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a wayward child had told a falsehood concerning the rules, rev gulations and discipline of the school. The fact alleged, has been proved to be a falsehood, but pride or ignorance kept the parents from retracting, and even stimulated them to add new virulence to their merciless invectives. So thankless i9 this useful office when parents are destitute of judgment, humanity, and gratitude!
3. This unfortunate conduct of ill-judging parents, is very common. There is scarcely a school in America that could not produce instances of it. It has been complained of by many sensible and judicious instructors. It has broke the peace of many ingenious and respectable persons, who have been engaged in the care and instruction of youth, and paved the way to the ruin of hopeful children.
Vision of Mirza.
1. On the fifth day of the moon, which according to the custom of my forefathers I always keep holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here airing myself on the top of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and passing from one thought to another, surely, said I, man is but a shadow, and life a dream. Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, but who was in reality, a being of superiour nature. 1 drew near with profound reverence, and fell down at his feet. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability, that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, Mirza, said he, I have heard thee in thy soliloquies: follow me.
2. He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, cast thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou seest. I see, said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it. The valley that thou seest, said he, is the vale of misery; and the tide of water that thou seest, is part of the great tide of eternity. What is the reason, said I, that the tide I see rises out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the other? What thou seest said he, is that portion of eternity which is called Time, measured out by the sun, and reaching from the beginQing of the world to its consummation. Examine now, said he, this sea that is bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou discovorest in it I see a bridge, said I, standing in the midst of the tide. The bridge thou seest, said he, is human life; consider it attentively. Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number about a hundred.
3. Ai I was counting the arches, the genius told me that thia bridge consisted at first of a thousand: but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it. But tell me further, said he, what thouv discoverest on it. I see multitudes of people passing over it, said I, and a black cloud hanging on each end of it. As I looked more attentively, I saw several of the passengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed underneath it; and, upon further examination, perceived there were innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, which the passengers no sooner trod upon, than they fell through them into the tide, and immediately disappeared. These hidden pitfalls were set very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud, than many fell into them. They grew thinner towards the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together towards the end of the arches that were entire. There were indeed some persons, but their number was very small, that continued a kind of hobbling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and spent with so long a walk.
4. I passed some time in the contemplation of this wonderful structure, and the great variety of objects which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep melancholy, to see several dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth and jollity, and catching at every thing that stood by them, to save themselves. Some were looking up towards the heavens in a thoughtful posture, and, in the midst of a speculation, stumbled and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles, that glittered in their eyes, and danced before them; but often, when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they sunk. In this confusion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting several persona on trap-doors which did not seem to lie in their way, and which they might have 'escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
6. The genius seeing me indulge myself in this melancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it. Take thine eyes off the bridge, said he, and tell me if thou seest any thing thou dost not comprehend. Upon looking up, what mean, said I, those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and settling upon it from time to time? I see rultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys, that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches. These, said the genius, are envy, avarice, superstition, despair, love, with the like cares and passions that infect human life.
6. I here fetched a deep sigh: alas, said I, man was made in vain ! how is he given away to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and swallowed up in death ! The genius being moved with compassion towards me, bid me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. Look no more, said he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in setting out for eternity ; but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it. 1 directed my sight as I was ordered, and (whether or not the good genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate,] I saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts.
7. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I oould discover nothing in it; but the other appeared to me a vast ocean, planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers. Gladness grew in me at the discovery of so delighfui a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to those happy seats; but the genius told me there was no passage to them, except through the gates of death that 1 saw opening every moment upon the bridge.
8. The islands, said he, that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sand6 on the sea shore. There are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching further than thine eye, or even thine imagination, can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them: every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants.
9. Are not these, O Mirza, habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has such an eternity reserved for him. I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. At length, said I, show me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant. The genius making me no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me. I then turned again to the vision which I had been so long contemplating; but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, and camels, grazing upon the sides of it.
The Earl of Strafford.
1. The Earl of Strafford defended himself against the accusations of the House of Commons, with all the presence of mind, judgment, and sagacity, that could be expected from innocence and ability. His children were placed beside him as he was thus defending his life, and the cause of his royal master. After he had, in a long and eloquent speech, delivered without premeditation, confuted all the accusations of his enemies, he thus drew to a conclusion. 'But, my lords, I have troubled you too long:' longer than I should have done, but for the sake of these dear pledges which a saint in heaven has left me.' Upon this he paused; dropped a tear ; looked upon his children, and proceeded; 'What I forfeit for myself is a trifle: that my indiscretions should reach my posterity, wounds me to the heart. Pardon my infirmity. Something 1 should have added, but I am not able; and therefore let it pass. And now, my lords, for myself. I have long been taught, that the afflictions of this life are overpaid by that eternal weight of glory which awaits the innocent. And so, my lords, even so, with the utmost tranquillity, I submit myself to your judgment, whether that judgment be life or death: not my will, but thine, O God, be done!'
2. His eloquence and innocence induced those judges to pity, who were the most zealous to condemn him. The king
himself went to the house of lords, and spoke for some time in his defence ; but the spirit of vengeance, which had been chained for eleven years, was now roused ; and nothing but his blood could give the people satisfaction. He was condemned by both houses of parliament; and nothing remained but for the king to give his consent to the bill of attainder. But, in the present commotions, the consent of the king would very easily be dispensed with; and imminent danger might attend his refusal. Charles, however, who loved Strafford tenderly, hesitated, and seemed reluctant; trying every expedient to put off so dreadful an office as that of signing the warrant for his execution. While he continued in this agitation of mind, and state of suspense, his doubts were at last silenced by an act of great magnanimity in the condemned lord. He received a letter from that unfortunate nobleman, desiring that his life might be made a sacrifice to obtain reconciliation between the king and his people: adding, that he was prepared to die; and that to a willing mind. there could be no injury. This instance of noble generosity was but ill repaid by his master, who complied with his request. He consented to sign the fatal bill by commission: and Strafford was beheaded on Tower hill; behaving with that composed dignity of resolution, which was expected from his character.
Founder of Christianity.
1. Never was there on earth any other person of so extraordinary a character as the founder of our religion. In him we uniformly see a mildness, dignity, and composure, and a perfection of wisdom and of goodness, that plainly point him out as a superiour being. But his superiority was all in his own divine mind. He had none of those outward advantages that have distinguished all other lawgivers. He had no influence in the state; he had no wealth; he aimed at no wordly power., He was the son of a carpenter's wife, and he was himself a carpenter. So poor were his reputed parents, that at the time of his birth, his mother could obtain no better lodging than a stable; and so poor was he himself, that he often had no lodging at all.
2. That he had no advantages of education, we may infer from the surprise expressed by his neighbours on hearing him speak in the synagogue: 'Whence hath this man these things? What wisdom is this which is given him ? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary ? Are not his brethren and sisters with us V This point, however, we need not insist on; as from no education, that his own or any other country could have afforded, was it