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425 Thoughts on Contentment.-- Remarks on the word “ Only." 426
A too eager pursuit of lawful things, venly vision. But returning the same is to many a source of disquietude ; for way, some years after, with considerthe things of time are so precarious, able riches, behold his trouble! Hence and so many disappointments continu- it is evident, that neither gold nor silally check our progress after temporal ver, flocks nor herds, can give content. good, that, while pursuing them, we The stately palace, the well-planned are for the most part uneasy and dis- garden, the sumptuous furniture, the contented. Hence, we propose to our- most prosperous trade, and thousands selves the delusive ideas of doing such of gold and silver, may indeed bring a thing, and having such a thing; but, care, anxiety, sleepless nights, and alas, when our wishes are crowned with busy days; but they cannot, cannot success, we are as far as ever from give content. This desirable plant true contentment.
grows in a more refined soil, and can An eager desire to please men, is to only be found in the enjoyment of God. many a source of discontent. It is very natural to desire the good-will of the rational and virtuous among our TO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPERIAL fellow-creatures; and, in many instances, we may truly deserve it: but a
SIR, thirst after universal popularity has I have oftentimes been entertained on been a source of misery to many. All witnessing the importance that is usuour actions ought to be performed with ally attached to the little word “ONLY,' a single eye to the glory of God, and which, of itself, may perhaps be conleft there; remembering, that if we yet sidered insignificant and unintelligible, please men, we are not the servants of but as becoming essentially useful when Jesus Christ.
connected with particular sentences. It Diffidence also, or distrust in God, is indeed a word of much relative meanalways fills the mind with discontent. ing, and we oftentimes find it adapted to Therefore, as believers in the Divine a variety of purposes. As a weapon of oracles, we ought to place the utmost attack and defence, its effects are truly reliance on our Father who is in hea- wonderful. It is a balm which softens ven; and for this purpose, we ought to many of the ills of life, and assuages be conversant with the Divine perfec- much of the anguish of pain; equally tions, especially the love of God, which a powerful incentive to virtue, and a shone so brilliantly in the redemption palliative of vice. It has a tendency of our souls in Jesus Christ.
to raise many to greatness, but more it From the previous observations, one degrades to want and wretchedness, inference is obvious ; namely, that it and all the train of miserable vices. Is is not in the power of temporal things it not, then, a wonderful little agent? to give contentment. The apostle Paul and, yet, how deceitful! As a friend, had learned contentment only in the it is indeed precious and valuable, for school of Christ. He knew how to it is the parent of hope; but, as an suffer want, and how to abound, on enemy, it is baneful, treacherous, and these occasions ; for in every thing he destructive. was instructed. He had been beaten I was led, Sir, to these reflections, by with rods, striped by the Jews, stoned a recapitulation in my own mind of and left for dead; a night and a day he the following little incidents, which had been in the deep, and with many in themselves, perhaps, are scarcely other evils he had been exercised; and worthy of notice; but as they in some yet he had learned in all these things measure serve to illustrate my posito be content.
tion, I hope you will give every indulTrue contentment is not always gence. Calling one morning at a toyfound with the rich and great. There shop, with a young lady, an acquaintis mostly either a fly in the pot, that ance of my family, I observed her pay, spoils the ointment; or some rival, for a small prettily-ornamented trinket, some Mordecai, sitting at the gate, that the trifling sum of one guinea. is source of trouble and discontent. pupil of the unfashionable school of This we have instanced in the conduct Franklin, I expressed, I believe, someof good old Jacob. When he jour- thing of the simplicity of surprise ; neyed with no other property than his but was put to immediate silence by staff, he could make a stone his pillow; the following ingenious and unansw and, sleeping soundly, enjoy a hea- | able argument, Phoo, it's
TO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPERIAL
guinea !”. My dear,” said I, one Thus, Mr. Editor, is it that many Sabbath morning, with all the humi- evils are palliated, extravagance exlity of patience, to my wife, who was cused, good purposes delayed or dedressing to go to church, we shall feated, and defamation supported, by certainly be late.” “ It cannot be, the insidious sophistry of this little Alfred; we shall be quite time enough : talisman, Only. it's only a quarter past eleven now.”
