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'The even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always of moderation, but of a triteness to a man's self, with end to make use of both.'
And thorough-going partizans usually attrihute this to every one who keeps aloof from Party; or else they suspect him of seeking to set up some new party, in which he may be a leader; or they regard him as a whimsical Being, who differs in opinion from everybody.
A zealous anti-Calvinist at Oxford denounced as Calvinistic a series of Discourses delivered there some years ago, because they were not Arminian: and when those same Discourses were afterwards published, a reviewer spoke of the author as Arminian because he was not a Calvinist: 'since every one, ' he said,' must be supposed to be either the one or the other.'
A large portion of mankind enrol themselves in the ranks of a party, to be saved the trouble of examining for themselves each of a great number of particular points. They like to have a ready-made set of opinions; like a lot of goods at an auction. And they conclude that others must do the like. Moreover, Man is a classifying animal. It is a convenience to be able to refer each individual to a Class, whose name describes him, instead of going through all the particulars of his opinions. And one who cannot be so described,—though perhaps he does not differ more from his neighbours than many of them do from each other—is an inconvenient individual;—a kind of odd volume on a library-table, for which we cannot find a place on any of the shelves. He is one who refuses to say 'I am of Paul, or I, of Apollos, or I, of Cephas, or, of Luther, or Calvin, or Arminius.' And those, therefore, who prefer convenience to accuracy, will be likely to place him in the ranks of some Party, according to their fancy; or else they will denounce him as 'eccentric, ' and affecting 'singularity.'
From one or other of the above-mentioned causes, he is likely to be regarded with at least as much hostility by the most zealous party-men, as those of an opposite party. And accordingly, Tlmcydides, in describing the party-contests at Corcyra and other Greek States, remarks that 'those who held a middle course were destroyed by both parties.'
And it is remarkable that party-spirit tends so much to
lower the moral standard, that it makes men regard with less abhorrence what is wrong, not only on their own side, but even on the opposite. Their feelings towards those of the opposed party are very much those of a soldier towards the soldiers of the hostile army. He fires at them for that reason alone, and expects that they should fire at him. If they fight bravely, or if they out-manoeuvre him, he admires their courage or their skill. He does not think the worse of them for reckless plundering, ravaging, and slaughtering, just as he would do in their place, and as he does, on the opposite side. Even so, the most thorough-going partizans attribute to every one who is, or is supposed to be (often without any good grounds) a member of the opposite party, such conduct as is in reality unjustifiable, without thinking at all the worse of him for it. It is only what they would do in his place: and though they dislike him for being of the opposite party, they dislike him for nothing else.
And as there is often a strong resemblance in character between the soldiers of two hostile armies, so, those whom some perhaps slight circumstance has enrolled in the ranks of opposite parties, will often be found to be very much alike in the most essential points of personal character. Thus, two similar mountain-streams near the summit of the great mountain-ridges which divide Europe, will sometimes be separated by a small fragment of rock, which sends the waters of the one into the Atlantic, and of the other into the Mediterranean.
And not only are the feelings of zealous party-men hostile to one of moderate views, who keeps clear of opposite extremes, but their moral-judgment also—such as it is—condemns him. If, for instance, he has been raised to some high office without solicitation, and unconditionally, and afterwards refuses to vote through thick and thin, with the Party of the Ministry that appointed him, against his own judgment, and without any regard for justice and the public good, he is likely to be denounced as an ungrateful traitor. And if he advocates some enlargement of popular rights, and also some wholesome restrictions, he will be reproached with 'inconsistency;' just as the Satyr, in the Fable, rebukes the inconsistency of the traveller, whose breath warmed his fingers, and cooled his porridge.
The effects of party-spirit in lowering the moral standard are gradual, and usually rather slow. But it often happens, on the occasion of some violent party-contest, that an apparently sudden change will take place in men's characters; and we are surprised by an unexpected outhreak of unscrupulous baseness, cruel injustice, and extravagant folly. In such cases, however, there can be little doubt that the evil dispositions thus displayed were lurking in the breasts of the individuals before, unknown by themselves and by those around them, and are merely called into activity by the occasion; even as a storm of wind raises the dust which it did not create. According to the proverb,1
"The pond that when stirred does muddy appear, Had mud at the bottom when still and clear.'
