« PreviousContinue »
what the most rigid justice could not have interpreted as a crime.
* The king was so amicted with her death, that ! he left his kingdom to one of his nearest rela« tions, and passed the rest of his days in solitude * and retirement.'
No 579. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11.
Odora canum vis.
VIRG. Æn. iv. ver. 132.Sagacious hounds. IN the reign of King Charles I the company of
stationers, into whose hands the printing of the Bible is committed by patent, made a very remarkable Erratum, or blunder in one of their editions: For instead of Thou sball not commit adultery, they printed off several thousands of copies with Thou Malt commit:adultery, Archbishop Laud, to punish this their negligence, laid a considerable fine upon the company in the Star-Chamber.
By the practice of the world, which prevails in this degeneraté age, I am afraid that very many young profligates, of both sexes, are poffeffed of this fpurious edition of the Bible, and obferve the commandment according to that faulty reading.
Adulterers, in the first ages of the church, were excommunicated for ever, and unqualified all their lives from bearing a part in christian assemblies, notwithftanding they might seek it with tears, and all the appearances of the most unfeigned repen.
I might here mention fome ancient laws anong: the heathens which punished this crime with. Jeaili,
and others of the same kind, which are now in force among feveral governments that have embraced the reformed religion. But because a subject of this nature may be too serious for ordinary readers, who are very apt to throw by my papers, when they are not enlivened with something that is diverting or uncommon; I fhall here publish the contents of a little manuscript lately 'fallen into my hands, and which pretends to great antiquity, though, by reason of some modern phrases and other particulars in it, I can by no means allow it to be genuine, but rather the production of a modern sophist.
It is well known by the learned, that there was a temple upon mount Ætna dedicated to Vulcan, which was guarded by dogs of so exquisite a smell (Fay the historians) that they could discern whether the persons who came thither were chaste or otherwife. They used to meet and fawn upon such as were chafte, careffing them as the friends of their master Vulean; but few at those who were polluted, and never ceased barking at them until they had driven them from the temple.
My manuscript gives the following account of these dogs, and was probably designed as a comment upon this story.
· These dogs were given to Vulcan by his fifter • Diana, the goddess of hunting and of chastity, • having bred them out of some of her hounds, in • which she had observed this natural instinct and • fagacity. It is thought she did it in spite to Venus, ' who, upon her return home, always found her • husband in a good or bad humour, according to • the reception which she met with from his dogs.
They lived in the temple several years, but were • such fnappish curs that they frighted away moft • of the votaries. The women of Sicily made a . folemn deputation to the prieft, by which acquainted hiin, that they would not come up to
the temple with their annual offerings unless he muzzled his mastiffs, and at last compromised the
matter with him, that the offering should always • be brought by a chorus of young girls, who were
none of them above seven years old. It was. ! wonderful, (fays the author) to see how different
the treatment was which the dogs gave to these, little misses, from that which they had shewn to. their mothers. It is said that the Prince of Sye racuse, having married a young Lady, and being,
naçurally of a jealous temper, made such an in. .
terest with the priests of this temple, that he pro'cured a whelp from them of this famous breed.,
The young puppy was very troublesome to the fair Lady at first, insomuch that the solicited her • husband to send him away but the good nan.
cut her short with the old Sicilian proverb, Love, meLove my dog. From which time the lived ve-, s'y peaceably with both of them. The Ladies of
Syracuselwere very much annoyed with him, and, 'feveral of very good reputation refused to conie
to court until he was discarded. There were in deed some of them that defied his fagacity : But, . it was observed, though he did not actually bite.
them, he would growl at them most confoundedly. To return to the dogs of the temple: After they had lived here in great reputę for several years, it so happened, that as one of the priests, who had been inaking a charitable visit to a wie;
dow who lived on the promontory of Lilybæum,' returned home pretty late in the evening, the
dogs flew at him with so much fury, that they would have worried him if his brethren had not come in to his aslistance : Upon which, says my author, the dogs were all of them hanged, as. having lost their original instinct.'
I cannot conclude this paper without wishing, that we had some of this breed of dogs in-Great Britain, which would certainly do justice, I should
fay honour, to the Ladies of our country, and shew the world the deference between pagan women and those who are instructed in founder principles of virtue and religion.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 13.
Si verbo audacia detur,
Ovin. Met. 1. i. ver. 175.
SIR, : I Considered in my two last letters that awful
and tremendous subject, the ubiquity or omnipresence of the Divine Being. I have shewn that he is equally present in all places throughout
the whole extent of infinite space. This doctrine • is so agreeable to reason, that we meet with • it in the writings of the enlightened heathens, as
I might fhew at large, were it not already done
vers himself in a mnost transcendent and visible - glory. This is that place which is marked out in
scripture under the different appellations of Para,
dise, the third Heaven, the throne of God, and the i habitation of his glory. It is here where the glo, * rified body of our Saviour résides, and where ald • the celeftial hierarchies, and the innumerable host
of angels, are represented as perpetually fur.
rounding the seat of God with Hallelujahs and * hymns of praise. This is that presence of God which some of the divines call his Glorious, and
others his Majeftatic Presence. He is indeed as * effentially present in all other places as in
this ; but it is here where he resides in a sensi. ble magnificence, and in the midst of all those
splendors which can affect the imagination of cré. • ated Beings.
. It is very remarkable that this opinion of God
Almighty's presence in heaven, whether disco. • vered by the light of nature, or by a general • tradition from our first parents, prevails arnong all the nations the world, whatsoever different
notions they entertain of the Godhead.
look into Homer, that is, the most ancient of the • Grcek writers, you see the supreme power feated • in the heavens, and encompaffed with inferior . deities, among whom the muses are represented
as singing incessantly about his throne. Who
does not here see the main strokes and outlines · • of this great truth we are speaking of? The fame • doctrine is shadowed out in many other heathen • authors, though at the same time, like several o.
ther revealed truths, dashed and adulterated with a mixture of fables and human invencions. But to pass over the notions of the Greeks and Romans, those more enlightned parts of the pagan world,
we find there is scarce a people among the late • discovered nations who are not trained
up ' opinion, that heaven is the habitation of the di. vinity whom they worship.
" As in Solomon's temple there was the Sanctum « Sanctorum, in which a visible glory appeared a
mong the figures of the cherubims, and into which none but the high priest himself was per.
mitted to enter, after having made an atonement < for the fins of the people, To, if we confider the (whole creation as one great temple, there is in it
this Holy of Holics, into which the high-priest • of our salvation entered, and took his place a