« VorigeDoorgaan »
with God.' Indeed, his poverty seemed to have left him no other friends; the swords of the Sabeans had frightened them away, all but a few; and of what kind they were, the very proverb-of Job's comforters-says enough.
It is an instance which gives one great concern for human nature, that a man 'who always wept for him who was in trouble-who never saw any perish for want of clothing— who never suffered the stranger to lodge in the street, but opened his door to the traveller,'—that a man of so good a character that he never caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or had eaten his morsel by himself alone, and the fatherless had not eaten thereof;'-that such a man, the moment he fell into poverty, should have occasion to cry out for quarter,-'Have mercy upon me, O my friends! for the hand of God has touched me.' Gentleness and humanity, one would think, would melt the hardest heart, and charm the fiercest spirit,-bind up the most violent hand, and still the most abusive tongue; but the experiment failed in a stronger instance of Him whose meat and drink it was to do us good, and in pursuit of which, whose whole life was a continued scene of kindness and of insults, for which we must go back to the same explanation with which we set out,—and that is, the scandal of poverty.
This fellow, we know not whence he is,' was the popular cry of one part; and with those who seemed to know better, the query did not lessen the disgrace. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?-of Mary! great God of Israel! What!-of the meanest of thy people! 'for he had not regarded the low estate of his handmaiden,'-and of the poorest, too! for she had not a lamb to offer, but was purified, as Moses directed in such a case, by the oblation of a turtle-dove.
That the Saviour of their nation could be poor, and not have where to lay his head, was a crime never to be forgiven; and though the purity of his doctrine, and the works which he had done in its support, were stronger arguments on its side than his humiliation could be against it, yet the offence still remained;-they looked for the redemption of Israel; but they would have it only in those dreams of power which filled their imagination.
Ye who weigh the worth of all things only in the goldsmith's balance, was this religion for you?-a religion whose appearance was not great and splendid, but looked thin and meagre, and whose principles and promises showed more like the curses of the law than its blessings; for they called for sufferings, and promised little but perse
In truth, it is not easy for tribulation or distress, for nakedness or famine, to make many converts out of pride; or reconcile a worldly heart to the scorn and reproaches which were sure to be the portion of every one who believed a mystery so discredited by the world, and so unpalatable to all its passions and pleasures.
But to bring this sermon to its proper conclusion :—
If Astrea or Justice never finally took her leave of the world till the day that poverty first became ridiculous, it is matter of consolation that the God of Justice is ever over us; that, whatever outrages the lowness of our condition may be exposed to from a mean and undiscerning world, we walk in the presence of the greatest and most generous of beings, who is infinitely removed from cruelty and straitness of mind, and all those little and illiberal passions with which we hourly insult each other.
The worst part of mankind are not always to be conquered; but if they are, 'tis the imitation of these
qualities which must do it: 'tis true, as I've shown, they may fail; but still all is not lost, for if we conquer not the world, in the very attempts to do it we shall at least conquer ourselves, and lay the foundation of our peace (where it ought to be) within our own hearts.Sermons.
HORACE WALPOLE, EARL OF ORFORD.
HORACE WALPOLE, the son of Sir Robert Walpole, the powerful minister of George I, was born in London in 1717, and educated at Eton, where his acquaintance with the poet Gray commenced. In 1734 he went to King's College, Cambridge, and careless of any literary distinction beyond the indulgence of his own tastes, left it without taking a degree. In 1739, after he had obtained by his father's patronage several lucrative appointments, which he retained through life, he went abroad, and travelled, for the most part in company with Gray, through France and Italy. On his return to England in 1741, he entered Parliament, and sat as member for Callington, Castle Rising, and lastly for Lynn; but though he remained in Parliament till 1768, he appears, after the personal interests attaching to his father's administration had passed away, to have been rather a spectator than an actor in politics, and seldom took any part in debate.
For many years he devoted much of his time to the building and embellishment of his Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill, where he accumulated a large collection of pictures, curiosities, and objets de vertu. Here also he established a private printing press, from which most of his own writings and many literary and artistic works by other authors issued. In 1791 he succeeded his nephew as Earl of Orford, but never took his seat in the House of Lords. He died in 1797, in his 80th year.
Horace Walpole's name is found in several departments of literature; to be a novelist, dramatist, historian, connoisseur was
among his aims; but in all things, and above all things, as has been justly said, he was an amateur.
Horace Walpole was the author of The Castle of Otranto, a very successful and popular romance, of a tragedy-The Mysterious Mother, and of various pamphlets and Essays which appeared in the periodicals of the day, as well as of several important catalogues of artists and artistic works; but it is by his Letters that he is best known to a later generation. In them he appears as a man of the world, witty, ingenious, entertaining, and always graceful; but though he amuses us by liveliness of diction, and felicity in anecdote, his style is artificial, his sentiments are destitute of elevation and tenderness, and are for the most part frivolous, and often spiteful.
1. The Rebel Lords at their Trial.
I AM this moment come from the conclusion of the greatest and most melancholy scene I ever yet saw! you will easily guess it was the trials of the rebel Lords. As it was the most interesting sight, it was the most solemn and fine: a coronation is a puppet-show, and all the splendour of it, idle; but this sight at once feasted one's eyes and engaged all one's passions. It began last Monday; three-parts of Westminster-hall were inclosed with galleries, and hung with scarlet; and the whole ceremony was conducted with the most awful solemnity and decency, except in the one point of leaving the prisoners at the bar, amidst the idle curiosity of some crowd, and even with the witnesses who had sworn against them, while the Lords adjourned to their own house to consult. No part of the Royal Family was there, which was a proper regard to the unhappy men, who were become their victims. One hundred and thirtynine Lords were present, and made a noble sight on their benches frequent and full! The Chancellor was Lord