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general good. It prompts to regard the use and end of things, their tendencies as well as their intrinsic value; to distinguish between the form and the substance: to discern what is essential, and what only a barrier to protect the former, or an expedient to lead into it: endeavoring so to accommodate the road for the passage of different travellers, that they may proceed without interfering or jostling, as perceiving that the several tracts of it may terminate in the same journey's end.

Thirdly, a temperance of imagination not to be seduced by the charms of novelty, nor thrown off the hinges by any striking discovery or shining observation, regarding real use preferably to every other object, capable when necessity will permit of suppressing whatever might offend the weak, or scandalize the scrupulous, or be misunderstood so as to appear subversive of more important truths; herein practising that which the great master of eloquence, in his three dialogues upon that art, lays down for one of the first rules to be observed by an orator, That he be careful to let nothing drop which might do hurt to his cause.

Lastly, what in a former chapter we have called the science of ignorance or knowledge of what we cannot do, which will withhold the professor from driving at all lengths, whether with a probability of attaining them or no, or entering upon topics where he can hope to add nothing to what was known by everybody before; in example of the true poet, who, as described by Horace, examines the strength of his shoulders, what they are able to bear, and what they would sink under, and when meeting with a subject he despairs of ever bringing to a good polish, he prudently passes it

With these defences, which may be termed the Panoply of Liberty, I shall endeavor to arm myself against dangers, and though I cannot pretend to escape them all, but no doubt shall be found sometimes to maintain an error, or pursue an argument that had better have been omitted; yet when it is considered what precautions I have taken, I shall hope to stand acquitted of ill design or heedlessness : as for involuntary slips, it is not in mortal man to avoid them, especially in such rugged and slippery paths as I shall be obliged to pass along. But since we have found vanity the most formidable enemy which yet is but an excrescence from the desire of commendation, that life and vigor of virtue and all manly performances; it seems expedient before I proceed onward, to bestow a Chapter upon it, in order to give it a thorough examination, that we may always know the excrescence from the genuine branches.

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CHAP. IX.

VANITY.

ness.

But how shall we manage to pursue our examination effectually? where find the scales nice enough to weigh a bubble, or get a needle fine enough to pick up a vapor, that we may turn it about for our inspection on all sides, so as to discern exactly its make and colors? We can all see vanity at a distance with a striking plainness; it is like the clouds gathered in a body, whose tinselled edges glitter to the western Sun: but who can see the vapors drawn up by his meridian beams to form those clouds, though standing in the middle of the stream that flows copiously around him? So that other vapor, which surrounds us always like an atmosphere wherever we go, eludes our sight by its near

It lies too close to the eye to be discerned, too flat upon the skin to be taken hold of: it insinuates among our pores, mingles among our vital juices, trips along the tongue, dances upon the eyes, trepidates through the nerves, wantons in the gestures, lurks among the sentiments, taints the imagination, and runs throughout the whole constitution; insomuch that it has been generally thought innate, as an essential part of the human composition.

But though nature will not own the monstrous birth, it must be acknowledged one of the earliest of our acquisitions, which being bred in the bone will never go out of the flesh : for we suck it in with our milk, imbibe it from our parents, catch it from our playfellows, are enticed into it by our self-love, encouraged to it by the world, and confirmed in it by the general practice : so that education, sympathy, and example all combining to rivet it in us, it is no wonder it grows into an inveterate habit, giving birth to most of our latent motives, operating upon us imperceptibly, and so perpetually entering the scale of judgment, as scarce to be distinguished from the other weights. For by its pervading qualily infusing itself into them all, it can skulk under a thousand disguises, and Proteus like assume a thousand various forms, taking always the similitude of whatever covering it lies under. never knows where to have it sure: if you mortify it in one shape, it gathers new life in another; if you weed it effectually out of one spot, it instantly sprouts up in the opposite quarter behind you: so that with all the pains you can take, your work is never ended, nor your vigilance allowed a moment's respite.

Vanity is given to children with their playthings, and taught them with their instructions: they are made to show about their

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little toys, to angle for everybody's admiration at their prettiness, and bid to be mannerly by way of setting themselves above the dirty beggar boys in the street. In youth the fancy runs upon particular advantages possessed above others, whether bodily strength, sagacity in outwitting, handsomeness of person, or finery of dress, luxuriates in affectation of all trifling kinds, and renders the school they were bred up in, the way of life they have been accustomed to, or little accomplishment they chance to have succeeded in, infinitely preferable to everything else in the world besides. In manhood there are riches, or family, or favor of the great, or magnificence in buildings, or equipage and all the pride of life, administering fuel to vanity: the desire of excelling actuates all, and in the consciousness of it they place their prime delight: every one has something belonging to him better than his neighbors, and does something in a cleverer manner than anybody else; and to make his superiority the surer, despises every other accomplishment wherein he cannot shine eminently himself. If the gifts of fortune are shown an insufficient ground for a man to value himself upon, he will assume a title from those of nature, from the endowments of the mind, from learning, good breeding, or other proficiency: if driven out of this claim too, he may be vain of his virtues, or mistake his eagerness to outstrip for a zeal to make the greatest proficiency he can in them.

