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very great passion, cried out, Then Sirrah, you shall live like one; and, taking his cane in his hand, cudgeled him out of his system. This had so good an effect upon him, that he from that day, fell to reading good books, and is now a bencher in the Middle Temple.
11. I do not mention this cudgeling part of the story with a design to engage the secular arm in matters of this nature; but certainly if it ever exerts itself in affairs of opinion and speculation, it ought to do it on such shallow and despicable pretenders to knowledge, who endeavour to give man dark and uncomfortable prospects of his
being, and destroy those principles which are the support, happiness, and glory of all public societies as well as private persons.
12. I think it is one of Pythagoras? golden sayings, that a man should take care above all things to have a due regard for himself; and it is certain, that this licentious sort of authors, who are for depreciating mankind, endeavour to disappoint and undo what the most refined spirits have been labouring to advance since the beginning of the world. The very design of dress, good breeding, outward ornaments, and ceremonies, were to lift up human nature and set it off to advantage. Architecture, painting and statuary were invented with the same design: as indeed every art and science that contributes to the embellishment of life, and to the wearing off and throwing into shades the mean and low parts of our nature.
13. Poetry carries on this great end more than all the rest, as may be seen in the following passages taken out of Sir Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning, which gives a true and better account of this art than all the volumes that were ever writ-ten upon it.
Poetry, especially heroic, seems to be raised altogether from a noble foundation which makes much for the dignity of man's nature. For seeing this sensible world is in dignity inferior to the soul of man, poesy seems to endow human nature with that which history denies; and to give satisfaction to the mind, with at least the shadow of things where the substance cannot be had.
14. "For if the matter be thoroughly considered, a strong argument may be drawn from poesy, that a more stately greatness of things, a more perfect order, and a more beautiful variety delights the soul of man than any way can be found in nature since the fall. Wherefore, seeing the acts and events, which are the subjects of true history are not of that amplitude as to content the mind of man, poesy is ready at hand to feign acts more heroical.
15. Because true history reports the success of business not proportionably to the merit of virtues and vices, poesy corrects it, and presents events and fortunes according to desert, and ac
cording to the law of Providence: because true history through the frequent satiety and similitude of things, works a distaste and misprision in the mind of man; poesy cheereth and refresheth the soul, chanting things rare and various, and full of vicissitudes.
16. So as poesy serveth and conferreth to delectation, magnanimity and morality; and therefore it may seem deservedly to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise the mind, and exalt the spirit with high raptures proportioning the shew of things to the desires of the mind, and not submitting the mind to things as reason and history do.** And by these allurements and congruities whereby it cherisheth the soul of man, joined also with concert of music whereby it may more sweetly insinuate itself; it hath won such success, that it hath been in estimation even in rude times, and barbarous nations, when our learning stood excluded.
17. But there is nothing which favours and falls in with this natural greatness and dignity of human nature so much as religion, which does not only promise the entire refinement of the mind, but the glorifying of the body, and the immortality of both.
Custom a Second Nature.
of the vulgar, that custom is a second nature. It is indeed able to form the man anew, and give him inclinations and capacities altogether different from those he was born with.
2. Dr. Plot, in his history of Staffordshire, tells of an idiot, that chanced to live within the sound of a clock, and always amused himself with counting the hour of the day whenever the clock struck : the clock being spoiled by some accident, the idiot continued to strike and count the hour without the help of it, in the same manner as he had done when it was entire.
3. Though I dare not vouch for the truth of this story, it is very certain that custom has a mechanical effect upon the body, at the same time that it has a very extraordinary influence upon the mind.
4. I shall in this paper consider one very remarkable effect which custom has upon human nature; and which, if rightly observed, may lead us into very useful rules of life. What I shall here take notice of in custom, is its wonderful efficacy in making every thing plcasant to us.
5. A person who is addicted to play or gaming, though he took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so strong an inclination towards it, and gives himself up so entirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or
busy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till he is utterly'unqualified for relishing that to which be has been for some time disused.
6. Nay, a man may smoke or drink, or take snuff, till he is unable to pass away his time without it; not to mention how our delight in any particular study, art, or science rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus what was at first an exercise becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into diversions. The mind grows fond of those actions it is accustomed to, and is drawn with reluctancy from those paths in which it has been used to walk.
7. Not only such actions as were at first indifferent to us, but even such as were painful, will by custom and practice become pleasant.
