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I shall not here enter upon the veneratiou 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 proligate 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 gnilty in contempt of heaven and earth, and contrary to the laws in this case made and pro. vided.
I am, sir,
N° 631. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1714,
Hor, 1. Od. v.5
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 inclination 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 peri. wig, 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 elegance of cleanliness. Not beck 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 vir tue can go into company without giving a manifest offi'nce. . The casier 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 prodnces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and per. son, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not un. amiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied : like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust.
I might observe farther, that as cleanliness redders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves ; that it is an excellent preservative of health ; and that several vices, destructive both to miod and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe, in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions.
We find from experience that, through the prevalence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, those who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the first appearances of what is shocking.
It fares with much after the same manner as our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impression of such things as usually surround them. So that pure and uusullied thoughts are natnarally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually encompass us when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
In the east where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately necessary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their re. Jigion : the Jewish law, and the Mahoinetan, which in some things copies after it, is filled with bath. ings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above-named convenient rea. son to be assigned for these ceremonies, the chief intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanliness of heart by those outward washings, We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth ; and which are but ill accounted for by saying as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the desert, which otherwise could not have been habitable for so many years,
I shall conclude this essay with a story which I have somewhere read in an account of Mahometan superstitions.
A dervise of great sanctity one morning had the misfortune, as he took up a crystal cup which was consecrated to tbe prophet, to let it fall upon the ground and dash it in pieces. His son coming in some time after, he stretched out his hand to bless him, as his manner was every morning : but the youth going out stumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca; the dervise approached it to beg a blessing ; but as he stroked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast that sorely bruised him. His sorrow and amazement increased upon him until he recolected that, through hurry and inadvert. ency, he had that morning come abroad without Washing his hands.
N° 632. MONDAY, DEC. 13, 1714.
-Explebo numerum, reddarque tenebrise
VIRG. En. vi. 545.
The love of symmetry and order, which is natural to the mind of man, betrays him sometimes into very whimsical fancies. This noble principle,' says a French author, loves to amuse itself on the most trifling occasions. You may see a profound philosopher,' says he, walk for an hour together in his chamber, and industriously treading, at every step, upon every other board in the flooring
." Every reader will recollect several instances of this nature without my assistance. I think it was Gregorio Leti, who had published as many books as he was years old *; which was a rule he had laid down and punctually observed to the year of his death. It was, perhaps, a thought of the like nature which determined Homer himself to divide each of his poems into as many books as there are letters in the Greek alphabet. Herodotus has in the same manner adapted his books to the number of the muses, for which reason many a learned man hath wished there had beeu more than nine of that sisterhood.
* This voluminous writer boasted that he had been the author of a book and the father of a child for 20 years succese sively. Swift counted the number of steps he had made from London to Chelsea. And it is said and demonstrated in the Pa. rentalia, that bishop Wren walked round the carth while a. prisoner in the tower of London.