Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

world (an hospital is not to be compared with it) as that of a thousand persons distinguished by the name of gentry, who gentle perhaps by nature, and made more gentle by education, have the appearance of being innocent and inoffensive, yet being destitute of all religion, or not at all governed by the religion they profess, are none of them at any great distance from an eternal state, where self-deception will be impossible, and where amusements cannot enter. Some of them, we may say, will be reclaimed--it is most probable indeed that some of them will, because mercy, if one may be allowed the expression, is fond of distinguishing itself by seeking its objects among the most desperate class; but the Scripture gives no encouragement to the warmest charity, to hope for deliverance for them all. When I see an afflicted, and unhappy man, I say, to myself, there is perhaps a man, whom the world would envy, if they knew the value of his sorrows, which are possibly intended only to soften his heart, and to turn his afflictions towards their proper centre. But when I see, or hear of a crowd of voluptuaries, who have no ears but for music, no eyes but for splendour, and no tongue but for impertinence and folly—I say, or at least I see occasion to say—This is madness—This persisted in

e sure

must have a tragical conclusion-It will condemn you, not only as Christians, unworthy of the name, but as intelligent creatures You know by the light of nature, if you have not quenched it, that there is a God, and that a life like yours, cannot be according to his will.

I ask no pardon of you for the gravity, and gloominess, of these reflections, which I stumbled on when I least expected it; though to say the truth, these, or others of a like complexion, are sure to occur to me, when I think of a scene of public diversion like that you have lately left.

I am inclined to hope that Johnson told you the truth, when he said, he should publish me soon after Christmas. His press has been rather more punctual in its remittances, than it used to be; we have now but little more than two of the longest pieces, and the small ones that are to follow, by way of epilogue, to print off, and then the affair is finished. But once more I am obliged to gape for franks ; only these, which I hope will be the last I shall want, at yours, and Mr. 's convenient leisure.

We rejoice that you have so much reason to be satisfied with John's proficiency. The more spirit he has, the better, if his spirit is but manageable, and put under such management, as your prudence, and Mrs. Unwin's will suggest. I need not guard you against severity, of which I conclude there is no need, and which I am sure you are not at all inclined to pracțice without it; but, perhaps, if I was to whisperbeware of too much indulgence--I should only give a hint, that the fondness of a father, for a fine boy, might seem to justify. I have no particular reason for the caution, at this distance it is not possible I should, but in a case like yours, an admonition of that sort seldom wants propriety.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

I wrote to you by the last post, supposing you at Stock; but lest that Letter should not follow you to Laytonstone, and you should

suspect me of unreasonable delay, and lest the frank you have sent me, should degenerate into waste paper, and perish upon my hands, I write again. The former Letter however, containing all my present stock of intelligence, it is more than possible, that this may prove a blank, or but little worthy your acceptance. You will do me the justice to suppose, that if I could be very entertaining, I would be so, because, by giving me credit for such a willingness to please, you only allow me a share of that universal vanity, which inclines every man, upon all occasions, to exhibit himself to the best advantage. To say the truth 'however, when I write, las I do to you, not about business, nor on any subject that approaches to that description, I mean much less my correspondent's amusement, which my modesty will not always petmit me to hope for, than my own. There is a pleasure, annexed to the communication of one's ideas, whether by word of mouth, or by letter, which nothing earthly can supply the place of, and it is the delight we find in this mutual intercourse, that not only proves us to be creatnres intended for social life, but more than" any thing else, perhaps, fits tis for it. - I have no patience with philosophers

they, one and all, suppose (at least I understand

nean 1

rres

it to be a prevailing opinion among them) that man's weakness, his necessities, his inability to stand alone, have furnished the prevailing motive, under the influence of which, he renounced at first a life of solitude, and became a gregarious creature. It seems to me more reasonable, as well as more ho nourable to my species, to suppose, that generosity of soul, and a brotherly attachment to our own kind, drew us, as it were, to one common centre, taught us to build cities, and inhabit them, and welcome every stranger, that would cast in his lot amongst us, that we might enjoy fellowship with each other, and the luxury of reciprocal endearments, without which a paradise could afford no comfort. There are indeed, all sorts of characters in the world ; there are some whose understandings are so sluggish, and whose hearts are such mere clods, that they live in society without either contributing to the sweets of it, or having any relish for them--a man of this stamp, passes by our window continually I never saw him conversing with a neighbour but once in my life, though I have known him by sight these twelve years--he is of a very sturdy make, and has a round belly, extremely protuberant, which he evidently considers as his best friend, because it his only com

« ElőzőTovább »