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No. 587. MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 1714.
-Intus et in cute novi.
PERS. SAT. iii. 30.
I know thee to thy bottom; from within
THOUGH the author of the following vision is unknown to me, I am apt to think it may be the work of that ingenious gentleman, who promised me, in the last paper, some extracts out of his noctuary.
"I WAS the other day reading the life of Mahomet. Among many other extravagances, I find it recorded of that impostor, that, in the fourth year of his age, the angel Gabriel caught him up while he was among his playfellows; and, carrying him aside, cut open his breast, plucked out his heart, and wrung out of it that black drop of blood, in which, say the Turkish divines, is contained the fomes peccati, so that he was free from sin ever after. I immediately said to myself, Though this story be a fiction, a very good moral may be drawn from it, would every man but apply it to himself, and endeavour to squeeze out of his heart whatever sins or ill qualities he find in it.
"While my mind was wholly taken up with this contemplation, I insensibly fell into a most pleasing slumber, when, methought, two porters entered my chamber, carrying a large chest between them. After
having set it down in the middle of the room they departed. I immediately endeavoured to open what was sent me, when a shape, like that in which we paint our angels, appeared before me, and forbade me. Enclosed,' said he, 6 are the hearts of several of your friends and acquaintance; but, before you can be qualified to see and animadvert on the failings of others, you must be pure yourself;' whereupon he drew out his incision knife, cut me open, took out my heart, and began to squeeze it. I was in a great confusion to see how many things, which I had always cherished as virtues, issued out of my heart on this occasion. In short, after it had been thoroughly squeezed, it looked like an empty bladder; when the phantom, breathing a fresh particle of divine air into it, restored it safe to its former repository; and, having sewed me up, we began to examine the chest.
"The hearts were all enclosed in transparent phials, and preserved in a liquor which looked like spirits of wine. The first which I cast my eye upon I was afraid would have broke the glass which contained it. It shot up and down, with incredible swiftness through the liquor in which it swam, and very frequently bounced against the side of the phial. The fomes, or spot in the middle of it, was not large, but of a red fiery colour, and seemed to be the cause of these violent agitations, That,' says my instructor, is the heart of Tom Dreadnought, who behaved himself well in the late wars, but has for these ten years last past been aiming at some post of honour to no purpose. He is lately retired into the country, where, quite choked up with spleen and choler, he rails at better men that himself, and will be for ever uneasy, because it is impossible he should think his merit sufficiently rewarded.' The next heart that I examined was remarkable for its small
ness; it lay still at the bottom of the phial, and I could hardly perceive that it beat at all. The fomes was quite black, and had almost diffused itself over the whole heart. This,' says my interpreter, 'is the heart of Dick Gloomy, who never thirsted after any thing but money. Notwithstanding all his endeavours, he is still poor. This has flung him into a most deplorable state of melancholy and despair. He is a composition of envy and idleness; hates mankind, but gives them their revenge by being more uneasy to himself than to any one else.'
"The phial I looked upon next contained a large fair heart which beat very strongly. The fomes, or spot in it was exceeding small; but I could not help observing, that which way soever I turned the phial, it always appeared uppermost, and in the strongest point of light. The heart you are examining,' says my companion, belongs to Will Worthy. He has, indeed, a most noble soul, and is possest of a thousand good qualities. The speck which you discover is vanity.'
"Here,' says the angel, is the heart of Freelove, your intimate friend.' Freelove and I,' said I, 'are at present very cold to one another, and I do not care for looking on the heart of a man which I fear is overcast with rancour.' My teacher commanded me to look upon it: I did so, and to my unspeakable surprize, found that a small swelling spot, which I at first took to be ill-will towards me, was only passion; and that upon my nearer inspection it wholly disappeared; upon which the phantom told me Freelove was one of the best natured men alive.
""This,' says my teacher, 'is a female heart of your acquaintance. I found the fomes in it of the largest size, and of a hundred different colours, which were still varying every moment. Upon my asking to whom
it belonged, I was informed that it was the heart of Coquetilla.
"I set it down and drew out another, in which I took the fomes at first sight to be very small, but was amazed to find that, as I looked stedfastly upon it, it grew still larger. It was the heart of Melissa, a noted prude who lives the next door to me.
"I show you this,' says the phantom, because it is indeed a rarity, and you have the happiness to know the person to whom it belongs.' He then put into my hands a large crystal glass, that enclosed a heart, in which, though I examined it with the utmost nicety, I could not perceive any blemish. I made no scruple to affirm that it must be the heart of Seraphina; and was glad, but not surprised, to find that it was so. She is indeed,' continued my guide, 'the ornament as well as the envy of her sex.' At these last words he pointed to the hearts of several of her female acquaintance which lay in different phials, and had very large spots in them, all of a deep blue. You are not to wonder,' says he, that you see no spot in a heart, whose innocence has been proof against all the corruptions of a depraved age. If it has any blemish, it is too small to be discovered by human eyes.'
"I laid it down, and took up the hearts of other females, in all of which the fomes ran in several veins, which were twisted together, and made a very perplexed figure. I asked the meaning of it, and was told it represented deceit.
"I should have been glad to have examined the hearts of several of my acquaintance, whom I knew to be particularly addicted to drinking, gaming, intriguing, &c. but my interpreter told me I must let that alone till another opportunity, and flung down the cover of the chest with so much violence as immediately awoke me."
No.588. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1714.
Dicitis, omnis in imbecillitate est et gratia, et caritas.
You pretend that all kindness and benevolence is founded in weak
MAN may be considered in two views, as a reasonable and as a sociable being; capable of becoming himself either happy or miserable, and of contributing to the happiness or misery of his fellow-creatures. Suitably to this double capacity, the Contriver of human nature hath wisely furnished it with two principles of action, self-love and benevolence; designed one of them to render man wakeful to his own personal interest, the other to dispose him for giving his utmost assistance to all engaged in the same pursuit. This is such an account of our frame, so agreeable to reason, so much for the honour of our Maker, and the credit of our species, that it may appear somewhat unaccountable what should induce men to represent human nature as they do under characters of disadvantage; or, having drawn it with a little and sordid aspect, what pleasure they can possibly take in such a picture. Do they reflect that it is their own, and, if we will believe themselves, is not more odious than the original? One of the first that talked in this lofty strain of our nature was Epicurus. Beneficence, would his followers say, is all founded in weakness; and, whatever be pretended,