Изображения страниц



the deplorable condition of an intellec- divine presence. We, who have this tual being, who feels no other effects veil of flesh standing between us and from his Maker's presence, but such as the world of spirits, must be content to proceed from divine wrath and indig- know the spirit of God is present with nation.

us by the effects which he produceth in We may assure ourselves, that the Our outward senses are too gross great Author of nature will not always to apprehend him; we may however be as one who is indifferent to any of his taste and see how gracious he is, by his creatures. Those who will not feel him influence upon our minds, by those in his love, will be sure at length to feel virtuous thoughts which he awakens him in bis displeasure. And how dread. in us, by those secret comforts and reful is the condition of that creature, who freshments which he conveys into our is only sensible of the being of his souls, and by those ravishing joys and Creator by what he suffers from him! inward satisfactions which are perpetuHe is as essentially present in hell as in ally springing up, and diffusing themheaven: but the inhabitants of those selves among all the thoughts of good accursed places behold him only in his He is lodged in our very essence, wrath, and shrink within the flames to and is as a soul within the soul, to conceal themselves from him. It is not irradiate its understanding, rectify its in the power of imagination to conceive will, purify its passions, and enliven all the fearful effects of Omnipotence in- the powers of man. How happy therecensed.

fore is an intellectual being, who by But I shall only consider the wretch- prayer and meditation, by virtue and edness of an intellectual being, who, in good works, opens this communication this life, lies under the displeasure of between God and his own soul! Though him, that at all times, and in all places, the whole creation frowns upon him, and is intimately united with him. He is all nature looks black about him, he able to disquiet the soul, and vex it in has his light and support within him, all its faculties. He can hinder any of that are able to cheer his mind, and bear the greatest comforts of life from re- him up in the midst of all those horrors freshing us, and give an edge to every which encompass him. He knows that one of its slightest calamities. Who his helper is at hand, and is always then can bear the thought of being an nearer to him than any thing else can outcast from his presence, that is, from be, which is capable of annoying or the comforts of it, or of feeling it only terrifying him. In the midst of calumny in its terrors? How pathetic is that ex- or contempt, he attends to that Being postulation of Job, when for the real who whispers better things within his trial of his patience, he was made to look soul, and whom he looks upon as his upon himself in this deplorable condi- defender, his glory, and the lifter-up of tion! Why hast thou set me as a mark his head. In his deepest solitude and

against thee, so that I am become a retirement, he knows that he is in com• burden to myself?' But, Thirdly, bow pany with the greatest of beings; and happy is the condition of that intellectual perceives within

himself such real sensabeing, who is sensible of his Maker's tions of his presence, as are more depresence from the secret effects of his lightful than any thing that can be met mercy and loving-kindness!

with in the conversation of his creatures. The blessed in heaven behold him Even in the hour of death, he considers face to face, that is, are as sensible of his the pains of his dissolution to be nothing presence as we are of the presence of else but the breaking down of that parany person whom we look upon with tition, which stands betwixt his soul, our eyes. There is doubtless a faculty and the sight of that being who is always in spirits, by which they apprehend one present with him, and is about to manianother, as our senses do material fest itself to him in fulness of joy. objects; and there is no question but If we would be thus happy, and thus our souls, when they are disembodied, sensible of our Maker's presence, from or placed in glorified bodies, will by the secret effects of his mercy and goodthis faculty, in whatever part of space ness, we must keep such a watch over they reside, be always sensible of the all our thoughts, that in the language of


in us.

[ocr errors]

the scripture, his soul may have plea- not remember to have seen opened and sure in us. We must take care not to improved by others who have written grieve his holy spirit, and endeavour to on this subject, though it seems to me make the meditations of our hearts to carry a very great weight with it. always acceptable in his sight, that he How can it enter into the thoughts of may delight' thus to reside and dwell man, that the soul, which is capable of

The light of nature could direct such immense perfections, and of receivSeneca to this doctrine, in a very re- ing new improvements to all eternity, markable passage among his epistles; shall fall away into nothing almost as Sacer inest in nobis spiritus, bonorum soon as it is created ? Are such abilities malorumque custos et observator; el made for no purpose ? A brute arrives quemadmodum nos illum tractamus, ita at a point of perfection that he can never et ille nos.

