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Part 4 Chapter 13

A Dialogue Between the Ordinary of Newgate and Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great; in which the Subjects of Death, Immortality, And Other Grave Matters, are Very Learnedly Handled by the Former.

ORDINARY. Good morrow to you, sir; I hope you rested well last night.

JONATHAN. D— n’d ill, sir. I dreamt so confoundedly of hanging, that it disturbed my sleep.

ORDINARY. Fie upon it! You should be more resigned. I wish you would make a little better use of those instructions which I have endeavoured to inculcate into you, and particularly last Sunday, and from these words: “Those who do evil shall go into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” I undertook to shew you, first, what is meant by EVERLASTING FIRE; and, secondly, who were THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS. I then proceeded to draw some inferences from the whole; [Footnote: He pronounced this word HULL, and perhaps would have spelt it so.] in which I am mightily deceived if I did not convince you that you yourself was one of those ANGELS, and, consequently, must expect EVERLASTING FIRE to be your portion in the other world.

JONATHAN. Faith, doctor, I remember very little of your inferences; for I fell asleep soon after your naming your text. But did you preach this doctrine then, or do you repeat it now in order to comfort me?

ORDINARY. I do it in order to bring you to a true sense of your manifold sins, and, by that means, to induce you to repentance. Indeed, had I the eloquence of Cicero, or of Tully, it would not be sufficient to describe the pains of hell or the joys of heaven. The utmost that we are taught is, THAT EAR HATH NOT HEARD, NOR CAN HEART CONCEIVE. Who then would, for the pitiful consideration of the riches and pleasures of this world, forfeit such inestimable happiness! such joys! such pleasures! such delights? Or who would run the venture of such misery, which, but to think on, shocks the human understanding? Who, in his senses, then, would prefer the latter to the former?

JONATHAN. Ay, who indeed? I assure you, doctor, I had much rather be happy than miserable. But [Footnote: This part was so blotted that it was illegible.]

. . .  . . . .

ORDINARY. Nothing can be plainer. St . . . .

. . .  . . . .

Jonathan. . . . . If once convinced . . . . no man . . lives of . . . . . whereas sure the clergy . . opportunity . better informed . . . . . all manner of vice

ORDINARY. . are. atheist . . . deist ari.. cinian. hanged.. burnt.. oiled. oasted. . . . dev . . his an . . . . ell fire . . ternal da . . . tion.

JONATHAN. You . . . to frighten me out of my wits. But the good . . . is, I doubt not, more merciful than his wicked.. If I should believe all you say, I am sure I should die in inexpressible horrour.

ORDINARY. Despair is sinful. You should place your hopes in repentance and grace; and though it is most true that you are in danger of the judgment, yet there is still room for mercy; and no man, unless excommunicated, is absolutely without hopes of a reprieve.

JONATHAN. I am not without hopes of a reprieve from the cheat yet. I have pretty good interest; but if I cannot obtain it, you shall not frighten me out of my courage. I will not die like a pimp. D— n me, what is death? It is nothing but to be with Platos and with Caesars, as the poet says, and all the other great heroes of antiquity. . . .

ORDINARY. Ay, all this is very true; but life is sweet for all that; and I had rather live to eternity than go into the company of any such heathens, who are, I doubt not, in hell with the devil and his angels; and, as little as you seem to apprehend it, you may find yourself there before you expect it. Where, then, will be your tauntings and your vauntings, your boastings and your braggings? You will then be ready to give more for a drop of water than you ever gave for a bottle of wine.

JONATHAN. Faith, doctor! well minded. What say you to a bottle of wine?

ORDINARY. I will drink no wine with an atheist. I should expect the devil to make a third in such company, for, since he knows you are his, he may be impatient to have his due.

JONATHAN. It is your business to drink with the wicked, in order to amend them.

ORDINARY. I despair of it; and so I consign you over to the devil, who is ready to receive you.

JONATHAN. You are more unmerciful to me than the judge, doctor. He recommended my soul to heaven; and it is your office to shew me the way thither.

ORDINARY. No: the gates are barred against all revilers of the clergy.

JONATHAN. I revile only the wicked ones, if any such are, which cannot affect you, who, if men were preferred in the church by merit only, would have long since been a bishop. Indeed, it might raise any good man’s indignation to observe one of your vast learning and abilities obliged to exert them in so low a sphere, when so many of your inferiors wallow in wealth and preferment.

ORDINARY. Why, it must be confessed that there are bad men in all orders; but you should not censure too generally. I must own I might have expected higher promotion; but I have learnt patience and resignation; and I would advise you to the same temper of mind; which if you can attain, I know you will find mercy. Nay, I do now promise you you will. It is true you are a sinner; but your crimes are not of the blackest dye: you are no murderer, nor guilty of sacrilege. And, if you are guilty of theft, you make some atonement by sufferi............

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