« AnteriorContinuar »
was sold for thirty pounds. As it was writ- brated, since our adversaries challenge all ten by one Jordanus Brunus, a professed those, as men who have too much interest atheist, with a design to depreciate religion, in this case to be impartial evidences. every one was apt to fancy, from the extra-| But what has been often urged as a convagant price it bore, that there must be sideration of much more weight, is not only something in it very formidable.
(the opinion of the better sort, but the geneI must confess that, happening to get a ral consent of mankind to this great truth; sight of one of them myself, I could not for- which I think could not possibly have come bear perusing it with this apprehension; to pass, but from one of the three following but found there was so very little danger in reasons: either that the idea of a God is it, that I shall venture to give my reader a innate and co-existent with the mind itself; fair account of the whole plan upon which or that this truth is so very obvious, that it this wonderful treatise is built.
is discovered by the first exertion of reason The author pretends that Jupiter once in persons of the most ordinary capacities; upon a time, resolved upon a reformation or lastly, that it has been delivered down to of the constellations: for which purpose, us through all ages by a tradition from the having summoned the stars together, he first man. complains to them of the great decay of the | The atheists are equally confounded, to worship of the gods, which he thought so whichever of these three causes we assign much the harder, having called several of it; they have been so pressed by this last those celestial bodies by the names of the argument from the general consent of manheathen deities, and by that means made kind, that after great search and pains they the heavens as it were a book of the pagan pretend to have found out a nation of athetheology. Momus tells him that this is not ists, I mean that polite people the Hottento be wondered at, since there were so many tots. scandalous stories of the deities. Upon I dare not shock my readers with the dewhich the author takes occasion to cast re- scription of the customs and manners of flections upon all other religions, concluding these barbarians, who are in every respect that Jupiter, after a full hearing, discarded scarce one degree above brutes, having no the deities out of heaven, and called the language among them but a confused gabstars by the names of the moral virtues. ble, which is neither well understood by
The short fable, which has no pretence themselves nor others. in it to reason or argument, and but a very It is not, however, to be imagined how small share of wit, has however recom- much the atheists have gloried in these mended itself, wholly by its impiety, to their good friends and allies. those weak men who would distinguish If we boast of a Socrates or a Seneca, they themselves by the singularity of their opi- may now confront them with these great nions.
philosophers the Hottentots. There are two considerations which have Though even this point has, not without been often urged against atheists, and which reason, been several times controverted, I they never yet could get over. The first is, see no manner of harm it could do to relithat the greatest and most eminent persons gion, if we should entirely give them up this of all ages have been against them, and al-elegant part of mankind. ways complied with the public forms of Methinks nothing more shows the weakworship established in their respective coun- ness of their cause, than that no division of tries, when there was nothing in them either their fellow-creatures join with them but derogatory to the honour of the Supreme those among whom they themselves own Being, or prejudicial to the good of mankind. reason is almost defaced, and who have but
The Platos and Ciceros among the an- little else but their shape which can entitle cients; the Bacons, the Boyles, and the them to any place in the species. Lockes, among our own countrymen; are all | Besides these poor creatures, there have instances of what I have been saying; not to now and then been instances of a few crazy mention any of the divines, however cele people in several nations who have denied
the existence of a deity.
The catalogue of these is, however, very Mr. Joseph Ames, of Sir Peter Thompson, and of M. C. Tutet, esq. among whose books it was lately sold by
short; even Vanina, the most celebrated auction, at Mr. Gerrard's in Litchfield-street. The au champion for the cause, professed before thor of this book, Giordano Bruno, was a native of
his judges that he believed the existence of Nola, in the kingdom of Naples, and burnt at Rome by order of the inquisition in 1600. Morhoff, speaking of
a God; and, taking up a straw which lay atheists, says, 'Jordanum tamen Brunum huic classi non anaumerarem,-manifcsto in illo atheismi restigia non
that alone was sufficient to convince him of deprehendo.' Polyhist. i. 1. 8. 22. Bruno published many other writings said to be atheistical. The book spoken
it: alleging several arguments to prove that of here was printed, not at Paris, as is said in the title. | it was impossible nature alone could create page, nor in 1544. but at London, and in 1584, 12mo.
