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and of whom more will be said in due season :—but as to the sin of scribbling, if indeed there be any thing criminal attached to it, it may with truth be said, that it arose from my keeping bad company ;—viz: the friends alluded to, whose seductive allurements led me into it before I was aware of the consequences. But, as far as regards this sin of scribbling, and a most flagrant sin it has been at times considered, if any one person more than another has been the cause of my being thus led astray, it is this very friend of mine, this before-named Mr. Baxter, whose conscientious reflections may perhaps point out to him the truth of these assertions, the magnitude of the mischief he has committed, and the heavy load of crime which was thus laid upon me! Feeling this as he ought to do, I trust he will not scruple to make me all the amends in his power, and, by way of atonement, that he will as my proxy, readily and regularly perform the aet of penance in my behalf! Yes, as he lives near the parish church and is in truth a regular good churchgoing man, I hope he will, as soon as convenient, oblige me by charitably stepping forward in my behalf and doing the act of penance in a white sheet! I mean not that he should catch a cold by standing barefooted on the damp stones of the church floor, clad in the penitential garb, but that in a sheet of white paper he should make that confession and atonement which he has it in his power so well to discharge; and that he afterwards send me the said sheet, as a proof of the ritual having been duly and properly performed! Whenever he is disposed to go through this formal yet necessary discipline, (the actual ceremony of this white-paper penance), he may consider himself as completely exonerated, and free of all the Penalties attached to the scribhling sins by me committed as well as of those I may hereafter commit; and that by so anting he will do me ample justice, and make me all the atonement that can be reasonably expected or required!!
As far as respects my other faults, particularly my dramatic propensities, and still further, my theatrical mal-practices and the long and lasting consequences that have followed—they will he pointed out and better ascertained by the perusal of these desultory pages and the observations attached to them. But, for the present, I will again return to the place and time of my birth, which, having been already spoken of, the next point to be considered is the ceremony of my christening. A godfather was soon found for me, at the next door. An independant gentleman of the name of Brooks undertook this somewhat important charge, and he fulfilled the trust reposed in him, in a way that pleased my parents and afterwards gave me complete satisfaction, for every year he used to make me a handsome present.
I have often thought that there is a something very pleasing and most conscienciously comfortable in a good christening, that is, in such a hearty old fashioned christening as mine was. Not like your half and half things of the present day, or the cold hearted, fashionable parties of tea and turn out! No; on the contrary, there was, in those times, every thing that could be thought of to promote the welfare, comfort and happiness of those present! There used to be something good in all that was provided, to correspond with the good intent of the purpose for which they had been assembled! There was an abundance of good things !—good company, good friends, (real friends); good fare, plenty of good liquor, good cheer of all kinds, and at all times a good hearty welcome. These ceremonies now-a-days are too often conducted in quite a different manner; and sometimes on a plan so plain, so sparing and parsimonious, that they may be urged as probable reasons why we have so many had Christians, and why we experience such a wonderful falling off in acts of true Christianity !—We all know that practice is more powerful than precept, and that hospitality is one of the dnties of our creed: it eannot therefore be too often, or too sensibly impressed on the minds of all who assist in the serious ceremony of baptism, that the first and most essential rites of hospitality and good fellowship should never, on such occasions, be neglected. Nay, it is advisable, not only that plenty should abound, but that the best articles of all kinds which can possibly be procured, should, on such occasions, be always produced and unsparingly distributed. Another point is to be particularly noticed, as descriptive of the change of eirenmstances with the change of times! As in all matters of ceremony our ancestors were very partioular, they were remarkably so in ceremonies of this nature: they were studious to display their zeal by a strict attention to forms, as well as by showing the most scrupulous regard to the articles made use of in their com* mon, as well as their most sacred institutions. With the in every custom, almost every word, had at least two meanings, sometimes half a dozen. It was first to be considered according to its most obvious and common acceptation; and at other times to be taken as expressive of all the metaphorical and symbolical combinations, that faith, time, or custom, had attached to the said practices: even the very same things and objects frequently bore a different name, as well as a different meaning, when applied to different purposes. Common articles of food or furniture changed their appellations with the change of circumstances I thus bread became wafer, and a cup a chalice; water became the symbol of weakness and strong liquors denoted strength of mind and resolute courage. In matters of faith, too, these considerations had their full weight: it sometimes seemed as if the very sound were thought an "echo to the sense!" as if strength of faith were best portrayed by the potency of the emblem.
Nor were our fathers singular in this idea. It has been diffused throughout the world. So thought the regenerated Indian ;—but perhaps my readers never heard of this worthy gentleman. Let them then take the story as I have heard it.
One of our English Missionaries, industriously labouring in his vocation on the borders of China, had conscientiously converted one of the natives, and had administered to him a little tent wine, the emble. B
matical ritual of the true faith. The zealous missionary asked the pious convert what lie thought of the excellent doctrine that had just been administered to him, "Oh, very good" (replied the honest, simple native) very good indeed! very excellent doctrine! I like it much! it gives me great comfort ! I feel quite happy!" but (after licking his lips) he added " I tink, though very good, I tiuk I should have liked it more if it had been brandy ! 1" Now this reply was in my opinion, a very natural one;. very innocent, conclusive, and consistent. How should a poor simple native of India, knowing but little of the English language,—how could he possibly have given a better answer to the question put to him? The missionary had long been talking with him of heavenly affairs and spiritual matters; of the weakness of human nature and the strength of faith; of good spirits and of bad spirits. The honest native Iadian knew not that words had double and even, at times, triple meanings. He understood words and things only according to their literal, or most obvious sense. He was not one of your puny punsters, or witling, whillle-gig, word-snappers! He made ase of no metaphors, nor bandied about the bye-words of badinage: his method of expressing himself was plain and simple! He used the terms that came first to his aid and which he thought the best calculated to express his feelings. He was active in mind, mest able in limb, and truly powerful in resolution. How could he then better elucidate his aptitude for power, and intensity of feeling,—of just and accurate feeling,