Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Richard Whately
 
  It is quite possible either to improve or fail to improve either kind of affliction.
Richard Whately.    
  1
 
  The happiest lot for a man, as far as birth is concerned, is that it should be such as to give him but little occasion to think much about it.
Richard Whately.    
  2
 
  He [Bacon] is throughout, and especially in his Essays, one of the most suggestive authors that ever wrote.
Richard Whately.    
  3
 
  Tacitus, who is one of the most antithetical, is … one of the least periodic, of all the Latin writers.
Richard Whately.    
  4
 
  Christianity cannot be improved, but men’s views and estimates and comprehension of Christianity may be indefinitely improved.
Richard Whately.    
  5
 
  To believe in Christianity, without knowing why we believe it, is not Christian faith, but blind credulity.
Richard Whately.    
  6
 
  Conscientious sincerity is friendly to tolerance, as latitudinarian indifference is to intolerance.
Richard Whately.    
  7
 
  It is a mere idle declamation about consistency to represent it as a disgrace to a man to confess himself wiser to-day than yesterday.
Richard Whately.    
  8
 
  Whenever men have become heartily wearied of licentious anarchy, their eagerness has been proportionality great to embrace the opposite extreme of rigorous despotism.
Richard Whately.    
  9
 
  Knowledge of our duties is the most useful part of philosophy.
Richard Whately.    
  10
 
  Elocution, in order to be perfect, must convey the meaning clearly, forcibly, and agreeably.
Richard Whately.    
  11
 
  While the children of the higher classes always call their parents “papa” and “mamma,” the children of the peasantry usually call them “father” and “mother.”
Richard Whately.    
  12
 
  Nothing but the right can ever be expedient, since that can never be true expediency which would sacrifice a greater good to a less.
Richard Whately.    
  13
 
  Experience, in its strict sense, applies to what has occurred within a person’s own knowledge.
Richard Whately.    
  14
 
  The word fable is, at present, generally limited to those fictions in which the resemblance to the matter in question is not direct, but analogical; the other class being called novels, tales, etc.
Richard Whately.    
  15
 
 
 
  A fanatic, either religious or political, is the subject of strong delusions; while the term illusion is applied solely to the visions of an uncontrolled imagination, the chimerical ideas of one blinded by hope, passion, or credulity, or, lastly, to spectral and other ocular deceptions, to which the word delusion is never applied.
Richard Whately.    
  16
 
  Grace is in a great measure a natural gift; elegance implies cultivation, or something of more artificial character. A rustic uneducated girl may be graceful, but an elegant woman must be accomplished and well trained. It is the same with things as with persons: we talk of a graceful tree, but of an elegant house or other building. Animals may be graceful, but they cannot be elegant. The movements of a kitten, or a young fawn, are full of grace; but to call them “elegant” animals would be absurd. Lastly, “elegant” may be applied to mental qualifications, which “graceful” never can. Elegance must always imply something that is made or invented by man. An imitation of nature is not so; therefore we do not speak of an “elegant picture,” though we do of an elegant pattern for a gown, an elegant piece of work. The general rule is, that elegance is the characteristic of art, and grace of nature.
Richard Whately.    
  17
 
  The maxim that “Honesty is the best policy” is one which, perhaps, no one is ever habitually guided by in practice. An honest man is always before it, and a knave is generally behind it.
Richard Whately.    
  18
 
  A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.
Richard Whately.    
  19
 
  The depreciation of Christianity by indifferentism is a more insidious and a less curable evil than infidelity itself.
Richard Whately.    
  20
 
  An instinct is a blind tendency to some mode of action, independent of any consideration, on the part of the agent, of the end to which the action leads.
Richard Whately.    
  21
 
  The word knowledge strictly employed implies three things, viz., truth, proof, and conviction.
Richard Whately.    
  22
 
  As a science, logic institutes an analysis of the process of the mind in reasoning, and investigates the principles on which argumentation is conducted; as an art, it furnishes such rules as may be derived from those principles, for guarding against erroneous deductions. Some are disposed to view logic as a peculiar method of reasoning, and not, as it is, a method of unfolding and analyzing our reason. They have, in short, considered logic as an art of reasoning, whereas (so far as it is an art) it is the art of reasoning; the logician’s object being, not to lay down principles by which one may reason, but by which all must reason, even though they are not distinctly aware of them,—to lay down rules not which may be followed with advantage, but which cannot possibly be deviated from in sound reasoning.
Richard Whately.    
  23
 
  Of metaphors, those generally conduce most to energy or vivacity of style which illustrate an intellectual by a sensible object.
Richard Whately.    
  24
 
  A “positive” precept concerns a thing that is right because it is commanded; a moral respects a thing commanded because it is right. A Jew was bound to honour his parents, and also to worship at Jerusalem: the former was commanded because it was right, and the latter was right because it was commanded.
Richard Whately.    
  25
 
  The heathen mythology not only was not true, but was not even supported as true; it not only deserved no faith, but it demanded none.
Richard Whately.    
  26
 
  Party spirit enlists a man’s virtues in the cause of his vices. He who would desire to have an accurate description of party spirit need only go through Paul’s description of charity, reversing every point in the detail.
Richard Whately.    
  27
 
  We cannot be too much on our guard against reactions, lest we rush from one fault into another contrary fault.
Richard Whately.    
  28
 
  Apprehension, in logic, is that act or condition of the mind in which it receives the notion of any object, and which is analogous to the perception of the senses.
Richard Whately.    
  29
 
  There is a heresy of indifference to revealed religion which is the most deadly of all heresies.
Richard Whately.    
  30
 
  It is possible to be selfish in the highest degree without being at all too much actuated by self-love, but unduly neglectful of others when your own gratification, of whatever kind, is concerned.
Richard Whately.    
  31
 
  Sincerity and sincere have a twofold meaning of great moral importance. Sincerity is often used to denote mere reality of conviction, that a man believes what he professes to believe. Sometimes, again, it is used to denote unbiassed conviction, or, at least, an earnest endeavour to shake off all prejudices, and all undue influence of wishes and passions on the judgment, and to decide impartially.
Richard Whately.    
  32
 
  The first requisite of style, not only in rhetorical but in all compositions, is perspicuity.
Richard Whately.    
  33
 
  The more power we have of discriminating the nicer shades of meaning, the greater facility we possess of giving force and precision to our expressions.
Richard Whately.    
  34
 
  It is in the determination to obey the truth, and to follow wherever she may lead, that the genuine love of truth consists.
Richard Whately.    
  35
 
  The word synonyme is, in fact, a misnomer,… Literally, it implies an exact coincidence of meaning in two or more words, in which case there would be no room for discussion; but it is generally applied to words which would be more correctly termed pseudo-synonymes, i.e. words having a shade of difference, yet with a sufficient resemblance of meaning to make them liable to be confounded together: and it is in the number and variety of these that (as the Abbé Girard well remarks) the richness of a language consists.
Richard Whately.    
  36
 
  As there are dim-sighted persons, who live in a sort of perpetual twilight, so there are some who, having neither much clearness of head, nor a very elevated tone of morality, are perpetually haunted by suspicions of everybody and everything. Such a man attributes—judging in great measure from himself—interested and selfish motives to every one. Accordingly, having no great confidence in his own penetration, he gives no one credit for an open and straightforward character.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay Of Suspicion.    
  37
 
  It is hardly necessary to remark—much less to prove—that, even supposing there were some spiritual advantage in celibacy, it ought to be completely voluntary from day to day, and not to be enforced by a life-long vow or rule. For in this case, even though a person should not repent of such a vow, no one can be sure that there is not such repentance. Supposing that even a large majority, and monks, and nuns, have no desire to marry, every one of them may not unreasonably be suspected of such a desire, and no one of them, consequently, can be secure against the most odious suspicions. No doubt there are many Roman Catholic clergy (as there are Protestant) who sincerely prefer celibacy. But in the one case we have a ground of assurance of this, which is wanting in the other. No one can be sure, because no proof can be given, that a vow of perpetual celibacy may not some time or other be a matter of regret. But he who continues to live single while continuing to have a free choice, gives a fair evidence of a continued preference for that life.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay VIII., Of Married and Single Life.    
  38
 
  Some kinds of adversity are chiefly of the character of TRIALS and others of DISCIPLINE. But Bacon does not advert to this difference, nor say anything at all about the distinction between discipline and trial; which are quite different in themselves, but often confounded together. By “discipline” is to be understood anything—whether of the character of adversity or not—that has a direct tendency to produce improvement, or to create some qualification that did not exist before; and by trial, anything that tends to ascertain what improvement has been made, or what qualities exist. Both effects may be produced at once; but what we speak of is, the proper character of trial, as such, and of discipline, as such.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Adversity.    
  39
 
  Sickness is a kind of adversity which is both a trial and a discipline; but much more of a discipline when short, and of a trial when very long. The kindness of friends during sickness is calculated, when it is newly called forth, to touch the heart, and call forth gratitude; but the confirmed invalid is in danger of becoming absorbed in self, and of taking all kinds of care and of sacrifice as a matter of course.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Adversity.    
  40
 
  Adam Smith, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, seems to consider as the chief point of distinction between anger and hatred, the necessity to the gratification of the former that the object of it should not only be punished, but punished by means of the offended person, and on account of the particular injury inflicted. Anger requires that the offender should not only be made to grieve in his turn, but to grieve for that particular wrong which has been done by him. The natural gratification of this passion tends, of its own accord, to produce all the political ends of punishment: the correction of the criminal, and example to the public.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Anger.    
  41
 
  Aristotle, in his Rhetoric,… defines anger to be “a desire, accompanied by mental uneasiness, of avenging one’s self, or, as it were, inflicting punishment for something that appears an unbecoming slight, either in things which concern one’s self, or some of one’s friends.” And he hence infers that, if this be anger, it must be invariably felt towards some individual, not against a class or description of persons.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Anger.    
  42
 
  The system, then, of reasoning from our own conjectures as to the necessity of the Most High doing so and so, tends to lead a man to proceed from the rejection of his own form of Christianity to a rejection of revelation altogether. But does it stop here? Does not the same system lead naturally to Atheism also? Experience shows that that consequence, which reason might have anticipated, does often actually take place.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Atheism.    
  43
 
  It is a good plan, with a young person of a character to be much affected by ludicrous and absurd representations, to show him plainly, by examples that there is nothing which may not be so represented; he will hardly need to be told that everything is not a mere joke: and he may thus be secured from falling into a contempt of those particular things which he may at any time happen to find so treated.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Atheism.    
  44
 
  Good manners are a part of good morals; and when form is too much neglected, true politeness suffers diminution: then we are obliged to bring some back; or we find the want of them…. The opposite extreme of substituting the external form for the thing signified is not more dangerous or more common than the neglect of that form. It is all very well to say, “There is no use in bidding Good-morrow, or Good-night, to those who know I wish it; of sending one’s love, in a letter, to those who do not doubt it,” etc. All this sounds very well in theory, but it will not do for practice. Scarce any friendship, or any politeness, is so strong as to be able to subsist without any external supports of this kind; and it is even better to have too much form than too little.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Ceremonies and Respects.    
  45
 
  It is a remarkable circumstance in reference to cunning persons, that they are often deficient, not only in comprehensive far-sighted wisdom, but even in prudent, cautious circumspection.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Cunning.    
  46
 
  The cunning are often deceived by those who have no such intention. When a plain, straightforward man declares plainly his real motives or designs, they set themselves to guess what these are, and hit on every possible solution but the right, taking for granted that he cannot mean what he says. Bacon’s remark on this we have already given in the “Antitheta on Simulation and Dissimulation:” “He who acts in all things openly does not deceive the less; for most persons either do not understand or do not believe him.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Cunning.    
  47
 
  Other things, then, being equal, an honest man has this advantage over a knave, that he understands more of human nature: for he knows that one honest man exists, and concludes that there must be more; and he also knows, if he is not a mere simpleton, that there are some who are knavish; but the knave can seldom be brought to believe in the existence of an honest man. The honest man may be deceived in particular persons, but the knave is sure to be deceived whenever he comes across an honest man who is not a mere fool.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Cunning.    
  48
 
  It is a well-known and common art of the orator to extol the ingenuity and eloquence of an opponent, that the effect of what he says may be attributed rather to his ability than to the strength of his cause, and that the hearers may even be led to feel a distrust and dread of him. We commonly find a barrister—especially when he has a weak cause—complimenting his “learned brother” on the skill with which he has pleaded.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Cunning.    
  49
 
  It is to be observed that at the present day it is common to use the words “custom” and “habit” as synonymous, and often to employ the latter where Bacon would have used the former. But, strictly speaking, they denote respectively the cause and the effect. Repeated acts constitute the “custom;” and the “habit” is the condition of mind or body thence resulting. For instance, a man who has been accustomed to rise at a certain hour will have acquired the habit of waking and being ready to rise as soon as that hour arrives. And one who has made it his custom to drink drams will have fallen into the habit of craving for that stimulus, and of yielding to that craving; and so of the rest.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Custom and Education.    
  50
 
  It is important to keep in mind that—as is evident from what has been said just above—habits are formed, not at one stroke, but gradually and insensibly; so that, unless vigilant care be employed, a great change may come over the character without our being conscious of any. For, as Dr. Johnson has well expressed it, “The diminutive chains of habit are seldom heavy enough to be felt, till they are too strong to be broken.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Custom and Education.    
  51
 
  Neglect not, then, any of the advantages of intellectual cultivation which God’s providence has placed within your reach; nor think scorn of that pleasant land, and prefer wandering by choice in the barren wilderness of ignorance; but let the intellect which God has endowed you with be cultivated as a servant to Him, and then it will be, not a master, but a useful servant, to you.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Custom and Education.    
  52
 
  It is when considered as the passage to another world that the contemplation of death becomes holy and religious; that is, calculated to promote a state of preparedness for our setting out on this great voyage,—our departure from this world to enter the other. It is manifest that those who are engrossed with the things that pertain to this life alone, who are devoted to worldly pleasure, to worldly gain, honour, or power, are certainly not preparing themselves for the passage into another; while it is equally manifest that the change of heart, of desires, wishes, tastes, thoughts, dispositions, which constitutes a meetness for entrance into a happy, holy, heavenly state,—the hope of which can indeed “mate and master the fear of death,”—must take place here on earth; for, if not, it will not take place after death.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Death.    
  53
 
  Among the many just and admirable remarks in this essay on “Discourse,” Bacon does not notice the distinction—which is an important one—between those who speak because they wish to say something, and those who speak because they have something to say: that is, between those who are aiming at displaying their own knowledge or ability, and those who speak from fulness of matter, and are thinking only of the matter, and not of themselves and the opinion that will be formed of them. This latter, Bishop Butler calls (in reference to writings) “a man writing with simplicity and in earnest.” It is curious to observe how much more agreeable is even inferior conversation of this latter description, and how it is preferred by many—they know not why—who are not accustomed to analyze their own feelings, or to inquire why they like or dislike.  54
  Something nearly coinciding with the above distinction, is that which some draw between an “unconscious” and a “conscious” manner; only that the latter extends to persons who are not courting applause, but anxiously guarding against censure. By a “conscious” manner is meant, in short, a continual thought about oneself, and about what the company will think of us. The continual effort and watchful care on the part of the speaker, either to obtain approbation, or at least to avoid disapprobation, always communicates itself in a certain degree to the hearers.  55
  Some draw a distinction, again, akin to the above, between the desire to please, and the desire to give pleasure; meaning by the former an anxiety to obtain for yourself the good opinion of those you converse with, and by the other, the wish to gratify them.  56
  Aristotle, again, draws the distinction between the Eiron and the Bomolochus,—that the former seems to throw out his wit for his own amusement, and the other for that of the company. It is this latter, however, that is really the “conscious” speaker; because he is evidently seeking to obtain credit as a wit by his diversion of the company. The word seems nearly to answer to what we call a “wag.” The other is letting out his good things merely from his own fulness.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Discourse.    
  57
 
  There are many (otherwise) sensible people who seek to cure a young person of that very common complaint [shyness] by exhorting him not to be shy,—telling him what an awkward appearance it has,—and that it prevents his doing himself justice, etc. All which is manifestly pouring oil on the fire to quench it. For the very cause of shyness is an over-anxiety as to what people are thinking of you; a morbid attention to your own appearance. The course, therefore, that ought to be pursued is exactly the reverse. The sufferer should be exhorted to think as little as possible about himself, and the opinion formed of him,—to be assured that most of the company do not trouble their heads about him,—and to harden him against any impertinent criticisms that he supposed to be going on,—taking care only to do what is right, leaving others to think and say what they will.  58
  And the more intensely occupied any one is with the subject-matter of what he is saying,—the business itself that he is engaged in,—the less will his thoughts be turned on himself, and on what others think of him.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Discourse.    
  59
 
  There are two kinds of orators, the distinction between whom might be thus illustrated. When the moon shines brightly we are apt to say, “How beautiful is this moonlight!” but in the daytime, “How beautiful are the trees, the fields, the mountains!”—and, in short, all the objects that are illuminated; we never speak of the sun that makes them so. Just in the same way, the really greatest orator shines like the sun, making you think much of the things he is speaking of; the second-best shines like the moon, making you think much of him and his eloquence.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Discourse.    
  60
 
  Some persons are what is called “slow and sure:” sure, that is, in cases that will admit of leisurely deliberation; though they require so much time for forming a right judgment, and devising right plans, that in cases where promptitude is called for they utterly fail. Buonaparte used to say that one of the principal requisites for a general was an accurate calculation of time; for if your adversary can bring a powerful force to attack a certain post ten minutes sooner than you can bring up a sufficient supporting force, you are beaten, even though all the rest of your plans be never so good. So also, if you are overtaken by an inundation, ten minutes spent in deciding on the best road for escaping, may make escape impossible.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Dispatch.    
  61
 
  Education may be compared to the grafting of a tree. Every gardener knows that the younger the wilding-stock is that is to be grafted, the easier and the more effectual is the operation, because, then, one scion put on just above the root will become the main stem of the tree, and all the branches it puts forth will be of the right sort. When, on the other hand, a tree is to be grafted at a considerable age (which may be very successfully done), you have to put on twenty or thirty grafts on the several branches; and afterwards you will have to be watching from time to time for the wilding-shoots which the stock will be putting forth, and pruning them off. And even so, one whose character is to be reformed at mature age will find it necessary not merely to implant a right principle once for all, but also to bestow a distinct attention on the correction of this, that, and the other bad habit…. But it must not be forgotten that education resembles the grafting of a tree in this point also, that there must be some affinity between the stock and the graft, though a very important practical difference may exist; for example, between a worthless crab and a fine apple. Even so, the new nature, as it may be called, superinduced by education, must always retain some relation to the original one, though differing in most important points. You cannot, by any kind of artificial training, make any thing of any one, and obliterate all trace of the natural character. Those who hold that this is possible, and attempt to effect it, resemble Virgil, who (whether in ignorance or, as some think, by way of “poetical license”) talks of grafting an oak on an elm: “glandemque sues fiegere sub ulmis.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Education and Custom.    
  62
 
