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ness amongst those who are placed at a distance. · · But however he may stand in the opinion of others, and with whatever contempt or indifference they may think fit to treat him, there is scarce any man who does not appear considerable to himself; he discovers some endowment of nature, some acquired ability, or circumstance of fortune on which to ground his importance. If not distinguished by the inventive power of genius, he finds this defect compensated by a solid understanding; if he cannot, like a certain Greek, raise 'a small village into a great city, he could do what it seems that Greek could not, play upon the lute; if he has neither to boast of place nor pension, he may perhaps pride himself as an independent country gentleman; or, if destitute of all external advantage, and conscious of none within, he will still imagine some latent excellence, which, if happily brought to light, would elevate him to enviable distinction.
Lastly: From the above observations it may appear, that the principle of which we have been speaking is essentially hostile to
the peace and good order of the world. Men who proudly aspire after authority themselves, must of course be disposed to resist it in others;, and if they cannot govern, will be sure to be governed as little as possible. It is the same spirit which in different circumstances produces hard masters and disobedient servants, tyrannic rulers and rebellious subjects; and, as a further aggravation, we may add, that it is a spirit which seldom or never lies dormant; other passions seem more subject to intermission; a miser may sometimes forget his hoards, and a debauchee his pleasures; but when is it that the love of consequence is not stirring in the human heart?
III. The last principle I shall consider is the love of wealth. This is entirely foreign and adventitious. Wealth is not primarily sought for its own sake, but merely as an instrument for obtaining pleasure or consequence, though gradually it becomes a final object. The process may be illustrated in a familiar instance. Give, some: pieces of money to a child; he may be pleased with them for their colour, their figure, or the characters drawn upon them, and that is, all; a few shining pebbles might do as well : but when he finds they will procure hiin . sweetmeats, and other little gratifications of which he is naturally fond, besides adding to his consequence among his companions, he begins to view money in another light; from its association with things of themselves agreeable, a new lustre is reflected upon it, and it becomes an object of desire on its own account. And thus an adventitious passion is generated, which in its progress often acquires a strength, which neither any other passion, though implanted by nature, nor the most vigorous reason, is able effectually to resist.
A young man, upon entering the world, is apt to place a generous confidence in his fellow-creatures, which is rarely withdrawn till he has learned by time and experience that men are generally not much to be depended on in cases of exigency, and, least of all, where pecuniary assistance is wanted. He then finds they will be liberal of their advice, but very sparing of their money. This must give him an impression of its
value which he had not before. He is also apt to presume upon himself, and to imagine that his merits and address will be suf. ficient to extricate him out of all difficulties; and when he finds that there are occasions in which a few pounds would do him more service than all his virtues and endowments, this will naturally enforce powerfully upon him the expediency of pecuniary resources.
During the former part of life, pleasure being the great object of pursuit, it is in order to obtain it that money is eagerly sought, and as eagerly squandered. Avarice shows itself not often in this season; and when it does, it is only in a mind base and groveling, and from which nothing great or excellent, even in the order of this world, is to be expected.
The ardour of passion in youth is commonly succeeded by the ambition of consequence in middle age. When a man is arrived at this period, and as from an eminence looks around upon the world, and beholds some, though endowed with every virtue and talent, abandoned to obscurity because they are poor, while others, though destitute both of talents and virtue, with a golden key in their hand open themselves a way to offices of trust or power; must he not be tempted to imagine that money answereth all things; that it can both give lustre to merit where it is; and amply supply its place where it is wanting?
Further: As a man's consequence is generally proportioned to his appearance in the world, wealth, which can always command external splendour, possesses irresistible attractions in the eyes of those who have no force of intrinsic worth to make them considerable. To such, in gazing upon it, all that it can purchase rises up as in vision; manors, lordships, stately houses, sumptuous equipages, with a long train of needy dependents and flattering admirers. Hence it cannot fail to become an object of eager pursuit to minds vain and ambitious, and undisciplined in the school of wisdom.
Avarice is properly the vice of age. In the first part of life, as we have already observed, money is sought chiefly for pleasure, and in the next for consequence; but, in the last stage, it is sought for its own.