The Moralists  

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"Here space astonishes; silence itself seems pregnant, whilst an unknown force works on the mind, and dubious objects move the wakeful sense."

"They see, as in one instant, the revolutions of past ages, the fleeting forms of things, and the decay even of this our globe, whose youth and first formation they consider, whilst the apparent spoil and irreparable breaches of the wasted mountain show them the world itself only as a noble ruin, and make them think of its approaching period."

--The Moralists (1709) by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, emphasis ours

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The Moralists (1709) is a text by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury.

Shaftesbury is emphatically an optimist, but there is a passage in the Moralists (pt. ii. sect. 4) which would lead us to suppose that he regarded matter as an indifferent principle, coexistent and coeternal with God, limiting His operations, and the cause of the evil and imperfection which, notwithstanding the benevolence of the Creator, is still to be found in His work. If this view of his optimism be correct, Shaftesbury, as Mill says of Leibniz, must be regarded as maintaining, not that this is the best of all imaginable but only of all possible worlds. This brief notice of Shaftesbury's scheme of natural religion would be conspicuously imperfect unless it were added that it is popularized in Pope's Essay on Man, several lines of which, especially of the first epistle, are simply statements from the Moralists done into verse. Whether, however, these were taken immediately by Pope from Shaftesbury, or whether they came to him through the papers which Bolingbroke had prepared for his use, we have no means of determining. On the other hand, Pope had certainly read Shaftesbury's work, for he mentions the character of Theocles in the latter's The Moralists in his Dunciad (IV.487-490): "Or that bright Image to our Fancy draw,/Which Theocles in raptur'd vision saw,/While thro' Poetic scenes the Genius roves,/Or wanders wild in Academic Groves". In his notes to these lines, Pope directs the reader to various passages in Shaftesbury's work.

Herder is especially eulogistic. In the Adrastea he pronounces the Moralists to be a composition in form well-nigh worthy of Grecian antiquity, and in its contents almost superior to it.

Full text

Inter silvas Academi quaerere verum.

Hor. Ep. II. ii.

Published in the year MDCCIX.




PART I Section I

Phllocles to Palemon

What mortal, if he had never chanced to hear your character, Palemon, could imagine that a genius fitted for the greatest affairs, and formed amidst courts and camps, should have so violent a turn towards philosophy and the schools ? AVho is there could possibly believe that one of your rank and credit in the fashionable world should be so thoroughly conversant in the learned one, and deeply interested in the affairs of a people so disagreeable to the generality of mankind and humour of the age ?

I believe, truly, you are the only well-bred man who would have taken the fancy to talk philosophy in such a circle of good company as we had round us yesterday, when we were in your coach together, in the Park. How you could reconcile the objects there to such subjects as these was unaccountable. I could only conclude, that either you had an extravagant passion for philosophy, to quit so many charms for it, or that some of those tender charms had an extravagant effect, which sent you to philosophy for relief.

In either case I pitied you ; thinking it a milder fate to be, as I truly was for my own part, a more indifferent lover.



'Twas better, I told you, to admire beauty and wisdom a little more moderately. 'Twas better, I maintained, to engage so cautiously as to be sure of coming off Avith a whole heart, and a fancy as strong as ever towards all the pretty entertainments and diversions of the world. For these, methought, were things one would not willingly part with for a fine romantic passion of one of those gentlemen whom they called virtuosi.

The name I took to belong in common to your lover and philosopher ; no matter what the object was, whether poetry, music, philosophy, or the fair. All who were enamoured any- way were in the same condition. You might perceive it, I told you, by their looks, their admiration, their profound thoughtfulness, their waking ever and anon as out of a dream, their talking still of one thing, and scarce minding what they said on any other subject — sad indications !

But all this warning served not to deter you. For you, Palemon, are one of the adventurous, whom danger rather animates than discourages. And now nothing less will satisfy you than to have our philosophical adventures recorded. All must be laid before you and summed in one comj)lete account ; to remain, it seems, as a monument of that unseasonable con- versation so opposite to the reigning genius of gallantry and pleasure.

I must own, indeed, 'tis become fashionable in our nation to talk politics in every company, and mix the discourses of State affairs with those of pleasure and entertainment. How- ever, 'tis certain we approve of no such freedom in Jllli^QS-Qj^hy^ Nor do weJook__uj3on_politK^^ pi*ovince, or^injhe

least related to her. So much have we moderns degraded Ijer,'

j least related to her. So much hav \y / and stripped TieiM^T her chief rights.

"ou must allow meTTalemon, thus to bemoan philosophy,

since you have forced me to engage with her at a time when

her credit runs so low. She is no longer active in the world^

'"-^^ nor_can_haixyy5^ wth any advantage, be brought upon the

public stage. We have immured her, poor lady, in colleges


and cells^ ^ an d have set her servilely to such works as those in the mines . Empirics and pedantic sophists are her chief pnpils. The school -syllogism and the elixir are the choicest of her products. So far is she from p roducing statesmen, as of o ld, that hardly any man of note in the public c ares to own t he feast obTigation ~to~Iier. If some few maintain their ac- quaintance, and come now and then to her recesses, 'tis as the disciple of quality came to his lord and master, " secretly, and by night."

But as low as philosop hy is reduced, if morals be allowed belonging to her, po litics must undeniably be hers. For to understand the manners and constitutions of men in common, 'tis necessary to study man in particular, and know the creature as he is in himself, before we consider him in company, as he is interested in the State, or joined to any city or community.

Nothino' is more familiar than to reason concerning man in his

^1 . , r i — . __ ^ . o

confederate state and na tional relation, as he stands engaged t o this or that society, by b irth or naturali sation ; yet to co nsider him as a citizen or commoner of the world, to trace \ L — his pedigree a step hig hei', and vitnv his eiul and fonslitution ' ^^- — in Nature itself, must pass, it seems, for some intricateZxS, over-refined speculatio n.

It may be properly alleged perhaps, as a reason for this general shyness in moral inquiries, that the people to whom it has principally belonged to handle these subjects have done it in such a manner as to put the better sort out of countenance with the undertaking. The appropriating this concern to mere scholastics „ has brought their fashion and air into the very subject. There are formal set-places where, we reckon, there is enouoli said and taught on the head of these graver subjects. We can give no quarter to anything like it in good j^u company. The least mention of such matters gives us a i disgust, and puts us out of humour. If learning comes across ' ^ us, we count it pedantry; if morality, 'tis preaching.

One nuist own this, however, as a real disadvantage of our






modern conversations, that by such a scrupulous nicety they lose those masculine hel})s of learning and sound reason. Even the fair sex, in whose favour we pretend to make this con- descension, may with reason despise us for it, and laugh at us for aiming at their peculiar softness. Tis no compliment to them to affect their manners and be effeminate. ^Qm* se nse, la nguage, and _ style^_ as well as our voice and person , should have something of that male-feature and natural roughness by wliicli our sex is d istrnguisheTT And whatever politeness we may pretend to, 'tis more a disfigurement than any real refinement of discourse to render it thus delicate.

No work of wit can be esteemed perfect without that strength and boldness of hand which gives it body and pro- portions. A good piece, the painters sa}', must have good muscling as well as colouring and drapery. And surely no writing or discourse of any great moment can seem other than enervated when neither strong reason, nor antiquity, nor the records of things, nor the natural history of man, nor anything which can be called knowledge, dares accompany it, except ])erhaps in some ridiculous habit, which may give it an air of play and dalliance.

This brings to my mind a reason I have often sought for, why we moderns who abound so much in treatises and essays are so sparing in the way of dialogue,^ which heretofore was found the politest and best way of managing even the graver subjects. The truth is, 'twould be an abominable falsehood and belying of the age to put so much good se jQse together in any one conversation as might make it hold out steadily and with plain coherence for an hour's time, till any one subject had been rationally examined.-

To lay colours, to draw, or describe, against the appearance of nature and truth, is a liberty neither permitted the painter

^ Advice to an Author, part i. § •'5 ; Miftc. v. ch. ii.

2 [Compare Swift's Polite C'onver.sation , and Hints towards (di Essnif on Conversation. ^^



nor the poet. Much less can the philosopher have such a privilege, especially in his own case. If he represents his philosophy as making any figure in conversation, if he triumphs in the debate, and gives his own wisdoin__the^j^aivtoge qw^ that of the world/~he may be liable to sound raillery, and possibly be made a fable of.

'Tis said of the lion, that being in civil conference with the man, he wisely refused to yield the superiority of strength to him, when instead of fact the man produced only certain figures and representations of human victories over the lion- kind. These master-pieces of art the beast discovered to be wholly of human forgery; and from these he had good right to appeal. Indeed had he ever in his life been Avitness to any such combats as the man represented to him in the way of art, possibly the example might have moved him. But old statues of a Hercules, a Theseus, or other beast-subduers, could have little power over him, whilst he neither saw nor felt any such "^ living antagonist capable to dispute the field with him.

We need not wonder, therefore, that the sort of moral painting, by way of dialogue, is so much out of fashion, and that we see no more of these philosophical portraitures nowa- days. For where are the originals ? Or what though you, Palemon, or I, by chance, have lighted on such a one, and pleased ourselves with the life ? Can you imagine it should make a good picture ?

You know, too, that in this academic philosophy I am to present you with, there is a certain way of questioning and , doubting, which no way suits the genius of our age. Men love to take party instantly. They cannot bear being kept in suspense. The examination torments them. They want to be rid of it upon the easiest terms. 'Tis as if men fancied themselves drowning whenever they dare trust to the currenf^ of reason. They seem hurrying away they know not whither, and are ready to catch at the first twig. There they choose afterwards to hang, though ever so insecurely, rather than


trust their strength to bear them above water. He who has got hold of an hypothesis, how slight soever, is satisfied. He can presently answer every objection, and, with a few terms of art, give an account of everything without trouble.

'Tis no wonder if in this age the philosophy of the alchemists prevails so much,^ since it promises such wonders, and requires more the labour of hands than brains. We have a strange fancy to be creators, a violent desire at least to know •the knack or secret by which Nature does all. The rest of our philosophers only aim at that in speculation which our alchemists aspire to in practice. For with some of these it has been actually under deliberation how to make INIan, by other mediums than Nature has hitherto provided. Every sect has a recipe. When you know it, you are master of Nature : you solve all her phenomena,- you see all her designs, and can account for all her operations. If need were you might perchance, too, be of her laboratory and work for her. At least one would imagine the partizans of each modern sect had this conceit. They are all Archimedeses in their way, and can make a world upon easier terms than he offered to move one.

In short, there are good reasons for our being thus super- ficial, and consequently thus dogmatical in philosojihy. We are too lazy and effeminate, and withal a little too cowardly, to dare doubt. The decisive way best becomes our manners.

^ [Boyle himself, wlio was at his strongest in chemistry, left to his executors at his death, in 1G91, a quantity of red earth " with directions for endeavouring to turn it into gold." Locke, however, seems to have been persuaded by Newton to give up the experiment as useless. See Fox Bourne's Life oj Locke, ii. 223-22.5. The correspondence of Spinoza {Epp. xlv. and Ixvi. B. , 1667 and 1675),mentions similar instances of credulity among liis friends. It appears tliat his correspondent Schaller, a qualified pliysician, believed he had " made gold " by a certain process. Spinoza, like Newton, was finally quite incredulous. Doubtless the prevalent opinion a generation later was still on the side of fallacy.]

2 See Mxsc. iii. ch. i.



It suits as well with our vices as with our superstition. Which- ever we are fond of is secured by it. If in favour of relicjion we have espoused an hypothesis on which our faith, we think, depends, we are superstitiously careful not to be loosened in it. If, by means of our ill morals, we are broken with religion, 'tis the same case still : we are as much afraid of doubtirig. We nmst be sure to say, " It cannot be,'" and " 'tis demonstrable. For otherwise who knows ? And not to know is to yield ! ""

Thus' we will needs know everything, and be at the pains of examining nothing. Of all philosophy, therefore, how absolutely the most disagreeable must that appear which goes upon no established hy])othesis, nor ])rcsents us with any flatter- ing scheme, talks only of probabilities, suspense of judgment, inquiry, search, and caution not to be imposed on or deceived ? This is that academic discipline in which formerly the youth were trained ; ^ when not only horsemanship and military arts had their public ])laces of exercise, but philosophy too had .its wrestlers in repute. Reason and Wit had their academy, and underwent this trial, not in a formal way, apart from the world, but openly, among the better sort, and as an exercise of the o-enteeler kind. This the greatest men were not ashamed to })ractise in the intervals of public affairs, in the highest stations and employments, and at the latest hour of their lives. Hence that way of dialogue, and patience of debate and reason- ing, of which we have scarce a resemblance left in any of our conversations at this season of the world.

Consider then, Palemon, what our picture is like to prove, and how it will appear, especially in the light you have un- luckily chosen to set it. For who would thus have confronted })hilosophy with the gaiety, wit, and humour of the age ? If this, however, can be for your credit I am content. The j)roject is your own. 'Tis you who have matched philosophy thus unequally. Therefore leaving you to answer for the success, I begin this inauspicious work, which my ill stars and 1 Advice to mt Aiitltor, part iii. § 3, and notes,



you liave assigned me, and in which I hardly dare ask succour of the jNIuses, as poetical as I am obliged to show myself in this enterprise.

Section' II

-it' " O WRETCHED statc of mankind ! Hapless Nature, thus to have

erred in thy chief workmanship ! Whence sprang this fatal weakness ? ^^^hat chance or destiny shall we accuse ? Or shall we mind the poets \\hen they sing thy tragedy, Pro- metheus ! who with thy stolen celestial fire, mixed with vile clay, didst mock heaven's countenance, and in abusive likeness of the immortals madest the compound man : that wretched mortal, ill to himself, and cause of ill to all.'

"What say you, Palemon, to this rant, now upon second thoughts ? Or have you forgot "'twas just in such a romantic strain that you broke out against human kind, upon a day when everything looked pleasing, and the kind itself, I thought, never appeared fairer or made a better show.

Ikit "'twas not the whole creation you thus quarrelled with, nor were you so out of conceit with all beauty. The verdure of the field, the distant prospects, the gilded horizon and purple sky, formed by a setting sun, had charms in abundance, and were able to make impi-ession on you. Here, Palemon, you allowed me to admire as much as I pleased, when, at the same instant, you would not bear my talking to you of those nearer beauties of our own kind, which I thought more natural for men at our age to admire. Your severity however could not silence me upon this subject. I continued to plead the cause of the fair, and advance their charms above all those other beauties of Nature. And when you took advantage from this opposition to show how little there was of Nature and how much of Art in what I admired, I made the best apology I could, and fighting for beauty, kept the field as long as there was one fair one present.

Considering how your genius stood inclined to poetry, I



wondered most to find yo" on a sudden grown so out of conceit with our modern poets and galantc writers, whom I quoted to you as better authorities than any ancient in behalf of tlie fair sex and their prerogative. But this you treated shghtly. You acknowledged it to be true indeed, what had been observed by some late wits, " that gallantry was of a modern growth."" And well it might be so, you thought, without dishonour to the ancients, who understood Truth and Nature too well to admit so ridiculous an invention.

Twas in vain, therefore, that I held up this shield in my defence. I did my cause no service, when in behalf of the fair I pleaded all the fine things which are usually said in this romantic way to their advantage. You attacked the very fortress of gallantry, ridiculed the point of honour, with all those nice sentiments and ceremonials belonging to it. You damned even our favourite novels : those dear, sweet, natural pieces, writ most of them by the fair sex themselves. In short, r this whole order and scheme of wit you condemned absolutely ^ as^false, monstrous, and Gothic ; quite out of the way of Nature, and sprung from the mere dregs of chivalry or knight-errantry ; a thing which in itself you preferred, as of a better taste than that which reigns at present in its stead. For at a time when this mystery of gallantry carried along with it the notion of doughty knighthood, when the fair were made witnesses and, in a manner, parties to feats of arms, entered into all the points of war and combat, and were won by dint of lance and manly ]H*owess, 'twas not altogether absurd, you thought, on such a foundation as this, to pay them homage and adoration, make them the standard of wit and manners, and bring mankind under their laws. Ikit in a country where no she-saints were worshipped by any authority from religion, 'twas as impertinent and senseless as it was profane to deify the sex, raise them to a capacity above what Nature had allowed, and treat them with a lespect which in the natural way of love they themselves were the aptest to complain of.



Indeed as for the moral ])art, 'twas wonderful, you said, to observe the licentiousness which this foppish, courtly humour had established in the world. What such a flatterinf? way of address to all the sex in common could mean you knew not, unless it were to render them wholly common indeed, and make each fair one apprehend that the public had a right to her, and that beauty was too communicative and divine a thing to be made a property and confined to one at once.

Meanwhile our company began to leave us. The beau-mondc, whom you had been thus severely censuring, drew off apace, for it grew late. I took notice that the approaching objects of the night were the more agreeable to you for the solitude they y introduced, and that the moon and planets which began now to appear were in reality the only proper company for a man in your humour. For now you began to talk with nuich satis- faction of natural things, and of all orders of beauties, man only excepted. Never did I hear a finer description than you made of the order of the heavenly luminaries, the circles of the planets, and their attendant satellites. And you who would allow nothing to those fair earthly luminaries in the circles which just now we moved in ; you, Palemon, who seemed to overlook the pride of that theatre, began now to look out with ravishment on this other, and triumph in the new })hilosophical scene of worlds unknown. Here, when vou had pretty well spent the first fire of your imagination, I would have got you to reason more calmly with me upon that other part of the creation, your own kind, to which, I told you, you discovered so much aversion as would make one believe you a complete Timon or man-hater.

" Can you then, O Philocles," said you in a high strain, and with a moving air of passion — " can you believe me of that character.'^ or can you think it of me in earnest, that being man, and conscious of my nature, I should have yet so little of humanity as not to feel the affections of a man ? or feeling what is natural towards my kind, that I should hold their



interest light, and be indifferently affected with what affects or seriously concerns them ? Am I so ill a lover of my country ? or is it that you find me indeed so ill a friend ? For what are all relations else ? What are the ties of private friendship if that to mankind be not obliging ? Can there be yet a bond in Nature if that be none ? O Philocles ! believe me when I say I feel it one, and fully prove its power within me. Think not that I would willingly break my chain ; nor count me so degenerate or unnatural as whilst I hold this form and wear a human heart I should throw off love, compassion, kindness, and not befriend mankind. But oh ! what treacheries ! what disorders ! and how corrupt is all ! . . . Did you not observe even now, when all this space was filled with goodly rows of company, how peaceful all apjjeared. . . . AVhat charms there are in public companies ! What harmony in courts and courtly places ! How pleased is every face ! how courteous and humane the general carriage and behaviour ! . . . What creature capable of reflection, if he thus saw us mankind, and saw no more, would not believe our earth a very heaven ? What foreigner (the inhabitant, suppose, of some near planet) when he had travelled hither, and surveyed this outward face of things, would think of what lay hid beneath the mask ? But let him stay awhile. Allow him leisure, till he has gained a nearer view, and following our dissolved assemblies to their particular recesses, he has the power of seeing them in this new aspect. . . . Here he may behold those great men of the Ministry, who not an hour ago in public appeared such friends, now plotting craftily each others ruin, with the ruin of the State itself, a sacrifice to their ambition. Here he may see too those of a softer kind, who knowing not ambition, follow only love. Yet, Philocles, who would think it ? . . .

At these words, you may remember, I discovered the lightness of my temper and laughed aloud, which I could hardly hope you would have pardoned had I not freely told you the true reason. 'Twas not for want of being affected with



what you spoke. I only imagined a more particular cause had provoked you, when having passed over the ambitious, you were coming full-charged against the people of a softer passion. At first I looked on you as deeply in the spleen, but now I concluded you in love, and so unhappily engaged as to have reason to complain of infidelity. " This," thought I, " has moved Palemon thus. Hence the sad world ! Here was that corruption, and those disorders he lamented ! "

After I had begged pardon for my rude mirth, which had the good fortune however to make some change in your humour, we fell naturally into cool reasoning about the nature and cause of ill in general : " through what contingency, what chance, by what fatal necessity, what will, or what permission it came upon the world, or being come once, should still subsist."" This inquiry,^ which with slight reasoners is easily got over, stuck hard, I found, with one of your close judgment and penetration. And this insensibly led us into a nice criticism of Nature, whom you sharply arraigned for many absurdities you thought her guilty of, in relation to mankind, and his peculiar state.

Fain would I have persuaded you to think with more equality of Nature, and to proportion her defects a little better. My notion was, that the grievance lay not altogether in one part, as you placed it, but that everything had its share of inconvenience : pleasure and pain, beauty and deformity, good and ill, seemed to me everywhere interwoven ; and one with another made, I thought, a pretty mixture, agreeable enough in the main. 'Twas the same, I fancied, as in some of those rich stuffs where the flowers and ground were oddly put together with such irregular work and contrary colours as looked ill in the pattern, but mighty natural and well in the piece.

But you were still upon extremes. Nothing would serve to excuse the faults or blemishes of thi,s jmrt of the creation, mankind, even though all besides were fair, without a blemish. ^ Treatise iv. See the beginning'.



The very storms and tempests had their beauty in your account, those alone excepted which arose in human breasts. 'Twas only for this turbulent race of mortals you offered to accuse Nature. And I now found why you had been so transported with the story of Prometheus. You wanted such an operator as this for mankind, and you were tempted to Avish the story could have been confirmed in modern divinity ; that clearing the supreme powers of any concern or hand in the ill workmanship, you might have the liberty of inveighing against it without profaneness.

This however, I told you, was but a slight evasion of the religious poets among the ancients. 'Twas easy to answer every objection by a Prometheus : as, " Why had mankind originally so much folly and perverseness ? why so much pride, such ambition, and strange appetites ? why so many plagues and curses entailed on him and his posterity ? "" Prometheus was the cause. The plastic artist, with his unlucky hand, solved all. " ""Twas his contrivance," they said, " and he was to answer for it.'" They reckoned it a fair game if they could gain a single remove and put the evil cause farther off. If the people asked a question, they told them a tale, and sent them away satisfied. None besides a few philosophers would be such busybodies, they thought, as to look beyond, or ask a second question.

And in reality, continued I, 'tis not to be imagined how serviceable a tale is to amuse others besides mere childi'en, and how much easier the generality of men are paid in this paper^ ^ coin than in sterling reason. AVe ought not to laugh so readily at the Indian philosophers, who, to satisfy their people how this huge frame of the world is supported, tell them 'tis by an elephant. And the elephant how .^ . . . A shrewd question ! but which by no means should be answered. 'Tis here only that our Indian philosophers are to blame. They should be con- tented with the elephant, and go no farther. But they have a tortoise in reserve, whose back, they think, is broad enough.



So the tortoise must bear the new load ; and thus the matter stands worse than before.

The heathen story of Prometheus was, I told you, much the same with this Indian one, only the heathen mythologists were so wise as not to go beyond the first remove. A single Pro- metheus was enough to take the weight from Jove. They fairly made Jove a stander-by. He resolved, it seems, to be neuter, and see what would come of this notable experiment ; how the dangerous man -moulder would proceed, and what would be the event of his tampering. . . . Excellent account to satisfy the heathen vulgar ! But how, think you, would a philosopher digest this ? " For the Gods," he would say presently, " either could have hindered Prometheus's creation or they could not. If they could, they were answerable for the consequences ; if they could not, they were no longer Gods, being thus limited and controlled. And whether Prometheus were a name for chance, destiny, a plastic nature, or an evil daemon, whatever was designed by it, 'twas still the same breach of onniipotence."

That such a hazardous affair as this of creation should have been undertaken by those who had not perfect foresight as well as command, you owned was neither wise nor just. But you stood to foresight. You allowed the consequences to have been understood by the creating powers when they undertook their work, and you denied that it would have been better for theni to have omitted it, though they knew what would be the event. " 'Twas better still that the project should be executed, what- ever might become of mankind, or how hard soever such a creation was like to fall on the generality of this miserable race. For 'twas impossible, you thought, that Heaven shoidd have acted otherwise than for the best. So that even from this misery and ill of man there was undoubtedly some good arising, something which over-balanced all, and made full amends."

This was a confession I wondered indeed how I came to draw from you; and soon afterwards I found you somewhat uneasy under it. For here I took up your own part against



you, and setting all those villanies and corruptions of human kind in the same light you had done just before, I put it upon you to tell where possibly could be the advantage or good arising hence, or what excellence or beauty could redound from those tragical pictures you yourself had drawn so well after the life. Whether it must not be a very strong philosophical faith which should persuade one that those dismal parts you set to view were only the necessary shades of a fine piece, to be reckoned among the beauties of the creation, or whether possibly you might look upon that maxim as very fit for heaven, which I was sure you did not approve at all in man- kind, " to do ill that good might follow."

This, I said, made me think of the manner of our modern Prometheuses, the mountebanks, who performed such wonders of many kinds here on our earthly stages. They could create diseases and make mischief in order to heal and to restore. But should we assign such a practice as this to Heaven . Should we dare to make such empirics of the Gods, and such a patient of poor Nature ? " Was this a reason for Nature's sickliness ? Or how else came she (poor innocent !) to fall sick, or run astray ? Had she been originally healthy, or created sound at first, she had still continued so. 'Twas no credit to the Gods to leave her destitute, or with a flaw which would cost dear the mending, and make them sufferers for their own work."

I was going to bring Homer to witness for the many troubles of Jove, the death of Sarpedon, and the frequent crosses Heaven met with from the fatal sisters. But this discourse, I saw, displeased you. I had by this time plainly discovered my in- clination to Scepticism. And here not only religion was objected to me, but I was reproached too on the accoimt of that gallantry which I had some time before defended. Both were joined together in the charge you made against me when you saw I adhered to nothing, but was now as ready to declaim against the fair as I had been before to plead their cause, and defend the moral of lovers. This, you said, was my constant VOL. II 17 C


way in all debates : I was as well pleased with the reason on one side as on the other ; I never troubled myself about the success of the argument, but laughed still, whatever way it Avent, and even when I convinced others, never seemed as if I was con- vinced myself.

I owned to you, Palemon, there was truth enough in your charge. For above all things I loved ease, and qf all philosophers those who reasoned most at their ease, and were never angry or disturbed, as those called Sceptics, you owned, never were. 1 looked upon this kind of philosophy as the prettiest, agreeablest, roving exercise of the mind possible to be imagined. The other kind, I thought, was painful and laborious : " to keep always in the limits of one path, to drive always at a point, and hold precisely to what men at a venture called the Truth ; a point, in all appearance, very unfixed and hard to ascertain." Besides, my way hurt nobody. I was always the first to comply on any occasion, and for matters of religion was farther from profane- ness and erroneous doctrine than any one. I could never have the sufficiency to shock my spiritual and learned superiors. I was the farthest from leaning to my own understanding, nor was I one who exalted reason above faith, or insisted much upon what the dogmatical men call demonstration, and dare oppose to the sacred mysteries of religion. And to show you, continued I, how impossible it is for the men of our sort ever to err from the catholic and established faith, pray consider, that whereas others pretend to see M'ith their own eyes what is projjerest and best for them in religion, we, for our parts, pretend not to see with any other than those of our spiritual guides. Neither do , we presume to judge those guides ourselves, but submit to them I as they are appointed us by our just superiors. In short, you who .are rationalists, and walk by reason in everything, pretend to know all things, whilst you believe little or nothing. We, for our parts, know nothing and believe all.

Here I ended, and in return you only asked me coldly "whether with that fine scepticism of mine I made no more.



distinction between sincerity and insincerity in actions, than I did between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, in arguments?"

I durst not ask what your question drove at. I was afraid I saw it too })lainly, and that by this loose way of talking, which I had learnt in some fashionable conversations of the world, I had given you occasion to suspect me of the worst sort of scepticism, such as spared nothing, but overthrcAv all principles, moral and divine.

Forgive me, said I, good Palemon ; you are offended, I see, and not without cause. But what if I should endeavour to compensate my sceptical misbehaviour by using a known sceptic privilege, and asserting strenuously the cause I have hitherto opposed ? Do not imagine that I dare aspire so high as to defend revealed religion, or the holy mysteries of the Christian faith. I am unworthy of such a task, and should profane the subject. 'Tis of mere philosophy I speak ; and my fancy is only to try what I can muster up thence, to make head against the chief arguments of atheism, and re-establish what I have offered to loosen in the system of theism.

Your project, said you, bids fair to reconcile me to your character, which I was beginning to mistrust. For as averse as I am to the cause of theism, or name of Deist, when taken in a sense exclusive of revelation, I consider still that in strictness the root of all is theism, and that to be a settled Christian, it is necessary to be first of all a good theist ; for theism can only be opposed to polytheism or atheism.^ Nor have I patience to hear the name of Deist (the highest of all names) decried, and set in opposition to Christianity. "As if our religion was a kind of magic, which depended not on the belief of a single supreme Being. Or as if the firm and rational belief of such a Being on philosophical grounds was an improper qualification for believing anything further."^ Excellent presumption for those who naturally incline to the disbelief of revelation, or who through vanity affect a freedom of this kind ! . . .

^ "To polytheism (daemonism) or atheism." Inquiry, part i. hk. i. § 2.



But let nie hear, continued you, whether in good earnest and thorough sincerity you intend to advance anything in favour of that opinion which is fundamental to all religion, or whether you design only to divert yourself with the subject as you have done hitherto ? " AVhatever your thoughts are, Philocles, I am resolved to force them from you. Vou can no longer plead the unsuitableness of the time or place to such grave subjects. The gaudy scene is over ^ith the day. Our company have long since ([uitted the field ; and the solemn majesty of such a night as this, may justly suit with the ])ro- foundest meditation or most serious discourse.""

Thus, Palemon, you continued to urge me, till by necessity I was drawn into the following vein of philosophical enthusiasm^

Section III

You shall find then, said I (taking a grave air), that it is possible for me to be serious, and that 'tis probable I am growing so for good and all. Your over-seriousness awhile since, at such an unseasonable time, may have driven me ))erhaps into a contrary extreme by opposition to your melancholy humour. But I have now a better idea of that melancholy you discovered, and notwithstanding the humorous turn you were pleased to give it, I am persuaded it has a different foundation from any of those fantastical causes I then assigned to it. " Love, doubtless, is at the bottom ; but a nobler love than such as common beauties inspire.""

