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now grown to such an enormous gigantic size, as to be incapable of spreading further or rising higher, seems to be a complaint peculiar to these our days; and, I am apt to believe, rather flows from a hafty impatient spirit, than to be the result of a cool dispassionate enquiry into the various occurrences of human life. In which charge if there be any thing of truth, as some perhaps may think there is, (or whence should it be so frequent in the mouths and writings of men ?) it is owing to the little of real Religion remaining in us: since, when this once gradually loses its force and energy, an insolent contemptuous neglect of all social duties immediately begins to appear amongst individuals, which ever encreases and diffuses itself wider, as the other declines and gives way; till one finally quitting its hold of the human mind, the other takes full possession, and the whole man becomes corrupt and abandoned. For, notwithstanding the mighty wonder-working power ascribed to Moral Principles, they cannot in fact avail any thing, but when they are grounded on, and, as their infuences are enlarged, refined and supported by a belief in a God and Providence : reason clearly pointing out, and common history of nations. abundantly exemplifying it, that the wickedness and, its immediate consequence, misery of every distinct particular kingdom, will be greater or less according to the different degrees of Irreligion in it, or rather in proportion to the vasious impressions it makes upon the members thereof. But what will surprize every intelligent person, is, that men fhould be publickly taught, how they might live securely either in or out of society, if there were no superiour invia fible Agent, taking cognizance of actions, and resenting chem, as they agree or disagree with the Rule of Right; and that the political establishment of Religion, or an union of religious with civil society on terms mutually agreed to by their respective sovereigns, is a direct manifest invasion of mens natural rights ; injurious in a high degree to their temporal interests ; with inuch more to the like purport and affect. Those doctrines, tho' but lately sprung up, yet grow and thrive so well amongst us, and meet with such distinguishing tokens of eteem and applause, as if the reality of them were of the last importance to mankind, eminently beneficial to the cause of publick virtue, and admirably well fitted to further the views and promote the ends of civil government. But whatever be the opinion of some moderns, very differently thought the wise and great among the ancients, whose first and continued concern seems to have been the making provisions to preserve a reverence for the system of worship openly profess’d amongst them; the outward actions of men being ever found conformable to the religious cast of their minds. Of this they were thoroughly sensible, and fram’d their institutes accordingly.
Now to confute these doctrines, the method I shall observe, and the course I design to take in the following letters, is to lay before the reader a chain of argumentation founded on certain, plain, universally acknowledg’d principles, and from thence to deduce such conclusions, as will irrefragably prove the absolute necessity of the sense of a Deity's animadversion to the reducing and continuing the world of mankind in order; in some cases exciting them to action ; in others to restrain them from it; as circumstances shall require. And I will endeavour to remove an obje&ion usually offered on this head, which is, that huinan laws, prudently drawn up and equitably executed, will seasonably serve in the room of Religion.
I thought it might not be amiss to say thus much by way of introduction. When I see this in your Miscellany, yoų Hall hear further from
Your well-wisher, &c.
To the S T UD E'N T.
Dear Mr. STUDENT, T Depend upon seeing the underwitten in your next I Number, and am
Your very affectionate Brother,
Trin. Coll. Cambridge,
March 8, 1750.
FIDDLING considered, as far as it regards
somminopes terum, nugæque canoræ.
X S the following dissertation may possibly hurt the sale f of Rofin and Catgut, it is proper to premise, that it does not proceed from any malicious design against Mr. Lamborne or his fraternity, but merely from a principle of promoting the welfare and honour of the University.
I suppose I may advance, without being reckon'd a Prig, that the real business of young fellows admitted into this learned body, are laborious pursuits after knowledge, and studies as well important as severe. Must we not therefore with some concern see so many Etudents, who are equally deftin’d to the common task of learning, debauch’d by Sound, neglecting Locke and Newton for PURCELL and Handel, and instead of Philosophers commencing (O ridicule ! O fame to common sense!) downright FIDDLERS.
There are many inconveniences which naturally arise from this pernicious practice, many habits which stick so fast, as never after to be shaken off; some of which I shall take the freedom to enumerate in general, without making any particular application.
And first I shall observe that an Academical SCRAPER is in great danger of becoming an incurable Pedant; I mean a Pedant in Fiddling: and fiddling Pedants are surely the worst of Pedants; as their whole conversation is entirely made up of an unintelligible jargon of musical terms, which they oftentatiously produce in all companies.
In the next place, 'tis certain that FIDDLING frequently turns the sober SCHOLAR into a peri CoxcoMB. To support the elegance of a FIDDLER, a white Hand is absolutely requisite, this being the same to a FIDDLER as japan'd pumps are to a DANCER : and as DANCING centers in the toes, so does FIDDLING in the fingers. To the white Hand I must add a Sleeve cut in the most jaunty fashion, as the Sleeve in FIDDLING is more eminently distinguish'd than any other part of the dress. Not but the whole apparel of a. compleat FIDDLER ought to be of the gayest and genteelest order. When I mention'd the white Hand, I forgot to observe, that your FIDDLERS of foriune often display au striking decoration on the little finger, calld a Brilliant, which is said to have sometimes a surprizing effect on the female part of the audience. I could here too take notice of the Rufle, which, if it be lac’d, or curiously work’d, will, as it waves with the motions of the Fiddlestick, denote the player to be a FIDDLER of some rank and consequence.
But of all the various qualifications requisite to compose a true Fiddler, Impudence is the most notorious. As FidDLERS are men who entertain the publick, Mr. Student, they think themselves entitled to the fame degree of Asurance, which you Authors generally have. But this inference can by no means be allowed, as it pre-supposes Scraping at least equal to Scribbling. FIDDLERS therefore have no more pretensions to extraordinary Impudence than other common men, tho’ they are so vain as to arrogate it to themselves.
Again, since Mufick and Poetry are Sister-Arts, our University FIDDLERs are very apt to mistake their talents, and commence Dabblers also in Rhyming; tho', 'tis true, their am
bition never soars beyond a Love-fong, a Ballad, or a Catch ; and indeed, to do them justice, the words and the notes are in such a case excellently adapted to each other. An acquaintance of mine, (a good sensible man otherwise) after having tweedled away a consideratle part of is time to no purpose, once in a despairing fit, after his return from the musickmeeting, burst out into the following poetic pathetic soliloquy:
At concerts lo! an expletive I stand,
Hail, Rosin, hail ! thy truly-potent aid
Teach me true time, and harmonize my ear;
But here my gentleman broke off in raptures, and resuming his late-discarded instrument, grated harsh discord to the grievous annoyance both of the ears and teeth of his poor disturbed neighbours.
To conclude,-I know not what the state of Catgut may be among you: but it would well become the prudence of our wise ALMA-MATER to prevent our young gentry, by some wholsome restrictions, from trifling away their time over octaves and semi-quavers, and neglecting legick for airs, or fyllogisms for caniatas. In a word, brother Student, if this scraping Cacoethes, this fol-fa-la Infection be fuffered to spread further in this place, our books, I expect, will be changed into fiddles, our schools will be turned into muficka qoonis, and ARISTOTLE kick'd out for CORELLI,