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Annual; or its Motion round its own Centre, which might be improved as an Illuftration of Self-Love, to that which whirls it about the common Centre of the World, anfwering to univerfal Benevolence. Is the Force of Self-Love abated, or its Intereft prejudiced by Benevolence? So far from it, that Benevolence, though a diftinct Principle, is extremely ferviceable to Self-Love, and then doth moft Service when 'tis leaft defigned.

BUT to defcend from Reafon to Matter of Fact; the Pity which arifes on Sight of Perfons in Diftrefs, and the Satisfaction of Mind which is the Confequence of having removed them into a happier State, are inftead of a thousand Arguments to prove fuch a Thing as a difinterefted Benevolence. Did Pity proceed from a Reflection we make upon our Liablenefs to the fame ill Accidents we fee befal others, it were nothing to the prefent Purpose; but this is affigning an artificial Caufe of natural Passion, and can by no Means be admitted as a tolerable Account of it, because Children and Perfons most thoughtlefs about their own Condition, and incapable of entering into the Profpects of Futurity, feel the most violent Touches of Compaffion. And then as to that charming Delight which immediately follows the giving Joy to another, or relieving his Sorrow, and is, when the Objects are numerous, and the Kindness of Importance, really inexpreffible, what can this be owing to but a Confcioufnefs of a Man's having done fomething Praiseworthy, and expreffive of a great Soul? Whereas, if in all this he only facrificed to Vanity and Self-Love, as there would be nothing brave in Actions that make the moft fhining Appearance, fo Nature would not have rewarded them with this divine Pleafure; nor could the Commendations, which a Perfon receives for Benefits done upon felfifh Views, be at all more Satisfactory, than when he is applauded for what he doth without Defign; because in both Cafes the Ends of Self-Love are equally anfwered. The Confcience of approving one's felf a Benefactor to Mankind. is the nobleft Recompence for being fo; doubtlefs it is, and the most interested cannot propofe any Thing fo much to their own Advantage, notwithstanding which, the Inclination is ne vertheless

vertheless unfelfish. The Pleasure which attends the Gratification of our Hunger and Thirst, is not the Caufe of thefe Appetites; they are previous to any fuch Profpect; and fo likewife is the Defire of doing Good; with this Difference, that being feated in the intellectual Part, this laft, though Antecedent to Reafon, may yet be improved and regulated by it, and, I will add, is no otherwife a Virtue than as it is fo. Thus have I contended for the Dignity of that Nature I have the Honour to partake of; and after all the Evidence produced, think I have a Right to conclude, against the Motto of this Paper, that there is fuch a Thing as Generofity in the World. Though if I were under a Mistake in this, I fhould fay as Cicero in Relation to the Immortality of the Soul, I willingly err, and fhall believe it very much for the Intereft of Mankind to lye under the fame Delufion. For the contrary Notion naturally tends to dispirit the Mind, and finks it into a Meannefs fatal to the Godlike Zeal of doing good. As on the other Hand, it teaches People to be Ungrateful, by poffeffing them with a Perfwafion concerning their Benefactors, that they have no Regard to them in the Benefits they bestow. Now he that banishes Gratitude from among Men, by fo doing ftops up the Stream of Beneficence. For though in conferring Kindneffes, a truly generous Man doth not aim at a Return, yet he looks to the Qualities of the Perfon obliged, and as nothing renders a Perfon more unworthy of a Benefit, than his being without all Refentment of it, he will not be extremely forward to oblige fuch a Man.

GP

Friday

No. 589:

Friday, September 3.

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Perfequitur fcelus ille fuum: labefactaque tandem
Ictibus innumeris adductaque funibus arbor

Corruit

SIR,

I

Ovid.

Am fo great an Admirer of Trees, that the Spot of Ground I have chofen to build a fmall Seat upon, in the Country, is almoft in the inidft of a large • Wood. I was obliged, much against my Will, to cut ⚫ down feveral Trees, that I might have any fuch Thing as a Walk in my Gardens ; but then I have taken Care to leave the Space, between every Walk, as much a • Wood as I found it. The Moment you turn either to the Right or Left, you are in a Foreft, where Nature prefents you with a much more beautiful Scene than could have been raised by Art.

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INSTEAD of Tulips or Carnations, I can fhew Oaks in my Gardens of four hundred Years ftanding, and a Knot of Elms that might shelter a Troop of Horfe from the Rain.

