« ПретходнаНастави »
sacrifice a dog, a cat, and a hen, all of his own in world which he hated, and which repaid his property, to Beelzebub. He is to swear an eternal detestation with contempt, he retired to this region obedience, and then to receive a mark in some un- of sterility, in order to brood over bis resentment in seen place, either under the eye-lid, or in the roof solitude, and converse with the only honest heart of the mouth inflicted by the devil himself. Upon he knew, namely, with his own. this he has power given him over three spirits; one A cave was his only shelter from the inclemency for earth, another for air, and a third for the sea. of the weather; fruits gathered with difficulty from Upon certain times the devil holds an assembly of the mountain's side his only food; and his drink magicians, in which each is to give an account was fetched with danger and toil from the headof what evil he has done, and what he wishes to long torrent. In this manner he lived, requestered do. At this assembly he appears in the shape of an from society, passing the hours in meditation, and old man, or often like a goat with large horns. sometimes exulting that he was able to live indeThey upon this occasion renew their vows of obe- pendently of his fellow-creatures. dience; and then form a grand dance in honour At the foot of the mountain an extensive lake of their false deity. The devil instructs them in displayed its glassy bosom, reflecting on its broad every method of injuring mankind, in gathering surface the impending horrors of the mountain. To poisons, and of riding upon occasion through the this capacious mirror he would sometimes descend, air. Fle shows them the whole method, upon ex- and reclining on its steep banks, cast an eager look amination, of giving evasive answers; his spirits on the smooth expanse that lay before him. “How have power to assume the form of angels of light, beautiful,” he often cried, "is Nature! how lovely and there is but one method of detecting them, even in her wildest scenes! How finely contrasted viz. to ask them in proper form, what method is is the level plain that lies beneath me, with yon the most certain to propagate the faith over all the awful pile that hides its tremendous head in clouds! world? To this they are not permitted by the Su. But the beauty of these scenes is no way comparaperior Power to make a false reply, nor are they ble with their utility; hence a hundred rivers are willing to give the true one, wherefore they con- supplied, which distribute health and verdure to tinue silent, and are thus detected.
the various countries through which they flow. Every part of the universe is beautiful, just, and
wise ; but man, vile man, is a solecism in nature, ESSAY III.
the only monster in the creation. Tempests and
whirlwinds have their use; but vicious ungrateful Wuere Tauris lists its head above the storm, man is a blot in the fair page of universal beauty. and presents nothing to the sight of the distant Why was I born of that detested species, whose traveller but a prospect of nodding rocks, falling vices are almost a reproach to the wisdom of the torrents, and all the variety of tremendous nature; divine Creator? Were men entirely free from vice, on the bleak bosom of this frightful mountain, seo all would be uniformity, harmony, and order. A cluded from society, and detesting the ways of men, world of moral rectitude should be the result of a lived Asem the Man-hater.
perfect moral agen. Why, why then, 0 Alla! Asem had spent his youth with men, had shared must I be thus confined in darkness, doubt, and in their amusements, and had been taught to love despair?" his fellow-creatures with the most ardent affection; Just as he uttered the word despair, he was going but from the tenderness of his disposition he ex- to plunge into the lake beneath him, at once to sathausted all his fortune in relieving the wants of the isfy his doubts, and put a period to his anxiety; distressed. The petitioner never sued in vain, the when he perceived a most majestic being walking weary traveller never passed his door; he only der on the surface of the water, and approaching the sisted froin doing good when he had no longer le bank on which he stood. So unexpected an object power of relieving.
at once checked his purpose; he stopped, contemFrom a fortune thus spent in benevolence he plated, and fancied he saw something awful and cxpected a grateful return from those he had for- divine in his aspect. merly relieveil, and made his application with con- "Son of Adam," cried the Genius, "stop thy fidence of reelress: the ungrateful world soon grew rash purpose; the Father of the faithful has seen weary of his importunity; for pity is but a short-thy justice, thy integrity, thy miseries, and hath lived passion. He soon therefore began to view sent me to afford and administer relief. Give me mankind in a very different light from that in which thine hand, and follow without trembling wherever he had besure beheld them; he perceived a thousand I shall lead : in me behold the Genius of Convicvices he had never before suspected to exist ; where- tion, kept by the Great Prophet, to turn from their ever he turned, ingratitude, dissimulation, and errors those who go astray, not from curiosity, but treachery, contributed to increase his detestation of a rectitude of intention. Follow me, and be wise." them Resolved therefore to continue no longer! Asam immediately descended upon the lake, and his guide conducted him along the surface of the sembles the other, and indeed for obvious reasons ; water, till coming near the centre of the lake, they for the earth can support a more considerable nuniboth began to sink; the waters closed over their ber of animals, by their thus becoming food for beads; they descended several hundred fathoms, each other, than if they had lived entirely on her till Asem, just ready to give up his life as inevitably vegetable productions. So that animals of differlost, found himself with his celestial guide in ano- ent natures thus formed, instead of lessening their ther world, at the bottom of the waters, where hu- multitude, subsist in the greatest number possible. man foot had never trod before. His astonishment But let us hasten on to the inhabited country bewas beyond description, when he saw a sun like fore us, and see what that offers for instruction." that he had left, a serene sky over his head, and They soon gained the utmost verge of the forest, blooming verdure under his feet.
