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any inclination to be vicious, as will appear from the follow, ing letter, which was sent by a young girl to her sweetheart, with whom she had begun to marry without the parson. I would have given it you in the original spelling, but was afraid half your readers would not understand it. The most remarkable part of it I have preserved.
« Dear Tammy my lofe © FT is jost as I tould you I am with chile so pray mak
haste and com and marry me and mak me a oneft « woman The parfon will be at home to morow and I çc sent to ax him to marry us and so he says ḥe wooll so “ beshure com in the mornin time enow Our Nan nose
ont and calls me hore but she need not call me so far “ fhe'd ha' been a hore her self if so be she had not meskarid
so no more at present from
“ Yor lofing wife tell death
" Molly Rouse
Thomas was now grown indifferent, very indifferent in deed! a common case, I am told, with young fellows, when accidents of this fort happen. But this fingular letter being shewn to my uncle Sir Richard, who takes pleasure in making every body happy, and he being also inform’d that they were to have been married the very day this flip was made, had the minister been at home, he fent for the young fellow, and talk'd him into a much better temper; and now they are married, live comfortably and honestly, and have every year since strengthen d the nation with a Aturdy boy or girl. reward for Thomas's fingular honesty, my uncle has, at the birth of every child, presented him with a good fat hog, agreeable to a promise made him before marriage, which is such encouragement, that all the young fellows in the neighbourhood have offer'd Sir Richard to marry on the fame terms.
My uncle, like a good commonwealth's man, highly honours the marriage-state, and has often express’d the ute moft dissatisfaction to me, at young gentlemen's deferring their nuptials 'till they are debauch'd and infirm, which, he fays, should be fome how consider'd and prevented by the legislature. In the mean time he endeavours to couple his kinsfolks and acquaintance as fast as he can. And as all the people in the neighbourhood dine with him at Christmas, he takes care to place those who are married at the upper end of the table near himself, and to provide them each with a silver spoon to eat his plumb-porridge, which is generally very good, while the batchelors and maidens, at the lower end of the table, are furnished only with wooden spoons, and have their plumb-porridge serv'd up in a wooden bowl, After dinner is over, and the good knight has said himself sings a song of his own compofing in praise of matrimony. This scheme, he affures me, has so alter'd the difposition of his neighbours, who, before he came among them, laugh'd at the marriage-state, that he has every year, before Christmas, been oblig'd to encrease the number of his Silver spoons, people are so ambitious of getting to the upper end of the table. But then the good knight has the pleasure to find, that the expence he was at for wooden spoons decreases in an adequate proportion. He has also the fatisfaction to see a great number of christenings at his church, and to be called godfather by all the children in the parish, for he piques himself on performing that friendly office.
I could add many more particulars of my uncle's oddities, which, as they all tend to some good end he has constantly in view, may be consider'd as fo many virtues; bụt, I believe, your readers are by this time fufficiently tired, and glad that I conclude myself,
Dear brother, yours for ever, &c.
LETTER VI. in defence of Religion.
[The subject continued from Number VIII.]
UT the necessity of religion appears no where greater, BOR
nor indeed so conspicuous, as in the seasonable and falutary influences it is seen by all to have upon a virtuous and vicious disposition. Human laws, as we have already observ'd, were notoriously defective in those two points; they neither suited the punishment to the tranfgreffon, nor could they, supposing them to have actually assigned and proportioned the penalty to the pernicious quality of each immoral act, be always indifferently and uprightly executed. Because the effects of justice would frequently be suspended, or, which is still worse, its course diverted out of the proper channel; and diverted by those very persons, whose situation in fociety, at the same time it gave them opportunities of doing this, laid them under the strongest and most pressing obligation to direct it equally, and to distribute it impartially. Now the instances that daily occur, and which, if we will but
and look about, we cannot but take notice" of, must convince us, that some have gone fuch amazing lengths in vice, and are become so habituated, or (if I may thus speak) naturalized to it, that they seem to have fpirits capable of undertaking any villany, tho’the effects thence emaine ing, be as severe and horrible, as they are unavoidable. And nothing can effectually work a reformation in them that de ride the magistrate's threats and defy his power, but the proc' ducing those awful and tremendous sentiments of another life, by placing the torments of it in such a light, or grounding the certainty of them upon such reasons, as will neceffarily strike terrour into those who have scornfully flighted, or audaciously and infolently oppugned the unchangeable laws' of truth and righteousness. This conception of another state, and the apprehensions of a being who will execute the
full severity of his wrath upöh such harden'd disolutë wretches, may not miss of a good effect. A serious attention to the torments of hell, such as an unquenchable fire, the worm that never dieth, &c. has been sufficient to frighten and drive the most abandoned into the paths of duty and obedience, when axes, halters, and the like scourges of an earthly tribunal were not able to lay hold on them. For in wholly taking up mens thoughts (which it must do, if it is once suffered to seize and take possession of their minds) it draws both their desires and pursuits from other objects to itself, and by degrees absorbs them all.
When, virtue, which should gain and secure us the favour of others, particularly of those with whom we have any correspondence and dealings, is, by the crafty and insidious (and fuch ever lie in wait to deceive) made the engine to work our own destruction by, it naturally produces great anxiety of mind, as well as a distrust of providence, and in room of . the easy good-natur’d principle, that keeps gradually losing strength, fucceeds fretfulness of temper, or a certain suspicious captious turn of mind, that, if it ends not in an insuperable averfion, at least it does in a perfect indifferency, to every thing substantially good and commendable amongst men. But the only proper remedy to raise fuch low desponding fpirits, is the sense of an infinitely intelligent and all-powerful governor, under whose administration virtue and vice shall be visibly distinguished; and essentially differenced, or their respective tendencies to ripen into action shall neither be fuperseded nor obstructed by any of those lets, which (thro the ignorance or perversity of man) now lie in the way and retard their course of operation, or else entirely change it, that is, make them go against themselves. For when religion, which brings along with it the comfortable doctrine of a righteous adjustment of events to particular moral agents, either here or hereafter, appears seasonably in aid of morality; all the difficulties and embarrasments that attend the good and pious liver immediately ceafe, on the commencement of
the belief of such a principle. The mind can, with a fort of infexible firmness, endure evils, tho', for the present, ever so grievous and hard of digestionthat she is asured will draw after them an happiness transcendently excellent in its kind, and of eternal duration. From all which we gather how necessary the full persuasion of another world is to the order and good government of this; to support and advance the interests of virtue, as also to excite and preserve a brisk, lively, and durable relish for moral performances in every state of persecution, or approaching danger of suffering for them. And this shews the reasonableness of such institutions as are fitted to recall and disengage men from a too close attachment and devotion to the things of this life, and to raise their minds up to, and fix their affections on, an infinitely more interesting one, had they only human authority to enforce them.
From the intimate dependence which religion and human happiness have on each other arises the right civil governors are vested with to constrain all within their jurisdiction to resort to church, or some other religious fociety founded on general consent, and tolerated by publick authority, there to give an open testimony of their belief of the three great truths above-mentioned ; and to hear their respective duties to God, to their fellow-creatures, and to themselves, with the grounds of their obligation, or the reasons ordaining them fully explained and affectionately recommended. Hence appears the absurdity of such arguments as would deprive the supreme magistrate of all power in religious matters, from a pretence that civil peace is the proper object and legitimate end of all his pursuits. Since his relation to fociety-ties him to all such acts and appointments as tend to its greater security and emolument, and how religion acquires this tendency, and improves it to the service of the state, has been largely shewn above.
In the room of those kindly beneficient consequences defcrib'd above, some would substitute a principle of honour as Numb. IX.