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ney, has led me to an inquiry concerning the nature of justiee.
Justice is a relation of congruity, which is really found be. tween two things: this relation is always the same, what, ever being considers it, whether God, angel, or lastly, man.
Indeed, men do not always see these relations, and, even when they do see them, they are often neglected to follow their own peculiar interesi. Justice exalis her voice, but she finds it difficult to be heard amidst the tumults of the passions.
Men often commit injustice, because it is their interest, and they choose rather to satisfy themselves than others. Their actions always tend to their own emolument: nobody is wicked for nothing ; some reason must sway him, and that reason is always a reason of interest.
We ought to love justice, because by that means we resemble the Divine Being of whom we have so lovely an idea ; because he must inevitably be just. And, though we were destitute of revelation, we should still be under the government of equity.
This induces me to believe that justice is eternal, and does not depend upon human conventions: and, if it did depend upon them, it would be a fatal truth, which we should conceal even from ourselves.
We are encompassed with men stronger than ourselves; they may hurt us a thousand different ways, and generally with impunity. What a comfort is it to us to know, that there is in the heart of all those men an inward principle, that exerts itself in our behalf, and protects us from their violence !
Were it not for this, we should have reason to live in a scene of perpetual horror; we should be as much terrified at meeting a man as a lion; and we should never, one single moment, be secure of our lives, our estates, or our honour.
When I reflect on these things, my indignation is inflamed against those persons, who represent God as a being that makes a tyrannical use of his power; who tells us he acts after a manner which we ourselves would not, for fear of offending him ; who accuse him of all the imperfec.
tions which he punishes in us; and, in their contradictory opinions, describe him at one time as an unjust being, and ai another, as a being who bates and punishes injustice.
When a man examines himself, what a satisfaction is it to find he has an upright heart! this pleasure, severe as it is, must fill him with raplure; he looks upon himself as a being so much above those who are destitute of it, as he is above the brute creation
There is one thing common at the assizes which troubles me very much, and that is, the diversions of all sorts carried on al such times of solennity. To see a fellow-creature going to the place of execution, whilst the people are engaged al play, is a practice of so inhuman a nature, that I scarce know by what nanie to call it. If ever seriousness was to be found amongst mortals, susely such are the times. It ought always to remind us of two things, the corruption of human nature, which renders those executions necessary, and the last day, when we shall all appear before the Judge, who cannot be deceived. But I doubt not you have long since considered these things, and therefore I shall conclude with my assurance of being
Your real friend.
LETTER CXXXV. From a gentleman in the country to his friend in London,
on relirement. Dear Sir,
OU know I was sick of the hurry and consusion in
jny a calm tranquillity, and feast my eyes with nature clothed in the blooming garment of ihe spring. Here I. often contemplate the wonders of the creation undisturbed, and think myself happier in solitude, than the gaudy courtier amidst the splendour, noise, and hurry of the court.
This is safely's habitation; silence guards the door against the strife of tongues, and all the impertinences of idle conversatiori. The swarms of temptations that beset us amidst the gaieties of life, are banished froin these scenes of retirement; here, without disturbance, I can survey my own thoughts, and ponder the secret intentions of my own heart. In short, here I can learn the best of sciences, that of knowing myself."
The other evening I strayed into the fields, and pleasing myself with the variety of objects that presented themselves on every side, night overtook me before I was aware. The whole face of the ground was soon overspread with shades, only a few of the lofty eminences were clothed with streaming silver, and the tops of the waving groves . and summits of the mountains were irradiated with the smiles of departing day. The clouds expanding their purple wings, were dipped with a ray of gold, while others represented a chain of lofty mountains, whose craggy sum; míts overshadowed the vales below, and along their inaccessible sides there appeared various pits and romantic caves,
A calm of tranquillity and undisturbed repose spread over the whole scene. The gentle gales fanned themselves asleep, so that not a single leaf was in motion ; echo her. self slept unmolested, and the expanded ear could only catch the liquid lapse of a murmuring stream. The beasts departed to their grassy couch, and the village swains to their pillows; even the faithful dog forgot his post and slumbered with his master.
Darkness was now at its height, and the different objects were only rendered visible by the faint glimmerings of the
This solemn scene brought to my remembrance the lerrors which often invade timorous minds; this, said I to myself, is the time when the mosts are supposed to make their appearance, and spirits visit the solitary dwellings of the dead. But what should terrify me, when I know I. am encompassed by the hand of my Maker; and that in a short time I shall enter a whole world of unbodied beings. Nor is it unreasonable to suppose, that numbers of invisi. ble beings are at this instant patrolling the same retreat, and joining with me in contemplating the works of the Almighty Creator.
When' I reflect on the benefit of retirement, I am ready to plead in behalf of those Popish recluses who left the world, and shut themselves up in cells and cloisters.
For although man is a social being, yet he must at beast find some retirement beneficial to his health, and conducive to his eternal interest.
I am, dear sir, your sincere friend.
LETTER CXXXVI. From a lady who had formerly kept a boarding school, to
another of the same profession, on lemale education. Madam, RECEIVED your letter, containing the following re
quest, v.z. What are the most proper methods to be used in conducting the education of young ladies, so as to avoid extravagance on the one hand, and meanwess on the viher? This is a very important question, and perhaps above my poor
abilities to answer. However, as I have had many years experience in female education, I shall tell you my thoughts on the subject with the greatest freedom.
'It is the misfortune of the present age, that almost all ranks of people are so much infatuated as io strive who shall outdo one another in extravagance, and the daughter of an ordinary tradesman can scarce be distinguished from a lady of quality; if ve inquire into the causes from which those effects flow, we shall, find ihal they are party owing to the conduct of the mothers, and partly to those intrusteil with their education. I shall mention a few things concern. ing both, and leave you to judge of the propriety.
Mothers should, on every occasión, teach their daughters that it is a duty incumbent on them not to have aspiring views beyond that station in which providence has placed them. That humble unaffected modesty in a stuff gown, . • will be preferred by every sensible person before either silks or Brussel's Jace. Thalitis a greater accomplishment for å tradesman's daughter to wash a tivor thao to dance on it; and much more useful to be able to dress ajoint of meat, than print out the particular merits of an actress, and applaud or condemn a song. But the keepers of board. ing-schools are still more culpable than parents. No sooner is iniss placed in one of those seminarica, than she is taught to consider herself a young lady, and even honoured with that high appellation. Thus the seeds of van nity are sown in the sist rumenis of learning, and conti: pue to operate on her conductas she advances 11 years : “Grow with her growtlı, and strengthen with her strength."
It is almost impossible for those who are any way acquainted with human nature. to imagine that the girl who is taught to consider herself as a lady, can ever be iz pro
per wife for a tradesman, and common sense teacheth her that she has not any thing greater to expect.
But there is something still worse; she is not only unfit to be the wife of an honest industrious tradesman, but she often occasions his suin; she expects to be supported in the same extravagant manner as at the boarding-school; dissi. pation takes the place of prudence, public diversions are more attended to than domestic duties, and the unhappy husband, to enjoy peace, is often obliged to leave his business, that his lady may be honoured with his company. The fatal effects of such extravagance are soon feli, and the woman who formerly considered herself as a lady, finds, by woful experience, that she had assumed an improper name. The best, nay the only way to educate their children, consistent with their own station in life, is, on all occasions, to leach them not to expect more than their birth entitles them 10. It would likewise be very beneficial to the nation, if those women who keep boarding-schools, were to instruct the girls in uselul employments, rather than in such useless arts as cannot be of any real bepeht to them in the world.
I am, dear madam, sincere friend,
LETTER CXXXVII. On sickness, from a lady to her friend, lately recovered
from a dangerous illness. Madam, A
FTER so long, so strict a friendship as has been invio. for me to assure you how eagerly I wished to spend the summer al your house: but wherever I am, mý beart is entirely yours;
that heart which, by a thousand obligations, . is lied for ever to you, I know your husband and mother's tenderness would render my care almost unnecessary; and indeed my present desire to see you since
your recovery, is to know the state of your health from my own observation, rather than from the reports of others, lest they should flatter me in pity to my trembling expectations.
While we continue in this world we are subject to a variety of fictions, and when God seès fit to lay us under severe afflictions, either of body or mind, we are obliged to submit with a becoming resignation : but, alas! in cases of that nature, we are but miserable comforters to each