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Svo. There were collective editions of his allows it, meriting in its vehement plainness the Works, Lond., 1755-1779, etc., 25 vols. 8vo, praise of the most genuine eloquence. His verse and 18mo; Lond., by John Nichols, 1801, 19
is only, apparently, distinguished by the accident vols. 8vo, and royal 8vo; again, 1803 (some his prose, is remarkable for sense and wit."-Sır
of measure ; it has no quality of poetry, and, like 1804), 24 vols. 18mo; again, 1808, 19 vols.
James MACKINTOSH : Life, ii., ch. iii. See chaps. 8vo; New York, 1812–13, 24 vols. 12mo ; | i., ii., vii. Edin., by Sir Walter Scott, with Life, 1814 (some 1815), 1250 copies, 19 vols. 8vo, and
REMARKS ON A PROPOSED ABOLITION OF royal 8vo; 2d ed., 1250 copies, 19 vols. 8vo;
CHRISTIANITY. Lond., with Memoir by Thomas Roscoe, I am very sensible how much the gentle1841, also 1848, 1851, 1853, 1858, 1868, each men of wit and pleasure are apt to murmur in 2 vols. demy 8vo; New York ("first com- and be shocked at the sight of so many plete American edition'), 1859, 6 vols. daggle-tail parsons, who happen to fall in 12mo; again, Dec. 1862, 6 vols. 12mo. A their way, and offend their eyes; but, at the new edition of Swift's Works, prefaced by same time, those wise reformers do not cona Life, Journal, and Letters, has been an- sider what an advantage and felicity it is nounced by Mr. John Murray, of London. for great wits to be always provided with Of his Select Works there have been a objects of scorn and contempt, in order to number of editions.
exercise and improve their talents, and " In his works he has given very different speci- divert their spleen frem falling on each mens both of sentiments and expressions. His other, or on themselves; especially when • Tale of a Tub' has little resemblance to his other all this may be done without the least innpieces. It exhibits a vehemence and rapidity of aginable danger to their persons. And to mind, a copiousness of images, and vivacity of urge another argument of a parallel nature : diction such as he afterwards never possessed or never exerted. It is of a mode so distinct and pecu: could the free-thinkers, the strong reason
if Christianity were once abolished, how liar that it must be considered by itself; what is true of that is not true of anything else which he
ers, and the men of profound learning, be has written. : ::
[“What a genius I had when able to find another subject so calculated in I wrote that book !" -Swift, in old age.] In his all points whereon to display their abilities? other works is found an equable tenour of easy What wonderful productions of wit should language, which rather trickles than flows. His
we be deprived of from those whose genius, delight was in simplicity. That he has in his by continual practice, hath been wholly works no metaphor, as has been said, is not true; but his few metaphors seem to be received rather
turned upon raillery and invectives against by necessity than choice. .. His style was well religion, and would, therefore, be nerer suited to his thoughts, which are never subtleised able to shine or distinguish themselves on by nice disquisitions, decorated by sparkling con- any other subject? We are daily complain. ceits, elevated by ambitious sentences, or varie. ing of the great decline of wit among us, and gated by far-sought learning. . . . In the poetical would we take away the greatest, perhaps works of Dr. Swift there is not much upon which the only, topic we have left? Who would the critic can exercise his powers. They are often humorous, almost always light, and have the
ever have suspected Asgill for a wit, or qualities which recommend such compositions, – Toland for a philosopher, if the inexhausteasiness and gayety. They are, for the most part, ible stock of Christianity had not been at what their author intended. The diction is cor- hand to provide them with materials? What rect, the numbers are smooth, and the rhymes other subject through all art or nature exact. There seldom occurs a hard-laboured ex
could have produced Tindal for a profound pression, or a redundant epithet; all his verses exemplify his own detinition of good style, they is the wise choice of the subject that alone
author, or furnished him with readers? It consist of proper words in proper places."-Dr. JOHNSON : Lije of Swift, in Cunningham's ed. of adorneth and distinguisheth the writer. For Johnson's Lives of the English Poets, 1854, iii. had a hundred such pens as these been em190, 191, 199 : q. v. (Index) for the editor's illus-ployed on the side of religion, they would trativo Notes. See also Croker's Boswell's John- immediately have sunk into silence and obson, Index.
