Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

thought religious to throw as much sanctity, and when completed. The whole examinaas possible into his face, and in particular to tion was summed up with one short quesabstain from all appearances of mirth and tion, namely, whether he was prepared for pleasantry, which were looked upon as the death? The boy, who had been bred up by marks of a carnal mind. The saint was of honest parents, was frighted ont of his a sorrowful countenance, and generally wits at the solemnity of the proceeding, eaten up with spleen and melancholy. A and by the last dreadful interrogatory; so gentleman, who was lately a great orna- that, upon making his escape out of this ment* to the learned world, has diverted house of mourning, he could never be me more than once with an account of the brought a second time, to the examination, reception which he met with from a very as not being able to go through the terrors famous independent minister, who was head of it. of a colleget in those times. This gentle- Notwithstanding this general form and man was then a young adventurer in the outside of religion is pretty well worn out republic of letters, and just fitted out for among us, there are many persons who, by the university with a good cargo of Latin a natural uncheerfulness of heart, mistaken and Greek. His friends were resolved that notions of piety, or weakness of understandhe should try his fortune at an election ing, love to indulge this uncomfortable way which was drawing near in the college, of of life, and give up themselves a prey to which the independent minister whom I grief and melancholy, Superstitious fears have before mentioned was governor. The and groundless scruples cut them off from youth, according to custom, waited on him the pleasures of conversation, and all those in order to be examined. He was received social entertainments, which are not only at the door by a servant who was one of innocent, but laudable: as if mirth was that gloomy generation that were then in made for reprobates, and cheerfulness of fashion. He conducted him with great si- heart denied those who are the only persons lence and seriousness, to a long gallery, that have a proper title to it. which was darkened at noon-day, and had Sombrius is one of these sons of sorrow. only a single candle burning in it. After a He thinks himself obliged in duty to be sad short stay in this melancholy apartment, and disconsolate. He looks on a sudden fit he was led into a chamber hung with black, of laughter as a breach of his baptismal where he entertained himself for some time vow. An innocent jest startles him like by the glimmering of a taper, until at blasphemy. Tell him of one who is adlength the head of the college came out to vanced to a title of honour, he lifts up his him from an inner room, with half a dozen hands and eyes: describe a public ceremonight-caps upon his head, and religious ny, he shakes his head; show him a gay horror in his countenance. The young man equipage, he blesses himself. All the little trembled: but his fears increased, when in- ornaments of life are pomps and vanities. stead of being asked what progress he had Mirth is wanton, and wit profane. He is made in learning, he was examined how he scandalized at youth for being lively, and abounded in grace. His Latin and Greek at childhood for being playful. He sits at stood him in little stead; he was to give an a christening, or marriage-feast, as at a fuaccount only of the state of his soul; whe- neral; sighs at the convulsion of a merry ther he was of the number of the elect; what story, and grows devout when the rest of was the occasion the conversion, upon the company grow pleasant. After all, what day of the month, and hour of the Sombrius is a religious man, and would day it happened; how it was carried on, have behaved himself very properly, had

he lived when christianity was under a ge

neral persecution. * The gentleman alluded to wag Anthony Henley, Esq. son of Sir Robert Henley, of the Grange, in Hamp

I would by no means presume to tax such shire. He was the intimate friend of the most consider characters with hypocrisy, as is done too able wits of the time, and is believed to have been an frequently; that being a vice which I think ample contributor to the Tatler. Dr. Garth entertained so high an opinion of him, that he dedicated his Dis.

none but He who knows the secrets of pensary to him “ in terms which must lead the reader men's hearts should pretend to discover in to form a very exalted idea of his virtues and accom another, where the proofs of it do not plishments." Mr. Henley died in August, 1711.

This was Dr. Thomas Goodwin, s. T P. President amount to a demonstration. On the conof Magdalen College, Oxford, and one of the assembly trary, as there are many excellent persons of divines that sat at Westminster. Wood styles him who are weighed down by this habitual and Dr. Owen “the two Atlasses and Patriarchs of independency.” In the character ptefixed to his works,

sorrow of heart, they rather deserve our be is described as a man " much addicted to retirement compassion than our reproaches. I think, and deep contemplation : that he had been much ex; however, they would do well to consider he lived, and had a deep insight into

the grace of God, whether such a behaviour does not deter and the covenant of grace." He attended Cromwell

