"I was by him conveyed in imagination on the throne of judgment, and all nature seemed waiting with dependence on my determination."

— Fielding, Sarah (1710-1768) and Jane Collier (bap. 1715, d. 1755)

Place of Publication
Printed for R. and J. Dodsley in Pall Mall
"I was by him conveyed in imagination on the throne of judgment, and all nature seemed waiting with dependence on my determination."
Metaphor in Context
I had fixed in my mind the highest admiration for my lord Shaftesbury's writings, which I believe originally arose from the common conversation I heard at table from my father and his companions. Nothing could be more exactly adapted to the humour I at this time indulged, than that freedom of thought and enquiry, which he asserts to be the distinguishing prerogative of the human mind. I was by him conveyed in imagination on the throne of judgment, and all nature seemed waiting with dependence on my determination. The crowns and scepters of the whole world laid at my feet, would not have given me half the gratification as thus believing myself the sovereign judge of all things. I had such an aversion to every thing that had the least appearance of being gloomy or morose, and such a delight in giving an unbounded vent to every whimsical piece of pleasantry which presented itself to my fancy, that the making RIDICULE the TEST OF TRUTH was most perfectly agreeable to my inclinations. I turned therefore every smart expression, or bon mot of my author, into a basis on which to build something that I called a principle; and thus whilst the standing ridicule, or not standing it, was to prove truth or falsehood, I joined with my author in boasting my security, that however I might be frightened out of my wits, I never could beridiculed out of them. That pleasant fancy of a grave bishop's believing in fairies, a[1] with the words tradition and revelation being jumbled in so very near to that story, had the effect designed, and easily convinced me, that all belief in revelation or tradition had in it something very ridiculous, and therefore could not suit with the dignity of human wisdom. The ridicule of believing in fairies ran away with me, and I began to suspect every thing of being a childish incredible tale. Thus on the one hand was I allured, whilst on the other I was terrified by such expressions as these, THE FETTERS OF PRIESTCRAFT, BIGOTRY, SUPERSTITION, VULGAR ENTHUSIASM, SOLEMN MUMMERY, RELIGIOUS IMPOSTURE, and all RESTRAINTS made to BUBBLE the understanding, and to ENSLAVE the FREE and GENEROUS SPIRIT. The illustrations which he uses too from outward objects, came very strongly to the assistance of raising my horror at the thoughts of any restraint. "Nor do we say (writes our b[2] author) that he is a good man, when having his hands tied up he is hindered from doing the mischief he designs, or (which is in a manner the same) when he abstains from executing his ill purpose, through a fear of some impending punishment, or through the allurement of some exterior reward." The word slavery had before sufficiently raised my horror; but when the picture of slavery illustrated by a man bound in chains was placed before my view, nothing but the idea of condemned felons presented themselves to my imagination, and I fled immediatly from such a disagreeable spectacle into the pleasing contemplation of my own liberty of judgment, and the free agency of all my faculties. The latter part of my author's before-quoted sentence, where he makes the fear of punishment or hope of reward indications of a servility of spirit, was not lost upon me: for I felt such a liberality in the thought of being good, because I myself had discovered it to be right and fit, such an exaltation of my own understanding, in being thus made sole judge to myself of right and wrong, that I disdained to be fettered by the paltry fear of punishment, or allured by the selfish hope of reward. I scorned all restraint and dependence, and esteemed myself free and unbounded as the air.
(pp. 276-9)
Searching "throne" and "mind" in HDIS (Prose)
2 entries in ESTC (1754).

See Fielding, Sarah and Jane Collier, The Cry: A New Dramatic Fable, 3 vols. (London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley in Pall Mall, 1754). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.