In recording some instances of these, we shall, if rightly understood, afford a very useful lesson to those well-disposed youths who shall hereafter be our readers; for they may here find, that goodness of heart, and openness of temper, though these may give them great comfort within, and administer to an honest pride in their own minds, will by no means, alas! do their business in the world. Prudence and circumspection are necessary even to the best of men. They are indeed, as it were, a guard to Virtue, without which she can never be safe. It is not enough that your designs, nay, that your actions, are intrinsically good; you must take care they shall appear so. If your inside be never so beautiful, you must preserve a fair outside also. This must be constantly looked to, or malice and envy will take care to blacken it so, that the sagacity and goodness of an Allworthy will not be able to see through it, and to discern the beauties within. Let this, my young readers, be your constant maxim, that no man can be good enough to enable him to neglect the rules of prudence; nor will Virtue herself look beautiful, unless she be bedecked with the outward ornaments of decency and decorum. (3.7.6)
The author steps up to offer a lesson directly to the reader: you can't just be good-hearted or decent on the inside. If you want to avoid evil gossip from other people, you have to look honorable and decent on the outside. In other words, Fielding is saying that the only way to avoid a bad reputation is to fit into social ideals of what "good" people behave like. This is a really cynical thing to say: that it's not enough to be good, but you also have to look good for it to count. What do you guys think—is this bleak account of human society true?