, men from a religious life, by representing his friend and patron, upon his death-bed, and was very it as an unsociable state, that extinguishes communicated to him in prayer, but a few minutes be all joy and gladness, darkens the face of nafore his death. When he found himself mistaken, in a ture, and destroys the relish of being itself. subsequent address to God, he exclaimed, “ Thou hast

I have, in former papers, shown how deceived us, and we were deceived." He died in Feb. 1679, in the eightieth year of his age. See Granger great a tendency there is to cheerfulness in vol. ii.

religion, and how such a frame of mind is not only the most lovely, but the most com- race of people called Jews, many of whom mendable in a virtuous person. In short, I have met with in most of the considerable those who represent religion in so unami- towns which I have passed through in the able a light, are like the spies sent by course of my travels. They are, indeed, so Moses to make a discovery of the Land of disseminated through all the trading parts Promise, when by their reports they dis- of the world, that they are become the incouraged the people from entering upon it. struments by which the most distant nations Those who show us the joy, the cheerful- converse with one another, and by which ness, the good humour, that naturally mankind are knit together in a general corspring up in this happy state, are like the respondence. They are like the pegs and spies bringing along with them the clusters nails in a great building, which, though they of grapes, and delicious fruits, that might are but little valued in themselves, are abinvite their companions into the pleasant solutely necessary to keep the whole frame country which produced them.

together. An eminent pagan writer* has made a That I may not fall into any common discourse to show that the atheist, who de beaten tracks of observation, I shall consinies a God, does him less dishonour than der this people in three views: First, with the man who owns his being; but at the regard to their number; secondly, their same time believes him to be cruel, hard dispersion; and thirdly their adherence to to please, and terrible to human nature. their religion: and afterwards endeavour For my own part,' says he, 'I would ra- to show first, what natural reasons, and ther it should be said of me, that there secondly, what providential reasons, may was never any such man as Plutarch, than be assigned for these three remarkable that Plutarch was ill-natured, capricious, particulars. or inhuman.'

The Jews are looked upon by many to be If we may believe our logicians, man is as numerous at present, as they were fordistinguished from all other creatures by merly in the land of Canaan. the faculty of laughter. He has a heart This is wonderful, considering the dreadcapable of mirth, and naturally disposed to ful slaughter made of them under some of it. It is not the business of virtue to extir- the Roman emperors, which historians pate the affections of the mind, but to regu- describe by the death of many hundred late them. It may moderate and restrain, thousands in a war; and the innumerable but was not designed to banish gladness massacres and persecutions they have unfrom the heart of man. Religion contracts dergone in Turkey, as well as in all Chris the circle of our pleasures, but leaves it tian nations of the world. The rabbins, to wide enough for her votaries to expatiate express the great havoc which has been in. The contemplation of the divine Being, sometimes made of them, tell us, after their and the exercise of virtue, are in their own usual manner of hyperbole, that there were nature, so far from excluding all gladness such torrents of holy blood shed, as carried of heart, that they are perpetually sources rocks of a hundred yards in circumference of it. In a word, the true spirit of religion above three miles into the sea. cheers, as well as composes, the soul; it Their dispersion is the second remarkbanishes indeed all levity of behaviour, all able particular in this people. They swarm vicious and dissolute mirth; but in exchange over all the East, and are settled in the refills the mind with a perpetual serenity, motest parts of China. They are spread uninterrupted cheerfulness, and an habi- through most of the nations in Europe and tual inclination to please others, as well as Africa, and many families of them are to be pleased in itself,

established in the West Indies: not to mention whole nations bordering on Prester

John's country, and some discovered in the No. 495.] Saturday, September 27, 1712. inner parts of America, if we may give any

credit to their own writers. Duris ut ilex tonsa bipennibus

Their firm adherence to their religion is Nigræ feraci frondis in Algido, Per damna, per cædes, ab ipso

no less remarkable than their numbers and Ducit opes animumque ferro.

dispersion, especially considering it as per

secuted or contemned over the face of the -Like an oak on some cold mountain's brow, whole earth. This is likewise the more At ev'ry wound they sprout and grow : The axe and sword new vigour give,

remarkable, if we consider the frequent And by their ruins they revive.-Anon. apostacies of this people, when they lived As I am one who, by my profession, am under their kings in the land of promise, obliged to look into all kinds of men, there and within sight of the temple. are none whom I consider with so much If in the next place we examine what pleasure, as those who have any thing new may be the natural reasons of these three or extraordinary in their characters or particulars which we find in the Jews, and ways of living. For this reason I have often which are not to be found in any other reamused myself with speculations on the ligion or people, I can, in the first place,

attribute their numbers to nothing but their * Plut. Ilspo Asimod povin5. Plut. Opera, tom. i.

constant employment, their abstinence, p. 286. H. Steph. 1572, 12mno.

their exemption from wars, and, above all,

[ocr errors]

Hor. Od. iv. Lib. 4. 57.

their frequent marriages; for they look on on the genius and temper of mankind, by celibacy as an accursed state, and generally considering the various bent and scope of are married before twenty, as hoping the our actions throughout the progress of life, Messiah may descend from them.

have with great exactness allotted inclinaThe dispersion of the Jews into all the tions and objects of desire particular to nations of the earth, is the second remark- every stage, according to the different cirable particular of that people, though not cumstances of our conversation and fortune, so hard to be accounted for. They were through the several periods of it. Hence always in rebellions and tumults while they they were disposed easily to excuse those had the temple and holy city in view, for excesses which might possibly arise from which reason they have often been driven a too eager pursuit of the affections more out of their old habitations in the land of immediately proper to each state. They promise. They have as often been banish- indulged the levity of childhood with tened out of most other places where they derness, overlooked the gayety of youth have settled, which must very much dis- with good-nature, tempered the forward perse and scatter a people, and oblige them ambition and impatience of ripened manto seek a livelihood where they can find it. hood with discretion, and kindly im puted Besides, the whole people is now a race of the tenacious avarice of old men to their such merchants as are wanderers by pro- want of relish for any other enjoyment. fession, and, at the same time, are in most, Such allowances as these were no less adif not all places, incapable of either lands vantageous to common society than obliging or offices, that might engage them to make to particular persons; for, by maintaining any part of the world their home.

a decency and regularity in the course of This dispersion would probably have lost | life, they supported the dignity of human their religion, had it not been secured by nature, which then suffers the greatest viothe strength of its constitution: for they are lence when the order of things is inverted; to live all in a body, and generally within and in nothing is it more remarkably vilithe same enclosure; to marry among them-fied and ridiculous, than when feebleness selves, and to eat no meats that are not preposterously attempts to adorn itself killed or prepared their own way. This with that outward pomp and lustre, which shuts them out from all table conversation, serve only to set off the bloom of youth and the most agreeable intercourses of life; with better advantage. I was insensibly and, by consequence, excludes them from carried into reflections of this nature, by the most probable means of conversion. just now meeting Paulino (who is in his

If, in the last place, we consider what climacteric) bedecked with the utmost providential reasons may be assigned for splendour of dress and equipage, and giving these three particulars, we shall find that an unbounded loose to all manner of pleatheir numbers, dispersion, and adherence sure, whilst his only son is debarred all to their religion, have furnished every age, innocent diversion, and may be seen freand every nation of the world, with the quently solacing himself in the Mall with strongest arguments for the Christian faith, no other attendance than one antiquated not only as these very particulars are fore- servant of his father's for a companion and told of them, but as they themselves are director. the depositaries of these, and all the other • It is a monstrous want of reflection, that prophecies, which tend to their own con- a man cannot consider, that when he canfusion. Their number furnishes us with not resign the pleasures of life in his decay a sufficient cloud of witnesses that attest of appetite and inclination to them, his son the truth of the old Bible. Their disper- must have a much uneasier task to resist sion spreads these witnesses through all the impetuosity of growing desires. The parts of the world. The adherence to their skill therefore should methinks be, to let a religion makes their testimony unquestion- son want no lawful diversion, in proportion able. Had the whole body of the Jews to his future fortune, and the figure he is been converted to Christianity, we should to make in the world. The first step tocertainly have thought all the prophecies wards virtue that I have observed, in young of the Old Testament, that relate to the men of condition that have run into excoming and history of our blessed Saviour, cesses, has been that they had a regard to forged by Christians, and have looked upon their quality and reputation in the managethem with the prophecies of the Sybils, as ment of their vices. Narrowness in their made many years after the events they pre supply themselves as debauchees, com.

circumstances has made many youths, to

mence cheats and rascals. The father who No. 496.] Monday, September 29, 1712. allows his son to the utmost ability avoids Gnatum pariter uti his decuit aut etiam amplius,

this latter. evil, which as to the world is Quod illa ætas magis ad hæc utenda idonea est.

much greater than the former. But the Terent. Heaut. Act. i. Sc. 1. contrary practice has prevailed so much Your son ought to have shared in these things, be among some men, that I have known them cause youth is best suited to the enjoyment of them. deny them what was merely necessary for

