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whose diseased state of mind is too weak to bear a health-restoring probe, - too perished to bear handling. But we wtite not for such incurables.
The box-lobby of street lounger, and modern philosopher - male as well as female - in order to avoid the imputation of hypocritical professions, disclaim their belief in the oracles of truth and morality, and rather than be thought to impose upon mankind by the cloak of virtue, they will send their vices naked into the world. This affected frankness is worse than bypocrisy. It has, Irowever, become so prevalent among the present liberal, enlightened generation, that the open avowal of disgrace is reckoned, by all of the sect, a sufficient salvo for crimes; and a man's confession that he is a good-for-nothing fellow, is sufficient to make him pass for an honest one.
This new undisguised liberality is much worse than-old fashioned hypocrisy, which it has almost driven out of the field; and we shall here give a proof that we retain some of the feelings of humanity, by shewing some little degree of compassion towards an exile, which popular
clamour has turned out of office, and almost expelled the community, to make way for a worse substitute. It should be premised that we are now going to speak only, of that kind of hypocrisy, which has no other object than to make the wearer of it appear better than he really is.
What harm is there in this ?-Very little; on the contrary, much good may result from it. We have seen in a former part of this work, that the extremes of opposite virtues and vices are nearly joined ; and as every man is tinctured with that virtue which comes nearest to his vice, there can be no harm in his concealing the latter under the mask of his virtue.Socrates was once told by his friends, that a physiognomist whom they ridiculed as an ignorant pretender, had asserted that he was naturally possessed of certain vices, which were the very reverse of those virtues for which he was famed. “ Whatever you may think of this man's opinion,” replied Socrates, “I can assure you that there are all those vices in my composition, but that I have subdued them by perseverance.” This was a noble effort of humanity, and So
crates was more to be admired for it, than if he had been naturally virtuous.
We applaud a painter for casting the defects of his original in the shade; and none but those, who prefer ugliness to beauty, will censure a person for calling in the aid of art to conceal the blemishes of nature, and to bestow charms, where her parsimony has denied them. Few people are so depraved as not to admire the beauties of the mind ; and it is, at least, of as much con. sequence to hide its defects and set off its greatest advantage, as those of the body.
Hypocrisy, in the subordinate part of its duty, where it is styled polished manners, has the same end, as religion and morality,-the happiness of mankind by the restraint of vice and profaneness. If a man be oppressed with private afflictions, he thinks it expedient to affect cheerfulness to avoid that worst of all nausea - the pity of the world; if he is naturally morose, he chooses to counterfeit good-humour, to keep well with the world, which is necessary to him. Though the affectation may not sit upon him with a good grace, yet if he is condemned, it is not because he practises this in, nocent dissimulation; but for not having carried it to a greater perfection.
One of the loyal and patriotic volunteers of Freeland,-an honest industrious tradesman, was at drill one day, and when the word of command was given “ Stand at ease!” he forgot to make the proper motion. -- " Did you not hear the word, Sir?” demanded the Serjeant. “I did, Sir, but I cannot stand at ease, because I have a bill due to-day, and am not prepared for it." - The story was buzzed about as a good one, but the man's creditors were alarmed, and he was ruined for want of a sufficient command of himself.
Most people had rather witness an artificial smile, than a natural sorrow,-an affected laugh than a heartfelt groan, and for the same reason that they prefer a gilt vase to the unpolished surface of baser metal. Hypocrisy, like the jeweller, lends her aid to polish and beautify the surface. We commend the art, at the same time we regret that there is occasion for its use. Hypocrisy deserves praise for what little she has done; we can only censure nature for leaving so much undone.
In our moral duties, or rather the breaches of them, the office of hypocrisy is more necessary and important. I mean not, Reverend Sirs, that we ought to be contented with the appearance instead of the reality; but where we cannot have the latter, it may be better to assume the former. Ought we not, for the same reason that we prize good above evil, to value the appearance of good to the appearance of evil? We speak only the language of man to man, and appreciate the utility of hypocrisy, only as it conduces to the ease and good order of society.
What we really are is a question between ourselves and Him, who cannot be deceived by false appearances ; - What we appear to be is the question between ourselves and our fellowcreatures, with whom appearances have often the effect of reality.
Though prompted by a vicious inclination, we seldom go astray without the authority of our s uperiors. Evil examples are contagious. The more of them there are among our companions, or superiors, the more we are in danger