S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
The talent of turning men into ridicule, and exposing to laughter those one converses with, is the qualification of little ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all manner of improvement. Every one has his flaws and weaknesses; nay, the greatest blemishes are often found in the most shining characters: but what an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities! to observe his imperfections more than his virtues! and to make use of him for the sport of others, rather than for our own improvement!
One of those principal lights or natural mediums by which things are to be viewed, in order to thorough recognition, is ridicule itself, or that manner of proof by which we discern whatever is liable to just raillery in any subject.
It is a good plan, with a young person of a character to be much affected by ludicrous and absurd representations, to show him plainly, by examples that there is nothing which may not be so represented; he will hardly need to be told that everything is not a mere joke: and he may thus be secured from falling into a contempt of those particular things which he may at any time happen to find so treated.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacons Essay, Of Atheism.