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fight, sing Psalms and do Mischief with a good Conscience, may in many Respects be Morally good, and yet want most of the Virtues, that are peculiar to Christianity, and, if the Gospel speaks Truth, necessary to Salvation. A Man may be continent and likewise never drink to Excess, and yet be haughty and insupportable in his Carriage, a litigious Neighbour, an unnatural Father, and a barbarous Husband. He may be just in his Dealings, and wrong No body in his Property, yet he may be full of Envy, take Delight in Slander, be revengeful in his Heart, and never known to have forgiven an Injury. He may abstain from Cursing and all idle as well as prophane Swearing, and at the same Time be uncharitable and wish Evil to all, that are not of his Opinion; nay, he may mortally hate, and take Pleasure in persecuting and doing Mischief to, all those who differ from him in Religion.

Hor. I see plainly now, how Men may be sincere in their Religion, and by Art be made to act quite contrary to the Precepts of it: And your Manner of accounting for this, does not only render the Sober Party less odious, than the Orthodox have represented them; but there is likewise greater Probability in it, than there is in what they generally say of them: For that an Army of a great many Thousand Men should consist of None but Hypocrites, who yet should fight well, is an inconceivable Thing. But what is it you would say of the General?

Cleo. I would shew you, how an obscure Man, of an active Spirit and boundless Ambition, might raise himself among such a Set of People to the higher Post; and having once got the Supreme Command of the Army, what Method, and what Arts it is most probable he would make Use of to model such Troops to his Purpose, and make them serviceable to the Advancement of his own Greatness.

Hor. But remember he must be an _Atheist_.

Cleo. He shall be so, in the Vulgar Acceptation of the Word; that is, he shall have no Religion or Conscience; fear neither God nor Devil, and not believe either a Providence in this World, or any Thing that is said of another: But he must be a great Genius, daring to the highest Degree, indefatigable, supple to his Interest, and ready as well as capable to act any Part, and put on any Disguise, that shall be required to serve or promote it. Every brisk, forward Man, who pretends to an extraordinary Zeal for his Party, and the Cause he is engaged in, and who shews Eagerness for Action, and behaves with Intrepidity in Danger, cannot remain long unknown, where Men have frequent Opportunities of signalizing themselves. But if he be likewise a Man of Sense, who understands his Business, and has Conduct as well as Courage, he can’t fail of Preferment in an Army, where the Interest of the common Cause is taken Care of. If he serves among _Puritans_, who pretend to a stricter Morality, and to be more religious than their Neighbours, and himself is an artful Man, as soon as he is taken Notice of, he’ll fall in with the Cant in Fashion, talk of Grace and Regeneration, counterfeit Piety, and seem to be sincerely Devout. If he can do this well, put on a sanctify’d Face, and abstain from being openly vicious, it is incredible what Lustre it will add to the Rest of his Qualifications, in such a Conjuncture: And if moreover he is a Man of Address, and can get the Reputation of being disinterested and a Soldier’s Friend, in a short Time he’ll become the Darling of the Army; and it would hardly be safe long to deny him any Post, he can reasonably pretend to. In all Wars, where the contending Parties are in good Earnest, and the Animosities between them run high, Campaigns are always active, and many brave Men must fall on both Sides; and where there should be much Room for Advancement, it is highly probable, that such a Man as I have describ’d, if at his first setting out he was Captain of Horse, and had raised an entire Troop at his own Charge, should in a few Years come to be a General Officer, and of great Weight in all Councils and Debates. Being thus far preferr’d, if he would make the most of his Talents, he might be of infinite Service to his Party. An aspiring Man, whose grand Aim was to thrive by Hypocrisy, would study the Scripture, learn the Languages of it, and occasionally mix it with his Discourse. He would cajole the Clergy of his Party, and often do good Offices to those of them that were most popular. A Man of his Parts would preach _ex tempore_ himself, and get the Knack of Praying for as many Hours as there should be Occasion. Whoever is well skill’d in these Exercises may counterfeit Enthusiasm when he pleases, and pretend on some Emergencies to receive Directions from God himself; and that he is manifestly influenc’d by his Spirit. A General Officer, who has once got this Reputation, may carry almost any Thing; for Few that are wise will venture to oppose what such a Man, pretending to have sought the Lord, declares to be his Opinion. Whatever Victories might be obtain’d, and in all Successes under his Command, a skilful Hypocrite would make a Shew of Modesty, refuse to hear the Praises that are his due, and seem with great Humility to give all the Glory to God only; not forgetting, at the same Time, to flatter the Pride of his Troops, highly to commend and magnify, first the Goodness and Bravery of the Soldiers, and then the Care and Vigilance of the Officers under him. To be well serv’d, he would reward Merit, punish and discountenance Vice, always speak well and magnificently of Virtue, and seem to be just himself. But as to Christianity it self, he would not suffer any Thing to be taught of it, that could interfere with the Principle of Honour, or any of the Artifices to keep up the Ill Will, and Hatred which military Men are to be inspired with against their Enemies. The Christian Duties, which he would chiefly take Care of and see perform’d, would be outward Acts of Devotion, and that Part of Religion which is easily comply’d with, and yet taken Notice of by all the World; such as frequent Prayers, long and pathetick Sermons, singing of Psalms, and the keeping of the Sabbath with great Strictness; all which Men may assist at and employ themselves in, tho’ their Hearts are otherwise engag’d. It is certain, that a Man of vast Parts and superlative Ambition might, by the Divine Permission, perform, take Care of, and compass all this, tho’ he was an _Atheist_; and that he might live and die with the Reputation of a Saint, if he was but circumspect and wise enough to conceal himself so entirely well, that no Penetration or Watchfulness of Mortals could ever discover his real Sentiments. There is no Atchievement to be expected from Soldiers, which they would not perform for such a General; and his Name would be sufficient to fill the greatest Profligate in an Army with a Religious Enthusiasm, if he disbelieved not an invisible Cause.

Hor. There lies the Difficulty; it is that which I cannot comprehend.

Cleo. Wickedness, I have hinted to you before, is no Bar to Superstition; and a great Profligate may at the same Time be a silly Fellow, believe Absurdities, and rely on Trifles, which a Man of Sense and Virtue could not be influenc’d or affected by. It is easily imagin’d, that in such an Army, under such a General as I have been speaking of, the Men would be kept under strict Discipline; and that they would not only be compell’d, whether they would or not, to assist at all their Exercises of outward Devotion and Publick Worship; but likewise that the loosest Livers among them should be obliged to be more cautious and circumspect in their Behaviour, than Soldiers generally are. Now suppose a Man so wicked, that, tho’ he has no Doubt of Future State, the Belief of Rewards and Punishments in another World made no impression upon him; but that he indulged every vicious Inclination as far as he dared, lay with every Woman that would let him, and got drunk as often as he could get an Opportunity to do it; one that would stick at Nothing, rob or steal, kill a Man that should anger him, if he was not with-held by the Law, and the Fear of Temporal Punishment: Suppose likewise, that this was one of the lowest Mob, who being in Want, and too lazy to work, should lift himself in some Regiment or other of this Army. There is no Doubt, but this Man would be forc’d immediately to have a greater Guard upon his Actions, and reform, at least outwardly, more than would suit with his Inclinations, and therefore it is not unlikely, that, what Duties soever he might comply with, and whatever Appearance he might make among the Rest, in his Heart he should remain the same he was before. Yet notwithstanding all this, in a little Time he might make a very good Soldier. I can easily conceive, how the Wearing of a Sword and Regimental Cloaths, and always conversing with resolute and well disciplin’d Men, among whom Arms and Gallantry are in the highest Esteem, might so far encrease a wicked Fellow’s Pride, that he should wish to be brave, and in a few Months think Nothing more really dreadful, than to be thought a Coward. The Fear of Shame may act as powerfully upon bad Men, as it can upon good; and the Wickedness of his Heart would not hinder him from having a good Opinion of himself, and the Cause he served; nor yet from hating his Enemies or taking Delight in destroying, plundering, and doing all Manner of Mischief.

