« ZurückWeiter »
One instance more, and only one I'll bring;
Concerning all the following articles, from The Levee to An Economical Project inclusive, Mr. William Temple Franklin remarks, that they "were chiefly written by Dr. Franklin for the amusement of his intimate society in London and Paris; and were actually collected in a small Portfolio, endorsed as above. Several of the pieces were either originally written in French, or afterwards translated by him into that language, by way of exercises." The pieces which follow next, entitled The Craven Street Gazette, and A Letter concerning China, may perhaps be properly ranked in the same class. — Editor.
In the first chapter of Job we have an account of a transaction said to have arisen in the court, or at the levee, of the best of all possible princes, or of governments by a single person, viz. that of God himself.
At this levee, in which the sons of God were assembled, Satan also appeared.
It is probable the writer of that ancient book took his idea of this levee from those of the eastern monarchs of the age he lived in.
It is to this day usual, at the levees of princes, to have persons assembled who are enemies to each other, who seek to obtain favor by whispering calumny and detraction, and thereby ruining those that distinguish themselves by their virtue and merit. And kings frequently ask a familiar question or two, of every one in the circle, merely to show their benignity. These circumstances are particularly exemplified in this relation.
If a modern king, for instance, finds a person in the circle, who has not lately been there, he naturally asks him how he has passed his time since he last had the pleasure of seeing him. The gentleman perhaps replies, that he has been in the country to view his estates, and visit some friends. Thus Satan, being asked whence he cometh, answers, "From going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it." And being further asked, whether he had considered the uprightness and fidelity of the prince's servant Job, he immediately displays all the malignance of the designing courtier, by answering with another question; "Doth Job serve God for naught? Hast thou not given him immense wealth, and protected him in the possession of it? Deprive him of that, and he will curse thee to thy face." In modern phrase, "Take away his places and his pensions, and your Majesty will soon find him in the opposition."
This whisper against Job had its effect. He was delivered into the power of his adversary, who deprived him of his fortune, destroyed his family, and completely ruined him.
The Book of Job is called by divines a sacred poem, and, with the rest of the Holy Scriptures, is understood to be written for our instruction.
What then is the instruction to be gathered from this supposed transaction 1
Trust not a single person with the government of your state. For if the Deity himself, being the monarch, may for a time give way to calumny, and suffer it to operate the destruction of the best of subjects; what mischief may you not expect from such power in a mere man, though the best of men, from whom the truth is often industriously hidden, and to whom falsehood is often presented in its place, by artful, interested, and malicious courtiers?
And be cautious in trusting him even with limited powers, lest sooner or later he sap and destroy those limits, and render himself absolute.
For by the disposal of places, he attaches to himself all the placeholders, with their numerous connexions, and also all the expecters and hopers of places, which will form a strong party in promoting his views. By various political engagements for the interest of neighbouring states or princes, he procures their aid in establishing his own personal power. So that, through the hopes of emolument in one part of his subjects, and the fear of his resentment in the other, all opposition falls before him.
PROPOSED NEW VERSION OF THE BIBLE.
It is now more than one hundred and seventy years since the translation of our common English Bible. The language in that time is much changed, and the style, being obsolete, and thence less agreeable, is perhaps one reason why the reading of that excellent book is of late so much neglected. I have therefore thought it would be well to procure a new version, in which, preserving the sense, the turn of phrase and manner of expression should be modern. I do not pretend to have the necessary abilities for such a work myself; I throw out the hint for the consideration of the learned; and only venture to send you a few verses of the first chapter of Job, which may serve as a sample of the kind of version I would recommend.
PART OF THE FIRST CHAPTER OF JOB MODERNIZED.
Old Text. Verse 6. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also amongst them.
7. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God,and escheweth evil?
9. Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught?
10. Hast thou not made an hedge about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
New Version. Verse 6. And it being levee day in heaven, all God's nobility came to court, to present themselves before him; and Satan also appeared in the circle, as one of the ministry.
7. And God said to Satan, You have been some time absent; where were you? And Satan answered, I have been at my country-seat, and in different places visiting my friends.
8. And God said, Well, what think you of Lord Job? You see he is my best friend, a perfectly honest man, full of respect for me, and avoiding every thing that might offend me.
9. And Satan answered, Does your Majesty imagine that his good conduct is the effect of mere personal attachment and affection?
10. Have you not protected him, and heaped your benefits upon him, till he is grown enormously rich?
11. Try him; — only withdraw your favor, turn him out of his places, and withhold his pensions, and you will soon find him in the opposition.