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the case before us in general, but in every minute circumstance.
Bclingbroke. an imaginary
To live deprived of one's country is intolerable. Is it so? How comes it then to pass that such numbers of men Jive out of their countries by choice? Observe how the streets of London and of Paris are crowded. Call over those millions by name, and ask them one by one, of what country they are: how many will you find, who from different parts of the earth come to inhabit these great cities, which afford the largest opportunities and the largest encouragement to virtue and vice i Some are drawn by ambition, and some are sent by duty; many resort thither to improve their minds, and many to improve their fortunes; others bring their beauty, and others their eloquence to market. Remove from hence, and go to the utmost extremities of the East or West: visit the barbarous nations of Africa, or the inhospitable regions of the North ; you will find no climate so bad, no country so savage, as not to have some people who come from abroad, and inhabit those by choice.
Among numberless extravagances which pass through the minds of men, we may justly reckon for one that notion of a secret affection, independent of our reason, and superior to our reason, which we are supposed to have for our country; as if there were some physical virtue in every spot of ground, which necessarily produced this effect in every Obc born upon it.
Amor patrix ratione valentior omni.
This notion may have contributed to the security and grandeur of Hates. It has therefore been not unartfully cultivated, and the prejudice of education has been with care put on its side. Men have come in this cafe, as in many others, from believing that it ought to be so, to persuade others, and even to believe themselves that it is so.
Cannot hurt a reselling Man. Whatever is best is safest; lies out of the reach of human power; can neither
be given nor taken away. Such is this great and beautiful work of nature, the world. Such is the mind of man, which contemplates and admires the world, whereof it makes the noblest part. These are inseparably ours, and as long as we remain in one, we shall enjoy the other. Let us march theresore intrepidly wherever we are led by the course of human accidents. Wherever they lead us, on what coast soever we are thrown by them, we shall not find ourselves absolutely strangers. We shall meet with men and women, crea. tures of the fame figure, endowed with the fame faculties, and born under the fame laws of nature.
We shall fee the fame virtues and vices, flowing from the fame principles, but varied in a thousand different and contrary modes, according to that infinite variety of laws and customs which is established for the fame universal end, the preservation of society. We shall feel the same revolution of seasons, and the fame fun and moon will guide the course of our year. The fame azure vault, bespangled with stars, will be every where spread over our heads. There is no part of the world from whence we may not admire those planets which roll, like ours, in different orbits round the fame central fun; from whence we may not discover an object still more stupendous, that army of fixed stars hung up in the immense space of the universe; innumerable suns, whose beams enlighten and cherish the unknown worlds which roll a. round them: and whilst I am ravished by such contemplations as these, whilst my soul is thus raised up to heaven, it imports me little what ground I tread upon. Ibid.
§51. Fame, a commendable PaJJton.
I can by no means agree with you in thinking, that the love of fame is a passion, which either reason or religion condemn. I confess, indeed, there are some who have represented it as inconsistent with both ; and I remember, in particular, the excellent author of The Religion of Nature delineated, has treated it as highly irrational and absurd. As the passage falls, in so thoroughly reughJvwith your own turn of thought, you will have no objection, I imagine, to my quoting it at large; and I-give it.you, at the same time, as a very great authority on your side. "In reality," fays that writer, " the1 man is not "known ever the more to posterity, "because his name is transmitted to "them: He doth not live because his "name does. When it is said, Julius "Cæsar subdued Gaul, conquered "Pompey, &c. it is the fame thing as *• to fay, the conqueror of Pompey was "Julius Cæsar, i. e. Cæsar and the "conqueror of Pompey is the fame ** thing; Cæsar is as much known by "one designation as by the other. "The amount then is only this: that "the conqueror of Pompey conquered "Pompey; or rather, since Pompey "is us little known now as Cæsar, "somebody conquered somebody. Such *' a poor business is this boasted im•* mortality! and such is the thing "called glory among us! Todiscern"ing men this fame is mere air, and "what they despise, if not (hun."