livion. “ His style is, in its kind, one of the models of English composition: it is proper, pure, precise,
Nor do I think it wholly groundless, or perspicuous, significant, nervous, deriving a cer
my fears altogether imaginary, that the tain dignity from a masterly contempt of puerile abolishing of Christianity may, perhaps, ornaments, in which every word seems to convey bring the church in danger, or at least put the intended meaning with the decision of the the senate to the trouble of another securing writer's character; not adapted, indeed, to ex- vote. I desire I may not be misunderstood:
I press nice distinctions of thought or shades of
I am far from presuming to affirin or think feeling, or to convey those new and large ideas which must be illustrated by imagery but qualified that the church is in danger at present, or beyond any other to discuss the common business
as things now stand, but we know not how of life in such a manner as to convince and per- soon it may be so, when the Christian reli. suade the generality of men, and, where occasion gion is repealed. As plausible as this project seems, there may a dangerous design should make use of a sharp penknife, tho lurk under it. Nothing can be more notori- sharpness would make it often go out of the ous than that the atheists, deists, socinians, crease and disfigure the paper. anti-trinitarians, and other subdivisions of “ He who does not provide for his own free-thinkers, are persons of little zeal for the house.". St. Paul says, “is worse than an present ecclesiastical establishment. Their infidel ;" and I think he who provides only declared opinion is for repealing the sacra- for his own house is just equal with an mental test; they are very indifferent with infidel. regard to ceremonies ; nor do they hold the I never yet knew a wag (as the term is) jus dieinum of episcopacy. Therefore this who was not a dunce. may be intended as one politic step towards When we desire or solicit anything, our altering the constitution of the church estah. minds run wholly on the good side or cirlished, and setting up presbytery in its stead; cumstances of it, when it is obtained, our which I leave to be farther considered by those minds run wholly on the bad ones. at the helm.
The latter part of a wise man's life is And therefore if, notwithstanding all I taken up in curing the follies, prejudices. have said, it shall still be thought necessary and false opinions he had contracted in the to have a bill brought in for repealing Chris- former. tianity, I would humbly offer an amendment, Would a writer know how to behave himthat, instead of the word Christianity, may self with relation to posterity, let him conbe put religion in general ; which I conceive sider in old books what he finds that he is will much better answer all the good ends glad to know, and what omissions he most proposed by the projectors of it. For as laments. long as we leave in being a God and his One argument to prove that the common Providence, with all the necessary, conse- relations of ghosts and spectres are generally quences which curious and inquisitive men false, may be drawn from the opinion held will be apt to draw from such premises, we that spirits are never seen by more than one do not strike at the root of the evil, although person at a time; that is to say, it seldom we should ever so effectually annihilate the happens to above one person in a company present scheme of the Gospel. For of what to be possessed with any high degree of use is freedom of thought if it will not pro- spleen or melancholy. duce freedom of action, which is the sole It is pleasant to observe how free the end, how remote soever in appearance, of present age is in laying taxes on the next: all objections against Christianity ? And * Future ages shall talk of this ;" “ This therefore the free-thinkers consider it a sort shall be famous to all posterity :" whereas of edifice, wherein all the parts have such a their time and thoughts will be taken up mutual dependence on each other, that if about present things, as ours are now. you happen to pull out one single nail the I never heard a finer piece of satire against whole fabric must fall to the ground. lawyers than that of astrologers, when they
pretend by rules of art to tell when a suit ThoughTS AND APHORISMS.
will end, and whether to the advantage of
the plaintiff or defendant; thus making the If the men of wit and genius would re- matter depend entirely upon the influence solve never to complain in their works of of the stars, without the least regard to the critics and detractors, the next age would merits of the cause. not know that they ever had any.
I have known some men possessed of good Imaginary evils soon become real ones hy qualities, which were very serviceable to indulging our reflections on them, as he who others but useless to themselves : like a sunin a melancholy fancy sees something like a dial on the front of a house, to inform the face on the wall or the wainscoat can, by neighbours and passengers, but not the two or three touches with a lead pencil, owner within. make it look visible and agreeing with what If a man would register all his opinions he fancied.
upon love, politics, religion, learning, &c., Men of great parts are often unfortunate beginning from his youth, and so go on to in the management of public business, be- old age, what a bundle of inconsistencies cause they are apt to go out of the common and contradictions would appear at last ! road by the quickness of their imagination. The stoical scheme of supplying our wants This I once said to my Lord Bolingbroke, by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off and desired he would observe that the clerks our feet when we want shoes. in his office used a sort of ivory knife with The reason why so few marriages are a blunt edge to divide a sheet of paper, happy is, because young ladies spend their which never failed to cut it even, only re- time in making nets, not in making cages. quiring a steady hand; whereas if they The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable, for the happy impute all their might afford them as great satisfaction as it success to prudence or merit. Complaint is bas myself. But though this entire comthe largest tribute heaven receives, and the munication of the evidence that is or bas sincerest part of our devotion.
been in my own mind, for the certainty of The common fluency of speech in many natural religion, and of the Jewish and men, and most women, is owing to a scarcity Christian institutions, be, in its own nature, of matter, and a scarcity of words: for who- impossible, yet I hope I may have leave to ever is a master of language, and hath a address myself to all, especially to the scepmind full of ideas, will be apt in speaking tics and unbelievers of our age; to do what to hesitate upon the choice of both ; whereas | I am able for them in this momentous concommon speakers have only one set of ideas, cern; and to lay before them, as briefly and and one set of words to clothe them in; and seriously as I can, a considerable number of these are always ready at the mouth : so those arguments which have the greatest people come faster out of church when it is weight with me, as to the hardest part of almost empty than when a crowd is at the what is here desired and expected from them. door.
I mean the belief of revealed religion, or of the Jewish and Christian institutions, as
contained in the books of the Old and New WILLIAM WHISTON, Testament. But to waire farther prelimiborn 1667, died 1752, was author of many make me believe the Bible to be true are the
naries, some of the principal reasons which mathematical and theological works (some
following: of them opposed to trinitarian views), and
1. The Bible lays the law of nature for published a Translation of Josephus, Lond., its foundation ; and all along supports and 1737, etc., which has been, or ought to be, assists natural religion ; as every true revsuperseded by the translation of Rev. Dr. elation ought to do. Robert Traill, Lond., 1846–51, 3 vols. superroyal 8vo. Among his works were: New mathematic sciences do confirm the accounts
2. Astronomy and the rest of our certain Theory of the Earth, Lond., 1696, 8vo; Vin of Scripture, so far as they are concerned. dication of the New Theory, Lond., 1698, 3. The most ancient and best historical 8vo; Short View of the Chronology of the Old Testament, and of the Harmony of the confirm the accounts of Scripture, so far as
accounts now known do, generally speaking, Four Evangelists, Camb., 1702, 4to, 1707,
they are concerned. 4to; Essay on the Revelation of St. John,
4. The more learning has increased the Camb., 1706, 4to, some large paper, 2d ed.,
more certain in general do the Scripture Lond., 1744, 4to ; The Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies: Boyle Lecture, Camb., accounts appear, and its more difficult places
are more cleared thereby. 1708, 8vo; Primitive Christianity Revived, Lond., 1711-12, 5 vols. &vo; Sir Isaac standing memorials preserved of the certain
5. There are, or have been generally, Newton's Mathematical Philosophy Demonstrated, Lond., 1716, 8vo; Memoirs of the truths of the principal historical facts, which
were constant evidences for the certainty of Lise and Writings of Mr. William Whiston,
them. Lond., 1749–50, 3 vols. 8vo.
6. Neither the Mosaical law, nor the Chris"The Memoirs of this singular man, published | tian religion, could possibly have been reby himself, contain some curious information re- ceived and established without such miracles specting his times, and afford a view of great
as the sacred history contains. honesty and disinterestedness, combined with an extraordinary degree of superstition and love of
7. Although the Jews all along hated and the marvellous."-Orme's Bibl. Bib., 467.
persecuted the prophets of God, yet were they “The honest, pious, visionary Whiston.”—G1B- forced to believe they were true prophets, and BON: Decline and Fall, ch. xliii., n.
their writings of divine inspiration. “ Poor Whiston, who believed in everything but 8. The ancient and present state of the the Trinity."— Lord Macaulay: Hist. of Eng., Jewish nation are strong arguments for the viii., ch. xiv., n.
truth of their law, and of the Scripture ON THE EVIDENCES OF DIVINE REVELATION.
prophecy relating to them.
