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I may take fome other opportunity of confidering thofe particular forms and methods of devotion which are taught us by chriftianity; but shall here obferve into what errors even this divine principle may fometimes lead us, when it is not moderated by that right reafon which was given us as the guide of all our actions.
The two great errors into which a mistaken devotion may betray us, are enthusiasm and fuperftition.
There is not a more melancholy object than a man who has his head turned with religious enthufiafm. A perfon that is crazed, though with pride or malice, is a fight very mortifying to human nature; but when the diftemper arifes from any indifcreet fervours of devotion, or too intenfe an application of the mind to its mistaken duties, it deferves our compaffion in a more particular manner. We may however learn this leffon from it, that fince devotion itself (which one would be apt to think could not be too warm, may diforder the mind, unless its heats are tempered with caution and prudence, we should be particularly careful to keep our reafon as cool as poffible, and to guard ourselves in all parts of life against the inuence of paffion, imagination, and conftitution.
Devotion, when it does not lie under the check of reason, is very apt to degenerate into enthufiafm. When the mind finds herfelf very much inflamed with her devotions, the is too much inclined to think they are not of her own kindling, but blown up by fomething divine within her. If the indulges this thought too far, and humours the growing paffion, fhe at laft flings herself into imaginary raptures and ecftafies; and when once the fancies herfelf under the influence of a divine impulfe, it is no wonder if she flights human ordinances, and refuses to comply with any eftablished form of religion, as thinking herfelf directed by a much fuperior guide.
As enthusiasm is a kind of excefs in devotion, fuperftition is the excefs not only of devotion, but of religion in general, according to an old heathen faying, quoted by Aulus Gellius, Religentem effe oportet, religiofum nefas; a man fhould be religious, not fuperftitious; for as the author tells us, Nigidius obferved upon this paffage, that the Latin words which terminate in ofus generally imply vicious characters, and the having of any quality to an excefs.
the whole office has degenerated into an empty fhow.
Their fucceffors fee the vanity and inconvenience of thefe ceremonies; but instead of reforming, perhaps add others, which they think more fignificant, and which take poffeffion in the fame manner, and are never to be driven out after they have been once admitted. I have seen the pope officiate at St. Peter's, where, for two hours together, he was bufied in putting on or off his different accoutrements, according to the different parts he was to act in them.
Nothing is fo glorious in the eyes of mankind, and ornamental to human nature, fetting afide the infinite advantages which arife from it, as a ftrong, fteady, mafculine piety; but enthusiasm and fuperftition are the weaknesses of human reafon, that expofe us to the derifion and scorn of infidels, and fink us even below the beafts that perish.
Idolatry may be looked upon as another error arifing from mistaken devotion; but because reflexions on that fubject would be of no use to an English reader, I fhall not enlarge upon it. L
No 202. MONDAY, OCTOBER 22.
HOR. Ep. 18. lib. 1. ver. 25. Many, though faultier much themfeives, pretend Their lefs offending neighbours faults to mend.
HE other day as I paffed along the street, I faw a sturdy 'prentice-boy difputing with an hackney-coachman; and in an instant, upon fome word of provocation, throw off his hat and periwig, clench his fift, and ftrike the fellow a flap on the face; at the fame time calling him rafcal, and telling him he was a gentleman's fon. The young gentleman was, it seems, bound to a blacksmith; and the debate arofe about payment for fome work done about a coach, near which they fought. His mafter, during the combat, was full of his boy's praifes; and as he called to him to play with his hand and foot, and throw in his head, he made all us who stood round himì of his party, by declaring the boy had very good friends, and he could truft him with untold gold. As I am generally in the theory of mankind, I could not but make my reflexions upon the fudden popularity which was raifed about the lad; and perhaps with my friend Tacitus, fell into obfervations upon it, which were too great for the occafion; or afcribed this general favour to caufes which had nothing to do towards it. But the young blacksmith's being a gentleman was, methought, what created him good-will from his prefent equality with the mob about him, add to this, that he was not fo much a gentleman, as not, at the fame time that he called him felf fuch, to ufe as rough methods for his defence as his antagonist. The advantage of his having good friends, as his mafter expreffed it, was not lazily urged; but he fhewed himself fuperior to the coachman in the perfonal qualities of courage and activity, to confirm that of his being well allied, before his birth was of any fervice to him.
