176 A Character of P_te M_H.

M-- has the reputation of most prosound and universal learning; this is the general opinion, neither can it be easily disproved. An old rusty iron-chest in a banker's shop, strongly lockt, and wonderful heavy, is full of gold; this is the general opinion, neither can it be disproved, provided the key be lost, and what is in it be wedged so close that it will not by any motion discover the metal by the chinking. Doing good is his pleasure; and as no man consults another in his pleasures, neither does he in this; by his awkwardness and unadvisedness disappointing his own good designs. His high station hath placed him in the way of great employments, which, without the least polishing his native rusticity, have given him a tincture of pride and ambition. But these vices would have passed concealed under his natural simplicity, if he had not endeavoured to hide them by art. His disposition to study is the very same with that of an usurer to hoard up money, or of a vicious young fellow to a wench; nothing but avarice and evil concupiscence, to which his constitution has fortunately given a more innocent turn. He is sordid and suspicious in his domesticks, without love or hatred; which is but reasonable, since he has neither friend nor enemy; without joy or grief; in short, without all passions but sear, to which of all others he hath least temptation, having nothing to get or to lose; no posterity, relation, or friend to be solicitous about; and placed by his station above the reach of fortune or envy. He hath found out the secret of preferring men without deserving their thanks; and where he dispenses his favours to persons of merit, they are less obliged to him than to fortune. He is the first of human race, that with great advantages of learning, piety, and station ever escaped being a great man. That which relishes best with him, is mixt liquor and mixt company, and he is seldom