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me from my seat, and I went to my lodging, led by a light, whom I put into the discourse of his private ceconomy, and made him give me an account of the charge, hazard, profit and loss of a family that depended upon a link, with a design to end my trivial day with the generosity of sixpence, instead of a third part of that sum. When I came to my chambers, I wrote down these minutes; but was at a loss what instruction I should propose to my reader from the enumeration of so many insignificant matters and occurrences; and I thought it of great use, if they could learn with me to keep their minds open to gratification, and ready to receive it from any thing it meets with. This one circumstance will make every face you see give you the satisfaction you now take in beholding that of a friend ; will make every object a pleasing one; will make all the good which arrives to any man an increase of happiness to yourself.
A VISION. No. 463.
I was lately entertaining myself with comparing Homer's balance, in which Jupiter is represented as weighing the fates of Hector and Achilles, with a passage of Virgil, wherein that deity is introduced as weighing the fates of Turnus and Æneas. I then considered how the same way of thinking prevailed in the eastern parts of the world, as in those noble passages of Scripture, wherein we are told, that the great king of Babylon, the day before his death, had been weighed in the balance, and been found wanting. In other places of the Holy Writings, the Almighty is described
as weighing the mountains in scales, making the weight for the winds, knowing the balancings of the clouds, and in others, as weighing the actions of men, and laying their calamities together in a balance. Milton, as I have observed in a former paper, had an eye to several of these foregoing instances in that beautiful description wherein he represents the archángel and the evil spirit as addressing themselves for the combat, but parted by the balance which appeared in the heavens, and weighed the consequences of such a battle.
• The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, Hung forth in heaven his golden scales, yet seen Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign.'
These several amusing thoughts having taken possession of my mind some time before I went to sleep, and mingling themselves with my ordinary ideas, raised in my imagination a very odd kind of vision. I was, methought, replaced in my study, and seated in my elbow-chair, where I had indulged the foregoing speculations with iny lamp burning by me as usual. Whilst I was here meditating on several subjects of morality, and considering the nature of many virtues and vices, as materials for those discourses with which I daily entertain the public, I saw, methought, a pair of golden scales hanging by a chain of the same metal over the table that stood before me; when, on a sudden, there were great heaps of weights thrown down on each „side of them. I found, upon examining these weights, they showed the value of every thing that is in esteem among men. I made an essay of them, by putting the weight of wisdom in one scale, and that of riches in another; upon which the latter, tu show its coni
parative parative lightness, immediately flew up and kicked the beamn.'
But, before I proceed, I must inform my reader, that these weights did not exert their natural gravity till they were laid in the golden balance, insomuch that I could not guess which was light or heavy, whilst I held them in my hand. This I found by several instances ; for upon my laying a weight in one of the scales, which was inscribed by the word “eternity,' though I threw in that of time, prosperity, affliction, wealth, poverty, interest, success, with many other weights, which in my hand seemed very ponderous, they were not able to stir the opposite balance, nor could they have prevailed though assisted with the weight of the sun, the stars, and the earth.
Upon emptying the scales, I laid several titles and honours, with pomps, triumphs, and many weights of the like nature, in one of them, and seeing a little glittering weight lie by me, I threw it accidentally into the other scale, when to my great surprise it proved so exact a counterpoise, that it kept the balance in an
equilibrium. This little glittering weight was inscribed Supon the edges of it with the word vanity' found there were several other weights which were equally heavy, and exact counterpoises to one another; a few of them I tried, as avarice and poverty, riches and content, with some others.
There were likewise several weights that were of the same figure, and seemed to correspoud with each other, but were entirely different when thrown into the scales; as religion and 'hypocrist, pedantry an learning, wit and vivacity, superstition and devotion, gravity arid wisdom, with many others. I observed one particular weight' lettered on both
sides, and upon applying myself to the reading of it I found on one side written, In the dialect of men,' and underneath it, ' CALAMITIES:' on the other side was written, 'In the language of the gods, and underneath, BLESSINGS.' I found the intrinsic value of this weight to be much greater than I imagined; for it overpowered health, wealth, good fortune, and many other weights, which were much more ponder
hand than the other. There is a saying among the Scotch, that. an ounce of mother-wit is worth a pound of clergy. I was sensible of the truth of this saying, when I saw the difference between the weight of natural parts and that of learning. The observation which I made upon these two weights opened to me a new field of discoveries; for, notwithstanding the weight of the natural parts was much heavier than that of learning, I observed that it weighed a hundred times heavier than it did before, when I put learning into the same scale with it. I made the same observation upon faith and morality; for, notwithstanding the latter outweighed the former separately, it received a thousand times more additional weight from its conjunction with the former, than what it had by itself. This odd phænomenon showed itself in other particulars, as in wit and judgment, philosophy and religion, justice and humanity, zeal and charity, depth of sense and perspicuity of style, with innumerable other particulars too long to be mentioned in this paper.
As a dream seldom fails of dashing seriousness with impertinence, mirth with gravity, methought I made several other experiments of a more ludicrous nature, by one of which I found that an English octavo: was very often heavier than a French folio; and by an701. 1!.
other, that an old Greek or Latin author weighed down a whole library of moderns. Seeing one of my Spectators lying by me, I laid it into one of the scales, and flung a two-peny piece into the other. The reader will not inquire into the event, if he remembers the first trial which I have recorded in this paper. I afterwards threw both the sexes into the balance; but as it is not for my interest to disoblige either of them, I shall desire to be excused from telling the result of this experiment. Having an opportunity of this nature in my hands, I could not forbear throwing into one scale the principles of a tory, and into the other those of a whig; but as I have all along declared this to be a neutral paper, I shall likewise desire to be silent under this head also, though, upon examining one of the weights, I saw the word “ TEKEL'engraven on it in capital letters.
I made many other experiments; and though I have not room for them all in this day's speculation, I may perhaps reserve them for another. I shall only add, that upon my awaking, I was sorry to find my golden scales vanished, but resolved for the future to learn this lesson from them, not to despise or value any things for their appearances, but to regulate my esteem and passions towards them according to their real and intrinsic value.
ALLEGORY ON RICHES AND POVERTY. No. 464.
I SHALL fill part of my paper with a very pretty al. legory, which is wrought into a play by Aristophanes, the Greck comedian. It seems originally designed as a satire upon the rich, though, in some parts of it, it