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take such caution that he should have the honour entire, without a rival."
In the school of political projectors I was but ill entertained; the professors appearing, in my judgment, wholly out of their senses, which is a scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to choose favourites upon the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching ministers to consult the public good; of rewarding merit, great abilities, and eminent services; of instructing princes to know their true interest, by placing it on the same foundation with that of their people; of choosing for employments pērsons qualified to exercise them ; with many other wild, impossible chimeras, that never entered before into the heart of man to conceive; and confirmed in me the old observation, “That there is nothing so extravagant and irrational, which some philosophers have not maintained for truth.”
But, however, I shall so far do justice to this part of the academy, as to acknowledge that all of them were not so visionary. There was a most ingenious doctor, who seemed to be perfectly versed in the whole nature and system of government. This illustrious person had very usefully employed his studies in finding out effectual remedies for all diseases and corruptions to which the several kinds of public administration are subject, by the vices or infirmities of those who govern, as well as by the licentiousness of those who are to obey. For instance, whereas all writers and reasoners have agreed that there is a strict universal resemblance between the natural and the political body; can there be any thing more evident than that the health of both must be preserved, and the diseases cured by the same prescriptions? It is allowed, that senates and great councils are often troubled with redundant, ebullient, and other peccant humours: with many diseases of the head, and more of the heart ; with strong convulsions, with grievous contractions of the nerves and sinews in both hands, but especially the right; with spleen, flatus, vertigoes, and deliriums; with scrofulous tumours, full of fætid purulent matter; with sour frothy ructations ; with canine appetites, and crudeness of digestion, besides many others needless to mention. This doctor, therefore, proposed, “That upon the meeting of the senate certain physicians should attend at the three first days of their sitting, and at the close of each day's debate feel the pulses of every senator; after which, having maturely considered and consulted
upon the nature of the several maladies, and the methods of cure, they should, on the fourth day, return to the senate-house, attended by their apothecaries stored with proper medicines, and before the members sat administer to each of them lenitives, aperitives, abstersives, corrosives, restringents, palliatives, laxatives, cephalalgics, icterics, apophlegmatics, acoustics, as their several cases required; and, according as these medicines should operate, repeat, alter, or omit them at the next meeting.”
This project could not be of any great expense to the public, and might, in my poor opinion, be of much use for the despatch of business, in those countries where senates have any share in the legislative power; beget unanimity, shorten debates, open a few mouths which are now closed, and close many more which are now open; curb the petulancy of the young, and correct the positiveness of the old; rouse the stupid, and damp the pert.
Again, because it is a general complaint that the favourites of princes are troubled with short and weak memories, the same doctor proposed, “That whoever attended a first minister, after having told his business with the utmost brevity, and in the plainest words, should, at his departure, give the said minister a tweak by the nose, or a kick in the belly, or tread on his corns, or lug him thrice by both ears, or run a pin into his breech, or pinch his arm black and blue, to prevent forgetfulness; and at every levee day repeat the same operation, till the business were done or absolutely refused."
He likewise directed, “ That every senator in the great council of a nation, after he had delivered his opinion, and argued in the defence of it, should be obliged to give his vote directly contrary; because, if that were done, the result would infallibly terminate in the good of the public.”
When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this : you take a hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size, then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such a manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party-man. It
seems indeed to be a work that requires some exactness, but the professor assured us, that if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible.” For he argued thus : “ That the two half-brains, being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished for in the heads of those who imagine th me into the world only to watch and govern its motion; and as to the difference of brains, in quantity or quality, among those who are directors in faction,” the doctor assured us, from his own knowledge, “ that it was a perfect trifle.”
I heard a very warm debate between two professors, about the most commodious and effectual ways and means of raising money without grieving the subject. The first affirmed, "the justest method would be, to lay a certain tax upon vices and folly; and the sum fixed upon every man to be rated, after the fairest manner, by a jury of his neighbours.” The second was of an opinion directly contrary : To tax those qualities of body and mind for which men chiefly value themselves; the rate to be more or less according to the degrees of excelling, the decision whereof should be left entirely to their own breast.” The highest tax was upon men who are the greatest favourites of the other sex. Wit, valour, and politeness were likewise proposed to be largely taxed, and collected in the same manner, by every person's giving his own word for the quantum of what he possessed. But as to honour, justice, wisdom, and learning, they should not be taxed at all, because they are qualifications of so singular a kind, that no man will either allow them in his neighbour, or value them in himself.