Hor. But having no Regard to Godliness or Religion, it is impossible, that he should be influenc’d or affected by the Prayers or other Exercises of Devotion, which he might assist at and which, in all Probability, he would never come near, unless he was compell’d to it.

Cleo. I don’t suppose, that he would be influenced or affected by them at all himself; but he might easily believe, that others were. I take it for granted, that in such an Army there might have been Abundance of well-meaning Men, that were really honest, and sincere in their Religion, tho’ they had been misled in what concern’d the Duties of it. From the Behaviour of these, and the Imitation of others, from the Exemplary Lives, which our Reprobate should see among them, and the establish’d Reputation of so many Men of Honour, he would have all the Reason in the World to think, that at least the greatest Part of them were in good Earnest; that they relied upon God; and that the fervent Zeal, with which they seem’d to implore his assistance, was real and unfeign’d. All wicked Men are not inflexible; and there are great Sinners, whom this Consideration would move to the quick; and tho’ perhaps it would not be of Force enough to reclaim them, there are many, who, by means of it, would be made to relent, and wish that they were better. But I don’t want this help; and we’ll suppose our Profligate such a stubborn Wretch, and so obstinately vicious, that the most moving Discourses, and the most fervent Prayers, tho’ he is forc’d to assist at them, have not the least Power to make him reflect either on his Sins or his Duty; and that notwithstanding what he hears and sees of others, his Heart remains as bad as ever, and himself as immoral as he dares to be for Fear of his Officers. We’ll suppose, I say, all this; but as it is taken for granted, that he believes the World to be govern’d by Providence —-.

Hor. But why should that be taken for granted, of a fellow so thoroughly wicked?

Cleo. Because it is included in his Belief of a Future State, which, in his Character, I supposed him not to doubt of.

Hor. I know it; but what Reason had you to suppose this at First, in a Man who never gave any Signs, nor ever did insinuate, for ought you know, that he had such a Belief?

Cleo. Because he never gave any Signs to the contrary; and in a Christian Country, I suppose all Men to believe the Existence of a God and a Future State, who, by speaking or writing, never declared, that they did not. Wickedness consisting in an unreasonable Gratification of every Passion that comes uppermost, it is so far from implying Unbelief, or what is call’d Atheism, that it rather excludes it. Because the Fear of an invisible Cause is as much a Passion in our Nature, as the Fear of Death. I have hinted to you before, that great Cowards, whilst they are in Health and Safety, may live many Years without discovering the least Symptom of the Fear of Death, so as to be visibly affected by it; but that this is no Sign, that they have it not, is evident when they are in Danger. It is the same with the Fear of an invisible Cause; the one is as much born with us as the other, and to conquer either, is more difficult than is easily imagin’d. The Fear of an invisible Cause is universal, how widely soever men may differ in the worship of it; and it was never observed among a Multitude, that the worst were more backward than the best in believing whatever from their Infancy they had heard concerning this invisible Cause; how absurd or shocking soever that might have been. The most Wicked are often the most Superstitious, and as ready as any to believe Witchcraft, consult Fortune-tellers, and make Use of Charms. And tho’ among the most brutish Part of the Mob, we should meet with Some, that neither pray nor pay Worship to any Thing, laugh at Things sacred, and openly disclaim all Religion, we could have no Reason to think, even from these, that they acted from Principles of Infidelity, when from their Behaviour and many of their Actions, it should be manifest, that they apprehended Something or other, that could do them Good or Hurt, and yet is invisible. But as to the vilest Reprobates among the Vulgar, from their very Curses and the most prophane of their Oaths and Imprecations, it is plain, that they are Believers.

Hor. That’s far fetch’d.

Cleo. I don’t think so. Can a Man with himself damn’d, without supposing, that there is such a Thing as Damnation. Believe me, _Horatio_, there are no _Atheists_ among the Common People: You never knew any of them entirely free from Superstition, which always implies Belief: and whoever lays any Stress upon Predictions, upon good or bad Omens; or does but think, that some Things are lucky and others unlucky, must believe, that there is an over-ruling Power, which meddles with, and interferes in Human Affairs.

Hor. I must yield this to you, I think.

Cleo. If then our wicked, obdurate Soldier believes, that there is a God, and that the World is govern’d by Providence, it is impossible, when Two Armies are to engage, but he must think, that it is very material, and a Thing of the highest Importance, which of them God will be pleas’d to favour, and wish with all his Heart, that Heaven would be of his Side. Now, if he knows that the Troops, he serves among, have gain’d several Advantages over their Enemies, and that he has been an Eye-witness of this himself, he must necessarily think, that God has a greater Regard to them, than he has to those that are beaten by them. It is certain, that a Man, who is strongly persuaded of this, will be more undaunted, and with the Same Degree of Skill, Malice and Strength, fight better than he could do, if he believ’d the Contrary. It is evident then, that the most abandon’d Rascal in a Christian Army may be made a valuable Man on the Score of Fighting, as soon as he can be persuaded, that God takes his Part, tho’ he never made any further Reflection: But it is inconceivable, that a Man should firmly believe what I have said without reflecting one Time or other on what might be the Cause of this particular Favour, this visible Assistance of Heaven; and if ever he did, could he help thinking on the Preaching and Praying, which he was daily present at; and would he not be forced from all the Circumstances to believe, that those Things were acceptable to God; and conclude upon the whole, that those Religious Exercises were a proper Means to obtain God’s Friendship? Would he not be very much confirm’d in this Opinion, if he saw or but heard of credible People, that, in the Enemy’s Army, the men were more cold and remiss in their Worship, or at least, that they made a less outward Shew of Devotion, which is all that he should be able to judge by?

Hor. But why should you think, that such an abandon’d, obdurate Fellow, as you have supposed him to be, should ever trouble his Head with the Difference in Worship between one Army and another, or ever think at all on any Thing relating to Devotion?

Cleo. Because it would be impossible for him to help it. I have not supposed, that he was either Deaf or Blind: The Things I named, and which I imagin’d he would be forc’d to believe, would be run in his Ears, and repeated to him over and over from every Quarter: The Soldiers would be full of them; the Officers would talk of them. He would be present at the solemn Thanksgivings, they paid to Heaven. The Preachers would often be loud in commending the Godliness as well as Bravery of the Army, and roar out the Praises of their General, that sanctify’d Vessel, whom they would call a _Gideon_, a _Joshua_, a _Moses_, that glorious Instrument, which God had raised and made Use of to rescue his Church from Idolatry and Superstition, and his Saints from Tyranny and Oppression. They would exclaim against the Wickedness and Immorality of their Enemies, inveigh against Lawn-Sleeves and Surplices, Altar-Pieces, and Common-Prayers; call the Orthodox Clergy, the Priests of _Baal_, and assure their Hearers, that the Lord hated the _Cavaliers_; that they were an Abomination to him, and that he would certainly deliver them into the Hands of his chosen People. When a Man is obliged to hear all this, and sees moreover the Spirit and Alacrity that is raised in his Comrades after a moving extemporary Prayer, the real Enthusiasm the Men are thrown into by the Singing of a Psalm, and the Tears of Zeal and Joy run down the Cheeks of Men, whom he knows to be Faithful and Sincere, as well as Resolute and Daring. When Man, I say, such a one as I have describ’d, should be forc’d to hear and see all this, it would hardly be possible for him, not to believe, in the first Place, that God actually assisted this Army; and in the Second, that the Means, by which that Assistance was procured, were the Strictness of the Discipline and the Religious Duties, that were observed in it; tho’ he himself should never Join in the one, or Submit to the other, but against his Will, and with the utmost Reluctancy. I am persuaded, that such an Opinion, well rivetted in a Man, would, in such an Army as I am speaking of, be of vast Use to him in all Adventures and Expeditions of War; and that, if he was fit at all to be made a soldier, it would in the Day of Battle inspire him with a Confidence and Undauntedness, which the same man could never have acquired, _Cateris Paribus_, if he had served among other troops, where Divine Worship had been little insisted upon, or but slightly perform’d. And if this be true, I have proved to you, that Acts of Devotion, and an outward Shew of Religion, may be serviceable to the greatest Profligate for the obtaining of Victory, tho’ the General should be an _Atheist_, most of the Clergy Hypocrites, and the greatest Part of the Army wicked Men.

