« PreviousContinue »
the very day after that on which they were supposed to have been buried.
FOR one man who sincerely pities our misfortunes, there are a thousand who sincerely hate our success.
SUBTRACT from many modern poets, all that may be found in Shakespeare, and trash will remain.
HE that likes a hot dinner, a warm welcome, new ideas, and old wine, will not often dine with the great.
THOSE who bequeath unto themselves a pompous funeral, are at just so much expence to inform the world of something that had much better have been concealed; namely, that their vanity has survived themselves.
IN reading the life of any great man, you will always, in the course of his history, chance upon some obscure individual, who, on some particular occasion, was greater than him whose life you are reading.
IN cases of doubtful morality, it is usual to say, is there any harm in doing this? This question may sometimes be best answered by asking ourselves another; is there any harm in letting it alone?
HE that has never known adversity, is but half acquainted with others, or with himself. Constant success shews us but one side of the world. For, as it surrounds us with friends, who will tell us only our merits, so it silences those enemies from whom alone we can learn our defects.
WHEN men of sense approve, the million are sure to follow; to be pleased, is to pay a compliment to their own
THE death of Judas is as strong a confirmation of Christianity as the life of Paul.
seldom in resentment.
WOMEN generally consider consequences in love,
MOST of our misfortunes are more supportable than the comments of our friends upon them.
WE should embrace Christianity, even on prudential motives; for a just and benevolent God will not punish an intellectual being for believing what there is so much reason to believe; therefore we run no risk by receiving Christianity, if it be false, but a dreadful one, by rejecting it, if it be
THE great designs that have been digested and
matured, and the great literary works that have been begun and finished in prisons, fully prove that tyrants have not yet discovered any chains that can fetter the mind.
HE that knows himself, knows others; and he that is ignorant of himself, could not write a very profound lecture on other men's heads.
WE ought not to be over anxious to encourage innovation, in cases of doubtful improvement, for an old system must ever have two advantages over a new one; it is established, and it is understood.
POWER will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power; for, whatever qualifications he may have evinced to entitle him to the possession of so dangerous a privilege, yet, when possessed, others can no longer answer for him, because he can no longer answer for himself.
THERE are two things which ought to teach us to think but meanly of human glory; the very best have had their calumniators, the very worst their panegyrists.
NO metaphysician ever felt the deficiency of lau
guage so much as the grateful.
MOST men know what they hate, few what they
ALL great cities abound with little men, whose object it is to be the stars of the dinner table, and grand purveyors of all the stray jokes of the town; so long as these turnspits confine themselves to fetch and carry for their masters, they succeed tolerably well; but the moment they set up for originality, and commence manufacturers instead of retailers, they are ruined. Like the hind wheel of the carriage, which is in constant pursuit of the fore one, without ever overtaking it, so these become the doubles of a Selwyn or a Sheridan, but without ever coming up to them. They are constantly near wit, without being witty, as his valet is always near a great man, without being great.
FAME is an undertaker that pays but little attention to the living, but bedizens the dead, furnishes out their funerals, and follows them to the grave.
THE British constitution, as it is to be found in "Magna Charta," and the " Bill of Rights," has so much that is good, and worthy of preservation, that a lover of true liberty would rather live under it, than under any other mode of government, ancient or modern, barbarous or refined. Its destruction, at the present moment, would be the most melancholy thing that could happen both to Englishmen, and to the world. Such an event would retrograde the march of improvement many centuries of years; and he that could coolly set about to
effect it, must unite the frenzy of the maniac, with the malignity of the demon. The financial difficulties which this mighty empire has at present to contend with, as they arise from the most honourable causes, throw a greater lustre upon her, in the eyes of surrounding nations, than the most brilliant prosperity could possibly do, if obtained by the slightest dereliction of public principle and faith. The fiscal embarrassments of the nation ought not, and must not endanger the constitution. The sincere lovers of the constitution tremble not at these things, but they do tremble, when they see the possibility of a violation of the laws with impunity, whether that violation be attempted by the highest, or by the lowest. For, if we trace the history of most revolutions, we shall find that the first inroads upon the laws have been made by the governors, as often as by the governed. The after excesses committed by the people, have usually been the result of that common principle of our nature, which incites us to follow the example of our betters, however ridiculous the consequences may be on some occasions, or deplorable on others. The laws are a restraint submitted to by both parties, the ruler and the subject, for the general good. Each aggression from the ruler produces fresh retaliation from the subject, until the fences on both sides, being completely broken down and destroyed, the two parties meet in the adverse shock of mutual hostility, and force becomes, for a season, the sole legislator of the land. In this country, the king has been justly termed the speaking law; the law, the silent king. We have a monarch not at all inclined to strain his prerogative, which forbearance ought to render the people equally cautious of stretching their privilege; let them beware of those demagogues who tell them that they feel for them, but who would be the last to feel with them, when the consequences of their own doctrine shall arrive. The truth is, that no atrocity nor aggression of the people, will ever vitally affect the solid safety of our commonwealth, until our rulers are intimidated to compromise that security, by resorting to il