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the life of Timoleon. This extraordinary man was famous for referring all his fucceffes to providence. Cornelius Nepos acquaints us that he had in his house a private chapel in which he ufed to pay his devotions to the goddess who reprefented providence among the heathens. I think no man was ever more diftinguished, by the Deity whom he blindly worshipped, than the great perfon I am fpeaking of, in feveral occurrences of his life, but particularly in the following one which I shall relate out of Plutarch.

Three perfons had entered into a confpiracy to affaffinate Timoleon as he was offering up his devotions in a certain temple. In order to it they took their feveral itands in the most convenient places for their purpose. As they were waiting for an opportunity to put their -defign in execution, a ftranger having obferved one of the confpirators fell upon him and flew him. Upon which the other two, thinking their plot had been dif- covered, threw themselves at Timoleon's feet, and confeffed the whole matter. This ftranger, upon examination, was found to have understood nothing of the intended affaffination, but having feveral years before had a brother killed by the confpirator, whom he here put to death, and having till now fought in vain for an opportunity of revenge, he chanced to meet the murderer in the temple, who had planted himself there for the above-mentioned purpose. Plutarch cannot forbear, on this occafion, fpeaking with a kind of rapture on the fchemes of providence, which, in this particular, had fo contrived it, that the stranger fhould, for fo great a fpace of time, be debarred the means of doing justice to his brother, till, by the fame blow that revenged the death of one innocent man, he preferved the life of



For my own part, I cannot wonder that a man of Timoleon's religion fhould have his intrepidity and firmnefs of mind, or that he fhould be diftinguifhed by fuch a deliverance as I have here related.

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Adverfity useful to the Acquifition of Knowledge. [Rambler, N. 150.]


S daily experience makes it evident that misfortunes are unavoidably incident to human life, that calamity will neither be repelled by fortitude, nor efcaped by flight, neither awed by greatnefs, nor eluded by obfcurity; philofophers have endeavoured to reconcile us to that condition which they cannot teach us to mend, by perfuading us that most of our evils are made afflictive only by ignorance or perverfenefs, and that nature has annexed to every viciffitude of external circumftances, fome advantage fufficient to overbalance all its inconveniencies.

This attempt may perhaps be juftly fufpected of refemblance to the practice of phyficians, who when they cannot mitigate pain deftroy fenfibility, and endeavour to conceal by opiates the inefficacy of their other medicines. The panegyrifts of calamity have more frequently gained applaufe to their wit, than acquiefcence to their arguments; nor has it appeared that the most musical oratory or fubtle ratiocination has been able long to overpower the anguifh of oppreffion, the tedioufnefs of languor, or the longings of want.

Yet it may be generally remarked that, where much has been attempted, fomething has been performed; though the discoveries or acquifitions of man are not always adequate to the expectations of his pride, they are at least fufficient to animate his industry. The antidotes with which philofophy has medicated the cup of life, though they cannot give it falubrity and sweetnefs, have at leaft allayed its bitterness, and contempered its malignity; the balm which the drops upon the wounds of the mind, abates their pain though it cannot heal them.

By fuffering willingly what we cannot avoid, we fecure ourselves from vain and immoderate difquiet; we preferve for better purposes that ftrength which would be unprofitably wafted in wild efforts of defperation, and maintain that circumfpection which may enable

enable us to feize every fupport, and improve every alleviation. This calmness will be more easily obtained, as the attention is more powerfully withdrawn from the contemplation of unmingled unabated evil, and diverted. to thofe accidental benefits which prudence may confer on every state.

Seneca has attempted not only to pacify us in miffortune, but almoft to allure us to it, by reprefenting it as neceflary to the pleasures of the mind. He that never was acquainted with adverfity, fays he, has feen. the world but on one fide, and is ignorant of half the Scenes of nature. He invites his pupil to calamity, as the Syrens allured the paffenger to their coafts, by promifing that he fhall return with increase of knowledge,. with enlarged views, and multiplied ideas.

