Слике страница
PDF
ePub

In a moral view, I shall not, I believe, be contredicted when I say, that, if one train of thinking be more desirable than another, it is that which regards the phenomena of nature with a constant reference to their Supreme intelligent author. To have made this the ruling, the habitual sentiment of our minds, is to have laid the foundation of every thing that is religious. The world from thenceforth becomes a temple, and life itself one continued act of adoration. The change is no less than this, that, whereas formerly God was seldom in our thoughts, we can now scarcely look upon any thing without perceiving its relation to him. Every organized natural body, in the provisions it contains, testifies the Creator's care. We are on all sides surrounded by such bodies; examined in their parts, wonderfully curious, compared with one another, no less wonderfully diversified. So that the mind, as well as the eye, may either expatiate in variety and multitude, or fix itself down to the investigation of a particular division of sci

And, in either case it will rise up from its occupation, possessed by the subject in a very different manner, and with a very different degree of influence, from what a mere assent to any verbal proposition which can be formed concerning the existence of the Deity, (at least that merely complying assent with which those about us are satisfied and with which we are too apt to satisfy ourselves,) can or will produce on our minds. More especially may this difference be perceived, in the degree of admiration and awe, with which the Divinity is regarded, when represented to the understanding, by its own remarks, its own reflections, and its own reasonings, compared with what is excited by any language that can be used by others. The works of nature require only to be contemplated. When contemplated, they have every thing in them which can astonish by their greatness: for of the vast scale of operation, through which our discoveries carry us, at one end, we see an intelligent power arranging planetary systems, fixing, for instance, the trajectory of Saturn, or constructing a ring of one hundred thousand miles diameter to surround his body, and be suspended like a magnificent arch over the heads of his inhabitants; and, at the other bending a hooked tooth, concerting and providing an appropriate mechanism, for the clasping and reclasping of the filaments of the feather of a humming bird. We have proof, not only of both these works proceeding from an intelligent agent, but of their proceeding from the same agent: for, in the first place, we can trace an identity of plan, a connection of system, from Saturn to our own globe; and when arrived upon our own globe, in the second place, pursue the connection through all the organized, especially the animated, bodies, which it supports. We can observe marks of a common relation, as well to one another, as to the elements of which the habitation is composed.Therefore one mind hath planned, or at least prescribed a general plan for all these productions. One Being has been concerned in all.

ence.

Under this stupendous Being we live. Our happiness, our existence are in his hands. All we expect must come from him. Nor ought we to feel inse

In every nature, and in every portion of nature, which we can descry, we find attention bestowed even on the minutest parts. The hinges in the wings of an earwig, and the joints of its antennæ, are as highly wrought as if the Creator had nothing else to finish. We see no signs of diminution of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distraction of thought by variety. We have no reason to fear, therefore, our being forgotten, or overlooked or neglected.

cure.

COMMENCEMENT OF PARADISE LOST.

MILTON.
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook, that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou knowest; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like, sat’st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine; what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to Men.

Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep tract of Hell; say first, what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favored of heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
The infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy, and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel angels; by whose aid, aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equalled the Most High,
If he opposed; and, with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in Heaven, and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty power
Hurled headlong, flaming from the ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion, down

[ocr errors]

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded, though immortal: but his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain,
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witnessed huge afiliction and dismay,
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At once, as far as angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of wo,
Regions of sorrow, dolesul shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place eternal Justice had prepared
For these rebellious; here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven,
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.

NINTH CHAPTER OF ST. JOHN.

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this manor his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing

The neighbours therefore and they which before had seen him, that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he, others said, He is like him: but he said I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A Man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed and I received sight. Then said they unto him Where is he? He said, I know not.

They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes,

and I washed and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner, do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the

ind man again, What sayest thou of him that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a Prophet.

But the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your Son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His

parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not, or who hath opened his

eyes we know not: he is of age, ask him, he shall speak for himself.

These words spake his parents because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should

?

« ПретходнаНастави »