A MORAL ESSAY Concerning the Nature and Unreasonableness OF PRIDE: IN WHICH The most plausible Pretences of this VICE are examined, IN A CONFERENCE BETWEEN Philotimus and Philalethes.

Licensed August 17. 1689.

London: Printed for Ioseph Hindmarsh, at the Golden Ball in Cornhil. 1689.

TO THE READER.

I Easily foresee some People will be disobli­ged with the Freedom of these Papers, and think themselves treated with too little Ceremony; But unless they can dis­arm their pretended Adversary, and confute his Arguments, I would desire them by all means to smother their Resentments: For as bad as the World is, to appear in defence of Pride, and turn Advocate for the Devil, looks like an un­toward sort of an Employment. However to sweeten their Humour as much as may be, they may please to consider that there was no good to be done in this Case without plain dealing; This Malady of all others must be well ex­amined, otherwise it's in vain to expect a Cure. 'Tis to no purpose to declaim in general against a Proud man, and to give him a great many hard Names; for unless you point di­rectly upon his Vice, distinguish it's Nature, and discover the weakness of that which he builds upon. Every one will be sure to avoid the Charge and parry against the Application. Farther, to abate their Censure I think it not [Page] improper to acquaint them that here are no particular Characters attempted, nor is there the least intention to provoke or expose any Person Living. Besides when a Piece like this is drawn from so many different Faces; the mixing of Features and Complexions, will keep the Originals from being discover'd. In short the Design of this small Discourse is only to make Men more useful and acceptable to Soci­ety, and more easie to themselves than they generally are: And that those who over-top their Neighbours upon any considerable account; may manage their Advantage with that Mo­desty and good Humour, that none may have any just occasion to wish them less.

A Moral Essay UPON PRIDE, IN A CONFERENCE Between PHILOTIMUS and PHILALETHES.

Philot.

PHilalethes, I am glad to see you, though you are so wrapt up in Speculation that I scarce knew you at first sight; pray why so thoughtful? you don't use to have so much Philosophy in your Face.

Philal.

I have a particular reason to look a little pretendingly at present; therefore I hope you will excuse it.

Philot.

With all my heart, for I suppose you will not make a practice of it: But what­ever [Page 2] Emergency you may be under, I would advise you to appear in your old shape a­gain; for in my Judgment that contempla­tive Figure does not become you.

Philal.

I am sorry to hear Thinking agrees so ill with my Constitution; but I hope this Alteration does not arise from any natural Antipathy I have to Sense, but from the un­acceptableness of the subject I am upon.

Philot.

Pray if it be not too free a Que­stion, what were you musing upon?

Philal.

Why last night I happened to light upon an overgrown Fop, who plagued the Company with such an impertinent History of his Quality and Performances, and was so vain and insolent in all his behaviour, that as soon as I was delivered from him, I had a plentiful occasion to consider the unreason­ableness of Pride; which is the present Em­ployment of my Thoughts, and upon a full view, I find so much folly, and ill humour, and Monster, in the Composition of this Vice, that I am ashamed, and almost afraid, of the Idea I have raised.

Philot.

'Tis somewhat hard you can't stand the charge of your own Imagination; But though I shall not dispute your Courage, yet I much question your Mortification.

Philal.

The Reason of your censure?

Philot.

Because I have observed it's but a bad Sign of Humility to declaim against [Page 3] Pride; for he that is really humble will be unconcerned about Respect and Applause; such a Person values himself upon nothing but his Conscience and Integrity, and there­fore the haughtiness of another can't make him uneasie; so that if he finds himself wince upon the account of neglect, he may be pretty well assured he has a fore place.

Philal.

I think you are somewhat out in your notion of Humility; for that virtue does not make us either servile or insensible, it does not oblige us to be ridden at the pleasure of every Coxcomb. We may shew our dislike of an imperious humour, as well as of any other foolish Action, both for the Benefit of others, and in vindication of our own right.

Philot.

I am glad to hear this concession from you, because from hence it follows that a man may have a just esteem of himself without being proud: Now if this observa­tion was remembred and rightly applyed, men would not be so censorious in this point, nor mistake their own Pride for their neigh­bours so often as they do. For instance, a man whom the Law has made my Superi­our, may take notice of his Quality if he pleases; but this can't well be done, except he makes me an abatement of the regard he receives from me, therefore I ought not to in­terpret the Reserve or Familiarity of his Car­riage [Page 4] as a Neglect, for provided he keeps within his proportion, he challenges nothing but his own; so that if I am displeased, the Pride lies on my side, for affecting to have an equal Regard paid to persons who are un­equal.

Philal.

I have nothing to object against the main of your discourse, and conceive that the best way to know whether we are guilty or not, and to prevent charging this odious Imputation unjustly upon others, is to state the Nature of Pride, and to enquire into the Grounds of it.

Philot.

I confess that is the way to pinch the Question, therefore let what will come of it, I will stand the Test of your Method, though I am afraid you will say some un­acceptable things.

Philal.

Suppose I do; if the subject leads me to it, the fault is not mine: But to come to the point: Pride has a very strong Founda­tion in the mind; it's bottom'd upon Self-love.

Philot.

Then I find there is somewhat to work upon.—

Philal.

Pray give me leave, I say Pride is originally founded in Self-love, which is the most intimate and inseparable Passion of hu­mane Nature. The kindness men have for themselves, is apt to put them upon over­valuing their own things: which humour un­less [Page 5] check'd in time, will make them take most delight in those Circumstances and Acti­ons which distinguish them from their Neigh­bours; and place their supposed Advantages in the best light. Now this design is best pursued by being Master of uncommon Ex­cellencies, which though desired by all, are possessed but by a few; for the Rareness of things raises their Esteem, and draws a general Admiration. And their desire of be­ing distinguish'd, is one reason why they love to keep the odds in their own hand, and to make the distance between themselves and their Neighbours as wide as may be, which often runs them upon a vain, and tyranni­cal Ostentation of their Power, Capacity, &c. For this magnificent discovery makes the difference between them and their Neigh­bours the more apparent, and consequently occasions their own Greatness to be the more remarkable.

Philot.

I think you have said something very remarkable, and I don't know but you may grow considerable by it, if you can prove your Assertion.

Philal.

Pray what rising Doctrine have I laid down?

Philot.

You say that Pride is founded in Self-love, which is an unseparable Passion of humane nature; from whence I gather, that it's impossible for a man not to be proud, be­cause [Page 6] it's impossible for a man not to love himself. We are like to have an admirable Preservative from you at this rate.

Philal.

Not so fast, If you had attended to the whole, you might have observed that by self-love I meant the Excesses of it.

Philot.

I thought a Man could not have loved himself too well.

Philal.

If by loving you mean wishing him­self happy, I agree with you; for we may, or rather we must desire to be as happy as is possible, provided it be without prejudice to another. But then if Esteem is understood by Love, it's easie (without care) to exceed in our own behalf; and in this sense we cer­tainly do love our selves too well, as often as we set an overproportioned and unusual value upon any thing because it's our own; as if our fondness and partiality was the true Standard of worth, and we had the faculty of turning every thing we touched into gold.

Philot.

I will not contest this point any farther with you; but as I remember you started another Paradox, by intimating that it was a sign of Ambition to esteem any Excellency the higher for being uncommon: Now since the value of an Advantage is en­hansed by its scarceness, and made more re­putable to the owner; I think it somewhat hard not to give a man leave to love that most which is most serviceable to him,

Philal.
[Page 7]

So it would if he had no body to love but himself; but since he is both obliged and naturally inclinable to universal Benevo­lence, this alters the Case: for he who values any thing the more for being uncommon, will desire it should continue so, which is no kind Wish to his Neighbours, and is an Ar­gument that a man does not delight in an Advantage so much for it self, as for the Comparison; not so much for its own irres­pective goodness, as because others want it. Now it affords a more generous, and I be­lieve, a more transporting pleasure, to con­verse with universal Happiness, though we make no greater figure in it, than the rest of our Neighbours; than to be gazed at, and admired by a Crowd of indigent and infe­riour People.

Philot.

The World does not seem to be of your opinion; however I will let your Argument pass for the good nature of it. But after all let me tell you, though I have no mind to be counted proud, yet I have a strong fancy for myself, and therefore if you will not allow me to be civil to my Person, we might e'en as good dispute no farther, for—

Philal.

Don't trouble your self, if your Terms are moderate, we'll never break off upon the score, therefore I will offer at a short negative description of Pride, in which [Page 8] if it's possible, I will give you Satisfaction.

Philot.

Pray let us see how liberal you will be.

Philal.

First it's no part of Pride to be conscious of any perfections we have, whe­ther intellectual or moral; for this is in ma­ny Cases necessary, and impossible to be a­voided. He that is wise or learned must know it, otherwise he can't understand when he judges true or false, nor distinguish difficult and noble Speculations, from trifling and vulgar Remarks, nor tell when he acts ratio­nally or not. Now a Man that is ignorant of these things can neither be wise nor know­ing: Therefore as he that has a just and vi­gorous sense of the Magnitude, Distance and Colours of Objects, must conclude that he has eyes whether he will or not; so these perfections of the mind discover themselves by their own Light. The Possessour can no more be ignorant of them, than he can doubt of his Existence when he is awake. To give one instance more; How can any Person have true Fortitude, who does not know how far he ought to hazard himself, and wherein the baseness of Cowardise consists? So that to affirm a Man may be ignorant of his own con­siderableness, is to make him wise and great, and good by Chance, which is a contradicti­tion to the Excellencies supposed in him.

Philot.
[Page 9]

Right. And since I like the Frank­ness, and tendency of your Argument, I'll try if I can reinforce it: I say then, suppo­sing it was possible for a man to be ignorant of his good Qualities; it was by no means convenient: For if he carried such a Trea­sure about him, without knowing how well furnished he was; its somewhat hard to con­ceive, how he could either improve or use it. If it lay thus close, it would be little bet­ter, than a Mine undiscovered, for which nei­ther the owner of the Ground, or any Bo­dy else are ever the richer,

Philal.

You say well, and therefore I shall venture in the second place to affirm, That as we may be acquainted with our own Ac­complishments, without being guilty of Pride, so neither is it any branch of this sin to discover that they are greater than some of our Neighbours enjoy. If we have a real Advantage over another, it's no sin to be sen­sible of it; to apprehend otherwise, is to judge contrary to the Reason of things, when the Case is plain, we may believe we have more Honesty, Sense, &c. than some others. This is as allowable as it is for us to think, that we have better Complexions than Moors, and are taller than Pygmies.

Philot.

Can you go on?

Philal.

Yes, I'm not afraid to add, Third­ly, that we don't fall into the sin of Pride, [Page 10] by being delighted with those Advantages of Mind, Body or Fortune, which Providence has given us; these things in the very notion of them are supposed to be beneficial. Now it's natural and necessary for us to be pleased with the Enjoyment of that which is good; of that which is agreeable to our Faculties, and an Advancement of our Nature: To speak strict­ly, when the Faculty and the Object are rightly proportioned, Satisfaction follows of course, and its as impossible for us not to be pleased, as it is for fire not to ascend: Far­ther, if we are not allowed to take any Sa­tisfaction in our condition, we are not bound to give God thanks for it,; for we are not obliged to be thankful for that which does us no good: But nothing can do us any good, except it be by giving us a pleasure either in hand or in prospect. Fourthly, it is no part of Pride, to be more pleased with hav­ing an Advantage our selves, than by seeing one of the same value possessed by another.

Philot.

Make this out and you will o­blige me.

Philal.

