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faid the genius, are envy, avarice, fuperftition, | faid he, that lie fo fresh and green before thee, defpair, love, with the like cares and paffions that infeft human life.
I here fetched a deep figh: Alas, faid I, man was made in vain! how is he given away to mifery and mortality! tortured in life, and fwallowed up in death! The genius being moved with compaffion towards me, bid me quit fo uncomfortable a profpect. Look no more, faid he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in his fetting out for eternity; but caft thine eye on that thick mift into which the tide bears the feveral generations of mortals that fall into it. I directed my fight as I was ordered, and (whether or no the good genius ftrengthened it with any fupernatural force, or diffipated part of the mift that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I faw the valley opening at the farther end,and spreading forth into an immenfe ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midft of It, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds ftill refted on one half of it, infomuch that I could difcover nothing in it: but the other appeared to me a vaft ocean, planted with innumerable iflands, that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little fhining feas that ran among them. I could fee perfons dreffed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, paffing among the trees, lying down by the fides of fountains, or refting on beds of flowers; and could hear a confufed harmony of finging birds, falling waters, human voices, and mufical inftruments. Gladness grew in me at the difcovery of fo delightful a fcene. I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to thofe happy feats; but the genius told me there was no paffage to them, except through the gates of death that I faw opening every moment upon the bridge. The islands,
and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst fce, are more in number than the fands on the feafhore; there are myriads of islands behind thofe which thou here difcovereft, reaching further than thine eye, or even thine imagination can extend itself. These are the manfions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are diftributed among thefe feveral islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, fuitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them: every island is a Paradife accommodated to its refpective inhabitants. Are not thefe, O Mirza, habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miferable, that gives thee opportunities of earning fuch a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to fo happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has fuch an eternity reserved for him.---I gazed with inexpreffible pleasure on these happy islands. At length, faid I, Shew me now, I beseech thee, the fecrets that lie hid under thofe dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other fide of the rock of adamant. The genius making me no answer, I turned about to addrefs myfelf to him a fecond time, but I found that he had left me: I then turned again to the vifion which I had been fo long contemplating; but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy iflands, I faw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat, with oxen, fheep, and camels, grazing upon the fides of it.
§2. The Voyage of Life; an Allegory. Life,' fays Seneca, is a voyage, in the progrefs of which we are perpetually chang
panfe of waters violently agitated, and covered with so thick a mist, that the most perfpicacious eyes could fee but a little way. I appeared to be full of rocks and whirlpools, for many funk unexpectedly while they were courting the gale with full fails, and infulting thofe whom they had left behind. So numerous, indeed, were the dangers, and fo thick the darkness, that no caution could confer feme-curity. Yet there were many, who, by falfe intelligence, betrayed their followers into whirlpools, or by violence pushed those whom they found in their way against the rocks.
ing our fcenes: we first leave childhood behind us, then youth, then the years of ripened manhood, then the better or more pleafing part of old age.'---The perufal of this paffage having excited in me a train of reflections on the state of man, the inceffant fluctuation of his wishes, the gradual change of his difpofition to all external objects, and the thoughtlefinefs with which he floats along the stream of time, I funk into a flumber amidft my ditations, and, on a fudden, found my ears filled with the tumult of labour, the thouts of alacrity, the fhrieks of alarm, the whiftle of winds, and the dash of waters.
My aftonishment for a time repreffed my curiofity; but foon recovering myself fo far as to enquire whither we were going, and what was the caufe of fuch clamour and confufion; I was told that they were launching out into the ocean of Life; that we had already paffed the ftreights of infancy, in which multitudes had perifhed, fome by the weaknefs and fragility of their veffels, and more by the folly, perverfenefs, or negligence of those who undertook to steer them; and that we were now on the main fea, abandoned to the winds and billows, without any other means of fecurity than the care of the pilot, whom it was alway's in our power to chufe, among great numbers that offered their direction and affiftance.
I then looked round with anxious eagernefs; and, first turning my eyes behind me, faw a stream flowing through flowery islands, which every one that failed along feemed to behold with pleasure; but no fooner touched, than the current, which, though not noify or turbulent, was yet irrefiftible, bore him away. Beyond these islands, all was darknefs; nor could any of the paffengers defcribe the thore at which he first embarked.
