[Footnote 1: Probably Tillotson. The thought is expanded in part of his sermon on the Example of Jesus in doing good. It appears in another form in his sermon for the 5th of November, 1678, where he applies to our religious hatreds the saying that ’the richest and noblest wines make the sharpest vinegar;’ again in another form in his sermon at the Yorkshire Feast.]
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No. 460. Monday, August 18, 1712. [Parnell ]
‘—Decipimur Specie Recti—’
Our defects and Follies are too often unknown to us; nay, they are so far from being known to us, that they pass for Demonstrations of our Worth. This makes us easy in the midst of them, fond to shew them, fond to improve in them, and to be esteemed for them. Then it is that a thousand unaccountable Conceits, gay Inventions, and extravagant Actions must afford us Pleasures, and display us to others in the Colours which we ourselves take a Fancy to glory in: And indeed there is something so amusing for the time in this State of Vanity and ill-grounded Satisfaction, that even the wiser World has chosen an exalted Word to describe its Enchantments, and called it the Paradise of Fools.
Perhaps the latter part of this Reflection may seem a false Thought to some, and bear another Turn than what I have given: but it is at present none of my Business to look after it, who am going to confess that I have been lately amongst them in a Vision.
Methought I was transported to a Hill, green, flowery, and of an easie Ascent. Upon the broad Top of it resided squinteyed Error, and popular Opinion with many Heads; two that dealt in Sorcery, and were famous for bewitching People with the Love of themselves. To these repaired a Multitude from every Side, by two different Paths which lead towards each of them. Some who had the most assuming Air, went directly of themselves to Errour, without expecting a Conductor; others of a softer Nature went first to popular Opinion, from whence as she influenced and engaged them with their own Praises, she delivered them over to his Government.
When we had ascended to an open Part of the Summit where Opinion abode, we found her entertaining several who had arrived before us. Her Voice was pleasing; she breathed Odours as she spoke: She seemed to have a Tongue for every one; every one thought he heard of something that was valuable in himself, and expected a Paradise, which she promised as the Reward of his Merit. Thus were we drawn to follow her, till she should bring us where it was to be bestowed: And it was observable, that all the Way we went, the Company was either praising themselves for their Qualifications, or one another for those Qualifications which they took to be conspicuous in their own Characters, or dispraising others for wanting theirs, or vying in the Degrees of them.