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tween the misfortunes which he suffers, and greater misfortunes which might have befallen him.
I like the story of the honest Dutchman, who, upon breaking his leg by a fall from the mainmast, told the standers-by, it was a great mercy that it was not his neck. To which, since I am got into quotations, give me leave to add the saying of an old philosopher, who, after having invited some of his friends to dine with him, was ruffled by his wife that came into the room in a passion, and threw down the table that stood before them; " Every one,” says he, “bas bis calamity, and he is a happy man that has no greater than this.” We find an instance to the same purpose in the Life of Dr. Hammond, written by Bishop Fell. As this good man was troubled with a complication of distempers, when he had the gout upon him, he used to thank God that it was not the stone; and when he had the stone, that he had not both these distempers on him at the same time.
I cannot conclude this essay without observing that there was never any system besides that of Christiavity, which could effectually produce in the mind of man the virtue I have been hitherto speaking of. In order to make us content with onr present condition, many of the ancient philosophers tell us that our dis content only hurts ourselves, without ever being able to make any alteration in our circumstances; others, that whatever evil befals us is derived to us by a fatal necessity, to which the gods themselves are subject; while others very gravely tell the man who is miser. able, that it is necessary he should be so to keep up the harmony of the universe, and that the scheme of Providence would be troubled and perverted were he otherwise. These, and the like considerations, rather silence than satisfy a man. They inay show him tbat his discontent is unreasonable, but are by no means sufficient to relieve it. They rather give despair than consolation. In a word, a man might reply to one
of these comforters, as Augustus did to his friend, who advised him not to grieve for the death of a person whom he loved, because his grief could not fetch him again: “ It is for that very reason," said the Emperor, " that I grieve."
On the contrary, religion bears a more tender regard to human nature. It prescribes to every miserable man the means of bettering his condition ; nay, it shows him that the bearing of his afflictions as he ought to do will naturally end in the removal of them: it makes him easy here, because it can make him happy hereafter.
Upon the whole, a contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world; and if in the present life his happiness arises from the subduing of bis desires, it will arise in the next from the gratifica. tion of them.
THE POINT OF HONOUR AMONG
MEN AND WOMEN.
Turpi secernis honestum.
HOR. You know to fix the bounds of right and wrong.
what passes for the chief point of honour among men and women.
The great point of honour in men is courage, and in women chastity. Sf a man loses his honour in one rencounter, it is not impossible for him to regain it in another; a slip in a woman's honour is irrecoverable. I can give no reason for fixing the point of honour to these two qualities, unless it be that each sex sets the greatest value on the qualification which renders them the most amiable in the eyes of the contrary sex. Had men chosen for themselves, without regard to the opi
nions of the fair sex, I shonld believe the choice would have fallen on wisdom or virtue; or bad women determined their own point of honour, it is probable that wit or good.nature would have carried it against chastity.
Nothing recommends a man more to the female sex than courage *; whether it be that they are pleased to see one who is a terror to others fall like a slave at their feet, or that this quality supplies their own priucipal defect, in guarding them from insults, and avenging their quarrels; or that courage is a natural indication of a strong and sprightly constitution. On the other side, nothing makes woman more esteemed by the op. posite sex than chastity; whether it be that we always prize those most who are hardest to come at, or that .nothing besides chastity, with its collateral attendants, truth, fidelity, and constancy, gives the man a property in the person he loves, and consequently endears her to him above all things.
I am very much pleased wiih a passage in the inscription on a monument erected in Westminster Abbey to the late Duke and Duchess of Newcastle. “Her name was Margaret Liicas, youngest sister to the Lord Lucas of Colchester; a noble family, for all the brothers were valiant, and all the sisters virtuous."
In books of cbivalry, where the point of honour is strained to madness, the whole story runs on chastity and courage. The damsel is mounted on a white palfrey, as an emblem of her innocence; and, to avoid scandal, must have a dwarf for her page. She is not to think of a man, until some misfortune has brought a knight errant to her relief. The knight falls in love, and did not gratitude restrain her from murdering ber deliverer, would die at her feet by her disdain. How. ever, he must wait many years in the desert, before
* Fielding has happily and admirably illustrated this observation, in that chapter of his Tom Jones in which the hero breaks his arm in saving Sophia West
her virgin-heart can think of a surrender. The knight goes off, attacks every thing he meets that is bigger and stronger than himself, seeks all opportunities of being knocked on the head, and after seven years ranıbling, returns to his mistress, whose chastity bas been attacked in the mean time by giants and tyrants, and undergone as many trials as her lover's valour.
In Spain, where there are still great remains of this romantic humour, it is a transporting favour for a lady to cast an accidental glance on her lover from a window, though it be two or three stories high; as it is usual for the lover to assert bis passion for his mistress, in single combat with a mad bull.
lation of the point of bonour from man to man, is giving the lie. One may tell another he whores, drinks, blasphemes, and it may pass unresented; but to say he lies, though but in jest, is an affront that nothing but blood can expiate. The reason per. haps may be, because no other vice implies a want of courage so much as the making of a lie; and therefore telling a man he lies, is touching him in the most sensible part of honour, and indirectly calling him a cow. ard. I cannot omit under this head what Herodotus tells us of the ancient Persians, that from the age of five years to twenty they instruct their sons only in tbree things : to manage the horse, to inake use of the bow, and to speak truth.
The placing the point of honour in this false kind of courage, has given occasion to the very refuse of mankind, who have neither virtue nor common sense, to set up tor men of honour. An English peer, who has not been long dead, used to tell a pleasant story of a French gentlemau that visited him early nne morning at Paris, and after great professions of respect, let bim know that he had it in bis power to oblige him; which, in short, amounted to this, that he believed he could tell his lordship the person's name who jostled hini as he came out from the opera; but before he wouli' proceed, he begged his lordship, that he would not deny him the honour of making him his second. The English lord, to avoid being drawn into a very foolish affair, told him, that be laid under engagements for his two next duels to a couple of particular friends. Upon which the gentleman immediately withdrew, hoping his lordship would not take it ill if he meddled no further in an affair from which he him. self was to receive uo advantage.
The beating down this false notion of honour, in so vain and lively people as those of France, is deserv. edly looked upon as one of the most glorious parts of their present king's reign. It is a pity but the puuishment of these mischievous notions should have in it some particular circumstances of shame and infamy, that those who are slaves to them may see, that instead of advancing their reputation, they lead them to igno. miny and dishonour.
Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a doel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly lessen the number of these imaginary men of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice.
When hononr is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and of our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encou. raged; but wben the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are tbe greatest depravations of humau nature, and should be exploded, and driven out as the bane and plague of human society.