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disaster is not of the same kind, but of the same mischief in both.
This happiness does Christ vouchsafe to all His, that as a Saviour He once suffered for them, and that as a friend He always suffers with them.
A blind guide is certainly a great mischief, but a guide that blinds those whom he should lead is undoubtedly a much greater.
To be resolute in a good cause is to bring upon ourselves the punishment due to a bad one. Truth indeed is a possession of the highest value, and therefore it must needs expose the owner to much danger.
Sin is usually seconded with sin, and a man seldom commits one sin to please, but he commits another to defend himself. Religion placed in a soul of exquisite knowledge and abilities, as in a castle, finds not only habitation but defence. Innocence is like polished armour; it adorns and it defends. It has been seldom or never known that any great virtue or vice ever went alone, for greatness in everything will still be attended on.
Friendship consists properly in mutual offices, and a generous strife in alternate acts of kindness. But he who does a kindness to an ungrateful person, sets his seal to a flint, and sows his seed upon the sand. Upon the former he makes no impression, and from the latter he finds no production.
He that falls below pity, can fall no lower.
He that governs well, leads the blind; but he that teaches, gives his eyes.
Teaching is not a flow of words, nor the draining of an hourglass, but an effectual procuring that a man comes to know something which he knew not before, or to know it better.
With ordinary minds, such as much the greater part of the world are, 'tis the suitableness, not the evidence of a truth, that makes it to be assented to. And it is seldom that anything practically convinces a man that does not please him first.
A friend is the gift of God, and He only who made hearts can unite them.
It is an invisible hand from heaven that ties this knot [friendship], and mingles hearts and souls by strange, secret, and unaccountable conjunctions.
As by flattery a man is usually brought to open his bosom to his mortal enemy; so by detraction, and a slanderous misreport of persons, he is often brought to shut the same even to his best and truest friends.
It is the only act of justice which envy does, that the guilt it brings upon a man it revenges upon him too, and so torments and punishes him much more than it can afflict or annoy the person who is envied by him.
Another thing that makes a governor justly despised, is a proneness to despise others. There is a kind of respect due to the meanest person, even from the greatest; for it is the mere favour of Providence that he who is actually the greatest was not the meanest. A man cannot cast his respects so low, but they will rebound and return upon him. What Heaven bestows upon the earth in kind influences and benign aspects, is paid it back again in sacrifice, incense, and adoration,
SELECTIONS FROM ARCHBISHOP TILLOTSON.
Was the World made by Chance?
[The following is taken from the Archbishop's first and most elaborate sermon, Job xxviii. 28. Voltaire was well acquainted with the works of Tillotson, whom he pronounces, "Le plus sage et le plus éloquent prédicateur de l'Europe;" and it would almost seem as if the sage of Ferney had profited by his intimacy with the English primate. In one of his letters, Sir James Mackintosh says, "You would scarcely suppose that Voltaire had borrowed or stolen from Tillotson; but so the
truth seems to be.
VOLTAIRE AND TILLOTSON.
Tillotson says, 'If God were not a necessary being, He might almost seem to be made for the use and benefit of man.'
'Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudroit l'inventer.'
It is odd enough that the passage should have probably originated in a misrecollection of some words in the 22d chapter of the 1st book, 'De Naturâ Deorum.""]
I come now to consider the other account, which another sort of atheists, those whom I call the epicurean, do give of the existence of the world. And 'tis this. They suppose the matter of which the world is constituted to be eternal and of itself, and then an empty space for the infinite little parts of this matter (which they call atoms), to move and play in; and that these being always in motion, did, after infinite trials and encounters, without any counsel or design, and without the disposal and contrivance of any wise and intelligent being, at last, by a lucky casualty, entangle and settle themselves in this beautiful and regular frame of the world, which we now And that the earth, being at first in its full vigour and fruitfulness, did then bring forth men and all other sorts of living creatures, as it does plants now.
Now I appeal to any man of reason, whether anything can be more unreasonable than obstinately to impute an effect to chance which carries in the very face of it all the arguments and characters of a wise design and contrivance? Was ever any considerable work, in which there was required a great variety of parts, and a regular and orderly disposition of those parts, done by chance? Will chance fit means to ends, and that in ten thousand instances, and not fail in any one? How often might a man, after he had jumbled a set of letters in a bag, fling them out upon the ground before they would fall into an exact poem; yea, or so much as make a good discourse in prose?
And may not a little book be as easily made by chance, as this great volume of the world? How long might a man be in sprinkling colours upon canvas with a careless hand, before they would happen to make the exact picture of a man? And is a man easier made by chance than his picture? How long might twenty thousand blind men, which should be sent out from the several remote parts of England, wander up and down before they would all meet upon Salisbury Plains, and fall into rank and file in the exact order of an army? And yet this is much more easy to be imagined, than how the innumerable blind parts of matter should rendezvous themselves into a world. A man that sees Henry the Seventh's chapel at Westminster, might with as good reason complain (yea, with much better, considering the vast difference betwixt that little structure and the huge fabric of the world), that it was never contrived or built by any man, but that the stones did by chance grow into those curious figures into which they seem to have been cut and graven; and that upon a time (as tales usually begin), the materials of that building-the stone, mortar, timber, iron, lead, and glass-happily met together and very fortunately ranged themselves into that delicate order in which we see them now so close compacted, that it must be a very great chance that parts them again. What would the world think of a man that should advance such an opinion as this, and write a book for it? If they would do him right, they ought to look upon him as mad; but yet with a little more reason than any man can have to say that the world was made by chance, or that the first men grew up out of the earth as plants do now: for can anything be more ridiculous, and against all reason, than to ascribe the production of men to the first fruitfulness of the earth, without so much as one instance and experiment in any age or history to countenance so monstrous a supposition? The thing is at first sight so gross and palpable, that no discourse about it can make it
THE FOLLY OF IRRELIGION.
more apparent. And yet these shameful beggars of principles, who give this precarious account of the original of things, assume to themselves to be the men of reason, the great wits of the world, the only cautious and wary persons that hate to be imposed upon, that must have convincing evidence for everything, and can admit of nothing without a clear demonstration for it.
The Folly of Erreligion.
Men generally stand very much upon the credit and reputation of their understandings, and of all things in the world hate to be accounted fools, because it is so great a reproach. The best way to avoid this imputation and to bring off the credit of our understandings is to be truly religious, to fear the Lord, and to depart from evil. For certainly there is no such imprudent person as he that neglects God and his soul, and is careless and slothful about his everlasting concernments; because this man acts contrary to his truest reason and best interest; he neglects his own safety, and is active to procure his own ruin; he flies from happiness and runs away from it as fast as he can, but pursues misery, and makes haste to be undone. Hence it is that Solomon does all along in the Proverbs give the title of "fool" to a wicked man, as if it were his proper name and the fittest character of him, because he is so eminently such: there is no fool to the sinner, who every moment ventures his soul, and lays his everlasting interest at the stake. Every time a man provokes God he does the greatest mischief to himself that can be imagined. A madman, that cuts himself, and tears his own flesh, and dashes his head against the stones, does not act so unreasonably as he, because he is not so sensible of what he does. Wickedness is a kind of voluntary frenzy and a chosen distraction, and every sinner does wilder and more extravagant things than any man can do that is crazed and out