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Of all things, an indiscreet tampering with We should ever have it fixed in our memo. the trade of provisions is the most dangerous, ries, that by the character of those whom we and it is always worst in the time when men are choose for our friends, our own is likely to be most disposed to it,—that is, in the time of formed, and will certainly be judged of by the scarcity ; because there is nothing on which the world. We ought, therefore, to be slow and passions of men are so violent, and their judg- cautious in contracting intimacy; but when a ment so weak, and on which there exists such a | virtuous friendship is once established, we must multitude of ill-founded popular prejudices. ever consider it as a sacred engagement. BURKE:
BLAIR. Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, 1795. A company consisting wholly of people of
the first quality cannot for that reason be called good company, in the common acceptation of
the phrase, unless they are, into the bargain, COMMON SENSE.
the fashionable and accredited company of the
place; for people of the very first quality can be Common sense is a phrase employed to denote
as silly, as ill bred, and as worthless, as people that degree of intelligence, sagacity, and pru
of the meanest degree. On the other hand, a dence, which is common to all men.
company consisting entirely of people of very
FLEMING. I low condition, whatever their merits or parts Common sense meant once something very may be, can never be called good company; different from that plain wisdom, the common and consequently should not be much frequented, heritage of men, which we now call by this though by no means despised. name, having been bequeathed to us by a very
LORD) CHESTERFIELD: complex theory of the senses, and of a sense
Letters to his Son, Oct. 12, 1748. which was the common bond of them all, and
Be cautious with whom you associate, and which passed its verdicts on the reports which
never give your company or your confidence to they severally made of it. R. C. TRENCH.
persons of whose good principles you are not certain. No person that is an enemy to God can be a friend to man. He that has already
proved himself ungrateful to the Author of COMPANY.
every blessing, will not scruple, when it will Bad company is like a nail driven into a post,
serve his turn, to shake off a fellow-worm like which after the first or second blow may be
himself. He may render you instrumental to drawn out with little difficulty; but being once
his own purposes, but he will never benefit you. driven up to the head, the pincers cannot take
A bad man is a curse to others; as he is sehold to draw it out, but which can only be done
cretly, notwithstanding all his boasting and by the destruction of the wood.
affecied gaiety, a burden to himself. Shun him ST. AUGUSTINE.
as you would a serpent in your path. Be not
seduced by his rank, his wealth, his wit, or his No man in effect doth accompany with others influence. Think of him as already in the but he learneth, ere he is aware, some gesture, grave; think of him as standing before the voice, or fashion.
everlasting God in judgment. This awful re. LORD BACON: Natural History. ality will instantly strip off all that is now so A crowd is not company, and faces are but a
imposing, and present him in his true light, the
object rather of your compassion and of your gallery of pictures, where there is no love.
Bishop W. H. COLERIDGE. In young minds there is conmonly a strong
| In all societies it is advisable to associate if propensity to particular intimacies and friend. ships. Youth, indeed, is the season when friend. |
possible with the highest : not that the highest ships are sometimes formed which not only
are always the best, but because, if disgusted continue through succeeding life, but which
there, we can at any time descend; but if we glow to the last, with a tenderness unknown to
begin with the lowest, to ascend is impossible. the connections begun in cooler years.
In the grand theatre of human lise, a box ticket
The propensity, therefore, is not to be discouraged,
takes us through the house. though, at the same time, it must be regulated
Colton : Lacon. with much circumspection and care. Too many
They who constantly converse with men far of the pretended friendships of youth are mere
above their estates shall reap shame and loss combinations in pleasure. They are often
thereby: if thou payest nothing, they will count sounded on capricious likings, suddenly con thee a sucker, no branch; a wen, no member tracted and as suddenly dissolved. Sometimes
of their company.
