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IF true fortitude of mind is best discovered by a cheerful resignation to the measures of Providence, we shall not find reason perhaps to claim that most singular of the human virtues as our peculiar privilege. There are numbers of the other sex* who from the natural delicacy of their constitution pass through one continual scene of suffering from their cradles to their graves with a firmness of resolution that would deserve so many statues to be erected to their memories, if heroism were not estimated more by the splendour than the merit of actions.
NOT sedulous by nature to indite
Of patience and heroic martyrdom
Paradise Lost, Book IX.
ALL the principles which Religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favourable to strength of mind. It will be found that whatever purifies fortifies also the heart.†
Sublime is the faith of a lonely soul,
And where does that blest faith abide ?
O! not in man's stern nature: human pride
Who never for herself doth mourn,
And own that Faith's undying urn
JOHN WILSON. Isle of Palms.
† Despots govern by terror. They know that he who fears God fears nothing else; and therefore they eradicate from the mind, through their Voltaire, their Helvetius, and the rest of that infamous gang, that only sort of fear which generates true courage.
A CURIOUS fellow meeting an Egyptian must needs know what he had in his basket. "It was therefore covered,” replied he, "because thou shouldst not know what it is."
A FOOTMAN'S hat should fly off to everybody: and therefore Mercury, who was Jupiter's footman, had wings fastened to his cap.
QUOTH she, I've heard old cunning stagers
Hudibras, Part II., Canto 1.
FOR as when merchants break, o'erthrown
Like nine-pins, they strike others down.
Ibid, Part II., Canto 2.
A BANKRUPT is made by breaking, as a bird is hatched by breaking the shell; for he gains more by giving over his trade, than ever he did by dealing in it.
So the huge bankers, when they needs must fail,
WHAT, am I poor of late?
'Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune,
Which when they fall, as being slippery standers,
The love that lean'd on them as slippery too,
Troilus and Cressida, Act III. bear me.
Wolsey. So farewell to the little good you
Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
MAN cannot arrive to a just and proper understanding of himself, without worthy notions of the Supreme Being.* SMITH. Preface to Longinus.
It is of dangerous consequence (says Monsieur Paschal) to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness. It is more dangerous yet to leave him ignorant of either, but very beneficial that he should be made sensible of both.
Spectator, No. 537.
The precept "Know thyself" was not solely intended to obviate the pride of mankind; but likewise that we might understand our own worth.
REVERE thyself;-and yet thyself despise,
YOUNG. Night Thoughts.
OFT-TIMES nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Paradise Lost, Book VIII.
SELF-LOVE is the love of one's self, and of everything on account of one's self: it makes men idolize themselves; and would make them tyrants over others if fortune were to give them the means. It never reposes out of itself, and only settles on strange objects, as bees do on flowers, to extract what is useful to it.
SELF-LOVE never yet could look on Truth,
Why did the gods give thee a heav'nly form
And earthly thoughts to make thee proud of it?
BEN JONSON. Cynthia's Revels-Echo lamenting
Aн, silly man, who dream'st thy honour stands
To pardon those absurdities in ourselves which we cannot suffer in others, is neither better nor worse than to be more willing to be fools ourselves than to have others so.
WHATEVER you dislike in another person, take care to correct in yourself by the gentle reproof.
THE proper way to make an estimate of ourselves is to consider seriously what we value or despise in others.
So no man does himself convince,
Spectator, No. 621,
By his own doctrine, of his sins:
His ownself in a literal sense.
Hudibras, Part II., Canto 2.
ONE fact which lets us see that men are better acquainted with their faults than is generally thought, is, that they are never wrong when they speak of their own conduct; the same love which generally blinds, on such occasions enlightens them, and gives them views so just as to make them suppress or disguise the least things which might be condemned.
ONE self-approving hour whole years outweighs
POPE. Essay on Man.
In spite of dulness, and in spite of wit,
FITZ to the peerage knows he's a disgrace,
So mounts the coach-box as his proper place,
He who thinks he can find in himself the means of doing without others is much mistaken; but he who thinks others cannot do without him is still more mistaken.
*The disposition to put any cheat upon ourselves, works constantly, and we are pleased with it, but are impatient of being bantered or misled by others.
LOCKE. Conduct of the Understanding.
A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself, seconded by the applauses of the public.
Spectator, No. 122.