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to appreciate men, to love them and to deserve their love, to distinguish and honour talents and virtue, to select our friends with discernment, and to observe all the decorums which it is disgraceful not to know or to forget in society. Finally, we habituate ourselves successively to the different virtues, the practice of which is the most necessary; to be just, kind, upright, faithful to our engagements, strict with ourselves, because we have a direct and personal interest in correcting our faults, indulgent and charitable towards others, who never do wrong but from mistake or misconception.* “The whole moral philosophy,” says Montaigne, “ may be as well associated with a low and private station, as with a more exalted rank; every man possesses within himself the entire form of the human condition."
A state of habitual reflection on and close observation of ourselves neutralizes the passions, and gives us the true practical philosophy. We perceive that there is something good even in what is most
* Mistakes are the causes of crimes and misery, as well in the details of ordinary life, as in the grand results of political dissensions. The harm which men do to one another is always the result of mistake---this is a general truth. See the particular consideration of mistakes in the Introduction, under the head of the Law of the universal mixture of good and evil.
defective, and that every thing in human concerns is compounded of good and evil.* A sound and enlightened reason discriminates and selects ; it founds its judgments on a wise moderation, on entire impartiality : for the spirit of party or prejudice is blind, fanatical, unjust, and addicted to persecution ; but toleration is kind and indulgent, and its indulgence is justice.
We appreciate and daily apply to our conduct those simple and common, but essential and fundamental truths, which are the epitome of morality, wisdom, and happiness : Inter utrumque tene--Stat medio virtus-Ne quid nimis- Virtue observes a due medium in all things.
Vivere parvo, to be content with little. To have few wants is to be truly rich.
Love to be beloved: friendship is acquired only by friendship.
Homo sum, humani nihil à me alienum puto.I am human, and whatever concerns humanity is interesting to me.
Res est sacra miser-The unfortunate are sacred objects.
We should also impress upon our minds these two maxims :
* See the Law of the universal mixture of good and evil, in the Introduction.
Do to others as you would be done by;
We make a point of never turning a deaf ear to the inward voice of conscience, which speaks, if I may be allowed the expression, in the name of the Deity; which seems to reveal to the soul the secret of its immortal nature and destination; which, jointly with reason, its noble companion, renders man superior to the brute, and which determines the morality of actions. We allow it a salutary influence and a constant control over our whole conduct. Conscience and reason then govern all our passions and all our desires.
Temperance and sobriety, which are the guardians of health ; moderation, which shuns alike every kind of excess; firmness of character, perseverance in undertakings, impartial justice, love of truth, and warm, disinterested, generous humanity, will necessarily result from this habit of a daily and continual examination of our conduct, actions, words, and thoughts. We shall frequently apply to ourselves this precept of the Delphic oracle, engraved on the front of the temple of Apollo-Know thyself. We shall every day make fresh progress in the knowledge of the human heart, in the study of man, and of our own character, and in the science of happiness and virtue.
We shall learn, by experience and reflection, to heighten our own felicity by contributing to that of others; for there is nothing but exchange between men.* The more good you do, the more you will receive; the more happiness you sow around you, the more you will reap yourself.
Nature, in zeal for human amity,
Young's Night Thoughts, Night 2.
Here is the principle of morality, of sociability, of civilization. +
* See the article on the Law of exchanges in the Introduction.
+ Love, taken in its most extensive signification, may be considered as the principle of morality, which is the science of the reciprocal relations, rights, and duties of all men, or the social science, which may likewise be termed the science of virtue and happiness. The employment of time forms one of the most important branches of this science. We might comprise the whole moral philosophy in the single word love, and in the sentiment which it expresses, and deduce from this new mode of viewing morality the following subdivisions:
We shall know at the same time how to do good to others without being dependent on them, to rely upon our own resources for the assurance of our
1. Love of a man's self, when rightly understood and properly directed, the principle of all other legitimate and salutary species of love, and of all the actions.
2. Love of his parents; filial affection, piety, respect. 3. Love of his brothers and sisters; fraternal affection.
4. Love of the sex (properly directed and restrained within due bounds); an imperious instinct, implanted in man for the perpetuation of the species, and which is the bond and charm of society.
5. Love of his wife; conjugal affection.
8. Love of his country and its government; patriotism, public spirit.
9. Love of mankind; humanity, enlightened philanthropy, genuine philosophy.
10. Love of the unfortunate; beneficence.
11. Love of glory (rightly understood and properly directed); heroism.
12. Love of justice, of virtue, of all that is good and useful.
13. Love of the beautiful, in the productions of nature and of the arts---the principle of taste.
14. Love of God; piety, admiration of, or gratitude to the supreme ruler of the universe.
Morality appears to consist essentially of love, applied to the beings which resemble us, or which are of the same species as ourselves, and to the beings, or things which are useful to us. Love is the soul of the universe, the principle of morality and