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110. Egotism.

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It is hard and uncandid to censure the great reformers in philosophy and religion for their egotism and boastfulness. It is scarcely possible for a man to meet with continued personal abuse on account of his superior talents without associating more and more the sense of the value of his discoveries or detections with his own person. The necessity of repelling unjust contempt, forces the most modest man into a feeling of pride and self-consciousness. How can a tall man help thinking of his size, when dwarfs are constantly standing on tiptoe beside him? Paracelsus was a braggard and a quack: so was Cardan; but it was their merits, and not their follies, which drew upon them that torrent of detraction and calumny, which compelled them so frequently to think and write concerning themselves, that at length it became an habit to do so. Wolff too, though not a boaster, was yet persecuted into a 217habit of Egotism both in his prefaces and in his ordinary conversation; and the same holds good of the founder of the Brunonian System, and of his great name-sake Giordano Bruno. The more decorous manners of the presentage have attached a disproportionate opprobrium to this foible, and many therefore abstain with cautious prudence from all displays of what they feel. Nay some do actually flatter themselves, that they abhor all Egotism, and never betray it either in their writings or discourse. But watch these men narrowly: in the greater number of cases you will find their thoughts, feelings, and mode of expression, saturated with the passion of Contempt, which is the concentrated Vinegar of Egotism,