페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

• fick, and very ignorant of it; but far gone in the · Italian Tafte. Tom goes to Armstrong, the famous fine • Writer of Mufick, and desires him to put this Sentence of Tully in the Scale of an Italian Air, and write it out • for my Spouse from him. An ille mihi liber cui mulier imperat? Cui leges imponit, præfcribit, jubet, vetat, quod

videtur ? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recufare audet? Pofcit? dandum eft. Vocat? veniendum. Ejicit? « abeundum. Minitatur ? extimifcendum. Does he live like a Gentleman who is commanded by a Woman? He to whom she gives Law, grants and denies what she pleafes ?

who can neither deny ber any thing Joe asks, or refuse to do any thing she commands.

• To be short, my Wife was extremely pleased with • it; said the Italian was the only Language for Mufick ; * and admired how wonderfully tender the Sentiment

was, and how pretty the Accent is of that Language, • with the rest that is said by Rote on that Occasion. Mr. Meggot is fent for to sing this Air, which he per• forms with mighty Applause; and my Wife is in Ec• stacy on the Occafion, and glad to find, by my being • so much pleased, that I was at last come into the No• tion of the Italian; for, said she, it grows upon one ! when one once comes to know a little of the Language ; • and pray, Mr. Meggot, sing again those Notes, Nihil Imperanti negare, nihil recusare. You may believe I was

not a little delighted with my Friend Tom's Expedient • to alarm me, and in Obedience to his Summons I • give all this story thus at large; and I am resolved, • when this appears in the Spectator, to declare for my • felf. The manner of the Insurrection I contrive by your • Means, which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot, « who is at our Tea-table every Morning, shall read it to • us; and if my Dear can take the Hint, and say not one • Word, but let this be the Beginning of a new Life with. s out farther Explanation; it is very well; for as soon as • the Spectator is read out, I shall, without more ado, call • for the Coach, name the Hour when I shall be at home, • if I come at all; if I do not, they may go to Dinner. • If my Spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom and I go out together, and all is well, as I said before : but if

: The

« the begins to command or expoftulate, you shall in my « next to you receive a full Account of her Resistance and Submiffion, for submit the dear thing muft to;

SIR, . Your most obedient humble Servant,

Anthony Freeman. e P. S. • I hope I need not tell you that I desire this

' may be in your very next.

T

* No. 213. Saturday, November 3.

---Mens fibi confcia recti.
A Good Intention.

Virg. Æn. 1. y. 608.

TT is the great Art and Secret of Christianity, if I may I use that Phrase, to manage our Actions to the best Ad. vantage, and direct them in fuch a Manner, that every thing we do may turn to Account at that great Day, when every thing we have done will be fet before us.

IN order to give this Confideration its full Weight, we may cast all our Actions under the Division of such as are in themselves either Good, Evil, or Indifferent. If we divide our Intentions after the same Manner, and confider them with regard to our Actions, we may discover that great Art and Secret of Religion which I have here mentioned.

A good Intention joined to a good Action, gives it its proper Force and Efficacy; joined to an Evil Action, extenuates its Malignity, and in some Cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent Action turns it to a Virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human Actions can be fo.

IN the next Place, to consider in the fame manner the Influence of an Evil Intention upon our Actions. An Evil Intention perverts the best of Actions, and makes them in reality, what the Fathers with a witty kind of Zeal have termed the Virtues of the Heathen World, so

- many

? many fining Sins. It destroys the Innocence of an indif

ferent Action, and gives an evil Action all possible Blackness and Horror, or in the emphatical Language of Sacred Writ, makes Sin exceeding finful.

IF, in the last Place, we consider the Nature of an indifferent Intention, we shall find that it destroys the Merit of a good Action ; abates, but never takes away, the Malignity of an evil Action; and leaves an indifferent Action in its natural State of Indifference.

IT is therefore of unspeakable Advantage to poffess our Minds with an habitual good Intention, and to aim all our Thoughts, Words and Actions, at some laudable End, whether it be the Glory of our Maker, the Good of Mankind, or the Benefit of our own Souls.

THIS is a sort of Thrift or good Husbandry in moral Life, which does not throw away any single Action, but makes every one go as far as it can. It multiplies the Means of Salvation, increases the Number of our Virtues, and diminishes that of our Vices. ..