Hor. I can see very well the Possibility, that a few Profligates, among a great many others, that were not so, might be kept in Awe by strict Discipline, and that Acts of Devotion might be serviceable even to those, who were present at them against their Wills. But this Possibility is only built upon a Supposition, that the Rest of the Army should be better disposed: For if the Generality of them were not in Earnest, you could have no outward Shew of Religion; and the Things which you say the obdurate wretch should be forced to hear and see, could have no Existence. No Preaching or Praying can be moving to those, that are harden’d and inattentive; and no Man can be thrown into an Enthusiasm upon the Singing of Psalms, and shed Tears of Zeal and Joy in any Part of Divine Worship, unless they give Heed to it, and are really Devout.

Cleo. I am glad you start this Objection; for it puts me in Mind of Something, that will serve to illustrate this whole Matter, and which, if you had not mention’d this, I should have had no Opportunity to speak of. I took for granted, you know, that in the Quarrel between King and the People, there had been many honest well meaning Men, among the Sober Party, that by Artifice were drawn into the Measures of cunning Hypocrites, who, under specious Pretences, carried on the Rebellion with no other View than their own Advantage. But if you recollect what I said then, you’ll find, that many of those honest well-meaning Men might have been very bad Christians. A Man may be a fair Dealer, and wish well to his Country, and yet be very wicked in many other Respects. But whatever Vices he may be guilty of, if he believes the Scriptures without Reserve, is sorry for his Sins, and sometimes really afraid, that he shall be punish’d for them in another World, he is certainly sincere in his Religion, tho’ he never mends. Some of the most wicked in the World have been great Believers. Consider all the Money, that has been given to pray Souls out of Purgatory, and who they were, that left the greatest Legacies to the Church. The Generality of Mankind believe what they were taught in their Youth, let that be what it will, and there is no Superstition so gross or absurd, nor any Thing so improbable or contradictory in any Religion, but Men may be sincere in the Belief of it. What I say all this for is to shew you, that an honest well-meaning Man may believe the Bible and be Sincere in his Religion, when he is yet very remote from being a good Christian. What I understand then by Sincere is evident: Now give me Leave to tell you what I mean by Wicked, and to put you in Mind of what I have said of it already; _viz_ that I gave that Name to those, _who indulge their Passions as they come uppermost, without Regard to the Good or Hurt, which the Gratification of their Appetites may do to the Society_. But all wicked Men are not equally neglectful of Religious Duties, nor equally inflexible; and you won’t meet with one in a Hundred so stubborn and averse to all Sense of Divine Worship, as I have supposed our Profligate to be. My Reason for drawing so bad a Character, was to convince you, that, if an outward Shew of Religion could be made serviceable to the most stubborn Reprobate, it could never fail of having a good Effect upon all others, that should be more relenting, and assist at it with less Reluctancy. Few Men are wicked for Want of good Will to be better: The greatest Villains have Remorses; and hardly any of them are so bad, that the Fear of an invisible Cause and future Punishment should never make any Impression upon them; if not in Health, at least in Sickness. If we look narrowly into the Sentiments, as well as Actions even of those that persist in evil Courses for many Years, and spend their whole Lives in Debaucheries, we shall hardly ever find, that it is because they are obstinately bent to be Wicked; but because they want either the Power to govern their Passions, or else the Resolution to set about it; that they have often wish’d, that they could lead better Lives; that they hope, God will forgive them; and that Several Times they have fix’d a Time for their Repentance, but that always Something or other interven’d, that has hinder’d them, till at last they died without having ever met with the Opportunity they wish’d for. Such Men as these perhaps would never go to Prayers, or to hear a Sermon as long as they lived, if they could help it: But most of them, if they were forc’d to it, would behave very well, and actually receive Benefit from being there; especially in Armies, where Nothing being less wanted than contrite Hearts and broken Spirits, Nothing is mention’d that is mortifying, or would depress the Mind; and if ever any thing melancholy is slightly touch’d upon, it is done with great Art, and only to make a Contrast with something reviving, that is immediately to follow, which will flatter their Pride, and make them highly delighted with themselves. All Exhortations to Battle should be chearful and pleasing. What is required of the Men, is, that they should Fight undauntedly and obstinately. Therefore all Arts are made use of to raise and keep up their Spirits on the one Hand, and their Hatred to their Enemies on the other. To dissipate their Fears, they are assured of the Justice and Goodness of their Cause, that God himself is engaged, and his Honour concern’d in it; and that therefore, if they can but shew Zeal enough for him, and are not wanting to themselves, they need not doubt of the Victory.

Hor. It is amazing, that Believers, who are so conscious of their own Wickedness, should be so easily persuaded, that God would do any Thing in their Favour.

Cleo. The great Propensity we have in our Nature to flatter our selves, makes us easy Casuists in our own Concerns. Every body knows, that God is merciful, and that all Men are Sinners. The Thought of this has often been a great Comfort to very bad Livers, especially if they could remember, that ever they wish’d to be better; which, among Believers, there is not One in a Hundred, but can. This good Disposition of Mind a wicked Man may make a notable Construction of, and magnify the Merit of it, till the Reflection of it is sufficient to make his Conscience easy, and he absolves himself without the Trouble of Repentance. I can easily conceive, how one of the Vulgar, no better qualify’d, may assist at Publick Worship with Satisfaction, and even Pleasure; if Preaching and Praying are managed in the Manner I have hinted at: And it is not difficult to imagine, how by a little paultry Eloquence, and Violence of Gestures, a Man in this Situation may be hurried away from his Reason, and have his Passions so artfully play’d upon; that feeling himself thoroughly moved, he shall mistake the Malice of his Heart, and perhaps the Resentment of a great Wound received, for the Love of God and Zeal for Religion. There is another Class of wicked Men, that I have not touch’d upon yet; and of which there would always be great Numbers among such Troops as we have been speaking of, _viz._ Soldiers of the Sober Party, where Swearing, Prophaneness, and all open Immorality are actually punish’d; where a grave Deportment and strict Behaviour are encouraged, and where Scripture-Language and Pretences to Holiness are in Fashion; in an Army of which the General is firmly believed to be a Saint, and acts his part to Admiration.

Hor. It is reasonable to think, I own, that in such an Army, to one sincere Man, there would always be three or four Hypocrites; for these I suppose are the Class you mean.

Cleo. They are so. And considering, that, to save Appearances, Hypocrites are at least as good as the sincere Men I have spoken of, it is impossible, that there should not be a great Shew of Religion among them, if there were but eight or ten of them sincere in every Hundred: And where such Pains should be taken to make the Men seem to be Godly; and this Point of outward Worship should be labour’d with so much Diligence and Assiduity, I am persuaded, that many even of those, who should be too wicked to be Hypocrites, and to counterfeit long, would sometimes, not only pray in good Earnest, but likewise, set on by the Examples before them, be transported with real Zeal for the Good of their Cause.

Hor. There is no Doubt but Enthusiasm among a Multitude is as catching as Yawning: But I don’t understand very well what you mean by too wicked to be Hypocrites; for I look upon them to be the worst of all Men.

