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to me an unhappy contradiction, that those
performance of that great duty of thanksgiv-
“The town cannot be unacquainted that in divers parts of it there are vociferous sets of men who are called Rattling Clubs; but what shocks me most is, they have now the front to invade the church and institute those societies, there, as a clan of them have in late times done, to such a degree of insolence as has given the partition where they reside, in a church near one of the city gates, the denomination of the rattling pew. These gay fellows, from humble lay professions, set up for critics, without any tincture of letters or reading, and have the vanity to think they can lay hold of something from the parson which may be formed into ridicule.
“It is needless to observe that the gentlemen, who every Sunday have the hard province of instructing these wretches in a way they are in no present disposition to take, have a fixed character for learning and eloquence, not to be tainted by the weak efforts of this contemptible part of their audiences. Whether the pulpit is taken by these gentlemen, or any strangers their friends, the way of the club is this: if any sentiments are delivered too sublime for their conception; if any uncommon topic is entered on, or one in use new modified with the finest judgment and dexterity; or,
any controverted point be never so elegantly
handled; in short, whatever surpasses the narrow limits of their theology, or is not suited to their taste, they are all immediately upon the watch, fixing their eyes upon each other with as much warmth as our gladiators of Hockley-in-the-Hole, and waiting like them for a hit: if one touches, all take fire, and their noddles instantly meet in the centre of the pew : then, as by beat of drum, with exact discipline, they rear up into a full length of stature, and with odd looks and gesticulations confer together in so loud and clamorous
a manner, continued to the close of the dis. - 51
course, and during the after-psalm, as is not to be silenced but by the bells. Nor does this suffice them, without aiming to propagate their noise through all the church, by signals given to the adjoining seats, where others designed for this fraternity are sometimes placed upon trial to receive them. • The folly as well as rudeness of this practice is in nothing more conspicuous than this, that all that follows in the sermon is lost; for, whenever our sparks take alarm, they blaze out and grow so tumultuous that no after-explanation can avail, it being impossible for themselves or any near them to give an account thereof. If anything really novel is advanced, how averse soever it may be to their way of thinking, to say nothing of duty, men of less levity than these would be led by a matural curiosity to hear the whole. • Laughter, where things sacred are transacted, is far less pardonable than whining at a conventicle; the last has at least a semblance of grace, and where the affectation is unseen, may possibly imprint wholesome lessons on the sincere; but the first has no excuse, breaking through all the rules of order and decency, and manifesting a remissness of mind in those important matters which require the strictest composure and steadiness of thought: a proof of the greatest folly in the world. “I shall not here enter upon the veneration due to the sanctity of the place, the reverence owing the minister, or the respect that so great an assembly as a whole parish may justly claim. I shall only tell them, that, as the Spanish cobbler, to reclaim a profligate son, bid him have some regard to the dignity of his family, so they as gentlemen (for we who are citizens assume to be such one day in a week) are bound for the future to repent of, and abstain from, the gross abuses here mentioned, whereof they have been guilty in contempt of heaven and earth, and contrary to the laws in this case made and provided. ‘ I am, Sir, ‘Your very humble servant, * R. M.”
No. 631.] Friday, December 10, 1714.
Simplex munditiis —
Elegant by cleanliness-—
I HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some days since, in a stage-coach, where I had for my fellow travellers 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, aud pick a speculation out of my two companians. The different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention. 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 periwig, which cost no small outm, was after so slovenly a manner cast over
his shoulders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712; his linem, which was not much concealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chim to the lowest button; and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in mind how it sparkled amidst the rubbish of the mine where it was first discovered. On the other hand, the pretty quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanliness. Not a speck was to be found upon her. A clear, clean oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambric, received great advantagess from the shade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that sober-coloured stuff in which she had clothed herself. The plainness of her dress was very well suited to the simplicity of her phrases; all which, put together, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence. This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I shall consider as one of the 'half-virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall recommend it under the three following heads: as it is a mark of politeness; as it produces love; and as it bears analogy to purity of mind. ‘First, It is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one unadorned with this virtue can go into company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty arises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanlimess as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot and an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced. In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces the passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetuat neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied: like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust. I might observe further, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves: that it is an excellent preservative of health ; and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe, in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions. We find from experience that, through the prevalence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, those who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the
first appearances of what is shocking. It fares
with us much after the same manner as our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impression of such things as usually surround them. So that pure and unsullied thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually encompass us when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
In the east, where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately necessary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their religion: the Jewish law, and the Mahonetan, which in some things copies af. ter it, is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above-named convenient reason to be assigned for these ceremonies, the chief intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanliness of heart by those outward washings. We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth; and which are but ill accounted for by saying, as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the desert, which otherwise could not have been habitable for so many years.