Before me, and on either fide, was an ex
The current was invariable and infurmountable; but though it was impoffible to fail against it, or to return to the place that was once paffed, yet it was not fo violent as to allow no opportunities for dexterity os courage, fince, though none could retreat back from danger, yet they might often avoid it by an oblique direction.
It was, however, not very common to steer with much care or prudence; for, by fome univerfal infatuation, every man appeared to think himself safe, though he saw his conforts every moment finking round him; and no fooner had the waves clofed over them, than their fate and their misconduct were forgotten; the voyage was pursued with the fame jocund confidence; every man congratulated himself upon the foundness of his veffel, and believed himself able to ftem the whirlpool in which his friend was fwallowed, or glide over the rocks on which he was dafhed: nor was it often observed, that the fight of a wreck made any man change his courfe; if he turned aside for a moment, he foon forgot the rudder, and left himself again to the difpofal of chance.
This negligence did not proceed from indifference, or from wearinefs of their prefent condition; for not one of thofe who thus
rushed upon deftruction failed, when he was finking, to call loudly upon his affociates for that help which could not now be given him: and many spent their laft moments in cautioning others against the folly by which they were intercepted in the midft of their courfe. Their benevolence was fometimes praised, but their admonitions were unregarded.
The veffels in which we had embarked, being confeffedly unequal to the turbulence of the ftream of life, were visibly impaired in the courfe of the voyage, fo that every pallenger was certain, that how long foever he might, by favourable accidents, or by inceffant vigilance, be preferved, he muft link at last.
This neceflity of perishing might have been expected to fadden the gay, and intimidate the daring, at least to keep the melancholy and timorous in perpetual torments, and hinder them from any enjoyment of the varieties and gratifications which nature offered them as the folace of their labours; yet in effect none feemed lefs to expect deftruction than thofe to whom it was moft dreadful; they all had the art of concealing their danger from themselves; and those who knew their inability to bear the fight of the terrors that embarrassed their way, took care never to look forward, but found fome amusement of the prefent moment, and generally entertained themselves by playing with Hope, who was the conftant afsociate of the voyage of Life.
Yet all that Hope ventured to promife, even to those whom the favoured moft, was, not that they thould efcape, but that they should fink laft; and with this promife every one was fatisfied, though he laughed at the reft for feeming to believe it. Hope, indeed, apparently mocked the credulity of her companions; for, in proportion as their veffels grew leaky, the redoubled her affurances of fafety;
and none were more bufy in making provifions for a long voyage, than they whom all but themfelves faw likely to perish foon by irreparable decay.
In the midst of the current of Life, was the gulph of Intemperance, a dreadful whirlpool, interfperfed with rocks, of which the pointed crags were concealed under water, and the tops covered with herbage, on which Eafe fpreads couches of repofe; and with fhades, where Pleasure warbled the fong of invitation. Within fight of thefe rocks, all who failed on the ocean of Life muft neceffarily pafs. Reafon indeed was always at hand to steer the paffengers through a narrow outlet, by which they might efcape; but very few could, by her intreaties or remonftrances, be induced to put the rudder into her hand, without ftipulating that the should approach so near unto the rocks of Pleasure, that they might folace themselves with a fhort enjoyment of that delicious region, after which they always determined to purfue their course without any other deviation.
Reafon was too often prevailed upon fo far by thefe promifes as to venture her charge within the eddy of the gulph of Intemperance, where, indeed, the circumvolution was weak, but yet interrupted the course of the veffel, and drew it, by infenfible rotations, towards the centre. She then repented her temerity, and with all her force endeavoured to retreat; but the draught of the gulph was generally too ftrong to be overcome; and the paffenger, having danced in circles with a pleafing and giddy velocity, was at last overwhelmed and loft. Thofe few whom Reafon was able to extricate, generally fuffered fo many fhocks, upon the points which fhot out from the rocks of Pleasure, that they were unable to continue their courfe with the fame ftrength and facility
as before, but floated along timorously and feebly, endangered by every breeze, and thattered by every ruffle of the water, till they funk, by flow degrees, after long ftruggles, and innumerable expedients, always repining at their own folly, and warning others againft the first approach of the gulph of Intemperance.
There were artists who profeffed to repair the breaches and stop the leaks of the veffels which had been shattered on the rocks of Pleasure. Many appeared to have great confidence in their skill, and fome, indeed, were preferved by it from finking, who had received only a fingle blow; but I remarked, that few veffels lafted long which had been much repaired, nor was it found that the artifts themselves continued afloat longer than those who had leaft of their affiftance.
The only advantage which, in the voyage of Life, the cautious had above the negligent, was, that they funk later, and more fuddenly; for they paffed forward till they had fometimes feen all thofe in whofe company they had iffued from the ftreights of infancy, perish in the way, and at laft were overfet by a crofs-breeze, without the toil of refiftance, or the anguish of expectation. But fuch as had often fallen against the rocks of Pleasure, commonly fubfided by fenfible dcgrees, contended long with the encroaching waters, and harraffed themfelves by labours that fcarce Hope herfelf could flatter with fuccefs.
As I was looking upon the various fate of the multitude about me, I was fuddenly alarmed with an admonition from fome unknown power. Gaze not idly upon others when thou thyfelf art finking. Whence is this thoughtless tranquillity, when thou and they are equally endangered?' I looked, and
feeing the gulph of Intemperance before me, started and awaked. Rambler.
3. Motives to Piety and Virtue, drawn from the Omnifcience and Omnipresence of the Deity.
In one of your late papers, you had occafion to confider the ubiquity of the Godhead, and at the fame time to fhew, that as he is prefent to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to every thing, and privy to all the modes and parts of its exiftence: or, in other words, that his omniscience and omniprefence are co-exiftent, and run together through the whole infinitude of space. This confideration might furnish us with many incentives to devotion, and motives to morality; but as this fubject has been handled by feveral excellent writers, I fhall confider it in a light in which I have not feen it placed by others.
First, How difconfolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus prefent with his Maker, but at the fame time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his prefence!
Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from this his prefence, but fuch as proceed from divine wrath and indignation!
Thirdly, How happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is fenfible of his Maker's prefence from the fecret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness!
Firft, How difconfolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus prefent with his Maker, but at the fame time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his prefence? Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty Being which paffes through it. The heavens and the earth,
the ftars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of nature are invigorated by the prefence of their Creator,and made capable of exerting their refpective qualities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the feveral ends which are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only, who does not cooperate with his holy spirit, and is unattentive to his prefence, receives none of these advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and neceffary to his well-being. The divinity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the fame thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is indeed impoffible for an infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures; but though he cannot withdraw his effence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and confolations of it. His prefence may perhaps be neceffary to fupport us in our exiftence; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happinefs or mifery. For, in this fenfe, he may caft us away from his prefence, and take his holy fpirit from us. This fingle confideration one would think fufficient to make us open our hearts to all those infufions of joy and gladness which are so near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon us; efpecially when we confider, Secondly, the deplorable condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from his Maker's prefence, but fuch as proceed from divine wrath and indignation!
We may affure ourselves, that the great Author of nature will not always be as one who is indifferent to any of his creatures.
Those who will not feel him in his love, will be fure at lengh to feel him in his difpleafure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creature, who is only fenfible of the being of his Creator by what he suffers from him! He is as effentially prefent in hell as in heaven; but the inhabitants of those accurfed places behold him only in his wrath, and fhrink within the flames to conceal themselves from him. It is not in the power of imagi nation to conceive the fearful effects of Omnipotence incensed.
But I fhall only confider the wretchedness of an intellectual being, who, in this life, lies under the difpleafure of him, that at all times, and in all places, is intimately united with him. He is able to disquiet the foul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can hinder any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its flighteft calamities. Who then can bear the thought of being an out-caft from his prefence, that is, from the comforts of it, or of feeling it only in its terrors? How pathetic is that expoftulation of Job, when for the real trial of his patience, he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition! Why haft thou fet me as a mark against thee, fo that I am become a burden to myself? But, thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is fenfible of his Maker's prefence from the fecret effects of his mercy and loving-kindnefs:
The bleffed in heaven behold him face to face, that is, are as fenfible of his prefence as we are of the prefence of any perfon whom we look upon with our eyes. There is doubtlefs a faculty in fpirits, by which they apprehend one another, as our fenfes do material objects; and there is no queftion but our