J. At an evening party at which I was present, my mind was painfully exercised by the severe and cutting sar
Observations on Primeval Light. casms thrown out upon the characters of many absent individuals, by a young lady of the party. A clergyman, who had for some time sat silent, ventured SIR, at length to interrupt the fair narrator, HAVING observed a query in your Maby a denial of certain of the facts ad- gazine, respecting the means by which vanced, which he was proceeding to Light was produced previous to the unravel, but was silenced by the fol- creation of the Sun, I beg leave to lowing reply:-“Why, absolutely, how submit the following hypothesis to rude! Why, you cannot surely think
your consideration. But as I have me serious! I was only in a joke.” never seen any dissertation on the sub
Some business urging me to call one ject, it may perhaps have been formed day on a friend, whose wife had just by some other hand ; if not, and you returned from the market, with a fine think it worthy of insertion, as an piece of salmon and some early pota- answer to Omega, you will oblige me toes, I was made an ear-witness of the by publishing it.-A mass of water, following dialogue. My love, see or, in other words, an indeterminate what a beautiful bit of salmon; it's the collection of matter, without any prefirst this season.” “Indeed! but what cise form or modification, was created did you give a pound for it?” Only in the first instance. Water is the only half-a-crown." “ Only half-a-crown collection of matter we know of, that And the potatoes ?”. “ Only eighteen- can exist without some determinate
* Only eighteen-pence! why, form. “And the Spirit of God moved I shall be ruined." “What nonsense! upon the face of the waters :" that is, I'm sure it's very cheap. Besides, it's the power of God extended over the only once and away.”
whole of the unformed mass he had I was standing one day at the door brought into existence, to preserve the of an acquaintance, filled with various unity of the particles of matter, and reflections, excited at a passing fune- to preserve the whole from annihilaral. “ Come in,” said he, “don't tion. And God said, “Let there be stand there, man; it's only a funeral. light, and there was light,” &c. Thus Did you never see a funeral before.” we see, that the creation of Light, and
I know a youth, in many respects a its distinction from Darkness, was a promising character, who knows so lit-positive act or deed of the Creator. tle of the value of mo as to pur- It is clearly deducible from Scripture chase every little silly thing he sees, an and daily experience, that God rarely orange, a book, a stick, a knife. “It's performs any act, discernible by creonly two-pence; it's only six-pence. ated beings, immediately in his own What is sixpence? Nothing. person. He generally employs some
Speaking onc day, in a serious mo- agent, as the ostensible cause of the ment, to a gay and very beautiful effects which follow: by which means, young lady, on the uncertainty of life, men are led to contemplate by degrees and the necessity of a preparation for the greatness of his power, without its close. “ But,” said she, “is there being overwhelmed by his immediate any fear of that? All this may do presence. Thus, then, I make the folvery well for an old woman of eighty ; | lowing conclusion: - The Light was but you know, uncle, I'm only eigh- created, and distinguished from the teen.”
Darkness, by the immediate power of Upon inquiring the reason of my ser-God. This continued till the day prevant's shutting the front door with hasty vious to that on which the first living violence, I was told, “ It was only a creatures were to be brought into exbeggar.”
istence, He then placed the Sun and
Remarks on Primeval Light.
Moon as the ostensible causes of the first day, when the Sun, which is its variation of day and night, that all fountain, was not created until the things might conform to the general | fourth ?”. order of the universe. This seems to With respect to that system of probe the answer to your question.—The gression manifested in the creation, it Light which existed previous to the is presumed, that the first day's work creation of the Sun, was created by may be looked upon as being prelimithe same power that would bave en- nary to the work performed on the five dued the Sun with the property of emit- following days. If so, the light proting it. It was maintained in exist- duced on that day must be admitted ence by the same power which created within the circle of that consideration, it, without the intervention of any and, with equal propriety with the visible cause or agent. When living other things then created, be considerbeings, endued with perception, were ed in its first stage on the way to perto be placed in the world, the Creator, fection; particularly when it is obwith the same regard to regularity served by us, (though it is no object which he observed in the rest of his with the Almighty) that the heavenly work, exhibited the Sun, Moon, and bodies are believed far to surpass, in Stars, as the ostensible causes of the point of magnitude, that of our Earth, variation of light and darkness.-As which God in his wisdom thought proan objection to this hypothesis, it may per to take six days in perfecting. The be asked, “ Why were they not cre- word “ made," as used in the 16th ated at first?” To this I reply, There verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis, is was no occasion for them; there were indefinite, as to the matter of which the no creatures who would be affected by Sun and Stars are composed, and the their influence. We hear of no heat time of their being called into existexisting previous to the creation of the ence; and it may be viewed as applying Sun: and one principal use for which to the Light created on the first day; the Sun and the heavenly bodies are then undergoing that particular modiplaced in the firmamentis, to be for signs, fication, or, at that time, being “made" &c. Again: “Why was the distinction out of their former, to assume their between day and night made at all, present appearance; and, therefore, when there were no beings who would may as reason
sonably induce us to bebe affected by them ?” God, no doubt, lieve, that the substance of the Sun and contemplated the commandment which Stars was previously existent, as to he would give to his people on a future suppose that it was created on the day; in which he says, “For in six fourth day, when the luminaries with days the Lord made the heavens and which we now behold the skies decothe earth,” &c. Now, had not the suc- rated were made. This position may cession of days and nights been made, be fairly reconciled, by the fact of a similar to thắt which was apparent to human body being “ produced” before men, when this sentence was pro- the body of Eve was
“made;" yet nounced, it is obvious what a confu- Eve may, with as great a degree of sion it would have caused, and how propriety, be accounted the fountain incompatible it would have been with of human nature, as the Sun can be the spirit of regularity that pervades the the “ fountain of light,” when the universe.