There is a holy spirit re- pass : in a few years he has all the • siding in us, who watches and observes endowments he is capable of; and were • both good and evil men, and will he to live ten thousand more, would be • treat us after the same manner that we the same thing he is at present. Were • treat him. But I shall conclude this a human soul thus at a stand in her discourse with those more emphatical accomplishments, were her faculties to words in divine revelation. • If a man be full blown, and incapable of farther

love me, he will keep my words; and enlargements, I could imagine it might • my Father will love him, and we will fall away insensibly, and drop at once

come unto him, and make our abode into a state of annihilation. But can • with him.'

Spectator. we believe a thinking being, that is in

a perpetual progress of improvements, § 9. On the Immortality of the Soul.

and travelling on from persection to I was yesterday walking alone in one perfection, after having just looked of my friend's woods, and lost myself abroad into the works of its Creator, in it very agreeably, as I was running and made a few discoveries of his inover in my mind the several arguments finite goodness, wisdom, and power, that establish this great point, which is must perish at her first setting out, the basis of morality, and the source of and in the very beginning of her inall the pleasing hopes and secret joys quiries? that can arise in the heart of a reasonable A man, considered in his present state, creature. I considered those several seems only sent into the world to propaproofs drawn,

gate his kind. He provides himself with First, from the nature of the soul

a successor, and immediately quits his itself, and particularly its immateriality; post to make room for him. which, though not absolutely necessary

Hæres to the eternity of its duration, has, I Hæredem alterius, velut unda supervenit think, been evinced to almost a demon

undam. stration,

Hor. Ep. ii. 1. 2. vi. 175. Secondly, from its passions and sentiments, as particularly from its love of

Heir crowds heir, as in a rolling

flood existence, its horror of annihilation, and



urges wave. its hopes of immortality, with that secret satisfaction which it finds in the He does not seem born to enjoy life, practice of virtue, and that uneasiness but to deliver it down to others. This which follows in it upon the commission is not surprising to consider in animals, of vice.

which are formed for our use, and can Thirdly, from the nature of the Su- finish their business in a short life. The preme Being, whose justice, goodness, silk-worm, after having spun her task, wisdom, and veracity, are all concerned lays her eggs and dies. But a man can in this point.

never have taken in his full measure of But among these and other excellent knowledge, has not time to subdue his arguments for the immortality of the passions, establish his soul in virtue, and soul, there is one drawn from the per- come up to the perfection of his nature, petual progress of the soul to its perfec- before he is hurried off the stage. tion, without a possibility of ever ar. Would an infinitely wise being make riving at it; which is a hint that I do make such glorious creatures for so mean



a purpose ? Can he delight in the pro. virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted
duction of such abortive intelligences, sources of perfection! We know not
such short-lived reasonable beings? yet what we shall be, nor will it ever
Would he give us talents that are not to enter into the heart of man to conceive
be exerted ; capacities that are never to the glory that will be always in reserve
be gratified? llow can we find that for him. The «ul, considered with its
wisdom which shines through all his Creator, is like one of those mathema..
works, in the formation of man, without tical lines that may draw nearer 10
looking on this worid as only a nursery another for all eternity without a possi-
for the next, and believing that the bility of touching it: and can there be
several generations of rational creatures, a thought so transporting as to consider
which rise up and disappear in such ourselves in these perpetual approaches
quick successions, are only to receive to him, who is not only the standard of
their first rudiments of existence here, perfection, but of happiness?
and afterwards to be transplanted into

a more friendly climate, where they may
spread and flourish to all eternity?

§ 10. The Duty of Children to their There is not, in my opinion, a more

Parents. pleasing and triumphant consideration in I am the happy father of a very toreligion, than this of the perpetual pro- wardly son, in whom I do not only see gress which the soul makes towards the my life, but also my manner of life reperfection of its nature, without ever ar- newed. It would be extremely beneriving at a period in it. To look upon ficial to society, if you would frequently the soul as going on from strength to resume subjects which serve to bind strength, to consider that she is to shine these sort of relations faster, and endear for ever with new accessions of glory, the ties of blood with those of goodand brighten to all eternity ; that she will, protection, observance, indulgence, will be still adding virtue to virtue, and and veneration. I would, methinks, knowledge to knowledge; carries in it have this done after an uncommon me. something wonderfully agreeable to that thod; and do not think any one who ambition which is natural to the mind of is not capable of writing a good play, man. Nay, it must be a prospect fit to undertake a work wherein there pleasing to God himself, to see his cre- will necessarily occur so many secret ation for ever beautifying in his eyes, instincts and biasses of human nature, and drawing nearer to him, by greater which would pass unobserved by comdegrees of resemblance.

mon eyes. I thank Heaven I have no Methinks this single consideration, of outrageous offence against my own exthe progress of a finite spirit to perfec- cellent parents to answer for; but when tion, will be sufficient to extinguish all I am now and then alone, and look envy in inferior natures, and all con- back upon my past life, from my earliest tempt in superior. That cherubim, infancy to this time, there are many

, which now appears as a god to a hu- faults which I committed that did not man soul, knows very well that the pe- appear to me, even until I myself beriod will come about in eternity, when came a father. I had not until then a the human soul shall be as perfect as he notion of the yearnings of heart, which himself now is: nay, when she shall a man has when he sees his child do a look down upon that degree of perfec- laudable thing, or the sudden damp tion as much as she now falls short of which seizes him when he fears he will it. It is true, the higher nature still act something unworthy. It is not to advances, and by that means preserves be imagined what a

remorse touched his distance and superiority in the scale me for a long train of childish negliof being; but he knows that, how high gences of my mother, when I saw my soever the station is of which he stands wife the other day look out of the winpossessed at present, the inferior nature dow, and turn as pale as ashes upon will at length mount up to it, and shine seeing

my younger boy sliding upon the forth in the same degree of glory. ice. These slight intimations will give

With what astonishment and venera- you to understand, that there are riumtion may we look into our own souls, berless little crimes, which children take where there are such hidden stores of no notice of while they are doing, which,

[ocr errors]

no more seen.

upon reflection, when they shall them- well as his predecessor. Add to this, selves become fathers, they will look that the father knows he leaves a friend upon with the utmost sorrow and con- to the children of his friends, an easy trition, that they did not regard, before landlord to his tenants, and an agreeable those wbom they offended were to be companion to his acquaintance. He

How many thousand believes his son's behaviour will make things do I remember, which would him frequently remembered, but never have highly pleased my father, and I wanted. This commerce is so well ceomitted for no other reason but that I mented, that without the pomp of saythought what he proposed the effect of ing, Son, be a friend to such a one when humour and old age, which I am now I am gone; Camillus knows, being in convinced had reason and good sense in his favour is direction enough to the it! I cannot now go into the parlour grateful youth who is to succeed him, to bim, and make his heart glad with an without the admonition of his mentionaccount of a matter which was of no ing it. These gentlemen are honoured consequence, but that I told it and in all their neighbourhood, and the samo acted in it. The good man and woman effect which the court has on the manners are long since in their graves, who used of a kingdom, their characters have on all to sit and plot the welfare of us their who live within the influence of them. children, while, perhaps, we were some- My son and I are not of fortune to times laughing at the old folks at another communicate our good actions or intenend of the house. The truth of it is, tions to so many as these gentlemen do; were we merely to follow nature in these but I will be bold to say, my son has, great duties of life, though we have a by the applause and approbation which strong instinct towards the performing his behaviour towards me has gained of them, we should be on both sides him, occasioned that many an old man, very deficient. Age is so unwelcome to besides myself, has rejoiced. Other men's the generality of mankind, and growth children follow the example of mine; towards manhood so desirable to all, and I have the inexpressible happiness of that resignation to decay is too difficult overhearing our neighbours, as we ride a task in the father; and deference, by, point to their children and say, with amidst the impulse of gay desires, ap- a voice of joy, “ There they go." pears unreasonable to the son. There

Speclator. are so few who can grow old with a good grace, and yet fewer who can (11. The Slrength of Parental Affection. come slow enough into the world, that a I went the other day to visit Eliza, fatber, were he to be actuated by his de- who, in the perfect blooin of beauty, is sires, and a son, were he to consult him- the mother of several children. She self only, could neither of them be- had a little prating girl upon her lap, have himself as he ought to the other. who was begging to be very fine, that But when reason interposes against in- she might go abroad ; and the indulgent stinct, where it would carry either out mother, at her little daughter's request, of the interests of the other, there arises had just taken the knots off her own that happiest intercourse of good offices head to adorn the hair of the pretty between those dearest relations of human trifler. A smiling boy was at the same life. The father, according to the op- time caressing a lap-dog, which is their portunities which are offered to him, is mother's favourite, because it pleases the throwing dowo blessings on the son, and children; and she, with a delight in her the son endeavouring to appear the looks, which heightened her beauty, so worthy offspring of such a father. It is divided her conversation with the two after this manner that Camillus and his pretty prattlers, as to make them both first-born dwell together. Camillus en- equally cheerful. joys a pleasing and indolent old age, in As I came in, she said, with a blush, which passion is subdued and reason ex- • Mr. Ironside, though you are an old alted. "He waits the day of his dissolu. bachelor, you must not laugh at my tion with a resignation mixed with de- tenderness to my children.' I need not tell light, and the son fears the accession of my reader what civil things I said in his father's fortune with diffidence, lest answer to the lady, whose matron-lika he should not enjoy it or become it as behaviour gave me infinite satisfaction :


since I myself take great pleasure in play. are several examples in story, of tender ing with children, and am seldom un- friendships formed betwixt men, who provided of plums or marbles, to make knew not of their near relation. Such my court to such entertaining com- accounts confirm me in an opinion I panions.

have long entertained, that there is a Whence is it, said I to myself when I sympathy betwixt souls, which cannot was alone, that the affection of parents be explained by the prejudice of eduis so intense to their offspring? Is it be- cation, the sense of duty, or any other cause they generally find such resemblan- human motive. ces in what they have produced, as that The memoirs of a certain French 110they thereby think themselves renewed bleman, which now lie before me, furin their children, and willing to transmit pish me with a very entertaining in. themselves to future times ? or is it be- stance of this secret attraction, implanted cause they think themselves obliged by by Providence in the human soul. It the dictates of humanity to nourish and will be necessary to inform the reader, rear what is placed so immediately ur that the person whose story I am going der their protection; and what by their to relate, was one whose roving and means is brought into this world, the romantic temper, joined to a disposition scene of misery, of necessity? These singularly amorous, had led him through will not come up to it. Is it not rather a vast variety of gallantries and amours. the good providence of that Being, who He had, in his youth, attended a prinin a supereminent degree protects and cess of Franco' into Poland, where cherishes the whole race of mankind, he had been entertained by the King his sons and creatures? How shall we, her husband, and married the daughter any other way, account for this natural of a grandee. Upon her death he reaffection, so signally displayed through- turned into his native country; where out every species of the animal creation, his intrigues and other misfortunes havwithout which the course of nature ing consumed his paternal estate, he would quickly fail, and every various now went to take care of the fortune his kind be extinct? Instances of tender- deceased wife had left him in Poland. In ness in the most savage brutes are so his journey he was robbed before he frequent, that quotations of that kind reached Warsaw, and lay ill of a fever, are altogether unnecessary.

when he met with the following advenIf we, who have no particular con- ture; which I shall relate in his own cern in them, take a secret delight in ob- words. serving the gentle dawn of reason in “ I had been in this condition for habes ; if our ears are soothed with four days, when the countess of Venoski their half-forming and aiming at articu- passed that way. She was informed late sounds; if we are charmed with that a stranger of good fashion lay sick, their pretty mimicry, and surprised at and her charity led her to see me.

I the unexpected starts of wit and cun- remembered her, for I had often seen ning in these miniatures of man; what her with my wife, to whom she was transport may we imagine in the breasts nearly related; but when I found she of those, into whom natural instinct hath knew me not, I thought fit to conceal poured tenderness and fondness for my name. I told her I was a German; them! How amiable is such a weakness that I had been robbed ; and that if of human nature! or rather, how great she had the charity to send me to Wara weakness is it to give humanity so re- saw, the queen would acknowledge it, I proachful a name! The bare considera. having the honour to be known to her tion of paternal affection, should, me. Majesty. The countess had the goodness thioks, create a more grateful tender. to take compassion of me, and ordering ness in children towards their parents, me to be put in a litter carried me to than we generally see; and the silent Warsaw, where I was lodged in her whispers of nature be attended to, house until my health should allow me though the laws of God and man did to wait on the

queen. not call aloud.

“ My fever increared after my jourThese silent whispers of nature have ney was over, and I was confined to had a marvellous power, even when bed for fifteen days. When the countheir cause has been unknown. There tess first saw me, she bad a young lady


[ocr errors]


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »