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This affectation of free-thinking, among the lower class of people, is at present happily confined to the On Sundays, while the husbands are toping at the ale-house, the good women their wives think it their duty to go to church, say their prayers, bring home the text, and hear the children their catechism. But our polite ladies are, I fear, in their lives and conversations little better than free-thinkers. Going to church, since it is now no longer the fashion to carry on intrigues there, is almost wholly laid aside : and I verily believe, that nothing but another earthquake can ever fill the churches with people of quality. The fair sex in general are too thoughtless to concern themselves in deep enquiries into matters of religion. It is sufficient, that they are taught to be. lieve themselves angels: it would therefore be an ill compliment, while we talk of the heaven they bestow, to persuade them into the Mahometan notion, that they have no souls: though perhaps our fine gentlemen may imagine, that by convincing a lady, that she has no soul, she will be less scrupulous about the disposal of her body.
The ridiculous notions maintained by free-thinkers in their writings, scarce deserve a serious refutation; and perhaps the best method of answering them would be to select from their works all the absurd and impracticable notions, which they so stiffly maintain in order to evade the belief of the Christian religion. I shall here throw together a few of their principal tenets, under the contradictory title of
The UNBELIEVER'S CREED.
I BELIEVE that there is no God, but that Matter is God, and God is Matter; and that it is no matter whether there is any God or no.
I believe, that the world was not made; that the world made itself; that it had no beginning; that it will last for ever, world without end.
I believe, that man is a beast; that the soul is the body, and the body the soul; and that after death there is neither body nor soul.
I believe, that there is no religion; that natural religion is the only religion; and that all religion is unnatural.
I believe not in Moses; I believe in the first philosophy: I believe not the Evangelists, I believe in Chubb, Collins, Toland, Tindal, Morgan, Mandeville, Woolston, Hobbes, Shaftsbury: I believe in Lord Bolingbroke; I believe not St. Paul.
I believe not revelation; I believe in tradition; I believe in the Talmud; I believe in the Alcoran; I believe not the Bible: I believe in Socrates; I believe in Confucius; I believe in Sanconiathon; I believe in Mahomet; I believe not in Christ.
Lastly, I believe in all unbelief.
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
EVER since we have thought fit to take these kingdoms into our immediate care, we have made it our earnest endeavour to go hand in hand with your wisdoms in promoting the welfare and prosperity of the people. The important business of taxes, lotte
ries, marriages, and Jews, we have left to your weighty consideration; while ourselves have been employed in the regulation of fashions, the establishment of taste, and amendment of the morals. We have the satisfaction to find, that both our measures have hitherto met with success: and the public affairs are at present in so prosperous a condition, that the national vices seem as likely to decrease as the national debt.
The dissolution of your assembly is now at hand; and as your whole attention will naturally be engaged in securing to yourselves and friends a seat in the next parliament, it is needless to recommend to you, that heads should be broken, drunkenness encouraged, and abuse propagated; which has been found by experience to be the best method of supporting the freedom of elections. In the mean time, as the care of the nation must be left to us, it is necessary, that: during this interval our prerogative, as Censor-General, should be considerably extended, and that we should be invested with the united power of lords and
When we are entrusted with this important charge, we shall expect, that every different faction shall concur in our measures for the public utility; that whig and tory, high-church, and low-church, court and country, shall all unite in this common cause; and that opposite parties in the body politic, like the arms and legs in the body natural, shall move in concert, though they are on different sides. In our papers, which we shall continue to publish on Thursdays, under the title of THE CONNOISSEUR, every misdemeanor shall be examined, and offenders called to the bar of the house. Be it therefore enacted, that these our orders and resolutions have an equal authority with acts of parliament: as we doubt not, they will be of equal advantage to the community.
The extraordinary supplies requisite for the service of the current weeks, and for the support of our own privy purse, oblige us to demand of you, that a sum, not exceeding two-pence, be levied weekly on each person, to be collected by our trusty and well-beloved the booksellers. We must also particularly request of you, that the same privilege and protection be extended to us, which is enjoyed by yourselves, and is so very convenient to many of your honourable members. It is no less expedient, that we should be secured from let or molestation: be it therefore provided, that no one presume to arrest or cause to be arrested our person, or the persons of our publisher, printer, corrector, devil, or any other employed in our service.
We have only to add, that you may rely on our care and diligence in discharging the high trust reposed in us, in such manner as shall merit the thanks of the next parliament. We shall then recommend it to their consideration, whether it would not be for the interest of these kingdoms, that we should have a woolpack alloted us with the bishops, or be allowed a perpetual seat among the commons, as the representative of the whole people. But if this should be deemed too great an honour, it will at least be thought necessary, that we should be occasionally called in, like the judges, to give our opinion in cases of importance.
CRITIC, and CENSOR-GENERAL.
No. X. THURSDAY, APRIL 4.
Νηπιον, ἔπω ἐιδοθ' όμοιος πολέμοιο,
What knows the stripling of the soldier's trade,
LEARNING, as it polishes the mind, enlarges our ideas, and gives an ingenuous turn to our whole conversation and behaviour, has ever been esteemed a liberal accomplishment; and is, indeed, the principal characteristic, that distinguishes the gentleman from the mechanic.
This axiom being universally allowed, I have often observed with wonder the neglect of learning, that prevails among the gentlemen of the army; who, notwithstanding their shameful deficiency in this main requisite, are generally proposed as the most exact models of good behaviour, and standards of polite
"Nor the division of a battle know,
The art of war is no easy study: it requires much labour and application to go through what Milton calls "the rudiments of soldiership, in all the skill of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging and battering, with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, tactics, and warlike maxims." With all these every officer should undoubtedly be acquainted; for mere regimentals no more create a soldier, than the cowl makes a monk. But, I fear, the generality of our army have made little proficiency in the art they profess; have learned little more than just to acquit themselves with some decency at a review; have not studied and examined, as they ought, the ancient and modern principles of war;