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pearance of Christianity in ordinary life | Fourthly, Because the rule of morality and conversation, and which distinguishes is much more certain than that of faith, all us from all our neighbours. the civilized nations of the world agreeing in the great points of morality, as much as they differ in those of faith.
Hypocrisy cannot indeed be too much detested, but at the same time it is to be preferred to open impiety. They are both equally destructive to the person who is possessed with them; but, in regard to others, hypocrisy is not so pernicious as bare-faced irreligion. The due mean to be observed is, to be sincerely virtuous, and at the same time to let the world see we are so.' I do not know a more dreadful menace in the holy writings, than that which is pronounced against those who have this perverted modesty to be ashamed before men in a particular of such unspeakable importance.
No. 459.] Saturday, August 16, 1712.
-Quicquid dignum sapiente bonoque est.
-Whate'er befits the wise and good.-Creech. RELIGION may be considered under two general heads. The first comprehends what we are to believe, the other what we are to practise. By those things which we are to believe, I mean whatever is revealed to us in the holy writings, and which we could not have obtained the knowledge of by the light of nature; by the things which we are to practise, I mean all those duties to which we are directed by reason or natural religion. The first of these I shall distinguish by the name of faith, the second by that of morality.
If we look into the more serious part of mankind, we find many who lay so great a stress upon faith, that they neglect morality; and many who build so much upon morality, that they do not pay a due regard to faith. The perfect man should be defective in neither of these particulars, as will be very evident to those who consider the benefits which arise from each of them, and which I shall make the subject of this day's paper.
Fifthly, Because infidelity is not of so malignant a nature as immorality; or, to put the same reason in another light, because it is generally owned, there may be salvation for a virtuous infidel, (particularly in the case of invincible ignorance,) but none for a vicious believer.
Sixthly, Because faith seems to draw its principal, if not all its excellency, from the influence it has upon morality; as we shall see more at large, if we consider wherein consists the excellency of faith, or the belief of revealed religion; and this I think is,
First, In explaining, and carrying to greater height, several points of morality. Secondly, In furnishing new and stronger motives to enforce the practice of morality. Thirdly, In giving us more amiable ideas of the Supreme Being, more endearing notions of one another, and a truer state of ourselves, both in regard to the grandeur and vileness of our natures.
Fourthly, By showing us the blackness and deformity of vice, which in the Christian system is so very great, that he who is possessed of all perfection, and the sovereign judge of it, is represented by several of our divines as hating sin to the same degree that he loves the sacred person who was made the propitiation of it.
Fifthly, In being the ordinary and prescribed method of making morality effectual to salvation.
I have only touched on these several heads, which every one who is conversant in discourses of this nature will easily enlarge upon in his own thoughts, and draw conclusions from them which may be useful to him in the conduct of his life. One I am sure is so obvious that he cannot miss it, namely, that a man cannot be perfect in his scheme of morality, who does not strengthen and support it with that of the Christian faith.
Notwithstanding this general division of Besides this, I shall lay down two or three Christian duty into morality and faith, and other maxims, which I think we may dethat they have both their peculiar excel-duce from what has been said. lencies, the first has the pre-eminence in several respects.
First, That we should be particularly cautious of making any thing an article of faith, which does not contribute to the confirmation or improvement of morality.
First, Because the greatest part of morality (as I have stated the notion of it,) is of a fixed eternal nature, and will endure Secondly, That no article of faith can be when faith shall fail, and be lost in convic-true and authentic, which weakens or subtion. verts the practical part of religion, or what I have hitherto called morality.
Secondly, Because a person may be qualified to do greater good to mankind, and Thirdly, That the greatest friend of mo become more beneficial to the world, by rality and natural religion cannot possibly morality without faith, than by faith with-apprehend any danger from embracing out morality. Christianity, as it is preserved pure and uncorrupt in the doctrines of our national church.*
Thirdly, Because morality gives a greater perfection to human nature, by quieting the mind, moderating the passions, and advancing the happiness of every man in his private capacity.
There is likewise another maxim which
* The Gospel.
