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concourse of people assembled around a pile of faggots on fire, l'expressed a curiosity to know the cause. She very composedly answered, " I suppose that it is nothing more than that they are going to burn a Jew.” Fortunately it was no other than roasting an ox upon some joyful occasion. What rendered this singularity the more striking, were the natural mildness and compassion of the young person's disposition.
THE CURATE RELIEVED.
A VIOLENT Welsh squire having taken of fence at a poor curate, who employed his leisure hours in mending clocks and watches, applied to the bishop of St. Asaph, with a formal complaint against him for impiously carrying on a trade, contrary to the statute. His lordship
having heard the complaint, told the squire he might depend upon it that the strictest justice should be done in the case ; accordingly the mechanic divine was sent for a few days after, when the bishop asked him “How he dared to disgrace his diocese by becoming a mender of clocks and watches ?” The other, with all humility answered, “ To satisfy the wants of a wife and ten children." “ That won't do with me," rejoined the prelate.
" I'll inflict such a punishment upon you as shall make you leave off your pitiful trade, I promise you ;” and immediately, calling in his secretary, ordered him to make out a presentation for the astonished curate to a living of at least one hundred and fifty pounds per annum.
CUSTOM, HABIT, &c. WHATEVER be the cause, says Lord Kames, it is an established fact that we are much influenced by custom ; it hath an effect upon our pleasures, upon our actions, and even upon our thoughts and sentiments. Habit makes no figure during the vivacity of youth; in middle age it gains ground ; and in old age governs without controul. In that period of life, generally speaking, we eat at a certain hour, take exercise at a certain hour, go to rest at a certain hour, all by the direction of habit; nay, a particular seat, table, bed, comes to the essential; and a habit in any of these cannot be contradicted without uneasiness.
“ The mind,” says Mr. Cogan, “ frequently acquires a strong and invincible attachment to whatever has been familiar to it for any length of time. Habit, primarily introduced by accident or neces. sity, will inspire an affection for peculiarities which have the reverse of intrinsic merit to recommend them."
“I once attended,” says the last-mentioned author, “ a prisoner of some distinction in one of the prisons of the metropolis, ill of a typhus fever, whose apartments were gloomy in the extreme, and surrounded with horrors; yet this prisoner assured me afterwards, that, upon his release, he quitted them with a degree of reluctance: custom had reconciled him to the twilight admitted through the thick barred gate, to the filthy spots an / patches of his plastered walls, to the hardness of his bed, and even to confinement. He had his books, was visited by his friends, and was greatly amused and interested in the anecdotes of the place.
“ An officer of the municipality at Leyden also informed the author of an instance, which marks yet more strongly the force of habit. A poor woman, who had for some misdemeanor been sentenced to confinement for a certain number of years, upon the expiration of the term, immediately applied to him for re-admission. She urged that all her worldly comforts were fled, and her only wish was to be indulged in those imparted by habit. She moreover threatened, that, if this. could not be granted as a favour, she would commit some offence that should give her a title to be reinstated in the accustomed lodgings.” Thus, we see that custom is a catholicon for pain and: distress.
The influence of custom is surprising also as to natural objects. What different ideas are formed, in different nations concerning the beauty of the human shape and countenance ! A fair complex.. ion is a shocking deformity upon the coast of Gui. nea. Thick lips and flat nose are a beauty. In: some nations, long ears that hång down upon the shoulders are the objects of universal admiration.. In China, if a lady's foot is so large as to be fit to: walk upon, she is regarded as a monster of ugliness. Some of the savage nations in North Ame. rica tie four boards round the heads of their children, and thus squeeze them, while the bones are tender and gristly, into a form that is almost square.. Europeans are astonished at the absurd barbarity of this practice; but when they condemn those savages, they do not reflect that the ladies in Eu. rope had, till within a few years, been endeavour
ing for near a century past to squeeze the roundness of their natural shape into a square form of the same kind ; and that, notwithstanding the many distortions and diseases which this practice was known to occasion, custom had rendered it agreeable among some of the most civilized nations which perhaps the world ever beheld.
What influence has custom over dress, furniture, the arts, and even over moral sentiments! It requires however to be watched. It should never pervert our sentiments with regard to humanity and religion. To make custom an apology for what is unreasonable and irreligious, is making a bad use of it indeed.
NOTWITHSTANDING the repeated at. tacks of infidelity, the Christian has nothing to fear. “Not one in fifty (says Mr. Bogue) of those who call themselves deists or atheists, understand the nature of the religion which they profess to reject. And are these creatures formidable antagonists who disbelieve what they do not understand, because they wish it not to be true? They are a dishonour to any, sect. Besides the alarm has far exceeded reality. I will venture to affirm, without fear of contradiction, that, from the birth of Christ to the present hour, there never was a country where one-fifth part of the people were deists, or where one-tenth part were atheists ; nor a period of twelve years' continuance, when the civil government was under the influence of either one or the other, or when they persecuted the truth. Superstition has slaughtered more victims in a week than deism and atheism have since the hour that Christ expired upon the cross.”
A gentleman was arguing with a deist on the absurdity of rejecting Christianity without exam. ination. He owned that he never knew a person examine the subject who did not afterwards embrace it; but excused himself from examining, under the plea that to do so was analogous to drinking brandy, which always produced intoxi. cation. “ Is it not honourable to Christianity (says the gentleman) to have enemies, who must give up the exercise of their reason before they reject it?"
The Unhappy Deists. I knew, says one, a jurist and statesman by profession, well learned, and of good parts. He was so well read in the scriptures and divinity in general, that he might have passed for no ordinary theologian. He had, though a speculative unbeliever, maintained several theses with great success: on the other hand, he could, in his opinion, account for every appearance in nature from a theory of matter and motion; still, with all his belief and unbelief, he frankly confessed to me that he was unhappy. And, being then in a state of celibacy, farther acknowledged, that, “ should he ever change his situation, he was determined never to suffer the secrets of his heart to transpire to his wife and children; that in all externals he would strictly conform to the church;" adding, as ove of his philosophical and political reasons, that it was better to be comforted upon a false. ground than to live without any consolation.