distinguish the good and the bad; but if he is without
experience, he will never know, if I write to him ten
thousand times.Mrs. Carter says 'This is one of the many extravagant refinements
of the philosophers; and might lead persons into very dangerous
mistakes, if it was laid down as a maxim in ordinary life.' I think
that Mrs. Carter has not seen the meaning of Epictetus. The philosopher will discover the man's character by trying him, as the assayer
tries the silver by a test.
Cicero (De legibus, i. 9) says that the face expresses the hidden
character. Euripides (Medea, 518) says better, that no mark is impressed on the body by which we can distinguish the good man from
the bad. Shakspere says
There's no art
To find the mind's destruction in the face.
Macbeth, act i. sc. 4. For it is just the same as if a drachma
(a piece of silver money) asked to be recommended to a
person to be tested. If he is skilful in testing silver, he
will know what you are, for you (the drachma