« 上一頁繼續 »
rity, are by law entitled to pursue tion was sincere, and the character of their own happiness in their own way. the speaker such as to warrant the It is quite lamentable to observe the belief that he would act upon it, if his humble, the debasing course they education had been such as to have almost always adopt. Rational views shown him how to do so, or rather, as of themselves, of human nature, and the previous point, what to do. To of the institutions of society, would keep a pack of hounds, to be followed be invaluable to such individuals ; over fields and enclosures by the elite but they have no adequate means of of the county, does not stand very obtaining them, while positively false high in the scale of good : to engage views have been implanted in their keenly in party politics is not good, minds by a perverted education. I for these are generally incompatible grant the case to be an extreme one, with the general weal: to dispense a young gentleman of large fortune, costly and luxurious hospitality innot destitute of talents and good feel- discriminately, is to do wide-spreading, and regularly subjected to all the ing mischief: to pursue or encourage appliances of dead language edu- idleness or frivolous occupations, is cation at school and college, who on not good: to strengthen, by influence the day of his majority was declared and example, the pride of rank and a free man, with power to choose the its correlative sycophancy, to uphold most likely road to real happiness. the heartless, icy, withering barriers What did he do? He established, of of fashion, and, by external pomp, course, a stud of hunters, a pack of circumstance, and equipage, to shut hounds, and a whole armory of out knowledge of, and sympathy with, fowling pieces-galloping and blazing the general mass of society, cultivated and slaughtering being universally and uncultivated, are all severally held inseparable from wealth and bad, and, although much the practice rank, in the present state of civiliza- of our nobility, injurious in a degree tion. Coach-driving, either of pri- to which their education shuts their. vate four-in-hand vehicles, or the eyes, to themselves and to society. public conveyances, is no longer Education, rendered what it ought to sanctioned by general approbation, as be, will point out“ what is good” suiting the age; nevertheless, our both in its temporal and spiritual hopeful had a trial of coach-driving. sense, to the wealth-loaded favourites From this he was diverted by matri- of fortune. “ To do good and to mony, and post nuptially took to communicate,” is eminently in their another gratification of his faculties of power, if they will first, “ with all rather an original kind; he placed their gettings, get knowledge,” and cats upon a float in the middle of a apply it to useful purposes ; if they pond, and sent dogs to swim in and will learn and value the acts and maattack them! This last occupation nifestations of high intellectual and would have been disdained by a young moral endowments, more than phynobleman of immense possessions, sical comforts, sensual enjoyments, who, at a feast in honour of his majo- and external pomp; if they will rity, manifested the best natural dis- seek the society of enlightened and positions, by acknowledging that he benevolent men, whose intellects are had always been taught, and had replenished with knowledge of the always felt, that the great duty im- Creator's works and ways, whose posed upon him by his rank and for-hearts swell with wonder, adoration, tune was to do good. The declara- and love, whose whole minds are in
stinct with sympathy, and ardent grain of sand that we can gather on desire for human happiness. With the sea-shore forms of the whole their aid they would know how to globe of our earth. convert their wealth into a powerful In respect of the space which it ocengine of social benefit; and from this cupies, this system is absolutely the legitimate gratification of the beyond our comprehension. We are higher faculties of their nature, they accustomed, indeed, to pronounce the would enjoy as well as confer real names of very large numbers with good.
the same fluency as we do those of The very proposition of such a small ones; but the understanding course for a rich, splendid, elegant, which we have of them is a very difand "spirited” young nobleman, ferent matter. We speak of thouwould of course,
at present, raise in sands and of millions; and yet it is himself and the whole table he pre- doubtful whether we have any very sides at, a roar of incredulous and clear and distinct notion of that which scornful langhter, the natural expres- we call a hundred. Our ordinary sion of the very barbarism so much to arithmetical notion of it is, that it is be deplored. But with en- ten tens; and as it is too great for lightened views, it will come to be ac- the instantaneous perception of any knowledged that the waste of life, of our senses, it seems very doubtful fortune, and happiness, by the afflu- whether we can get any other more ent, which characterizes the present, clear than this, or even as clear.
