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hinderance to us in the performance of that great duty of thanksgiving*, which, as we are informcd by our Almighty Benefactor, is the most acceptable return which can be made for those infinite stores of blessings which he daily condescends to pour
his creatures. When we make use of this pathetical method of addressing ourselves to him we scarce contain from raptures! The heart is warmed with a sublimity of goodness! We are all piety and all love!
How do the blessed spirits rejoice and wonder to behold unthinking man prostrating his soul to his dread Sovereign in such a warmth of piety as they themselves might not be ashamed of!
" I shall close these reflections with a passage taken out of the third book of Milcon's Paradise Lost, where those harmonious beings are thus nobly described:
“ Then crown'd again, their golden harps they took,
* The town cannot be unacquainted that in divers parts of it there are vociferous sets of men who are called rattling clubs; but what shocks me most is, they have now the front to invade the church and institute these societies there, as a clan of them have in late times done, to such
A proclamation issued the day before this paper was pubkished for a thanksgiving for king George's accession, to be abserved January 20th.
a degree of insolence as have given the partition where they reside, in a church near one of the city gates, the denomination of the rattling pew. These gay fellows, from humble lay professions set up for critics, without any tincture of letters or reading, and have the vanity to think they can lay hold of something from the parson which may be formed into ridicule.
"It is needless to observe that the gentlemen, who every Sunday have the hard province of instructing these wretches in a way they are in no present disposition to take, have a fixed character for learning and eloquence, not to be tainted by the weak efforts of this contemptible part of their audiences. Whether the pulpit is taken by these gentlemen, or any strangers their friends, the way of the club is this: if any sentiments are delivered too sublime for their conception; if any uncommon topic is entered on, or one in use new modified with the finest judgment and dexterity; or any controverted point be never so elegantly handled ; in short, whatever surpasses the narrow limits of their theology, or is not suited to their taste, they are all immediately upon the watch, fixing their eyes upon each other with as much warmth as our gladiators of Hockley-in-theHole, and waiting like them for a hit: if one touches, all take fire, and their noddles instantly meet in the centre of the pew: then, as by beat of drum, with exact discipline, they rear up in a full length of stature, and with odd looks and gesticulations confer together in so loud and clamorous a manner, continued to the close of the discourse, and during the after-psalm, as is not to be silenced but by the bells. Nor does this suffice them, without aiming to propagate their noise through all the church, by signals given to the adjoining seats, where others designed for this fraternity are sometimes placed upon trial to receive them.
• The folly as well as rudeness of this practice is in nothing more conspicuous than this, that all that follows in the sermon is lost: for, whenever our sparks take alarm, they blaze out and grow so tumultuous that no after-explanation can avail, it being impossible for themselves orany near them to give an account thereof. If any thing really novel is advanced, how averse soever it may be to their way of thinking, to say nothing of duty, men of less levity than these would be led by a natural curiosity to hear the whole.
• Laughter, where things sacred are transacted, is far less pardonable than whining at a conventi. cle; the last has at least a semblance of grace, and where the affectation is unseen may possibly imprint wholesome lessons on the sincere ; but the first has no excuse for breaking through all the rules of order and decency, and manifesting a remissness of mind in those important matters which require the strictest composure and steadiness of thought: a proof of the greatest felly in the world.
I shall not here enter upon the veneration due to the sanctity of the place, the reverence owing the minister, or the respect that so great an assembly as a whole parish may justly claim. I shall only tell them, that, as the Spanish cobbler, to reclaim a profligate son, bid him have some regard to the dignity of his family, so they as gentlemen (for we who are citizens assume to be such one day in a week) are bound for the future to repent of, and abstain from, the gross abuses 'here mentioned, whereof they have been guilty
in contempt of heaven and earth, and contrary to the laws in this case made and provided.
I am, SIR,
No. 631. FRIDAY, DEC. 10, 1714.
Hor. 1. Od. v. 5.
Elegant by cleanliness
I HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some days since, in a stage-coach, where I had for my fellow travellers a dirty beau, and a pretty young quaker woman. Having no inclina. tion to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention. The gentleman was dressed in a suit the ground whereof had been black, as I perceived from some few spaces that had escaped the powder, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat; his periwig, which cost no small sum, was after so slovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712 ; his linen, which was not much concealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chin to the lowest button; and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in mind how it sparkled amidst the rubbish of the mine where it was first discovered. On the other hand, the pretty quaker appeared in all the ele
gance of cleanliness.
Not a speck was to be found upon her. A clear, clean, oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambric, received great advantages from the shade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that sober-coloured stuff in which she had clothed herself. The plainness of her dress was very well suited to the simplicity of her phrases; all which, put together, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence.
This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I shall consider as one of the half-virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall recommend it under the three following heads: as it is a mark of politeness; as it produces love ; and as it bears analogy to purity of mind.
First, it is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one unadorned with this virtue can go into company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty arises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanliness as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot and an English beauty to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place cleanliness may be said to be the foster mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not unamiabie, while it is preserved clean and