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It was the common boast of the heathen philosophers, that by the efficacy of their several doctrines, they made human nature resemble the divine. How much mistaken soever they might be in the several means they proposed for this end, it must be owned that the design was great and glorious. The finest works of invention and imagination are of very little weight when put in the balance with what refines and exalts the rational mind. Longinus excuses Homer very handsomely, when he says the poet made his gods like men, that he might make his men appear like the gods. But it must be allowed that several of the ancient philosophers acted as Cicero wishes Homer had done : they endeavoured rather to make men like gods, than gods like men. According to this general maxim in philosophy, some of them have endeavoured to place men in such a state of pleasure, or indolence at least, as they vainly imagined the happiness of the Supreme Being to consist in. On the other hand, the most virtuous sect of philosophers have created a chimerical wise man, whom they made exempt from passion and pain, and thought it enough to pronounce him all-sufficient. This last character, when divested of the glare of human philosophy that surrounds it, signifies no more than that a good and wise man should so arm himself with patience, as not to yield tamely to the violence of passion and pain; that he should learn so to suppress and contract his desires as to have few wants; and that he should cherish so many virtues in his soul as to have a perpetual source of pleasure in himself. The Christian religion requires that, after having framed the best idea we are able of the divine nature, it should be our next care to conform ourselves to it as far as our imperfections will perinit. I might mention several passages in the sacred writings on this head, to which I might add many maxims and wise sayings of moral authors among the Greeks and Romans. I shall only instance a remarkable passage, to this purpose, out of Julian's Caesars.” That emperor having represented all the Roman emperors, with Alexander the Great, as passing in review before the gods, and striving for the superiority, lets them all drop, excepting Alexander. Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, and Constantine. Each of these great heroes of antiquity lays in his claim for the upper place; and, in order to it, sets forth his actions after the , most advantageous manner. But the gods, instead of being dazzled with the lustre of their actions, inquire by Mercury into the proper motive and governing prin.
ciple that influenced them throughout the whole series of their lives and exploits. Alexander tells them, that his aim was to conquer; Julius Caesar, that his was to gain the highest post in his country; Augustus, to govern well; Trajan, that his was the same as that of Alexander, namely, to conquer. The question, at length, was put to Marcus Aurelius, who replied, with great modesty, that it had always been his care to imitate the gods. This conduct seems to have gained him the most votes and best place in the whole assembly. Marcus Aurelius being afterwards asked to explain himself, declares that, by imitating the gods, he endeavoured to imitate them in the use of his understanding, and of all other faculties; and in particular, that it was always his study to have as few wants as possible in himself, and to do all the good he could to others. Among the many methods by which revealed religion has advanced morality, this is one, that it has given us a more just and perfect idea of that Being whom every reasonable creature ought to imitate. The young man, in a heathen comedy, might justify his lewdness by the example of Jupiter; as, indeed, there was scarce any crime that might not be countenanced by those notions of the deity which prevailed among the common people in the heathen world. Revealed religion sets forth a proper object for imitation, in that Being who is the pattern, as well as the source, of all spiritual perfection. While we remain in this life, we are subject to innumerable temptations, which, if listened to, will make us deviate from reason and goodness, the only things wherein we can imitate the Supreme Being. In the next life we meet with nothing to excite our inclinations that doth not deserve them. I shall therefore dismiss my reader with this maxim, viz. “Our happiness in this world proceeds from the suppression of our desires, but in the next world from the gratification of them.”
No. 635.] Monday, December 20, 1714.
Sentio te sedem hominum ac domum contemplari; quie si tibi parva (ut est) ita videtur, haec coelestiasemperspectato; illa ilunana contemnito. Cicero Somn. Scip.
I perceive you contemplate the seat and habitation of men; which if it appears as little to you as it really is, fix, your eyes perpetually upon heavenly objects, and despise earthly.
The following esssay comes from the ingenious author of the letter upon novelty, printed in a late Spectator :" the notions are drawn from the Platonic way of thinking ; but, as they contribute to raise the mind, and may inspire noble sentiments of our own future grandeur and happiness, I think it well deserves to be presented to the public.