I think may be drawn from the foregoing | heads; two that dwelt in sorcery, and were considerations, which is this, that we should, famous for bewitching people with the love in all dubious points, consider any ill con- of themselves. To these repaired a multisequences that may arise from them, sup- tude from every side, by two different paths posing they should be erroneous, before we which lead towards each of them. Some give up our assent to them. who had the most assuming air went directly of themselves to Error, without expecting a conductor; others of a softer nature went first to Popular Opinion, from whence, as she influenced and engaged them with their own praises, she delivered them over to his government.
For example, In that disputable point of persecuting men for conscience sake, besides the embittering their minds with hatred, indignation, and all the vehemence of resentment, and ensnaring them to profess what they do not believe, we cut them off from the pleasures and advantages of society, afflict their bodies, distress their fortunes, hurt their reputations, ruin their families, make their lives painful, or put an end to them. Sure when I see such dreadful consequences rising from a principle, I would be as fully convinced of the truth of it, as of a mathematical demonstration, before I would venture to act upon it, or make it a part of my religion.
In this case the injury done our neighbour is plain and evident; the principle that puts us upon doing it, of a dubious and disputable nature. Morality seems highly violated by the one; and whether or no a zeal for what a man thinks the true system of faith may justify it, is very uncertain. I cannot but think, if our religion produces charity as well as zeal, it will not be for showing itself by such cruel instances. But to conclude with the words of an excellent author, 'We have just enough of religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.'
No. 460.] Monday, August 18, 1712.
Decipimur specie recti- Hor. Ars Poet. v. 25. Deluded by a seeming excellence.-Roscommon. OUR defects and follies are too often unknown to us; nay, they are so far from being known to us, that they pass for demonstrations of our worth. This makes us easy in the midst of them, fond to show them, fond to improve them, and to be esteemed for them. Then it is that a thousand unaccountable conceits, gay inventions, and extravagant actions, must afford us pleasures, and display us to others in the colours which we ourselves take a fancy to glory in. Indeed there is something so amusing for the time in this state of vanity and ill-grounded satisfaction, that even the wiser world has chosen an exalted word to describe its enchantments and called it, 'The Paradise of Fools.'
Perhaps the latter part of this reflection may seem a false thought to some, and bear another turn than what I have given; but it is at present none of my business to look after it, who am going to confess that I have been lately amongst them in a vision.
Methought I was transported to a hill, green, flowery, and of an easy ascent. Upon the broad top of it resided squint-eyed Error, and Popular Opinion with many
When we had ascended to an open part of the summit where Opinion abode, we found her entertaining several who had arrived before us. Her voice was pleasing; she breathed odours as she spoke. She seemed to have a tongue for every one; every one thought he heard of something that was valuable in himself, and expected a paradise which she promised as the reward of his merit. Thus were we drawn to follow her, till she should bring us where it was to be bestowed; and it was observable that, all the way we went, the company was either praising themselves in their qualifications, or one another for those qualifications which they took to be conspicuous in their own characters, or dispraising others for wanting theirs, or vying in the degrees of them.
At last we approached a bower, at the entrance of which Error was seated. The trees were thick woven, and the place where he sat artfully contrived to darken him a little. He was disguised in a whitish robe, which he had put on, that he might appear to us with a nearer resemblance to Truth; and as she has a light whereby she manifests the beauties of nature to the eyes of her adorers, so he had provided himself with a magical wand, that he might do something in imitation of it, and please with delusions. This he lifted solemnly, and, muttering to himself, bid the glories which he kept under enchantment to appear before us. Immediately we cast our eyes on that part of the sky to which he pointed, and observed a thin blue prospect, which cleared as mountains in a summer morning when the mist goes off, and the palace of Vanity appeared to sight.
The foundation seemed hardly a foundation, but a set of curling clouds, which it stood upon by magical contrivance. The way by which we ascended was painted like a rainbow; and as we went, the breeze that played about us bewitched the senses. The walls were gilded all for show; the lowest set of pillars were of the slight fine Corinthian order, and the top of the building being rounded, bore so far the resemblance of a bubble.
