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mote, which infinite wisdom and power have combined to establish? What a volume of wisdom, what a noble theology do these discoveries open to us! While some superior geniuses have soared to these sublime subjects, other sagacious and diligent minds have been enquiring into the most minute works of the infinite Artificer: the same care, the same providence is exerted through the whole, and we should learn from it that to true Wisdom utility and fitness appear perfection, and whatever is beneficial is noble.
I approve of science as far as it is assistant to action. I like the improvement of navigation, and the discovery of the greater part of the globe, because it opens a wider field for the master spirits of the world to bustle in.
There spoke the soul of Hercules. But if learned men are to be esteemed for the assistance they give to active minds in their schemes, they are not less to be valued for their endeavours to give them a right direction,
rection, and moderate their too great ardour. The study of history will teach the warrior and the legislator, by what means armies have been victorious, and states have become powerful; and in the private citizen they will inculcate the love of liberty and order. The writings of sages point out a private path of virtue, and shew that the best empire is self-government, and subduing our passions the noblest of conquests.
The true spirit of heroism acts by a sort of inspiration, and wants neither the experience of history, nor the doctrines of philosophers to direct it. But do not arts and sciences render men effeminate, luxurious, and inactive; and can you deny that wit and learning are often made subservient to very bad purposes?
I will own that there are some natures so happily formed, they hardly want the assistance of a master, and the rules of art, to give them force or grace in every thing they do. But these heaven-inspired geniuses are few. As learning flourishes only where ease, plen
ty, and mild government subsist, in so rich a soil, and under so soft a climate, the weeds of luxury will'spring up among the flowers of art; but the spontaneous weeds would grow more rank,' if they were allowed the undisturbed possession of the field. Letters keep a frugal temperate nation from growing ferocious, a rich one from becoming entirely sensual and debauched. Every gift of the Gods is sometimes abused; but wit and fine talents by a natural law gravitate toWards virtue: accidents may drive them out of their proper direction; but such accidents are a sort of prodigies, and, like other prodigies, 'ît is an alarning omen, and of dire portent to the times. For if Virtue cannot keep to her allegiance those men, who in their hearts confess her divine right, and know the value of her laws; on whose fidelity and obedience can she depend? May such geniuses never descend to flatter Vice, encourage Folly, or propagate Irreligion; but exert all their powers in the service of Virtue, celebrate the noble choice of those, who, like you, preferred her to Pleasure!
MERCURY-and a modern Fine LADY.
INDEED, Mr. Mercury, I cannot have the pleasure of waiting upon you now. I am engaged, absolutely engaged.
I know you have an amiable affectionate husband, and several fine children; but you need not be told, that neither conjugal attachments, maternal affections, nor even the care of a kingdom's welfare or a nation's glory, can excuse a person who has received a summons to the realms of death. If the grim messenger was not as peremptory as unwelcome, Charon would not get a passenger, (except now and then an hypochondriacal Englishman) once in a century. You must be content to leave your husband and family, and pass the Styx.
I did not mean to insist on any engage
ment with my husband and children; I never thought myself engaged to them. I had no engagements, but such as were common to women of my rank. Look on my chimney-piece, and you will see I was engaged to the Play on Mondays, Balls on Tuesdays, the Opera on Saturdays, and to Card-assemblies the rest of the week, for two months to come; and it would be the rudest thing in the world, not to keep my appointments. If you will stay for me till the summer-season, I will wait on you with all my heart. Perhaps the Elysian fields may be less detestable than the country in our world. Pray have you a fine Vauxhall and Ranelagh? I think I should not dislike drinking the Lethè waters, when you have a full season.
Surely you could not like to drink the waters of Oblivion, who have made pleasure the business, end, and aim of your life! It is good to drown cares; but who would wash away the remembrance of a life of gaiety and pleasure?