I’ve finished Tom Jones and remain amazed at how personable, witty and wise (and wise-ass) was the guy who wrote this satirical and erotic romp, published in 1749. (I keep rolling that date around in my brain; it never quite connects with my experience reading the story.)
So Fielding charmed me. A delightful companion, he could have been sitting in my home while I was reading, listening to me laugh out loud and asking me to read out loud whatever made me laugh, so he could preen a bit.
I found some paragraphs insightful enough (at least to me) to pass on to you. Here’s one:
A treacherous friend is the most dangerous enemy; and I will say boldly, that both religion and virtue have received more real discredit from hypocrites than the wittiest profligates or infidels could ever cast upon them: nay, further, as these two, in their purity, are rightly called the bands of civil society, and are indeed the greatest of blessings, so when poisoned and corrupted with fraud, pretence, and affectation, they have become the worst of civil curses, and have enable men to perpetrate the most cruel mischiefs to their own species.