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finitumque, which he professes to aspire after about religion, in order to model our faith in oratory, but a piece of true rhetorical to the fashion of his lordship's system. We Quixotism? Yet never, I will venture to have now nothing to do, but to throw away allirm, would he have glowed with so much our bibles, turn the churches into theatres, cloquence, had he been warmed with less and rejoice that an act of parliament nou enthusiasm. I am persuaded, indeed, that in force gives us an opportunity of getting nothing great or glorious was ever per- rid of the clergy by transportation. I was formed, where this quality had not a prin- in hopes the extraordinary price of these cipal concern; and as our passions add vi- volumes would have contined their infugour to our actions, enthusiasm gives spirit ence 10 persons of quality. As they are to our passions. I might add too, that it placed above extreme indigence and absoeven opens and enlarge's our capacities. lute wantuf bread, their loose notions would Accordingly I have been informed, that have carried them no further than cheating one of the great lights of the present age at cards, or perhaps plundering their counnever sits down to study, till he has raised try; but if ihese opinions spread among his imagination by the power of music. the vulgar, we shall be knocked down at For this purpose he has a band of instru- noon-day in our streets, and nothing will ments placed near his library, which play go forward but robberies and murders. till he finds himself elevated to a proper The instances I have lately seen of treeheight; upon which he gives a signal, and thinking in the lower part of the world, they instantly cease.
make me fear they are going to be as But those high conceits which are sug. fasionable and as wicked as their betters. gested by enthusiasm, contribute not only I went the other night to the Robin Howd, to the pleasure and perfection of the fine where it is usual for the advocates agais! arts, but to most other effects of our action religion to assemble, and openly as owiber and industry. To strike this spirit there. infidelity. One of the questions for the fore out of ihe human constitution, to re- night was " Whether lord Bolingbruk duce things to their precise philosophical had not done greater service to markise standard, would be to check some of the by his writings, than the apostles or eraimain wheels of society, and to tix half the gelists?” As this society is chietis corworld in an useless apathy. For if enthu- posed of lawyers' clerks, petty tradesmen, siam did not add an imaginary value to and the lowest mechanics, I was at prsi sura most of the objects of our pursuit; if fancy prized at such amazing erudition amos did not give them their brightest colours, ihem. Toland, Tindal, Collins, Cout, they would generally, perhaps, wear an and Mandeville, they seemed to have na appearance too contcmpuble to excite de. by heart. A shoe-maker harangued us sire;
five minutes upon the excellence of the
tenets maintained by lord Bolingbruke : Weary'd we should lie down iu death,
but I soon found that his reading had na This cheat of life would take no more,
been extended beyond the idea of a Patret If you thought faine an empty breathi, If Phillis but a perjur'd wbore. Prior.'
King, which he had mistaken fora gloribus
system of free-thinking. I could not be In a word this enthusiasm for which I smiling at another of the company, am pleading, is a beneficent enchantress, took pains to shew his disbelief of the gas who never exerts her magic but to our ad- pel, by unsainting the apostles, and callina vantage, and only deals about her friendly them by no other title than plain Peului spells in order to raise imaginary beauties, plain Peter. The proceedings of this or to improve real ones. The worst that ciety have indeed almost induced Crew can be said of her is, that she is a kind wish that (like the Roman Catholics) :hey deceiver, and an obliging Aarterer. were not permitted to read the bible, rather
Fitzosborne's Letters, than they should read it only to abuse i $51. Free-thinking, the rarious Abuses tradesmen settling the most important 4*
I have frequently heard many ex committed by the Vulgar in this point.
ticles of our faith over a pint of beer. A The publication of lord Folingbroke's bakertook occasion, from Canning's alles, posthumous works has given new life and to maintain in opposition to the scriptura spirit to free-thinking. We seemn at present that man might live by bread alot to be endeavouring to unlearn our cate- least that woman might ; " for else,” said chism, with all that we have been taught he, “ how could the girl have beca sura
it ported for a whole month by a few hard matter is God, and God is matter; and "crusts?" In answer to this, a barber- that it is no matter whether there is any surgeon set forth the improbability of that God or nó. story; and thence inferred, that it was im- I believe also, that the world was not possible for our Saviour to have fasted forly made; that the world made itself; that it days in the wilderness. I lately heard a had no beginning; that it will last for midshipman swear that the bible was all a ever, world without end. lie: for he had sailed round the world with I believe that a man is a beast, that the lord Anson, and if there had been any Red soul is the body, and the body is the soul; Sea, he must have met with it. I know a and that after death there is neither body bricklayer, who, while he was working by nor soul. line and rule, and carefully laying one I believe that there is no religion; that brick upon another, would argue with a natural religion is the only religion ; and fellow-labourer that the world was made that all religion is unnatural. by chance; and a cook, who thought more I believe not in Moses; I believe in the of his trade than his bible, in a dispute first philosophy; I believe not the evangeconcerning the miracles, made a pleasant lists; I believe in Chubb, Collins, Toland, mistake about the nature of the first, and Tindal, Morgan, Mandeville, Woolston, gravely asked his antagonist what he Hobbes, Shaftesbury; I believe in lord thought of the supper at Cana.