Very well: I prove my Proposition thus. First, Because that which is in our Possession, or incorporated into our Essence, is always in our Power, and ready to be made use of when we think fit. But that which belongs to another is often at a distance, and out of our reach, and can't be communicated to us, though [Page 11] the owner was never so willing. Secondly, it must be more agreeable to be Master of any perfection our selves, than to contemplate one of the same nature in another; because every one is more certain of the kind Incli­nation he has to himself, than he can be of the Affection of any other Person whatever: That I will be always kind to my self, I am as well assured of, as that I have a being; but that another will be so, is impossible for me to know: And therefore let a man be never so good natured, it must be somewhat more satisfactory to him, to see himself well furnished in any kind, than his Neighbour. Thirdly, that which is our own and in our Nature, we have the most intimate and vigorous sense of; for the presence of any desirable Object, we know is more acceptable and entertaining than either the notion or Prospect of it: Possession gives us the Life of the thing, But hopes and Fancy can furnish out no more at the best than a Picture finely drawn. So that, for Example, let a man be of never so generous and disin­terested a Spirit, yet it's natural for him to be better pleased, with being rich himself (if he has any value for riches) than in having the bare Idea of an Estate: Besides as I ob­served, that which is our own, is always at our disposal, and does not depend upon the uncertain Inclination and humour of an­other.

Philot.
[Page 12]

Very comfortably argued. I find then by your discourse that a Man may with­out vanity be pleased with his Circumstan­ces, and have good Thoughts of himself too, if he deserves it. Now some People are so unreasonable, that they will neither give Men leave to love, nor understand them­selves; if they are conscious of any commend­able Quality, they must be sure to lay it out of the way that they may not see it; nay if a Man has taken never so much care to make himself insignificant, in order to the promoting of Humility, they will scarce let him know he is good for nothing, for fear he should grow conceited of his Virtue. But I perceive you are not so strait laced, and pedantick in your Notions. Therefore if you can recover us no more Ground, let us know directly what Pride is, and be as fair as you can.

Philal.

Why Pride in the plainest words which I can think of, is too high an Opini­on of our own Excellency.

Philot.

How shall we know when we o­ver-rate our selves?

Philal.

That is a very seasonable question, and absolutely necessary to the state of the Case: Therefore I shall lay down some indis­putable Marks of this Vice, that whenever we see the Tokens we may conclude the Plague is in the House.

Philot.
[Page 13]

Let us hear your Diagnosticks.

Philal.

First, Then we may be assured we have this Disease, when we value any Person chiefly because his advantages are of the same nature with those we enjoy, neg­lecting others who have an equal right to Regard, only because their Privileges are of a different kind from our own. For instance, when Men who derive their considerableness from the Sword, the Gown, or their An­cestours, think none worthy their Esteem but such as claim under their own Preten­ces; In this case it's evident it can be nothing but Partiality and Conceitedness which makes them give the Preheminence.

Secondly, We may certainly conclude our selves infected with this Vice, when we in­vade the Rights of our Neighbour, not upon the account of Covetousness, but of Domini­on; only that we may have it in our power to create Dependencies, and to give another that which is already his own.

Thirdly, When Men don't measure their civil Advantages by the Laws of their Coun­try, but by their own fancies, and the sub­missions of Flatterers; this is another infal­lible sign they are Proud.

Fourthly, to mention no more, When Men love to make themselves the subject of dis­course: To conn over their Pedigrees, and obtrude the Blazon of their exploits upon [Page 14] the company; this is an argument they are overgrown with conceit, and very much smitten with themselves.

Philot.

Though I think you have hit the symptoms pretty well, yet except they are marked somewhat more distinctly, 'tis possible for a Man to have most of them without be­ing e'er the wiser. For unless we are able to draw up a just State of the Degrees of merit, we can never take the true height of our Pretensions, and being in this uncertainty it's odds if self Love does not make us deter­mine to the prejudice of our Neighbours. Now I would gladly know how we must go to work to be sufficiently informed in this Point.

Philal.

We must endeavour to get right apprehensions of the several Excellencies of humane Nature, and what proportion they hold to each other: In order to the assisting our Judgment in this case I shall lay down these general rules.

First, Those advantages which spring from our selves, which are the effects of our power and courage, of our Industry or Understan­ding, are more valuable than those which are derived, and borrowed, because they are a sign of a Richer and more active nature.

Secondly, Those Qualities which are most useful ought to have the Preference: for since acknowledgments ought to be suitable [Page 15] to the nature of benefits received, those who have the largest Capacity of obliging, may fairly challenge the Perheminence in our E­steem; and therefore in the third place the duration of an advantage ought to be con­sider'd; And that which has the firmest Con­stitution and is most likely to continue, ought to be prefer'd to others which are brittle and short lived. These rules carefully apply'd will snew us how far our pretensions to Re­gard are short of, or exceed other Mens, and so prevent an over-weening opinion of our selves. However, we are to observe that outward Respect ought to be given according to the Distinctions of; Law, and though a Man may happen to be very defective in point of merit, yet we ought to take notice of the value Authority has set upon him.

Philot.

Give me leave to put in a word, which is to tell you, that though I am not satisfied with your Instances, yet I am glad to find you will allow us different degrees of worth. I was almost afraid you would have set all Mankind upon a Level.

Philal.

To deliver you from such appre­hensions, I freely grant you that the Distin­ctions of Quality ought to be kept up for the Encouragement of Industry, and the sup­port of Government. I hope now you have the reason of my Concession, you will not be so suspicious for the future.

Philot.
[Page 16]

No, not till you give me a farther occasion; especially since the inference of your discourse is not unacceptable: from whence it followeth, that when a Man sees plainly that he has the Advantage of his Neighbour, he may let him understand so much without any offence to humility.

Philal.

No doubt of it, especially when his station is publick; but then the discovery of his superiority ought to be managed with a great deal of Art and good nature, to which we are obliged not only in point of Com­plaisance but Justice. For though there is often a real difference between one Man and an­other, yet the party who has the advantgae usually magnifies the inequality beyond all Sense, and Proportion. Men don't consi­der that the great priviledges of humane Nature are common to the whole Kind; such as being equally related to God and Adam, Reason and Immortality, the same number of Senses, and much of the same perfection and continuance. And as for those things which are the peculiar Advantages of a few; they are either acquired and enjoyed by the strength of those general ones I have mentioned, or else they are forein and in a great measure Chimerical, and therefore can be no real enrichments of our nature. They are often no more than the Blessings of Chance, of Flat­tery, and Imagination. And though they [Page 17] may set us upon higher Ground, yet they can add nothing to the true Stature of our Being. But to combate this Vice more suc­cessfully, we'll examine its most plausible Pretences, and see if we can discover the weakness of them.

Philot.

What pretences are those?

Philal.

I mean Learning, Nobility, and Power; for these you know are accounted the brightest and most distinguishing Advantages. But though they ought all to be considered, yet I believe there is much more Weight laid up­on them, than in strict reason they will bear.

Philot.

You talk as if you were retain­ed by the Mobile, and had a Mind to bring us back to our original State of Ignorance and Peasantry.

Philal.

I tell you once again you are much mistaken. I have no design to lessen the value of any mans Honour, or Under­standing: Let People have as much Sense and Quality as they please, provided they don't grow troublesom and ridiculous a­bout it.

Philot.

I somwhat suspect you have a mind to engross this Vice of Pride to your self. This sort of discourse looks like de­claiming against Arbitrary Power, where the sharpest Invectives are commonly made by the most Enterprizing, and unmortifyed Men, who are only angry that they are not pos­sessed [Page 18] of that absoluteness themselves, which they endeavour to render odious in others.

Philal.

Hah! you are somewhat smart. However let me tell you, if I have any such project as you imagine, you have me upon a fair Dilemma. For, if my reasons against Pride hold good, they will stand upon record against my self, which I suppose will be no unacceptable revenge for you: if they are in­significant, you will have the diversion of laughing at the folly of the attempt: and which is more considerable, you may keep your good opinion of yourself into the bargain.

Philot.

Pray begin your attack as you think fit, and for disputes sake I'll try how far I can maintain the ground against you.

Philal.

First then, Learning (to begin there) and High Conceit agree very well together: for a Man of Letters may have a clearer no­tion of the stupidness and deformity of this Vice, and being better acquainted with the frame and passions of humane Nature, he can't choose but discover how unacceptable it must make him to all Mankind. Besides he is supposed to know that nothing in strict reason deserves a true Commendation, but a right use of the Liberty of our Will, which is in every ones power to manage to advantage.

Secondly, Learning gives us a fuller con­viction of the imperfection of our nature, which one would think might dispose us to Mode­sty. [Page 19] The more a Man knows the more he discovers his ignorance. He can scarce look upon any part of the Creation, but he finds himself encompassed with doubts and diffi­culties. There is scarce any thing so trifling or seemingly common, but perplexes his Un­derstanding, if he has but sense enough to look into all the objections which may be rai­sed about it. He knows he has a being 'tis true, and so does a Peasant, but what this thing is which he calls himself, is hard to say. He has reason to believe, that he is compounded of two very different Ingredients, Spirit, and Matter; but how such unallyed and disproportioned substances should hold a­ny Correspondence and act upon each other, no mans Learning yet could ever tell him. Nay how the parts of Matter cohere, is a Question which it's likely will never be well answer'd in this life. For though we make use of the fairest Hypotheses, yet if we pursue the Ar­gument home, we shall go nigh to dispute away our Bodies, and reason our selves all in pieces. Insomuch that if we had nothing but Principles to encourage us, we might justly be afraid of going abroad, lest we should be blown away like a heap of dust: For it's no solution to say the greater parts of Matter are connected with hooked parti­cles; for still the difficulty returns how these Hooks were made? Quis custodiet ipsos [Page 20] Custodes? What is it that fastens this Soder, and links these first Principles of Bodies in­to a Chain? And as the more refined Un­derstandings know little or nothing of them­selves, and of the material World; so upon Enquiry we shall find them as defective in their Skill about Moral Truths: (excepting those who are taught by Revelation, which supernatural Discoveries the unlearned are capable of understanding, as far as their happi­ness is concerned.) Those who made Laws in their respective Countries, we have reason to believe had their minds polished above the vulgar rate: And yet we see how unaccount­ably the publick Constitutions of Nations va­ry. The Persians and Athenians allowed In­cest, the Lacedemonians Stealing, and some Indians Herodotus mentions, used to bury their best Friends in their Stomachs. In short, the Rules of Decency, of Government, of Justice it self, are so different in one place from what they are in another, so party-co­loured and contradictious, that one would almost think the Species of men altered, ac­cording to their Climates; and that they had not the same Nature in common. One would almost think that Right and Wrong lay rather in the Fancies of men, than in the reason of things, and was bounded more by Seas and Rivers, than by any unalterable limits of Nature; that Virtue and Vice were [Page 21] minted by the Civil Magistrate, and like Coins would pass for Currant only in his own Dominions. The Heathen Philosophers may fairly be granted to have as good pretences to Learning, as any other sort of men among them: And yet we may observe from Tully and Laertius what a small Proportion of solid Knowledge they were Masters of; how strangely did they differ in Matters of the highest Import? How eagerly did they dis­pute, and not without probability on both sides: Whether there was any thing certain? Whether the Criterions of Truth and Fals­hood were clear and indubitable or not? Whe­ther the Government of the World was ca­sual, fatal, or providential? How many Sum­mum Bonums have they presented us with, some of them only fit to entertain a Brute, others noble enough for a Spirit of the highest Order? It were tedious to recount the differen­ces one Sect had with another, their Incon­sistences with themselves, and the ridiculous and ill supported Tenets some of the most famous of them have held. Insomuch that Tully takes notice that there was no opinion so absurd, but was held by some Philoso­pher or other. 'Tis true they could wran­gle and Harangue better than the common People; they could talk more plausibly about that they did not understand; but their Learn­ing lay chiefly in Flourish, and Terms, and [Page 22] Cant; for as for any real Improvements in Science they were not much wiser than the less pretending Multitude. Indeed the more modest of them would confess that the chief use of Learning was to give us a fuller discovery of our Ignorance, and to keep us from being peremptory and dogmatical in our determina­tions. Now one would imagine the more intimate Acquaintance we had with the Im­perfections of our Nature, the greater reason we should have to be humble. Is Weakness a proper Foundation to erect our lofty con­ceits upon? Indeed he that has not the lei­sure or capacity to examine how it's with him, may be fondly persuaded to fancy him­self somebody, and grow vain upon the kind presumption; but for a man to be proud who can demonstrate his own poverty, is little less than Madness.

Philot.

If the case stands thus, to make all sure, we had best get an order to burn the Twenty four Letters, and hang up Cad­müs in Effigie; for—

Philal.

Pray don't interrupt me, and I will try if I can give you a little Ease. Grant­ing therefore, as we may, that Learning does give some advantage, and that our Under­standings are really enriched by it; yet in regard we have but a few Principles to build upon, the greatest part of our Knowledge must consist in Inferences, which can't be [Page 23] wrought out without great Labour and At­tention of mind: And when we are at any distance from self-evident Truths, the mind is not only perplexed with the Considerati­on of a great many Circumstances, but which is worse, Forgetfulness or Mistake in the least of them, frustrates our whole Design, and rewards us with nothing but Error for our trouble.

Now he that is so liable to be imposed upon, who rises but by Inches, and enriches himself, by such slow and insensible Degrees; 'tis a Sign that his Stock was either very small, or that he is unskilfull in the ma­nagement of his Business, and therefore he has no reason to be proud of what he has got­ten: Besides it's an humbling consideration to reflect what pains we are obliged to take to muster up our Forces, and to make that little reason we have serviceable. How fast does Obscurity, Flatness and Impertinency flow in upon our Meditations? 'Tis a diffi­cult Task to talk to the purpose, and to put life and perspicuity into our Discourses; those who are most ready and inventive have not their best Thoughts uppermost: No, they must think upon the Stretch, ransack, and turn over their mind, and put their Imagi­nation into a kind of Ferment, if they in­tend to produce any thing extraordinary: So that considering the Trouble and almost [Page 24] Violence we are put upon, one would think that Sense and Reason was not made for Mankind, and that we strive against our Na­tures, when we pretend to it.

Philot.

Well; What though our Minds were poor, and unfurnished at first, is it a­ny disparagement to us to have more Wit than we were born with? What though we can't strike out a Science at a Heat, but are forced to polish our selves by degrees, and to work hard for what we have? The less we were assisted by Nature, the greater com­mendation it is to our Industry, and our at­tainments are so much the more our own. And since we have thus fairly distinguished our selves by Merit, why should we seem unapprehensive of our Performances? since we have paid so dear for the Improvements of our understanding, and our advantages are gained with so much Difficulty, what harm is it to make our best of them? Why should we not oblige the negligent to Distance and Regard, and make those who are younger or less knowing than our selves sensible of their Inferiority?

Philal.

I agree with you as I have alrea­dy hinted, that a Man may lawfully main­tain his Character and just pretences against Rudeness and Ignorance, especially when the publick Good is concerned in his Reputation. But when he acts a private part, and conver­ses [Page 25] with People of Sense and Modesty, he should give them but very gentle remem­brances of his Prerogative: his Opinion of his own worth should but just dawn upon them, and at the most give them but an ob­scure and remote notice, that he expected a­ny singular Acknowledgment: He should take the respect that is paid him rather as a Present than a Debt, and seem thankful for that which is his own: But to be stiff and formally reserved as if the Company did not deserve our Familiarity; to be haughty and contemptuous, and to make scanty and underproportioned returns of Civility: this is a downright Challenge of Homage, and plainly tells people, they must be very man­nerly: 'Tis in effect to say, Gentlemen, I have more Learning, and have done the publick greater Service than you, and therefore I ex­pect to be considered for it: you may possibly say that I have more preferment too, and am paid for my merit in mony, but that shall not serve your turn; for except you shew your selves very dutiful, I shall give you broad Signs of my dissatisfaction, and never let you have the Honour of my con­verse again. Now such a Man if he went much abroad, would plague mankind more with his Company, than he could oblige them with his Writings, though they were never so considerable. Such People seem to [Page 26] owe their parts to their ill Temper: Their Industry is malicious, and they have taken pains not so much to oblige the World, as to get an Opportunity of trampling upon their Inferiours. Had they been good-natu­red, they would have been as dull and in­significant as their Neighbours. But their imperious Carriage is just as reasonable as it would have been for the old Athletae to have drudged hard in Eating and Exercise, that they might employ their Bulk and Acti­vity in beating every one who was weaker, and less skilful than themselves.

Philot.

By your discourse you seem to mistake the matter, and not to weigh things rightly. 'Tis not Superiority that these Gentlemen of Learning are so solicitous a­bout; 'tis not personal Advantage which they chiefly intend by their Reservedness: They have no doubt a more publick and generous Design; for you may observe they usually bear hardest upon those of their own Order and Profession, which is nothing but a for­ced and politick stateliness for the promoting of Knowledg in others. The young Fry, whether you know it or not, must be held at a Distance, and kept under the Discipline of Contempt. If you give them any tolera­ble Quarter, you indulge them in their Idle­ness, and ruin them to all intents and pur­poses. For who would be at the trouble of [Page 27] Learning, when he finds his Ignorance is caressed, and that he is easie and acceptable enough in the Company of the best Authors of the Town? But when you brow-beat them and maul them, you make them Men for ever; for Vexatio dat intellectum; though they have no natural Metal, yet if they are spurred and kicked they will mend their pace, if they have any feeling. Such rigorous usage will make them study night and day to get out of this ignominious Condition, in hopes that it may come to their own turn to be proud one day. Take my word for it, there is no such way to make a Scholar, as to keep him under while he is young, or un­preferred.

Philal.

Notwithstanding your Flourish I can't perswade my self that this Dispensation of Pride is so mighty useful as you pretend. I should think such an untoward manage­ment of any Accomplishment should rather discourage others from attempting such dan­gerous circumstances. If Sense and Learning are such unsociable imperious things, a good-natured Man ought to take especial care not to improve too fast. He ought to keep down the growth of his Reason, and curb his In­tellectuals when he finds them ready to out­strip his Neighbours. I assure you, if I was of your opinion, and thought my self near the temptation to so much ill humour, I would never look on a Book again.

Philot.
[Page 28]

Come when you have said all, there is no keeping up the Credit of Learning without that which you call a reserved be­haviour. For if those who are eminent this way should condescend to those Familiarities which you seem to desire, the honour of their Profession would suffer much by it; if they should converse upon the Level, the veneration which their Inferiours have for them would quickly wear off: And if the vulgar observed there was no distinction kept up amongst the Men of Letters; they would suspect there was nothing extraordinary in any of them. Pray who are supposed to be the best Judges of Learning, those who have it or others?

Philal.

No doubt those who have it.

Philot.

Then if they seem to undervalue it themselves, is not this the way to bring it into a general disrepute? I tell you once a­gain, if the privileges of Merit are not insi­sted upon all, must go to wrack. If a Man who has digested all the Fathers, and is ready to add himself to the Number, shews any tolerable countenance to one who has scarce rubbed through Ignatius, and lets a pure English Divine to go cheek by jole with him, the Commonwealth of Learning will grow al­most as contemptible as that of the Pigmies, and be only fit to write Romances upon.

Philal.
[Page 29]

I shall not enquire how far this lofty method may advance the Reputation of Learning, but I am pretty sure it's no great addition to theirs who use it; for it only makes others more inquisitive into their defects, and more inclinable to expose them. If they take them tardy they endeavour to humble them by way of Reprizal. Those slips and mismanagements are usually ridiculed and aggravated, when such Persons are guilty of them, which would be overlooked or excused in others of a more modest and affable Con­versation. If they happen to be found in­consistent with themselves: If their vanity of appearing singular puts them upon ad­vancing Paradoxes, and proving them as Para­doxically. If a presumption upon their own strength, and a desire of greater triumph makes them venture too far into the enemies Quarters, and take up a Post which they can't maintain; they are usually laught at for their folly and left to shift for themselves; for Pride never has any friends, and all Men are glad of a just occasion to lessen his Re­putation who makes such an ill-natured use of it.

Philot.

I conceive you harp a little too much upon one string: do you think the in­feriour Clergy for whom you are now plead­ing, are discouraged by none but those of their own Profession?

Philal.
[Page 30]

No, I grant there is another sort of People who use them with neglect enough: But then they are somewhat more to be ex­cused. They have not such fair opportunities to understand the just pretences of a liberal Education, and a Religious employment. They are apt to fall under unfortunate hands in their minority: The vanity of their Pa­rents, and the Knavery of Flatterers often gives them a wrong notion of themselves, and makes them admire nothing but Wealt hand Greatness, and think no condition deserves regard but that which resembles their own. Be­sides their neglect looks less unaccountably by reason of their Quality, and their Breed­ing makes their Pride sit more decently up­on them. They usually contemn with a better Grace than others: for there is a great deal of Art and Mystery in Pride to manage it handsomely: A man might almost as soon learn a Trade: and if we observe we shall find that those who were not brought up to it, seldom prove their Crafts-master or practise with any sort of address. To which I may add, that such Persons are usually willing to pay for their imperiousness, so that a Man is not made a Fool for nothing. But when this lofty humour is clumsily and inartifici­ally managed, when it's affected by those of a self-denying and mortified Profession, and who get their Living by declaiming against [Page 31] it. When it's taken up by Men of Sense, who may well be expected to see through the folly of this Vice, and who generally have not those pretences of a byassed Edu­cation to misguide them: especially when they play it upon Persons of their own Order who were born and bred to as fair Expecta­tions of Regard as themselves, and are some­times their Inferiours in nothing so much as in Success; this is such a singular Practice that I had rather leave it undescribed than be forced to give it its proper Character.

Philot.

I believe you will be willing to abate, if not to retract your censure when you consider that these Gentlemen of the Gown, whom you think too much depressed, are many of them Curates; and is it not ve­ry reasonable there should be a distance ob­served between Masters and Servants? If you confound these two Relations by lavish and indiscreet Familiarities, you destroy the re­spect, and by degrees the very notion of Su­periority. If there is not a due Homage paid in Conversation, those who are in a state of subjection will neither know their Condition nor their Duty: They will be apt to forget they hold by a servile Tenure, and think themselves enfranchised from all manner of Suit and Service. Besides, if the Parson should use his Curate with that freedom which you insinuate, as if there was neither dependence [Page 32] nor obligation between them; this might be of very ill example to the Parish, and make all other servants challenge the same liberty, and grow pert upon their Masters: And when this Sawciness became universal, as it's likely it might do in a short time, what less Mischief could be expected from it, than an old Scythian Rebellion?

Philal.

I confess, I was not aware the be­ing of Government depended so much upon the distinction between Rector and Curate, and that if the modern way of Distance and Subordination was not kept up, we must presently return to Hob's state of Nature. If a Curate be such a dangerous thing, that a little civil Usage to him is ready to make the World fall about our Ears, I wonder why so many of them are suffered. Now without raising the posse Comitatus, if the Pluralists would but do their best to sup­press them, their Number might quickly be so retrenched, that they would not be in the least formidable. But you seem to ar­gue all this while upon a wrong Principle, you take it for granted, that Curates are Servants; now if this proves a mistake, you will own they may be treated with a little more freedom, without any danger to Au­thority.

Philot.

Who doubts of their being Ser­vants?

Philal.
[Page 33]

I do, and for very good reasons.

Philot.

See how a Man may be mistaken! I thought the English of Curate had been an Ecclesiastical Hireling.

Philal.

No such matter, the proper import of the Word signifies one who has the Cure of Souls; therefore in France all Parochial Priests are called Curates, as they are like­wise in our Rubrick and Common-Prayer.

Philot.

I find then there lies no Servitude in the Name, so that it must be either the De­putation, or Salary which they receive from the Instituted Priest, which sinks them into this condition.

Philal.

That there is no Servitude in either of these, I am ready to make good. 1. Not in the Office; and here I must crave leave to ask you a few Questions.

Philot.

Take your own method.

Philal.

What in your apprehension is a Cu­rate's Employment?

Philot.

To serve God in the publick Offi­ces of Religion, and to take care of the Parish.

Philal.

Then he is not entertained to serve the Rector.

Philot.

Go on.

Philal.

In the next place I desire to know whether Authority is not essential to a Ma­ster?

Philot.

Who questions it?

Philal.
[Page 34]

Has the Curate his Authority to Preach, and Administer the Sacraments from the Rector?

Philot.

No, from the Bishop.

Philal.

May not a Master turn away his Servants when he pleases?

Philot.

I think so.

Philal.

But the Rector has no power to re­move the Curate after he is Licensed and Fixed by the Bishop. To sum up the Evi­dence therefore; if the Curate was not en­tertained to wait upon the Rector, nor has his Authority from him, nor can be removed from his Employment, I think it is pretty plain he is none of his Servant.

Philot.

Well, but does not the Parson make choice of him, and pay him?

Philal.

Don't a Corporation choose a Mayor?

Philot.

What then?

Philal.

Pray whose Servant is he after his Election?

Philot.

None but the Kings that I know of: but you have not answered the latter part of my objection about his being paid by the Rector.

Philal.

If you had not called for my an­swer, I had waved it for your sake, because I think your objection borders somewhat upon Treason.

Philot.

How so?

Philal.
[Page 35]

Why, is it not of kin to Treason to say the Subjects are Masters over the Supreme Authority?

Philot.

If Nonsense will not excuse a Man, I think it is.

Philal.

But your Argument proves the King a Servant to the People.

Philot.

How?

Philal.

Because they pay him Taxes, and that among other reasons, by way of ac­knowledgment of the benefits of his Govern­ment, and that they may shew themselves willing, if it was in their power, to requite him for his care of the State.

Philot.

Pray why so much concerned to prove Curates no Servants?

Philal.

Because I am willing to rescue them from that contempt, which they will certainly fall into, as long as they pass under this no­tion: which considering the number of persons Officiating, this way, must be very prejudicial to Religion. Besides it makes some persons, who are fit to do the Church service, suspend themselves, and shew their Priesthood only by their Habit, rather than serve God under such uncreditable circumstances: and for the same reason others are tempted to grow too fond of a Presentation, and choose rather to court it by Flattery, or other indirect pra­ctices, than be condemned to the servile con­dition of a Curate. For let me tell you, it is [Page 36] no ordinary piece of Self-Denial, for a Man of a generous Education, who has been train­ed up all along to Freedom and good Usage, to be degraded in his Manhood, when the mind is most in love with Liberty, and to en­ter upon Business with marks of disadvantage, when he stands most in need of Reputation. To my thinking this is a very discouraging and preposterous way of Educating the Cler­gy. If a Man must go to service, he had better begin with it as they do in Trades, and not be Master at first, and then be forced to turn Apprentice, or Journyman afterwards. Of such ill consequence it is to miscal things, and as Plato observes, that an alteration of the Notes in Musick is apt to produce an Innova­tion in the Laws and Customs of a Country: so by changing the names of Offices for others of less Repute, we change the Uses and Designs of them, and make them less satis­factory to those engaged, and less serviceable to the Publick than they would have been, if the Character of their Institution had been kept up.

Philot.

Granting at present what you say to be true, yet a Curate seems to lie under another disadvantage, which makes him con­sidered with Abatement.

Philal.

What is that?

Philot.

Why, People are apt to fancy that it is the want either of Parts or Conduct, which keeps him without a Patron.

Philal.
[Page 37]

If People think so, I am sorry their Sense and Charity is no greater; for if they examined things fairly, they would find that the being a Curate is no Argument of a Mans insignificancy, nor any just blemish to his Re­putation. For it is often the integrity and ge­nerous temper of his mind which hinders him from a better Provision; it is because he will not flatter the Pride of some, nor keep pace with the Bigottry of others: because he will neither court Greatness nor Faction, nor make himself popular to the disadvantage of his Audience. Because he cannot digest a Simo­niacal Contract, nor charge through Perjury with the courage of an Evidence. In short, it is his plain and impartial dealing with the People, his resolution to preserve the Decency of his Character, and the Innocence of his Conscience which bars his promotion: so that if he was mean enough to complain, he might have the satisfaction to apply this Sen­tence of Tully to himself, Non nos vitia sed virtutes afflixerunt.

Philot.

What a broad Innuendo is here up­on the beneficed Clergy?

Philal.

I am glad you have given me an opportunity of explaining my self. My mean­ing is not that those who are possessed of Liv­ings have gained them, by such indirect Courses: God forbid! I only say, that all Men are not so lucky as to have the offer of fair [Page 38] Conditions, and those who have not, must be Curates if they will be honest; or else lay by the use of their Priesthood, which I am afraid is not very accountable.

Philot.

I confess you have brought your self off well enough: But now I think on't you must try to maintain the liberty of your Curate a little more convincingly. For some say there lies Prescription and immemorial Custom against it, and then you know he is a Servant by Common Law.

Philal.

Not at all: For as we are lately told by a great Lawyer, Prescription is good for nothing where there are any Records to the contrary.

Philot.

What Records can you produce?

Philal.

Why, to mention no more, the 18th of the Apostles Canons, and the 80th of the Council of Eliberis, are, I think, considera­ble Evidence; the first of which forbids the ordaining of those who had married a Servant, and the other excludes manumized Persons, while their Patrons were living, from the Priesthood.

Philot.

Say you so? Then I fancy those who drew up Queen Elizabeths Injunctions knew nothing of this piece of Antiquity you mention.

Philal.

Your Reason?

Philot.

Because by those Injunctions a Cler­gy-man could not lawfully marry till he had [Page 39] gone and made his complaint against Celiba­cy, before two Justices of the Peace, and gained their consent, and the good will of the Ma­ster, or Mistriss where the Damsel served.

Philal.

And then I suppose if he could not prevail by his Rhetorick they gave him a Warrant to distrein.

Philot.

Or possibly if he courted in forma pauperis they assigned him a Wife gratis out of an Hospital.

Philal.

Upon my word this Order, take it which way you will, has a singular aspect, and looks as if it intended to put the Clergy in mind, that they ought not to aspire above an Abigail. Certainly Discretion and Merit ran very low in the Church at that time, or else, some People were willing to make the Nation believe so. But to return to the Ca­nons, the design of which was to secure the Reputation of the Clergy; but according to the modern opinion, this provision signifies nothing; for if a man must go to Service af­ter he is in Orders, had he not as good do it before? In your sence he often only changes his Lay for an Ecclesiastical Master, which sometimes might be so far from an advantage that it would make the Servitude the more uneasie, by being subjected to one no more than equal to himself.

Philot.

I grant you in the Primitive Times the advantage of Priesthood was equally sha­red [Page 40] among all the Order, and none of that Character had any Superiority over another. For then the Revenues of the Church consist­ed only in the voluntary Offerings of the Peo­ple, which were all deposited with the Bishop, who assigned every one his respective portion; so that no Priest had any dependence upon another for his maintenance; but now the case is otherwise, and a man ought to be sub­ject to him that supports him.

Philal.

It's somewhat hard, that the bare alteration of the Church Revenues should make so wide a difference between those who were equal before; that a man must lose his freedom only for want of a Presen­tation, and he made a Servant because he does not take Tithes, though he has as much spi­ritual Authority as if he did. But I perceive you think there is no consideration equivalent to a little money, and that he who receives it must be no longer at his own disposal, though he makes never so valuable a return. Since therefore you insist so much upon main­tenance, what if it appears that the Curate maintains the Parson?

Philot.

That would be strange indeed.

Philal.

To what end were the Church Re­venues intended?

Philot.

To keep up the worship of God.

Philal.

Which way?

Philot.
[Page 41]

By settling a competent maintenance upon the Ministers of Religion, that they may be in the better capacity to discharge their Office, and not be obliged to lose their time, and lessen their Character, by engaging in Labourious or Mechanical Employments.

Philal.

By your arguing there should be something for them to do.

Philot.

Yes, they are to take care of that Precinct to which their Endowment is an­nex'd.

Philal.

I hope you don't mean not to come at it.

Philot.

I mean they are to take care of the performance of the duties of their Office.

Philal.

Then ought not he to have the Revenues who performs these Duties?

Philot.

I am not willing to grant that.

Philal.

Have a care of denying the con­clusion; you grant the Revenues of the Church were designed for the support of the Clergy.

Philot.

Yes.

Philal.

Of what Clergy? Those who live many miles distant from the Premises?

Philot.

No, I'm afraid they were intend­ed for those who live upon the place, other­wise methinks Endowments are a very slen­der Provision for the benefit of the Parish.

Philal.

Then if the Curate does all the work, ought he not to have the reward for [Page 42] his pains? In short, either he is qualified to undertake the Parish or not; if not, with what sincerity can he be employed? If he is qualified, why is he barred the profit when he only performs the Conditions upon which they were settled, when none but himself answers the design they were intended for? To speak properly, the Rector seems to live out of the labours of another, he is main­tained by the perquisites of the Curates Of­fice; and therefore is in effect but a kind of Pensioner to him.

Philot.

I see you are an everlasting Level­ler, you won't allow any encouragement to extraordinary Industry and Merit.

Philal.

You mistake me. I would have the best men have the best Livings, but then be­fore we go to doubling of Preferments, possi­bly it were not amiss to examine whether the number of Benefices exceeds the Persons who are capable of them. Let us first examine whether they will hold out one apiece, and when every man has one, then the supernu­merary Livings may be divided amongst those who are most deserving.

Philot.

In good time, when it's likely there there will be none left! Now do you imagine the Church can be defended against her Ad­versaries by the strength of a single Parso­nage? But it may be you will say all our Plurality-men are not Writers.

Philal.
[Page 43]

No, nor Readers neither. Besides, we may observe that Heresie and Schism were very successfully combated before Unions, Dispensations, and Consolidations were heard of. If you consult Father Paul's History of the Council of Trent, (p. 216.) he will inform you that Non-residence and Pluralities are things of no very primitive establishment. I confess some of the Lay-managers of our Re­formation have not been over-kind to the Church, so that Affairs are not in so good a posture as they might have been: But God be thanked there is still some provision left for the Ornament and Defence of Religion.

Philot.

What Provision do you mean?

Philal.

Why, to speak to your Case, there are Dignities, to which those Gentlemen who are prepared to engage in the Controversie have a good right: And with submission to better Judgments, I think it would not be amiss if all dignified Persons held their Pre­ferments by a new Tenure.

Philot.

What Tenure?

Philal.

By Knights Service; pursuant to which they should be obliged to draw their Pens in the Cause, when ever their Superi­ours required them: to appear in the Field upon an Invasion with their Quota, and in short, to maintain any Post that shall be as­signed.

Philot.
[Page 44]

What if a man has not a mind to quarrel, must he be turn'd out of his Digni­ty for being of a peaceable Disposition?

Philal.

Those peaceable men you speak of, are none of the most useful in a time of War, and therefore a smaller Gratification should content them.

Philot.

What if they are disabled by age?

Philal.

Then they should be continued for their past Services.

Philot.

Truly this is a good probable Ex­pedient to keep the Church Militia in Disci­pline, and might for ought I know, very much improve the noble Science of Controversie. But to return to the old Argument, if you in­tend to bring me over to your opinion of the Curate, you must clear the business of his Sa­lary a little better, for I am afraid where he has his money he ought to own he has his Master too.

Philal.

I confess there would be a great deal in what you say, if the Rector had the right of Coinage. If the Money had his Image, and Superscription upon it, the Curate's taking it for currant, would con­clude him under his Jurisdiction: but that the bare receiving a sum should sink a Man into a servile state, is past my comprehension. For considering that Mony is a thing of such quality, and sovereign sway in the World, one would imagine it should bring Power [Page 45] and Reputation along with it, and rather enlarge than abridge a Man's Liberty by re­ceiving it. And to mention nothing farther, the nature of the Contract between the Re­ctor and Curate, is sufficient to give you satis­faction; for there, as has been observed, the Curate undertakes no other Employment but the Instruction and Government of the Parish. There is no attendance upon the Parson, no running upon his Errands, nor subjection to his Humour indented for.

Philot.

Methinks it is a little hard a Curate must not be called a Servant, as well as a Cook, or a Footman, since he has Wages as much as the other.

Philal.

Possibly not always so much nei­ther; but waving that, if you had remembred what I urged to you before, this Objection would have been no difficulty.

Philot.

What was that?

Philal.

Why, that the Curate is to wait upon none but God Almighty, that the manage of his Employment is not prescribed by the Rector, but by the Rubrick and Con­stitutions of the Church, and that he is not removeable at pleasure. I suppose by this time you apprehend there is a difference between him and a Footman, or a Steward either.

Philot.

