Billeder på siden


fhall fee now,

in very

this! an infidel ! -Ha! fincerity of fear and cold heart, will he to the king, and lay open all our proceedings. O! I could divide my felf, and go to buffets, for moving fuch a difh of fkimmed milk with fo honourable an action. Hang him! let him tell the king. We are prepared. I will fet forward to-night.




HE regularity of the motions and revolutions of the fun, the moon, and numberless ftars; with the diftinction, variety, beauty, and order of celeftial objects; the flighteft obfervation of which, feems fufficient to convince every beholder, that they cannot be the effect of chance; thefe afford a proof of a Deity, which feems irrefragable. If he, who furveys an academy, a palace, or a court of justice, and obferves regularity, order, and economy, prevailing in them, is immediately convinced, that this regularity must be the effect of authority and difcipline, fupported by perfons properly qualified; how much more reaton has he, who finds himself furrounded by fo many and such stupendous bodies, performing their various motions and revolutions, without the leaft deviation from perfect regularity, through the innumerable ages of paft duration; how much more reafon has he to conclude, that fuch amazing revolutions are governed by fuperior wisdom and power!

Is it not, therefore, aftonishing, that any man fhould ever have dreamed of the poffibility, that a beautiful and magnificent fyftem might arife from the fortuitous concourse of certain bodies, carried towards one another, by I know not what imaginary impulse? I fee not, why he, who is capable of afcribing the production of a world to a caufe fo inadequate, may not expect, from the fortuitous scattering about of a fet of letters of ivory or metal, a regular hiftory to appear. But, I believe, he who hopes to produce, in this way, one fingle line, will find himself for ever difappointed. If the cafual concourfe of atoms has produced a whole univerfe, how comes it, that we never find a city, a temple, or fo much as a portico, produced in the fame manner? One would imagine, they who prate fo abfurdly about the origination of the world, had no eyes, or had never opened them, to view the glories of this immenfe theatre.

THE reafonings of Ariftotle, on this point, are excellent. Let us fuppofe," fays he, " certain perfons to have been born, and to have lived to mature age, under ground, in habitations, accommodated with all the conveniences, and even magnificence of life, except the fight of this upper world. Let us suppose those persons to have heard, by fame, of fuperior beings, and wonderful effects produced by them. Let the earth be imagined fuddenly to open, and expofe to the view of thofe fubterraneans, this fair world, which we inhabit. Let them be imagined to behold the face of the earth, diverfified with hills and vales, with rivers and woods; the wide extended ocean; the lofty sky; and the clouds, carried along by the winds. Let them behold the fun; and obferve his tranfcendent brightnefs, and wonderul

K 2

wonderful influence, as he pours down the flood of day over the whole earth, from east to west. And, when night covered the world with darkness, let them behold the heavens, adorned with innumerable ftars. Let them behold the various appearances of the moon; now horned, then full, then decreasing. Let them have leifure to mark the rifing and fetting of the heavenly bodies; and to understand, that their established courfes, have been going on from age to age. When they had furveyed and confidered all thefe things, what could they conclude, but that the accounts they had heard in their fubterranean habitation, of the exiftence of fuperior beings, muft be true; and that these prodigious works, must be the effect of their power?"

THUS Ariftotle. To which I will add, that it is only our being accustomed to the continual view of thefe glorious objects, that prevents our admiring them, and endeavouring to come to right conclufions concerning the author of them; as if novelty were a better reason for exciting our enquiries, than beauty and magnificence.




HEN I compare, Athenians, the speeches of fome amongst us, with their actions, I am at a loss to reconcile what I fee, with what I hear. Their proteftations are full of zeal against the public enemy; but their measures are fo inconfiftent,


that all their profeffions become fufpected. By confounding you with a variety of projects, they perplex your refolutions; and lead you from executing what is in your power, by engaging you in fchemes not reducible to practice.

'Tis true, there was a time, when we were powerful enough, not only to defend our own borders, and protect our allies, but even to invade Philip in his own dominions. Yes, Athenians, there was fuch a juncture; I remember it well. But, by neglect of proper opportunities, we are no longer in a fituation to be invaders: it will be well for us, if we can provide for our own defence, and our allies. Never did any conjuncture require fo much prudence as this. However, I fhould not despair of seasonable remedies, had I the art to prevail with you to be unanimous in right measures. The opportunities, which have so often escaped us, have not been loft, through ignorance, or want of judgment; but through negligence, or treachery.-If I affume, at this time, more than ordinary liberty of fpeech, I conjure you to fuffer, patiently, thofe truths, which have no other end, but your own good. You have too many reafons to be fenfible, how much you have fuffered, by hearkening to fycophants. I fhall, therefore, be plain, in laying before you the grounds of past miscarriages, in order to correct you in your future conduct.

You may remember, it is not above three or four years, fince we had the news of Philip's laying fiege to the fortrefs of Juno in Thrace. It was, as I think, in October, we received this intelligence. We voted an immediate fupply of threefcore talents: forty men of war were ordered to sea: and so zealous we were, that

K 3


preferring the neceffities of state to our very laws, our citizens above the age of five and forty years, were commanded to ferve. What followed?-A whole year was spent idly, without any thing done; and it was but the third month of the following year, a little after the celebration of the feaft of Ceres, that Charedemus fet fail, furnished with no more than five talents, and ten galleys not half-manned.

A rumour was spread, that Philip was fick. That rumour was followed by another, that Philip was dead. And, then, as if all danger died with him, you dropped your preparations: whereas, then, then was your time to push, and be active; then was your time to fecure yourselves, and confound him at once. Had your refolutions, taken with fo much heat, been as warmly feconded by action, you had then been as terrible to Philip, as Philip, recovered, is now to you. "To what purpose, at this time, these reflections? What is done, cannot be undone." But, by your leave, Athenians, though past moments are not to be recalled, paft errors may be repeated. Have we not, now, a fresh provocation to war? Let the memory of overfights, by which you have fuffered fo much, inftruct you to be more vigilant in the prefent danger. If the Olynthians are not inftantly fuccoured, and with your utmost efforts, you become affiftants to Philip, and ferve him more effectually, than he can help himself.

IT is not, furely, neceffary to warn you, that votes alone, can be of no confequence. Had your refolutions, of themselves, the virtue to compass what you intend, we should not fee them multiply every day, as they do, and upon every occafion, with fo little effect: nor would Philip be in a condition to

« ForrigeFortsæt »