THERE is something very devout, though not felid, in Acolta's Answer to Limborch, who objects to him the Multiplicity of Ceremonies in the Jewish Religion, as Washings, Dresses, Meats, Purgations, and the like. The Reply which the Jew makes upon this Occasion, is, to the best of my Remembrance, as follows: “There are ! not Duties enough (says he) in the essential Parts of the • Law for a zealous and active Obedience. Time, Place,

and Person are requisite, before you have an opportuinity of putting a moral Virtue into Practice. We have • therefore, says he, enlarged the Sphere of our Duty,

and made many Things, which are in themselves indif

ferent, a Part of our Religion, that we may have more ? Occasions of fhewing our Love to God, and in all the • Circumstances of Life be doing something to please him.

MONSIEUR St. Evremond has endeavoured to. palliate the Superstitions of the Roman-Catholick Relie gion with the same kind of Apology, where he pretends to consider the different Spirit of the Papifts and the Calvinifts, as to the great Points wherein they disagree. He tells, us, that the former are actuated by Love, and the ether by Fear; and that in their Expressions of Duty

and

[ocr errors]

and Devotion towards the Supreme Being, the former. seem particularly careful to do every thing which may poffibly please him, and the other to abstain from every thing which may possibly displease him.

BUT notwithstanding this plausible Reason with which both the Jew and the Roman-Catholick would excuse their respective Superstitions, it is certain there is something in them very pernicious to Mankind, and destructive to Religion; because the Injunction of superfluous Ceremonies makes such Actions Duties, as were before indifferent, and by that means renders Religion more burdensom and difficult than it is in its own Nature, betrays many into Sins of Omission which they could not other., wise be guilty of, and fixes the Minds of the Vulgar to the shadowy unessential Points, instead of the more weighty and more important Matters of the Law.

THIS zealous and active Obedience however takes place in the great Point we are recommending; for if, instead of prescribing to ourselves indifferent Actions as Duties, we apply a good Intention to all our most indifferent Actions, we make our very Existence one conti. nued Act of Obedience, we turn our Diversions and Amusements to our eternal Advantage, and are pleasing: him (whom we are made to please) in all the Circumftances and Occurrences of Life.

IT is this excellent Frame of Mind, this holy Officiousness (if I may be allowed to call it fuch) which is recommended to us by the Apostle in that uncommon Precept, wherein he directs us to propose to our selves the Glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent Actions, whether, we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do.. .

A Person therefore who is pofseffed with such an habi: tual good Intention, as that which I have been here speaking of, enters upon no single Circumstance of Life, without considering it as well-pleasing to the great Author of his Being, conformable to the Dictates of Reason, suitable to human Nature in general, or to that particular Station in which Providence has placed him. He lives in a perpetual Sense of the Divine Presence, regards him. self as acting, in the whole Course of his Existence, under the Observation and Inspection of that Being, who is

privy

privy to all his Motions and all his Thoughts, who knows his Down-fitting and his Up-rising, who is about his Path, and about his Bed, and spieth out all his Ways. In a word, he remembers that the Eye of his Judge is always upon him, and in every Adion he reflects that he is doing what is. commanded or allowed by Him who will hereafter either reward or punish it. This was the Character of those holy Men of old, who in that beautiful Phrase of Scripture. are said to have walked with God.

WHEN I employ my self upon a Paper of Morality, I generally consider how I may recommend the particular Virtue which I treat of, by the Precepts or Examples of the antient Heathens; by that means, if possible, to shame those who have greater Advantages of knowing their Duty, and therefore greater Obligations to perform it, into a better Course of Life: Besides that many among us are unreasonably disposed to give a fairer hearing to a Pagan Philosopher; than to a Christian Writer.

I shall therefore produce an Instance of this excellent Frame of Mind in a Speech of Socrates, which is quoted by Erasmus. . This great Philosopher on the Day of his Execution, a Ittle before the Draught of Poison was brought to him, entertaining his Friends with a Discourse: on the Immortality of the Soul, has these Words: Wheether or no God will approve of my A&tions, I know not;: but this I am sure of, that I have at all Times made it my Endeavour to please him, and I have a good Hope that this my Endeavour will be accepted by him. We find in these Words of that great Man the habitual good Intentionwhich I would here inculcate, and with which that divine Philosopher always acted. I shall only add, that Erasmus, who was an unbigotted Roman-Catholick, was so much transported with this Paffage of Socrates, that he could fcarce forbear looking upon him as a Saint, and desiring him to pray for him ; or as that ingenious and learned Writer has expressed himself in a much more lively manner : When I refleet on such a Speech pronounced by such as Person, I can scarce forbear crying out, Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis : O holy Socrates, pray for Who

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »