Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

165

Dialogue between Credulity and Superstition.

166

DIALOGUE BETWEEN CREDULITY AND | seized with an alarming fever, that SUPERSTITION.

brought on a temporary delirium,

which terminated in fits of occasional Credulity. If your countenance, insanity. It was during one of these madam, be an index of your disposi- paroxysms that I was born, and it has tion, you will pardon the liberty I take been my misfortune to inherit the in addressing you. "

frailties of both my parents. I have Superstition. Civility is always sure many relations in various parts of the to command respect, even when our world, some of whom I rarely see; wishes cannot obtain gratification. but there are others with whom I keep

Credulity. I have frequently seen up a regular correspondence. In adyou in public places, at the church, in dition to these, I have several private the conventicle, among Catholics and friends, who, though they disown me Protestants, in religious associations, in public, caress me with much kindat the ball-room, the theatre, in pri-ness in our private interviews. Hayvate families, and in political parties, ing thus replied to your question withand hence conclude that you must be out the least reserve, permit me to a lady of large acquaintance,

solicit from you a return of the favour? Superstition. I would not attempt Superstition. My name is Superto insinuate that your remarks are stition, and my ancestors, from time unjust, yet I cannot bat infer from immemorial, have resided in the yalyour observations, that your visits ley of Apprehension. This place is have not been less numerous and di covered with perpetual fogs, through versified than my own, and that your which distant objects can be but inacquaintance must be at least equally distinctly seen, while those that are as extensive as mine, and perhaps not near are perceived in frightful distormore select. I readily admit that I tion. The vale is also surrounded by have visited all the companies you mountains, that nearly prevent the mention, and many others that you inhabitants from holding any interhave not named. I have travelled course with the rest of mankind. My much on islands and continents, and father's name is Fear; he is a man I believe there is not a nation upon weak in body, and naturally of a earth in which I have not many friends. timid disposition, through which he

Credulity. By using the term believe, is subject to constant alarms, that which you have twice repeated, I am present terrifying objects to his afnot without apprehensions that you frighted imagination. My mother's invade my territories, and enter a name is Error. Her understanding province which I have hitherto consi- was constitutionally feeble, and undered as my exclusive right.

fortunately her mental powers were Superstition. Your remarks awaken never improved by education. Her my curiosity, and I shall feel obliged person, however, was thought handby being made acquainted with your some by the inhabitants of the valley, name and family connexions.

and in her youthful days she had Credulity. My name is Credulity, many admirers, among whom Laziand notwithstanding my appearance, ness, Profligacy, and Impudence I am descended from an honourable avowed themselves as her most affecancestry. My father's name is Sophis tionate lovers. Fear, however, was try, and he is well known in every the object of her choice; and I have community throughout the whole ci- been informed that she preferred bim vilized world. In the senate, the pul- to all his rivals, on account of his dopit, and at the bar, he has at times mesticated habits, and communicaheld a conspicuous rank; and to the tive disposition. I have two broassistance which he has rendered to thers, one of whom is named Fanati-. many eminent orators, they owe no cism. In his infancy he was sprightly small portion of that celebrity for and promising, but advancing to mawhich they are so renowned. In de- turity he became insape, and in one ciding political questions, he has of his mad freaks he burnt the Alexsometimes been known to whisper | andrian library; for many years he with the judges on the bench; and in has been wandering throughout the both houses of parliament he has long world without having any fixed babihad a seat. My mother's name was tation. The name of my other broFaith, who, during her pregnancy, was ther is. Bigotry, of whom I hare no

