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as words that have no ideas annexed to them: and think men had better own their ignorance than advance doctrines by which they mean nothing, and which, indeed, are self-contradictory. We cannot be too modest in our disquisitions when we meditate on him, who is environed with so much glory and perfection, who is the source of being, the fountain of all that existence which we and his whole creation derive from him. Let us therefore with the utmost humility acknowledge, that as some being must necessarily have existed from eternity, so this being does exist after an incomprehensible manner, since it is impossible for a being to have existed from eternity after our manner or notions of existence. Revelation confirms these natural dictates of reason in the accounts which it gives us of the divine existence, where it tells us, that he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; that he is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending; that a thousand years are with him as one day, and one day as a thousand years : by which, and the like expressions, we are taught that his existence with relation to time or duration is infinitely different from the existence of any of his creatures, and consequently that it is impossible for us to frame any adequate conceptions of it.
. In the first revelation which he makes of his own being, he entitles himself, “ I Am that I Am;" and when Moses desires to know what name he shall give him in his embassy to Pharaoh, he bids him say that “I Am hath sent you.” Our great
Creator, by this revelation of himself, does in a manner exclude every thing else from a real existence, and distinguishes himself from his creatures as the only being which truly and really exists. The ancient Platonic notion, which was drawn from speculations of eternity, wonderfully agrees with this revelation
which God has made of himself. There is nothing, say they, which in reality exists, whose existence, as we call it, is pieced up of past, present, and to
Such a flitting and successive existence, is rather a shadow of existence, and something which is like it, than existence itself. He only properly exists whose existence is entirely present; that is, in other words, who exists in the most perfect manner, and in such a manner as we have no idea of.
" I shall conclude this speculation with one useful inference. How can we sufficiently prostrate ourselves and fall down before our Maker, when we consider that ineffable goodness and wisdom which contrived this existence for finite natures? What must be the overflowings of that good-will, which prompted our Creator to adapt existence to beings in whom it is not necessary; especially when we consider that he himself was before in the complete possession of existence and of happiness, and in the full enjoyment of eternity. What man can think of himself as called out and separated from nothing, of his being made a conscious, a reasonable, and a happy creature, in short, of being taken in as a sharer of existence, and a kind of partner in eternity, without being swallowed up in wonder, in praise, in adoration! It is indeed a thought too big for the mind of man, and rather to be entertained in the secrecy of devotion, and in the silence of the soul, than to be expressed by words. The supreme Being has not given us powers or faculties sufficient to extol and magnify such unutterable goodness.
' It is however some comfort to us, that we shall be always doing what we shall be never able to do ; and that a work which cannot be finished, will however be the work of eternity'
N° 591. WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 8, 1714.
Tenerorum lusor amorum.
OVID. Trist. 3 El. li. 73. Love the soft subject of his sportive Muse. I have just received a letter from a gentleman, who tells me he has observed, with no small concern, that my papers have of late been very barren in relation to love: a subject which, when agreeably handled, can scarcely fail of being well received by both sexes. If
my invention therefore should be almost exhausted on this head, he offers to serve under me in the quality of a love-casuist; for which place he conceives himself to be thoroughly qualified, having made this passion his principal study, and observed it in all its different shapes and appearances, from the fifteenth to the forty-fifth year of his age.
He assures me with an air of confidence, which I hope proceeds from his real abilities, that he does not doubt of giving judgment to the satisfaction of the parties concerned on the most nice and intricate cases which can happen in an amour; as,
How great the contraction of the fingers must be before it amounts to a squeeze by the hand.
What can be properly termed an absolute denial from a maid, and what from a widow.
What advances a lover may presume to make, after having received a pat upon his shoulder from his mistress's fan.
Whether a lady, at the first interview, may allow a humble servant to kiss her hand.
How far it may be permitted to caress the maid, in order to succeed with the mistress.
What constructions a man may put upon a smile, and in what cases a frown goes for nothing.
On what occasion a sheepish look may do service, &c.
As a farther proof of his skill, he also sent me several maxims in love, which he assures me are the result of a long and profound reflection, some of which I think myself obliged to communicate to the public, not remembering to have seen them before in any
author. There are more calamities in the world arising from love than from hatred.
Love is the daughter of Idleness, but the mother of Disquietude.
Men of grave natures, says Sir Francis Bacon, are the most constant; for the same reason men should be more constant than women.
• The gay part of mankind is most amorous, the serious most loving.
'A coquette often loses her reputation while she preserves her virtue.
' A prude often preserves her reputation when she has lost her virtue.
Love refines a man's behaviour, but makes a woman's ridiculous.
Love is generally accompanied with good-will in the young, interest in the middle-aged, and a passion too gross to name in the old.
• The endeavours to revive a decaying passion generally extinguish the remains of it.
'A woman who from being a slattern becomes over-neat, or from being over-neat becomes a slattern, is most certainly in love.'
I shall make use of this gentleman's skill as I see occasion; and since I am got upon the subject of love, shall conclude this paper with a copy of verses which were lately sent me by an unknown hand, as
I look upon them to be above the ordinary run of sonneteers.
The author tells me they were written in one of his despairing fits; and I find entertains some hope that his mistress may pity such a passion as he has described, before she knows that she is herself Corinna.
Conceal, fond man, conceal the mighty smart,
And never, never from thy bosom stray*. . The author of these verses was Gilbert, the second brother of Eustace Budgell, Esq.