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These dim eyes have in vain explored for some months past a wellknown figure, or part of the figure, of a man, who used to glide his comely upper half over the pavements of London, wheeling along with most ingenious celerity upon a machine of wood; a spectacle to natives, to foreigners, and to children. He was of a robust make, with a florid sailor-like complexion, and his head was bare to the storm and sunshine. He was a natural curiosity, a speculation to the scientific, a prodigy to the simple. The infant would stare at the mighty man brought down to his own level. The common cripple would despise his own pusillanimity, viewing the hale stoutness, and hearty heart, of this half-limbed giant. Few but must have noticed him; for the accident, which brought him low, took place during the riots of 1780, and he has been a groundling so long. He seemed earth-born, an Antæus, and to suck in fresh vigour from the soil which he neighboured. He was a grand fragment; as good as an Elgin marble. The nature, which should have recruited his reft legs and thighs, was not lost, but only retired into his upper parts, and he was half a Hercules. I heard a tremendous voice thundering and growling, as before an earthquake, and casting down my eyes, it was this mandrake reviling a steed that had started at his portentous appearance. He seemed to want but his just stature to have rent the offending quadruped in shivers. He was as the man-part of a Centaur, from which the horse-half had been cloven in some dire Lapithæan controversy. He moved on, as if he could have made shift with yet half of the body-portion which was left him. The os sublime was not wanting; and he threw out yet a jolly countenance upon the heavens. Forty-and-two years had he driven this out of door trade, and now that his hair is grizzled in the service, but his good spirits no way impaired, because he is not content to exchange his free air and exercise for the restraints of a poor-house, he is expiating his contumacy in one of those houses (ironically christened) of correction.
Was a daily spectacle like this to be deemed a nuisance which called for legal interference to remove? or not rather a salutary and a touching object to the passers-by in a great city? Among her shows, her museums, and supplies for ever-gaping curiosity (and what else but an accumulation of sights—endless sights—is a great city; or for what else is it desirable ?) was there not room for one Lusus (not Natura, indeed, but) Accidentium? What if in forty and two years' going about, the man had scraped together enough to give a portion to his child (as the rumour ran) of a few hundreds—whom had he injured? Whom had he imposed upon ? The contributors had enjoyed their sight for their pennies. What if after being exposed all day to the heats, the rains, and the frosts of heaven-shuffling his ungainly trunk along in an elaborate and painful motion—he was enabled to retire at night to enjoy himself at a club of his fellow-cripples over a dish of hot meat and vegetables, as the charge was gravely brought against him by a clergyman deposing before a House of Commons' Committee -- was this, or was his truly paternal consideration, which (if a fact) deserved a statue rather than a whipping-post, and is inconsistent at least with the exaggeration of nocturnal orgies which he has been slandered with -a reason that he should be deprived of his chosen, harmless, nay edifying, way of life, and be committed in hoary age for a sturdy vagabond?
There was a Yorick once, whom it would not have shamed to have sat down at the cripples' fe and to have thrown in his benediction, ay, and his mite too, for a companionable symbol. “Age, thou hast lost thy breed."
Half of these stories about the prodigious fortunes made by begging are (I verily believe) misers' calumnies. One was much talked of in the public papers some time since, and the usual charitable inferences deduced. A clerk in the Bank was surprised with the announcement of a five hundred pound legacy left him by a person whose name he was a stranger to. It seems that in his daily morning walks from Peckham (or some village thereabouts) where he lived, to his office, it had been his practice for the last twenty years to drop his half-penny duly into the hat of some blind Bartimeus, that sate begging alms by the wayside in the Borough. The good old beggar recognised his daily benefactor by the voice only; and, when he died, left all the amassings of his alms (that had been half a century perhaps in the accumulating) to his old Bank friend. Was this a story to purse up people's hearts, and pennies, against giving an alms to the blind ?-or not rather a beautiful moral of well-directed charity on the one part, and noble gratitude upon the other?
I sometimes wish I had been that Bank clerk.
I seem to remember a poor old grateful kind of creature, blinking, and looking up with his no eyes in the sun.
Is it possible I could have steeled my purse against him ?
Perhaps I had no small change.
Reader, do not be frightened at the hard words, imposition, imposture-give, and ask no questions. “ Cast thy bread upon the waters." Some have unawares (like this Bank clerk) entertained angels.
Shut not thy purse-strings always against painted distress. Act a charity sometimes. When a poor creature (outwardly and visibly such) comes before thee, do not stay to inquire whether the “
seven small children,” in whose name he implores thy assistance, have a veritable existence. Rake not into the bowels of unwelcome truth to save a halfpenny. It is good to believe him. If he be not all that he pretendeth, give, and under a personate father of a family, think (if thou pleasest) that thou hast relieved an indigent bachelor.
When they come with their counterfeit looks, and mumping tones, think them players. You pay your money to see a comedian feign these things, which, concerning these poor people, thou canst not certainly tell whether they are feigned or not.
