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modulations. It is an amusement by no means below the dignity of a rational soul, to observe the pretty creatures flying in pairs, to mark the different passions in their intrigues, the curious contexture of their nests, and their care and tenderness of their little offspring. I am particularly acquainted with a wagtail and his spouse, and made many remarks upon the several gallantries he hourly used, before the coy female would consent to make him happy. When I saw in how many airy rings he was forced to pursue her; how sometimes she tripped before him in a pretty pitty-pat step, and scarce seemed to regard the cowering of his wings, and the many awkward and foppish contortions into which he put his body to do her homage, it made me reflect upon my own youth, and the caprices of the fair but fantastic Teraminta. Often have I wished that I understood the language of birds, when I have heard him exert an eager chuckle at her leaving him; and do not doubt but that he muttered the same vows and reproaches which I often have vented against that unrelenting maid. The sight that gave me the most satisfaction was a flight of young birds, under the conduct of the father, and indulgent directions and assistance of the dam. I took particular notice of a beau goldfinch, who was picking his plumes, pruning his wings, and with great diligence adjusting all his gaudy garniture. When he had equipped himself with great trimness and nicety, he stretched his painted neck, which seemed to brighten with new glowings, and strained his throat into many wild notes and natural melody. He then flew about the nest in several circles and windings, and invited his wife and children into open air. It was very entertaining to see the trembling and the fluttering of the little strangers at their first entrance into the world, and the different care of the male and female parent, so suitable to their several sexes. I could not take my eye quickly from so entertaining an object; nor could I help wishing that creatures of a superior rank would so manifest their mutual affection, and so cheerfully concur in providing for their offspring. TICKELL.
ON THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE LAWS OF THE MATERIAL AND MORAL WORLD. (No. 126).
If we consider the whole scope of the creation that lies within our view, the moral and intellectual, as well as the natural and corporeal, we shall perceive throughout a certain correspondence of the parts, a similitude of operation and unity of design, which plainly demonstrate the universe to be the work of One infinitely good and wise being; and that the system of thinking beings is actuated by laws derived from the same divine power which ordained those by which the corporeal system is upheld.
From the contemplation of the order, motion, and cohesion of natural bodies, philosophers are now agreed that there is a mutual attraction between the most distant parts at least of this solar system. All those bodies that revolve round the sun are drawn towards each other, and towards the sun, by some secret, uniform, and never-ceasing principle. Hence it is that the earth (as well as the other planets), without flying off in a tangent line, constantly rolls about the sun, and the moon about the earth, without deserting her companion in so many thousand years. And as the larger systems of the universe are held together by this cause, so likewise the particular globes derive their cohesion and consistence from it.
Now, if we carry our thoughts from the corporeal to the moral world, we may observe in the spirits or minds of men a like principle of attraction, whereby they are drawn together into communities, clubs, families, friendships, and all the various species of society. As in bodies where the quantity is the same the attraction is strongest between those which are placed nearest to each other, so is it likewise in the minds of men, cateris paribus, between those which are most nearly related. Bodies that are placed at the distance of many millions of miles may nevertheless attract and constantly operate on each other, although this action do not show itself by an union or approach of those distant bodies, so long as they are withheld by the contrary forces of other bodies, which at the same time attract them different ways, but would, on the supposed removal of all other bodies, mutually approach and unite with each other. The like holds with regard to the human soul, whose affection towards the individuals of the same species, who are distantly related to it, is rendered inconspicuous by its more powerful attraction towards those who have a nearer relation to it. But, as those are removed, the tendency which before lay concealed doth gradually disclose itself. A man who has no family is more strongly attracted towards his friends and neighbours; and, if absent from these, he naturally falls into an acquaintance with those of his own city or country who chance to be in the same place. Two Englishmen meeting at Rome, or Constantinople, soon run into a familiarity. And in China or Japan, Europeans would think their being so a good reason for their uniting in particular converse. Further, in case we suppose ourselves translated into Jupiter or Saturn, and there to meet a Chinese, or other more distant native of our own planet, we should look on him as a near relation, and readily commence a friendship with him. These are natural reflections, and such as may convince us that we are linked by an imperceptible chain to every individual of the human race. The several great bodies which compose the solar system are kept from joining together at the common centre of gravity by the rectilinear motions the author of nature hath impressed on each of them, which concurring with the attractive principle from their respective orbits round the sun, upon the ceasing of which motions the general law of gravitation, that is now thwarted, would show itself by drawing them all into one mass. After the same manner, in the parallel case of society, private passions and motions of the soul do often obstruct the operation of that benevolent uniting instinct implanted in human nature, which notwithstanding doth still exist, and will not fail to show itself when those obstructions are taken away. The mutual gravitation of bodies cannot be explained
any other way than by resolving it into the immediate operation of God, who never ceases to dispose and actuate his creatures in a manner suitable to their respective beings. So neither can that reciprocal attraction in the minds of men be accounted for by any other cause. It is not the result of education, law, or fashion; but is a principle originally engrafted in the very first formation of the soul by the author of our nature. And as the attractive power in bodies is the most universal principle, which produceth innumerable effects, and is a key to explain the various phenomena of nature, so the corresponding social appetite in human souls is the great spring and source of moral actions. This it is that inclines each individual to an intercourse with his species, and models every one to that behaviour which best suits with the common well-being. Hence that sympathy in our nature, whereby we feel the pains and joys of our fellowcreatures. Hence that prevalent love in parents towards their children, which is neither founded on the merit of the object, nor yet on self-interest. It is this that makes us inquisitive concerning the affairs of distant nations, which can have no influence on our own. It is this that extends our care to future generations, and excites us to acts of beneficence towards those who are not yet in being, and consequently from whom we can expect no recompense. In a word, hence arises that diffusive sense of humanity so unaccountable to the selfish man, who is untouched with it, and is, indeed, a sort of monster or anomalous production. These thoughts do naturally suggest the following particulars:—First, that as social inclinations are absolutely necessary to the well-being of the world, it is the duty and interest of each individual to cherish and improve them to the benefit of mankind; the duty, because it is agreeable to the intention of the author of our being, who aims at the common good of his creatures, and, as an indication of his will, hath implanted the seeds of mutual benevolence in our souls; the interest, because the good of the whole is inseparable from that of the parts: in promoting therefore the common good, every one doth at the same time promote his own private interest. Another observation I shall draw from the premises is, that it makes a signal proof of the divinity of the Christian religion, that the main duty which it inculcates above all other is charity. Different maxims and precepts have distinguished the different sects of philosophy and religion: our Lord's peculiar precept is, “Love thy neighbour as thyself. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I will not say that what is a most shining proof of our religion is not often a reproach to its professors; but this I think very plain, that whether we regard the analogy of nature, as it appears in the mutual attraction or gravitations of the mundane system, in the general frame and constitution of the human soul, or, lastly, in the ends and aptnesses which are discoverable in all parts of the visible and intellectual world; we shall not doubt but the precept which is the characteristic of our religion came from the author of nature. Some of our modern free-thinkers would indeed insinuate the Christian morals to be defective, because (say they) there is no mention made in the Gospel of the virtue of friendship. These sagacious men (if I may be allowed the use of that vulgar saying) cannot see the wood for trees. That a religion, whereof the main drift is to inspire its professors with the most noble and disinterested spirit of love, charity, and beneficence to all mankind, or, in other words, with a friendship to every individual man, should be taxed with the want of that very virtue, is surely a glaring evidence of the blindness and prejudice of its adversaries. BERKELEY.