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that he is not believed when he speaks truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honesty; when a man hath once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood.
27. And I have often thought, that God hath, in his great wisdom, hid from men of false and dishonest minds, the wonderful advantages of truth and integrity to the prosperity even of our worldly affairs; these men are so blinded, by their covetousness and ambition, that they cannot look beyond a present advantage, nor forbear to seize upon it, though by ways never so indirect; they cannot see so far, as to the remote consequences of a steady integrity, and the vast benefit and advantage which it will bring a man at last.
28. Were but this sort of men wise and clear-sighted enough to discern this, they would be honest out of very knavery; not out of any love to honesty and virtue, but with a crafty design to promote and advance more effectually their own interests: and therefore the justice of the Divine Providence hath had this truest point of wisdom from their eyes, that bad men might not be upon equal terms with the just and upright, and serve their own wicked designs by honest and lofty means.
29. Indeed, if a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and should never have occasion to converse more with mankind, never more need their good opinion or good word, it were then no great matter (speaking as to the concernments of this world) if a man spends his reputation all at once, and ventured it at one throw.
30. But if he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of conversation while he is in it, let him make use of truth and sincerity in all his words and actions; for nothing but this will last and hold out to the end; all other arts will fail, but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last.
31. When Aristotle was once asked, What a man could gain by uttering falsehoods ? he replied, “not to be credited when he shall tell the truth.”
The character of a liar is at once so hateful and contemptible, that even of those who have lost their virtue it might be expected, that from the violation of truth they should be restrained by their pride. Almost every other vice that disgraces human nature, may be kept in countenance by applause and association.
32. The corrupter of virgin innocence sees himself envied by the men, and at least not detested by the woman; the drunkard may easily unite with beings, devoted like himself to noisy merriment or silent insensibility, who will celebrate his victories over the novices of intemperance, boast themselves the companjons the gang.
of his prowess, and tell with rapture of the multitudes whom unsuccessful emulation has hurried to the grave: even the robber and the cut-throat have their followers who admire their address and intrepidity, their stratagems of rapine, and their fidelity to
33. The liar, and only the liar, is invariably and universally despised, abandoned and disavowed: he has no domestic consolations, which he can oppose to the censure of mankind; he can retire to no fraternity where his crimes may stand in the place of virtues, but is given up to the hisses of the multitude, without friends and without apologist. It is the peculiar condition of falsehood, to be equally detested by the good and bad: “The devils,” says Sir Thomas Brown," do not tell lies to one another; for truth is necessary to all societies; nor can the society of hell subsist without it."
34. It is natural to expect that a crime, thus generally detested, should be generally avoided ; at least that none should expose himself to unabated and unpitied infamy, without an adequate temptation; and that to guilt so easily detected, and so severely punished, an adequate temptation would not readily be found.
35. Yet so it is, that in defiance of censure and contempt, truth is frequently violated; and scarcely the most vigilant and unremitted circumspection will secure him who mixes with mankind, from being hourly deceived by men of whom it can scarcely be imagined, that they mean an injury to him or profit to themselves; even where the subject of conversation could not have heen expected to put the passions in motion, or to have excited either hope or fear, or zeal or malignity, sufficient to induce any man to put his reputation in hazard, however little he might value it, or to overpower the love of truth, however weak might be its influence.
36. The casuists have very diligently distinguished lies into their several classes, according to their various degrees of malignity; but they have, I think, generally omitted that which is most common and perhaps, not less mischievous: which, since the moralists have not given it a name, I shall distinguish as the lie of vanity.
To vanity may justly be imputed most of the falsehoods, which every man perceiveth hourly playing upon his ear, and perhaps, most of those that are propagated with success.
37. To the lie of commerce, and the lie of malice, the motive. is so apparent, that they are seldom negligently or implicitly received: suspicion is always watchful over the practices of interest: and whatever the hope of gain, or desire of mischief, can prompt one man to assert, another is by reasons equally cogent incited to refute. But vanity pleases herself with such slight
gratifications, and looks forward to pleasure so remotely consequential, that her practices raise no alarm, and her stratagems are not easily discovered.
38. Vanity is, indeed, often suffered to pass unpursued by suspicion; because he who would watch her motions, can never be at rest, fraud and malice are bounded in their influence; some opportunity of time and place is necessary to their agency; but scarce any man is abstracted one moment from his vanity: and he, to whom truth affords no gratifications, is generally inclined to seek them in falsehoods.
39. It is remarked by Sir Kenelm Digby,“ That every man has a desire to appear superior to others, though it were only in having seen what they had not seen.”
Such an accidental advantage, since it neither implies merit, nor confers dignity, one would think should not be desired so much as to be counterfeited: yet even this vanity, trifling as it is, produced innumerable narratives, all equally false, but more or less credible, in proportion to the skill or confidence of the relater.
40. How many may a man of diffusive conversation count among his acquaintances, whose lives have been signalized by numberless escapes, who never cross the river but in a storm, or take a Journey into the country without more adventures than befel the knight-errants of ancient times, in pathless forests or enchanted castles! How many must he know, to whom portents and prodigies are of daily occurrence; and for whom nature is hourly working wonders invisible to every other eye, only to supply them with subjects of conversation!
