« AnteriorContinuar »
First, the thatch on the top of the tenement changed colour,
Then it fell off, and left the roof bare,
then, the grinders ceased, because they were few ;"
Then the windows became so darkened that the owner could scarcely see through them ;
Then one prop fell away, then another, then the uprights became bent,
and the whole fabric trembled and tottered, with every other symptom of a falling house. On some occasions the lord ordered his messengers, of which he had a great variety, to, batter, injure, deface, and almost demolish the frail building, even while it seemed new and strong ; this was what the landlord called "giving warning;" but many a tenant would not take it, and was so fond of staying where he was, even under all these inconveniencies, that at last he was cast out by ejectment, not being prevailed on to leave his dwelling in a proper manner, though one would have thought the fear of being turned out would have increased his diligence in preparing for “ better and more enduring inheritance."
For though the people were only tenants at will, in these crazy tenements, yet through the goodness of the same lord, they were assured that he never turned them out of these habitations before he had
on his part provided for them a better, so that there was not such another landlord in the world; and though their present dwelling was but frail, being only slightly run up to serve the occasion, yet they might hold their future possession by a certain tenure, the words of the lord himself ; which was entered into a covenant, or tittle-deed, consisting of many sheets ; and because a great many good things were contained in it, a book was made that every one might get a copy. This indeed had not always been the case, because, till a few ages back, there had been a sort of monopoly in the case, and “the wise and prudent," that is, the cunning and fraudful, had hid these things from the “ babes and sucklings,” that is, from the low and ignorant, and many frauds had been practised, and the poor had been cheated of their right, so that not being allowed to read and judge for themselves, they had been sadly imposed upon ; but all these tricks had been put an end to more than two hundred years when I passed through the country, and the meanest man who could read might then have a copy, so that he might see himself what he had to trust to, and even those who could not read, might hear it read once or twice every week at least without pay. But it surprised me to see how few comparatively made use of these vast advantages. Of those who had a copy, many laid it carelesly by, expressed a general belief in the truth of the title-deed, a general satisfaction that they should come in for a share of the inheritance, a general good opinion of the lord whose words it con
tained, a general disposition to take his promise upon trust, always, however, intending at a convenient season to inquire further into the matter : and this neglect of theirs was construed into a forfeiture of the inheritance.
At the end of this country lay the vast gulf mentioned before ; it was shadowed over by a broad and thick cloud, which prevented the pilgrims from seeing in a distinct manner what was doing behind it, yet such beams of brightness now and then darted through the cloud, as enabled those who used a telescope provided for that purpose, to see
the substance of things hoped for;" but it was not every one who could make use of this telescope ; no eye indeed was naturally disposed to it; but an earnest desire of getting a glimpse of the invisible realities, gave such a strength and steadiness to the eye, as enabled it to discern many things which could not be seer to the natural sight. Above the cloud was this inscription; “ The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." Of these last, many glorious descriptions had been given, but as those splendours were at a distance, and as the pilgrims in general did not care to use the telescope, these distapt glances made little impression. The glorious inheritance which lay beyond the cloud, was called " The things above,” while a multitude of trifling objects, which appeared contemptibly small when looked at through the telescope, were called
The things below.”