Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

But notwithstanding this plausible Reason with which No. 213. 1 both the Jew and the Roman Catholick would excuse their Saturday. respective Superstitions, it is certain there is something Now, 3,

1711. in them very pernicious to Mankind, and destructive

to Religion Because, the Injunction of superfluous 5* Ceremonies make such Actions Duties, as were before

Indifferent, and by that means renders Religion more burdensome and difficult than it is in its own Nature,

betrays many into Sins of Omission which they could not otherwise be guilty of, and fixes the Minds of the

Vulgar to the shadowy unessential 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 recommending for if,

instead of prescribing to our selves indifferent Actions E as Duties, we apply a good Intention to all our most

indifferent Actions, we make our very Existence one i continued Act of Obedience, we turn our Diversions Di and Amusements to our Eternal Advantage, and are

pleasing him (whom we are made to please) in all the 5 Circumstances and Occurrences of Life. [ It is this Excellent Frame of Mind, this holy Officious

ness (if I may be allowed to call it such) which is o recommended to us by the Apostle in that uncommon : Precept, wherein he directs us to propose to our selves

the Glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent c Actions, whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do.

A Person therefore, who is possessed with such an habitual good Intention as that which I have been here

speaking of, enters upon no single Circumstance of Life, without considering it as well pleasing to the great Author of his Being, conformable to the Dictates of Reason, suitable to human Nature in general, or to that particular Station in which Providence has placed

him. He lives in a perpetual Sense of the Divine Presence, regards himself as acting, in the whole Course e of his Ezistence, under the Observation and Inspection of that Being, who is privy to all his Motions and all his Thoughts, who knows his down-sitting and his up-rising, who is about his Path, and about his Bed,

and

[ocr errors]

No. 213. and spieth out all his Ways. In a Word, he remembers
Saturday, that the Eye of his Judge is always upon him, and in
Nov. 3,
1711.

every Action he reflects that he is doing what is com
manded or allowed by Him who will hereafter either
reward or punish it. This was the Character of those
Holy Men of old, who in that beautiful Phrase of
Scripture are said to have walked with God.

When I employ my self upon a Paper of Morality, I generally consider how I may recommend the particular Virtue, which I treat of, by the Precepts or Examples of the ancient Heathens, by that means, if possible, to shame those who have greater Advantages of know ing their Duty, and therefore greater Obligations to perform it into a better Course of Life. Besides, that many among us are unreasonably disposed to give a fairer hearing to a Pagan Philospher, than to a Christian Writer.

I shall therefore produce an Instance of this excellent Frame of Mind in a Speech of Socrates, which is quoted by Erasmus. This great Philosopher on the Day of his Execution, a little before the Draught of Poison was brought to him, entertaining his Friends with a Discourse on the Immortality of the Soul, has these Words. Whether or no God will approve of my Actions I know not, but this I am sure of, that I have at all times made it my Endeavour to please him, and I have a good Hope that this my Endeavour will be accepted by him. We find in these Words of that great Man the habitual good Intention which I would here inculcate, and with which that Divine Philosopher always acted. I shall only add that Erasmus, who was an unbigotted Roman Catholick, was so much transported with this Passage of Socrates, that he could scarce forbear looking upon him as a Saint, and desiring him to pray for him; or as that ingenious and learned Writer has expressed him self in a much more lively manner, When I reflect on such a Speech pronounced by such a Person, 1 can scarce forbear crying out, Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis : O holy Socrates, pray for us.

L

Monday

No. 214. No. 214,

Monday, STEELE.]

Monday, November 5.

Nov, 5,
Perierunt tempora longi

1711.
Servitii Juv,
DID some Time ago lay before the World the un

happy Condition of the trading Part of Mankind, who suffer by want of Punctuality in the Dealings of Persons above them, but there is a Set of Men who are much more the Objects of Compassion than even those, and these are the Dependants on great Men, whom they are pleased to take under their Protection as such as are to share in their Friendship and Favour. These indeed as well from the Homage that is accepted from them, as the Hopes which are given to them, are become a sort of Creditors; and these Debts, being Debts of Honour,

ought, according to the accustomed Maxime, to be first discharged.

When I speak of Dependants, I would not be under stood to mean those who are worthless in themselves, or who, without any Call, will press into the Company e of their Betters. Nor, when I speak of Patrons, do I c mean those who either have it not in their Power, or have no Obligation to assist their Friends, but I speak of such Leagues where there is Power and Obligation on the one Part, and Merit and Expectation on the other.