• MR. SPECTATOR,—Those ancients who education suitable to their quality. Poor were the most accurate in their remarks young Antonio is a lamentable instance of ill conduct in this kind. The young man | all her nice airs and her crooked legs. Pray did not want natural talents; but the father be sure to put her in for both those two of him was a coxcomb, who affected being things, and you will oblige every body here, a fine gentleman so unmercifully, that he especially, your humble servant, could not endure in his sight, or the fre

ALICE BLUEGARTER.' quent mention of one, who was his son, growing into manhood, and thrusting him out of the gay world. I have often thought No. 497.] Tuesday, September 30, 1712. the father took a secret pleasure in reflecting that, when that fine house and seat

Ουτος ιστι γαλωτης γερων, Μenander. came into the next hands, it would revive

A cunning old for this! his memory, as a person who knew how to A FAVOUR well bestowed is almost as enjoy them, from observation of the rusti- great an honour to him who confers it as to city and ignorance of his successor. Cer-him who receives it. What indeed makes tain it is, that a man may, if he will, let his for the superior reputation of the patron in heart close to the having no regard to any this case is, that he is always surrounded thing but his dear self, even with exclusion with specious pretences of unworthy candiof his very children. I recommend this dates, and is often alone in the kind inclinasubject to your consideration, and am, sir, tion he has towards the well deserving. your most humble servant, T. B.' Justice is the first quality in the man who London, Sept. 26, 1712.

is in a post of direction; and I remember MR. SPECTATOR,—I am just come from to have heard an old gentleman talk of the Tunbridge, and have since my return read civil wars, and in his relation give an acMrs. Matilda Mohair's letter to you. She count of a general officer, who with this pretends to make a mighty story about the one quality, without any shining endowdiversions of swinging in that place. What ments, became so popularly beloved and was done was oniy among relations; and no honoured, that all decisions between man man swung any woman who was not second and man were laid before him by the parcousin at farthest. She is pleased to say, ties concerned, in a private way; and they care was taken that the gallants tied the would lay by their animosities implicitly, ladies' legs before they were wafted into if he bid them be friends, or submit them. the air. Since she is so spiteful, I will tell selves in the wrong without reluctance, if you the plain truth.—There was no such he said it, without waiting the judgment of nicety observed, since we were all, as I courts-martial. His manner was to keep just now told you, near relations; but Mrs. the dates of all commissions in his closet, Mohair herself has been swung there, and and wholly dismiss from the service such she invents all this malice, because it was who were deficient in their duty; and after observed she had crooked legs, of which I that took care to prefer according to the was an eye witness. Your humble servant,

order of battle. His familiars were his enRACHEL SHOESTRING.'

tire friends, and could have no interested

views in courting his acquaintance; for his Tunbridge, Sept. 26, 1712. affection was no step to their preferment, MR. SPECTATOR, -We have just now though it was to their reputation. By this read your paper, containing Mrs. Mohair's means a kind aspect, a salutation, a smile, letter. It is an invention of her own from and giving out his hand, had the weight of one end to the other; and I desire you what is esteemed by vulgar minds more would print the enclosed letter by itself, substantial. His business was very short, and shorten it so as to come within the and he who had nothing to do but justice compass of your half sheet. She is the most was never affronted with a request of a famalicious minx in the world, for all she miliar daily visitant for what was due to a looks so innocent. Do not leave out that brave man at a distance. Extraordinary part about her being in love with her fa- merit he used to recommend to the king ther's butler, which makes her shun men; for some distinction at home; till the order for that is the truest of it all. Your humble of battle made way for his rising in the servant,

SARAH TRICE. troops. Add to this, that he had an excel•P. S. She has crooked legs.'

lent way of getting rid of such who he ob• Tunbridge, Sept. 26, 1712.

served were good at a halt, as his phrase • MR. SPECTATOR, -All that Mrs. Mo- hended all those who were contented to

Under this description he compree hair is so vexed at against the good com- live without reproach, and had no promptipany of this place is, that we all know she tude in their minds towards glory. These has crooked legs. This is certainly true. fellows were also recommended to the I do not care for putting my name, because king, and taken off the general's hands one would not be in the power of the crea- into" posts wherein diligence and common ture. Your humble servant, unknown.'

honesty were all that were necessary. This •Tunbridge, Sept. 26, 1712. general had no weak part in his line, but • MR. SPECTATOR,—That insufferable every man had as much care upon him, prude, Mrs. Mohair, who has told such and as much honour to lose as himself

