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Thus they tell us, that Achilles, in the first Iliad, represents anger, or the irascible part of human nature; that upon drawing his sword against his superior in a full assembly, Pallas is only another name for reason, which checks and advises him upon that occasion; and at her first appearance touches him upon the head, that part of the man being looked upon as the seat of reason. And thus of the rest of the poem. As for the Odyssey, I think it is plain that Horace considered it as one of these allegorical fables, by the moral which he has given us of several parts of it. The greatest Italian wits have applied themselves to the writing of this latter kind of fables. Spenser's Fairy-Queen is one continued series of them from the beginning to the end of that admirable work. If we look into the finest prose authors of antiquity, such as Cicero, Plato, Xenophon, and many others, we shall find that this was likewise their favourite kind of fable. I shall only farther observe upon it, that the first of this sort that made any considerable figure in the world, was that of Hercules meeting with Pleasure and Virtue; which was invented by Prodicus, who lived before Socrates, and in the first dawnings of philosophy. He used to travel through Greece by virtue of this fable, which procured him a kind reception in all the market towns, where he never failed telling it as soon as he had gathered an audience about him.
After this short preface, which I have 'made up of such materials as my memory does at present suggest to me, before I present my reader with a fable of this kind, which I design as the entertainment of the present paper, I must in a few words open the occasion of it.
come into any place without being followed by the other.
It is possible, that if Plato had thought it proper at such a time to describe Socrates launching out into a discourse which was not of a piece with the business of the day, he would have enlarged upon this hint, and have drawn it out into some beautiful allegory or fable. But since he has not done it, I shall attempt to write one myself in the spirit of that divine author.
"There were two families which from the beginning of the world were as opposite to each other as light and darkness. The one of them lived in heaven, and the other in hell. The youngest descendant of the first family was Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, who was the child of Virtue, who was the offspring of the gods. These, as I said before, had their habitation in heaven. The youngest of the opposite family was Pain, who was the son of Misery, who was the child of Vice, who was the offspring of the Furies. The habitation of this race of beings was in hell.
'The middle station of nature between these two opposite extremes was the earth, which was inhabited by creatures of a middle kind, neither so virtuous as the one, nor so vicious as the other, but partaking of the good and bad qualities of these two opposite families. Jupiter considering that the species, commonly called man, was too virtuous to be miserable, and too vicious to be happy; that he might make a distinction between the good and the bad, ordered the two youngest of the above-mentioned families, Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, and Pain who was the son of Misery, to meet one another upon this part of nature which lay in the half way between them, having promised to settle it upon them both, provided they could agree upon the division of it, so as to share mankind between them.
In the account which Plato gives us of the conversation and behaviour of Socrates, the morning he was to die, he tells the following circumstance:
When Socrates his fetters were knocked off (as was usual to be done on the day that the condemned person was to be executed) being seated in the midst of his disciples, and laying one of his legs over the other, in a very unconcerned posture, he began to rub it where it had been galled by the iron; and whether it was to show the indifference with which he entertained the thoughts of his approaching death, or (after his usual manner) to take every occasion of philosophizing upon some useful subject, he observed the pleasure of that sensation which now arose in those very parts of his leg, that just before had been so much pained by the fetter. Upon this he reflect-man Pleasure might lay claim to an huned on the nature of pleasure and pain in dredth part, and that in the most virtuous general, and how constantly they succeed man Pain might come in for at least twoone another. To this he added, that if a thirds. This they saw would occasion endman of good genius for a fable were to re- less disputes between them, unless they present the nature of pleasure and pain in could come to some accommodation. To that way of writing, he would probably this end there was a marriage proposed join them together after such a manner, between them, and at length concluded. that it would be impossible for the one to By this means it is that we find Pleasure
'Pleasure and Pain were no sooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately agreed upon this point, that Pleasure should take possession of the virtuous, and Pain of the vicious part of that species which was given up to them. But upon examining to which of them any individual they met with belonged, they found each of them had a right to him; for that, contrary to what they had seen in their old places of residence, there was no person so vicious who had not some good in him, nor any person so virtuous who had not in him some evil. The truth of it is, they generally found upon search, that in the most vicious
and Pain are such constant yoke-fellows, and that they either make their visits together, or are never far asunder. If Pain comes into a heart he is quickly followed by Pleasure; and if Pleasure enter, you may be sure Pain is not far off.
