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manner of harm it could do religion, if we fhould entirely give them up this elegant part of mankind.
The catalogue of these is however very short; even Vanini, the most celebrated champion for the caufe, profeffed before his judges that he believed the existence of a God, and taking up a ftraw which lay before him on the ground, affured them, that alone was fufficient to convince him of it; alledging feveral arguments to prove that it was impoffible nature alone could create any thing.
I was the other day reading an account of Cafimir Lifzynski, a gentleman of Poland, who was convicted and executed for this crime. The manner of his punishment was very particular. As foon as his body was burnt, his afhes were put into a cannon, and thot into the air towards Tartary.
I am apt to believe, that if fomething like this method of punishment should prevail in England, fuch is the natural good fenfe of the British nation, that whether we rammed an atheist whole into a great gun, or pulverifed our infidels, as they do in Poland, we should not have many charges.
I should, however, propofe, while our ammunition lafted, that inftead of Tartary, we should always keep two or three cannons ready pointed towards the Cape of Good Hope, in order to fhoot our unbelievers into the country of the
In my opinion, a folemn judicial death is too great an honour for an atheift, though I must allow the method of exploding him, as it is practifed in this ludicrous kind of martyrdom, has fomething in it proper enough to the nature of this offence.
M they lie under
ANY are the epiftles I receive from ladies
the obfervation of fcandalous people, who love to defame their neighbours, and make the unjufteft interpretation of innocent and indifferent actions. They defcribe their own behaviour fo unhappily, that there indeed lies fome caufe of fufpicion upon them. It is certain, that there is no authority for perfons who have nothing elfe to do, to pafs away hours of converfation upon the miscarriages of other people, but fince they will do fo, they who value their reputation fhould be cautious of appearances to their difadvantage but very often our young women, as well as the middle-aged and the gay part of thofe growing old, without entering into a formal league for that purpose, to a woman agree upon a fhort way to preferve their characters, and go on in a way that at best is only not vicious. The method is, when an ill-natured or talkative girl has faid any thing that bears hard upon fome part of another's carriage, this creature, if not in any of their lit le cabals, is run down for the most cenforious dargerous body in the world. Thus they guard their reputation rather than their modefty; as if guilt lay in being under the imputation of a fault, and not in the commiffion of it. Orbicilla is the kindest poor thing in the town, but the most blushing creature living; it is true, he has not loft the fenfe of shame, but she has loft the fenfe of innocence. If he had more confidence, and never did any thing which ought to ftain her cheeks, would the not be much more modeft without that ambiguous fuffufion, which is the livery both of guilt and innocence? Modefty confifts in being confcious of no ill, and not in being ashamed of having done it. When people go upon any other foundation than the truth of their own hearts for the conduct of their actions, it lies in the power of fcandalous tongues to carry the world before them, and make the rest of mankind fall in with the ill, for fear of reproach. On the other hand, to do what you ought, is the ready way to make calumny either filent or ineffectually malicious. Spenfer, in his Fairy Queen, fays admirably to young ladies under the diftrefs of being defamed:
There is indeed a great objection against this manner of treating them. Zeal for religion is of fo active a nature, that it feldom knows where to reft; for which reafon I am afraid, after having difcharged our atheists, we might poffibly think of fhooting off our fectaries; and as one does not forefee the viciffitude of human affairs, it might one time or other come to a man's own turn to fly out of the mouth of a demiculverin,
mankind of what themfelves own is of excellent ufe in all great focieties, without once offering to establish any thing in the room of it: I think the best way of dealing with them, is to retort their own weapons upon them, which are those of fcorn and mockery. X
If any of my readers imagine that I have treated thefe gentlemen in too ludicrous a manner, I must contefs for my own part, I think reafoning against such unbelievers upon a point that shocks the common fenfe of mankind, is doing them too great an honour, giving them a figure in the eye of the world, and making people fancy that they have more in them than they really
As for thofe perfons who have any scheme of religious worthip, I am for treating fuch with the utmost tenderness, and should endeavour to fhew them their errors with the greatest temper and humanity; but as thefe mifcreants are for throwing down religion in general, for stripping
The beft, faid he, that I can you advife,
Is to avoid the occafion of the ill; For when the caufe, whence evil doth arife, Removed is, th' effect furceafeth ftill. Abftain from pleasure, and reftrain your will, Subdue defire, and bridle loofe delight Ufe fcanty diet, and forbear your fill;
Shun fecrecy, and talk in open fight: So shall you foon repair your present evil plight. Inftead
