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that in other countries a man is not out of the fashion, who is bold and open in the profession and practice of all Christian duties.
This decay of piety is by no means to be imputed to the Reformation, which, in its first establishment, produced its proper fruits, and distinguished the whole age with shining instances of virtue and morality. If we would trace out the original of that flagrant and avowed impiety which has prevailed among us for some years, we should find that it owes its rise to that opposite extreme of cant and hypocrisy, which had taken possession of the people's minds in the times of the great rebellion, and of the usurpation that succeeded
The practices of these men, under the covert of a feigned zeal, made even the appearance of sincere devotion ridiculous and unpopular. The raillery of the wits and courtiers, in King Charles the Second's reign, upon every thing which they then called precise, was carried to so great an extravagance, that it almost put Christianity out of countenance. The ridicule grew so strong and licentious, that from this time we may date that remarkable turn in the behaviour of our fashionable Englishmen, that makes them shame-faced in the exercise of those duties which they were sent into the world to perform.
The late cry of the church has been an artifice of the same kind with that made use of by the hypocrites of the last age, and has had as fatal an influence upon religion. If a man would but seriously consider how much greater comfort he would receive in the last moment of his life, from a reflection that he has made one virtuous man, than that he has made a thousand Tories, we should not see the zeal of so many good men turned off from its proper end, and employed in making such a kind of converts. What satisfaction will it be to an immoral man, at such a time, to think he is a good Whig! or, to one that is conscious of sedition, perjury, or rebellion, that he dies with the reputation of a highchurchman!
But to consider how this cry of the church has corrupted the morals of both parties. Those, who are the loudest in it, regard themselves rather as a political, than a religious community; and are held together rather by state notions than by articles of faith. This fills the minds of weak men, who fall into the snare, with groundless fears and apprehensions, unspeakable rage towards their fellow subjects, wrong ideas of persons whom they are not acquainted with, and uncharitable interpretations of those actions of which they are not competent judges. It instils into their minds the utmost virulence and bitterness, instead of that charity, which is the perfection and ornament of religion, and the most indispensable and necessary means for attaining the end of it. In a word, among these mistaken zealots, it sanctifies cruelty and injustice, riots and treason.
The effects which this cry of the church has had on the other party, are no less manifest and deplorable. They see themselves unjustly aspersed by it, and vindicate themselves in terms no less opprobrious, than those by which they are attacked. Their indignation and resentment rises in proportion to the malice of their adversaries. The unthinking part of them are apt to contract an unreasonable aversion even to that ecclesiastical constitution to which they are represented as enemies; and not only to particular persons, but to that order of men in general, which will be always held sacred and honourable, so long as there is reason and religion in the world.
I might mention many other corruptions, common to both parties, which naturally flow from this source; and might easily show, upon a full display of them, that this clamour, which pretends to be raised for the safety of religion, has almost worn out the very appearance of it; and rendered us not only the most divided, but the most immoral people upon the face of the earth.
When our nation is overflowed with such a deluge of impiety, it must be a great pleasure to find any expedient take place, that has a tendency to recover it out of so dismal a condition. This is one great reason why an honest man may rejoice to see an act so near taking effect, for making elections of members to serve in parliament less frequent. I find myself prevented by other writings (which have considered the act now depending, in this particular light) from expatiating upon this subject. I shall only mention two short pieces which I have been just now reading, under the following titles: ‘Arguments about the Alteration of the Triennial Elections of Parliament:' and, “The Alteration in the Triennial Act considered.'
The reasons for this law, as it is necessary for settling his majesty in his throne; for extinguishing the spirit of rebellion; for procuring foreign alliances; and other advantages of the like nature; carry a great weight with them. But I am particularly pleased with it, as it may compose our unnatural feuds and animosities, revive an honest spirit of industry in the nation, and cut off frequent occasions of brutal rage and intemperance. In short, as it will make us not only a more safe, a more flourishing, and a more happy, but also a more virtuous people.
No. 38. MONDAY, APRIL 30.
Longun, formosa, vale
VIRG. It is the ambition of the male part of the world to make themselves esteemed, and of the female to make themselves beloved. As this is the last paper which I shall address to my fair readers; I cannot, perhaps, oblige them more, than by leaving them, as a kind of legacy, a certain secret, which seldom fails of procuring this affection, which they are naturally formed both to desire and to obtain. This nostrum is comprised in the following sentence of Seneca, which I shall translate for the service of my countrywomen. Ego tibi monstrabo amatorium sine medicamento, sine herbå, sine ullius veneficæ carmine : si vis amari, ama. 'I will discover to you a philter that has neither drug, nor simple, nor enchantment in it.
Love, if you would raise love. If there be any truth in this discovery, and this be such a specific as the author pretends, there is nothing which makes the sex more unamiable than party rage. The finest woman, in a transport of fury, loses the use of her face. Instead of charming her beholders, she frights both friend and foe. The latter can never be smitten by so bitter an enemy, nor the former captivated by a nymph, who, upon occasion, can be so very angry. The most endearing of our beautiful fellow subjects, are those whose minds are the least imbittered with the passions and prejudices of either side; and who discover the native sweetness of the sex in every part of their conversation and behaviour. A lovely woman, who thus flourishes in her innocence and good humour, amidst that mutual spite and rancour which prevails among her exasperated sisterhood, appears more amiable by the singularity of her character; and may be compared, with Solomon's bride, to 'a lily among the thorns.'
A stateswoman is as ridiculous a creature as a cotquean. Each of the sexes should keep within its particular bounds, and content themselves to excel within their respective districts. When Venus complained to Jupiter of the wound which she had received in battle, the father of the gods smiled upon her, and put her in mind, that instead of mixing in war, which was not her business, she should have been officiating in her proper ministry, and carrying on the delights of marriage. The delicacy of several modern critics has been offended with Homer's Billingsgate Warriors; but a scolding hero is, at the worst, a more tolerable character than a bully in petticoats. To which we may add, that the keenest satirist, among the ancients,
looked upon nothing as a more proper subject of raillery and invective, than a female gladiator.
I am the more disposed to take into consideration these ladies of fire and politics, because it would be very monstrous to see feuds and animosities kept up among the soft sex, when they are in so hopeful a way of being composed among the men, by the septennial bill, which is now ready for the royal assent. As this is likely to produce a cessation of arms, till the expiration of the present parliament, among one half of our island, it is very reasonable that the more beautiful moiety of his majesty's subjects should establish a truce among themselves for the same term of years. Or rather, it were to be wished, that they would summon together a kind of senate, or parliament, of the fairest and wisest of our sister subjects, in order to enact a perpetual neutrality among the sex. They might at least appoint something like a committee, chosen from among the ladies residing in London and Westminster, in order to prepare a bill to be laid before the assembly upon the first opportunity of their meeting. The regulation might be as follows:
“ That a Committee of toasts be forthwith appointed, to consider the present state of the sex in the British nation.
“ That this committee do meet at the house of every respective member of it on her visiting day; and that every one who comes to it shall have a vote, and a dish of tea.
“ That the committee be empowered to send for billet-doux, libels, lampoons, lists of toasts, or any other the like papers and records.
“ That it be an instruction to the said Committee, to consider of proper ways and methods to reclaim the obstinately opprobrious and virulent; and how to make the ducking-stool more useful.”
Being always willing to contribute my assistances to my countrywomen, I would propose a preamble, setting forth, “That the late civil war among the sex has