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OCCASIONAL PAPER.

VOL. II. NUM B. VIII.

O F

REPUTATION.

A N

ESSAY,

Occafion'd by the

CONTROVERSY

BETWIX T

The Lord Bishop of BANGOR

And His OPPOSERS.

Nec minus Periculum ex magna, quam ex mala Fama.

Tacit. in Vit. Agricola.

LONDON:

Printed for JAMES KNAPTON, at the Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard; J. ROBERTS, in WarwickLane, J. HARRISON, under the Royal Exchange; and A. DODD, without Temple-Bar. MDCCXVII.

(Price Four-Pence.)

OF

REPUTATION.

T

IS one Inftance of great Degeneracy in the present Age, that fo little regard is had to the Reputation of Men; or to thofe Things by which a Reputation ought to be eftablifh'd. That

which Some have been more concern'd about than their very Lives, Others make the Matter of their Sport: Whilft the more gravely difpos'd are setting themselves with Solemnity to wound and deftroy the Good Fame of All, who happen to be of a different Party, let their Characters be never fo good or facred; and yet thro' Fancy or Intereft, they cry up Thofe in their ftead, that are far from deferving to be fo much as named with them.

I fhould be glad to contribute any thing toward rectifying this Disorder of the Times: To help Men to fet a juft Value upon their A 2 Own

Own and Others Reputation; governing their Thoughts in this Matter by a more generous regard to Real Worth and Merit. The Controversy between the Lord Bishop of Bangor, and his Oppofers, will afford so many important and ufeful Things on this Subject, that I hope my Reader will not be difpleas'd to find most of the following Pages fill'd up with Remarks upon it.

Reputation must be founded upon Merit or Excellence; but really confifts in the Opinien which Others have of that Merit, and the Representations generally given. The ftrict Notion of Reputation may lye in the good Thoughts that Men have of us; but in common Acceptation it often fignifies, the publishing of fuch Thoughts, and communicating them from one to another: It includes both Efteem and Praife. The Fund of Reputation is as large as the whole Sphere of Excellence, natural and moral: It takes in all confiderable Endowments of Nature, all the ufeful Acquirements of Art, and the whole Compass of Real Virtue. But the Thing it felf lies wholly in the Breafts or Mouths of Others; in their good Opinion, or good Account of us; when we are hononourably thought of, and commended for fome diftinguishing Capacity, extraordinary Acquirements, ufeful Performance, or fhining Virtue. If a Man was Solitary and Unknown, how excellent or virtuous foever he might be, He could not be faid to have a Reputation. Nor, where Men are known to deferve it, is the World fo juft as always to give it.

How

However, where there is real Worth and Defert, Reputation is a Piece of natural Juftice: For 'tis only thinking equally of Things, and having a due Efteem of Another's Excellence: 'Tis a Copying Nature, and a Justnefs of Sentiment. And 'tis certainly a crof fing upon Nature, and a piece of natural Injuftice, to think meanly and difparagingly of confpicuous Merit, exemplary Goodness, and great Atchievements. The good Opinion of Others, founded upon real Merit, is one of the nobleft and moft reasonable Satisfactions of Life. The wifer Heathens valued their Reputation more than any outward Poffeffions, and above their Lives. They had rather fpill their Blood than fuffer a Spot upon their Fame; efpecially upon the brighter Parts of their Character, or their more peculiar Excellencies and Exploits : They have often fhew'd a mighty Ambition to furvive in Fame, and to have an honourable Efteem handed down to Pofterity. The wife King feems to have the fame Opinion of it, in thofe Aphorifms, A Good Name is like a precious Ointment; and is rather to be chofen than great Riches. They who make lightest of Others Reputation, and treat it with Coldnefs or Injuftice; yet never fail to fhew uneafy Refentments when they meet with any thing that touches their Own.

Reputation therefore is worth a Man's ftanding up for. Befides what I have mention'd already, 'tis alfo farther to be confider'd, that it gives a Man Singular Advantages for more Confiderable and Extenfive Ufefulness. The Weight of Affairs in the

feveral

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