T. FULLER. they are the effect of interested complaisance There is a certain magic or charm in comand flattery on the one side, and of credulous pany, for it will assimilate, and make you like fondness on the other. Such rash and danger to them, by much conversation with them: if ous connections should be avoided, lest they they be good company, it is a great means to afterwards load us with dishonour.
| make you good, or confirm you in goodness; but if they be bad, it is iwenty to one but they! That part of life which we spend in company will infeci and corrupt you. Therefore be wary is the most pleasing of all our moments; and and shy in choosing and entertaining, or fre. therefore I think our behaviour in it should have quenting any company or companions; be not its laws as well as the part of our being which too hasty in committing yourself to them; stand is generally esteemed the more important. From off awhile till you have inquired of some (that hence it is, that from long experience I have you know by experience to be faithful) what made it a maxim, That however we may prethey are; observe what company they keep; be tend to take satisfaction in sprightly mirih and not too easy to gain acquaintance, but stand off, | high jollity, there is no great pleasure in any and keep a distance yet awhile, till you have company where the basis of the society is not observed and learnt touching them. Men or mutual good will. When this is in the room, women that are greedy of acquaintance, or hasty every trifling circumstance, the most minute acin it, are oftentimes snared in ill company be cident, the absurrlity of a servant, the repetition sore they are aware, and entangled so that they of an old story, the look of a man when he is cannot easily loose from it after, when they telling it, the most indifferent and the most or. would.
SIR M. HALE. dinary occurrences, are matters which produce One that has well digested his knowledge,
mirth and good-humour. both of books and men, has little enjoyment but
Sir R. STEELE: Tatler, No. 219. in the company of a few select companions.
| Men would come into company with ten times He feels too sensibly how much all the rest of the pleasure they do, if they were sure of hear. mankind fall short of the notions which he has ing nothing that would shock them, as well as entertained; and his affections being thus con expected what would please them. When we fined within a narrow circle, no wonder he car know every person that is spoken of is repreries them further than if they were more general sented by one who has no ill will, and every. and undistinguished.
thing that is mentioned described by one that is David HUME: Essays. apt to set it in the best light, the entertainment
must be delicate, because the cook has nothing Good or bad company is the greatest blessing
brought to his hand but what is the most excelor greatest plague of life. L'ESTRANGE. lent in its kind. Beautiful pictures are the en
All matches, friendships, and societies are tertainments of pure minds, and deformities of dangerous and inconvenient, where the con the corrupted. It is a degree towards the life tractors are not equal.
L'ESTRANGE. of angels when we enjoy conversation wherein Let them have ever so learned lectures of
There is nothing presented but in its excellence : breeding, that which will most influence their
and a degree towards that of demons, wherein
nothing is shown but in its degeneracy. carriage will be the company they converse with and the fashion of those about them.
Sir R. STEELE : Spectator, No. 100. LOCKE.
As a man is known by his company, so a
| man's company may be known by his manner Mirth from company is but a fluttering, unlel of expressing himself.
SWIFT. quiet motion, that beats about the breast for a
No man can be provident of his time, who is few moments, and after leaves it empty.
not prudent in the choice of his company. POPE.
JEREMY TAYLOR. Company, in any action, gives credit and Company are to be avoided that are good for countenance to the agent; and so much as the
nothing; those to he sought and frequented that sinner gets of this so much he casts off of shame.
excel in some quality or other. SOUTH.
Sir W. TEMPLE. Company, though it may reprieve a man from his melancholy, yet cannot secure him from his conscience.
COMPOSITION. Company, he thinks, lessens the shame of vice by sharing it, and abates the torrent of a The great art of a writer shows itself in the common odium by deriving it into many chan-choice of pleasing allusions, which are generally nels, and thereby if he cannot wholly avoid the to be taken from the great or beautiful works of eye of the observer, he hopes to distract it at art or nature; for, though whatever is new or least by a multiplicity of the object.
| uncommon is apt to delight the imagination, the
SOUTH. chief design of an allusion being to illustrate Learning, wit, gallantry, and good breeding
and explain the passages of an author, it should are all but subordinate qualities in society, and
be always borrowed from what is more known are of no value, but as they are subservient to
and common than the passages which are to be benevolence, and tend to a certain manner of
explained. ADDISON: Spectator, No. 421. being or appearing equal to the rest of the com. When I read an author of genius who writes pany; for conversation is composed of an as without method, I fancy myself in a wood that sembly of men, as they are men, and not as abounds with a great many noble objects, rising they are distinguished by fortune.
among one another in the greatest consusion and SIR R. STEELE: Tatler, No. 45. I disorder. · When I read a methodical discourse,
I am in a regular plantation, and can place my. He that confesses his sin, and prays for par. self in its several centres, so as to take a viewdon, hath punished his fault: and then there is of all the lines and walks that are struck from nothing left to be done by the offended party but them. You may ramble in the one a whole day to return to charity. JEREMY TAYLOR. together, and every moment discover something
There is a great measure of discretion to be or other that is new to you: but when you have
used in the performance of confession, so that done, you will have but a confused, imperfect
you neither omit it when your own heart may notion of the place: in the other your eye com
tell you that there is something amiss, nor overmands the whole prospect, and gives you such
scrupulously pursue it when you are not conan idea of it as is not easily worn out of the
scious to yourself of notable failings. memory. ADDISON: Spectator, No. 476.
JEREMY TAYLOR. There is in all excellencies of composition a kind of poverty or a casualty or jeopardy.
You must not only acknowledge to God that LORD BACON you are a sinner, but must particularly enumerate
the kinds of sin whereof you know yourself A fourth rule for constructing sentences with proper strength is to make the members of them
WAKE. go on rising and growing in their importance above one another. This sort of arrangement
CONFIDENCE. is called a climax, and is always considered as a beauty in composition.
Too great confidence in success is the likeliest I wish our clever young poets would remem- to prevent it; because it hinders us from making ber my homely definitions of prose and poetry : the best use of the advantages which we enjoy. that is, Prose is words in their best order;
ATTERBURY. Poetry, the best words in the best order.
Use such as have prevailed before in things COLERIDGE.
you have employed them; for that breeds con. A man by tumbling his thoughts and forming fidence, and they will strive to maintain their them into expressions gives them a new kind of prescription.
Lord BACON. fermentation; which works them into a finer body, and makes them much clearer than they
Audacity and confidence doth in business so were before.
great effects as a man may doubt that, besides
the very daring and earnestness and persisting In quatrains the last line of the stanza is to be
and importunity, there should be some secret considered in the composition of the first.
binding and stooping of other men's spirits to DRYDEN. such persons.
LORD BACON. Claudian perpetually closes his sense at the
Better to be despised for too anxious appreend of a verse, commonly called golden, or two
hensions than ruined by too confident security. substantives and two adjectives, with a verb
BURKE. betwixt them to keep the peace. DRYDEN.
Confidence is a plant of slow growth in an I have endeavoured, throughout this discourse, aged bosom.
LORD CHATHAM. that every former part might give strength unto
Confidence, as opposed to modesty, and disall that follow, and every latter bring some light tinguished from decent assurance, proceeds from unto all before.
self-opinion, occasioned by ignorance and fiat
Se The numbers themselves, though of the heroic | tery.
JEREMY COLLIER. measure, should be the smoothest imaginable.
Sith evils, great and unexpected, doth cause POPE.
oftentimes even them to think upon divine power Long sentences in a short composition are with fearfullest suspicions, which have been like large rooms in a little house.
otherwise the most sacred adorers thereof; how
SHENSTONE. should we look for any constant resolution of He that writes well in verse will often send mind in such cases, saving only where unseigned his thoughts in search through all the treasure
affection to God hath bred the most assured conof words that express any one idea in the same
fidence to be assisted by his hand ? language, that so he may comport with the
HOOKER. measures of the rhyme, or with his own most He that has confidence to turn his wishes into beautiful and vivid sentiments of the thing he demands, will be but a little way from thinking describes. DR. I. WATTS. he ought to obtain them.
LOCKE. A persuasion that we shall overcome any difficulties that we meet with in the sciences seldom
fails to carry us through them. LOCKE. CONFESSION.
Confidence in one's self is the chief nurse of As in confession the revealing is for the ease | magnanimity; which confidence, notwithstandof a man's heart, so secret men come to the ing, doth not leave the care of necessary furniknowledge of many things, while men rather ture for it; and therefore, of all the Grecians, discharge than impart their minds.
Homer doth ever make Achilles the best armed. LORD BACON.
Sir P. SIDNEY.
It concerns all who think it worth while to be passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted in earnest with their immortal souls not to abuse and confirmed by the opinion of all that know themselves with a false confidence; a thing so him.
ADDISON : Spectator, No. 122. casily taken up, and so hardly laid down.
A good conscience is to the soul what health SOUTH,
is to the body: it preserves a constant ease and Be not confident and affirmative in an uncer serenity within us, and more than countervails tain matter, but report things modestly and all the calamities and afflictions which can temperately, according to the degree of that possibly befall us.
ADDISON. persuasion which is or ought to be begotten by the eiñcacy of the authority or the reason in
Merit and good works is the end of man's ducing thee.
JEREMY TAYLOR. / motion, and conscience of the same is the ac.
complishment of man's rest. LORD BACON. He that puts his confidence in God only is neither overjoyed in any great good things of He has a secret spring of spiritual joy and the this life, nor sorrowful for a litle thing.
continual seast of a good conscience within that
JEREMY TAYLOR. forbids him to be miserable. BENTLEY. But surely modesty never hurt any cause, and Conscience is too great a power in the nature the confidence of man seems to me to be much of man to be altogether subdued: it may for a like the wrath of man.
TILLOTSON. I time be repressed and kept dormant; but conA true and humble sense of your own unjectures there are in human life which awaken worthiness will not suffer you to rise up to that it; and when once re-awakened, it flashes on confidence which some men unwarrantably pre- | the sinner's mind with all the horrors of an intend to, nay, unwarrantably require of others.
bly require of others. visible ruler and a future judgment. BLAIR. WAKE.
Men want arguments to reconcile their minds A confident dependence ill grounded creates to what is done, as well as motives originally such a negligence as will certainly ruin us in the to act right.
WAKE. To the Marquis of Rockingham, Nov. 14, 1769.
It is thus, and for the same end, that they enCONSCIENCE.
deavour to destroy that tribunal of conscience
which exists independently of edicts and decrees. The unanswerable reasonings of Butler never Your despots govern by terror. They know reached the ear of the gray-haired pious peasant, that he who fears God sears nothing else; and but he needs not their powerful aid to establish therefore they eradicate from the mind, through his sure and certain hope of a blessed immor. their Voltaire, their Helvetius, and the rest of tality. It is no induction of logic that has trans- that infamous gang, that only sort of fear which fixed the heart of the victim of deep remorse, generates true courage. Their object is, that when he withers beneath an influence unseen their fellow-citizens may be under the dominion by mortal eye, and shrinks from the anticipation of no awe but that of their Committee of Re. of a reckoning to come. In both the evidence search and of their lanterne. BURKE: is within, a part of the original constitution of Letter to a Member of the Nat. Assembly, 1791. every rational mind, planted there by Him who
A tender conscience, of all things, ought to be framed the wondrous fabric. This is the power of conscience : with an authority which no man
tenderly handled: for if you do not, you injure can put away from him it pleads at once for his
not only the conscience, but the whole moral
frame and constitution is injured, recurring at own future existence, and for the moral attributes of an omnipresent and ever-present Deity.
times to remorse, and seeking refuge only in
making the conscience callous. LURKE: In a healthy state of the moral feelings, the
Speech on the Petition of the Unitarians, man recognizes its claim to supreme dominion. Amid the degradation of guilt it still raises its
May is, 1792. voice and asserts its right to govern the whole What act of oblivion will cover them from man; and though its warnings are disregarded, the wakeful memory, from the notices and issues and its claims disallowed, it proves within his of the grand remembrancer-the God within ? inmost soul an accuser that cannot be stilled,
BURKE: and an avenging spirit that never is quenched.
To Rev. Dr. Hussey, Dec. 1796. DR. J. ABERCROMBIE.
Conscience is a great ledger-book, in which A man's first care should be to avoid the re- | all our offences are written and registered. proaches of his own heart; his next, to escape
ROBERT BURTON. the censures of the world. If the last interferes
Light as a gossamer is the circumstance which with the former, it ought to be entirely neg.
can bring enjoyment to a conscience which is lected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater
not its own accuser.
W. CARLETON. satisfactien to an honest mind than to see those approbations which it gives itself secondled by To say that we have a clear conscience is to the applauses of the public. A man is more utter a solecism : had we never sinned, we sure of his conduct when the verdict which he should have had no conscience. CARLYLE.
In the wildest anarchy of man's insurgent where there is no law there is no transgression. appetites and sins, there is still a reclaiming If man were a law to himself, and his own will voice; a voice which, even when in practice his law, there could be no such thing as evil; disregarded, it is impossible not to own; and to whatsoever he willed would be good and agreewhich, at the very moment that we refuse our able to the law, and no action could he acobedience, we find that we cannot refuse the counted sinful; the worst act would be a comhomage or what ourselves do feel and acknowl. mendable as the best. Everything at inan's edge to be the best, the highest principles of appointment would be good or evil. If there our nature.
DR. T. CHALMERS. were no such law, how should men that are Even in the fiercest uproar of our stormy pas
naturally inclined to evil disapprove of that
which is unlovely, and approve of that good sions, conscience, though in her softest whispers, gives to the supremacy of rectitude the voice of
which they practise not ? No man but inwardly
| thinks well of that which is good, while he an undying testimony. Dr. T. CHALMERS.
neglects it; and thinks ill of that which is evil, Conscience is nothing but an actuated or while he commits it. Those that are vicious, do reflex knowledge of a superior power and an praise those that practise the contrary virtues. equitable law; a law impressed, and a power Those that are evil would seem to be good, and above it impressing it. Conscience is not the those that are blameworthy yet will rebuke evil lawgiver, but the remembrancer to mind us of in others. This is really to distinguish between that law of nature imprinted upon our souls, good and evil; whence doth this arise, by what and actuate the considerations of the duly and rule do we measure this, but by some innate penalty, to apply the rule to our acts, and pass principle ?
CHARNOCK : Attributes. judgment upon matter of fact : it is to give the
Man witnesseth to a God in the operations charge, urge the rule, enjoin the practice of
and reflections of conscience. (Rom. ii. 15.) those notions of right, as part of our duty and Their thoughts are accusing or excusing. An obedience. But man is as much displeased with
inward comfort attends good actions, and an the directions of conscience, as he is out of love inward torment follows bad ones; for there is with the accusations and condenining sentence in every man's conscience fear of punishment of this officer of God: we cannot naturally en- and hope of reward : there is, therefore, a sense dure any quick and lively practical thoughts of
of some superior judge, which hath the power God and his will, and distaste our own con.
both of rewarding and punishing. If man were sciences for putting us in mind of it: they there
his supreme rule, what need he sear punishment, fore like not to retain God in their knowledge; since no man would inflict any evil or torment that is, God in their own consciences; they | on himself; nor can any man be said to reward would blow it out, as it is the candle of the himself, for all rewards refer to another, to whom Lord in them to direct them and their acknowl
the action is pleasing, and is a conferring some edgments of God, to secure themselves against good a man had not before; if an action be the practice of its principles.
done by a subject or servant, with hopes of reCHARNOCK: Attributes.
ward, it cannot be imagined that he expects a Every man's conscience testifies that he is reward from himself, but from the prince or perunlike what he ought to be, according to that son whom he eyes in that action, and for whose law engraven upon his heart. In some, indeed, sake he doth it. CHARNOCK : Attributes. conscience may be seared or dimmer; or sup From the transgression of this law of nature, pose some men may be devoid of conscience,
fears do arise in the consciences of men. Have shall it be denied to be a thing belonging to the
we not known or heard of men, struck by so nature of man? Some men have not their eyes,
deep a dart, that could not be drawn out by the yet the power of seeing the light is natural to
strength of men, or appeased by the pleasure of man, and belongs to the integrity of the body. I the world and men crying out with horror Who would argue that, because some men are
upon a death-bed, or their past life, when “their mad, and have lost their reason by a distemper of rear hath come as a desolation, and destruction the brain, that therefore reason hath no reality, I as a whirlwind" (Prov. i. 27): and often in but is an imaginary thing? But I think it is a l some sharp affliction, the dust hath been blown standing truth that every man hath been under off from men's consciences, which for a while the scourge of it, one time or other, in a less I hath obscured the writing of the law. If men or a greater degree ; for, since every man is stand in awe of punishment, there is then some an offender, it cannot be imagined conscience,
superior to whom they are accountable; if there which is natural to man, and an active faculty,
were no God, there were no punishment to fear. should always lie idle, without doing this part
What reason of any fear, upon the dissolution of of its office. CHARNOCK : Attributes. the knot between the soul and body, if there
Man in the first instant of the use of reason, were not a God to punish, and the soul remained finds natural principles within himself; directa | not in being to be punished ? ing and choosing them, he finds a distinction
CHARNOCK : Attributes. between good and evil; how could this be if | Terrified consciences, that are Magor-mis. there were not some rule in him to try and dis- sabib, see nothing but matter of fear round tinguish good and evil? If there were not such about. As they have lived without the bounds a law and rule in man, he could not sin; for 1 of the law, they are afraid to fall under the