IT is not without the utmost Indignation, that I obferve feveral prodigal young Heirs in the Neighbourhood, felling down the moft glorious Monuments of their Ancestors Induftry, and ruining in a Day, the • Product of Ages.

I am mightily pleafed with your Difcourfe upon Planting, which put me upon looking into my Books to give you fome Account of the Veneration the An⚫cients had for Trees. There is an old Tradition, that • Abraham planted a Cypress, a Pine, and a Cedar, and that these three incorporated into one Tree, which was. cut down for the Building of the Temple of Solomon.

ISIDORUS

• ISIDORUS, who lived in the Reign of Conftantius, affures us, that he faw, even in his Time, that famous Oak in the Plains of Mamrè, under which • Abraham is reported to have dwelt, and adds, that the People looked upon it with a great Veneration, and preferved it as a facred Tree.

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THE Heathens ftill went farther, and regarded it as the highest Piece of Sacrilege to injure certain Trees which they took to be protected by fome Deity. The Story of Erifthon, the Grove of Dodona, and that at Delphi are all Inftances of this Kind.

If we confider the Machine in Virgil, so much blamed by feveral Criticks, in this Light, we fhall hardly think it too violent.

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ENEAS, when he built his Fleet, in order to fail for Italy, was obliged to cut down the Grove on Mount Ida, which however he durft not do till he had ob⚫tained leave from Cybele, to whom it was dedicated. The Goddess could not but think herself obliged to protect these Ships, which were made of confecrated Timber, after a very extraordinary Manner, and there'fore defired Jupiter, that they might not be obnoxious to the Power of Waves or Winds. Jupiter would not grant this, but promised her, that as many as came fafe to Italy fhould be transformed into Goddeffes of ⚫ the Sea; which the Poet tells us was accordingly ex⚫ecuted.

And now at length the number'd Hours were come,
Prefix'd by Fate's irrevocable Doom,

When the great Mother of the Gods was free
To fave her Ships, and finish Jove's Decree.
Firf, from the Quarter of the Morn, there sprung
A Light that fign'd the Heavens, and foot along:
Then from a Cloud, fring'd round with Golden Fires,
Were Timbrels heard, and Berecynthian Quires:
And laft a Voice, with more than Mortal Sounds,
Both Hofts in Arms oppos'd, with equal Horror wounds,
O Trojan Race, your needlefs Aid forbear ;

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And know my Ships are my peculiar Care.

With

With greater Eafe the bold Rutulian may,
With biffing Brands attempt to burn the Sea,
Than finge my facred Pines. But you may Charge,
Loos'd from your crooked Anchors launch at large,
Exalted each a Nymph: Forfake the Sand,
And fwim the Seas, at Cybele's Command.
No fooner had the Goddefs ceas'd to speak,
When lo, th' obedient Ships their Haulfers break;
And frange to tell, like Dolphins in the Main,
They plunge their Prows, and dive, and spring again:
many beauteous Maids the Billows fweep,
As rode before tall Veffels on the Deep.

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Dryden's Virg.

THE Common Opinion concerning the Nymphs • whom the Ancients called Hamadryads, is more to the • Honour of Trees than any Thing yet mentioned. It was thought the Fate of these Nymphs had fo near a • Dependance on fome Trees, more efpecially Oaks, that they lived and died together. For this Reason they were extremely grateful to fuch Perfons who preferved thofe Trees with which their Being fubfifted. Apol⚫lonius tells us a very remarkable Story to this Purpofe, with which I'fhall conclude my Letter.

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A certain Man, called Rhecus, obferving an old Oak • ready to fall, and being moved with a Sort of Compaffion towards the Tree, ordered his Servants to pour in fresh Earth at the Roots of it, and fet it upright. The Hamadryad, or Nymph who muft necessarily have perifhed with the Tree, appeared to him the next Day, and after having returned him her Thanks, told him, she was ready to grant whatever he should ask. As the was extremely beautiful, Rhacus defired he might be entertained as her Lover. The Hamadryad, not much difpleafed with the Requeft, promis'd to give him a Meeting, but commanded him for fome Days to abftain from the Embraces of all other Women, adding that he would fend a Bee to him, to let him know when he was to be hapy. Rhacus was it feems, too much addicted to Gaming, and happened to be in a Run of ill Luck when the faithful Bee came buzzing about

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