1 See Proverbs and Precepts.
ESSAY LIL OF CEREMONIES AND
HE that is only real had need have exceeding great parts of virtue, as the stone had need to be rich that is set without foil; but if a man mark it well, it is in praise and commendation of men as it is in gettings and gains; for the proverb is true, 'That light gains make heavy purses/ for light gains come thick, whereas great come but now and then; so it is true, that small matters win great commendation, because they are continually in use and in note, whereas the occasion of any great virtue cometh but on festivals. Therefore it doth much add to a man's reputation, and is (as Queen Isabella said) like perpetual letters commendatory, to have good forms. To attain them, it almost sufficeth not to despise them; for so shall a man observe them in others, and let him trust himself with the rest; for if he labour too much to express them, he shall lose their grace, which is to be natural and unaffected. Some men's behaviour is like a verse, wherein every syllable is measured. How can a man comprehend great matters, that breaketh his mind too much to small observations ?J Not to use ceremonies at all, is to teach others not to use them again, and so diminish respect to himself; especially they are not to be omitted to strangers and formal natures; but the dwelling upon them, and exalting them above the moon, is not only tedious, but both diminish the faith and credit of him that speaks; and, certainly, there is a kind of conveying of effectual and imprinting3 passages amongst compliments, which is of singular use, if a man can hit upon it. Amongst a man's peers a man shall be sure of familiarity, and therefore it is good a little to keep state; amongst a man's inferiors one shall be sure of reverence, and therefore it is good a little to be familiar. He that is too much in any thing, so that he giveth another occasion of satiety, maketh himself cheap. To apply one's self to others is good, so it be with demonstration, that a man doth it upon1 regard and not upon facility. It is a good precept generally in seconding another, yet to add somewhat of one's own; as if you will grant his opinion, let it be with some distinction; if you will follow his motion, let it be with condition; if you allow his counsel, let it be with alleging farther reason. Men had need beware how they be too perfect in compliments; for be they never so sufficient2 otherwise, their enviers will be sure to give them that attribute, to the disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss also in business to be too full of respects, or to be too curiouss in observing times and opportunities. Solomon saith,' He that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to the clouds shall not reap.'4 A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. Men's behaviour should be like their apparel, not too strait or point device,5 but free for exercise or motion.
1 Ceremonies and respects. Conventional forms of politeness, and rules of etiquette.
'The sauce to meat is ceremony;
Art thou aught else but place, degree and form ?'—Shakespere. 'Tho Duke's carriage to the gentlemen was of fair respects.'—Wotton.
2 Observations. Observances. 'He freed the christian Church from the external observation.'— White.
3 Imprinting. Impressive.
ANTITHETA ON CEREMONIES AND RESPECTS.
'Si et in verbis vulgo paremus, 'Quid deformius, quam scenam in
quidui in habitu, ct gestu? vitnm transferre?
'If we accommodate ourselves to the 'What can be more disgusting than
vulgar in our speech, why not also in to transfer the stage into common life.' our deportment V
'Magis plaeent cerussatte buccae, et
'Virtus et prudentia sine punctis, calamistrata coma, quam cerussati et velut peregrinae lingua) sunt; nam vulgo calamistrati mores, non intelliguntur. 'Rouged cheeks and cvrkd hair are
'Virtue and wisdom without forms of less offensive than rouged and curled politeness are strange languages, for manners.' they are not ordinarily understood.'
'Puncti translatio sunt virtutis in lingunm vernaculam.
'Forms are the translation of virtue into the vulgar tongue.'
1 Upon. In consequence of. See page 467.
2 Sufficient. Able. 'Who is sufficient for these things ?'—2 Cor. ii. 16.
3 Curious. Exact; precise. 'Both these senses embrace their objects with a more curious discrimination.'—Holder. * Eccles. xi. 4.
6 Point device. Extremely exact (with the nicety and precision of a stitch [French point] devised or made with the needle). 'Everything about you should demonstrate a careless desolation; but you are rather point de vise in your accoutrements, as loving yourself, than the lover of another.'—Shakespere.