Here, in my turn, I began to raise my voice, and imitate the solemn way you had been teaching me. " Knowing as you are," continued I, " well-knowing and experienced in all the degrees and orders of beauty, in all the mysterious charms of the particular forms, you rise to what is more general, and with a larger heart, and mind more comprehensive, you generously seek that which is highest in the kind. Not captivated by the lineaments of a fair face, or the well-drawn proportions of a



human body, you view the Hfe itself, and embrace rather the mind which adds the lustre, and renders chiefly amiable.

"Nor is the enjoyment of such a single beauty sufficient to satisfy such an aspiring soul. It seeks how to combine more beauties, and by what coalition of these to form a beautiful society. It views communities, friendships, relations, duties, and considers by what harmony of particular minds the general harmony is composed, and commonweal established,

" Nor satisfied even with public good in one comnmnity of men, it frames itself a nobler object, and with enlarged affection seeks the good of mankind. It dwells with pleasure amidst that reason and those orders on which this fair correspondence and goodly interest is established. Laws, constitutions, civil and religious rites ; whatever civilises or polishes rude mankind ; the sciences and arts, philosophy, morals, virtue ; the flourishing state of human affairs, and the perfection of human nature ; these are its delightful prospects, and this the charm of beauty which attracts it.

" Still ardent in this pursuit (such is its love of order and perfection) it rests not here, nor satisfies itself with the beauty of a part, but, extending further its communicative bounty, seeks the good of all^ and affects the interest and prosperity of the whole. True to its native world and higher country, 'tis here it seeks order and perfection ; wishing the best, and hoping still to find a just and wise administration.

" And since all hope of this were vain and idle if no universal mind presided ; since without such a supreme intelli- gence and providential care the distracted universe must be condemned to suffer infinite calamities ; 'tis here the generous mind labours to discover that healing cause by which the interest of the whole is securely established, the beauty of things and the universal order happily sustained.

"This, Palenion, is the labour of your soul, and this its melancholy when, unsuccessfully pursuing the supreme beauty, it meets with darkening clouds whicli intercept its sight.



Monsters arise, not those from Lybian deserts, but from the heart of man more fertile, and with their horrid aspect cast an unseemly reflection upon Nature. She, helpless (as she is thought), and Avorking thus absurdly, is contennied, the govern- / ment of the world arraigned, and Deity made void.

/ " Much is alleged in answer to show why Nature errs, and

how she came thus impotent and erring from an unerring hand. j But I deny she errs ; and when she seems ignorant or perverse in her productions, I assert her even then as wise and provident as in her goodliest works. For 'tis not then that men complain of the world's order, or abhor the face of things, when they see various interests mixed and interfering ; natures subordinate of different kinds, opposed one to another, and in their different operations submitted the higher to the lower. 'Tis on the contrary from this order of inferior and superior things that we admire the world's beauty,^ founded thus on contrarieties, whilst from such various and disagreeing principles a universal concord is established.

" Thus in the several orders of terrestrial forms a resigna- tion is required, a sacrifice and mutual yielding of natures one to another. The vegetables by their death sustain the animals, and animal bodies dissolved enrich the earth, and raise again the vegetable Avorld. The numerous insects are reduced by the superior kinds of birds and beasts, and these again are checked by man, who in his turn submits to other natures, and resigns his form a sacrifice in common to the rest of things. And if in natvu'es so little exalted or j^re-eminent above each other, the sacrifice of interests can appear so just, how nuich more reason- ably may all inferior natures be subjected to the superior nature of the world ! that world, l*alemon, Avhich even now trans})orted you when the sun's fainting light gave way to these bright con- stellations, and left you this wide system to contemplate.

" Here are those laws which ought not nor can submit to

1 See Misc. v. cli. i. what is cited in the notes from the ancient author on The World.



anything below. The central powers, which hold the lasting orbs in their just poise and movement, must not be controlled to save a fleeting form, and rescue from the precipice a puny animal, whose brittle frame, however protected, must of itself so soon dissolve. The ambient air, the inward vapours, the impending meteors, or whatever else is nutrimental or pre- servative of this earth, must operate in a natural course, and other constitutions must submit to the good habit and con- stitution of the all-sustaining globe.

"Let us not therefore wonder if by earthquakes, storms, pestilential blasts, nether or upper fires, or floods, the animal kinds are oft afflicted, and whole species perhaps involved at once in common ruin ; but much less let us account it strange if either by outward shock, or some interior wound from hostile matter, particular animals are deformed even in their first conception, when the disease invades the seats of generation, and seminal parts are injured and obstructed in their accurate labours. 'Tis then alone that monstrous shapes are seen : Nature still working as before, and not perversely or erroneously, not faintly, or with feeble endeavours ; but overpowered by a superior rival, and by another nature's justly conquering force.

" Nor need we wonder if the interior form, the soul and temper, partakes of this occasional deformity, and sympathises often with its close partner. Who is there can wonder either at the sicknesses of sense, or the depravity of minds enclosed in such frail bodies, and dependent on such pervertible organs ?

"Here then is that solution you require, and hence those seeming blemishes cast upon Nature. Nor is there aught in this beside what is natural and good. Tis o-ood which is predominant ; and every corruptible and mortal nature by its mortality and corruption yields only to some better, and all in common to that best and highest nature which is incorruptible and immortal."'

" I scarce had ended these words ere you broke out in admiration, asking what had befallen me that of a sudden



I had thus changed my character, and entered into thoughts which must certainly, you supposed, have some foundation in me, since I could express them with such seeming affection as I had done.

O, said I, Palemon ! that it had been my fortune to have met you the other day, just at my return out of the country from a friend whose conversation had in one day or two made such an impression on me that I should have suited you to a miracle. You would have thought indeed that I had been cured of my scepticism and levity, so as never to have rallied more at that Avild rate on any subject, much less on these which are so serious.

Truly, said you, 1 could wish I had met you rather at that time, or that those good and serious impressions of your friend had without interruption lasted with you till this moment.

Whatever they were, I told you, Palemon, I had not so lost them neither as not easily, you saw, to revive them on occasion, were I not afraid. Afraid ! said you. For whose sake, good Philocles, I entreat you ? for mine or your own 'f For both, replied I. For though I was like to be perfectly cured of my scepticism, 'twas bv what I thought worse, downright enthusiasm. You never knew a more agreeable enthusiast !

Were he my friend, said you, I should hardly treat him in so free a manner; nor should I, perhaps, judge that to be enthusiasm which you so freely term so. I have a strong suspicion that you injure him. Nor can I be satisfied till I hear further of that serious conversation for which you tax him as enthusiastic.

I must confess, said I, he had nothing of that savage air 1 of the vulgar enthusiastic kind. All was serene, soft, and [ harmonious. The manner of it was more after the pleasing transports of those ancient })oets you are often charmed with, than after the fierce unsociable way of modern zealots, those starched, gruff gentlemen, who guard religion as bullies do a mistress, and give us the while a very indifferent opinion of



their lady's merit and their own wit, by adoring what they neither allow to be inspected by others nor care themselves to examine in a fair light. But here, I will answer for it, there was nothing of disguise or paint. All was fair, open, and genuine as Nature herself Twas Nature he was in love with; 'twas Nature he sung. And if any one might be said to have a natural mistress my friend certainly might, whose heart was thus engaged. But love, I found, was everywhere the same. And though the object here was very fine, and the passion it created very noble, yet liberty, I thought, was finer than all ; and I who never cared to engage in other love of the least continuance, was the more afraid, I told you, of this which had such a power with my poor friend as to make him appear the perfectest enthusiast in the world, ill-humour only excej^ted. For this was singular in him, " That though he had all of the enthusiast, he had nothing of the bigot. He heard everything with mildness and delight, and bore with me when I treated all his thoughts as visionary, and when, sceptic-like, I unravelled all his systems."

Here was that character and description which so highlv })lea.sed you that you would hardly suffer me to come to a con- clusion. 'Twas impossible, I found, to give you satisfaction without reciting the main of what ])assed in those two days between my friend and me in our country retirement. Again and again I bid you beware : " you knew not the danger of this philoso})hical })assion, nor considered what you might })ossibly draw upon yourself, and make me the author of I was far enough engaged already, and you ^\ere })ushing me further, at yoiu" own hazard.""

All I could say made not the least impression on vou. But rather than proceed any further this night, I engaged, for your sake, to turn writer, and draw up the memoirs of those two philosophical days, beginning with what had j)asscd this last day between ourselves, as I have accordingly done, you see, by way of introduction to my story.



By this time, being got late to town, some hours after the latest of our company, you set me down at my own lodging, and thus we bade good-night.


Section' I

Philodcs to Palemon

After such a day as yesterday I might well have thought it hard, when I awaked the next morning, to find myself under positive engagements of proceeding in the same philosophical way without intermission, and upon harder terms than ever. For 'twas no longer the agreeable part of a companion which I had now to bear. Your conversation, Palemon, which had hitherto supported me, was at an end. I was now alone, confined to my closet, obliged to meditate by myself, and reduced to the hard circumstances of an author and historian in the most difficult subject.

But here, methought, propitious Heaven in some manner assisted me. For if dreams were, as Homer teaches, sent from the throne of Jove, I might conclude I had a favourable one of the true sort towards the morning light, which, as I recollected myself, gave me a clear and perfect idea of what I desired so earnestly to bring back to my memory.

I found myself transported to a distant country, which ]iresented a pompous rural scene. It was a mountain not far from the sea, its brow adorned with ancient wood, and at its foot a river and well-inhabited plain, beyond which the sea appearing, closed the prospect.

No sooner had I considered the place than I discerned it to be the very same where I had talked with Theocles the second day I was with him in the country. I looked about to see if



I could find luy friend, and calling Theocles ! I awaked. But so powerful was the impression of my dream, and so perfect the idea raised in me of the person, words, and manner of my friend, that I could now^ fancy myself philosophically inspired, as that Roman sage^ by his Egeria, and invited on this occasion to try my historical muse. For justly might I hope for such assistance in behalf of Theocles, who so loved the Muses, and was I thought no less beloved by them.

To return therefore to that original rural scene and that heroic genius, the companion and guide of my first thoughts in these profounder subjects; 1 found him the first morning with his beloved jNIantuan Muse, roving in the fields, where, as I had been informed at his house, he was gone out, after his usual way, to read. The moment he saw me his book vanished, and he came with friendly haste to meet me. After we had embraced, 1 discovered my curiosity to know^ what he w^as reading, and asked " if it were of a secret kind, to which I could not be admitted."'"' On this he showed me his poet, and looking pleasantly, Now tell me truly, said he, Philocles, did you not expect some more mysterious book than this 't I owned I did, considering his character, which I took to be of so contemplative a kind. And do you think, said he, that without being con- templative, one can truly relish these diviner poets ? Indeed, said I, I never thought there was any need of growing- contemplative, or retiring from the world, to read Virgil or Horace.

You have named two, said he, who can hardly be thought so very like, though they were friends and equally good poets. Yet joining them as you are pleased to do, I would willingly learn from you whether in your opinion there be any dis- position so fitted for reading them as that in which they writ themselves. In this, I am sure, they both joined heartily : to love retirement ; when for the sake of such a life and habit as you call contemplative, they were willing to sacrifice the highest

' Num;i.



advantages, pleasures, and favour of a court. But I will venture to say more in favour of retirement : " that not only the best authors but the best company require this seasoning." Society itself cannot be rightly enjoyed without some abstinence and separate thought. All grows insipid, dull, and tiresome without the help of some intervals of retirement. Say, Philocles, whether you yourself have not often found it so . Do you think those lovers understand the interests of their loves who by their good-will would never be parted for a moment . or would they be discreet friends, think you, who would choose to live together on such terms ^ What relish then must the world have (that common world of mixed and undistinguished company) without a little solitude ; without stepping now and then aside, out of the road and beaten track of life, that tedious circle of noise and show, which forces wearied mankind to seek relief from every poor diversion .

By your rule, said I, Theocles, there should be no such thing as happiness or good in life, since every enjoyment wears out so soon ; and growing painful, is diverted by some other thing, and that again by some other, and so on. I am sure, if solitude serves as a remedy or diversion to anything in the world, there is nothing which may not serve as diversion to solitude, which wants it more than anything besides. And thus there can be no good which is regular or constant. Happiness is a thing out of the way, and only to be found in wandering.

() Philocles, replied he, I rejoice to find you in the jmrsuit of happiness and good, however you may wander. Xay, though you doubt whether there be that thing, yet if you reason, "'tis sufficient ; there is hope still. But see how you have unawares engaged yourself ! For if you have destroyed all good, because in all you can think of there is nothing will constantly hold so; then vou have set it as a maxim (and verv justly in mv oj)inion) " that nothing can be good but what is constant.""'

I own, said I, that all I know of worldly satisfaction is inconstant. The things which give it are never at a stay, and



the good itself, whatever it be, depends no less on humour than on fortune. For that which Chance may often spare, Time will not. Age, change of temper, other thoughts, a different j^assion, new engagements, a new turn of life, or conversation, — the least of these are fatal, and alone sufhcient to destroy enjoyment. Though the object be the same, the relish changes and the short-lived good expires. But I should wonder nuich if you could tell me anything in life which was not of as change- able a nature, and subject to the same common fate of satiety and disgust.

I find then, replied he, that the current notion of good is not sufficient to satisfy you. You can afford to scepticise where no one else will so much as hesitate; for almost every one philosophises dogmatically on this head. All are positive in this, " that our real good is pleasure."

If they would inform us " which," said I, " or what sort," and ascertain once the very species and distinct kind, such as must constantly remain the same, and equally eligible at all times, I should then perhajis be better satisfied. But when will and pleasure are synonymous ; when everything which pleases us is called pleasure,^ and we never choose or prefer but as we please ; 'tis trifling to say " Pleasure is our good." For this has as little meaning as to say, " We choose what we think eligible " ; and " AVe are pleased with what delights or pleases us." The question is " whether we are rightly pleased, and choose as we jhou ld do ? " For as highly pleased as children are with baubles, or with whatever affects their tender senses, we cannot in our hearts sincerely admire their enjoyment, or imagine them possessors of any extraordinary good. Yet are their senses, we know, as keen and susceptible of pleasure as our own. The same reflection is of force as to mere animals, who in respect of the liveliness and delicacy of sensation have many of them the advantage of us. And as for some low and sordid pleasures of human kind, should they be ever so lastingly enjoyed, and in 1 Advice to an Author, part iii. § ii. ; Minr. iv. ch. i.




the highest credit with their enjoy ers, I should never afford them the name of happiness or good.

Would yon then appeal, said he, from the immediate feeling and experience of one who is pleased and satisfied with what he enjoys ?

Most certainly I should appeal, said I (continuing the same zeal which Theocles had stirred in me, against those dogmatisers on pleasure). For is there that sordid creature on earth who does not prize his own enjoyment ? Does not the forwardest, the most rancorous distempered creature do as much ? Is not malice and cruelty of the highest relish with some natures ? Is not a hoggish life the height of some men's wishes ? You would not ask me surely to enumerate the several species of sensations which men of certain tastes have adopted, and owned for their chief pleasure and delight. For with some men even diseases have been thought valuable and worth the cherishing, merely for the pleasure found in allaying the ardovu* of an irritating sensation. And to these absurd epicures those other are near akin M'ho by studied provocatives raise unnatural thirst and appetite, and, to make way for fresh repletion, prepare emetics, as the last dessert, the sooner to renew the feast. 'Tis said, I know, proverbially, " that tastes are different, and must not be disputed." And I remember some such motto as this placed once on a device, which was found suitable to the notion. A fly was represented feeding on a certain lump. The food, however vile, was natural to the animal. There was no absurdity in the case. But should you show me a brutish or a barbarous man thus taken up, and solaced in his pleasure ; should you show me a sot in his solitary debauch, or a tyrant in the exercise of his cruelty, with this motto over him, to forbid my appeal ; I should hardly be brought to think the better of his enjoyment ; nor can I possibly suppose that a mere sordid wretch, with a base, abject soul, and the best fortune in tlie Avorld, was ever capable of any real enjoyment.

By this zeal, replied Theocles, which you have shown in the



refuting a wrong hypothesis, one would imagine you had in reahty some notion of a right, and began to think that there might possibly be such a thing at last as good.

That there is something nearer to good, and more like it than another, I am free, said I, to own. But what real good is I am still to seek, and must therefore wait till you can better inform me. This I only know, " that either all pleasure is good, or only some." If all, then every kind of sensuality must be precious and desirable. If some only, then we are to seek what kind, and discover, if we can, what it is which distinguishes between one pleasure and another, and makes one indifferent, sorry, mean ; another valuable and worthy. And by this stamp, this character, if there be any such, we must define good, and not by pleasure itself, which may be very great and yet Aery contemptible. Nor can any one truly judge the value of any immediate sensation otherwise than by judging first of the situation of his own mind. For that which we esteem a happiness in one situation of mind is otherwise thought of in another. AVhich situation therefore is the justest must be considered : " how to gain that point of sight whence probably Ave may best discern ; and how to place ourselves in that unbiassed state in which we are fittest to pronounce."

O Philocles, replied he, if this be unfeignedly your sentiment, if it be possible you should have the fortitude to withhold your assent in this affair,^ and go in search of A\hat the meanest of mankind think they already know so certainly, "'tis from a nobler turn of thought than what you have observed in any of the modern sceptics you have conversed with. For if I mistake not, there are hardly anywhere at this day a sort of people more peremptory, or who deliberate less on the choice of good. They who pretend to such a scrutiny of other evidences are the readiest to take the evidence of the greatest deceivers in the world, their own passions. Having gained, as they think, a liberty from some seeming constraints of religion, they suppose ^ Esmy on Wit and Humour, part i. § G.



they employ this_libei'ty to perfection by following the first motion of their 6vill, and assenting to the first dictate or report of any prejjossessing fancy,^ any foremost opinion or conceit of good. So that their privilege is only that of being perpetually amused, and their liberty that of being imposed on in their most imjjortant choice. I think one may say with assurance " that the greatest of fools is he who imposes on himself, and in his greatest concern thinks certainly he knows that which he has least studied, and of which he is most profoundly ignorant. He who is ignorant but knows his ignorance, is far wiser. xVnd to do justice to these fashionable men of wit, they are not all of them, indeed, so insensible as not to perceive something of their own blindness and absurdity. For often when they seriously reflect on their past pursuits and engagements they freely own "that for what remains of life they know not whether they shall be of a piece with themselves, or whether their fancy, humour, or passion will not hereafter lead them to a quite different choice in pleasure, and to a disapprobation of all they ever enjoyed before." .... Comfortable reflection ! To bring the satisfactions of the mind, continued he, and the enjoyments of reason and judgment under the denomination ' of Pleasure, is only a collusion, and a plain receding from the %, conim on notion of _the wor^ . They deal not fairly with us who in their philosophical hour admit that for pleasure which at an ordinary time, and in the connnon practice of life, is so little taken for such. The mathematician who labours at his problem, the bookish man who toils, the artist who endures voluntarily the greatest hardships and fatigues, — none of these are said " to follow pleasure. Nor will the men of pleasure by any means admit them to be of their number. The satisfactions which are purely mental, and dejiend only on the motion of a thought, nmst in all likelihood be too refined for the appre- hensions of our modern epicures, who are so taken up with ple asure of a more substantial kind. They who are full of the 1 Advice to an Author, part iii. § 2.



idea of such a sensible solid good can have but a slender fancy for the mere spiritual and intellectual sort. But 'tis this latter they set up and magnify upon occasion, to save the ignominy which may redound to them from the former. This done, the latter may take its chance : its use is presently at an end. For 'tis observable that when the men of this sort have recom- mended the enjoyments of the mind under the title of pleasure, when they have thus dignified the word, and included in it whatever is mentally good or excellent, they can afterwards suffer it contentedly to slide down again into its own genuine and vulgar sense, whence they raised it only to serve a turn. When pleasure is called in question and attacked, then reason ^^-^^ and wT ue~are called ni to her aid, and made principal parts of her constitution. A complicated form appears, and comprehends straight all which isgenerous, honest, and beautiful in human li fe. But when the attack is over, and the objection once solved, the spectre vanishes ; pleasure returns again to her former shape ; she may even be pleasure still, and have as little concern with dry, sober reason as in the nature of the thing and according to common understanding she really has. For if this rational sort of enjoyment be admitted into the notion of good, how is it possible to admit withal that kind of sensation which in effect is rather opposite to this enjoyment? 'Tis certain that in respect of the mind and its enjoyments, the eagerness and irritation of mere pleasure is as disturbing as the importunity and vexation of pain. If either throws the mind off its bias, and deprives it of the satisfaction it takes in its natural exercise and employment, the mind in this case must be sufferer as well by one as by the other. If neither does this, there is no harm on either side. . . .

^ By the way, said I, interrupting him, as sincere as I am in questioning " whether pleasure be really good," I am not such a sceptic as to doubt " whether pain be really ill.""

Whatever is grievous, replied he, can be no other than ill. But that what is grievous to one, is not so much as troublesome

VOL. II 33 - D



to another, let sportsmen, soldiers, and others of the hardy kinds be witness. Nay, that what is pain to one is pleasure to another, and so alternately, we very well know, since men vary in their apprehension of these sensations, and on many occasions confound one with the other. Has not even Nature herself in some respects, as it were, blended them together, and (as a wise man said once) "joined the extremity of one so nicely to the other, that it absolutely runs into it and is indistinguishable" ?

In fine then, said I, if pleasure and pain be thus convertible and mixed ; if, according to your account, " that which is now pleasure, by being strained a little too far, runs into pain, and pain, when carried far, creates again the highest pleasure, by mere cessation and a kind of natural succession ; if some pleasures to some are pains, and some pains to others are pleasures *" ; all this, if I mistake not, makes still for my opinion, and shows that there is nothing you can assign which can really stand as good. For if pleasure be not good, nothing is. And if pain be ill (as I must necessarily take for granted) we have a shrewd chance on the ill side indeed, but none at all on the better. So that we may fairly doubt " whether life itself be not mere misery," since gainers by it we can never be ; losers we may sufficiently, and are like to be every hour of our lives. Ac- cordingly, what our English poetess says of good should be just and proper, ""'TIS good not to be born." . . . And thus for anything of good -which can be expected in life, we may een " beg pardon of Nature, and return her present on her hands without waiting for her call." For what should hinder us ? or what are we the better for living .

The query, said he, is pertinent. But why such dispatch if the case be doubtful ? This, surely, my good Philocles ! is a plain transgression of your sceptical bounds. We must be sufficiently dogmatical to come to this determination. 'Tis a deciding as well concerning death as life, " what possibly may be hereafter, and what not." Now to be assured that we can never be concerned in anything hereafter, we must understand




perfectly what it is which concerns or engages us in anything present. We must truly know ourselves, and in what this self of ours consists. We must determine against pre-existence, and give a better reason for our having never been concerned in aught before our birth than merely "because we remember not, nor are conscious. For in many things we have been concerned to purpose, of which we have now no memory or consciousness remaining. And thus we may happen to be again and again to perpetuity, for any reason we can show to the contrary. All is revolution in us. We are no more the self- same matter or system of matter from one day to another. What succession there may be hereafter we know not, since even now we live by succession, and only perish and are renewed. 'Tis in vain we flatter ourselves with the assurance of our interests ending with a certain shape or form. What interested us at first in it we know not, any more than how we have since held on, and continue still concerned in such an assemblage of fleeting particles. Where besides or in what else we may have to do, perchance, in time to come, we know as little, nor can tell how chance or providence hereafter may dispose of us. And if providence be in the case, we have still more reason to consider how we undertake to be our own dis- posers. It must needs become a sceptic above all men to hesitate in matters of exchange. And though he acknowledges no present good or enjoyment in life, he must be sure, however, of bettering his condition before he attempts to alter it. But as yet, Philocles, even this point remains undetermined between us : " whether in this present life there be not such a thing as real good."

Be you therefore, said I, my instructor, sagacious Theocles ! and inform me " what that good is, or where, which can aftbrd contentment and satisfaction always alike, without variation or diminution."" For though on some occasions and in some subjects the mind may possibly be so bent, and the passion so \\Tought up, that for the time no bodily sufferance or pain can



alter it, yet this is what can seldom happen, and is unlikely to last long, since without any pain or inconvenience, the passion in a little time does its own work, the mind relaxes with its bent, and the temper wearied with repetition finds no more enjoyment, but runs to something new.

Hear then ! said Theocles. For though I pretend not to tell you at once the nature of this which I call good, yet I am content to show you something of it in yourself, which you will acknowledge to be naturally more fixed and constant than any- thing you have hitherto thought on. Tell nie, my friend, if -^ever you were weary of doing good to those you loved ? Say when you ever fovmd it unpleasing to serve a friend ? or whether when you first proved this generous pleasure you did not feel it less than at this present, after so long experience "^ Believe me, Philocles, this pleasure is more debauching than any other. Never did any soul do good, but it came readier I to do the same again with more enjoyment. Never Mas love, or gratitude, or bounty practised but with increasing joy, which made the practiser still more in love with the fair act. Answer me, Philocles, you who are such a judge of beauty, and have so good a] taste of pleasure, is there anything you admire so fair as friendship . or anything so charming as a generous action . AVhat would it be, therefore, if all life were in reality but one continued friendship, and could be made one such entire act ? Here surely would be that fixed and constant good you sought. Or would you look for anything beyond .

Perhaps not, said I. But I can never, surely, go beyond this to seek for a chimera, if this good of yours be not thoroughly chimerical. For though a poet may possibly work up such a single action, so as to hold a play out, I can conceive but very faintly how this high strain of friendship can be so managed as to fill a life. Nor can I imagine where the object lies of such a sublime, heroic passion.

Can any friendshi]), said he, be so heroic as that towards mankind ? Do you think the love of friends in general and



of ones country to be nothing? or that particular friendship can well subsist without such an enlarged affection and sense of obligation to society ? Say, if possible, you are a friend, but hate your country. Say, you are true to the interest of a companion, but false to that of society. Can you believe your- self ? or will you lay the name aside, and refuse to be called the friend, since you renounce the man ?

That there is something, said I, due to mankind, is what I think will not be disputed by one who claims the name of friend. Hardly indeed could I allow the name of man to one who never could call or be called friend. But he who justly proves himself a friend is man enough, nor is he wanting to society. A single friendship may acquit him. He has deserved a friend, and is man's friend, though not in strictness, or accord- ing to your high moral sense, the friend of mankind. For to say truth, as to this sort of friendship it may by wiser heads be esteemed perhaps more than ordinarily manly, and even heroic, as you assert it ; but for my part I see so very little worth in mankind, and have so indifferent an opinion of the public, that I can propose little satisfaction to myself in loving either.

Do you, then, take bounty and gratitude to be among the acts of friendship and good-nature ? Undoubtedly, for they are the chief. Suppose then that the obliged person discovers in the obliger sevei-al failings ; does this exclude the gratitude of the former 't Not in the least. Or does it make the exercise of gratitude less pleasing ? I think rather the contrary. For when deprived of other means of making a return, I might rejoice still in that sure way of showing my gratitude to my benefactor by bearing his failings as a friend. And as to bounty : tell me, I beseech you, is it to those only who are deserving that we should do good ? Is it only to a good neighbour or relation, a good father, child, or brother 't Or does Nature, reason, and humanity better teach us to do good still to a father because a father, and to a child because a child,




and so to every relation in human life ? I think, said I, this last is rightest.

O Philocles, replied he, consider then what it was you said when you objected against the love of mankind because of human frailty, and seemed to scorn the public because of its misfortunes. See if this sentiment be consistent with that humanity which elsewhere you o\vti and practise. For where can generosity exist if not here ? Where can we ever exert friendship, if not in this chief subject ? To what should we be true or grateful in the Avorld if not to mankind and that society to which we are so deeply indebted ? What are the faults or blemishes which can excuse such an omission, or in a grateful mind can ever lessen the satisfaction of making a grateful, kind return ? Can you then out of good-breeding merely, and from a temper natural to you, rejoice to show civility, courteousness, obligingness, seek objects of compassion, and be pleased with every occurrence where you have power to do some service even to people unknown ? Can you delight in such adventures abroad in foreign countries, or in the case of

— strangers here at home ; to help, assist, relieve all who require it, in the most hospitable, kind, and friendly manner ? And can your country or, what is more, your kind, require less kind- ness from you, or deserve less to be considered, than even one of these chance creatures ? O Philocles ! how little do you know the extent and power of good-nature, and to what an heroic pitch a soul may rise which knows the thorough force

j of it, and distributing it rightly, frames in itself an equal, just,

\ ; and universal friendship !

Just as he had ended these words, a servant came to us in the field to give notice of some company who Avere come to dine with us, and waited our coming in. So we walked home- wards. I told Theocles, going along, that I feared I should never make a good friend or lover after his way. As for a plain natural love of one single person in either sex, I could ' compass it, I thought, well enough ; but this complex, universal



sort was beyond my reach. I could love the individual, but not the species. This was too mysterious, too metaphysical an object for me. In short, I could love nothing of which I had not some sensible, material image.

How ! replied Theocles, can you never love except in this manner .'* when yet I know that you admired and loved a friend long ere you knew his person. Or was Palemon's character of no force when it engaged you in that long correspondence which preceded your late personal acquaintance ? The fact, said I, I must of necessity own to you. And now, methinks, I understand your mystery, and perceive how I nmst prepare for it ; for in the same manner as when I first began to love Palemon, I was forced to form a kind of material object, and had always 'such a certain image of him ready drawn in my mind whenever I thought of him ; so I must endeavour to order it in the case before us, if possibly by your help I can raise any such image or spectre as may represent this odd being you would have me love.

Methinks, said he, you might have the same indulgence for Nature or Mankind as for the people of old Rome, whom, notwithstanding their blemishes, I have known you in love with many ways, particularly under the representation of a beautiful youth called the Genius of the People. For I re- member that, viewing once some pieces of antiquity where the people were thus represented, you allowed them to be no disagreeable object.

Indeed, replied I, were it possible for me to stamp upon mv mind such a figure as you speak of, whether it stood for Mankind or Nature, it might probably have its effect, and I might become perhaps a lover after your way ; but more especially if you could so order it as to make things reciprocal between us, and bring me to fancy of this genius that it could be " sensible of my love, and capable of a return." For without this I should make but an ill lover, though of the perfectest beauty in the world.




