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pleasure to me equal to a refined conversation ;shave, however, another excellence yet behind; the there is nothing of which I am so much enamour- love of their country is still I hope one of their ed as wisdom.” “Wisdom !" replied his instruc- darling virtues.” “Peace, Asem,” replied the tor, "how ridiculous! We have no wisdom here, Guardian, with a countenance not less severe than for we have no occasion for it; true wisdom is only beautiful, “nor forfeit all thy pretensions to wisa knowledge of our own duty, and the duty of dom : the same selfish motives by which we prefer others to us; but of what use is such wisdom here? our own interest to that of others, induce us to reeach intuitively performs what is right in himself
, gard our country preferably to that of another. and expects the same from others. If by wisdom Nothing less than universal benevolence is free you should mean vain curiosity, and empty specu- from vice, and that you see is practised here." lation, as such pleasures have their origin in vani- “Strange!” cries the disappointed pilgrim, in an ty, luxury, or avarice, we are too good to pursue agony of distress ; "what sort of a world am I now them. "All this may be right,” says Asem; “but introduced to? There is scarcely a single virtue, methinks I observe a solitary disposition prevail but that of temperance, which they practise ; and among the people; each family keeps separately in that they are no way superior to the very brute within their own precincts, without society, or with creation. There is scarcely an amusement which out intercourse." “ That indeed is true,” replied they enjoy; fortitude, liberality, friendship, wisdom, the other; "here is no established society; nor conversation, and love of country, all are virtues should there be any; all societies are made either entirely unknown here: thus it seems that to be through fear or friendship: the people we are acquainted with vice is not to know virtue. Take among are too good to fear each other; and there me, O my Genius, back to that very world which are no motives to private friendship, where all are I have despised: a world which has Alla for its equally meritorious." "Well, then," said the contriver is much more wisely formed than that sceptic, “as I am to spend my time here, if I which has been projected by Mahomet. Ingratiam to have neither the polite arts, nor wisdom, nor tude, contempt, and hatred, I can now suffer, for friendship, in such a world, I should be glad at perhaps I have deserved them. When I arraigned least of an easy companion, who may tell me his the wisdom of Providence, I only showed my own thoughts, and to whom I may communicate mine." ignorance: henceforth let me keep from vice my. “And to what purpose should either do this?" says self, and pity it in others.” the Genius : "flattery or curiosity are vicious mo- He had scarcely ended, when the Genius, as. tives, and never allowed of here; and wisdom is suming an air of terrible complacency, called all out of the question."
his thunders around him, and vanished in a whirk"Still, however," said Asem, "the inhabitants wind. Asem, astonished at the terror of the scene, must be happy; each is contented with his own looked for his imaginary world; when, casting bis possessions, nor avariciously endeavours to heap eyes around, he perceived himself in the very situaup more than is necessary for his own subsistence; tion, and in the very place, where he first began to each has therefore leisure for pitying those that repine and despair; his right foot had been just ad stand in need of his compassion.” He had scarce- vanced to take the fatal plunge, nor had it been vet ly spoken when his ears were assaulted with the withdrawn; so instantly did Providence strike the lamentations of a wretch who sat by the way-side, series of truths just imprinted on his soul. He now and, in the most deplorable distress, seemed gently departed from the water-side in tranquillity, and to murmur at his own misery. Asem immediate- leaving his horrid mansion, travelled to Segestan, ly ran to his relief, and found him in the last stage his native city; where he diligently applied himself of a consumption. "Strange,” cried the son of to commerce, and put in practice that wisdom he Adam, "that men who are free from vice should had learned in solitude. The frugality of a few thus suffer so much misery without relief!" "Be years soon produced opulence; the number of not surprised,” said the wretch who was dying: his domestics increased ; his friends came to him "would it not be the utmost injustice for beings, from every part of the city; nor did he receive them who have only just sufficient to support themselves, with disdain : and a youth of misery was concluded and are content with a bare subsistence, to take it with an old age of elegance, affluence, and ease. from their own mouths to put it into mine? They never are possessed of a single meal more than is necessary; and what is barely necessary can not be
ESSAY IV. dispensed with.” “They should have been supplied with more than is necessary,” cried Asem; It is allowed on all hands, that our English di"and yet I contradict my own opinion but a mo- vines receive a more liberal education, and improve ment before ;--all is doubt, perplexity, and con- that education by frequent study, more than any fusion. Even the want of ingratitude is no virtue others of this reverend profession in Europe. In bere, since they never received a favour. They general also it may be observed, that a greater de
gree of gentility is affixed to the character of a the human mind as in nature, from the mixture of student in England than elsewhere; by which two opposites the result is most frequently neutral means our clergy have an opportunity of seeing tranquillity. Those who attempt to reason us out better company while young, and of sooner wear- of our follies begin at the wrong end, since the ating off those prejudices which they are apt to im- tempt naturally presupposes us capable of reason; bibe even in the best regulated universities, and but to be made capable of this, is one great point which may be justly termed the vulgar errors of of the cure. the wise.
