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in Philoctetes, who then voluntarily went with Neoptolemus to the Grecian camp, carrying along with him his bow and arrows; and by means of them, Troy was conquered.
This, in short, is the moral of the fable :-open and honest policy, aided by the powers above, was crowned finally with more complete success, than could have been obtained by the deep-laid fraudulent plan of the erafty Ulysses.
The arts of falsehood and trick, whether on a large scale or a small one, are but foolishness, however subtilely managed
". The secret snare when falsehood spreads,
Craft, partaking as it does of moral turpitude, which
perpetually strives to conceal, exposes itself by its very attempts at concealment, as the serpent tells us where to strike him, by covering his head. Whether in the private or public walks of life; whether in the common intercourse between neighbors and fellow citizens, or in the great concerns of princes and statesmen-an honest policy will be found to wear best. Our great and beloved Washington, whom Heaven crowned with such wonderful success, had nothing of the craft of Ulysses. With a mind good as it was
great, he sought noble ends by honest means; by means that he could never blush to own. He was admirable for his real unsophisticated wisdom; for the wisdom that soared above the base arts of intrigue, and which was ever open and guileless.
“Cunning," says Mr. Locke, in his excellent treatise on Education—“Cunning, which is the ape of wisdom, is the most distant from it that can be; and as an ape, for the likeness it has to a man, wanting what really should make him so, is by so much the uglier; cunning is only the want of understanding; which, because it cannot compass its ends by direct ways, would do it by trick and circumvention. No cover was ever made either so big or so fine as to hide itself. None were ever so cunning as to conceal their being so."
There are few particulars in which mankind more often mis-judge than in this; they are apt to think that the artful and unprincipled, because they display considerable cunning, are of course men of superior parts ; whereas, generally speaking, their minds are narrow.You will seldom find one of them possessed of true clearness and largeness of understanding.
So again, many a doting father is secretly gratified with the slyness, and the fox-like 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 animals 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 shun him, 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, with those of Adam's children, who have much cunning, but no principle of honesty.
Of the temporal advantages of uprightness of character.
"My son, sow not upon 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 water, tells us, in substance, that one fallen into that element, were he to abstain from struggling and plunging, and to
let his body down with the feet foremost, remaining thus in a perpendicular position, except throwing his head as far back as possible, 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 worthy to be 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 into 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 at 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 in 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 safety, as well as with honor: “He that walketh 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 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 wool.”
It unspeakably concerns young men, to 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 seyeral 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.
It may not be out of place to observe here, that a disposition to make use of stratagem rather than of open and direct means, is an ill-boding symptom in youth. One, notorious for stratagem in his secular concerns, however subtile and deep his plans, seldom comes out well at last, either as to character or property; for the suspicion which this brings upon him, injures his business no less than his reputation. It is necessary, not only to be upright, but always to appear so, by a visible openness and fairness of conduct.
An exemplification of true christian honesty.
The following line of Pope,
"Ap honest man's the noblest work of God"has been pronounced unworthy of that celebrated poet, 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 men square their conduct, and adjust 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. 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.