'Tis enough, said Theocles, I accept the terms, and if you promise to love, I will endeavour to show you that beauty which I count the perfectest, and most deserving of love, and which will not fail of a return. . . . To-morrow, when the eastern sun (as poets describe} with his first beams adorns the front of yonder hill, there, if you are content to wander with me in the woods you see, we will pursue those loves of ours by favour of the svlvan nymphs ; and invoking first the genius of the place, we will try to obtain at least some faint and distant view of the sovereign genius and first beauty. This if you can come once to contemplate, I will answer for it that all those forbidding features and deformities, whether of Nature or Mankind, will vanish in an instant, and leave you that love I could wish. But now, enough ! . . . Let us to our company, and change this conversation for [some other more suitable to our friends and table.

Section II

You see here, Palemon, what a foundation is laid for the en- thusiasms I told you of, and which, in my opinion (I told you too), were the more dangerous, because so very odd and out of the way. But curiosity had seized you, I perceived, as it had done me before. For after this first conversation I must own I longed for nothing so much as the next day, and the appointed mor;iing walk in the woods.

We had only a friend or two at dinner with us, and for a good while we discoursed of news and indifferent things, till 1, who had my head still running upon those other subjects, gladly laid hold of something dropt by chance concerning friendship, and said' that for my own part, truly, though I once thought I had known friendship, and really counted myself a good friend during my whole life, yet I was now persuaded to believe ijiyself no better than a learner, since Theocles had almost con- vinced me " that to be a friend to any one in particular, 'twas



necessary to be first a friend to mankind." But how to qualify myself for such a friendship was, methought, no little difficulty.

Indeed, said Theocles, you have given us a very indifferent character of yourself in saying so. If you had spoken thus of the friendship of any great man at court, or perhaps of a court itself, and had complained " how hard it was for you to succeed, or make interest with such as governed there," we should have concluded in your behalf that there were such terms to be com- plied with as were unworthy of you. But " to tleserve well of the public," and "to be justly styled the friend of mankind," requires no more than to be good and virtujous ; terms which for one's own sake one would naturally covet.

How comes it then, said I, that even these good terms themselves are so ill accepted, and hardly ever taken (if I may so express it) except on further terms ? For virtue by itself is thought but an ill bargain; and I know few, even of the religious and devout, who take up with it any otherwise than as children do with phvsic ; where the rod and sweetmeat are the potent motives.

Tliev are children indeed, replied Theocles, and should be treated so, who need any force or persuasion to do what conduces to their health aud_^ood. But where, I beseech you, are those forbidding circumstances which should make virtue go down so hardly ? Is it not among other things that you think yourself by this means precluded the fine tables and costly eating of our modern epicures, and that perhaps you fear the being reduced to eat always as ill as now, upon a plain dish or two and no more .

This, I protested, was injuriously supposed of me. For I wished never to eat otherwise than I now did at his table, which, by the way, had more resemblance, I thought, of Epicurus's, than those which nowadays preposterously passed under his name. For if his opinion might be taken, the highest pleasures in the world were owing to temperance and moderate use.

If then the merest studier of pleasure, answered Theocles,



even Epicurus himself, made that favourable report of temper- ance, so different from his modern disciples ; if he could boldly say " that with such fare as a mean garden afforded, he could vie even with the gods for happiness "" ; how shall we say of this part of virtue that it needs be taken upon terms ? If the im- mediate practice of temperance be thus harmless, are its conse- quences injurious ? Does it take from the vigour of the mind, consume the body, and render both the one and the other less apt to their proper exercises, " the enjoyments of reason or sense, or the employments and offices of civil life"? Or is it that a man's circumstances are the worse for it, as he stands towards his friends or mankind ? Is a gentleman in this sense to be pitied " as one burdensome to himself and others ; one whom all men will naturally shun as an ill friend and a corrupter of society and good manners"? . . . Shall we consider our gentleman in a public trust, and see whether he is like to succeed best with this restraining quality, or whether he may be more relied on, and thought more incorrupt, if his appetites are high, and his relish strong towards that which we call pleasure ? Shall we consider him as a soldier in a campaign or siege, and advise with ourselves how we might be best defended, if we had occa- sion for such a ones service ? " Which officer would make the best for the soldiers, which soldier for the officers, or which army for their country ? " . . . What think you of our gentleman for a fellow-traveller ? AVould he, as a temperate man, be an ill choice ? Would it indeed be more eligible and delightful " to have a companion who, in any shift or necessity, would prove the most ravenous, and eager to provide in the first place for himself, and his own exquisite sensations " ? . . . I know not what to say where beauty is concerned. Perhaps the amorous galcmts and exquisite refiners on this sort of pleasure may have so refined their minds and tempers that, notwith- standing their accustomed indulgence, they can ujjon occasion renounce their enjoyment rather than violate honour, faith, or justice. . . . And thus at last there will be little virtue or



worth ascribed to this patient, sober character. "The dull, temperate man is no fitter to be trusted than the elegant, luxurious one. Innocence, youth, and fortune may be as well committed to the care of this latter gentleman. He would prove as good an executor, as good a trustee, as good a guardian, as he would a friend. The family which entrusted him would be secure, and no dishonour in any likelihood would happen from the honest man of pleasure."

The seriousness with which Theocles spoke this, made it the more pleasant, and set our other company upon saying a great many good things on the same subject in commendation of a temperate life. So that our dinner by this time being ended, and the wine, according to custom, placed before us, I found still we w^ere in no likelihood of proceeding to a debauch. Every one drank only as he fancied, in no order or proportion, and with no regard to circular healths or pledges. A manner Avhich the sociable men of another scheme of morals would have censured no doubt as a heinous irregularity and corruption of good fellowship.

I own, said I, I am far from thinking temperance so dis- agreeable a character. As for this part of virtue, I think there is no need of taking it on any other terms to recommend it than the mere advantage of being saved from intemperance, and from the desire of things unnecessary.

How, said Theocles, are you thus far advanced ^ And can you cany this temperance so far as to estates and honours by opposing it to avarice and ambition.? Nay, then truly you may be said to have fairly embarked yourself in this cause. You have passed the channel, and are more than half-seas over. There remains no further scruple in the case of virtue unless you will declare yourself a coward, or conclude it a happiness to be born one. For if you can be temperate withal towards life, and think it not so great a business whether it be of fewer or more years ; but, satisfied with Mhat you have lived, can rise a thankful guest from a full, liberal entertainment, is



not this the sum of all ? the finishing stroke and very ac- complishment of virtue ? In this temper of mind what is there can hinder us from forming for ourselves as heroic a character as ^\■e please ? What is there either good, generous, or great, which does not naturally flow from such a modest temperance ? Let us once gain this simple, plain-looked virtue, and see whether the more shining virtues Avill not follow. See what that country of the mind will produce, when by the wholesome laws of this legislatress it has obtained its liberty ! You, Philocles, who are such an admirer of civil liberty, and can represent it to yourself with a thousand several graces and advantages ; can you imagine no grace or beauty in that original, native liberty which sets us free from so many inborn tyrannies, gives us the privilege of ourselves, and makes us our own and independent ? A sort of property which, me- thinks, is as material to us to the full as that which secures us our lands or revenues.

I should think, said he (carrying on his humour), that one might draw the picture of this moral dame to as much advantage as that of her political sister, whom vou admire, as described to us " in her Amazon-dress, with a free, manly air becoming her ; her guards the laws, with their written tables, like bucklers, surrounding her ; riches, traffic, aiid plentv, with the cornucopia, serving as her attendants ; and in her train the arts and sciences, like children, playing." . . . The rest of the piece is easv to imagine : " her triumph over tvrannv, and lawless rule of lust and passion."" . . . But what a triumph would her sister's be ! what monsters of savage passions would there appear subdued ! " There fierce ambition, lust, uproar, mis- rule, with all the fiends which rage in human breasts, would be securely chained. And when fortune herself, the queen of flatteries, with that prince of terrors, death, were at the chariot- wheels as captives, how natural would it be to see fortitude, magnanimity, justice, honour, and all that generous band attend as the companions of our inmate Lady Liberty ! She,



like some new-born goddess, would grace her mother's chariot, and own her birth from humble temperance, that nursing mother of the virtues, who like the parent of the gods (old reverend Cybele) would properly appear drawn by reined lions, patient of the bit, and on her head a turret-like attire, the image of defensive power and strength of mind."

By this picture Theocles, I found, had given entertainment to the company,' who, fronj this rough draught of his, fell to designing upon the same subject after the ancient manner, till Prodicus and Cebes and all the ancients were exhausted.

Gentlemen, said I, the descriptions you have been making are, no doubt, the finest in the world ; but after all, when you have made virtue as glorious and triumphant as you please, 1 will bring you an authentic picture of another kind, where we shall see this triumph in reverse: "Virtue herself a captive in her turn ; and by a proud conqueror triumphed over, degraded, spoiled of all her honours, and defaced, so as to retain hardly one single feature of real beauty.""

I offered to go on further, but could not, being so violently decried by my two fellow-guests, who protested they would never be brought to own so detestable a picture ; and one of them (a formal sort of gentleman, somewhat advanced in years) looking earnestly upon me, said, in an angry tone, " that he had hitherto, indeed, conceived some ho]:)es of me, notwith- standing he observed my freedom of thought, and heard me quoted for such a passionate lover of liberty ; but he was sorry to find that my princijjle of liberty extended in fine to a liberty from all principles " (so he expressed himself), " and none," he thought, " beside a libertine in principle would ap})rove of such a picture of virtue as only an atheist could have the impudence to make."

Theocles the while sat silent, though he saw I minded not my antagonists, but kept my eye fixed steadily on himself, expecting to hear what he would say. At last, fetching a deep sigh, O Philocles, said he, how well you are master of that



cause you have taken on you to defend ! How well you know the way to gain advantage to the worst of causes from the imprudent management of those who defend the best ! I dare not, for my own share, affirm to you, as my worthy friends have done, " that 'tis the atheist alone can lay this load on Virtue, and picture her thus disgracefully."" No. There are other over-officious and less suspected hands, which do her perhaps more injury, though with a better colour.

That virtue should, with any show of reason, be made a victim (continued he, turning himself to his guests) must have appeared strange to you, no doubt, to hear asserted with such assurance as has been done by Philocles. You could conceive no tolerable ground for such a spectacle. In this reversed triumph you expected perhaps to see some foreign conqueror exalted ; as either vice itself, or pleasure, wit, spurious philo- sophy, or some false image of truth or Nature. Little were you aware that the cruel enemy opposed to virtue should be religion itself ! But you will call to mind that even innocently, and without any treacherous design, virtue is often treated so by those who would magnify to the utmost the corruption of man's heart ; and in exposing, as they pretend, the falsehood of human virtue, think to extol religion. How many religious authors, how many sacred orators, turn all their edge this way, and strike at moral virtue as a kind of step-dame, or rival to religion ! " Morality must not be named ; Nature has no pretence ; reason is an enemy ; connnon justice, folly ; and virtue, misery. Who would not be vicious had he his choice . Who would forbear but because he must . Or who would value virtue but for hereafter i " ^

Truly, said the old gentleman (interrupting him), if this be the triumph of religion, 'tis such as her greatest enemy, I believe, would scarce deny her ; and I must still be of opinion (with Philocles's leave) that it is no great sign of tenderness for religion to be so zealous in honouring her at the cost of virtue. ^ Misc. V. cli. iii.



Perhaps so, said I. Yet that there are many such zealots in the Avorld vou will acknowledge. And that there is a certain harmony between this zeal and what you call atheism, Theocles, you hear, has allowed. But let us hear him out, if perhaps he will be so free as to discover to us Avhat he thinks of the generality of our religious writers, and their method of en- countering their common enemy, the atheist. This is a subject which possibly may need a better clearing. For 'tis notorious that the chief opposers of atheism write upon contrary prin- ciples to one another, so as in a manner to confute themselves. Some of them hold zealously for virtue, and are realists in the point. Others, one may say, are only nominal moralists, by making virtue nothing in itself, a creature of will only, or a mere name of fashion. 'Tis the same in natural philosophy : some take one hy})othesis and some another. I should be glad to discover once the true foundation, and distinguish those who effectually refute their other antagonists as well as the atheists, and rightly assert the joint cause of virtue and religion.

Here, Palemon, I had my wish. For by degrees I engaged Theocles to discover himself fully upon these subjects, which served as a prelude to those we were to engage in the next morning, for the approach of which I so impatiently longed. If his speculations proved of a rational kind, this previous discourse, I knew, would help me to comprehend them ; if only })leasing fancies, this would help me, however, to please myself the better with them.

Here then began his criticism of authors, which grew by degrees into a continued discourse. So that had this been at a university, Theocles might very well have passed for some grave divinity professor, or teacher of ethics, reading an afternoon lecture to his pupils.

Sectiox in

It would be undoubtedly, said he, a happy cause which could have the benefit of such managers as should never give their



adversaries any handle of advantage against it. I could wish that in the cause of religion we had reason to boast as much. But since 'tis not impossible to write ill even in the best of causes, I am inclined to think this great one of religion may have run at least an equal hazard with any other, since they who write in defence of it are apt generally to use so much the less caution as they are more exempt from the fear of censure or criticism in their own person. Their adversary is well secured and silenced to their hand. They may safely provoke him to a field where he cannot appear openly, or as a professed antagonist. His weapons are private, and can often reach the cause without offence to its maintainers, whilst no direct attack robs them of their imaginary victory. They conquer for themselves, and expect to be approved still for their zeal, however the cause itself may have suffered in their hands.

Perhaps then, said I (interrupting him), it may be true enough what was said once by a person who seemed zealous for religion, "that none writ well against the atheists beside the clerk who drew the warrant for their execution."

If this were the true writing, replied he, there would be an end of all dispute or reasoning in the case. For where force is necessary, reason has nothing to do. But on the other hand, if reason be needful, force in the meanwhile must be laid aside ; for there is no enforcement of reason but by reason. And therefore if atheists are to be reasoned with at all, they are to be reasoned with like other men, since there is no other way in Nature to convince them.

This I own, said I, seems rational and just, but I am afraid that most of the devout people will be found ready to abandon the patient for the more concise method. And though force without reason may be thought somewhat hard, yet your other way of reason without force, I am apt to think, would meet with fewer admirers.

But perhaps, replied Theocles, 'tis a mere sound which troubles us. The word or name of atheist may possibly occa-




sion some disturbance, by being made to describe two characters so very different as his who absolutely denies and his who only doubts. Now he who doubts may possibly lament his own unhappiness and wish to be convinced. He who denies is daringly presumptuous, and sets up an opinion against the interest of mankind and being of society. 'Tis easily seen that one of these persons may bear a due respect to the magistrate and laws, though not the other, who being obnoxious to them is therefore punishable. But how the former is punishable by man will be hard to say, unless the magistrate had dominion over minds, as well as over actions and behaviour, and had power to exercise an inquisition within the inmost bosoms and secret thoughts of men.

I apprehend you, said I. And by your account, as there are two sorts of people who are called atheists, so there are two ways of writing against them, which may be fitly used apart, but not so well jointly. You would set aside mere menaces and separate the philosophers work from the magistrate's, taking it for granted that the more discreet and sober part of unbelievers, who come not under the dispatching pen of the magistrate, can be affected only by the more deliberate and gentle one of philosophy. Now the language of the magistrate, I must confess, has little in common with that of philosophy. Nothing can be more unbecoming the magisterial authority than a philosophical style, and nothing can be more unphilo- sophical than a magisterial one. A mixture of these must needs spoil both. And therefore, in the cause before us, " if any one besides the magistrate can be said to write well, 'tis he (accord- ing to your account) who writes as becomes philosophy, with freedom of debate, and fairness towards his adversary."

Allow it, replied he. For what can be more equitable ? Nothing. But will the world be of the same opinion ? And may this method of writing be justly practised in it? Un- doubtedly it may. And for a proof we have many instances in antiquity to produce. The freedom taken in this philosophical VOL. II 49 E


way was never esteemed injurious to religion or prejudicial to the vulgar, since we find it to have been a practice both in writing and converse among the great men of a virtuous and religious people ; and that even those magistrates who officiated at the altars, and were the guardians of the public worship, were sharers in these free debates.

Forgive me, Theocles, said I, if I presume to say that still this reaches not the case before us. We are to consider Christian times such as are now present. You know the common fate of those who dare to appear fair authors. What was that pious and learned man's case who wrote The Intellectual System of the Unive7'se ? ^ I confess it was pleasant enough to consider that though the whole world were no less satisfied with his capacity and learning than with his sincerity in the cause of Deity, yet was he accused of giving the upper hand to the atheists for having only stated their reasons and those of their adversaries fairly together. And among other writings of this kind you may remember how a certain fair Inquiry'^ (as you called it) was received and what offence was taken at it.

I am sorry, said Theocles, it proved so. But now indeed you have found a way which may, perhaps, force me to discourse at large with you on this head, by entering the lists in defence of a friend unjustly censured for this philosophical libertv.

I confessed to Theocles and the company that this had really been my aim, and that for this reason alone I made myself the accuser of this author, " whom I hei'e actually charged, as I did all those other moderate calm writers, with no less than profaneness, for reasoning so unconcernedly and patiently, with- out the least show of zeal or passion, upon the subject of a Deity and a future state.""

And I, on the other side, replied Theocles, am rather for this patient way of reasoning, and will endeavour to clear my friend of this imputation, if you can have patience enough to hear me out in an affair of such a compass.

1 [Cud worth.] - \J.e. Sliaftesbury's early essay, printed above.]



"We all answered for ourselves, and he began thus : — Of the many writers engaged in the defence of religion, it seems to me that the greatest part are employed either in ^supporting the truth of the Christian Faith in general, or in i-efuting such particular doctrines as are esteemed innovations in the Christian Church. There are not, 'tis thought, many persons in the world who are loose in the very grounds and principles of all religion ; and to such as these we find, indeed, there are not many writers who purposely apply themselves. They may think it a mean labour, and scarce becoming them, to argue sedately with such as are almost universally treated with detestation and horror. But as we are required by our religion to have charity for all men, so we cannot surely avoid having a real concern for those whom we apprehend to be under the worst of errors, and whom we find by experience to be with the greatest difficulty reclaimed. Neither ought they perhaps in prudence to be treated with so little regard whose number, however small, is thought to be rather increasing, and this, too, among the people of no despicable rank. So that it may well deserve some consideration " whether in our age and country the same remedies may serve which have hitherto been tried, or whether some other may not be preferred, as being suitable to times of less strictness in matters of religion and places less subject to authority.""

This might be enough to yiut an author upon thinking of such a way of reasoning with these deluded persons, as in his opinion might be more effectual for their benefit, than the repeated exclamations and invectives with which most of the arguments used against them are conunonly accompanied. Nor was it so absurd to imagine that a quite different method might be attempted, by which a writer might offer reason to these men with so much more favour and advantage, as he appeared unprepossessed and willing to examine everything with the greatest unconcern and indifference. For to such persons as these 'tis to be feared 'twill always appear " that what was



never questioned, was never proved ; and that whatever subject had not, at some time or other, been examined with perfect indifference, was never rightly examined nor could rightly be believed."" And in a treatise of this kind, offered as an Essay or Inquiry only, they would be far from finding that impartiality and indifference which is requisite, if, instead of a readiness to comply with whatever consequences such an examination as this and the course of reasoning brought forth, the author should show a previous inclination to the consequences only on one side, and an abhorrence of any conclusion on the other.

Others, therefore, in different circumstances, may perhaps have found it necessary, and becoming their character, to show all manner of detestation both of the persons and principles of these men. Our author, on the contrary, whose character exceeds not that of a layman, endeavours to show civility and favour by keeping the fairest measures he possibly can with the meil of this sort, allowing them all he is able, and arguing with a perfect indifference, even on the subject of a Deity. He offers to conclude nothing positive himself, but leaves it to others to draw conclusions from his principles ; having this one chief aim and intention : " how, in the first place, to reconcile these persons to the principles of virtue ; that by this means a way might be laid open to religion, by removing those greatest, if not only obstacles to it, which arise from the vices and passions of men."

'Tis upon this account he endeavours chiefly to establish virtue on principles by which he is able to argue with those who are not as yet induced to own a God or future state. If he cannot do thus much, he reckons he does nothing. For how can supreme goodness be intelligible to those who know not what o-oodness itself is ? Or how can virtue be understood to deserve reward, when as yet its merit and excellence is unknown.? We begin surely at the wrong end when we would prove merit by favour, and order by a Deity. This our friend seeks to redress. For being, in respect of virtue, what you lately called




a realist, he endeavours to show " that it is really something in itself, and in the nature of things ; not arbitrary or factitious (if I may so speak) ; not constituted from without, or dependent on custom, fancy, or will ; not even on the supreme will itself, which can no way govern it ; but being necessarily good, is governed by it and ever uniform with it." And not\yithstand- ing he has thus made virtue his chief subject, and in some measure independent on religion, yet I fancy he may possibly appear at last as high a divine as he is a moralist.

I would not willingly advance it as a rule " that those who make only a name of virtue make no more of Deity, and cannot without affectation defend the principles of religion "" ; but this I will venture to assert, " that whoever sincerely defends virtue,"? and is a realist in morality, must of necessity, in a manner, by/ sj the same scheme of reasoning, prove as very a realist in divinity. 'L-

AU affectation, but chiefly in philosophy, I must own, I think unpardonable. And you, Philocles, who can give no quarter to ill reasoning, nor endure any unsound or inconsistent hypothesis; you will be so ingenuous, I dare say, as to reject our modern Deism, and challenge those who assume a name to which their philosophy can never in the least entitle them.

Commend me to honest Epicurus, who raises his deities aloft in the imaginary spaces, and setting them apart out of the universe and nature of things, makes nothing of them beyond a word. This is ingenuous and plain dealing ; for this every one who philosophises may easily understand.

The same ingenuity belongs to those philosophers whom you, Philocles, seem inclined to favour. When a sceptic questions " whether a real theology can be raised out of philosophy alone, without the help of revelation," he does no more than pay a handsome compliment to authority and the received religion. He can impose on no one who reasons dce})lv ; since whoever / does so, will easily conceive that at this rate theology nmstj have no foundation at all. For revelation itself, we know, is) ^ founded on the acknowledgment of a divine existence; and "'tis'



the province of philosophy alone to prove what revelation only supposes.

I look on it therefore as a most unfair way for those who would be builders, and undertake this proving part, to lay such a foundation as is insufficient to bear the structure. Supplant- ing and undermining may in other cases be fair war, but in philosophical disputes "'tis not allowable to work underground, or as in sieges by the sap. Nothing can be more unbecoming than to talk magisterially and in venerable terms of " a supreme Nature, an infinite Being, and a Deity," when all the while a providence is never meant, nor anything like order or the government of a mind admitted. For when these are understood, and real divinity acknowledged, the notion is not dry and barren, but such consequences are necessarily drawn from it as must set us in action, and find employment for our strongest affections. All the duties of religion evidently follow hence, and no exception remains against any of those great maxims which revelation has established. '

Now whether our friend be unfeignedly and sincerely of this latter sort of real theologists, you will learn best from the consequences of his hypothesis. You will observe whether, instead of ending in mere speculation, it leads to practice ; and you will then surely be satisfied when you see such a structure raised, as with the generality of the world must pass at least for high religion, and with some, in all likelihood, for no less than enthusiasm.

For I appeal to you, Philocles, whether there be anything in divinity which you think has more the air of enthusiasm than that notion of divine love such as separates from everything worldly, sensual, or meanly interested ? A love which is simple, pure, and unmixed, which has no other object than merely the excellency of that being itself, nor admits of any other thought of happiness than in its single fruition. Now I dare presume you will take it as a substantial proof of my friend's being far enough from irreligion if it be shown that he has espoused this



notion, and thinks of making out this high point of divinity, from arguments famiHar even to those who oppose reHgion.

According therefore to his hypothesis he would in the first place, by way of prevention, declare to you that though the disinterested love of God were the most excellent principle, yet he knew very well that by the indiscreet zeal of some devout, well-meaning people it had been stretched too far, perhaps even to extravagance and enthusiasm, as formerly among the mystics of the ancient church, whom these of latter days have followed. On the other hand, that there were those who in opposition to this devout mystic way, and as professed enemies to what they call enthusiasm, had so far exploded everything of this ecstatic kind as in a manner to have given up devotion, and in reality had left so little of zeal, affection, or warmth, in what they call their rational religion, as to make them much suspected of their sincerity in any. For though it be natural enough (he would tell you) for a mere political writer to ground his great argument for religion on the necessity of such a belief as that of a future reward and punishment, yet, if you will take his opinion, 'tis a very ill token of sincerity in religion, and in the Christian religion more especially, to reduce it to such a philosophy as will allow no room to that other principle of love ; but treats all of that kind as enthusiasm for so much as aimin"; at what is called disinterestedness, or teaching the love of God or virtue for God or virtue^s^ sake.

Here, then, we have two sorts of people (according to my friend\s account), who in these opposite extremes expose religion to the insults of its adversaries. For as on one hand 'twill be found difficult to defend the notion of that high-raised love espoused with so much warmth by those devout mystics, so on the other hand "'twill be found as hard a task, upon the principles of these cooler men, to guard religion from the imputation of mercenariness and a slavish spirit. For how shall one deny that to serve God by compulsion, or for interest merely, is servile and mercenary ? Is it not evident that the



only true and liberal service paid either to that supreme Being, or to any other superior, is that " which proceeds from an esteem or love of the person served, a sense of duty or gratitude, and a love of the dutiful and grateful part, as good and amiable in itself"? And where is the injury to religion from such a concession as this ? Or what detraction is it from the belief of an after reward or punishment to own " that the service caused by it is not equal to that which is voluntary and with inclina- tion, but is rather disingenuous and of the slavish kind "" ? Is it not still for the good of mankind and of the world that obedience to the rule of right should some way or other be paid, if not in the better way, yet at least in this imperfect one ? And is it not to be shown " that although this service of fear be allowed ever so low or base, yet religion still being a discipline and progress of the soul towards perfection, the motive of reward and punishment is primary and of the highest moment with us, till, being capable of more sublime instruction, we are led from this servile state to the generous service of affection and love " ?

To this it is that in our friend's opinion we ought all of us to aspire, so as to endeavour " that the excellence of the object, not the reward or punishment, should be our motive ; but that where, through the corruption of our nature, the former of these motives is found insufficient to excite to virtue, there the latter should be brought in aid, and on no account be undervalued or neglected."

Now this being once established, how can religion be any longer subject to the imputation of mercenariness ? But thus we know religion is often charged. " Godliness,"" say they, " is great gain ; nor is God devoutly served for naught."" ... Is this therefore a reproach ? Is it confessed there may be a better service, a more generous love ? Enough, there needs no more. On this foundation our friend presumes it easy to defend religion, and even that devoutest part, which is esteemed so great a paradox of faith. For if there be in Nature such a service as that of affection and love, there remains then only to



consider of the object whetheT^there be really that supreme One we suppose ; for if there be divine excellence in things, if there be in Nature a supreme mind or Deity, we have then an object consummate and comprehensive of all which is good or excellent. And this object, of all others, must of necessity be the most amiable, the most enoaoino- and of hio;hest satisfaction and 'enjoyment. Now that there is such a principal object as this in the world, the world alone (if I may say so) by its wise and perfect order must evince. This order, if indeed perfect, excludes all real ill. And that it really does so, is what our author so earnestly maintains, by solving the best he can those untoward phenomena and ill signs, taken from the course of Providence, in the seemingly unequal lot of virtue in this world.

'Tis true, though the appearances hold ever so strongly against virtue, and in favour of vice, the objection which arises hence against a Deity may be easily removed, and all set right again on the supposal of a future state. This to a Christian, or one already convinced of so great a point, is sufficient to clear every dark cloud of Providence. For he needs not be over and above solicitous as to the fate of virtue in this world who is secure of hereafter. But the case is otherwise as to the ])eople we are here to encounter. They^ ai^at,a_la§s far P^^ and seek to find it in the world. The ag-onravation of the appearing disorders in worldly affairs, and the blackest representation of society and human nature, will hardly helji them to this view. 'Twill be difficult for them to read Providence in such characters. From so uncomely a face of things below, they will presume to , think unfavourably of all above. By the effects they see, they will be inclined to judge the cause, and by the fate of virtue to determine of a providence. But being once convinced of order and a providence as to things present, they may soon, perhaps, be satisfied even of a futm*e state. ^ For if virtue be to itself no small reward, and vice in a great measure its own pvniishment, we have a solid ground to go upon. The plain foundations of a distributive justice and



due order in this world may lead us to conceive a further building. We apprehend a larger scheme, and easily resolve ourselves why things were not completed in this state, but their accomplishment reserved rather to some further period. For had the good and virtuous of mankind been wholly prosperous in this life ; had goodness never met with opposition, nor merit ever lain under a cloud ; where had been the trial, victory, or crown of virtue ? Where had the virtues had their theatre, or whence their names . Where had been temperance or self-denial. Where patience, meekness,- magnanimity.'* A^'^lence have these their being . What merit except from hardshi}) 't What virtue without a conflict, and the encounter of such enemies as arise both within and from abroad "^

But as many as are the difficulties which Virtue has to encounter in this world, her force is yet superior. Exposed as she is here, she is not however abandoned or left miserable. She has enough to raise her above pity, though not above our wishes, and as happy as we see her here, we have room for further hopes in her behalf Her present portion is sufficient to show Providence already engaged on her side. And since there is such provision for her here, such happiness and such advantages even in this life, how probable must it appear that this providential care is extended yet further to a succeeding life, and perfected hereafter "^

This is what, in our friend's opinion, may be said in behalf of a future state to those Avho question revelation. 'Tis this must render revelation probable, and secure that first step to it, the belief of a Deity and Providence. A providence must be proved from what we see of order in things present. We must contend for order ; and in this part chiefly, where virtue is con- cerned, all must not be referred to a hereafter. For a disordered state, in which all present care of things is given up, vice uncon- trolled, and virtue neglected, represents a very chaos, and reduces us to the beloved atoms, chance, and confusion of the atheists.

