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thought the offspring of state policy, honouring its usefulness at the same time that they disparage its truth. What, therefore, cannot be acquired by every man's reasoning, must be introduced by precept, and riveted by custom ; that is to say, the bulk of mankind must, in all civilised societies, have their minds, by timely instruction, well seasoned and furnished with proper notions, which, although the grounds or proofs thereof be unknown to them, will nevertheless influence their conduct, and so far render them useful members of the state. But if you strip men of these their notions, or, if you will, prejudices, with regard to modesty, decency, justice, charity, and the like, you will soon find them so many monsters utterly unfit for human society.
I desire it may be considered that most men want leisure, opportunity, or faculties, to derive conclusions from their principles, and establish morality on a foundation of human science. True it is—as St Paul observes that the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen;' and from thence the duties of natural religion may be discovered. But these things are seen and discovered by those alone who open their eyes and look narrowly for them. Now, if you look throughout the world, you shall find but few of these narrow inspectors and inquirers, very few who make it their business to analyse opinions, and pursue them to their rational source, to examine whence truths spring, and how they are inferred. In short, you shall find all men full of opinions, but knowledge only in a few.
It is impossible, from the nature and circumstances of humankind, that the multitude should be philosophers, or that they should know things in their causes. We see every day that the rules, or conclusions alone, are sufficient for the shopkeeper to state his account, the sailor to navigate his ship, or the carpenter to measure his timber; none of which understand the theory, that is to say, the grounds and reasons either of arithmetic or geometry. Even so in moral, political, and religious matters, it is manifest that the rules and opinions early imbibed at the first dawn of understanding, and without the least glimpse of science, may yet produce excellent effects, and be very useful to the world ; and that, in fact, they are so, will be very visible to every one who shall observe what passeth round about him.
LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU: 1690-1762.
Lady Mary, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Kingston, was the intimate
friend of all the great writers of the period. Having accompanied her husband, Mr Edward Wortley Montagu, on his embassy to Constantinople, 1716—1718, she wrote to her friends in England a series of lively descriptive letters, which, with those written during her travels in other parts of Europe, are still considered models of epistolary composition. She introduced from Turkey the practice of inoculation for the small-pox.
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER TO MR POPE.
I am at this present moment writing in a house situated on the banks of the Hebrus, which runs under my chamber window. My garden is full of tall cypress-trees, upon the branches of which several couple of true turtles are saying soft things to one another from morning till night. The summer is already far advanced in this part of the world ; and for some miles round Adrianople, the whole ground is laid out in gardens, and the banks of the rivers are set with rows of fruit-trees, under which all the most considerable Turks divert themselves every evening ; not with walking, that is not one of their pleasures, but a set party of them choose out a green spot, where the shade is very thick, and there they spread a carpet, on which they sit drinking their coffee, and are generally attended by some slave with a fine voice, or that plays on some instrument. Every twenty paces you may see one of these little companies listening to the dashing of the river; and this taste is so universal, that the very gardeners are not without it. I have often seen them and their children sitting on the banks of the river, and playing on a rural instrument, perfectly answering the description of the ancient fistula, being composed of unequal reeds, with a simple but agreeable softness in the sound,
Mr Addison might here make the experiment he speaks of in his travels ; there not being one instrument of music among the Greek or Roman statues that is not to be found in the hands of the people of this country. The young lads generally divert themselves with making garlands for their favourite lambs, which I have often seen painted and adorned with flowers lying at their feet while they sung or played. It is not that they ever read romances, but these are the ancient amusements here, and as natural to them as cudgelplaying and foot-ball to our British swains; the softness and warmth of the climate forbidding all rough exercises, which were never so much as heard of amongst them, and naturally inspiring a laziness and aversion to labour, which the great plenty indulges. These gardeners are the only happy race of country-people in Turkey. They furnish all the city with fruits and herbs, and seem to live very easily. They are most of them Greeks, and have little houses in the midst of their gardens, where their wives and daughters take a liberty not permitted in the town, I mean, to go unveiled. These wenches are very neat and handsome, and pass their time at their looms under the shade of the trees.
I read over your Homer here with an infinite pleasure, and find several little passages explained, that I did not before entirely comprehend the beauty of; many of the customs, and much of the dress, then in fashion, being yet retained. I do not wonder to find more remains here of an age so distant than is to be found in any other country, the Turks not taking that pains to introduce their own manners as has been generally practised by other nations, that imagine themselves more polite. It would be too tedious to you to point out all the passages that relate to present customs. But I can assure you that the princesses and great ladies pass their time at their looms, embroidering veils and robes, surrounded by their maids ; which are always very numerous, in the same manner as we find Andromache and Helen described. The description of the belt of Menelaus exactly resembles those that are now wom by the great men, fastened before with broad golden clasps, and embroidered round with rich work. The snowy veil that Helen throws over her face is still fashionable ; and I never see half-a-dozen of old bashaws (as I do very often), with their reverend beards, sitting basking in the sun, but I recollect good King Priam and his counsellors. Their manner of dancing is certainly the same that Diana is sung to have danced on the banks of Eurotas. The great lady still leads the dance, and is followed by a troop of young girls, who imitate her steps, and, if she sings, make up the chorus. The tunes are extremely gay and lively, yet with something in them wonderfully soft. The steps are varied according to the pleasure of her that leads the dance, but always in exact time, and infinitely more agreeable than any of our dances, at least in my opinion. I sometimes make one in the train, but am not skilful enough to lead : these are the Grecian dances, the Turkish being very different.
JOSEPH BUTLER: 1692-175 2.
Joseph Butler rose through a series of church preferments to the bishopric
of Durham. His great work, The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, published in 1736, is considered a master-piece of reasoning in behalf of Christianity.
ON THE CREDIBILITY OF A FUTURE LIFE.
From The Analogy.
If, leaving off the delusive custom of substituting imagination in the room of experience, we would confine ourselves to what we do know and understand ; if we would argue only from that, and from that form our expectation, it would appear at first sight that as no probability of living beings ever ceasing to be so can be concluded from the reason of the thing, so none can be collected from the analogy of Nature, because we cannot trace any living beings beyond death. But as we are conscious that we are endued with capacities of perception and of action, and are living persons, what we are to go upon is, that we shall continue so till we foresee some accident or event which will endanger those capacities, or be likely to destroy us, which death does in nowise appear to be.
And thus, when we go out of this world, we may pass into new scenes, and a new state of life and action, just as naturally as we came into the present. And this new state may naturally be a social one.
And the advantages of it, advantages of every kind, may naturally be bestowed, according to some fixed general laws of wisdom, upon every one in proportion to the degrees of his virtue. And though the advantages of that future natural state should not be bestowed, as these of the present in some measure are, by the will of the society, but entirely by His more immediate action upon whom the whole frame of nature depends, yet this distribution may be just as natural as their being distributed here by the instrumentality of men. And, indeed, though one were to allow any confused undetermined sense which people please to put upon the word natural, it would be a shortness of thought scarce credible to imagine that no system or course of things can be so, but only what we see at present: especially whilst the probability of a future life, or the natural immortality of the soul, is admitted upon the evidence of reason ; because this is really both admitting and denying at once a state of being different from the present to be natural. But the only distinct meaning of that word is stated, fixed, or settled; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so—
—that is, to affect it continually, or at stated times—as what is supernatural or miraculous does to affect it for once. And from hence it must follow that persons' notion of what is natural will be enlarged in proportion to their greater knowledge of the works of God and the dispensations of his Providence. Nor is there any absurdity in supposing that there may be beings in the universe whose capacities, and knowledge, and views, may be so extensive as that the whole Christian dispensation may to them appear natural—that is, analogous or conformable to God's dealings with other parts of his creation—as natural as the visible known course of things appears to us; for there seems scarce any other possible sense to be put upon the word but that only in which it is here used, similar, stated, or uniform.
This credibility of a future life, which has been here insisted upon, how little soever it may satisfy our curiosity, seems to answer all the purposes of religion, in like manner as a demonstrative proof would. Indeed, a proof, even a demonstrative one, of a future life, would not be a proof of religion. For that we are to live hereafter is just as reconcilable with the scheme of atheism, and as well to be accounted for by it, as that we are now alive is; and therefore nothing can be more absurd than to argue from that scheme that there can be no future state. But as religion implies a future state, any presumption against such a state is a presumption against religion. And the foregoing observations remove all presumptions of that sort, and prove, to a very considerable degree of probability, one fundamental doctrine of religion, which, if believed, would greatly open and dispose the mind seriously to attend to the general evidence of the whole.