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never would receive more than his accustomed fee; and he is known to have sought every opportunity of assisting and forwarding the interests of those whose merit and impoverished circumstances more particularly entitled them to his notice. In short, his admirable paper in the Spectator on the Duties of Office*, may be considered as a faithful comment on his own practice; those “possessed with honest minds," he observes,"will consider poverty as a recommendation in the person who applies himself to them, and make the justice of his cause the most powerful solicitor in his behalf. A man of this temper, when he is in a post of business, becomes a blessing to the public. He patronises the orphan and the widow, assists the friendless, and guides the ignorant. He does not reject the person's pretensions who does not know how to explain them, or refuse doing a good office for a man because he canuot pay the fee of it. In short, though he regulates himself in all his proceedings by justice and equity, he finds a thousand occasions for all the good-natured offices of generosity and compassion.” And again, speaking of the minister who suffers himself to be corrupted by pecuniary temptation, "such an one,” he proceeds,“is the man who, upon any pretence whatsoever, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office. Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, dispatch-money, and the like specious terms, are the pretences under which corruption very frequently shelters itself. An honest man will, however, look on all these methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better in a moderate fortune that is gained with honour and reputation, than in an overgrown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction.”
* Spectator, N°469.
The discrimination with which he has pointed out the good or bad tendency of passions and appetites which are vicious only in excess, has been of essential service to morality. In no path of life is human nature more likely to stray; and to guard against the inordinate pursuit of power, of riches, and honour, when opportunity offers for their accumulation, requires a firmness of principle, a controul of feeling and desire, which nothing but the most correct views of reason and religion can produce. His Essays on the Love of Fame* may be selected as specimens of the acuteness with which he has developed the bearings and tendency of a passion so ambiguous in its operation, and so effective, according to the principle on which it is founded, of great good or great evil. If we consider indeed by whom, and on whom, fame is usually bestowed, we can entertain no very high opinion of the worth or intellect of the man whose life is absorbed in its attainment. « If it be from the common people,” remarks the judicious Bacon, it is commonly false and naught: and rather followeth vaine persons, than virtuous: for the common people understand not many excellent vertues: the lowest vertues draw praise from them; the middle vertues worke in them astonishment, or admiration; but of the highest vertues, they have no sense, or perceiving at all.-Certainly, Fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swolne, and drownes things weighty and solid : but if persons of quality (ability) and judgement concurre, then it is (as the scripture saith) Nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis. It filleth all round about, and will not easily away *.”
* Spectator, vol. iv. Nos, 255, 256, 257.
The sweetness and placidity of Addison's disposition, happily led him to expatiate on topics intimately connected with, and productive of, the temper and frame of mind of which he himself exhibited so delightful an example. Hence his essays on Contentment, on Cheerfulness, and on Hope, are some of the most interesting and pleasing of his productions. * Bacon's Essays-On Praise, p. 304, 4to edition of 1632.
He well knew that the best ingredients in the cup of human life were regulated desires and subdued expectations; and that he would be little liable to disappointment, and most able to bear up under affliction, who looked forward not to this, but to a future life for what is usually called happiness. “The utmost we can hope fos in this world,” he observes, " is contentment; if we aim at any thing higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment. A man should direct all his studies and endeavours at making himself easy now and happy hereafter *: a truth which cannot be too strongly or frequently impressed upon the mind; and to which, in addition to what I have already said upon the same subject in my observations on Steele, I am now willing to add the authority and experience of Addison ;
For, trust me, one protecting shed,
Is all that life can give.
Another very consolatory resource under adversity, and which might often reconcile us to apparent evils, has been very properly brought forward by our author as a powerful motive to contentment. “ Possibly," says he,“what we now look upon as the greatest misfortune, is not really such in itself. For my own part, I question not but our souls in a separate state will look back on their lives in quite another view, than what they had of them in the body; and that what they now consider as misfortunes and disappointments, will
* Spectator, No 163.
very often appear to have been escapes and
whence the extracts on contentment have been taken is introductory to the affecting story of Theodosius and Constantia. This interesting narrative, which Addison has told with the most touching simplicity and pathos, places, in a very instructive point of view, the value and consolations of religion in reconciling the heart to the endurance of misfortunęs irreparable in this state of existence.
This pathetic tale gave birth in the year 1763 to the “ Letters supposed to have passed between Theodosius and Constantia,” by Dr. Langhorne, and which have been so deservedly admired, observes his son, for their purity of style as well as of doctrinet. It is probable the doctor was influenced in the choice of this subject for his imaginary correspondence by his long and much
* Spectator, No 163.
+ Memoirs of Dr. Langhorne by his Son, prefixed to his Poetical Works, page 13.