and entered the country inhabited by men without "I plainly perceive your amazement," said the vice; and Asem anticipated in idea the rational deGenius ; " but suspend it for a while. This world light he hoped to experience in such an innocent was formed by Alla, at the request, and under the society. But they had scarcely left the confines of inspection, of our Great Prophèt ; who once en- the wood, when they beheld one of the inhabitants tertained the same doubts which filled your mind Aying with hasty steps, and terror in his countewhen I found you, and from the consequence of nance, from an army of squirrels that closely purwhich you were so lately rescued. The rational sued bim. “ Heavens !" cried Asem," why does inhabitants of this world are formed agrecable to he fly? What can he fear from animals so con. your own ideas; they are absolutely without vice. temptible?" He had scarcely spoken when he In other respects it resembles your earth, but dif- perceived two dogs pursuing another of the human fers from it in being wholly inhabited by men who species, who with equal terror and haste attempted never do wrong. If you find this world more to avoid them. “This,” cried Asem to his guide, agreeable than that you so lately left, you have" is truly surprising; nor can I conceive the reafree permission to spend the remainder of your son for so strange an action.” Every species of days in it; but permit me for some time to attend animals,” replied the Genius, “has of late grown you, that I may silence your doubts, and make very powerful in this country; for the inhabitants you better acquainted with your company and at first thinking it unjust to use either fraud or your new habitation !"
force in destroying them, they have insensibly in“A world without vice! Rational beings with creased, and now frequently ravage their harmless out immorality !" cried Asem in a rapture : "1 frontiers.” “But they should have been destroythank thee, O Alla, who hast at length heard my ed,” cried Asem; "you see the consequence of pretitions ; this, this indeed will produce happiness, such neglect.” “Where is then that tenderness ecstacy, and ease. O for an immortality to spend you so lately expressed for subordinate animals ?" it among men who are incapable of ingratitude, replied the Genius smiling; " you seem to have forinjustice, fraud, violence, and a thousand other got that branch of justice.” "I must acknowledge crimes, that render society miserable.”
my mistake," returned Asem ; "I am now con“Cease thine exclamations,” replied the Genius.vinced that we must be guilty of tyranny and inLook around thee; reflect on every object and justice to the brute creation, if we would enjoy the action before us, and communicate to me the re-world ourselves. But let us no longer observe the sult of thine observations. Lead wherever you duty of man to these irrational creatures, but surthink proper, I shall be your attendant and in- vey their connexions with one another." structor. Asem and his companion travelled on As they walked farther up the country, the more in silence for some time, the former being entirely he was surprised to see no vestiges of handsome lost in astonishment; but at last recovering his houses, no cities, nor any mark of elegant design. former serenity, he could not help observing, that His conductor, perceiving his surprise, observed, the face of the country bore a near resemblance to that the inhabitants of this new world were perthat he had left, except that this subterranean fectly content with their ancient simplicity; each world still seemed t retain its primeval wildness. had a house, which, though homely, was sufficient
“ Here,” cried Asem, “I perceive animals of to lolge his little family; they were too good to prey, and others that seem only designed for their build houses which could only increase their own subsistence; it is the very same in the world over pride, and the envy of the spectator; what they our heads. But iad I been permitted to instruct built was for convenience, and not for show. “Al our Prophet, I would have removed this defect, least, then,” said Asem, "they have neither archiand formed no voracious or destructive animals, tects, painters, nor statuaries, in their society; but which only prey on the other parts of the creation." these are idle arts, and may be spared. However. “Your tenderness for inferior animals is, I find, before I spend much more tiine, you should have remarkable,” said the Genius smiling. But with my thanks for introducing me into the society os regard to meaner creatures this world exactly re- some of their wisest men, there is scarcely any
pleasure to me equal to a refined conversation ;fhave, however, another excellence yet behind; the there is nothing of which I am so much enamour-love of their country is still I hope one of their ed as wisdom." “Wisdom !" replied his instruc- darling virtues." “Peace, Asem,” replied the tor, "how ridiculous! We have no wisdom here, Guardian, with a countenance not less severe than for we have no occasion for it ; true wiselom is only beautiful, “nor forfeit all thy pretensions to wis. a knowledge of our own duty, and the duty of dom : the same selfish motives by which we prefer others to us; but of what use is such wisdom here? our own interest to that of others, induce us to reeach intuitively performs what is right in himself
, gard our country preferably to that of another and expects the same from others. If by wisdom Nothing less than universal benevolence is free you should mean vain curiosity, and empty specu- from vice, and that you see is practised here." lation, as such plensures have their origin in vani- "Strange!" cries the disappointed pilgrim, in an ty, luxury, or avarice, we are too good to pursue agony of distress ; "what sort of a world am I now them. “All this may be right,” says Asem; "but introduced to? There is scarcely a single virtue, methinks I observe a solitary disposition prevail but that of temperance, which they practise ; and among the people ; each family keeps separately in that they are no way superior to the very brute within their own precincts, without society, or with creation. There is scarcely an amusement which out intercourse." "That indeed is true," replied they enjoy; fortitude, liberality, friendship, wisdom, the other; "here is no established society; nor conversation, and love of country, all are virtues should there be any; all societies are made either entirely unknown here: thus it seems that to be through fear or friendship: the people we are acquainted with vice is not to know virtue. Take among are too good to fear each other; and there me, O my Genius, back to that very world which are no motives to private friendship, where all are I have despised: a world which has Alla for its equally meritorious.” “Well, then," said the contriver is much more wisely formed than that sceptic, "as I am to spend my time here, if 1 which has been projected by Mahomet. Ingratiam to have neither the polite arts, nor wisdom, nor tude, contempt, and hatred, I can now suffer, for friendship, in such a world, I should be glad at perhaps I have deserved them. When I arraigned least of an easy companion, who may tell me his the wisdom of Providence, I only showed my own thoughts, and to whom I may communicate mine." | ignorance: henceforth let me keep from vice my. “And to what purpose should either do this?" says self, and pity it in others." the Genius : "fattery or curiosity are vicious mo- He had scarcely ended, when the Genius, aglives, and never allowed of here; and wisdom is suming an air of terrible complacency, called all out of the question."
his thunders around him, and vanished in a whirl"Still
, however,” said Asem, "the inhabitants wind. Asem, astonished at the terror of the scene, must be happy ; each is contented with his own looked for his imaginary world; when, casting his possessions, nor avariciously endeavours to heap eyes around, he perceived himself in the very situaup more than is necessary for his own subsistence; tion, and in the very place, where he first began to each has therefore leisure for pitying those thats repine and despair; his right foot had been just adstand in need of his compassion." He had scarce- vanced to take the fatal plunge, nor had it been yet ly spoken when his cars were assaulted with the withdrawn; so instantly did Providence strike the lamentations of a wretch who sat by the way-side, series of truths just imprinted on his soul. He now and, in the most deplorable distress, seemed gently departed from the water-side in tranquillity, and to murmur at his own misery. Asem immediate- leaving his horrid mansion, travelled to Segestan, ly ran to his relief, and found him in the last stage his native city; where he diligently applied himself of a consumption. "Strange,” cried the son of to commerce, and put in practice that wisdom he Adam, "that men who are free from vice should had learned in solitude. The frugality of a few thus suffer so much misery without relief!” “Be years soon produced opulence; the number of not surprised," said the wretch who was dying: his domestics increased ; his friends came to him “ would it not be the utmost injustice for beings, from every part of the city; nor did he receive them who have only just sufficient to support themselves, with disdain : and a youth of misery was concluded and are content with a bare subsistence, to take it with an old age of elegance, affluence, and ease. froin their own mouths to put it into mine? They never are possessed of a single meal more than is necessary; and what is barely necessary can not be
ESSAY IV. dispensed with.” “They should have been supplied with more than is necessary," cried Asem; It is allowed on all hands, that our English di" and yet I contradict my own opinion but a mo- vines receive a more liberal education, and improve ment before ;-alı is doulot, perplexity, and con- that education by frequent study, more than any fusion. Even the want of ingratitude is no virtue others of this reverend profession in Europe. In kere, since they never received a favour. They general also it may be observed that a greater de gree of gentility is affixed to the character of a the human mind as in nature, from the mixture of student in England than elsewhere; by which two opposites the result is most frequently neutra! means our clergy have an opportunity of seeing tranquillity. Those who attempt to reason us out better company while young, and of sooner wear- of our follies begin at the wrong end, since the at ing off those prejudices which they are apt to im- tempt naturally presupposes us capable of reason ; bibe even in the best regulated universities, and but to be made capable of this, is one great point which may be justly termed the vulgar errors of of the cure. the wise.
