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Now the plot thickened so well, a, that Cynthio sew he had not much more to accomplish being irreconcilaabJy banished, he writ,
• TTHave that prejudice in favour of all you do, that « JL it is not possible for you to determine upon what
* will not be very pleasing to
This was delivered, and the answer returned, in a little more than two seconds.
S it come to this? Vou never loved me; and the ! J. creature you were with is the properest person for your associate. I despise you, and hope I shall soon
* hate yon as a villain to
Iht credulous Flavia,
Robin ran back with
'X^OUR credulity when you are to gain your point,
* JL and suspicion when you fear to lose it, make it» 'very hard part to behave as becomes
Tour bumble Jlave,
Robin whipt away, and return'd with,
* "Y^LAVIA and Cynthio are no more. I relieve^you 'J/ from the hard part of which you complain, and
* banish you from my sight for ever.
Robin had a crown for his afternoon's work; and this is published to admonish Cecilia to avenge the injury done to Flavia. T N° 399 Saturday, June 7.
Ut nemo insese tentat descender* !— Pers. Sat. 4. v. 23,
None, none descends into himself, to sind
The secret imperfections of his mind. Dryden.
HYPOCRISY at the fashionable end of the town, is very different from hypocrisy in the city. The modish hypocrite endeavours to appear more vicious than he really is, the other kind of hypocrite more virtuous. The former is afraid of every thing that has the shew of religion in it, and would be thought engaged in many criminal galantries and amours, which he is not guilty of. The latter assumes a face of sanctity, and covers a multitude of vices under a seeming religious deportment.
But there is another kind of hypocrisy, which differs from both these, and which I intend to make the subject of this paper: I mean that hypocrisy, by which a man does not only deceive the world, but very often imposes on himself; that hypocrisy which conceals his own heart from him, and makes him believe he is more virtuous than he really is, and either not attend to his vices, or mistake even his vices for virtues. It is this fatal hypocrisy, and self-deceit, which is taken notice of in those words, Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou mt from secret faults.
If the open professors of impiety deserve the utmost application and endeavours of moral writers to recover them from vice and folly, how much more may those lay a claim to their care and compassion, who are walking in the paths of death, while they fancy themselves engaged in a course of virtue ! I shall endeavour, therefore, to lay down some rules for the discovery of those vices that lurk in the secret corners of the foul, and to Ihew my reader those methods by which he may arrive at a true and impartial knowledge of himself. The usual means prescribed for this purpose, are to examine ourselves by the rules which are laid down for our direction in.Sacred Writ, and to compare our lives with the life of that perfon who acted up to the perfection of human nature, and is the standing example, as well as the great guide and instructor, of those who receive his doctrines. Though these two heads cannot be too much insisted upon, I shall bust just mention them, since they have been handled by many great and eminent writers. . I would therefore propose the following methods to the consideration of such as would sind out their secret Jaults, and make a true estimate of themselves.
In the sirst place, let them consider well what are the characters which they bear among their enemies. Our friends very often flatter us, as much as our own hearts. They either do not fee our faults, or conceal them from us, or soften them by their representations, after such a manner, that we think them too trivial to be taken notice of. An adversary, on the contrary, makes a stricter search into us, discovers every flaw and imperfection in our tempers, and though his malice may set them in too strong a light, it has generally some ground for what it advances. .-. A friend exaggerates a man's virtues, an enemy inslames his crimes. A wife man should give a just attention to both of them, so far as they may tend ro the improvement of one, and the diminution of the other. P/u/arch has written an essay on the benesits which a man may receive from his enemies, and, among
that by riie reproaches which it casts upon us we see the worst side of ourselves, and open our eyes to several blemishes and defects in our lives and conversations, which we should not have observed, without the help of such ill natured monitors.
In order likewise to come ata true knowledge of ourselves, we should consider on the other hand how far we may deserve the praises and approbations which the world bestow upon us: whether the actions they celebrate proceed from laudable and worthy motives; and how far we are really possessed of the virtues which gain us applause among those with whom we converse. Such a reflexion is absolutely necessary, if we consider how apt we are either to value or condemn ourselves by the opi-;
the good fruits ot
nions gf others, and to sacrisice the report of our own hearts to the judgment of the world.
in the next place, that we may not deceive ourselves in a point of so much importance, we should not lay too great a stress on any iuppofed virtues we possess that are of a double nature: And such we may esteem all those in which multitudes of men dissent from us, who are as good and wife as ourselves. We should always act with great cautiousness and circumspection in points, -where it is not impossible that we may be deceived. Intemperate zeal, bigotry and persecution for any party or opinion, how praise-worthy soever they may appear to .weak men cf our own principles, produce insinite calamities among mankind, and are highly criminal in their own nature; and yet how many persons eminent for piety suffer such monstrous and absurd principles of action to take root in their minds under the colour of virtues? For my own part, I must own I never yet knew any party sojust and reasonable, that a man could follow it in its height and violence, and at the fame time be innocent.
VVe should likewise be very apprehensive of those actions which proceed from natural constitutions, favourite passions, particular education, or whatever promotes our worldly interest or advantage. In these and the like cases, a man's judgment is easily perverted, and a wrong bias hung upon his mind. These are the inlets of prejudice, the unguarded avenues of the mind, by which a thousand errors and secret faults sind admission, without being observed or taken notice of. A wise man will suspect those actions to which he is directed by something besides reason, and always apprehend some concealed evil in every resolution that is of a disputable nature, when it is consormable to his particular temper, his age, or way of life, or when it favours his pleasure or his prosit.
There is nothing of greater importance to us than thus diligently to sift our thoughts, and examine all these dark recesses of the mind, if we would establish our souls in such a solid and substantial virtue as will turn to account in that great day, when it must stand the test of insinite, wisdom and justice.
I shall conclude this essay with observing that the two kinds of hypocrisy I have here spoken of, namely that of deceiving the world, and that of imposing on ourselves, are touched with wonderful beauty in the hundred thirty ninth psalm. The folly of the sirst kind of hypocrisy Is there set forth by reflexions on God's omniscience and omnipresence, which are celebrated in as noble strains of poetry as any other I ever met with either sacred or profane. The other kind of hypocrisy, whereby a man deceives himself, is intimated in the two last verses where the psalmist addresses himself to the great searcher of hearts in that emphatical petition; Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart; prove me, and examine my thoughts. Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the <way everlasting. L
N° 400 Monday, June 9.
Latet anguis in herba. Virg. Eel. 3. v. 93. There's a snake in the grass, [English Proverb.]
IT should, methinks, preserve modesty and its interests in the world, that the transgression of it always creates offence; and the very purposes of wantonness are defeated by a carriage which has in it so much boldness, as to intimate that fear and reluctance are quite extinguish'd in an object which would be otherwise desirable. It was said of a wit of the last age,
Sidney has that prevailing gentle art.
T he loosest wijhes to the chastest heart;
This prevailing gentle art was made up of complaisance, courtship, and artful consormity to the modesty 3 of