If the universe be the creature of an intelligent mind, this mind could have no immediate
* Spanheim, Les Cesars de l'Empereur Julien, 4to. 1793
* No. 626.
regard to himself in producing it. He needed not to make trial of his omnipotence to be informed what effects were within its reach; the world, as existing in his eternal idea, was then as beautiful as now it is drawn forth into being ; and in the immense abyss of his essence are contained far brighter scenes than will be ever set forth to view ; it being impossible that the great Author of nature should bound his own power by giving existence to a system of creatures so perfect that he cannot improve upon it "g any other exertions of his almighty will. etween finite and infinite there is an unmeasured interval, not to be filled up in endless ages ; for which reason, the most excellent of all God's works must be equally short of what his power is able to produce as the most imperfect, and may be exceeded with the same ease. This thought hath made some imagine (what it must be confessed is not impossible) that the unfathomed space is ever teeming with new births, the younger still inheriting greater perfection than the elder. But, as this doth not fall within my present view, I shall content myself with taking notice, that the consideration now mentioned proves undeniably, that the ideal worlds in the divine understanding yield a prospect incomparably more ample, various, and deligtful, than any created world can do: and that therefore, as it is not to be supposed that God should make a world merely of inanimate matter, however
diversified or inhabited only by creatures of
no higher an order than brutes, so the end for which he designed his reasonable offspring is the contemplation of his works, the enjoyment of himself, and in both to be happy ; having, to this purpose, endowed them with correspondent faculties and desires. He can have no greater pleasure from a bare review of his works than from a survey of his own ideas; but we may be assured that he is well pleased in the satisfaction derived to beings capable of it, and for whose entertainment he hath erected this immense theatre. Is not this more than an intimation of our immortality Man, who, when considered as on his probation for a happy existence hereafter, is the most remarkable instance of divine wisdom, if we cut him off from all relation to etermity, is the most wonderful and unaccountable composition in the whole creation. He hath capacities to lodge a much greater variety of knowledge than he will be ever master of, and an unsatisfied curiosity to tread the secret paths of nature and providence : but, with this, his organs, in their present structure, are rather fitted to serve the necessities of a vile body, than to minister to his understanding; and, from the little spot to which he is
, so chained, he can frame but wandering guesses
concerning the innumerable worlds of light that encompass him ; which, though in themselves of a prodigious bigness, do but just glimmer in the remote spaces of the heavens: and when, with a great deal of time and pains, he hath laboured a little way up the steep ascent of truth, and beholds with pity the grovelling multitude beneath, in a moment his foot
slides, and he tumbles down headlong into the grave. Thinking on this, I am obliged to believe, in justice to the Creator of the world, that there is another state when man shall be better situated for contemplation, or rather have it in his power to remove from object to object, and from world to world; and be accommodated with senses, and other helps, for making the quickest and most amazing discoveries. How does such a genius as Sir Isaac Newton, from amidst the darkness that involves human understanding, break forth, and appear like one of another species' The vast machine we inhabit lies open to him; he seems not unacquainted with the general laws that govern it, and while with the transport of a philosopher he beholds and admires the glorious work, he is capable of paying at once a more devout and more rational homage to his Maker. But, alas ! how narrow is the prospect even of such a mind ' And how ohscure to the compass that is taken in by the ken of an angel, or of a soul but newly escaped from its imprisonment in the body . For my part, I freely indulge my soul in the confidence of its future grandeur; it pleases me to think that I, who know so small a portion of the works of the Creator, and with slow and painful steps creep up and down on the surface of this globe, shall ere long shoot away with the swiftness of imagination, trace out the hidden springs of nature's operations, be able to keep pace with the heavenly bodies in the rapidity of their career, be a spectator of the long chain of events in the natural and moral worlds, visit the several apartments of the creation, know how they are furnished and how inhabited, comprehend the order, and measure the magnitudes and distances of those orbs, which to us seem disposed without any regular design, and set all in the same circle; observe the dependence of the parts of each system, and (if our minds are big enough to grasp the theory) of the several systems