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nurse, we shall never stumbleon it after we've had dealings with the barber.
And hence do these propagandis's deal only in siander, vituperation, and calomny; and deal only in that upon garantee that the persons they asperse shall never be vindicated nor be heard, either by others or themselves, in their own just defence.
They bring their railing accusations against me, and heap such grievous criminations, that were the hundredth part of them but charged with probability of circumstance, the weight might sink a navy.
I appear, or 'tis but rumoured that I shall appear, alive, with not any unsound part for them to peck at, and the crows are scared back again to their rascal rookeries, where they may caw in concert to the tune of " God forbid that we shoulıl listen to any thing an infidel could say.” Il can nerer he suffered that any body should be heard in ihe axsembly who doesn't believe in the Holy Scriptures. I can't sit here, and hear blasphemy, God forbid that we should hear any thing, but cui lo the Falhor, cavo 10 the Son, and caw to the Hcly Ghost. Enough, I hope.
DELENDA EST CARTHAGO..
• On Equanimity. Being the last delivered in the Areopagiis, on Sunday, June
24th, 1827. By the Rev. ROBERT TAYLOR, B. A. Orator of the Society..
MEN AND BRETHREN- Industry, temperance, prudence, and perseverance, are the moral qualities which each of them (as we have in so many distinctive discourses seen) naturally conduce lo prosperity; and all of them by a happy junction in any one man concurring he cannot fail of the best chance, at least that human energies can ensure, of being a happy and a prosperons man.
But the best chance is far from certainty. The most felicitons concurrence of all the good qualities we can suppose, is guaran: tee for no absolute assurance of prosperity. Nay, there are men to whom, by a strange fatality, it seems as if their good qualities themselves had only conspired to make their lot in life all the worse, and none the better, as if their very virtures had served but as holy traitors to them. .
And hence, to heedlessly calculating or hastily concluding minds, arise a determination of sentiinent, equally at variance with reason and with virtue, which is noihing else but reason, appearing in actions.
Who has not seen, or may not every day see, or must not himsell ruo the chance of being, instead of the happy man whom his good qualities should have crowned with merited success, the victim of his virtues, the sacrilice, the sufferer, ruined for any thing in the world but having deserved to be so. And, alter all his industry, temperance, prudence, and perseverance, with no good quality wanting, and no bad one existing, with the purest of molives, and the best of conduct, like Cato in Utica, “ beset, with ills a.d covered with misfortunes.".
At such a sight (and sure 'tis vain to say the picture is too heavily drawn) ibe moral science, were it not indeed the best, as it is the most useful to man, might well be desperate of its counsels. and give up the steerage of human conduct. At such a sight, the vicious man seems to take up the best of the argument, and to have reason on his side, in launting the apparent impotence of virtue.
" Talk not of hopesty! Mon should be rrise, for honesty's a fool.” And the religious man, in the phrase of his fanaticism, feels himself tempted to donbt the overruling providence, which either with a reason or without one, I don't know which, his faith propounds to him.
· His life so sacred, his serene repose
Seemed henven itself, till one suggestion rose;
And al: the tenor of his soul is lost." - Yet, even in this ditemma, the noble science of morality has resources which vice cannot conceive, nor superstition acquire : it points to a discipline which shall give a good man the advantage stil.
There is a remedial sentiment, and an acquirable díathesis or state of mind, the mixed result of a physical as well as a' moral economy; which will ensure to men the best of the worst plight: and make their state, whatever it be, "for happy, though but ill-for ill, not worslif they procure not to themselves more wne.”
This it will assuredly do for men, even of the most feeble and irritable nervous constitution, though it should not be quite so extensively beneficial as the absolute stoicism of the ancient Roman, who conld so subdue himself and all his nature's weaknesses, as to exclaim-" Major sum' quam cui possit fortuna nos ceri”-I an greater than any man whom fortune can injure. • What that most excellent remedial seutiment is, its exact propricty and fitness to the condition of a man-how we may acquire it is we Imve it not, and wonderfully increase it if we have it, is now in regular sequence emergent on our study.
That remedial sentiment is equanimity: a word which, from its derivation from the Latin-æquus animus, an equal or even mind is descriptive of a physical condition of the human machine, which however desirable in itself, like the condition of health, no man can make sure of by any caution or exertions of his own. He who has it, has it without merit; and he who has it not, is to be pitied, not blamed: he is the object of compassion, not of censure.
But when such a desirable evenness of mind is sought after, and pursued by moral culture upon moral considerations, and upon the mind's conviction of its propriety and fitness, aided and seconded as the moral culture should be with all physical assistance, it becomes strictly and properly a moral sentiment,
He who lays himself out to this study, and exercises a discipline over himself, physicking at once both his body and mind with a view to the attaining it, even though he should never entirely succeed, nor come up to that full mastery of his feelings, which men may boast of who never had such an irritable constitution as his to deal with, is really a very wise and good man; he makes the best of the bad bargain, which, without his consent, his fate has made for him; he has nothing to reproach himself for, nothing for which he can be reproached by others; and will unquestionably reap an adequate fruit and reward of that mental discipline. He will render his mind more calm and equal Ihan it otherwise would have been; he will make the best of it, such as it is. Virtue can do no more, and philosophy will desire no more.
