Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

very often heavier than a French folio; and by another, that an o\& Greek or Latin author weighed down a whole library of moderns. Seeing one of my i'petlators lying by me, I laid it into one of the scales, and flung a twopenny piece into the other. The reader will not inquire into the event, if he remembers the sirst trial which I have recorded in this paper. I afterwards threw both the sexes into the balance, but as it is not for my interest to disoblige either of them, I shall desire to be excused from telling the result of this experiment. Having an opportunity of this nature in my hands, I could not forbear throwing into one scale the principles of a Tory, and into the other those of a Whig; but as I have all along declared this to be a neutral paper, 1 shall likewise, desire to be silent under this head also, though upon examining one of the weights, I saw the word I£ KEL engraven on it in capital letters.

I made many other experiments, and though I have not room for them all in this day's speculation, I may perhaps reserve them for another. I shall only add, that upon my awaking I was sorry to sind my golden scales vanished, but resolved for the future to learn this lellon from them, not to despise or value any things for their appearances, but to regulate my esteem and passions towards them according to their real and intrinÆc value. C

Vol. VI. M Priday, *k. - A /^s /o\ /o\ /o\ /W\ /o\ /o\ /o\ rVw*VJw

N° 464 Friday, August 22.

Auream. quifjuis mediocrilatem
Di/igit, tutus caret obfoleti
Sordibus tetli, caret invidendd

Sobrius au a. Hor. Od. IO. 1. 2. V.

The golden mean, as she's too nice to dwell
Among the ruins of a silthy cell,
So is her modesty withal as great,
To balk the envy of a princely feat.

No r R i s.

IAm wonderfully pleased when I meet with any passage in an old Greek and Latin author, that is not blown upon, and which I have never met with in a quotation. Of this kind is a beautiful saying in Theognis; Vice is covered by wealth, and virtue by poverty, or to give it in the verbal translation, Among men there are Jome who have their vices concealed by wealth, and others who have their virtues concealed by poverty. Every man's observation will supply him with instances of rich men, who have several faults and defects that are overlooked, if not entirely hidden, by means of their riches; and, I think, we cannot sind a more natural description of a poor man, whose merits are lost in his poverty, than that in the words of the wife man. There wus « little city, and sew men within it; and there came a great king against it, and lejieged it, and built ;reat bulwarks against it: Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and be, by his wisdom, delivered the city ; yet no man remembced that same poor man Then said J, Wisdom is better than strength; nevertheless, the poor man's wijdom is dJpised, and his words are not heard.

The middle condition seems to be the most advantageously situated for the gaining of wisdom. Poverty turns our thoughts too much upon the supplying of our wants, aud riches upon our enjoying superfluities; and as Cowley has said in another case, It is hard for a man to keep a jteady eye upon truth, who is always in a battle or a triumph.

If we regard poverty and wealth, as they are apt to produce virtues or vices in the mind of man, one may observe that there is a set of each of these growing out os poverty, quite disferent from that which rises out of wealth. Humility and patience, industry and tempev ranee, are very often the good qualities of a poor man. Humanity and good-nature, magnanimity and a fense of honour, are as often the qualisications of the rich. On the contrary, poverty is apt to betray a man into envy, riches into arrogance; poverty is too often attended with fraud, vicious compliance, repining, murm«r and discontent. Riches expose a man to pride and luxury, a foolish elation of heart, and too great a fondness for the present world. In short, the middle condition is most eligible to the man who would improve himself in virtue; as I have before shewn, it is the most advantageous for the gaining of knowledge. It was upon this consideration that Jlgur founded his prayer, which for the wisdom of it is recorded in Holy Writ. Two things have I required of thee, deny me them not before I die. Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty, nor riches ; foed me with food convenient sor me: Lest I be full and deny thee, and Jay, who is the Lord? er lest 1 be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

I shall sill the remaining part os rrly paper with a very pretty allegory, which is wrought into a play by Aristophanes the Greek comedian. It seems originally designed as a satire upon the rich, though in some parts of it, 'tis like the foregoing discourse, a kind of comparison between wealth and poverty.

Chremylus, who was an old and a good man, and withal exceeding poor, being desirous to leave some riches to his son, consults the oracle of Apollo upon the subject. The oracle bids him follow the sirst man he should see upon his going out of the temple. The person he chanced to see was to appearance an old sordid blind man; but upon his following him from place to place, he ac last found by his own consession, that he M 2 was was Plutus the god of riches, and that he was just come out of the houle of a miser. Plutus further told him, that when he was a boy, he used to declare, that as soon as he came to a^e he would distribute wealth to none but virtuous and just men ; upon which Jupiter considering the pernicious consequences of such a resolution, took hi- sioht away from him, and left him to strole about the world in the blind ccndi ion wherein Chremylus beheld him. With mudi ado Chremylus prevailed upon him to go to his bouse, where he met an old woman in a tatter'd raiment, who had been his guest for many years, and whose name was Poverty. The old woman refusing to turn out so easiiy as he would h v,e her. he threa'ened to b.tuish her not nly from his ov.a house, but out of all Greece is (he made any more v. ords upon the matter. Poverty on this occasion ple"ds her cauk- ve/y notably, and represents to her old landlord, that mould she be driven out of the country, all their trades, arts and sciences would be driven out with her; and that if every one was rich, they would never be supplied vvith those pomps, ornaments and convei iencas of life which made riches desirable, i-he likewile represented to him the several advantages which stie bellowed upon her votaries in rtgaid to tlicir shape their -health, and their activhy, by preserving th'm from gouts, dropsies, unweildiness, and intemperance. But whatever she had to say for herleif, (he was a; last forced to troop off. Chremylus immediately consirier'd how he might restore Plutus to his sight; and >n order to it conveyed him to the Temple of Æfcuhpius, who was famous for cures and miracles of thio nature. By this means the deity recovered hit eyes and began to nifke a right use of them, by eniiching every one that was distinguished by piety towards the gods, and justice towards men; and at the fame time by taking away his gifts from the impious and undeserving. This produces leieral merry incidents, till in the last act Mercury descends with great complaints from the gods, that since the good men were grown rich they had received no sacrisices, which is consirmed by a priest of Jupiter, who enters with a remonstrance, that since the late innovation he was reduced to a starving condition, and could

not live upon his office Chremy'us, who in the beginning of the play was religious in his poverty, concludes it with a proposal which was relished by all the good men who were now grown rich as well as himself, that they should carry Plutus in a solemn procession to the Temple, anil instal him in the place of 'Jupiter. This allegory instructed the Athenians in two points, sirst, as it vindicated the" conduct of Providence in its ordinary distributions of wealth; and in the next place, as it shewed the great tendency of riches to corrupt the morals of those who possessed them. C

iHc 9JL 4* H <Cp <tjo IP <Lr 41 <tt <tf ££ 35 4JP yue £1 £5 <H u w r^k /«v f«\ >w\ ff% s&\/A yv\ se\ /o\ j&\ j*

N° 465 Saturday, August 23.

£>ua rations queas traducere leniter <svum: Ne te Jems er inops agitet njexetque cup do; Ne pavor iff rerum mediocriter utilium Jpes.

Hor. Ep. 18.1. i. 97

How thou may'st live, how spend thine age in peace;
Lest avarice, still poor, disturb thine ease:
Or fears shou'd shake, or cares thy mind abuse,
Or ardent hope for things of little use.

Creech.'

HAVING endeavoured in my last Saturday's paper to shew the great excellency of faith, I shall here consider what are the proper means of strengthring and consirming it in the mind of man. Those who delight in reading books of controversy, which are written on both sides of the question in points of faith, do very seldom arrive ata sixed and settled habit of it. They are one day intirely convinced os its important truths, and the next meet with something that shakes and disturbs them. The doubt which was laid revives again and shews itself in new difficulties and that generally for this reason, because the mind which is perpetually tost in controversies and disputes, is apt to forget the reasons which had once set it at rest, and to be disquieted with, any former perplexity, when it appears in a new shape,

« ZurückWeiter »