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the charitable construction, to these he is a stranger. True, says he, but the reason of such coldness is, because other men are enemies to virtue, and I am her true friend. Why then do you not attempt to conciliate these enemies? Virtue continually exerts herself to do good ; do you do what good you can? When you despair of success in more important instances of beneficence, do you apply yourself to such as come within your powers ? the true friend engages in contention without any confident expectations of victory; he does as much as he is able, though that may fall short of what he desires to accomplish. If then you would be consistent, and would avoid deceiving yourself, promote any innocent cause of happiness rather than none : this will most clearly shew, that you rejoice not in iniquity, but really have that friendship for virtue which you profess. The author of the Christian religion says, “ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Whom, as a friend to virtue, do you love? not all your brethren certainly : whom do you encourage in brotherly affection ? by your conversation, or by your example ? it would be difficult to find an instance. Yet misanthropy can exist amongst those who call themselves Christians!
6. The malevolent man who affects superior probity, is apt to deceive himself with regard to his sincerity; a virtue on which he particularly values himself, and the degrees of which he makes to be proportionate to the degrees of harshness and offensiveness adopted in his language; especially to persons of eminence, or in authority. His pretensions to this virtue are as if it consisted in exaggerating the unfavourable circumstances of every event, and in substituting declamation for truth : as if every description of favourable circumstances were falshood. . Men in high stations and public offices, it seems, have such faults, that to pretend really to respect them is mere flattery. But may not respect be sincerely paid to rank and to authority? Is it not for the good of the world that it should be so ? As you pay money to one who has faults, so should you pay respect, when it is a debt of justice; Honour to whom honour is due. Our Lord said, “ The Scribes
and Pharisees sit in Moses seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye after their works.” Matt. xxiii. 2, 3. Would external respect to such personages as these have been deemed insincerity? When St. Paul says, “ Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” Acts xxiii. 5. he cites the authority of Moses, and adds his own. Civility, or courtesy, is due also to persons of the same rank with ourselves, though we may have objections to their private characters; and that it should be paid, is an important concern of mankind: nevertheless, to prevent its nature from being misunderstood, is one duty of sincerity ; though without complacency and candour even the ends of sincerity could not be answered. Sometimes the sincerity of the inisanthrope is exercised in reproof ; in which the limits of propriety are apt to be transgressed : for it is contrary to reason and to utility, that any one should administer reproof, without some warrant, either from public authority, or private friendship. To assume the office of reprover, without any regular appointment, may occasion much unpleasant altercation, but very little improvement. He therefore who reserves his reproof till he has a right to offer it, is not less sincere than he who breaking through all rules of decorum, and intruding into what he cannot understand, presumes to run into harsh animadversions and impertinent advice.
7. The misanthrope would have his mental malady so regarded, that he should be acknowledged the truest friend to order and good Government. But is not this a deception? Can he be said to support Government who will take no active part in the management of public affairs? If the generality of men are so full of iniquity, should they not be overlooked and restrain-, ed? If he is the only true patriot, there is the greater need that he should have authority. It is desirable that there should be one Magistrate at least of unshaken integrity. And what is his exemption? he does not give up all claim to the protection of civil society ; he is not a Hermit ; he has property ; ought he not to make all the return in his power for the protection which his person and property receive? He has had
some disappointment, or mortification ; but that cannot entitle him to throw all cares upon others, and bear no civil burden himself. Let him'then, so long as he shuns all social duties, acknowledge himself to be on the same footing with those Scribes and Pharisees of whom it is said, “ They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on mens shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Mat. 'xxiii. 4. • 8. The man-hater labours under deception with regard to the valuable quality, or virtue, of Fortitude. Because he hazards language from which wise and goud men abstain, he calls himself fearless and intrepid ; other men are dastardly and afraid to speak the truth; he is determined that no man shall silence him. This kind of bravery is greatly to be suspected : there is ground for suspicion that the misanthrope has in bis composition, amongst other base ingredients, that of cowardice. For it certainly requires some resolution, when men have nice moral feelings, to bear up against the mean oppressions and paltry faishoods, the petty knaveries and treacheries of ordinary life: inany have, after some struggles, been overpowered by them ; nay have been able to bear most other evils with greater steadiness; and have kept clear of settled and professed misanthropy, till they have been, by such perpetual gratings on their moral sense, quite worn down, and teazed out of all resistance: now to want resolution is cowardly; and it is more so to assume airs of fortitude after yielding to fear : when a person of this sort has once given up the world, though really from timidity and want of firmness, when he has shrunk into his retirement, and has become possessed of some safe retreat, he fails not to make himself compensation for what he has lost; he affects to triumph in his defeat ; determined to take the coward's revenge, by talking, when the danger is past, with courage and magnanimity.
9. In the complaints and railings of the inisanthrope it is generally implied, that he is particularly free from selfishness. Another fallacy. Let particular cases
In taking up seldom retaininhough the
be examined, and it is well if Self be not generally found at the bottom of such complaints. We are told by those who bring railing accusations, that the poor are oppressed, the orphan wronged ; and lastly, that merit is not t'ewarded. When merit is not rewarded, it is a neglect inuch to be lamented; but has the complainant no merit of his own which has been too little noticed? Let him scrutinize his own mind; is he sure that he does not blame the treatment which others have met with, in crder the more decently and forcibly to introduce his own wrongs? If upon examination we seldom find a män taking up misanthropy till he has had some disappointment, and seldom retaining it when his own affairs have taken a prosperous turn, though the world has all the while continued niuch the same, we shall allow that there is good ground for such an enquiry. We need not liowever scruple to attribute to selfishness one kind of railing against the world ; and that is, when a man endeavours to talk himself into an aversion to that world in which lie ought to live, and has in reality no other wish but to retire from his proper station, in order to give himself up to his favourite amusements; or to companions who flatter and indulge him.
10. The misanthrope not only thus deceives him. self in regard to the worth of his virtues, but also in respect of the validity of his reasoning. Whosoever takes for granted the point in dispute, reasons fallaciously; if he is sincere to others, he at least misleads his own judgment. A person of the character in question takes for granted that his Ethics, his ideas of right and wrong, are the only just ones: nay that this is generally acknowledged. He allows nothing for difference of education, or custom ; or situation ; his censure is entirely founded on his own narrow conceptions. If he be engaged in any dispute, he is confident that all honest men, who have common sense, are on his side :.(6.) when there. fore men happen to differ from him, they are dishonest, or incorrigibly stupid. When he hates any men for not hating the species as he does, just at the moment of his provocation, he both takes for granted the errors of mankind, and the errors of those whom he hates, considered as judges of mankind. And supposing the objects of his hatred to have really offended against the Laws of Virtue, he still reasons ill whilst he takes for granted, hat the same templations which seduced them from their duty, would not have been equally powerful against himself. He often fornis an illegitimate con.. clusion by taking for granted, that when men do not all the good which he prescribes for them, it is merely be cause they will not. Whereas the generality of men are inclined to do more good than circumstances (c.) permit: not only their powers are more confined than suits their wishes, but they are very frequently checked by dread of abuses, and despair of success. Will not the misanthrope acknowledge, that he finds this to be the case? But it is to be feared, that he seldom examines carefully the motives of his own actions, though every man must deceive himself that does not. His feelings are burdensome and uneasy to him ; he shrinks from the pain of probing them; he checks his consciousness ; to avoid it he gives scope to his unnatural rancour, and tries to regard it as a natural indignation, the work of the creator; whilst all other men rank it amongst the depraved and factitious propensities. (d.) He considers the pleadings of his passion as if they were the arguments of his reason; whereas every man who is not culpably negligent or disingenuous in forming his judgments, makes a wide difference between them. Every reasonable man suspects the former as he would the eloquence of an advocate, and relies on the latter as on the opinion of a judge. It is equally a defect of rea-' soning and of feeling to complain of evils, and express no gratitude for benefits ; to blame bad actions, and yet never applaud those which are good and worthy, Can a man be said to take even a rational view of the various mixtures of good and evil in this world, who detests the bad with the utmost vehemence, and yet beholds the good without emotion; without any of those delicious raptures, with which the hcart of the truly virtuous man is elevated and softened, on the sight of genuine greatness and generosity, Not to be too tedious, I will only farther ask, whether there can be a more fallacious Induction than that which is implied in hating the human species, for the faults of a few