HOOKER. [The life of Richard Hooker has been written by Isaac Walton. He was born near Exeter in 1553, of poor parents; was placed by an uncle at school; and through the patronage of Bishop Jewel was sent to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Having taken orders, he was presented to the living of Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks: and was preferred to be Master of the Temple in 1585. Here he became involved in a controversy on Church discipline, which determined him to write his • Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.' To acquire leisure for the completion of this task, he retired from the career of ambition which was opened to him, and resided, first at Boscombe in Wiltshire, and then at Bishopsbourne in Kent, where he died in 1600. His great work in defence of the constitution and discipline of the Church of England is a masterpiece of learning, of acute reasoning, and of splendid eloquence. Amidst its rigid disquisitions there are passages that are truly sublime. It is difficult in an extract to furnish an adequate notion of the comprehensiveness of his reasoning. We give a passage from his first book,
Concerning Laws, and their several kinds in general.' The concluding sentence of Walton's Life of Hooker is a just tribute to his personal character: “Bless, O Lord, Lord bless his brethren, the clergy of
this nation, with ardent desires, and effectual endeavours, to attain, if not to his great learning, yet to his remarkable meekness, his godly simplicity, and his Christian moderation : for these are praiseworthy; these bring peace at the last.")
I am not ignorant that by Law eternal, the learned for the most part do understand the order, not which God hath eternally purposed himself in all his works to observe, but rather that, which with himself he hath set down as expedient to be kept by all his creatures, according to the several conditions wherewith he hath endued them. They who thus are accustomed to speak apply the name of Law unto that only rule of working which superior authority imposeth ; whereas we, somewhat more enlarging the sense thereof, term any kind of rule or canon, whereby actions are framed, a law. Now that Law, which, as it is laid up in the bosom of God, they call eternal, receiveth, according unto the different kind of things which are subject unto it, differ ent and sundry kinds of names. That part of it which ordereth natural agents, we call usually Nature's Law; that which angels do clearly behold, and without any swerving observe, is a Law celestial and heavenly; the Law of Reason, that which bindeth creatures reasonable in this world, and with which by reason they most plainly perceive themselves bound; that which bindeth them, and is not known but by special revelation from God, Divine Law; Human Law, that which out of the law, either of reason or of God, men probably gathering to be expedient, they make it a law. All things therefore, which are as they ought to be, are conformed unto this second Law Eternal; and even those things, which to this Eternal Law are not conformable, are notwithstanding in some sort ordered by the first Eternal Law. For what good or evil is there under the sun; what action correspondent or repugnant unto the law which God hath imposed upon his creatures, but in, or upon it, God doth work according to the law, which himself hath eternally purposed to keep; that is to say, the first Eter nal Law? So that a twofold law eternal being thus made, it is not hard to conceive how they both take place in all things. Wherefore to come to the Law of Nature, albeit thereby we sometimes mean that manner of working which God hath set for each created thing to keep; yet forasmuch as those things are termed most properly natural agents, which keep the law of their kind unwittingly, as the heavens and elements of the world, which can do no otherwise than they do: and forasmuch as we give unto intellectual natures the name of voluntary agents, that so we may distinguish them from the other, expedient it will be, that we sever the Law of Nature observed by the one, from that which the other is tied unto. Touching the former, their strict keeping of one tenure, statute, and law is spoken of by all, but hath in it more than men have as yet attained to know, or perhaps ever shall attain, seeing the travel of wading herein is given of God to the sons of men; that perceiving how much the least thing in the world hath in it, more than the wisest are able to reach unto, they may by this means learn humility. Moses, in describing the work of creation, attributeth speech unto God: God said, let there be light: let there be a firmament: let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place : let the earth bring forth ; let there be lights in the firmament of heaven. Was this only the intent of Moses, to signify the infinite greatness of God's power, by the easiness of his accomplishing such effects, without travel, pain or labour? Surely, it seemeth that Moses had herein, besides this, a further purpose, namely, first, to teach that God did not work as a necessary, but a voluntary agent, intending beforehand, and decreeing with himself, that which did outwardly proceed from him. Secondly, to show that God did then institute a law naturally to be observed by creatures, and therefore according to the manner of laws, the institution thereof is described as being established by solemn injunction. His commanding those things to be which are, and to be in such sort as they are, to keep that tenure and course, which they do, importeth the establishment of Nature's Law. The world's first creation, and the preservation since of things created, what is it, but only so far forth a manifestation by execution, what the eternal law of God is concerning things natural ? And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly ordered, that after a law is once published, it presently takes effect far and wide, all states framing themselves thereunto; even so let us think it fareth in the natural course of the world: since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of his law upon it, heaven and earth have hearkened unto his voice, and their labour hath been to do his will: He made a law for the rain; he gave his decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass his commandment. Now, if Nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether, though it were but for a while, the observation of her own