At the gate the travellers neither met with a porter, nor waited till one should appear; every one thought his merits a sufficient passport, and pressed forward. In the hall we met with several phantoms, that roved amongst us, and ranged the
company according to their sentiments. | and I heard it firmly resolved, that he There was decreasing Honour, that had should be used no better wherever they nothing to show but an old coat of his an- met with him hereafter. cestor's achievements. There was Ostentation, that made himself his own constant subject; and Gallantry strutting upon his tiptoes. At the upper end of the hall stood a throne, whose canopy glittered with all the riches that gayety could contrive to lavish on it; and between the gilded arms sat Vanity, decked in the peacock's feathers, and acknowledged for another Venus by her votaries. The boy who stood beside her for a Cupid, and who made the world to bow before her, was called Self-Conceit. His eyes had every now and then a cast inwards, to the neglect of all objects about him; and the arms which he made use of for conquest, were borrowed from those against whom he had a design. The arrow which he shot at the soldier, was fledged from his own plume of feathers; the dart he directed against the man of wit, was winged from the quills he writ with; and that which he sent against those who presumed upon their riches, was headed with gold out of their treasuries. He made nets for statesmen from their own contrivances; he took fire from the eyes of the ladies, with which he melted their hearts; and lightning from the tongues of the eloquent, to inflame them with their own glories. At the foot of the throne sat three false Graces; Flattery with a shell of paint, Affectation with a mirror to practise at, and Fashion ever changing the posture of her clothes. These applied themselves to secure the conquests which Self-Conceit had gotten, and had each of them their particular polities. Flattery gave new colours and complexions to all things; Affectation new airs and appearances, which, as she said, were not vulgar; and Fashion both concealed some home defects, and added some foreign external beauties.
I had already seen the meaning of most part of that warning which he had given, and was considering how the latter words should be fulfilled, when a mighty noise was heard without, and the door was blackened by a numerous train of harpies crowding in upon us. Folly and Broken-Credit were seen in the house before they entered. Trouble, Shame, Infamy, Scorn, and Poverty, brought up the rear. Vanity, with her Cupid and Graces, disappeared; her subjects ran into holes and corners; but many of them were found and carried off (as I was told by one who stood near me) either to prisons or cellars, solitude, or little company, the mean arts or the viler crafts of life. 'But these,' added he, with a disdainful air, are such who would fondly live here, when their merits neither matched the lustre of the place, nor their riches its expenses. We have seen such scenes as these before now; the glory you saw will all return when the hurry is over.' I thanked him for his information; and believing him so incorrigible as that he would stay till it was his turn to be taken, I made off to the door, and overtook some few, who, though they would not hearken to Plain-Dealing, were now terrified to good purpose by the example of others. But when they had touched the threshold, it was a strange shock to them to find that the delusion of Error was gone, and they plainly discerned the building to hang a little up in the air without any real foundation. At first we saw nothing but a desperate leap remained for us, and I a thousand times blamed my unmeaning curiosity that had brought me into so much danger. But as they began to sink lower in their own minds, methought the palace sunk along with us, till they were arrived at the due point of esteem which they ought to have for themselves, then the part of the building in which they stood touched the earth, and we departing out, it retired from our eyes. Now, whether they who stayed in the palace were sensible of this descent, I cannot tell: it was then my opinion that they were not. However it be, my dream broke up at it, and has given me occasion all my life to reflect upon the fatal consequences of following the suggestions of Vanity.