. stories of the company here, is with child, for Every officer could answer for what passed

[ocr errors]

was.

where he was; and the general's presence himself and servants, that the whole court was never necessary any where, but where were in an emulation who should first introhe had placed himself at the first disposi- duce him to his holiness. What added to tion, except that accident happened from the expectation his holiness had of the extraordinary efforts of the enemy which pleasure he should have in his follies, was, he could not foresee; but it was remarkable that this fellow, in a dress the most exquithat it never fell out from failure in his own sitely ridiculous, desired he might speak to troops. It must be confessed the world is him alone, for he had matters of the highest just so much out of order, as an unworthy importance, upon which he wanted a conperson possesses what should be in the di- ference. Nothing could be denied to a coxrection of him who has better pretensions comb of so great hope; but when they were to it.

apart, the impostor revealed himself, and Instead of such a conduct as this old fel- spoke as follows: low used to describe in his general, all the evils which have ever happened among

Do not be surprised, most holy father, mankind have arose from the wanton dis- at seeing, instead of a coxcomb to laugh at, position of the favours of the powerful. It your old friend, who has taken this way of is generally all that men of modesty and access to admonish you of your own fólly. virtue can do, to fall in with some whimsi- | Can any thing show your holiness how uncal turn in a great man, to make way for worthy you treat mankind, more than my things of real and absolute service. In the being put upon this difficulty to speak with time of Don Sebastian of Portugal, or some you? It is a degree of folly to delight to see time since, the first minister would let no- it in others, and it is the greatest insolence thing come near him but what bore the imaginable to rejoice in the disgrace of humost profound face of wisdom and gravity.

man nature. It is a criminal humility in a They carried it so far, that, for the greater believe you cannot excel but in the con

person of your holiness's understanding, to show of their profound knowledge, a pair versation of half-wits, humourists, cox. black riband round their heads, was what combs, and buffoons. If your holiness has completed the dress of those who made a mind to be diverted like a rational man, their court at his levee, and none with you have a great opportunity for it, in disnaked noses were admitted to his

presence.

robing all the impertinents you have faA blunt honest fellow, who had a com-voured, of all their riches and trappings at mand in the train of artillery, had attempted once, and bestowing them on the humble, to make an impression upon the porter,

the virtuous, and the meek. If your holiday after day in vain, until at length he ness is not concerned for the sake of virtue made his appearance in a very thoughtful and religion, be pleased to reflect, that for dark suit of clothes, and two pair of specta- the sake of your own safety it is not proper cles on at once. He was conducted from to be so very much in jest. When the pope room to room, with great deference, to the is thus merry, the people will in time begin minister; and, carrying on the farce of the to think many things, which they have place, he told his excellency that he had hitherto beheld with great veneration, are pretended in this manner to be wiser than in themselves objects of scorn and derision. he really was, but with no ill intention: but If they once get a trick of knowing how to he was honest Such-a-one of the train, and laugh, your holiness's saying this sentence he came to tell him that they wanted wheel- in one night cap, and the other with the barrows and pick-axes. The thing hap- other, the change of your slippers, bringing pened not to displease, the great man was you your staff in the midst of a prayer, then seen to smile, and the successful officer was stripping you of one vest, and clapping on re-conducted with the same profound cere

a second during divine service, will be found mony out of the house.

out to have nothing in it. Consider, sir, that When Leo X. reigned pope of Rome, at this rate a head will be reckoned never his holiness, though a man of sense, and of the wiser for being bald, and the ignorant an excellent taste of letters, of all things will be apt to say, that going bare-foot does affected fools, buffoons, humourists, and not at all help on the way to heaven. The coxcombs. Whether it were from vanity, red cap and the cowl will fall under the and that he enjoyed no talents in other men

same contempt; and the vulgar will tell us but what were inferior to him, or whatever to our faces, that we shall have no authority it was, he carried it so far, that his whole over them but from the force of our argudelight was in finding out new fools, and as ments and the sanctity of our lives.' T, our phrase is, playing them off, and making them show themselves to advantage. A priest of his former acquaintance, suffered No. 498.) Wednesday, October 1, 1712. a great many disappointments in attempting to find access to him in a regular cha

-Frustra retinacula tendens, racter, until at last in despair he retired

Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habenas.

Virg. Georg. i. 514 from Rome, and returned in an equipage so

Nor reins, nor curbs, nor cries the horses fear, very fantastical, both as to the dress of But force along the trembling charioteer.--Dryden.

« AnteriorContinuar »