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me. If, said she, my dear loves me as much as "I love him, he will never be tired of my company.
This declaration was followed by my being denied to all my acquaintance ; and it very soon came to ' 'that pass, that to give an answer at the door be. 'fore my face, the servants would ask her whether "I was within or not; and she would answer No, • with great fondness, and tell me I was a good • dear. I will not enumerate more little circum'stances to give you a livelier sense of my condi' tion; but tell you in general, that from such steps as • these at first, I now live the life of a prisoner of • state ; my letters are opened, and I have not the • use of pen, ink and paper, but in her presence, . I never go abroad, except fhe sometimes takes me « with her in her coach to take the air, if it may • be called so, when we drive, as we generally do • with the glasses up. I have overheard my fervants • lament my condition, but they dare not bring me
messages without her knowledge, because they 'doubt my resolution to stand by them. In thc • midst of this infipid way of life, an old acquaint*ance of mine, Toni Meggot, who is a favourite • with her, and allowed to visit me in her company • because he fings prettily, has roused me to rebel, ' and conveyed his intelligence to me in the follow*ing manner. My wife is a great pretender to
mufick, and very ignorant of it; but far gone in • the Italian taste. Tom goes to Armstrong the fa
mous fine writer of mufick, and desires him to put
this fentence of Tully in the scale of an Ita• lian air, and write it out for my spouse from him, • An ille mihi liber cui mulier imperat? Cui leges im
ponit, præfcribit, jubet, vetat, quod videtur? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare audet? Pof • cit? dandum eft. Vocat? veniendum. Ejicit ? abe• undum. Minitatur? extimiscendum. Does he live « like a Gentleman who is comnianded by a woman ? Ile to whom she gives law, grants and denies what
fbe pleases ? who can neither deny her any thingsbe afks, or refuse to do any thing she commands ?
- To be short, my wife was extremely pleased < with it; faid the Italian was the only language * for mufick; and admired how wonderfully ten
der the sentiment was, aird how pretty the accept ' is of that language, with the rest that is said by rote on that occalion, Mr, Megget is sent to fing this air, which he performs with inighty applause; and my wife is in ecstasy on the occasion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into the notion 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, fing again those notes, Nihil • imperanti negare, nihil recufare. You may bei lieve I was not a little delighted with my friend
Tom's expedient to alarm me, and in obedience to this fuinmons I give all this story thus at large ; • and I am resolved, when this appears in the Spec• tator, to declare for myself. 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
without farther explanation, it is very well; for ? as soon as the Spectator is read out, I shall with
out more ado call for the coach, name the hour ! when I shall be at home, if I come at all.; if I I do not, they may go to dinner. If my spouse; only fwells and says nothing, Tom and I go out together, and all is well, as I said before; but if
the begins to command or expoftulate, you thall, ' in my next to you, receive a full account of her ' resistance, and submidtions for submit the dear. " thing must to, SIR,', * Your most obedient humble servant,
ANTHONY FREEMAN, VOL: IH.
· P.S. I hope I need not tell you that I desire - this may be in your very next.'
NO 213. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3.
-Mens fibi confcia retti. VIRG. An. i. ver. 608.
A good intention, IT is the great art and fecrct of Chriftianity, if I
inay use that phrase, to manage our actions to the best advantage," and direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do may turn to account at that great day, when every thing we have done will be set before us.
In order to give this confideration its full weight, we may cast all our actions under the division of fuch as are in themselves cither good, evil, or indifferent. If we divide our intentions after the fame manner, and consider them with regard to eur actions, we may discover that great art and fecret of religion which I have liere mentioned.
A good intention joined to a good 'action, gives At its proper force and efficacy; joined to an evil iction, extenuates its malignity, and in some cases inay take it vrholly away ; and joined to an indieferent action; turns it into a virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as hunian aétions can be fo.
In the next place, to consider in the same manner the influence of an evil intention upon our actions. An evil utention 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 shiniig fins. It deItroys the innocence of an indifferent action, and gives an evil action all poflible blackness and horror, or, in the emphatical language of facred writ, makes sin exceeding sinful.
If, in the last place, we consider the nature of an indifferent intention, we shall find that it defroys 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, as fome 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 fomething very devout, though not fo. lid, in Acofta's answer to Limborch, who objects to ' him the multiplicity of ceremonies in the Jewish religion, as washings, dreffes, meats, purgations, and the like. The reply which the Jew makes upon this occasion is, to the best of my reinembrance, 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 opportuuity of pul6. ting a moral virtue into practice. We have,
therefore, says be, enlarged the sphere of our
duty, and made many things, which are in them• selves indifferent, a part of our religion, that we
may have more occasions of thewing our love to: ! God, and in all the circumstances of life be doing something to please him.'
Monsieur St. Eurenront has endeavoured to pal. liate the superstitions of the Roman-catholick religion with the same kind of apology, where he pretends to consider the different spirit of the Papists
and the Calvinifts, as to the great points wherein they difagree. He tells us, that the former are actuated by love, and the other by fear; and that in their expressions of duty and devotion towards che Supreme Being, the former seem' particularly careful to do every thing which may poffibly please him, and the other to abftam from every thing which may posibly difplease 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; becaufe the injunction of superfluous ceremonies makes such actions daties, as were before indifferent, and by that means renders religion more burdenfome and difficult than it is in its own nature, betrays many into fins of omiffion, which they could not otherwise be guilty of, and fixes the minds of the vulgar to the shadowy uneffential 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 recominending; 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 continued act of obedience, we turn our diversions and amusements to our eternal ac! vantage, and are pleasing him (whom we are made to please) in all the circumstanees and occurrences of life. · It is this excellent frame of mind, this holy.offici0:?frefs (if I may be allowed to call it fuch) which is recommended to us by the apostle in that uncommon precept, wherein lie directs us to propose to ourselves the glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent actions, whether we eat or drink, whatsoever we do.