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Nor is it enough that one take care of all his discourses and orations; but he ought also to observe that the whole tenor of his actions be guided by profit rather than vain pomp, and by truth rather than ostentation. For if a passionate lover who has placed his affection upon any beloved object seeks no witnesses to attest its sincerity, but has such an eager desire when alone and in private, that, like a covered flame, it burns more vigorously and insensibly for being shut up; much more ought a moralist and a philosopher who has attained both the habit and exercise of virtue sit down self-contented, and applaud himself in private, neither needing nor desiring encomiasts or auditors from abroad.

There is an humor in some of the poets, of an old peevish housekeeper, that calls to his maid aloud: Do you see, Dionysia (that is his maid's name), I am now pleased, and have laid by all choler and passion. Just such like is the practice of some, who, as soon as they have done any thing which is obliging and civil, presently blaze it abroad, and turn their own heralds. Such men show plainly that they look beyond themselves for satisfaction; that they are desirous of praise and applause; and that they never were admitted near spectators of virtue, never saw her in her noble, royal dress, but only had some transient sight of her in a dream or an empty airy phantasm; and indeed, that they expose their actions to the public, as painters do their pictures, to be gazed at and admired by the gaping multitude.

Another sign of a proficient in virtue is, when the proficient has given any thing to his friend or done any kindness for any one, if he keeps it to himself and does not blab it to anybody; and (which is more) if he hath voted right against a majority of biassed suffragans, withstood [p. 462] the dishonest attempts of some rich and powerful man, generously rejected bribes when offered, abstained from inordinate drinking when athirst and alone, or at night, when none sees or knows what he does, lastly, if he hath conquered the briskest attempts of love (as is said of Agesilaus); if (I say) he contain himself from speaking of such actions, and do not in company boast of his performances. This I affirm,—such a one as can prove and try himself by himself, and be fully satisfied in the verdict of his conscience, as of an unexceptionable witness and spectator of what is right and good, shows plainly that his reason looks inward and is well rooted within him. and that the man (as Democritus said) is accustomed to take satisfaction from himself.

To borrow a simile from husbandmen and those that are concerned in the business of the fields, they are always best pleased to see those ears of corn which decline and by reason of their fulness bend downwards to the earth, but look upon those as empty, deceitful, and insignificant, which, because they have nothing in them, grow bolt upright and appear above the rest. So it is amongst students in philosophy; those that are most empty-headed, and have least firmness and solidity, have always the greatest share of confidence, formality, and stiffness in their address, look biggest, walk with the most state, and top upon and condemn others, with the highest arrogance and severity of any living. But when once their brains begin to fill and become well poised with solid notions, they look down into themselves, and quite lay aside that insolent and arrogant humor, which is proper only to youngsters.

Give me leave to illustrate this by one simile more. When you pour water into bottles or any other vessels, upon its being instilled into them, the air that was in them before presently flies out and gives place to the more substantial body. Even so it is with those that have had many [p. 463] good precepts instilled into them, and their minds replenished with solid truths. They presently find that all empty vanity flies off; that the imposthume of pride breaks ; that they do not value themselves for beard and gown only, but bend their actions and endeavors to the bettering of their rational faculties; and, lastly, that when they reprove they begin at home, turning the edge of their satire and invective upon themselves, even when at the same time they are civil and complaisant to all others beside. It is indeed an argument of a generous and truly brave disposition in a scholar, not to assume the name and character of one, and, as some use to do, to put the philosopher amongst his titles; but if any out of respect chance to give him that compellation, to be surprised, blush, and with a modest smile answer him in that of the poet,

You compliment your friend; le whom you so commend
Must needs be more than man,—far more than I pretend.

Aeschylus says of a young woman that, if ever she have played the wanton, you may discover it in her eyes, and read her affections in amorous glances which she cannot conceal; so a young scholar, if he be once entered in the mysteries and have tasted the sweets of philosophy, cannot possibly suppress the passion and concern for it; as Sappho says, his tongue falters when he would speak its praise; his heart is warm with affection;

A secret flame does run through every part.

You would admire and love the assurance and composedness of his looks, the affectionateness of his eyes, and especially the winning decency and agreeableness of his words and expressions.

Those that are to be initiated in the ceremonies of the Gods run to their temples at first with a great deal of noise, clamor, and rudeness; but as soon as the solemnity [p. 464] is seen and over, they attend with a profound silence and religious fear. So it is with the candidates in philosophy; you may perceive a throng, noise, and pother about the school-doors, by reason that several press thither eagerly, rudely, and violently for reputation, more than learning but when you are once in, and manifestly see the great light, as if some royal shrine were opened unto you, you are presently possessed with a quite different notion of things; are struck with silence and admiration, and begin, with humility and a reverend composure, to comply with and follow the divine oracle. That which Menedemus said in another case is very apposite to this sort of men. Those that went to the school of Athens were first of all (σοφοί) wise, next (φιλόσοφοι) lovers of wisdom, then orators, and at last, in course of time, plain common men; for the longer they applied themselves to study and philosophy, so much the more all vanity, pride, and pedantry abated in them, and the nearer they came to plain, downright, honest men.

1 Odyss. XVI. 187.

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