We as it has marked the past, ages of the speak with wonder of those rude world, is owing, in no small degree, nations, which could not count beyond to ignorance of human nature, its “ three ;" but it is doubtful whether, wants and capacities—in other words, without that arithmetic, which is the to imperfect education.
result of so much thinking, and a matter of thought after all, our counting would have
farther. The mean extent of the system of
the solar planets, measured across the The Sun, which is to us the mea- sun, from side to side of the most surer of days and of years, the discloser distant orbit, is about three thouof all the beauty which we see in sand six hundred millions of miles; nature, and the principal agent in and we do not know how far beyond the activity of the spring, the beauty this, other bodies of which we have of summer, and the abundance of yet no knowledge, may extend. We autumn,--the sun, with our earth, shall best form a notion of this, by and the other planets, primary and taking it in terms of some measure secondary, which revolve round the which we can better understand, and sun, and the “
comets which run their call on time to assist in our understanddevious career,” more insubstantial in ing of it. their natures, and more unstable in Fifty miles a day is a very amtheir paths,“taken altogether, form a ple rate at which a human being theme of more sublimity and eleva- would continue walking. Now, at tion, and expansion of thought, than this rate, it would take a man just any other in material nature, except- about two millions of years to travel ing one—the whole of that universe, from side to side of the orbit. This is of which they form a part, and cer- immense : and yet it is nothing to tainly a smaller part than the least thought, which can career round the
THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
orbit, before the tongue or the finger axle that pulls the wheel along, and can count one !
not the wheel that impels the axle. Within this vast space, there are Applying this to the case of the eleven primary planets revolving satellite, which is only like a nail in round the sun, as their centre of mo- the circumference of a large wheel, tion ; and some of them have moons the planet corresponding to the axle, or satellites which have a double mo- it is easy to see that the satellite tion in space,--one motion around has no more orbital than the planet the primary which they attend, and which it accompanies. As is the another around the sun, along with case with the nail in the wheel, it that primary. One of the simplest is in all positions with regard to its illustrations that we can have of this planet, being sometimes in advance of compound motion of the satellite, the planet, sometimes in the rear, is that of a nail in a carriage wheel, sometimes nearer to the central sun, when the carriage draws round an and sometimes more remote from it. oval course. The end of the axle has But if it advances in one part of its only one motion round the course; circuit, it retreats as much in another ; but the nail has two,-one round the and if it approaches the sun, it again course, and another round the axle. recedes. These give rise to variBut there is something more in this ations in the motion of both, and, very simple motion, with which we especially, in that of the satellite, must be careful not to mislead our- which being the smaller body, is of selves. The axle moves steadily on course the more easily disturbed; but at the same elevation, if on level and still, notwithstanding all these variafirm ground, while the nail is in all tions, the orbital motion of the sateldirections, before, behind, above, and lite is the same as that of the planet. below the axle, in succession. If the The satellite is thus, as it were, nail is in a large wheel it appears to not an independent member of the move slowly; and if in a small one, solar system, having a year of its it appears to trundle along more own ; and it is also probable (though rapidly. Every one may have heard the fact is beyond the limits of our of the countryman, who, when first knowledge) that no satellite has a seeing a coach in motion, exclaimed, regular alternation of day and night, “Well done, little wheel !--the big in consequence of rotation on an one cannot overtake you !” But the axis, like a planet. The only satelcountryman did not see the reason, lite of which we have any thing like which is simply this : that both wheels even a tolerable knowledge, is our go at the same rate ; all parts in both own moon; and we know that it has of them make equal progress forwards, no day and night, in consequence of and no point moves one jot faster its own rotation. It keeps the same than the end of the axle. The ex- side to the earth, in the same manner as tremity of the axle arrives at the end the nailin the wheel keeps the point alof the journey at the very same instant ways to the axle; but though this makes as the head of the nail in the wheel; it point always in the course of the reand in the motion which the bush, or volution, there is no real relation. bore of the wheel, has
the axle, All the motions of the secondary the axle slides forward on the wheel, planet have thus reference to the and the wheel backward upon the primary, and to that only; and as it axle. And we can easily see that thus wants what may be regarded as this must be the case ; for it is the the elements of day and night, and
seasons, it is probably without these, the satellite of our earth appears to and also without any of their produc- answer no other purpose than this, tions, growing or living, which we ob- we
reason why they serve to be so dependent on the sea- should. They are all
small sons in the economy of our globe. bodies, as compared with the priAppealing again to the moon, in mary planets. The moon, for inillustration, we find that there is little stance, is only about a fortieth part there upon which any occasional ac- as heavy as the earth; and all the sation could produce any effect. There tellites of Jupiter, four in number, are is no more appearance of snow upon not a five-thousandth part of that any part of the moon at one season planet. The masses and motions of' of the year than at another ; and yet the primary planets will be our next we can see traces of snow around the subject. poles of the planet Mars, though that planet cannot come nearer to the earth than a hundred and sixty times the distance of the moon; and is, ge- The peculiar temptations and dannerally speaking, very much farther gers of young men in the metropolis off than this. Besides, all the appear of this country, nearly 200 years ago, ances tend to show that there is no attracted the benevolent regard of air, no water, and no fluid of any Richard Baxter, the eminent nonkind in the moon, or immediately conformist divine; who, toward the surrounding it; and this being the close of his active life, wrote a treatise, case, it cannot be the habitat of any entitled, “Compassionate Counsel to plant, or the abode of any animal all Young Men ; especially London at all resembling those of the earth. apprentices, students of divinity, But the distance of the moon from the physic and law, &c.” The general sun is the same on the average as that views which induced Baxter to unof the earth ; and, therefore, if the dertake this labour, he thus briefly one had plants and animals, the ana- states in the commencement of his logy would lead us to infer that they tractate : “ There is no man that also would be the same on the average. ever understood the interest of manThe fact is, we know the moon only kind, of families, of cities, of kingas an attendant upon the earth, in its doms, of churches, and of Jesus journey round the sun ; and other Christ the King and Saviour, but he use of it in the system we know none. must needs know that the right inThis, it must be confessed, is a very struction, education, and sanctificalimited extent of knowledge, but we tion of youth, is of unspeakable imhave no more; and that should, at all portance to them all.” And a little events, keep us from falling into idle after he adds, “ By much experience theories, and extravagant absurdi- I have been made much more sensible ties.
