« EelmineJätka »
be not utterly come to nothing. None, no not the least remembrance of its very ruins, re mains; not the shadow of an idea is left, nor any sense, so much as one single one, perfect or imperfect, whole or diminished, ever did appear to a mind within him, or was perceived by it. Such a present, from such a thing, however worthless in itself, may not be wholly unacceptable to your majesty, the author being such as history cannot parallel: and if the fact, which is real, and no fiction or wrong conceit, obtains credit, it must be recorded as the most memorable, and indeed astonishing, even in the reign of George II. that a tract, composed by such a thing, was presented to the illustrious Caroline; his royal consort needs not to be added. Fame, if I am not misinformed, will tell that with pleasure to all succeeding times. He has been informed, that your majesty's piety is as genuine and eminent as your excellent qualities are great and conspicuous. This can, indeed, be truly known to the Great Searcher of hearts only. He alone, who can look into them, can discern if they are sincere, and the main intention corresponds with the appearance: and your majesty cannot take it amiss, if such an author hints, that his secret approbation is of infinitely greater value then the commendation of men, who may be easily mistaken, and are too apt to flatter their superiors. But, if he has been told the truth, such a case as his will certainly strike your majesty with astonishment, and may raise that commiseration in your royal breast, which he has in vain endeavoured to excite in those of his friends, who, by the most unreasonable and ill-founded conceit in the world, have imagined that a thinking being could, for seven
years together, live a stranger to its own pow. ers, exercises, operations, and state, and to what the Great God has been doing in it and to it. If your majesty, in your most retired address to the King of kings, should think of so singular a case, you may, perhaps, make it your devout request, that the reign of your beloved sovereign and consort may be renowned to all posterity, by the recovery of a soul now in the utmost ruin; the restoration of one utterly lost at present amongst men. And, should this case affect your royal breast, you will recommend it to the piety and prayers of all the truly devout who have the honour to be known to your majesty: many such, doubtless, there are, though courts are not usually the places where the devout resort, or where devotion reigns; and it is not improbable that multitudes of the pious throughout the land may take a case to heart, that, under your majesty's patronage, comes thus recommended. Could such a favour as this restoration be obtained from heaven by the prayers of your majesty, with what transport of gratitude would the recovered being throw himself at your majesty's feet, and, adoring the Divine Power and Grace, profess himself,
"Most obliged and dutiful servant,
A complication of distempers, contracted by his sedentary life (for he could not be prevailed on to refresh himself with air and exercise,) brought on a mortification, which put a period to his labours and sorrows about the latter end
of 1732. He was, unquestionably, a man of uncommon abilities and learning. His management of Woolston shewed him to have also vivacity and wit; and, notwithstanding that strange conceit which possessed him, it is remarkable that he never appeared feeble or absurd, except when the object of his frenzy was before him.
Many curious circumstances have been mentioned of Dr. Watts, respecting the strength of imagination; but, as it does not appear that they are founded on any certainty, we shall entirely omit them here.
THE Christian religion, says Dr. Campbell, has always been understood to require faith in its principles, and faith in principles requires some degree of knowledge or apprehension of those principles. But the schoolmen have devised an excellent succedaneum to supply the place of real belief, and this they have denominated implicit faith, an ingenious method of reconciling things incompatible; to believe every thing, and to know nothing. Implicit faith has been sometimes styled fides carbonaria, from the story of one who, examining an ignorant collier on his religious principles, asked him what it was that he believed. He answered, "I believe what the church believes." The other rejoined, "What, then, does the church believe?" He replied readily, "The church believes what I believe." The other, desiroús, if possible, to bring him to particulars, once more resumed his enquiry. "Tell me, then, I pray you, what
it is which you and the church both believe.” The only answer the collier could give was, Why truly, Sir, the church and I both-believe the same thing.
THE INFIDEL ALARMED.
THE late Samuel Forrestor Bancroft, Esq. accompanied Mr. Isaac Weld, jun. in his travels through North America and the two Canadas; a very interesting narrative of which is published. As they were traversing one of the extensive lakes of the northern states in vessel, board of which was Volney, celebrated, or rather notorious, for his atheistical principles, which he has so often avowed, a very heavy storm came on, insomuch that the vessel, which had struck repeatedly with great force, was expected to go down every instant; the mast having gone by the board, the helm quite ungovernable, and, consequently, the whole scene exhibiting confusion and horror. There were many female as well as male passengers on board, but no one exhibited such strong marks of fearful despair as Volney; throwing himself on the deck, now imploring, now imprecating the captain, and reminding him, that he had engaged to carry him safe to his destination, vainly threatening, in case any thing should happen. At last, however, as the probability of their being lost increased, this great mirror of nature, human or inhuman, began loading all the pockets of his coat, waistcoat, breeches, and every place he could think of, with dollars, to the amount of some hundreds; and thus, as he thought, was prepar
ing to swim for his life, should the expected wreck take place. Mr. Bancroft remonstrated with him on the folly of such acts, saying, that he would sink like a piece of lead with so great a weight on him; and at length, as he became so very noisy and unsteady as to impede the management of the ship, Mr. Bancroft pushed him down the hatchways. Volney soon came up again, having lightened himself of the dollars, and, in the agony of his mind, threw himself upon deck, exclaiming, with uplifted hands and streaming eyes,-" Oh, mon Dieu! mon Dieu!-que'st ce que je ferai, que'st ce que je ferai "Oh, my God! my God! what shall I do, what shall I do!-This so surprised Bancroft, that, notwithstanding the moment did not very well accord with flashes of humour, yet he could not refrain from addressing-" Eh bien! Mons. Volney! vous avez donc un Dieu a present." Well, Mr. Volney!-what you have à God now! To which Volney replied, with the most trembling anxiety, "Oh, oui! oui!" O yes! O yes! The ship, however, got safe; and Mr. Bancroft made every company which he went into echo with this anecdote of Volney's acknowledgment of God. Volney, for a considerable time, was so hurt at his weekness, as he calls it, that he was ashamed of shewing himself in company at Philadelphia, &c.: but afterwards, like a modern French philosopher, said, that those words escaped him in the instant of alarm, but had no meaning, and he again utterly renounced them.