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other, without interruption or oral communication?- can there be no sympathy without the gabble of words ? — away with this inhuman, shy, single, shade-and-cavern-haunting solitariness. Give me, Master Zimmerman, a sympathetic solitude.
To pace alone in the cloisters or side aisles of some cathedral, timestriken;
Or under hanging mountains,
Or by the fall of fountains; is but a vulgar luxury, compared with that which those enjoy who come together for the purposes of more complete, abstracted solitude. This is the loneliness “to be felt.” — The Abbey Church of Westminster hath nothing so solemn, so spirit-soothing, as the naked walls and benches of a Quaker's Meeting. Here are no tombs, no inscriptions,
sands, ignoble things,
but here is something which throws Antiquity herself into the foreground - SILENCE — eldest of things – language of old Night — primitive Discourser to which the insolent decays of mouldering grandeur have but arrived by a violent, and, as we may say, unnatural progression.
How reverend is the view of these hushed heads,
Reader, if you are not acquainted with it, I would recommend to you, above all church-narratives, to read Sewel's History of the Quakers. It is in folio, and is the abstract of the journals of Fox and the primitive Friends. It is far more edifying and affecting than anything you will read of Wesley and his colleagues. Here is nothing to stagger you, nothing to make you mistrust, no suspicion of alloy, no drop or dreg of the worldly or ambitious spirit. You will here read the true story of that much-injured, ridiculed man (who perhaps hath been a by-word in your mouth), James Naylor: what dreadful sufferings, with what patience, he endured even to the boring through of his tongue with red-hot irons without a murmur; and with what strength of mind, when the delusion he had fallen into, which they stigmatized for blasphemy, had given way to clearer thoughts, he could renounce his error in a strain of the beautifullest humility, yet keep his first grounds, and be a Quaker still!- so different from the practice of your common converts from enthusiasm, who, when they apostatize, apostatize all, and think they can never get far enough from the society of their former errors, even to the renunciation of some saving truths, with which they had been mingled, not implicated.
Get the Writings of John Woolman by heart; and love the early Quakers.
How far the followers of these good men in our days have kept to the primitive spirit, or in what proportion they have substituted formality for it, the Judge of Spirits can alone determine. I have
seen faces in their assemblies upon which the dove sate visibly brooding. Others again I have watched, when my thoughts should have been better engaged, in which I could possibly detect nothing but a blank inanity. But quiet was in all, and the disposition to unanimity, and the absence of the fierce controversial workings. -- If the spiritual pretensions of the Quakers have abated, at least they make few pretences. Hypocrites they certainly are not, in their preaching. It is seldom indeed that you shall see one get up amongst them to hold forth. Only now and then a trembling, female, generally ancient, voice is heard — you cannot guess from what part of the meeting it proceeds — with a low, buzzing, musical sound, laying out a few words which “ she thought might suit the condition of some present," with a quaking diffidence, which leaves no possibility of supposing that anything of female vanity was mixed up, where the tones were so full of tenderness, and a restraining modesty. The men, for what I have observed, speak seldomer.
More frequently the Meeting is broken up without a word having been spoken. But the mind has been fed. You go away with a sermon not made with hands. You have been in the milder caverns of Trophonius; or as in some den, where that fiercest and savagest of all wild creatures, the TONGUE, that unruly member, has strangely lain tied up and captive. You have bathed with stillness. — 0, when the spirit is sore fretted, even tired to sickness of the janglings and nonsense-noises of the world, what a balm and a solace it is to go and seat yourself, for a quiet half hour, upon some undisputed corner of a bench among the gentle Quakers !
Their garb and stillness conjoined, present a uniformity tranquil and herd-like — as in the pasture “ forty feeding like one."
The very garments of a Quaker seem incapable of receiving a soil, and cleanliness in them to be something more than the absence of its contrary. Every Quakeress is a lily, and when they come up in bands to their Whitsun conferences, whitening the easterly streets of the metropolis, from all parts of the United Kingdom, they show like troops of the Shining Ones.
John FOSTER. 1770-1843. (Manual, p. 464.)
336. BLESSEDNESS OF A Virtuous CHARACTER.
gressive virtue, and finally into a nobler life after death. When he has long been commanded by this influence, he will be happy to look back to its first operations, whether they were mingled in early life almost insensibly with his feelings, or came on him with mighty force at some particular time, and in connection with some assignable and memorable circumstance, which was apparently the instrumental
He will trace all the progress of this his better life, with grateful acknowledgment to the sacred power which has advanced him to a decisiveness of religious habit that seems to stamp eternity on his character. In the great majority of things, habit is a greater plague than ever afflicted Egypt; in religious character it is a grand felicity. The devout man exults in the indications of his being fixed and irretrievable. He feels this confirmed habit as the grasp of the hand of God, which will never let him go. From this advanced state he looks with firmness and joy on futurity, and says, I carry the eternal mark upon me that I belong to God; I am free of the universe; and I am ready to go to any world to which He shall please to transmit me, certain that everywhere, in height or depth, he will acknowledge me forever.
Henry HALLAM. 1777–1859. (Manual, p. 463.) FROM THE “VIEW OF THE STATE OF EUROPE DURING THE MID
DLE AGES.” 337. Evils PRODUCED BY THE SPIRIT OF CHIVALRY. The principles of chivalry were not, I think, naturally productive of many evils. For it is unjust to class those acts of oppression or disorder among the abuses of knighthood, which were committed in spite of its regulations, and were only prevented by them from becoming more extensive. The license of times so imperfectly civilized *could not be expected to yield to institutions, which, like those of religion, fell prodigiously short in their practical result of the reformation which they were designed to work. Man's guilt and frailty have never admitted more than a partial corrective. But some bad consequences may be more fairly ascribed to the very nature of chivalry. I have already mentioned the dissoluteness which almost unavoidably resulted from the pre ailing tone of gallantry. And yet we sometimes find in the writings of those times a spirit of pure but exaggerated sentiment; and the most fanciful refinements of passion are mingled by the same poets with the coarsest immorality. An undue thirst for military renown was another fault that chivalry must have nourished; and the love of war, sufficiently pernicious in any shape, was more founded, as I have observed, on personal feelings of honor, and less on public spirit, than in the citizens of free states. A third reproach may be made to the character of knighthood, that it widened the separation between the different classes of society, and confirmed that aristocratical spirit of high birth, by which the large mass of mankind were kept in unjust degradation. Compare the generosity of Edward III. towards Eustace de Ribaumont at the siege of Calais with the harshness of his conduct towards the citizens. This may be illustrated by a story from Joinville, who was himself imbued with the full spirit of chivalry, and felt like the best and bravest of his age. He is speaking of Henry, Count of Champagne, who acquired, says he, very deservedly, the surname of Liberal, and adduces the following proof of it. A poor knight implored of him on his knees, one day, as much money as would serve to marry his two daughters. One Arthault de Nogent, a rich burgess, willing to rid the count of this importunity, but rather awkward, we must own, in the turn of his argument, said to the petitioner, My lord has already given away so much that he has nothing left. Sir Villain, replied Henry, turning round to him, you do not speak truth in saying that I have nothing left to give, when I have got yourself. Here, Sir Knight, I give you this man, and warrant your possession of him. Then, says Joinville, the poor knight was not at all confounded, but seized hold of the burgess fast by the collar, and told him he should not go till he had ransomed himself. And in the end he was forced to pay a ransom of five hundred pounds. The simple-minded writer, who brings this evidence of the Count of Champagne's liberality, is not at all struck with the facility of a virtue that is exercised at the cost of others.
William Hazlitt. 1778–1830. (Manual, p. 474.)
FROM “ THE LECTURES ON DRAMATIC LITERATURE." 338. INFLUENCE OF THE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE UPON
The translation of the Bible was the chief engine in the great work. It threw open, by a secret spring, the rich treasures of religion and morality, which had been there locked up as in a shrine. It revealed the visions of the prophets, and conveyed the lessons of inspired teachers to the meanest of the people. It gave them a common interest in a common cause. Their hearts burnt within them as they read. It gave a mind to the people, by giving them common subjects of thought and feeling. It cemented their union of character and sentiment; it created endless diversity and collision of opinion. They found objects to employ their faculties, and a motive in the magnitude of the consequences attached to them, to exert the utmost eagerness in the pursuit of truth, and the most daring intrepidity in maintaining it. Religious controversy sharpens the understandiug by the subtlety and remoteness of the topics it discusses, and embraces the will by their infinite importance. We perceive in the history of this period a nervous masculine intellect. No levity, no feebleness, no indifference, or, if there were, it is a relaxation from the intense activity which gives a tone to its general character. But there is a gray
ity approaching to piety; a seriousness of impression, a conscientious severity of argument, an habitual fervor and enthusiasm in their method of handling almost every subject. The debates of the schoolmen were sharp and subtle enough; but they wanted interest and grandeur, and were besides confined to a few: they did not affect the general mass of community. But the Bible was thrown open to all ranks and conditions to run and read,” with its wonderful table of contents from Genesis to the Revelation. Every village in England would present the scene so well described in Burns's Cotter's Saturday Night. I cannot think that all this variety and weight of knowledge could be thrown in all at once upon the mind of the people and not make some impression upon it, the traces of which might be discerned in the manners and literature of the age.
Sir William Hamilton. 1788–1956. (Manual, p. 466.)
FROM “ THE DISCUSSIONS ON PHILOSOPHY." 339. MATHEMATICAL STUDY AN INSUFFICIENT DISCIPLINE. Before entering on details, it is proper here, once for all, to premise, --- In the first place, that the question does not regard, the value of mathematical SCIENCE, considered in itself, or in its objective results, but, the utility of mathematical STUDY, that is, in its subjective effect, as an exercise of mind ; and in the second, that the expediency is not disputed, of leaving mathematics, as a coördinate, to find their level among the other branches of academical instruction. It is only contended, that they ought not to be made the principal, far less the exclusive, object of academical encouragement. We speak not now of professional, but of liberal, education; not of that which considers the mind as an instrument for the improvement of science, but of this, which considers science as an instrument for the improvement of mind.
Of all our intellectual pursuits, the study of the mathematical sciences is the one, whose utility as an intellectual exercise, when carried beyond a moderate extent, has been most peremptorily denied by the greatest number of the most competent judges; and the argu: ments, on which this opinion is established, have hitherto been evaded rather than opposed. Some intelligent mathematicians, indeed, admit all that has been urged against their science, as a principal discipline of the mind; and only contend that it ought not to be extruded from all place in a scheme of liberal education. With these, therefore, we have no controversy. More strenuous advocates of this study, again, maintain that mathematics are of primary importance as a logical exercise of reason; but unable to controvert the evidence of its contracted and partial cultivation of the faculties, they endeavor to vindicate the study in general, by attributing its evil influence to some peculiar modification of the science; and thus hope to avoid the