  When any person of really eminent virtue becomes the object of envy, the clamour and abuse by which he is assailed is but the sign and accompaniment of his success in doing service to the Public. And if he is a truly wise man, he will take no more notice of it than the moon does of the howling of the dogs. Her only answer to them is “to shine on.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Envy.    
  63
 
  “This public envy seemeth to bear chiefly upon principal officers or ministers, rather than upon kings.” [Bacon.] This is a very just remark, and it might have suggested an excellent argument (touched on in the Lessons on the British Constitution) in favour of hereditary Royalty. It is surely a good thing that there should be some feeling of loyalty unalloyed by envy, towards something in the government. And this feeling concentrates itself among us, upon the Sovereign. But in a pure Republic, the abstract idea of the State—the Commonwealth itself—is too vague for the vulgar mind to take hold of with any loyal affection. The President, and every one of the public officers, has been raised from the ranks; and the very circumstance of their having been so raised on the score of supposed fitness, makes them (as was observed above) the more obnoxious to envy, because their elevation is felt as an affront to their rivals.  64
  An hereditary Sovereign, on the other hand, if believed to possess personal merit, is regarded as a Godsend; but he does not hold his place by that tenure.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Envy.    
  65
 
  “He that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds will hardly be preserved from decay.” [Bacon’s Essay, Of Expense.] Obviously true as this is, yet it is apparently completely overlooked by the imprudent spendthrift, who, finding that he is able to afford this, or that, or the other, expense, forgets that all of them together will ruin him. This is what, in logical language, is called the “Fallacy of Composition.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Expense.    
  66
 
  Though people censure any one for making a display beyond his station, if he falls below it in what are considered the decencies of his station, he is considered as either absurdly penurious or else very poor.  67
  And why, it may be asked, should any one be at all ashamed of this latter,—supposing his poverty is not the result of any misconduct? The answer is, that though poverty is not accounted disgraceful, the exposure of it is felt to be a thing indecent; and though, accordingly, a right-minded man does not seek to make a secret of it, he does not like to expose it, any more than he would to go without clothes.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Expense.    
  68
 
  It is worth remarking, as a curious circumstance, and the reverse of what many would expect, that the expenses called for by a real or imagined necessity, of those who have large incomes, are greater in proportion than those of persons with slenderer means; and that consequently a larger proportion of what are called the rich are in embarrassed circumstances, than of the poorer. This is often overlooked, because the absolute number of those with large incomes is so much less that, of course, the absolute number of persons under pecuniary difficulties in the poorer classes must form a very great majority. But if you look to the proportions it is quite the reverse. Take the number of persons of each amount of income, divided into classes, from £100 per annum up to £100,000 per annum, and you will find the percentage of those who are under pecuniary difficulties continually augmenting as you go upwards. And when you come to sovereign States, whose revenue is reckoned by millions, you will hardly find one that is not deeply involved in debt! So that it would appear that the larger the income the harder it is to live within it.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Expense.    
  69
 
  Bacon’s remark, that a prince ought not to make it his policy to “govern according to respect to faction,” suggests a strong ground of preference of hereditary to elective sovereignty. For when a chief—whether called king, emperor, president, or by whatever name—is elected (whether for life, or for a term of years), he can hardly avoid being the head of a party. He who is elected will be likely to feel aversion towards those who have voted against him; who may be, perhaps, nearly half of his subjects. And they again will be likely to regard him as an enemy, instead of feeling loyalty to him as their prince.  70
  And those again who have voted for him, will consider him as being under an obligation to them, and expect them to show him more favour than to the rest of his subjects: so that he will be rather the head of a party than the king of a people. Then, too, when the throne is likely to become vacant,—that is, when the king is old, or is attacked with any serious illness,—what secret canvassing and disturbance of men’s minds will take place! The king himself will most likely wish that his son, or some other near relative or friend, should succeed him, and he will employ all his patronage with a view to such an election; appointing to public offices not the fittest men, but those whom he can reckon on as voters. And others will be exerting themselves to form a party against him; so that the country will be hardly ever tranquil, and very seldom well governed.  71
  If, indeed, men were very different from what they are, there might be superior advantages in an elective royalty; but in the actual state of things, the disadvantages will in general greatly outweigh the benefits.  72
  Accordingly, most nations have seen the advantage of hereditary royalty, notwithstanding the defects of such a constitution.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Faction, and in his Lesson I., On the British Constitution.    
  73
 
  Fortune is said to favour fools, because they trust all to fortune. When a fool escapes any danger, or succeeds in any undertaking, it is said that fortune favours him; while a wise man is considered to prosper by his own prudence and foresight. For instance, if a fool who does not bar his door escapes being robbed, it is ascribed to his luck; but the prudent man, having taken precautions, is not called fortunate. But a wise man is, in fact, more likely to meet with good fortune than a foolish one, because he puts himself in the way of it. If he is sending off a ship, he has a better chance of obtaining a favourable wind, because he chooses the place and season in which such winds prevail as will be favourable to him. If the fool’s ship arrives safely, it is by good luck alone; while both must be in some degree indebted to fortune for success.  74
  One way in which fools succeed where wise men fail is, that through ignorance of the danger they sometimes go coolly about some hazardous business. Hence the proverb that “The fairies take care of children, drunken men, and idiots.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Fortune.    
  75
 
  But though ten thousand of the greatest faults in others are to us of less consequence than one small fault in ourselves, yet self-approval is so much more agreeable to us than self-examination,—which, as Bacon says, “is a medicine sometimes too piercing and corrosive,”—that we are more ready to examine our neighbours than ourselves, and to rest satisfied with finding, or fancying, that we are better than they; forgetting that, even if it is really so, better does not always imply good; and that a course of duty is not like a race which is won by him who runs, however slowly, if the rest are still slower. It is this forgetfulness that causes bad examples to do much the greatest amount of evil among those who do not follow them. For among the four kinds of bad examples that do us harm—namely, those we imitate—those we proudly exult over—those which drive us into an opposite extreme—and those which lower our standard—this last is the most hurtful. For one who is corrupted by becoming as bad as a bad example, there are ten that are debased by being content with being better.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Friendship.    
  76
 
  It may be worth noticing as a curious circumstance, when persons past forty before they were at all acquainted form together a very close intimacy of friendship. For grafts of old wood to take, there must be a wonderful congeniality between the trees.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Friendship.    
  77
 
  A benevolent disposition is, no doubt, a great help towards a course of uniform practical benevolence; but let no one trust to it, when there are other strong propensities, and no firm good principle.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature.    
  78
 
  We should not confound together physical delicacy of nerves, and extreme tenderness of heart and benevolence and gentleness of character. It is also important to guard against mistaking for good nature what is properly good humour,—a cheerful flow of spirits, and easy temper not readily annoyed, which is compatible with great selfishness.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature.    
  79
 
  There is perhaps no one quality that can produce a greater amount of mischief than may be done by thoughtless good-nature. For instance, if any one, out of tenderness of heart and reluctance to punish or to discard the criminal and worthless, lets loose on society, or advances to important offices, mischievous characters, he will have conferred a doubtful benefit on a few, and done incalculable hurt to thousands. So, also, to take one of the commonest and most obvious cases, that of charity to the poor,—a man of great wealth, by freely relieving all idle vagabonds, might go far towards ruining the industry, and the morality, and the prosperity, of a whole nation.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature.    
  80
 
  It is curious to observe how people who are always thinking of their own pleasure or interest will often, if possessing considerable ability, make others give way to them, and obtain everything they seek, except happiness. For, like a spoiled child, who at length cries for the moon, they are always dissatisfied. And the benevolent, who are always thinking of others, and sacrificing their own personal gratifications, are usually the happiest of mankind.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature.    
  81
 
  Many persons have never reflected on the circumstance that one of the earliest translations of the Scriptures into a vernacular tongue was made by the Church of Rome. The Latin Vulgate was so called from its being in the vulgar—i.e., the popular—language then spoken in Italy and the neighbouring countries: and that version was evidently made on purpose that the Scriptures might be intelligibly read by, or read to, the mass of the people. But gradually and imperceptibly Latin was superseded by the languages derived from it,—Italian, Spanish, and French,—while the Scriptures were still left in Latin; and when it was proposed to translate them into modern tongues, this was regarded as a perilous innovation, though it is plain that the real innovation was that which had taken place imperceptibly, since the very object proposed by the Vulgate version was that the Scriptures might not be left in an unknown tongue.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  82
 
  In all the serious and important affairs of life men are attached to what they have been used to; in matters of ornament they covet novelty; in all systems and institutions—in all the ordinary business of life—in all fundamentals—they cling to what is the established course; in matters of detail—in what lies as it were on the surface—they seek variety. Man may, in reference to this point, be compared to a tree, whose stem and main branches stand year after year, but whose leaves and flowers are fresh every season.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  83
 
