Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

tem, and one that would be as sound and rational as it is accommodating, were the appointment, that one day in seven should be hallowed, a decree of the British Parliament, or the result of a mere national custom. But insomuch as we profess to accept it as the law of God, I cannot see by what ingenuity of reasoning such a law can be proved to have lost its force, in consequence of our having crossed the Channel, or climbed the Alps. And yet, I must suppose that some such reasoning is in fashion at Paris, Brussels, Florence, and other places which might easily be mentioned; or else that my countrymen think that they may dispense with the laws of God without any reason at all, as long as they are resident in a foreign country: Where they find the ground for any such a dispensing power, I know not."

This argument is farther irged.

“ Imagine a young foreigner of a thinking and inquiring cast of mind, and a certain degree of tenderness of conscience, in whom some casual information has awakened doubts about the propriety of secularizing the Sabbath, and a consequent inclination to enter upon a course of enquiry likely to lead to the most interesting and profitable developements of religious truth. Imagine such an one to have been told, that in our favoured isle t'le question, What is truth?? may find the readiest answer. With what anxious interest would he mark the conduct of one of its inbabitants on that point? And how would it deaden that spirit of in.vestigation, and nip in the very bud the fair promise of opening conviction, to see the Englislınan more tenacious of the dress of his own country than of its principles; a camelion, not in skin, but in heart; distinguishable from those around him in matters of perfect indifference, but naturalized in their errors, and glad to renounce those points of distinction, as burdensome restraints, which ought to be regarded as high national privileges! Surely the person, whose example has such an effect, is guilty of putting a stumbling-block in his brother's way,' and 'walks not charitably,' A little more of St. Paul's tender consideration for the weakness of others would give this argument wonderful eificacy; and if it appear weak and ineffectual to you now, let me entreat you to lay the fault less upon the ground of the argument than upon your own deficiency in the feeling which would convince you ot its having a strength, of which you are not at present aware." P. 24.

With the practical advice in the following sections we were much pleased :

“ As an essential measure of preparation, take care that a Bible and Prayer Book form a part of your travelling stores.

You must yet have to learn their value, if you can think yourself completely equipped without them. " lo sketching out your plan of travelling, mazk Sunday de5

cidedly,

cidedly as a day of rest. To dispense with such a rule on this occasion, because you want to see and do a great deal in a short space of time, is to act upon the principle, that when our duty to God, and our personal convenience clash, the former is, of course, to give way. As if his sceptre of righteousness were that of a mimic king, and to be exercised only at our discretion. Burns, in speaking of profane wit, says, with his characteristic point, • An Atheist's laugh 's a poor exchange

For Deity offended.” And surely a few additional towns in our journal, or the sight of one mountain, or a waterfall the more, purchased at the same price, will prove an equally improvident bargain. The length of your intended expedition, instead of operating against my advice, ought strongly to enforce it, since the continued habit would more effectually deaden all conscientious feelings in this respect than occasional indulgences of the same kind. What has been said applies equally to the devoting the day to seeing the objects of curiosity which the place you are in may

afford. “ In any town where you spend the Sunday, make a point of ascertaining whether it affords you an opportunity of attending the service of ihe Protestant Church; and, if it does, thankfully avail yourself of it. If not, do not let this circumstance deprive you entirely of the enjoyment of social worship. If you are the head of a family, or one of a party of friends, you can always assemble a little congregation to join in the use of our admirable Liturgy; and may rejoice in the recollection of the gracious promise made to two or three gathered together,' in that name, which is set as a seal and passport to nearly every one of its prayers. Even if you should be alone, the same form of prayer is much of it appliCable to private use, and will enable you to join in spirit with the thousands who, on that day, are offering up its petitions in your native land. Its use would, from the mere force of association, assist in bringing your mind to the tone and habits appropriate to the day.

“ Where you be negligent in this respect, the Roman Catholics themselves, whose churches are thronged from six in the morning till mid-day, might put you to the blush ; though they are not to be followed in their defective and superstitious mode of worship, nor in their way of spending the remainder of the Sabbath. in these points I would say, with a full conviction that he who used the words first would approve of their application, Come out from anong them, and be separate.'. It is indeed a day of joy joy and gladness, but the source of that joy strongly marks that, Though truly a feast; it ought to be kept in a very different inanner from the gay, trifling, and sensual resta of an Italian city, or its counterpart in France, or elsewhere. Drinking and geming, dancing and singing, and theatrical entertainments among the loner orders, and similar amusements, though in a more refined shines in the higher, do not very aptly characterize the joy to be derived from that resurrection, in which those only have reason to rejoice, who die to sin and rise again unto righteousness.' This, however, as I believe all travellers will confess, is no exaggerated description of the objects to which every Sunday is devoted throughout a considerable portion of the Continent. From this vortex it will become you to steer at a cautious distance, for it is hard to struggle against it, if carried by the current within the sphere of its attraction. When once we are committed to a certain extent in society, unforeseen occurrences, unintentional, or perhaps wilful misapprehensions, the fear of giving offence, the silence of hesitation construed into that of assent, and many simiiar causes draw us, even without the aid of inclination, far beyond our in. tended limits of concession. I do not speak this merely from general observation, but from a case precisely in point. I happen to know that a person, who is in the habit of avoiding public society on a Sunday from conscientious motives, having, when abroad, yielded this point once, on a particular occasion, was, in the end, so entangled by a train of unforeseen circumstances, as to find himself at the theatre in the evening, with the rest of the party, to his own surprise and sorrow. I would say, therefore, not only avoid the places of public amusement, but all parties, in themselves unsuited to the day, and likely to expose you to trials, to which your resolution may not be equal. It is far easier to be conscientiously singular upon deliberation and by system, than in the exigency of the moment, when the eyes of a company are upon you; and the temptation would have much advantage of you, in consequence of your being already on slippery ground.

“ The exact line of distinction, however, in this case, must be left to your own judgment; but public amusements are more clearly defined, and admit no question of degrees. They are altogether forbidden ground to you on Sunday, if there be the least force in any of the arguments, which have now been brought forward. It is true, that you will be tempted by placards announcing the performance of the best actors, and the finest musicians, on that evening, expressly because it is Sunday; but if you would not think yourself authorized to break the eighth commandment by a strong temptation, do not listen to those, who reason differently about the fourth. Only imagine yourself pleading such an excuse at the bar, where the question must at last be decided, and its absurdity will strike you with the force of irresistible conviction.” P. 66.

All this is excellent; and we trust that it will be well weighed and followed by those to uliom it is addressed.

Mr. Marriott has clearly not been a traveller himself; we wish that he had, as then he would have been enabled to particularize in a more p:actical manner, those parts, on which he çan, at prescot only spcak in general. We mucli wish, that some geutleman who is, by his own experience, well acquainted with the peculiar and particular dangers attending a young Englishman, in each separate country, would adopt the plan of Mr. Marriott; and warn, in term's equally just, cerinus, and concise, the inexperienced mind, ayajust the various trials and temptations to which it is likely to be exposed.

llena

Art. XI. Sancho, or the Proverbialist. By the Red. J.

Cunningham, Vicar of Harrow on the Hill. 12mo. pp. 181.

Cadell and Co. 1816. As an appendage to the Velvet Cushion, we certainly should not have been inclined to receive this work favourably, we were happy therefore to find it by no means yo objectionable as we had expected. If Mr. Cunningham will vouch for bis incidents being probable, we will answer for their being generally inoffen. sive.

Sancho, the hero of the tale, is educated by his aunt, who is much attached to proverbs and wise saws, in which she is of couise anxious to discipline the mind of her nephew. The tendency of these is to make him selfish, mean, and profligate ; from this miserable state of mind and of action, he is at length delivered by the kindness of another aunt; who, aided by an old clergyman, substitutes Christian motives in the room of legendary maxins. One of the injunctions of his aunt Winifred, is to associate with those who are proverbially termed “ No one's enemy but their own."

“ Finding the strong passions so predominant in all quarters of. the college, as to promise a large harvest of warm friends,' I thought it desirable to search for some person, who should com. bine, with this qualification for friendship, the second property named by my aunt--that of being no one's enemy but his own.' Accordingly I began my inquiries with much diligence and circumspection. My aunt abhorred precipitancy, and so did I. I determined, therefore, to make no selection till I had collected the most overwhelming evidence upon the point. At length, however, hearing almost the whole college concur in the praise of one indi vidual, in calling him a fine fellow-a spirited fellow-a real good fellow-a good-hearted fellow—the best fellow in the world—and, finally, in declaring him to be nobody's enemy but his own,' I Tentured to decide, and sought by every possible overture to make this individual my friend. And as he was a social, easy sort of person, and, moreover, a prodigious lover of good eating and drinking, I found less difficulty than I had anticipated in accomplishing so momentous an object. Before a few weeks had elapsed we were svorn intimates, and spent almost the whole of our time together. And as some of my readers may have never had an opportunity of very closely examining the life of a person who is reputed to be

nobody's enemy but his own,' I shall very liberally give them, without the smallest deduction, the full benefit of 'my own experience.

“ In the first place, I soon perceived that he 'scarcely ever opened a book. Now, in this, he was plainly enough his own enemy. But whether, in so doing, he was not also the enemy of some parent or guardian, who had sent him to the University for the very purpose of study; I could not at that inoment decide, as I knew nothing of his peculiar circumstances. I will own, however, that I could not help, even then, suspecting-in my better '

moments at teast-that, if no enemy to God or man, he was evidently no friend to either, or he would not have consumed talents and time to no purpose, which might have been employed to the honour of God, and to the benefit of his fellow-creatures.

“ In the next place, I soon discovered him, especially when elated by wine, to be enthusiastically given to every species of riot and disturbance. What is classically termed a‘row'was his glory. In this case also, when I heard the casements of a pauper shiver under his fist, or saw the blood of a watchman trickle down his cheeks, I certainly found no small difficulty in conceiving him to be nobody's enemy bút his own.'

« Moreover, I was not long in ascertaining, that he paid no tradesman's bill which he found it possible to elude.

And it must be confessed, that neither the tradesman thus defrauded (especially when they dated their letters from the town gaol) or their wives and children, ever had the generosity to concur in the declaration that he was nobody's enemy but his own.'

“ Finally, I perceived that his various exploits were not accomplished witliout a most enormous expenditure. And what was my borror to learn, after a short time, that this man of strong passions'-this good-hearted fellow'—this • best fellow in the world'

- this 'enemy to none hut himself '—was, in fact, the only son of a widow living in a garret, who had economised by abstinence, by days and nights of patient toil, by racking and screwing her aged sinews, the sum of money which he in a few months had squandered at college. She was the destitute widow of a clergyman-shame to the country there should be any such !—and the wish of her heart Had been to hear her son proclaim to the world the principles by which her husband had lived well, and died triumphantly. Such was her wish-such her erdeavour to realize it--and such the fruits which this real good fellow' paid back into the bosom of his aged mother. On a visit to London, I accidentally discovered his house ; surprised him in the company of his distracted mother; and shall to my dying day thrill when I call to mind the tone and countenance with which she exclaimed,

• How keener than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child!' " I left the house in disgust, resolved that, whatever might be the consequence, I would never choose for my friend the man who

was

« AnteriorContinuar »