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“On Monday the assembly was in very good humour, having received some recruits of French claret that morning; when unluckily, towards the middle of the dinner, one of the company swore at his servant in a very rough manner, for having put too much water in his wine. Upon which the president of the day, who is always the mouth of the company, after having convinced him of the impertinence of his passion, and the insult it had made upon the company, ordered his man to take him from the table, and convey him to the infirmary. There was but one more sent away that day; this was a gentleman who is reckoned by some persons one of the greatest wits, and by others one of the greatest boobies about town. This you will say is a strange character, but what makes it stranger yet, it is a very true one, for he is perpetually the reverse of himself, being always merry or dull to excess. We brought him hither to divert us, which he did very well upon the road, having lavished away as much wit and laughter upon the hackney coachman, as might have served him during his whole stay here, had it been duly managed. He had been lumpish for two or three days, but was so far connived at, in hopes of recovery, that we dispatched one of the briskest fellows among the brotherhood into the infirmary, for having told him at table he was not merry. But our president observing that he indulged himself in this long fit of stupidity, and construing it as a contempt of the college, ordered him to retire into the place prepared for such companions. He was no sooner got into it, but his wit and mirth returned upon him in so violent a manner, that he shook the whole infirmary with the noise of it, and bad so good an effect upon the rest of the patients, that he brought them all out to dinner with him the next day.
“On Tuesday we were no sooner sat down, but one of the company complained that his head ached; upon which another asked him, in an insolent manner, what he did there then; this
insensibly grew into some warm words; so that the president, in order to keep the peace, gave directions to take them both from the table, and lodge them in the infirmary. Not long after, an. other of the company tellirig us, he knew by a pain in his shoulder that we should have some rain, the president ordered him to be removed, and placed as a weather-glass in the apartment above. mentioned.
“ On Wednesday a gentleman having received a letter written in a woman's hand, and changing colour twice or thrice as he read it, desired leave to retire into the infirmary. The president consented, but denied him the use of pen, ink, and paper, till such time as he had slept upon it. One of the company being seated at the lower end of the table, and discovering his secret discontent by finding fault with every dish that was served up, and refusing to laugh at any thing that was said, the president told him, that he found he was in an uneasy seat, and desired him to accommodate himself better in the infirmary. After dinner a very honest fellow chancing to let a pun fall from him, his neighbour cried out,' to the infirmary;' at the same time pretending to be sick at it, as having the same natural antipathy to a pun, which some have to a cat. This produced a lovg debate. Upon the whole the punster was acquitted, and his neighbour sent off.
On Thursday there was but one delinquent. This was a gentleman of strong voice, but weak understanding. He had un. luckily engaged himself in a dispute with a man of excellent seuse, but of a nuodest clocution. The man of heat replied to every answer of his antagonist with a louder note than ordinary, and only raised his voice when he should have enforced his argument. Finding himself at length driven to an absurdity, he still reasoned in a more clamorous and confused manner, and to make the greater impression upon his hearers, concluded with a loud
thump upon the table. The president immediately ordered him to be carried off, and dieted with water-gruel, till such time as he should be sufficiently weakened for conversation.
“On Friday there passed very little remarkable, saving only, that several petitions were read of the persons in custody, desir. ing to be released from their confinement, and vouching for one another's good behaviour for the future.
“On Saturday we received many excuses from persons who bad found themselves in an unsociable temper, and had voluntarily shut themselves up. The infirmary was indeed never so full as on this day, which I was at some loss to account for, till upon my going abroad I observed that it was an easterly wind. The retirement of most of my friends has given me opportunity and leisure of writing you this letter, which I must not conclude without assuring you, that all the members of our college, as well those who are under confinement, as those who are at liberty, are your very humble servants, though none more than,” &c.
No. 441. SATURDAY, JULY 20.
Si fractus illabatur orbis,
HOE. 3. Od. iil 7
In ruin and confusion hurl'd,
Man, considered in himself, is a very helpless and a very wretched being. He is subject every moment to the greatest calamities and misfortunes. He is beset with dangers on all sides, and may become unhappy by numberless casualties, which he could not foresee, nor have prevented, had he foreseen them.
It is our comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many acci. dents, that we are under the care of one who directs eontingencies, and has in his hands the management of erery thing that is capable of annoying or offending us; who knows the assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.
The natural homage, which such a creature bears to so infin. itely wise and good a being, is a firm reliance on him for the blessings and conveniencies of life, and an habitual trust in him for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may befal us.
The man, who always lives in this disposition of mind, has not the same dark and melancholy views of human nature, as he who considers himself abstractedly from this relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own weakness and imperfection, he comforts himself with the contemplation of those divine attributes, which are employed for his safety and his welfare. He finds bis want of foresight made up by the omniscience of him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength, when he knows that his helper is almighty. In short, the person who has a firm trust on the Supreme Being, is powerful in his power, wise by his wisdom, happy by his happiness. He reaps the benefit of every divine attribute, and loses his own insufficiency in the fulness of infinite perfection.
To make our lives more easy to us, we are commanded to put our trust in him, who is thus able to relieve and succour us; the divine goodness having made such a reliance a duty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable, had it been forbidden us.
Among several motives, which might be made use of to recommend this duty to us, I shall only take notice of these that follow.
The first and strongest is, that we are promised, He will not fail those who put their trust in him.
But without considering the supernatural blessing which accompanies this duty, we may observe that it has a natural tendency to its own reward, or in other words, that this firm trust and confidence in the great disposer of all things, contributes very much to the getting clear of any affliction, or to the bearing it" manfully. A person who believes he has his succour at hand, and that he acts in the sight of his friend, often exerts himself beyond his abilities, and does wonders that are not to be matched by one who is not animated with such a confidence of success. I could produce instances from history, of generals, who out of a belief that they were under the protection of some invisible assistant, did not only encourage their soldiers to do their utmost, but have acted themselves beyond what they would have done, had they not been inspired by such a belief. I might in the same manner shew how such a trust in the assistance of an almighty being, naturally produces patience, hope, chearfulness, and all other dispositions of the mind that alleviate those calamities we are not able to remove.
The practice of this virtue administers great comfort to the mind of man in times of poverty and affliction, but most of all in the hour of death. When the soul is hovering in the last mo. ments of its separation, when it is just entering on another state of existence, to converse with scenes, and objects, and companions that are altogether new, what can support her under such tremblings of thought, such fear, such anxiety, such apprehensions, but the casting of all her cares upon him who first gave her being,
* To the bearing it. When the participle with the preceding article the, is made use of, it becomes a substantive, and should, therefore, be followed by the genitive, not the accusative, case. He said before “ to the getling clear of,” which was right: he should here have said " to the bearing of it."-H.