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the Church of England, from their being called by a name which they enjoy in common with heathens and impostors. The other is, his raking together and exaggerating, with great spleen and industry, all those actions of churchmen, which, either by their own illness, or the bad light in which -he places them, tend to give men an ill impression of the dispensers of the gospel; all which he pathetically addresses to the consideration of his wise and honest countrymen of the laity. The sophistry and ill-breeding of these proceedings are so obvious to men who have any pretence to that character, that I need say no more either of them or their author.
The inhabitants of the earth may properly be ranged under the two general heads of gentlemen and mechanics. This distinction arises from the different occupations wherein they exert themselves. The former of these species is universally acknowledged to be more honourable than the other, who are looked upon as a base and inferior order of men. But if the world is in the right in this natural judgment, it is not generally so in the distribution of particular persons under their respective denominations. It is a clear settled point, that the gentleman should be preferred to the mechanic. But who is the gentleman, and who the mechanic, wants to be explained.
The philosophers distinguish two parts in human nature; the rational and the animal. Now, if we attend to the reason of the thing, we shall find it difficult to assign a more just and adequate idea of these distinct species, than by defining the gentleman to be him whose occupation lies in the exertion of his rational faculties, and the mechanic him who is employed in the use of his animal parts, or the organic parts of his body.
The concurring assent of the world, in preferring gentlemen to mechanics, seems founded in that preference which the rational part of our nature is entitled to above the animal; when we consider it in itself, as it is the seat of wisdom and understanding, as it is pure and immortal, and as it is that which, of all the known works of the creation, bears the brightest impress of the Deity.
It claims the same dignity and pre-eminence, if we consider it with respect to its object. Mechanical motives or operations are confined to a narrow circle of low and little
things; whereas reason inquires concerning the nature of intellectual beings; the great Author of our existence; its end, and the proper methods of attaining it. Or in case that noble faculty submit itself to nearer objects, it is not, like the organic powers, confined to a slow and painful manner of action; but shifts the scenes, and applies itself to the most distant objects with incredible ease and dispatch. Neither are the operations of the mind, like those of the hands, limited to one individual object, but at once extended to a whole species.
And as we have shewn the intellectual powers to be nobler than those of motion, both in their own nature, and in regard to their object, the same will still hold if we consider their office. It is the province of the former to preside and direct; of the latter, to execute and obey. Those who apply their hands to the materials appear the immediate builders of an edifice; but the beauty and proportion of it, is owing to the architect who designed the plan in his closet. And in like manner, whatever there is either in art or nature, of use or regularity, will be found to proceed from the superior principle of reason and understanding. These reflections, how obvious soever, do nevertheless seem not sufficiently attended to by those, who being at great pains to improve the figure and motions of the body, neglect the culture of the mind.
From the premises it follows, that a man may descend from an ancient family, wear fine clothes, and be master of what is commonly called good-breeding, and yet not merit the name of gentleman. All those whose principal accomplishments consist in the exertion of the mechanic powers, whether the organ made use of be the eye, the muscles of the face, the fingers, feet, or any other part, are in the eye of reason to be esteemed mechanics.
I do therefore by these presents declare, that all men and women, by what title soever distinguished, whose occupation it is either to ogle with the eye, flirt with the fan, dress, cringe, adjust the muscles of the face, or other parts of the body, are degraded from the rank of gentry; which is from this time forward appropriated to those who employ the talents of the mind in the pursuit of knowledge and practice of virtue, and are content to take their places as they are distinguished by moral and intellectual accomplishments.
The rest of the human species come under the appellation of mechanics, with this difference, that the professed mechanics, who not pretending to be gentlemen, contain themselves within their proper sphere, are necessary to the well-being of mankind, and consequently should be more respected in a well-regulated commonwealth, than those mechanics who make a merit of being useless.
Having hitherto considered the human species as distinguished into gentlemen and mechanics, I come now to treat of the machines; a sort of beings that have the outside or appearance of men, without being really such. The freethinkers have often declared to the world, that they are not actuated by any incorporeal being or spirit; but that all the operations they exert proceed from the collision of certain corpuscles, endued with proper figures and mo→ tions. It is now a considerable time that I have been their proselyte in this point. I am even so far convinced that they are in the right, that I shall attempt proving it to others.