But surely " 'twere to consider too "curioufly," as Horatio fays to Hamlet, "to conjder thus." For though f.ime with posterity should be, in the strict analysis of it, no other than what it is here described, a mere uninteresting proposition, amounting to npthing more than that somebody acted meritoriously; yet it would not necessarily follow, that true philosophy would banish the desire of it from the human breast. For this passion may be (as most certainly It is) wisely implanted in our species, notwithstanding the corresponding object should in reality be very different from what it appears in imagination. Do not many of our most refined and even contemplative pleasures owe their existence to our mistakes) It is but extending (I will not fay, improving) some of our fenses to a higher degree of acutenefs than we now possess them, to make the fairest views of nature, or the noblest productions of art, appear horrid and deformed. To fee things as they truly and in themselves are, would not always, perhaps, be of advantage to us in the intellectual, world, any more than ia the na
tural. But, after all, who (hall certainly assure us, that the pleasure of virtuous fame dies with its possessor, and reaches not to a farther scene of existence? There is nothing, it should seem, either absurd or unphilosophical in supposing it possible at least, that the praises of the good and the judicious, that sweetest music to an honest ear in this world, may be echoed back to th* mansions of the next: that the poet's description of fan»e may be literail' true, and though (he walks upon earth, (he may yet lift her head into heaven.
But can it be reasonable to extinguish, a passion which nature has universally lighted up in the human breast, and which we constantly find to burn with most strength andbrightness in the noblest and best formed bosoms? Accordingly revelation is so far from endeavouring (as you suppose) to eradicate the seed which nature hath thus deeply planted, that (he rather seems, on the contrary, to cherish and forward its growth. To be exalted nuith honour, and to be bad in everlasting remembrance, are in the number of ihole encouragements which the Jewish dispensation offered to the virtuous; as the person from whom the sacred author of the Christian system received his birth, is herself represented as rejoicing that all generations Jhould call her blessed.
To be convinced of the great advantage of cherishing this high regard to posterity, this noble desire of an after. life in the breath of others, one need only look back upon the history of the ancient Greeks and Roman:. What other principle was it, which produced that exalted strain of virtue in those days, that may well serve as a model to these? Was it not the consentient lam bonorum, the incorrupt* vox bent judicantium (as Tully calls it) the concurrent approbation of the good, the uncorrupted applause of the wise, that animated their most generous pursuits*
To confess the truth, I have been ever inclined to think it a very dangerous attempt, to endeavour to lessen the motives of right conduct, or to raise any suspicion concerning their solidity. The tempers aud dispositions of man
Y y 3 kind kind are to extrerstely different, that it seems necessary they should be called into action by a variety of incitements* Thus, while some are willing to wed virtue for her personal charms, others are engaged to take her for the fake of her expected dowry: and since her followers and admirers have so little hopes from her in present, it were pity, me* thinks, to reason them out os any imagined advantage in reversion. » Fitza/iortie's Letters^
$ $2; Dijfimulation to be ftarcdi
He who would take a cleanly, unsuspected way to ruin his adversary, must pave the way to his destruction with some courtesies of a lighter sort, the fense of which shall take him off from his guardj his wariness, and suspicion, and so lay him open to such a blow, as (hall destroy him at oncei The Ikilful rider strokes and pleases the unruly horse, only that he may come so hear him, as to get the bit into his inouth, and then he rides, and rule;;, and domineers over him at his pleasure. So he who hates his enemy with a cunning equal to his malice, will not strain to do this or that good turn for him, so long as it does not thwart, but rather promote the main design of his titter subversion. For all this is but like the helping a man over the stile, who is going to be hanged, which surely is no very great or difficult piece of civility.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, we fread of one whom the grandees of the court procured to be made secretary of state, only to break his back in the business of the Queen of Scots, whose death they were then projecting. Like true courtiers, they first engage him in that fatal scene, and then desert him in it, using him only as a tool to do a present state job, and then to be reproached and ruined for what he had done. And a little observation of the world may shew us, there is not only a course cf beheading or hanging, but also of preferring men out of the way. But this is not to love an enemy, but to hate him more artificially. He is ruined more speciously indeed, but not
less efficaciously, than if hi been laid fast in a dungeon, or banished his country, or by a packed jury dispatched into another world. Souths Sermons.
