The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 eBook

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I have before shewn how the Influence of Hope in general sweetens Life, and makes our present Condition supportable, if not pleasing; but a Religious Hope has still greater Advantages.  It does not only bear up the Mind under her Sufferings, but makes her rejoice in them, as they may be the Instruments of procuring her the great and ultimate End of all her Hope.

Religious Hope has likewise this Advantage above any other kind of Hope, that it is able to revive the dying Man, and to fill his Mind not only with secret Comfort and Refreshment, but sometimes with Rapture and Transport.  He triumphs in his Agonies, whilst the Soul springs forward with Delight to the great Object which she has always had in view, and leaves the Body with an Expectation of being re-united to her in a glorious and joyful Resurrection.

I shall conclude this Essay with those emphatical Expressions of a lively Hope, which the Psalmist made use of in the midst of those Dangers and Adversities which surrounded him; for the following Passage had its present and personal, as well as its future and prophetick Sense.

’I have set the Lord always before me:  Because he is at my right Hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my Heart is glad, and my Glory rejoiceth:  my Flesh also shall rest in hope.  For thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see Corruption.  Thou wilt shew me the Path of Life:  in thy Presence is Fullness of Joy, at thy right Hand there are Pleasures for evermore’. [2]


[Footnote 1:  Translation of the fragment on Hope.]

[Footnote 2:  Psal. xvi. 8—­ii.]

* * * * *

No. 472.  Monday, September 1, 1712.  Steele.

  Solamenque mali—­’


I received some time ago a Proposal, which had a Preface to it, wherein the Author discoursed at large of the innumerable Objects of Charity in a Nation, and admonished the Rich, who were afflicted with any Distemper of Body, particularly to regard the Poor in the same Species of Affliction, and confine their Tenderness to them, since it is impossible to assist all who are presented to them.  The Proposer had been relieved from a Malady in his Eyes by an Operation performed by Sir William Read, and being a Man of Condition, had taken a Resolution to maintain three poor blind Men during their Lives, in Gratitude for that great Blessing.  This Misfortune is so very great and unfrequent, that one would think, an Establishment for all the Poor under it might be easily accomplished, with the Addition of a very few others to those Wealthy who are in the same Calamity.  However, the Thought of the Proposer arose from a very good Motive, and the parcelling of our selves out, as called to particular Acts of Beneficence, would be a pretty Cement of Society

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