Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

in.

ly to let the gazers see which could run the fastest. Now this gift of swiftness, exercised to no useful purpose, was only one out of many stances of talents used to no end. In another place, I saw large piles of the clay spent to mainfain long ranges of buildings full of dogs,

[graphic][subsumed]

on provisions which would have nicely fattened some thousands of pilgrims who sadly wanted fattening, and whose ragged tenements were out at elbows, for want of a little help to repair thein. Some of the piles were regularly pulled down once in seven years, in order to corrupt certain

needy pilgrims to belie their consciences. Others were spent in playing with white stiff pieces of paper painted over with red and black spots, in which I thought there must be some magic, because the very touch of these painted pasteboards made the heaps fly from one to another, and back again to the same, in a way that natural causes could not account for.

[graphic][ocr errors]

There was another proof that there must be some magic in this business, which was that if a pasteboard with red spots fell into a hand which wanted a black one, the person changed colour, his eyes flashed fire, and he discovered other symptoms of madness, which shewed there was some witchcraft in the case. These clean little pasteboards, as harmless as they looked, had the wonderful power of pulling down the highest piles in less time than all the other causes put together. I observed many small piles were given in exchange for an enchanted liquor, which when the purchaser drank to a little excess, he lost all power of managing the rest of his heap without losing the love of it.

[graphic][ocr errors]

Now, I found it was the opinion of sober pilgrims, that either hoarding the clay, or bartering it for any such purposes as the above, was thought

exactly the same offence in the eyes of the lord, and it was expected that when they should come under his more immediate jurisdiction in the far country, the penalty annexed to hoarding and squandering would be nearly the same. While I examined the countenances of the owners of the heaps, I observed that those who I well knew never intended to make any use at all of their heap, were far more terrified at the thought of losing it, or being torn from it, than those were who were employing it in the most useful manner. Those who best knew what to do with it, set their hearts Icast upon it, and were always most willing to leave it. But such riddles were common in this strange country.

Now, I wondered why these pilgrims, who were naturally made erect, with an eye formed to look up to the things above, yet had their eyes almost constantly bent in the other direction; riv. eted to the earth, and fastened on the things below, like those animals who walk on all fours. I was told they had not always been subject to this weakness of sight and proneness to earth: that they had originally been upright and beautiful, having been created after the image of the lord, who was himself the perfection of beauty : that he had placed them in a far superior situation, which he had given them in perpetuity, but that their first ancestors fell from it through pride and. carelesness; that upon

this the freehold was taken away, they lost their original strength, brightness, and beauty, and were driven out into this

strange country ; where, however, they had every opportunity given them of recovering their health, and the lord's favour, and likeness ; for they were become so disfigured, and were grown so unlike him, that you would hardly believe they were his own children, though, in some, the resemblance was become again visible. The lord, however, was so merciful, that instead of giving them up to the dreadful consequences of their own folly, as he might have done without any impeachment of his justice, he gave them immediate comfort, and promised them, that in due time, his own Son should come down, and restore them to the future inheritance, which he should purchase for them. And now it was that in order to keep up their spirits, after they had lost their estate through the folly of their ancestors, he began to give them a part of their former titledeed. He continued to send them portions of it from time to time, by different faithful servants, whom, however, these ungrateful people generally used ill, and some of whom they murdered. But for all this the lord was so forgiving, that he at length sent these mutineers a proclamation of full and free pardon by his Son, who, though they used him in a more cruel manner than they had done any of his servants, yet after having “ finished the work his father had given him to do," went back into the far country to prepare a place for all them who believe in him; and there he still lives, begging and pleading for these unkind peo

« AnteriorContinuar »