8. Sir Francis Bacon obseves in his natural philosophy, that our taste is never better pleased than with those things which at first created a disgust in it: He gives particular instances of claret, coffee and other liquors, which the palate seldom approves upon the first taste : but when it has once got a relish of them, generally retains it for life. The mind is constituted after the same manner, and after having habituated itself to any particular exercise or employment, not only loses its first aversion towards it, but conceives a certain fondness and affection for it. 9. I have heard one of the greatest geniuses this age
produced, who had been trained up in all the polite studies of antiquity, assure me, upon his being obliged to search in several rolls and records, that notwithstanding such an employment was at first very dry and irksome to him, he at last took an incredible pleasure in it, and preferred it even to the reading of Virgil or Cicero.
10. The reader will observe that I have not here considered custom as it makes things easy, but as it renders them delightful ; and though others have often made the same reflection, it is possible that they may not have drawn those uses from it, with which I intend to fill the remaining part of this paper.
11. Jf we consider attentively this property of human nature, it may instruct us in very fine moralities. In the first place, i would have no man discouraged with that kind of life or series of actions, in which the choice of others or his own necessities may have engaged him. It may perhaps be very disagreeable to him at first; but use and application will certainly render it not only less painful but pleasing and satisfactory.
12. In the second place, I would recommend to every one the admirable precept which Pythagoras is said to have given to his disciples, and which that philosopher must Optium vitæ genus
eligito nam consuetudo faciet jucundissimum. Pitch upon that course of life which is the most excellent, and custom will render it the most delightful.
13. Men, whose circumstances will permit them to choose their own way of life, are inexcuseable if they do not pursue that which their judgment tells them is the most laudable. The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination, since by the rule above mentioned, inclination, will at length come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.
14. In the third place, this observation may teach the most sensual and irrreligious man to overlook those hardships and difficulties, which are apt to discourage him from the prosecution of a virtuous life. The gods, said Hesiod, have placed labour be fore virtue; the way to her is at first rough and dfficult but grows more smooth and easy, the further you advance in it. The man who proceeds in it, with steadiness and resolution, will in a little time find that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace.
15. To enforce this consideration, we may further observe, that the practice of religion will not only be attended with that pleasure which naturally accompanies those actions to which we are habituated, but with those supernumerary joys of heart, that rise from the conciousness of such a pleasure, from the satisfaction of acting up to the dictates of reason, and from the prospect of an happy immortality.
16. In the fourth place, we may learn from this observation which we have made on the mind of man, to take particular care, when we are once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently indulge ourselves in any of the most innocent diversions and entertainments, since the mind may insensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous actions, and by degrees exchange that. pleasure which it takes in the performance of its duty, for delights of a much more inferior and unprofitable nature.
17. The last use which I shall make of this remarkable property in human nature, of being delighted with those actions to which it is accustomed, is to shew how absolutely necessary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life.
18. The state of bliss we call heaven, will not be capable of affecting those minds, which are not thus qualified for it: we must in this world gain a relish of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection which are to make us happy in the next. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures, which are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity, must be planted in it, during this its present state of probation. In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the reward, but as the natural effect of a religious life.
19. On the other hand, those evil spirits, who by long custom have contracted in the body habits of lust, sensuality, malice and revenge, an aversion to every thing that is good, just or laudable, are naturally seasoned and prepared for pain and misery. Their torments have already taken root in them; they cannot be happy when divested of the body, unless we may suppose, that Providence will in a manner create them anew, and work a miracle in 'the rectification of their faculties.
20. They may, indeed, taste a kind of malignant pleasure in those actions to which they are accustomed whilst in this life; but when they are removed from all those objects which are here apt to gratify them, they will naturally become their own tormentors, and cherish in themselves those painful habits of mind which are called, in scripture phrase, the worm that never dies.
21. This notion of heaven and hell is so very conformable to the light of nature, that it was discovered by several of the most exalted heathens. It has been finely improved by many eminent divines of the last age, as in particular by Archbishop Tillotson and Dr. Sherlock; but there is none who have raised such noble speculations upon it as Dr. Scott, in the first book of his Christian Life, which is one of the finest and most rational schemes of divinity, that is written in our tongue or any other, That excellent author has shewn how every particular custom and habit of virtue will, in its own nature, produce the heaven, or a state of happiness, in him who shall hereafter practise it: as on the contrary, how every custom or habit of vice will be the natural hell of him in whom it subsists.
SPECTATOR, No. 631. 1. HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some days
since, in a stage-coach, where I had for my fellow travelTers, a dirty beau, and a pretty young Quaker woman. Having no inclination to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention.
2. The gentleman was dressed in a suit, the ground whereof had been black, as I perceived from some few spaces that had escaped the powder, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat; his perriwig, which cost no small sum, was after so slovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712; his linen, which was not much concealed, was daubed, with plain Spanish from the ctrin to the lowest button, and the diamond upon his finger.