By the consultation of books, whether of dead or living...

By the consultation of books, whether of dead or living authors, many temptations of petulance and opposition, which occur in oral conferences, are avoided. An authour cannot obtrude his advice unasked, nor can be often suspected of any malignant intention to insult his readers with his knowledge or his wit. Yet so prevalent is the habit of comparing ourselves with others, while they remain within the reach of our passions, that books are seldom read with complete impartiality, but by those from whom the writer is placed at such a distance that his life or death is indifferent.

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