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he sent for an old frying-pan, and grating it upon the board, whistled to it in such a melodious manner, that you could scarcely distinguish it from a bass-viol. He then took his seat with us at the table, and hearing my friend that was with me hum over a tune to himself, he told him if he would sing out, he would accompany his voice with a tobacco-pipe. As my friend has an agreeable bass, he chose rather to sing to the frying-pan, and indeed between them they made up a most extraordinary concert. Finding our landlord so great a proficient in kitchen music, I asked him if he was master of the tongs and key. He told me that he had laid it down some years since, as a little unfashionable; but, that, if I pleased, he would give me a lesson upon the gridiron. He then informed me, that he had added two bars to the gridiron, in order to give it a greater compass of sound; and I perceived was as well pleased with the invention as Sappho could have been upon adding two strings to the lute. To be short, I found that his whole kitchen was furnished with musical instruments: and could not but look upon this artist as a kind of burlesque musician.
He afterwards, of his own accord, fell into the imitation of several singing birds. My friend and I toasted our mistresses to the nightingale, when all of a sudden we were surprised with the music of the thrush. He next proceeded to the skylark, mounting up by a proper scale of notes, and afterwards falling to the ground with a very easy and regular decent. He then contracted his whistle to the voice of several birds of the smallest size. As he is a man of a larger bulk and higher stature than ordinary, you would fancy him a giant when you looked upon him, and a tom-tit when you shut your eyes. I must not omit ac
quainting my reader that this accomplished per son was formerly the master of a toy-shop near Temple bar; and that the famous Charles Mather was bred up under him. I am told that the misfortunes which he has met with in the world are chiefly owing to his great application to his music; and therefore cannot but recommend him to my readers as one who deserves their favour, and may afford them great diversion over a bottle of wine, which he sells at the Queen's-arms, near the end of the little piazza in Covent-garden.
No. 571. FRIDAY, JULY 23, 1714.
Calum quid quærimus ultra ?
What seek we beyond heaven?
As the work I have engaged in will not only consist of papers of humour and learning, but of several essays moral and divine, I shall publish the following one, which is founded on a former Spectator, and sent me by a particular friend, not questioning but it will please such of my readers as think it'no disparagement to their understandings to give way sometimes to a serious thought.
'IN your paper of Friday the 9th instant you had occasion to consider the ubiquity of the Godhead, and at the same time to show, that, as he is present to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to every thing, and privy to all the modes and parts of its existence: or, in other words, that the omniscience and omnipresence are co-exist
ent, and run together through the whole infinitude of space. This consideration might furnish us with many incentives to devotion, and motives to morality; but, as this subject has been handled by several excellent writers, I shall consider it in a light wherein I have not seen it placed by others. First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence!
'Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from this his presence, but such as proceeds from divine wrath and indignation!
"Thirdly, How happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and loving kindness!
'First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraor.... dinary benefit or advantage from this his presence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty Being which passes through it. The heavens and the earth, the stars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of nature are invigorated by the presence of their creator, and made capable of exerting their respective qualities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the several ends which are agreeable to them by this divine energy. Man only, who does not co-operate with this Holy Spirit, and is unattentive to his presence, receives none of those advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his
well being. The Divinity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the same thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is indeed impossible for an Infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures; but though he cannot withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and consolations of it. His presence may perhaps be necessary to support us in our existence; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happiness or misery. For in this sense he may cast us away from his presence, and take his Holy Spirit from us. This single consideration one would think sufficient to make us open our hearts to all those infusions of joy and gladness which are so near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon us; especially when we consider, secondly, the deplorable condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from his Maker's presence but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation.
'We may assure ourselves that the great Author of nature will not always be as one who is indifferent to any of his creatures. Those who will not feel him in his love will be sure at length. to feel him in his displeasure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creature, who is only sensible of the being of his Creator by what he suffers from him! He is as essentially present in hell as in heaven; but the inhabitants of the former behold him only in his wrath, and shrink within the flames to conceal themselves from him. It is not in the power of imagination to conceive the fearful effects of Omnipotence incensed.
But I shall only consider the wretchedness of an intellectual being, who in this life lies under the displeasure of him, that at all times and in all places is intimately united with him. He is able to disquiet the soul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can hinder any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its slightest calamities. Who then can bear the thought of being an outcast from his presence, that is, from the comforts of it, or of feeling it only in its terrors! How pathetic is that expostulation of Job, when for the trial of his patience he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition! "Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am become a burden to myself?" But, thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence from the secret effects of his mercy and loving kindness!
'The blessed in heaven behold him face to face, that is, are as sensible of his presence as we are of the presence of any person whom we look upon with our eyes. There is, doubtless, a faculty in spirits by which they apprehend one another as our senses do material objects; and there is no question but our souls, when they are disembodied, or placed in glorified bodies, will by this faculty, in whatever part of space they reside, be always sensible of the Divine Presence. We, who have this veil of flesh standing between us and the world of spirits, must be content to know that the Spirit of God is present with us, by the effects which he produces in us. Our outward senses are too gross to apprehend him; we may, however, taste and see how gracious he is, by his influence upon our minds, by those virtuous thoughts which he awakens in us, by those secret comforts