« PreviousContinue »
• of piety as they themselves might not be afhamed of!
· I shall close these reflections with a passage ta. • ken out of the third book of Milton's Paradise • Loft, where those harmonious beings are thus pobly described. Then crown'd again, their golden harps they took, Harps ever tun'd, that glittring by their side, Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet, Of charming sym; hony, they introduce The sacred song, and waken raptures high: No one exempt, no voice but well could join RTelodious part, such concord is in heav'n, Mr. SPECTATOR, T 'HE town cannot be unacquainted, that in di
vers parts of it there are vociferous sets of ' men who are called Rattling Clubs;. but what
shocks me most is, they have now the froni to - invade the church, and institute those focieties
there, as a clan of them have in late times done, " to such a degree of infolence, as has given the
partition where they refide in a church near one • of the city gates, the denomination of the Rattling
Pew. These gay fellows, from humble lay pro• fefsions set up for critics, without any tincture of • letters or reading, and have the vanity to think
they can lay hold of something from the parfon, * which may be formed into ridicule.
" It is needless to observe, that the gentlemen ' who every Sundy have the hard province of in• ftructing these wretches, in a way they are in no
present disposition to take, have a fixed character ' for learning and eloquence, not to be tainted by " the weak efforts of this contemptible part of their • audicnces. Whether the pulpit is taken by these • gentlemen, or any strangers their friends, the way • of the club is this : If any sentiments are deliver. ed too fublime for their conception; if any un
common topic is entered on, or one in use new • modified with the finest judgment and dexterity;
or any controverted point be never so elegantly • handled: In short, whatever surpasses the narrow • limits of their theology, or is not suited to their • taste, they are all immediately upon their watch,
fixing their eyes upon each other, with as much 'warmth as our gladiators of Hockley in the hole, .
and waiting like them for a hit; if one touches, .. all take fire, and their noddles instantly meet in
the centre of the pew; then, as by beat of drum, with exact discipline, they rear up into a full
length of stature, and with odd looks and gesti'culations confer together in so loud and clamor
ous a manner, continued to the close of the disa ' course, and during the after-psalm, as is not to ' be filenced but by the bells. or does this
fice them, without aiming to propagate their noise through all the church, by fignals given to the adjoining feats, where others designed for this fraternity are sometimes placed upon trial to reIceive them.
"" The folly as well as rudeness of this practice is ' in nothing more confpicuous than this, that all " that follows in the sermon is loft ; for whenever
our sparks take alarm, they blaze out and grow " so tuinultuous, that no after-explanation can avail, it being impoffible for themselves, or any
near them, to give an account thereof. If any
thing really novel is advanced, how averse soever • it may be to their way of thinking, to say nothing • of duty, men of less levity than these would be · led by a natural curiosity to hear the whole.
Laughter, where things facred are transacted, ! is far less pardonable than whining at a conventi« cle; the last has at least a semblance of grace, and :
where the affectation is unseen, may possibly im! print wholesome lessons on the sincere; but the • first has no excuse, breaking through all the
• rules of order and decency, and manifesting
a remiffness of mind in those important matters, ' which require the ftrictest composure and steadi• ness of thought : A proof of the greatest folly in the world. • I shall not here enter upon the veneration due
to the fanctity of the place, the reverence owing • the minister, or the respect that so great an aflem
bly as a whole parish may justly claim. I shall • only tell them, that as the Spanish cobler, to re• claim a profligate fon, bid him have some regard • to the dignity of his family, so they as gentlemen
(for we citizens afsume to be fuch one day in a week) are bound for the future to repent of, and
abstain from, the grofs abuses here mentioned, • whereof they have been guilty, in contempt of • heaven and earth, and contrary to the laws in • this case made and provided.
• I am, SIR,
• R. M."
N° 631. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10.
Hor. Od. v. 1. i. ver. 5: Charms neat without the help of art. . CREECH. I
HAD occafion to go a few miles out of town,
fome days fince, in a stage-coach, where I had for my fellow-travellers a dirty beau, and a pretty young quaker woman. Having no inclination to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to turvey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention. The gentleman was dressed in a fuit, the
ground whereof had been black, as I perceived from fome few spaces that had escaped the powder, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat: His periwig, which cost no small fum, was after so flovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712 ; his linen, which was not much concealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chin to the lowest button, and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in mind how it fparkied amidst the rubbish of the mine, where it was first discovered. On the other hand, the pretty quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanliness. Not a speck was to be found on her. A clear, clean, oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambrick, received great advantages from the shade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that fober-coloured stuff in which she had clothed herself. The plainness of her dress was very well fuited to the fimplicity of her phrases; all which put together, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence.
This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I thall confider as one of the Half-Virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall recommend it under the three following heads. As it is a mark of politeness; as it produduces love; and as ic bears analogy to purity of mind.
First, It is a mark of politeness. It is univerfally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtue, can go into company without giving a manifeft offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much diftinguished by their cleanliness, as by their arts and Sciences. The more any country is civilized, the
more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot and an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the fofter-mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that paffion in the mind, but cleanliness preferves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty flattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied: Like a piece of metal conftantly kept finooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new veffel that is cankered with rust.
I might observe farther, that as cleanliness reno ders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves; that it is an excellent prefervative of health ;
and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe, in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and paffions.
We find from experience, that through the prevalence of custom, the inost vicious actions. lose their horror, by being made familiar to us. On: the contrary, those who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the first appearances of what is thocking. It fares with us inuch after the same manner, as our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only tranfinit the impression of fuch. things as usually surrounded them. So that pure. and unsullied thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind by those objects that perpetually encom: pass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind In the east, where the warmth of the climate