The mind being itself invisible, there is no other way to discern its existence, than by the effects which it produceth. Where design, order, and symmetry, are visible in the effects, we conclude the cause to be an Intelligent Being; but where nothing of these can be found, we ascribe the effect to hazard, necessity, or the like. Now I appeal to any one who is conversant in the modern productions of our freethinkers, if they do not look rather like effects of chance, or at best of mechanism, than of a thinking principle, and consequently whether the authors of those rhapsodies are not mere machines.
The same point is likewise evident from their own assertion; it being plain that no one could mistake thought for motion, who knew what thought was. For these reasons I do hereby give it in charge to all Christians, that hereafter they speak of freethinkers in the neuter gender, using the term "it" for "him." They are to be considered as automata, made up of bones and muscles, nerves, arteries, and animal spirits; not so innocent indeed, but as destitute of thought and reason, as those little machines which the excellent author, from whom I take the motto of this paper, has so elegantly described.
N° 131. TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 1713.
Iter pigrorum quasi sepes spinarum.-EX LATIN. PROV.
HERE are sorts of within the considera
Ttion of my frontispiece, the first are the mighty body
of Lingerers, persons who do not indeed employ their time criminally, but are such pretty innocents, who, as the poet says,
The others being something more vivacious, are such as do not only omit to spend their time well, but are in the constant pursuit of criminal satisfactions. Whatever the divine may think, the case of the first seems to be the most deplorable, as the habit of sloth is more invincible than that of vice. The first is preferred even when the man is fully possessed of himself, and submitted to with constant deliberation, and cool thought. The other we are driven into generally through the heat of wine, or youth, which Mr. Hobbes calls a natural drunkenness; and therefore consequently are more excusable for any errors committed during the deprivation or suspension of our reason, than in the possession of it. The irregular starts of vicious appetites are in time destroyed by the gratification of them; but a well-ordered life of sloth receives daily strength from its continuance. "I went," says Solomon, "by the field of the slothful, and the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo! it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down." To raise the image of this person, the same author adds, "The slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth." If there were no future account expected of spending our time, the immediate inconvenience that attends a life of idleness should of itself be persuasion enough to the men of sense to avoid it. I say, to the men of sense, because there are of these that give into it, and for these chiefly is this paper designed. Arguments drawn from future rewards and punishments, are things too re
mote for the consideration of stubborn sanguine youth. They are affected by such only as propose immediate pleasure or pain; as the strongest persuasive to the children of Israel was a land flowing with milk and honey. I believe I may say there is more toil, fatigue, and uneasiness in sloth, than can be found in any employment a man will put himself upon. When a thoughtful man is once fixed this way, spleen is the necessary consequence. This directs him instantly to the contemplation of his health or circumstances, which must ever be found extremely bad upon these melancholy inquiries. If he has any common business upon his hands, numberless objections arise, that make the dispatch of it impossible; and he cries out with Solomon, "There is a lion in the way, a lion in the streets;" that is, there is some difficulty or other, which to his imagination is as invincible as a lion really would be. The man, on the contrary, that applies himself to books, or business, contracts a cheerful confidence in all his undertakings, from the daily improvement of his knowledge or fortune; and instead of giving himself up to
Thick-ey'd musing cursed melancholy.-SHAKSPEARE.
has that constant life in his visage and conversation, which the idle splenetic man borrows sometimes from the sunshine, exercise, or an agreeable friend. A recluse idle sobriety must be attended with more bitter remorse, than the most active debauchery can at any intervals be molested with. The rake, if he is a cautious manager, will allow himself very little time to examine his own conduct, and will bestow as few reflections upon himself, as the lingerer does upon any thing else, unless he has the misfortune to repent. I repeat, the misfortune to repent, because I have put the great day of account out of the present case, and am now inquiring, not whose life is most irreligious, but most inconvenient. A gentleman that has formerly been a very eminent lingerer, and something splenetic, informs me, that in one winter he drank six hampers of spa-water, several gallons of chalybeate tincture, two hogsheads of bitters, at the rate of sixty pounds a hogshead, laid one hundred and fifty infallible schemes, in every one of which he was disappointed, received a thousand affronts during the north-easterly winds, and in