  There is no more striking instance of the silent and imperceptible changes brought about by what is called “Time,” than that of a language becoming dead. To point out the precise period at which Greek or Latin ceased to be a living language would be as impossible as to say when a man becomes old. And much confusion of thought and many important practical results arise from not attending to this.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  84
 
  The ancient despotism of France, detestable as it was, did not cause more misery in a century than the Reign of Terror did in a year. And, universally, the longer and the more grievously any people have been oppressed, the more violent and extravagant will be the reaction. And the people will often be in the condition of King Lear, going to and fro between his daughters, and deprived first of half his attendants, then of half the remainder, then of all.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  85
 
  We find—in the case of political affairs—that the most servile submission to privileged classes, and the grossest abuses of power by these, have been the precursors of the wildest ebullitions of popular fury,—of the overthrow indiscriminately of ancient institutions, good and bad,—and of the most turbulent democracy; generally proportioned in its extravagance and violence to the degree of previous oppression and previous degradation. And again we find that whenever men have become heartily wearied of licentious anarchy, their eagerness has been proportionably great to embrace the opposite extreme of rigorous despotism; like shipwrecked mariners clinging to a bare and rugged rock as a refuge from the waves.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  86
 
  It is commonly and truly said, when any new and untried measure is proposed, that we cannot fully estimate the inconveniences it may lead to in practice; but we are convinced this is even still more the case with any system which has long been in operation.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  87
 
  Though few men are likely to be called on to take part in the reformation of any public institutions, yet there is no one of us but what ought to engage in the important work of self-reformation, and according to the well-known proverb, “If each would sweep before his own door, we should have a clean street.” Some may have more, and some less, of dust and other nuisances to sweep away; some of one kind, and some of another. But those who have the least to do have something to do; and they should feel it an encouragement to do it, that they can so easily remedy the beginnings of small evils before they have accumulated into a great one. Begin reforming, therefore, at once: proceed in reforming steadily and cautiously, and go on reforming forever.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  88
 
  When Bacon speaks of time as an innovator, he might have remarked, by the way—what of course he well knew—that though this is an allowable and convenient form of expression, it is not literally correct. Bishop Copleston, in the remark already referred to in the notes on “Delays,” terms the regarding time as an agent one of the commonest errors; for “in reality time does nothing and is nothing. We use it,” he goes on to say, “as a compendious expression for all those causes which act slowly and imperceptibly. But, unless some positive cause is in action, no change takes place in the lapse of one thousand years; as, for instance, in a drop of water enclosed in a cavity of silex. The most intelligent writers are not free from this illusion.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Innovations.    
  89
 
  I will add one remark upon the danger incurred by the advocate—even if he be one who would scruple either wilfully to use sophistry to mislead a judge, or to perplex and browbeat an honest witness—of having his mind alienated from the investigation of truth…. A judge, or any one whose business it is to ascertain truth, is to decide according to the preponderance of the reasons; but the pleader’s business is merely to set forth as forcibly as possible those on his own side. And if he thinks that the habitual practice of this has no tendency to generate in him, morally any indifference, or intellectually any incompetency, in respect of the ascertainment of truth,—if he considers himself quite safe from any such danger,—I should then say that he is in very great danger.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Judicature.    
  90
 
  I think that the kind of skill by which a cross-examiner succeeds in alarming, misleading, or bewildering an honest witness may be characterized as the most, or one of the most, base and depraved of all possible employments of intellectual power. Nor is it by any means the most effectual way of eliciting truth. The mode best adapted for attaining this object is, I am convinced, quite different from that by which an honest, simple-minded witness is most easily baffled and confused. I have seen the experiment tried, of subjecting a witness to such a kind of cross-examination by a practical lawyer as would have been, I am convinced, the most likely to alarm and perplex many an honest witness, without any effect in shaking the testimony; and afterwards, by a totally opposite mode of examination, such as would not have at all perplexed one who was honestly telling the truth, that same witness was drawn on, step by step, to acknowledge the utter falsity of the whole. Generally speaking, a quiet, gentle, and straightforward, though full and careful, examination, will be the most adapted to elicit truth; and the manœuvres, and the browbeating, which are the most adapted to confuse an honest simple-minded witness, are just what the dishonest one is the best prepared for. The more the storm blusters, the more carefully he wraps round him the cloak which a warm sunshine will often induce him to throw off.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Judicature.    
  91
 
  Many a generous sentiment, and many a virtuous resolution, have been called forth and matured by admiration of one who may herself, perhaps, have been incapable of either. It matters not what the object is that a man aspires to be worthy of, and proposes as a model of imitation, if he does but believe it to be excellent. Moreover, all doubts of success (and they are seldom, if ever, entirely wanting) must either produce or exercise humility; and the endeavour to study another’s interests and inclinations and prefer them to one’s own may promote a habit of general benevolence which may outlast the present occasion. Everything, in short, which tends to abstract a man in any degree or in any way from self—from self-admiration and self-interest—has, so far at least, a beneficial influence on character.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Love.    
  92
 
  Human nature (as I have observed in a former work) is always and everywhere, in the must important points, substantially the same; circumstantially and externally, men’s manners and conduct are infinitely various in various times and regions. If the former were not true,—if it were not for this fundamental agreement,—history could furnish no instruction; if the latter were not true,—if there were not these apparent and circumstantial differences,—hardly any one could fail to profit by that instruction. For few are so dull as not to learn something from the records of past experience in cases precisely similar to their own.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Nature in Men.    
  93
 
  There are persons whom to attempt to convince by even the strongest reasons, and most cogent arguments, is like King Lear putting a letter before a man without eyes, and saying, “Mark but the penning of it!” to which he answers, “Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.” But it may be well worth while sometimes to write to such a person much that is not likely to influence him at all, if you have an opportunity of showing it to others, as a proof that he ought to have been convinced by it.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Negotiating.    
  94
 
  In reference to nobility in individuals, nothing was ever better said than by Bishop Warburton—as is reported—in the House of Lords, on the occasion of some angry dispute which had arisen between a peer of noble family and one of a new creation. He said that “high birth was a thing which he never knew any one disparage, except those who had it not; and he never knew any one make a boast of it who had anything else to be proud of.”… And it is curious that a person of so exceptionable a character that no one would like to have him for a father, may confer a kind of dignity on his great-great-great-grandchildren…. If he were to discover that he could trace up his descent distinctly to a man who had deserved hanging for robbery—not a traveller of his purse, but a king of his empire, or a neighbouring state of a province—he would be likely to make no secret of it, and even to be better pleased, inwardly, than if he had made out a long line of ancestors who had been very honest farmers.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Nobility.    
  95
 
  It is observable that a parent who is unselfish, and who is never thinking of personal inconvenience, but always of the children’s advantage, will be likely to make them selfish; for she will let that too plainly appear, so as to fill the child with an idea that everything is to give way to him, and that his concerns are an ultimate end. Nay, the very pains taken with him in strictly controlling him, heightens his idea of his own importance; whereas a parent who is selfish will be sure to accustom the child to sacrifice his own convenience, and to understand that he is of much less importance than the parent. This, by the way, is only one of many cases in which selfishness is caught from those who have least of it.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Parents and Children.    
  96
 
  It is the peculiar nature of the inestimable treasure of Christian truth and religious knowledge, that the more it is withheld from people, the less they wish for it; and the more is bestowed upon them, the more they hunger and thirst after it. If people are kept upon a short allowance of food, they are eager to obtain it; if you keep a man thirsty, he will become the more and more thirsty; if he is poor, he is exceedingly anxious to become rich; but if he is left in a state of spiritual destitution, he will, and still more his children, cease to feel it, and cease to care about it. It is the last want men can be trusted (in the first instance) to supply for themselves.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Plantations.    
  97
 
  It is worth remarking that praise is one of the things which almost every one must wish for, and be glad of, yet which it is not allowable to seek for as an end. To obtain the approbation of the wise and good by doing what is right, simply because it is right, is most gratifying to the natural and allowable wish to escape the censure and claim the approval of our fellow-creatures; but to make this gratification either wholly or partly our object—to hold up a finger on purpose (and for that sole purpose) to gain the applause of the whole world, is unjustifiable.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Praise.    
  98
 
  There is a distinction … between the love of admiration and the love of commendation, that is worth remarking. The tendency of the love of commendation is to make a man exert himself; of the love of admiration, to make him puff himself. The love of admiration leads to fraud, much more than the love of commendation, but, on the other hand, the latter is much more likely to spoil our good actions by the substitution of an inferior motive. And if we would guard against this, we must set ourselves resolutely to act as if we cared neither for praise nor censure,—for neither the bitter nor the sweet; and in time the man gets hardened. And this will always be the case, more or less, through God’s help, if we will but persevere, and persevere from a right motive.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Praise.    
  99
 
  It will often happen, therefore, that when a man of very great real excellence does acquire great and general esteem, four-fifths of this will have been bestowed on the minor virtues of his character; and four-fifths of his admirers will have either quite overlooked the most truly admirable of his qualities, or else regarded them as pardonable weaknesses.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Praise.    
  100
 