TEMPTATIONS OF THE METROPOLIS.
of the necessity of warning and inWe cannot of course, know more structing youth than I was before. about the satellites of the other The sad reports of fame have taught planets, than we do about the moon; it me; the sad complaints of mournfor the very nearest of them cannot ful parents have taught it me; the sad come within eighteen hundred times observation of the wilful impenitence the distance of the moon. Thus, we of some of my acquaintances tells it can know them only as satellites at- me; the many scores (if not huntendant on their primaries; and as dreds) of bills that have been publicly
put up to me to pray for wicked and posure so few, that multitudes fall the obstinate children, have told it me; victims of a moral destruction, to and, by the grace of God, the peni- say the least, who in other circumtent confessions, lamentations, and stances might have been preserved. restitutions of many converts have In London there is a vast concourse more particularly acquainted me with of young men assembled from every their case.” The reasons which in- part of the country; and almost from duced Baxter (who was as deeply every part of the world. Some of read in the study of human nature as them bring with them a respectable he was versed in the school of divi- character and correct moral princinity,) to compassionate the condition ples; others come to give a loose to of the young men of the metropolis, evil propensities, which, in the counand to address to them, especially, try, and under the restraints of home, his “compassionate counsels," re- were kept in some degree of subordimain in their full force at the present nation. When these characters minday. Indeed it is greatly to be feared gle in a large city, the moral and resthat all the moral evils of the metro- pectable must of necessity be
exposed polis, which existed 200 years ago, to the seductions and evil example of continue still to operate with una- the vicious. Nor are those who are bated vigour; and, that the stream of themselves initiated in the debauchetime, from that period to the present, ries and excesses of an unbridled has been steadily depositing the seeds sensuality slow in their attempts to of new species of temptations, by undermine the principles, and to effect which London is rendered, to the the moral debasement of those whom young especially, the hot-bed of pro- they suspect to be less guilty and less Aigacy and vice. The vast increase vicious than themselves. The wicked of the population, and the extended and successful efforts of these pioneers commerce of our capital have steadily in the ways of sin, could be mournand almost in a definable ratio, gone fully attested by many a youth, who on augmenting the moral dangers of with unsullied character and buoyant its youthful inhabitants, and giving a hopes quitted the fond endearments tenfold energy to every natural pro- and quietude of home, to mingle in pensity to evil. Incitements to sin, the busy scenes of a London life ; and occasions favourable to the grati- but, who falling into the hands of one fication of unholy passions are every of these debauched and gay seducers, where to be found:-in town and has found, that on crossing his father's country the temptations of Satan are threshold, he left all the innocence sufficiently rife ; but in London every and all the happiness which, without temptation of the country exists, and a miracle of mercy, he can ever hope exists with innumerable most dan- to enjoy. gerous adjuncts, together with a nu- How often have I seen the eye merous train of evils peculiar to itself, that should have flashed with pleaand which only large cities can pre- sure become dim in its socket; and sent. Wherever circumstances throw how often, in every line of a countena large company of young men into ance that once beamed with ingenueach other's society, incentives to evil ousness, have I traced the wreck of are exceedingly powerful; and the every moral principle! And, alas ! facilities for the indulgence of unlawa how often has the death-like pallor, ful passions in this city are so great, which I have seen displace the glow and the chances of discovery and ex- of health, and the form emaciated by