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No. 177. whom, in the Passage hereafter mentioned, he has de
same time we should manage our Charity with such
This may possibly be explained better by an Example than by a Rule.
Eugenius is a Man of an Universal Good-nature, and Generous beyond the Extent of his Fortune, but withal so prudent in the Oeconomy of his Affairs, that what goes out in Charity is made up by Good_Management, Eugenius has what the World calls Two hundred Pounds a Year, but never values himself above Ninescore, as not thinking he has a right to the Tenth Part, which he always appropriates to charitable Uses. To this Sum he frequently makes other voluntary Additions, insomuch that in a good Year, for such he accounts those in which he has been able to make greater Bounties than ordinary, he has given above twice that Sum to the Sickly and Indigent Eugenius prescribes to himself many particular Days of Fasting and Abstinence, in order to encrease his private Bank of Charity, and sets aside what would be the current Expences of those Times for the use of the Poor. He often goes a-foot where his Business calls him, and at the End of his Walk has given a Shilling, which in his ordinary Methods of Expence would have gone for Coach-hire, to the first necessitous Person that has fallen in his way. I have known him, when he has been going to a Play, or an Opera, divert the Mony which was designed for that Purpose, upon an Object of Charity whom he has met with in the Street, and afterwards pass his Evening in a Coffee-house, or at a Friend's Fireside, with much greater Satisfaction to him. self than he could have received from the most exquisite Entertainments of the Theatre. By these means he is generous without impoverishing himself, and enjoys his Estate by making it the Property of others.
There are few Men so cramped in their private Affairs, who may not be charitable after this maner,
without any Disadvantage to themselves, or Prejudice No. 177. to their families. It is but sometimes sacrificing a Saturday, Diversion or Convenience to the Poor, and turning the Sept. 22,
1711 usual Course of our Expences into a better Channel. This is, I think, not only the most prudent and convenient, but the most meritorious Piece of Charity, which we can put in Practice. By this Method we in some measure share the Necessities of the Poor at the same time that we relieve them, and make our selves not only their Patrons, but their FellowSufferers.
Sir Thomas Brown in the last part of his Religio Medici, in which he describes his Charity in several Heroic Instances, and with a noble Heat of Sentiments mentions that Verse in the Proverbs of Solomon, He that giveth to the Poor lendeth to the Lord: There is more Rhetorick in that one Sentence,' says he, 'than in a Library of Sermons, and indeed if those Sentences were understood by the Reader, with the same Emphasis as they are delivered by the Author, we needed not those Volumes of Instructions, but might be honest by an Epitome.'
This Passage in Scripture is indeed wonderfully persuasive, but I think the same Thought is carried much further in the New Testament, where our Saviour tells us in a most pathetick manner that he shall hereafter regard the cloathing of the Naked, the feeding of the Hungry, and the visiting of the Imprisoned, as Offices done to himself, and reward them accordingly, Pursuant to those Passages in Holy Scripture, I have some where met with the Epitaph of a charitable Man which has very much pleased me. I cannot recollect the Words, but the Sense of it is to this purpose. What I spent I lost. What I possessed is left to others. What I gave away remains with me,
Since I am thus insensibly engaged in Sacred Writ, I cannot forbear making an Extract of several Passages which I have always read with great Delight in the Book of Job. It is the Account which that Holy Man gives of his Behaviour in the Days of his Prosperity, and if considered only as a human Composition, is a
No. 177. finer Picture of a charitable and good natured Man than
Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me: When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness : When the Almighty was yet with me, when my Children were about me: When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured out rivers of oyl.
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the Eye saw me it gave witness to me. Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the Widow's heart to sing for joy, I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame; I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not I searched out. Did not I weep for him that was in trouble, was not my soul grieved for the poor? Let me be weighed in an even ballance, that God may know mine integrity. If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or of my maid-servant when they contended with me : What then shall I do when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb, make hím ? and did not one fashion us in the womb ? If I have with held the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel my self alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof: If I have seen any perish for want of cloathing, or any poor without covering: If his loyns have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep: If I have lift up my hand against the fatherless when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulderblade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. If I have rejoiced at the Destruction of him that hated me, or lift up my self when evil found him. Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soul. The stranger did not lodge in the street, but I opened my doors to the traveller. If my land
cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof No. 177 complain: If I have eaten the fruits thereof without Saturday, mony, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their Sept. 22,
1711 life í Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley.
No. 178. (STEELE]
Monday, September 24.
Comis io uxorem
I CANNOT defer taking Notice of this Letter,
Mr. SPECTATOR, I am but too good a Judge of your Paper of the 15th Instant, which is a Master Piece; I mean that of Jealousie : But I think it unworthy of you to speak of that Torture in the Breast of a Man, and not to mention also the Pangs of it in the Heart of a Woman. You have very judiciously, and with the greatest Penetration imaginable, considered it as Woman is the Creature of whom the Diffidence is raised; but not a Word of a Man who is so unmerciful as to move Jealousie in his Wife, and not care whether she is so or not. It is possible you may not believe there are such Tyrants in the World: but alas I can tell you of a Man who is ever out of Humour in his Wife's Company, and the pleasantest Man in the World every where else; the greatest Sloven at Home when he appears to none but his Family, and most exactly well-dressed in all other Places. Alas, Sir, is it of course, that to deliver one's self wholly into a Man's Power without Possibility of Appeal to any other Jurisdiction but to his own Res flexions, is so little an Obligation to a Gentleman that he can be offended and fall into a Rage, because my Heart swells Tears into my Eyes when I see him in a cloudy Mood? I pretend to no Succour, and hope for no Relief but from himself; and yet he that has Sense and Justice in every thing else, never reflects, that to come home only to sleep off an Intemperance, and spend all the Time he is there as if it were a Punishment, cannot but give the Anguish of a jealous Mind.
lo. 178. He always leaves his Home as if he were going to Londay, Court, and returns as if he were entring a Gaol. I ept. 24, could add to this, that from his Company and his usual 71.
Discourse, he does not scruple being thought an abandoned Man as to his Morals. Your own Imagination will say
enough to you concerning the Condition of me his Wife, and I wish you would be so good as to represent to him, for he is not ill-natured and reads you much, that the Moment I hear the Door shut after him, I throw my self upon my Bed, and drown the Child he is so fond of with my Tears, and often frighten it with my Cries; that I curse my Being; that I run to my Glass all over-bathed in Sorrows, and help the Utterance of my inward Anguish by beholding the Gush of my own Calamities as my Tears fall from my Eyes. This looks like an imagined Picture to tell you, but indeed this is one of my Pastimes. Hitherto I have only told you the general Temper of my Mind, but how shall I give you an Account of the Distraction of it? Could you but conceive how cruel I am one Moment in my Resentment, and, at the ensuing Minute, when I place him in the Condition my Anger would bring him to, how compassionate, it would give you some Notion how miserable I am, and how little I deserve it. When I remonstrate with the greatest Gentleness that is possible against unhandsome Appearances, and that married Persons are under particular Rules; when he is in the best Humour to receive this, I am answered only, That I expose my own Reputation and Sense if I appear jealous. I wish, good Sir, you would take this into serious Consideration, and admonish Husbands and Wives what Terms they ought to keep towards each
Your Thoughts on this important Subject will have the greatest Reward, that which descends on such as feel the Sorrows of the Afflicted. Give me Leave to subscribe my self,