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Dem. I care very little for all the silly persons I meet with and think I am justizable in diverting myself with
Her. if they are weak and foolish, it marks neither wisdom nor humanity, to insult rather than pity them. But is it certain, that thou art not as extravagant as they are?
Dem. I presume that I am not; since, in every point, my sentiments are the very reverse of theirs.
Her. There are follies of different kinds. By constantly amusing thyself with the errors and misconduct of others, thou mayst render thyself equally ridiculous and culpable. Dem. Thou art at liberty to indulge such sentiments; and to weep over me too, if thou hast any tears to spare. For my part, I cannot refrain from pleasing myself with the levities and ill conduct of the world about me. Are not all men foolish, or irregular in their lives?
Hler. Alas! there is but too much reason to believe, they are so and on this ground, I pity and deplore their condition. We agree in this point, that men do not conduct themselves according to reasonable and just principles: but I, who do not suffer myself to act as they do, must yet regard the dictates of my understanding and feelings, which compel me to love them; and that love fills me with compassion for their mistakes and irregularities. Canst thou condemn me for pitying my own species, my brethren, persons born in the same condition of life, and destined to the same hopes and privileges? If thou shouldst enter a hospital, where sick and wounded persons reside, would their wounds and distresses excite thy mirth? And yet, the evils of the body bear no comparison with those of the mind. Thou wouldst certainly blush at thy barbarity, if thou hadst been so unfeeling as to laugh at or despise a poor miserable being, who had lost one of his legs and yet thou art so destitute of humanity, as to ridicule those, who appear to be deprived of the noble powers of the understanding, by the little regard which they pay to its dictates.
Dem. He who has lost a leg is to be pitied, because the loss is not to be imputed to himself: but he who rejects the dictates of reason and conscience, voluntarily der rives himself of their aid. The loss originates in his own folly.
Her. Ab! so much the more is he to be pitied! A furious mamae, who should pluck out his own eyes, wild deserve` more compassion than an ordinary blind man.
Dem. Come, let us accommodate the business. There is
something to be said on each side of the question. Tere is every where reason for laughing, and reason for weeping. The world is ridiculous, and I laugh at it ; it is depl. rable, and thou lamentest over it. Every person views it in has own way, and according to his own temper. One point is unquestionable, that mankind are preposterous: to think right. and to act well, we must think and act differently from them. To submit to the authority, and follow the example of the greater part of men, would render us foolish and miserable.
Her. All this is, indeed, true; but then, thou hast no reas love or feeling for thy species. The calamities of mankind excite thy mirth : and this proves that thou hast no regard for men, nor any true respect for the virtues which they have unhappily abandoned. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray.
DIONYSIUS, PYTHIAS, AND DAMON,
Genuine virtue commands respect, even from the bad.
Dionysius. AMAZING! What do I see? It is Pythias just arrived. It is indeed Pythias. I did not think it possible He is come to die, and to redeem his friend!
Pythias. Yes, it is Pythias. I left the place of my contine ment, with no other views, than to pay to heaven the vows I had made; to settle my family concerns according to the rules of justice; and to bid adieu to my children, that I night die tranquil and satisfied.
Dio. But why dost thou return? Hast thou no fear of death? Is it not the character of a madu,an, to seek it thus voluntarily? Py. I return to suffer, the agh I have not deserved death. Every principle of honour and goodness, forbids me to altow my friend to die for me.
Dio. Dost thou, ther,, love him better than thyself!
Py. No; I love him as myself. But I am persuaded that I ought to suffer de ith, rather than my friend; since it was Pythias whom thou hadst decreed to die. It were not just that Damon should suffer, to deliver me from the death which was designed, not for him, but for me only.
Dio. But thou supposest, that it is as unjust to intlic death upon thee, as upon thy friend.
Py. Very true; we are both perfectly innocent; and it . is equally unjust to make either of us suffer.
Dio. Why dost thou then assert, that it were injusti to put him to death, instead of thee ?
Py. It is unjust, in the same degree, to inflict death either on Damon or on myself; but Pythias were highly culpable to let Damon suffer that death, which the tyran! had prepared for Pythias only.
Dio. Dost thou then return hither, on the day appointed, with no other view, than to save the life of a friend, by losing thy own?
Py. I return, in regard to thee, to suffer an act of injus tice which it is common for tyrants to inflict; and, with respect to Damon, to perform my duty, by rescuing him from the danger he incurred by his generosity to me.
Dio. And now, Damon, let me address myself to thee Didst thou not really fear, that Pythias would never return; and that thou wouldst be put to death on his account?
Da. I was but too well assured, that Pythias would punc tually return; and that he would be more solicitous to keep his promise, than to preserve his life. Would to heaven, that his relations and friends had forcibly detained him! He would then have lived for the comfort and benefit of good men: and I should have the satisfaction of dying for him!
Dio. What does life displease thee?
Da. Yes; it displeases me when I see and feel the power of a tyrant. I will or
Dio. It is well! Thou shalt see him no more. der thee to be put to death immediately.
Py. Pardon the feelings of a man who sympathizes with his dying friend. But remember it was Pythias who was de voted by thee to destruction. I come to submit to it, that I may redeem my friend. Do not refuse me this consolation in my last hour.
Dro. I cannot endure men, who despise death, and set my power at defiance.
Da. Thou canst not, then, endure virtue.
Dio. No I cannot endure that proud, disdainful virtue, which contemns life; which dreads no punishment; and which is insensible to the charms of riches and pleasure.
Da. Thou seest, however, that it is a virtue, which is not insensible to the dictates of honour, justice, and friendship.
Dio. Guards, take Pythias to execution. We shall see whether Damon will continue to despise my authority.
Da. Pythias by returning to submit himself to thy plea aure, has merited his life, and deserved thy favour; but 1 have excited thy indignation, by resigning myself to thy power, in order to save him; be satisfied then, with this sacrifice, and nut me death
Py. Hold, Dionysius! remember, it was Pythias alone who offended thee: Damon could not
Dio. Alas! what do I see and hear! where am I? How miserable; and how worthy to be so! I have hitherto known nothing of true virtue. I have spent my life in darkness and error. All my power and honours are insufficient to produce love. I cannot boast of having acquired a single friend in the course of a reign of thirty years. And yet these two persons, in a private condition, love one another tenderly, unreservedly confide in each other, are mutually happy, and ready to die for each other's preservation.
Py. How couldst thon, who hast never loved any person, expect to have friends? If thou hadst loved and respected men, thou wouldst have secured their love and respect. Thou hast feared mankind; and they fear thee; they detest thee.
Dio. Damon, Pythias, condescend to admit me as a third friend, in a connexion so perfect. I give you your lives; and i will load you with riches.
Da. We have no desire to be enriched by thee; and, in regard to thy friendship, we cannot accept or enjoy it, tiil thou become good and just. Without these qualities, tho canst be connected with none but trembling slaves, base flatterers. To be loved and esteemed by men of fre and generous minds, thou must be virtuous, affectionate, disinterested, beneficent; and know how to live in a sort of equality with those who share and deserve thy friendship. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray.
LOCKE AND BAYLE.
Christianity defended against the cavils of scepticism Bayle. Yes, we both were philosophers; but my philosophy was the deepest. You dogmatized; I doubted.
Locke. Do you make doubting a proof of depth in philo-. sophy? It may be a good beginning of it; but it is a bad end.
Bayle. No-the more profound our searches are into the nature of things, the more uncertainty we shall find; and the most subtle minds see objections and difficulties in every system, which are overlooked or undiscoverable by ordinary understandings.
Locke. It would be better then to be no philosopher, and to continue in the vulgar herd of mankind, the one may have the
convenience of thinking that one knows something. I find that the eyes which nature has given me, see many things very clearly, though some are out of their reach, or discerned but dimly. What opinion ought to have of a physician, who should offer me an eye-water, the use of which would at first so sharpen my sight, as to carry it farther than ordinary vision: but would in the end put them out? Your philosopy is to the eyes of the mind, what I have supposed the doctor's nostrum to be to those of the body. It actually brought your own excellent understanding, which was by nature quicksighted, and rendered more so by art and a subtilty of logic peculiar to yourself-it brought, I say, your very acute un derstanding to see nothing clearly; and enveloped all the great truths of reason and religion in mists of doubt.
Bayle. I own it did;-but your comparison is not just. I did not see well. before I used my philosophic eye-water: I only supposed I saw well; but I was in an error, with all the rest of mankind. The blindness was real, the perceptions were imaginary. I cured myself first of those false imaginations, and then I laudably endeavoured to cure other men
Locke. A great cure indeed!—and do not you think that, in return for the service you did them, they ought to erect you a statue ?
Bayle. Yes; it is good for human nature to know its own weakness. When we arrogantly presume on strength we have not, we are always in great danger of hurting ourselves, or at least of deserving ridicule and contempt, by vain and idle efforts.
Locke. I agree with you, that human nature should know its own weakness; but it should also feel its strength, and try to improve it. This was my employment as a philosopher I endeavoured to discover the real powers of the nund, to see what it could do, and what it could not; to restrain it from efforts beyond its ability; but to teach it how to adyance as far as the faculties given to it by nature, with the utmost exertion and most proper culture of them, would allow it to go. In the vast ocean of philosophy, I had ine line and the plummet always in my hands. Many of its depths I found myself unable to fathom; but, by caution in sounung, and the careful observations I made in the course of my voyage, ¦ found out some truths of so much use to mankind, that they acknowledge me to have been their benefactor.
Bayle. Their ignorance makes them think so. Some oth er philosopher will come hereafter and show those truths to kn