There are but few talents requisite to become a Yet, with all these advantages, it is very obvious, popular preacher, for the people are easily pleased that the clergy are no where so little thought of by if they perceive any endeavours in the orator to the populace as here: and though our divines are please them; the meanest qualifications will work foremost with respect to abilities, yet they are found this effect, if the preacher sincerely sets about in last in the effects of their ministry; the vulgar in Perhaps little, indeed very liule, more is required general appearing no way impressed with a sense than sincerity and assurance; and a becoming sinof religious duty. I am not for whining at the de- cerity is always certain of producing a becoming pravity of the times, or for endeavouring to paint a assurance. "Si vis me flere, dolendum est primum prospect more gloomy than in nature; but certain tibi ipsi,” is so trite a quotation, that it almost deit is, no person who has travelled will contradict mands an apology to repeat it; yet, though all allow me when I aver, that the lower orders of mankind, the justice of the remark, how few do we find put in other countries, testify on every occasion the pro- it in practice! Our orators, with the most faulty foundest awe of religion; while in England they bashfulness, seem impressed rather with an awe of are scarcely awakened into a sense of its duties, their audience, than with a just respect for the even in circumstances of the greatest distress. truths they are about to deliver; they, of all pro
This dissolute and fearless conduct, foreigners fessions, seem the most bashful, who have the are apt to attribute to climate and constitution : greatest right to glory in their commission. may not the vulgar, being pretty much neglected The French preachers generally assume all that in our exhortations from the pulpit, be a conspiring dignity which becomes men who are ambassadors cause? Our divines seldom stoop to their mean from Christ: the English divines, like erroneous capacities; and they who want instruction most, envoys, seem more solicitous not to offend the court find least in our religious assemblies.
to which they are sent, than to drive home the inWhatever may become of the higher orders of terests of their employer. Massilon, bishop of mankind, who are generally possessed of collateral Clermont, in the first sermon he ever preached, motives to virtue, the vulgar should be particularly found the whole audience, upon his getting into regarded, whose behaviour in civil life is totally the pulpit, in a disposition no way favourable to hinged upon their hopes and fears. Those who his intentions; their nods, whispers, or drowsy beconstitute the basis of the great fabric of society haviour, showed him that there was no great profit should be particularly regarded; for in policy, as in to be expected from his sowing in a soil so improper; architecture, ruin is most fatal when it begins from however, he soon changed the disposition of his the bottom.
audience by his manner of beginning: "If,” says Men of real sense and understanding prefer a he, "a cause, the most important that could be prudent mediocrity to a precarious popularity; and, conceived, were to be tried at the bar before qualifearing to outdo their duty, leave it half done. fied judges; if this cause interested ourselves in Their discourses from the pulpit are generally dry, particular; if the eyes of the whole kingdom were methodical, and unaffecting ; delivered with the fixed upon the event; if the most eminent counsel most insipid calmness ; insomuch, that should the were employed on both sides; and if we had heard peaceful preacher lift his head over the cushion, from our infancy of this yet undetermined trial; which alone he seems to address, he might discover would you not all sit with due attention, and warm his audience, instead of being awakened to re-expectation, to the pleadings on each side? Would morse, actually sleeping over his methodical and not all your hopes and fears be hinged upon the laboured composition.
final decision? And yet, let me tell you, you have This method of preaching is, however, by some this moment a cause of much greater importance called an address to reason, and not to the passions; before you; a cause where not one nation, but all this is styled the making of converts from convic- the world are spectators ; tried not before a fallible tion : but such are indifferently acquainted with tribunal, but the awful throne of Heaven; whero human nature, who are not sensible, that men sel- not your temporal and transitory interests are the dom reason about their debaucheries till they are subject of debate, but your eternal happiness or committed; reason is but a weak antagonist when misery, where the cause is still undetermined; but headlong passion dictates; in all such cases we perhaps the very moment I am speaking may fix should arm one passion against another: it is with the irrevocable decree that shall last for ever; and yet, notwithstanding all this, you can hardly sit assailant who attacks the enemy in his trenches is with patience to hear the tidings of your own salva- always victorious." tion: I plead the cause of Heaven, and yet I am Yet, upon the whole, our clergy might employ scarcely attended to," &c.
