« 上一頁繼續 »
plea for feparation; all other confiderations be low that of being in danger of not being faved, being infinitely too fmall for the making new fects, and dividing the fentiments of a nation in a matter fo effentially neceffary, as that of being held by one uniting principle in religion.
PERHAPS this belief of all religions being lefs likely to fave the foul of man, than that which each follows, is infeparable, and must
be fo, from all true believers of what they pro
fefs. If our own is not beheld in that favourable light, above others, if all religions are alike in our opinion, we fhall be actuated by none; preference being abfolutely neceffary in all things, to put the mind of man into action, and make it influenced by any motive thus this particular belief, and that in religion, feem to be fecretly united for ever together, in the minds of all believers, ddr
A philofopher then, who is not misled by the will-of-a-wifp of words, or dazzled by the aurora borealis of falfe pretenfions, fees that at the bottom these terrible imputations against us, by the fectaries, are really found in their own
principles of separation; and in truth, the belief of not being obliged to keep faith with heretics, has influenced the morals of catholics, as little as that of being obliged by nothing, or taking the liberty of thinking for themselves amongst the diffenters; a fpecies of beings which has never been remarkable for lenity, when they had power, or charitable thoughts for those that differ from them.
FROM much obfervation and in juftice to the English church, I own it has a generofity belonging to it, which has almost ruined itself by its indulgence to fectaries; and perhaps a liberality of fentiment, to be found in no other greater than the feeble condition of human na. ture is able to bear and be well governed; indulgence, in extremes, creates diffatisfaction in all things.
I am your most obedient fervand
To the Reverend Father VINCENZO SPINELLO at Rome.
have often told you, that this island teems with more characters, than are to be found in any nation upon earth, and probably as many as are upon the face of the globe. Every other nation has fomething which characterizes its people, and makes it vifibly belong to one government; but in England the idea of liberty has reduced the minds of the inhabitants to a state of nature, as near as poffible: this arifes from the belief, that in religion as in govern ment, a man is to think and act for himself ; which has taken off all reftaint.
INDEED, this is not the avow'd belief of all ranks of people: thofe of the established church allow, that the king has a right to decide and determine in matters relating to religion; that he has prerogatives and power, which are truly
his; and yet the miniftry of late years, who have been all Whigs in politics, and of the establish'd religion in matters of faith, if of any, (except one prefbyterian or two, flipt into high places) have diminish'd the power of the one, and tacitly difavowed the authority of the other, tho' the government has not been changed by any law whatever.
THIS prevailing opinion in the two most effential confiderations of life, has borne down all other minuter influences; there is no uniform, establish'd behaviour amongst the people in this kingdom, as you fee in other places: The very moment an Englishman becomes rich enough to think himself independent, his first pleafure is, to fhew that he does not care a fixpence for any one, by his behaviour and converfation, and lets himself loose to the influence of his ruling whimfy: I fpeak now of all thofe, who rife to great fortunes of their own acquiring: by this means in a London coffee-house, a place for fociety and conversation, you fee in their faces that these men are lefs fociable creatures, if they are filent, than in the inhabitants of Paris, as they walk the streets; a ftern negative spreading itself over the countenances of the firft, and a F 2 look
look of invitation on those of the latter if they fpeak, it is apparently to please themselves; the French, tho' with the fame defign, yet appear ing to please others.
It is in this ifle an inviolable maxim, that every man of fortune has a right to spend his money as he pleases by this it appears, that neither cuftom nor government influencing the behaviour of these people, there are few that diffuse their mo ney as they ought, but each man's prevailing
whim decides of him in all things.
FROM this principle it naturally happens that
one is all horfe-jockey, another fox-hunter
this up to the ears in play, another eternally in ta verns and brothels; one rambling from place to place at an expence above his income; this buys pictures, nick-nacks and vértu, till he has not a house to put them in, and that purchases a feat in parliament for seven years at the price of half his estate (the whole of which was not before that time large enough for his expences) at the expiration of which term, he finds himself disappointed in his expectations, and without an acre of land.