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guage, are there two words that convey pre- LEC T. cisely the same idea; a person thoroughly conversant in the propriety of the Language, will always be able to observe something that dirtinguishes them. As they are like different shades of the same colour, an accurate writer can employ them to great advantage, by using them, so as to heighten and to finish the picture which he gives us. He supplies by one, what was wanting in the other, to the force, or to the lustre of the image which he means to exhibit. But, in order to this end, he must be extremely attentive to the choice which he makes of them. For the bulk of writers are very apt to confound them with each other ; and to employ them carelessly, merely for the fake of filling up a period, or of rounding and diversifying the Language, as if their signification were exactly the same, while, in truth, it is not. Hence à certain mist, and indistinctness, is unwarily thrown over Style.
In the Latin Language, there are no two words we should more readily take to be synonymous, than amare and diligere. Cicero, however, has shewn us, that there is a very clear distinction betwixt them. “ Quid ergo, says he, in one of his epistles, “ tibi com“mendem eum quem tu ipse diligis ? Sed
tamen ut scires eum non a me diligi folum, F verum etiam amari, ob eain rem tibi hæc
" scribo *.” In the same manner tutųs and fecurus, are words which we should readily confound ; yet their meaning is different. Tutus, signifies out of danger; securus, free from the dread of it. Seneca has elegantly marked this distinction; " Tuta scelera effe “ poffunt, fecura non poffunt t." In our own Language, very many instances might be given of a difference in meaning among words reputed Synonymous; and, as the subject is of importance, I shall now point out some of these. The instances which I am to give, may themselves be of use; and they will serve to shew the necessity of attending, with care and strictness, to the exact import of words, if ever we would write with Propriety or Precision,
Aufterily, Severity, Rigour. Austerity, relates to the manner of living; Severity, of thinking; Rigour, of punishing. To Austerity, is opposed Effeminacy; to Severity, Relaxation; to Rigour, Clemency. A Hermit, is austere in his life; a Casuist, severe in his application of religion or law; a Judge, rigorous in his sentences.
Custo11, Habit. Custom respects the action; Habit, the actor. By Custom, wę
Ad Famil. l. 13. Ep. 47.
† Epis. 97.
mean the frequent repetition of the same act; LE C T. by Habit, the effect which that repetition produces on the mind or body. By the Custom of walking often in the streets, one acquires a Habit of idleness,
Surprised, astonished, amazed, confounded. I am surprised, with what is new or unexpected ; I am astonished, at what is vaft or great ; I am amazed, with what is incomprehensible ; I am confounded, by what is shocking or terrible.
Defift, renounce, quit, leave off. Each of these words imply some pursuit or object relinquished; but from different motives. We desist, from the difficulty of accomplishing, We renounce, on account of the disagreeableness of the object, or pursuit. We quit, for the sake of some other thing which interests us more; and we leave off, because we are weary of the design. A Politician defifts from his designs, when he finds they are impracticable; he renounces the court, because he has been affronted by it; he quits ambițion for study or retirement; and leaves off hiş attendance on the great, as he becomes old and
weary of it.
Pride, Vanity. Pride, makes us esteem ourselves ; Vanity, makes desire the
LECT. esteem of others. It is just to say, as Dean
Swift has done, that a man is too proud to be vain.
Heughtiness, Disdain. Haughtiness is founded on the high opinion we entertain of ourfelves; Disdain, on the low opinion we have of others.
To distinguish, to separate. We distinguish, what we want not to confound with another thing; we separate, what we want to remove from it. Objects are distinguished from one another, by their qualities. They are separated, by the distance of time or place.
To weary, to fatigue. The continuance of the fame thing wearies us; labour fatigues us. I am weary with standing; I am fatigued with walking. A suitor wearies us by his perseverance; fatigues us by his importunity.
To abhor, to detest. To abhor, imports, fimply, strong dislike; to detest, imports aifo strong disapprobation. One abhors being in debt; he detests treachery.
To invent, to discover. We invent things that are new; we discover what was before hidden. Galileo invented the telescope; Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood,
Only, alone. Only, imports that there is L E C T. no other of the same kind; alone, imports being accompanied by no other.
An only child, is one who has neither brother nor fifter; a child alone, is one who is left by
There is a difference, therefore, in precise Language, becwixt these two phrases, “ Virtue only makes us happy ;” and, “ Vir“ tue alone makes us happy.” Virtue only makes us happy, imports, that nothing else can do it.
Virtue alone makes us happy, imports, that virtue, by itself, or unaccompanied with other advantages, is sufficient to do it.
Entire, Complete. A thing is entire, by wanting none of its parts ; complete, by wanting none of the appendages that belong to it. A man may have an entire house to himself; and yet not have one complete apartment,
Tranquillity, Peace, Calm. Tranquillity, respects a situation free from trouble, considered in itself; Peace, the same situation with respect to any causes that might interrupt it; Calm, with regard to a disturbed situation going before, or following it. A good man enjoys Tranquillity, in himself; Peace, with others; and Calm, after the storm,