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ness than their own. I hope a paper of this kind, which lets us know what is done near home, may be more useful to us, than those which are filled with advices from Zug and Bender, and make some amends for that dearth of intelligence, which we may justly apprehend from times of peace. If I find that you receive this project favourably, I will shortly trouble you with one or two more; and in the mean time am, most worthy sir, with all due respect, “Your most obedient, and most humble servant."
No. 453. SATURDAY, AUGUST 9.
Non usitatâ nec tenui ferar
HOR. 2, Od. xx. 1.
There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction, that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. It is not like the practice of many other virtues, difficult and painful, but attended with so much pleasure, that were there no positive command which enjoined it, nor any recompense laid up for it hereafter, a generous mind would indulge in it, for the natural gratification that accompanies it.
If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker? The Supreme Being does not only confer upon us those bounties which proceed more immediately from his hand, but eyen those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by what means soever it may be de
rived upon us, is the gift of him who is the great author of good, and father of mercies.
If gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man; it exalts the soul into rapture, when it is employed on this great object of gratitude; on this beneficent being who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for.
Most of the works of the pagan poets were either direct hymns to their deities, or tended indirectly to the celebration of their respective attributes and perfections. Those who are acquainted with the works of the Greek and Latin poets which are still extant, will upon reflection find this observation so true, that I shall not enlarge upon it.
One would wonder that more of our Christian poets have not turned their thoughts this way, especially if we consider, that our idea of the Supreme Being is not only infinitely more great and noble than what could possibly enter into the heart of an heathen, but filled with every thing that can raise the imagination, and give an opportunity for the sublimest thoughts and conceptions.
Plutarch tells us of a heathen who was singing an hymn to Diana, in which he celebrated her for her delight in human sacrifices, and other instances of cruelty and revenge; upon which a poet who was present at this piece of devotion, and seems to have had a truer idea of the divine nature, told the votary by way of reproof, that in recompense for his hymn, he heartily wished he might have a daughter of the same temper with the goddess he celebrated. It was indeed impossible to write the praises of one of these false deities, according to the pagan creed, without a mixture of impertinence and absurdity.
The Jews, who before the times of Christianity were the only people that had the knowledge of the true God, have set the Christian world an example how they ought to employ this divine talent of which I am speaking. As that nation produced men of great genius, without considering them as inspired writers, they have transmitted to us many hymns and divine odes, which excel those that are delivered down to us by the ancient Greeks and Romans, in the poetry, as much as in the subject to which it was consecrated. This I think might easily be shewn, if there were occasion for it.
I have already communicated to the public some pieces of divine poetry, and as they have met with a very favourable reception, I shall from time to time publish any work of the same nature which has not yet appeared in print, and may be acceptable to my readers.
When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys;
In wonder, love, and praise:
O how shall words with equal warmth
The gratitude declare,
But thou canst read it there.
Thy providence my life sustain'd
And all my wants redrest,
And hung upon the breast.
To all my weak complaints and cries
Thy mercy lent an ear,
To form themselves in pray’r.
Unnumber'd comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestow'd,
From whom those comforts flow'd.
No. 457. THURSDAY, AUGUST 14.
Multa et præclara minantes.
HOR, 2 Sat. iii. 9.
I shall this day lay before my reader a letter, written by the same hand with that of last Friday,' which contained proposals for a printed newspaper, that should take in the whole circle of the penny-post.
“SIR, “ The kind reception you gave my last Friday's letter, in which I broached my project of a newspaper, encourages me to lay before you two or three more; for, you must know, sir, that
look upon you to be the Lowndes of the learned world, and cannot think any scheme practicable or rational before you have approved of it, though all the money we raise by it is on our own funds, and for our private use.
“I have thought a News-letter of Whispers, written every post, and sent about the kingdom, after the same manner as that of Mr. Dyer, Mr. Dawkes, or any other epistolary bistorian, might be highly gratifying to the public, as well as beneficial to the author. By whispers I mean those pieces of news which are communicated as secrets, and which bring a double pleasure to the hearer; first, as they are private history, and in the next place, as they have always in them a dash of scandal. These are the two chief qualifications in an article of news, which recommend it, in a more than ordinary manner, to the ears of the curious. Sickness of persons in high posts, twilight visits paid
No. 452. * Secretary of the Treasury and Director of the Mint.-C. • V. Tatler, No. 18, Nichol's note.-C.