upon one another, from whence results the harmony of the universe. In eternity, a great deal may be done of this kind. I find it of use to cherish this generous ambition ; for, besides the secret refreshment it diffuses through my soul, it engages me in an endeavour to improve my faculties, as well as to exercise them conformably to the rank I now hold among reasonable beings, and the hope I have of being once advanced to a more exalted station. The other, and that the ultimate end of man, is the enjoyment of God, beyond which he cannot form a wish. Dim at best are the conceptions we have of the Supreme Being, who, as it were, keeps his creatures in suspense, neither discovering nor hiding himself; by which means, the libertine hath a handle to dispute his existence, while the most are content to speak him fair, but in their hearts prefer every trisling satisfaction to the favour of their Maker, and ridicule the good man for the singularity of his choice. Will there not a time come, when the free-thinker shall see his impious schemes overturned, and be made a convert to the truths he hates ? when deluded mortals shall be covinced of the folly of their pursuits ; and the few wise, who followed the guidance of Heaven, and, scorning the blandishments of sense, and the sordid bribery of the world, aspired to a celestial abode, shall stand possessed of their utmost wish in the vision of the Creator 7. Here the mind heavcs n thought now and then towards him, and hath some transient glances of his presence: when in the instant it thinks itself to have the fastest hold, the ohject eludes its expectations, and it falls back tired and baffled to the ground. Doubtless there is some more perfect way of conversing with heavenly beings. Are not spirits capable of mutual-intelligence, unless immersed in bodies, or by their intervention 1 Must superior matures depend on inferior for the main privilege of social beings, that of conversing with and knowing each other ? What would they have done had matter never been created ? I suppose, not have lived in eternal solitude. As incorporeal substances are of a nobler order, so, be sure, their manner of intercourse is answerably more expedite and intimate. This method of communication we call intellectual vision,
as something analagous to the sense of seeing. which is the medium of our acquaintance with this visible world. And in some such way can God make himself the object of immediate intuition to the blessed ; and as he can, it is unt improbable that he will, always condescending, in the circumstances of doing it, to the weakness and proportion of finite minds. His works but faintly reflect the image of his perfections: it is a second-hand knowledge : to have a just idea of him, it may be necessary to see him as he is. But what is that It is something that never entered into the heart of man to conceive; yet, what we can easily conceive, will be a fountain of unspeakable and everlasting rapture. All created glories will fade and die away
in his presence. Perhaps it will be my happiness to compare the world with the fair exernplar of it in the Divine Mind; perhaps, to view the original plan of those wise designs that
have been executing in a long succession of ages. Thus employed in finding out his works.
and contemplating their Author, how shali I
fall prostrate and adoring, my body swallowed
up in the immensity of matter, my mind in the
infinitude of his perfections !
IND E X.
No. ABIGAILS, (male) in fashion among the ladies - 55 || Almighty, his power over the imagination - Absence in conversation, a remarkable instance - Aristotle's saying of his being - - of it in Will Honeycomb - - - - 77 || Amanda, her adventures - - - The occasion of his absence - - - - 77 || Aimaryllis, her character - - - And means to conquer it - - - - - 77 || Amazons, their commonwealth - - The character of an absent man out of Bruyere 77 . How they educated their children - - The absence of lovers, death in love - - 241 Their wars - - - - - - How to be made easy - - - - - 241 They marry their male allies - Abstinence, the benefits of it - - - - 195 || Ambition uever satisfied - - - ?? Academy for politics - - - - - - 305 || The occasion of factions - - - The regulations of it - - - - - 305 || By what to be measured - - - Acasto, his agreeable character - - - 386 || Many times as hurtful to the princes who are led Accompts, their great usefuluess - - - 174 by it, as the people - - - - Acetus, his character - - - - - 422 ost men subject to it, - - - - 219, Acosta, his answer to Limborch, touching the mul- Qf use when rightly directed - - - tiplicity of ceremonies in the Jewish religion - 213. The end of it - - - - - Acrostic, piece of false wit. divided into simple and The effects of it in the mind - - - compound - - - - - - - 60 Subjects us to many troubles - - - Act of deformity, for the use of the Ugly Club - 17 | The true object of a laudable ambition - Action, the felicity of the soul - - - - 116 || Various kinds of it - - " - - - A threefold division of our actions - - - 213 | Laudable - - - - - - No right judgment to be made of them - - 174| Americans, their opinion of souls - - • A necessary qualification