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tensity of their toils, they soon lose that jauntiness of limbs, that ease of motion, that nimbleness of gait, which the savage retains even to old age.-Labourers in the mechanical arts have more or less bodily activity, generally, according to the nature of their occupations. Those trades which require a sedentary life, a seclusion from the air, and a curved posture of body which compresses the lungs, as well as those that expose the artificers to a poisonous effluvia, tend to bring on weakDess and disease, and often-times hasten death.
The wealthy part of mankind, whose circumstances free them from the necessity of constant, drudging toil, might, one would think, rise superior to others in proportion to their superior advantages. But how rarely is it so in fact? Their luxury and debauchery poison both mind and body; insomuch that where vast possessions are vested unalienably in certain families, as in some parts of Europe, most of those enormously wealthy families, in the course of ages, dwindle down to a race of pigmies, in comparison with whom the savage holds an enviable rank. The savage state and the state of luxurious refinement are the two extremes ; between which, somewhere, there lies a point that is most favourable to the happiness of man, and to the general developement of his faculties.
The Learned might have the best chance to unite in themselves bodily and mental excellencies, if prudent care were early begun and constantly continued. If there were used frequent exercise in the open air, both at the commencement and throughout the whole course of a life of study; if study and exercise were alternate, at short intervals, the body would retain its vigorous tone, the mind would be relieved, and the progress of learning be promoted, rather than retarded. But this is often reversed in practice. Observe a scholar that
has just left the occupations of agriculture : Observe his ruddy countenance and florid health. Observe the same scholar two or three years after ; see his dim eye, his faded cheek, his emaciated body, the debility of his whole frame !-And what has operated this melancholy change ?-Continued mental exercises, without corresponding exercises of the body. He has been a hard student, and has treasured up Greek, and Latin, and Algebra, and Logic; but, for want of frequent intervals of exercise in the open air, the juices of his body have corrupted, like the water in a standing pool.
We are compound beings, consisting of animal and mental parts and faculties. It is a most desirable thing to have “a sound mind in a sound body;" and
a therefore, whilst the principal attention is to be paid to intellectual, moral, and religious improvements, there is no small attention due also to the health, soundness, and agility of the corporeal part of our nature.
of the general proneness to petty scandal.
As if there were not enough, and more than enough, of prattlement, from human tongues alone, a great deal of pains are taken, in some parts of the world, to learn birds to talk. Families, of opulence and rank, in one country and another, are said to have devoted a considerable portion of their time to the advancement of this species of education : nor would it be altogether time lost, if they would mind to teach their birds a few sound and pithy maxims for domestic use, and the bene. fit of their visiters.
The following anecdote I will cite as an example for the purpose of showing to what good account the lingo of speaking birds might be turned, if their education were conducted either on moral principle, or upon principles of domestic economy. In the city of London, as Goldsmith informs us, two men, living directly opposite to one another, in the same street, had a quarrel together, on account of the one having informed against the other for not paying the duties on his liquors ; and that the aggrieved party, after teaching his parrot to repeat the ninth commandment, placed the cage at the front of his house ; so that whenever the informer on the opposite side of the street stepped out of his own door, he heard from the parrot this admonition, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
This sacred precept is to be understood as possessing a very wide latitude of meaning ; comprehending not only perjury and gross calumny, which are both punishable by civil law, but also evil speaking, in all its multifarious shapes and degrees. It is obvious to remark, that although the prohibitory precepts in the eighth article, and the ninth, of the holy decalogue, are both levelled against evils that are alike prejudicial and pernicious to society, yet the laws of society take much more concern in the one than in the other. Every wellregulated civil society arms itself against theft, and metes out punishment as well to petty pilferers as to the highway robber : and yet the violations of the next succeeding article of divine prohibition, pass, for the most part, without punishment, and almost without notice. Not but that money is trash, in comparison with character ; so that he who steals the one, does far less injury than he who wounds the other. But the fact is, civil law is quite incompetent to the task of taking
cognizance of the violations of the ninth commandment, save in a few instances of flagrant enormity.
The trespasses of the tongue, in this way, are so innumerable, so diverse, and ofttimes so artful, that no legislator could classify them, and much less enact laws that would reach them wholly, without destroying the liberty of speech altogether. And besides, there is, in society, a great deal less averseness to evil speaking than to theft. If one have his money or his goods stolen, he no sooner makes it known, than his neighbours join with him in searching for the thief, who, if found and convicted, is sure to be punished ; because com·mon zeal, as well as common consent, takes side against the culprit. But the pilferers from character fare less hard ; or rather, they are tolerated, provided they manage with art and address, and mingle some wit with their malice or their levity.
And as petty violations of this part of the decalogue meet with impunity, so also they meet with encouragement. Somehow, there is a sad propensity in our fałlen nature to be pleased with backbiting, and a smack of it gives a zest to general conversation. Few are altogether without envy, which ever takes delight in a backbiting or detracting tongue. Few are without some conscious and visible faults; and the faulty are naturally prone to take pleasure in the noticeable faults of others, as it tends to quiet them about their own. From these causes, and still oftener perhaps, from thoughtless levity, encouragement is given, almost every where, to the small dealers in detraction, who, all together, -compose a pretty numerous body.
It requires no great stretch of charity to believe, that there are very many persons who never have been guilty of any dishonest action, and much less of downright theft. But it is to be apprehended, that there are very few indeed, who have never, in all their lives, borne
false witness against a neighbour, in some degree or other, either by unwarrantably spreading ill reports, or else by giving too willing an ear to slander and defamation. It is the evil which most easily besets us ; of which we are least apt to be aware ; and which many men and women practise, without compunction, and almost without thought, although apparently of estimable characters in other respects.
SEMPRONIA, is such a very fury in the cause of virtue and decorum, that, first or last, nearly the whole sisterhood of her acquaintance has been lampooned by her tongue. So far from showing partiality to her own sex, nothing heats her temper and throws her into a fit of boiling rage, like the faults of women. Not to mention the abhorrence with which she ever speaks of the wretched victims of seduction, she is of purer eyes than to behold, in a fernale especially, even the least aberration from the path of propriety, without emotions of indignation and expressions of reproach. Frugal of praise, and liberal of censure, she speaks but little of those whose characters furnish no topics for scandal ; whilst all her eloquence is employed in expatiating on faults, frailtes, and follies. The truth of it is, there
few whose garments are so white that she can discover on them no spots ; and it is on the spots, rather than the fair parts, that she fixes her attention and bestows her remarks.
Yet, after all, Sempronia is remarkably perpendicular in much of her conduct. Not for the world would she tell a downright, wilful, lie. She means to speak the truth and nothing else ; but the truth she peppers with a vengeance. Sour in nature, elated with an extravagant opinion of herself, jealous of qualities that threaten to eclipse her, and thinking her own excellencies will show to best advantage by displaying them in