As I was reflecting upon what I saw, I heard a voice in the crowd bemoaning the condition of mankind, which is thus managed by the breath of Opinion, deluded by Error, fired by Self-Conceit, and given up to be trained in all the courses of Vanity, till Scorn or Poverty come upon us. These expressions were no sooner handed about, but immediately saw a general disorder, till at last there was a parting in one place, and a grave old man, decent and resolute, was led forward to be punished for the words he had uttered. He appeared inclined to have 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I write to you to despoken in his own defence, but I could not sire that you would again touch upon a cerobserve that any one was willing to hear tain enormity, which is chiefly in use among him. Vanity cast a scornful smile at him; the politer and better-bred part of mankind; Self-Conceit was angry; Flattery, who I mean the ceremonies, bows, courtesies, knew him for Plain-Dealing, put on a whisperings, smiles, winks, nods, with vizard, and turned away; Affectation tossed other familiar arts of salutation, which take her fan, made mouths, and called him Envy up in our churches so much time that might or Slander: and Fashion would have it, that be better employed, and which seem so at least he must be Ill-manners. Thus utterly inconsistent with the duty and true slighted and despised by all, he was driven intent of our entering into those religious out for abusing people of merit and figure; assemblies. The resemblance which this
bears to our indeed proper behaviour in | reform the taste of a profane age; and pertheatres, may be some instance of its in- suade us to be entertained with divine congruity in the above-mentioned places. poems, whilst we are distinguished by so In Roman-catholic churches and chapels many thousand humours, and split into so abroad, I myself have observed, more than many different sects and parties; yet peronce, persons of the first quality, of the sons of every party, sect, and humour, are nearest relation, and intimatest acquaint- fond of conforming their taste to yours. ance, passing by one another unknowing as You can transfuse your own relish of a it were, and unknown, and with so little poem into all your readers, according to notice of each other, that it looked like their capacity to receive; and when you having their minds more suitably and more recommend the pious passion that reigns solemnly engaged; at least it was an ac- in the verse, we seem to feel the devotion, knowledgment that they ought to have been and grow proud and pleased inwardly, that So. I have been told the same even of we have souls capable of relishing what the Mahometans, with relation to the propriety Spectator approves. of their demeanour in the conventions of their erroneous worship; and I cannot but think either of them sufficient laudable patterns for our imitation in this particular. 'I cannot help, upon this occasion, remarking on the excellent memories of those devotionists, who upon returning from church shall give a particular account how two or three hundred people were dressed: a thing, by reason of its variety, so difficult to be digested and fixed in the head, that it is a miracle to me how two poor hours of divine service can be time sufficient for so elaborate an undertaking, the duty of the place too being jointly, and no doubt oft pathetically, performed along with it. Where it is said in sacred writ, that "the woman ought to have a covering on her head because of the angels," the last word is by some thought to be metaphorically used, and to signify young men. Allowing this interpretation to be right, the text may not appear to be wholly foreign to our present purpose.
"When you are in a disposition proper for writing on such a subject, I earnestly recommend this to you; and am, sir, your humble servant.' T.
Tuesday, August 19, 1712. -Sed non ego credulis illus. Virg. Ecl. ix. 34. But I discern their flatt'ry from their praise.
Dryden. FOR want of time to substitute something else in the room of them, I am at present obliged to publish compliments above my desert in the following letters. It is no small satisfaction to have given occasion to ingenious men to employ their thoughts upon sacred subjects from the approbation of such pieces of poetry as they have seen in my Saturday's papers. I shall never publish verse on that day but what is written by the same hand:* yet I shall not accompany those writings with eulogiums, but leave them to speak for themselves.
For the Spectator.
'MR. SPECTATOR,-You very much promote the interests of virtue, while you
Upon reading the hymns that you have published in some late papers, I had a mind to try yesterday whether I could write one. The cxivth psalm appears to me an admirable ode, and I began to turn it into our language. As I was describing the journey of Israel from Egypt, and added the Divine Presence amongst them, I perceived a beauty in this psalm which was entirely new to me, and which I was going to lose; and that is that the poet utterly conceals the presence of God in the beginning of it, and rather lets a possessive pronoun go without a substantive, than he will so much as mention any thing of divinity there. "Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion or kingdom." The reason now seems evident, and this conduct necessary: for, if God had appeared before, there could be no wonder why the mountains should leap and the sea retire: therefore, that this convulsion of nature may be brought in with due surprise, his name is not mentioned till afterward; and then, with a very agreeable turn of thought, God is introduced at once in all his majesty. This is what I have attempted to imitate in a translation without paraphrase, and to preserve what I could of the spirit of the sacred author.
