But there is nothing lies as an heavier Weight upon a Man, or hinders Him more from shewing Himself to Advantage, and employing his great Abilities for the Service of Others; than the Quarrels and Contentions of Parties. Many have their Talents imprison’d, by being of the hated and sinking Side. Their Light is wholly smother’d and suppress’d, that it may not shine out with a Lustre on the Party to which they belong, whether it be in Politicks or Religion. And all Struggles of a Genius are vain, when a Man is born down at once by Clamour and Power.
This is very discouraging to a Man who has taken much Pains in cultivating his Genius; and many have, without doubt, been tempted wholly to neglect themselves, from the Dread of these Discouragements. I own this Neglect is not to be excused altogether, though it grieves one that there should be any Occasion given for it. There is still Room for Men to follow and improve a Genius, and hope by it to benefit Mankind, and procure Regard to Themselves. And it is hard to say, what Way of exerting it will turn most to Account. Peculiar Honours are due to those who appear to Advantage in the Pulpit. Numerous Applauses and Preferments attend those who acquit themselves well at the Bar. There is a great deal of Renown to those who are eminent in the Senate. There are high Advantages to such as excel in Counsel and on Embassies. Immortal Lawrels will crown such as are brave, expert and victorious in Arms. There are the Blessings of Wealth and Plenty to those who manage well their Trades and Merchandize. The Names of the skilful Architect, the cunning Artificer, the fine, exact and well devising Painter, are sometimes enrolled in the Lists of Fame. The learned, experienced and successful Physician, may become as considerable for Repute and Estate, as one of any other Profession. Musick also may have its Masters, who shall be had in lasting Esteem. The Poets Performances may be [N]more durable than Brass, and long lived as Time it Self. Every Science may have Professors that shall shine in the learned World. With all the Discouragements that may damp a Genius, there is yet a wide Field for it to exert it self, and Room to hope it will not be in vain.
[N] Exegi monumentum aere perennius
Regalique situ pyramidum altius,
Quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
Possit diruere aut innumerabilis
Annorum series et fuga temporum:
I was going to add something of exerting one’s Genius as an Author. But I found, it would fill up too much Room in my Paper, should I enlarge on the several Ways of Mens appearing considerable. And I was so apprehensive of the Reputation, which the Divine, the Historian, the Critick, the Philosopher, and almost all the other Authors, have above us Essay-Writers, that I thought I should but lessen the Regards to my own Genius, should I have set to View the Advantages of Others. It will sufficiently gratify my Ambition as an Author, if the World will be so good natured as to think I have handsomely excus’d my self; that I am tolerably fitted, in the Way in I am, to give Entertainment to my Readers, and do them some Service.