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lative duties, which mankind owe to each other. But, in this they are wretchedly deceived. All men are not philosophers; nor are all men capable of unravelling the web of a logical disquisition. He, therefore, assuredly is the wisest, who disseminates, in valuable currency, the fruits of his intellectual labour; who, however radiant with glory, is still a man among men ; and who affectionately, and attentively, appears the brother of his fellow creatures.

To know how to descend with grace and ease into ordinary occasions, and to fall in with the apparently less important parties and purposes of mankind, is an art of more general influence, than is usually imagined. There is nothing perhaps more necessary, than those secondary qualities, which enable the enlightened man to set off and recommend those of a superior nature. It was very well for the Cynic to say, Aristotle goes to dinner when Philip pleases; Diogenes, when Diogenes: but, it is not, at the same time, accurately true, that men addicted to contemplation are less useful members of society, than those of a different course of life. He, of man's race, is alone immortal, who fixes moments, and gives perenity to transitory things.*


* Lavater.

The advantages arising from the labours of generals and politicians, are in common confined to narrow tracts, and while they promote the interest of one country, lessen considerably, or obstruct the interest of another. Whereas, the light of knowledge, which springs from speculation, is not limited to any single spot, but is equally diffused, for the benefit of the whole globe. Besides, for the most part, the renown only of men of action is transmitted to distant posterity; their great exploits, either dying with themselves, or soon after them. Whereas, speculative men continue to deserve well of the world, thousands of years after they have left it. What benefit do we receive from the celebrated deeds of an Alexander or a Cæsar? But Pythagoras gave us our commerce and our riches: if it be true, that he invented the 47th proposition of the first book of Euclid, which is the foundation of trigonometry, and consequently of navigation. Thus, merit is not to be measur ed by noise and outward appearance; nor, are we to join in the cry of those who, by raillery

and ridicule, would persuade us that nothing good or excellent proceeds from reason and reflection.



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As in the distribution of these things, however, the wisdom of Providence appears, so also in this, that men addicted to intellectual pursuits should bear but a small proportion to those, who rejoice in exerting the force and activity of their corporeal organs; for operations of the latter sort are limited to an inconsiderable extent of time and place; whereas those of the mind are permanent and universal. Plato and Euclid enjoy a sort of immortality upon earth, and at this day read lectures to the world. No oblivion has closed over their lives: they are not buried in that vacuity, which leaves no traces of existence more durable, than the furrow which remains after the divided waters have been united.

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THE studies of sacred and monastic insti tutions, it is remarked, have tended, for the most part, to darken, rather than to dispel the clouds of superstition. Yet it cannot be denied, that the curiosity or zeal of some learned recluses have cultivated the ecclesiastical, and even the profane sciences. Posterity ought gratefully to acknowledge, that the monuments of Greek and Roman literature have been preserved and multiplied by their indefatigable pens. Even in the darker ages, the authority of the priests operated as a salutary antidote. It prevented the total extinction of letters; it mitigated the fierceness of the times; it sheltered the poor and defenceless; and it preserved or revived the peace and order of civil society.*

From the fifth to the fourteenth century, there seems to have been a long night of confusion and ignorance. The productions of many of



* Gibbon.

of the cloisters were, indeed, clumsy legends, which discovered no marks of invention; and unedifying homilies, with trite expositions of the Scriptures. Even in regard to the history of Italy, the very seat of the church, writers were not agreed about the family and connections of the Countess Matilda, who piously made over her estates as the patrimony of St. Peter; and the depravity of certain of the pontiffs was so incredible, that their very votaries pleaded the whole of their story to be romance. Neither was it in England, until the beginning of the eleventh century, that we received from the Normans the rudiments of that cultivation, which has been since maturing.

But dark and dreary as these ages were, cells and cloisters contained some unnoticed men of letters. Sometimes ambition, intrigue, or the pleasure of their superiors, brought them out into the world. There they acted their parts on the stage of life; and thus, at intervals, diffused a summer's sun-shine on a barren soil. But the winter generally returned with redoubled horrors: the clouds condensed more formidably than before; and those tender buds, and promising blossoms, which were called forth by the transient gleam of a temporary effulgence, were



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