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WHEN the cruel fall into the hands of the cruel, we read their fate with horror, not with pity. Sylla commanded the bones of Marius to be broken, his eyes to be pulled out, his hands to be cut off, and his body to be torn in pieces with pinchers, and Catiline was the executioner. "A piece of cruelty," says Seneca, "only fit for Marius to suffer, Catiline to execute, and Sylla to command.”
INJURIES accompanied with insults are never forgiven; all men, on these occasions, are good haters, and lay out their revenge at compound interest; they never threaten until they can strike, and smile when they cannot. Caligula told Valerius in public, what kind of a bedfellow his wife was; and when the Tribune Chereus, who had an effeminate voice, came to him for the watchword, he would always give him Venus or Priapus. The first of these men was the principal instrument in the conspiracy against him, and the second cleft him down with his sword, to convince him of his manhood.
LET those who would affect singularity with success, first determine to be very virtuous, and they will be sure to be very singular.
WE should have all our communications with men, as in the presence of God; and with God, as in the presence
A power above all human responsibility, ought to be above all human attainment; he that is unwilling may do no harm, but he that is unable can not.
WE cannot think too highly of our nature, nor too humbly of our ourselves. When we see the martyr to virtue, subject as he is to the infirmities of a man, yet suffering the tortures of a demon, and bearing them with the magnanimity of a god, do we not behold an heroism that angels may indeed surpass, but which they cannot imitate, and must admire.
IT is dangerous to take liberties with great men, unless we know them thoroughly; the keeper will hardly put his head into the lion's mouth, upon a short acquaintance.
LOVE is an alliance of friendship and of lust; if the former predominate, it is a passion exalted and refined, but if the latter, gross and sensual.
THAT virtue which depends on opinion, looks to secrecy alone, and could not be trusted in a desert.
IF patrons were more disinterested, ingratitude would be more rare. A person receiving a favour is apt to consi der that he is, in some degree, discharged from the obliga .on, if he that confers it, derives from it some visible advantage, by which he may be said to repay himself. Ingratitude has, therefore, been termed a nice perception of the causes that induced the obligation; and Alexander made a shrewd distinction between his two friends, when he said that Hephaestion loved Alexander, but Craterus the king. Rochefacault has some ill-natured maxims on this subject;
ne observes, "that we are always much better pleased to see those whom we have obliged, than those who have obliged us; that we confer benefits more from compassion to our selves than to others; that gratitude is only a nice calculation whereby we repay small favours, in the hope of receiving greater, and more of the like." By a certain mode of reasoning indeed, there are very few human actions which might not be resolved into self-love. It has been said that we assist a distressed object, to get rid of the unpleasant sympathy excited by misery unrelieved; and it might, with equal plausibility, be said that we repay a benefactor to get rid of the unpleasant burthen imposed by an obligation. Butler has well rallied this kind of reasoning, when he observes, "That he alone is ungrateful, who makes returns of obligations, because he does it merely to free himself from owing so much as thanks." In common natures, perhaps, an active gratitude may be traced to this; the pride that scorns to owe, has triumphed over that self-love that hates to pay
DESPOTISM can no more exist in a nation, until the liberty of the press be destroyed, than the night can happen before the sun is set.
GOVERNMENTS connive at many things which they ought to correct, and correct many things at which they ought to connive. But there is a mode of correcting so as to endear, and of conniving so as to reprove.
HE that will believe only what he can fully comprehend, must have a very long head, or a very short creed. Many gain a false credit for liberality of sentiment in religious matters, not from any tenderness they may have to the
opinions or consciences of other men, but because they happen to have no opinion or conscience of their own.
AS all who frequent any place of public worship, however they may differ from the doctrines there delivered, are expected to comport themselves with seriousness and gravity, so in religious controversies, ridicule ought never to be resorted to on either side; whenever a jest is introduced on such a subject, it is indisputably out of its place, and ridicule thus employed, so far from being a test of truth, is the surest test of error, in those who, on such an occasion, can stoop to have recourse unto it.
IT is a doubt whether mankind are most indebted to those who, like Bacon and Butler, dig the gold from the mine of literature, or to those who, like Paley, purify it, stamp it, fix its real value, and give it currency and utility. For all the practical purposes of life, truth might as well be in a prison as in the folio of a schoolman, and those who release her from her cobwebbed shelf, and teach her to live with men, have the merit of liberating, if not of discovering her.
MEN of strong minds, and who think for themselves, should not be discouraged on finding occasionally that some of their best ideas have been anticipated by former writers; they will neither anathematize others with a pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerint, nor despair themselves. They will rather go on in science, like John Hunter in physics, discovering things before discovered, until, like him, they are rewarded with a terra hitherto incognita in the sciences, an empire indisputably their own, both by right of conquest and of discovery.
THE most consistent men are not more unlike to others than they are at times to themselves; therefore, it is ridiculous to see character-mongers drawing a full length likeness of some great man, and perplexing themselves and their readers by making every feature of his conduct strictly conform to those lines and lineaments which they have laid down; they generally find or make for him some ruling passion the rudder of his course; but with all this pother about ruling passions, the fact is, that all men, and all women have but one apparent good. Those, indeed, are the strongest minds, and are capable of the greatest actions, who possess a telescopic power of intellectual vision, enabling them to ascertain the real magnitude and importance of distant goods, and to despise those which are indebted for all their grandeur solely to their contiguity.
IF a cause be good, the most violent attack of its enemies will not injure it so much as an injudicious defence of it by its friends. Theodoret and others, who gravely defend the monkish miracles, and the luminous cross of Constantine, by their zeal without knowledge, and devotion without discretion, have hurt the cause of Christianity more by such friendship, than the apostate Julian by his hostility, notwithstanding all the wit and vigour with which it was conducted.
HE that will often put eternity and the world before him, and who will dare to look steadfastly at both of them, will find that the more often he contemplates them, the former will grow greater, and the latter less.
CRUEL men are the greatest lovers of mercy-aa