in an orator - - 541 Exemplified in a vision of an American - Tully's observations on action adapted to the Used painting instead of writing - - British theatre - - - - - - 541 | Amity between agreeable persons of different sexes Actions, principles of, two in man - - - 588 dangerous - - - - - - Actor, absent, who so called by Theophrastus - 541 || Amoret the jilt reclaimed by Philander - Admiration, one of the most pleasing passions - 237 Ample, (Lady) her uneasiness, and the reason of it When turned into contempt - - - - 340| Amusements of life, when innocent, necessary and Short-lived - - - - - - - 256 allowable - - - - - A pleasing motion of the mind - - - - 413| Anacharsis, the Corinthian drunkard, a saying of his Adversity, no evil in itself - - - - 7 Anagram, what, and when first produced - Advertisement of an Italian chirurgeon - - 22|Anatomy, the Spectator's speculations on it From St. Jame's coffee-house - - - - 24 || Ancestry, how far honours is to be paid to - From a gentleman that teaches birds to speak - 36|| Ancients in the east, their way of living - From another that is a fine flesh-painter - - 41 | Andromache, a great fox-hunter - - From Mr. Sly, the haberdasher - - - 187| Animal-, the different make of every species About the lottery ticket - - - - - 191 The instinct of brutes - - - - Advice: no order of persons too considerable to bo Exemplified in several instances - - advised - - - - - - - 34 God himself the soul of brutes - - In what manner to be given to a faulty friend - 385 || The variety of arms with which they are providUsually received with reluctance - - - 512 ed by nature - - - - - Adulterers, how punished by primitive Christians 579| Anne Boleyn's last letter to King Henry VIII Affectation, a greater enciny to a fine face than the Annihilation, by whom desired - - - small-pox - - - - - - 33| The most abject of wishes - - - It deforms beauty, and turns wit into absurdity 38|Answesrs to several letters at once - - 581, The original of it - - - - - - - 38|Anthony, (Mark) his witty mirth commended by Found iu the wise man as well as the coxcomb - 38 Tully - - - - - - The way to get clear of it - - - - 38|Antipathies, a letter about them - - - The misfortune of it - - - - - 404 || Auxieties, unnecessary, the evil of them and the vaDescribed - - - - - - - 460 nity of them - - - - - Affliction aud sorrow not always expressed by tears 95| Apes, what women so called, and described True affliction labours to be invisible - - 95 || Apollo's temple on the top of Leucate, by whom Afflictions, how to be alleviated - - - 501 frequented, and for what purpose - Age rendered ridiculous - - - - 6 || Apothecary, his employment - - - IIow contemned by the Athenians and respected Apparitions, the creation of weak minds - by the Spartans - - - - - 6|| Appearances, the veneration of respect paid to thom The unnatural misunderstanding between age in all ages - - - - - and youth - - - - - - - 153| Things not to be trusted for them - - The authority of an aged virtuous person prefera- - Appetites, sooner moved than the passions ble to the pleasures of youth - - - 153| The incumbrances of old age - - - A o old age the reward of a well-spent Applause, (public) its pleasure - - - youth - - - - - - - - 260 Censure and applause should not mislead us The authority assumed by some people on the ac- April, (the first of), the merriest day in the year count of it - - - - -- - - 336|| Month of, described - - - - Aglaus, his story told by Cowley - - - 610| Arabella, (Mrs.) the grent heiress, the Spectator' Agreeable man, who - - - - - 280 fellow-traveller - - - - - The art of being agreeable in company - - 386 || Verses on Arabella's singing - - - Albacinda, her character - - - - - 144|| Araspas and Panthea, their story out of Xenophon ... Alexander the Great, wry-necked - - - 3: Architecture, the ancient's perfection in it - His artifice in his Indian expedition - - 127 || Greatness of the manner how it strikes the fancy His answer when asked if he would not be a com- Of the manner of both ancients and moderns wo for the prize in the Olympic games 157 || Concave and convex figures have the greatest air erein he imitated Achilles in a pieco of cruel- Everything that pleases the imagination in it, i ty, and the occasion of it - - - - 337 either great, beautiful, or new - - His complaint to Aristotle - - - - 379| Aretine made the princes of Europe his tributaries Allegories, like light to a discourse - - - 421 | Argument, rules for the management of one Eminent writers faulty in them - - - 421 Argumentum Basilinum, what - - The reception the Spectator's allegorical writ- Socrates's way of arguing - - - ings meet with from the public - - - 501 In what manner managed by states and commuAllusions, the great art of a writer - - - 421 nities - - - - - - Wol. 11, 52
His account of the world - - -
The inventor of syllogisin - - - 239
Works of art defective to entertain the imagination 414
those of nature - - - 414
The expedient made use of by those who write
5 Bayle, (Mr.) what he says of libels
for the stage - - - - - - 51
Bar-oratory in England, reflections on it
Beards in former ages a type of wisdom -
described and explod:
of him. af