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think nothing can be more glorious than for a man to give the lie to his face, and to be an honest, just, good. natured man, in spite of all those marks and signatures which nature seems to have set upon him for the contrary. This very often happens among those, who, instead of being exasperated by their own looks, or envying the looks of others, apply themselves entirely to the cultivating of their minds, and getting those beauties which are more lasting and more ornamental. I have seen many an amiable piece of deformity; and have observed a certain cheerfulness in as bad a system of features as ever was clapped together, which hath appeared more lovely than all the blooming charms of an insolent beauty. There is a double praise due to virtue, when it is lodged in a body that seems to have been prepared for the reception of vice; in many such cases the soul and the body do not seem to be fellows.
Socrates was an extraordinary instance of this nature. There chanced to be a great physiognomist in his time at Athens, who had made strange discoveries of men's tempers and inclinations by their outward appearances. Socrates's disciples, that they might put this artist to the trial, carried him to their master, whom he had never seen before, and did not know he was then in company with him. After a short exami- nation of his face, the physiognomist pronounced him the most lewd, libidinous, drunken old fellow that he had ever met with in his whole life. Upon which the disciples all burst out a laughing, as thinking they had detected the falsehood and vanity of his art. But Socrates told them, that the principles of his art might be very true, notwithstanding his present mistake; for that he himself was naturally inclined to those particular vices which the physiognomist had discovered in his countenance, but that he had conquered the strong dispositions he was born with by the dictates of philosophy.
We are indeed told by an ancient author, that So-,
crates very much resembled Silenus in his face; which we find to have been very rightly observed from the statues and busts of both, that are still extant; as well as on several antique seals and precious stones, which are frequently enough to be met with in the cabinets of the curious. But however observations of this nature may sometimes hold, a wise man should be particularly cautious how he gives credit to a man's outward appearance. It is an irreparable injustice we are guilty of towards one another, when we are prejudiced by the looks and features of those whom we do not know. How often do we conceive hatred against a person of worth, or fancy a man to be proud or illnatured by his aspect, whom we think we cannot esteem too much when we are acquainted with his real character? Dr. Moore, in his admirable System of Ethics, reckons this particular inclination to take a prejudice against a man for his looks, among the smaller vices in morality, and, if I remember, gives it the name of a Prosopolepsia. L.
Speret idem sudet multum frustraque laboret
All men will try, and hope to write as well,
MONG too many other instances of the great corruption and degeneracy of the age wherein we live, the great and general want of sincerity in conversation is none of the least. The world is grown
Tillotson's Sermon on Sincerity.
so full of dissimulation and compliment, that men's words are hardly any signification of their thoughts; and if any man measure his words by his heart, and speak as he thinks, and do not express more kindness to every man, than men usually have for any man, he can hardly escape the censure of want of breeding. The old English plainness and sincerity, that generous integrity of nature, and honesty of disposition, which always argues true greatness of mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunted courage and resolution, is in a great measure lost among us. There hath been a long endeavour to transform us into foreign manners and fashions, and to bring us to a servile imitation of none of the best of our neighbours, in some of the worst of their qualities. The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so swelled with vanity and compliment, and so surfeited (as I may say) of expressions of kindness and respect, that if a man that lived an age or two ago should return into the world again, he would really want a dictionary to help him to understand his own language, and to know the true intrinsic value of the phrase in fashion, and would hardly at first believe at what a low rate the highest strains and expressions of kindness imaginable do commonly pass in current payment: and when he should come to understand it, it would be a great while before he could bring himself with a good countenance and a good conscience to converse with men upon equal terms, and in their own way.
"And in truth it is hard to say, whether it should more provoke our contempt or our pity to hear what solemn expressions of respect aud kindness will pass between men, almost upon no occasion; how great honour and esteem they will declare for one whom perhaps they never saw before, and how entirely they are all on the sudden devoted to his service and interest, for no reason; how infinitely and externally obliged to him, for no benefit; and how extremely they will be concerned for him, yea and afflicted too,
for no cause. I know it is said, in justification of this hollow kind of conversation, that there is no harm, no real deceit in compliment, but the matter is well enough, so long as we understand one another; et verba valent ut nummi, words are like money;" and when the current value of them is generally understood, no man is cheated by them. This is something, if such words were any thing; but being brought into the account, they are mere ciphers. However, it is still a just matter of complaint, that sincerity and plainness are out of fashion, and that our language is running into a lie; that men have almost quite perverted the use of speech, and made words to signify nothing; that the greatest part of the conversation of mankind is little else but driving a trade of dissimulation; insomuch that it would make a man heartily sick and weary of the world, to see the little sincerity that is in use and practice among men."
When the vice is placed in this contemptible light, he argues unanswerably against it, in words and thoughts so natural, that any man who reads them would imagine he himself could have been the author of them.
"If the show of any thing be good for any thing, I am sure sincerity is better: for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to? For to counterfeit and dissemble, is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now the best way in the world to seem to be any thing, is really to be what he would seem to be. Besides, that it is many times as troublesome to make good the pretence of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is discovered to want it; and then all his pains and labour to seem to have it, is lost."
In another part of the same discourse he goes on to show, that all artifice must naturally tend to the disap pointment of him that practises it,
"Whatsoever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honestly. When a man hath once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood." R.
A FEMALE DEVOTEE.
Cum magnis virtutibus affers Grande supercilium.
JUV. Sat. 5. v. 168.
We own thy virtues; but we blame beside
DEVOTEE is one of those who disparage religion by their indiscreet and unseasonable introduction of the mention of virtue on all occasions; she professes she is what nobody ought to doubt she is; and betrays the labour she is put to, to be what she ought to be with cheerfulness and alacrity. She lives in the world, and denies herself none of the diversions of it, with a constant declaration how insipid all things in it are to her. She is never herself but at church; there she displays her virtue, and is so fervent in her devotions, that I have frequently seen her pray herself out of breath. While other young ladies in the house are dancing, or playing at questions and commands, she reads aloud in her closet. She says, all love is ridicu lous except it be celestial; but she speaks of the pas sion of one mortal to another, with too much bitterness, for one that had no jealousy mixed with her contempt of it. If at any time she sees a man warm in