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this fraternity are sometimes placed upon trial to receive them.
The folly as well as rudeness of this practice is in nothing more conspicuous than this, that all that follows in the sermon is lost; for, whenever our sparks take alarm, they blaze out and grow so tumultuous that no after-explanation can avail, it being impossible for themselves or any near them to give an account thereof. If any thing really novel is advanced, how averse soever it may be to their way of thinking, to say nothing of duty, men of less levity than these would be led by a natural curiosity to hear the whole.
'Laughter, where things sacred are transacted, is far less pardonable than whining at a conventicle; the last has at least a semblance of grace, and where the affectation is unseen, may possibly imprint wholesome lessons on the sincere ; but the first has no excuse, breaking through all the rules of order and decency, and manifesting a remissness of mind in those important matters which require the strictest composure and steadiness of thought: a proof of the greatest folly in the world.
I shall not here enter upon the veneration due to the sanctity of the place, the reverence owing to the minister, or the respect that so great an assembly as a whole parish may justly claim. I shall only tell them, that, as the Spanish cobler, to reclaim a profligate son, bid him have some regard to the dignity of his family, so they as gentlemen (for we citizens assume to be such one day in a week) are bound for the future to repent of, and abstain from, the gross abuses here mentioned, whereof they have been guilty, in contempt of heaven and earth, and contrary to the laws in this case made and provided. ' I am, SIR,
No. 631. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1714.
Charms neat without the help of art.
HOR. Od. 5. 1. 1. ver. 5.
HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some days since, in a stage-coach, where I had for my fellow travellers a dirty beau, and a pretty young quaker woman. Having no inclination to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention. The gentleman was dressed in a suit, the ground whereof had been black, as I perceived from some few spaces that had escaped the powder, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat: his periwig, which cost no small sum, was after so.slovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712; his linen, which was not much concealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chin to the lowest button; and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in mind how it sparkled amidst the rubbish of the mine where it was first discovered. On the other hand, the pretty quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanliNot a speck was to be found upon her. A clear, clean, oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambric, received great advantages from the shade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that sober-coloured stuff in which she had clothed herself. The plainness of her dress was very well suited to the simplicity of her phrases; all which, put together, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence.
This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I shall consider as one of the half-virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall re
A fine wig in those days would often cost forty guineas.
commend it under the three following heads: as it is a mark of politeness; as it produces love; and as it bears analogy to purity of mind.
First, It is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtue, can go into company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanliness, as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot and an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied: like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more. pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust.
I might observe farther, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves: that it is an excellent preservative of health; and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it.* But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe, in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions.
*The Royal Society, in 1776, adjudged Copley's medal to that famous circumnavigator Captain Cook, for his successful care of his ship's crew in their voyage round the world. Sir John Pringle, in his anniversary discourse when the medal was given, had the following remarkable passage:
'It is well known, how much cleanliness conduces to health; but it is not so obvious, how much it also tends to good order and other virtues. That diligent officer was persuaded-that such men as he could induce to be more cleanly than they were dispos ed to be of themselves, became at the same time more sober, more orderly, and more attentive to their duty.'
We find from experience, that through the prevalence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, those who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the first appearances of what is shocking. It fares with us much after the same manner as to our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impression of such things as usually surround them. So that pure and unsullied. thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually encompass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
In the east, where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately necessary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their religion: the Jewish law, and the Mahometan, which in some things copies after it, is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above-namedconvenient reason to be assigned for these ceremonies, the chief intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanliness of heart by those outward washings. We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth; and which are but ill accounted for by saying, as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the desert, which otherwise could not have been habitable for so many years.
I shall conclude this essay with a story which I have somewhere read in an account of Mahometan superstitions.
A dervise of great sanctity one morning had the misfortune, as he took up a crystal cup which was consecrat◄ ed to the prophet, to let it fall upon the ground, and dash it in pieces. His son coming in some time after, he stretched out his hand to bless him, as his manner was every morning but the youth going out, stumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca; the dervise approached it to beg a blessing; but, as he stroked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast, that sorely bruised him. His sorrow and amazement increased upon him, until he recollected that, through hurry and inadvertency, he had that morning come abroad without washing his hands.
No. 632. MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1714.
-Explebo numerum, reddarque tenebris.
-The number I'll complete,
THE love of symmetry and order, which is natural to the mind of man, betrays him sometimes into very whimsical fancies. This noble principle,' says a French author, 'loves to amuse itself on the most trifling occasions. You may see a profound philosopher,' says he, walk for an hour together in his chamber, and industriously treading, at every step, upon every other board in the flooring. Every reader will recollect several instances of this nature without my assistance. I think it was Gregorio Leti, who had published as many books as he was years old *; which was a rule he had laid down and punctually observed to the year of his death. It was, perhaps, a thought of the like nature which determined Homer himself to divide each of his poems into as many books as there are letters in the Greek alphabet. Herodotus has in the same manner adapted his books to the number of the muses, for which reason many a learned man hath wished there had been more than nine of that sisterhood.
Several epic poets have religiously followed Virgil as to the number of his books; and even Milton is thought by many to have changed the number of his books from ten to twelve for no other reason; as Cowley tells us, it was his design, had he finished his Davideis, to have also imitated the Eneid in this particular. I believe every one will agree with me that a perfection of this nature hath no foundation in reason; and, with due respect to
*This writer used to boast that he had been the author of a book and the father of a child for twenty years successively. We know that Dean Swift counted the number of steps that he made from London to Chelsea. And it is said and demonstrated in the "Parentalia," that Matthew Wren (Bishop of Ely) walked round the earth while a prisoner in the tower of London, where he lay near eighteen years.