I shall conclude this essay with a story which I have somewhere read in an account of Mahometan superstitions.
A dervise of great sanctity one morning had the misfortue, as he took up a crystal cup which was consecrated to the prophet, to let it fall upon the ground and dash it in pieces His son coming in some time after, he stretched out his hand to bless him, as his manner was every morning: but the youth going out stumbled over the threshold and , broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca; the dervise approached it to beg a blessing ; but as he stroked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast that sorely bruised him. His sorrow and amazement increased upon him, until he recollected that, through hurry and inadvertency, he had that morning come abroad without washing his hands.
No. 632.] Monday, December 13, 1714.
—FXplebo numerum, reddargue tenebris.
- Wirg. Æn vi. 145. the number I'll complete,
Then to obscurity well pleas'd retreat.
THE love of symmetry and order, which is natural to the mind of man, betrays him sometimes into very whimsical fancies. “This noble principle,’ says a French author, “loves to amuse itself on the most trisling occasions. You may see a profound philosopher,’ says he, ‘walk for an hour together in "his chamber, and industriously treading, at every step, upon every other board in the flooring.' Every reader will recollect several instances of this nature without my assistance. I think it was Gregorio Leti, who had published as many books as he was years old;" which was a rule
* This voluminous writer boasted that he had been the author of a book and the father of achild for twenty years
he had laid down and punctually observed to the year of his death. It was, perhaps, a thought of the like nature whib determined Homer himself to divide each of his poems into as many books as there are letters in the Greek alphabet. Herodotus has in the same manner adapted his books to the number of the muses, for which reason many a learned man hath wished there had been more than nine of that sisterhood. Several epic poets have religiously followed Virgil as to the number of his books: and even Milton is thought by many to have changed the nnmber of his books from ten to twelve for no other reason; as Cowley tells us, it was his design, had he finished his Davideis, to have also imitated the AEmeid in this particular. I believe every one will agree with me that a perfection of this nature hath no foundation in reason; and, with due respect to these great names, may be looked upon as something whimsical. I mention these great examples in defence of my bookseller, who occasioned this eighth volume of Spectators, because, as he said, he thought seven a very odd number. On the other side, several grave reasons were urged on this important subject ; as, in particular, that seven was the precise number of the wise men. and that the most beautiful constellation in the heavens was composed of seven stars. This he allowed to be true, but still insisted that seven was an odd number: suggesting at the same time, that if he were provided with a sufficient stock of leading papers, he should find friends ready enough to car on the work. Having by this means got his vessel launched and set afloat, he hath cominitted the steerage of it, from time to time, to such as he thought capable of conducting it. The close of this volume, which the town may now expect in a little time, may possibly ascribe each sheet to its proper author. It were no hard task to continue this paper a considerable time longer by the help of large contributions sent from unknown hands. I cannot give the town a better opinion of the Spectator's correspondents, than by publishing the following letter, with a very fine copy of verses upon a subject perfectly new.
“MR. spect Ator, Dublin, Nov. 30, 1714. ‘You lately recommended to your female readers the good old custom of their grandmothers, who used to lay out a great part of their time in needle-work. I entirely agree with you in your sentiments, and think it would not be of less advantage to themselves and their posterity, than to the reputation of many of their good neighbours, if they passed many of those hours in this innocent entertainment which are lost at the tea-table. I would, however, humbly offer to your consi. deration the case of the poetical ladies; who, though they may be willing to take any ad
successively. Swift counted the number of steps he had made from London to Chelsea. And it is said and demonstrated in the Parentalia, that bishop Wren walked round the earth while a prisoner in the tower of London.
viee given them by the Spectator, yet cannot so easily quit their pen and ink as you may imagine. Pray allow them, at least now and then, to indulge themselves in other amusements of fancy when they are tired with stooping to their tapestry. There is a very particular kind of work, which of late several ladies here in our kingdom are very fond of, which seems very well adapted to a poetical genius: it is the making of grottos. I know a lady who has a very beautiful one, composed by herself; nor is there one shell in it not stuck up by her own hands. I here send you a poem to the fair architect, which I would mot offer to herself until I knew whether this method of a lady's passing her time were approved of by the British Spectator; which, with the poem, I submit to your censure, who an * Your constant reader, * and humble servant, • A. B."
Omnia profecto, cum se a coelestibus rebus referet ad humanas, excelsius magnificentiusque et dicet et sentiet. Cicero.
The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs.
The following discourse is printed, as it came to my hands, without variation.
Cambridge, Dec. 11.