The women were proposed to be taxed according to their beauty and skill in dressing, wherein they had the same privilege with the men, to be determined by their own judgment. But constancy, chastity, good sense, and good nature, were not rated, because they would not bear the charge of collecting.
To keep senators in the interest of the crown, it was proposed that the members should raffle for employments ; every man first taking an oath, and giving security, that he would vote for the court, whether he won or not; after which the losers had, in their turn, the liberty of raffling upon the next vacancy. Thus, hope and expectation would be
kept alive; none would complain of broken promises, but impute their disappointments wholly to fortune, whose shoulders are broader and stronger than those of a ministry.
176.- Saint Paul.
Though we have drawn St. Paul at large, in the account we have given of his life, yet may it be of use to represent him in little, in a brief account of his person, parts, and those graces and virtues for which he was more peculiarly eminent and remarkable. For his person, we find it thus described. He was low, and of little stature, somewhat stooping, his complexion fair, bis countenance grave, his head small, his eyes carrying a kind of beauty and sweetness in them, his eyebrows a little hanging over, his nose long, but gracefully bending, his beard thick, and like the hair of his head, mixed with grey hairs. Somewhat of this description may be learnt from Lucian, when in the person of Trypho, one of St. Paul's disciples, he calls him by way of derision, high-nosed, bald-pated Galilean, that was caught up through the air unto the “third heaven,” where he learnt great and excellent things. That he was very low, himself plainly intimates, when he tells us they were wont to say of him, that “his bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemptible;" in which respect he was styled by Chrysostom, a man three cubits (or a little more than four feet) high, and yet tall enough to reach heaven. He seems to have enjoyed no very firm and athletic constitution, being often subject to distempers. St. Jerome particularly reports, that he was frequently afflicted with the headach, and that this was thought by many to have been “the thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan sent to buffet him," and that probably he intended some such thing by “the temptation in his flesh,” which he elsewhere speaks of: which, however it may in general signify those afflictions that came upon him, yet does it primarily denote those diseases and infirmities that he was obnoxious to.
But, how mean soever the cabinet was, there was a treasure within more precious and valuable, as will appear if we survey the accomplishments of his mind. For, as to his natural abilities and endowments, he seems to have had a clear and solid judgment, quick invention, a prompt and ready memory; all of which were abundantly improved by art, and the advantages of a more liberal education. The schools of Tarsus had sharpened his discursive faculty by logic and the arts of reasoning, instructed him in the institutions of philosophy, and enriched him with the furniture of all kinds of human learning. This gave him great advantage above others, and ever raised him to a mighty reputation for parts and learning; insomuch that St. Chrysostom tells us of a dispute between a Christian and a heathen, wherein the Christian endeavoured to prove against the Gentile, that St. Paul was more learned and eloquent than Plato himself. How well he was versed—not only in the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets, but even in classic and foreign writers, he has left us sure ground to conclude, from those excellent sayings which here and there he quotes out of heathen authors. Which, as at once it shows that it is not unlawful to bring the spoils of Egypt in the service of the sanctuary, and to make use of the advantages of foreign studies and human literature to divine and excellent purposes, so does it argue his being greatly conversant in the paths of human learning, which upon every occasion he could so readily command. Indeed, he seemed to have been furnished out on purpose to be the doctor of the Gentiles; to contend with and confute the grave and the wise, the acute and the subtile, the sage and the learned of the heathen world, and to wound them (as Julian's word was) with arrows drawn out of their own quiver; though we do not find that in his disputes with the Gentiles he made much use of learning and philosophy, it being more agreeable to the designs of the Gospel to confound the wisdom and learning of the world by the plain doctrine of the cross.
These were great accomplishments, and yet but a shadow to that divine temper of mind that was in him, which discovered itself through the whole course and method of his life. He was humble to the lowest step of abasure and condescension, none ever thinking better of others, or more meanly of himself. And though, when he had to deal with envious and malicious adversaries, who, by vilifying his person, sought to obstruct his ministry, he knew how to magnify his office, and to let them know that he was “no whit inferior to the very chiefest apostles;"