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“By a fisherman which lately touched at Hammersmith, there is advice from Putney, that a certain person well known in that place, is like to lose his election for churchwarden; but this being boatnews, we cannot give entire credit to it.
“Letters from Paddington bring little more, than that William Squeak, the sow-gelder, passed through that place the fifth instant.
“They advise from Fulham, that things remained there in the same state they were. They had intelligence, just as the letters came away, of a tub of excellent ale just set abroach at Parson's Green; but this wanted confirmation.
“I have here, Sir, given you a specimen of the news with which I intend to entertain the town, and which, when drawn up regularly in the form of a newspaper, will, I doubt not, be very acceptable to many of those public-spirited readers, who take more delight in acquainting themselves with other people's business than their own. I hope a paper of this kind, which lets us know what is done near home, may be more useful to us than those which are filled with advices from Zug and Bender, and make some amends for that dearth of intelligence, which we may justly apprehend from times of peace. If I find that you receive this project favourably, I will shortly trouble you with one or two more; and in the mean time am, most worthy Sir, with all due respect,
“Your most obedient
No. 453. SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 1712.
Non usitatâ nec tenui ferar
HOR. OD. ii. 20. I.
THERE is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction, that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. It is not like the practice of many other virtues, difficult and painful, but attended with so much pleasure, that were there no positive command which enjoined it, nor any recom
up for it hereafter, a generous mind would indulge in it, for the natural gratification that accompanies it.
If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker! The Supreme Being does not only confer upon us those bounties, which proceed more immediately from his hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by what means soever it may be derived upon us, is the gift of Him who is the great Author of good, and Father of mercies.
If gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man; it exalts the soul into rapture, when it is employed on this great object of gratitude, on this beneficent Being who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for.
Most of the works of the pagan poets were either direct hymns to their deities, or tended indirectly to the celebration of their respective attributes and perfections. Those who are acquainted with the works of the Greek and Latin poets which are still extant, will upon reflection find this observation so true, that I shall not enlarge upon it. One would wonder that more of our Christian poets have not turned their thoughts this way, especially if we consider, that our idea of the Supreme Being is not only infinitely more great and noble than what could possibly enter into the heart of a heathen, but filled with every thing that can raise the imagination, and give an opportunity for the sublimest thoughts and conceptions.
Plutarch tells us of a heathen who was singing a hymn to Diana, in which he celebrated her for her delight in human sacrifices, and other instances of cruelty and revenge; upon which a poet who was present at this piece of devotion, and seems to have had a truer idea of the divine nature, told the votary, by way of reproof, that, in recompense for his hymn, he heartily wished he might have a daughter of the same temper with the goddess he celebrated. It was indeed impossible to write the praises of one of those false deities, according to the pagan creed, without a mixture of impertinence and absurdity.
The Jews, who before the time of Christianity were the only people that had the knowledge of the true God, have set the Christian world an example how they ought to employ this divine talent of which I am speaking. As that nation produced men of great genius, without considering them as inspired writers, they have transmitted to us o hymns and divine odes, which excel those that are delivered down to us by the ancient Greeks and Romans, in the poetry, as much as in .."; subject to which it was
consecrated. This I think might easily be shown if there were occasion for it.
I have already communicated to the public some pieces of divine poetry: and, as they have met with a very favourable reception, I shall from time to time publish any work of the same nature, which has not yet appeared in print, and may be acceptable to my readers.
My rising soul surveys ;
The gratitude declare,
But Thou canst read it there.
And all my wants redrest,
Thy mercy lent an ear,
Thy tender care bestow'd,
From whom those comforts flow'd,
When in the slippery paths of youth
With heedless steps ran,
And led me up to man.
It gently clear’d my way,
With health renew'd my face,
Has made my cup run o'er,
My daily thanks employ ;
Divide thy works no more,
A joyful song l’il raise,
To utter all thy praise.