An enthusiast in religion is like an obftinate clown, a fuperftitious man like an infipid courtier. Enthufiafm has fomething in it of madness, fuperftition of folly. Most of the fects that fall fhort of the church of England have in them ftrong tinctures of Enthufiafm, as the Romancatholic religion is one huge overgrown body of childish and idle fuperftitions.
The Roman-catholic church feems indeed irrecoverably loft in this particular. If an abfurd drefs or behaviour be introduced in the world, it will foon be found out and difcarded on the contrary, a habit or ceremony, though never fo ridiculous, which has taken fanctuary in the church, flicks in it for ever. A Gothic bishop, perhaps, thought it proper to repeat fuch a form in fuch particular fhoes or flippers; another fancied it would be very decent if fuch a part of public devotions were performed with a mitre on his head, and a crofier in his hand. To this a brother Vandal, as wife as the others, adds an antic drefs, which he conceived would allude very aptly to fuch and fuch myfteries, until by degrees
If one might moralize from this filly fiory, a man would fay, that whatever advantages of fortune, birth, or any other good, people poffels above the rest of the world, they should fhew collateral eminences befides thofe diftinctions; or thofe diflinctions will avail only to keep up common decencies and ceremonies, and not to
preferve a real place of favour or eftcem in the opinion and common fenfe of their fellow-crea
The folly of people's procedure, in imagining that nothing more is neceffary than property and fuperior circumftances to fupport them in di·ftinction, appears in no way fo much as in the domeftic part of life. It is ordinary to feed their humours into unnatural excrefcences, if I may fo fpeak, and make their whole being a wayward and uneafy condition, for want of the obvious reflexion that all parts of human life is a commerce. It is not only paying wages and giving · commands, that conftitutes a mafter of a family; but prudence, equal behaviour, with readiness to protect and cherish them, is what entitles a man to that character in their very hearts and fentiments. It is pleafant enough to obferve, that men expect from their dependents, from their fole motive of fear, all the good effects which a liberal education, and affluent fortune, and every other advantage, cannot produce in themselves. A man will have his fervant juft, diligent, fober and chafte, for no other reafon but the terror of Jofing his mafter's favour; when all the laws divine and human cannot keep him whom he ferves within, bounds, with relation to any one of thofe virtues. But both in great and ordinary affairs, all fuperiority, which is not founded on merit and virtue, is fupported only by artifice and ftratagem. Thus you fee flatterers are the agents in families of humourifts, and those who ; govern themselves by any thing but reafon. Make bares, diftant relations, poor kinfmen, and indigent followers, are the fry which fupport the œconomy of an humourfome rich man. He is eternally whispered with intelligence of who are true or falfe to him in matters of no confequence, and he maintains twenty friends to defend him against the infinuations of on who would perhaps cheat him of an old coat.
I fhall not enter into further fpeculation upon this fubject at prefent, but think the following letters and petition are made up of proper fentiments on this occafion.
AM a fervant to an old lady who is governed by one the calls her friend: who is fo familiar an one, that he takes upon her to advise her without being called to it, and makes her uneafy with all about her. Pray, Sir, be pleased to give us fome remarks upon voluntary counsellors; and let thefe people know that to give any body advice, is to say to that 'perfon, I am your betters. Pray, Sir, as near as you can, defcribe that eternal flirt and difturber of families, Mrs. Taperty, who is al'ways vifiting, and putting people in a way, as they call it. If you can make her ftay at home one evening, you will be a general benefactor to all the ladies women in town, and particularly to
Your loving friend, SUSAN CIVIL,' Mr. Spectator, AM a footman, and live with one of thofe men, each of whom is faid to be one of the best humoured men in the world, but that he is paffionate. Pray be pleafed to inform them, that he who is paffionate, and takes no care to command his haftinefs, does more injury to his £ friends and fervants in one half hour, than whole years can atong for. This mafter of mine, who is Į
the best man alive in common fame, difobliges 'fomebody every day he lives; and ftrikes me for the next thing I do, because he is out of 'humour at it. If thefe gentlemen knew that they do all the mifchief that is ever done in 'conversation, they would reform; and I who have been a spectator of gentlemen at dinner for many years, have feen that indifcretion does ten times more mifchief than ill-nature. "But you will represent this better than Your abused humble fervant, THOMAS SMOKY.
To the Spectator.
The humble Petition of John Steward, Robert Butler, Harry Cook, and Abigail Chambers, in behalf of themfelves and their relations, belonging to and difperfed in the feveral fervices of most of the great families within the cities of London and Westminster.
HAT in many of the families in which and are the feveral heads of them are wholly unacquainted with what is bufinefs, and are very little judges when they are well or ill ufed by us your faid petitioners.
That for want of fuch kill in their own af'fairs, and by indulgence of their own lazinefs and pride, they continually keep about them certain mifchievous animals called fpies.
That whenever a spy is entertained, the peace of that houfe is from that moment banished.
That fpies never give an account of good 'fervices, but reprefent our mirth and freedom by the words, wantonnefs and diforder.
That in all families where there are fpies, there is a general jealoufy and mifunderstanding.
That the mafters and miftreffes of fuch houfes live in. continual fufpicion of their ingenuous and true fervants, and are given up to the management of thofe who are falfe and ' perfidious.
That fuch mafters and miftreffes who entertain fpies, are no longer more than cyphers in their own families; and that we your petitioners are with great difdain obliged to pay all our refpe&t, and expect all our maintenance from fuch fpies.
walks. Thefe abandoned profligates raife up ifiue in every quarter of the town, and very often, for a valuable confideration, father it upon the church warden. By this means there are feveral married men who have a little family in moft of the parishes of London and Westminster, and feveral bachelors who are undone by a charge of children.
When a man once gives himself this liberty of preying at large, and living upon the common, he finds fo much game in a populous city, that it is furprifing to confider the numbers which he fometimes propagates. We fee many a young fellow who is fcarce of age, that could lay his claim to the jus trium liberarum, or the privileges which were granted by the Roman laws to all fuch as were fathers of three children: nay, I have heard a rake, who was not quite five and twenty, declare himself the father of a feventh fon, and very prudently determine to breed him up a phyfician. In fhort, the town is full of thefe young patriarchs, not to mention feveral battered beaux, who, like heedlefs fpendthrifts that fquander away their eftates before they are mafters of them, have raised up their whole ftock of children before marriage.
I must not here omit the particular whim of an impudent libertine, that had a little fmattering of heraldry; and obferving how the genealogies of great families were often drawn up in the shape of trees, had taken a fancy to difpofe of his own illegitimate iffue in a figure of the fame kind.
-Nec longum tempus ingens Exit ad calm ramis felicibus arbos, Miraturque novas frondes, & non fua poma. Virg. Georg. 2. ver. 80. And in short space the laden boughs arife, With happy fruit advancing to the skies: The mother plant admires the leaves unknown Of alien trees, and apples not her own.
The trunk of the tree was marked with his own name, Will Maple. Out of the fide of it grew a large barren branch, infcribed Mary Maple, the name of his unhappy wife. The head was adorned with five huge boughs. On the bottom of the firft was written in capital characters Kate Cole, who branched out into three fprigs, viz. William, Richard, and Rebecca. Sal. Twiford gave birth to another bough that shot up into Sarah, Tom, Will, and Frank. The third arm of the tree had only a single infant on it, with a space left for a fecond, the parent from whom it fprung being near her time when the author took this ingenious device into his head. The two other great boughs were very plentifully loaden with fruit of the fame kind; besides which there were many ornamental branches that did not bear. In short, a more flourishing tree never came out of the herald's office.
Nor is the invention of these men lefs to be admired than their industry and vigilance. There is a fragment of Apollodorus the comic poet, who was contemporary with Menander, which is full of humour, as follows: "Thou mayest shut up "thy doors," fays he, "with bars and bolts: it "will be impoffible for the blacksmith to make "them fo faft, but a cat and a whoremaster will "find a way through them." In a word, there is no head so full of stratagems as that of a libiḍi
What makes this generation of vermin fo very prolific, is the indefatigable diligence with which they apply themfelves to their bufinefs. A man does not undergo more watchings and fatigues in a campaign, than in the courfe of a vicious amour. As it is faid of fome men, that they make their business their pleasure, these fons of darkness may be faid to make their pleasure their businefs. They might conquer their corrupt inclinations with half the pains they are at in gratifying them.
Were I to propose a punishment for this infamous race of propagators, it should be to fend them, after the fecond or third offence, into our American colonies, in order to people these parts of her Majesty's dominious where there is a want of inhabitants, and in the phrase of Diogenes, to "plant men." "Some countries punish this crime with death; but I think such a banishment would be fufficient, and might turn this generative faculty to the advantage of the public.
In the mean time, until these gentlemen may be thus difpofed of, I would earnestly exhort them to take care of those unfortunate creatures whom they have brought into the world by these indirect methods, and to give their spurious children fuch an education as may render them more virtuous than their parents. This is the best atonement they can make for their own crimes, and indeed the only method that is left them to repair their paft mifcarriages.
I would likewife defire them to confider, whether they are not bound in common humanity, as well as by all the obligations of religion and nature, to make some provision for those whom they have not only given life to, but entailed upon them, though very unreasonably, a degree of fhame and difgrace. And here I cannot but take notice of thofe depraved notions which prevail among us, and which must have taken rife from our natural inclination to favour a vice to which we are so very prone, namely, that baftardy and cuckoldom fhould be looked upon as reproaches, and that the ignominy, which is only due to lewdnefs and falfhood, fhould fall in fo unreasonable a manner upon the perfons who are innocent.
I have been infenfibly drawn into this difcourfe by the following letter, which is drawn up with fuch a fpirit of fincerity, that I queftion not but the writer of it has reprefented his case in a true and genuine light.
AM one of thofe people who by the general opinion of the world are counted both infamous and unhappy.
'My father is a very eminent man in this king'dom, and one who bears confiderable offices in it. I am his fon, but my misfortune is, that I dare not call him father, nor he without fhame own me as his iffue, I being illegitimate, and therefore deprived of that endearing tenderness and unparalleled fatisfaction which a good man finds in the love and conversation of a parent: neither have I the opportunities to render him the duties of a fon, he having always carried himself at fo vaft a distance, and with fuch fuperiority towards me, that by long ufe I have 'contracted a timorousness when before him, which hinders me from declaring my own neceffities, and giving him to understand the in• conveniencies I undergo.
It is my misfortune to have been neither bred a fcholar, a foldier, nor to any kind of bufinefs,
✦ which renders me entirely uncapable of mak-your's, I am willing to be a ftranger to your
I have hitherto lived fomewhat like a gentle◄ man, and it would be very hard for me to labour for my living. I am in continual anxiety for my future fortune, and under a great unhap፡ pinefs in lofing the fweet converfation and friendly advice of my parents; fo that I cannot look upon myfelf otherwife than as a monfter, ftrangely fprung up in nature, which every one is afhamed to own.
name, your fortune, or any figure which your wife might expect to make in the world, pro'vided my commerce with you is not to be a guilty one. I refign gay drefs, the pfeature of vifits, equipage, plays, balls, and operas, for that one fatisfaction of having you for ever mine. I am willing you should induftrioufly conceal the only caufe of triumph which I can know in this life. I wish only to have it my duty, as well as my inclination, to ftudy your happinefs. If this has not the effect this letter feems to aim at, you are to understand that I had a mind to be rid of you, and took the readieft way to pall you with an offer of what you would never defift purfuing while you received ill ufage. Be a true man; be my flave while you doubt me, and neglect me when you think 'I love you. I defy you to find out what is your prefent circumftance with me; but I know while I can keep this fufpence,
'I am your admired
I am thought to be a man of fome natural parts, and by the continual reading what you have offered the world, become an admirer thereof, which has drawn me to make this confeffion; at the fame time hoping, if any thing herein should touch you with a fenfe of pity, < you would then allow me the favour of your opinion thereupon; as alfo what part I being unlawfully born, may claim of the man's affection who begot me, and how far in your opinion I am to be thought his fon, or he acknowledged as my father. Your fentiments and advice herein will be a great confolation and fatisfaction to,
No 204. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24.
Et vultus nimiùm lubricus afpici.
My eye-balls fwim, and I grow giddy while I
To the Sothades.
T is a strange state of mind a man is in, when the very imperfections of a woman he loves turn into excellencies and advantages. I do affure you, I am very much afraid of venturing upon you. I now like you in fpite of my reafon, and think it an ill circumftance to owe 'one's happiness to nothing but infatuation, I
can fee you ogle all the young fellows who look at you, and obferve your eye wander after new conquefts every moment you are in a public place; and yet there is fuch a beauty in all your looks and geftures, that I cannot but admire < you in the very act of endeavouring to gain the hearts of others. My condition is the fame with that of the lover in the Way of the World. I have ftudied your faults fo long, that they are become as familiar to me, and I like them as well as I do my own. Look to it, Madam, and confider whether you think this gay behaviour 'will appear to me as amiable when an husband, C as it does now to me a lover. Things are fo far advanced, that we must proceed; and I hope C you will lay it to heart, that it will be becoming in me to appear ftill your lover, but not in you to be ftill my miftrefs. Gaiety in the matrimonial life is graceful in one fex, but exceptionable in the other. As you improve thefe little hints, you will afcertain the happiness or uneafinefs of,
Your most obedient,
HEN I fat at the window, and you at the other end of the room by my cousin, 'I faw you catch me looking at you. Since you have the fecret at laft, which I am fure you fhould never have known but by inadvertency, what my eyes faid was true. But it is too soon 'to confirm it with my hand, therefore fhall not fubfcribe my name."
moft humble fervant,
· T. D.'
HERE were other Gentlemen nearer, and I know no neceffity you were under to take up that flippant creature's fan laft night; but you shall never touch a stick of mine more, that's pos,
EFORE this can reach the best of husbands and the fondeft lover, thofe tender names will be no more of concern to me. The indifpofition in which you, to obey the dictates of your honour and duty, left me, has increafed upon me; and I am acquainted by my phyficians I cannot live a week longer. At this time my fpirits fail me; and it is the ardent love I have for you that carries me beyond my ftrength, and enables me to tell you, the most painful thing in the prospect of death, is, that I muft part with you. But let it be a comfort that I have no guilt hangs upon me, no to you, unrepented folly that retards me; but I pafs away my last hours in reflexion upon the hap< pinefs we have lived in together, and in forrow that it is fo foon to have an end. This is a frailty which I hope is fo far from criminal, that methinks there is a kind of piety in being fo unwi ling to be feparated from a state which " is the inftitution of heaven, and in which we ⚫ have lived according to its laws. As we know · no more of the next life, but that it will be an C happy one to the good, and miferable to the wicked, why may we not please ourselves at least, to alleviate the difficulty of refigning this being, in imagining that we fhall have a fenfe of what paffes below, and may poffibly be employed in guiding the fteps of thofe with whom we walked with innocence when mortal? Why may not I hope to go on in my ufual work, and, though unknown to you, be affiftant in all the 'conflicts of your mind? Give me leave to fay to · you, O beft of men, that I cannot figure to myfelf a greater happiness than in fuch an employment: to be prefent at all the adventures to which human life is expofed, to adminifter flumber to thy eye-lids in the agonies of a fever, to cover thy beloved face in the day of battle, to go with thee a guardian angel, incapable of wound or pain, where I have longed to attend thee when a weak, a fearful woman: thefe, my dear, are the thoughts with which I warm my poor languid heart; but indeed I am not capable under my prefent weakness of bearing the ftrong agonies of mind I fall into, when I form to myfelf the grief you will be in upon your first hearing of my departure. I will not dwell upon this, becaufe your kind and generous heart will be but the more afflicted, the more the perfon for whom you lament offers you confolation. My last breath will, if I am myfelf, expire in a prayer for you. I fhall never fee thy face again. Farewel for ever.'