$ 5$. $,nthusiafni.
Though I rejoice in the hope of see* ing enthusiasm expelled from her relU gious dominions, let me intreat you to leave her in the undisturbed enjoyment of her civil possessions. To own the? truth, I look upon enthusiasm, in all other points but that of religion, to be a very necessary turn of mind; as in* deed it is a vein Which nature seems to have marked with more or less strength in the tempers of most men. No mat* ter what the object is, whether business, pleasures, or the fine arts; who* ever pursues them to any purpose must do so con am ire: and inamoratos, you. know, of every kind, are all enthusiasts. There is indeed a certain heightening faculty which universally prevails through our species 5 and we are all of us, perhaps, in our several fa<vourite pursuits, pretty much in the circumstances of the renowned knight of La Mancha, when he attacked the barber's brazen bason, for Mambrino's golden helmet.
What is Tully's aliquit! immensum infinitumque, which he professes to aspire after in oratory, but a piece of true rhetorical Quixotism i Yet never, I will venture to affirm, would he have glowed with so much eloquence, had he been warmed witli less enthusiasm. I am persuaded iudecd, that nothing great or glorious was ever performed, where this quality had not a principal concern; and as our passions add vigour to our actions, enthusiasm gives spirit to our passions. I might add too, that it even opens and enlarges our capacities. Accordingly I have been informed, that one of the great lights of the present age never sits down to study, till he has raised his imagination by the power of music. For this purpose he has a band of instruments placed near his library, which play till he finds himself elevated to a proper height; upon which he gives a signal, and they instantly cease.
Bat those high conceits which are suggested byenthusiasm, contribute not only to the pleasure and perfection of th« fine arts, but to most other effects of ojr action and industry. To strike this spirit therefore out of the human constitution, to reduce things to their precise philosophical standard, would be to check some of the main wheels of society, and to fix half the world in an useless apathy. For if enthusiasm did not add an imaginary value to most of the objects of our pursuit; if fancy did not give them their brightest colours, they would generally, perhaps, wear an appearance too contemptible to excite desire:
Weary'd we should lie down in death,
If you thought fame an empty breath,
I Phillis but a perjur'd whore. IV Ior.
In a word, this enthusiasm for which I am pleading, is a beneficent enchantress, who never exerts her magic but to our advantage, and only deals about her friendly spells in order to raise imaginary beauties, or to improve real ones. The worst that can be said of her is, that she is a kind deceiver and an obliging flatterer. Fitzostofne's Lett.
§ 54.. Trte - thinking, the -various jlbufes committed by the Vulgar in this Point.
The publication of lord Bolingbroke's posthumous works has given new life and spirit to free-thinking. We seem at present to be endeavouring to unlearn our cathechism, with all that we have been taught about religion, in order to model our faith to the fashion of his lordship's system. We have now nothing to do, but to throw away our bibles, turn the churches into theatres, and rejoice that an act of parliament now in force gives us an opportunity of getting rid of the clergy by transportation. I was in hopes the extraordinary price of these volumes would have confined their influence to persons of quality. As they are placed above extreme indigence and absolute want. of bread, their loose notions would have carried them no farther than cheating at cards, or perhaps plundering
their country: but if these opinions spread among the vulgar, we shall be knocked down at noon-day in our. streets, and nothing will go forward but robberies and murders.
The instances I have lately seen os free-thinking in the lower part of the world, make me fear, they are going to be as fashionable and as wicked as their betters. I went the other night to the Robin Hood, where it is ulual for the advocates against religion to assemble, and openly avow their infidelity. One of the questions for the night was, "Whether lord Bolingbroke had not done greater service to mankind by his writings, than the apostles or evangelists?" As this society is chiefly composed of lawyers clerks, petty tradesmen, and the lowest mechanics, I was at first surprized at such amazing erudition among them. Toland, Tindal, Collins, Chubb, and. Mandeville, they seemed to have got by heart. A shoe-maker harangued his five minutes upon the excellence of the tenets maintained by lord Bolingbroke; but I soon found that his reading had not been extended beyond the idea of a patriot king, which he had mistaken, for a glorious system of free-thinking. I could not help smiling at another of the company, who took pains to shew his disbelief of thegospel, by unsainting the apostles, and calling them by no other title than plain Paul or plain Peter. The proceedings of this society have indeed almost induced me to wish, that (like the Roman Catholics) they were not permitted to read the bible, rather than they sliould read it only to abuse it.