This passion operates where one would least expect it, sets up the mechanic for a judge over judges, qualifies the common councilman to dictate ineasures of state, serves for inspiration to the enthusiast, supports the methodist under his incessant labors, and reigns in triumph over the free-thinker. The wily sorceress contrives means to nestle in the bosom of Religion, works hollow passages under the solid gound of Philosophy, and finds a crevice to slip through into treatises on huinility. Perhaps a tincture may have infused itself unperceived into this very page, under the specious appearance of relieving the Reader that he may return with fresh spirits to drier disquisitions; or the glittering sand of ornament been strewed, not so much to set off the subject, as by a secret impulse prompting to set off the operator.

2. But though I will not undertake to pronounce assuredly in all cases what is vanity and what is not, yet where one can perceive the water muddied by something wriggling under it, I shall try my best to catch hold on the slippery eel : that I may apply her to the microscope to examine her carefully, and discover the slender threads that are the spawn by which she multiplies. I am not unapprised that ambition of all kinds from that of the statesman down to the fiddler, and Pride are distinguishable from vanity:

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the first being a greediness of acquiring superiority, the second a fond contemplation of that we have, and the last a like fond humor of showing it. But since unnecessary distinctions tend only to burden the mind, and I see no occasion for them here, I shall comprehend all three under the one term by which I have entitled this chapter; as they all spring from one common principle, the love of excelling others.

It may be remembered that satisfaction is the magnet directing every turn of our volition, the solid substance giving weight to all our motives; nature at our birth has annexed satisfaction to certain sensations, as of taste, or warmth, or rest, or little motions of the limbs, and at first we receive none other than what come by their conveyance. But very soon ideas of reflection make a lodgement in the infant mind, beginning the stores of experience there, and from the faculty of imagination, by means of which the apprehension of absent pleasures becomes immediately pleasing : whence grow the appetites currently counted natural, and supposed to be born with us. But then those ideas only are pleased in the apprehension whose archetypes were so in the sensation, for appetite prompts to nothing but what has afforded satisfaction when applied to the senses : which proves those ideas to have no intrinsic goodness in themselves, because deriving their attractive quality from the action of external objects.

As the little stock of experience increases and imagination gets a larger field to play in, striking out new assemblages and trains not worked by the senses, there sprout up other appetites from that of pleasure: these are styled natural too, and with no great impropriety, because flourishing more or less in every soil universally, and appearing very early without any cultivation, they are the

product of custom, our second nature. For I have endeavored to show in the chapters of my first volume upon the four classes of motives, how use grows from pleasure, and honor from use by translation : for being first found satisfactory as a means conducive to their respective end, in process of time the end drops out of thought, and then satisfaction becomes completely translated to the means, resting upon it as an end without intervention of any other. Hence it appears that honor, however propagated among individuals by sympathy, derives, its origin and receives its value immediately from use, but remotely from pleasure; that nothing is ląudable in itself, nor otherwise, than as conducive to happiness, which constitutes the real essence of rectitude, how much soever honor may be our proper mark whereby to discern it; and that commendation is there more justly due where it may be most usefully applied.

3. This appetite towards approbation, whether from other persons or from our own mind, does, like other appetites, give an immediate pleasure in the gratification or the means tending thereto; and sometimes to the bare prospect of objects proper to gratify it, though lying out of our reach: as a basket of delicious fruits, though not beautiful to the eye, may please the sight without our wanting to eat of them. Such pleasures are of the mental kind, not the sensitive, having no dependence upon the senses, but seated wholly in the reflection : unless you will call them internal sensations excited by the play of ideas in the reflexive faculty, whose operations in some cases are styled notices of the moral sense, distinguishing between objects agreeable or disagreeable instantaneously, as the eye distinguishes colors.

This property of the moral sense misled the Stoics to place the essence of rectitude in the agreeableness discerned thereby : for they insisted that virtue was its own reward and good in itself, because the exercise of it is attended with a soothing complacence of mind, and because actions were acknowledged to be right, although manifestly tending to our own damage, or that of others : therefore the to winou or honestum or beauty of things discerned by the moral sense, constituted their whole goodness; and that nothing was good nor contributed a whit to happiness besides rectitude of sentiment and conduct. Whereas a little reflection may convince us, that rectitude is so far from being good in itself or the sole good, that it would have no goodness at all, nor even a being, if there were nothing else good, whereto it might conduce. Were it in my power to rescue a worthy family from some imminent danger or utter ruin, why should I think it right to do so, unless some benefit would accrue to them therefrom? their incurring the mischief would be no fault in them, nor their escaping a virtue, but a piece of good fortune : therefore if this escape were no good, nor contributed anything to their happiness, it would be just as right for me to withhold, as to give any assistance. And the like may be said of every other act we perform, if it does not tend nearly or remotely to some enjoyment the reception whereof is no virtue, we might full as well, as rightly, and as commendably let it alone.

Well, but suppose I had bestirred myself to the utmost in warding off the mischief, though without the least success; still everybody would acknowledge I had done right and applauded me for my good intention, though of no avail to the parties : why so I hope they would, because I should do the same by them upon the like occasion ; but let us consider upon what grounds I should judge this approbation due, namely, because a strenuous act of

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