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and confessors ; its doctrines are pure and holy ; its precepts just and righteous; its worship is a reasonable service, refined from the errors of idolatry and superstition, and spiritual, like the God who is the object of it: it offers the aid and the assistance of heaven to the weakness of nature, which makes the religion of the Gospel to be as practicable as it is reasonable : it promises infinite rewards to obedience, and threatens eternal punishment to obstinate offenders, which makes it of the utmost consequence to us soberly to consider it, since every one who rejects it stakes his own soul against the truth of it. Look into the Gospel; there you will find every reasonable hope of nature, nay, every reasonable suspicion of nature cleared up and confirmed, every difficulty answered and removed. Do the present circumstances of the world lead you to suspect that God could never be the author of such corrupt and wretched creatures as men now are ? Your suspicions are just and well founded. - God made man upright;" but through the temptation of the devil, sin entered, and death and destruction followed after.
Do you suspect, from the success of virtue and vice in this world, that the providence of God does not interpose to protect the righteous from violence, or to punish the wicked? The suspicion is not without ground. God leaves his best servants here to be tried oftentimes with affliction and sorrow, and permits the wicked to flourish and abound. The call of the Gospel is not to honor and riches here, but to take up our cross and follow Christ.
Do you judge from comparing the present state of the world with the natural notion you have of God, and of his justice and goodness, that there must needs be another state in which justice shall take place ? You reason right, and the Gospel confirms the judgment. God has appointed a day to judge the world in righteousness: then those who mourn shall rejoice, those who weep shall laugh, and the persecuted and afflicted servants of God shall be heirs of his kingdom.
Have you sometimes misgivings of mind? Are you tempted to mistrust this judgment when you see the difficulties which surround it on every side; some which affect the soul in its separate state, some which affect the body in its state of corruption and dissolution ? Look to the Gospel : there these difficulties are accounted for; and you need no longer puzzle yourself with dark questions concerning the state, condition, and nature of separate spirits, or conce
cerning the body, however to appearance lost or destroyed; for the body and soul shall once more meet to part no more, but to be happy for ever. In this case the learned cannot doubt, and the ignorant may be sure that 'tis the man, man himself, who shall rise again ; for a union of the same soul and body is as certainly the restoration of the man, as the divid
ing them was the destruction. Would you know who it is that gives this assurance ? It is one who is able to make good his word: one who loved you so well as to die for you ; yet one too great to be held a prisoner in the grave. No; He rose with triumph and glory, the first-born from the dead, and will, in like manner, call from the dust of the earth all those who put their trust and confidence in Him.
CHRIST AND MOHAMMED CONTRASTED.
Go to your Natural Religion : lay before her Mohammed and his disciples arrayed in armor and in blood, riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands and tens of thousands who fell by his victorious sword: show her the cities which he set in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable dis tress of all the inhabitants of the earth. When she has viewed him in this scene, carry her into his retirements : show her the prophet's chamber, his concubines and wives; let her see his adultery, and hear him allege revelation and his divine commission to justify his lust and his oppression. When she is tired of this prospect, then show her the blessed Jesus, humble and meek, doing good to all the sons of men, patiently instructing both the ignorant and the perverse : let her see him in his most retired privacies : let her follow him to the mount, and hear his devotions and supplications to God: carry her to his table to view his poor fare, and hear his heavenly discourse : let her see him injured, but not provoked: let her attend him to the tribunal, and consider the patience with which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies : lead her to the cross, and let her view him in the agony of death, and hear his last prayer for his persecutors : " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" When Natural Religion has viewed both, ask, Which is the prophet of God? But her answer we have already had, when she saw part of this scene through the eyes of the centurion who attended at the cross : by him she said, “ Truly, this was the Son of God.”
LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU. 1690-1762.
Tuis lady, the daughter of Evelyn, Earl of Kingston, was born at her father's seat at Thoresby, in Nottinghamshire, about the year 1690. Displaying great attractions of person as well as sprightliness of mind from her earliest years, she was the pride of her father, who took every pains with her education, and had her instructed by the same masters as her brother in the Greek, Latin, and French languages. In 1712 she was married to Edward Wortley Montagu, Esq., and soon after this, resided principally in London, where her wit, and learning, and beauty, acquired her a brilliant reputation. Her husband had long been on intimate terms with Addison, Pope, and other eminent literary men of the day, and in that society she moved with the same lustre as in the circles of rank and fashion. In 1716, her husband was appointed ambassador to the Porte, and she accompanied him to Constantinople. During her residence here she addressed to her sister, to Mr. Pope, and other friends, the celebrated Letters upon which her fame principally rests. In 1718, her husband being recalled from his embassy, she returned to England, and, by the advice of Pope, settled at Twickenham. The warm friendship between these geniuses did not, however, very long continue; a coolness and finally an open quarrel ensued. The cause of it is involved in considerable mystery, but it is probable that the vanity and irritability of the poet were quite as much to blame as the levity and heartlessness of the lady.
Lady Mary's visit to Turkey, besides producing the Letters, is famous for having been followed by the introduction into England, through her means, of the practice of the innoculation for the small-pox. Observing this practice among the villages in Turkey, and seeing its good effects, she applied it to her own son, then about three years old, and by great exertions established the practice of innoculation in England. She resided in England for twenty years after her return from Constantinople, during which time she published a considerable quantity of verse, for it hardly deserves the name of poetry. It is enough to say of it, that, from its indelicate character, it has been excluded from the modern editions of her works. For reasons, the nature of which is 220t well known, she left England in 1739 without her husband, and resided most of the time, for twenty-two years, in Italy. She was prevailed upon, by the solicitations of her daughter, to return to England in 1761; but she did not survive her return to her native country a year, dying of a cancer in the breast, August 21, 1762.
Lady Montagu owes her reputation chiefly to her Letters from Constantinople. The picture of Eastern life and manners given in them, is in general as correct as it is clear, lively, and striking; and they abound not only in wit and humor, but in a depth and sagacity of remark conveyed in a style at once flowing and forcible, such as has rarely proceeded from a female pen. But these literary qualities are more than counterbalanced by the want of that delicacy, that refinement of feeling, and those pure moral sentiments, without which the female character is any thing but an object of admiration. « Her desire to convey scandal, or to paint graphically, leads her into offensive details, which the more decorous taste of the present age can hardly tolerate. She described what she saw and heard without being scrupulous; and her strong masculine understanding, and carelessness as to refinement in habits or expressions, render her sometimes apparently unamiable as well as unfeeling." Still her letters are models of epistolary style, and from them, as such, we present a few extracts that are unexceptionable.
EASTERN MANNERS AND LANGUAGE.
ADRIANOPLE, April 1, 0. S., 1717. To MR. POPE. *
* I no longer look upon Theocritus as a romantic writer; he has only given a plain image of the way of life, amongst the
. peasants of his country, who, before oppression had reduced thern to want, were, I suppose, all employed as the better sort of them
are now !
I don't doubt, had he been born a Briton, but his Idylliums had been filled with descriptions of thrashing and churning, both which are unknown here, the corn being all trodden out by oxen ; the butter (I speak it with sorrow) unheard of.
I read over your Homer here with an infinite pleasure, and find several little passages explained that I did not before entirely comprehend the beauty of; many of the customs, and much of the dress then in fashion, being yet retained. I don't wonder to find more remains here of an age so distant, than is to be found in any other country; the Turks not taking that pains to introduce their own manners, as has been generally practised by other nations, that imagine themselves more polite. It would be too tedious to you to point out all the passages that relate to present customs. But I can assure you that the princesses and great ladies pass their time at their looms, embroidering veils and robes, surrounded by their maids, which are always very numerous, in the same manner as we find Andromache and Helen described. The description of the belt of Menelaus exactly resembles those that are now worn by the great men, fastened before with broad golden clasps, and embroidered round with rich work. The snowy veil that Helen throws over her face is still fashionable ; and I never see half-a-dozen of old bashaws (as I do very often) with their reverend beards, sitting basking in the sun, but I recollect good king Priam and his counsellors. Their manner of dancing is certainly the same that Diana is sung to have danced on the banks of Eurotas. The great lady still leads the dance, and is followed by a troop of young girls, who imitate her steps, and, if she sings, make up the chorus. The tunes are extremely gay and lively, yet with something in them wonderfully soft. The steps are varied according to the pleasure of her that leads the dance, but always in exact time, and infinitely more agreeable than any of our dances, at least in my opinion. I sometimes make one in the train, but am not skilful enough to lead ; these are the Grecian dances, the Turkish being very different.
I should have told you, in the first place, that the eastern manners give a great light into many Scripture passages that appear odd to us, their phrases being commonly what we should call Scripture language. The vulgar Turk is very different from what is spoken at court, or amongst the people of figure, who always mix so much Arabic and Persian in their discourse, that it inay very well be called another language. And 'tis as ridiculous to make use of the expressions commonly used, in speaking to a great man or lady, as it would be to speak broad Yorkshire or Somersetshire in the drawing-room. Besides this distinction, they have what they call the sublime, that is, a style proper for poetry, and which is the exact Scripture style.
FRANCE IN 1718.
PARIS, October 10, O. S., 1718. To LADY Rich.
* The air of Paris has already had a good effect upon me; for I was never in better health, though I have been extremely ill all the road from Lyons to this place. You may judge how agreeable the journey has been to me, which did not want that addition to make me dislike it. I think nothing so terrible as objects of misery, except one had the Godlike attribute of being capable to redress them; and all the country villages of France show nothing else. While the post-horses are changed, the whole town comes out to beg, with such miserable starved faces, and thin tattered clothes, they need no other eloquence to persuade one of the wretchedness of their condition. This is all the French' magnificence till you come to Fontainbleau, where you are showed one thousand five hundred rooms in the king's hunting palace. The apartments of the royal family are very large, and richly gilt ; but I saw nothing in the architecture or painting worth remembering.
I have seen all the beauties, and such nauseous creatures ! so fantastically absurd in their dress! so monstrously unnatural in their paints ! their hair cut short, and curled round their faces, and so Joaded with powder, that it makes it look like white wool! and on their cheeks to their chins, unmercifully laid on a shining red japan, that glistens in a most flaming manner, so that they seem to have no resemblance to human faces. I am apt to believe that they took the first hint of their dress from a fair sheep newly ruddled. "Tis with pleasure I recollect my dear pretty countrywomen: and if I was writing to anybody else, I should say that these grotesque daubers give me a still higher esteem of the natural charms of dear Lady Rich's auburn hair, and the lively colors of her unsullied complexion.
LOUVERE, January 28, N. S., 1753. TO THE COUNTESS OF BUTE.
Dear Child—You have given me a great deal of satisfaction by your account of your eldest daughter. I am particularly pleased to hear she is a good arithmetician; it is the best proof of understanding : the knowledge of numbers is one of the chief distinctions between us and brutes. If there is any thing m blood, you may reasonably expect your children should be endowed with an uncommon share of good sense. I will therefore speak to you as supposing Lady Mary not only capable, but desirous of learning ; in that case by all means let her be indulged