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ward figure to distinguish them as men, should delight in seeing it abused, vilified, and disgraced. I must confess there is nothing that more pleases me in all that I read in books, or see among mankind, than such passages as represent human nature in its proper dignity. As man is a creature made up of different extremes, he has something in him very great and very mean: a skilful artist may draw an excellent picture of him in either views. The finest authors of antiquity have taken him on the more advantageous side. They cultivate the natural grandeur of the soul, raise in her a generous ambition, feed her with hopes of immortality and perfection, and do all they can to widen the partition between the virtuous and the vicious, by making the difference between them as great as between Gods and Brutes. In short, it is impossible to read a page in Plato, Tully, and a thousand other ancient moralists, without being a greater and a better man for it. On the contrary, I could never read any of our modish French authors, or of those of our own country, who are the imitators and admirers of that trifling nation, without being for some time out of humour with myself, and at every thing about me. Their business is to depreciate human nature, and consider it under its worst appearances. They give mean interpretations and base motives to the worthiest actions. They resolve virtue and vice into constitution. In short, they make no distinction between man and man, or between the species of Men and that of Brutes.
[University Scholarships, 1844.]
138. Nay, number (itself) in armies importeth not much, where the people are of weak courage; for, as Virgil saith, It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep be. Many are the examples of the great odds between number and courage: so that a man may truly make a judgment, that the principal point of greatness, in any state, is to have a race of military men. Neither is money the sinews of war (as it is trivially said), where the sinews of men's arms in base and effeminate people are failing; for Solon said well to Cræsus (when in ostentation he shewed him his gold), Sir, if any other come that hath better iron than you, he will be master of all this gold. Therefore, let any prince, or state, think soberly of his forces, except his militia of natives be of good and valiant soldiers; and let princes, on the other side, that have subjects of martial disposition, know their own strength, unless they be otherwise wanting unto themselves. As for mercenary forces (which is the help in this case), all examples shew that, whatsoever estate, or prince, doth rest upon them, he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will mew them soon after.
[Clare Hall Scholarships, 1844.)
139. THE last use which I shall make of this remarkable property in human nature, of being delighted with those actions to which it is accustomed, is to shew how absolutely necessary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the next. The state of bliss we call Heaven will not be capable of affecting those minds, which are not thus qualified for it; we must, in this world, gain a relish of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection, which are to make us happy in the next. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures, which are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity, must be planted in her, during this her present state of probation. In short, Heaven is not to be looked upon not only as the reward, but as the natural effect of a religious life. On the other hand, those evil spirits, who, by long custom, have contracted in the body habits of lust and sensuality, malice and revenge, an aversion to every thing that is good, just or laudable, are naturally seasoned and prepared for pain and misery. Their torments have already taken root in them, they cannot be happy when divested of the body, unless we may suppose, that Providence will, in a manner, create them anew, and work a miracle in the rectification of their faculties. They may, indeed, taste a kind of malignant pleasure in those actions to which they are accustomed, whilst in this life; but when they are removed from all those objects which are here apt to gratify them, they will naturally become their own tormentors, and cherish in themselves those painful habits of mind which are called in Scripture phrase, the worm which never dies.
[Classical Tripos, 1844.]
140. THE wisest and greatest of men, both amongst the ancients and moderns, have confessed themselves charmed with the beauties of this science. To contemplate the grand spectacle of the heavens, has ever been considered as the noblest privilege of our nature. For it is here that we discover the wonders of the Deity, and see his wisdom in the works of creation. Nor is there any knowledge, attained by the light of nature, that gives us juster ideas of this great Being, or furnishes us with stronger arguments by which to demonstrate his existence and attributes. The heavens,' as the Psalmist observes, declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork; day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge; and there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.' Thus Astronomy is not only valuable, as it affords us such exalted ideas of God and his works; but it also improves the mind, and increases the force and penetration of the human understanding. For, by means of this science, we are taught to discover the spring and fountain of all the celestial motions; to follow the footsteps of the Creator through the immense regions of his empire; and to trace the secret causes by which he regulates the great machine of the universe. Were a knowledge of this kind attended with no other advantage, it has rendered essential service to humanity, by dissipating our superstitious opinions and vain fears. Man is naturally timid, and terrified at dangers which he cannot foresee. Before he is familiarized with nature, he suspects her constancy, and regards many of her operations with dread and apprehension. The regular and invariable order of things will at length inspire him with confidence; but still there are some singular phænomena, which appear as alarming exceptions to the general rule.
[Bell Scholarships, 1840.]
141. He was one of those men, whom his very enemies could not condemn without commending him at the same time; for he never could have done half that mischief without great parts of courage, industry and judgment. He must have had a wonderful understanding in the natures and humours of men, and as great a dexterity in applying them, who, from a private and obscure birth, (though of a good family) without interest, or estate, alliance or friendship, could raise himself to such a height, and compound and knead such opposite and contradictory tempers, humours, and interests into a consistence that contributed to his designs, and to their own destruction; whilst himself grew insensibly powerful enough to cut off those by whom he had climbed, in the instant that they projected to demolish their own building. What was said of Cinna may very justly be said of him, that he attempted those things which no good man durst have ventured on, and achieved those in which none but a valiant and great man could have succeeded. Without doubt no man with more wickedness ever attempted any thing, or brought to pass what he desired more wickedly, more in the face and contempt of religion and moral honesty; yet wickedness as great as his could never have accomplished those designs without the assistance of great spirit, an admirable circumspection and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution. When he appeared first in the parliament, he seemed to have a person in no degree gracious, no ornament of discourse, none of those talents which use to conciliate the affections of the standers by; yet as he grew into place and authority, his parts seemed to be raised, as if he had had concealed faculties, till he had occasion to use them; and when he was to act the part of a great man, he did it without any indecency, notwithstanding the want of custom.
[Chancellor's Medals, 1844.]
142. But if any woman on the contrary part (as I hope and wish by your instruction and teaching all my daughters will do) shall join many virtues of the mind with a little skill of learning, I shall account this more happiness than if they were able to attain to Creesus' wealth joined with the beauty of fair Helen; not because they were to get great fame thereby, although that in