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Warm blood

raised in me a sort of sympathy. thrilled through every vein; the faded memory of those enjoyments that once gave me pleasure put on more lively colours, and a thousand gay amusements filled my mind.

It was not without regret, that I was forsaken by this waking dream. The cheapness of puerile delights, the guiltless joy they leave upon the mind, the blooming hopes that lift up the soul in the ascent of life, the pleasure that attends the gradual opening of the imagination, and the dawn of reason, made me think most men found that stage the most agreeable part of their journey.

When men come to riper years, the innocent diversions which exalted the spirits, and produced health of body, indolence of mind, and refreshing slumbers, are too often exchanged for criminal delights, which fill the soul with anguish, and the body with disease. The grateful employment of admiring and raising themselves to an imitation of the polite style, beautiful images, and noble sentiments of ancient authors, is abandoned for lawlatin, the lucubrations of our paltry news-mongers, and that swarm of vile pamphlets, which corrupt. our taste, and infest the public. The ideas of virtue which the characters of heroes had imprinted on their minds, insensibly wear out, and they come to be influenced by the nearer examples of a degenerate age.

In the morning of life, when the soul first makes her entrance into the world, all things look fresh and gay; their novelty surprises, and every little glitter or gaudy colour transports the stranger. But by degrees the sense grows callous, and we lose that exquisite relish of trifles by the time our minds should be supposed ripe for rational entertainments.

I cannot make this reflection without being touched with a commiseration of that species called beaus, the happiness of those men necessarily terminating with their childhood; who from a want of knowing other pursuits, continue a fondness for the delights of that age, after the relish of them is decayed.

Providence hath with a bountiful hand prepared variety of pleasures for the various stages of life. It behoves us not to be wanting to ourselves, in forwarding the intention of nature, by the culture of our minds, and a due preparation of each faculty for the enjoyment of those objects it is capable of being affected with.

As our parts open and display by gentle degrees, we rise from the gratifications of sense, to relish those of the mind. In the scale of pleasure, the lowest are sensual delights, which are succeeded by the more enlarged views and gay portraitures of a lively imagination; and these give way to the sublimer pleasures of reason, which discover the causes and designs, the frame, connexion, and symmetry of things, and fill the mind with the contemplation of intellectual beauty, order, and truth.

Hence I regard our public schools and universities, not only as nurseries of men for the service of the church and state, but also as places designed to teach mankind the most refined luxury, to raise the mind to its due perfection, and give it a taste for those entertainments which afford the highest transport, without the grossness or remorse that attend vulgar enjoyments.

In those blessed retreats men enjoy the sweets of solitude, and yet converse with the greatest genii that have appeared in every age, wander through the delightful mazes of every art and science, and as they gradually enlarge their sphere of knowledge,

at once rejoice in their present possessions, and are animated by the boundless prospect of future discoveries. There a generous emulation, a noble thirst of fame, a love of truth and honourable regards, reign in minds as yet untainted from the world. There, the stock of learning transmitted down from the ancients, is preserved, and receives a daily increase; and it is thence propagated by men, who, having finished their studies, go into the world, and spread that general knowledge and good taste throughout the land, which is so distant from the barbarism of its ancient inhabitants, or the fierce genius of its invaders. And as it is evident that our literature is owing to the schools and universities, so it cannot be denied that these are owing to our religion.

It was chiefly, if not altogether, upon religious considerations that princes, as well as private persons, have erected colleges, and assigned liberal endowments to students and professors. Upon the same account they meet with encouragement and protection from all Christian states as being esteemed a necessary means* to have the sacred oracles and primitive traditions of Christianity preserved and understood. And it is well known that after a long night of ignorance and superstition, the reformation of the church and that of learning began together, and made proportionable advances, the latter having been the effect of the former, which of course engaged men in the study of the learned languages, and of antiquity.

Or, if a free-thinker is ignorant of these facts, he may be convinced from the manifest reason of the thing. Is it not plain that our skill in literature is

* Mean; plural for the singular number.

owing to the knowledge of Greek and Latin, which that they are still preserved among us, can be ascribed only to a religious regard? What else should be the cause why the youth of Christendom, above the rest of mankind, are educated in the painful study of those dead languages; and that religious societies should peculiarly be employed in acquiring that sort of knowledge, and teaching it to others?

And it is more than probable, that in case our free-thinkers could once atchieve their glorious design of sinking the credit of the Christian religion, and causing those revenues to be withdrawn which their wiser forefathers had appointed to the support and encouragement of its teachers, in a little time the Shaster would be as intelligible as the Greek testament; and we, who want that spirit and curiosity which distinguished the ancient Grecians, would by degrees relapse into the same state of barbarism, which over-spread the northern nations, before they were enlightened by Christianity.

Some perhaps, from the ill-tendency and vile taste which appear in their writings, may suspect that the free-thinkers are carrying on a malicious design against the belles lettres for my part, I rather conceive them as unthinking wretches of short views and narrow capacities, who are not able to penetrate into the causes or consequences of things.

N° 63. SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1713.

Ζεῦ πάτες, ἀλλὰ σὺ ῥῦσαι ὑπ' ἠέρῳ υἷας ̓Αχαιῶν·
Ποίησον, δ' αίθρην, δὸς δ ̓ ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ἰδέσθαι·
Ἐν δὲ φάει καὶ ὅλεσσον.

HOM. II. xvii. 645.

O King! O Father! hear my humble prayer:
Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore,
Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more:
If Greece must perish, we thy will obey,
But let us perish in the face of day!


I AM obliged, for many reasons, to insert this first letter, though it takes me out of my way, especially on a Saturday; but the ribaldry of some part of that will be abundantly made up by the quotation in the second.

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THE Examiner of this day consists of reflections upon the letter I writ to you, published in yours of the twelfth instant. The sentence upon which he spends most of his invectives, is this, "I will give myself no manner of liberty to make guesses at him, if I may say him;' for though sometimes I have been told by familiar friends, that they saw me such a time talking to the Examiner; others who have rallied me upon the sins of my youth, tell me it is credibly reported that I have formerly lain with the Examiner."

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