any thing. dedicated to sir Philip Sidney. It was for some time so little regarded, that it was sold with five other books of
I was the other day reading an account of the same author, for 25 pence French, at the sale of Mr. Bigor's library in 1706 ; but it is now very scarce, and has been gold at the exorbitant price of 502. Niceron.
mcrime. The manner of his punishment was Hommes I Just. tom. xvii. p. 211. There was an edition of it in English in 1713.
| very particular. As soon as his body was
burnt, his ashes were put into a cannon, and their own behaviour so unhappily, that shot into the air towards Tartary.
there indeed lies some cause of suspicion I am apt to believe, that if something like upon them. It is certain, that there is no this method of punishment should prevail in authority for persons who have nothing else England (such is the natural good sense of to do, to pass away hours of conversation the British nation,) that whether we ram- upon the miscarriages of other people; but med an atheist whole into a great gun, or since they will do so, they who value their pulverized our infidels, as they do in Po- reputation should be cautious of appearland, we should not have many charges. ances to their disadvantage: but very often
I should, however, premise, while our our young women, as well as the middleammuniticn lasted, that, instead of Tartary, aged, and the gay part of those growing we should always keep two or three cannons old, without entering into a formal league ready pointed towards the Cape of Good for that purpose, to a woman, agree upon Hope, in order to shoot our unbelievers into a short way to preserve their characters, the country of the Hottentots.
and go on in a way that at best is only not In my opinion, a solemn judicial death is vicious. The method is, when an ill-natured too great an honour for an atheist; though I or talkative girl has said any thing that bears must allow the method of exploding him, as hard upon some part of another's carriage, it is practised in this ludicrous kind of mar this creature, if not in any of their little tyrdom, has something in it proper enough cabals, is run down for the most censoricusi to the nature of his offence.
dangerous body in the world. Thus they There is indeed a great objection against guard their reputation rather than their this manner of treating them. Zeal for re- modesty; as if guilt lay in being under the ligion is of so effective a nature that it sel-l imputation of a fault, and not in a commisdom knows where to rest: for which reason sion of it. Orbicilla is the kindest poor I am afraid, after having discharged our thing in town, but the most blushing creaatheists, we might possibly think of shoot- ture living. It is true, she has not lost the ing off our sectaries; and as one does not sense of shame, but she has lost the sense foresee the vicissitudes of human affairs, it of innocence. If she had more confidence, might one time or other come to a man's and never did any thing which ought to own turn to fly out of the mouth of a demi-stain her cheeks, would she not be much culverin.
more modest, without that ambiguous sufIf any of my readers imagine that I have fusion which is the livery both of guilt and treated these gentlemen in too ludicrous a innocence? Modesty consists in being conmanner, I must confess, for my own part, I scious of no ill, and not in being ashamed think reasoning against such unbelievers, of having done it. When people go upon upon a point that shocks the common sense any other foundation than the truth of their of mankind, is doing them too great an ho- own hearts for the conduct of their actions; hour, giving them a figure in the eve of the lit lies in the power of scandalous tongues to world, and making people fancy that they carry the world before them, and make have more in them than they really have.' the rest of mankind fall in with the ill for
As for those persons who have any scheme fear of reproach. On the other hand, to do of religious worship, I am for treating such what you ought, is the ready way to make with the utmost tenderness, and should calumny either silent, or ineffectually maendeavour to show them their errors with licious. Spenser, in his Fairy Queen, says the greatest temper and humanity; but as admirably to young ladies under the disa these miscreants are for throwing down re- tress of being defamed: ligion in general, for stripping mankind of
• The best,' said he, 'that I can you advise. what themselves own is of excellent use in Is to avoid th' occasion of the ill: all great societies, without once offering to For when the cause, whence evil doth arise, establish any thing in the room of it, I think
Removed is, th' etlect surcraseth still.
Abstain from pleasure, and restrain your will, the best way of dealing with them, is to re
Subiue desire, and bridle loose delight: tort their own weapons upon them, which Use scanty diet, and forbear your fill; are those of scorn and mockery. X.
Shun secresy, and talk in open sight;
Instead of this care over their words and No. 390.] Wednesday, May 28, 1712.
| actions, recommended by a poet in old
queen Bess's days, the modern way is to Non pudendo, sed non fasciendo id quod non decet, say and do what you please, and yet be the impudentiæ nomen effugere debemus.
prettiest sort of woman in the world. If It is not by blushing, but hy not doing what is unbe fathers and brothers will defend a lady's coming, that we ought to guard against the imputation honour, she is quite as safe as in her own of impudence.
innocence. Many of the distressed, who Many are the epistles I receive from suffer under the malice of evil tongues, are ladies extremely afflicted that they lie so harmless, that they are every day they under the observation of scandalous people, live asleep till twelve at noon; concern who love to defame their neighbours, and themselves with nothing but their own permake the unjustest interpretation of inno- sons till two; take their necessary food becent and indifferent actions. They describe tween that time and four ; visit, go to the
play; and sit up at cards till towards the Ebullit patrui præclarum funus! Eto si
Sub rastro crepet argenti mihi seria dextro ensuing morn; and the malicious world shall
Hercule! pupillumve utinam, quem proximus hæres draw conclusions from innocent glances, Impello, expungam!
Pers. Sat. ii. v, 3. short whispers, or pretty familiar railleries
-Thou know'st to join with fashionable men, that these fair ones No bribe unhallow'd to a prayer of thine ; are not as rigid as vestals. It is certain, Thine, which can ev'ry ear's full test abide, say these 'goodest creatures, very well,
Nor need be mutter'd to the gods aside!
No, thou aloud may'st thy petitions trust : that virtue does not consist in constrained Thon need'st not whisper, other great ones must. behaviour and wry faces; that must be al For few, my friend, few dare like thee he plaini, lowed: but there is a decency in the aspect
And prayer's low artifice at shrines disdain.
Few from their pious mumblings dare depart, and manner of ladies, contracted from a
And make profession of their inmost heart. habit of virtue, and from general reflec Keep me, indulgent Heaven, through life sincere, tions that regard a modest conduct, all
Keep my mind sound, my reputation clear,
These wishes they can speak, and we can hear. which may be understood, though they Thus far their wants are audibly express'd; cannot be described. A young woman of Then sinks the voice, arid muttering groans the rest this sort claims an esteem mixed with affec
Hear, hear at length, good Hercules, my vow!
O chink some pot of gold beneath my plow! tion and honour, and meets with no defa
Could I, O could I to my ravishd eyes mation; or, if she does, the wild malice is See my rich uncle's poin pous funeral rise ; overcome with an undisturbed persever
Or could I once my ward's cold corpse attend;
Then all were mine! ance in her innocence. To speak freely, there are such coveys of coquettes about WHERE Homer represents Phoenix, thé this town, that if the peace were not kept tutor of Achilles, as persuading his pupil to by some impertinent tongues of their own lay aside his resentment, and give himself sex, which keep them under some re- up to the entreaties of his countrymen, the straint; we should have no manner of en-poet, in order to make him speak in chagagement upon them to keep them in any racter, ascribes to him a speech full of tolerable order.
those fables and allegories which old mīlent As I am a Spectator, and behold how take delight in relating; and which are very plainly one part of woman-kind balance the proper for instruction. «The gods,' says behaviour of the other, whatever I may he, suffer themselves to be prevailed upon think of tale-bearers or slanderers, I can- by entreaties. When mortals have offenda not wholly suppress them, no more than a ed them by their transgressions, they apa general would discourage spies. The enemy pease them by vows and sacrifices. You would easily surprise him whom they knew must know, Achilles, that prayers are the had no intelligence of their motions. It is daughters of Jupiter. They are crippled so far otherwise with me, that I acknow- by frequently kneeling; have their faces ledge I permit a she-slanderer or two in full of scars and wrinkles, and their eyes every quarter of the town, to live in the always cast towards heaven. They are characters of coquettes, and take all the constant attendants on the goddess Ate, innocent freedoms of the rest, in order to and march behind her. This goddess walks send me information of the behaviour of the | forward with a bold and haughty air; and, respective sisterhoods.
being very light of foot, runs through the But as the matter of respect to the world whole earth, grieving and afflicting the which looks on; is carried on, methinks it sons of men. She gets the start of Prayers; is so very easy to be what is in general who always follow her, in order to heal called virtuous, that it need not cost one those persons whom she wounds. He who hour's reflection in a month to deserve that honours these daughters of Jupiter, when appellation. It is pleasant to hear the they draw near to him, receives great benepretty rogues talk of virtue and vice fit from them; but as for him who rejettg among each other. She is the laziest them, they entreat their father to give þig creature in the world, but I must confess, orders to the goddess Ate, to punish hint for strictly virtuous; the peevishest hussy his hardness of heart." This noble allegory breathing, but as to her virtue, she is with- needs but little explanation; for, whether out blemish. Slie has not the least charity the goddess Ate signifies injury; as some for any of her acquaintance, but I must have explained it; or guilt in general, as allow her rigidly virtuous.' As the unthink- others; or divine justice, as I am more apt to ing part of the male world call every man think; the interpretation is obvious enough: a man of honour who is not a coward; so I shall produce another heathen fable the crowd of the other sex terms every relating to prayers, which is of a more diwoman who will not be a wench, virtuous. verting kind. One would think by some
passages in it, that it was composed by Lu
cian, or at least by some author who has No. 391.) Thursday, May 29, 1712.
endeavoured to imitate his way of writing;
but as dissertations of this nature are more -Non tu prece poscis emaci,
curious than useful, I shall give my reader Quæ nisi seductis nequeas committere divis: At bona pars procerun tacita libabit acerra. (susurros the fable; without any further inquiries Haud cuivis promptum est, murmurgne humilesque Tollere de templis; et aperto vivere voto.
Menippus the philosopher was a second Mers bona, fama, fides ; bær clare, et ut audiat hospes, 1 ila sibi introrsum et sub lingua immurmurat: o si'l time taken up into heaven by Jupiter; when VOL: II;
for his entertainment, he lifted up a trap-, he desires me to take his father, who keeps door that was placed by his footstool. At a great estate from him, out of the miseries its rising, there issued through it such a of human life. The old fellow shall live din of cries as astonished the philosopher. till he makes his heart ache, I can tell him Upon his asking what they meant, Jupiter that for his pains.” This was followed up told him they were the prayers that were by the soft voice of a pious lady, desiring sent up to him from the earth. Menippus, Jupiter that she might appear amiable and amidst the confusion of voices, which was charming in the sight of her emperor. As so great that nothing less than the ear of the philosopher was reflecting on this exJove could distinguish them, heard the traordinary petition, there blew a gentle words “riches, honour,” and “long life,” wind through the trap-door which he at repeated in several different tones and lan- first took for a gentle gale of zephyrs, but guages. When the first hubbub of sounds afterwards found it to be a breeze of sighs. was over, the trap-door being left open, They smelt strong of flowers and incense, the voices came up more separate and dis- and were succeeded by most passionate tinct. The first prayer was a very odd one; complaints of wounds and torments, fire it came from Athens, and desired Jupiter and arrows, cruelty, despair and death. to increase the wisdom and beard of his Menippus fancied that such lamentable humble supplicant. Menippus knew it by cries arose from some general execution, the voice to be the prayer of his friend Li-or from wretches lying under the torture; cander the philosopher. This was succeed-but Jupiter told him that they came up to ed by the petition of one who had just laden him from the isle of Paphos, and that he a ship, and promised Jupiter, if he took every day received complaints of the same care of it, and returned it home again full nature from that whimsical tribe of mortals of riches, he would make him an offering who are called lovers. “I am so trified of a silver cup. Jupiter thanked him for with,” says he, “by this generation of both nothing; and bending down his ear more sexes, and find it so impossible to please attentively than ordinary, heard a voice them, whether I grant or refuse their peticomplaining to him of the cruelty of an tions, that I shall order a western wind for Ephesian widow, and begged him to breed the future to intercept them in their pas. compassion in her heart. « This,” says sage, and blow them at random upon the Jupiter, “is a very honest fellow. I have earth.” The last petition I heard was from received a great deal of incense from him; a very aged man of near a hundred years I will not be so cruel to him as not to hear old, begging but for one year more of life, his prayers.” He was then interrupted and then promising to be contented. “ This with a whole volley of vows which were is the rarest old fellow!" says Jupiter; “he made for the health of a tyrannical prince has made this prayer to me for above by his subjects, who prayed for him in his twenty years together. When he was but presence. Menippus was surprised after fifty years old, he desired only that he having listened to prayers offered up with might live to see his son settled in the world: so much ardour and devotion, to hear low I granted it. He then begged the same fawhispers from the same assembly, expos-vour for his daughter, and afterwards that tulating with Jove for suffering such a he might see the education of a grandson. tyrant to live, and asking him how his When all this was brought about, he puts thunder could lie idle? Jupiter was so up a petition that he might live to finish a offended with these prevaricating rascals, house he was building. In short, he is an that he took down the first vows, and puffed unreasonable old cur, and never wants an away the last. The philosopher, seeing a excuse; I will hear no more of him." Upon great cloud mounting upwards, and making which he flung down the trap-door in a its way directly to the trap-door, inquired passion, and was resolved to give no more of Jupiter what it meant. “This," says audiences that day.' Jupiter, “is the smoke of a whole heca- ! Notwithstanding the levity of this fable, tomb that is offered me by the general of the moral of it very well deserves our atan army, who is very importunate with me tention, and is the same with that which has to let him cut off a hundred thousand men been inculcated by Socrates and Plato, not that are drawn up in array against him. to mention Juvenal and Persius, who have What does the impudent wretch think I each of them made the finest satire in their see in him, to believe that I will make a whole works upon this subject. The vanity sacrifice of so inany mortals as good as him- of men's wishes which are the natural self, and all this to his glory forsooth? But prayers of the mind, as well as many of hark!” says Jupiter, there is a voice I those secret devotions which they offer to never heard but in time of danger: 'tis a the Supreme Being, are sufficiently exposed rogue that is shipwrecked in the Ionian by it. Among other reasons for set forms of sea. I saved him on a plank but three days prayer, I have often thought it a very good ago upon his promise to mend his manners; one, that by this means the folly and exthe scoundrel is not worth a groat, and yet travagance of men's desires may be kept has the impudence to offer me a temple, if within due bounds, and not break out in I will keep him from sinking.–But yon- absurd and ridiculous petitions on so gres der,” says he, “is a special youth for you; I and solemn an occasion,
No. 392.] Friday, May 30, 1712. I to me, that is was pleasantly said, had I
| been little enough, she would have hung Per ambages et ministeria deorum ræcipitandus est liber spiritus.
me at her girdle. The most dangerous By fable's aid ungovernd fancy soars,
rival I had, was a gay empty fellow, who And claims the ministry of heav'nly powers. by the strength of a long intercourse with The transformation of Fidelio into a look- Narcissa, joined to his natural endowments, ing-glass,
had formed himself into a perfect resem
blance with her. I had been discarded, had • Mr. SPECTATOR,—I was lately at a she not observed that he frequently asked tea-table, where some young ladies enter- | my opinion about matters of the last contained the company with a relation of a co- sequence. This made me still more conquette in the neighbourhood, who had been siderable in her eye. discovered practising before her glass. To "Though I was eternally caressed by turn the discourse, which from being witty the ladies, such was their opinion of my grew to be malicious, the matron of the honour, that I was never envied by the family took occasion from the subject to men. A jealous lover of Narcissa one day wish that there were to be found amongst thought he had caught her in an amorous men such faithful monitors to dress the conversation: for, though he was at such a mind by, as we consult to adorn the body. distance that he could hear nothing, he She added, that if a sincere friend were imagined strange things from her airs and miraculously changed into a looking-glass, gestures. Sometimes with a serene look she should not be ashamed to ask its advice she stepped back in a listening posture, very often. This whimsical thought work- and brightened into an innocent smile. ed so much upon my fancy the whole even-Quickly after she swelled into an air of ing, that it produced a very odd dream. majesty and disdain; then kept her eyes
• Methought that, as I stood before my half shut after a languishing manner, then glass, the image of a youth of an open in- covered her blushes with her hand, breathed genuous aspect appeared in it, who with a a sigh, and seemed ready to sink down. shrill voice spoke in the following manner: In rushed the furious lover; but how great
“The looking-glass you see was hereto- was his surprise to see no one there but the fore a man, even I, the unfortunate Fidelio. | innocent Fidelio with his back against the I had two brothers, whose deformity in wall betwixt two windows! shape was made up by the clearness of their “It were endless to recount all my adunderstanding. It must be owned, how- ventures, Let me hasten to that which ever, that (as it generally happens) they cost me my life, and Narcissa her Happi: had each a perverseness of humour suitable ness. to their distortion of body. The eldest, “ She had the misfortune to have the whose belly sunk in monstrously, was a small-pox, upon which I was expressly great coward, and, though his splenetic forbid her sight, it being apprehended that contracted temper made him take fire im- it would increase her distemper; and that mediately, he made objects that beset him I should infallibly catch it at the first look. appear greater than they were. The se- As soon as she was suffered to leave her cond, whose breast swelled into a bold re- bed; she stole out of her chamber, and lievo, on the contrary, took great pleasure found me all alone in an adjoining aparts in lessening every thing, and was perfectly ment. She ran with transport to her darthe reverse of his brother. These oddnesses ling, and without mixture of fear lest I pleased company once or twice, but dis- should dislike her. But, oh me! what was gusted when often seen; for which reason, her fury when she heard me say, I was the young gentlemen were sent from court afraid and shocked at so loathsome a specto study mathematics at the university. tacle! She stepped back, swollen with
“I need not acquaint you, that I was very rage, to see if I had the insolence to rewell made, and reckoned a bright politepeat it. I did, with this addition, that gentleman. I was the confidant and darling her ill-timed passion had increased her of all the fair; and if the old and ugly spoke ugliness. Enraged, inflamed, distracted, ill of me, all the world knew it was because she snatched a bodkin; and with all her I scorned to flatter them. No ball, no as- force stabbed me to the heart: Dying, I sembly, was attended till I had been con- preserved my sincerity, and expressed the sulted. Flavia coloured her hair before truth though in broken words; and by reme, Celia showed me her teeth, Panthea proachful grimaces to the last I mimicked heaved her bosom, Cleora brandished her the deformity of my murderess: diamond; I have seen Cloe's foot, and tied « Cupid, who always attends the fair, artificially the garters of Rhodope. | and pitied the fate of so useful a servant as
“ It is a general maxim, that those who I was, obtained of the destinies, that my dote upon themselves can have no violent body should remain incorruptible, and re: affection for another; but on the contrary, tain the qualities my mind had possessed. I found that the women's passion rose for I immediately lost the figure of a man, and me in proportion to the love they bore to became smooth, polished, and bright, and themselves. This was verified in my to this day am the first favourite of the amour with Narcissa, who was so constant / ladies,”