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You will seldom find one of them possessed of truc clearness and largeness of understanding.
So again, many a doting father is secretly gratified with the slyness, and the foxlike tricks of his boy
; when, in reality, he has all reason to apprehend that the boy is getting to be a confirmed villain in grain, and will have a genius for nothing else.
The fox is the most noted of any of the inferior ani. mals for craft and roguery; yet the fox is one of the most miserable of all the brute creation. He has not a friend upon earth. The honester dog hunts and attacks him with peculiar malice. Every four footed animal seems to bear him a grudge; the weaker shunhim,and the stronger pursue him. The very birds knowing his knavish craft, hover in the air over him, and seem to express their apprehensions and their hatred. They alight upon the trees and the hedges, as he is slyly creeping along the ground beneath, and with loud cries and chatterings, give warning of his approach, as who should say, “ yonder goes a cunning, beguiling, greedy rogue :-take special care of yourselves.”--And thus also it fares, for the most part, with those of Adam's children, who have much cunning, but no principle of konesty.
Of the temporal advantages of uprightness of character,
“My son, sow not upou the furrows of unrighteousness."
Advice of the son of Sirach.
Dr. Franklin, founding his theory upon the principle that the human body is specifically lighter than waNer, tells us in substance, that one fallen into that ele.
ment, were he to abstain from struggling and plunging, and to let his body down with the feet foremost, re-, maining thus in a perpendicular position, except throwing his head as far back as possible, he might escape drowning for some considerable time at least ; because, in that position the face would be quite above the surface of the water.
This prescription or direction from the venerable Doctor, who knew as well as any man how to keep his own head above water, is of itself, or in its plain literal import, well worth the being held in remembrance. But craving indulgence for the license, I mean withal to make an analogical use of it.
Young men, as soon as they are entitled to the rights of personal independence, launch out in what is figuratively called the ocean of life. Indeed we are all of us in that ocean ; some in deeper, and others in shoaler water ; some going forward smoothly with the tide ; and others having the tide against them : sometimes we have fair wind and weather, and other times we are under a dark sky, and assailed with tempestuous winds that raise aloft the foaming billows.
What, then, is the safest way, at all times, and for persons of all ranks and conditions ? Why, it is told in only three words, Mind the perpendicular. Many a young man, and many a man not young, have I seen ingulphed and lost, not by reason of his wanting skill and alertness, but because he failed of keeping himself in a perpendicular attitude : whereas, on the other hand, never did I see a single one totally submerged, who had always been duly careful in that particular.
If even there were nothing to hope or fear beyond the grave, honesty would be the best policy; inasmuch as it carries one through this world with most safety in the long run, as well as with honour : 66 He that wala keth uprightly, walketh surely.” He travels in a plain and safe path ; a fair character is his passport, and the laws of society are his protection. As long as a man holds fast his integrity, he cannot be quite undone ; for though, by adverse gusts, he be sadly plunged, his face will still be above water. Though he should suffer the loss of all things else, yet the consciousness of strict integrity will buoy him up, and the knowledge that others have, of his integrity, will give him a chance to repair his broken fortunes, or at the least will secure him that good name which is better than precious ointment."
On the contrary," he that perverteth his way shall be known.” Though deceit and knavishness may sometimes procure momentary advantages, they are but momentary, and are much more than countervailed by the lasting ill consequences which they never fail to bring after them: for not only does dishonesty draw after it many inward disquietudes, but it lays one under very heavy disadvantages with respect to his intercourse with the world. Notwithstanding all his arts of cunning, it will be known: and when a man's character is of that sort as to fill with suspicions every one that knows him, even his honest acts will be thought to spring from base motives, or to have some dark design It will be suspected that the plague of leprosy still remains, either in the warp, or in the woof."
It greatly behooves that young men form fixed resolutions at the outset of life, never to swerve from the perpendicular, in a single instance--no, not even in the most trivial one; for one trespass against the laws of honesty leads to another, as it were by a sort of natural and necessary connection. So that, though there be many who, in their intercourse with the world, have never been guilty of one dishonest act, yet there are few who have been guilty of one, and but one. Because the first, by corrupting the moral principle, weakens the power of resisting the next temptation ; because one knavish deed often requires another, and sometimes several others, to cover it; and, lastly, because rooted knavishness of heart is harder of cure than
any other moral malady, inasmuch as the corruption of the principle of integrity, is the corruption of the very source of all moral virtue.
He that has seen a rogue in grain, a thoroughly practised rogue, turn to a downright honest man; has at least one marvellous thing to tell of.
An exemplification of true christian honesty
The following line of Pope,
" An honest man's the noblest work of God'has been pronounced unworthy of that celebrated poetz forasmuch as honesty is but a vulgar virtue, as common to the meanest as to the greatest abilities. Honesty, though commendable, is so far from being one of the noblest of human qualities, that the honest man may, nevertheless, be but a plain simple man, of contracted intellects, of very little education, and of a low condition This the noblest work of God! Fy upon such nonsense!
Now, to adjust this matter between the poet and the critic, it will be necessary to take a cursory view of the different standards of honesty, according to one or other of which reputedly honest inen square their conduct, and of the different principles by which they are governed.
Men sometimes act honestly from policy, rather than from a principle of probity. They believe, and believe
aright, that “honesty is the best policy.” According to this sound maxim, they mean to act, and they greatly find their account in it. In short, none are wiser in their generation than those who are honest altogether from policy. While carefully minding to keep themselves within the hedge of the law, they, without mercy or pity, take every advantage that the law will let them. They escape the infamy and punishment which commonly befal the impolitic wights who are versed in the black art of downright roguery. Thus they walk in a plain and safe path. An honest reputation is their passport, and the laws of society are their protection. These are your hard honest men, who are honest merely for their own safety and profit, and are just as selfish in their honesty as in every thing else. True enough, the poet is worthy of reprehension if he meant them. But though the fear of disgrace or punishment, and the desire of a fair character, inay give birth to a creditable but contracted and spurious kind of honesty, which has in it nothing of the dignity of virtue ; yet the truly honest man, however low in circumstances or mean in parts, is one of Virtue's nobility.
The truly honest man would be just as honest without law as with it. Guided by the paramount authority of conscience, he neither withholds aught nor exacts aught on the mere plea that civil law is on his side.
The truly honest is he who makes it a cardinal point to do to others as he would be done unto; and who decides with justice, when self-interest and justice are in opposite scales.
The truly honest man is never ostentatious of his honesty. Ostentation of it is always an ill sign : it looks like putting on a patch to hide a pimple.
But enough of definition. One good example is worth a score of definitions : and the following exam