The Division of Patron and client, may, I believe, include a Third of our Nation; the Want of Merit and - real Worth in the Client, will strike out about Ninety

nine in a Hundred of these ; and the Want of Ability - in Patrons, as many of that Kind.

But however, I must beg_leave to say, that he who will take up +

another's Time and Fortune in his Service tho' he has
no Prospect of rewarding his Merit towards him, is as
unjust in his Dealings as he who takes up Goods of a
Tradesman without Intention or Ability to pay him. Of
the few of the Class which I think fit to consider, there
are not two in ten who succeed; insomuch, that I know
a Man of good Sense who put his Son to a Black-smith,
tho' an Offer was made him of his being received as a
Page to a Man of Quality. There are not more Cripples
C

come

No. 214. come out of the Wars, than there are from those great Monday, Services ; some through Discontent lose their Speech, Nov. 5, some their Memories, others their Senses or their 171.

Lives; and I seldom see a Man thorowly discontented, but I conclude he has had the Favour of some great Man. I have known of such as have been for twenty Years together within a Month of a good Employment, but never arrived at the Happiness of being possessed of any thing,

There is nothing more ordinary, than that a Man who is got into considerable Station, shall immediately alter his manner of treating all his Friends, and from that moment he is to deal with you as if he were your Fate, You are no longer to be consulted, even in Matters which concern your self, but your Patron is of a Species above you, and a free Communication with you is not to be expected. This perhaps may be your Condition all the while he bears Office, and when that is at an End you are as intimate as ever you were, and he will take it very ill if you keep the Distance he prescribed you towards him in his Grandeur. One would think this should be a Behaviour a Man could fall into with the worst Grace imaginable, but they who know the World have seen it more than once. I have often, with secret Pity, heard the same Man who has professed his abhorrence against all kind of passive Behaviour, lose Minutes, Hours, Days, and Years, in a fruitless Attendance on one who had no Inclination to befriend him. It is very much to be regarded, that the Great have one particular Privilege above the rest of the World, of being slow in receiving Impressions of Kindness, and quick in taking Offence. The Elevation above the rest of Mankind, except in very great Minds, makes Men so giddy that they do not see after the same Manner they did before: Thus they despise their old Friends, and strive to extend their Interest to new Pretenders. By this Means it often happens, that when you come to know how you lost such an Employment you will find the Man who got it never dreamed of it; but, forsooth, he was to be surprized into it, or perhaps sollicited to receive it Upon such Occasions as these

a

a Man may perhaps grow out of Humour , if you are No. 214. so, all Mankind will fall in with the Patron, and you Monday,

Nov. 5, are an Humourist and untractable if you are capable of

1711 being sower at a Disappointment. But it is the same thing, whether you do or do not resent ill Usage, you

will be used after the same Manner; as some good * Mothers will be sure to whip their Children till they cry, and then whip them for crying.

There are but two Ways of doing any thing with great People, and those are by making your self either considerable or agreeable: The former is not to be attained but by finding a Way to live without them, or concealing that you want them; the latter, is only by falling into their Taste and Pleasures : This is of all the Employments in the World the most servile, except it happens to be of your own natural Humour. For to be agreeable to another, especially if he be above you, is not to be possessed of such Qualities and Accomplishments as should render you agreeable in your self, but such as make you agreeable in respect to him, An Imitation of his Faults, or a Compliance, if not Subservience, to his Vices, must be the Measures of your Conduct

When it comes to that, the unnatural State a Man lives in, when his Patron pleases, is ended; and his Guilt and Complaisance are objected to him, though the Man who rejects him for his Vices was not only his Partner but Seducer. Thus the Client (like a young Woman who has given up the Innocence which made

her charming) has not only lost his Time, but also the * Virtue which could render him capable of resenting the Injury which is done him.

It would be endless to recount the Tricks of turning you off from themselves to Persons who have less Power to serve you, the Art of being sorry for such an unaccountable Accident in your Behaviour, that such a one (who, perhaps, has never heard of you) opposes your Advancement; and if you have any thing more than ordinary in you, you are flattered with a Whisper,

that 'tis no Wonder People are so slow in doing for a Man of your Talents, and the like.

After

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »