« AnteriorContinuar »
THE GASCON PEASANT AND THE FLIES.
Price of three sous apiece,
In fact a gaby:
Of cream, like nectar!
Which if they got,
How I do envy you your lot.”
His bowels yearned;
The whole up at a draught.
Scudding from church, the farmer's wife
Flew to the dairy;
One sentence mutter,
“Holy St. Mary”
Upon the varlet;
66 The Flies."
Two stout Gens d'Armes,
With angry bottle nose,
He turned to the delinquent
As to which way the drink went. Still the same dogged answers rise, “ The Flies, my lord,—the flies, the flies.” “Psha” quoth the Judge, half peevish, and half
“Why you're non-compos;' You should have watched the bowl, as she desired
And killed the flies, you stupid clown.” "What is it lawful then, the dolt inquired, « To kill the flies in this here town."? “The man's an ass!—What question's this? Lawful! you booby,—to be sure it is:
You've my authority, wherere you meet 'em
The luckless blue bottle he smashed;
EXTRACT FROM FOSTER’S ESSAYS. I will imagine only one case more, on which you would emphatically express your compassion, though for one of the most daring beings in the creation, a contemner of God, who explodes his laws by denying his existence.
If you were so unacquainted with mankind, that this character might be announced to you as a rare and singular phenomenon, your conjectures, till you saw and heard the man, at the nature and extent of the discipline thro' which he must have advanced, would be led toward something extraordinary. And you might think that the term of that discipline must have been very long; since a quick train of impressions, a short series of mental gradations, within the little
space of a few months and years, would not seem enough to have matured such supreme and awful heroism. Surely the creature that thus lifts his voice, and defies all invisible power within the possibilities of infinity, challenging whatever unknown being may hear him, and may appropriate that title of Almighty which is pronounced in scorn, to evince his existence, if he will, by his vengeance, was not as yesterday a little child, that would tremble and cry at the approach of a diminutive reptile.
But indeed it is heroism no longer, if he knows that there is no God. The wonder then turns on the great process, by which a man could grow to the immense intelligence that can know that there is no God. What ages and what lights are requisite for THIS attainment! This intelligence involves the very attributes of Divinity, while a God is denied. For unless this man is omnipresent, unless he is at this moment in every place in the universe, he cannot know but there may be in some place manifestations of a Deity by which even he would be overpowered. If he does not know absolutely every agent in the universe, the one that he does not know may be God.
If he is not himself the chief agent in the universe, and does not know what is so, that
ich is so may be God. If he is not in absolute possession of all the propositions that constitute universal truth, the one which he wants may be, that there is a God. If he cannot with certainty assign the cause of all that he perceives to exist, that cause may be a God. If he does not know every thing that has been done in the immeasurable
that past, some things may have been done by a God. Thus, unless he knows all things, that is, precludes another Deity by being one himself, he cannot know that the Being whose existence he rejects, does not exist. But he must know that he does not exist, else he deserves equal contempt and compassion for the temerity with which he firmly avows his rejection and acts accordingly. And yet a man of ordinary age and intelligence may present himself to you with the avowal of being thus distinguished from the crowd; and if he would describe the manner in which he has attained this eminence, you would feel a melancholy interest in contemplating that process of which the result is so portentous.
If you did not know that there are more than a few such examples, you would say, in viewing this result, I should hope this is the consequence of some malignant intervention só occasional that ages may pass away before it return among men; some pecu
liar conjunction of disastrous influences must have lighted on your selected soul; you have been struck by that energy of evil which acted upon the spirits of Pharaoh and Epiphanes. But give your own description of what you have met with in a world which has been deemed to present in every part the indications of a Deity. Tell of the mysterious voices which have spoken to you from the deeps of creation, falsifying the expressions marked on its face. Tell of the new ideas, which, like meteors passing over the solitary wanderer, gave you the first glimpses of truth while benighted in the common belief of the Divine existence. Describe the whole train of causes that have operated to create and consolidate that state of mind which you carry forward to the great experiment of futurity under a different kind of hazard from all other classes of men.
You would find however that those circumstances, by which even a man who had been presented from his infancy with the ideas of religion, could be elated into a contempt of its great object, were far from being extraordinary. They might have been met by any man, whose mind had been cultivated and exercised enough to feel interested about holding any system of opinions at all, whose pride had been gratified in the consciousness of having the liberty of selecting and changing opinions, and whose habitual assent to the principles of religion had neither the firmness resulting from decisive arguments, nor the warmth of pious affection. Such a person had only, in the first place to come into intimate acquaintance with a man, who had the art of alluding to a sacred subject in a manner which, without appearing like intentional contempt, divested it of its solemnity; and who had possessed himself of a few acute observations or plausible maxims, not explicitely hostile to revealed religion, but which, when opportunely brought into view in connexion with some points of it, tended to throw a slight degree of doubt on their truth and authority. Especially if either or both of these men had any decided moral tendencies and