Well! Notwithstanding your sub­tlety, this notion of Wages sticks in my Sto­mach still.

Philal.
[Page 46]

I wonder the glitter of a little Mony should dazle your Eyes at that rate, that you cannot see so plain a distinction. You don't seem to understand Commerce, if you think that something of Authority and Do­minion is always given in exchange for Mony. Now I am of Diogenes his mind, and believe it possible for one to buy a Master, as well as a Servant.

Philot.

As how?

Philal.

Why, for the purpose, if a person of twenty one puts himself Apprentice to ano­ther, you know this is seldom done without charge: now what does a Man do in this case but purchase his subjection, and hire himself a drubbing upon occasion? To give one in­stance more. When a Woman of Fortune mar­ries a Man with nothing, does she not give him Meat, Drink, and Wages to govern her? And to end this dispute, you know Physicians, and Lawyers, and Judges, have Fees or Wages, either given, or assigned them by Law, without being thought Servants to those they are concerned with. Now, what reason is there a Curate should have worse luck with his Mony than other People?

Philot.

To deal plainly, I suppose it is be­cause he does not get enough of it. If his Fees were as considerable as any of those Gentlemen you speak of, I question not but his Office would be much more reputable.

Philal.
[Page 47]

Well guessed, and therefore what Character do they deserve who confine him to this scandalous Pittance. I believe you can scarcely name any sort of Injustice which has a more malignant influence upon Religi­on than this oppresion of Curates.

Philot.

Why so Tragical?

Philal.

Because their Poverty exposes them to Contempt, which renders their Instructi­ons insignificant, and which is worse, makes them less considerable in themselves, as well as in the opinion of others.

Philot.

I hope Poverty is no crime.

Philal.

No, but it's a scurvy temptation, especially to those who have lived freely, and been bred to better Expectations. For when a man finds his hopes disappointed, himself unsupported, and topp'd upon by Persons of meaner Pretences and Employments; this is apt to pall his Spirits, and check the cou­rage of his thoughts, so that his Compositi­ons and Fortune will seem to be much of a piece.

Philot.

I thought strait circumstances had been none of the worst promoters of Learn­ing, according to the old saying, Ingenii lar­gitor Venter.

Philal.

I grant there is some truth in your observation, and that it is Want which often reconciles men to Labour and Letters; but this is at their first setting out, when though [Page 48] they have not gained their point, yet they are full of hopes, which pricks them on, and puts them upon their utmost. but after they are once qualified for success, and find their industry discouraged, this makes them sink in the socket, and fret away their strength and Spirits; so that either out of impotence, or disgust, or dispair, they give over the fruitless pursuit, and seldom make any generous attempt ever after. 'Tis true, there are some hardy souls that won't be beaten off by ill usage, but these are very rarely to be met with.

Philot.

Then you think there would be a strange improvement in the unbeneficed Clergy, if they had a better Salary.

Philal.

Yes; I think they would have more Books, and more Learning, and more Credit. They would not be so easily obli­ged to improper Compliances, nor so liable to several other miscarriages in their Conduct.

Philot.

By your discourse the slender pro­vision which is made for them, should be very Criminal.

Philal.

Doubtless so it is. For pray con­sider.

Philot.

Pray be as brief as you can.

Philal.

I say then, for a Clergy-man to en­rich himself by the labour and necessities of one of his own Order, and make his Figure out of the Church without performing the Ser­vices [Page 49] required, is a direct translating the holy Revenues to a Foreign and secular use, and consequently besides other aggravations is no better than sacrilege, which is a very un­canonical Sin, and unless we are very much in the dark will be accounted for afterwards. In short this Practice has been the main ground of the Contempt of the Clergy, making one part of them grow cheap by their Poverty, and the other by their Covetousness.

Philot.

Pray what allowance would you oblige the Rector to, if you had the Regula­tion of that Affair?

Philal.

To speak within Compass, in my Opinion the Curate ought to have half the profits, let the value of them be never so considerable; for if the Parson has the other moiety for doing nothing, I think he has no reason to complain. But if the Living be small, then he that supplies it should have two thirds assigned him, because he cannot be decently supported under that proportion.

Philot.

Well, I am not disposed to examin that matter any farther. But I beseech you what is all this to the business of Pride? I think your Zeal for the Curates has tran­sported you a little out of your Subject.

Philal.

No such matter; for it is generally nothing but Ambition which makes Men Covetous and Mean: besides, if it is a Di­gression it is a very seasonable one. However [Page 50] I am willing to take my leave of this part of the Argument, therefore if you please we will call a new Cause.

Philot.

I think it is best to adjourn at pre­sent, and when we meet again I will venture the other Brush with you.

Philal.

Till then Farewel.

A SECOND CONFERENCE BETWEEN Philotimus and Philalethes.

Philal.

WELL met! I am glad the op­portunity you mentioned is so quickly returned.

Philot.

So am I, and there­fore if you please without any further Cere­mony, let us pursue the Argument we were last upon.

Philal.

With all my Heart, and since (as has been shewed) Learning and Conceit, make so odd a Figure; let us proceed to exa­mine the pretences of Nobility, for I am a­fraid the Vulgar Notion of it is screwed some­what too high, and that it has not, Ballast enough to carry all the Sail which is com­monly made out.

Philot.

I must tell you, you are upon a touchy Point, and therefore I hope you will treat so nice a subject as this is with proporti­onable caution.

Philal.
[Page 52]

I am sensible of what you say, and shall manage my enquiry with all the fairness, and decency, the free discussion of the Que­stion will allow. To begin, you know all Men were equally Noble, or if you will, equally Plebeian at first: now I would glad­ly understand how they came to be so much distinguished afterwards, for there are diffe­rent reasons assigned.

Philot.

I suppose the distinctions you men­tion, were founded upon extraordinary per­formances, and won at the expence of Indu­stry and Merit. For how can you imagine any persons should emerge out of the com­mon Mass of Mankind, unless by the advan­tages of Capacity, Labour, and Resolution? Their mounting, argues that Fire was the ruling Element in their Composition; and that they were of a more vigorous and en­terprizing Spirit than their Neighbours.

Philal.

I am willing to suppose with you, that they made a generous use of these ad­vantages, and employed them for the bene­fit of Mankind: being as remarkable for their Justice, Fidelity, and good Humour, as for their Conduct and Courage; and therefore I am not willing to believe the account which some pretend to give concerning the Original of Nobility.

Philot.

What is that?

Philal.
[Page 53]

They will tell you that it has been of­ten founded upon Rapine and Injustice. It seems they have observed out of Thucidides, that in antient times it was counted an Heroick At­cheivement to Plunder lustily, and he was a Man of the best Quality, who was able to steal most Cattle. These Nimrods (say they) grew great by the strength of their Limbs and their Vices, engraved their Murthers upon their Shields, and Hectored all the little and peaceable People into Peasantry.

Philot.

This looks so like a Chimerical and ill natur'd Opinion, that I shall not do it the honor of a Confutation.

Philal.

I have no exceptions to your Re­sentment, but to go on, for the more distinct consideration of the Argument, we will di­vide Nobility into two kinds, Hereditary, or Acquired. The first is transmitted to us from our Ancestors, the other is immediately con­ferred by the favour of the Prince.

Philot.

Proceed upon the several parts of your Division.

Philal.

1. Then, Hereditary Nobility seems no just ground for a high Opinion, because it is borrowed. Those great Actions which we had no share in, cannot properly be any part of our Commendation, especially if we want abilities to imitate them. 'Tis true, they ought to be taken notice of by others for the encouragement of Vertue, and the ornament [Page 54] of Society. But then he that depends wholly upon the worth of others, ought to consider that he has but the honor of an Image, and is worshiped not for his own sake, but upon the account of what he represents. To be plain, it is a sign a Man is very poor when he has nothing of his own to appear in; but is forced to patch up his Figure with the Re­licks of the Dead, and rifle Tomb-Stones and Monuments for Reputation.

Philot.

Notwithstanding your rallying, I cannot conceive what crime it is to possess the Inheritance of our Forefathers. Now Honor is part of their Estate, which was raised on purpose that we might be the better for it. And since their Children were the occasion of their merit, and pushed them on to generous undertakings, ought they not to share in the glory of the Success?

Philal.

Yes. But it should be managed with great modesty, because though an honourable Title may be conveyed to Posterity, yet the ennobling Qualities which are the Soul of Greatness, are a sort of incommunicable per­fections, and cannot be transferred. Indeed if a Man could bequeath his Virtues by Will, and settle his Sense, and Learning, and Reso­lution, upon his Children, as certainly as he can his Lands, a brave Ancestor would be a mighty privilege.

Philot.
[Page 55]

I hope those fine Qualities are not so incommunicable as you suppose, for me­thinks there is a Ie ne scay quoi, in persons well born: there is a peculiar Nobleness of Temper in them, their Conversation is inimi­tably graceful, and a Man may distinguish their Quality by the Air of their Faces.

Philal.

I wish that Spirit of Honor and Bravery you mention, was inseparable to their Quality; but it is too plain that great Minds, and great Fortunes don't always go together; however I grant there is some Truth in your observation, but am afraid the distinction does not always spring from the cause you assign. For by the gracefulness of Conversa­tion, I suppose you mean a decent Assurance, and an Address in the Modes, and Gestures of Salutation. Now these are pretty accom­plishments I confess, and recommend a Man to Company with some advantage; but then they are easily gained by Custom and Educa­tion, and therefore we need not fetch them ex Traduce. And moreover, these little For­malities are often magnified beyond all Sense and Reason, and some People are so Fantasti­cally fond of them, as if they were the top­per perfections of Human Nature; and that it were in reality a more valuable and gentile quality to Dress well, and come handsomely into a Room, than to take a Town, or to be fit to discharge the Office of a Privy Coun­sellor. [Page 54] [...] [Page 55] [...] [Page 56] Now with submission to these Cere­monious Gentlemen, I am not of their mind in this matter, but think it much better for a Mans Parts to lie in his Head, than in his Heels.

Philot.

I think so too, but you have not answered the whole.

Philal.

True! Your Air was omitted: now if this was a constant privilege of Birth, which you know it is not, yet in this deceit­ful Age of ours, there is no Arguing from an Outside. Besides, I doubt this Advantage is sometimes the effect of a slothful and Ef­feminate Life. When Men will attempt no­thing either in the Field, or in their Closets: when they will neither trouble themselves with Thinking, nor endure to be exposed to the Weather: This Niceness, though it ren­ders them insignificant to the great purposes of Life, yet it Polishes their Complexion, and makes their Spirits seem more moving and transparent. Sometime this Sprightliness and Grandeur of Face, is Painted by Flattery: for when Men are once made to believe they are very Considerable, they are presently for trying to write the Inscriptions of their Quality upon their Forehead. Now Conceit when it is Corrected with a mixture of Gravity, is an admirable Wash, and will make one look as Wise, and as Great as you would wish.

Philot.
[Page 57]

This Grandeur of Face, as you call it, may possibly be explained upon kinder Principles; for I am apt to believe that a quick Sense of Honour, a Consciousness of Worth, an Elevation of Thought, will sometimes break out into a Lustre, and make the great Soul sparkle in a Man's Eyes.

Philal.

I cannot deny what you say, and therefore the best Construction ought to be made, where the known Character of the person does not disallow it.

Philot,

I see you can be fair when you list, therefore I shall venture to go on with you to another Advantage of Nobility, viz. Anti­quity. Now to begin in your own way, Don't you think it is a great addition to ones Birth to stand at the bottom of long Parch­ment Pedigree, and be some yards removed from the first Escocheon? Is not that Family substantially Built which can stand the shock of Time, and hold out against all varieties of Accidents? How generous must that Blood be, which has been so long Refining, and run through the Channels of Honor for so many Ages, where it is sometimes as hard to come to the Plebeian Fountain: as to find out the Head of Nilus?

Philal.

Not so hard neither, For if you go but one Inch farther than the Gentleman at the Top you spoke of, it is ten to one but you take old Goodman, &c. by the Leathern [Page 58] Breeches. And as for the Antiquity of a Family, though it looks prettily at first sight, yet I fear it will abate upon examination.

Philot.

Pray try your skill upon it, for I am not of your mind.