Bolingbroke; I believe not St. Paul. This affectation of free-thinking among I believe not revelation; I believe in the lower class of people, is at present hap- tradition; I believe in the talmud ; I bepily contined to the men. On Sundays, lieve in the alcoran ; I believe not the while the husbands are toping at the ale- bible; I believe in Socrates; I believe house, the good women, their wives, think in Confucius ; I believe in Sanconiathon ; it their duty to go to church, say their I believe in Mahomet; I believe not in prayers, bring home the text, and hear the Christ. children their catechism. But our polite Lastly, I believe in all unbelief. ladies are, I fear, in their lives and conver
isseur. sations, little better than free-thinkers. Going to church, since it is now no longer
$ 52. Fortune not to be trusted. the fashion to carry on intrigues there, is
The sudden invasion of an enemy over almost wholly laid aside: And I verily be- throws such as are not on their guard; but hieve, that nothing but another earthquake they who foresce the war, and prepare can fill the churches with people of quality. themselves for it before it breaks oui, stand The fair sex in general are too thoughtless without difficulty the first and the fiercest O concern themselves in deep inquiries onset. I learned this important lesson long nto matters of religion. It is sufficient, ago, and never trusted to fortune even hat they are taught to believe themselves while she seemed to be at peace with me. ingels. It would therefore be an ill com- The riches, the honours, the reputation, liment, while we talk of the heaven they and all the advantages which her treachebestow, to persuade them into the Maho- rous indulgence poured upon me, I placed netan notion, that they have no souls : so that she might snatch them away withavugh perhaps our fine gentlemen may out giving me any disturbance. Í kept a una zine, that by convincing a lady that great interval between me and them. She he has no soul, she will be less scrupulous took them, but she could not tear them bout the disposal of her body.
from me. No man suffers by bad fortune, The ridiculous notions maintained by but he who has been deceived by good. ce-thinkers in their writings, scarce de- If we grow fond of her gifts, fancy that erve a serious refutation; and perhaps the they belong to us, and are perpetually to est method of answering them would be remain with us ; if we lean upon them and - select from their works all the absurd expect to be considered for them, we shall ad impracticable notions which they so sink into all the bitterness of grief, as soon tfly maintain in order to evade the belief as these false and transitory benefits pass
the christian religion. I shall here away, as soon as our vain and childislı row together a few of their principal te- minds, unsraught with solid pleasures, ben ts, under the contradictory title of come destitute even of those which are
imaginary. But if we do not suffer our The Unbelieter's Creed.
selves to be transported with prosperity, I believe that there is no God, but that neither shall we be reduced by adversity.
Our souls will be proof against the dangers and gives them a lively jog upon every of both these states : and having explored prosperous event, as well as a piercing our strength, ire shall be sure of it; for in grief when they meet with crosses and adthe midst of felicity, we shall have tried versity. Favours and good offices casily how we can bear misfortune.
engage their friendship, while the smallest Her evils disarmed by patience.
injury provokes their resentment. Any bo
nour or mark of distinction elevates them Banishment, with all its train of evils, above measure; but they are as sensibly is so far from being the cause of contempt, touched with contempt. People of this that he who bears up with an undaunted character have, no doubt, much more live spirit against them, while so many are de- ly enjoyments, as well as more pungent jected by them, erects on his very misfor- sorrows than men of cool and sedate tem. tune a trophy to his honour: for such is pers : but I believe, when every thing is the frame and temper of our minds, that balanced, there is no one who would not nothing strikes us with greater admiration rather chuse to be of the latter character, than a man intrepid in the midst of mis- were he entirely master of his owu dispo fortunes. Of all ignominies, an ignomi- sition. Good or ill fortune is very
Title nious death must be allowed to be the at our own disposal: and when a person greatest; and yet where is the blasphemer who has this sensibility of temper meets who will presune to defame the death of with any misfortune, his sorrow or resent Socrates ! This saint entered the prison ment takes entire possession of him, and with the same countenance with which he deprives him of all relish in the common reduced thirty tyrants, and he took off is- occurrences of life; the right enjoyment nominy from the place; for how could it of which forms the greatest part of our be deemed a prison when Socrates was happiness. Great pleasures are much less there? Aristides was led to execution in frequent than great pains ; so that a sensithe same city; all those who mct the sad
ble temper cannot meet with fewer trials procession, cast their eyes to the ground, in the former way than in the latter : not and with throbbing hearts bewailed, not to mention, that men of such lively passions the innocent man, but Justice herself, who are apt to be transported beyond all bounds was in him condemned. Yet there was a of prudence and discretion, and to take wretch found, for monsters are sometimes false steps in the conduct of life, which are produced in contradiction to the ordinary often irretrievable. rules of nature, who spit in his face as he passed along. Aristides wiped his cheek, Delicacy of taste desirable. smiled, turned to the magistrate, and said, There is a delicacy of taste observable “ Admonish this man not to be so nasty in some men, which very much resembles “ for the future."
this delicacy of passion, and produces the Ignominy then can take no hold on vir- same sensibility to beauty and deformity of tue; for virtue is in every condition the every kind, as that does to prosperity and same, and challenges the same respect. We adversity, obligations and injuries. When applaud the world when she prospers; and you present a poem Of a picture to a maa when she falls into adversity we applaud possessed of this talent, the delicacy of bis her. Like the temples of the gods, she is feelings make him to be touched very envenerable even in her ruins. After this, sibiy with every part of it; nor are the must it not appear a degree of madness tó masterly strokes perceived with more er defer one moment acquiring the only arms quisite relish and satisfaction, than the nego capable of defending us against attacks, ligences or absurdities with disgust and which at every moment we are exposed to? uneasiness. A polite and judicious conver Our being miserable, or not miserable, sation affords him the highest entertaitwhen we fall into misfortunes, depends on ment: rudeness or impertinence is as great the manner in which we have enjoyed a punishment to him. In short, de licacy prosperity.
Bolingbroke, of taste has the same effect as delicacy of g 53. Delicacy constitutional, and often happiness and misery, and makes us sease
passion: it enlarges the sphere both of uur dangerous.
ble to pains as well as pleasures which e Some people are subject to a certain de. cape the rest of mankind. licacy of passion, which makes them ex: I believe, however, there is no one who tremely sensible to all the accidents of life, will not agree with me, that, notwithstand
ing this resemblance, a delicacy of taste is with him into a solid friendship; and the as much to be desired and cultivated as a ardours of a youthful appetite into an cledelicacy of passion is to be lamented, and gant passion.
Hume's Essays. to be remedied if possible. The good or ill accidents of life are very little at our
§ 54. Detraction a detestable Vice. disposal ; but we are pretty much masters
It has been remarked, that men are geof what books weshall read, what diversions nerally kind in proportion as they are hapo we shall partake of, and what company we py; and it is said, even of the devil, that shall keep. Philosophers have endeavour- he is good-humoured when he is pleased. ed to render happiness entirely indepen- Every act, therefore, by which another is dent of every thing external that is im- injured, from whatever motive, contracts possible to be attained: but every wise man more guilt and expresses greater maligniwill endeavour to place his happiness on ty, if it is committed in those seasons which such objects as depend most upon himself; are set apart to pleasantry and good-buand that is not to be attained so much by mour, and brightened with enjoyments any other means, as by this delicacy of sen- peculiar to rational and social beings. timent. When a man is possessed of that Detraction is among those vices which talent, he is more happy by what pleases the most languid virtue has sufficient force his taste, than by what gratifies his appe- to prevent; because by detraction that is tites; and receives more enjoyment from not gained which is taken away. a poem or a piece of reasoning, than the who filches from me my good name," says most expensive luxury can afford. Shakespear, “ enriches not himself, but That it teaches us to select our Company. therefore degrades human nature more
makes me poor indeed.” As nothing Delicacy of taste is favourable to love than detraction, nothing more disgraces and friendship, by confining our choice to conversation. The detractor, as he is the few people, and making us indifferent to lowest moral character, reflects greater disthe company and conversation of the great- honour upon his company, than the hangest part of men. You will
seldom man; and he whose disposition is a scandal find that mere men of the world, whatever to his species, should be more diligently strong sense they may be endowed with, avoided, than he who is scandalous only are very nice in distinguishing of charac- by his office. ters, or:in marking those insensible diffe- But for this practice, however vile, some rences and gradations which make one man have dared to apologize, by contending the preferable to another. Any one that has report by which they injured an absent, competent senses, is sufficient for their en- character, was true: this, however, amounts tertainment : they talk to him of their plea- to no more than that they have not coinsures and affairs with the same frankness plicated malice with falsehood, and that as they would to any other; and finding there is some difference between detracmany who are fit to supply his place, they tion and slander. To relate all the ill that never feel any vacancy or want in his ab- is true of the best man in the world, would sence. But, to make use of the allusion of probably render him the objectof suspicion a famous French author, the judgment may and distrust; and was this practice univerbe compared to a clock or watch, where sal, mutual confidence and esteem, the the most ordinary machine is sufficient to comforts of society, and the endearments tell the hours; but the most elaborate and of friendship would be at an end. artificial can only point the minutes and There is something unspeakably more seconds, and distinguish the smallest differ- hateful in those species of villainy by which ences of time. One who has well digested the law