themselves more to the benefit of society, by declin The style, the abruptness of a beginning like ing all controversy, than by exhibiting even the this, in the closet would appear absurd; but in the profoundest skill in polemic disputes: their conpulpit it is attended with the most lasting impres- tests with each other often turn on speculative sions: that style which in the closet might justly trifles; and their disputes with the Deists are albe called flimsy, seems the true mode of eloquence most at an end, since they can have no more than here. I never read a fine composition under the victory, and that they are already possessed of, as title of a sermon, that I do not think the author has their antagonists have been driven into a confesmiscalled his piece ; for the talents to be used in sion of the necessity of revelation, or an open writing well, entirely differ from those of speaking avpwal of atheism. To continue the dispute longer well. The qualifications for speaking, as has been would only endanger it; the sceptic is ever expert already observed, are easily acquired; they are ac. at puzzling a debate which he finds himself unable complishments which may be taken up by every to continue, "and, like an Olympic boxer, genecandidate who will be at the pains of stooping. rally fights best when undermost." Impressed with the sense of the truths he is about to deliver, a preacher disregards the applause or the contempt of his audience, and he insensibly
ESSAY V. assumes a just and manly sincerity. With this talent alone, we see what crowds are drawn around The improvements we make in mental acquire enthusiasts, even destitute of common sense ; what ments only render us each day more sensible of the numbers are converted to Christianity. Folly may defects of our constitution: with this in view, sometimes set an example for wisdom to practise; therefore, let us often recur to the amusements of and our regular divines may borrow instruction youth, endeavour to forget age and wisdom, and, from even methodists, who go their circuits and as far as innocence goes, be as much a boy as the preach prizes among the populace. Even Whit- best of them. field may be placed as a model to some of our young Let idle declaimers mourn over the degeneracy divines; let them join to their own good sense his of the age; but in my opinion every age is the earnest manner of delivery.
This I am sure of, that man in every seaIt will be perhaps objected, that by confining son is a poor fretful being, with no other means to the excellencies of a preacher to proper assurance, escape the calamities of the times but by endeavourearnestness, and openness of style, I make the ing to forget them; for if he attempts to resist, he qualifications too trifling for estimation: there will is certainly undone. If I feel poverty and pain, I am be something called oratory brought up on this oc- not so hardy as to quarrel with the executioner, even casion ; action, attitude, grace, elocution, may be while under correction : I find myself no way repeated as absolutely necessary to complete the disposed to making fine speeches while I am mak. character: but let us not be deceived; common ing wry faces. : In a word, let me drink when the sense is seldom swayed by fine tones, musical pe- fit is on, to make me insensible ; and drink when riods, just attitudes, or the display of a white hand- it is over, for joy that I feel pain no longer. kerchief; oratorial behaviour except in very able The character of old Falstaff, even with all his hands indeed, generally sinks into awkward and faults, gives me more consolation than the most paltry affectation.
studied efforts of wisdom: I here behold an agreeaIt must be observed; however, that these rules ble old fellow, forgetting age, and showing me the are calculated only for him who would instruct the way to be young at sixty-five. Sure I am well able vulgar, who stand in most need of instruction; to to be as merry, though not so comical as he-Is it address philosophers, and to obtain the character not in my power to have, though not so much wit, of a polite preacher among the polite--a much more at least as much vivacity?-Age, care, wisdom, reuseless, though more sought for character-re-flection begone“I give you to the winds. Let's quires a different method of proceeding. All I have t'other bottle: here's to the memory of Shakshall observe on this head is, to entreat the polemic speare, Falstaff, and all the merry men of East divine, in his controversy with the Deists, to act cheap. rather offensively than to defend; to push home Such were the reflections that naturally arose the grounds of his belief, and the impracticability while I sat at the Boar's-Head Tavern, still kept of theirs, rather than to spend time in solving the at Eastcheap. Here by a pleasant fire, in the very objections of every opponent. “It is ten to one,” room where old John Falstaff cracked his jokes, in says a late writer on the art of war, " but that the the very chair which was sometimes honoured by