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" ed to.
'one Spectator a week. Since we are not so happy as to be of your acquaintance, give me leave to represent to
you our present circumstances as well as I can in writing. ! You are to know then that I am not of a very different ' constitution from Nathaniel Henroost, whom
have lately recorded in your speculations ; and have a ' wife who makes a more tyrannical use of the know. ledge of my easy temper than that lady ever pretend
We had not been a month married, when the ' found in me, a certain pain to give offence, and an in
dolence that made me bear little inconveniencies ra'ther than dispute about them. From this observation it 'foon came to that pafs, that if I offered to go abroad, she would get between me and the door, kiss me, and say she could not part with me ; and then down again I sat. In a day or two after this first pleasant step towards confining me, she declared to me, that I was all the world to her, and she thought she ought to be all the world to me. If, said she, my dear loves me as much as I love him, he will never be tired of my com
pany. This declaration was followed by my being • denied to all my acquaintance ; and it very soon came
to that pass, that to give an answer at the door before my face, the servants would alk her whether I was within or not; and she would answer No with
great fondness, and tell me I was a good dear. I will not enumerate more little circumstances to give you a livelier sense of my condition ; but tell you in general, , that from such steps as these at first, I now live the • life of a prisoner of state ; my letters are opened, and • I have not the use of pen, ink, and paper, but in ier
presence. I never go abroad, except the fometines • takes me with her in her coach to take the air, if it
may be called so, when we drive, as we generally do, ' with the glasses up. I have over-heard my
servants lament my condition, but they dare not bring me mef
sages without her knowledge, because they doubt my ' resolution to stand by them. In the midst of this insipid
way of life, an old acquaintance of mine, Tom Meggot, who is a favourite with her, and allowed to visit me in her company, because he sings prettily, has roused me to rebel, and conveyed his intelligence to me in the
following manner. My wife is a great pretender to mu
fic, and very ignorant of it ; but far gone in the Ita' lian taste. Tom goes to Armstrong, the famous fine
writer of music, and desires him to put this fentence of Tully in the scale of an Italian air, and write it out • for my spouse from him. « An ille mihi liber cui “ mulier imperat ? Cui leges imponit, præscribit, jubet,
vetat, quod videtur ? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil “ recusare audet? Pofcit? dandum eft. Vocat? veni" endum. Ejicit ? abeundum. Minitatur? extimefcen“ dum. Does he live like a gentleman who is com“ manded by a woman ? He to whom she gives law,
grants ard denies what she pleases? who can neither
deny her any thing she asks, or refuse to do any thing « The commands ?”
• To be short, my wife was extremely pleased with it; • faid, the Italian was the only language for music; and
admired how wonderfully tender the sentiment was, and how
pretty the accent is of that language, with the • rest that is said by rote on that occasion. Mr. Meggot • is sent for to fing this air, which he performs with
mighty applause ; and my wife is in ecstacy on the oc
casion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, " that I was at last come into the notion of the Italian ' for, said she, it grows upon one when one once comes • to know a little of the language : and pray, Mr.
Meggot, fing again those notes, “ Nihil imperanti
negare, nihil recufare.” You may believe I was not a • little delighted with my friend Toni's expedient to • alarm me, and in obedience to his fummons I give all " this story thus at large ; and I am resolved, when this appears in the Spectator, to declare for myself
. The manner of the insurrection I contrive by your means, • which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot, who * is at our tea-table every morning, shall read it to us ; • and if my dear can take the bint, and say not one
word, but let this be the beginning of a new life without farther explanation, it is very well; for as soon as
the Spectator is read out, I shall without more ado, call • for the coach, name the hour when I shall be at home, • if I come at all ; if I do not, they may go to dinner. * If my spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom and I
go out together, and all is well, as I said before ; but ' if she begins to command or expoftulate, you shall in
my next to you receive a full account of her resistance ' and submission, for submit the dear thing must to,
ANTHONY FREEMAN. • P.S. I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your very next.'
Saturday, November 3.
Mens fibi confcia redi. Virg, Æn. 1. ver. 608. A good intention.
is the great art and secret of Christianity, if I may use that phrase, to manage our actions to the best advantage, and direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do niay turn to account at that great day, when every thing we have done will be set before us.
In order to give this consideration its full weight, we may cast all our actions under the division of such as are in themselves either good, evil, or indifferent. If we divide our intentions after the same manner, and consider them with regard to our actions, we may discover that great art and secret of religion which I have here nientioned.
A good intention joined to a good action, gives it its proper force and efficacy: joined to an evil action, extenuates its malignity, and in some cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent action turns it to a virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human actions can be so.
In the next place, to consider in the same manner the influence of an evil intention upon our actions. An evil intention perverts the best of actions, and makes them in reality, what the fathers with a witty kind of zeal have termed the virtues of the heathen world, so many shining
fins. It destroys the innocence of an indifferent action, and gives an evil action all possible blackness and horror, or in the emphatical language of sacred writ,“ makes “ fin exceeding finful.”
If, in the lalt place, we consider the nature of an indifferent intention, we shall find that it destroys the merit of a g?od action ; abates, but never takes away, the
; inalignity of an evil action ; and leaves an indifferent action in its natural flate of indifference.
It is therefore of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all cur thoughts, words and actions at some laudable end, whether it be the glory of our Maker, the gocd of. mankind, or the benefit of our own souls.
This is a sort of thrift or good husbandry in moral life, which does not throw away any fingle action, but makes every one go as far as it can. It multiplies the means of salvation, increases the number of our virtues, and diminishes that of our vices.
There is something very devout, though not folid, in Acofta's answer to Limborch, who objects to him the multiplicity of ceremonies in the Jewish religion, as washings, dresses, meats, purgations, and the like. The reply which the Jew inakes upon this occasion, is, to the best of my remembrance, as follows: 'There are
not duties enough (says he) in the essential parts of ' the law for a zealous and active obedience. Time,
place, and perfon are requilite, before you have an opportunity of putting a moral virtue into practice. We have therefore, says he, enlarged the sphere of our
duty, and made many things which are in themselves ' indifferent, a part of our religion, that
we may have more occasions of shewing our love to God, and in all • the circumstances of life be doing something to please • him.'
Monsieur St. Evremond has endeavoured to palliate the superstitions of the Roman-catholic religion with the fame kind of apology, where he pretends to confider the different spirit of the papists and the calvinifts, as to the great points wherein they disagree. He tells uis, that the former are actuated by love, and the other by fearız and that in their expressions of duty and
devotion towards the Supreme Being, the former feem" particularly careful to do every thing which may pofsibly please him, and the other to abstain from every thing which may possibly displease himn.
But notwithstanding this plausible reason with which both the Jew and the Roman-catholic would excuse their respective superstitions, it is certain there is something in them very pernicious to mankind, and destructive to religion ; because the injunction of superfluous ceremonies makes such actions duties, as were before indifferent, and : by that means renders religion more burthensome and difficult than it is in its own nature, betrays many into fins of omission which they could not otherwise be guilty : of, and fixes the minds of the vulgar to the shadowy un- · effential points, instead of the more weighty and inore important matters of the law.
This zealous and active obedience however takes place in the great point we are recommending ; for if, instead of prescribing to ourfelves indifferent actions as duties, we apply a good intention to all our most indifferent actions, we make our very existence one continued act of obedience, we turn our diversions and amusements to our eternal advantage, and are pleasing him, whom we are made to please, in all the circumstances and occurrences of life.
It is this excellent frame of mind, this holy officiousness, if I may be allowed to call it such, which is recommended to us by the Apostle in that uncommon precept, wherein he directs us to propose to ourselves the glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent actions, whe'ther we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do.'
A person therefore who is pofTeffed with such an habitual good intention, as that which I have been here speaking of, enters upon no single circumstance of life, without considering it as well-pleasing to the great Author of his being, conformable to the dictates of reason, suitable to human nature in general, or to that particular station in which Providence has placed him. He lives in a perpetual sense of the Divine Presence, regards himself as acting, in the whole course of his existence, under the observation and inspection of that Being, who is privy to all his motions, and all his thoughts, who knows his