The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..
and my Wife is in Ecstasy on the Occasion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into the Notion of the Italian; for, said she, it grows upon one when one once comes to know a little of the Language; and pray, Mr. Meggot, sing again those Notes, Nihil Imperanti negare, nihil recusare.  You may believe I was not a little delighted with my Friend Toms Expedient to alarm me, and in Obedience to his Summons I give all this Story thus at large; and I am resolved, when this appears in the Spectator, to declare for my self.  The manner of the Insurrection I contrive by your Means, which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot, who is at our Tea-table every Morning, shall read it to us; and if my Dear can take the Hint, and say not one Word, but let this be the Beginning of a new Life without farther Explanation, it is very well; for as soon as the Spectator is read out, I shall, without more ado, call for the Coach, name the Hour when I shall be at home, if I come at all; if I do not, they may go to Dinner.  If my Spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom and I go out together, and all is well, as I said before; but if she begins to command or expostulate, you shall in my next to you receive a full Account of her Resistance and Submission, for submit the dear thing must to,


  Your most obedient humble Servant,

  Anthony Freeman.

  P.  S. I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your
  very next.


[Footnote 1:  Paradox V. on the Thesis that All who are wise are Free, and the fools Slaves.]

* * * * *

No. 213.  Saturday, November 3, 1711.  Addison.

 —­Mens sibi conscia recti.


It is the great Art and Secret of Christianity, if I may use that Phrase, to manage our Actions to the best Advantage, and direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do may turn to Account at that great Day, when every thing we have done will be set before us.

In order to give this Consideration its full Weight, we may cast all our Actions under the Division of such as are in themselves either Good, Evil, or Indifferent.  If we divide our Intentions after the same Manner, and consider them with regard to our Actions, we may discover that great Art and Secret of Religion which I have here mentioned.

A good Intention joined to a good Action, gives it its proper Force and Efficacy; joined to an Evil Action, extenuates its Malignity, and in some Cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent Action turns it to a Virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human Actions can be so.

In the next Place, to consider in the same manner the Influence of an Evil Intention upon our Actions.  An Evil Intention perverts the best of Actions, and makes them in reality, what the Fathers with a witty kind of Zeal have termed the Virtues of the Heathen World, so many shining Sins.  It destroys the Innocence of an indifferent Action, and gives an evil Action all possible Blackness and Horror, or in the emphatical Language of Sacred Writ, makes Sin exceeding sinful. [1]

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.