« PreviousContinue »
saying of that philosopher is, therefore, wise and applicable to many cases : "Demonstrations are not to be expected in all cases, but so far as the subject will admit of them.” But if we were well acquainted with the nature and essence of the soul, or even its precise method of operation on the body, it is highly probable we could draw from thence evident and undeniable demonstrations of that immortality which we are now asserting; whereas, so long as the mind of man is so little acquainted with its own nature, we must not expect any such.
But that'unquenchable thirst of the soul, which we have already montioned, is a strong proof of its divine nature; a thirst not to be allayed with the impure and turbid waters of any earthly good, or of all worldly enjoyments taken together. It thirsts after the never-failing fountain of good, according to that of the Psalmist, As the hart panteth after the water-brooks. · It thirsts after a good, invisible, immaterial, and immortal, to the enjoyment whereof the ministry of a body is so far from being absolutely necessary, that it feels itself shut up and confined that to which it is now united, as by a partition wall, and groans under the pressure of it. And those souls that are quite insensible of this thirst, are certainly buried in the body as in the carcass of an impure hog; nor have they so entirely divested themselves of this appetite we have mentioned, nor can they possibly so divest themselves of it, as not to feel it severely to their great misery, sooner or later, either when they awake out of their lethargy within the body, or when they are obliged to leave it. To conclude : Nobody, I believe, will deny that we are to form our judgment of the true nature of the human mind, not from the sloth and stupidity of the most degenerate and vilest of men, but from the sentiments and fervent desires of the best and wisest of the species.
These sentiments concerning the immortality of the soul in its future existence not only include no impossibility or absurdity in them, but are also every way agreeable to sound reason, wisdom, and virtue, to the divine economy, and the natural wishes and desires of men ; wherefore most nations have, with the greatest reason, universally adopted them, and the wisest in all countries and in all ages have cheerfully embraced them; and, though they could not confirm them with any argument of irresistible force, yet they felt something within them that corresponded with this doctrine, and always looked upon it as most beautiful and worthy of credit. “Nobody," says Atticus, in
Cicero, “shall drive me from the immortality of the soul.” And Seneca's words are, “I took pleasure to inquire into the eternity of the soul, and even indeed to believe it. I resigned myself to so glorious a hope, for now I begin to despise the remains of a broken constitution, as being to remove into that immensity of time, and into the possession of endless ages." Oh how much does the soul gain by this removal !
As for you, young gentlemen, I doubt not but you will embrace this doctrine, not only as agreeable to reason, but as it is an article of the Christian faith. I only put you in mind to revolve it often within yourselves, and with a serious disposition of mind; for you will find it the strongest incitement to wisdom, good morals, and true piety. Nor can you imagine any thing that will more effectually divert you from a foolish admiration of present and perishing things, and from the allurements and sordid pleasures of this earthly body. Consider, I pray you, how unbecoming it is to make a heaven-born soul, that is to live for ever, a slave to the meanest, vilest, and most trifling things; and, as it were, to thrust down to the kitchen a prince that is obliged to leave his country only for a short time. St. Bernard pathetically addresses himself to the body in favour of the soul, persuading it to treat the latter honourably, not only on account of its dignity, but also for the advantage that will thereby rebound to the body itself: “Thou hast a noble guest, O flesh! a most noble one indeed, and all thy safety depends upon
its salvation. It will certainly remember thee for good if thou serve it well; and when it comes to its Lord, it will put him in mind of thee, and the mighty God himself will come to make thee, who art now a vile body, like unto his glorious one; and, oh wretched flesh! He who came in humility and obscurity to redeem souls, will come in great majesty to glorify thee, and every eye shall see him.” Be mindful, therefore, young gentlemen, of your better part, and accustom it to think of its own eternity, always and every where having its eyes upon that world to which it is most nearly related; and thus it will look down, as from on high, on all those things which the world considers as lofty and exalted, and will see them under its feet; and of all the things which are confined within the narrow verge of this present life it will have nothing to desire and nothing to fear.
275.—THE QUARREL OF SQUIRE BULL AND HIS SON.
PAULDING. JAMES KIRKE PAULDING, a living American writer of celebrity, was born in 1779. In 1806 he joined with Washington Irving in the production of a periodical work entitled . Salmagundi;' and he has written several novels. • The History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan,' from which the following is an extract, was published in 1816. Mr. Paulding was a member of the Government of the United States during Van Buren's presidency.]
John Bull was a choleric old fellow, who held a good manor in the middle of a great mill-pond, and which, by reason of its being quite surrounded by water, was generally called Bullock Island. Bull was an ingenious man, an exceedingly good blacksmith, a dexterous cutler, and a notable weaver and pot-baker besides. He also brewed capital porter, ale, and small beer, and was in fact a sort of jack of all trades, and good at each. In addition to these, he was a hearty fellow, an excellent bottle-companion, and passably honest as
go. But what tarnished all these qualities was a quarrelsome over-bearing disposition, which was always getting him into some scrape or other. The truth is, he never heard of a quarrel going on among his neighbours, but his fingers itched to be in the thickest of them; 80 that he hardly ever was seen without a broken head, a black, eye, or a bloody nose. Such was Squire Bull, as he was commonly called by the country people his neighbours—one of those odd, testy, grumbling, boasting old codgers, that never get credit for what they are, because they are always pretending to be what they are not.
The squire was as tight a hand to deal with in-doors as out; sometimes treating his family as if they were not the same flesh and blood, when they happened to differ with him in certain matters. One day he got into a dispute with his youngest son Jonathan, who was familiarly called Brother Jonathan, about whether churches ought to be called churches or meeting-houses; and whether steeples were not an abomination. The squire, either having the worst of the argument,
or being naturally impatient of contradiction, (I can't tell which,) fell into a great passion, and swore he would physic such notions out of the boy's noddle.. So he went to some of his doctors and got them to draw up a prescription, made up of thirty-nine different articles, many of them bitter enough to some palates. This he tried to make Jonathan swallow; and finding he made villainous wry faces, would not do it, fell upon him and beat him like fury. After this, he made the house so disagreeable to him, that Jonathan, though as hard as a pine knot and as tough as leather, could bear it po longer, Taking his gun and his axe, he put himself in a boat and paddled over the mill-pond to some new land to which the squire pretended some sort of claim, intending to settle there, and build a meeting house without a steeple as soon as he grew
rich enough. When he got over, Jonathan found that the land was quite in a state of nature, covered with wood, and inhabited by nobody but wild beasts. But, being a lad of mettle, he took his axe on one shoulder, and his gun on the other, marched into the thickest of the wood, and, clearing a place, built a log hut. Pursuing his labours, and handling his axe like a notable woodman, he in a few years cleared the land, which he laid out into thirteen good farms; and building himself a fine farmhouse, about half finished, began to be quite snug and comfortable.
· But Squire Bull, who was getting old and stingy, and, besides, was in great want of money on account of his having lately to pay swinging damages for assaulting his neighbours and breaking their heads --the squire, I say, finding Jonathan was getting well to do in the world, began to be very much troubled about his welfare; so he demanded that Jonathan should pay him a good rent for the land which he had cleared and made good for something. He trumped up I know not what claim against him, and under different pretences managed to pocket all Jonathan's honest gains. In fact, the poor lad had not a shilling left for holyday occasions; and, had it not been for the filial respect he felt for the old man, he would certainly have refused to submit to such impositions.
But for all this, in a little time, Jonathan grew up to be very large of his age, and became a tall, stout, double-jointed, broad-footed cub of a fellow, awkward in his gait and simple in his appearance; but showing a lively shrewd look, and having the promise of great strength when he should get his full growth. He was rather an odd. looking chap, in truth, and had many queer ways ; but every body that had seen John Bull saw a great likeness between them, and swore he was John's own boy, and a true chip of the old block.' Like the old' squire, he was apt tờ be blustering and saucy, but in the main was a peaceable sott of careless fellow, that would quarrel with nobody if you would only let him alone. He used to dress in homespun trowsers with a huge bagging seat which seemed to have nothing in it. This made people to say he had no bottom; but whoever said so lied, as they found to their cost whenever they put Jonathan in a passion. He always woré å linsey-wolsey coat that did not above half cover his breech, and the sleeves of which were so short that his hand and wrist came out beyond them, looking like à shoulder of mutton, i all' which was in consequence of his growing so fast that he outgrew his clothes.'
While Jonathan was outgrowing his strength in this way, Bull kept on picking his pockets of every penny he could scrape together; till at last one day when the squire was even more than usually pressing in his demands, which she accompanied with threats, Jonathan started up in å furious passiðn, and threw the tea kettle at the old man's head. The choleric Bull was hereupon exceedingly enraged, and, after calling the poor lad an undutiful, ungråteful, rebellious rascal, seized him by the collar, and forthwith à furious scuffle ensued. This lasted a long time; for the squire, though in years, was a capital boxer, and of most excellent bottom. At last, however, Jonathan got him under, and before he would let him up made him sign a paper giving up all claim to the farms, and acknowledging the fee-simple to be in Jonathan for ever.
276.-THE THIRD CANTO OF DANTE'S INFERNO.
Translated by I. C. WRIGHT. [In our last Volume we gave some specimens from Cary's Translation of Dante. Mr. Ichabod Charles Wright, of Nottingham, has pub