Cleo. I am very glad you named this. There are two Sorts of Hypocrites, that differ very much from one another. To distinguish them by Names, the One I would call the Malicious, and the Other the Fashionable. By malicious Hypocrites, I mean Such as pretend to a great Deal of Religion, when they know their Pretensions to be false; who take Pains to appear Pious and Devout, in order to be Villains, and in Hopes that they shall be trusted to get an Opportunity of deceiving those, who believe them to be sincere. Fashionable Hypocrites I call those, who, without any Motive of Religion, or Sense of Duty, go to Church, in Imitation of their Neighbours; counterfeit Devotion, and, without any Design upon others, comply occasionally with all the Rites and Ceremonies of Publick Worship, from no other Principle than an Aversion to Singularity, and a Desire of being in the Fashion. The first are, as you say, the worst of Men: but the other are rather beneficial to Society, and can only be injurious to themselves.

Hor. Your Distinction is very just, if these latter deserve to be call’d Hypocrites at all.

Cleo. To make a Shew outwardly of what is not felt within, and counterfeit what is not real, is certainly Hypocrisy, whether it does Good or Hurt.

Hor. Then, strictly speaking, good Manners and Politeness must come under the same Denomination.

Cleo. I remember the Time you would by no Means have allow’d this.

Hor. Now, you see I do, and freely own, that you have given me great Satisfaction this afternoon; only there is one Thing you said five or six Minutes ago, that has raised a Difficulty which I don’t know how to get over.

Cleo. What is it, pray?

Hor. I don’t think we shall have Time —-

Cleo. Supper, I see, is going in.

The Fourth Dialogue Between Horatio and Cleomenes.

Horatio. I am glad my little Dinner pleased you. I don’t love large Pieces of Meat for a small Company; especially in warm Weather: They heat the Room, and are offensive even upon a Side-board.

Cleo. It was very handsome indeed; and _Horatio_ is elegant in every Thing. Your Favours of Yesterday, your Coming without Form, was so engaging, that I was resolved to repay the Compliment without Delay.

Hor. Assure your self, that your Payment is not more prompt, than it is welcome.

Cleo. I know no higher Enjoyment, than that of your Friendship. But pray, what was the Difficulty you hinted at last Night, when Supper broke off our Discourse?

Hor. When you spoke of Preaching and Praying in Armies, you said, that Nothing was ever mention’d to them, that was mortifying, or would depress the Mind. I had heard the same from you in Substance more than once before; and I own, that the Nature of the Thing seems to require, that Soldiers should be indulg’d in their Pride, and that all Exhortations to Battle should be cheerful and pleasing. But the last Time you was speaking of this, I recollected what I had read of the Solemn Fasts, that were so frequently observed in Oliver’s Days; and presently I was puzled, and no ways able to account for the Usefulness of them in War, by the System which you had made appear to be very rational. The Fact it self, that _Cromwell_ appointed many Days of Fasting and Humiliation, and made them be strictly kept, is undeniable; but it is impossible, they should promote Chearfulness; and what Purpose they could have been made to serve, that was not religious, I can not conceive. The mechanical Effect, which Fasting can have upon the Spirits, is to lower, flatten, and depress them; and the very Essence of Humiliation is the Mortification of Pride. You have own’d, that _Cromwell_ understood Human Nature, and was a crafty Politician; but you would never allow, that he had the least Intention of promoting Piety, or rendring his Men good Christians.

Cleo. The Objection you have started seems to be of great Weight at first View; but if we look more narrowly into it, and examine this Affair, as we have done some other Things, the Difficulty you labour under will soon disappear. From the Nature of Man and Society it must follow, that whatever particular Vices may be more or less predominant in different Climates and different Ages, Luxury and Pride will always be reigning Sins in all civiliz’d Nations: Against these two stubborn, and always epidemic Maladies, the great Physician of the Soul has, in his Gospel Dispensation, left us two sovereign Remedies, Fasting and Humiliation; which, when rightly used, and duely assisted with the Exercise of Prayer, never fail to cure the Diseases I named in the most desperate Cases. No method likewise is more reasonable; for, tho’ _Jesus Christ_ had not recommended it himself, it is impossible to think on any Prescription, more judiciously adapted to an Ailment, than Fasting and Humiliation, accompany’d with fervent Prayer, are to Luxury and Pride. This is the Reason, that in private as well as public Disasters, and all Adversities in which is was thought that the divine Anger was visible, all Believers in _Christ_ have, ever since the Promulgation of the Gospel, made use of the aforesaid Remedies, as the most proper Means to obtain Pardon for their Offences, and render heaven propitious to them. All Magistrates likewise, where the Christian Religion has been national, have in general Misfortunes and all great Calamities (whenever they happen’d) appointed Days to be solemnly kept, and set aside for Prayer, for Fasting and Humiliation. If on these Days Men should be sincere in their Devotion; if a pains-taking Clergy, of Apostolic Lives, on the one Hand, should preach Repentance to their Hearers, and shew them the Difference between the temporal Evils, which they complain’d of, tho’ they were less afflicting than they had deserv’d, and the eternal Miseries, which impenitent Sinners would unavoidably meet with, tho’ now they thought little of them; if the Hearers, on the other, searching their Consciences without Reserve, should reflect upon their past Conduct; if both the Clergy and the Laity should thus join in religious Exercises, and, adding real Fasting to ardent Prayer, humble themselves before the Throne of Mercy, with Sorrow and Contrition; if, I say, the Days you speak of were to be spent in this Manner, they would be of use in no War, but against the World, the Flesh, or the Devil, the only Enemies a Christian Hero is not oblig’d to love, and over which the Triumph is the darling Object of his Ambition, and the glorious End of his Warfare. On the Contrary, such Fast-days would be hurtful to a Soldier, in the literal Sense of the Word, and destructive to the Intentions of all Armies; and I would as soon expect from them, that they should turn Men into Trees or Stones, as that they should inspire them with martial Courage, or make them eager to fight. But skilful Politicians make an Advantage of every Thing, and often turn into useful Tools the seeming Obstacles to their Ambition. The most resolute Unbeliever, if he is a good Hypocrite, may pretend to as much Superstition and hold Fear, as the most timorous Bigot can be really possess’d with; and the First often gains his Point by making use of the Religion of others, where the Latter is undone by being hamper’d with his own.

Hor. This was very evident in _Oliver Cromwel_ and King _James_ the Second. But what would you infer from it in Relation to Fast-Days?

Cleo. The most sacred Institutions of Christianity may, by the Assistance of pliable Divines, be made serviceable to the most anti-christian Purposes of Tyrants and Usuerpers: Recollect, pray, what I have said concerning Sermons and Prayers, and what is done by some Clergymen under Pretence of Preaching the Gospel.

Hor. I do, and can easily see, how Preachers, by a small Deviation from the Doctrine of Peace, may insensibly seduce their Hearers, and, perverting the End of their Function, set them on to Enmity, Hatred, and all Manner of Mischief: But I can’t understand how Fasting and Humiliation should further, or be made any ways instrumental to that Design.

