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out sighing) to remark to you, that if this had been the sense of mankind thirty years ago, I should have avoided a life spent in poverty and shame.
'I am, Sir,
'Your most humble servant,
6 ALICE THREADNEEdle.
Round-house, Sept. 9.
common people appeased by a fable of the
The fables I have here mentioned are raised
'I am a man of pleasure about town, but by the stupidity of a dull rogue of a justice of peace, and an insolent constable, upon the oath of an old harridan, am imprisoned here for theft, when I designed only fornication. The midnight magistrate, as he conveyed me along, had you in his mouth, and said, this would make a pure story for the Spectator. I hope, sir, you won't pretend to wit, and take altogether upon brutes and vegetables, with the part of dull rogues of business. The world some of our own species mixt among them, is so altered of late years, that there was not when the moral hath so required. But besides a man who would knock down a watchman in this kind of fable, there is another in which my behalf, but I was carried off with as much are passions, virtues, vices, and triumph as if I had been a pick-pocket. other imaginary persons of the like nature. this rate, there is an end of all the wit and Some of the ancient cities will have it, that humour in the world. The time was when all the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer are fables of the honest whoremongers in the neighbour- this nature; and that the several names of hood would have rose against the cuckolds in gods and heroes are nothing else but the affections of the mind in a visible shape and If fornication is to be scandalous, half the fine things that have been writ by in the first Iliad, represents anger, or the ircharacter. Thus they tell us, that Achilles, most of the wits of the last age may be burned by the common hangman. Harkee, Mr. Spec. ascible part of human nature; that upon do not be queer, after having done some things drawing his sword against his superior in a pretty well, don't begin to write at that rate that no gentleman can read thee. Be true to love, and burn your Seneca. You do not expect me to write my name from hence, but T.
'Your unknown humble, &c.'
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, Iwas 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.
FABLES were the first pieces of wit that made their appearance in the world, and have been still highly valued not only in times of the greatest simplicity, but among the most polite ages of mankind. Jotham's fable of the trees* is the oldest that is extant, and as beautiful as any which have been made since that time. Nathan's fable of the poor man and his lambt is likewise more ancient than any that is extant, besides the above-mentioned, and had so good an effect, as to convey instruction to the ear of a king without offending it, and to bring the man after God's own heart to a right sense of his guilt and his duty. We find Esop in After this short preface, which I have made the most distant ages of Greece; and if we up of such materials as my memory does at look into the very beginning of the common-present suggest to me, before I present my wealth of Rome, we see a mutiny among the reader with a fable of this kind, which I de
sign as the entertainment of the present paper, I must in a few words open the occasion
In the account which Plato gives us of the conversation and behaviour of Socrates, the
morning he was to die, he tells the following | agreed upon this point, that Pleasure should circumstance: take possession of the virtuous, and Pain of When Socrates his fetters were knocked the vicious part of that species which was off (as was usual to be done on the day that given up to them. But upon examining to the condemned person was to be executed) which of them any individual they met with being seated in the midst of his disciples, and belonged, they found each of them had a laying one of his legs over the other, in a very right to him; for that, contrary to what they unconcerned posture, he began to rub it where had seen in their old places of residence, it had been galled by the iron; and whether it there was no person so vicious who had not was to show the indifference with which he en- some good in him, nor any person so virtuous tertained the thoughts of his approaching who had not in him some evil. The truth of death, or (after his usual manner) to take it is, they generally found upon search, that every occasion of philosophizing) upon some in the most vicious man Pleasure might lay useful subject, he observed the pleasure of that claim to an hundredth part, and that in the sensation which now arose in those very parts most virtuous man Pain might come in for at of his leg, that just before had been so much least two-thirds. This they saw would occapained by the fetter. Upon this he reflected sion endless disputes between them, unless they on the nature of pleasure and pain in general, could come to some accommodation. To this and how constantly they succeed one another. end there was a marriage proposed between To this he added, that if a man of good genius them, and at length concluded. By this means for a fable were to represent the nature of plea- it is, that we find Pleasure and Pain are such sure and pain in that way of writing, he would constant yoke-fellows, and that they either probably join them together after such a man-make their visits together, or are never far ner, that it would be impossible for the one to asunder. If Pain comes into a heart he is come into any place without being followed by quickly followed by Pleasure; and if Pleasure enter, you may be sure Pain is not far off.
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
'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 cosent of each family, that notwithstanding they here possessed the species inThere were two families which from the differently; upon the death of every single beginning of the world were as opposite to person, if he was found to have in him a cereach other as light and darkness. The one of tain proportion of evil, he should be despatchthem lived in heaven, and the other in hell. ed into the infernal regions by a passport from The youngest descendant of the first family Pain, there to dwell with Misery, Vice, and the was Pleasure, who was the daughter of Hap- Furies. Or on the contrary, if he had in him piness, who was the child of Virtue, who was a certain proportion of good, he should be desthe offspring of the gods. These, as I said patched into heaven by a passport from Pleabefore, had their habitation in heaven. The sure, there to dwell with Happiness, Virtue, youngest of the opposite family was Pain, and the Gods.'
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 No. 184.] Monday, October 1, 1711.
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 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.
'Pleasure and Pain were no sooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately
Opere in longo fas est obrepere somnum.
Who labours long, may be allowed sleep.
therefore recommend to you for the subject of that Nicholas got last year enough to support. a paper the following advertisement, which himself for a twelvemonth. I am likewise inabout two months ago was given into every formed that he has this year had a very combody's hands, and may be seen with some ad-fortable nap. The poets value themselves ditions in the Daily Courant of August the very much for sleeping on Parnassus, but I ninth. never heard they got a groat by it. On the "Nicholas Hart, who slept last year in contrary, our friend Nicholas gets more by Saint Bartholomew's hospital, intends to sleep sleeping than he could by working, and may this year at the Cock and bottle in Little-be more properly said, than ever Homer was,
‘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: That
On the first of that month he grew dull;
On the seventh, turned himself in his bed;
On the tenth about midnight, awaked;
On the eleventh in the morning, called for
a little small beer.
to have had golden dreams. Juvenal indeed mentions a drowsy husband who raised an to have slept what the common people call a estate by snoring, but then he is represented dog's sleep; or if his sleep was real, his wife was awake, and about her business. Your pen, which loves to moralize upon all subjects, may raise something, methinks, on this circumstance also, and point out to us those sets of men, who, instead of growing rich by an honest industry, recommend themselves to the favour of the great, by making themselves agreeable companions in the participations of luxury and pleasure.
'I must further acquaint you, sir, that one employed in writing the dream of this miraof the most eminent pens in Grub-street is now culous sleeper, which I hear will be of a more particulars that are supposed to have passed than ordinary length, as it must contain all the in his imagination during so long a sleep. He • This account I have extracted out of the is said to have gone already through three journal of this sleeping worthy, as it has been days and three nights of it, and to have comfaithfully kept by a gentleman of Lincoln's-prised in them, the most remarkable passages inn, who has undertaken to be his historiogra- of the four first empires of the world. If he pher. I have sent it to you, not only as it re-can keep free from party strokes, his work presents the actions of Nicholas Hart, but as may be of use; but this I much doubt, having it seems a very natural picture of the life of been informed by one of his friends and conmany an honest English gentleman, whose fidants, that he has spoken some things of whole history very often consists of yawning, Nimrod with too great freedom, nodding, stretching, turning, sleeping, drinking, and the like extraordinary particulars. I
'I am ever, Sir, &c.'
Tantæne animis cœlestibus iræ?
Virg. En. i. 15.
And dwells such fury in celestial breasts?
do not question, sir, that, if you pleased, you No. 185.] Tuesday, October 2, 1711.
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 times criminal and erroneous; nor can it be once laudable and prudential, it is an hundred 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.
But to return to Nicholas Hart: I believe, that the first murder was occasioned by a reliWe are told by some of the Jewish rabbins, sir, you will think it a very extraordinary cir-gious controversy; and if we had the whole cumstance for a man to gain his livelihood by history of zeal from the days of Cain to our sleeping, and that rest should procure a man own times, we should see it filled with so many sustenance as well as industry; yet so it is, scenes of slaughter and bloodshed, as would * At that time one session of parliament usually con-make a wise man very careful how he suffers himself to be actuated by such a principle, 31
tinued from November till May. VOL. I.
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.
when it only regards matters of opinion and by making him believe he does God service, speculation. whilst he is gratifying the bent of a perverse I would have every zealous man examine revengeful temper. For this reason we find his heart thoroughly, and, I believe, he will that most of the massacres and devastations often find, that what he calls a zeal for his re- which have been in the world, have taken their ligion, is either pride, interest, or ill-nature. rise from a furious pretended zeal. A man, who differs from another in opinion, sets himself above him in his own judgment, and in several particulars pretends to be the wiser person. This is a great provocation to the proud man, and gives a very keen edge to what he calls his zeal. And that this is the case very often, we may observe from the behaviour of some of the most zealous for orthodoxy, who have often great friendships and intimacies with vicious immoral men, provided they do but agree with them in the same scheme of belief. The reason is, because the vicious believer gives the precedency to the After having treated of these false zealots in virtuous man, and allows the good Christian religion, I cannot forbear mentioning a monto be the worthier person, at the same time strous species of men, who one would not think that he cannot come up to his perfections. had any existence in nature, were they not to This we find exemplified in that trite passage be met with in ordinary conversation, I mean which we see quoted in almost every system of the zealots in atheism. One would fancy that ethics, though upon another occasion: these men, though they fall short, in every other respect, of those who make a profession of religion, would at least outshine them in Ovid. Met. vii. 20. this particular, and be exempt from that single
Video meliora proboque,
I see the right, and I approve it too;
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 On the contrary, it is certain, if our zeal were the safety of mankind depended upon it. There true and genuine, we should be much more an- is something so ridiculous and perverse in this gry with a sinner than a heretic; since there kind of zealots, that one does not know how to are several cases which may excuse the latter set them out in their proper colours. They before his great Judge, but none which can ex-are a sort of gamesters who are eternally upon cuse the former. the fret, though they play for nothing. They
Interest is likewise a great inflamer, and are perpetually teazing their friends to come sets a man on persecution under the colour of over to them, though at the same time they alzeal. For this reason we find none are so for-low that neither of them shall get any thing by ward to promote the true worship by fire and the bargain. In short, the zeal of spreading sword, as those who find their present account atheism is, if possible, more absurd than in it. But I shall extend the word interest to atheism itself. a larger meaning than what is generally given Since I have mentioned this unaccountable it, as it relates to our spiritual safety and wel-zeal which appears in atheists and infidels. I fare, as well as to our temporal. A man is must farther observe, that they are likewise in glad to gain numbers on his side, as they serve a most particular manner possessed with the to strengthen him in his private opinions. Eve- spirit of bigotry. They are wedded to opinions ry proselyte is like a new argument for the full of contradiction and impossibility, and at establishment of his faith. It makes him believe the same time look upon the smallest difficulty that his principles carry conviction with them, in an article of faith as a sufficient reason for and are the more likely to be true when he rejecting it. Notions that fall in with the comfinds they are conformable to the reason of mon reason of mankind, that are conformable others, as well as to his own. And that this to the sense of all ages, and all nations, not to temper of mind deludes a man very often into mention their tendency for promoting the hapan opinion of his zeal, inay appear from the piness of societies, or of particular persons, common behaviour of the athiest, who main- are exploded as errors and prejudices; and tains and spreads his opinions with as much schemes erected in their stead that are altoheat as those who believe they do it only out of gether monstrous and irrational, and require a passion for God's glory. the most extravagant credulity to embrace
Ill-nature is another dreadful imitator of them. I would fain ask one of these bigotzeal. Many a good man may have a natural ed infidels, supposing all the great points of rancour and malice in his heart, which has atheism, as the casual or eternal formation been in some measure quelled and subdued by of the world, the materiality of a thinking religion; but if it finds any pretence of break-substance, the mortality of the soul, the foring out, which does not seem to him inconsist-tuitous organization of the body, the motions ent with the duties of a Christian, it throws off and gravitation of matter, with the like parall restraint, and rages in its full fury. Zeal ticulars, were laid together and formed into is, therefore, a great case to a malicious man, a kind of creed, according to the opinions of
the most celebrated atheists; I say, supposing interest, or does not distress me when it turns such a creed as this were formed, and impos- to his present advantage. Honour and good ed upon any one people in the world, whether nature may indeed tie up his hands; but as it would not require an infinitely greater mea- these would be very much strengthened by sure of faith, than any set of articles which reason and principle, so without them they they so violently opposé. Let me therefore are only instincts, or wavering unsettled noadvice this generation of wranglers, for their tions, which rest on no foundation. 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
No. 186.] Wednesday, October 3, 1711.
Cœlum ipsum petimus stultiti ————
Hor. Lib. 3. Od. i. 38.
High Heaven itself our impious rage assails.-P.
'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.
UPON my return to my lodgings last night, As folly and inconsiderateness are the I found a letter from my worthy friend the foundations of infidelity, the great pillars and clergyman, whom I have given some account supports of it are either a vanity of appearof in my former papers. He tells me in it ing wiser than the rest of mankind, or an that he was particularly pleased with the latter ostentation of courage in despising the terpart of my yesterday's speculation; and at rors of another world, which have so great the same time inclosed the following essay, an influence on what they call weaker minds; which he desires me to publish as the sequel or an aversion to a belief that must cut them of that discourse. It consists partly of un-off from many of those pleasures they procommon reflections, and partly of such as pose to themselves, and fill them with rehave been already used, but now set in a morse for many of those they have already stronger light.— tasted.
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.
'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 The prospect of a future state is the secret to be erroneous, I can find no ill consequences comfort and refreshment of my soul; it is that in adhering to it. The great points of the inwhich makes nature look gay about me; it carnation and suffering of our Saviour prodoubles all my pleasures, and supports me un- duce naturally such habits of virtue in the mind der all my afflictions, I can look at disappoint- of man, that, I say, supposing it were possiments and misfortunes, pain and sickness, ble for us to be mistaken in them, the infidel death itself, and what is worse than death, the himself must at least allow that no other sysloss of those who are dearest to me, with in- tem of religion could so effectually contribute difference, so long as I keep in view the plea- to the heightening of morality. They give us sures of eternity, and the state of being in great ideas of the dignity of human nature, which there will be no fears nor apprehen- and of the love which the Supreme Being sions, pains nor sorrows, sickness nor sepa-bears to his creatures, and consequently enration. Why will any man be so impertinently gage us in the highest acts of duty towards our officious as to tell me all this is only fancy and Creator our neighbours and ourselves. How delusion? Is there any merit in being the mes- many noble arguments has St. Paul raised senger of ill news? If it is a dream, let me from the chief articles of our religion, for the enjoy it, since it makes me both the happier and better man.
advancing of morality in its three great branches-To give a single example in each I must confess I do not know how to trust kind. What can be a stronger motive to a a man who believes neither heaven nor hell, firm trust and reliance on the mercies of our or in other words, a future state of rewards Maker, than the giving his Son to suffer for and punishments. Not only natural self-love, us? What can make us love and esteem even but reason directs us to promote our own in- the most inconsiderable of mankind more than terests above all things. It can never be for the thought that Christ died for him? Or the interest of a believer to do me a mischief, because he is sure upon the balance of accounts to find himself a loser by it. On the contrary, if he considers his own welfare in his behaviour towards me, it will lead him to do me all the good he can, and at the same time restrain from doing me any injury. An unbeliever does not act like a reasonable crea- blessed Saviour.
what dispose us to set a stricter guard upon the purity of our own hearts, than our being members of Christ, and a part of the society of which that immaculate person is the head? But these are only a specimen of those admirable inforcements of morality, which the apostle has drawn from the history of our
ture, if he favours me contrary to his present 'If our modern infidels considered these