41. Others there are who amuse themselves with the dissemination of falsehood, at greater hazard of detection and disgrace: men marked out by some lucky planet for universal confidence and friendship, who have been consulted in every difficuky, intrusted with every secret, and summoned to every transaction : it is the supreme felicity of these men, to stun all companies with noisy information; to still doubt, and overbear opposition, with certain knowledge or authentic intelligence.
42. A liar of this kind, with a strong memory or brisk Imagination, is often the oracle of an obscure club, and, till time discovers his impostures, dictates to his hearers with uncontroled thority; for if a public question be started, he was present at the debate; if a new fashion be mentioned, he was at court the first day of its appearance; if a new performance of literature draws the attention of the public, he has patronized the author, and sees his work in manuscript: if a criminal of eminence be condemned to die, he often predicted his fate, and endeavoured his reformation ; and who that lives at a distance from the scene
of action, will dare to contradict a man, who reports from his own eyes
ears, and to whom all persons and affairs are thus intimately known.
43. This kind of falsehood is generally successful for a time, because it is practised at first with timidity and caution; but the prosperity of the liar is of short duration ? the reception of one story is always an incitement to the forgery of another less probable; and he goes on to triumph over tacit credulity, till pride or reason rises up against him, and his companions will no longer endure to see him wiser than themselves.
44. It is apparent, that the inventors of all these fictions intend soine exaltation of themselves, and are led off by the pursuit of honour from their attendance upon truth; their narrative always imply some consequence in favour of their courage,
their sagacity, or their activity, their familiarity with the learned, or their reception among the great; they are always bribed by the present pleasure of seeing themselves superior to those who surround them, and receiving the homage of silent attention and envious admiration.
45. But vanity is sometimes excited to fiction by less visible gratifications: the present age abounds with a race of liars who are content with the consciousness of falsehood, and whose pride is to deceive others without any gain or glory to themselves. Of this tribe it is the supreme pleasure to remark a lady in the playhouse or the park, and to publish, under the character of a man suddenly enamoured, an advertisement in the news of the next day, containing a minute description of her person and her dress.
46. From this artifice, however, no other effect can be expected, than perturbations which the writer can never see, and conjectures of which he can never be informed; some mischief, however, he hopes he has done; and to have done mischief, is of some importance. He sets his invention to work again, and produces a narrative of a robbery, or a murder, with all the circumstances of time and place accurately adjusted. This is a jest of greater effect and longer duration, if he fixes his scene at a proper distance, he may for several days keep a wife in terror for her husband, or a mother for her son; and please himself with reflecting, that by his abilities and address some addition is made to the miseries of life.
47. There is, I think, an ancient law in Scotland, by which Leasing-making was capitally punished. I am, indeed, far from desiring to increase in this kingdom the number of executions; yet I cannot but think, that they who destroy the confidence of society, weaken the credit of intelligence, and interrupt the security of life; harrass the delicate with shame, and perplex the timorous with alarms; might very properly be awakened to a sense of their crimes, by denunciations of a whipping-post or a pilory: since many are so insensible of right and wrong, that they have no standard of action but the law; nor feel guilt but as they dread punishment.
The Importance of Punctuality. 1. T is observed in the writings of Boyle, that the excellence
a moted, if the various expedients and contrivances which lie concealed in private hands were by reciprocal communications made generally known; for there are few operations that are not performed by one or another with some peculiar advantages, which, though singly of little importance, would by conjunction and concurrence open new inlets to knowledge and give new powers to diligence.
2. There are in like manner several moral excellencies distributed among the various classes of mankind, which he who converses in the world should endeavour to assemble in himself. It was said by the learned Cujacius, that he never read more than one book, by which he was not instructed; and he who shall inquire after virtue with ardour and attention, will seldom find a man by whose example or sentiments he may not be improved.
3. Every profession has some essential and appropriate virtue, without which there can be no hope of honor or success, and which, as it is more or less cultivated, confers within its sphere of activity different degrees of merit and reputation. As the astrologers range the subdivisions of mankind under the planets which they suppose to influence their lives, the moralist may distribute them according to the virtues which they necessarily practise, and consider them as distinguished by prudence or fortitude, diligence or patience.
4. So much are the modes of excellence settled by time and place, that men may be heard boasting in one street of that which they would anxiously conceal in another. The grounds of scorn and esteem, the topics of praise and satire are varied according to the several virtues or vices which the course of our lives has disclosed us to admire or abhor; but he who is solicitous for his own improvement, must not suffer his affairs to be limited by local reputation, but select from every tribe of mortals their characteristic virtues, and constellate in himself the scatter
graces which shine single in other men.
5. The chief praise to which a trader generally aspires is that of punctuality, or an exact and rigorous observance of commercial promises and engagements; nor is there any vice of which he so much dreads the imputation, as of negligence and instability. This is a quality which the interest of mankind requires to