"But notwithstanding this marriage was very convenient for the two parties, it did not seem to answer the intention of Jupiter in sending them among mankind. To remedy therefore this inconvenience, it was stipulated between them by article, and confirmed by the consent of each family, that notwithstanding they here possessed the species indifferently; upon the death of every single person, if he was found to have in him a certain proportion of evil, he should be despatched into the infernal regions by a passport from Pain, there to dwell with Misery, Vice, and the Furies. Or on the contrary, if he had in him a certain proportion of good, he should be despatched into heaven by a passport from Pleasure, there to dwell with Happiness, Virtue, and the gods.'
On the first of that month he grew dull;
On the ninth, fell a stretching;
C This account I have extracted out of the journal of this sleeping worthy, as it has been faithfully kept by a gentleman of Lincoln's-inn who has undertaken to be his historiographer. I have sent it to you, not only as it represents the actions of Nicholas of the life of many an honest English genHart, but as it seems a very natural picture tleman, whose whole history, very often, consists of yawning, nodding, stretching, turning, sleeping, drinking, and the like extraordinary particulars. I do not question, sir, that, if you pleased, you could put out an advertisement not unlike the abovementioned, of several men of figure; that Mr. John Such-a-one, gentleman, or Thomas Such-a-one, esquire, who slept in the country last summer, intends to sleep in town this winter. The worst of it is, that the drowsy part of our species is chiefly
No. 184.] Monday, October 1, 1711.
-Opere in longo fas est obrepere somnum. Hor. Ars Poet. v. 360. -Who labours long, may be allowed to sleep. WHEN a man has discovered a new vein of humour, it often carries him much far-made up of very honest gentlemen, who ther than he expected from it. My corre- live quietly among their neighbours, withspondents take the hint I give them, and out ever disturbing the public peace. They pursue it into speculations which I never are drones without stings. I could heartily thought of at my first starting it. This has wish, that several turbulent, restless, ambíbeen the fate of my paper on the match of tious spirits, would for a while change grinning, which has already produced a places with these good men, and enter second paper on parallel subjects, and themselves into Nicholas Hart's fraternity. brought me the following letter by the last Could one but lay asleep a few busy heads post. I shall not premise any thing to it, which I could name, from the first of Nofarther than that it is built on matter of vember next to the first of May ensuing,* fact, and is as follows: I question not but it would very much redound to the quiet of particular persons, as well as to the benefit of the public.
'But to return to Nicholas Hart: I believe, sir, you will think it a very extraordinary circumstance for a man to gain his livelihood by sleeping, and that rest should
'SIR,-You have already obliged the world with a discourse upon grinning, and have since proceeded to whistling, from whence you at length came to yawning; from this, I think, you may make a very natural transition to sleeping. I there-procure a man sustenance as well as indusfore recommend to you for the subject of a try; yet so it is, that Nicholas got last year paper the following advertisement, which enough to support himself for a twelveabout two months ago was given into every month. I am likewise informed that he body's hands, and may be seen with some has this year had a very comfortable nap. additions in the Daily Courant of August The poets value themselves very much for the ninth. sleeping on Parnassus, but I never heard they got a groat by it. On the contrary, our friend Nicholas gets more by sleeping than he could by working, and may be more properly said, than ever Homer was, to have had golden dreams. Juvenal indeed mentions a drowsy husband who raised an estate by snoring, but then he is represented
"Nicholas Hart, who slept last year in Saint Bartholomew's hospital, intends to sleep this year at the Cock and Bottle in Little-Britain.”