stars are believed to shine by their own AGRICOLA. native lustre.
If we were to suppose, that the Sun
and Stars were created on the fourth On Primeval Light.
day, independently of, and without havTO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPERIAL ing any reference to, the Light, which
appeared on the first day, we should SIR,
find ourselves under the necessity of Being led by the following inquiry, believing, that God differed (verse 4th) contained in your second number, into with the opinion he had previously enan investigation of the account handed tertained of his first day's work; that down to us of the first and fourth days' | he then saw it defective, and therefore work in the Creation, I beg leave to sub-cancelled the decree of the first, to give mit to your consideration 'the annexed place to that of the fourth day; which opinions in answer to the question, would be in pointed opposition to the “How could Light be produced on the ideas we entertain of the infinite wis
TO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPERIAL
dom of Almighty God, who never goes But how will you be surprised when backward in his works.
I tell you! I can well conceive your
E. S.C. disappointment when you find, that Liverpool, 10th May, 1819.
our nation, which we thought so fallen in dignity and virtue, has much juster claims to them than these. Virtue appears too simple to associate with so
much art. She seems offended with Sir,
men of so much knowledge; and, preI have been, for some time back, in the ferring to dwell with Nature in the Metropolis, where I became acquaint- woods of the uncivilized, and the huts ed with a Mexican Chief, who at pre- of the savage, she has left these wretches sent resides there. One day I entered to struggle under the tyrannical domihis apartments, just as he was conclud- nion of vice. ing a letter to a friend of his in his As I know that the discovery of hunative country. He allowed me to take man degeneracy would only aftlict your a copy of it.
benevolent heart, I shall abstain even see in what light foreigners are apt to from alluding to the depravity of this look upon our nation, I send you the corrupt people; and confine myself enfollowing extract, which, after some tirely to those national follies, which, preliminary observations, relates to our as they are less fatal, we shall feel less national caprice and love of change, sorrow to revi particularly in dress. I had some difficulty in rendering it into tolerable There is one strange, and perhaps English, confused as it was by an unhappy, propensity pervading this abstruse hieroglyphical style, peculiar entire cluster of civilized nations; to the Mexicans. In one instance, his which, as they say, discovers, by its meaning was expressible by a term of advances, their progress to refinement. science, which I have taken the liberty I mean an insatiate thirst for novelty: of using. If you find the following ex- an appetite which seems only to intract worth your insertion, I shall have crease by gratification,* keeping invenpleasure in sending another; having tion perpetually on the stretch, and the same liberty to dispose of the whole feeding, with the utmost liberality, letter, as I have of the part now sent. those who ve much fancy, but little
C.J, understanding. Some new object of
attraction they must always have; some
glittering bubble of any person's blowLetter from a Mexican Chief, &c.