...........irros..................... doubt you have often heard, his cha- | dily believe whatever is told me, I racter being well known, and the frequently lose through forgetfulness pages of history are filled with his the advantages that I derive from marvellous exploits. His learning is communications. very considerable. He has visited Superstition. I shall be happy to all the universities in Europe, and in give you all the gratification in my councils and synods his voice has power, I therefore beg that without commanded homage. While on his any hesitation you will propose your travels he visited Rome, where, as- 1 question. cending through all the gradations of Credulity. You observed that you office, he was honoured with a cardi- had “ seen both Bigotry and Enthunal's hat, and on several occasions he siasm in convocations, visitations, and has been called to the papal chair. annual meetings, and have traced Dressed in all the insignia of office, them in their respective marches, from he was for a considerable time in the palace of the bishop to the hamlet habits of intimacy with the British of the clown.” The impression made monarchs; and although for a season, on my mind by this remark is, that in the days of Henry VIII. his repu- you must have accompanied your brotation suffered severely, and he could ther and sister in each of their interno longer appear in public, yet, on views and excursions. changing his raiment, he walked about Superstition. In all their travels in disguise, and was kindly received and exploits I have been, with few by his numerous friends. Sometimes exceptions, their invariable compahe has appeared in the garb of war, nion. Without my presence, my broand at others he has assumed that of ther would have little influence, and theology. He has always had the art my sister would lose her charms. I of accommodating himself to circum- have a magic wand, which, though stances, and by these means has con- | invisible to vulgar eyes, I extend trived to burn the Palatinate, to mur- over the congregations that assemble. der the Huguenots, and to light up This awes rebellion into submission, the fire in Smithfield. I am sorry, imposes silence on opposition, and however, to observe, that of late years takes all power from resistance. We his authority has been greatly dimi- form no preconcerted schemes, but, nished; and if the Bible Society con- following the dictates of one common tinues much longer, I fear that his in instinct that is peculiar to our family, fluence will be brought to an end. I we accompany each other as a shadow have also a young sister, whose name follows its substance, and impart muis Enthusiasm. She is an active girl, tual assistance by the unison with and very religiously inclined, but she which we act. possesses a liberal spirit; and, with-| | Credulity. I am glad to find that out being confined to any particular you have candour to acknowledge the sect, she occasionally visits all, in- favours which you mutually receive fusing into their assemblies an arti- from each other, nor am I disposed to ficial life, which scarcely one among dispute the merits of your venerable them has either the power to resist, or family. Justice, however, compels me magnanimity enough to own. I have to observe, that you hardly seem aware seen both Enthusiasm and Bigotry of the full extent of your obligations. appear in convocations, in visitations, I invariably visit the assemblies to and in annual meetings, and have which you have resorted, and even on traced them in their respective the most humble individual you could marches, from the mitred head to the produce no effect without my assistpale artist and the illiterate clown. ance. Invisible as well as yourself, Pride, also, sometimes arrayed in I am always your companion; and, gaudy, and sometimes in plain, attire, mixing with those on whom you opeis intimately connected with our fa rate, I present before them an illusive mily. She was

glass, into which they look with eagerCredulity. I am sorry to interrupt ness, and after gazing for a few mothe interesting narrative with which ments, absurdity to them assumes the you have entertained me, but there is character of rationality, fictions apone point to which I would heg to pear as realities, improbabilities seem call your attention before it escapes reasonable, and even impossibilities my memory, for although I can rca- I put on the garb of truth. In the

-

169

Dialogue between Credulity and Superstition.

170

mean while their ears and mouths are the same reply. Hence, according to insensibly receiving an enlargement, his modes of reasoning, for he was a and by these means they are prepared great logician, if the same characterto believe and swallow whatever Bi istics apply to two individuals or fagotry dictates, or Superstition recom- milies, it must follow that these indimends.

viduals or families are the same. Superstition. I must candidly con Such was his conclusion, and I never fess I did not know that we had so felt any scruple, or made any diffipowerful an auxiliary, and I am al-culty, in believing it. most inclined to believe that, could Superstition. Whatever doubts may we trace our pedigree, we should find arise from the obscurity of records, ourselves primarily originating in one or the difficulty of deciphering hierocommon stock. I am not intimately glyphics, I can perceive in your counacquainted with our family history, tenance certain evidences of kindred but I have understood that my grand-which physiognomy pronounces to be mother's name, by my mother's side, / infallible. I observe that you are was Ignorance, and that the family short-sighted, that your eye possesses was exceedingly large. In fact, both a strong magnifying power, and that my father and mother, I have heard it has a peculiar cast. Defectiveness frequently boast of their numerous in the organs of vision, through which relations and wealthy kindred, but all objects were either discoloured or they have said very little of those that indistinctly seen, has through all ages have peopled Newgate, furnished Bo- distinguished every branch of our fatany Bay with inhabitants, and sup mily. plied Tyburn and the drop with vic- Credulity. It also appears that our tims.