Having since inquired into the matter of fact, I find that the above-mentioned Nicholas Hart is every year seized with a periodical fit of sleeping, which begins upon the fifth of August, and ends on the eleventh of the same month:
* At that time the session of parliament usually continued from November till May.
to have slept what the common people | opinion, sets himself above him in his own call a dog's sleep; or if his sleep was real, judgment, and in several particulars pre his wife was awake, and about her busi- tends to be the wiser person. This is a ness. Your pen, which loves to moralize great provocation to the proud man, and upon all subjects, may raise something, me- gives a very keen edge to what he calls his thinks, on this circumstance also, and point zeal. And that this is the case very often, out to us those sets of men, who, instead of we may observe from the behaviour of growing rich by an honest industry recom- some of the most zealous for orthodoxy, mend themselves to the favour of the great, who have often great friendships and intiby making themselves agreeable compa-macies with vicious immoral men, provided nions in the participations of luxury and they do but agree with them in the same pleasure. scheme of belief. The reason is, because the vicious believer gives the precedency to the virtuous man, and allows the good Christian to be the worthier person, at the same time that he cannot come up to his perfections. This we find exemplified in that trite passage which we see quoted in almost every system of ethics, though upon another occasion:
I must further acquaint you, sir, that one of the most eminent pens in Grubstreet is now employed in writing the dream of this miraculous sleeper, which I hear will be of more than ordinary length, as it must contain all the particulars that are supposed to have passed in his imagination during so long a sleep. He is said to have gone already through three days and three nights of it, and to have comprised in them the most remarkable passages of the four first empires of the world. If he can keep free from party strokes, his work may be of use; but this I much doubt, having been informed by one of his friends and confidents, that he has spoken some things of Nimrod with too great freedom. I am ever, sir, &c.' L.
-Video meliora proboque,
On the contrary, it is certain, if our zeal
Interest is likewise a great inflamer, and sets a man on persecution under the colour of zeal. For this reason we find none are so forward to promote the true worship by fire and sword, as those who find their present account in it. But I shall extend the word interest to a larger meaning than what is generally given it, as it relates to our spiritual safety and welfare, as well as to our temporal. A man is glad to gain numbers on his side, as they serve to strengthen him in his private opinions. Every proselyte is like a new argument for the establishment of his faith. It makes him believe that his principles carry conviction with them, and are the more likely to be true when he finds they are comformable to the reason of others, as well as to his own. And that this temper of mind deludes a man very often into an opinion of his zeal, may appear from the common behaviour of the atheist, who maintains and spreads his opinions with as much heat as those who believe they do it only out of a passion for God's glory.
Ill-nature is another dreadful imitator of zeal. Many a good man may have a natural rancour and malice in his heart, which has been in some measure quelled and subdued by religion; but if it finds any pretence of breaking out, which does not seem to him inconsistent with the duties of a Christian, it throws off all restraint, and rages in its full fury. Zeal is, therefore, a great ease to a malicious man, by making him believe he does God service, whilst he is
I would have every zealous man examine his heart thoroughly, and, I believe, he will often find, that what he calls a zeal for his religion, is either pride, interest, or ill-gratifying the bent of a perverse revengeful nature. A man, who differs from another in temper. For this reason we find that most
No. 185.] Tuesday, October 2, 1711.
-Tantæne animis cœlestibus iræ ?
Virg. Æn. i. 15. And dwells such fury in celestial breasts? THERE is nothing in which men more deceive themselves than in what the world calls zeal. There are so many passions which hide themselves under it, and so many mischiefs arising from it, that some have gone so far as to say it would have been for the benefit of mankind if it had never been reckoned in the catalogue of virtues. It is certain, where it is once laudable and prudential, it is an hundred times criminal and erroneous; nor can it be otherwise, if we consider that it operates with equal violence in all religions, however opposite they may be to one another, and in all the subdivisions of each religion in particular.
We are told by some of the Jewish rabbins, that the first murder was occasioned by a religious controversy; and if we had the whole history of zeal from the days of Cain to our own times, we should see it filled with so many scenes of slaughter and bloodshed, as would make a wise man very careful how he suffers himself to be actuated by such a principle, when it only regards matters of opinion and speculation.
I love to see a man zealous in a good matter, and especially when his zeal shows itself for advancing morality, and promoting the happiness of mankind. But when I find the instruments he works with are racks and gibbets, galleys and dungeons: when he imprisons men's persons, confiscates their estates, ruins their families, and burns the body to save the soul, I cannot stick to pronounce of such a one, that (whatever he may think of his faith and religion) his faith is vain, and his religion unprofitable.
of the massacres and devastations which | particulars, were laid together and formed have been in the world, have taken their into a kind of creed, according to the opirise from a furious pretended zeal. nions of the most celebrated atheists; I say, supposing such a creed as this were formed and imposed upon any one people in the world, whether it would not require an infinitely greater measure of faith, than any set of articles which they so violently oppose. Let me therefore advise this generation of wranglers, for their own and for the public good, to act at least so consistently with themselves, as not to burn with zeal for irreligion, and with bigotry_for nonsense. C.
Cœlum ipsum petimus stultitiaHor. Lib. 3. Od. i. 38. High Heaven itself our impious rage assails.-P. UPON my return to my lodgings last night, found a letter from my worthy friend the clergyman, whom I have given some account of in my former papers. He tells me in it that he was particularly pleased with the latter part of my yesterday's speculation; and at the same time inclosed the following essay, which he desires me to publish as the sequel of that discourse. It consists partly of uncommon reflections, and partly of such as have been already used, but now set in a stronger light.
A believer may be excused by the most hardened atheist for endeavouring to make him a convert, because he does it with an eye to both their interests. The atheist is inexcusable who tries to gain over a believer, because he does not propose the doing himself or the believer any good by such a conversion.
After having treated of these false zea- No. 186.] Wednesday, October 3, 1711. lots in religion, I cannot forbear mentioning a monstrous species of men, who one would not think had any existence in nature, were they not to be met with in ordinary conversation, I mean the zealots in atheism. One would fancy that these men, though they fall short, in every other respect, of those who make a profession of religion, would at least outshine them in this particular, and be exempt from that single fault which seems to grow out of the imprudent fervours of religion. But so it is, that infidelity is propagated with as much fierceness and contention, wrath and indignation, as if the safety of mankind depended upon it. There is something so ridiculous and perverse in this kind of zealots, that one does not know how to set them out in their proper colours. They are a sort of gamesters who are eternally upon the fret, though they play for nothing. They are perpetually teazing their friends to come over to them, though at the same time they allow that neither of them shall get any thing by the bargain. In short, the zeal of spreading atheism is, if possible, more absurd than atheism itself. Since I have mentioned this unaccountable zeal which appears in atheists, and infidels, I must farther observe, that they are likewise in a most particular manner possessed with the spirit of bigotry. They are wedded to opinions full of contradic-est to me, with indifference, so long as I tions and impossibility, and at the same keep in view the pleasures of eternity, and time look upon the smallest difficulty in an the state of being in which there will be no article of faith as a sufficient reason for re- fears nor apprehensions, pains nor sorrows, jecting it. Notions that fall in with the sickness nor separation. Why will any common reason of mankind, that are con- man be so impertinently officious as to tell formable to the sense of all ages, and all me all this is only fancy and delusion? Is nations, not to mention their tendency for there any merit in being the messenger of promoting the happiness of societies, or of ill news? If it is a dream, let me enjoy it, particular persons, are exploded as errors since it makes me both the happier and and prejudices; and schemes erected in better man. their stead that are altogether monstrous 'I must confess I do not know how to and irrational, and require the most ex-trust a man who believes neither heaven travagant credulity to embrace them. I nor hell, or in other words, a future state would fain ask one of these bigoted infidels, of rewards and punishments. Not only nasupposing all the great points of atheism, tural self-love, but reason directs us to proas the casual or eternal formation of the mote our own interests above all things. It world, the materiality of a thinking sub- can never be for the interest of a believer stance, the mortality of the soul, the fortui- to do me a mischief, because he is sure upon tous organization of the body, the motions the balance of accounts to find himself a and gravitation of matter, with the like loser by it. On the contrary, if he con
"The prospect of a future state is the secret comfort and refreshment of my soul; it is that which makes nature look gay about me; it doubles all my pleasures, and supports me under all my afflictions; I can look at disappointments and misfortunes, pain and sickness, death itself, and what is worse than death, the loss of those who are dear
siders his own welfare in his behaviour to- | mankind more than the thought that Christ wards me, it will lead him to do me all the died for him? Or what dispose us to set a good he can, and at the same time restrain stricter guard upon the purity of our own him from doing me any injury. An unbe- hearts, than our being members of Christ, liever does not act like a reasonable crea- and a part of the society of which that imture, if he favours me contrary to his pre-maculate person is the head? But these sent interest, or does not distress me when are only a specimen of those admirable init turns to his present advantage. Honour forcements of morality, which the apostle and good-nature may indeed tie up his has drawn from the history of our blessed hands; but as these would be very much Saviour. strengthened by reason and princíple, so without them they are only instincts, or wavering, unsettled notions, which rest on no foundation.
'If our modern infidels considered these matters with that candour and seriousness which they deserve, we should not see them act with such a spirit of bitterness, arrogance, and malice. They would not be raising such insignificant cavils, doubts, and scruples, as may be started against every thing that is not capable of mathematical demonstration; in order to unsettle the mind of the ignorant, disturb the public peace, subvert morality, and throw all things into confusion and disorder. If none of these reflections can have any influence on them, there is one that perhaps may, because it is adapted to their vanity, by which they seem to be guided much more than their reason. I would therefore have them consider that the wisest and best of men in all ages of the world, have been those who lived up to the religion of their country, when they saw nothing in it opposite to morality, and to the best lights they had of the divine nature. Pythagoras's first rule directs us to worship the gods "as it is ordained by law," for that is the most natural interpretation of the precept. Socrates, who was the most renowned among the heathens both for wisdom and virtue, in his last moments desires his friends to offer a cock to Esculapius: doubtless out of a submissive deference to the established worship of his country. Xenophon tells us, that his prince (whom he sets forth as a pattern of perfection) when he found his death approaching, offered sacrifices on the mountains to the Persian Jupiter, and the Sun, "according to the custom of the Persians;" for those are the words of the historian. Nay, the Epicureans and atomical philosophers showed a very remarkable modesty in this particular; for though the being of a God was entirely repugnant to their schemes of natural philosophy, they contented themselves with the denial of a providence, asserting at the same time the existence of gods in general; because they would not shock the common belief of mankind, and the religion of their country.’—L.
'Infidelity has been attacked with so good success of late years, that it is driven out of all its out-works. The atheist has not found his post tenable, and is therefore retired into deism, and a disbelief of revealed religion only.
But the truth of it is, the greatest number of this set of men are those who, for want of a virtuous education or examining the grounds of religion, know so very little of the matter in question, that their infidelity is but another term for their ignorance.
As folly and inconsiderateness are the foundations of infidelity, the great pillars and supports of it are either a vanity of appearing wiser than the rest of mankind, or an ostentation of courage in despising the terrors of another world, which have so great an influence on what they call weaker minds; or an aversion to a belief that must cut them off from many of those pleasures they propose to themselves, and fill them with remorse for many of those they have already tasted.
The great received articles of the Christian religion have been so clearly proved, from the authority of that divine revelation in which they are delivered, that it is impossible for those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, not to be convinced of them. But were it possible for any thing in the Christian faith to be erroneous, I can find no ill consequences in adhering to it. The great points of the incarnation and suffering of our Saviour, produce naturally such habits of virtue in the mind of man, that, I say, supposing it were possible for us to be mistaken in them, the infidel himself must at least allow that no other system of religion could so effectually contribute to the heightening of morality. They give us great ideas of the dignity of human nature, and of the love which the Supreme Being bears to his creatures, and consequently engage us in the highest acts of duty towards our Creator, our neighbour, and ourselves. How many noble arguments has St. Paul raised from the chief articles of our religion, for the advancing of morality in its three great branches!-To give a single example in each kind. What can be a stronger motive to a firm trust and reliance on the mercies of our Maker, than the giving his Son to suffer for us? What can make us love and esteem even the most inconsiderable of 1747. 8vo.
187.] Thursday, October 4, 1711.
Xenoph. Cyropæd. Lib: 8. page 500. Ed. Hutchins.