Page images
PDF
EPUB

knowing and remembering. The elevation I have met with in life, particularly this last instance of it, has not been owing to any superior merit or abilities, but to my humility; to my not having set up myself above others, and to an uniform endeavour to pass through life void of offence towards God and man.” Thus humility is the way to honour.

Few, it is said, have exceeded Dr. Doddridge in the exercise of humility, both with relation to God and man. With respect to God, it was apparent in the deepest expressions of concern for the defects of his improvements and his services; and with regard to man, it was manifested in his condescension to the meanest persons, in his behaviour to his pupils, and in the patience with which he submitted to the words of reproof. He was even highly thankful to his friends for pointing out to him what they judged to be amiss in his conduct. In a letter to Dr. Wood, of Norwich, he thus expresses himself: " Pity me, and pray for me, as you do in the midst of so many hurries. O my poor, poor attempts of service!--they shame me continually. My prayers, my sermons, my lectures, my books (in hand), my letters, all daily shame me.” Some have thought, that, though this was sincere, yet it was an excessive effusion. But to this it may be answered, that, instead of its being excessive, it is only a proof of his increasing knowledge, arising from light. given to him ; for, in proportion as we receive light and grace, so shall we be led to see the imperfection of every thing we do. It was this that influenced Job to say, “ Behold I am vile;"

reasing for, in l web

[ocr errors]

Isaiah, “Lo, I am undone;" and Paul, that he was the least of saints.

THE HUNTING PRELATE.

IN what a deplorable state were the clergy in the tenth century! Both in the eastern and western provinces they were composed of a most worthless set of men, shamefully illiterate and stupid. We may form some notion of the Grecian patriarchs from the single example of Theophylact. Tliis exemplary prelate, who sold every ecclesiastical benefice as soon as it became vacant, had in his stable above two thousand hunting horses, which he fed with pignuts, pistachios, dates, dried grapes, figs steeped in the most exquisite wines; to all which he added the richest perfumery. One Holy Thursday, as he was celebrating high mass, his groom brought him the joyful news that one of his favourite mares had foaled; upon which he threw down the liturgy, left the church, and ran in raptures to the stable, where having expressed his joy at that grand event, he returned to the altar to finish the divine service, which he had left interrupted during his absence.-I am afraid that we have too many hunting clergymen in our enlightened day.

[ocr errors]

POWER OF IMAGINATION, &c. . IT is difficult to give credit to every thing that has been said on this head; it is evident however, that there have been many strange

[ocr errors]

and extraordinary instances of the strength of imagination.

An old writer gives us the following instance, A man in a burning fever, leaning over his bedside, pointed with his finger to the chamber door, desiiing those who were present to lüt him swim in that lake, and that he then should be cool. His physician humoured the conceit ; the patient walked carefully about the room, seemed to feel the water gradually ascending to his neck, and, at length, having said that he felt himself cool and well, was found, in reality to be so. Medical men acknowledge that imagination has much to do both in inducing and curing many disorders.

Many have imagined their limbs to be made of glass, of wax, &c. of enormous sizes, and of fantastical shapes; and others have even fancied themselves dead.

in the Memoirs of Count De Maurepas, we find an account of a most singular hypochondriac in the person of the Prince of Bourbon. He once imagined himself to be a hare, and would suffer no bell to be rung in his palace, lest the noise should drive him to the woods. At another time he fancied himself to be a plant, and as he stood in the garden, insisted on being watered. He sometime afterwards thought he was dead, and refused nourishment; for which, he said, he had no farther occasion. This whim would have proved fatal, if his friends had not contrived to disguise two persons who were introduced to him as his grandfather and Marshal Luxembourg; and who, after some conversation concerning the shades, invited him to dine with Marshal Turenne. Our hypochondriac followed them into a cellar

noise shone bell to be run to be a haverbon. Shis strange mespecially it is drawr

Oget out that he in Sion re

prepared for the purpose, where he made a hearty meal. While this turn of his disorder prevailed, he always dined in the cellar with some noble ghost. We are also informed that this strange malady did not incapacitate him for business, especially when his interest was concerned. This account is drawn from the Appendix to the Monthly review for December' 1792.

Fienus, who wrote upon this subject, relates a singular instance of one whose delusion represented his body so large, that he thought it impossible for him to get out of the room. The physician, fancying there could be no better way of rectifying his imagination than by letting him see that the thing could be done, ordered him to be carried out by force. Great was the struggle; and the patient no sooner saw himself at the outside of the door, than he fell into the same agonies of pain as if his bones had all been broken by being forced through a passage too little for him, and died immediately after.

Of the important effects arising from bodily labour, when united with mental excitement, we have recorded a remarkable instance in the Monitor et Preceptor of Dr. Mead. “A young student at college became so deeply hypochondriac, that he proclaimed himself dead, and ordered the college bell to be tolled on the occasion of his death. In this he was indulged; but the man employed to execute the task appeared to the student to perform it so imperfectly, that he arose from his bed, in a fury of passion, to toll the bell for his own departure. When he had finished, he retired to his bed in

a state of profuse perspiration, and was from that moment alive and well.

Simon Brown, a dissenting minister, was born at Shepton Mallet, in Somersetshire, 1680. Grounded and excelling in grammatical learning, he early became qualified for the ministry, and actually began to preach before he was twenty. He was first called to be a pastor at Portsmouth, and afterwards removed to the Old Jewry, where he was admired and esteemed for a number of years. But the death of his wife and only son, which happened in 1723, affected him so as to deprive him of his reason ; and he became from that time lost to himself, his family, and to the world : his congre. gation at the Old Jewry, in expectation of his recovery, delayed for some time to fill his post; yet, at length, all hopes were over, and Mr. Samuel Chandler was appointed to succeed him in 1725. This double misfortune affected him at first in a manner little different from distraction, but afterwards sunk him into a settled me. lancholy. He quitted the duties of his function, and would not be persuaded to join in any act of worship, public or private. Being urged by his friends for a reason of this extraordinary change, at which they expressed the utmost grief and astonishment, he told them, after much importunity, that “he had fallen under the sensible displeasure of God, who had caused his rational soul gradually to perish, and left him only an animal life in common with brutes : that, though he retained the human shape, and the faculty of speaking in a manner that appeared to others rational, he had all the while no more notion of what he said than a parrot; that it was therefore profane in him to

his sensible d'unity, that he told the utmost

« EelmineJätka »