Philal.

Then to deal plainly with you, I conceive the Antiquity you talk of, is com­monly nothing but antient Wealth, and there­fore the chief commendation of this Privilege consists in the long continued Frugality of the Family, who after they were once possessed of an Estate, had the Discretion to keep it.

Philot.

Is it nothing then for a Man's An­cestors to have lived in Reputation, and to have had Interest and Command in their Country for so many Generations?

Philal.

I suppose the English of all this is no more than that they have lived in good Houses, Eat and Drank better, and born higher Offices than those who have wanted a Fortune. Now Mony, and a moderate share of Sense, will furnish any Man with all these Advantages. And as to the holding out a­gainst so many Accidents, and Alterations of State, I am afraid it sometimes proceeds from shifting and indifferent Principles, and from a servile compliance with whatever is Upper­most. So that what my Lord Bacon menti­ons in reference to Notions and Inventions, may be sometimes applicable to Families; where he tells us, that Time is like a River, [Page 59] in which Metals and solid Substances are sunk, while Chaff and Straws swim upon the Surface.

Secondly, You are to consider that an an­tient Gentility does not necessarily convey to us any advantage either of Body or Mind: and to speak like Philosophers, these are the only two things in which we are capable of any real improvement. I confess, if every Generation grew Wiser, Stronger, Hand­somer, or longer Lived than the other: if the Breed of a Man's Family was thus improved, the farther it was continued; then indeed the quality of an Escocheon would be exactly contrary to that of Cloaths, and the one would always grow better, as the other does worse, by wearing. From whence it would follow, that if the seven Sleepers had been made Gentlemen immediately before they entred their Cave, and had held on their Nap from seventy, to seven hundred years, they had most undeniably slept themselves into a considerable degree of Quality.

Philot.

You may talk as subtilly as you please, but you must not think to baffle esta­blished and uncontested Opinions, with a few Logical quirks.

Philal.

Pray don't grow warm, and I will endeavour to satisfie you, and in order to it, I observe in the third place, That an antient Gentility, makes a Man Superior only to those [Page 60] of the same Quality, (viz. an Esquire, to an Esquire, and so in the rest) and that in nothing but in point of Precedency. The reason, I suppose, why those which are placed in any degree of Honor, precede others who are af­terwards raised to the same Height, is for the encouragement of Industry. To make Men forward to exert their earliest Endeavours to deserve well of the State; for this reason there is a distinction made between Merit, other­wise equal, only upon the account of the Pri­ority of Time.

Philot.
Is this all you can afford?
Philal.

Look you! We that pretend to be subject to a Constitution, must not Carve out our own Quality, for at this rate a Cobler may make himself a Lord.

Philot.
And what then?
Philal.

Why, then I say, it is Vanity for any Man to have a better Opinion of his Fa­mily than the Law allows: my Reason is, because the Law is the measure of Honor, as well as of all other Civil Rights. Besides, I must tell you that it is both reasonable, and the Interest of the State that Merit should be considered, of what date soever it is. A worthy Action ought to be as much reward­ed now, as one of the same kind was a thousand years since. The prospect of Ho­nor, to a generous Mind, is the chief incite­ment to all great Undertakings. This consi­deration [Page 61] Polishes Arts and Sciences, makes Men Industrious in improving their Under­standings, and Resolute in exposing their Persons, for the Publick Service. If there­fore we dote upon Antiquity so far, as to un­dervalue the Merit of the present Age, the Government must necessarily suffer by it: for such a Partiality will slacken the Nerves of Industry, and occasion a negligence both in those who have an antient Title to Honor, and in those who have not. The first will grow sluggish, because they have a sufficient share of Reputation already; and therefore need not run any hazards about getting more. The latter will abate in their forward­ness to oblige their Country, because they know their Service, though never so great, will be contemned, and for that very Reason which ought to make them the more valued, that is, because their Considerableness came from themselves. Moreover, If the Inheri­tors of antient Honor, have not by Personal Additions improved that Stock which was granted to their Ancestors; there is no reason it should be rated above the same Degree (Precedency excepted) which is given now. For to affirm that a Family raised to Nobility by this King, is not as good as one raised by the Conqueror, is a reflection upon his pre­sent Majesty: it supposes his Judgment, or his Authority, less considerable than that of [Page 62] his Predecessours; and that the Fountain of Honour is almost dry'd up, and runs more muddy than in former Ages.

Philot,

How plausibly soever you may make your opinion look, I'm sure it has the disadvantage of being Singular. For you know a plain Gentleman of an ancient Fa­mily is accounted a Person of better Quality than a new made Knight, though the reason of his dubbing was never so Meritorious. Honour like China Dishes must lie some Ages under Ground before it comes to any Per­fection. And to carry on your own Figure, the greater distance from the spring always makes the Stream the more considerable.

Philal.

This it is to be wiser than the Laws! And since you are for Illustrations I reply, that to suppose an ancient Title (though lesser in degree) is preferable to a greater of late Creation, is as if one should affirm that an old shilling is better than a new half-Crown, though the Alloy and Impression are the same in both. Nay from your Ar­gument a man may conclude that a coarser metal only by being digg'd and refin'd in the Dayes of our Great Grandfathers, (though perhaps it has contracted some rust by lying) is more valuable than the same weight in Gold but lately separated from the Oare. And that an ancient Estate is really better than one newly purchased, though the Lands [Page 63] of the latter are richer, and the Survey lar­ger than the other. Now if a man should prove so fanciful as to demand a greater Rent for his Farm because it has been in the Possession of his Family for some hundred of years, I believe the want of Tenants would soon convince him of his Errour. From whence it's evident that in taking an Esti­mate of Nobility we are not so much to consider its Antiquity, as the Merit of the first Grantee, and the distinction the Prince has put upon it; which like Figures or o­ther marks upon Money, stamp the value, and tell the Subject for how much it is to pass.

Philot.

Pray by your favour are not Med­dals, and Coyns valued more for their An­tiquity than their Metal?

Philal.

That Question is to the point; and therefore I answer,

First, That Coyns, &c. though they are valuable as rarities, yet they signifie little in Exchange and common use; And if a man has any debt to pay, or Commodities to buy, K. Charles his Image, and superscripti­on will do him much more service than Ce'sar's.

Secondly, The Reason why these things are sometimes so much valued, is not because they are old but useful: They often rectifie Chronology, and explain History, and re­trieve us several material parts of Learning, [Page 64] which might otherwise have been irrecover­ably lost.

Thirdly, There is a disparity in the case of ancient Coyns and Families; For in the first you have the same numerical peice, in the latter nothing but the Name or Relation, so that the change and succession of Persons seems to destroy the notion of Antiquity. To make the Instance parallel we must sup­pose a Gentleman as old as Methusalem, and then I confess he would be a great Curio­sity, and ought to be valued accordingly.

Philot.

As I remember you were saying, the merit of the first Gentleman of the House ought to be consider'd.

Philal.

Yes, I conceive that circumstance very material, and that if upon enquiry it proves unintelligible, or unlucky, it's no small abatement to the Family. For if he Advan­ced himself by a voluntary engaging in unjust Quarrels, he has no better pretence to Hon­our than what a resolute and successful Pad­der may Challenge. If he owes his Heraldry to a servile Flattery, and a dextrous Applica­tion to the vices of Princes, the marks of their Favour are rather infamous than Hon­ourable to his Posterity, because he is en­nobled for those qualities, for which he ought to have been punished.

Philot.

What if the Gentility was pur­chased, I hope we may make the best of what we have paid for?

Philal.
[Page 65]

By all means! But then this is a sign that Worth and distinguishing Quali­ties were wanting, otherwise the Honour had been conferred Gratis. The same may be said when Arms or Titles are given at the Instance or recommendation of a Favorite, for this is down-right begging for Quality, and looks more like an Alms than an Ho­nour. Farther it's a lessening to a mans No­bility, when the Reason and Grounds of it are unknown, for if his Rise had been de­rived from worthy and creditable Causes, he would in all likelyhood have been as certain­ly acquainted with them, as with his Arms; It being both easie and for the Reputation of the Family, that Records of this nature should have been preserv'd, and therefore the loss of them seems rather to proceed from Design than Neglect. In short, if the first Principles of Honour happen to be thus coarse, or counterfeit, it's not in the power of time to mend them: A Pebble or Bristol stone will not change their natures, and improve into Diamonds, though they are laid up a thousand years together.

Philot.

Hark you Mr. I doubt your Effects (if you have any) have lain but a little while in the Heralds Office.

Philal.

Probably as long as your Wor­ships: But I take it to be much more a Gen­tlemanly quality to discover such unsociable [Page 66] mistakes than to abett them. If we are ca­pable of understanding any thing, it must undoubtedly be more creditable to promote good humour and modesty in Conversation, and give men right Apprehensions of them­selves; than to flatter them into groundless Conceits, and make them believe they may be truly Great, and yet good for nothing. To maintain such indefensible and dangerous Principles of Honour, which not only impose upon our Understandings, but emasculate our Spirits, and spoyl our Temper, and tend only to the nourishing of Idleness and Pride; is in my opinion no very Heroical under­taking.

Philot.

Then I find we must come to the Merits of the Cause as you call them, and examine upon what foundation the Family stands.

Philal.

I think that is the only way to know what we have to trust to, and how far we may insist upon the advantages of Birth.

Philot.

What are the usual steps to Ho­nour?

Philal.

I suppose one of these three, Learn­ing, Commerce or Arms. The pretences of Learning have been examined already; To which I shall only add, that if a Person whose mind is enlarged, and beautified with all sorts of useful Knowledge, is notwithstanding [Page 67] obliged to Modesty, and Sobriety of thought, then certainly those who claim under him, and are wise only by Proxy, ought not to grow too big upon their Relation to the Muses. To Proceed, Commerce is another Expedient which often distinguishes a man from the vulgar. For Trading raises an Estate, and that procures Honour, so that in this Case Wealth is the main of the merit, and that which is chiefly insisted on by those who inherit it. But here we ought to be very cautious and meek-spirited, till we are as­sured of the honesty of our Ancestours, for Covetousness and Circumvention make no good Motto for a Coat. And yet your men of Trade are too often assisted in their Fortunes by these Qualities.

Philot.

I think you are too hard upon them, and believe they may come into their Estates by more accountable methods, viz. by their Industry, by Understanding how to make use of all fair advantages, and by the luck of a good Acquaintance.

Philal.

I grant there is a great deal of Good Faith, Frankness and Generosity to be found among Tradesmen, and that such Professions are necessary to the convenience and splendor of Life, and being thus useful ought to be esteemed Honourable. But their being used to value small gains is apt (with­out care) to make them contract a narrow­ness [Page 68] of Spirit, and to stand too much to the point of Interest.

Philot.

What is that which they call the Mystery of Trade?

Philal.

A great part of it consists in the skill of over-reaching their Customers, which Science, I fear is not learned meerly for Spe­culation.

Philot.

Possibly it may be for Caution, that they may not be imposed on by others.

Philal.

I am willing to think so, however these Arcana Officinae, are counted such Essen­tials, that except an Apprentice is fully in­structed how to Adulterate, and Varnish, and give you the Go-by upon occasion, his Ma­ster may be charged with Neglect, and sued for not teaching him his Art, and his Trade.

Philot.

It seems then he cannot be an Honest Man, except he teaches his Servant to play the Knave.

Philal.

Granting your Inference, yet you know a Man may understand his Weapon bet­ter than his Neighbour, and notwithstanding be of a very peaceable inoffensive Temper. However, when the Rise of the Family is owing to such an Original, a Man has a par­ticular Reason not to flourish too much upon the glitter of his Fortune, for fear there should be too much Alloy in it. For some People are forced to climb in a very mean and servile posture. They must Flatter, Deceive, and [Page 69] Pinch; use their Neighbours, and themselves too, very unkindly, before they can gain their Point. So that if the Ancestour had not been remarkably Little, his Posterity had never been reputed Great.

Philot.

But what needs all this Scruple? Why should I enquire so anxiously how my Ancestors came by their Estate? Let their Merit be as small as you please, the Revenue will not sink upon this Score. Now, if you considered the Sovereignty of Mony, how it commands Honor, and Beauty, and Power, how much of Ornament, and Defence, and Pleasure there is in it; you would allow us to be a little Uppish upon the Matter: for when a Man has such a Universal Instrument of Delight, and is Master of that, which is Ma­ster of every thing else, he ought visibly to Congratulate his Happiness, and pay himself a particular Respect.

Philal.

If I could purchase a parcel of new Senses, and some pretty undiscovered Curiosi­ties to please them with, I confess I should be more desirous of growing Rich than I am.

Philot.

What though you cannot buy any new, you may please the old ones better, and make one Sense go as far as two, with Po­verty.

Philal.

I am not altogether of your mind; besides if my Understanding does not im­prove proportionably, I am only in the fairer way to be more a Brute.

Philot.
[Page 70]

Understanding! Mony will buy good Books, and though the Owner should should not know how to use them, yet if has an Estate, he will never want People to make him believe he has Sense, which will be in a manner as well, for Pleasure con­sists mostly in Fancy.

Philal.

I don't envy such a one the enter­tainment of his Imagination, though I believe it is much short of the transports of Lunacy: but withal I think that folly and madness are no proper Judges to pronounce upon the Ad­vancements of human Nature. But to re­turn to the Argument, no person can be Great by being Owner of those things which wise Men have always counted it a piece of great­ness to despise. To which I must add, that it is not the possessing, but the right manage­ment of any valuable Advantage which makes us Considerable. He that does not employ his Fortune generously, is not to be respected merely because he has it. Indeed if a Man gives me part of his Estate, I am bound to make him an acknowledgment; but I am not obliged to honor him because he is pleased to keep it to himself.

Philot.

Well! Since Merchandize is some­times liable to exceptions, and antient Wealth has no right to challenge Worship, and Homage. Pray what do you think of Nobi­lity raised by Arms? I hope here you will [Page 71] grant the Materials are all shining, and solid. And when an Ancestour works out his For­tune by great and hazardous Undertakings, by contempt of Danger and Death, and all the instances of an Heroick Gallantry; is it not highly reasonable his Descendants should share his Honor, as well as his Inhe­ritance? Nay, they seem obliged, in justice to his Memory, to have some stroaks of Great­ness and Reserve in their Carriage. They might better be Profuse in their Expences, than their Familiarities. The wasting his Estate, and razing him out of the Heralds Books, is scarce more injurious to his Name, than the heedless Condescensions of his Fa­mily. For by such ill managed Humility, they do as it were Prostitute his Quality, mingle his Ashes with ignoble Dust, and de­face the Monuments and Distinctions of his Merit.

Philal.

I confess a Man ought to be civil to his Generation, but not to that degree as to plague the Living, only in Ceremony to the Dead. And I may say farther, that a Noble Ancestor, does not desire his Posterity should pretend to honor him this way, except his Qualities, as well as his Name descend upon them. A person truly Great, is never fond and unreasonable; he hates to see Folly Ido­lized, though it be in his own Children; and had rather have his Memory buried in [Page 72] Oblivion, than his Honor should be Usurped by a Degenerate insignificant Off-spring. Be­sides, the reasons you assign why Martial Men ought to be valued by after-Ages, seem to be common to other pretences to Nobility.

Philot.

I am sorry if they appear so, since I designed them chiefly for the advantage of Arms. For in my judgment, the Profession of a Soldier has a particular, and paramount Title to Honor. For can there be a more ex­traordinary instance of Greatness, than for a Man to be undismayed amidst so many horri­ble Instruments and Images of Death? To expose his person as freely as if he knew him­self immortal, and to fear nothing but Obscu­rity and Disgrace? And therefore though there are many other creditable Employments and Accomplishments, yet there is a tran­scendent, and almost an astonishing Great­ness and Gracefulness in Valour. It has some­thing more illustrious and sparkling, more Noble and Majestick than the rest.

Philal.

Hold! You are going to describe Alexander or Cesar; do you think that every Field, or Charge in Gules, can pretend to all these fine things? This must be examined farther by and by: at present I shall only observe to you, that though I have a great esteem for a Gentle­man of the Sword, and don't in the least intend to lessen the just Character of Military Glo­ry; yet I conceive there is another Pro­fession, [Page 73] which possibly does not glitter alto­gether so much upon the Sense, but for all that, if you touch it 'twill prove right Sterling.

Philot.
What Profession do you mean?
Philal.

That of Learning; therefore if you please, I will just glance upon the Advantages of Learning without interposing my judg­ment by way of comparison.

Philot.

Do so, for I think you had need say some kind things upon this Argument, to make amends for the freedom you took with it in our former Conference.

Philal.

Don't mistake me, I am conscious of no Injury, and therefore design nothing by way of Reparation.

Philot.
Take your Course.
Philal.

1. Then not to mention that Learn­ing is an improvement of our Minds, which is the noblest part of us. I say not to menti­on this, you may please to take notice, that without some share in this accomplishment, War it self cannot be successfully managed. Without the assistance of Letters, a Man can never be qualified for any considerable Post in the Camp. For Courage and Cor­poral Force, unless joyned with Conduct, and reach of Thought (which are the usual effects of Contemplation) is no more fit to command than a Tempest; doing for the most part more harm than good, and destroying it self by its blind and ill directed motion. [Page 74] It is Learning which teaches a General the successes and events of Action in former Ages, which makes him better able to judge of his present preparation. It instructs him how to take advantage of his Enemies, and avoid those miscarriages which have been fatal to others before him. It teaches him how to Fortifie and Assault, how to manage the diffe­rence of Ground and Weather. It lets him into the knowledge of Human Nature, and shews him how to understand the Tempers of other men, and to govern his own. It dis­covers by what secret Springs the Passions are moved, what are the most probable Causes of Hope and Fear, of Resolution and Cowar­dise; and how strangely they are mixed, and varied according to the difference of Cli­mates, Governments, Conditions, and Oc­cupations, especially according to the different Age, Temper, Interest, and Experience of those who are in Power.

Philot.

Yes, no doubt it teaches a Man to take a Soul in pieces, as easily as a Watch! If ever I heard such Conjuring!

Philal.

Pray be not so sharp, the Discourse is not so Romantick as you suppose.

Philot.
Go on.
Philal.

Secondly, I observe that the Ad­vantages of Learning are more lasting and extensive than those of Arms. The Courage of a Soldier, does his Country not much [Page 75] service after his death, the benefit of it being usually confined to one Age: whereas by the knowledge of Men and Things, Publick Pro­visions for Society are framed, and the Con­stitution adjusted to the Temper, and Conve­nience of the People; of the happy effects of which, remote Posterity is often sensible. And as the Consequences of Valour, seldom reach beyond the death of him who shewed it, so there are few the better for it, except those a Man engages for; which are com­monly none but his Countrymen. But Learning, by inventing and improving Arts and Sciences, scatters its Favours in a much larger compass; becomes a universal Benefa­ctor, and obliges mankind in its most com­prehensive Latitude of Place and Time.

Philot.

I hope you will grant that Learning must fly to the Protection of the Sword to secure its quiet, and all the profits accrewing from thence. For in earnest, Notions, and Syllogisms, are very defenceless things against Violence. If we had nothing but Philosophy, Statutes and Reports, to secure the Peace; our Meum and Tuum were but in an ill con­dition.

Philal.

I agree with you, and shall just add in the third place, That the successes of Learn­ing are naturally of a very innocent Tendency, and under good management prejudicial to none. The Conquests of Arts are not like [Page 76] those of Arms, gained by slaughter, and at­tended with ruin and desolation. No, Here is nothing routed but Ignorance and Error, nothing destroyed but obstinate Humour, and savage Disposition: ‘Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros.’ But a Martial Man, except he has been sweetned, and polished by a Lettered Edu­cation, is apt to have a tincture of sowerness, and incomplyance in his Behaviour. And therefore if you observe your old Heroes in Homer, (for want of being Book-Learned) were none of the Gentilest Men. What a rugged tempestuous, unconversable Mortal was Achilles; I could never fancy that same [...].

Philot.

Well! I perceive it is requisite for a Man to get some Sense to his Courage if he can: but have we not lost all our Pride, and gone somewhat off from the Point?

Philal.

No, We have only fetched a Com­pass, and thrown our reasoning more into a Circle to invest the Place; and now we will come on directly, and make a little Assault, only to try the strength of the Garrison.

Philot.

Very Soldier-like! In plain English I doubt you are attempting to shew that it is not so much the Profession of Arms, as the unexceptionable management of that Profes­sion which makes a Family honourable.

Philal.
[Page 77]

Yes. Therefore before we fall too much in love with the Buff in the Wardrobe; we should examin whether the War was just, whether our Ancestor fought in defence of his Prince and Country, or let himself out to any person who would hire him to mur­ther. We should consider whether the En­terprize was Great and Dangerous; whether the Advantages were gained by open Bravery and Resolution, or were no more than the effects of Chance, of Treachery, or Surprize. And though a Man can give a creditable An­swer to all these Questions, he should then re­member there are a great many persons who have ventured as far as himself, and yet con­tinue in their first Obscurity: so that had it not been his good Fortune to have fallen un­der the Notice of his General, his Merit had been unrewarded. There are many persons who perform signal service in a Breach, or Scalado, and yet their Courage is often un­regarded, and lost in the Crowd, and Tu­mult of the Action, so that they get nothing but Blows for their Pains. To wind up this part of the Discourse: let the Rise of the Fa­mily be never so considerable (I mean none but Subjects) it ought not to supersede the Industry, or stop the Progress of those who are thence Descended. For if we rely wholly upon the Merit of others, and are Great only by imputation, we shall be esteemed by none [Page 78] but the injudicious part of the World. To speak out, if neither the advantages of For­tune and Education (which often concur in these Cases) the expectation of others, nor the Memory of worthy Ancestors, if none of these Motives can prevail with a Man to furnish himself with Supravulgar and Noble Qualities, this is an argument that he is either under a natural incapacity, or else has abandoned himself to Sloth, and Luxury. And without dispute he is most emphatically mean, who is so under the greatest advan­tages and arguments to the contrary. So that the Lustre of his Family serves only to set off his own Degeneracy, it does Facem proeferre pudendis and makes him the more remarkably Contemptible.

Philot.

You are smart upon the empty Sparks! And I perceive by your discourse that if we intend to set up strong, we must do something for our selves.

Philal.

Yes: And therefore I presume that Women have more reason to insist upon their Birth than Men: because they have not so fair a trial to discover their worth. They are by custom made incapable of those em­ployments by which Honour is usually gain'd. They are shut out from the Pulpit and Barr, from Embassies, and State Negotiations, so that notwithstanding (as I believe it often happens) their Inclinations are generous, and [Page 79] their Abilities great, to serve the publick; yet they have not an opportunity of shew­ing it.

Philot.

Truly I think you need not have been so liberal to the Beau-Sex; you know they have enough to be proud of besides Heraldry.

Philal.
What do you mean?
Philot.
Their Beauty Man.
Philal.

Right, I believe that may disturb them sometimes; but they have no great reason for it. For Beauty though it's a pret­ty varnish, yet it's of a frail Constitution, liable to abundance of Accidents, and but a short lived Blessing at the best. And waving this Consideration, it seems to be made chief­ly for the entertainment of the lookers on. Those who are so much admired by others, can't share the pleasure of the Company without the help of a Glass; for the Eyes which shew us other Objects cannot see them­selves. Nature seems to have laid the most graceful parts of our Fabrick out of our way; to prevent our vanity. For could some People always command a sight of their Faces, they would Narcissus like be perpetually poring upon their Handsomeness, and so be neither fit for Business, nor Com­pany.

Philot.

To my thinking you have not cleared the Point; For why may we not [Page 80] insist upon the privileges of Nature? Why should a fine Woman be so prodigal of her Beauty, make strip and waste of her Com­plexion, and squander away her Face for no­thing? There is no reason persons of a less agreeable aspect (except they have some o­ther advantage) should converse with beauty upon a Level. For those who cannot fur­nish out an equal proportion towards the plea­sure of Conversation, ought to pay for their insufficiency in Acknowledgments. Beauty without doubt was design'd for some ad­vantage, and if so, certainly the Owners have the best right to it.

