Page images
PDF
EPUB

ail, their letters to meet me in arms by the ninth of the
next month; and are there not some of them set forward
already? What a pagan rascal is this ! an infidel! Ha!
you shall see now, in very sincerity of fear and cold heart,
will he to the king, and lay open all our proceedings. O!
I could divide myself and go to buffets, for moving such
a dish of skimmed milk with so honorable an action.
Hang him ! let him tell the king. We are prepared. I
will set forward to night.
CHAPTER LXXXI.

XXI.
THE DEATH OF THE CHRISTIAN.
1. THE Christian, and he alone, can triumph amidst
the agonies of dissolving nature, in a well-grounded hope
of future felicity. There is a genuine dignity in the death
of a real believer. It is not the vanity of an Augustus
Cæsar, who called his subjects around him ; and after re-
ninding them that he had lived in glory, bid them ap-
plaud him after death.

2. It is not the heroic stupidity of an Andre, who ostentatiously desired the spectators of his catastrophe to witness that he died as a brave man. It is not the thoughtless courage of a professed Hero, in the heat of spirits, and amidst the confusion of battles, rushing alniost headlong apon certain destruction. It is not the hardy insensibility of an Indian Warrior, exulting in the midst of surrounding flames, provoking his tormentors and singing a merry song of death. He meanly retreats from evils, which Christian heroism would qualify to overcome by his exertions, or to endure with patience.

3. The votaries of fame may acquire a sort of insensi, bility to death and its consequences. But he alone whose peace is made with God, and who enjoys the light of his Saviour's countenance, can walk with composure through ihe gloomy valley of the shadow of death, and fear no evil. See the polished Chesterfield, after a life of pleasure,proudly endeavouring to act the philosopher in death. In spite of his refinements in the art of dissimulation, an anxious horror of conscience burst forth, and evinced; that as he lived a polite deceiver, so he died a philo:0phical hypocrite.

1

4. On the other hand, behold the amiable, the virtuous, the pious Addison, in his dying scene. How humble, and at the same time, how dignified he appears ! That modesty, that tranquillity of mind, that cheerful patience of resignation which were eminently characteris. tic of his life and writings never forsook him to the last moment of his life. His setting sun shone bright. The evening of his life was pleasant and serene. Supported by the testimony of a good conscience, and a lively faith in his Redeemer, as he lay on his death-bed, he could look the advancing king of terrors in the face with a smile, and welcome him as a messenger of glad tidings.

5. Observe him, ye admirers of fortitude ; view him in that critical moment, which emphatically tries men's souls ; and learn with what superior dignity and peace of mind a Christian can die. Who would not adopt the language of Balaam, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his ?" Is this your real wish? then you must live the life of the righteous, for eternity, with all its pleasing, dreadful scenes, is suspend, ed upon our present conduct.

CHAPTER LXXXII.

THE POOR OLD MAN. 1. I AM dark, said the old man, and have lost the only blessing heaven had left me ; she lies buried in this grave, and every hour of my future life will waft a prayer to the Supreme Director, to hasten the period of my last repose beneath the same sod.

2. Have your days been always wretched, said I, and have your eyes never beheld the light of the sun ? Alas! Sir, said he, my early days were happy, and my maturer days were not embittered by any poignant sorrow ; it is true I rose up early and sat up late, but it was to give bread and confort to a numerous family, to whom I had hoped to leave comfortable portions, and an honorable

name.

3. But it pleased heaven to take from me five out of seven children to itself, in the course of two years. My wife, who was the best of women, sunk beneath the misfortune; she drooped like a flower, and never held up her head again till she died. I became almost broken hearted, and soon after lost my sight. My son, to whose care I entrusted the savings of my industrious years, with a degree of insensibility no human mind could conceive, left me, not only to my former sorrows, but, taking my little treasure with him, added poverty and want to the number of them.

4. Heaven, however, after making me the victim of its wrath, left me one consolation : My tender and affectionate Laura, my dutiful child, was permitted yet awhile to remain by my side. Her youth and innocence, and my age and infirmity, have won the tender pity of all who knew us, and raised us friends among those who knew us not before the days of our sorrow. The quiver of fortune was not yet exhausted against me, one fatal arrow was left !

5. Laura and I sat on a sunny bank together, and while I revolved in silence, the dark passages of life, though which I had been ordained to pass, Laura slept. The burning rays of noon lighted up a fever in her veins. In a few days she died, and left me more than disconso. late. I wept again; but now trust I shall weep no more : Here am I led every day to sit an hour upon Laura's grave-upon

her
grave
which will soon be mine į,

alas! again I feel the tears upon my cheek. When, gracious Heaven! when will the fountains be dried up for ever!

CHAPTER LXXXIII. LAW CASE.-BULLUM VERSUS BOATUM. 1. WE sball now return to the law, for our laws are full of returns, and we shall show a compendium of law. [Takes the wig.] Parts of practice in the twist of the tail. The depth of a full bottom denotes the length of a chancery suit; and the black coif behind, like a blistering plaster, seems to show us that law is a great irritation, and only to be used in cases of necessity. We shall now beg leave to change the fashion of the head dress, for, like a poor periwig-maker, I am obliged to mount several patterns on the same block. [Puts on the wig.]

2. Law is-law,-Law is, law! and as such and go forth, and hereby, and aforesaid, provided always, nevertheless, nothwithstanding. Law is like a country dance,

people are led up and down in it till they are tired. Law is like a book of surgery, there are a great many terrible cases in it. It is also like physic, they that take the least of is are best off. Law is like a homely gentlewoman, very well to follow. Law is like a scolding wife, very bad when it follows us. Law is like a new fashion, people are bewitched to get into it; it is also like bad weather, most people are glad when they get out of it.

3. We now shall mention a cause called “Bullum versus Boatum ;" itawas a cause that came before me. I'he cause was as follows: There were two farmers, farmer A. and farmer B. Farmer A was seized or possessed of a ferry-boat. Now the owner of the ferry-boat, having made his boat fast to a post on shore, with a piece of hay twisted rope fashion or as we say, vuigo vocato, a hayband. After he had made his boat fast to a post on shore, as it was very natural for a hungry man to do, he went up town to dinner ; farmer B’s bull, as it was very natural for a hungry bull to do, came down town to look for a dinner; and the bull observing, seeing, discerning, and spying out, some turnips in the bottom of the ferry-boat, the bull scrambled into the ferry-boat,-he eat up the turnips, and to make an end of his meal, he fell to work upon the hayband ; the boat being eat from her moorings, floated down the river, with the bull in it; it struck against a rock ; beat a hole in the bottom of the boat, and tossed the bull overboard ; whereupon the owner of the bull brought his action against the boat, for running away with the bull; the owner of the boat brought his action against the bull, for running away with the boat. And thus notice of trial was given Bullum versus Boatum, Beatum versus Bullum.

4. Now the counsel for the bull began by saying, “ My Lord, and you, gentlemen of the jury, we are counsel in this cause for the bull. We are indicted for running away with the boat. Now, my Lord, we have heard of run. ning horses, but never of running bulls before. Now, my Lord, the bull could no more run away with the boat than a man in a coach may be said to run away with the horses ; therefore, my Lord, how can we punish what is not punishable ? How can we eat what is not eatable ? Or how can we drink what is not drinkable ? Or, as the law says, how can we think on what is not thinkable ? Therefore, my Lord, as we are counsel for the bull in this cause, if the jury should bring the bull in guilty, the jury would be guilty of a bull.

5. The counsel for the boat observed, that the bull should be non-suited, because in his declaration, he had not specified what colour he was ; for thus wisely and thus learnedly spoke the counsel ; “My Lord, if the bull was of no colour he must be of some colour ; and if he was not of any colour, of what colour could the bull be ? I overruled this motion myself, by observing the bull was a white bull, and that white is no colour , besides, as I told my brethren, they should not trouble their heads to talk of colour in the law, for the law can colour any thing. This cause being afterwards left to a reference, upon the award, both bull and boat were acquitted, it being prov. ed that the tide of the river carried both of them away, upon which I gave it as my opinion, that as the tide of the river carried both bull and boat away, both bull and boat had a good action against the water bailiff.

6. My opinion being taken, an action was issued, and, upon the traverse, this point of law aroce, how, wherefore, and whether, why, when, and what, whatsoever, whereas and whereby, as the boat was not a compos mentis evidence, how could an oath be administered ? The point was soon settled by Boatum's attorney declaring, that for bis client he would swear any thing.

7. The water bailiff's, charter was then read, talven out of the original record in true law Latin, which set forth in their declaration, that they were carried away either by the tide of food, or the tide of ebb; the charter of the water bailiff was as follows; Aqua bailifi est magistratus in choisi, sapor omnibus, fishibus, qui habuerunt finos et scalos, flaws, shells, et talos, qui swimmare in fresbibus, vel sahibus riveris, lakos, pondis, canalibus, et well boats, sive oysteri, prawni, whitini shrimpi, turbutus solos : that is, not lurbuts alone, but turbuts and soles both together. But now comes the nicety of the law ; the law is as nice as a new laid egg and not to be understood by addle-headed people. Bullum and Boatum mentioned both ebb and food to avoid

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »