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attaining that greatness of mind, for which he was through life remarkable, Albert was nowise indebted to his own exertions. Many were the temptations with which he had to struggle before his habits of virtue were sufficiently confirmed to afford him spontaneous succour and direction. Without religion these habits would never have been formed. Without religion they would not have had strength for the conflict. The advantages which he derived from religion we shall however leave for future consideration; and at present confine ourselves to a view of the obstacles which he had to surmount in persevering in an habitual adherence to the first principles of morality.
From his rank in life, he must have been inevitably exposed to the seductions of flattery. He saw and felt that he was considered as a person
of some consequence by all around him. By the partiality of a fond father, his virtues were extolled, and his faults were palliated. But Albert examined the foundation of the praise which he received, and detected the exaggeration. He was therefore rather humbled by a sense of its being not fully merited, than elated by receiving applause beyond his deserts. From knowing that he could at an easy rate secure the approbation of a partial parent, he was taught not to trust to that approbation as a test of his real advancement in knowledge and virtue. From reading and from observation he collected the materials for a higher standard of merit; and though he continually fell short of the perfection at which he aimed, he with undaunted perseverance renewed his endeavours at attaining to it. It is thus that all L 4 noble noble characters have been formed. I believe there is nothing more certain, than that those have ever fallen short of mediocrity, who did not raise their views very far beyond it.
As the family of Albert had long held a distinguished rank in society, its connections were numerous and powerful. But Albert resolved to rest his claim to respect upon his own individual merit; and when tempted to pique himself upon the claims of birth, he called to mind the numbers who, from having depended upon that claim, had sunk into contempt. He very early observed the difference of character that subsisted among those with whom he was connected; but was often tempted, by a natural partiality, to consider the vice or folly that appeared in any of them, as less vicious and less blameworthy than the vices and follies of others.
By a strict adherence to the principles of justice, he corrected this error. He was lenient to the faults of all; but he endeavoured to see and to judge of things as they really were; and thus, though no friend was ever more affectionate, he avoided being ensnared by his affections into the contagion of bad example.
Albert's love of truth led him from his early youth to prefer the solid esteem of such as were capable of appreciating his real worth, to the transient admiration of the fickle and undiscerning multitude. His manners were amiable and conciliating; but it was rather from the gentleness of his disposition that they were so, than from any studied wish to please. He looked round him, and perceived, that though artificial characters might for a time gain credit with the world for more than they were worth, their mental L 5 poverty poverty never failed to be at length, detected. He therefore never affected to appear other than he really was* He never spoke what he did not think. He never professed what he did not feel. He never promised what he did not mean to accomplish.
If you examine the conduct of Albert, you will perceive, that so far from losing any of the advantages of his situation, he increased their value. By adding the influence of virtue to that of rank and fortune, he extended the influence of the latter far beyond their usual bounds. He did this at the expense of a few sacrifices; for we may be convinced that it was not without some pains that he acquired such a degree of self-control as enabled him so firmly to adhere to his principles. But these sacrifices were made in the beginning of his course.