Cleo. You have allow’d, that the Grand Point in Armies, and what has been ever most labour’d among military Men, was to make them believe, that Heaven, that is, the Deity they adore, was of their Side; and it is certain, (as I have hinted before) that how widely soever Men had differ’d in their Sentiments concerning the invisible Cause, or the Worship it requires, they have all agreed in this; and the Use that has been made of Religion in War has ever had a palpable Tendency this way. The Word Fasting, indefinitely spoken, sounds very harshly to a Man of a good Stomach; but, as practis’d religiously among _Protestants_, it is hardly an Emblem of the Thing it self, and rather a Joke than any grievous Penance: At least in _England_, by keeping a Fast-Day, Men mean no more, than Eating their Dinners three or four Hours later than they used to do, and perhaps no Supper that Night: Which is a Piece of Abstinence, that is so far from being likely to have an ill Effect upon the Strength or Spirits of Men in Health and Vigour, that there is not One in Fifty, whom it will not render more brisk and lively in the next Day. I speak of People that are not in Want, and who, of dainty or courser Fate, eat as much much every Day as their Appetite requires. As for Humiliation, it is a Word of Course. Fast-Days, bar the Abstinence already mention’d, are kept no otherwise, than the _Sunday_ is. In the Army of the Rebels, the Chaplains perhaps preach’d and pray’d somewhat longer on those Days, and read a few Chapters more in the Bible, than was usual for them to do on a Sabbath-Day. But that was all.

Hor. But you have allow’d, that many of the _Roundheads_ were sincere in their Religion, and that most of the Soldiers, tho’ they were bad Christians, were still Believers. It is unreasonable to think, that the Solemnity of those Days, and the continual Shew of Devotion they were spent in, should have made no Impression upon a considerable Part of such a Multitude, as you your self suppose their Army to have been. Where a great Number of the Vulgar, who believe Hell-Torments and Fire Everlasting, are forced to hear, first their Lives laid open, and their Iniquities display’d, and, after that, all the terrible Things, that the Parson can say of Eternal Misery, it is impossible, that many of them should not be affected with Fear and Sorrow, at least for that Time: However, this is beyond all Dispute, that the mildest Remonstrances that can be made on that Head, will sooner dispose Men to Melancholy, than they will to Chearfulness.

Cleo. All this while you take that for granted, which I told you long ago was notoriously false; _viz_. That in camps and Armies, the plain Doctrine of _Christ_ is delivered without Disguise or Dissimulation: Nay, I hinted to you just now, that if Repentance was preach’d among Military Men, as might be expected from Christian Divines, Solders would be in Danger of being spoil’d by it, and render’d unfit for their Business. All knowing Clergymen, at first Setting out, suit themselves and their Doctrine to the Occupations, as well as Capacities of their Hearers: And as Court Preachers speak in Praise of the Government, and applaud the Measures of it, shade the Vices of Princes and their Favourites, and place their Merit in the handsomest Light it can be seen in so Divines in Armies speak up for the Justice of the Cause they are engaged in, and extol the Generals to the Skies; cajole and curry Favour with the Troops, and flatter more particularly the respective Regiments they belong to. There is not a Chaplain in an Army, who is not perfectly well acquainted with the Duty of a Soldier, and what is required of him. Therefore they preach Christianity to them, as far as it is consistent with that Duty, and no farther. Where they interfere, and are clashing with one another, the Gospel is set aside. The Politician must have his Business done: Necessity is pleaded, and Religion ever made to give Way to the Urgency of Affairs. There is a vast Latitude in Preaching; and Clergymen often take great Liberties: Being as much subject to Errour and Passion as other People, they can give bad Counsel as well as good. Those, who are pleas’d with a Government, we see, preach one way; and those who are not, another. Above Half the Time of the last Reign, a considerable Part of the _English_ Clergy exhorted their Hearers to Sedition, and in a Contempt for the Royal Family, either openly or by sly Inuendo’s, in ever Sermon they preach’d: And every Thirtieth of _January_ The same Church furnishes us with two contrary Doctrines: For whilst the more prudent and moderate of the Clergy are shifting and trimming between two Parties, the hot ones of one side assert with Vehemence, that it is meritorious as well as lawful for the people, to put their King to Death whenever he deserves it; and that of this Demerit, the Majority of the same People are the only Judges. The Zealots on the other, are as positive, that Kings are not accountable for their Actions, but to God only; and that, whatever Enormities they may commit, it is a damnable Sin for Subjects to resist them. And if an impartial Man, tho’ he was the wisest in the World, was to judge of the Monarch, whose unfortunate End is the common Topick of the Discourses held on that Day, and he had no other Light to guide him, but the Sermons of both Parties, it would be impossible for him to decide, whether the Prince in Question had been a spotless Saint, or the greatest Tyrant. I name these obvious Facts, because they are familiar Instances of our own Time, to convince us, that the Gospel is no Clog which Divines think themselves strictly tied to. A skilful Preacher, whether it be a Fast, or a Day of Rejoycing, always finds Ways to pursue his End, instills into his Hearers whatever he pleases, and never dismisses an Audience, before he has acquainted them with what he would have them know; let the Subject, or the Occasion he preaches upon, be what they will. Besides, an artful Orator may mention frightful Things without giving Uneasiness to his Hearers. He may set forth the Enormity of any great Sin, and the Certainty of the Punishment, that is to follow it. He may display and dwell upon the Terrors of the Divine Vengeance for a considerable Time, and turn at last all the Weight of it upon their Adversaries; and having demonstrated to his Audience, that those whom they are to fight against, or else the great Grandfathers of them, have been notoriously guilty of that Wickedness, which is so heinous in the Sight of Heaven, he may easily convince Believers, that their Enemies must of Necessity be likewise the Enemies of God. If any Disgrace has happen’d to an Army, or some of the Men have misbehaved, a wary Preacher, instead of calling them Cowards, will lay all the Fault on their little Faith, their trusting too much to the Arm of the Flesh, and assure them, that they would have conquer’d, if they had put greater Confidence in God; and more entirely rely’d on his Assistance.

Hor. And so not have fought at all.

Cleo. The Coherence of these Things is never examin’d into. It is possible likewise for a crafty Divine, in order to rouse a listless and dejected Audience, first to awaken them with lively Images of the Torments of Hell and the State of Damnation, and afterwards seem happily to light on an Expedient, that shall create new Hopes, and revive the drooping Spirits of a Multitude; and by this Means the Courage of Soldiers may often be wrought up to a higher Pitch than it could have been rais’d, if they had not been terrify’d at all. I have heard of an Instance, where this was perform’d with great Success. Provisions had been scarce for some Time; and the Enemy was just at Hand; and Abundance of the Men seem’d to have little Mind to fight; when a Preacher, much esteem’d among the Soldiers, took the following Method: First, he set faithfully before them their Sins and Wickedness, the many Warnings that they had received to repent, and God’s long Forbearance, as well as great Mercy, in not having totally destroy’d them long ago. He represented their Wants, and Scarcity of Provision, as a certain Token of the Divine Wrath, and shew’d them plainly, that labouring already under the Weight of his Displeasure, they had no Reason to think, that God would connive longer at their manifold Neglects and Transgressions. Having convinced them, that Heaven was angry with them, he enumerated many Calamities, which, he said, would befal them; and several of them being such, as they had actually to fear, he was hearken’d to as a Prophet. He then told them, that what they could suffer in this World, was of no great Moment, if they could but escape Eternal Punishment; but that of this (as they had lived) he saw not the least Probablity, they should. Having shewn an extraordinary Concern for their deplorable Condition, and seeing many of them touch’d with Remorse, and overwhelm’d with Sorrow, he chang’d his Note on a Sudden, and with an Air of Certainty told them, that there was still one Way left, and but that one, to retrieve all, and avert the Miseries they were threaten’d with; which, in short, was to Fight well, and beat their Enemies; and that they had Nothing else for it. Having thus disclosed his Mind to them, with all the Appearances of Sincerity, he assumed chearful Countenance, shew’d them the many Advantages, that would attend the Victory; assured them of it, if they would but exert themselves; named the Times and Places in which they had behaved well, not without Exaggeration, and work’d upon their Pride so powerfully, that they took Courage, fought like Lions, and got the Day.

Hor. A very good story; and whether this was preaching the Gospel or not, it was of great Use to that Army.

Cleo. It was so, politically speaking. But to act such a Part well, requires great Skill, and ought not to be attempted by an ordinary Orator; nor is it to be tried but in desperate Cases.

Hor. You have sufficiently shewn, and I am satisfied, that as Fasting is practiced, and Preaching and Praying may be managed by wary Divines, Care may be taken, that neither the Strictness of Behaviour observed, nor the Religious Exercises perform’d on those Days, shall be the least Hindrance to military Affairs, or any ways mortify or dispirit the Soldiers; but I cannot see, what Good they can do where Religion is out of the Question. What Service would an _Atheist_, who knew himself to be an Arch-Hypocrite and a Rebel (for such you allow _Cromwell_ to have been) expect from them for his Purpose?

Cleo. I thought, that we had agreed, that to please the Party he was engaged in, it was his Interest to make a great Shew of Piety among his Troops, and seem to be religious himself.

Hor. I grant it; as I do likewise, that he throve by Hypocrisy, raised Enthusiasm in others by Counterfeiting it himself, and that the Craft of his Clergy was many ways instrumental to his Successes: But a skilful Hypocrite, and able Politician, would have made no more Rout about Religion, than there was Occasion for. They had Praying and Singing of Psalms every Day; and the Sabbath was kept with great Strictness. The Clergy of that Army had Opportunities enough to talk their Fill to the Soldiers, and harangue them on what Subject they pleased. They had such a Plenty of Religious Exercises, that it is highly probable, the greatest Part of the Soldiers were glutted with them: And if they were tired with what they had in Ordinary, what good effect could be expected from still more Devotion Extraordinary?

Cleo. What you named last is a great Matter. What is done every Day is soon turn’d into a Habit; and the more Men are accustomed to Things, the less they mind them; but any Thing extraordinary rouses their Spirits and raises their Attention. But to form a clear Idea of the Use and Advantage, a mere Politician, tho’ he is an Unbeliever, may reasonably expect from Fast-Days, let us take into Consideration these two Things: First, the Grand _Desideratum_ in armies, that is aim’d at by Religion, and which all Generals labour to obtain by Means of their Clergy: Secondly, the common Notions among Christians, both of Religion and of War. The First is to persuade the Soldiers, and make them firmly believe, that their Cause is Just, and that Heaven will certainly be on their Side; unless by their Offences they themselves should provoke it to be against them. All Prayers for Success, Thanksgivings for Victories obtain’d, and Humiliations after Losses received, are so many different Means to strengthen the Truth of that Persuasion, and confirm Men in the Belief of it. As to the second, Christians believe, that all Men are Sinners; that God is Just, and will punish, here or hereafter, all Trespasses committed against him, unless they are atton’d for before we die; but that he is likewise very merciful, and ever willing to forgive those, who sincerely repent. And as to War, that it is, as all human Affairs are, entirely under his Direction, and that the side whom he is pleased to favour, beats the other. This is the general Opinion, as well of those who hold a Free-agency, as of those who are for Predestination. A cursory View of these two Things, the Notions Men have of Providence and the Grand Point to be obtain’d in Armies, will give us a clear Idea of a Clergyman’s Task among Military Men, and shew us both the Design of Fast-Days, and the Effect they are like to produce.

Hor. The design of them is to gain the Divine Favour and Assistance; that’s plain enough; but how you are sure, they will have that Effect, I can’t see.

Cleo. You mistake the thing. The Politician may have no Thoughts of Heaven: The Effect I speak of relates to the Soldiers; and is the Influence, which, in all Probablility, Fast-Days will have upon Believers, that assist in the keeping of them.

Hor. What Influence is that, pray, if it be not Religious?

Cleo. That they will inspire, and fill the Men with fresh Hopes, that God will favour them and be of their Side. The Reputation of those Days, that they avert the Divine Wrath, and are acceptable to Heaven, is, in a great Measure, the Cause, that they have this Influence upon the Men. The Heathens harbour’d the same Sentiments of their Publick Supplications; and it has been the Opinion of all Ages, that the more Solemn and Respectful the Addresses are, which Men put up to the Deity, and the greater the Numbers are that join in them, the more probable it is, that their Petitions shall be granted. It is possible therefore, that a Politician may appoint Extraordinary Days of Devotion, with no other View than to chear up the Soldier, revive his Hopes, and make him confident of Success. Men are ready enough to flatter themselves, and willing to believe, that Heaven is on their Side, whenever it is told them, tho’ they have little Reason to think so. But then they are unsteady, and naturally prone to Superstition, which often raises new Doubts and Fears in them. Therefore Common Soldiers are continually to be buoy’d up in the good Opinion they have of themselves; and the Hopes they were made to conceive, ought often to be stirr’d up in them afresh. The Benefit that accrues from those Extraordinary Days of Devotion, and the Advantages expected from them, are of longer Duration, than just the Time they are kept in. With a little Help of the Clergy, they are made to do Good when they are over; and two or three Days or a Week after, the Usefulness of them is more conspicuous than it was before. It is in the Power of the General, or any Government whatever, to have those Days as strictly kept, to outward Appearance, as they please. All Shops may be order’d to be shut, and Exercises of Devotion to be continued from Morning till Night; nothing suffer’d to be bought, or sold during the Time of Divine Service; and all Labour as well as Diversion be strictly prohibited. This having been well executed makes an admirable Topick for a Preacher, when the Day is over, especially among Military Men; and Nothing can furnish a Divine with a finer Opportunity of commending, and highly praising his Audience, without Suspicion of Flattery, than the Solemnity of such a Day. He may set forth the outward Face of it in a lively Manner, expatiate on the various Decorums, and Religious Beauties of it; and by faithfully representing what Every body remembers of it, gain Credit to every Thing he says besides. He may magnify and safely enlarge on the Self-denial, that was practised on that Day; and, ascribing to the Goodness and Piety of the Soldiers, what in his Heart he knows to have been altogether owing to Discipline, and the strict Commands of the General, he may easily make them believe, that greater Godliness and a more general Humiliation never had been seen in an Army. If he has Wit, and is a Man of Parts, he’ll find out Quaint _Similes_, Happy Turns, and Plausible Arguments, to illustrate his Assertions, and give an Air of Truth to every Thing he advances. If it suits with the Times, he’ll work himself up into Rapture and Enthusiasm, congratulate his Regiment, if not the whole Army, on the undeniable Proofs they have given of being good Christians, and with Tears in his Eyes wish them Joy of their Conversion, and the infallible Tokens they have received of the Divine Mercy. If a grave Divine, of good Repute, acts this, as he should do, with an artful Innocence and Chearfulness in his Countenance, it is incredible what an Effect it may have upon the greater part of a Multitude, amongst whom Christianity is not scoff’d at, and Pretences to Purity are in Fashion. Those who were any ways devout on that Day, which he points at, or can but remember that they wish’d to be Godly, will swallow with Greediness whatever such a Preacher delivers to them; and applauding every Sentence before it is quite finish’d, imagine, that in their Hearts they feel the Truth of every Word he utters. We are naturally so prone to think well of our Selves, that an artful Man, who is thought to be serious, and harangues a vulgar Audience, can hardly say any Thing in their Behalf, which they will not believe. One would imagine, that Men, who gave but little Heed to the Religious Exercises they assisted at, could receive no great Comfort from their Reflection on that Day; such, I mean, as were tired to Death with the Length of the Prayers, and almost slept as they stood the greatest Part of the Sermon; yet many of these, hearing the Behaviour of the Army in General well spoken of, would be stupid enough to take Share in the Praise; and remembring the Uneasiness they felt, make a Merit of the very Fatigue they then bore with Impatience. Most of the Vulgar, that are not averse to Religion, have a wild Notion of Debtor and Creditor betwen themselves and Heaven. Natural gratitude teaches them, that some returns must be due for the good Things they receive; and they look upon Divine Service as the only Payment they are able to make. Thousands have made this Acknowledgment in their Hearts, that never after cared to think on the vast Debt they owed. But how careless and neglectful soever most of them may be in the Discharge of their Duty, yet they never forget to place to their Accounts, and magnify in their Minds, what little Time they spend, and the least Trouble they are at in performing what can but seem to have any Relation to Religious Worship; and, what is astonishing, draw a Comfort from them by barely shutting their Eyes against the frightful Balance. Many of these are very well pleased with themselves after a sound Nap at Church, whole Consciences would be less easy, if they had stay’d from it. Nay, so extensive is the Usefulness of those Extraordinary Devotions, appointed by Authority, in Politicks only, that the most inattentive Wretch, and the greatest Reprobate, that can be in such an Army, may receive Benefit from them; and the Reflection on a Fast-Day, may be an Advantage to him as a Soldier. For tho’ he cursed the Chaplain in his Heart, for preaching such a tedious while as he did, and wish’d the General damn’d, by whose Order he was kept from Strong Liquor such an unreasonable Time; yet he recollects, the Nothing went forward but Acts of Devotion all the Day long; that every Sutler’s Tent was shut; and that it was Six a Clock before he could get a Drop of Drink. Whilst these Things are fresh in his Memory, it is hardly possible, that he should ever think of the Enemy, of Battles, or of Sieges, without receiving real Comfort from what he remembers of that Day. It is incredible what a strong Impression the Face, the outward Appearance only of such a Day, may make upon a loose wicked Fellow, who hardly ever had a Religious Thought in his Life; and how powerfully the Remembrance of it may inspire him with Courage and Confidence of Triumph, if he is not an Unbeliever.

