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that you cannot be quiet at home. The favourers of the house of Bourbon among us affirm, that this Stanhope, who could as it were get out of his sickbed to fight against their king of Spain, must be of the antimonarchical party.
N° 211. TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 1710.
--Nequeo monstrare, et sentio tantum.
Juv. Sat. vii. 56. What I can fancy, but can ne'er express.
Sunday, August 13. İF there were no other consequences of it, but barely that human creatures on this day assemble themselves before their Creator, without regard to their usual employments, their minds at leisure from the cares of their life, and their bodies adorned with the best attire they can bestow on them; I say, were this mere outward celebration of a Sabbath all that is expected from men, even that were a laudable distinction, and a purpose worthy the human nature. But when there is added to it the sublime pleasure of devotion, our being is exalted above itself; and he, who spends a seventh day in the contemplation of the next life, will not easily fall into the corruptions of this in the other six. They, who never admit thoughts of this kind into their imaginations, lose higher and sweeter satis
factions than can be raised by any other entertainment. The most illiterate man who is touched with devotion, and uses frequent exercises of it, contracts a certain greatness of mind, mingled with a noble simplicity, that raises him above those of the same condition; and there is an indelible mark of goodness in those who sincerely possess it. It is hardly possible it should be otherwise ; for the fervours of a pious mind will naturally contract such an earnestness and attention towards a better being, as will make the ordinary passages of life go
off with a becoming indifference. By this a man in the lowest condition will not appear mean, or in the most splendid fortune insolent.
As to all the intricacies and vicissitudes, under which men are ordinarily entangled with the utmost sorrow and passion, one who is devoted to Heaven, when he falls into such difficulties, is led by a clue through a labyrinth. As to this world, he does not pretend to skill in the mazes of it; but fixes his thoughts upon one certainty, that he shall soon be out of it. And we may ask very boldly, what can be a more sure consolation than to have an hope in death? When men are arrived at thinking of their very dissolution with pleasure, how few things are there that can be terrible to them! Certainly, nothing can be dreadful to such spirits, but what would make death terrible to them, falsehood towards man,
or impiety towards Heaven. To such as these, as there are certainly many such, the gratifications of innocent pleasures are doubled, even with reflections upon their imperfection. The disappointments, which naturally attend the great promises we make ourselves in expected enjoyments, strike no damp upon such men, but only quicken their hopes of soon knowing joys, which are too pure to admit of allay or satiety.
It is thought, among the politer sort of mankind, an imperfection to want a relish of
of those things which refine our lives. This is the foundation of the acceptance which eloquence, music, and poetry, make in the world; and I know not why devotion, considered merely as an exaltation of our happiness, should not at least be so far regarded as to be considered. It is possible, the very inquiry would lead men into such thoughts and gratifications, as they did not expect to meet with in this place. Many a good acquaintance has been lost from a general prepossession in his disfavour, and a severe aspect has often hid under it a very agreeable companion.
There are no distinguishing qualities among men to which there are not false pretenders; but though none is more pretended to than that of devotion, there are, perhaps, fewer successful impostors in this kind than any other. There is something so natively great and good in a person that is truly devout, that an aukward man may as well pretend to be genteel, as an hypocrite to be pious. The constraint in words and actions are equally visible in both cases ; 'and any thing set up in their room does but remove the endeavours farther off from their pretensions. But, however the sense of true piety is abated, there is no other motive of action that can carry us through all the vicissitudes of life with alacrity and resolution. But piety, like philosophy, when it is superficial, does but make men appear the worse for it; and a principle that is but half received does but distract, instead of guiding our behaviour. When I reflect upon the unequal conduct of Lotius, I see many things that run directly counter to his interest; therefore I cannot attribute his labours for the public good to ambition. When I consider his disregard to his fortune, I can
not esteem him covetous. How then can I reconcile his neglect of himself, and his zeal for others ? I have long suspected him to be a “little pious ;" but no man ever hid his vice with greater caution, than he does his virtue. It was the praise of a great Roman, « that he had rather be, than appear, good.” But such is the weakness of Lotius, that I dare say he had rather be esteemed irreligious than devout. By I know not what impatience of raillery, he is wonderfully fearful of being thought too great a believer. A hundred little devices are made use of to hide a time of private devotion ; and he will allow you any suspicion of his being ill employed, so you do not tax him with being well. But alas! how mean is such a behaviour! To boast of virtue, is a most ridiculous way of disappointing the merit of it, but not so pitiful as that of being ashamed of it. How unhappy is the wretch who makes the most absolute and independent motive of action the cause of perplexity and inconstancy! How different a figure does Cælicolo make with all who know him! His great and superior mind, frequently exalted by the raptures of heavenly meditation, is to all his friends of the same use, as if an angel were to appear at the decision of their disputes. They very well understand, he is as much disinterested and unbiassed as such a being. He considers all applications made to him, as those addresses will affect his own application to Heaven. All his determinations are delivered with a beautiful humility; and he pronounces his decisions with the air of one who is more frequently a supplicant than a judge.
Thus humble, and thus great, is the man who is moved by piety, and exalted by devotion. But behold this recommended by the masterly hand of a great divine I have heretofore made bold with.
“ It is such a pleasure as can never cloy or overwork the mind; a delight that grows and improves under thought and reflection; and while it exercises, does also endear itself to the mind. All pleasures that affect the body must needs weary, because they transport; and all transportation is a violence; and no violence can be lasting ; but determines upon the falling of the spirits, which are not able to keep up that height of motion that the pleasure of the senses raises them to. And therefore how inevitably does an immoderate laughter end in a sigh, which is only nature's recovering itself after a force done to it! but the religious pleasure of a well-disposed mind moves gently, and therefore constantly. It does not affect by rapture and extacy, but is like the pleasure of health, greater and stronger than those that call up the senses with grosser and more affecting impressions. No man's body is as strong as his appetites; but Heaven has corrected the boundlessness of his voluptuous desires by stinting his strength, and contracting his capacities. The pleasure of the religious man is an easy and a portable pleasure, such an one as he carries about in his bosom, without alarming either the eye or the envy of the world. A man putting all his pleasures into this one, is like a traveller putting all his goods into one jewel; the value is the same, and the convenience greater."*
* Dr, South.