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skilful wrestlers and charioteers. The son of Olorus, if we may judge by the consequence, felt little emotion; no sympathetic longings; and no impatience, to drive a chariot. But hearing Herodotus, on that occasion, reciting his history, he felt other sensations : his heart throbbed, and the tears descended. The venerable historian observed him weeping, and comprehending his character, “ I give thee joy,” said he to his father, “ for the happy genius of thy son.” Now, the son of Olorus became an historian no less renowned than Herodotus: for Herodotus and Thucydides are usually named together. The celebrated Turenne, in his early days, was an admirer, no less passionate, of Quintus Curtius, than the son of Olorus was of Herodotus ; and we are told by Ramsay, from D’Ablancourt, that when not yet twelve years of age, he challenged an officer who called his favorite history a romance. But this admiration was not so much for the graces of flowery composition which abound in the Roman historian, as for the splendid actions of Alexander. These drew his attention, and soon after, his imitation. Though his breast heaved, and his eyes sparkled in the perusal of favorite passages, he was not led to write fine descriptions like Curtius ; but to break horses like the son of Philip.
Now, since those who are actuated by the love of distinction, are led, by early or inherent predilection, to one kind of action rather than another, we have no difficulty in allowing principles of goodness and humanity to have reigned, early or originally, in the breast of Timon. Nay, after losing their authority, they continued for some time to attend him; and resided in that breast where they formerly reigned. They became like those eastern princes, or those early sovereigns of a neighbouring country, who grew so indolent and passive, that they lay immured in their apartments, and left the
management of the state to some active minister, an ambitious vizier, or mayor of the palace. Some of these ministers acted for a while under the banner of the sovereign's authority: but afterwards, having left him but the shadow of power, they promoted themselves; became supreme and despotic.
Here, however, we are led to enquire, how happens it that a principle inherent in the soul, and once an active principle, becomes passive, suffers others to operate in its stead; not only so, but to perform similar functions, assume corresponding appearances, and, in general, to be guided apparently to the same tenor of conduct ? Did the energy
of the inherent affection suffer abatement by frequent exercise ? Or were there no kindred. principles in the soul to support and confirm its authority ? Could not reason, or the sense of duty support, and the power of active habit confirm ? How came the sultan to submit to the vizier?
In general, original principles and feelings become passive, if they are not, in their first operation, confirmed by reason and conviction of duty; and if the passion which springs up in their place assumes their appearance, and acts apparently as they would have done. Nothing is more imposing than this species of usurpation. It is not the open assault of a foe, but the guile of pretended friendship. Nothing contributes more to dangerous self-deception. Applying this remark to our present subject, and following the lights of observation, we shall briefly illustrate, how early or inherent goodness may be subverted by the love of distinction. A person of good dispositions, inclined by his temper and constitution to perform acts of beneficence, receives pleasure in the performance. He also receives applause. He has done good, and is told of it. Thus he receives pleasure, not only from having gratified a native impulse, but from the praise of mankind, and the gratitude of those whom he may have served. The applauses he receives are more liberally bestowed by designing and undeserving persons, than by the deserving and undesigning. The deserving depend too much on the permanency of the original principle, independent of encouragement; and
therefore be too sparing in their approbation. Gustavus Adolphus used to say, that valour needed encouragement; and was therefore unreserved in his
praises. The same may be said of every virtue. But designing, or undeserving persons, transferring their own dispositions to other men, and of course apprehensive lest the wheels and springs of benevolence should contract rust, are oiling them for ever with profuse adulation. Meantime, our man of liberality begins to be moved by other principles than fine feelings and constitutional impulse. The pleasure arising from such actions as these produce, is too fine and too delicate, compared with the joys conferred by loud and continued applauses. Thus his taste becomes vitiated; he not only acquires an undue relish for adulation, but is uneasy without it; he contracts a false appetite; and solicits distinction, not so much for the pleasure it yields him, as to remove a disagreeable craving. Thus, such benevolent actions as formerly proceeded from constitutional goodness, have. now their origin in the love of praise and distinction. Goodness may remain in his breast a passive guest; and having no other power than to give countenance to the
prevailing principle. It may thus reign in his