Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

cularly those who were pleased with my former production, or “have manifested a craving appetite for another bean stalk !” may have imputed my silence to a cause still more injurious to my honour, namely, an indifference about realising any expectations I may have held out.

But this aptitude to misconception, when proceeding from no bad motive, is very venial, and cannot well be avoided in a state of being, in which the imagination is continually sa busy, and the discerning powers of short-sighted mortals so limited; I shall, therefore, most freely forgive you; and trust what I am about to say will be accepted of as a sufficient apology for myself. . .

No, gentlemen-o far, was I from being offended at the freedom you used, that I saw at once the propriety of it, and I heartily wish that I had not stood in need of such an advice at the time, if it had been for no other reason than to have made room for that little assemblage of excellent maxims, which, from this circumstance, perhaps, you were obliged to put on the cover of your first Number; for our worthy minister joins me in opinion that they deservé a better fate than to be consigned to oblivion when the volume comes to be bound, and that they should by all means be incorporated into the body of your work

Neither did my silence originate from any unwillingness on my part to be useful to you in an undertaking, which on its being announced met with my approbation, and still is followed with my warmest wishes for its success, being more and more convinced of its utility :

The cautious manner in which I expressed myself 21 first, arose chiefly from the nature of my engagements, which then left me little leisure, and afforded no great prospect of my being soon more at ease. But since that time circumcm .. ..

stances * We shall take an early opportuni'y to insert these muxims?

stànces bave occurred of an africtire nature to obstruct ny design, and completely put it beyond my power, whilst heir greatest severity lasted, of being useful to you in the way I wished. These may be reckoned among the mysterisus workings, and inserntable ways of the Most High; bat it becomes us not to give place to despair, or to repine under them. To inculcate a contrary disposition, (agreeably to my "wonted practice of extracting sweets from every situation,) I shall, in the present paper, “ endeavour to turn the circumstance to advantage,” by pointing out some of the benefits which naturally flow from these dark provi dences of God, and prove, to the best of my ability, that,

although,” in the words of Job," affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth troubles spring out of the ground,” yet these make part of the merciful dispensations of the Almighty; and that what men call the ills of life, are, in the hands of that Being, who is said, in scripture, to "aflliet not willingly," often productive of the most beneficial consequences, and tarn out in the sequel to have been blessings in disguise.

This naturally brings to my mind tlie conversation that took place betwixt an English gentlemen on bis travels some years ago, and the good old friar in the convent of the Carmelites at Augsburght; and as it is happily adapted to illustrate part of my argument, and cannot fail to be acceptable to many of your readers, I shall, with your leave, present them with . . habe.

THE STORY OF le OLD FRIAR AUGUSTINE.

" TOUCHED with the sensations natural to å man who loves to see his fellow creatures happy, my heart expanded to a system of peace and harmony, comprehending the whole globe ; my mind expatiated involuntarily on the

002

blessings blessings and advantages derived from such a system ; and hurried on by this delightful vision, my person paid an involuntary obedience to my mind; and the quickness of iny pace increasing with the impetuosity of my thoughts, I found myself, before I was aware of it, within the chapel-door of the convent of the Carmelites. Observing my error, I suddenly turned about, in order to depart, when a friar, a goodly person of a man, elderly, and of a benign aspect, called me, and, advancing towards me, asked, in terms of politeness, and in the French language, why I was retreating so abruptly? I was confused; but truth is an enemy before whom confusion ever flys; and I told him the whole of my mistake, and the thoughts whence it arose.

[graphic]

“The good father, waviag further discourse on the subject, but with a smile which I thought carried a mixture of benevolence for myself, and contempt for my ideas, brought me through the church, and shewed me all the rarities of the place, particularly pointing out to me, as a great cari osity, a sun-dial made in the form of a Madona, the head enriched with rays and stars, and in the hand à sceptre, which marked the hours. : "Quitting the chapel, and going toward the Refectory, the friar stood, and looking at me with a smile of gaiety, said, “I have yet something to shew you, which, while lady Madona marks the time, will help us to pass it; and, as it will make its way with more force and subtilty to your senses, than those I have yet shewn you, will be likely to be longer retained in remembrance.

“ He spoke a few words in German, which of course I did not understand, to a vision bearing the shape of a human creature who, I found was a lay-brother; and turnjog down a long alley, brought me to bis cell, where we were soon followed by the aforesaid lay-brother, with a

: large

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

arge earthen jug of liquor, two glasses, and a plate with ome delicately white biscuit.

"You must know,” said the friar, " that the convent of he Carmelites at Augsburgh has for ages been famed forbeer inequalled in any part of the world, and I have brought ou here to have your opinion; for, being an Englishman, ou must be a judge, the Britons being famed for luxury.”' Le poured out, and drank to me : it looked more like the learest champaign than beer. I never tasted any thing to qual it; and he seemed highly gratified by the expressions praise which I lavished upon it. " After we had drank a glass each, “I have been reecting,' said the friar, on the singular flight of fancy hat direeted your steps into this convent. Your mind was liseased, my son! and a propitious superintending power las guided your steps to a physician, if you will have but he goodness to take the medicine he offers. "I stared with visible marks of astonishment. " You are surprised,' continued be; but you shall hear! When first you disclosed to me those sickly flights of yonr sind, I could on the instant have answered them: but you re young—you are an Englishman--two characters impalent of reproof : the dogmas of a priest, I thought, therefore, vould be sufficiently difficult to be digested of themselves, without any additional distaste caught from the chilling asterity of a cliapel.? “I looked unintentionally at the earthen jug, and smiled.

“It is very true,"said hecatching myvery inmost thoughts com the expression of my countenance; “it is very true! ood doctrine may, at certain times, and with certain perpns, be more effectually enforced under the cheering influnce of the social board, than by the authoritative decla, sation and formal sanctity of the pulpit ; nor am I, thoạgha Carmelite one of those who pretend to think, that a thing i itself good, can be made bad by decent hilarity, and the 003

animation

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

animation produced by a moderate and wise use of the goods of this earth.' · “ I was astonished. ..." • You fell into a reverie,' continued he, produced by a contemplation of the bappiness of a society existing without any difference, and where no human breath should be wasted on a sigh, nor ear tortured with a groan--no tears to trickle, no griefs or calamities to wring the heart. • *• Yes, father!' said I, catching the idea with my for mer enthusiasm ; that would be my wish-that my greatest, first desire.' "Then seest thou,' interrupted he, "the ex tent of thy wish, suppose you could realise it, which, thank God! you cannot. . ..". What! thank God that I cannot ? are these font thoughts? .... . **• Yes, my son ; andere Madona marks the progress of ten minutes with her sceptre, they will be yours too...

" Impossible! ..*• Hear me, my son Is not death a horrible precipice to the view of human creatures ? .. " . “* Assuredly,' said I, the most horrible-human laws declare that, by resorting to it for punishment, as the ultimatum of all terrible inflictions. io

“. • When then,' said he, covered as we are with misers, to leave this world is so unsupportable to the human reflection, what must it be if we had nothing but joy and felicity to taste in this life? ; : : ?: . :?" I

.“ * Mark me, child !' said he, with an animated zeal that gave an expression to his countenance beyond any thing I had ever seen : . ; . : !14. • «*The miseries, the calamities, the heart-rendings, and

the tears, which are so intimately interwoven by the Great . Artist in our natures as not to be separated in a single in

stance, are in the first place pur security of a future state, and in the next placé serve to slope the way before us, ad,

by

« ZurückWeiter »