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and being unchecked by all external influence; a man of this ftamp with a turn to devotion, would have been cannonized as a faint in Italy.
THUS, fir, I have fent you a very fingular, and very true pourtrait, which I hope you will confider as natural philofophers do the extraordinary productions of human nature, where the viscera are transposed, or any deviation from the common way of her productions: for tho' I look upon one research or discovery of the univerfal principles of nature, beyond a thousand of its irregular productions; yet, I hope in complaisance to the reigning tafte in this kingdom, you will receive this with as much diftinction as a fix-legged rabbit, a two-headed lamb, or a double-bodied chicken, would be, by what is at prefent called a Philofopher in England. I am,
Your most obedient.
To the Reverend Father FILIPPO PAMPTA at Rome.
S it a paradox to fay, that folly and philofophy in many cafes are very near a-kin; and that what is despised as fuperftition and weaknefs in one nation, may be efteemed as reafonable and praise-worthy in another.
FASHION reigns in all the occupations of human nature, in philofophy, and religion, as well as in drefs and diverfions; tilts and tournaments are no more in England, horfe-races and foxhunting fupply that place: the mind must be engaged, tho' we change the purfuit, and tho' the objects of the year 1500 become totally neglected and defpifed, yet those in fashion in 1750, have neither more truth, nor more good sense belonging to them, than the former; alius et idem nascitur is equally applicable to funs, men, and fashions.
WHEN religion was the reigning mode, relicks of faints were very acceptable to every one;
a nail of the true crofs, a finger of St. Peter, a bone of St. Benedict, were esteemed worthy the regard of every one, however exalted in life and riches, and preferved in fhrines of gold and filver. Chriftians conceived that thofe who had been illuftrious in piety, or propagating their faith, deferved efteem and reverence for the advantages they had bequeathed to mankind, and the examples which they had fet before them.
IN this nation, that manner of thinking is at at an end, because religion is no longer in fashion.
LET us however, fee whether the folly is cured by the reformation, or whether the fame humour is not broke out in fome other fhape. : Are not the prefent Antiquarians of England as ridiculous to the full, as the chriftians of our country who pay great esteem to the relicks of faints? always remembering, that the meanest capacities are those which are fubject to this attention in Italy, and thefe which call themselves. the highest in this kingdom to the other.
AN Italian peafant believes, that the effluvia from the shrine of St. Anthony can cure him of a disease; he hangs up a waxen leg as a votive offering of gratitude for a limb preserved; and by this means feels the highest sensation of joy, which a human creature is capable of conceiving; thus, this folly is not without its pleasure attending it.
A philofopher believes he poffeffes the very knife that diffected the heartless ox, at the facri fice which Cæfar made before his being affaffinated; this is a curiofity not to be esteemed fufficiently, it becomes the envy of every antiquarian, the eternal cause of fighing the most rare of all the rare things upon earth.
AN Italian catholic has the chalice which St. Jerom used in the communion of the Eucharift, and values it amazingly; he would rather part with any thing, than that which was employed by the hands of that pious man.
WHICH is the moft abfurd credulity? He who imagines himself poffeffed of what has no proof belonging to it, or, he who believes that
this chalice will defend him from difeafe and
THE objects of this faith are different indeed, but the ridicule in each is equally ftriking; is it not to the full as unworthy the dignity of that great reafoner, man, to give credit to a knife's being preferved fince the time of that facrifice, that it has fallen into his hands, and then value it for that reafon? as it is to believe the chalice of St. Jerom has the power of preferving human nature from evil?
INDEED, the chriftian facrifice is much out of fashion, and the pagan highly confidered amongst antiquarians; one difgraced by the name fuperftition, the other exalted by that of philosophy, and vértu; Cæfar adored as a genius and general, and Chrift reduced to a carpenter's fon.
YET to every eye uninfluenced by prejudice, what comparison between the two, even confidered as human beings? One brought death on his countrymen, and flavery on his native land; the latter died to save mankind, and left behind him a doctrine which contains all that is ne