pursuits and avocations have been Credulity. If numbers could be ad much the same, that we have acted in mitted as an evidence of consangui-concert without design, and anited nity, there can be no doubt that we our talents to extend one common should soon make out the family con- empire; and I am fully satisfied, that nexion ; but I am not very willing to while we thus continue to harmonize grant an alliance with Ignorance, in our co-operations, we have nothing when my father was so much renown- | to fear from revolution or invasion. ed for his ingenuity, and for the arts Superstition. Much, however, of of legerdemain which he so success- our success will depend upon the fully practised. I think, however, to concealment of our names, for should remove all uncertainty, we had better we be discovered by the eye of Scruapply to the herald's office, having no tiny, Prejudice would he instantly doubt that we shall there find a satis- called to her aid; and such is her factory solution to every difficulty. influence among mankind, that we

Superstition. I have already resorted should be expelled their communities, to that expedient, but was told by and all our efforts would prove aborthose in office, that although they have tive. I would advise you, my dear more applications from the family of friend, to wear one of your mother's Ignorance than from all other branches dresses, such as distinguished her in of the community put together, yet so ancient times; and I have no doubt extensive and complicated are its va that it will furnish a complete conrious members, that it is scarcely pos cealment, and prove a strong recomsible to make out their armorial bear- mendation. In the mean while, I inings. On testifying my surprise, I| tend to arm myself with the mace of was informed that, such is the anti-authority, and to borrow a cloak from quity of the family that, many remote Zeal for Enthusiasm, which, being adbranches flourished for ages before justed by your hands, will give us a beraldry bad any existence, that the respectable appearance. ancient records are half obliterated 1 Credulity. I much approve of your by time, and that such as have been plans, and have little doubt that they preserved in long-neglected hierogly- will succeed. I have long since appbics are become unintelligible. peared in the assumed character of

Credulity. This is precisely the my mother, and although in some inamount of what I have heard from my stances I have been detected, multifather, who, many years since, made tudes have been unable to penetrate a similar application, and received the disguise. To me the habit is

And towerd abort og

er'd above the rest The tulip proud

quite familiar, and I anticipate a Of most delicious scent; the gladsome meads

Well stock'd with cattle, and the fleecy sheep pleasing reception.

With lambkins frisking at their mothers' side, Superstition. I think I have fre

Nibbling with nicest care the juicy grass. quently seen you in this attire, but There might be seen the azore clouds that skim had no conception that we belonged | The blue horizon, bearing gentle showers to one common family. To the influ- 1 O'er all the gardens, carrying rosy bealth ence of Authority, and of Zeal, I am

In all the rich varieties of spring,

Where the gay bours flew merrily along, not altogether a stranger, and I know

Nor left a discontented thought behind. no better appearance that we can as

There, open to the day, the virgin rose sume; being therefore thus perfectly Was seen in all its beauty, blushing deep agreed, and suitably equipped, we If some rude wind perchanc'd that way to pass, will go forth once more to visit the

Ruffling its gay attire. The lily pale

Rais'd there its modest head with graceful churches, and seek for patronage.

nien,

ve the rest of Flora's charms,

Queen of the gay parterre. The talip proud POETRY.

Sbew'd to the skies its face of florid red,

Like to some comet drawing near the sun,' THE DEATH OF MOSES.