'If the following essay be not too incorri-
"When Israel, freed from Pharaoh's hand,
"Across the deep their journey lay,
"What power could make the deep divide?
* Dr. Isaac Watts.
↑ Jordan beheld their march, and fled
With backward current to his head.-Watts's Ps.
Why did ye leap, ye little hills?
"Let every mountain, every flood,
"He thunders-and all nature mourns;
'MR. SPECTATOR,-There are those who take the advantage of your putting halfpenny value upon yourself, above the rest of our daily writers, to defame you in public conversation, and strive to make unpopular upon the account of this said halfpenny. But, if I were you, I would insist upon that small acknowledgment for the superior merit of yours, as being a work of invention. Give me leave, therefore, to do you justice, and say in your behalf, what you cannot yourself, which is, that your writings have made learning a more necessary part of good-breeding than it was before you appeared; that modesty is become fashionable, and impudence stands in need of some wit, since you have put them both in their proper lights. Profaneness, lewdness, and debauchery, are not now qualifications; and a man may be a very fine gentleman, though he is neither a keeper nor an infidel.
I would have you tell the town the story of the Sibyls, if they deny giving you two pence. Let them know, that those sacred papers were valued at the same rate after two thirds of them were destroyed, as when there was the whole set. There are so
many of us who will give you your own price, that you may acquaint your non-conformist readers, that they shall not have it, except they come in within such a day, under three pence. I do not know but you might bring in the Date Obolum Belisario with a good grace. The witlings come
in clusters to two or three coffee-houses
which have left you off; and I hope you will make us, who fine to your wit, merry with their characters who stand out against it. I am your most humble servant.
'P. S. I have lately got the ingenious authors of blacking for shoes, powder for colouring the hair, pomatum for the hands, cosmetic for the face, to be your constant customers; so that your advertisements will as much adorn the outward man, as your paper does the inward.'
No. 462.] Wednesday, August 20, 1712.
certain carelessness, that constantly at tends all his actions, carries him on with greater success than diligence and assiduity does others who have no share in this endowment. Dacinthus breaks his word upon all occasions, both trivial and important; and, when he is sufficiently railed at for that abominable quality, they who talk of him end with, After all, he is a very pleasant fellow.' Dacinthus is an ill-natured husband, and yet the very women end their freedom of discourse upon this subject, But, after all, he is very pleasant company.' Dacinthus is neither, in point of honour, civility, good-breeding, or goodnature, unexceptionable; and yet all is answered, For he is a very pleasant fellow.' When this quality is conspicuous in a man who has, to accompany it, manly and virtuous sentiments, there cannot certainly be any thing which can give so pleasing a gratification as the gayety of such a person; but when it is alone, and serves only to gild a crowd of ill qualities, there is no man so much to be avoided as your pleasant fellow. A very pleasant fellow shall turn your good name to a jest, make your character contemptible, debauch your wife or daughter, and yet be received by the rest of the world with welcome wherever he appears. It is very ordinary with those of this character to be attentive only to their own satisfactions, and have very little bowels for the concerns or sorrows of other men; nay, they are capable of purchasing their own pleasures at the expense of giving pain to others. But they who do not consider this sort of men thus carefully, are irresistibly exposed to their insinuations. The author of the following letter carries the matter so high, as to intimate that the liberties of England have been at the mercy of a prince, merely as he was of this pleasant character.
MR. SPECTATOR,-There is no give into as pride, or any other passion passion which all mankind so naturally which appears in such different disguises: it is to be found in all habits and comdoes more harm or good in the world; and plexions. It is not a question, whether it if there be not such a thing as what we may call a virtuous and laudable pride?
plied, that lays us so open to flatterers; and It is this passion alone, when misaphe who can agreeably condescend to soothe our humour or temper, finds always an open avenue to our soul; especially if the flatterer happen to be our superior.
'One might give many instances of this in a late English monarch, under the title of "The gayeties of king Charles II." This prince was by nature extremely familiar, of very easy access, and much delighted to see and be seen; and this happy temper, which in the highest degree gratified his people's vanity, did him more service with his loving subjects than all