is evaded, than those by which it is his knowledge both of books and men, has violated and defiled. Courage has somelittle enjoyment but in the company of a times preserved rapacity from abhorrence, few select companions. He feels too sen- as beauty has been thought to apologize sibly how much all the rest of mankind fall for prostitution; but the injustice of cowshort of the notions which he has entertain- ardice is universally abhorred, and, like the ed; and his affections being thus contined lewdness of deformity, has no advocate. within a narrow circle, no wonder he Thus hateful are the wretches who detract ries them further than if they were more with caution, and while they perpetrate the general and undistinguished. The gaiety wrong, are solicitous to avoid the reproach: and frolic of a bottle companion improves they do not say, that Chloe forfeited her
honour to Lysander; but they say, that by superfluous attainments of qualification such a report has been spread, they know which few can understand or value, and by not how true. Those who propagate these skill which they may sink into the grave reports frequently invent them; and it is without any conspicuous opportunities of no breach of charity to suppose this to be exerting. Raphael, in return to Adam's always the case: because no man who inquiries into the courses of the stars and spreals detraction would have scrupled 10 the revolutions of heaven, counsels him to produce it: and he who should diffuse poi withdraw his mind from idle speculations, son in a brook, would scarce be acquitted and instead of watching motions which be of a malicious design, though he should has no power to regulate, to employ his alledge that he received it of another who faculties upon nearer and niore interesting is doing the same elsewhere.
objects, the survey of his own life, the subWhateveris incompatible with the high- jection of his passions, the knowledge of est dignity of our nature, should indeed be duties which must daily be performed, and excluded'irom our conversation : as com- the detectiou of dangers which must daily panions, not only that which we owe to our- be incurred. selves but to others, is required of us; and This angelic counsel every man of letters they who can indulge any vice in the pre- should always have before bim. He that sence of cach other, are become obdurate in devotes himself wholly to retired sludy, guilt, and insensible to infamy. Rambler. naturally sinks from omission to forgetful
ness of social duties, and from which he $55. Learning should be sometimes applied must be sometimes awakened, and recalled to cultirate our Norals,
to the general condition of mankind. Ibid, Envy, curiosity, and our sense of the
Its Progress imperfection of our present state, inclines It hath been observed by the ancients, us always to estimate ihe advantages which That all the arts and sciences arose amor, are in the possession of others above their free nations; and that the Persians and real value. Every one must have remark Egyptians, notwithstanding all their case, ed what powers and prerogatives the opulence, and luxury, made but faint cvulgarimagine to be conferred by learning. forts towards those finer pleasures, whica A man of science is expected to excel the were carried to such perfection by the unlettered and unenlightened, even on oc- Greeks, amidst continual wars, attended casions where literature is of no use, and with poverty, and the greatest simplicity of among weak minds loses part of his rever- ļife and manners.
It had also been ob ence by discovering no superiority in those served, that as soon as the Greeks lost tbeir parts of life, in which all are unavoidably liberty, though they increased mightily i equal; as when a monarch makes a pro- riches, by the means of the conquests a gress to the remoter provinces, the rustics Alexander; yet the arts from that mordet are said sometimes to wonder that they declined among them, and have never since find him of the same size with themselves. been able to raisetheir head in that climate
These demands of prejudice and folly Learning was transplanted to Romne, le can never be satisfied, and therefore many only free nation at that time in the univers of the imputations which learning suffers and having met with so favourable ascii,a from disappointed ignorance, are without maile prodigious shoots for above a centa reproach. Yet it cannot be denied, that ry, till the decay of liberty produced uso there are some failures to which men of a decay of letters, and spread a total bz* study are peculiarly exposed. Every con- barism over the world. From these dition has its disadvantages. The circle of experiments, of which each was double in knowledge is too wide for the most active its kind, and shewed the fall of learning an and diligent intellect, and while science is despotic governments, as well as its risen pursued with ardour, other accomplish- popular ones, Longinus thought hins ments of equal use are necessarily neglect- sufficiently justified in asserting, that 1.9 ed; as a small garrison must leave one part arts and sciences could never flourish bulbi of an extensive fortress naked, when an free government; and in this opinion he had alarm calls them to another.
been followed by several eminent writers a The learned, however, might generally our country, who either confined their very support their dignity with more success, if merely to ancient facts, or entertained but they suffered not themselves to be misled great a partiality in favour of that forno