To Colonel Rin Spain..
205. THURSDAY, OCTOBER. 25. Decipimur fpecie racti
which are still concealed, in order to keep the ignorant and unwary from running upon them. It is with this intention that I publish the following letter, which brings to light fome fecrets of this nature.
HDR. Ars. Poet, ver. 25. Deluded by a feeming excellence.
I meet er
that is not generally known, in order to prevent its doing mifchief, I draw it at length, and fet it up as a feare-crow; by which means I do not only make an example of the perfon to whom it belongs, but give warning to all her Majetty's fubjects, that they may not fuffer by it. Thus, to change the allufion, I have marked out feveral of the fhoals and quickfands of life, and a continually employed in difcovering thofe
• Mr. Spectator,
HERE are none of your fpeculations which I read over with greater delight than thofe which are defigned for the improve
ment of our fex. You have endeavoured to correct our unreasonable fears and fuperftitions, in your seventh and twelfth papers; our fancy for 'equipage, in your fifteenth; our love of puppet'fhows, in your thirty-first; our notions of beau
ty, in your thirty-third; our inclination for romances, in your thirty-feventh; our paffion for French fopperies, in your forty-fifth; our manhood and party-zeal, in your fifty-feventh; our ' abuse of dancing, in your fixty-fixth and fixty'feventh; our levity, in your hundred and twenty
eighth; our love of coxcombs, in your hundred ' and fifty-fourth, and hundred and fifty-feventh; our tyranny over the henpeckt, in your hundred ' and feventy-fixth. You have defcribed the Pict in your forty-first; the idol, in your feventy-third; the demurrer, in your eighty-ninth; the fala'mander, in your hundred and ninety-eighth. You have likewife taken to pieces our drefs, and reprefented to us the extravagancies we are often guilty of in that particular. You have fallen upon our patches in your fiftieth and eighty-first; our commodes, in your ninetyeighth; our fans in your hundred and fecond; our riding-habits in your hundred and fourth; our hoop-petticoats, in your hundred and twenty seventh; befides a great many little blemishes which you have touched upon in your several other papers, and in those many letters that are fcattered up and down your works. At the fame time we must own, that the compliments
you pay our fex are innumerable, and that thofe very faults which you reprefent in us, are neither 'black in themselves, nor as you own, univerfal
among us. But, Sir, it is plain that these your 'difcourfes are calculated for none but the fafhionable part of woman-kind, and for the ufe of those who are rather indifcreet than vicious. But, Sir, there is a fort of proftitutes in the lower part of our fex, who are a scandal to us, and very well deferve to fall under your cenfure. I know it would debafe your paper too much to enter into the behaviour of thefe female liber" tines; but as your remarks on fome part of it would be a deing of juftice to feveral women of virtue and honour, whofe reputations fuffer by it, I hope you will not think it improper to give the public fome accounts of this nature. You must know, Sir, I am provoked to write you this letter by the behaviour of an infamous woman, who having paffed her youth in a moft fhameful state of proftitution, is now one of thofe who gain their livelihood by feducing others, that are younger than themfelves, and by establishing a criminal commerce between 'the two fexes. Among feveral of her artifices to get money, the frequently perfuades a vain young fellow, that fuch a woman of quality < or fuch a celebrated toaft, entertains a fecret paffion for him, and wants nothing but an opportunity of revealing it: nay, fhe has gone fo far as to write letters in the name of a woman of figure, to borrow money of one of thefe 'foolish