« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
stances; others, that whatever evil befalls us is derived to
us by a fatal necessity, to which superior beings themselves llare subject; while others, very gravely tell the man who
is miserable, that it is necessary he should be so, to keep .. up the harmony of the universe : and that the scheme of Providence would be troubled and perverted were he otherwise. These, and the like considerations, rather silence than satisfy a man. They may show him that his disconitent is unreasonable, but they are by no means sufficient to relieve it. They rather give despair than consolation. In a word, a man might reply to one of these comforters, as Augustus did to his friend, who advised him not to 12 grieve for the death of a person whom he loved, because his grief could not fetch him again : “It is for that very reason,” said the emperor, “ that I grieve.”
On the contrary, religion bears a more tender regard to human nature. It prescribes to every miserable man the means of bettering his condition : nay, it shows him, that bearing his afflictions as he ought to do, will naturally end in the removal of them. It makes him easy here, because it can make him happy hereafter.
The Last Minstrel.--Scott.
The minstrel was infirm and old ;
He poured to lord and lady gay,
A stranger filled the Stuart's throne;
He passed where Newark's stately tower
The embattled portal-arch he passed,
That they should tend the old man well : 5 For she had known adversity,
Though born in such a high degree ;
When kindness had his wants supplied,
And of Earl Walter, rest him God! 6 A braver ne'er to battle rode :
And how full many a tale he knew
lle could make music to her ear.
The humble boon was soon obtained;
lle tried to tune his harp in vain.
Amid the strings his fingers strayed, And an uncertain warbling made; And ost he shook his hoary head : But when he caught the measure wild, The old man raised his face, and smiled ;
And lightened up his faded eye, 10 With all a poet's ecstasy.
In varying cadence, soft or strong,
The Blind Preacher.-WIRT. 1 As I travelled through the county of Orange, my eye was caught by a cluster of horses tied near a ruinous, old, wooden house, in the forest, not far from the road-side. Having frequently seen such objects before, in travelling
through these states, I had no difficulty in understanding *" that this was a place of religious worship Devotion alone
should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation; but I must confess, that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness, was not the least of my motives. 2 On entering the house, I was struck with his preternal... ural appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man.
His head, which was covered with a white linen cap ; his shrivelled hands, and his voice, were all shaken under the influence of a palsy, and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind. · The first emotions which touched my breast, were those of mingled pity and veneration. But ah! how soon were all my feelings changed! It was a day of the administration of the sacrament, and his subject, of course, was the passion of our Savior. I had 3 heard the subject handled a thousand times; I had thought
it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose, that in the wild woods of America I was to meet with a man, whose eloquence would give to this topic a new and more sublime pathos than I had ever before witnessed.
As he descended from the pulpit, to distribute the mystic symbol, there was a peculiar, a more than human solemnity in his air and manner, which made my blood run cold, and my whole frame to shiver. He then drew a picture of the
sufferings of our Savior-his trial before Pilate-his as4 cent up Calvary—his crucifixion-and his death. I knew the whole history; but never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so colored! It was all new; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time in my life. His enunciation was so deliberate, that his voice trembled on every syllable; and every heart in the assembly trembled in unison.
His peculiar phrases had that force of description, that the original scene appeared to be, at that moment, acting
before our eyes. We saw the very faces of the Jews-he 5 staring, frightful distortions of malice and rage. We saw
the buffet--my soul kindled with a flame of indignation, and my hands were involuntarily and convulsively clenched. But when he came to touch the patience, the forgiving meekness of our Savior—when he drew, to the life, his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven--his voice breathing to God a soft and gentle prayer of pardon on his enemies, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,"—the voice of the reacher, which had all along
faltered, grew fainter and fainter, until his utterance being 6 entirely obstructed by the force of his feelings, he raised his handkerchief to his eyes, and burst into a loud and irre- · pressible flood of grief. The effect was inconceivable. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans, and sobs, and shrieks of the congregation.
It was some time before the tumult had subsided, so far as to permit him to proceed. Indeed, judging by the usual, but fallacious standard of my own weakness, I began to be. very uneasy for the situation of the preacher. For I could not conceive how he would be able to let his audience down 7 from the height to which he had wound them, without impairing the solennity and dignity of his subject, or perhaps shocking them by the abruptness of the fall. But the descent was as beautiful and sublime, as the elevation had been rapid and enthusiastic.
The first sentence with which he broke the awful silence, was a quotation from Rousseau :-“ Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus Christ, like a God!” Never before did I completely understand wl.at Demosthenes meant by laying such stress on delivery.
LESSON XCVIII. Summary Punishment.-Walter Scott. 1 It was under the burning influence of revenge, that the wife of MacGregor commanded that the hostage exchanged for her husband's safety, should be brought into her presence. I believe her sons had kept this unfortunate wretch out of her sight, for fear of the consequences ; but, if it were so