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An Enquiry into the Origin of Honour, and the Usefulness of Christianity in War by Bernard Mandeville

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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