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Told in his infant ear-of the far sea,
The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal interests. Not content with acknowledging, in general terms, an over-ruling Providence, they habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose inspection nothing was too minute. To know him, to serve him, to enjoy him, was with them the great end of existence. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious homage which other sects substituted for the pure worship of the soul. Instead of catching occasional glimpses of the Deity through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on the intolerable brightness, and to commune with him face to face. Hence originated their contempt for terrestrial distinctions. The difference between the greatest and meanest of mankind seemed to vanish, when compared with the boundless interval which separated the whole race from him on whom their own eyes were constantly fixed. They recognised no title to superiority but his favour; and, confident of that favour, they despised all the accomplishments and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted with the works of philosophers and poets, they were deeply read in the Oracles of God. If their names were not found in the registers of heralds, they felt assured that they were recorded in the Book of Life. If their steps were not accompanied by a splendid train of menials, legions of ministering angels had charge over them. Their palaces were houses not made with hands; their diadems, crowns of
glory which should never fade away! On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, they looked down with contempt; for they esteemed themselves rich in a more precious treasure, and eloquent in a more sublime language, nobles by the right of an earlier creation, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. The very meanest of them, was a being to whose fate a mysterious and terrible importance belonged-on whose slightest action the spirits of light and darkness looked with anxious interest—who had been destined, before heaven and earth were created, to enjoy a felicity which should continue when heaven and earth should have passed away.
Events, which short-sighted politicians ascribed to earthly causes, had been ordained on his account. For his sake empires had risen, and flourished, and decayed. For his sake, the Almighty had proclaimed his will by the pen of the Evangelist, and the harp of the Prophet. He had been wrested by no common deliverer from the grasp of no common foe. He had been ransomed by the sweat of no vulgar agony—by the blood of no earthly sacrifice. It was for him, that the sun had been darkened that the rocks had been rent—that the dead had arisenthat all nature had shuddered at the sufferings and death of the Saviour of the world.
Thus, the Puritan was made up of two different men; the one, all self-abasement, penitence, gratitude, passion—the other, proud, calm, inflexible, sagacious. He prostrated himself in the dust before his Maker; but he set his foot on the neck of his king. In his devotional retirement, he prayed with convulsions, and groans, and tears. He was half-maddened by glorious or terrible illusions. He heard the lyres of angels, or the tempting whispers of fiends. He caught a gleam of beatific vision, or woke screaming from dreams of everlasting fire. Like Vane, he thought himself entrusted with the sceptre of the millennial year. Like Fleetwood, "he cried, in the bitterness of his soul, that God had hid his
face from him. But, when he took his seat in the council, or girt on his sword for war, these tempestuous workings of the soul had left no perceptible trace behind them. People who saw nothing of the godly but their uncouth visages, and heard nothing from them but their groans and their whining hymns, might laugh at them. But those had little reason to laugh who encountered them in the hall of debate, or in the field of battle. These fanatics brought to civil and military affairs, a coolness of judgment, and an immutability of purpose, which some writers have thought inconsistent with their religious zeal, but which were, in fact, the necessary effects of it. The intensity of their feelings on one subject, made them tranquil on every other. One overpowering sentiment, had subjected to itself pity and hatred, ambition and fear. Death had lost its terrors, and pleasure its charms. They had their smiles and their tears, their raptures and their sorrows, but not for the things of this world. Enthusiasm had made them Stoics, had cleared their minds from every vulgar passion and prejudice, and raised them above the influence of danger and of corruption. It sometimes might lead them to pursue unwise ends, but never to choose unwise means. They went through the world like Sir Artegale’s iron man— Talus—with his flail, crushing and trampling down oppressors, mingling with human beings, but having neither part nor lot in human infirmities; insensible to fatigue, to pleasure, and to pain; not to be pierced by any weapon, not to be withstood by
THE BREWER AND THE PUBLICAN.
A BREWER in a country town,
Had got a monstrous reputation;
The hosts of the surrounding station
Carving his name upon
mugs, And painting it on every shutter!
And though some envious folks would utter Hints, that its flavour came from drugs; Others maintain'd 'twas no such matter,
But owing to his monstrous vat,
At least as corpulent as that
His foreman was a lusty black,
An honest fellow;
Till he was stupified and mellow.
Having to cross the vat aforesaid, (Just then with boiling beer supplied,)
O’ercome with giddiness and qualms, he Reeld-fell in—and nothing more said, But in his favourite liquor died,
Like Clarence in his butt of Malmsey.
In all directions round about
absentee was sought,
had left The place for debt, or crime, or theft.
Meanwhile, the beer was, day by day,
Until the lees flow'd thick and thicker,-
the ground, Once more their missing friend they found,
As they had often done-in liquor !
See, cried his moralizing master,
I always knew the fellow drank hard,
A toast at bottom of a tankard!
Next morn, a publican, whose tap
Had help'd to drain the vat so dry,
Came to demand a fresh supply:
Possessing a much richer gusto
Than formerly it ever used to;
Zounds! cried the brewer, that's a task
Of the last beer to the ensuing,
And boil him down at every brewing?
CASSIUS INSTIGATING BRUTUS AGAINST CÆSAR.
I cannot tell what you and other men