There are but few talents requisite to become a Yet, with all these advantages, it is very obvious, popular preacher, for the people are easily pleased that the clergy are no where so little thought of by if they perceive any endeavours in the orator to the populace as here: and though our divines are please them; the meanest qualifications will work foremost with respect to abilities, yet they are found this effect, if the preacher sincerely sets about it. last in the effects of their ministry; the vulgar in Perhaps little, indeed very little, more is required general appearing no way impressed with a sense than sincerity and assurance; and a becoming sinof religious duty. I am not for whining at the de- cerity is always certain of producing a becoming pravity of the times, or for endeavouring to paint a assurance. "Si vis me flere, dolendum est primum prospect more gloomy than in nature ; but certain tibi ipsi," is so trite a quotation, that it almost deit is no person who has travelled will contradict mands an apology to repeat it; yet, though all allow me when I aver, that the lower orders of mankind, the justice of the remark, how few do we find put in other countries, testify on every occasion the pro- it in practice! Our orators, with the most faulty foundest awe of religion; while in England they bashfulness, seem impressed rather with an awe of are scarcely awakened into a sense of its duties, their audience, than with a just respect for the eren in circumstances of the greatest distress. truths they are about to deliver; they, of all pro
This dissolute and fearless conduct, foreigners fessions, seem the most bashful, who have the are apt to attribute to climate and constitution : greatest right to glory in their commission. may not the vulgar, being pretty much neglected The French preachers generally assume all that in our exhortations from the pulpit, be a conspiring dignity which becomes men who are ambassadors cause? Our divines seldom stoop to their mean from Christ: the English divines, like erroneous capacities; and they who want instruction most, envoys, seem more solicitous not to offend the court find least in our religious assemblies.
to which they are sent, than to drive home the inWhatever may become of the higher orders of terests of their employer. Massilon, bishop of mankind, who are generally possessed of collateral Clermont, in the first sermon he ever preached, motives to virtue, the vulgar should be particularly found the whole audience, upon his getting into regarded, whose behaviour in civil life is totally the pulpit, in a disposition no way favourable to hinged upon their hopes and fears. Those who his intentions; their nods, whispers, or drowsy beconstitute the basis of the great fabric of society haviour, showed him that there was no great profit should be particularly regarded; for in policy, as in to be expected from his sowing in a soil so improper; architecture, ruin is most fatal when it begins from however, he soon changed the disposition of his the bottom.
audience by his manner of beginning: “If,” says Men of real sense and understanding prefer a he, "a cause, the most important that could be prudent mediocrity to a precarious popularity; and, conceived, were to be tried at the bar before qualifearing to outdo their duty, leave it half done. fied judges; it this cause interested ourselves in
Their discourses from the pulpit are generally dry, particular; if the eyes of the whole kingdom were methodical, and unaffecting; delivered with the fixed upon the event; if the most eminent counsel most insipid calmness; insomuch, that should the were employed on both sides; and if we had heard peaceful preacher lift his head over the cushion, from our infancy of this yet undetermined trial; which alone he seems to address, he might discover would you not all sit with due attention, and warm his audience, instead of being awakened to re-expectation, to the pleadings on each side? Would morse, actually sleeping over his methodical and not all your hopes and fears be hinged upon the laboured composition.
final decision? And yet, let me tell you, you have This method of preaching is, however, by some this moment a cause of much greater importance called an address to reason, and not to the passions; before you ; a cause where not one nation, but all this is styled the making of converts from convic- the world are spectators ; tried not before a fallible tion : but such are indifferently acquainted with tribunal, but the awful throne of Heaven; where human nature, who are not sensible, that men sel- not your temporal and transitory interests are the dom reason about their debaucheries till they are subject of debate, but your eternal happiness or committed ; reason is but a weak antagonist when misery, where the cause is still undetermined; but headlong passion dictates; in all such cases we perhaps the very moment I am speaking may fix should arm one passion against another: it is with the irrevocable decree that shall last for ever; and
yet, notwithstanding all this, you can hardly sit assailant who attacks the enemy in his trenches is with patience to hear the tidings of your own salva-always victorious." tion: I plead the cause of Heaven, and yet I am Yet, upon the whole, our clergy might employ scarcely attended to," &c.
themselves more to the benefit of society, by declioThe style, the abruptness of a beginning like ing all controversy, than by exhibiting even the this, in the closet would appear absurd; but in the profoundest skill in polemic disputes: their conpulpit it is attended with the most lasting impres- tests with each other often turn on speculative sions: that style which in the closet might justly trifles; and their disputes with the Deists are slbe called flimsy, seems the true mode of eloquence most at an end, since they can have no more than here. I never read a fine composition under the victory, and that they are already possessed of, as title of a sermon, that I do not think the author has their antagonists have been driven into a confes. miscalled his piece ; for the talents to be used in sion of the necessity of revelation, or an open writing well, entirely differ from those of speaking avowal of atheism. To continue the dispute longer well. The qualifications for speaking, as has been would only endanger it; the sceptic is ever expert already observed, are easily acquired; they are ac. at puzzling a debate which he finds himself unalle complishments which may be taken up by every to continue, "and, like an Olympio boxer, gene candidate who will be at the pains of stooping. rally fights best when undermost.” Impressed with the sense of the truths he is about to deliver, a preacher disregards the applause or the contempt of his audience, and he insensibly
ESSAY V. assumes a just and manly sincerity. With this talent alone, we see what crowds are drawn around The improvements we make in mental acquireenthusiasts, even destitute of common sense; what ments only render us each day more sensible of tho numbers are converted to Christianity. Folly may defects of our constitution : with this in view, sometimes set an example for wisdom to practise; therefore, let us often recur to the amusements of and our regular divines may borrow instruction youth, endeavour to forget age and wisdom, and, from even methodists, who go their circuits and as far as innocence goes, be as much a boy as the preach prizes among the populace. Even Whit- best of them. field may be placed as a model to some of our young Let idle declaimers mourn over the degeneracy divines; let them join to their own good sense his of the age; but in my opinion every age is the earnest manner of delivery.
This I am sure of, that man in every seaIt will be perhaps objected, that by confining son is a poor fretful being, with no other means to the excellencies of a preacher to proper assurance, escape the calamities of the times but by endeavourearnestness, and openness of style, I make the sing to forget them; for if he attempts to resist, he qualifications too trifling for estimation: there will is certainly undone. If I feel poverty and pain, I am be something called oratory brought up on this oc- not so hardy as to quarrel with the executioner, even casion; action, attitude, grace, elocution, may be while under correction : I find myself no way repeated as absolutely necessary to complete the disposed to making fine speeches while I am makcharacter : but let us not be deceived; common ing wry faces. In a word, let me drink when the sense is seldom swayed by fine tones, musical pe- fit is on, to make me insensible ; and drink when riods, just attitudes, or the display of a white hand- it is over, for joy that I feel pain no longer. kerchief; oratorial behaviour except in very able The character of old Falstaff, even with all bis hands indeed, generally sinks into awkward and faults
, gives me more consolation than the most paltry affectation.
studied efforts of wisdom: I here behold an agretaIt must be observed, however, that these rules ble old fellow, forgetting age, and showing me the are calculated only for him who would instruct the way to be young at sixty-five. Sure I am well able vulgar, who stand in most need of instruction; to to be as merry, though not so comical as he—Is it address philosophers, and to obtain the character not in my power to have, though not so much wit, of a polite preacher among the polite-a much more at least as much vivacity?-Age, care, wisdom, te useless, though more sought for character-re- fection begone—I give you to the winds. Let's quires a different method of proceeding. All I have t'other bottle : here's to the memory of Shakshall observe on this head is, to entreat the polemic speare, Falstaff, and all the merry men of Eastdivine, in his controversy with the Deists, to act cheap. rather offensively than to defend; to push home Such were the reflections that naturally arose the grounds of his belief, and the impracticability while I sat at the Boar's-Head Tavern, still kept of theirs, rather than to spend time in solving the at Eastcheap. Here by a pleasant fire, in the very objections of every opponent. “It is ten to one,” room where old John Falstaff cracked his jokes, in says a late writer on the art of war, “but that the Ithe very chair which was sometimes honoured by
Prince Henry, and sometimes polluted by his im- subject, and desiring she would pledge me in a moral merry companions, I sat and ruminated on bumper, observed with a sigh, that our sack was the follies of youth; wished to be young again, but nothing now to what it was in former days: "Ah, was resolved to make the best of life while it lasted; Mrs. Quickly, those were merry times when you and now and then compared past and present times drew sack for Prince Henry: men were twice as together. I considered myself as the only living strong, and twice as wise, and much braver, and representative of the old knight, and transported ten thousand times more charitable than now. my imagination back to the times when the prince Those were the times! The battle of Agincourt and he gave life to the revel, and made even de was a victory indeed! Ever since that we have bauchery not disgusting. The room also conspired only been degenerating; and I have lived to see the to throw my reflections back into antiquity: the day when drinking is no longer fashionable, when oak floor, the Gothic windows, and the ponderous men wear clean shirts, and women show their chimney-piece, had long withstood the tooth of necks and arms. All are degenerated, Mrs. Quicktime; the watchman had gone twelve; my com- ly; and we shall probably, in another century, be panions had all stolen off; and none now remained frittered away into beaux or monkeys. Had you with me but the landlord. From him I could have been on earth to see what I have seen, it would wished to know the history of a tavern, that had congeal all the blood in your body (your soul, I such a long succession of customers : I could not mean). Why, our very nobility now have the inhelp thinking that an account of this kind would tolerable arrogance, in spite of what is every day be a pleasing contrast of the manners of different remonstrated from the press; our very nobility, I ages; but my landlord could give me no informa- say, have the assurance to frequent assemblies, and tion. He continued to doze and sot, and tell a te- presume to be as merry as the vulgar. See, my dious story, as most other landlords usually do, very friends have scarcely manhood enough to sit and, though he said nothing, yet was never silent; to it till eleven ; and I only am left to make a night one good joke followed another good joke; and the on't. Prithee do me the favour to console me a best joke of all was generally begun towards the little for their absence by the story of your own ad. end of a bottle. I found at last, however, his wine ventures, or the history of the tavern where we are and his conversation operate by degrees : he in now sitting : I fancy the narrative may have somesensibly began to alter his appearance ; his cravat thing singular.” seemed quilled into a ruff, and his breeches swelled “ Observe this apartment,” interrupted my comout into a fardingale. I now fancied him ang-panion; "of neat device, and excellent workmaning sexes; and as my eyes began to close in slum. ship-In this room I have lived, child, woman, and ber, I imagined my fat landlord actually converteu ghost, more than three hundred years:
:lam ordered into as fat a landlady. However, sleep made but by Pluto to keep an annual register of every transfew changes in my situation : the tavern, the apart-action that passeth here; and I have whilom comment, and the table, continued as before ; nothing piled three hundred tomes, which eftsoons may be suffered mutation but my host, who was fairly al- submitted to thy regards.” “None of your whiloms tered into a gentlewoman, whom I knew to be or eftsoons, Mrs. Quickly, if you please," I replied: Dame Quickly, mistress of this tavern in the days "I know you can talk every whit as well as I can; of Sir John, and the liquor we were drinking, for, as you have lived here so long it is but natural which seemed converted into sack and sugar. to suppose you should learn the conversation of the
“My dear Mrs. Quickly," cried I (for I knew company. Believe me, dame, at best, you have her perfectly well at first sight), “I am heartily neither too much sense, nor too much language to glad to see you. How have you left Falstaff, Pis- spare; su give me both as well as you can : but first, tol, and the rest of our friends below stairs? Brave my service to you; old women should water their and hearty, I hope ?”—“In good sooth,” replied clay a little now and then; and now to your story." she, “ he did deserve to live for ever; but he maketh “The story of my own adventures,” replied the foul work on't where he hath fitted. Queen Pro-vision, “is but short and unsatisfactory; for, beserpine and he have quarrelled for his attempting lieve me, Mr. Rigmarole, believe me, a woman a rape upon her divinity; and were it not that she with a butt of sack at her elbow is never long-lived. still had bowels of compassion, it more than seems Sir John's death afflicted me to such a degree, that probable he might have been now sprawling in I sincerely believe, to drowu sorrow, I drank more Tartarus."
liquor myself than I drew for my customers: my I now found that spirits still preserve the frailties grief was sincere, and the sack was excellent. The of the flesh; and that, according to the laws of cri- prior of a neighbouring convent (for our priors then ticism and dreaming, ghosts have been known to had as much power as a Middlesex Justice now), be guilty of even more than platonic affection : he, I say, it was who gave me a license for keepwherefore, as I found her too much moved on such ing a disorderly house, upon condition that I should a topic to proceed, I was resolved to change the never make hard bargains with the clergy, that be
should have a bottle of sack every morning, and /room, reliques were exposed upon every piece the liberty of confessing which of my girls he furniture, and the whole house washed with a de thought proper in private every night. I had con- luge of holy water. My habitation was soon continued for several years to pay this tribute; and he, verted into a monastery; instead of customers bow it must be confessed, continued as rigorously to applying for sack and sugar, my rooms were crowdexact it. I grew old insensibly; my customers con- ed with images, reliques, saints, whores, and friars. tinued, however, to compliment my looks while 1 Instead of being a scene of occasional debauchery, was by, but I could hear them say I was wearing it was now filled with continual lewdness. The when my back was turned. The prior, however, prior led the fashion, and the whole convent imstill was constant, and so were half his convent; tated his pious example. Matrons came hither to but one fatal morning he missed the usual beverage, confess their sins, and to commit new. Virgins for I had incautiously drank over-night the last came hither who seldom went virgins away. Na bottle myself. What will you have on't?—The was this a convent . peculiarly wicked; every covery next day Dol Tearsheet and I were sent to vent at that period was equally fond of pleasure
, the house of correction, and accused of keeping a and gave a boundless loose to appetite. The lawi low bawdy-house. In short, we were so well | allowed it ; each priest had a right to a favourite purified there with stripes, mortification, and pen- companion, and a power of discarding her as often ance, that we were afterwards utterly unfit for as he pleased. The laity grumbled, quarrellet worldly conversation; though sack would have with their wives and daughters, hated their conkilled me, had I stuck to it, yet I soon died for want fessors, and maintained them in opulence and ease. of a drop of something comfortable, and fairly left These, these were happy times, Mr. Rigmarole; my body to the care of the beadle.
these were times of piety, bravery, and simplicity." "Such is my own history; but that of the tavern, "Not so very happy, neither, gool Madam; pretty! where I have ever since been stationed, affords much like the present—those that labour starve, greater variety. In the history of this, which is and those that do nothing wear fine clothes, and one of the oldest in London, you may view the live in luxury.” different manners, pleasures, and follies of men, at “In this manner the fathers lived for some years different periods. You will find mankind neither without molestation ; they transgressed, confessed better nor worse now than formerly; the vices of an themselves to each other, and were forgiven. One uncivilized people are generally more detestable, evening, however, our prior keeping a lady of disthough not so frequent, as those in polite society. Itinction somewhat too long at confession, her husIt is the same luxury, which formerly stuffed your band unexpectedly came upon them, and testified alderman with plum-porridge, and now crams him all the indignation which was natural upon such with turtle. It is the same low ambition, that for an occasion. The prior assured the gentleman merly induced a courtier to give up his religion to that it was the devil who put it into his heart; and please his king, and now persuades him to give up the lady was very certain that she was under the his conscience to please his minister. It is the influence of magic, or she could never have besame vanity, that formerly stained our ladies' cheeks haved in so unfaithful a manner. The husband, and necks with woad, and now paints them with however, was not to be put off by such evasions, carmine. Your ancient Briton formerly powdered but summoned both before the tribunal of justice. his hair with red earth, like brick-dust, in order to His proofs were flagrant, and he expected large appear frightful: your modern Briton cuts his hair damages. Such indeed he had a right to expect, on the crown, and plasters it with hog's-lard and were the tribunals of those days constituted in the flour; and this to make him look killing. It is the same manner as they are now. The cause of the same vanity, the same folly, and the same vice, priest was to be tried before an assembly of priests ; only appearing different, as viewed through the and a layman was to expect redress only from their glass of fashion. In a word, all mankind are a impartiality and candour. What plea then do you
"Sure the woman is dreaming," interrupted I. think the prior made to obviate this accusation? "None of your reflections, Mrs. Quickly, if you He denied the fact, and challenged the plaintiff love me; they only give me the spleen. Tell me to try the merits of their cause by single combat. your history at once. I love stories, but hate rea- It was a little hard, you may be sure, upon the soning."
poor gentleman, not only to be made a cuckold, but "If you please, then, sir," returned my com- to be obliged to fight a duel into the bargain ; yet panion, I'll ad you an abstract which I'made of such was the justice of the times. The prior the three hundred volumes I mentioned just now. threw down his glove, and the injured husband
“My body was no sooner laid in the dust than was obliged to take it up, in token of his acceptthe prior and several of his convent came to purifying the challenge. Upon this the priest supplied the tavern from the pollutions with which they his champion, for it was not lawful for the clergy said I had filled it. Masses were said in every to fight; and the defendant and plaintiff, according