Hor. I have not forgot what you said Yesterday of the obdurate Soldier; and I believe heartily, that the greatest Rogue may build Hopes of Success on the Devotion of others, whom he thinks to be Sincere,

Cleo. And if the bare outward Shew of such a Day, can any ways affect the worst of an Army, there is no Doubt, but the better Sort of them may get infinitely more Benefit by keeping it, and giving Attention to the greatest Part of the Preaching and Praying that are perform’d upon it. And tho’ in Camps, there are not many Men of real Probity, any more than in Courts; and Soldiers, who are sincere in their Religion, and only misled in the Duties of it, are very scarce; yet in most Multitudes, especially of the sober Party, there are ignorant Well-wishers to Religion, that, by proper Means, may be raised to Devotion for a Time and of whom I have said, that tho’ they were bad Livers, they often desired to repent; and would sometimes actually set about it, if their Passions would let them. All these an artful Preacher may persuade to any Thing, and do with them almost what he pleases. A bold Assurance of Victory, emphatically pronounc’d by a popular Preacher, has often been as little doubted of among such, as if it had been a Voice from Heaven.

Hor. I now plainly see the vast Use that may be made of Fast-Days, as well afterwards when they are over, as during the Time they are kept.

Cleo. The Days of Supplication among the Heathens, as I hinted before, were celebrated for the same Purpose; but their Arts to make People believe, that the Deity was on their side, and Heaven espoused their Cause, were very trifling in Comparison to those of Christian Divines. When the _Pagan_ Priests had told the People, that the Chickens had eat their Meat very well, and the Entrails of the Victim were found, and that the Rest of the Omens were lucky, they had done, and were forced to leave the Belief of those Things to the Soldiers. But–

Hor. You need not to say any more, for I am convinced, and have now so clear an Idea of the Usefulness of Extraordinary Devotions, and a great Shew of Piety, among military Men; I mean the Political Usefulness of them, abstract from all Thoughts of Religion; that I begin to think them necessary, and wonder, how great and wise Generals ever would or could do without them. For it is evident, that since the Prince of _Conde’s_ and _Cromwel’s_ Armies, such a Shew of Godliness has not been seen among any regular Troops, in any considerable Body of Men. Why did not _Luxemburg_, King _William_, Prince _Eugene_, and the Duke of _Marlborough_ follow those great Examples, in modelling their Armies after a Manner that had bred such good Soldiers?

Cleo. We are to consider, that such a Shew of Piety and outward Devotion, as we have been speaking of, is not to be created and started up at once, nor indeed to be made practicable but among such Troops as the _Huguenots_ in _France_, and the _Roundheads_ in _England_ were. Their Quarrels with their Adversaries were chiefly Religious; and the greatest Complaints of the Malecontents in both Nations were made against the Establish’d Church. They exclaim’d against the Ceremonies and Superstition of it; the Lives of the Clergy, the Haughtiness of the Prelates, and the little Care that was taken of Christianity it self and good Morals. People, who advance these Things, must be thought very inconsistent with themselves, unless they are more upon their Guard, and lead stricter Lives than those, whom they find Fault with. All Ministers likewise, who pretend to dissent from a Communion, must make a sad Figure, unless they will reform, or at least seem to reform every Thing they blame in their Adversaries. If you’ll duely weigh what I have said, you will find it impossible to have an Army, in which outward Godliness shall be so conspicuous, as it was in the Prince of _Conde’s_ or _Oliver Cromwel’s_, unless that Godliness suited with the times.

Hor. What peculiar Conjuncture, pray, does that require.

Cleo. When a considerable Part of a Nation, for some End or other, seem to mend, and set up for Reformation; when Virtue and Sobriety are countenanced by many of the better Sort; and to appear Religious is made Fashionable. Such was the Time in which _Cromwell_ enter’d himself into the Parliament’s Service. What he aim’d at first was Applause; and skilfully suiting himself in every Respect to the Spirit of his party, he studied Day and Night to gain the good Opinion of the Army. He would have done the same, if he had been on the other Side. The Chief Motive of all his Actions was Ambition, and what he wanted was immortal Fame. This End he steadily pursued: All his Faculties were made subservient to it; and no Genius was ever more supple to his Interest. He could take Delight in being Just, Humane and Munificent, and with equal Pleasure he could oppress, persecute and plunder, if it served his Purpose. In the most Treacherous Contrivance to hasten the Execution of his blackest Design, he could counterfeit Enthusiasm, and seem to be a Saint. But the most enormous of his Crimes proceeded from no worse Principle, than the best of his Atchievements. In the Midst of his Villanies he was a Slave to Business; and the most disinterested Patriot never watch’d over the Publick Welfare, both at Home and Abroad, with greater Care and Assiduity, or retriev’d the fallen Credit of a Nation in less Time than this Usurper: But all was for himself; and he never had a Thought on the Glory of _England_, before he had made it inseparable from his own.

Hor. I don’t wonder you dwell so long upon Cromwell, for Nothing can be more serviceable to your System, than his Life and Actions.

Cleo. You will pardon the Excursion, when I own, that you have hit upon the Reason. What I intended to shew, when I ran away from my Subject, was, that able Politicians consult the Humour of the Age, and the Conjuncture they live in, and that _Cromwell_ made the most of his. I don’t question, but he would have done the same, if he had been born three or four score Years later. And if he had been to command an _English_ Army abroad, when the Duke of _Marlborough_ did, I am persuaded, that he would sooner have endeavoured to make all his Soldiers dancing Masters, than he would have attempted to make them Bigots. There are more ways than one, to make People brave and obstinate in Fighting. What in _Oliver’_s Days was intended by a Mask of Religion and a Shew of Sanctity, is now aim’d at by the Height of Politeness, and a perpetual Attachment to the Principle of modern Honour. There is a Spirit of Gentility introduced among military Men, both Officers and Soldiers, of which there was yet little to be seen in the last Century, in any Part of _Europe,_ and which now shines through all their Vices and Debaucheries.

Hor. This is a new Discovery; pray, what does it consist in?