  Of persons who have led a temperate life, those will have the best chance of longevity who have done hardly anything else but live;—what may be called the neuter verbs—not active or passive, but only being: who have had little to do, little to suffer, but have led a life of quiet retirement, without exertion of body or mind—avoiding all troublesome enterprise, and seeking only a comfortable obscurity. Such men, if of a pretty strong constitution, and if they escape any remarkable calamities, are likely to live long. But much affliction, or much exertion, and, still more, both combined, will be sure to tell upon the constitution—if not at once, yet at least as years advance. One who is of the character of an active or passive verb, or, still more, both combined, though he may be said to have lived long in everything but years, will rarely reach the age of the neuters.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Regimen of Health.    
  101
 
  It is worth mentioning, that your judgment of any one’s character who has done anything wrong ought to be exactly the same whether the wrong was done to you or to any one else. A man who has cheated or slandered you is neither more nor less a cheat and a slanderer than if it had been some other person, a stranger to you. This is evident; yet there is great need to remind people of it; for, as the very lowest minds of all regard with far the most disapprobation any wrong from which they themselves suffer, so, those a few steps, and only a few, above them, in their dread of such manifest injustice, think they cannot bend the twig too far the contrary way, and are for regarding (in theory, at least, if not in practice) wrongs to oneself as no wrongs at all. Such a person will reckon it a point of heroic generosity to let loose on society a rogue who has cheated him, and to leave uncensured and unexposed a liar by whom he has been belied; and the like in other cases. And if you refuse favour and countenance to those unworthy of it, whose misconduct has at all affected you, he will at once attribute this to personal vindictive feelings; as if there could be no such thing as esteem and disesteem.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Revenge.    
  102
 
  With some minds of a baser nature, there is a difficulty, proverbially, in forgiving those whom one is conscious of having injured; and, again, those (especially if equals or inferiors) who have done very great and important services, beyond what can ever receive an adequate return. Rochefoucault even says that “to most men it is less dangerous to do hurt than to do them too much good.” But then it was his system to look on the dark side only of mankind.  103
  Tacitus also, who is not very unlike him in this respect, says that “benefits are acceptable as far as it appears they may he repaid; but that when they far exceed this, hatred takes the place of gratitude.” It is only, however, as has been said, the basest natures to whom any of these last-mentioned trials can occur as trials.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Revenge.    
  104
 
  The goods of this world are not at all a trifling concern to Christians, considered as Christians. Whether, indeed, we ourselves shall have enjoyed a large or a small share of them, will be of no importance to us a hundred years hence; but it will be of the greatest importance whether we shall have employed the faculties and opportunities granted to us, in the increase and diffusion of those benefits among others…. Every situation in which man can be placed has, along with its own peculiar advantages, its own peculiar difficulties and trials also; which we are called on to exert our faculties in providing against. The most fertile soil does not necessarily bear the most abundant harvest: its weeds, if neglected, will grow the rankest. And the servant who has received but one talent, if he put it out to use, will fare better than he who has been intrusted with five, if he squander or bury them. But still, this last does not suffer because he received five talents; but because he has not used them to advantage.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Riches.    
  105
 
  The declaimers on the incompatibility of wealth and virtue are mere declaimers, and nothing more. For you will often find them, in the next breath, applauding or condemning every measure or institution according to its supposed tendency to increase or diminish wealth. You will find them not only readily accepting wealth themselves from any honourable source, and anxious to secure from poverty their children and all most dear to them (for this might be referred to the prevalence of passion over principle), but even offering up solemn prayers to heaven for the prosperity of their native country, and contemplating with joy a flourishing condition of her agriculture, manufactures, or commerce,—in short, of the sources of her wealth. Seneca’s discourses in praise of poverty would, I have no doubt, be rivalled by many writers of this island, if one-half of the revenues he drew from the then inhabitants of it, by lending them money at high interest, were proposed as a prize. Such declaimers against wealth resemble the Harpies of Virgil, seeking to excite disgust at the banquet of which they are themselves eager to partake.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Riches.    
  106
 
  Another of these pretenders to being, or being thought to be, wise, prides himself on what he calls his consistency,—on his never changing his opinions or plans; which, as long as man is fallible, and circumstances change, is the wisdom of one either too dull to detect his mistakes, or too obstinate to own them.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Seeming Wise.    
  107
 
  The “over-formal” often impede, and sometimes frustrate, business by a dilatory, tedious, circuitous, and (what in colloquial language is called) fussy way of conducting the simplest transactions. They have been compared to a dog, which cannot lie down till he has made three circuits round the spot.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Seeming Wise.    
  108
 
  It is worth noticing, that those who assume an imposing demeanour, and seek to puff themselves off for something beyond what they are (and often succeed), are not unfrequently as much under-rated by some as they are over-rated by others. For, as a man (according to what Bacon says in the essay “On Discourse”) by keeping back some knowledge which he is believed to possess may gain credit for knowing something of which he is really ignorant, so if he is once or twice detected in pretending to know what he does not, he is likely to be set down as a mere pretender, and as ignorant of what he does know.
        “Silver gilt will often pass
Either for gold or else for brass.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Seeming Wise.    
  109
 
  It may be said, almost without qualification, that true wisdom consists in the ready and accurate perception of analogies. Without the former quality, knowledge of the past is uninstructive; without the latter, it is deceptive.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Seeming Wise.    
  110
 
  Another, having been warned that “wisdom and wit” are not the same thing, makes it a part of wisdom to distrust everything that can possibly be regarded as witty; not having judgment to perceive the combination, when it occurs, of wit with sound reasoning. The ivy-wreath conceals from his view the point of the thyrsus. His is not the wisdom that can laugh at what is ludicrous, and at the same time preserve a clear discernment of sound and unsound reasoning.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Seeming Wise.    
  111
 
  It will be found that all frauds, like the “wall daubed with untempered mortar,” with which men think to buttress up an edifice, tend to the decay of that which they are devised to support. This truth, however, will never be steadily acted on by those who have no moral detestation of falsehood. It is not given to those who do not prize straightforwardness for its own sake to perceive that it is the wisest course. The maxim that “honesty is the best policy” is one which, perhaps, no one is ever habitually guided by in practice. An honest man is always before it, and a knave is generally behind it. He does not find out, till too late,—
        “What a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive.”
  112
  No one, in fact, is capable of fully appreciating the ultimate expediency of a devoted adherence to Truth, save the divine Being, who is “the Truth;” because he alone comprehends the whole of the vast and imperfectly-revealed scheme of Providence, and alone can see the inmost recesses of the human heart, and alone can foresee and judge of the remotest consequences of human actions.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Simulation and Dissimulation.    
  113
 
  As an exercise of the reasoning faculty, pure mathematics is an admirable exercise, because it consists of reasoning alone, and does not encumber the student with any exercise of judgment; and it is well always to begin with learning one thing at a time, and to defer a combination of mental exercises to a later period. But then it is important to remember that mathematics does not exercise the judgment, and, consequently, if too exclusively pursued, may leave the student very ill qualified for moral reasoning…. There are probably as many steps of pure reasoning in one of the longer of Euclid’s demonstrations as in the whole of an argumentative treatise on some other subject, occupying perhaps a considerable volume.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies, and in Whately’s Elements of Logic.    
  114
 
  Those works of fiction are worse than unprofitable that inculcate morality, with an exclusion of all reference to religious principle. This is obviously and notoriously the character of Miss Edgeworth’s Moral Tales. And so entire and resolute is this exclusion, that it is maintained at the expense of what may be called poetical truth: it destroys, in many instances, the probability of the tale, and the naturalness of the characters. That Christianity does exist, every one must believe as an incontrovertible truth; nor can any one deny that, whether true or false, it does exercise—at least is supposed to exercise—an influence on the feelings and conduct of some of the believers in it. To represent, therefore, persons of various ages, sex, country, and station in life, as practising, on the most trying occasions, every kind of duty, and encountering every kind of danger, difficulty, and hardship, while none of them ever makes the least reference to a religious motive, is as decidedly at variance with reality—what is called in works of fiction unnatural—as it would be to represent Mahomet’s enthusiastic followers as rushing into battle without any thought of his promised paradise.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  115
 
  In books designed for children there are two extremes that should be avoided. The one, that reference to religious principles in connection with matters too trifling and undignified, arising from a well-intentioned zeal, causing a forgetfulness of the maxim whose notorious truth has made it proverbial, “Too much familiarity breeds contempt.” And the other is the contrary, and still more prevailing, extreme, arising from a desire to preserve a due reverence for religion, at the expense of its useful application in conduct. But a line may be drawn which will keep clear of both extremes. We should not exclude the association of things sacred with whatever are to ourselves trifling matters (for these little things are great to children), but with whatever is viewed by them as trifling. Everything is great or small in reference to the parties concerned. The private concerns of any obscure individual are very insignificant to the world at large, but they are of great importance to himself; and all worldly affairs must be small in the sight of the Most High; but irreverent familiarity is engendered in the mind of any one, then, and then only, when things sacred are associated with such as are, to him, insignificant things.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  116
 
  The influence exercised by such works is overlooked by those who suppose that a child’s character, moral and intellectual, is formed by those books only which are put into his hands with that design. As hardly anything can accidentally touch the soft clay without stamping its mark on it, so hardly any reading can interest a child without contributing in some degree, though the book itself be afterwards totally forgotten, to form the character; and the parents, therefore, who, merely requiring from him a certain course of study, pay little or no attention to story-books, are educating him they know not how.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  117
 
