that it made the very body

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