Equanimity, upon these humble but sufficient grounds, considered as a moral sentiment fit and proper to be cultivated by every man, is easily distinguished from the excellent virtue of moral fortilude (which, at an early period of this course, we fully treated): in that, fortitude is called into action, chiefly upon great occasions, in mighty enterprises, or in grievous sufferings ; whereas a man has occasion for equanimity at all times. Many a man, whose constitution has supplied him with energies of nerve and enthusiasm of sentiment, enough to make him a hero or a martyr, has been found grievously deficient of that calmer virtue that makes a philosopher.
The sentiments are in some degree heterogeneous, and cannot exist together in the perfection of each of them in one and the same person : as is exemplified in innumerable instances of very brave and stout-hearted men, whose valour and fortitude were never found in the back ground when honour called them to the front of danger; yet, losing all possession of themselves, and surrendering all their tranquillity of mind to the insidious hostility of petty annoyances, vexations, and persecutions, which needed not one half of their fortitude to have enabled them to despise and to defy. Thus full ost, for want of equanimity, the most magnani
mous valour surrenders its well-earned laurels to the gripe of a
“ As some tall clift that lists its awful form,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head." It's impossible not to see that such an armed and fortified inpregnability of mind must be in itself infinitely desirable; and all means or discipline, physical or moral, by which it can be altained, or by which some advance or approach towards it may be held out to our hopes, is worthy all our study, and will pay for ten thousand failures of our experiment to gain it.
It is not that a man can absolutely resist his natural sensitiveness, or get the better of the irritability of his nervous constitu
slower pulsations of his heart as of his watch, screwing it up or letting it down at his mere will.
But what the stoical philosophers actually did in this way, by dint of moral considerations, by a sort of force upon themselves, (if you like) by a power of imagination, by the influence of a strong enthusiasm, or however it might be, is proof enough that a great deal can be done ; and that nature, in having placed us in circumstances in which annoyances and vexations are inevi. table, (“ much we're bound to thank her for it,") has not left us destitute of a capacity of growing case-hardened, and modifying our sensibility to our circumstances ; as they tell us, “ God tempers the weather to the shorn lamb.”
Indeed, many of the circumstances, and perhaps a great majority of them, that are most terrible to our apprehensions, and such as we deem grievously afflictive, are so only by comparison ; and that comparison on the diametrically wrong side to that on which the coinparison should have been made ; and made, too, under a morbid, diseased, and unwholesome state of the mind itself, which led it to imagine evils that have no real existence, and to give an aggravated poignancy to those that do exist : for all which, nature is innocent.
Could we deduct the cruel wrongs and injuries that men do to
each other, and the bitter and hostile feelings which originate in ignorance and superstition, there is really little to be complained of in life. But these wrongs and injuries it is that call for the exercise of both the moral and physical culture of equanimity, whereby we may hold our minds as evenly balanced as they well may be, and enjoy that degree of composure which is conducive to our happiness, and essential to our honour,
The reasons for cultivating equanimity, or a calm and composed frame of mind, are, with respect to each particular man, the hopefulness of the culture, as we have seen that it certainly can, to a wonderful extent, be done ; and his efforts and attempts will, at any rate, be attended with a commensurate reward, even if they should not be entirely successful. A man hath the same reason and motive to desire to possess such a command over himsell, and to endeavour to attain it, as he has to preserve his bodily health, and to take the best security for his happiness in any way, And sure there can be no happiness in living in a continual fever; nor any security in a temperament that our enemies, whegever they please, can put into a fever,
With respect to a man's enemies, (especially if, like some whom we know, he happens to have a good many of them, and they be inclined, as we sometimes see, to come too thick upon him,) a man has reason indeed to look well to his equanimity, and to guard the serenity and composure of his mind; not merely for his own defence, but as his best warfare and retort on them, who can never be so effectually mortified as when they see their well-intended favours have not told to the amount they counted on, and that iheir man is " every inch a man,” never further off fram giving in the couflict than when the blows come in the fastest.
Such enemies hath the best man I know: who, to be sure, if they could see a man's spirits completely broken, see him crestfallen, down-hearted, shipwrecked of hope, and desperate of counsel. If they could catch him beating himself to death, like the caged bird against the walls of his prison, and dreaming of ropes, razors, and salvation, would see the very thing their charity had intended—would see what, I guess, they're not going to see.
With respect to any great and good end of lise to which a man may have devoted himself, the surrender of his equanimity and giving up of his mind's composure and calmness, so far as he could help it, would be a wrong done to the cause iiseli, and so far a moral injustice, the very thought of which should be ab, Torrent to his feelings. To a man in such a plight there is no beiter counsel than that of our immortal bard, given in such a case supposed—“ Reason thus with thy necessity, and for the worth that hangs upon thy quarrel be calm and temperate.” The same magnanimity which brought a man to the post of danger,