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not observe that it had made any manner of alteration in him.
A comedian, who had gained great reputation in parts of humour, told me that he had a mighty mind to act Alexander the Great, and fancied that he should succeed very well in it, if he could strike two or three laughing features out of his face. He tried the experiment, but contracted so very solid a look by it, that I am afraid he will be fit for no part hereafter but a Timon of Athens, or a Mute in The Funeral.
I then clapped up an empty fantastic citizen, in order to qualify him for an alderman. He was succeeded by a young rake of the Middle Temple, who was brought to me by his grandmother; but, to her great sorrow and surprise, he came out a quaker. Seeing myself surrounded with a body of freethinkers and scoffers at religion, who were making themselves merry at the sober looks and thoughtful brows of those who had been in the cave, I thrust them all in, one after another, and locked the door upon them. Upon my opening it, they all looked as if they had been frightened out of their wits, and were marching away with ropes in their hands to a wood that was within sight of the place. I found they were not able to bear themselves in their first serious thoughts; but, knowing these would quickly bring them to a better frame of mind, I gave them into the custody of their friends until that happy change was wrought in them.
The last that was brought to me was a young woman, who at the first sight of my short face fell into an immoderate fit of laughter, and was forced to hold her sides all the while her mother was speaking to me. Upon this I interrupted the old lady, and, taking her daughter by the hand, • Madam,' said I, • be pleased to retire into my closet, while your mother tells me your case. I then put her into the mouth of the cave; when the mother, after having begged pardon for the girl's rudeness, told me that she often treated her fa- ther and the gravest of her relations in the same manner; that she would sit giggling and laughing with her companions from one end of a tragedy to the other; nay, that she would sometimes burst out in the middle of a sermon, and set the whole congregation a staring at her. The mother was going on, when the young lady came out of the cave to us with a composed countenance and a low courtesy. She was a girl of such exuberant mirth that her visit to Trophonius only reduced her to a more than ordinary decency of behaviour, and made a very pretty prude of her. After having performed innumerable cures, I looked about me with great satisfaction, and saw all my patients walking by themselves in a very pensive and musing posture, so that the whole place seemed covered with philosophers. I was at length resolved to go into the cave myself, and see what it was that had produced such wonderful effects upon the company ; but as I was stooping at the entrance, the door being something low, I gave such a nod in my chair that I awaked. After having recovered myself from my first startle, I was very well pleased at the accident which had befallen me, as not knowing but a little stay in the place might have spoiled my Spectators.
No 600. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 29, 1714.
- Solemque suum, sua sidera nộrunt.
VIRG. Æn. vi. 641. Stars of their own, and their own suns they know.
I have always taken a particular pleasure in examining the opinions which men of different religions, different ages and different countries, have entertained concerning the immortality of the soul, and the state of happiness which they promise themselves in another world. For whatever prejudices and errors human nature lies under, we find that either reason, or tradition from our first parents, has discovered to all people something in these great points which bears analogy to truth, and to the doctrines opened to us by divine revelation. I was lately discoursing on this subject with a learned person who has been very much conversant among the inhabitants of the more western parts of Africa. * Upon his conversing with several in that country, he tells me that their notion of heaven or of a future state of happiness is this, that every thing we there wish for will immediately present itself to us. We find, say they, our souls are of such a nature that they require variety, and are not capable of being always delighted with the same objects. The Su
• The person alluded to here was probably dean Lancelot Addison, é diutinis per Europum Africamque peregrinationibus, rerum peritiâ spectabilis. This amiable clergyman, the father of the author of this paper, published An Account of West Barbary, &c.
preme Being, therefore, in compliance with this taste of happiness which he has planted in the soul of man, will raise up from time to time, say they, every gratification which it is in the humour to be pleased with. If we wish to be in groves or bowers, among running streams or falls of water, we shall immediately find ourselves in the midst of such a scene as we desire. If we would be entertained with music, and the melody of sounds, the concert rises upon our wish, and the whole region about us is filled with harmony. In short, every desire will be followed by fruition; and whatever a man's inclination directs him to will be present with him. Nor is it material whether the Supreme Power creates in conformity to our wishes, or whether he only produces such a change in our imagination as makes us believe ourselves conversant among those scenes which delight us. Our happiness will be the same, whether it proceed from external objects, or from the impressions of the Deity, upon our own private fancies. This is the account which I have received from my learned friend. Notwithstanding this system of belief be in general very chimerical and visionary, there is something sublime in its manner of considering the influence of a Divine Being on a human soul. It has also, like most other opinions of the heathen world upon these important points ; it has, I say, its foundation in truth, as it supposes the souls of good men after this life to be in a state of perfect happiness : that in this state there will be no barren hopes nor fruitless wishes, and that we shall enjoy every thing we can desire. But the particular circumstance which I am most pleased with in this scheme, and which arises from a just reflection upon human nature, is that variety of pleasures which it supposes the souls of good men will be possessed of in another world. This I think highly probable, from the dictates both of reason and revelation. The soul consists of many faculties, as the understanding, and the will, with all the senses both outward and inward; or, to speak more philosophically, the soul can exert herself in many different ways of action. She can understand, will, imagine, see, and hear ; love, and discourse, and apply herself to many other the like exercises of different kinds and natures; but what is more to be considered, the soul is capable of receiving a most exquisite pleasure and satisfaction from the exercise of any of these its powers, when they are gratified with their proper objects; she can be entirely happy by the satisfaction of the memory, the sight, the hearing, or any other mode of perception. Every faculty is as a distinct taste in the mind, and hath objects accommodated to its proper relish. Doctor Tillotson somewhere says, that he will not presume to determine in what consists the happiness of the blessed, because God Almighty is capable of making the soul happy by ten thousand different ways. Besides those several avenues to pleasure which the soul is endowed with in this life, it is not impossible, according to the opinions of many eminent divines, but there may be new faculties in the souls of good men made perfect, as well as new senses in their glorified bodies. This we are sure of, that there will be new objects offered to all those faculties which are essential to us.
We are likewise to take notice that every particular faculty is capable of being employed on a very great variety of objects. The understanding, for example, may be happy in the contemplation of moral, natural, mathematical, and other kinds of truth. The memory likewise may turn itself to an infinite multitude of objects, especially when the soul shall have passed through the space of many