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known, and possessed it with as heavy intellectuals: which, together with the coldness of his temper, and gravity of his deportment, carried him safe through many difficulties, and he lived and died in a great station; while his competitor is too obscure for fame to tell us what became of him.
This species of discretion, which I so much celebrate, and do most heartily recommend, has one advantage not yet mentioned: it will carry a man safe through all the malice and variety of parties, so far, that whatever faction happens to be uppermost, his claim is usually allowed for a share of what is going. And the thing seems to me highly reasonable: for in all great changes, the prevailing side is usually so tempestuous, that it wants the ballast of those whom the world calls moderate men, and I call men of discretion; whom people in power may, with little ceremony, load as heavy as they please, drive them through the hardest and deepest roads without danger of foundering, or breaking their backs, and will be sure to find them neither resty nor vicious.
I will here give the reader a short history of two clergymen in England, the characters of each, and the progress of their fortunes in the world; by which the force of worldly discretion, and the bad consequences from the want of that virtue, will strongly appear.
Corusodes, an Oxford student, and a farmer's son, was never absent from prayers or lecture, nor once out of his college after Tom had tolled. He spent every day ten hours in his closet, in reading his courses, dozing, clipping papers, or darning his stockings; which last he performed to admiration. He could be soberly drunk at
the expense of others, with college ale, and at those seasons was always most devout. wore the same gown five years without dragling or tearing. He never once looked into a playbook or a poem. He read Virgil and Ramus in the same cadence, but with a very different taste. He never understood a jest, or had the least conception of wit.
For one saying he stands in renown to this day. Being with some other students over a pot of ale, one of the company said so many pleasant things, that the rest were much diverted, only Corusodes was silent and unmoved. When they parted, he called this merry companion aside, and said, "Sir, I perceive by your. often speaking, and our friends laughing, that you spoke many jests; and you could not but observe my silence: but, sir, this is my humour: I never make a jest myself, nor ever laugh at another man's."
Corusodes thus endowed got into holy orders; having, by the most extreme parsimony, saved thirty-four pounds out of a very beggarly fellowship, he went up to London, where his sister was waitingwoman to a lady, and so good a solicitor, that by her means he was admitted to read prayers in the family twice a-day, at ten shillings a month. He had now acquired a low, obsequious, awkward bow, and a talent of gross flattery both in and out of season; he would shake the butler by the hand; he taught the page his catechism, and was sometimes admitted to dine at the steward's table. In short, he got the good word of the whole family, and was recommended by my lady for chaplain to some other noble houses, by which his revenue (besides vales) amounted to about thirty pounds a year:
his sister procured him a scarf from my lord, who had a small design of gallantry upon her; and by his lordship's solicitation he got a lectureship in town of sixty pounds a year; where he preached constantly in person, in a grave manner, with an audible voice, a style ecclesiastic, and the matter (such as it was) well suited to the intellectuals of his hearers. Some time after, a country living fell in my lord's disposal; and his lordship, who had now some encouragement given him of success in his amour, bestowed the living on Corusodes, who still kept his lectureship and residence in town; where he was a constant attendant at all meetings relating to charity, without ever contributing farther than his frequent pious exhortations. If any woman of better fashion in the parish happened to be absent from church, they were sure of a visit from him in a day or two, to chide and to dine with them.
He had a select number of poor constantly attending at the street door of his lodging, for whom he was a common solicitor to his former patroness, dropping in his own half-crown among the collections, and taking it out when he disposed of the money. At a person of quality's house, he would never sit down, till he was thrice bid, and then upon the corner of the most distant chair. whole demeanour was formal and starch, which adhered so close, that he could never shake it off in his highest promotion.
His lord was now in high employment at court, and attended by him with the most abject assiduity; and his sister being gone off with child to a private lodging, my lord continued his graces to Corusodes, got him to be a chaplain in ordinary, and in due time a parish in town, and a dignity in the church.
He paid his curates punctually, at the lowest salary, and partly out of the communion money; but gave them good advice in abundance. He married a citizen's widow, who taught him to put out small sums at ten per cent. and brought him acquainted with jobbers in Change-alley. By her dexterity he sold the clerkship of his parish, when it became vacant.
He kept a miserable house, but the whole blame was laid wholly upon madam; for the good doctor was always at his books, or visiting the sick, or doing other offices of charity and piety in his parish.
He treated all his inferiors of the clergy with a most sanctified pride; was rigorously and universally censorious upon all his brethren of the gown, on their first appearance in the world, or while they continued meanly preferred; but gave large allowance to the laity of high rank, or great riches, using neither eyes nor ears for their faults: he was never sensible of the least corruption in courts, parliaments, or ministries, but made the most favourable constructions of all public proceedings; and power, in whatever hands, or whatever party, was always secure of his most charitable opinion. He had many wholesome maxims ready to excuse all miscarriages of state: men are but men; erunt vitia donec homines; and quod supra nos, nil ad nos; with several others of equal weight.
It would lengthen my paper beyond measure to trace out the whole system of his conduct; his dreadful apprehensions of popery; his great moderation toward dissenters of all denominations; with hearty wishes, that by yielding somewhat on both sides, there might be a general union among protestants; his short, inoffensive sermons in his
turns at court, and the matter exactly suited to the present juncture of prevailing opinions; the arts he used to obtain a mitre, by writing against episcopacy; and the proofs he gave of his loyalty, by palliating or defending the murder of a martyred prince.
Endowed with all these accomplishments, we leave him in the full career of success, mounting fast toward the top of the ladder ecclesiastical, which he has a fair probability to reach; without the merit of one single virtue, moderately stocked with the least valuable parts of erudition, utterly devoid of all taste, judgment, or genius; and in his grandeur, naturally choosing to haul up others after him, whose accomplishments most resemble his own, except his beloved sons, nephews, or other kindred, be in competition; or lastly, except his inclinations be diverted by those, who have power to mortify, or farther advance him.
Eugenio set out from the same university, and about the same time with Corusodes; he had the reputation of an arch lad at school, and was unfortunately possessed with a talent for poetry; on which account he received many chiding letters from his father, and grave advice from his tutor. He did not neglect his college learning, but his chief study was the authors of antiquity, with a perfect knowledge in the Greek and Roman tongues. He could never procure himself to be chosen fellow: for it was objected against him, that he had written verses, and particularly some, wherein he glanced at a certain reverend doctor famous for dulness; that he had been seen bowing to ladies, as he met them in the street; and it was proved, that once he had been found dancing in a private family, with half a dozen of both