ing, (Paris manufacture, to be sure, is I am afraid, my valued Phraar, when preferred,) which they may admire this you make your intended visit to these moment, and break the next; some countries, which fame had given us so fantastic gewgaw, to which the same high a character of, and drawn in such caprice gives birth and death with the inviting colours, that you will find same wantonness of humour. No matmany more objects to disappoint, than ter how empty the bubble, or how condelight you; more to gaze at, than ad- temptible the gewgaw, if new, it is mire ; and much to excite your pity, an object of adoration, for its novelty while there is little to attract your es- disguises all its deficiencies. teem. You would suppose, that king- The admiration and the age of such doms, which all the world pronounced objects are always in an inverse ratio;t so near to the goal of human know- the first diminishes as the last increases; ledge and perfection, had resigned to for admiration and novelty are coeval the uncivilized and the ignorant, all the and coexistent; and the first dwindles follies which degrade, and all the vices into indifference, as the last, by habiwhich debase, our nature; and that tude, loses what gave it interest. while they aspired to, and almost enjoyed, a seat on the pinnacle of human
* My friend, I believe, has read Shakewisdom and knowledge, they would speare, and probably has taken this hint from leave vanity and vice to the pursuit the love which Gertrude bore to his father, he
Hamlet's first soliloquy, where, in alluding 10 of us, whom they consider as barba- says, “Why, she did hang on him, as if in, rous; and that in the relinquishment crease of appetite did grow by what it fed on.” of these, consisted their superiority + This is the term of science to which I aland perfection.
434 As this frivolous and unbecoming | and that every individual might be disposition only discovers itself among allowed to follow his own taste, and these civilized nations, I have been cut his hair or pare his nails as his induced to think, that politeness and judgment or his inclination directed : folly are inseparable companions, and but this would be too extensive a privisit a nation precisely at the same vilege. If they have political liberty, æra. And reason seems to concur in it is enough. To shew their refineproving, what common observation ment, they must be slaves in their perhaps sufficiently warrants : for, as dress; and every individual, under the civilization and the fine arts go hand severest penalties, must conform to in hand, fancy and the arts are closely laws which are perpetually changing, connected, and fancy is one of the pa- and yield unqualified obedience to the rents of novelty. This foible, however, dominion of prevailing fashion. is attended with some advantages, (but Paris, the capital of France, is the what general vice or misfortune is not?) mainspring and source of all this folly since it affords an opportunity for thé and fluctuation in dress. It is the hotexertion of those superficial and trifling bed in which every fashion and novelty qualities of the mind, of which nature is propagated. Here invention rehas been so lavish, while she has been sides: here is erected the throne, where so frugal of the higher powers: hence, Inconstancy sits in triumph, and smiles a livelihood here, can as easily be ob- around at the officious obedience and tained by the fancy, as by the under the true devotion of her subjects. standing
Mutability! thy name surely is Paris. * This propensity to be always chang- Surely, that place has been designed ing, and to dislike every thing but for a theatre, where the world might what is new, discovers itself in every see how far one human folly might be possible way:- in shows and enter- extended, and exhibit to mankind an tainments, and in every thing either object for their contempt, rather than of public or private concern. But the an idol for their adoration. chief department in which this Proteus The nations around are at present loves to sport, is, the art of dress. under her discipline, and they receive Here, variation fatigues a stranger, by instructions in the art of dressing, its perplexing repetition: here, there gratis. The term of guardianship, I are no bounds to their inconstancy. imagine, will soon expire ; for they Change is perpetually the order of the seem now qualified to invent for themday; change is their delight; change selves, and may therefore be dismissed, is their subsistence: they live on it, at any time, from the tutelage of that and their love of it must be gratified kingdom. The present dress always sits uneasy,
From this centre of ideal delight, and every change seems only to in the rays of enlightened folly diverge tó crease their dissatisfaction. Before the neighbouring nations, to illuminate one is completely on, they try another, and refine them. Here some idle and looking in vain for that perfection in fantastic head, of noble descent and it, which they seem destined never to ideas, proposes some new change in attain. Hence, after all their disco- apparel. He adopts it; and the whole veries, they have only the melancholy city is in a ferment, till it has made satisfaction of seeing, that, notwith the same reform. The news is blown standing the labours of their ancestors, hot across the channel, to our imitaand their own toils, they are still mere tive friends in London, who become novices in this important art; and they immediate converts to a reformation, have every reason to think, that their recommended by the discerning Pariunhappy posterity will be doomed to sians; at the same time, blowing the make the same complaint, unless pris- bubble over the Irish Channel, to the tine barbarity shall happily intercede, civilizing metropolis of that kingdom. and redeem them from the miseries of That a change so fleeting, may be hope deferred, and expectation pro
fashionable in all places at the same tracted and fruitless.
time, the utmost expedition is necesIn this free and happy country, where sary in transferring it; and as it reLiberty, we were told, had built her quires a considerable time to transport temple, and resolved to reside, we ex
so many channels, and pected that freedom existed in trilling * This is another proof of my friend's acmatters as well as the most important; I quaintance with Shakespeare. No. 5,--VOL. I.