What therefore can be worse done in the cause of a Deity



than to magnify disorder, and exaggerate (as some zealous people do) the misfortunes of virtue, so far as to render it an unhappy choice with respect to this world ? They err widely who propose to turn men to the thoughts of a better world by

1 1 making them think so ill of this. For to declaim in this manner against virtue to those of a looser faith, will make them the less believe a Deity, but not the more a future state. Nor can it be thought sincerely that any man, by having the most elevated opinion of virtue, and of the happiness it creates, was ever the less inclined to the belief of a future state. On the contrary, it will ever be found that as they who are favourers of vice are always the least willing to hear of a future existence, so they who are in love with virtue are the readiest to embrace that opinion which renders it so illustrious, and makes its cause triumphant.

Thus it was that among the ancients the great motive which inclined so many of the wisest to the belief of this doctrine, unrevealed to them, was purely the love of virtue in the persons of those great men, the founders and preservers of societies, the legislators, patriots, deliverers, heroes, whose virtues they were desirous should live and be immortalised. Nor is there at this day anything capable of making this belief more enoaoino; amono; the o;ood and virtuous than the love of friendship, which creates in them a desire not to be wholly separated by death, but that they may enjoy the same blessed society hereafter. How is it possible, then, that an author should, for exalting virtue merely, be deemed an enemy to a future state.? How can our friend be judged false to religion for defending a principle on which the very notion of God and goodness depends ? For this he says only, and this is the sum of all, " that by building a future state on the ruins of virtue,

I, I relio-ion in creneral and the cause of a Deitv is betrayed, and

by making rewards and punishments the principal motives to duty, the Christian religion in particular is overthrown, and its

], 1 greatest principle, that of love, rejected and exposed."



Upon the whole then we may justly as well as charitably conclude that it is truly pur author's design, in applying him- self with so much fairness to the men of looser principles, to lead them into such an apprehension of the constitution of mankind and of human affairs as might form in them a notion of order in things, and draw hence an acknowledgment of that wisdom, goodness, and beauty, which is supreme ; that being thus far become proselytes, they might be prepared for that divine love which our religion would teach them, when once they should embrace its precepts, and form themselves to its sacred character.

Thus, continued he, I have made my friend's apology, which may have shown him to you perhaps a good moralist, and, I hope, no enemy to religion. But if you find still that the divine has not appeared so much in his character as I promised, I can never think of satisfying you in any ordinary way of con- versation. Should I offer to go farther, I might be engaged deeply in spiritual affairs, and be forced to make some new model of a sermon upon his system of divinity. However, I am in hopes, now that in good earnest matters are come well- nigh to preaching, you will acquit me for what I have already performed.

Sectiox IV

Just as he had made an end of speaking came in some visitants, who took us up the remaining part of the afternoon in other discourses. But these being over, and our strangers gone (all except the old gentleman and his friend, who had dined with us), we began anew with Theocles, by laying claim to his sermon, and entreating him again and again to let us hear him at large in his theological way.

This, he complained, was persecuting him ; as you have seen company, said he, often persecute a reputed singei', not out of any fancy for the music, but to satisfy a malicious sort of curiosity, which ends commonly in censure and dislike.



However it might be, we tokl him we were resolved to persist. And I assured our companions that if they would second me heartily in the manner I intended to press him, we should easily get the better.

In revenge then, said he, I will comply on this condition, that since I am to sustain the part of the divine and preacher, it shall be at Philocles's cost, who shall bear the part of the infidel, and stand for the person pi'eached to.

Truly, said the old gentleman, the part you have proposed for him is so natural and suitable that I doubt not he will be able to act it without the least pain. I could wish rather that you had spared yourself the trouble of putting him thus in mind of his proper character. He would have been apt enough of his own accord to interrupt your discourse by his perpetual cavils. Therefore since we have now had entertainment enough by way of dialogue, I desire the law of sermon may be strictly observed, and "that there be no answering to whatever is argued or advanced.""

I consented to all the terms, and told Theocles I would stand his mark willingly ; and besides, if I really were that infidel he was to suppose me, I should count it no unhappiness, since I was sure of being so thoroughly convinced by him if he would vouchsafe to undertake me.

Theocles then proposed we should walk out, the evening being fine, and the free air suiting better (as he thought) with such discourses than a chamber.

Accordingly we took our evening walk in the fields, from whence the laborious hinds were now retiring. We fell naturally into the praises of a country life, and discoursed awhile of husbandry and the nature of the soil. Our friends began to admire some of the plants which grew here to great perfection. And it being my fortune (as having acquired a little insight into the nature of simples) to say something they mightily approved upon this subject, Theocles immediately turning about to me, " O my ingenious friend ! " said he,



" whose reason in other respects must be allowed so clear and happy, how is it possible that with such insight, and accurate judgment in the particulars of natural beings and operations, you should no better judge of the structure of things in general, and of the order and frame of Nature ? AVho better than yourself can show the structure of each plant and animal body, declare the office of every part and organ, and tell the uses, ends, and advantages to which they serve ? How there- fore should you prove so ill a naturalist in this whole, and understand so little the anatomy of the world and Nature, as not to discern the same relation of parts, the same consistency and uniformity in the universe !

" Some men perhaps there are of so confused a thought, and so irregularly formed within themselves, that 'tis no more than natural for them to find fault, and imagine a thousand in- consistencies and defects in this wider constitution. ""Twas not, we may presume, the absolute aim or interest of the universal nature to render every private one infallible and without defect. ""Twas not its intention to leave us without some pattern of imperfection, such as Ave perceive in minds like these, perplexed with froward thought. But you, my friend, are master of a nobler mind. You are conscious of better order within, and can see workmanship and exactness in yourself and other innumerable parts of the creation, can you answer it to yourself, allowing thus much not to allow all ? Can you induce yourself ever to believe or think that where there are parts so variously united, and conspiring fitly within themselves, the whole^ itself should have neither union nor coherence ; and where inferior and private natures are often found so perfect, the universal one should want perfection, and be esteemed like whatsoever can be thought of, most monstrous, rude, and imperfect .

" Strange ! that there should be in Nature the idea of an order and perfection which Nature herself wants ! That beings which arise from Nature should be so perfect as to discover



imperfiection in her constitution, and be wise enough to correct that wisdom by which they were made !

" I*<^othing surely is more strongly imprinted on our minds, or more closely interwoven with our souls, than the idea or sense of order and proportion. Hence all the force of numbers, and those powerful arts founded on their management and use. What a difference there is between harmony and discord ! cadency and convulsion ! What a difference between composed and orderly motion, and that which is ungoverned and acci- dental ! between the regular and uniform pile of some noble architect, and a heap of sand or stones ! between an organised body, and a mist or cloud driven by the wind !

" Now as this difference is immediately perceived by a plain internal sensation, so there is withal in reason this account of it, that whatever things have order, the same have unity of design, and concur in one ; are parts constituent of one whole or are, in themselves, entire systems. Such is a tree, with all its branches ; an animal, with all its members ; an edifice, with all its exterior and interior ornaments. What else is even a tune or symphony, or any excellent piece of music, than a certain system of proportioned sounds ?

Now in this which we call the universe, whatever the per- fection may be of any ])articular systems, or whatever single parts may have proportion, unity, or form within themselves, yet if they are not united all in general, in one system,^ but

^ Vid. Locke : Of Human Understanding, bk. iv. ch. vi. § 11.

Ac milii quidem veteres illi majus quiddam animo coniplexi plus multo etiam vidisse videntur, quam quantum nostrorum ingeniorum acies intueri potest : qui omnia haec, quae supra et subter, unum esse et una vi atque una consensione naturae constricta esse dixerunt. Nullum est enim genus rerum quod aut avulsum a caeteris per seipsum constare aut quo caetera, si careaut, vim suam atque aeternitatem conservare possint.

[" Indeed, those old authors seem to me to have had greater power of imagination^ or even of vision, than is given to the penetration of our minds, when they declared that everything above and below us is one and bound together by one force and one harmony of Nature. For there is no



are, in respect of one another, as the driven sands, or clouds, or breaking waves, then there being no coherence in the whole, there can be inferred no order, no proportion, and consequently no project or design. But if none of these parts are independent, but all apparently united, then is the whole a system complete, according to one simple, consistent, and uniform design.

" Here then is our main subject insisted on, that neither man nor any other animal, though ever so complete a system of parts as to all within, can be allowed in the same manner complete as to all without, but must be considered as having a further relation abroad to the system of his kind. So even this system of his kind to the animal system, this to the world (our earth), and this again to the bigger world and to the universe.

" All things in this world are united. For as the branch is united with the tree, so is the tree as immediately with the earth, air, and water which feed it. As much as the fertile mould is fitted to the tree, as much as the strong and upright trunk of the oak or elm is fitted to the twining branches of

kind of thing wliicli can stand alone if torn from the rest, or which, if withdrawn from the rest, would suffer them to keep their functions and duration." — Cicero, De Oratore, iii. § 20.]

Omne hoc quod vides, quo divina atque humana conclusa sunt, unum est ; membra sumus corporis magni.

[" All that you see, of which God and man form parts, is one ; we are the limbs of one great body." — Seneca, Ep. 95, 52.]

Societas nostra lapidum fornication! simillima est : quae casura, nisi invicem obstarent, hoc ipso sustinetur.

[ Our fellowship is most like to the stones of an arch. 'Die arch would fall if it were not held up by the stones blocking each other." — Seneca, E}^. 95, 53.]

Estne dei sedes, nisi terra, et pontus, et aether,

Et coelum, et virtus } Superos quid quaerimus ultra }

Jupiter est quodcunque vides, quocunque moveris.

[" What house is there for the god save earth and sea and air and sky and virtue ? Why do we look for the gods outside ourselves . All that you see, all that you feel, is Jupiter." — Lucan, ix. 578-580.]



the vine or ivy ; so much are the very leaves, the seeds, and fruits of these trees fitted to the various animals : these again to one another and to the elements where they live, and to which they are, as appendices, in a manner fitted and joined, as either by wings for the air, fins for the water, feet for the earth, and by other correspondent inward parts of a more curious frame and texture. Thus in contemplating all on earth, we must of necessity view all in one, as holding to one common stock. Thus too in the system of the bigger world. See there the mutual dependency of things ! the relation of one to another ; of the sun to this inhabited earth, and of the earth and other planets to the sun ! the order, union, and coherence of the whole ! and know, my ingenious friend, that by this survey you will be obliged to own the universal system and coherent scheme of things to be established on abundant proof, capable of convincing any fair and just contemplator of the works of Nature. For scarce would any one, till he had well surveyed this universal scene, believe a union thus evidently demonstrable, by such numerous and powerful instances of mutual correspondency and relation, from the minutest ranks and orders of beings to the remotest spheres.

" Now in this mighty union, if thei'e be such relations of parts one to another as are not easily discovered, if on this account the end and use of things does not everywhere appear, there is no wonder, since 'tis no more indeed than what must happen of necessity ; nor coidd supreme wisdom have otherwise ordered it. For in an infinity of things thus relative, a mind which sees not infinitely can see nothing fully ; and since each particular has relation to all in general, it can know no perfect or true relation of any thing in a world not perfectly and fully known.

"The same may be considered in any dissected animal,

plant, or flower ; where he who is no anatomist, nor versed in

natural history, sees that the many parts have a relation to the

whole, for thus much even a slight view affords ; but he who

vol,. II Go F


like you, my friend, is curious in the works of Nature, and has been let into a knowledge of the animal and vegetable world, he alone can readily declare the just relation of all these parts to one another, and the several uses to which they serve.

" But if you would willingly enter further into this thought, and consider how much we ought not only to be satisfied with this our view of things, but even to admire its clearness, imagine only some person entirely a stranger to navigation, and ignorant of the nature of the sea or waters ; how great his • astonishment would be, when finding himself on board some vessel, anchoring at sea, remote from all land prospect, whilst it was yet a calm, he viewed the ponderous machine firm and motionless in the midst of the smooth ocean, and considered its foundations beneath, together with its cordage, masts, and sails above. How easily would he see the whole one regular structure, all things depending on one another ; the uses of the rooms below, the lodgments, and conveniences of men and stores ? But being ignorant of the intent or design of all above, would he pronounce the masts and cordage to be useless and cumbersome, and for this reason condemn the frame and despise the architect ? O my friend ! let us not thus betray our ignorance ; but consider where we are, and in what a universe. Think of the many parts of the vast machine in which we have so little insight, and of which it is impossible we should know the ends and uses, when instead of seeing to the highest pendants, we see only some lower deck, and are in this dark case of flesh, confined even to the hold and meanest station of the vessel,

" Now having recognised this uniform consistent fabric, and owned the universal system, we must of consequence ac- knowledge a universal mind, which no ingenious man can be tempted to disown, except through the imagination of disorder in the universe, its seat. For can it be supposed of any one in the world, that being in some desert far from men, and hearing there a perfect symphony of music, or seeing an exact pile of



regular architecture arising gradually from the earth in all its orders and proportions, he should be persuaded that at the bottom there was no design accompanying this, no secret spring of thought, no active mind ? Would he, because he saw no hand, deny the handiwork, and suppose that each of these complete and perfect systems Avere framed, and thus united in just symmetry and conspiring order, either by the accidental blowing of the winds or rolling of the sands ?

" AVhat is it then should so disturb our views of Nature, as to destroy that unity of design and order of a mind, which otherwise would be so apparent ? All we can see either of the heavens or earth demonstrates order and perfection ; so as to afford the noblest subjects of contemplation to minds, like yours, enriched with sciences and learning. All is delightful, amiable, rejoicing, except with relation to man only, and his circumstances, which seem unequal. Here the calamity and ill arises, and hence the ruin of this goodly frame. All perishes on this account ; and the whole order of the universe, elsewhere so firm, entire, and innuovable, is here overthrown and lost by this one view, in which we refer all things to ourselves, submit- ting the interest of the whole to the good and interest of so small a part.

" But how is it you complain of the unequal state of man, and of the few advantages allowed him above the beasts ? What can a creature claim, so little differing from them, or whose merit appears so little above them, except in wisdom and virtue, to which so few conform ? jVIan may be virtuous, and by being so, is happy. His merit is reward ; by virtue he deserves, and in virtue only can meet his happiness deserved. But if even virtue itself be unprovided for, and vice, more prosperous, be the better choice ; if this (as you suppose) be in the nature of things, then is all order in reality inverted, and supreme wisdom lost,; imperfection and irregularity being, after this manner, undoubtedly too apparent in the moral world.

" Have you then, ere you pronounced this sentence, con-


sidered of the state of virtue and vice with respect to this hfe merely, so as to say, with assurance, when, and how far, in what particulars, and how circumstantiated, the one or the other is good or ill ? You who are skilled in other fabrics and com- positions, both of art and nature, have you considered of the fabric of the mind, the constitution of the soul, the connection and frame of all its passions and affections ; to know accordingly the order and symmetry of the part, and how it either improves or suffers ; what its force is when naturally preserved in its sound state, and what becomes of it when corrupted and abused ? Till this, my friend, be well examined and understood, how shall we judge either of the force of virtue or power of vice ? Or in what manner either of these may work to our happiness or undoing ?

" Here, therefore, is that inquiry we should first make. But who is there can afford to make it as he ought ? If happily we are born of a good nature ; if a liberal education has formed in us a generous temper and disposition, well-regulated appetites, and worthy inclinations, 'tis well for us ; and so indeed we esteem it. But who is there endeavours to give these to himself, or to advance his portion of happiness in this kind ? AVho thinks of improving, or so much as of preserving his share in a world where it must of necessity run so great a hazard, and where we know an honest nature is so easily corrupted ? All other things relating to us are preserved with care, and have some art or economy belonging to them ; this which is nearest related to us and on which our happiness depends, is alone committed to chance, and temper is the only thing ungoverned, whilst it governs all the rest.

" Thus we inquire concerning what is good and suitable to our appetites ; but what appetites are good and suitable to us is no part of our examination. We inquire what is according to interest, policy, fashion, vogue; but it seems wholly strange

C and out of the way to inquire Avhat is according to Nature.

" The balance of Europe, of trade, of power, is strictly sought



after; while few have heard of the balance of their passions, or thought of holding these scales evenT" Few are acquainted with this province, or knowing in these affairs. But were we more so (as this inquiry would make us) we should then see beauty and decorum here, as well as elsewhere in Nature ; and the order of the moral woi-ld would equal that of the natural. By this the beauty of virtue would appear, and hence (as has been shoAvn) the supreme and sovereign beauty, the original of all which is good or amiable.

" But lest I should appear at last too like an enthusiast, I choose to express my sense, and conclude this philosophical sermon in the words of one of those ancient j)hilologists, whom you are used to esteem. For divinity itself, says he, is surely beauteous, and of all beauties the brightest; thoudi not a beauteous body, but that from whence the beauty of bodies is derived ; not a beauteous plain, but that from whence the plain looks beautiful. The river's beauty, the sea's, the heaven's, and heavenly constellations all flow from hence as from a source eternal and incorruptible. As beings partake of this, they are fair, and flourishing, and happy; as they are lost to this, they are deformed, perished, and lost."

"\\'hen Theocles had thus spoken he was formally compli- mented by our two companions. I was going to add something in the same way, but he presently stopped me by saying he should be scandalised, if instead of commending him, I did not, according to my character, choose rather to criticise some part or other of his long discourse.

If it nuist be so then, replied I, in the first })lace give me leave to wonder that, instead of the many arguments connnonly brought for jn-oof of a deity, you make use only of one single one to build on. I expected to have heard from vou, in customary form, of a first cause, a first being, and a beginning of motion. How clear the idea was of an in)matei-ial substance, and how plainly it appeared, that at some time or other matter must have been created. But as to all this vou arc silent. As



for what is said of " A material unthinking substance being never able to have produced an immaterial thinking one,"" I readily grant it, but on the condition that this great maxim of nothing being ever made from nothing may hold as well on my side as my adversary's. And then, I suppose, that whilst the world endures, he will be at a loss how to as sign a beginning to matter, or how to suggest a possibility of annihilating it. The spiritual men may, as long as they please, represent to us in the most eloquent manner, " That matter considered in a thousand different shapes, joined and disjoined, varied and modified to eternity, can never, of itself, afford one single thought, never occasion or give rise to anything like sense or knowledge." Their argument will hold good against a Demo- critus, an E})icurus, or any of the elder or latter atomists. But it will be turned on them by an examining Academist, and when the two substances are fairly set asunder, and considered apart as different kinds, 'twill be as strong sense, and as good argument, to say as well of the immaterial kind : " That do with it as you please, modify it a thousand ways, purify it, exalt it, sublime it, torture it ever so much or rack it, as they say, with thinking, you will never be able to produce or force the contrary substance out of it." The poor dregs of sorry matter can no more be made out of the simple pure substance of immaterial thought, than the high spirits of thought or reason can be extracted from the gross substance of heavy matter. So let the dogmatists make of this argument what they can.

But for your j)art, continued I, as you have stated the cpiestion, 'tis not about what was first or foremost, but what is instant and now in being. " For if deity be now really extant, if by any good token it appears that there is at this present a universal mind, 'twill easily be yielded there ever was one." . . . This is your argument. . . . You go (if I may say so) upon fact, and would prove that things actually are in such a state and condition, which if they really were, there would indeed be



no dispute left. Your union is your main support. Yet how is it you prove this ? What demonstration have you given ? What have you so much as offered at, beyond bare probability ? So far are you from demonstrating anything, that if this uniting scheme be the chief argument for deity (as you tacitly allow) you seem rather to have demonstrated, " that the case itself is incapable of demonstration." For, " how, say you, can a narrow mind see all things ?"". . . And yet if in reality it sees not all, it had as good see nothing. The demonstrable part is still as far behind. For grant that this all, Avhich lies within our view or knowledge, is orderly and united, as you suppose ; this mighty all is a mere point still, a very nothing compared to what remains. " 'Tis only a separate by-world (we'll say) of which perhaps there are, in the wide waste, millions besides, as horrid and deformed as this of ours is regular and proportioned. In length of time, amidst the infinite hurry and shock of beings, this single odd world, by accident, might have been struck out, and cast into some form (as among infinite chances what is there which may not happen ?). But for the rest of matter, 'tis of a different hue. Old Father Chaos (as the poets call him) in these wild spaces reigns absolute, and upholds his realms of darkness. He presses hard upon our frontier, and one day, belike, shall by a furious inroad recover his lost right, conquer his rebel state, and reunite us to primitive discord and confusion."

This, said I, Theocles ! (concluding my discourse) is all I dare offer in opposition to your philosophy. I imagined, indeed, you might have given me more scope ; but you have retrenched yourself in narrower bounds. So that, to tell you truth, I look upon your theology to be hardly so fair or open as that of our divines in general. They are strict, it is true, as to names, but allow a greater latitude in things. Hardly indeed can they bear a home-charge, a downright questioning of deity ; but in return they give always fair play against Nature, and allow her to be challenged for her failings. She may freely err, and we as freely censure. Deity, they think, is not accountable for her.



Only .she for herself, 13 ut you are straiter, and more precise in this point. You have unnecessarily brought Nature into the

/ controversy, and taken upon you to defend her honour so highly L^ that I know not whether it may be safe for me to question her. Let not this trouble you, replied Theocles, but be free to censure Nature, Avhatever may be the consequence. 'Tis only my hypothesis can suffer. If I defend it ill, my friends need not be scandalised. They are fortified, no doubt, Avith stronger argu- ments for a deity, and can well employ those metaphysical weapons, of whose edge you seem so little apprehensive. I leave them to dispute this ground with you, whenever they think fit. For my own arguments, if they can be supposed to make any ]iart of this defence, they may be looked upon only as distant lines, or outworks, which may easily perhaps be won, but with- out any danger to the body of the place.

Notwithstanding, then, said I, that you are willing 1 should attack Nature in form, I choose to spare her in all other subjects, except man only. How comes it, I entreat you, that in this noblest of creatures, and worthiest her care, she should appear so very weak and impotent ; whilst in mere brutes, and the

S irrational species, she acts with so much strength, and exerts such hardy vigour ? Why is she spent so soon in feeble man, who is found more subject to diseases, and of fewer years than many of the wild creatures ? They range secure, and proof against all the injuries of seasons and weather, want no helj) from art, but live in careless ease, discharged of labour, and freed from the cumbersome bajjjTacTe of a necessitous human life. In infancy more hel])ful, vigorous in age, with senses quicker, and more natural sagacity, they pursue their interests, joys, recrea- tions, and cheaply purchase both their food and maintenance, clothed and armed by Nature herself, who ]irovides them both a couch and mansion. So has Nature ordered for the rest of creatures. Such is their hardiness, robustness, vigour. Why not the same for man ? . . .

And do you stop thus short, said Theocles, in your expostu-



lation ? Methinks "'twere as easy to proceed, now vou are in the way ; and instead of laying claim to some few advantages of other creatures, you might as well stand for all, and complain " that man, for his part, should be anything less than a con- summation of all advantages and privileges which Nature can afford."' Ask not merely, why man is naked, why unhoofed, why slowei'- footed than the beasts ? Ask " why he has not wings also for the air, fins for the water, and so on — that he / might take possession of each element, and reign in all ?""

Not so, said I, neither. This would be to rate him high indeed ! As if he were, by nature, lord of all, which is more than I could willingly allow,

'Tis enough, replied he, that this is yielded. For if we allow once a subordination in his case ; if Nature herself be not for s \rj man, but man for Nature ; then must man, by his good leave, submit to the elements of Nature, and not the elements to him. Few of these are at all fitted to him, and none perfectly. If he be left in air, he falls headlong, for wings were not assigned him. In water he soon sinks. In fire he consumes. AVithin earth he suffocates. . . .

As for what dominion he may naturally have in other elements, said I, my concern truly is not very great in his be- half, since by art he can even exceed the advantages Nature has given to other creatures. But for the air, methinks it had been wonderfully obliging in Nature to have allowed him wings.

And what would he have gained by it, replied Theocles .? For consitler what an alteration of form must have ensued. Observe in one of those winged creatures whether the whole structure be not made subservient to this purpose, and all other advantages sacrificed to this single operation. The anatomy of the creature shows it, in a manner, to be all wing, its chief bulk being composed of two exorbitant nniscles, which exhaust the strength of all the other, and engross (if I may say so) the whole economy of the frame. 'Tis thus the aerial racers are able to perform so ra))id and strong a motion, bevond comparison with



any other kind, and far exceeding their little share of strength elsewhere ; these parts of theirs being made in such superior proportion, as in a manner to starve their companions. And in man's architecture, of so different an order, were the flying engines to be affixed, must not the other members suffer, and the multi[)lied parts starve one another? What think you of the brain in this partition ? Is it not like to prove a starveling? Or would you have it be maintained at the same high rate, and draw the chief nourishment to itself, from all the rest ? . . .

I understand you, said I, Theocles (interrupting him) : the brain certainly is a great starver where it abounds, and the thinking people of the world, the philosophers and virtuosi especially, must be contented, I find, with a moderate share of bodily advantages for the sake of what they call parts and capacity in another sense. The parts, it seems, of one kind < agree ill in their economy with the parts of the other. But to make this even on both sides, let us turn the tables, and the case, I suppose, will stand the same with the ]\Iilos of the age, the men of bodily prowess and dexterity. For not to mention a vulgar sort, such as wrestlers, vaulters, racers, hunters ; what shall we say of our fine-bred gentlemen, our riders, fencers, dancers, tennis-players, and such like ? 'Tis the body surely is the starver here ; and if the brain were such a terrible devourer in the other way, the body and bodily parts seem to have their reprisals in this rank of men.

If then, said he, the case stands thus between man and man, how must it stand between man and a quite different creature r If the balance be so nice that the least thing breaks it, even in creatures of the same frame and order, of what fatal effect nmst it be to change the order itself, and make some essential alteration in the frame ? Consider therefore how it is avc censure Nature in these and such-like cases. " Why," says one, " was I not made by Nature strong as a horse ? Why not hardy and robust as this brute-creature ? or nimble and active as that other?"". . . And vet when uncommon strength, agility, and



feats of body are subjoined, even in our own species, see what befalls ! So that for a person thus in love with an athletic Milonean constitution, it were better, methinks, and more modest in him, to change the expostulation and ask, " Why was I not made in good earnest a very brute ? '^ For that would be more suitable.

I am apt, indeed, said I, to think that the excellence of man lies somewhat different from that of a brute ; and that such amongst us as are more truly men should naturally aspire ti) manly qualities, and leave the brute his own. But Nature, I see, has done well to mortify us in this particular by furnishing us with such slight stuff, and in such a tender frame, as is indeed wonderfully commodious to support that man-excellence of thought and reason, but wretchedly scanty and ineffectual for other purposes. As if it were her very design " to hinder us from aspiring ridiculously to what was misbecoming our character.'"

I see, said Theocles, you are not one of those timorous arguers who tremble at every objection raised against their opinion or belief, and are so intent in upholding their own side of the argument that they are luiable to make the least con- cession on the other. Your wit allows you to divert yourself with whatever occurs in the debate : and you can pleasantly im- prove even what your antagonist brings as a support to his own hypothesis. This, indeed, is a fairer sort of ])ractice than wiiat is connnon nowadays. IJut 'tis no more than suitable to your character. And were I not afraid of speaking with an air of compliment in the midst of a^ philosophical debate, I should tell you, perhaps, what I thought of the becoming manner of your scepticism in o])])osition to a kind of bigot-scc|)tics, who forfeit their right to the philoso})hit character, and retain hardly so much as that of the gentleman or good companion. . . . But to our argument. . . .

Such then, continued he, is the admirable distribution of Nature, her adapting and adjusting not only the stuff or matter



to the shape and form, and even the shape itself and form to the circumstance, place, element, or region ; but also the affec- tions, appetites, sensations, mutually to each other, as well as to the matter, form, action, and all besides : " All managed for the best, with jierfect frugality and just reserve ; profuse . to none, but bountiful to all ; never employing in one thing J more than enough, but with exact economy retrenching the superfluous, and adding force to what is principal in every thing/ ^Viid^^s^iipt thought and reason principal in man? ^^^ould he have no reserve for these ? no saving for this part of his engine ? Or would he have the same stufl^' or matter, the same instrvnnents or organs serve alike for different purposes, and an ounce be ecjuivalent to a pound ? ... It cannot be. AN'hat wonders, then, can he expect from a few ounces of blood in such a narrow vessel, fitted for so small a district of Nature ? Will he not rather think highly of that Nature which has thus managed his portion for him to best advantage, with this happy reserve (happy indeed for him, if he knows and uses it!) by which he has so much a better use of organs than any other creature ? by which he holds his reason, is a man, and not a beast ?

But beasts,^ said I, have instincts which man has not. True, said he, they have indeed perceptions, sensations, and pre-sensations - (if I may use the expression) which man, for his part, has not in any proportionable degree. Their females, newly pregnant, and before they have bore young, have a clear prospect or pre-sensation of their state which is to follow ; know what to provide, and how, in what manner, and at what time. How manv things do they ])reponderate ? ^ How many at once comprehend ? The seasons of the year, the country, climate, place, aspect, situation, the basis of their building, the materials, architecture; the diet and treatment of their offspring, in short, the whole economy of their nursery ; and all this as

1 Inqxdrxj, I)k. ii. p;irt i. § 3 ; part ii. § 1 ; and M\sc. iv. ch. ii. 2 Infra, part iii. § '1. "' [/.*'. pre-poiider, pre-consider.]



j)erfectly at first, and when inexperienced, as at any time of their life afterwards. And " why not this, say you, in human kind ? " Nay, rather, on the contrary, I ask " why this ? where was the occasion or use ? where the necessity ? why this sagacity for men ? Have they not what is better, in another kind ? have they not reason and discourse ? does not this instruct them ? what need then of the other ? where w ould be the prudent management at this rate ? where the reserve ? "

The young of most other kinds, continued he, are instantly helpful to themselves, sensible, vigorous, know to shun danger and seek their good. A human infant is of all the most help- less, weak, infirm. And wherefore should it not have been thus ordered ? Where is the loss in such a species .^ Or w hat is man the worse for this defect, amidst such large supplies ? Does not this defect engage him the more strongly to society, and force him to own that he is purposely, and not by accident, made rational and sociable ; and can no otherwise increase or subsist than in that social intercourse and connnunity which is his natural state ? Is not both conjugal affection and natural affection to parents, duty to magistrates, love of a connnon city, community, or country, with the other duties and social parts of life, deduced from hence and founded in these very wants H What can be happier than such a deficiency as is the occasion of so much good ? What better than a want so abundantly made up, and answered by so many enjoyments ? Now if there are still to be found among mankind, such as even in the midst of these wants seem not ashamed to affect a right of inde- pendency, and deny themselves to be by nature sociable ; w here would their shame have been had Nature otherwise su})plied these wants .^ What duty or obligation had been ever thought of? What respect or reverence of parents, magistrates, their country, or their kind ? Would not their full and self-sufficient state more strongly have determined them to throw ofi' Nature, and deny the ends and author of their creation H

Whilst Theodes argued thus concerning Nature, the old



gentleman, my adversary, expressed great satisfaction in hearing me, as he thought, refuted, and my opinions exposed. For he would needs believe these to be strongly my opinions, which I had only started as objections in the discourse. He endeavoured to reinforce the argument by many particulars from the common topics of the schoolmen and civilians. He added, withal, " That it was better for me to declare my sentiments openly, for he was sure I had strongly imbibed that principle, that the state of Nature was a state of war."" i

That it was no state of government or public rule, replied I, you yourself allow. I do so. Was it then a state of fellow- ship or society ? " No ; for when men entered first into society they passed from the state of nature into that i\ew one which is founded upon compact." And was that former state a tolerable one ? Had it been absolutely intolerable, there had never been any such. Nor could we properly call that a state, which could not stand or endure for the least time. If man, therefore, could endure to live without society, and if it be true that he actually lived so when in the state of nature, how can it be said " that he is by nature sociable " ?

The old gentleman seemed a little disturbed at my question, but having recovered himself, he said in answer, "That man indeed, from his own natural inclination, might not, perhaps, have been moved to associate, but rather from some particular circumstances."

His nature then, said I, was not so very good, it seems, since having no natural affection or friendly inclination belonging to him, he was forced into a social state against his will ; and this not from any necessity in respect of outward things (for you have allowed him a tolerable subsistence), but in probability from such inconveniences as arose chiefly from himself and his own malignant temper and principles. And indeed 'twas no wonder if creatures who were naturally thus unsociable, should be as naturally mischievous and troublesome. If according to 1 Wit and TJumoiir, ])art iii. § 1.



their nature they could live out of society with so little affec- tion for one another's company, 'tis not likely that upon occasion they would spare one another's persons. If they were so sullen as not to meet for love, 'tis more than probable they -svbuld fight for interest. And thus from your own reasoning it appears f'that the state of nature must in all likelihood have been little different from a state of war,"

He was going to answer me with some sharpness, as by his looks appeared, when Theocles, interposing, desired that as he had occasioned this dispute he might be allowed to try if he could end it by setting the question in a fairer light. You see, said he to the old gentleman, what artifice Philocles made use of, when he engaged^ you to allow that the state of nature and that of society were perfectly distinct. But let us question him now in his turn, and see whether he can demonstrate to us, "That there can be naturally any human state which is not social."

What is it then, said the old gentleman, which we call the state of nature ?

Not that imperfect rude condition of mankind, said Theocles, which some imagine ; but which, if it ever were in nature, could never have been of the least continuance, or any way tolerable, or sufficient for the support of human race. Such a condition cannot indeed so properly be called a state. For what if, speaking of an infant just coming into the world, and in the moment of the birth, I should f:\ncy to call this a state, would it be proper ?

Hardly so, I confess.

Just such a state, therefore, was that which we suppose of man ere yet he entered into society, and became in truth a human creature. 'Twas the rough draught of man, the essay or first effort of Nature, a species in the birth, a kind as yet unformed ; not in its natural state, but under violence, and still restless, till it attained its natural perfection. '-

And thus, said Theocles (addressing still more particularly



to the old gentleman), the case must necessarily stand, even on the supposal " that there was ever such a condition or state of men, when as yet they were unassociated, unacquainted, and consequently without any language or form of art." But " that it was their natural state to live thus separately,"" can never without absurdity be allowed. For sooner may you divest the creature of any other feeling or affection than that towards society and his likeness. Allowing you, however, the power of tlivesting him at pleasure, allowing you to reduce even whole jjarts and members of his present frame, would you transform him thus and call him still a man ? Yet better might you do this indeed than you could strip him of his natural affections, separate him from all his kind, and enclosing him like some solitary insect in a shell, declare him still a man. So might you call the human egg or embryo the man. The bug which breeds the butterfly is more properly a fly, though without wings, than this imaginary creature is a man. For though his outward shape were human, his passions, a])petites, and organs must be wholly different. His whole inward make must be reversed, to fit him for such a recluse economy and separate subsistence.

To explain this a little further, continued he, let us examine this pretended state of nature ; how and on what foundation it must stand. " For either man must have been from eternity or not. If from eternity, there could be no primitive or original state, no state of nature other than we see at present before our eyes. If not from eternity, he arose either all at once (and consequently he was at the very first as he is now) or by degrees, through several stages and conditions, to that in which he is at length settled, and has continued for so many generations."'"'

For instance, let us suppose he sprang, as the old poets feigned, from a big-bellied oak, and then belike he might re- semble more a mandrake than a man. Let us suppose him at first with little more of life than is discovered in that plant which they call the sensitive. But when the mother-oak had



been some time delivered, and the false birth by some odd accident or device was wrought into form, the members were then fully displayed, and the organs of sense began to unfold themselves. " Here sprang an ear ; there peeped an eye. Perhaps a tail too came in company. P'or what superfluities Nature may have been charged with at first is difficult to determine. They dropped off, it seems, in time ; and happily have left things at last in a good posture, and (to a wonder ! ) just as they should be."

This surely is the lowest view of the original affairs of human kind. For if a providence, and not chance, gave man his being, our argument for his social nature must surely be the stronger. But admitting his rise to be as we have described, and as a certain sort of j^hilosophers would needs have it, NMure has then had no intention at all, no meanino- or desiirn in this whole matter. So how anything can be called natural in the case, how any state can be called a state of Nature, or according to Nature, one more than another, I know not.

Let us go on, however, and on their hypothesis consider which state we may best call Nature's own. " She has by accident, through many changes and chances, raised a creature which, springing at first from rude seeds of matter, proceeded till it became what now it is, and arrived where for many generations it has been at a stay." In this long procession (for I allow it any length whatever) I ask, " Where was it that this state of Nature could begin ? " The creature must have endured many changes ; and each change, whilst he Avas thus growing up, was as natural one as another. So that either there must be reckoned a hundred different states of Nature, or if one, it can be only that in which Nature was perfect, and her growth complete. Here where she rested and attained her end, here must be her state, or nowhere.

Could she then rest, think you, in that desolate state before society ? Could she maintain and propagate the species, such as it now is, without fellowship or community . Show it us VOL. II 81 G


in fact anywhere, amongst any of our own kind. For as for creatures which may much resemble us in outward form, if they differ yet in the least part of their constitution, if their inwards are of a different texture, if their skin and pores are otherwise formed or hardened ; if they have other excrescences of body, another temper, other natural inseparable habits or affections, they are not truly of our kind. If, on the other hand, their constitution be as ours, their natural parts or inward faculties as strong, and their bodily frame as weak as ours ; if they have memory, and senses, and affections, and a use of organs as ours : "'tis evident they can no more by their goodwill abstain from society than they can possibly preserve themselves without it.

And here, my friends, we ought to remember what we dis- coursed a while since, and was advanced by Philocles himself, concerning the weakness of human bodies ^ and the necessitous state of man in respect of all other creatures ; " his long and helpless infancy, his feeble and defenceless make, by which he is more fitted to be a prey himself than live by prey on others."" Yet "'tis impossible for him to subsist like any of those grazing kinds. He must have better provision and choicer food than the raw herbaoe : a better couch and coverinff than the bare earth or open sky. How many conveniences of other kinds does he stand in need of? What union and strict society is required between the sexes to preserve and nurse their growing offspring ? This kind of society will not, surely, be denied to man, which to every beast of prey is known proper and natural. And can we allow this social part to man, and go no further ? Is it possible he should pair, and live in love and fellowship with his partner and offspring, and remain still wholly wild and speechless, and without those arts of storing, building, and other economy, as natural to him, surely, as to the beaver, or to the ant or bee ? AVhere, therefore, should he break off from this society if once begun 't For that it began thus, as early as generation, and grew into a household and economy, is plain.

1 P. 72. 82


Must not this have groAvn soon into a tribe ? and this tribe into a nation ? Or though it remained a tribe only, was not this still a society for mutual defence and common interest? In short, if generation be natural, if natural affection and the care and nurture of the offspring be natural, things standing as thev do with man, and the creature being of that form and constitu- tion he now is, it follows " that society must be also natural to him," and " that out of society and community he never did, nor ever can, subsist.*"

To conclude, said he (addressing still to the two companions), I will venture to add a word in behalf of Philocles : that since the learned have such a fancy for this notion, and love to talk of this imaginary state of Nature, I think 'tis even charity to speak as ill of it as we possibly can. Let it be a state of war, rajjine, and injustice. Since 'tis unsocial, let it even be as uncomfortable and as frightful as 'tis possible. To speak well of it is to render it inviting and tempt men to turn hermits. Let it, at least, be looked on as many degrees worse than the worst government in being. The greater dread we have of anarchy, the better countrymen we shall prove, and value more the laws and constitution under which we live, and by which we are protected from the outrageous violences of such an unnatural state. In this I agree heartily with those transformers of human nature who, considering it abstractedly and apart from govern- ment or society, represent it under monstrous visages of dragons, leviathans, and I know not what devouring creatures. They would have done well, however, to have exjiressed themselves more properly in their great maxim. For to say in disparage- ment of man " that he is to man a wolf" appears somewhat absurd, when one considers that wolves are to wohes very kind and loving creatures. The sexes strictly join in the care and nurture of the young, and this union is continued still betAveen them. They howl to one another to bring company, whether to hunt, or invade their prey, or assemble on the discovery of a good carcase. Even the swinish kinds want not common



affection, and run in herds to the assistance of their distressed fellows. The meaning, therefore, of this famous sentence (if it has any meaning at all) must be, " That man is naturally to man as a wolf is to a tamer creature " ; as, for instance, to a sheep. But this will be as little to the purpose as to tell us that " there are different species or characters of men ; that all have not this wolfish nature,^ but that one half at least are naturally innocent and mild." And thus the sentence comes to nothing. For without belying nature and contradicting what is evident from natural history, fact, and the- plain course of things, "'tis impossible to assent to this ill-natured proposition when we have even done our best to make tolerable sense of it. . . . But such is mankind ! And even here human nature shows itself, such as it is, not perfect or absolutely successful, though rightly tending and moved by proper and just principles. 'Tis here, therefore, in philosophy as in the common conversa- tions of the world. As fond as men are of company, and as little able to enjoy any happiness out of it, they are yet strangely addicted to the way of satire. And in the same manner as a malicious censure, craftily worded and pronounced with assurance, is apt to pass with mankind for shrewd wit, so a virulent maxim in bold expressions, though without any justness of thought, is readily received for true philosophy.

Section V

In these discourses the evening ended, and, night advancing, we returned home from our walk. At supper, and afterwards for the rest of that night, Theocles said little. The discourse was now managed chiefly by the two companions, who turned it upon a new sort of philosophy, such as you will excuse me, good Palemon, if I pass over with more haste.

There was much said, and with great learning, on the nature of

^ Wit (Hid Humour, part ii. § 1 ; part iii. § 3.



spirits and apparitions, of whicli the most astonishing accounts were the most ravishing with our friends, who endeavoured to exceed one another in this admirable way, and performed to a miracle in raising one another's amazement. Nothing was so~ charming with them as that which was disagreeing and odd ; nothing so soothing as that which moved horror. In short, whatever was rational, plain, and easy bore no relish ; and nothing came amiss which was cross to nature, out of sort and order, and in no proportion or harmony with the rest of things. ^Monstrous births, prodigies, enchantments, elementary ^ wars and convulsions were our chief entertainment. One would have thought that in a kind of rivalship between Providence and Nature, the latter lady was made to appear as homely as possible, that her deformities might recommend and set off the beauties of the former. For to do our friends justice, I must own I thought their intention to be sincerely religious. But this was not a face of religion I was like to be enamoured with. It was not from hence I feared being made enthusiastic or superstitious. If ever I became so, I found it would rather be after Theocles's manner. The monuments and churchyards were not such powerful scenes Avith me as the mountains, the plains, the solemn woods and groves, of whose inhabitants I chose much rather to hear than of the other. ^Vnd I Mas readier to fancy truth in those poetical fictions which Theocles made use of than in any of his friend's ghastly stories, so pompously set off*, after the usual way, in a lofty tone of authority and with an assuming air of truth.

You may imagine, Palemon, that my scepticism,- with \\ Inch you so often reproach me, could not well forsake me here ; nor could it fail to give disturbance to our companions, especially to the grave gentleman who had clashed with me some time before. He bore with me awhile, till having lost all patience, "One must certainly,'"' said he, " be master of no small share of assurance to hold out against the common opinion of the world and deny ' [I.e. elemental.] - Mhc. ii. ch. ii. ; v. cli. i. iii.




things which are known by the report of the most considerable part of mankind.

This, said I, is far from being my case. You have never yet heard me deny anything, though I have questioned many. If I suspend my judgment, 'tis because I have less sufficiency than others. There are people, I know, who have so great a regard to every fancy of their own, that they can believe their very dreams. But I, who could never pay any such deference to my sleeping fancies, am a])t sometimes to question even my waking thoughts and examine " whether these are not dreams too, since men have a faculty of dreaming sometimes with their eyes open. You will own 'tis no small pleasure with mankind to make their dreams pass for realities, and that the love of truth is, in earnest, not half so prevalent as this passion for novelty and surprise, joined with a desire of making impression and being admired. However, I am so charitable still as to think there is more of innocent delusion than voluntary imposture in the world, and that they who have most imposed on mankind have been happy in a certain faculty of imposing first upon themselves, by Avhich they have a kind of salvo for their con- sciences, and are so much the more successful, as they can act their })art more naturally and to the life. Nor is it to be esteemed a riddle that men's dreams should sometimes have the good fortune of passing with them for truth, when we con- sider that in some cases that which was never so much as dreamt of, or related as truth, comes afterwards to be believed '^by one who has often told it.

So that the greatest impostor in the world, replied lie, at this rate may be allowed sincere.

As to the main of his imposture, said I, perhaps he may, notwithstanding some pious frauds made use of between whiles in behalf of a belief thouoht o-ood and wholesome. And so very natural do I take this to be, that in all religions except the true I look upon the greatest zeal to be accompanied with the strongest inclination to deceive. For the design and end being



the truth, 'tis not customary to hesitate or he scrupulous ahout the choice of means. AVhether this he true or no, I aj^peal to the experience of the last age, in which "'twill not he difficult to find very remarkable examples, where imposture and zeal, bigotry and hypocrisy, have lived together in one and the same character.

Let this be as it will, replied he, I am sorry, upon the whole, to find you of such an incredulous temper.

"Tis just, said I, that you should pity me as a sufferer for losing that pleasure which I see others enjoy. For what stronger pleasure is there with mankind, or what do they earlier learn or longer retain, than the love of hearing and relating things strange and incredible .^ How wonderful a thing is the love of wondering and of raising wonder ! 'Tis the delight of children to hear tales they shiver at, and the vice of old age to abound in strange stories of times past. We come into the world wondering at everything, and when our wonder about common things is over, we seek something new to wonder at. Our last scene is to tell wonders of our own to all who will believe them. And amidst all this, 'tis well if truth comes off but nioderately tainted.

'Tis well, replied he, if with this moderate faith of yours you can believe any miracles whatever.

No matter, said I, how incredulous I am of modern miracles, if I have a right faith in those of former times by paying the-^ deference due to sacred writ. 'Tis here I am so much warned against credulity, and enjoined never to believe even the greatest, miracles which may be wrought, in opposition to what has been already taught me. And this injunction I am so well fitted to coni])ly with, that I can safely engage to keep still in the same faith and promise never to believe amiss.

But is this a promise which can well be made ?

If not, and that my belief indeed does not al)solutely depend upon myself, how am I accountable for it.-^ I may be justly punished for actions in which mv will is free, but with what




justice can I be challenged for my belief, if in this I am not at my liberty ? If credulity and incredulity are defects only in the judgment ; and the best-meaning person in the world may eiT on either side, whilst a much worse man, by having better parts, may judge far better of the evidence of things; how can you punish him who errs, unless you would punish weakness and say 'tis just for men to suffer for their unhappiness, and not their fault ?

I am apt to think, said he, that very few of those Avho are punished for their incredulity can be said to be sufferers for their weakness.

Taking it for granted then, replied I, that simplicity and weakness is more the character of the credulous than of the un- believing, yet I see not but that even this wav still we are as liable to suffer by our weakness as in the contrary case by an over-refined wit. For if we cannot command our own belief, how are we secure against those false pi'ojjhets and their delud- ino; miracles of which we have such warning given us ? Hoav are we safe from heresy and false religion ? Credulity being that which delivers us up to all impostures of this sort, and which actuall}' at this day hold the Pagan and Mahometan world in error and blind superstition. Either, therefore, there is no punishment due to wrong belief, because we cannot believe as we will ourselves, or if we can, why should we not promise never r to believe amiss ? Now in respect of miracles to come, the surest way never to believe amiss is never to believe at all. For being satisfied of the truth of our religion by past miracles, so as to need no other to confirm us, the belief of neAv may often do us harm, but can never do us good. Therefore as the truest mark of a believing Christian is to seek after no sign or miracle to come, so the safest station in Christianity is his who can be moved by nothing of this kind, and is thus miracle-proof. For if the miracle be on the side of his faith, 'tis superfluous, and he needs it not ; if against his faith, let it be as great as possible, he will never regard it in the least, or believe it any other than



imposture, though coming from an angel. So tliat with all that incredulity for which you reproach me so severely, I take myself to be still the better and more orthodox Christian. At least I am more sure of continuing so than you, who with your credulity may be imposed upon by such as are far short of angels. For having this preparatory disposition, 'tis odds you may come in time to believe miracles in any of the different sects who, we know, all pi'etend to them. I am persuaded, therefore, that the best maxim to go by is that common one, " That miracles are ceased." And I am ready to defend this opinion of mine to be the most probable in itself, as Mel I as most suitable to Christianity.

This question, upon further debate, happened to, divide our two companions. For the elderly gentleman, my antagonist, maintained " that the giving up of miracles for the time present would be of great advantage to the atheists." The younger gentleman, his companion, questioned " whether the allowino' them mig-ht not be of as crreat advantao-e to the enthusiasts and sectaries ag-ainst the national church ; this of the two being the greatest danger, he thought, both to religion and the state." He was resolved, therefore, for the future to be as cautious in examining these modern miracles as he had before been eager in seeking them. He told us very pleasantly what an adventurer he had been of that kind, and on how many parties he had been engaged, with a sort of people who were always on the hot scent of some new prodigy or apparition, some upstart revelation or prophecy. This, he thought, was true fanaticism errant. He had enough of this visionary chase, and would ramble no more in blind corners of the world, as he had been formerly accustomed, in ghostly company of spirit- hunters, witch -finders, and layers-out for hellish stories and diabolical transactions. There was no need, he thought, of such intelligences from hell to prove the power of heaven and beins: of a God. And now^ at last he began to see the ridicule of laying such a stress on these matters, as if a providence



depended on tlieni and religion were at stake when any of these wild feats were questioned. He was sensible there were many good Christians who made themselves sti'ong partisans in this cause, though he could not avoid wondering at it, now he began to consider and look back.

The heathens, he said, who wanted Scripture, might have recourse to miracles ; and Providence perhaps had allowed them their oracles and jirodigies as an imperfect kind of revelation. The Jews too, for their hard heart and harder imderstanding, had this allowance, when stubbornly they asked for signs and wonders. But Christians, for their parts, had a far better and truer revelation ; they had their plainer oracles, a more rational / I \ law and clearer Scripture, carrying its own force, and withal so well attested as to admit of no dispute. And were I, continued he, to assign the exact time when miracles probably might first have ceased, I should be tempted to fancy it was when sacred writ took place and was completed.

This is fancy indeed, replied the grave gentleman, and a very dangerous one to that Scripture you pretend is of itself so well attested. The attestation of men dead and gone, in behalf of miracles past and at an end, can never surely be of equal force with miracles present ; and of these, I maintain, there are never wanting: a number sufficient in the world to warrant a divine existence. If there were no miracles nowadays, the world would be apt to think there never were any. The present must answer for the credibility of the past. This is " God witnessing for himself,"" not " men for God." For who shall witness for men, if in the case of religion they have no testimony from heaven in their behalf?

What it is may make the report of men credible, said the younger gentleman, is another question. Ikit for mere miracles, it seems to me, they cannot be properly said " to witness either for God or men." For who shall witness for the miracles them- selves ^ And what though they are ever so certain ? What security have we that they are not acted })y demons ? AVhat



proof that they are not wrought by magic ? In shoit, " what trust' is there to anything above or below, if tlie signs are only of power and not of goodness ?

And are you so far improved then, repHed the severe companion, under your new sceptical master (pointing to me) that you can thus readily discard all miracles as useless ? . . . The young gentleman, I saw, was somewhat daunted with this rough usage of his friend, who was going on still with his invective. Nay then, said I, interposing, 'tis I who am to answer for this young gentleman, whom you make to be my disciple. And since his modesty, I see, will not allow him to jiursue what he has so handsomely begun, I will endeavour it myself, if he will give me leave.

The young gentleman assented, and I went on representing

_ his fair intention of establishing in the first place a rational and just foundation for our faith, so as to vindicate it from the

~ reproach of having no immediate miracles to support it. He w^ould have done this, I said, undoubtedly by showing how good proof we had already for our sacred oracles from the testimonv of the dead, Avhose characters and lives might answer for them as to the truth of what they reported to us from God. This, however, was by no means " witnessing for God," as the zealous gentleman had hastily expressed himself, for this w-as above the reach either of men or miracles. Nor could God witness for himself, or assert his being any other way to men, than " by revealing himself to their reason, appealing to their judgment, and submitting his ways to their censure and cool deliberation."'"' The contemplation of the universe, its laws and government, was, I averred, the only means which could establish

^the sound belief of a Deity. For what though innumerable 1 miracles from every part assailed the sense antl gave the trembling soul no respite. AVhat though the sky should suddenly open and all kinds of prodigies appear, voices be heard or characters read ? What would this evince more than " that there were certain powers could do all this " ? lUit



" what jiowers, whether one or more, whether superior or subaltern, mortal or immortal, wise or foolish, just or unjust, good or batr'; this would still remain a mystery, as would the true intention, the infallibility or certainty of whatever those powers asserted. Their word could not be taken in their own case. They might silence men indeed, but not convince them ; since " power can never serve as ]iroof for goodness,^ and 'good- ness is the only pledge of truth." By goodness alone trust is created. By goodness superior powers may win belief. They must allow their works to be examined, their actions criticised ; and thus, thus only, they may be confided in ; " When by repeated marks their benevolence is proved, and their character of sincerity and truth established." To whom therefore the laws of this universe and its government appear just and uniform, to him they speak the government of one Just One ; to him they reveal and witness a God ; and laying in him the founda- tion of this first faith, they fit him for a subsequent one.^ He can then hearken to historical revelation, and is then fitted (and not till then) for the reception of any message or miraculous notice from above, where he knows beforehand all is just and true. But this no power of miracles, nor any power besides his reason, can make him know or apprehend.

But now, continued I, since I have been thus long the defendant only, I am resolved to take up offensive ai-ms and be aggressor in my turn, provided Theocles be not angry with me for borrowing ground from his hvpothesis.

Whatever you borrow of his, replied my antagonist, you are pretty sure of spoiling it ; and as it passes through your hands you had best beware lest you seem rather to reflect on him than me.

I'll venture it, said I, whilst I maintain that most of those maxims you build upon are fit only to betray your own cause. For whilst you are labouring to unhinge Nature, whilst you are

^ Wit and Humour, part ii. § 2 ; Misc. v. ch. iii. ^ Advice to an Author, part iii. § 1 ; and Moralists, part ii. § 3.



searching heaven and earth for prodigies, and studying how to miracuHse everything, you bring confusion on the world, you break its uniformity and destroy that admirable simplicity of order from whence the one infinite and perfect principle is known. Perpetual strifes, convulsions, violences, breach of laws, variation and unsteadiness of order, show either no control, or several uncontrolled and unsubordinate powers in Nature. We have before our eyes either the chaos and atoms of the atheists, or the magic and demons of the polytheists. Yet is this tumultuous system of the universe asserted with the highest zeal by some who would maintain a Deity. This is that face of things, and these the features by which they represent divinity. Hither the eyes of our more inquisitive and ingenuous youth are turned with care, lest they see anything otherwise than in this perplexed and amazing view. As if atheism were the most natural inference which could be drawn from a regular and orderly state of things ! But after all this mangling and dis- figurement of Nature, if it happens (as oft it does) that the amazed disciple, coming to himself and searching leisurely into Nature's ways, finds more of order, uniformity, and constancy in things than he suspected, he is, of course, driven into atheism ; and this merely by the impressions he received from that preposterous system which taught him to seek for Deity in confusion, and to discover Providence in an irregular dis- jointed world.

And when you, replied he, with your newly-espoused system, have brought all things to be as uniform, plain, regular, and simple as you could wish, I suppose you will send your disciple to seek for Deity in mechanism ; that is to say, in some excpiisite system of self-governed matter. For what else is it you naturalists make of the world than a mere machine ?

Nothing else, replied I, if to the machine you allow a mind. For in this case 'tis not a self-governed but a God-governed machine.

And what are the tokens, said he, which should convince



us ? What signs should this dumb machine give of its being thus governed ?

The present, replied I, are sufficient. It cannot possibly give stronger signs of life and steady thought. Compare our own machines with this great one, and see whether by their order, management, and motions they betoken either so perfect a life or so consummate an intelligence. The one is regular, steady, permanent ; the other are irregular, variable, inconstant. In one there are the marks of wisdom and determination ; in the other of whimsy and conceit : in one there appears judg- ment ; in the other, fancy only : in one, will ; in the other, caprice : in one, truth, certainty, knowledge ; in the other, error, folly, and madness. But to be convinced there is something above which thinks and acts, we want, it seems, the latter of these signs, as supposing there can be no thought or intelligence beside what is like our own. We sicken and grow weary with the orderly and regular course of things. Periods, and stated laws, and revolutions, just and proportionable, work not upon us, nor win our admiration. We must have riddles, prodigies, matter for surprise and horror ! By harmony, order, and concord we are made atheists ; by irregularity and discord we are convinced of Deity ! " The world is mere accident if it ])roceeds in course, but an effect of wisdom if it runs mad ! "

Thus I took upon me the part of a sound theist whilst I endeavoured to refute my antagonist and show that his principles favoured atheism. The zealous gentleman took high offence, and we continued debating warmly till late at night. But Theocles was moderator, and we retired at last to our repose, all calm and friendly. However, I was not a little rejoiced to hear that our companions were to go away early the next morning and leave Theocles to me alone.

For now, Palemon, that morning was approaching for which I so much longed. AVhat your longing may prove I may have reason to fear. You have had enough, one would think, to turn the edge of yoiu* curiosity in this kind. Can it be


imagined that after the recital of two such days ah'eady past you can with patience hear of another yet to come, more j)hilosophical than either ? . . . IJut you have made me promise; and now, whatever it cost, take it you must, as follows. ><


Sectiox I

Philode.s to Palcmon

li was yet deep night (as I imagined) when I waked with the noise of jieople up in the house. I called to know the matter, and was told that Theocles had a little before parted with his friends, after which he went out to take his morning walk, but would return, they thought, pretty soon : for so he had left word, and that nobody in the meantime should disturb my rest.

This was disturbance sufficient when I heard it. I presently got up, and finding it light enough to see the hill, which was at a little distance from the house, I soon got thither, and at the foot of it overtook Theocles, to whom I complained of his unkindness. For I was not certainly (I told him) so effeminate and weak a friend as to deserve that he should treat me like a woman ; nor had I shown such an aversion to his manners or conversation as to be thought fitter for the dull luxury of a soft bed and ease than for business, recreation, or study with an early friend. He had no other way, therefore, of making me amends than by allowing me henceforward to be a jmrty with him in his serious thoughts, as he saw I was resolved to be in his hours and exercises of this sort.

Vou have foi'got then, said Theocles, the assignation you had



yesterday with the silvan nymphs at this place and hour ? No, truly, said I, for, as you see, I am come punctually to the })lace ajjpointed. But I never expected you should have come hither without me. Nay then, said Theocles, there is hope you may in time become a lover with me, for you already begin to show jealousy. How little did I think these nymphs could raise that passion in you 't Truly, said I, for the nymphs you mention, I know little of them as yet. My jealousy and love regard you only. I was afraid you had a mind to escape me ; but now that I am again in possession of you, I want no nymph to make me happy here, unless it were perhaps to join forces against you, in the manner your beloved poet makes the nymph .Egle join with his two youths in forcing the god Silenus to sing to them.

I dare trust your gallantry, replied Theocles, that if you had such fair company as you speak of, you would otherwise bestow your time than in an adventure of philosophy. But do you expect I should imitate the poefs God you mentioned, and sing " the rise of things from atoms, the birth of order from confusion, and the origin of union, harmony, and concord from the sole powers of chaos and blind chance " 't The song indeed was fitted to the God. For what could better suit his jolly character than such a drunken creation, which he loved often to celebrate by acting it to the life ? But even this song was too harmonious for tthe night's debauch. Well has our poet made it of the morning when the God was fresh ; for hardly should we be brought ever to believe that such har- monious numbers could arise from a mere chaos of the mind. But we must hear our poet speaking in the mouth of some soberer demi-god or hero. He then presents us with a different principle of things, and in a more proper order of precedency gives thought the upper hand. He makes mind originally to have governed body, not body mind ; for this had been a chaos everlasting, and must have kept all things in a chaos-state to this day, and for ever, had it ever been. But



The active mind, infused through all the space. Unites and mingles with the mighty mass ; Hence men and beasts.^

Here, Philocles, we shall find our sovereign genius, if we can charm the genius of the place (more chaste and sober than your Silenus) to inspire us with a truer song of Nature, teach us some celestial hymn, and make us feel divinity present in these solemn places of retreat.