Cleo. Officers are less rough and boisterous in their Manners, and not only more careful of themselves, and their own Behaviour, but they likewise oblige and force their Men under severe Penalties to be Neat, and keep themselves Clean: And a much greater Stress is laid upon this, than was Forty or Fifty Years ago.

Hor. I believe there is, and approve of it very much; white Gaiters are a vast Addition to a clever Fellow in Regimental Cloaths; but what mighty Matters can you expect from a Soldier’s being obliged to be clean.

Cleo. I look upon it as a great Improvement in the Art of Flattery, and a finer Stratagem to raise the Passion of Self-liking in Men, than had been invented yet; for by this Means the Gratification of their Vanity is made Part of the Discipline; and their Pride must encrease in Proportion to the Strictness, with which they observe this Duty.

Hor. It may be of greater Weight than I can see at Present. But I have another Question to ask. The main Things, that in raising Troops, and making War, Politicians are solicitous about, and which they seem altogether to rely upon, are Money, great Numbers, Art and Discipline. I want to know, why Generals, who can have no Hopes, from the Age they live in, of thriving by Bigotry, should yet put themselves to such an Expence, on Account of Religion in their Armies, as they all do. Why should they pay for Preaching for Praying at all, if they laid no Stress upon them?

Cleo. I never said, that the great Generals, you nam’d, laid no Stress on Preaching or Praying.

Hor. But Yesterday, speaking of the Gallantry of our Men in _Spain_ and _Flanders_, you said, that you _would as soon believe, that it was Witchcraft that made them Brave, as that it was their Religion_. You could mean Nothing else by this, than that, whatever it was, you was very sure, it was not their Religion that made them Brave. How come you to be so very sure of that?

Cleo. I judge from undeniable Facts, the loose and wicked Lives, the Generality of them led, and the Courage and Intrepidity they were on many Occasions. For of Thousands of them it was as evident as the Sun, that they were very Vicious, at the same Time that they were very Brave.

Hor. But they had Divine Service among them; every Regiment had a Chaplain; and Religion was certainly taken care of.

Cleo. It was, I know it; but not more than was absolutely necessary to hinder the Vulgar from suspecting, that Religion was neglected by their Superiours; which would be of dangerous Consequence to all Governments. There are no great Numbers of Men without Superstition; and if it was to be tried, and the most skilful Unbelievers were to labour at it, with all imaginable Cunning and Industry, it would be altogether as impossible to get an Army of all _Atheists_, as it would be to have an Army of good Christians. Therefore no Multitudes can be so universally wicked, that there should not be some among them, upon whom the Suspicion, I hinted at, would have a bad Effect. It is inconceiveable, how Wickedness, Ignorance, and Folly are often blended together. There are, among all Mobs, vicious Fellows, that boggle at no Sin; and whilst they know Nothing to the Contrary, but that Divine Service is taken care of as it used to be, tho’ they never come near it, are perfectly easy in their Evil Courses, who yet would be extremely shock’d, should Any body tell them seriously, that there was no Devil.

Hor. I have known such my self; and I see plainly, that the Use, which Politicians may make of Christianity in Armies, is the same as ever was made of all other Religions on the same Occasion, _viz_. That the Preists, who preside over them, should humour and make the most of the Natural Superstition of all Multitudes, and take great Care, that on all Emergencies, the Fear of an invisible Cause, which Every body is born with, should never be turn’d against the Interest those, who employ them.

Cleo. It is certain, that Christianity being once stript of the Severity of its Discipline, and its most essential Precepts, the Design of it may be so skilfully perverted from its real and original Scope, as to be made subservient to any worldly End or Purpose, a Politician can have Occasion for.

Hor. I love to hear you; and to shew you, that I have not been altogether inattentive, I believe I can repeat to you most of the Heads of your Discourse, since you finish’d what you had to say concerning the Origin of Honour. You have proved to my Satisfaction, that no Preaching of the Gospel, or strict Adherence to the Precepts of it, will make men good Soldiers, any more than they will make them good Painters, or any thing else the most remote from the Design of it. That good Christians, strictly speaking, can never presume or submit to be Soldiers. That Clergymen under Pretence of Preaching the Gospel, by a small Deviation from it, may easily misguide their Hearers, and not only make them fight in a just Cause, and against the Enemies of their Country, but likewise incite them to civil Discord and all Manner of Mischief. That by the Artifices of such Divines, even honest and well-meaning Men have often been seduced from their Duty, and, tho’ they were sincere in their Religion, been made to act quite contrary to the Precepts of it. You have given me a full View of the Latitude, that may be taken in Preaching, by putting me in Mind of an undeniable Truth; _viz_. That in all the Quarrels among Christians, there never yet was a Cause so bad, but, if it could find an Army to back it, there were always Clergymen ready to justify and maintain it. You have made it plain to me, that Divine Service and Religious Exercises may be ordered and strictly enjoin’d with no other than Political Views; that by Preaching and Praying, bad Christians may be inspired with Hatred to their Enemies, and Confidence in the Divine Favour; that in order to obtain the Victory, Godliness and an outward Shew of Piety among Soldiers may be made serviceble to the greatest Profligates, who never join in Prayer, have no Thoughts of Religion, or ever assist at any Publick Worship, but by Compulsion and with Reluctancy; and that they may have this effect in an Army, of which the General is an _Atheist_, most of the Clergy are Hypocrites, and the Generality of the Soldiers wicked Men. You have made it evident, that neither the _Huguenots_ in _France_, nor the _Roundheads_ in _England_ could have been animated by the Spirit of Christianity; and shewn me the true Reason, why Acts of Devotion were more frequent, and Religion seemingly more taken care of in both those Armies, than otherwise is usual among military Men.

Cleo. You have a good Memory.

Hor. I must have a very bad one, if I could not remember thus much. In all the Things I nam’d, I am very clear. The solution likewise, which you have given of the Difficulty I proposed this Afternoon, I have Nothing to object to; and I believe, that skilful Preachers consult the Occupations as well as the Capacities of their Hearers; that therefore in Armies they always encourage and chear up their Audiences; and that whatever the Day or the Occasion may be, upon which they harangue them, they seldom touch upon mortifying Truths, and take great Care never to leave them in a Melancholy Humour, or such an Opinion of themselves or their Affairs as might lower their Spirits, or depress their Minds. I am likewise of your Opinion, as to artful Politicians; that they fall in with the Humour of their Party, and make the most of the Conjuncture they live in; and I believe, that, if _Cromwell_ had been to Command the Duke of _Marlborough_’s Army, he would have taken quite other Measures, than he did in his own Time. Upon the whole, you have given me a clear Idea, and laid open to me the real Principle of that great wicked Man. I can now reconcile the Bravest and most Gallant of his Atchievements, with his vilest and the most treacherous of his Actions; and tracing every Thing, he did, from one and the same Motive, I can solve several Difficulties concerning his Character, that would be inexplicable, if that vast Genius had been govern’d by any Thing but his Ambition; and, if following the common Opinion, we suppose him to have been a Compound of a daring Villain and an Enthusiastical Bigot.

Cleo. I am not a little proud of your Concurrence with me.

Hor. You have made out, with Perspicuity, every Thing you have advanced both Yesterday and to Day, concerning the Political Use, that may be made of Clergymen in War; but, after all, I can’t see what Honour you have done to the Christian Religion, which yet you ever seem strenuously to contend for, whilst you are treating every Thing else with the utmost Freedom. I am not prepared to reply to several Things, which, I know, you might answer: Therefore I desire, that we may break off our Discourse here. I will think on it, and wait on you in a few Days; for I shall long to be set to Rights in this Point.

Cleo. Whenever you please; and I will shew you, that no Discovery of the Craft, or Insincerity of Men can ever bring any Dishonour upon the Christian Religion it self, I mean the Doctrine of _Christ_, which can only be learn’d from the New Testament, where it will ever remain in its Purity and Lustre.