« 이전계속 »
ing make such glorious Creatures for so mean a Purpose ? Can he delight in the Production of such abortive Intelligences, such short-lived reasonable Beings? Would he give us Talents that are not to be exerted? Capacities that are never to be gratified? How can we find that Wisdom which shines through all his Works, in the Formation of Man, without looking on this world as only, a Nursery for the next, and believing that the feyeral Generations of rational Creatures, which rise up and disappear in such quick Successions, are only to receive their first Rudiments of Existence here, and afterwards to be transplanted into a more friendly Climate, where they may spread and flourish to all Eternity?
THERE is not, in my Opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant Consideration in Religion than this, of the perpetual Progress which the Soul makes towards the Per. fection of its Nature, without ever arriving at a Period in it. To look upon the Soul as going on from Strength to Strength, to consider that she is to shine for ever with new Accessions of Glory, and brighten to all Eternity; that she will be still adding Virtue to Virtue, and Knowledge to Knowledge; carries in it something wonderfulJy agreeable to that Ambition which is natural to the Mind of Man. Nay, it must be a Prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his Creation for ever beautifying in his Eyes, and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of Resemblance.
METHINKS this single Consideration, of the Pro. gress of a finite Spirit to Perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all Envy in inferior Natures, and all Conteinpt in superior. That Cherubim which now appears as a God to a human Soul, knows 'very well that the Period will come about in Eternity, when the human Soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is: Nay, when she shall look down upon that degree of Perfećtion, as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher Nature still advances, and by that means preserves his Distance and Superiority in the Scale of Being; but he knows how high foever the Station is of which he stands poffefsed at present, the inferior Nature will at length mount up to it, and shine forth in the same Degree of Glory,
WITH what Astonishment and Veneration may we look into our own Souls, where there are such hidden Stores of Virtue and Knowledge, such inexhausted Sources of Perfection? We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the Heart of Man to conceive the Glory that will be always in Reserve for him. The Soul considered with its Creator, is like one of thofe Mathematical Lines that may draw nearer to another for all Eternity without a Possibility of touching it: And can there be a Thought fo Transporting, as to consider our selves in these perpetual Approaches to Him, who is not only the Standard of Perfection but of Happiness!
Monday, July 9.
'Αθανάτες μας πρώτα θεες, νόμω ως διάκειται, Τιμά
Pyth. Am always very well pleased with a Country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the Seventh Day were on,
ly a human Institution, it would be the best Method that could have been thought of for the polishing and civilizing of Mankind. It is certain the Country-People would soon degenerate into a kind of Savages and Barbarians, were there not such frequent Returns of a stated Time, in which the whole Village meet together with their best Faces, and in their cleanliest Habits, to converse with one another upon indifferent Subjects, hear their Duties explained to them, and join together in Adoration of the Supreme Being, Sunday clears away the Ruft of the whole Week, not only as it refreshes in their Minds the Notions of Religion, but as it puts both the Sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable Forms, and exerting all such Qualities as are apt to give them a Figure in the Eye of the Village. A Country-Fellow distinguishes himself as much in the Church-yard, as a Citizen does upon the Change, the whole Parish-Politicks being generally discussed in that place either after Sermon or before the
MY Friend Sir ROGER being a good Church-man, has beautified the Inside of his Church with several Texts of his own chusing: He has likewise given a handsome Pulpit-Cloth, and railed in the Communion-Table at his own Expence. He has often told me, that at his coming to his Eftate he found his Parishioners very irregular; and that in order to make then kneeland join in the Responses, he gave every one of them a Hafsock and a Commonprayer Book : and at the same Time employed an intinerant Singing-Mafter, who goes about the Country for that Purpose, to instruct them rightly in the Tunes of the Pfalms; upon which they now very much value themselves, and indeed out-do moft of the Country Churches that I haye ever heard.
A S Sir ROGER is Landlord to the whole Congrega. tion, he keeps them in very good Order, and will suffer no Body to fleep in it besides himself; for if by Chance he has been surprized into a short Nap at Sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about him, and if he fees any Body else nodding, either wakes them himfelf, or sends his Servant to them. Several other of the old Knight's Particularities break out upon these Occasions : Sometimes he will be lengthening out a Verse in the Singing-Pfalms, half a Minute after the rest ofthe Congregation have done with it ; sometimes, when he is pleased with the Matter of his Devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times to the same Prayer; and sometimes stands up when every Body else is upon their Knees, to count the Congregation, or fee if any of his Tenants are missing.
I was Yesterday very much surprized to hear my old Friend, in the midst of the Service, calling out to one John Matthews to inind what he was about, and not di. fturb the Congregation. This John Matthews it seems is remarkable for being an idle Fellow, and at that Time was kicking his Heels for his Diversion. This Authority of the Knight, though exerted in that odd Manner which accompanies him in all Circumstances of Life, has a very good Effect upon the Parish, who are not polite enough to see any thing ridiculous in his Behaviour ; besides that, the generalgood Sense and Worthiness of his Character, make his Friends observe these little Singularities as Foils that rather let off than blemish his good Qualities,
As soon as the Sermon is finished, no Body presumes to ftir till Sir ROGER is gone out of the Church. The Knight walks down from his Seat in the Chancel between a double Row of his Tenants, that stand bowing to him on cach Side ; and every now and then enquires how such an one's Wife, or Mother, or Son, or Father do, whom he does not see at Church; which is understood as a secret Reprimand to the Person that is absent,
THE Chaplain has often told me, that upon a Catechising-day, when Sir ROGER has been pleased with a Boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next Day for his Encouragement; and sometimes accompanies it with a Flitch of Bacon to his Mother: Sir ROGER has likewise added five Pounds a Year to the Clerk's Place; and that he may encourage the young Fellows to make themselves perfect in the Church-Service, has promised upon the Death of the present Incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to Merit.
THE fair Understanding between Sir Roger and his Chaplain, and their mutual Concurrence in doing Good, is the more remarkable, because the very next Village is famous for the Differences and Contentions that rise between the Parson, and the 'Squire, who live in a perpetual State of War. The Parson is always preaching ac the 'Squire, and the 'Squire to be revenged on the Parson never comes to Church. The 'Squire has made all his Tenants Atheists and Tithe-Stealers; while the Parson instructs them every Sunday in the Dignity of his Order, and insinuates to them in almost every Sermon, that he is a better Man than his Patron. In short, Matters are come to such an Extremity, that the 'Squire has not faid his Prayers either in publick or private this half Year; and that the Parson threatens him, if he does not mend his Manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole Congregation.
FEUDS of this Nature, though too frequent in the Country, are very fatal to the ordinary People; who are so used to be dazled with Riches, that they pay as much Deference to the Understanding of a Man of an Estate, as of a Man of Learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any Truth, how important foever it may be, that
is preached to them, when they know there are several Men of five hundred a Year who do not believe it. L
Herent infixi Pečtore vultus.
Virg. N my first Description of the Company in which I pass most of my Time, it may be remembred that I
mentioned a great Amiliation which my Friend Sir ROGER had met with in his Youth; which was no less than a Disappointment in Love. It happened this Evening, that we fell into a very pleasing Walk at a Distance from his House: As soon as we came into it, “Itis, quoth
the good old Man, looking round him with a Smile, very • hard, that any Part of my Land should be settled upon
one who has used me so ill as the perverse Widow did;
and yet I am sure I could not see a Sprig of any Bough s of this whole Walk of Trees, but I should reflect upon her and her Severity. She has certainly the fineft Hand
of any Woman in the World. You are to know this was • the Place wherein I used to muse upon her; and by that
Custom I can never come into it, but the same tender • Sentiments revive in my Mind, as if I had actually walk• ed with that beautiful Creature under thefe Shades. I • I have been Fool enough to carve her Name on the Bark
of several of these Trees; so unhappy is the Condition of Men in Love, to attempt the removing of their Palli
on by the Methods which serve only to imprint it deeper. 'She has certainly the finest Hand of any Woman in the r World.
HERE followed a profound Silence; and I was not displeased to observe my Friend falling so naturally into a Discourse, which I had ever before taken Notice he industriously avoided. After a very long Paule, he entered upon an Account of this great Circumstance in his Life, with an Air which I thought raised my Idea of him above what I had ever had before ; and gave me the Picture of that shearful Mind of his, before it received that Stroke