9. The ancient and present state of the I cannot but heartily wish, for the com- Christian church are also strong arguments mon good of all the sceptics and unbelievers for the truth of their law, and of the Scripof this age, that I could imprint in their ture prophecies relating thereto. minds all that real evidence for natural and 10. The miracles whereon the Jewish and for revealed religion that now is, or during Christian religion are founded were of old my past inquiries has been, upon my own owned to be true by their very enemies. mind thereto relating ; and that their temper
11. The sacred writers, who lived in times of mind were such as that this evidence and places so remote from one another, do yet all carry on one and the same grand de- discuss it a little, with observations upon the sign, viz., that of the salvation of mankind various occasions which provoke us to that by the worship of and obedience to the one expression of our concern, &c." true God, in and through the King Messiah, To obey this complaisant gentleman, I which without a divine conduct could never know no way so short as examining the vahave been don
rious touches of my own bosom, on several 12. The principal doctrines of the Jewish occurrences in a long life, to the evening of and Christian religion are agreeable to the which I am arrived, after as many various most ancient traditions of all other nations. incidents as anybody has met with. I have
13. The difficulties relating to this religion often reflected that there is a great similiare not such as affect the truth of the facts, tude in the inotions of the heart in mirth and but the conduct of Providence, the reasons in sorrow; and I think the usual occasion of which the sacred writers never pretended of the latter, as well as the former, is somefully to know, or to reveal to mankind. thing which is sudden and unexpected. The
14. Natural religion, which is yet so cer- mind has not a sufficient time to recollect its tain in itself, is not without such difficulties force, and immediately gushes into tears as to the conduct of Providence as are ob- before we can utter ourselves by speech or jected to revelation.
complaint. The most notorious causes of 15. The sacred history has the greatest these drops from our eyes are pity, sorrow, marks of truth, honesty, and impartiality joy, and reconciliation. of all other histories whatsoever; and withal The fair sex, who are made of man and has none of the known marks of knavery not of earth, have a more delicate humanity and imposture.
than we have; and pity is the most common 16. The predictions of Scripture have been cause of their tears ; for as we are inwardly still fulfilled in the several ages of the world composed of an aptitude to every circumwhereto they belong.
stance of life, and everything that befalls 17. No opposite systems of the universe, any one person might have happened to any or schemes of divine revelation, have any other of the human race, self-love, and a sense tolerable pretences to be true but those of of the pain we ourselves should suffer in the the Jews and Christians.
circumstances of any whom we pity, is the These are the plain and obvious argu- cause of that compassion. Such a reflection ments which persuade me of the truth of in the breast of a woman immediately inthe Jewish and Christian revelations. clines her to tears; but in a man, it makes
him think how such a one ought to act on
that occasion suitably to the dignity of his SIR RICHARD STEELE,
nature. Thus a woman is ever moved for
those whom she hears lament, and a man the friend of Addison, born in Dublin, 1671, for those whom he observes to suffer in died 1729, was the author of The Christian silence. It is a man's own behaviour in the Hero, Lond., 1701, 8vo, of plays, political circumstances he is under which procures and other treatises, and of many papers in him the esteem of others, and not merely The Tatler, The Spectator, and The Guardian. the affliction itself, which demands our pity:
“Steele seems to have gone into his closet chiefly for we never give a man that passion which to set down what he observed out of doors. Addi- he falls into for himself. He that commende son seems to have spent most of his time in his study, himself never purchases our applause; nor and to have spun out and wire-drawn the hints he that bewails himself our pity. . . . In which he borrowed from Steele or took from nature, to the utmost. I am far from wishing to
the tragedy of " Macbeth” where Wilks acts depreciate Addison's talents, but I am anxious to the part of a man whose family has been do justice to Steele, who was, I think, upon the
murdered in his absence, the wildness of whole, a less artificial and more original writer. his passion, which is run over in a torrent The humorous descriptions of Steele resemble of calamitous circumstances, does but raise Joose sketches, or fragments of a comedy; those my spirits, and give me the alarm ; but of Addison are rather comments, or ingenious par- when he skilfully seems to be out of breath, aphrases, on the original text.”—Hazlitt: Lects: and is brought too low to say more ; and on the English Comic, Lect. V. See also Lect. VIII.
" The great, the appropriate praise of Steele is, upon a second reflection cries only, wiping to have been the first who, after the licentious age his eyes, “What, both children! Both, both of Charles the Second, endeavoured to introduce my children gone!" there is no resisting the Virtues on the stage.”—DR. DRAKE: Essays a sorrow which seems to have cast about Illustrative of The Tatler, eto., 2d ed., 1814, i. 58. for all the reasons possible for its consolaON TEARS.
tion, but has no resource. " There is not
one left; but both, both are murdered !" “What I would have you treat of, is the such sudden starts from the thread of the cause of shedding tears. I desire you would discourse, and a plain sentiment expressed in an artless way, are the irresistible strokes over next; and our reason surrenders itself of eloquence and poetry. The same great with pleasure in the end. Thus the whole master, Shakspeare, can afford us instances soul is insensibly betrayed into morality by of all the places where our souls are ac- bribing the fancy with beautiful and agreecessible ;
and ever commands our tears. But able images of those very things that in the it is to be observed that he draws them books of the philosophers appear austere, from some unexpected source, which seems and have at the best but a forbidding aspect. not wholly of a piece with the discourse. In a word, the poets do, as it were, strew Thus, when Brutus and Cassius had a de- the rough paths of virtue so full of flowers, bate in the tragedy of “Cæsar," and rose that we are not sensible of the uneasiness to warm language against each other, inso- of them; and imagine ourselves in the much that it had almost come to something midst of pleasures, and the most bewitching that might be fatal, until they recollected allurements, at the time we are making themselves, Brutus does more than make an progress in the severest duties of life. All apology for the heat he had been in, by say. men agree that licentious poems do, of all ing, “ Portia is dead." Ilere Cassius is all writings, soonest corrupt the heart. And tenderness, and ready to dissolve, when he why should we not be as universally perconsiders that the mind of his friend had suaded that the grave and serious perforinbeen employed on the greatest affliction ances of such as write in the most engaging imaginable, when he had been adding to manner, by a kind of divine impulse, must it by a debate on trifles; which makes him, be the most effectual persuasives to goodin the anguish of his heart, cry out, “ How ness? If, therefore, I were blessed with a 'scaped I killing, when I thus provoked son, in order to the forming of his manyou ?" This is an incident which moves ners, which is making him truly my son, I the soul in all its sentiments; and Cassius's should be continually putting into his hand heart was at once touched with all the soft some fine poet. The graceful sentences, and pangs of pity, and remorse, and reconcilia- the manly sentiments, so frequently to be cion. It is said, indeed, by llorace, " If you met with in every great and sublime writer, would have me weep, you must first weep are, in my judgment, the most ornamental yourself." This is not literally true; for it and valuable furniture that can be for a would have been as rightly said, if we ob- young gentleman's head; methinks they serve nature, " That I shall certainly weep, shew like so much rich embroidery upon if you do not ;" but what is intended by the brain. Let me add to this, that humanthat expression is, that it is not possible to ity and tenderness, without which there give passion except you shew that you suf- can be no true greatness in the mind, are fer yourself. Therefore the true art seems inspired by the Muses in such pathetic to be, that when you would have the person language, that all we find in prose authors you represent pitied, you must shew him at towards the raising and improving of these once in the highest grief; and struggling to passions is, in comparison, but cold or lukebear it with decency and patience. In this warm at the best. There is besides a certain case, we sigh for him, and give him every elevation of soul, a sedate magnanimity, and groan he suppresses.
a noble turn of virtue, that distinguishes the The Tatler, No. 68, September 15, 1709. hero from the plain, honest man, to which
verse only can raise us. The bold metaphors, ON POETRY.
and sounding numbers, peculiar to the poets, An ingenious and worthy gentleman, my rouse up all our sleeping faculties, and ancient friend, fell into discourse with me aların the whole powers of the soul, much this evening upon the force and efficacy like that excellent trumpeter mentioned by which the writings of good poets have on Virgil : the minds of their intelligent readers : and
Quo non præstantior alter recommended to me his sense of the matter, Ære ciere viros, Martemque accendere cantu. thrown together in the following manner,
Virg. Æn., vi. 164. which he desired me to communicate to the
None so renown'd youth of Great Britain in my Essays. I With breathing brass to kindle fierce alarms. choose to do it in his own words:
DRYDEN." “I have always been of opinion," says The Tatler, No. 98, November 24, 1709. he, “ that virtue sinks deepest into the heart of man when it comes recommended by the
ON CASTLE-BUILDING. powerful charms of poetry. The most active
September 6, 1711. principle in our mind is the imagination; to Mr. Spectator, it a good poet makes his court perpetually, I am a fellow of a very odd frame of mind, and by this faculty takes care to gain it as you will find by the sequel; and think first. "Our passions and inclinations come myself fool enough to deserve a place in