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and, to use the expression of Tiberus, who was desirous of hiding the defect of birth in Curtius Rufus, though otherwise a very great man, [s] to be born of one's own self.

“ I cannot,” said formerly an illustrious Roman, who was reproached by the nobility for bis low extraction,“ publicly produce the statues of my an

cestors, their triumphs, nor their consulships; but if need be, I can produce the military rewards I “have been honoured with ; I can shew the wounds “ I have received in fighting for my country. [t] “These are my statues, these my title to nobility, “ which I have not borrowed from my ancestors, but

acquired by the labours and dangers I have un“ dergone."

[u] There was at Rome, in the beginning of the republic, a kind of open war between the nobility and the people. The nobles at first thought themselves dishonoured by marrying into a plebeian family. They looked upon themselves as another species of men. It seemed as if they could not bear that the populace should breathe the same air with them, or enjoy the same benefit of the sun's light. And they had set such a barrier between the people and honours, that merit was scarce able afterwards to break through it. There always remained something of this opposition and antipathy between the two orders; and Sallust observes, speaking of Metellus, that his excellent qualities were sullied and tarnished by an air of haughtiness and contempt; a fault, says he, which is but too usual ainong the nobility. [č] Cui quanquam virtus, gloria, atque alia optanda bonis superabant, tamen inerat contemptor animus of superbia, commune nobilitatis malum.

We should therefore consider, that the nobility arising from birth, is by far inferior to that which proceeds from merit; and to be convinced of it we [s] Curtius

Rufus videtur mihi meis laboribus & periculis quæsivi. ex se natus. Tacit. Ann. 1. 11. Sallust, in Bell. Jugurth.

[1] Hæc sunt mex imagines, hæc [u] Liv. l. 4. 1. 3: nobilitas, non hereditate relicta, ut [x] Sallust. in Bell. Jugurth. illa illis, sed quæ ego plurimis


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need only compare them together. [y] Pope Clement VIII. made a promotion of several cardinals, and among the rest he advanced two Frenchmen, M. d'Ossat, and the count de la Chapelle, who afterwards took the name of cardinal de Sourdis, from the estate of his family; the former, a man in whom the pope found nothing wanting but a descent from a better family, he was so well supplied with every other qualification; and the other a person that had nothing but his family to recommend him. Which of these two would one chuse to resemble most?

[:] Cardinal Granville, speaking of cardinal Ximenes, was wont to say, That time had oft concealed the original of great men under the veils of oblivion ; that he (for instance) was doubtless sprung from royal blood, or at least he had the heart of a king in the person of a private man.

But if it shew's a greatness of soul to overlook our own nobility, and not suffer it to gain the ascendant over our actions; we may likewise observe that it is no less great in such as have raised themselves by merit, not to forget the meanness of their extraction, nor to be ashamed of it.

[a] Vespasian did not only not seek to hide it, but would often glory in it; and publicly made a jest of those, who by a false genealogy, would have derived his pedigree from Hercules.

[b] The same emperor, without being ashamed of an object which continually renewed the remembrance of his original, went constantly every year, even after he came to the empire, to pass his summer in a small country-house near Rieti, where he was born, and to which he would never make any addition or embellishment. [c] His son Titus caused himself to be carried thither in his last illness, that he might die in the place where his father had begun and ended his

[y] Vie du Card. d'Ossat, par [a] Suet. in Vit. Vesp. c. 12. M. Amelot.

[6] Ibid. c. 2. [z] Hist. de Ximen, par M. [c] Suet. Vit. Tit. c. 11. Flechier, liv. 6.

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days. days. [2] Pertinax, the greatest man of his age, and soon after advanced to the empire, during the three years he tarried in Liguria, lodged in his father's house; and raising a great number of fine buildings around it, he left the [e] cottage in the midst, an illustrious monument of his low birth, and his greatness of soul. One would think that these princes affected to recal the memory of their former condition, so much the greatness of their personal merit (sensible it could sustain itself) was above any outward support. In short, we do not see throughout the whole Roman empire, that any body ever reproached them with the obscurity of their original, or abated one title of the veneration due to their virtues upon this account.

[f] Pope Benedict XII. was the son of a miller, whence he came to be called the Ilhite Cardinal. He never forgot his former condition; and when he was upon marrying his neice, he refused to give her to the great lords who sued for her, and married her to a tradesman. He said the popes should be like Melchizedek, without relations; and often used these words of the prophet, (g) If they that belong to me get not dominion, I shall be undefiled, and innocent from the great offence.

[h] John de [i] Brogni, cardinal de Viviers, who presided at the council of Constance as dean of the cardinals, had been a hog-driver in his infancy. Some monks passing by as he was busied in that sorry employment, and taking notice of his wit and vivacity, offered to carry him to Rome, and bring him up to study. The boy accepted of their offer, and went straight to a shoemaker to buy a pair of shoes for his journey; the shoemaker trusted him with part of the price, and told him sñiling, he should pay the rest when he was made a cardinal. Ile became a cardinal in reality, and was not only not unmindful of his for

[d] Capitolin. Vit. Pert. par J. l'Infant. (e] Tabernam.

[] Brogni is a village near An[f] Dict. de Moreri.'

neci, between Chamberi and Geigj Ps. xix. 13. [] Hist. du Conc. de Constance,



mer low condition, but took care to perpetuate the memory of it. In a chapel he built at [] Geneva, over-against the gate of St. Peter's church, he caused this adventure to be carved in stone, where he is represented young and without shoes, keeping hogs under a tree; and all around the wall are the figures of shoes, to express the favour he had received from the shoemaker. This monument is still subsisting at Geneva.


Talents of the Mind. How splendid soever the glory of arms and birth may appear, there is still something which more nearly concerns us, which we derive from learning and the Talents of the Mind. This seems to be more immediately our own, and entirely peculiar to us. It is not limited like that of arms to certain times and occasions, nor depends upon a thousand foreign assist

It gives a man a superiority far more agree-able than that which proceeds from riches, birth, or employments, as these are all external ; whereas the mind is properly our own, or rather is ourselves, and constitutes our very essence.

Yet it is not the mind alone in which the solid Glory of man consists. Suppose him excellent in himself, and adorned with the knowledge of every thing that is niost curious and exquisite in the sciences, philosophy, mathematics, history, the belles lettres, poetry and eloquence. All these make a man learned, but do not make him good. [1] Non faciunt bonos ista, sed doctos. And if a man be only learned, what is he very often but a vain, obstinate creature, full of himself, and despising all others, and in one word, an animal of glory? For thus Tertullian describes the most learned among the heathen, animal gloriæ.

Can any thing he more pitiful, or more contemptible, than such a man, vainly putled up with the no

[k] He was for some time bishop [?] Senec. Ep. 106. of that see.

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tion of his own learning and abilities, greedy and insatiable after praise, feeding upon wind and smoke, and striving only to live in the opinion of others? [m] Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, beautifully exposed the ridicule of this character in a physician named Menecrates, who had the vanity to take upon himself the surname of Jupiter Serrutor, on account of some extraordinary cures he had wrought, which he attributed wholly to his own skill. llaving invited him to dinner, he was placed at table by himself, on which was served up a vessel sinoaking with incense. The doctor at first thought himself highly honoured, but having nothing to eat during the rest of the entertainment, he soon perceived the meaning of the smoke of the incense; and thus serving for a laughingstock to the rest of the company, he went away hungry from the feast with the title of Jupiter, and the shame he had so justly deserved, in ascribing to his own abilities a success derived from heaven.

The honour, therefore, which science and genius confera does not result merely from learning, and the Talents of the Mind, but the good use made of them; and we may truly say, that modesty exalts their lustre and value infinitely more than any thing else. It is a pleasure to see great men sometimes owning themselves in the wrong, as the famous [n] Hippocrates has done in relation to one of the sutures of the skull, about which he had been led into a mistake. Such a confession, [0] as Celsus observes, referring to the passage I am speaking of, argues an uncommon fund of merit in the person that makes it, and an elevation of soul which is very sensible that such slips are not capable of being any prejudice to it; whereas a little mind, which cannot disguise its poverty, is care

[m] Ælian. 1. 12.C. 51. Athen. ciam magnarum rerum habentium. 1. 7. c. 10.

Nam levia ingenia, quia nihil ha[n] Lib. imidus.

bent, nihil sibi detrahunt. Magno [0] De suturis se deceptum esse ingenio, muliaque nihilominus haHippocrates memoriæ prodidit, biruro, convenit etiam veri erroris more magnorum virorum, & fidu- siinplex confessio. Cels. I. 8. c. 4.


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