Curiofity is, in great and generous minds, the first paffion and the laft; and perhaps always predominates in proportion to the ftrength of the contemplative faculties. He who eafily comprehends all that is before him, and foon exhaufts any fingle fubject, is always. eager for new enquiries, and in proportion as the intellectual eye takes in a wider profpect, it must be gratified with variety by more rapid flights, and bolder excurfions; nor perhaps can there be propofed to those who have been accustomed to the pleasures of thought, a more powerful incitement to any undertaking, than the hope of filling their imagination with new images, of clearing their doubts, and enlightening their reason.

When Jafon, in Valerius Flaccus, would incline the young prince Acaftus to accompany him in the first essay of navigation, he difperfes his apprehenfions of danger by reprefentations of the new tract of earth and heaven which the expedition would spread before their eyes;; and tells him with what grief he will hear at their return, of the countries which they firall have feen, and the toil which they have furmounted.

O quantum terræ, quantum cognofcere cœli
Permiffum eft! pelagus quantos aperimus in ufus!
Nunc forfan grave reris opus: fed læta recurret
Cum ratis, & caram cum jam mihi reddet Jolcon 5
Quis pudor beu noftros tibi tunc audire labores!


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Acaftus was foon prevailed upon by his curiofity to fet rocks and hardships at defiance, and commit his life to the winds; and the fame motives have in all ages had the fame effect upon thofe whom the defire of fame or wifdom has diftinguished from the lower orders of mankind.

If therefore it can be proved that diftrefs is neceffary to the attainment of knowledge, and that a happy fituation hides from us fo large a part of the field of meditation, the envy of many who repine at the fight of affluence and fplendor will be much diminished; for fuch is the delight of mental fuperiority, that none on whom nature or ftudy have conferred it, would purchase the gifts of fortune by its lofs.

It is certain, that however the rhetoric of Seneca may have dreffed adverfity with extrinfic ornaments, he has justly reprefented it as affording fome opportunities of obfervation, which cannot be found in continual fuccefs; he has truly afferted, that to efcape misfortune is to want inftruction, and that to live at ease is to live in ignorance.

As no man can enjoy happiness without thinking that he enjoys it, the experience of calamity is neceffary to a juft fenfe of better fortune; for the good of our prefent ftate is merely comparative, and the evil which every man feels will be fufficient to disturb and harrafs him if he does not know how much he efcapes. The luftre of diamonds is invigorated by the interpofition of darker bodies; the lights of a picture are heightened by the fhades. The highest pleasure which nature has indulged to fenfitive perception, is that of reft after fatigue; yet that ftate which labour heightens into delight is without it only eafe, and is incapable of fatisfying the mind without the fuperaddition of diverfified amufements.

Profperity, as is truly afferted by Seneca, very much obftructs the knowledge of ourselves. No man can form a juft eftimate of his own powers by unactive speculation. That fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has furmounted no difficulies, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations,

tations, can at best be confidered but as gold not yet brought to the teft, of which therefore the true value cannot be affigned. He that traverses the lifts without an adverfary, may receive, fays the philofopher, the reward of victory, but he has no pretenfions to the honour. If it be the highest happinefs of man to contemplate himself with fatisfaction, and to receive the gratulations of his own confcience, he whofe courage has made way amidst the turbulence of oppofition, and whofe vigour has broken through the fnares of diftrefs, has many advantages over those that have flept in the fhades of indolence, and whofe retrofpect of time can entertain them with nothing but day rifing upon day, and year. gliding after year.

Equally neceffary is fome variety of fortune to a nearer inspection of the manners, principles and affections of mankind. Princes, when they would know the opinions or grievances of their fubjects, find it neceffary to steal away from the grandeur of guards and attendants, and mingle on equal terms among the people. To him who is known to have the power of doing. good or harm, nothing is fhewn in its natural form. The behaviour of all that approach him is regulated by his humour, their narratives are adapted to his inclination, and their reafonings determined by his opinions; whatever can alarm fufpicion, or excite refentment is carefully fuppreffed, and nothing appears but uniformity of fentiments and ardor. of affection. may be obferved, that the unvaried complaifance whichladies have the right of exacting, keeps them generally. unfkilled in human nature; profperity will always enjoy the female prerogative, and therefore must be always in danger of female ignorance. Truth is fcarcely to be heard but by thofe from whom it can ferve no interest to conceal it, and the true motives of conduct will be only fhewn when the mind acts in its natural state without any impediment from hope or fear.


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