Haste then, I conjure you, said I, good Theocles, and stop not one moment for any ceremony or rite. For well I see, methiniis, that without any such preparation some divinity has approached us and already moves in you. We are come to the sacred groves of the Hamadryads, which formerly were said to render oracles. We are on the most beautiful part of the hill, and the sun, now ready to rise, draws off the curtain of night and shows us the open scene of Nature in the plains below. Begin : for now I know you are full of those divine thoughts which meet you ever in this solitude. Give them but voice and accents ; you may be still as much alone as you are used, and take no more notice of me than if I were absent.

Just as I had said this, he turned away his eyes from me, musing awhile by himself; and soon afterwards, stretching out his hand, as pointing to the objects round him, he began : —

"Ye fields and woods, my refuge from the toilsome world of business, receive me in your quiet sanctuaries, and favour my retreat and thoughtful solitude. Ye verdant plains, how gladly I salute ye ! Hail all ye blissful mansions ! known seats ! delightful prospects ! majestic beauties of this earth, and all ye rural powers and graces ! Blessed be ye chaste abodes of happiest mortals, who here in peaceful innocence enjoy a life unenvied, though divine ; whilst with its blessed tranquillity it affbrds a happy leisure and retreat for man, who, made for contemplation, and to search his own and other

1 [Virgil, Aeneid, vi, 726-728.] VOL. II 97 H


natures, may here best meditate the cause of things, and, placed amidst the various scenes of Nature, may nearer view her works.

" O glorious nature ! supremely fair and sovereignly good ! all-loving and all-lovely, all-divine ! whose looks are so be- coming and of such infinite grace ; M'hose study brings such wisdom, and whose contemplation such delight ; whose every single work affords an ampler scene, and is a nobler spectacle than all which ever art presented ! O mighty Nature ! wise substitute of Providence ! impowered creatress ! Or - thou impowering Deity, supreme creator ! Thee I invoke and thee alone adore. To thee this solitude, this place, these rural meditations are sacred ; whilst thus inspired with harmony of thought, though unconfined by words, and in loose numbers, I sino; of Nature's order in created being-s, and celebrate the beauties which resolve in thee, the source and principle of all beauty and perfection.

" Thy being is boundless, unsearchable, impenetrable. In thy immensity all thought is lost, fancy gives over its flight, and Avearied imagination spends itself in vain, finding no coast nor limit of this ocean, nor, in the widest tract through which it soars, one point yet nearer the circumference than the first centre whence it parted. Thus having oft essayed, thus sallied forth into the wide expanse, when I return again within myself, struck with the sense of this so narrow being and of the fulness of that immense one, I dare no more behold the amazing depths nor sound the abyss of Deity.

" Yet since by thee, O sovereign mind, I have been formed such as I am, intelligent and rational, since the peculiar dignity of my nature is to know and contemplate thee, permit that with due freedom I exert those faculties with which thou hast adorned me. Bear with my venturous and bold approach. And since nor vain curiosity, nor fond conceit, nor love of aught save thee alone inspires me with such thoughts as these, be thou my assistant and guide me in this pursuit, whilst I



venture thus to tread the labyrinth of wide Nature and endeavour to trace thee in thy works."

Here he stopped short, and starting as out of a dream : now, Philocles, said he, inform me, how have I appeared to you in my fit? Seemed it a sensible kind of madness, like those transports which are permitted to our poets ? or was it down- right raving ?

I only wish, said I, that you had been a little stronger in your transport, to have proceeded as you began, without ever minding me. For I was beginning to see wonders in that Nature you taught me, and was coming to know the hand of your divine Artificer. But if you stop here I shall lose the enjoyment of the pleasing vision. And already I begin to find a thousand difficulties in fancying such a universal genius as you describe.

Why, said he, is there any difficulty in fancying the universe to be one entire thing .? Can one otherwise think of it, by what is visible, than that all hangs together as of a piece ? Grant it ; and what follows ? Only this, that if it may indeed be said of the world " that it is simply one," there should be something belono;ing to it which makes it one. As how ? No otherwise than as you may observe in everything. For to instance in what we see before us ; I know you look upon the trees of this vast wood to be different from one another ; and this tall oak, the noblest of the company, as it is by itself a different thing from all its fellows of the wood, so with its own wood of numerous spreading branches (which seem so many different trees) "'tis still, I suppose, one and the self-same tree. Now should you, as a mere caviller, and not as a fair sceptic, tell me that if a figure of wax, or any other matter, were cast in the exact shape and colours of this tree, and tempered, if possible, to the same kind of substance, it might therefore possibly be a real tree of the same kind or species, I would have done with you, and reason no longer. But if you questioned me fairly, and desired I should satisfy you what I thought it was which



made this oneness or sameness in the tree or any other plant, or by what it differed from the waxen figure, or from any such figure accidentally made, either in the clouds, or on the sand by the sea shore, I should tell you that neither the wax, nor sand, nor cloud thus pieced together by our hand or fancy had any real relation within themselves, or had any nature by which they corresponded any more in that near situation of parts than if scattered ever so far asunder. But this I should affirm, " that wherever there was such a sympathising of parts as we saw here in our real tree, wherever there was such a plain concurrence in one common end, and to the support, nourish- ment, and propagation of so fair a form, we could not be mistaken in saying there was a peculiar nature belonging to this form, and common to it with others of the same kind/ By virtue of this, our tree is a real tree, lives, flourishes, and is still one and the same even when by vegetation and change of substance not one particle in it remains the same.

At this rate indeed, said I, you have found a way to make very adorable places of these sylvan habitations. For besides the living genius of each place, the woods too, which by your account are animated, have their Hamadryads, no doubt, and the springs and rivulets their nymphs in store belonging to them, and these too, by what I can apprehend, of immaterial and immortal substances.

We injure them then, replied Theocles, to say "they belong to these trees,"' and not rather " these trees to them,"" But as for their immortality, let them look to it themselves, I only know that both theirs and all other natures must for their duration depend alone on that Nature on which the world depends ; and that every genius else must be subordinate to that one Good Genius, whom I would willingly persuade you to think belonging to this world, according to our present way of speaking.

Leaving, therefore, these trees, continued he, to personate themselves the best they can, let us examine this thing of



personality between you and me, and consider how you, Philocles, are you, and I am myself. For that there is a sympathy of parts in these figures of ours other than in those of marble formed by a Phidias or Praxiteles, sense, I believe, will teach us. And yet that our own marble or stuff (whatever it be, of which we are composed) wears out in seven, or at the longest in twice seven years, the meanest anatomist can tell us. Now where, I beseech you, will that same one be found at last, supposing it to lie in the stuff itself, or any part of it ? For when that is wholly spent, and not one particle of it left, we are ourselves still as much as before.

What you philosophers are, replied I, may be hard perhaps to determine, but for the rest of mankind, I dare affirm, that few are so long themselves as half seven years. 'Tis good fortune if a man be one and the same only for a day or two. A year makes more revolutions than can be numbered.

True, said he ; but though this may happen to a man, and chiefly to one whose contrary vices set him at odds so often with himself, yet when he comes to suffer or be punished for those vices, he finds himself, if I mistake not, still one and the same. And you, Philocles, who, though you disown philosophy, are yet so true a proselyte to Pyrrhonism, should you at last, feeling the power of the Genius I preach, be wrought upon to own the divine hypothesis, and from this new turn of thought admit a total change in all your principles and opinions, yet would you be still the self-same Philocles, though better yet, if you will take my judgment, than the present one, as much as I love and value him. You see, therefore, there is a strange simplicity in this you and me, that in reality they should be still one and the same, when neither one atom of body, one passion, nor one thought remains the same. And for that poor endeavour of making out this sameness or identity of being, from'some self- same matter or particle of matter, supposed to remain with us when all besides is changed, this is by so much the more con- temptible, as that matter itself is not really capable of such



simplicity. For I dare answer, you will allow this you and me to be each of us simply and individually one, better than you can allow the same to anything of mere matter, unless, quitting your inclination for scepticism, you fall so in love with the notion of an atom as to find it full as intelligible and certain to you as that you are yourself.

But whatever, continued Theocles, be supposed of uncom- pounded matter (a thing at best pretty difficult to conceive), yet being compounded and put together in a certain number of such parts as unite and conspire in these frames of ours, and others like them, if it can present us with so many innumerable instances of particular forms, who share this simple principle, by which they are really One, live, act, and have a nature or genius peculiar to themselves, and provident for their own welfare, how shall we at the same time overlook this in the whole, and deny the great and general Oxe of the world ? How can we be so unnatural as to disown divine Nature, our common parent, and refuse to recognise the universal and sovereign Genius ?

Sovereigns, said I, require no notice to be taken of them when they pass incog^tiHo, nor any homage where they appear not in due form. We may even have reason to presume they should be displeased with us for being too officious in en- deavouring to discover them when they keep themselves either wholly invisible or in very dark disguise. As for the notice we take of these invisible powers in the connnon way of our religion, we have our visible sovereigns to answer for us. Our laAvful superiors teach us what we are to own and to perform in worship. And we are dutiful in complying with them and following their example. But in a philosophical way I find no warrant for our being such earnest recognisers of a controverted title. However it be, you must allow one at least to understand the controversy and know the nature of these 2)owers described. May one not inquire "what substances they are of.^ whether material or immaterial ? "



May one not on the other hand, rephed Theocles, inquire as well " what substance, or which of these two substances, you count your real and proper self." Or would you rather be no substance, but choose to call yourself a mode or accident ?

Truly, said I, as accidental as my life may be, or as random that humour is which governs it, I know nothing, after all, so real and substantial as myself. Therefore if there be that thing you call a substance, I take for granted I am one. But for anything further relating to this question, you know my sceptic principles ; I determine neither way.

Allow me then, replied he, good Philocles, the same privilege of scepticism in this respect, since it concerns not the affair before us, which way we determine, or whether we come to any determination at all in this point. For be the difficulty ever so great, it stands the same, you may perceive, against your own being as against that which I am pretending to convince you of. You may raise what objections you please on either hand, and your dilemma may be of notable force against the manner of such a supreme Beings existence. But after you have done all, you will bring the same dilemma home to you, and be at a loss still about yourself when you have argued ever so long upon these metaphysical points of mode and substance, and have philosophically concluded from the difficulties of each hypothesis " that there cannot be in Nature such a universal^ One as this; you must conclude from the same reasons "that there cannot be any such particular one as yourself." But that there is actually such a one as this latter, your own mind, 'tis hoped, may satisfy you. And of this mind 'tis enough to say " that it is something which acts upon a bodv, and has some- thing passive under it and subject to it; that it has not only body or mere matter for its subject, but in some respect even itself too, and what proceeds from it ; that it superintends and manages its own imaginations, appearances, fancies, correcting, working, and modelling these as it finds good, and adorning and accomplishing the best it can this composite order of body



and understanding." Such a mind and governing part I know there is somewhere in the world. Let Pyrrho, by the help of such another, contradict me if he pleases. We have our several understandings and thoughts, however we came by them. Each understands and thinks the best he can for his own purpose ; he for himself, I for another self. And who, I beseech you, for the whole ? . . . No one ? Nothing at all ? . . . The world, perhaps, you suppose to be mere body, a mass of modified matter. The bodies of men are part therefore of this body. The imaginations, sensations, apprehensions of men are included in this body and inherent in it, produced out of it and resumed again into it, though the body, it seems, never dreams of it ! The world itself is never the wiser for all the wit and wisdom it breeds ! It has no apprehension at all of what is doing ; no thought kept to itself, for its own proper use or purpose ; not a single imagination or reflection by which to discover or be conscious of the manifold imaginations and inventions which it sets afoot and deals abroad with such an open hand ! The goodly bulk, so prolific, kind, and yielding for every one else, has nothing left at last for its own share, having unhappily lavished all away ! ... By what chance ? I would fain understand. " How ? or by what necessity ? . . , Who gives the law ? . . . Who orders and distributes thus ? " Nature, say you. And what is Nature . Is it sense ? Is it a person ? Has she reason or understanding ? No. Who then understands for her, or is interested or concerned in her behalf ? No one ; not a soul. But every one for himself, ^ Come on then. Let us hear further, Is not this Nature still a self ? Or tell me, I beseech you, how are you one ? By what token? Or by virtue of what? "By a principle which joins certain parts, and which thinks and acts consonantly for the use and purpose of those parts," Say, therefore, what is your whole system a part of? Or is it, indeed, no part, but a whole, by itself, absolute, independent, and unrelated to anything besides ? If it be indeed a part, and really related, to what else, I beseech



you, than to the whole of Nature ? Is there then such a uniting principle in Nature ? If so, how are you then a self, and Nature not so ? How have you something to understand and act for you, and Nature, who gave this understanding, nothing at all to understand for her, advise her, or help her out (poor being !) on any occasion, whatever necessity she may be in ? Has the world such ill-fortune in the main ? Are there so many par- ticular understanding active principles everywhere ? And is there nothing at last which thinks, acts, or understands for all ? Nothing which administers or looks after all ?

No (says one of a modern hypothesis), for the world was from eternity as you see it, and is no more than barely what you see : " Matter modified ; a lump in motion, with here and there a thought or scattered portion of dissoluble intelligence."" , . . No (says one of an ancienter hypothesis), for the world was once without any intelligence or thought at all : " Mere matter, chaos, and a play of atoms, till thought, by chance, came into play, and made up a harmony which was never designed or thought of." . . . Admirable conceit ! Believe it who can. For my own share (thank Providence), I have a mind in my possession which serves, such as it is, to keep my body and its affections, my passions, appetites, imaginations, fancies, and the rest in tolerable harmony and order, liut the order of the universe, I am persuaded still, is much the better of tlie tw'o. Let Epicurus, if he please, think his the better, and, believing no genius or wisdom above his own, inform us by what chance ^twas dealt him, and how atoms came to be so wise.

In fine, continued Theocles (raising his voice and action), being thus, even by scepticism itself, convinced the more still of my own being and of this self of mine " that 'tis a real self drawn out and copied from another principal and original self (the Great One of the world)," I endeavour to be really one with it, and conformable to it as far as I am able. I consider that, as there is one general mass, one body of the whole, so to this body there is an order, to this order a mind ; that to this



general mind each particular one must have relation, as being of like substance (as much as we can understand of substance), alike active upon body, original to motion and order; alike simple, uncompounded, individual ; of like energy, effect, and operation ; and more like still, if it co-operates with it to general good, and strives to will according to the best of wills. So that it cannot surely but seem natural " that the particular mind should seek its happiness in conformity Avith the general one, and endeavour to resemble it in its highest simplicity and excellence."

Therefore, now, said I, good Theocles, be once again the enthusiast, and let me hear anew that divine song wdth which I was lately charmed. I am already got over my qualm, and begin better than ever to fancy such a nature as you speak of; insomuch that I find myself mightily in its interest, and con- cerned that all should go happily and w'ell with it. Though at the rate it often runs, I can scarce help being in some pain on its account.

Fear not, my friend, replied he. For know that every particular nature certainly and constantly ]:)roduces what is good to itself, unless something foreign disturbs or hinders it, either by overpowering and corrupting it within, or by violence from without. Thus Nature in the patient struggles to the last and strives to throw off the distemjier. Thus even in these plants we see round us, every particular nature thrives and attains its perfection, if nothing from without obstructs it nor anything foreign has already impaired or wounded it ; and even in this case it does its utmost still to redeem itself. What are all weaknesses, distortions, sicknesses, imperfect births, and the seeming contradictions and perversities of nature other than of this sort H And how ignorant must one be of all natural causes and operations to think that any of these disorders happen by a miscarriage of the particular nature, and not by the force of some foreign nature which overpowers it. If, therefore, every particular nature be thus constantly and unerringly true to



itself, and certain to produce only what is good for itself and conducing to its own right state, shall not the general one, the nature of the whole, do full as much ? shall that alone miscarry or fail ? Or is there anything foreign which should at any time do violence upon it or force it out of its natural way ? If not, then all it produces is to its own advantage and good, the good of all in general ; and what is for the good of all in general is just and good.

'Tis so, said I, I confess.

Then you ought to rest satisfied, replied he ; and not only so, but be pleased and rejoice at what happens, knowing whence it comes, and to what perfection it contributes.

Bless me, said I, Theocles, into what a superstition are you like to lead me ! I thought it heretofore the mark of a super- stitious mind to search for Providence in the common accidents of life, and ascribe to the Divine Power those common disasters and calamities which nature has entailed on mankind. But now I find I must place all in general to one account, and viewing things through a kind of magical glass, I am to see the worst of ills transformed to good, and admire equally whatever comes from one and the same perfect Hand. But no matter, I can surmount all. Go on, Theocles, and let me advise you in my own behalf, that since you have rekindled me, you do not by delaying give me time to cool again.

I would have you know, replied he, I scorn to take the advantage of a warm fit and be beholden to temper or imagina- tion for gaining me your assent. Therefore ere I go yet a step farther, I am resolved to enter again into cool reason with you and ask if you admit for proof what I advanced yesterday upon that head, " of a universal union, coherence, or sympathis- ing of things ^ ?

By force of probability, said I, you overcame me. Being convinced of a consent and correspondence in all we saw of things, I considered it as unreasonable not to allow the same throughout.



Unreasonable indeed ! replied he. For in the infinite residue, were there no principle of union, it would seem next to im- possible that things within our sphere should be consistent and keep their order. "For what was infinite would be pre- dominant."

It seems so.

Tell me then, said he, after this union owned, how you can refuse to allow the name of demonstration to the remain- ing arguments, which establish the government of a perfect mind.

Your solutions, said I, of the ill appearances are not perfect enough to pass for demonstration. And whatever seems vicious or imperfect in the creation puts a stop to further conclusions till the thing be solved.

Did you not then, said he, agree with me when I averred that the appearances must of necessity stand as they are, and things seem altogether as imperfect even on the concession of a perfect supreme mind existent ?

1 did so. __ And is not the same reason good still ? viz. " that in an infinity of things, mutually relative, a mind which sees not infinitely can see nothing fully, and must therefore frequently see that as imperfect which in itself is really perfect.'"

The reason is still good.

Are the appearances, then, any objection to our hypothesis ?

None, whilst they remain appearances only.

Can you then prove them to be any more ? For if you can- not, you prove nothing. And that it lies on you to prove you plainly see, since the appearances do not only agree with the hypothesis, but are a necessary consequence from it. To bid me prove, therefore, in this case is in a manner the same as to bid me be infinite. For nothing beside what is infinite can see infinite connections.

The presumption, I must confess, said I, by this reckoning is wholly on your side. Yet still this is only presumption.



Take demonstration then, said he, if you can endure I should reason thus abstractedly and drily. The appearances of ill, you say, are not necessarily that ill they represent to us.

I own it.

Therefore what they represent may possibly be good.

It may.

And therefore there may possibly be no real ill in things, but all may be perfectly concurrent to one interest, the interest of that universal Oxe.

It may be so.

Why, then, if it may be so (be not surprised), " it follows that it must be so," on the account of that great unit and simple self-principle which you have granted in the whole. For whatever is possible in the whole, the nature or mind of the whole will put in execution for the whole's good ; and if it be possible to exclude ill, it will exclude it. Therefore, since not- withstanding the appearances, 'tis possible that ill may actu- ally be excluded, count upon it " that actually it is excluded." For nothing merely passive can oppose this universally active principle. If anything active oppose it, 'tis another principle. I allow it.

'Tis impossible. For were there in nature two or more principles, either they must agree or not. If they agree not, all must be confusion till one be predominant. If they agree, there must be some natural reason for their agreement, and this natural reason cannot be from chance, but from some particular design, contrivance, or thought, which brings us up again to Oxe principle, and makes the other two to be subordinate. And thus when we have compared each of the three opinions, viz. " That there is no designing active principle ; that there is more than one " ; or " that finally there is but Oxe," we shall per- ceive that the only consistent opinion is the last. And since one or other of these opinions must of necessity be true, what can we determine other than that the last is, and must be so, demonstrably . if it be demonstration, " that in three opinions,




one of which must necessarily be true, two being plainly absurd, the third must be the truth."

Enough, said I, Theocles. My doubts are vanished. Malice and chance (vain phantoms !) have yielded to that all-prevalent wisdom which you have established. You are conqueror in the cool way of reason, and may with honour now grow warm again in your poetic vein. Return therefore, I entreat you, once more to that perfection of being, and address yourself to it as before on our approaches to these sylvan scenes where first it seemed to inspire you. I shall now no longer be in danger of imagining either magic or superstition in the case, since you invoke no other power than that single Oxe which seems so natural.

Thus I continue then, said Theocles, addressing myself as you would have me, to that guardian deity and inspirer Avhom we are to imagine present here, but not here only. For, " O mighty Genius ! sole animating and inspiring power ! author and sub- ject of these thoughts ! thy influence is universal, and in all things thou art inmost. From thee depend their secret springs of action. Thou movest them with an irresistible unwearied force, by sacred and inviolable laws, framed for the good of each particular being, as best may suit with the perfection, life, and vigour of the whole. The vital principle is widely shared and infinitely varied, dispersed throughout, nowhere extinct. All lives, and by succession still revives. The temporary beings quit their borrowed forms and yield their elementary substance to new-comers. Called in their several turns to life, they view the light, and viewing pass, that others too may be spectators of the goodly scene, and greater numbers still enjoy the privilege of Nature. Munificent and great, she imparts herself to most and makes the subjects of her bounty infinite. Nought stays her hastening: hand. No time nor substance is lost or unim- proved. New forms arise, and when the old dissolve, the matter whence they were composed is not left useless, but wrought with equal management and art, even in corruption, Nature's seeming waste and vile abhorrence. The abject state appears merely as



the way or passage to some better. But could we nearly view it, and with indifference, remote from the antipathy of sense, we then perhaps should highest raise our admiration, convinced that even the way itself was equal to the end. Nor can we judge less favourably of that consummate art exhibited through all the works of Nature, since our weak eyes, helped by mechanic art, discover in these works a hidden scene of wonders, worlds ^"^ within worlds of infinite minuteness, though as to art still equal to the greatest, and pregnant with more wonders than the most discerning sense, joined with the greatest art or the acutest reason, can penetrate or unfold.

"But 'tis in vain for us to search the bulky mass of matter, seeking to know its nature ; how great the whole itself, or even how small its parts.

" If, knowing only some of the rules of motion, we seek to trace it further, 'tis in vain we follow it into the bodies it has reached. Our tardy apprehensions fail us, and can reach nothing beyond the body itself, through which it is diffused. Wonderful being (if we may call it so), which bodies never receive except from others which lose it, nor ever lose, unless by imparting it to others. Even without change of place it has its force, and bodies big with motion labour to move, yet stir not, whilst they express an energy beyond our comprehension.

" In vain, too, we pursue that phantom time, too small, and yet too mighty for our grasp, when, shrinking to a narrow point, it escapes our hold, or mocks our scanty thought by swelling to eternity, an object unproportioned to our capacity, as is thy being, O thou ancient cause ! older than time, yet young with fresh eternity.

" In vain we try to fathom the abyss of space, the seat of thy extensive being, of which no place is empty, no void which is not full.

" In vain we labour to understand that principle of sense and thought, which seeming in us to depend so much on motion, yet differs so much from it and from matter itself as not to suffer






us to conceive how thought can more result from this than this arise from thought. But thought we own pre-eminent, and confess the realest of beings, the only existence of which we are made sure by being conscious. All else may be only dream and shadow. All which even sense suggests may be deceitful. The sense itself remains still ; reason subsists, and thought maintains its eldership of being. Thus are we in a manner conscious of that original and eternally existent thought whence we derive our own. And thus the assurance we have of the existence of beings above our sense and of thee (the great exemplar of thy works) comes from thee, the all true and perfect, who hast thus communicated thyself more immediately to us, so as in some manner to inhabit within our souls, thou who art original soul, diffusive, vital in all, inspiriting the whole.

" All Nature's wonders serve to excite and perfect this idea of their author. 'Tis here he suffers us to see, and even con- verse with him in a manner suitable to our frailty. How glorious is it to contemplate him in this noblest of his works apparent to us, the system of the bigger world ! ""

Here I must own, 'twas no small comfort to me to find that, I as our meditation turned, we were likely to get clear of an en- tangling abstruse philosophy. I was in hopes Theocles, as he proceeded, might stick closer to Nature, since he was now come upon the borders of our world. And here I would willingly have welcomed him, had I thought it safe at present to venture the least interruption.

" Besides the neighbouring planets (continued he, in his rapturous strain) what multitudes of fixed stars did we see sparkle not an hour ago in the clear night, which yet had hardly yielded to the day ? How many others are discovered by the help of art ? Yet how many remain still beyond the reach of our discovery ! Crowded as they seem, their distance from each other is as unmeasurable by art as is the distance between them and us. Whence we are naturally taught the immensity of that being who, through these immense spaces, has disposed such an



infinity of bodies, belonging each (as we may well presume) to /, systems as com})lete as our own world, since even the smallest spark of this bright galaxy may vie with this our sun, which shining now full out, gives us new life, exalts our spirits, and , makes us feel divinity more present. \

" Prodigious orb ! bright source of vital heat, and spring^! of day ! . . . Soft flame, yet how intense, how active ! how diffusive, and how vast a substance ; yet how collected thus **

within itself, and in a glowing mass confined to the centre of this planetary world ! . . . Mighty being ! brightest image and representative of the Almighty ! supreme of the corporeal worl4.,L-J unperishing in grace, and of undecaying youth ! fair, beautiful, and hardly mortal creature ! By what secret ways dost thou receive the supplies which maintain thee still in such unwearied vigour and unexhausted glory ; notwithstanding those externally emitted streams and that continual expense of vital treasures which enlighten and invigorate the surrounding worlds ? . . .

"Around him all the planets, with this our earth, single, or with attendants, continually move, seeking to receive the blessing of his light and lively warmth ! Towards him they seem to tend, with prone descent, as to their centre, but happily controlled still by another impulse, they keep their heavenly order; and in just numbers and exactest measure, go the eternal rounds.

But, O thou who art the author and modifier of these various motions ! O sovereign and sole mover, by whose high art the rolling spheres are governed, and these stupendous bodies of our world hold their unrelenting courses ! O wise economist, and powerful chief, whom all the elements and powers of Nature serve ! how hast thou animated these movina' worlds ? what spirit or soul infused . Avhat bias fixed ? or how encompassed them in liquid ether, driving them as with the breath of living winds, thy active and unwearied ministers in this intricate and mighty work ?

"Thus powerfully are the systems held entire, and kept

VOL. II 113 I


from fatal interfering. Thus is our ponderous globe directed in its annual course, daily revolving on its own centre, whilst the obsequious moon with double labour, monthly surrounding ' this our bigger orb, attends the motion of her sister planet, and pays in common her circular homage to the sun.

" Yet is this mansion-globe, this man-container, of a much narrower compass even than other its fellow-wanderers of our system. How narrow then must it appear compared with the capacious system of its own sun ? And how narrow, or as nothing, in respect of those innumerable systems of other suns ? Yet how immense a body it seems compared with ours of human form, a borrowed remnant of its variable and oft- converted surface ? though animated with a sublime celestial spirit by which we have relation and tendency to Thee our Heavenly Sire, centre of souls, to whom these spirits of ours by nature tend, as earthly bodies to their proper centre. O did they tend as unerringly and constantly ! . . . But thou alone composest the disorders of the corporeal world, and from the restless and fighting elements raisest that peaceful concord and conspiring beauty of the ever-flourishing creation. Even so canst thou convert these jarring motions of intelligent beings, and in due time and manner cause them to find their rest; making them contribute to the good and perfection of the universe, thy all-good and perfect Avork."

Here again he broke off", looking on me as if he expected I should speak, which when he found plainly I would not, but continued still in a posture of musing thought : AVhy, Philocles ! said he, with an air of wonder ; what can this mean, that you should suffer me thus to run on without the least inteiTuption ? Have you at once given over your scrupulous philosophy, to let me range thus at pleasure through these aerial spaces and imaginary regions where my capricious fancy or easy faith has led me ? I would have you to consider better, and know, my Philocles, that I had never trusted myself with you in this vein of enthusiasm, had I not relied on you to govern it a little better,



I find, then, said I (rousing myself from my musing posture), you expect I should serve you in the same capacity as that musician, whom an ancient orator made use of at his elbow, to strike such moving notes as raised him when he was perceived to sink ; and calmed him again when his impetuous spirit was transported in too high a strain.

You imagine right, replied Theocles ; and therefore I am resolved not to go on till you have promised to pull me by the sleeve when I grow extravagant. Be it so, said I ; you have my promise. But how if instead of rising in my transports I should grow flat and tiresome ; what lyre or instrument would you employ to raise me ?

The danger, I told him, could hardly be supposed to lie on this hand. His vein was a plentiful one, and his enthusiasm in no likelihood of failing him. His subject, too, as well as his numbers, would bear him out. And with the advantage of the rural scene around us, his numbered prose, I thought, supplied the room of the best pastoral song. For in the manner I was now wrought up, 'twas as agreeable to me to hear him, in this kind of passion, invoke his stars and elements, as to hear one of those amorous shepherds complaining to his flock, and making the woods and rocks resound the name of her whom he adored. . . . Begin therefore, continued I, still pressing him, begin anew, and lead me boldly through your elements. Wherever there is danger, be it on either hand, I promise to give you warning when I perceive it. ';, Let us begin, then, said he, with this our element of earth, » ^' — which yonder we see cultivated with such care by the early swains now working in the plain below — " Unhappy restless men, who first disdained these peaceful labours, gentle rural 1

tasks, performed with such delight ! AVhat pride or what ambition bred this scorn ? Hence all those fatal evils of your race, enormous luxury, despising homely fare, ranges through seas and lands, rifles the globe ; and men, ingenious to their misery, work out for themselves the means of heavier labour,




anxious cares, and sorrow. Not satisfied to turn and manure for their use the wholesome and beneficial mould of this their earth, they dig yet deeper, and seeking out imaginary wealth, they search its very entrails.

" Here, led by curiosity, we find minerals of different natures which, by their simplicity, discover no less of the divine art than the most compounded of nature's works. Some are found capable of surprising changes ; others as durable, and hard to be destroyed or changed by fire, or utmost art. So various are the subjects of our contemplation, that even the study of these inglorious parts of nature in the nether world is able itself alone to yield large matter and employment for the busiest spirits of men, who in the labour of these experiments can willingly consume their lives. But the noisome poisonous steams which the earth breathes from these dark caverns where she conceals her treasures, suffer not Jurying mortals to live long in this search.

" How comfortable is it to those who come out hence alive to breathe a purer air ! to see the rejoicing light of day ! and tread the fertile ground ! How gladly they contemplate the surface of the earth, their habitation, heated and enlivened by the sun, and tempered by the fresh air of fanning breezes ! These exercise the resty plants, and scour the unactive globe. And when the sun draws hence thick clouded steams and vapours, 'tis only to digest and exalt the unwholesome particles, and commit them to the sprightly air, which, soon imparting its quick and vital spirit, renders them again with improvement to the earth in gentle breathings, or in rich dews and fruitful showers. The same air, moving about the mighty mass, enters its pores, impregnating the whole. And both the sun and air, conspiring to animate this mother-earth, that though ever breeding her vigour is as great, her beauty as fresh, and her looks as charming as if she newly came out of the forming hands of her creator.

" How beautiful is the water among the inferior earthly



works ! Heavy, liquid, and transparent, without the springing vigour and expansive force of air, but not wdthout activity. Stubborn and unyielding when compressed, but placidly avoiding force, and bending every way with ready fluency ! Insinuating, it dissolves the lumpish earth, frees the entangled bodies, procures their intercourse, and summons to the field the keen terrestrial particles, whose happy strifes, soon ending in strict union, produce the various forms which we behold. How vast are the abysses of the sea, where this soft element is stored ; and whence the sun and winds extracting, raise it into clouds ! These, soon converted into rain, water the thirsty ground, and supply afresh the springs and rivers, the comfort of the neigh- bouring plains, and sweet refreshment of all animals.

" But whither shall we trace the sources of the light ? or in what ocean comprehend the luminous matter so wide diffused through the immense spaces which it fills ? What seats shall we assign to that fierce element of fire, too active to be confined within the compass of the sun, and not excluded even the bowels of the heavy earth ? The air itself submits to it, and serves as its inferior instrument. Even this our sun, with all those numerous suns, the glittering host of Heaven, seem to receive from hence the vast supplies which keep them ever in their splendid state. The invisible ethereal substance, penetrat- ing both liquid and solid bodies, is diffused throughout the universe. It cherishes the cold dull massy globe, and warms it to its centre. It forms the minerals ; gives life and growth to vegetables ; kindles a soft, invisible, and vital flame in the breasts of living creatures ; frames, animates, and nurses all the various forms ; sparing, as well as em])loying for their use, those sulphurous and combustible matters of which they are composed. Benign and gentle amidst all, it still maintains this happy peace and concord, according to its stated and peculiar laws. But these once broken, the actjuitted being takes its course unruled. It runs impetuous through the fatal breach, and breaking into visible and fierce flames, passes triumphant over



the yielding forms, converting all into itself, and dissolving now those systems which itself before had formed. 'Tis thus ■".... Here Theocles stopped on a sudden, when (as he imagined) I was putting my hand out to lay hold on his sleeve.

Philocles, said he, 'tis well remembered. I was growing too warm, I find ; as well I might indeed, in this hot element. And here perhaps I might have talked yet more mysteriously, had you been one who could think otherwise than in the common way of the soft flames of love. You might, perhaps, have heard wonders in this kind : " how all things had their being hence, and how their noblest end was to be here wrapt up, consumed and lost."" But in these high flights I might possibly have gone near to burn my wings.

Indeed, said I, you might well expect the fate of Icarus for your high-soaring. But this, indeed, was not what I feared. For you were got above danger ; and, with that devouring element on your side, had mastered not only the sun himself, but every thing which stood in your way. I was afraid it might, in the issue, run to what they tell us of a universal conflagration ; in which I knew not how it might go, possibly, with our Genius.

1 am glad, said he, Philocles, to find this grown such a concern with you. But you may rest secure here, if the case you meant were that periodical conflagration talked of by some philosophers. For there the Genius would of necessity be all in all ; and in those intervals of creation, when no form nor species existed anywhere out of the divine mind, all then was Deity ; all was that One, collected thus within itself, and subsisting (as they imagined) rather in a more simple and perfect manner, than when multiplied in more ways ; and becoming productive, it unfolded itself in the various map of

I Nature and this fair visible world.

But for my part, said I (interrupting him), who can much better see divinity unfolded than in that involved and solitary state before creation, I could wish you would go a little further



with me in the map of Natm-e, especially if, descending from your lofty flights, you would be content to pitch upon this humble spot of earth, where I could better accompany you, wherever you led me.

But you, replied he, who would confine me to this heavy earth, must yet allow me the same wings of fancy. How else shall I fly with you through different climates, from pole to pole, and from the frigid to the torrid zone ?

Oh, said I, for this purpose I will allow you the Pegasus of the poets, or that winged Griffin which an Italian poet of the moderns gave to one of his heroes ; yet on this condition, that you take no such extravagant flight, as his was, to the moon ; but keep closely to this orb of earth.

Since you will have it so, replied Theocles, let us try first on the darkest and most imperfect parts of our map, and see how you can endure the prospect. " How oblique and faintly looks the sun on yonder climates, far removed from him ! How tedious are the winters there ! How deep the horrors of the night, and how uncomfortable even the light of day ! The freezing winds employ their fiercest breath, yet are not spent with blowing. The sea, which elsewhere is scarce confined within its limits, lies here immured in walls of crystal. The snow covers the hills, and almost fills the lowest valleys. How wide and deep it lies, incumbent over the plains, hiding the sluggish rivers, the shrubs and trees, the dens of beasts and mansions of distressed and feeble men ! . . . See ! where they lie confined, hardly secure against the raging cold or the attacks of the wild beasts, now masters of the wasted field, and forced by hunger out of the naked woods. , . . Yet not disheartened (such is the force of human breasts) but thus provided for by art and prudence, the kind compensating gifts of heaven, men and their herds may wait for a release. For at length the sun, approaching, melts the snow, sets longing men at liberty, and affords them means and time to make provision against the next return of cold. It breaks the icy fetters of the main,



where vast sea-monsters pierce through floating islPvnds, with arms which can withstand the crystal rock ; whilst others, who of themselves seem great as islands, are by their bulk alone armed against all but man, whose superiority over creatures of such stupendous size and force should make him mindful of his privilege of reason, and force him humbly to adore the great composer of these wondrous frames, and author of his own superior wisdom,

" But leaving these dull climates, so little favoured by the sun, for those happier regions, on which he looks more kindly, making perpetual summer ; how great an alteration do we find ? His purer light confounds weak-sighted mortals, pierced by his scorching beams. Scarce can they tread the glowing ground. The air they breathe cannot enough abate the fire which burns within their panting breasts. Their bodies melt ; overcome and fainting they seek the shade, and wait the cool refreshments of the night. Yet oft the bounteous creator bestows other refreshments. He casts a veil of clouds before them and raises gentle gales ; favoured by which the men and beasts pursue their labours, and plants refreshed by dews and showers can gladly bear the warmest sunbeams.

" And here the varying scene opens to ncAv wonders. We see a country rich with gems, but richer with the fragrant spices it affords. How gravely move the largest of land creatures on the banks of this fair river ! How ponderous are their arms, and vast their strength, with courage and a sense superior to the other beasts ! Yet are they tamed (we see) by mankind, and brouo;ht even to fio-ht their own battles, rather as allies and confederates than as slaves. . . . But let us turn our eyes towards these smaller and more curious objects, the numerous and devouring insects on the trees in these wide plains. How shining, strong, and lasting are the subtle threads spun from their artful mouths. Who, beside the all-wise, has taught them to compose the beautiful soft shells, in which recluse and buried, yet still alive, they undergo such a surprising change, when not



destroyed by men, who clothe and adorn themselves with the labours and lives of these weak creatures, and are proud of wearing such inglorious spoils ? How sumptuously apparelled, gay, and splendid are all the various insects which feed on the other plants of this warm region ! How beautiful the plants themselves in all their various growths, from the triumphant palm down to the humble moss !

" Now may we see that happy country where precious gums and balsams flow from trees, and Nature yields her most delicious fruits. How tame and tractable, how patient ot labour and of thrift are those large creatures, who, lifting up their lofty heads, go led and loaden through these dry and barren places ! Their shape and temper show them framed by Nature to submit to man, and fitted for his service, who from hence ouoht to be more sensible of his wants and of the divine bounty thus supplying them.

" But see, not far from us, that fertilest of lands, watered and fed by a friendly generous stream, which, ere it enters the sea, divides itself into many branches, to dispense more equally the rich and nitrous manure it bestows so kindly and in due time on the adjacent plains. . . . Fair image of that fruitful and exuberant nature, who with a flood of bounty blesses all things, and, parent-like, out of her many breasts sends the nutritious draught in various streams to her rejoicing offspring ! . . . Innumerable are the dubious forms and unknown species which drink the slimy current ; whether they are such as, leaving the scorched deserts, satiate here their ardent thirst, and pro- miscuouslv engendering, beget a monstrous race ; or whether (as it is said) by the sun's genial heat, active on the fermenting ooze, new forms are generated and issue from the river's fertile bed. . . . See there the noted tyrant of the flood and terror of its borders, when suddenly displaying his horrid form, the amphibious ravagcr invades the land, quitting his watery den, and from the deep emerging with hideous rush sweeps over the trembling plain. The natives from afar behold with wonder



the enormous bulk, sprung from so small an egg. With horror they relate the monster"'s nature, cruel and deceitful ; how he with dire hypocrisy and false tears beguiles the simple-hearted ; and inspiring tenderness and kind compassion, kills with pious fraud. . . . Sad emblem of that spiritual plague, dire super- stition ! native of this soil, where first religion ^ grew unsociable, and among different- worshippers bred mutual hatred and abhorrence of each other's temples. The infection spreads ; and nations now profane one to another war fiercelier, and in religions cause forget humanity : whilst savage zeal, with m^ek and pious semblance, works dreadful massacre ; and for heaven's sake (horrid pretence !) makes desolate the earth. . . .

" Here let us leave these monsters (glad if we could here confine them !) and detesting the dire prolific soil, fly to the vast deserts of these parts. All ghastly and hideous as they appear, they want not their peculiar beauties. The wildness pleases. We seem to live alone with Nature. We view her in her inmost recesses, and contemplate her with more delight in •^^^^iJ^ jl these original wilds than in the artificial labyrinths and feigned I r wildernesses of the palace. The objects of the place, the scaly ^ serpents, the savage beasts, and poisonous insects, how terrible soever, or how contrary to human nature, are beauteous in themselves, and fit to raise our thoughts in admiration of that divine wisdom, so far superior to our short views. Unable to declare the use or service of all things in this universe, we are yet assured of the perfection of all, and of the justice of that economy to which all things are subservient, and in respect of which things seemingly deformed are amiable, disorder becomes regular, corruption wholesome, and poisons (such as these we have seen) prove healing and beneficial.

" But behold ! through a vast tract of sky before us, the

mighty Atlas rears his lofty head covered with snow above the

clouds. Beneath the mountain's foot the rocky country rises

into hills, a proper basis of the ponderous mass above, where

^ Misc. ii. ch. i.



huge embodied rocks lie piled on one another, and seem to prop the high arch of heaven. . . . See ! with what trembling steps poor mankind tread the narrow brink of the deep precipices, from whence with giddy horror they look down, mistrusting even the ground which bears them, whilst they hear the hollow sound of torrents underneath, and see the ruin of the impending rock, with falling trees which hang with their roots upwards and seem to draw more ruin after them. Here thoughtless men, seized with the newness of such objects, become thoughtful, and willingly contemplate the incessant changes of this earth's surface. They see, as in one instant, the revolutions of past ages, the fleeting forms of things, and the decay even of this our globe, whose youth and first formation they consider, whilst the apparent spoil and irreparable breaches of the wasted mountain show them the world itself only as a noble ruin, and make them think of its approaching period. . . . But here, mid -way the mountain, a spacious border of thick wood harbours our wearied travellers, who now are come among the ever green and lofty pines, the firs, and noble cedars, whose towering heads seem endless in the sky, the rest of the trees appearing only as shrubs beside them. And here a different horror seizes our sheltered travellers when they see the day diminished by the deep shades of the vast wood, which, closing thick above, spreads darkness and eternal night below. The faint and gloomy light looks horrid as the shade itself; and the profound stillness of these places imposes silence upon men, struck with the hoarse echoings of every sound within the spacious caverns of the wood. Here space astonishes; silence itself seems pregnant, whilst an unknown force works on the mind, and dubious objects move the wakeful sense. Mysterious voices are either heard or fancied, and various forms of deity seem to jiresent themselves and appear more manifest in these sacred silvan scenes, such as of old gave rise to temples, and favoured the religion of the ancient world. Even we ourselves, who in plain characters may read divinity from so many bright parts of earth, choose rather these



obscurer places to spell out that mysterious being, which to our weak eyes appears at best under a veil of cloud. . . ."

Here he paused a while and began to cast about his eyes, which before seemed fixed. He looked more calmly, with an open countenance and free air, by which, and other tokens, I could easily find we were come to an end of our descriptions, and that whether I would or no, Theocles was now resolved to take his leave of the sublime, the morning being spent and the forenoon by this time well advanced.

Section II

Methixks, said he, Philocles (changing to a familiar voice), we had better leave these unsociable places whither our fancy has transported us, and return to ourselves here again in our more conversable woods and temperate climates. Here no fierce heats nor colds annoy us, no precipices nor cataracts amaze us. Nor need we here be afraid of our own voices whilst we hear the notes of such a cheerful choir, and find the echoes rather agreeable and inviting us to talk.

I confess, said I, those foreign nymphs (if there were any belonging to those miraculous woods) were much too awful beauties to please me. I found our familiar home -nymphs a great deal more to my humour. Yet for all this, I cannot help being concerned for your breaking off just when we were got half the world over, and wanted only to take America in our way home. Indeed, as for Europe, I could excuse your making any great tour there, because of the little variety it would afford us. Besides that, it would be hard to see it in any view without meeting still that politic face of affairs which would too much disturb us in our philosophical flights. But for the western tract, I cannot imagine why you should neglect such noble subjects as are there, unless perhaps the gold and silver, to which I find you such a bitter enemy, frighted you from a mother-soil so full of it. If these countries had been as bare



of those metals as old Sparta, we might have heard more perhaps of the Perus and Mexicos than of all Asia and Africa. We might have had creatures, plants, woods, mountains, rivers, beyond any of those we have passed. How sorry am I to lose the noble Amazon ! How sorry

Here, as I would have proceeded, I saw so significant a smile on Theocles's face that it stopped me, out of curiosity, to ask him his thought.

Nothing, said he ; nothing but this very subject itself. Go on — I see you'll finish it for me. The spirit of this sort of prophecy has seized you. And Philocles, the cold indifferent Philocles, is become a pursuer of the same mysterious beauty.

'Tis true, said I, Theocles, I own it. Your genius, the genius of the place, and the Great Genius have at last prevailed. I shall no longer resist the passion growing in me for things of a natural kind, where neither art nor the conceit or caprice of man has spoiled their genuine order by breaking in upon that primitive state. Even the rude rocks, the mossy caverns, the irreoular unwrouo-lit crottos and broken falls of waters, with all the horrid graces of the wilderness itself, as representing Nature more, will be the more engaging, and appear with a magnificence beyond the formal mockery of princely gardens. . . . But tell me, I entreat you, how comes it that, excepting a few philosophers of your sort, the only people who are enamoured in this way, and seek the woods, the rivers, or seashores, are your poor vulgar lovers ?

Say not this, replied he, of lovers only. For is it not the same with poets, and all those other students in nature and the arts which copy after her ? In short, is not this the real case of all who are lovers either of the Muses or the Graces ?

However, said I, all those who are deep in this romantic way are looked upon, you know, as a people either plainly out of their wits, or overrun with melancholy and enthusiasm.^

^ See Letter of Enthimuum, towards tlie end. See also above, Inquiry, bk. i. part iii. § 3 ; aud Mine. ii. ch. 1.



We always endeavour to recall them from these solitary places. And I must own that often when I have found my fancy iiin this way, I have checked myself, not knowing what it was possessed me, when I was passionately struck with objects of this kind.

No wonder, replied he, if we are at a loss when we pursue the shadow for the substance. For if we may trust to what our reasoning has taught us, whatever in Nature is beautiful or j charming is only the faint shadow of that first beauty. So | that every real love depending on the mind, and being only the contemplation of beauty either as it really is in itself or as it ' appears imperfectly in the objects which strike the sense, how can the rational mind rest here, or be satisfied with the absurd enjoyment which reaches the sense alone ?

From this time forward then, said I, I shall no more have reason to fear those beauties which strike a sort of melancholy, like the places we have named, or like these solenni groves. No more shall I avoid the moving accents of soft music, or fly from the enchanting features of the fairest human face.

If you are already, replied he, such a proficient in this new love that you are sure never to admire the representative beauty except for the sake of the original, nor aim at other enjoyment than of the rational kind, you may then be confident. I am so, and presvmie accordingly to answer for myself. How- ever, I should not be ill satisfied if you explained yourself a little better as to this mistake of mine you seem to fear. Would it be any help to tell you, " That the absurdity lay in seeking the enjoyment elsewhere than in the subject loved". The matter, I nmst confess, is still mysterious. Imagine then, good Philocles, if being taken with the beauty of the ocean, which you see yonder at a distance, it should come into your head to seek how to command it, and, like some mighty admiral, ride master of the sea, would not the fancy be a little absurd ?

Absurd enough, in conscience. The next thing I should do, 'tis likely, upon this frenzy, would be to hire some bark



and go in nuptial ceremony, Venetian-like, to wed the gulf, which I might call perhaps as properly my own.

Let who will call it theirs, replied "^riieocles, you will own the enjoyment of this kind to be very different from that which should naturally follow from the contemplation of the ocean's beauty. The bridegroom-Doge, Avho in his stately Bucentaur floats on the bosom of his Thetis, has less possession than the poor shepherd, who from a hanging rock or point of some high promontory, stretched at his ease, forgets his feeding flocksy while he admires her beauty. But to come nearer home, and make the question still more familiar. Suppose (my ]*hilocles) that, viewing such a tract of country as this delicious vale we see beneath us, you should, for the enjoyment of the prospect, require the property or possession of the land.

The covetous fancy, replied I, would be as absurd altogether as that other ambitious one.

Philocles ! said he, may I bring this yet a little nearer, and will you follow me once more ? Suppose that, being charmed as you seem to be with the beauty of those trees under whose shade we rest, you should long for nothing so much as to taste some delicious fruit of theirs ; and having obtained of Nature some certain relish by which these acorns or berries of the wood became as palatable as the figs or peaches of the garden, you should afterwards, as oft as you revisited these groves, seek hence the enjoyment of them by satiating yourself in these new delights.

The fancy of this kind, replied I, would be sordidly luxurious, "\and as absurd, in my opinion, as either of the former. -* Can you not then, on this occasion, said he, call to mind some other forms of a fair kind among us, where the admiration of beauty is apt to lead to as irregular a consequence ?

1 feared, said I, indeed, where this would end, and was apprehensive you would force me at last to think of certain powerful forms in human kind which draw after them a set of eager desires, wishes, and hopes ; no way suitable, I nmst



confess, to your rational and refined contemplation of beauty. The proportions of this living architecture, as wonderful as they are, inspire nothing of a studious or contemplative kind. The more they are viewed, the further they are from satisfying by mere view. Let that which satisfies be ever so disproportion- able an effect, or ever so foreign to its cause, censure it as you please, you must allow, however, that it is natural. So that you, Theocles, for aught I see, are become the accuser of Nature by condemning a natural enjoyment.

Far be it from us both, said he, to condemn a joy which is from Nature. But when we spoke of the enjoyment of these woods and prospects, we understood by it a far different kind from that of the inferior creatures, who, rifling in these places, find here their choicest food. Yet we too live by tasteful food, and feel those other joys of sense in common with them. But 'twas not here (my Philocles) that we had agreed to place our good, nor consequently our enjoyment. We who were rational, and had minds, methought, should place it rather in those minds which were indeed abused, and cheated of their real good, when drawn to seek absurdly the enjoyment of it in the objects of sense, and not in those objects they might properly call their own, in which kind, as I remember, we comprehended all which was truly fair, generous, or good.

So that bea.uty, said I, and good with you, Theocles, I perceive, are still ^ one and the same.

'Tis so, said he. And thus are we returned again to the subject of our yesterday's morning conversation. Whether I have made good my promise to you in showing - the true good, I know not. But so, doubtless, I should have done with good success had I been able in my poetic ecstasies, or by any other efforts, to have led you into some deep view of Nature and the sovereign genius. We then had proved the force of divine beauty, and formed in ourselves an object capable and worthy of real enjoyment.

1 Moralists, part ii. § 1. ^ lb.



O Theocles ! said I, well do I remember now the terms in which you engaged me that morning when you bespoke my love of this mysterious beauty. You have indeed made good your part of the condition, and may now claim me for a proselyte. If there be any seeming extravagance in the case I must comfort myself the best I can, and consider that all sound love and admiration is enthusiasm : ^ " The transports of poets, the subhme of orators, the rapture of musicians, the high strains of the virtuosi — all mere enthusiasm ! Even learning itself, the love of arts and curiosities, the spirit of travellers and adventurers, gallantry, war, heroism — all, all enthusiasm ! " 'Tis enough ; I am content to be this new enthusiast in a way unknown to me before.

And I, replied Theocles, am content you should call this love of ours enthusiasm, allowing it the privilege of its fellow- passions. For is there a fair and plausible enthusiasm, a reasonable ecstasy and transport allowed to other subjects, such as architecture, painting, music ; and shall it be exploded here 'i Are there senses by which all those other graces and perfections are perceived, and none by which this higher perfection and grace is comprehended . Is it so preposterous to bring that enthusiasm hither, and transfer it from those secondary and scanty objects to this original and comprehensive one ? Observe how the case stands in all those other subjects of art or science. \Vhat difficulty to be in any degree knowing ! How long ere a true taste is gained ! How many things shocking, how many offensive at first, which afterwards are known and acknowledged the highest beauties ! For 'tis not instantly we acquire the sense by which these beauties are discoverable. Labour and pains are recjuired, and time to cultivate a natural genius ever so apt or forward. But who is there once thinks of cultivating this soil, or of improving any sense or faculty which Nature may have given of this kind. And is it a wonder we should be dull then, as we are, confounded and at a loss in these ^ LatU'.r of Eiithiisirtsm, towards tlic end. VOL. II 129 K




affairs, blind as to this higher scene, these nobler representa- tions ? Which way should we come to understand better ? which way be knowing in these beauties ? Is study, science, or learning necessary to understand all beauties else ? And for the sovereign beauty, is there no skill or science required P In painting there are shades and masterly strokes which the vulgar understand not, but find fault with ; in architecture there is the rustic ; in music the chromatic kind, and skilful mixture of dissonancies : and is there nothing which answers to this in the whole ?

I must confess, said I, I have hitherto been one of those vulgar who could never relish the shades, the rustic, or the dissonancies you talk of. I have never dreamt of such master- pieces in Nature. 'Twas my way to censure freely on the first view. But I perceive I am now obliged to go far in the pursuit of beauty, which lies very absconded and deep ; and if so, I am well assured that my enjoyments hitherto have been very shallow. 1 have dwelt, it seems, all this while upon the surface, and enjoyed only a kind of slight superficial beauties, having never gone in search of beauty itself, but of what I fancied such. Like the rest of the unthinking world, I took for granted that what I liked was beautiful, and what I rejoiced in was my good. I never scrupled loving Avhat I fancied, and aiming only at the enjoyment of what I loved ; I never troubled myself with examining what the subjects were, nor ever hesitated about their choice.

Begin then, said he, and choose. See what the subjects are, and which you would prefer, which honour with your admiration, love, and esteem. For by these again you Avill be honoured in your turn. Such, Philocles, as is the worth of these companions, such will your worth be found. As there is emptiness or fulness here, so will there be in your enjoyment. See therefore where fulness is, and where emptiness. See in what subject resides the chief excellence, where beauty reigns, where 'tis entire, perfect, absolute ; Avhere broken, imperfect, short. View these terrestrial



beauties and whatever has the appearance of excellence and is able to attract. See that which either really is, or stands as in the room of fair, beautiful, and good. " A mass of metal, a tract of land, a number of slaves, a pile of stones, a human body of certain lineaments and proportions." Is this the highest of the kind ? Is beauty founded then in body only, and not in action, life, or operation ? . . .

Hold ! hold ! said I, good Theocles, you take this in too high a key above my reach. If you would have me accompany you, pray lower this strain a little, and talk in a more familiar way.

Thus then, said he (smiling), whatever passion you may have for other beauties, I know, good Philocles, you are no such admirer of wealth in any kind as to allow much beauty to it, especially in a rude heap or mass. But in medals, coins, embossed work, statues, and well-fabricated pieces, of whatever sort, you can discover beauty and admire the kind. True, said I, but not for the metal's sake. 'Tis not then the metal or matter which is beautiful with you ? No. But the art .^ Certainly. The art then is the beauty ? Right. And the art is that which beautifies ? The same. So that the beautifying, not the beautified, is the really beautiful ? It seems so. For that which is beautified, is beautiful only by the accession of some- thing beautifying, and by the recess or withdrawing of the same, it ceases to be beautiful ? Be it. In respect of bodies therefore, beauty comes and goes ? So we see. Nor is the body itself any cause either of its coming or staying ? None. So that there is no jn-inciple of beauty in body ? None at all. For body can no way be the cause of beauty to itself.^ No way. Nor govern nor regulate itself.^ Nor yet this. Nor mean nor intend itself.^ Nor this neither. INIust not that, therefore, which means and intends for it, regulates and orders it, be the principle of beauty to it ? Of necessity. And what must that be ? IVIind, I suppose, for what can it be else ?

Here then, said he, is all I would have explained to you



"^ before. " That the beautiful, the fail", the comely, were never in the matter, but in the art and design ; never in body itself, but in the form or forming power." Does not the beautiful form confess this, and speak the beauty of the design whenever it strikes you .^ What is it but the design which strikes .

IAVhat is it you admire but mind, or the effect of mind ? Tis mind alone which forms. All which is void of mind is horrid, and matter formless is deformity itself.

Of all forms then, said I, those (according to your scheme) are the most amiable, and in the first order of beauty, which have a power of making other forms themselves. From whence methinks they may be styled the forming forms. So far I can easily concur with you, and gladly give the~ advantage to the human form, above those other beauties of mans formation. The palaces, equipages and estates shall never in my account be brought in competition with the original living forms of flesh and blood. And for the other, the dead forms of Nature, the metals and stones, however precious and dazzling, I am resolved to resist their splendour, and make abject things of them, even in their highest pride, when they pretend to set off human beauty, and are officiously brought in aid of the fair.

Do you not see then, replied Theocles, that you have estab- lished three degrees or orders of beauty ? As how 'i AVhy first, - the dead_ forms, as you properly have called them, which bear a fashion, and are formed, whether by man or Nature, but have no forming power, no action, or intelligence. Right. Next, and as the second kind, the forms which form, that is, which have intelligence, action, and operation. Right still. Here therefore is double beauty. For here is both the form (the effect of mind) and mind itself. The first kind low and despicable in re- spect of this other, from whence the dead form receives its lustre and force of beauty. For what is a mere body, though a human one, and ever so exactly fashioned, if inward form be wanting, and the mind be monstrous or imperfect, as in an idiot or savage? This too I can apprehend, said I, but where is the third order .



Have patience, replied he, and see first whether you have discovered the whole force of this second beauty. How else should you understand the force of love, or have the power of enjoyment? Tell me, I beseech you, when first you named these the forming* forms, did you think of no other productions of theirs besides the dead kinds, such as the palaces, the coins, the brazen or the marble figures of men ? Or did you think of something; nearer life ?

I could easily, said I, have added, that these forms of ours had a virtue of producing other living forms like themselves. But this virtue of theirs, I thought, was from another form above them, and could not properly be called their virtue or art, if in reality there was a superior art or something artist-like, Avhich guided their hand, and made tools of them in this specious work.

Happily thought, said he ; you have prevented a censure which I hardly imagined you could escape. And here you have unawares discovered that third order of beauty, which forms not only such as we call mere forms but even the forms Avliich form. For we ourselves are notable architects in matter, and can show lifeless bodies brought into form, and fashioned by our own hands, but that which fashions even minds themselves, contains in itself all the beauties fashioned by those minds, and is conse- quently the principle, source, and fountain of all beauty.

It seems so.

Therefore whatever beauty appears in our second order of forms, or whatever is derived or jiroduced from thence, all this is eminently, principally, and originally in this last order of supreme and sovereign beauty.


Thus architecture, music, and all which is of human iuAcn- tion, resolves itself into this last order.

Right, said I ; and thus all the enthusiasms of other kinds resolve themselves into ours. The fashionable kinds borrow from us, and are nothing without us. We have undoubtedly the honour of being; originals.




Now therefore say again, replied Theocles : whether are those fabrics of architecture, sculjiture, and the rest of that sort the greatest beauties which man forms, or are there greater and better ? None which I know, rephed I. Think, think again, said he ; and setting aside those prockictions which just now you excepted against, as masterpieces of another hand ; think what there are which more immediately proceed from us, and may more truly be termed our issue. I am barren, said I, for this time ; you must be plainer yet, in helping me to conceive. How can I help you ? replied he. Would you have me be conscious for you, of that which is immediately your own, and is solely in and from yourself? You mean my sentiments, said I. Certainly, replied he, and together with your sentiments, your resolutions, principles, determinations, actions ; whatsoever is handsome and noble in the kind ; whatever flows from your good understanding, sense, knowledge, and will ; whatever is engendered in your heart (good Fhilocles ! ) or derives itself from your parent-mind, which, unlike to other parents, is never spent or exhausted, but gains strength and vigour by producing. So you, my friend, have proved it, by many a work, not suffer- ing that fertile part to remain idle and unactive. Hence those good parts, which from a natural genius you have raised by due /improvement. And here, as I cannot but admire the pregnant jgenius and parent-beauty, so am I satisfied of the offspring, that i it is and will be ever beautiful.

I took the compliment, and wished (I told him) the case were really as he imagined, that I might justly merit his esteem and love. My study therefore should be to grow beautiful, in his way of beauty, and from this time forward I would do all I could to propagate that lovely race of mental children, happily sprung from such a high enjoyment and from a union with what was fairest and best. But 'tis you, Theocles, con- tinued I, must help my labouring mind, and be as it were the midwife to those conceptions ; which else, I fear, will ]>rove abortive.



You do well, replied he, to give me the midwife^s part only; for the mind conceiving of itself, can only be, as you say, assisted in the birth. Its pi-ognancy is from its nature. Nor could it ever have been tlius impregnated by any other mind vCAv^CT than that which formed it at the beginning ; and which, as we iy-. have already proved, is original to all mental as well as other beauty.

Do you maintain then, said I, that these mental children, the notions and principles of fair, just, and honest, with the rest of these ideas, ar e innate ?

Anatomists, said he, tell us that the eggs, which are prin- ciples in body, are innate, being formed already in the foetus before the birth. But when it is, whether before, or at, or after the birth, or at what time after, that either these or other principles, organs of sensation, or sensations themselves, are first formed in us, is a matter, doutbless, of curious speculation, j but of no great importance. The question is, whether the I principles spoken of are from art or Nature ? If from Nature purely, "'tis no matter for the time ; nor would I contend with you though you should deny life itself to be innate, as imagin- ' ing it followed rather than preceded the moment of birth. \ But this I am certain of, that life and the sensations which accompany life, come when they will, are from mere Nature, and nothing else. Therefore if you dislike the word innate, let us change it, if you will, for instinct, and call instinct that Avhich \ Nature teaches, exclusive of art, culture, or discipline.

Content, said I.

Leaving then, replied he, those admirable speculations to the virtuosi, the anatomists, and school divines. We may safely aver, with all their consents, that the several organs, particularly those of generation, are formed by Nature. Whether is there also from Nature, think you, any instinct for the after use of them? or whether must learning and experience imprint this use ? 'Tis imprinted, said I, enough in conscience. The im- pression or instinct is so strong in the case, that 'twould be



absurdity not to think it natural, as well in our own species as in other creatures, amongst whom (as you have already taught me) not only the mere engendering of the young, but the various and almost infinite means and methods of providing for them, are all foreknown. For thus much we may indeed discern in the preparatory labours and arts of these wild creatures, which demonstrate their anticipating fancies, pre-conceptions, or pre-sensations, if I may use a word you taught me yesterday.^

1 allow your expression, said Theocles, and will endeavour to show you that the same pre-conceptions, of a higher degree, have place in human kind. Do so, said I, I entreat you ; for so far am I from finding in myself these pre-conceptions of fair and beautiful, in your sense, that methinks, till now of late, I have hardly known of anything like them in Nature. How then, said he, would you have known that outward fair and beautiful of human kind, if such an object (a fair fleshly one) in all its beauty had for the first time appeared to you, by yourself, this morning, in these groves ? Or do you think perhaps you should have been unmoved, and have found no difference between this form and any other, if first you had not been instructed ?

I have hardly any right, replied I, to plead this last opinion, after what I have owned just before.

Well then, said he, that I may appear to take no advantage against you, I quit the dazzling form which carries such a force of complicated beauties, and am contented to consider separately each of those simple beauties, which taken all together create this wonderful effect. For you will allow, without doubt, that in respect of bodies, whatever is commonly said of the unex- pressible, the unintelligible, the ' I-know-not-what of beauty, there can lie no mystery here, but what plainly belongs either to figure, colour, motion or sound. Omitting therefore the three latter, and their dependent charms, let us view the charm in what is simplest of all, mere figure. Nor need we go so high

P. 76. 136


as sculpture, architecture, or the designs of those who from this study of beauty have raised such dehghtful arts. 'Tis enough if we consider the simplest of figures, as either a round ball, a cube, or dye. AVhy is even an infant pleased with the first view of these proportions P ^Vhy is the sphere or globe, the cylinder and obelisk preferred ; and the irregular figures, in respect of these, rejected and despised ?

I am readv, replied I, to own there is in certain figures a natural beaut v,^ which the eye finds as soon as the object is presented to it.

Is there then, said he, a natural beauty of figures . and is there not as natural a one of actions ? No sooner the eye opens upon figures, the ear to sounds, than straight the beautiful results and grace and harmony are known and acknowledged. No sooner are actions viewed, no sooner the human affections and passions discerned (and they are most of them as soon discerned as felt) than straight an inward eye distinguishes, and sees the fair and shapely, the amiable and admirable, apart from the deformed, the foul, the odious, or the despicable. How is it possible therefore not to own " that as these dis- tinctions have their foundation in Nature, the discernment itself is natural, and from Nature alone "".'^

If this, I told him, were as he represented it, there could never, I thought, be any disagreement among men concerning actions and behaviour, as which was base, which worthy ; which handsome, and which deformed. But now we found perpetual variance among mankind, whose differences were chiefly founded on this disagreement in opinion ; " The one affirming, the other denying that this, or that, was fit or decent."

Even by this, then, replied he, it appears there is fitness and decency in actions ; since the fit and decent is in this controversy ever pre-supposed. And whilst men are at odds about the subjects, the thing itself is universally agreed. For Jieither is there agreement in judgments about other beauties. Jnquirii, bk. i. part ii. § 3.



'Tis controverted "which is the finest ])ile, the lovehest shape or face": but without controversy 'tis allowed "there is a beauty of each kind." This no one goes about to teach : nor is it learnt by any, but confessed by all. All own the standard, rule, and measure : but in applying it to things disorder arises, ignorance prevails, interest and passion breed disturbance. Nor can it otherwise happen in the affairs of life, whilst that which iutercsts and enfi^a^es men as ffood, is thouo-ht different from that which they admire and praise jis honest. But with us, Philocles, 'tis better settled, since for our parts we have already decreed " that beauty and good are still the same."

I remember, said I, what you forced me to acknowledge more than once before. And now, good Theocles, that I am become so willing a disciple, I want not so much to be con- vinced, methinks, as to be confirmed and strengthened. And I hope this last work may prove your easiest task.

Not unless you help in it yourself, replied Theocles, for this is necessary as w^ll as becoming. It had been indeed shameful for you to have yielded without making good resistance. To help oneself to be convinced is to prevent reason, and bespeak error and delusion. But upon fair conviction to give our heart up to the evident side, and reinforce the impression, this is to help reason heartily. And thus we may be said honestly to persuade ourselves. Show me then how I may best persuade myself.

Have courage, said he, Philocles (raising his voice), be not offended that I say, have courage ! 'Tis cowardice alone betrays us. For whence can false shame be, except from cowardice . To be ashamed of what one is sure can never be shameful, must needs be from the want of resolution. We seek the rioht and wrong in things ; we examine what is honourable, what shame- ful ; and having at last determined, we dare not stand to our own judgment, and are ashamed to own there is really a shameful and an honourable. " Hear me " (says one who pretends to value Philocles, and be valued by him), "there can



bo no such thing as real valuableness or worth ; nothing in . itself estimable or amiable, odious or shameful. All is oj)inion. I l^ 'Tis opinion which makes beauty, and unmakes it. The ' graceful or ungraceful in things, the decorum and its contrary, the amiable and unamiable, vice, virtue, honour, shame, all this is founded in opinion only. Opinion is the law and measure. Nor has opinion any rule besides mere chance, which varies it, as custom varies ; and makes now this, now that, to be thought worthy, according to the reign of fashion and the ascendant power of education." What shall we say to such a one .? How represent to him his absurdity and extravagance ? Will he desist the sooner ? Or shall we ask, what shame, of one who acknowledges no shameful "'! Yet he derides, and cries, ridiculous ! By what right .^ what title 1: For thus, if I were Philocles, would I defend myself: " Am I ridiculous .^ As how .? What is ridiculous.^ Everything.? or nothing.?" Ridiculous indeed ! But something, then, something there is ridiculous ; and the notion, it seems, is right, " of a shameful and ridiculous in things."

How then shall we apply the notion ? For this being wrong applied, cannot itself but be ridiculous. Or will he who cries .shame refuse to acknowledge any in his turn 'i Does he not blush, nor seem discountenanced on any occasion .? If he does, the case is very distinct from that of mere grief or fear. The \ disorder he feels is from a sense of what is shameful and odious in itself, not of what is hurtful or dangerous in its consequences. For the o-reatest danoer in the world can never breed shame ; nor can the opinion of all the world compel us to it, where our own opinion is not a party. We may be afraid of appearing impudent, and may therefore feign a modesty. But we can never really blush for anything beside what we think truly shameful, and what we should still blush for were we ever so secure as to our interest, and out of the reach of all incon- venience which could haj)pen to us from the thing we were ashamed of.



Thus, continued he, should I be able by anticipation to defend myself, and looking narrowly into niens lives, and that which influenced them on all occasions, I should have testimony- enough to make me say within myself, " Let who will be my adversary in this opinion, I shall find him some way or other prepossessed with that of which he would endeavour to dis- possess me." Has he gratitude or resentment, pride or shame ? Whichever way it be, he acknowledges a sense of just and unjust, worthy and mean. If he be grateful or expects gratitude, I ask " why ? and on what account ? " If he be angry, if he indulges revenge, I ask " how ? and in what case ? Revenged of what ? of a stone, or madman ? " Who is so mad ? " But for what ? For a chance hurt ? an accident against thought or intention? AVho is so unjust? Therefore there is just and [unjust; and belonging to it a natural presumption or anticipation on which the resentment or anger is founded. For what else should make the wickedest of mankind often prefer the interest of their revenge to all other interests, and even to life itself, except only a sense of wrong natural to all men, and a desire to prosecute that wrong at any rate ? Not for their own sakes, since they sacrifice their very being to it, but out of hatred to the] imagined wrong and from a certain love of justice, which even in unjust men is by this example shown to be beyond the love of life itself.

Thus as to pride, I ask, " why proud ? why conceited ? and of what ? Does any one who has pride think meanly or indif- ferently of himself?" No; but honourably. And how this, if there be no real honour or dignity pre-supposed ? For self- valuation supposes self-worth ; and in a person conscious of real worth, is either no pride, or a just and noble one. In the same manner self-contempt supposes a self-meanness or de- fectiveness ; and may be either a just modesty or unjust humility. But this is certain, that whoever is proud must be proud of something. And we know that men of thorough pride will be proud even in the meanest circumstances, and



when there is no visible subject for them to be proud of. But they descry a merit in themselves which others cannot : and 'tis this merit they admire. No matter whether it be really in them, as they imagine, it is a worth still, an honour or merit which they admire, and would do, wherever they saw it, in any subject besides. For then it is, then only, that they are humbled, " when they see in a more eminent degree in others what they respect and admire so much in themselves."" And thus as long as I find men either angry or revengeful, proud or ashamed, I am safe. For they conceive an honourable and dis- honourable, a foul and fair, as well as I. No matter where they place it, or how they are mistaken in it, this hinders not my being satisfied "that the thing is, and is universally acknowledged; that it is of nature's impression, naturally conceived, and by no art or counter-nature to be eradicated or destroyed."

And now, what say you, Philocles (continued he), to this defence I have been making for you 't Tis grounded, as you see, on the supposition of your being deeply engaged in this philosophical cause. But perhaps you have yet many difficulties to get over, ere you can so far take part with beauty as to make this to be your good.

I have no difficulty so great, said I, as not to be easily removed. My inclinations lead me strongly this way, for I am ready enough to yield there is no real good beside the enjoy- ment of beauty. And I am as ready, replied Theocles, to yield there is no real enjoyment of beauty beside what is good. Excellent ! but upon reflection I fear I am little beholden to you for your concession. As how 't Because should I offer to contend for any enjoyment of beauty out of your mental way, you would, I doubt, call such enjoyment of mine absurd, as you did once before. Undoubtedly I should. For what is it should enjoy or be capable of enjoyment, except mind ? or shall we say, body enjoys .? By the help of sense, perhaps, not otherwise. Is beauty, then, the object of sense ? Say how .^ Which way .^ For otherwise the help of sense is nothing in the case ; and if



body be of itself incapable, and sense no help to it to apprehend or enjoy beauty, there remains only the mind which is capable either to ajiprehend or to enjoy.

True, said I, but show me, then, " Why beauty may not be the object of the sense ? " Show me first, I entreat you, " Why, where, or in what you fancy it may be so ? " Is it not beauty which first excites the sense, and feeds it afterwards in the passion we call love ? Say in the same manner, " That it is beauty first excites the sense, and feeds it afterwards in the passion we call hunger." . . . You will not say it. The thought, I perceive, displeases you. As great as the pleasure is of good eating, you disdain to apply the notion of beauty to the good dishes Avhich create it. You would hardly have applauded the preposterous fancy of some luxurious Romans of old, who could relish a fricassee the better for hearing it was composed of birds which wore a beautiful feather or had sung deliciously. Instead of being incited by such a historical account of meats, you would be apt, I believe, to have less appetite the more you searched their origin, and descended into the kitchen science, to learn the several forms and changes they had undergone ere they were served at this elegant voluptuous table. But though the kitchen forms be ever so disgraceful, you will allow that the materials of the kitchen, such, for instance, as the garden furnishes, are really fair and beautiful in their kind. Nor will you deny beauty to the wild field, or to these flowers which grow around us on this verdant couch. And yet, as lovely as are these forms of Nature, the shining grass or silvered moss, the flowery thyme, Avild rose or honeysuckle ; 'tis not their beauty allures the neighbouring herds, delights the browsing fawn or kid, and spreads the joy we see amidst the feeding flocks ; 'tis not the form rejoices, but that which is beneath the form ; 'tis savouriness attracts, hunger impels, and thirst better allayed by the clear brook than the thick puddle, makes the fair nymph to be preferred, whose form is otherwise slighted. For never can the form be



of real force where it is uncontemplated, un judged of, un- examined, and stands only as the accidental note or token of / what appeases provoked sense, and satisfies the brutish part. Are you persuaded of this, good Philocles ? or, rather than not give brute:i the advantage of enjoyment, will you allow them also a mind and rational part ?

Not so, I told him.

If brutes, therefore, said he, be incapable of knowing and enjoying beauty, as being brutes, and having sense only (the brutish part) for their own share, it follows " that neither can man by the same sense or brutish part conceive or enjoy beauty; but all the beauty and good he enjoys is in a nobler way, and ^ by the help of what is noblest, his mind and reason." Here , lies his dignity and highest interest, here his capacity toward ) \/^J good and happiness. His ability or incompetency, his power • of enjoyment or his impotence, is founded in this alone. As this is sound, fair, noble, worthy, so are its subjects, acts and employments. For as the riotous mind, captive to sense, can never enter in competition, or contend for beauty with the virtuous mind of reason's culture ; so neither can the objects Which allure the former compare with those which attract and charm the latter. And when each gratifies itself in the enjoy- ment and possession of its object, how evidently fairer are the acts which join the latter pair, and give a soul the enjoyment of what is generous and good ? This at least, Philocles, you will surely allow, that when you place 'a joy elsewhere than in the mind, the enjoyment itself will be no beautiful subject, nor of any graceful or agreeable appearance. But when you think how friendship is enjoyed, how honour, gratitude, candour, benignity, and all internal beauty ; how all the social pleasures, society itself, and all which constitutes the worth and happiness of mankind ; you will here surely allow beauty in the act, and think it \\orthy to be viewed and passed in review often by the glad mind, happily conscious of the generous part, and of its own advancement and growtii in beauty.




Thus, Philocles (continued he, after a short pause), thus have I presumed to treat of beauty before so great a judge, and such a skilful admirer as yourself. For, taking rise from Nature's beauty, which transported me, I gladly ventured further in the chase, and have accompanied you in search of beauty, as it relates to us, and makes our highest good in its sincere and natural enjoyment. And if we have not idly spent our hours, nor ranged in vain through these deserted regions, it should appear from our strict search that there is nothing so divine as beauty, which belonging not to body, nor having any prin- ciple or existence except in mind and reason, is alone discovered and acquired by this diviner part, when it inspects itself, the only object worthy of itself. For whatever is void of mind, is void and darkness to the mind's eye. This languishes and grows dim whenever detained on foreign subjects, but thrives and attains its natural vigour when employed in contemplation of what is like itself. 'Tis thus the improving mind, slightly surveying other objects, and passing over bodies and the common , forms (where only a shadow of beauty rests), ambitiously presses j onward to its source, and views the original of form and order i in that which is intelligent. And thus, O Philocles, may we improve and become artists in the kind; learning "to know ourselves, and what that is, which by improving, we may be sure to advance our worth and real self-interest." For neither is this knowledge acquired by contemplation of bodies, or the outward forms, the view of pageantries, the study of estates and honours; nor is he to be esteemed that self-improving artist who makes a fortune out of these, but he (he only) is the wise and able man, who with a slight regard to these things, applies himself to cultivate another soil, builds in a different matter from that of stone or marble ; and having righter models in his eye, becomes in truth the architect of his own life and fortune, by laying within himself the lasting and sure founda- tions of order, peace, and concord. . . . But now 'tis time to think of returning home. The morning is far spent. Come !



let us away and leave these uncommon subjects, till we retire again to these remote and unfrequented places.

At these words Theocles, mending his pace, and going down the hill, left me at a good distance, till he heard me calling earnestly after him. Having joined him once again, I begged he would stay a little longer, or if he were resolved so soon to leave both the woods and that philosophy which he confined to them, that he would let me, however, part with them more gradually, and leave the best impression on me he could against my next return. For as much convinced as I was, and as great a convert to his doctrine, my danger still, I owned to him, was very great, and I foresaw that when the charm of these places and his company was ceased, I should be apt to relapse and weakly yield to that too powerful charm, the world. Tell me, continued I, how is it possible to hold out against it and with- stand the general opinion of mankind, who have so different a notion of that which we call good ? Say truth now, Theocles, can anything be more odd or dissonant from the common voice of the world than what we have determined in this matter ?

AVhom shall we follow, then ? replied he. "Whose judgment or opinion shall we take concerning what is good, what contrary ? If all or any part of mankind are consonant with themselves, and can agree in this, I am content to leave philosophy and follow them. If otherwise, why should we not adhere to what we have chosen ? . . . Let us, then, in another view consider how this matter stands.

Section III

We then walked gently homewards (it being almost noon), and he continued his discourse.

One man, said he, affects the hero, esteems it the highest advantage of life to have seen war and been in action in the field. Another laughs at this humour, counts it all extrava- gance and folly, prizes his own wit and prudence, and would VOL. II 145 L


take it for a disgrace to be thought adventurous. One person is assiduous and indefatigable in advancing himself to the character of a man of business. Another, on the contrary, thinks this impertinent ; values not fame or a character in the world, and by his goodwill would always be in a debauch, and never live out of the stews or taverns, where he enjoys, as he thinks, his highest good. One values wealth as a means only to indulge his palate and to eat finely. Another' loathes this, and affects popularity and a name. One admires music and paintings, cabinet curiosities and in-door ornaments. Another admires gardens, architecture, and the pomp of buildings. Another, who has no guster of either sort, believes all those they call virtuosi to be half-distracted. One looks upon all expense to be madness, and thinks only wealth itself to be good. One games ; another dresses and studies an equipage ; another is full of heraldry, points of honour, a family, and a blood. One recommends gallantry and intrigue ; another, ordinary good-fellowship ; another, buffoonery, satire, and the common wit ; another, sports and the country ; another, a court ; another, travelling and the sight of foreign parts ; another, poetry and the fashionable learning. . . . All these go different ways. All censure one another, and are despicable in one anothers eyes. By fits too they are as despicable in their own, and as often out of conceit with themselves as their humour changes and their passion turns from one thing to another. . . . What is it, then, I should be concerned for ? AVhose censure do I fear, or by whom, after all, shall I be guided ?

If I ask, "Are riches good when only heaped up and un- employed ? "" one answers, " They are." The rest deny. " How is it, then, they are to be employed in order to be good ? " All disagree. All tell me different things. " Since, therefore, riches are not of themselves good (as most of you declare), and since there is no agreement among you which way they become good, why may not I hold it for my opinion that they are neither good in themselves nor directly any cause or means of good ? "



If there be those who wholly despise fame, and if among those who covet it he who desires it for one thing despises it for another, he who seeks it with some men despises it with others, why may not J say " that neither do I know how any fame can be called a good " ?

If of those who covet pleasure, they who admire it in one kind are superior to it in another, why may not I say "that neither do I know which of these pleasures, or how pleasure itself, can be called good " ?

If among those who covet life ever so earnestly, that life which to one is eligible and amiable is to another despicable and vile, why may not I say "that neither do I know how life itself can of itself be thought a good " ?

In the meantime this I know certainly, "that the neces- sary consequence of esteeming these things highly is to be a slave, and consequently miserable." But perhaps, Philocles, you are not yet enough acquainted with this odd kind of reasoning ?

More, said I, than I believe you can easily imagine. I perceived the goodly lady, your celebrated beauty, was about to appear anew, and I easily knew again that fair face of liberty which I had seen but once in the picture ^ you drew yesterday of that moral dame, I can assure you I think of her as highly as possible, and find that without her help to raise one above these seemingly essential goods, and make one more easy and indifferent towards life and towards a fortune, 'twill be the hardest thing in the world to enjoy either. Solicitude, cares, and anxiety will be multiplied ; and in this unhappy dependency 'tis necessary to make court and be not a little servile. To flatter the great, to bear insults, to stoop and fawn and abjectly resign one's sense and manhood — all this must courageously be endured, and carried off with as free an air and good counte- nance as possible by one who studies greatness of this sort, who knows the general way of courts, and how to fix unsteady ^ Moralhts, part ii. § 2 ; and Mhc. iv. cb. i. ; v. cli. iii.



fortune. I need not mention the envyings, the mistrusts, and


No, truly, said he (interrupting me), neither need you.

But finding you so sensible, as I do, of this unhappy state, and

of its inward sores (whatever may be its outward looks), how

is it possible but you must find the happiness of that other

contrary state ? Can you not call to mind what we resolved

concerning Nature ? Can anything be more desirable than to

follow her ? Or is it not by this freedom from our passions

\ and low interests that we are reconciled to the goodly order of

\the universe, that we harmonise with Nature, and live in friend-

'ship both with God and man .

Let us compare, continued he, the advantages of each state, and set their goods one against another. On one side, those which we found were uncertainly so, and depended both on fortune, age, circumstances, and humour ; on the other side, those which, being certain themselves, are founded on the contempt of those others so uncertain. Is manly liberty, generosity, magnanimity, not a good ? May we not esteem as happiness that self-enjoyment which arises from a consistency of life and manners, a harmony of affections, a freedom from the reproach of shame or guilt, and a consciousness of worth and merit with all mankind, our society, country, and friends — all which is founded in virtue only ? A mind subordinate to reason, a temper humanised and fitted to all natural affections, an exercise of friendship uninterrupted, a thorough candour, benignity, and good nature, with constant security, tranquillity, equanimity (if I may use such philosophical terms), are not these ever and at all seasons good . Is it of these one can at any time nauseate and grow weary ? Are there any particular ages, seasons, places, circumstances, which must accompany these to make them agreeable ? Are these variable and incon- stant ? Do these, by being ardently beloved or sought, occasion any disturbance or misery .'* Can these be at any time over- valued, or, to say more yet, can these be ever taken from us, or



can we ever be hindered in the enjoyment of them unless by ourselves ? How can we better praise the goodness of Providence than in this, " That it has placed our happiness and good in things we can bestow upon ourselves " ?

If this be so, said I, I see no reason we have to accuse Providence on any account. But men, I fear, will hardly be brought to this good temper while their fancy is so strong as it naturally is towards those other movable goods. And, in short, if we may depend on what is said commonly, "All good is merely as we fancy it. 'Tis conceit which makes it. All is opinion and fancy onlv.

Wherefore, then, said he, do we act at any time ? Why choose, or why prefer one thing to another ? You will tell me, I suppose, 'tis because we fancy it, or fancy good in it. Are we therefore to follow every present fancy, opinion, or imagination of good ? If so, then we must follow that at one time which we decline at another, approve at one time what we disapprove at another, and be at perpetual variance with ourselves. But if we are not to follow all fancy or opinion alike, if it be allowed "that of fancies, some are true, some false," then we are to examine every fancy ; and there is some rule or other by which to judge and determine. Twas the fancy of one man to set fire to a beautiful temple, in order to obtain immortal memory or fame. 'Twas the fancy of another man to conquer the world for the same reason, or what was very like it. If this were really the man's good, why do we A\onder at him ? If the fancy were wrong, say plainly in what it was so, or why the subject was not good to him as he fancied ? Either, therefore, " that is every man's good which he fancies, and because.he fancies it and is not content without it," or otherwise, " there is that in which the nature of man is satisfied, and which alone must be his good." If that in which the nature of man is satisfied and can rest contented be alone his good, then he is a fool who follows that with earnestness as his good which a man can be without, and yet be satisfied and contented. In the same manner is he



a fool who flies that earnestly as his ill which a man may endure and yet be easy and contented. Now a man may possibly not have burnt a temple (as Erostratus) and yet may be contented. Or though he may not have conquered the world (as Alexander) yet he may be easy and contented, as he may still without any of those advantages of power, riches, or renown, if his fancy hinders not. In short, we shall find " that without any one of those which are commonly called goods, a man may be contented."" As, on the contrary, " he may possess them all, and still be discontented and not a jot the happier." If so, it [follows " that happiness is from within, not from without.'** A good fancy is the main. And thus you see I agree with you " that opinion is all in all." ^ But what is this, Philocles, which has seized you . You seem of a sudden groAvn deeply thoughtful.

To tell you truth, said I, I was considering what would become of me if after all I should, by your means, turn philo- sopher. The change, truly, would be somewhat extraordinary, replied Theocles. But be not concerned. The danger is not so great. And experience shows us every day that for talking or writing ])hilosophy, people are not at all the nearer being philosophers.

But, said I, the very name is a kind of reproach. The word idiot stood formerly as the opposite to philosopher, but now- adays it means nothing more commonly than the philosopher himself. ,

Yet, in effect, replied he, what else is it we all do in general than philosophise .^ If philosophy be, as we take it, the study of happiness, must not every one, in some manner or other, either skilfully or unskilfully philosophise "t Is not every deliberation concerning our main interest, every correction of our taste, every choice and preference in life to be reckoned of this kind .'* For "if happiness be not allowed to be from self and from within, then either is it from outward things alone, or from self ^ Advice to an Author, part iii. § 2 ; Misc. iv. ch. i.



and outward things together." If from outward things alone, show it us in fact " that all men are happy in proportion to these, and that no one who possesses them is ever miserable by his own fault. '^ But this, it seems, hardly any one will pretend to evince. All own the contrary. Therefore " if happiness be partly from self, partly froiti outward things, then each must be considered, and a certain value set on the concerns of an inward kind, and which depend on self alone." If so, and that I consider " how, and in what these are to be preferred ; when and on what occasion they are in season or out of season ; when properly to take place, when to yield," what^s this after all but to philosophise ? Yet even this, still, is enough to put one out of the ordinary way of thinking, and give one an unhappy turn for business and the world. Right ! For this also is to be considered and well weighed. And therefore this still is philo- sophy, " to inquire where, and in what respect one may be most a loser; which are the greatest gains, the most profitable exchanges," since everything in this world goes by exchange. Nothing is had for nothing. Favour requires courtship ; interest is made by solicitation ; honours are acquired with hazard ; riches with pains ; learning and accomplishments by study and application. Security, rest, indolence are to be had at other prices. They may be thought, perhaps, to come easy. For " what hardship is there ? Where is the harm ? 'Tis only to abate of fame and fortune. 'Tis only to waive the point of honour and share somewhat less of interest. If this be easy, all is well. Some patience, you see, is necessary in the case. Privacy must be endured ; even obscurity and contempt. Such are the conditions. And thus everything has its condition. Power and preferments are to be had at one rate, pleasures at another, liberty and honesty at another. A good mind must be paid for as other things.

But we had best beware lest, perhaps, we pay too dear for it. Let us be assured we have a good bargain. Come on then. . . . Let us account. ..." What is a mind worth ? AVhat



allowance may one handsomely make for it? or what may one well afford it for ? " . , . If I part with it, or abate of it, "'tis not for nothing. Some value I must needs set upon my liberty, some upon my inward character. Something there is in what we call worth, something in sincerity and a sound heart. Orderly affections, generous thoughts, and a commanding

. reason are fair possessions, not slightly to be given up. I am to consider first " what may be their equivalent ? Whether I shall find my account in letting these inward concerns run as they please, or whether I shall not be better secured against fortune by adjusting matters at home, rather than by making interest abroad, and acquiring first one great friend, then another, to add still more and more to my estate or quality ? " P'or where am I to take up ? Begin and set the bounds. Let me hear positively " how far I am to go, and why no further ? " What is a moderate fortune, a competency, and those other degrees commonly talked of.-^ Where is my anger to stop.'* or how high may I suffer it to rise ? How far may I engage in love ? How far give way to ambition ? How far to other appetites ? Or am I to let all loose ? Are the passions to take their swing, and no application to be given to them, but all to the outward things they aim at ? Or if any application be requisite, say plainly " how much to one, and how much to the other ? " How far are the appetites to be minded, and how- far outward things . Give us the measure and rule. See whether this be not to philosophise ? and whether willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly, every one does not as much ? " Where, then, is the difference ? Which manner is the best ? " Here lies the question. This is what I would have you weigh and examine. " But the ex- amination (say you) is troublesome, and I had better be without it." Who tells you thus ? Your reason, you say, whose force, of necessity, you must yield to." Tell me, therefore, have you

[fitly cultivated that reason of yours, polished it, bestowed the necessary pains on it, and exercised it on this subject .'* Or is



it like to determine full as well when unexercised as when thoroughly exercised or ever so expert? Consider, pray, in mathematics whose is the better reason of the two, and fitter to be relied on ? The practiser's, or his who is unpractised ? Whose in the way of war, of policy, or civil affairs ? Whose in merchandise, law, physic ? And in morality and life, I ask still, whose ? May he not, perhaps, be allowed the best judge of living who studies life and endeavours to form it by some rule ? Or is he indeed to be esteemed most knowing in the matter who slightly examines it, and who accidentally and unknowingly philosophises ?

Thus, Philocles, said he, concluding his discourse, thus is philosophy established. For every one, of necessity, must reason concerning his own happiness " what his good is and what his ill." The question is only " who reasons best ? " For even he who rejects this reasoning or deliberating part does it from a certain reason, and from a persuasion " that this is best."

By this time we found ourselves insensibly got home. Our philosophy ended, and we returned to the common affairs of j life.



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