  A very common practice may be here noticed, which should be avoided if we would create a habit of studying with profit,—that of making children learn by rote what they do not understand. “It is done on this plea,—that they will hereafter learn the meaning of what they have been thus taught, and will be able to make a practical use of it.” (London Review, xi. 412, 413.) But no attempt at economy of time can be more injudicious…. All that is learned by rote by a child before he is competent to attach a meaning to the words he utters, would not, if all put together, amount to so much as would cost him, when able to understand it, a week’s labour to learn perfectly. Whereas, it may cost the toil, often the vain toil, of many years, to unlearn the habit of formalism,—of repeating words by rote without attending to their meaning; a habit which every one conversant with education knows to be in all subjects must readily acquired by children, and with difficulty avoided even with the utmost care of the teacher; but which such a plan must inevitably tend to generate.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  118
 
  Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory; therefore the first business of a teacher—first not only in point of time, but of importance—should be to excite not merely a general curiosity on the subject of the study, but a particular curiosity on particular points in that subject. To teach one who has no curiosity to learn, is to sow a field without ploughing it.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  119
 
  In reference to the study of history, I have elsewhere remarked upon the importance, among the intellectual qualifications for such a study, of a vivid imagination,—a faculty which, consequently, a skilful narrator must himself possess, and to which he must be able to furnish excitement in others. Some may, perhaps, be startled at this remark, who have been accustomed to consider imagination as having no other office than to feign and to falsify. Every faculty is liable to abuse and misdirection, and imagination among the rest; but it is a mistake to suppose that it necessarily tends to pervert the truth of history and to mislead the judgment. On the contrary, our view of any transaction, especially one that is remote in time or place, will necessarily be imperfect, generally incorrect, unless it embrace something more than the bare outline of the occurrences,—unless we have before the mind a lively idea of the scenes in which the events took place, the habits of thought and of feeling of the actors, and all the circumstances connected with the transaction; unless, in short, we can in a considerable degree transport ourselves out of our own age, and country, and persons, and imagine ourselves the agents or spectators. It is from consideration of all these circumstances that we are enabled to form a right judgment as to the facts which history records, and to derive instruction from it.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  120
 
  Many are saved by the deficiency of their memory from being spoiled by their education; for those who have no extraordinary memory are driven to supply its defects by thinking. If they do not remember a mathematical demonstration, they are driven to devise one. If they do not exactly retain what Aristotle or Smith have said, they are driven to consider what they were likely to have said, or ought to have said. And thus their faculties are invigorated by exercise.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  121
 
  “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.” [Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.] We should, then, cultivate, not only the corn-fields of our minds, but the pleasure-grounds also. Every faculty and every study, however worthless they may be, when not employed in the service of God,—however debased and polluted when devoted to the service of sin,—become ennobled and sanctified when directed, by one whose constraining motive is the love of Christ, towards a good object. Let not the Christian then think “scorn of the pleasant land.” That land is the field of ancient and modern literature,—of philosophy, in almost all its departments,—of the arts of reasoning and persuasion. Every part of it may be cultivated with advantage, as the Land of Canaan when bestowed upon God’s peculiar people. They were not commanded to let it lie waste, as incurably polluted by the abominations of its first inhabitants; but to cultivate it, and dwell in it, living in obedience to the divine laws, and dedicating its choicest fruits to the Lord their God.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  122
 
  It would have been well if Bacon had added some hints as to the mode of study: how books are to be chewed, and swallowed, and digested. For, besides inattentive readers, who measure their proficiency by the pages they have gone over, it is quite possible, and not uncommon, to read most laboriously, even so as to get by heart the words of a book, without really studying it at all; that is, without employing the thoughts on the subject.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  123
 
  One very useful precept for students is, never to remain long puzzling out any difficulty; but lay the book and the subject aside, and return to it some hours after, or next day; after having turned the attention to something else. Sometimes a person will weary his mind for several hours in some efforts (which might have been spared) to make out some difficulty, and next day, when he returns to the subject, will find it quite easy.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  124
 
  Always trust, therefore, for the overcoming of a difficulty, not to long-continued study after you have once got bewildered, but to repeated trials at intervals. It may be here observed that the student of any science or art should not only distinctly understand all the technical language and all the rules of the art, but also learn them by heart, so that they may be remembered as familiarly as the alphabet, and employed constantly and with scrupulous exactness. Otherwise, technical language will prove an encumbrance instead of an advantage, just as a suit of clothes would be if, instead of putting them on and wearing them, one should carry them about in his hands.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  125
 
  Too religious, in the proper sense of the word, we cannot be. We cannot have the religious sentiments and principles too strong, or too deeply fixed, if only they have a right object. We cannot love God too warmly—or honour him too highly—or strive to serve Him too earnestly—or trust Him too implicitly; because our duty is to love Him “with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our mind, and all our strength.”  126
  But too religious, in another sense, we may, and are very apt to be;—that is, we are very apt to make for ourselves too many objects of religious feeling.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Superstition.    
  127
 
  Neither is superstition (as it has been defined by a popular though superficial writer) “an excess of religion” (at least in the ordinary sense of the word excess), as if any one could have too much of true religion, but any misdirection of religious feeling; manifested either in showing religious veneration or regard to objects which deserve none; that is, properly speaking, the worship of false gods; or in the assignment of such a degree or such a kind of religious veneration to any object as that object, though worthy of some reverence, does not deserve; or in the worship of the true God through the medium of improper rites and ceremonies.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Superstition.    
  128
 
  “Atheism did never perturb States.” [Bacon’s Essay, Of Superstition.] It may perhaps be inferred from this remark that Bacon entertained an opinion, held by some, that persons indifferent about all religion are the most likely to be tolerant of all, and to be averse to persecution and coercion. But this is a mistaken notion. Many persons, indeed, perhaps most, are tolerant or intolerant according to their respective tempers, and not according to their principles. But as far as principles are concerned, certainly the latitudinarian is the more likely to be intolerant, and the sincerely conscientious tolerant. A man who is careless about religious sincerity may clearly see and appreciate the political convenience of religious uniformity, and if he has no religious scruples of his own, he will not be the more likely to be tender of the religious scruples of others: if he is ready himself to profess what he does not believe, he will see no reason why others should not do the same.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Superstition.    
  129
 
  What used to mislead men, and still misleads not a few, as to the costliness of war, and the check it gives to national prosperity, is, that they see the expenditure go to our own fellow-subjects. We pay a great deal, it is true, out of the public purse, to soldiers; but then it is our soldiers, the Queen’s subjects, that get it. Powder, and guns, and ships of war, cost a great deal; but this cost is again to the manufacturers of powder and guns, &c. And thus people brought themselves to fancy that the country altogether did not sustain any loss at all…. The fallacy consists in not perceiving that though the labour of the gunpowder-makers, soldiers, &c., is not unproductive to them, inasmuch as they are paid for it, it is unproductive to us, as it leaves no valuable results. If gunpowder is employed in blasting rocks, so as to open a rich vein of ore or coal, or to make a useful road, the manufacturer gets his payment for it just the same as if it had been made into fire-works; but then, the mine, or the road, will remain as an article of wealth to him who has so employed it. After having paid for the powder he will still be richer than he was before; whereas if he had employed it for fireworks he would have been so much the poorer, since it would have left no results.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms, &c.    
  130
 
  The heavens do indeed “declare the glory of God,” and the human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made;” but Man, considered not merely as an organized Being, but as a rational agent, and as a member of society, is perhaps the most wonderfully contrived, and to us the most interesting, specimen of divine Wisdom that we have any knowledge of.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms, etc.    
  131
 
  It is to be feared, indeed, that Society would fare but ill if none did service to the Public except in proportion as they possessed the rare moral and intellectual endowment of enlightened public spirit. For such a spirit, whether in the form of patriotism or that of philanthropy, implies not merely benevolent feelings stronger than, in fact, we commonly meet with, but also powers of abstraction beyond what the mass of mankind can possess.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms, etc.    
  132
 
  It often happens that a man seeks, and obtains, much intercourse with the people of the country in which he travels, but falls in with only one particular set, whom he takes for representatives of the whole nation. Accordingly, to Bacon’s admonition about procuring letters of introduction we should add a caution as to the point of “from whom?” or else the traveller may be consigned, as it were, to persons of some particular party, who will forward him to others of their own party in the next city, and so on through the chief part of Europe. And two persons who may have been thus treated by those of opposite parties may perhaps return from corresponding tours with as opposite impressions of the people of the countries they have visited as the knights in the fable, of whom one had seen only the silver side of the shield, and the other only the golden.  133
  Both will perhaps record quite faithfully all they have seen and heard; and one will have reported a certain nation as full of misery and complaint, and ripe for revolt, when the other has found them prosperous, sanguine, and enthusiastically loyal.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Travel.    
  134
 
  Among writers (whether of argumentative works or of fiction), even such as are far from wholly unscrupulous, there are many who seem to think it allowable and right to set forth all the good that is on one side, and all the evil on the other. They compare together, and decide on, the gardens of A and B, after having culled from the one a nosegay of the choicest flowers, and from the other all the weeds they could spy.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Truth.    
  135
 
  Controversy, though always an evil in itself, is sometimes a necessary evil. To give up everything worth contending about, in order to prevent hurtful contentions, is, for the sake of extirpating noxious weeds, to condemn the field to perpetual sterility. Yet, if the principle that it is an evil only to be incurred when necessary for the sake of some important good, were acted upon, the two classes of controversies mentioned by Bacon would certainly be excluded. The first, controversy on subjects too deep and mysterious, is indeed calculated to gender strife. For, in a case where correct knowledge is impossible to any and where all are, in fact, in the wrong, there is but little likelihood of agreement: like men who should rashly venture to explore a strange land in utter darkness, they will be scattered into a thousand devious paths. The second class of subjects that would be excluded by this principle, are those which relate to matters too minute and trifling.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Unity in Religion.    
  136
 
  On the whole, there is nothing that more tends to deprave the moral sense than Party, because it supplies that sympathy for which Man has a natural craving. To any one unconnected with Party, the temptations of personal interest or gratification are in some degree checked by the disapprobation of those around him. But a partisan finds himself surrounded by persons most of whom, though perhaps not unscrupulous in their private capacity, are prepared to keep him in countenance in much that is unjustifiable,—to overlook or excuse almost anything in a zealous and efficient partisan,—and even to applaud what in another they would condemn, so it does but promote some party-object. For Party corrupts the conscience, by making almost all virtues flow, as it were, in its own channel. Zeal for truth becomes, gradually, zeal for the watchword—the shibboleth—of the party; justice, mercy, benevolence, are all limited to the members of that party, or (which is usually even more detested) those of no party. Candour is made to consist in putting the best construction on all that comes from one side, and the worst on all that does not. Whatever is wrong in any member of the party is either boldly denied, in the face of all evidence, or vindicated, or passed over in silence; and whatever is, or can be brought to appear, wrong on the opposite side, is readily credited, and brought forward, and exaggerated. The principles of conduct originally the noblest, disinterested self-devotion, courage, and active zeal, Party perverts to its own purposes; veracity, submissive humility, charity,—in short, every Christian virtue,—it enlists in its cause, and confines within its own limits; and the conscience becomes gradually so corrupted that it becomes a guide to evil instead of good. The “light that is in us becomes darkness.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Unity in Religion.    
  137
 
  A prohibition of interest, or—which is only a minor degree of the same error—a prohibition of any beyond a certain fixed rate of interest, has an effect similar to that of a like interference between the buyers and sellers of any other commodity. If, for example, in a time of scarcity it were enacted, on the ground that cheap food is desirable, that bread and meat should not be sold beyond such and such a price, the result would be that every one would be driven—unless he would submit to be starved—to evade the law; and he would have to pay for his food more than he otherwise would, to cover (1) the cost of the contrivances for the evasion of the law, and (2) a compensation to the seller for the risk, and also for the discredit, of that evasion. Even so, a man who is in want of money, and can find no one to lend it him at a legal interest, is either driven (as Bacon himself remarks) to sell his property at a ruinous loss, or else he borrows of some Jew, who contrives to evade the law; and he has to pay for that evasion. Suppose, for instance, he could borrow (if there were no usury laws) at eight per cent., he will have to pay, perhaps, virtually twelve per cent., because (1) he has to resort to a man who incurs disgrace by his trade, and who will require a greater profit to compensate for the discredit; and (2) he will have to receive part of his loan in goods which he does not want, at an exorbitant price, or in some way to receive less, really, than he does nominally.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Usury.    
  138
 
  Selfishness is not an excess of self-love, and consists not in an over-desire for happiness, but in placing your happiness in something which interferes with, or leaves you regardless of, that of others. Nor are we to suppose that selfishness and want of feeling are either the same or inseparable. For, on the one hand, I have known such as have had very little feeling, but felt for others as much nearly as for themselves, and were, therefore, far from selfish; and, on the other hand, some of very acute feelings feel for no one but themselves, and, indeed, are sometimes amongst the most cruel.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self.    
  139
 
  There is a strange difference in the ages at which different persons acquire such maturity as they are capable of, and at which some of those who have greatly distinguished themselves have done, and been, something remarkable. Some of them have left the world at an earlier age than that at which others have begun their career of eminence. It was remarked to the late Dr. Arnold by a friend, as a matter of curiosity, that several men who have filled a considerable page in history have lived but forty-seven years (Philip of Macedon, Joseph Addison, Sir William Jones, Nelson, Pitt), and he was told in a jocular way to beware of the forty-seventh year. He was at that time in robust health; but he died at forty-seven! Alexander died at thirty-two; Sir Stamford Raffles at forty-five. Sir Isaac Newton did indeed live to a great age; but it is said that all his discoveries were made before he was forty; so that he might have died at that age and been as celebrated as he is. On the other hand, Herschel is said to have taken to astronomy at forty-seven. Swedenborg, if he had died at sixty, would have been remembered by those that did remember him merely as a sensible worthy man, and a very considerable mathematician. The strange fancies which took possession of him, and which survive in the sect he founded, all came on after that age.  140
  Some persons resemble certain trees, such as the nut, which flowers in February, and ripens its fruit in September; or the juniper and the arbutus, which take a whole year or more to perfect their fruit; and others the cherry, which takes between two and three months.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Youth and Age.    
  141
 
  As for the decay of mental faculties which often takes place in old age, every one is aware of it; but many overlook one kind of it which is far from uncommon; namely, when a man of superior intelligence, without falling into anything like dotage, sinks into an ordinary man. Whenever there is a mixture of genius with imbecility, every one perceives that a decay has taken place. But when a person of great intellectual eminence becomes (as is sometimes the case) an ordinary average man, just such as many have been all their life, no one is likely to suspect that the faculties have been impaired by age, except those who have seen much of him in his brighter days.  142
  Even so, no one on looking at an ordinary dwelling-house in good repair would suspect that it had been once a splendid palace; but when we view a stately old castle or cathedral partly in ruins, we see at once that it cannot be what it originally was.  143
  The decay which is most usually noticed in old people, both by others and by themselves, is a decay in memory. But this is perhaps partly from its being a defect easily to be detected and distinctly proved. When a decay of judgment takes place—which is perhaps oftener the case than is commonly supposed—the party himself is not likely to be conscious of it; and his friends are more likely to overlook it, and, even when they do perceive it, to be backward in giving him warning, for fear of being met with such a rebuff as Gil Blas received in return for his candour from the Archbishop, his patron.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Youth and Age.    
  144
 
  “Some natural dispositions which have better grace in youth than in age, such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech.” [Bacon’s Essay, Of Youth and Age.] It is remarkable that, in point of style of writing, Bacon himself, at different periods of life, showed differences just opposite to what most would have expected. His earlier writings are the most unornamented; and he grew more ornate as he advanced. So also Burke. His earliest work, On the Sublime [A Vindication of Natural Society appeared first], is in a brief, dry, philosophical style; and he became florid to an excess as he grew older.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Youth and Age.    
  145
 
  It is remarkable that there is nothing less promising than, in early youth, a certain full-formed, settled, and, as it may be called, adult character. A lad who has, to a degree that excites wonder and admiration, the character and demeanour of an intelligent man of mature age, will probably be that, and nothing more, all his life, and will cease accordingly to be anything remarkable, because it was the precocity alone that ever made him so. It is remarked by greyhound fanciers that a well-formed, compact-shaped puppy never makes a fleet dog. They see more promise in the loose-jointed, awkward, clumsy ones. And even so, there is a kind of crudity and unsettledness in the minds of those young persons who turn out ultimately the most eminent.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Youth and Age.    
  146
 
  Bacon seems to have had that over-estimate of those who are called the “prudent” which is rather common. One cause of the supposed superiority of wisdom often attributed to the over-cautious, reserved, non-confiding, non-enterprising characters, as compared with the more open, free-spoken, active, and daring, is the tendency to overrate the amount of what is distinctly known. The bold and enterprising are likely to meet with a greater number of tangible failures than the over-cautious; and yet if you take a hundred average men of each description, you will find that the bold have had, on the whole, a more successful career. But the failures—that is, the non-success—of the overcautious cannot be so distinctly traced. Such a man only misses the advantages—often very great—which boldness and free-speaking might have gained. He who always goes on foot will never meet with a fall from a horse, or be stopped on a journey by a restive horse; but he who rides, though exposed to these accidents, will, in the end, have accomplished more journeys than the other. He who lets his land lie fallow will have incurred no losses from bad harvests; but he will not have so much of his land as if he had ventured to encounter such risks.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, On Boldness.    
  147
 
  The duty of Christian forgiveness does not require you, nor are you allowed, to look on injustice, or any other fault, with indifference, as if it were nothing wrong at all, merely because it is you that have been wronged.  148
  But even where we cannot but censure, in a moral point of view, the conduct of those who have injured us, we should remember that such treatment as may be very fitting for them to receive may be very unfitting for us to give. To cherish, or to gratify, haughty resentment, is a departure from the pattern left us by Him who “endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself,” not to be justified by any offence that can be committed against us. And it is this recollection of Him who, faultless Himself, designed to leave us an example of meekness and long-suffering, that is the true principle and motive of Christian forgiveness. We shall best fortify our patience under injuries by remembering how much we ourselves have to be forgiven, and that it was “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Let the Christian therefore accustom himself to say of any one who has greatly wronged him, “That man owes me an hundred pence.” An old Spanish writer says, “To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human; but to return good for evil is godlike.”
Richard Whately: Annot. on Lord Bacon’s Essay, Of Anger.    
  149
 
  Mere innocent amusement is in itself a good, when it interferes with no greater, especially as it may occupy the place of some other that may not be innocent. The Eastern monarch who proclaimed a reward to him who should discover a new pleasure would have deserved well of mankind had he stipulated that it should be blameless. Those, again, who delight in the study of human nature may improve in the knowledge of it, and in the profitable application of that knowledge, by the perusal of such fictions [by Miss Jane Austen] as those before us.
Richard Whately: Dublin Quart. Rev., 1821.    
  150
 
  The proper office of candour is to prepare the mind not for the rejection of all evidence, but for the right reception of evidence;—not to be a substitute for reasons, but to enable us fairly to weigh the reasons on both sides.
Richard Whately: Elements of Logic.    
  151
 
  The truth is, mankind have an innate propensity, as to other errors, so, to that of endeavouring to serve God by proxy;—to commit to some distinct Order of men the care of their religious concerns, in the same manner as they confide the care of their bodily health to the physician, and of their legal transactions to the lawyer; deeming it sufficient to follow implicitly their directions, without attempting themselves to become acquainted with the mysteries of medicine or of law. For man, except when unusually depraved, retains enough of the image of his Maker to have a natural reverence for religion, and a desire that God should be worshipped; but, through the corruption of his nature, his heart is (except when divinely purified) too much alienated from God to take delight in serving Him. Hence the disposition men have ever shown to substitute the devotion of the priest for their own; to leave the duties of piety in his hands, and to let him serve God in their stead. This disposition is not so much the consequence, as itself the origin, of priestcraft.
Richard Whately: Errors of Romanism.    
  152
 
  In fact, the real students of Scripture, properly so called, are, I fear, fewer than is commonly supposed. The theological student is often a student chiefly of some human system of divinity, fortified by references to Scripture, introduced from time to time as there is occasion. He proceeds—often unconsciously—by setting himself to ascertain, not what is the information or instruction to be derived from a certain narrative or discourse of one of the sacred writers, but what aid can be derived from them towards establishing or refuting this or that point of dogmatic theology. Such a mode of study surely ought at least not to be exclusively pursued. At any rate, it cannot properly be called a study of Scripture.  153
  There is, in fact, a danger of its proving a great hindrance to the profitable study of Scripture; for so strong an association is apt to be established in the mind between certain expressions, and the technical sense to which they have been confined in some theological system, that when the student meets with them in Scripture he at once understands them in that sense, in passages where perhaps an unbiassed examination of the context would plainly show that such was not the author’s meaning.
Richard Whately: Essays, On the Difficulties of St. Paul’s Epistles.    
  154
 
  Several different men, who have all had equal, or even the very same, experience, that is, have been witnesses or agents in the same transactions, will often be found to resemble so many different men looking at the same book: one, perhaps, though he distinctly sees black marks on white paper, has never learned his letters; another can read, but is a stranger to the language in which the book is written; another has an acquaintance with the language, but understands it imperfectly; another is familiar with the language, but is a stranger to the subject of the book, and wants power or previous instruction to enable him to fully take in the author’s drift; while another, again, perfectly comprehends the whole.  155
  The object that strikes the eye is to all of these persons the same; the difference of the impressions produced on the mind of each is referable to the differences in their minds.
Richard Whately: Introd. Lects. on Polit. Econ.    
  156
 
  An injudicious reader of history is liable to be misled by the circumstance that historians and travellers occupy themselves principally (as is natural) with the relation of whatever is remarkable, and different from what commonly takes place in their own time or country. They do not dwell on the ordinary transactions of human life (which are precisely what furnish the data on which political economy proceeds), but on everything that appears an exception to general rules, and in any way such as could not have been anticipated. The sort of information which the political economist wants is introduced, for the most part, only incidentally and obliquely; and is to be collected, imperfectly, from scattered allusions. So that if you will give a rapid glance, for instance, at the history of these islands from the time of the Norman conquest to the present day, you will find that the differences between the two states of the country, in most of the points with which our science is conversant, are but very imperfectly accounted for in the main outline of the narrative.  157
  If it were possible that we could have a full report of the common business and common conversation, in the markets, the shops, and the wharfs of Athens and Piræus, for a single day, it would probably throw more light on the state of Greece at that time, in all that political economy is most concerned with, than all the histories that are extant put together.
Richard Whately: Introd. Lects. on Polit. Econ.    
  158
 
  Sir Matthew Hale, whenever he was convinced of the injustice of any cause, would engage no more in it than to explain to his client the grounds of that conviction; he abhorred the practice of misreciting evidence, quoting precedents in books falsely or unfairly, so as to deceive ignorant juries or inattentive judges; and he adhered to the same scrupulous sincerity in his pleadings which he observed in the other transactions of life. It was as great a dishonour as a man was capable of, that for a little money he was hired to say otherwise than he thought.
Richard Whately: Lect. on the Intellectual and Moral Influences of the Professions: License of Counsel.    
  159
 
  Custom will often blind one to the good as well as to the evil effects of any long-established system.
Richard Whately: Lects. on Polit. Econ., Appendix E.    
  160
 
  A pleader of powers far above the average is not, as such, serviceable to the Public. He obtains wealth and credit for himself and his family; but any special advantage accruing from his superior ability, to those who chance to be his clients, is just so much loss to those he chances to be opposed to: and which party is, on each occasion, in the right, must be regarded as an even chance. His death, therefore, would be no loss to the Public; only to those particular persons who might have benefited by his superior abilities, at their opponents’ expense. It is not that advocates generally are not useful to the Public. They are even necessary. But extraordinary ability in an advocate is an advantage only to himself and his friends. To the Public, the most desirable thing is, that pleaders should be as equally matched as possible; so that neither John Doe nor Richard Roe should have any advantage independent of the goodness of his cause.
Richard Whately: Lecture on the Professions.    
  161
 
  Now, Bacon is a striking instance of a genius who could think so profoundly, and at the same time so clearly, that an ordinary man understands readily most of his wisest sayings, and perhaps thinks them so self-evident as hardly to need mention. But, on reconsideration and repeated meditation, you perceive more and more what extensive and important applications one of his maxims will have, and how often it has been overlooked; and on returning to it again and again, fresh views of its importance will continually open on you. One of his sayings will be like some of the heavenly bodies that are visible to the naked eye, but in which you see continually more and more, the better the telescope you apply to them.  162
  The “dark sayings,” on the contrary, of some admired writers may be compared to a fog-bank at sea, which the navigator at first glance takes for a chain of majestic mountains, but which, when approached closely, or when viewed through a good glass, proves to be a mere mass of unsubstantial vapours.
Richard Whately: Pref. to Bacon’s Essays.    
  163
 
  When complaints are made—often not altogether without reason—of the prevailing ignorance of facts on such or such subjects, it will often be found that the parties censured, though possessing less knowledge than is desirable, yet possess more than they know what to do with. Their deficiency in arranging and applying their knowledge, in combining facts, and correctly deducing, and rightly employing, general principles, will be perhaps greater than their ignorance of facts.
Richard Whately: Pref. to Bacon’s Essays.    
  164
 
  The unwise and incautious are always prone to rush from an error on one side into an opposite error. And a reaction accordingly took place, from the abuse of reasoning, to the undue neglect of it, and from the fault of not sufficiently observing facts, to that of trusting to a mere accumulation of ill-arranged knowledge. It is as if men had formerly spent vain labour in threshing over and over again the same straw and winnowing the same chaff, and then their successors had resolved to discard these processes altogether, and to bring home and use wheat and weeds, straw, chaff, and grain, just as they grew, and without any preparation at all.
Richard Whately: Preface to Bacon’s Essays.    
  165
 
  It is well known what a reproach to our climate is the prevalence of fogs, and how much more of risk and of inconvenience results from that mixture of light and obscurity than from the darkness of night. But let any one imagine to himself, if he can, a mist so resplendent with gay prismatic colours that men should forget its inconveniences in their admiration of its beauty, and that a kind of nebular taste should prevail, for preferring that gorgeous dimness to vulgar daylight: nothing short of this could afford a parallel to the mischief done to the public mind by some late writers both in England and America,—a sort of “Children of the Mist,” who bring forward their speculations—often very silly, and not seldom very mischievous—under cover of the twilight. They have accustomed their disciples to admire as a style sublimely philosophical what may best be described as a certain haze of words imperfectly understood, through which some seemingly original ideas, scarcely distinguishable in their outlines, loom, as it were, on the view, in a kind of dusky magnificence, that greatly exaggerates their real dimensions.
Richard Whately: Preface to Bacon’s Essays.    
  166
 
  And as we have seen those who have been loving playfellows in childhood, grow up, if they grow up with good, and with like dispositions, into still closer friendship in riper years, so also it is probable that when this our state of childhood shall be perfected, in the maturity of a better world, the like attachment will continue between those companions who have trod together the Christian path to glory and have “taken sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends.” A change to indifference towards those who have fixed their hearts on the same objects with ourselves during this earthly pilgrimage, and have given and received mutual aid during their course, is a change as little, I trust, to be expected as it is to be desired. It certainly is not such a change as the Scriptures teach us to prepare for.
Richard Whately: View of the Scripture Revelations of a Future State.    
  167
 
  I am convinced, on the contrary, that the extension and perfection of friendship will constitute great part of the future happiness of the blest. Many have lived in various and distant ages and countries, perfectly adapted (I mean not merely in their being generally estimable, but in the agreement of their tastes, and suitableness of dispositions) for friendship with each other, but who, of course, could never meet in this world…. I should be sorry to think such a wish absurd and presumptuous, or unlikely to be gratified.
Richard Whately: View of the Scripture Revelations of a Future State.    
  168
 
 
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