Inftead of this care over their words and actions, recommended by a poet in old queen Befs's days, the modern way is to fay and do what you pleafe, and yet be the prettiest fort of women in the
world.' If fathers and brothers will defend a lady's honour, fhe is quite as fafe as in her own innocence. Many of the diftreffed, who fuffer under the malice of evil tongues, are fo harmless that they are every day they live afleep until
twelve at noon: concern themfelves with no
thing but their own perfons until two; take their neceffary food between that time and four vist, go to the play; and fit up at cards until towards the enfuing morn; and the malicious
world fall draw conclufions from innocent glances, fhort whifpers, or pretty familiar ralleries with fashionable men, that these fair ones are not as rigid as veftals. It is certain, fay thefe goodeft creatures very well, that virtue does not confift in constrained behaviour and wry faces, that must he allowed: but there is a decency in the afpect and manner of ladies contracted from a habit of virtue, and from general reflexions that regard a modeit conduct, ail which may be understood, though they cannot be defcribed. A young woman of this fort claims an efteem mixed with affection and honour, and meets with no defamation; or if the does, the wild malice is overcome with an undifturbed perfeverance in her innocence. To fpeak freely, there are fuch coveys of coquettes about this town, that if the peace was not kept by fome impertinent tongues of their own fex, which keep them under fome restraint, we fhould have no manner of engagement upon them to keep them in any tolerable order.
As I am a Spectator, and behold how plainly one part of woman-kind balance the behaviour of the other, whatever I may think of talebearers or flandcrers, I cannot wholly fupprefs them, no more than a general would difcourage fpies. The enemy would eafily furprife him whom they knew had no intelligence of their motions. It is fo far otherwife with me, that I acknowledge I permit a fhe-flanderer or two in every quarter of the town, to live in the characters of coquettes, and take all the innocont freedoms of the reft, in order to fond me information of the behaviour of their respective fisterhoods.
But as the matter of refped to the world, which looks on, is carried on, methinks it is fo very easy to be what is in the general called virtuous, that it need not coft one hour's reflexien in a month to preferve that appellation. It is pleasant to hear the pretty 10gues talk of virtue and vice among each other: the is the laziest creature in the world, but I must confefs ftrictly virtuous;. the peevisheft hufley breathing, but as to her virtue, fhe is without blemith: fhe has not the aft charity for any of her acquaintance, but I must allow her rigidly virtuous. As the unthinking part of the male world call every man a man of herour who is not a coward; fo the croud of the other ex terms every woman who will not be a wench, virtuous.
HILE Homer reprefents Phenix, thể tutor of Achilles, as perfuading his pupil to lay afide his refentments, and give himself up to the intreaties of his countrymen, the poet in order to make him fpeak in character, afcribes to him a fpeech full of thofe fables and allegories which old men take delight in reiating, and which are very proper for inftruction. The Gods, fays he, fuffer themfelves to be prevailed upon by intreaties. When mortals have offended them by their tranfgreffions, they appease them by vows and facrifices. You muft know, Achilles, that prayers are the daughters of Ju( piter. They are crippled by frequent kneeling, have their faces full of cares and wrinkles, and their dyes always caft towards Heaven. They are conftant attendants on the goddefs Ate, and march behind her. This goddels walks forward with a bold and haughty air, and being very light of foot, runs through the whole earth, grieving and afficting the fons of men. gets the start of Prayers, who always follow her, in order to heal thofe perfons whom the wounds. He who honours thefe daughters of
Jupiter, when they draw near to him, receives great benefit from them; but as for him who rejects them, they intreat their father to give his orders to the goddefs Ate, to punith him for his hardnefs of heart.' This noble allegory needs but little explanation; for whether the goddefs Atc fignifics injury, as fome have explained it; or guilt in generál, as others; or divine juftice, as I am the more apt to think, the interpretation is obvious enough."
'feries of human life.
The old fellow fhall live 'till he makes his heart ake, I can tell him that 'for his pains. This was followed by the foft voice of a pious lady, defiring Jupiter that she 'might appear amiable and charming in the fight of her emperor. As the philofopher was reflecting on this extraordinary petition, there 'blew a gentle wind through the trap-door, which he at first mistook for a gale of Zephyrs, 'but afterwards found it to be a breeze of fighs: they smelt strong of flowers and incenfe, and 'were fucceeded by moft paffionate complaints of wounds and torments, fires and arrows, cru
I fhall produce another heathen fable relating to prayers, which is of a more diverting kind. One would think by fome paffages in it, that it was compofed by Lucian, or at leaft by fome author who has endeavoured to imitate his way of writing: but as differtations of this nature are more curious than ufeful, I fhall give my reader the fable, without any further inquiries after the author.
Menippus the philofopher was a fecond time taken up into Heaven by Jupiter, when for his ' entertainment he lifted up a trap-door that was placed by his foot-ftool. At its rifing, there iffued through it fuch a din of cries as aftonish⚫ed the philofopher. Upon his asking what they meant, Jupiter told him they were the prayers that were fent up to him from the earth. Menippus, amidft the confufion of voices, which · was fo great, that nothing less than the ear of 6 Joye could distinguish them, heard the words,
elty, defpair, and death. Menippus fancied that fuch lamentable cries arofe from fome ge'neral execution, or from wretches lying under the torture; but Jupiter told him that they came up to him from the ifle of Paphos, and that he every day received complaints of the fame nature from that whimfical tribe of mortals who are called lovers. I am fo trifled with, 'fays he, by this generation of both fexes, and 'find it fo impoffible to please them, whether I 'grant or refufe their petitions, that I fhall order
a western wind for the future to intercept them in their paffage, and blow them at random upon the earth. The laft petition I heard was 'from a very aged man of near an hundred years old, begging but for one year more of life, and then promifing to die contented. This is the 'rareft old fellow, fays Jupiter. He has made this prayer to me for above twenty years toge ther. When he was but fifty years old, he de'fired only that he might live to fee his fon fettled in the world, I granted it. He then begged the 'fame favour for his daughter, and afterwards that he might fee the education of a grandfon: when all this was brought about, he puts up a 'petition that he might live to finifh a houfe he was building. In fhort, he is an unreasonable 'old cur, and never wants an excufe; I will hear 'no more of him. Upon which he flung down the trap-door in a paflion, and was refolved to ❝ give no more audience that day.'
riches, honour, and long life, repeated to fe⚫veral different tones and languages. When the first hubbub of founds was over, the trap-door being left open, the voices came up more feparate and diftin&t. The first prayer was a very odd one; it came from Athens, and defired Ju"piter to increase the wisdom and the beard of 'his humble fupplicant. Menippus knew it by
the voice to be the prayer of his friend Lycander the philofopher. This was fucceeded by the petition of one who had juft laden a fhip, and promised Jupiter, if he took care of it, and returned it home again full of riches, he would make him an offering of a filver cup. Jupiter thanked him for nothing; and bending down his ear more attentively than ordinary, heard a voice complaining to him of the cruelty of an Ephefian widow, and begging him to breed compaffion in her heart. This, fays Jupiter, is a very honeft fellow. I have received a great ⚫ deal of incenfe from him; I will not be fo cruel to him as not to hear his prayers. He was then 'interrupted with a whole volley of vows which " were made for the health of a tyrannical prince by his fubjects who prayed for him in his prefence. Menippus was furprifed, after having liftened to prayers offered up with fo much ardour and devotion, to hear low whifpers from the fame affembly expoftulating with Jove for fuffering fuch a tyrant to live, and asking him how his thunder could lie idle? Jupiter was fo offended at thefe prevaricating rafcals, that he took down the first vows, and puffed away the laft. The philofopher feeing a great cloud mounting upwards, and making its way directly to the trap-door, inquired of Jupiter what it meant. This, fays Jupiter, is the fmoke of a whole hecatomb that is offered me by the ge⚫neral of an army, who is very importunate with me to let him cut off an hundred thousand men that are drawn up in array against him what does the impudent wretch think I fee in him, to believe I will make a facrifice of fo many mortals as good as himself, and all this to his glory forfcoth? But hark, fays Jupiter, there is a voice I never heard but in time of danger: it is a rogue that is fhipwrecked in the Ionian fea : 1 faved him on a plank but three days ago, upon his promife to mend his manners; the fcoundrel is not worth a groat, and yet has the impudence to offer me a temple if I will keep him from finking. But yonder, fays he, is a fpecial youth for you, he defires me to take his father, who keeps a great eftate from him, out of the mi
Notwithstanding the levity of this fable, the moral of it very well deferves our attention, and is the fame with that which has been inculcated by Socrates and Plato, not to mention Juvenal and Perfius, who have each of them made the fineft fatire in their whole works upon this subject. The vanity of men's wishes, which are the na tural prayers of the mind, as well as many of thofe fecret devotions which they offer to the Supreme Being are fufficiently exposed by it. Among other reafons for set forms of prayer, I have often thought it a very good one, that by this means the folly and extravagance of men's defires may be kept within due bounds, and ret break out in abfurd and ridiculous petitions on fo great and folemn an occafion. I
a relation of a coquette in the neighbourhood, who had been difcovered practising before her glafs. To turn the difcourfe, which, from being witty, grew to be malicious, the matron of < the family took cccafion from the fubject, to with that there were to be found amongst men fuch faithful monitors to drefs the mind by, as " we confult to adorn the body. She added, that if a fincere friend were miraculously changed into a looking-glafs the thould not be ashamed to afk its advice very often. This whimfical thought worked fo much upon my fancy the whole evening, that it produced a very odd dream.
Methought that as I ftcod before my glass, the image of a youth, of an open ingenucus afpect, appeared in it; who with a fmall thrill voice fpoke in the following manner :
The looking-glafs, you fee, was heretofore a ૐ man, even 1, the unfortunate Fidelio. I had two brothers, whofe deformity in fhape was made up by the clearness of their understanding: it must be owned however, that (as it, generally happens) they had each a perverfenefs of humour fuitable to their diftortion of
1 need not acquaint you, that I was very well made, and reckoned a bright and polite gentleI was the confident and darling of all the fair; and if the old and ugly fpoke ill of
< me, all the world knew it was because I fcorned to flatter them. No ball, no affembly was attended until I had been confulted. Flavia coloured her hair before me, Celia fhewed me her teeth, Panthea heaved her bofom, Cleora brandifhed her diamond; I have feen Cloe's foot, and tied artificially the garters of Rhodope.
It is a general maxim, that thofe who dote upon themselves, can have no violent affection for another: but on the contrary, I found that the women's paffion rofe for me in proportion to the love they bore to themfelves. This was verified in my amour with Narciffa, who was fo conftant to me, that it was pleafantly faid, had I been little enough, he would have hung ine at her girdle. The most dangerous rival I had, was a gay empty fellow, who by the trength of a long intercourfe with Narciffa, joined to his natural endowments, had formed himfelf into a perfect refemblance with her. I had been discarded, had the not cbferved that Le frequently asked my opinion about matters of the latt confequence: this made me ftill more * confiderable in her eye.
Though I was eternally careffed by the ladiès, fuch was their opinion of my honour, that I was never envied by the men. A jealous lovor of Narciffa one day thought he had caught her in an amorous converfation: for though he
Kas at fuch a diftance that he could hear no
thing, he imagined ftrange things from her airs
She had the misfortune to have the fmall-pox,
Cupid, who always attends the fair, and pitied
< body. The cldeft, whofe belly funk in mon
ftroufly, was a great coward; and though his fplenetic contrasted temper made him take fire immediately, he made objects that befet him appear greater than they were. The fecond, whofe breafts fwelled into a bold relievo, on the contrary, took great pleafure in leffening every thing, and was perfectly the reverfe of his brother. Thefe oddneffes pleafed company once or twice, but difgufted when often feen: for which reafon the young gentlemen were fent from court to ftudy mathematics at the univerfity.
It were endlefs to recount all my adventures. Let me haften to that which coft me my life, and Narciffa her happinefs.
N° 393. SATURDAY, MAY 31.
OOKING over the letters that have been
is the feafon of folitude, and of moving complaints upen trivial fufferings : now the griefs of lovers begin to flow, and their 'wounds to bleed afresh. I too, at this distance from the fcitor climates, am not without my difcontents at prefent. You perhaps may laugh at me for a nioft romantic wretch, when I have difclofed to you the occafion of my uneafinefs; and yet, I cannot help thinking my unhappinet's real, in being confined to a region, which is the very reverfe of Paradife. The feafons here are all of them unpleafant, and the country quite defiitute of rural charms. I have not heard n 3
bird fing, nor a brook murmur, nor a breeze whisper, neither have I been bleft with the fight of a flowery meadow these two years. Every wind here is a tempeft, and every water a turbulent ocean. I hope, when you reflect a little, you will not think the grounds of my complaint < in the leaft frivolous and unbecoming a man of ferious thought; fince the love of woods, of ' fields and flowers, of rivers and fountains, feems to be a paffion implanted in our natures, the ⚫ most early of any, even before the fair fex had a being. I am, Sir, &c.
Could I tranfport myself with a wifh from one Country to another, I should choose to pats my winter in Spain, my spring in Italy, my fummer in England, and my autumn in France. Of all thefe feafons there is none can vie with the fpring for beauty and delightfulness. It bears the fame figure among the seasons of the year, that the morning does among the divifions of the day, or youth among the ftages of life. The English fummer is pleasanter than that of any other country in Europe, on no other account but because it has a greater mixture of spring in it. The mildness of our climate, with thofe frequent refreshments of dews and rains that fall among us, keep up a perpetual chearfulness in our fields, and fill the hottest months of the year with a lively verdure.
In the opening of the fpring, when all nature begins to recover herself, the fame animal pleasure which makes the birds fing, and the whole brute creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the heart of .man. I know none of the poets who have obferved fo well as Milton thofe fecret overflowings of gladness which diffuse themselves through the mind of the beholder, upon furveying the gay scenes of nature: he has touched upon it twice or thrice in his Paradise Loft, and defcribes it very beautifully under the name of vernal delight, in that paffage where he represents the devil himself as almoft fenfible of it.
Bloffoms and fruits at once of golden hue
That landskip: and of pure now purer air
Many authors have written on the vanity of the creature, and reprefented the barrennefs of every thing in this world, and its incapacity of producing any solid or substantial happiness. As difcourfes of this nature are very useful to the fenfual and voluptuous; thofe fpeculations which fhew the bright fide of things, and lay forth those innocent entertainments which are to be met with among the feveral objects that encompass us, are no lefs beneficial to men of dark and melancholy tempers. It was for this reason that I endeavoured to recommend a chearfulness of mind in my two laft Saturday's papers, and which I would ftill inculcate, not only from the confideration of ourfelves, and of that Being on whom we depend, nor from the general furvey of that univerfe in which we are placed at prefent, but from reflexions on the particular feafon in which this paper is written. The creation is a perpetual feast to
the mind of a good man, every thing he fees chears and delights him; Providence has imprinted fo many fmiles on nature, that it is impoffible for a mind which is not funk in more grofs and fenfual delights, to take a furvey of them, without feveral fecret fenfations of pleasure. The pfalmift has in feveral of his divine poems celebrated thofe beautiful and agreeable fcenes which make the heart glad, and produce in it that vernal delight which I have before taken notice of.
Natural philofophy quickens this taste of the creation, and renders it not only pleating to the imagination, but to the understanding. It does not reft in the murmur of brooks and the melody of birds, in the fhade of groves and woods, or in the embroidery of fields and meadows, but confiders the feveral ends of Providence which are ferved by them, and the wonders of Divine Wifdom which appear in them. It heightens the pleafures of the eye, and raifes fuch a rational admiration in the foul as is little inferior to devotion.
It is not in the power of every one to offer up this kind of worship to the great author of nature, and to indulge thefe more refined meditations of heart, which are doubtlefs highly acceptable in his fight; I fhall therefore conclude this fhort effay on that pleasure which the mind naturally conceives from the present season of the year, by the recommending of a practice for which every one has fufficient abilities.
I would have my readers endeavour to moralize this natural pleasure of the foul, and to improve this vernal delight, as Milton calls it, into a chriftian virtue. When we find ourselves inspired with this pleafing inftinct, this fecret fatisfaction and complacency arifing from the beauties of the creation, let us confider to whom we stand indebted for all thefe entertainments of fenfe, and who it is that thus opens his hand and fills the world with good. The apoftle inftructs us to take advantage of our prefent temper of mind, to graft upon fuch a religious exercise as is particularly conformable to it, by that precept which advifes thofe who are fad to pray, and thofe who are merry to fing pfalms. The chearfulness of heart which springs up in us from paration for gratitude. The mind has gone a great the furvey of nature's works, is an admirable prewith fuch a fecret gladnefs. A grateful reflexion way towards praife and thanksgiving, that is filled on the fupreme caufe who produces it, fanctifies it in the foul, and gives it its proper value. Such an habitual difpofition of mind confecrates every field and wood, turns an ordinary walk into a morning or evening facrifice, and will improve thofe tranfient gleams of joy which naturally brighten up and refresh the foul on fuch occafions, into an inviolable and perpetual state of blifs and happiness. Ι