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giveness, we may think as well as act with kindness, and be sanctified as well in heart as in life.
Though love and hatred are necessarily produced in the ňuman breast, when the proper objects of these passions occur, as the colour of material substances is necessarily perceived by an eye before which they are exhibited; yet it is in our power to change the passion, and to cause either love or hatred to be excited by placing the same object in different circumstances; as a changeable silk of blue and yellow may be held so as to excite the idea either of yellow or blue.
No act is deemed more injurious, or resented with greater acrimony, than the marriage of a child, especially of a daughter, without the consent of a parent: it is frequently considered as a breach of the strongest and tenderest obligations; as folly and ingratitude, treachery and rebellion. By the imputation of these vices a child becomes the object of indignation and resentment: indignation and resentment in the breast, therefore, of the parent are necessarily excited; and there can be no doubt but that these are species of hatred. But if the child is considered as still retaining the endearing softness of filial affection, as still longing for reconciliation, and profaning the rites of marriage with tears; as having been driven from the path of duty, only by the violence of passions which none have always resisted, and which many have indulged with much greater turpitude; the same object that before excited indignation and resentment will now be regarded with pity, and pity is a species of love.
Those, indeed, who resent this breach of filial duty with implacability, though perhaps it is the only one of which the offender has been guilty, demonstrate that they are without natural affection : and that they would have prostituted their offspring,
if not to lust, yet to affections which are equally vile and sordid, the thirst of gold, or the cravings of ambition: for he can never be thought to be sincerely interested in the felicity of his child, who, when some of the means of happiness are lost by indiscretion, suffers his resentment to take away
Among friends, sallies of quick resentment are extremely frequent. Friendship is a constant reciprocation of benefits, to which the sacrifice of private interest is sometimes necessary: it is common for each to set too much value upon those which he bestows, and too little upon those which he receives; this mutual mistake in so important an estimation, produces mutual charges of unkindness and ingratitude; each, perhaps, professes himself ready to forgive, but neither will condescend to be forgiven. Pride, therefore, still increases the enmity which it began; the friend is considered as selfish, assuming, injurious, and revengeful; he consequently becomes an object of hatred; and while he is thus considered, to love him is impossible. But thus to consider him is at once a folly and a fault: each ought to reflect, that he is, at least in the opinion of the other, incurring the crimes that he imputes; that the foundation of their enmity is no more than a mistake; and that this mistake is the effect of weakness or vanity, which is common to all mankind : the cbaracter of both would then assume a very
different aspect, love would again be excited by the return of its object, and each would be impatient to exchange acknowledgments, and recover the felicity which was so near being lost.
But if after we have admitted an acquaintance to our bosom as a friend, it should appear that we had mistaken his character; if he should betray our confidence, and use the knowledge of our affairs,
which perhaps he obtained by offers of service, to effect our ruin; if he defames us to the world, and adds perjury to falsehood; if he violates the chastity of a wife, or seduces a daughter to prostitution; we may still consider him in such circumstances as will incline us to fulfil the precept, and to regard him without the rancour of hatred or the fury of revenge.
Every character, however it may deserve punishment, excites hatred only in proportion as it appears to be malicious; and
malice has never been imputed to human beings. The wretch, who has thus deceived and injured us, should be considered as having ultimately intended, not evil to us, but good to himself. It should also be remembered that he has mistaken the means; that he has forfeited the friendship of Him whose favour is better than life, by the same conduct which forfeited ours; and that to whatever view he sacrificed our temporal interest, to that also he sacrificed his own hope of immortality; that he is now seeking felicity which he can never find, and incurring punishment that will last for ever. And how much better than this wretch is he, in whom the contemplation of his condition can excite no pity ? Surely if such an enemy hungers, we may, without suppressing any passion, give him food; for who that sees a criminal dragged to execution, for whatever crime, would refuse him a cup of cold water ?
On the contrary, he whom God has forgiven must necessarily become amiable to man: to consider his character without prejudice or partiality, after it has been changed by repentance, is to love him; and impartially to consider it is not only our duty but our interest.
Thus may we love our enemies, and add å dignity to our nature of which pagan virtue had no
conception. But if to love our enemies is the glory of a Christian, to treat others with coldness, neglect, and malignity is rather the reproach of a fiend than
Unprovoked enmity, the frown of unkindness, and the menaces of oppression should be far from those who profess themselves to be followers of Him who in his life went about doing good; who instantly healed a wound that was given in his defence; and who, when he was fainting in his last agony, and treated with mockery and derision, conceived at once a prayer and an apology for his murderers : Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.
No. 49. TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 1753.
The character of the scholars of the present age will not be much injured or misrepresented by saying, that they seem to be surperficially acquainted with a multitude of subjects, but to go to the bottom of very few. This appears in criticism and polite learning, as well as in the abstruser sciences: by the diffusion of knowledge its depth is abated.
Eutyches harangues with wonderful plausibility on the distinct merits of all the Greek and Roman classics, without having thoroughly and attentively perused, or entered into the spirit and scope of one of them. But Eutyches has diligently digested the dissertations of Rapin, Bouhours, Felton, Black
wall, and Rollin; treatises that administer great consolation to the indolent and incurious, to those who can tamely rest satisfied with second hand knowledge, as they give concise accounts of all the great heroes of ancient literature, and enable them to speak of their several characters, without the tedious drudgery of perusing the originals. But the characters of writers, as of men, are of a very mixed and complicated nature, and are not to be comprehended in so small a compass; such objects do not admit of being drawn in miniature with accuracy and distinctness.
To the present prevailing passion for French moralists and French critics, may be imputed the superficial show of learning and abilities of which I am complaining. And since these alluring authors are become not only so fashionable an amusement of those who call themselves the polite world, but also engross the attention of academical students, I am tempted to inquire into the merits of the most celebrated among them of both kinds.
That Montagne abounds in native wit, in quick penetration, in a perfect knowledge of the human heart, and the various vanities and vices that lurk in it, cannot justly be denied. But a man who undertakes to transmit his thoughts on life and manners to posterity, with the hopes of entertaining and amending future ages, must be either exceedingly vain or exceedingly careless, if he expects either of these effects can be produced by wanton sallies of the imagination, by useless and impertinent digressions, by never forming or following any regular plan, never classing or confining his thoughts, never changing or rejecting any sentiment that occurs to him. Yet this appears to have been the conduct of our celebrated essayist: and it has produced many awkward imitators, who, under the notion of writ