“It was a very common inquiry among the ancients, why the number of excellent orators, under all the encouragements the most flourishing states could give them, fell so far short of the number of those who excelled in all other sciences. A friend of mine used merrily to apply to this case an observation of Herodotus, who says, that the most useful animals are the most fruitful in their generation ; whereas the species of those beasts that are fierce and mischievous to mankind are but scarcely continued. The historian instances in a hare, which always either breeds or brings forth ; and a liomess, which brings forth but once, and then loses all power of conception. But leaving my friend to his mirth, I am of opinion that in these latter ages we have greater cause of complaint than the ancients had. And since that solemn festival is approaching," which calls for all the power of oratory, and which affords as noble a subject for the pulpit as any revelation has taught us, the design of this paper shall be to show, that our moderns have greater advantages towards true and solid eloquence than any which the celebrated speakers of antiquity enjoyed.
“The first great and substantial difference is, that their common-places, in which almost the whole force of amplification consists, were drawn from the profit or honesty of the action, as they regarded only this present state of duration. But Christianity, as it exalts morality to a greater perfection, as it brings the consideration of another life into the question, as it proposes rewards and punishments of a higher nature, and a longer continuance, is more adapted to affect the minds of the audience, naturally inclined to pursue what it imagines its greatest interest and concern. If Pericles, as historians report could shake the firmest resolution of his hearers, and set the passions of all Greece in a ferment, when the present welfare of his country, or the fear of hostile invasions, was the subject: what may be expected from that orator who warns his audience against those evils which have no remedy, when once undergone, either from prudence or time? As much greater as the evils in a future state are than these at present, so much are the motives to persuasion under Christianity greater than those which mere moral considerations could supply us with. But what I now mention relates offly to the power of moving the affections. There is another part of eloquence which is, indeed, its masterpiece; I mean the marvellous or sublime. In this the Christian orator has the advantage beyond contradiction. Our ideas are so infinitely enlarged by revelation, the eye of reason has so wide a prospect into etermity, the notions of a Deity are so worthy and refined, and the accounts we have of a state of happiness or misery so clear and evident, that the contemplation of such objects will give our discourse a nobler vigour, an invincible force, beyond the power of any human consideration. Tully requires in his perfect orator some skill in the
nature of heavenly bodies; because, says he, his mind will become more extensive and unconfined; and when he descends to treat of human affairs, he will both think and write in a more exalted and magnificent manner. For the same reason, that excellent master would have recommended the study of those great and glorious mysteries which revelation has discovered to us; to which the noblest parts of this system of the world are as much inferior as the creature is less excellent than its Creator. The wisest and most knowing among the heathens had very poor and imperfect notions of a future state. They had indeed some uncertain hopes, either received by tradition, or gathered by reason, that the existence of virtuous men would not be determined by the separation of soul and body ; but they either disbelieved a future state of punishment and miserv ; or, upon the same account that Appelles painted Antigonous with one side only towards the spectator, that the loss of his eye might not cast a blemish upon the whole piece; so these represented the condition of man in its fairest view, and endeavoured to conceal what they thought was a deformity to human nature. I have often observed, that whenever the above-mentioned orator in his philosophical discourses is led by his argument to the mention of immortality, he seems like one awakened out of sleep : roused and alarmed with the dignity of the subject, he stretches his imagination to conceive something uncommon, and, with the greatness of his thoughts, casts, as it were, a glory round the sentence. Uncertain and unsettled as he was, he seems fired with the contemplation of it. And nothing but such a glorious prospect could have forced so great a lover of truth as he was, to declare his resolution never to part with his persuasion of immortality, though it should be proved to be an erroneous one. But had he lived to see all that Christianity has brought to light, how would he have lavished out all the force of cloquence in those noblest contemplations which human mature is capsble of, the resurrection and the judgment that follows it! How had his breast glowed with pleasure, when the whole compass of futurity lay open and exposed to his view How would his imagination have hurried him on in the pursuit of the mysteries of the incarnation How would he have entered, with the force of lightning, into the affections of his hearers, and fixed their attention, in spite of all the opposition of corrupt nature, ". those glorious themes which his eloquence hath painted in such lively and lasting colours!
• ‘This advantage Christians have ; and it was with no small pleasure I lately met with a fragment of Longinus, which is preserved as a testimony of that critic's judgment, at the beginning of a manuscript of the New Testament in the Vatican library. After that author has numbered up the most celebrated orators among the Grecians, he says, “add to these Paul of Tarsus, the patron of an opinion not yet fully proved.” As a heathen, he condemns the Christian religion; and, as an impartial critic, he judges in favour of the pro
moter and preacher of it. To me it seems that