Sunday, February 21, 2021



Joseph Addison, The Spectator, no. 185 (Tuesday, October 2, 1711):
I would have every Zealous Man examine his Heart throughly, and, I believe, he will often find that what he calls a Zeal for his Religion is either Pride, Interest, or Ill-nature. A Man who differs from another in Opinion sets himself above him in his own Judgment, and in several Particulars pretends to be the wiser Person. This is a great Provocation to the Proud Man, and gives a very keen Edge to what he calls his Zeal.
A Man is glad to gain Numbers on his side, as they serve to strengthen him in his private Opinions. Every Proselyte is like a new Argument for the Establishment of his Faith. It makes him believe that his Principles carry Conviction with them, and are the more likely to be true, when he finds they are conformable to the Reason of others, as well as to his own.
Ill-nature is another dreadful Imitator of Zeal. Many a good Man may have a Natural Rancour and Malice in his Heart, which has been in some measure quelled and subdued by Religion but if it finds any Pretence of breaking out, which does not seem to him inconsistent with the Duties of a Christian, it throws off all Restraint, and rages in its full Fury. Zeal is therefore a great Ease to a malicious Man, by making him believe he does God Service, whilst he is gratifying the bent of a perverse revengeful Temper.

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