I have frequently heard many wise tradesmen settling the most important articles of our faith over a pint of beer. A baker took occasion from Canning's assair to maintain, in opposition. to the scriptures, that man might lire by bread alone, at least that woman might; "for else," said he, "how "could the girl have been supported "for a whole month by a sew hard "crusts?" In answer to this, a barbersurgeon set forth the improbabilityof that story; and thence inferred, that it was impossible for our Saviour to have fasted,
Yy 4 forty
forty days in the wilderness. I lately heard a midshipman swear that the bible was all a lie: for he had sailed round the world with lord Anson, and if there had been any Red Sea, he must have met with it. I know a bricklayer, who while he was working by line and rule, and carefully laying one brick upon another, would argue with a fellow-labourer that the world was made by chance; and a cook, who thought more of hi? trade than his bible, in a dispute concerning the miracles, made a pleasant mistake about the nature of the first, and gravely asked his antagonist what he thought of the supper at Can.i.
This affectation of free-thinking among the lower class of people, is at present happily confined to the men. On Sundays, while the husbands are toping at the ale-house, the good women their wives think it their duty to go to church, fay their prayers, bring home the text, and hear the children their catechism. But our polite ladies are, 1 fear, in their lives and conversations, little better than free-thinkers. Going to church, since it is now no longer the/fashion to carry on intrigues there, is almost wholly laid aside: And I verily believe, that nothing but another eathquake can fill the churches with people of quality. The fair sex in general are too thoughtless to concern thems'lves in deep enquiries into matters of religion. It is sufficient, that they are taught to believe themselves angels. It would therefore be an ill compliment, while we talk of the heaven they bestow, to persuade them into the Mahometan notion, that they have no souls : though perhaps our fine gentlemen may imagine, that by convincing a lady that she has no foul, she will be less scrupulous about the disposal of her body.
The ridiculous notions maintained by free-thinkers in their writings, scarce deserve a serious refutation ; and perhaps the best method of answering them would be to select from their works all the absurd and impracticable notions which they so stiffly maintain in order to evade the belief of the Christian religion. I shall here throw toge
ther a few of their principal tenets, dader the contradictory title of
The Unbeliever's Creed.
I believe that there is no God, but that matter is God, and God is matter; and that it is no matter whether there is any God or no.
I believe also, that the world was not made; that the world made it. ielf; that it had no beginning; that n will last forever, world without end.
I believe that a man is a beast, that the soul is the body, and the body is the foul; and that after death there is neither body nor soul.
I believe that there is no religion; that natural religion is the only religion; and that all religion is unnatural.
♦u1 reIie7..not in Moscs i I Mieve in the first philosophy; I believe not the evangelists; I believe in Chubb, Collins Toland Tindal, Morgan, Mandeville Woolston, Hobbes, Shaftefhury; I believe in lord Bolingbroke; I believe not St. Paul.
I believe not revelation ; I believe in tradition; I believe in the talmud : I believe ,n the alcoran; I believe not the bible; I believe in Socrates; I believe in Confucius; I believe in Sanconiathon; I believe in Mahomet ; I believe not in Christ.
Lastly, I believe in all unbelief.
% 55. Fortune not to be trusted.
The sudden invasion of an enemy overthrows such as are not on their guard ; but they who foresee the war, and prepare themselves for it before it breaks out, stand without difficulty the first and the fiercest onset. I learned this important lesson long ago, and never trusted to fortune even while she seemed to be at peace wiih me. The riches, the honours, the reputation, and all the advantages which her treacherous indulgence poured upon me, I placed so, that she might snatch them away without giving me any disturbance. I kept a great interval between me and them. She took them, but she could not tear them from me. No man suffers