Philal.

I grant it; and therefore it's allowa­ble for them to set a value upon their Persons, for the better disposal of them. And farther if they have a mind to it, they may please themselves, because they are acceptable to others, which is a generous satisfaction: But when they grow humoursom they spoil all; For Pride not only raises a prejudice against their Beauty, but really lessens it. For if you observe, it paints an ill-natured Air upon their Face; and fills them with spleen and peevishness and passion, which exhausts their Spirits, and makes their blood less florid, so that their Beauty is neither so agreeable nor lasting as otherwise it would be. And if the present inconvenience will not cure them, they will do well to remem­ber [Page 81] that they must of necessity grow humble when they are old; unless they are so fan­ciful as to doat upon Rubbish and Ruins.

Philot.

Pray let us take leave of the Ladies, and proceed to the other branch of your Division, viz. to acquired Nobility. And here methinks every thing looks unexcepti­onable and fine upon your own Principles. For here we are beholden to none but our selves; we are not thrown up the Hill by anothers Arms, and made considerable by Diversion, or Chancemedly; but climb the ascent by plain Strength, and indesatigable Activity. Is it not a singular commendation to have our circumstances not only large and Honourable, but Independent; and al­most to create the privileges we enjoy? Here is no gilding of a coarse substance, no bor­rowed Glory, no faint Reflection from an Ancestour, but the Man is all bright and luminous to the Center, and shines and sparkles in his own worth. He is not Great by Genealogy and ancient Title, by the Favour of Fortune and the Labours of those he never help'd, but by Nature and Per­formances, by having Greatness incorporated in himself. Now may not a Person who has thus distinguished himself by his Merit, make use of the Honour which has been so justly confer'd upon him, and put the Lazy and less significant in mind of their Defects?

Philal.
[Page 82]

If you recollect your self you will find that this point concerning Acquired Nobility has been occasionally discoursed alrea­dy: Therefore I shall only add that upon sup­position a Man has obliged the Publick, and is remarkable for great Abilities and a gene­rous Use of them; he would do well to remem­ber that there are others who have ventured as far, and performed as considerably as him­self, whose Services all miscarried as to any private Advantage, because they were not so lucky as to act under the Notice of those who were able to reward: And that many Persons well furnish'd for Employment and Honour, go out of the World as obscurely as they came in; only for want of a proper opportunity to bring them into Light, and publick View.

Philot.

What tho some People are unlucky, ought their misfortunes to be pleaded to the prejudice of Desert in others?

Philal.

No. But when a man has received so valuable a consideration for his Service as Honour and Estate, he ought to acquiesce, and not press too arbitrarily for Submission. He should not set a tax upon his Conversation, and put the Company under Contribution for Respect. Besides a Gentleman of the first Head has a particular reason to manage his Advance­ment obligingly: For by treating the little People roughly, he does in effect but expose his Ancestours and reproach his own former Condition.

Philot.
[Page 83]

You have so many fetches with you! But what do you think of Magistrates? In my opinion those who represent their Prince, and are the Ministers of Justice, can­not practise that Humility and Condescension you seem to admire, with any manner of Decency, or Security to the publick. For if they don't oblige their Inferiours to Distance, their Reputation will sink, and the Majesty of the Government will be lessen'd, and then it's easie to guess what the consequence must be.

Philal.

I agree with you: Magistrates ought to assert their Office, and not make them­selves cheap by improper Familiarities. But their Character may be over-strained. To prevent which inconvenience they may please to remember that their power was given them upon a publick account, more for the benefit of others than themselves. They are deputed by their Prince, for the countenan­cing of Virtue, for the ease and Protection of the People, and therefore they should discou­rage none who are regular and fair, they should shew their Authority upon nothing but Insolence and Injustice, Thieves and Male­factors; upon those who affront the Govern­ment, or break the Peace. There is no necessity they should bring the Air of the Bench into common Conversation, and wear their Commissions always upon their Faces. [Page 84] To manage their Power thus singularly looks like a little private Design of setting up for themselves; as if they procured their Au­thority to fright the Kings Liege Subjects, and to over-awe the Neighbourhood into a greater Reverence.

Philot.

But if they should happen to take too much upon them, are the People to slight them upon this account?

Philal.

By no means: the Authority ought to be consider'd let the Men be what they will. However in general I observe that the best way to secure Observance, is not to insist too violently upon it. For Pride is a most unfortunate Vice, other Immoralities usually gain their Point, though they lose more another way; but a Proud man is so far from making himself Great by his haugh­ty and contemptuous Port, that he is usually punished with Neglect for it: and that Disdain with which he treats others, is returned more justly upon himself: which may be done without much difficulty, in regard Honor is not become a property so far as to have all it's Appurtenances bounded and fix'd by Law. The Circumstantials and oftentimes the most pompous part of Ce­remony, are arbitrary and undetermined. For we are not told either by Statute, or Common Law how many Bows a Su­periour of such a degree may expect from [Page 85] us, nor how low we are to make them, nor how often the terms of Respect are to be used in our Application.

Philot.

What do you mean?

Philal.

I mean that it is not settled by Act of Parliament, how many Sirs and Madams, a Discourse of such a length is to be sprinkled with; and therefore a cross-grained Fellow, will tell you he has his Betters upon their Good Behaviour: if he likes their humour, he will be as liberal to them in acknowledgments as they please; if not, he shall take the freedom to hold his hand, and let them help them­selves how they can.

Philot.

Well! I cannot reconcile this self-denying Humour you are contending for to the Character of a Gentleman. Such an un­toward management of Fortune and Honour as this is, argues either that a Man wants Sense to understand his Condition, or Spirit to maintain it. To throw away the Prerogatives of our Birth, or the rewards of our Industry, at such a careless Cynical rate, is a sign of a Rustick inapprehensive meanness, and that we have not the least inclination to Greatness in us. For those who desire to be Great, will endeavour to excel, and those who excel will be sure to shew it; for the Essence of Great­ness lies in Comparison. A tall Man loses the advantage of his Stature, unless he stands streight, and overlooks his Neighbour.

Philal.
[Page 86]

Methinks you are somewhat out in your notion of Greatness.

Philot.

Let us hear if you can hit it better.

Philal.

To speak freely, I conceive it a much more substantial and better natured thing than you have made it. Greatness cer­tainly does not consist in Pageantry and Show, in Pomp and Retinue; and though a person of Quality will make use of these things to a­void Singularity, and to put the Vulgar in mind of their obedience to Authority, yet he does not think himself really the bigger for them: for he knows that those who have neither Honesty nor Understanding, have oftentimes all this fine Furniture about them. Farther, To be Great, is not to be starched, and for­mal, and supercilious, to swagger at our Foot­men, and browbeat our Inferiours. Such a Behaviour looks as if a Man was conscious of his own insignificancy, and that he had nothing but Outside, and Noise, and ill Humour, to make himself Considerable with. But he that is truly Noble, has far different Senti­ments, and turns his Figure quite another way. He hates to abridge the Liberties, to depress the Spirits, or any ways to impair the satisfaction of his Neighbour. His Greatness is easie, obliging, and agreeable, so that none have any just cause to wish it less. And though he has a general kindness for all Men, though he despises not the mean­est [Page 87] Mortal, but desires to stand fair in the Opinion of the World, yet he never courts any Man's Favour at the Expence of Justice, nor strikes in with a Popular Mistake. No, He is sensible it is the part of true Magnani­mity to adhere unalterably to a wise Choice: not to be over-run by Noise and Numbers, but to appear in defence of injured Right, of neglected Truth, notwithstanding all the Censure and Disadvantage they may some­times lie under. To conclude his Character, A Great Man is affable in his Converse, gene­rous in his Temper, and immoveable in what he has maturely resolved upon. And as Prosperity does not make him haughty and imperious, so neither does Adversity sink him into meanness and dejection: for if ever he shews more spirit than ordinary, it is when he is ill used, and the World frowns upon him. In short, he is equally removed from the extremes of Servility and Pride; and scorns either to trample upon a Worm, or sneak to an Emperor.

Philot.

In earnest, you have described a Person of Honor: And I am so far pleased with the Character, that I would give all I am Master of to make it my own. But can we receive no other Advantages from Nobility, but what have been hinted already?

Philal.

All that I can think of at present, are these following.

[Page 88] First, It gives a fair occasion to excite the generosity of our Minds, and disposes us to the imitation of great Examples, that so we may not seem unworthy our Predecessours. Indeed, a Man is bound in justice not to im­pair the Reputation, not spoil the Breed of the Family: but to hand down the Line to his Posterity, at least with the same good Condi­tions he received it.

Secondly, These Privileges of Birth may serve to check an insolent Humour in others, who behave themselves contemptuously to­wards us upon lesser, or but equal pretences.

Thirdly, A Man may make some Ad­vantage this way, when he falls undeservedly under Publick Disgrace, or is unrighteously Oppressed. For in such a Case, the mention of his Ancestours seems free from all suspicion of Vanity, and may fairly be interpreted to proceed either from self-Defence, or greatness of Spirit.

Fourthly, The same may be done when any Office or Promotion, may Legally be claimed by vertue of an honourable Condi­tion. For example, If a Man should put in to be one of the Knights of Malta, he might modestly enough publish his Pedigree, and prove his six Descents, against a less qualified Competitor.

Philot.

If you are at a stop, I think I can carry your concessions somewhat farther. For, [Page 89] as I remember, it has been granted already, that the common People may pay a Respect to Quality, though you mortifie the Pleasure a little severely in those who receive it.

Philal.

May pay a Respect, call you it? I say they must. For not to mention that Gentlemen have generally a greater share of Fortune and Sense too, than those of vulgar Condition; not to mention this I say, if they had nothing to plead but their Quality, they ought to be regarded upon that Score, because the State sets a value upon it, and that for publick and considerable Reasons.

Philot.

I perceive if a Man will but stay and hear you out, you are civil enough at the last. Pray what are we to do next?

Philal.

Why, now I could run a Discourse with you upon the inconveniences of Pride: and snew you in particular, what an uncon­querable Aversion it gives all Mankind against us, when we are overgrown with it. How it multiplies, and conceals our Defects from us, and makes us do a thousand silly things, with­out taking notice of them. How it makes us a Prey to Flatterers, and puts us to great Expences only to be laughed at. I might de­bate with you, how it spoils Conversation, and takes away the pleasure of Society. How often Families, Kingdoms, and Churches are embroiled, and the World turned topsiturvy by this Vice. These and many other ill con­sequences [Page 90] of Pride might be enlarged upon; but this part of the Argument is, I conceive, more proper for Divines, and therefore I shall pursue it no farther.

Philot.

Well moved! For now I think it is almost time to give over.

Philal.

I won't tire you.

Your humble Servant.

THE CONTENTS.

  • SOme mistakes concerning Conversation re­moved Page 3
  • The Grounds of Pride enquired into, and shewn to be founded in Self-Love, and why p. 5
  • The due bounds of Self-Love briefly examined p. 6, 7
  • Pride described, 1. By way of Negation p. 8
  • 2. The Positive marks of it are laid down p. 13
  • The principal pretences to this Vice, viz. Learning, Nobility, Wealth, Power, and Beauty p. 17
  • The pretences of Learning considered p. 18
  • The Office of Curates generally misunderstood; the mistakes about it rectified p. 31
  • The depressing their Character, and streitning them in point of Maintenance, of ill Con­sequence to Religion p. 35
  • The case of Nobility considered p. 51
  • Nobility divided into Hereditary or Ac­quired p. 53
  • The Privileges of Antiquity examined p. 57
  • Families generally raised either by Commerce, Arms, or Learning p. 66
  • [Page] The pretences of Commerce inquired into, where likewise those of Wealth, are occasionally handled p. 66, 69
  • The Merit of Arms debated p. 70
  • The Advantages of Learning, and Arms com­pared p. 73
  • The Plea of Beauty argued, and that of Ac­quired Nobility p. 79
  • The difference between Pride and Magnani­mity p. 86
  • The just Advantages of Nobility p. 88
  • Some of the unhappy Consequences of Pride hinted. p. 89
THE END.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.