Shedding its balefal influence around

On some ill-fated nation, as was deem'd Now when the man, appointed to conduct By superstition in the days of yore. The sons of Jacob through the wilderness, (Where nature, miser-like, had scattered none In company with these were all the tribes of those fair landscapes, deck'd with every That deck the fields with every charming dye, grace

of pink, and yellow, blue, and nature's green, Which please the eye and gratify the sense Most elegant of colours; trees that bore Of ber admirers; through which never pass'd

The choicest dainties, with which luxury Ope rolling river to refresh the vale

In all its epicorean appetites Of arid sands and wastes of woful hue,

Might rest well satisfied in the possession. Till from the rock it gush'd at God's command, There tower'd tbe cedar on mount Lebanon, Where scorching suns, and heavy dews by

Clothed in the beauty of the vernal months, night,

Array'd in majesty unequall'd by Shed on the Israelites their influence,

The rest of its companions. In the wood While dreadful pestilence with awful front Were seen the box, the fir that stretch'd its Moy'd on in mighty phalanx, sweeping off

arms Its wretched victims, doom'd alike to fall

To catch the cloads that pass'd unmindfal by, In ignoniny, and to be denied

Upon their journey bent, with swiftest speed The last resource frail nature needs to have,) Scuddiog across the hills, whose foliage green Had reach'd the summit of his earthly fame; Mock'd imitation; nor the painter's band He seemed a tree, the pride of some fair grove, Could sketch a scene as lovely as it was, Loaded with honours on its every branch,

Which shew'd itself to Moses' rapturous sight. Which now are ripening for the harvest-home, And ready to be plack'd by gentle hand

There flow'd by fields of corn in all its pride To recompense the owner. Such was he, The river Jordan, watering every mead The son of Amram, deem'd of royal blood, Tbrough which it passed, reflecting back the Grandson to Pharaoh, king of Egypt's land,

rays When life with him was drawing near a close,

Which Sol profusely shed on all around. And death just ready to inflict the blow, Like to some king dispensing bonnteous gifts The mortal blow that separates from clay To needy subjects, from whose liberal band Its beauteous partner of celestial birth, The poor and wretched find a sure supply And plants in Eden one more fragrant flower,

To mitigate their sorrows; gracious Heaven Wbich could not flourish in this eartbly state Had pour'd its blessings over all the land, So far below its pative dignity.

Like to Arcadia or fair Paradise. This faithful man was call'd upon by Him There, with a thousand other things beside, Who holds the isles as nothing in his hand, Of crowded cities, and the peopled walk Whose voice the seraphim with rapture hears, Close by the sloping lawn or loud cascade, And testifies the wonders be bath wrought. The hum of children in the greensward path, God calls him up to Pisgah's lofty top, With village damsels; swains, whose jocand To take a view of Canaan's happy land,

mirth Avd see the place He promis'd to his sires, Right merrily was seen on boliday, Now to be granted to ibeir younger sons. Or when the evening sun was pacing bard How glow'd the good man's heart, as his clear His task to finish, as he reach'd the west, eye

And leave the world t'enjoy in sweet repose Bebeld the land of promise; the famed fields The hours of rest, till in the east again Not to be water'd with the buman hand; Fall bandsomely he sbews his beauteous face. Where milk and honey flow'd in lascious streams,

The patriarch's heart o'erflow'd with gratiDelightful to the taste; where corn and oil

tude Popred in upon them with profusion great; And love to Him who strew'd the starry host Where trees and herbage crown'd the flow'ry Tbrough space unmeasured, who creation vales,

spoke

173

Poetry.

14

forth.”

From out the womb of nothing, and bade light | God's favour'd people; though they have re. To rise from midnight; who the bounds pre beli'd, scrib'd

And oft provok'd mine anger, yet I'll look To yon wide waste of waters which pass o'er In great compassion ou their miseries." More than the half of this terrestrial globe ; Awed by the presence of the Deity,

Thus the Invisible; then mortal flesh Whose face no mortal ever could behold, Preferr'd its suit and humbly thus began : He prostrate fell before the King of heav'n, And thus express'd the feelings of his heart:-- “ Most glorious Potentate! thou matchless

God, « Thou infinite, eternal, great I AM! Thou who art cloth'd in immortality, Whose presence fills illimitable space,

Once more permit me to address thyself. Whose throne to all eternity shall stand As I bave sinn'd, and broke thy holy laws, Midst hierarcbies and the seraphic bosts W bich were deliver'd from mount Sinai's top, Who veil their faces in tbv awful sight.

Midst smoke and thunder, and the lightning's Powers and dominions low before thee bow - glare; In adoration of thy mighty strength,

When quak'd the mountain as the Deity " Lost in astonishment and wondrous gaze; Descended, riding on the cherub's wing Thou God of Abraham, God of Jacob too, Which flash'd the splendour of Jehovah's From wbom descended. I was rais'd by thee

throne. To lead thy chosen people through the lands A sight too great for mortals; if thou dost Of Egypt's monarch; thou who foildst his Now in thy mercy mean to pardon me, hosts

And shew me thy salvation; when thou bidst Amidst the channels of the great Red Sea, My spirit wing its flight to other worlds Whose waves obedient to thy high command To be for ever bappy in thy love. Fled back affrighted from thy majesty, Grant that thy Spirit may descend upon And made a passage for thy favour'd sons The man appointed to direct them through To gain this desert; thou who brought'st us This howling wilderness, and bring them safe here

To yon fair Canaan which I've seen and love. Art able also to conduct us on To yon fair Canaan, to those flow'ry fields « May Joshua stand before thee, and may he Whose matchless verdure speaks ihy wisdom Be highly honour'd with thy majesty;

May Israel's sons be favour'd with thy love,

And all thy kindness, and thy mercy'prove; To whom the Eternal, in a gracious voice, May they from wantonness be kept by thee, That seem'd like breezes rustling in the And shun the acts of base idolatry: leaves

| As in thy presence may they ever live, Of some majestic forest :-“ Fear thou not; And praise and glory to thine houour give; I, who preserv'd thee from a wat'ry grave, May Jacob's star rise glorious in the east, And rais'd to eminence in Pharaoh's court, Shine on th' horizon to the astonish'd west; Will still sustain them; what is human strength May Israel prosper until Shiloh come When but compar'd with my omnipotence, | To call the people to their ransom'd home. Which led my millions by my own right hand ? | Thou God, whose power torn'd water into I could this moment, by a single act,

blood, Quench yon bright orb which darts his golden And quell'd the raging of yon mighty flood; rays

Who pitchy darkness sent o'er all the land O'er states and empires; summon chaos here; Of Egypt's monarch by thine own right hand; And reproduce another form of things. Hear thou my prayer, thou King of saints, Thou seest the land for which I brought thee attend,

And be thon still their patron and their friend. To Nebo's mountain; there thou mayst behold Preserve from dangers by thy mighty power, The place appointed for a residence

And keep them in the dark and trying hour.
To those bigh-favour'd sons of Abraham's loins, Now I have finished, pardon what I've said,
Whom I have chose as my peculiar people. And as I bow to earth my hoary head,
But as for thee, thy disobedience hath

Receive my spirit, that I may with thee
Caus'd me to will thou shalt not enter there. Live through ihe ages of eternity.”
Thy conduct at the rock of Meribah!
When thou didst smite it, from which flow'd Again the voice of the Almighty God
the streams

Broke through the silence wbich pervaded all Of cooling water to allay the thirst

The mountain's summit where the Immortal Of murmuring Israelites, thine anger rose,

was. And in thy fury thou didst smite it twice : “Hear now, thoa child of dust; thy prayer is Thou fail'dst, in unbelief and needless rage, heard, To sanctify me in the people's eyes;

Thy sins are pardon'd, thou hast nought to fear, Therefore for this thou shalt not set thy foot | Israel is mine, and evermore shall be Within the boundaries of yon happy land. Wbile this round globe continues to revolve But thou bast view'd it, and let this saffice Round on its axis : blessings attend them here, That I am faithful to my covenant,

And after death a place at my right hand.” Which was renew'd to Abraham for the land. I'll bless his seed, which, like the stars of Now from the confines of eternal light heav'n,

| A convoy of celestial guards appear'd, Shall multiply; or like the ocean's sands, Led on by Gabriel, summon'd by bis word If thou canst count tbein, then thou mayst sum To be in waiting, as from earth was rais'd ор

The soul of him thus conversing with God.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »