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they call An Account of the Works of the Learned, in which they give us an abstract of all such books as are printed in any part of Europe. Now, Sir, it is my design to publish every month, An account of the Works of the Unlearned. Several late productions of my own countrymen,
who many of them make a very eminent figure in the illiterate world, encourage me in this undertaking. I may, in this work, poslibly make a review of several pieces which have appeared in the foreign ac. counts above-mentioned, tho they ought not to have been taken notice of in works which bear such a title. I may, likewise, take into consideration such pieces as appear, from time to time, under the names of those gentlemen who compliment one another in public afLemblies, by the title of The Learned Gentlemen. Our party-authors will also afford me a great variety of fubjects, not to mention the editors, commentators, and others, who are often men of no learning, or what is as bad, of no knowledge I shall not enlarge upon this hint; but if
any thing can be made of it I fall set about it with all the pains and application that so useful a.work deserves.
I am ever, с
Moft worthy SIR, &c.
Friday, August 15.
*Αιδως εκ αγάθη.
Could not but smile at the account that was yesterI
day given me of a modeft young gentleman, who
being invited to an entertainment, though he was not ued to drink, had not the confidence to refuse his glass in his iurn, when on a sudden he grew fo flustered that
he took all the talk of the table into his own hands, abused every one of the company, and Aung a bottle at the gentleman's head who treated him. This has given me occasion to reflect upon the ill effects of a vicious modesty, and to remember the saying of Brutus, as it is quoted' by Plutarch, that the perjon has had but an ill education, who has not been taught to deny any thing, This false kind of modesty has, perhaps, betrayed both sexes into as many vices as the most abandoned impudence, and is the more inexcusable to reason, because it acts to gratisy others rather than itself, and is punished with a kind of remorse, not only like other vicious habits. when the crime is over, but even at the very time that it is committed.
Nothing is more admirable than true modesty, and nothing is more contemptible than the false. The one guards
virtue, the other betrays it. True modesty is alhamed to do any thing that is repugnant to the rules of right reason: False modesty is ashamed to do any thing that is opposite to the humour of the company. True modesty avoids every thing that is criminal, falle modesty every thing that is unfashionable. The latter is only a general undetermined instinct ; the former is that instinct, limited and circumscribed by the rules of prudence and religion.
We may conclude that modesty to be false and vicious which engages a man to do any thing that is ill or indifcreet, or which restrains him from doing any thing that is of a contrary nature. How many men, in the common concerns of life, lend sums of money which they are not able to spare, are bound for persons whom they have but little friendship for, give recommendatory characters of men whom they are not acquainted with, bestow places on those whom they do not efieem, live in such a manner as they themselves do not approve, and all this merely because they have not the confidence to resist solicitation, importunity or example ?
Nor does this false modesty expose us only to such actions as are indiscreet, but very often to such as are highly criminal. When Xenophanes was called timorous, because he would not venture his money in a game at dice: I confess, said he, that I am exceeding timorous for
I dare not do any ill thing. On the contrary, a man of vicious modely complies with every thing, and is only fearful of doing what may look singular in the company where he is engaged. He falls in with the torrent, and lets himself
action or discourse, however unjuftifiable in itself, so it be in vogue among the prefent party. This, tho' one of the most common, is one of the most ridiculous dispositions in human nature, that men should not be ashamed of speaking or acting in a diffolute or irrational manner, but that one who is in their company should be ashamed of governing himself by the principles of reason and virtue.
In the second place we are to consider false modesty, as it restrains a man from doing what is good and laudable. My reader's own thoughts will suggest to him many instances and examples under this head. I shall only dwell upon one reflexion, which I cannot make without a secret , concern. We have in England a particular bashfulness in every thing that regards religion. A well-bred man is obliged to conceal any serious sentiment of this nature, and very often to appear a greater libertine than he is, that he may keep himself in countenance among
the men of mode. Our excess of modesty makes us shamefaced in all the exercises of piety and devotion. This humour prevails upon us daily; infomuch, that at many well-bred tables, the master of the house is so very modeft a man, that he has not the confidence to say grace at his own ta- , ble: A custom which is not only practised by all the nations about us, but was never omitted by the heathens themselves. English gentlemen who travel into romancatholic countries, are not a little surprised to meet with people of the best quality kneeling in their churches, and engaged in their private devotions, tho' it be not at the hours of public worship. An officer of the army, or a man of wit and pleasure in those countries, would be afraid of passing not only for an irreligious, but an ill-bred man, should he be seen to go to bed, or fit down at table without offering up his devotions on such occasions. The fame show of religion appears in all the foreign reformed churches, and enters so much in their ordinary conversation, that an Englishman is apt to term them hypocritical and precise.
This little appearance of a religious deportment in our nation, may proceed in some measure from that modesty which is natural to us, but the great occasion of it is certainly this : Those swarms of sectaries that over-' ran the nation in the time of the great rebellion, carried their hypocrisy so high, that they had converted our whole language into a jargon of enthusiasm ; info. much that upon the restoration men thought they could not recede too far from the behaviour and practice of those persons, who had made religion a cloke to so many villanies. This led them into the other extreme, every appearance of devotion was looked upon as puritanical, and falling into the hands of the ridiculers who flourilhed in that reign, and attacked every thing that was serious, it has ever since been cut of countenance among us. By this means we are gradually fallen into that vicious modesty, which has in some measure worn out from among us the appearance of christianity in ordinary life and conversation, and which distinguifhes us from all our neighbours.
Hypocrisy cannot indeed be too much detefted, but at the same time is to be preferred to open impiety. They are both equally destructive to the person who is poffeffed with them, but in regard to others, hypocrisy is not so pernicious as barefaced irreligion. The due mean to be observed is to be fincerely virtuous, and at the same time to let the world fee we are fo. I do not know a more dreadful menace in the Holy Writings, than that which is pronounced against those who have
this perverted modesty, to be ashamed before men in particular of such unspeakable importance.
Saturday, August 16.
Quicquid dignum sapiente bonoque eft.
Hor. Ep. 4. 1. 1. V. 5. What befits the wife and good. CREECH. ELIGION may be considered under two general heads. The first comprehends what we are to be
lieve, the other what we are to practise. By those things which we are to believe, I mean whatever is revealed to us in the Holy Writings, and which we could not have obtained the knowledge of by the light of nature ; by the things which we are to practise, I mean all those duties to which we are directed by reason or natural religion. The first of these I hall distinguish by the name of Faith, the second by that of Morality.
If we look into the more serious part of mankind, we find many who lay fo great a stress upon faith, that they neglect morality; and many who build so much upon morality, that they do not pay a due regard to faith. The perfect man should be defective in neither of these particulars, as will be very evident to those who consider the benefits which arise from each of them, and which I shall make the subject of this day's paper.
Notwithstanding this general division of christian duty into morality and faith, and that they have both their peculiar excellencies, the first has the pre-eminence in feveral respects.
First, Because the greatest part of morality. (as I have stated the notion of it) is of a fixt eternal nature, and will endure when faith fhail fail, and be loft in conviction.
Secondly, Because a person may be qualified to do greater good to mankind, and become more beneficial to the world, by morality without faith, than by faith without morality.