the taming of serpents, and the extracting of their stings. And very extraordinary accounts are given, yet not less well authenticated than extraordinary, of the powers of serpent-charmers. Such accounts are given, not by inferior travelers only-of whom some, by drawing a long bow, have brought discredit, in many instances most unmerited, upon the whole tribe, and have rendered “travelers' stories" a phrase of proverbial sarcasmbut by those of the highest order, and by missionaries of the most conscientiously truthful and thoroughly-attested character. The Rev. Walter Scott, in his erudite and able work on the existence and agency of evil spirits, observes :


"Facts equally wonderful, or even more so, are frequently performed with serpents, as well as in other ways, by Indian jugglers to this day. Nay, some more difficult are exhibited by professors of legerdemain, or of natural magic, in our own country. Surely it would be more easy for them to cause the Egyptians to suppose that they changed their rods into serpents, than for jugglers among us to cause spectators to imagine that they can eat or spit fire, or swallow knives or swords, or change an egg into a beautiful bird, singing most delightfully, and again transform it into an egg; or that they can stand the discharge of a musket loaded with ball, without being injured. I must maintain that some of these things require much

greater skill and dexterity than would be required to enable the Egyptian magicians to substitute a serpent for a rod, in such a way that ignorant and credulous spectators would think that the latter had been changed into the


Then, secondly, we have the miracle of the blood. Let my reader bear now in mind how matters stood. The waters of the river, of the lakes, and ponds, and tanks, as well as all the water of their filtering vessels throughout the land of Egypt, had been turned to blood. Mark the difference. Moses simply stretches out his rod, and the stupendous wonder follows, on a scale by which every possibility of deception, it is useless to say, was precluded; and, at the same time, all reasonable questions silenced, as to the power by which it was effected. The magicians, of course, could not do this. It was already done. And the blood, observe, was not first reconverted into water, and then their power left to make trial of itself upon the same scale. No, no. When was it that "the magicians did so with their enchantments?" Why, it was when the blood was so abundant that the chief difficulty

must have been to find as much water as to make the experiment on even the smallest possible scale! Is there the slightest difficulty in conceiving a deception effected in an extent so very limited as this? the simple deception of either changing the color of a little water so as to make it resemble blood; or of substituting, by their legerdemain, a portion of the water already turned to blood, of which there was so sad

profusion prepared for their use, and ready at their hand? Or is there any difficulty in believing, that when they had effected this little bit of sorry mimicry, the infatuated monarch would be easily enough persuaded that they could do more?

Then, thirdly, look at the next miracle -that of the frogs. The same general remarks are equally applicable to it. In this case, as in the former, it could be on a very small scale only that the imposition could be practiced and here, too, by a power above theirs, the means had been amply provided for their purpose. Where could be the difficulty of "bringing up frogs," when, from end to end, the land was full of them? when they had found their way into houses, and bed-chambers, and ovens, and kneading-troughs? The king's heart, as before said, was predisposed to a favorable interpretation of all they did; and in such circumstances, with the material so abundantly furnished wherewith to practice their deception, and with a mind so credulous on which to work, how could they fail of success? They must have been wretched bunglers at their profession if they had. Let it now be noticed

6. That our principle of interpretation accords not only with the nature of the cases in which they succeeded, but most remarkably with the circumstances of that in which they failed and came to a stand. Let us look at these. They are especially striking. The case in which they thus failed, and were constrained to give in, and own themselves baffled, was the fourth in the series of miracles-the miracle of the lice. On the lifting up of the wonderworking rod, and smiting with it the dust of the earth, the narrative, in strong terms, says :-"All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became lice, and there were lice upon man and upon beast." Now mark it well. Thus far the magicians had succeeded. Here they are set

jects of the plague, they could not have the face to persist. The principal reason, however, of their now surrendering and owning their incompetency, appears to have been the one first mentioned. Well, too, might they have been getting tired of such a contest, which they could not but be sensible was so unequal a one. Every time that, in their diminutive way, they imitated one plague, it proved only the occasion of another following. What was to be the end of it? And this leads me to my seventh and last observation:


fast. It is now that it is said of them, They did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice; but they could not." The question naturally suggests itself, How comes this? Is there in this miracle any greater difficulty than in those which preceded it? Was there not the same abundant provision in this case as in the others for facilitating deception? Or, if there was reality in the effects produced, was the power which had "brought up the frogs" not sufficient to bring up the lice? Or shall we say, that at this particular point God saw meet to withdraw the exercise of his own power, or to curb and frustrate that of the evil spirits? There is no need for any such suppositions. There is a much simpler and more satisfactory way of answering the inquiry after the cause and solving the difficulty. The two following facts are amply sufficient for the purpose:-1. In all the previous cases the magicians had preintimation of what was about to be done, and, in this way, had time to prepare. It appears from the narrative that the other miracles had been previously announced as about to be executed, if Pharaoh persisted in withholding his assent to the people's departure. But this miracle, the record bears, was ordered by Jehovah, and executed by Moses and Aaron at the moment, and upon the spot, without an interval, and without the separation of the parties. Is it not, then, a singular circumstance that it should have been just then they were constrained to give in, and to say, "This is the finger of God?" It is still said of them that they "did so with their enchantments." They made a feint at it by the use of their ordinary terms of incantation and arts of jugglery; but, for want of preparation, the trick was bungled and failed. And then-2. The loathsome vermin were 66 upon man and upon beast." The magicians themselves, in their own persons, were, equally with others, the victims of this vile, humiliating, and tormenting plague. How, in these circumstances, was it possible for them to make it appear that they had produced them? And, accordingly, this very circumstance seems to be assigned in the | narrative as one at least of the causes why the magicians were, in this instance, foiled, and felt themselves incapable of presenting anything like a plausible counterfeit of the miracle. Being themselves sub

7. How extraordinary the fact that the power, whatsoever it was, which appeared thus as an antagonist power to Jehovah's, was never appealed to by the king-and was never, by those who possessed it, put forth-for the removal or mitigation of any of the plagues! How came it that this power, supposed to be exerted with real efficiency, is always introduced to add to the evil, never to take it away? I have characterized this as very extraordinary. And was it not so? One should have imagined that the very first thing of which the king, and his courtiers, and his people would have thought, and would have set their hearts upon, would have been to call for the power of the magicians to counteract the power of Moses and Aaron, not to help it; to command away the successive evils, not to augment them; and that to the magicians themselves, had they really possessed any such power as has been ascribed to them, the very first thing that would have occurred would have been the exercise of that power in mitigating the pressure of woe after woe upon their people and their land. Pharaoh, at all events, might reasonably have been expected to say to them, "I don't want you, and have not sent for you to set your wits and your power to work in doing the same thing; we have got, in all conscience, more than enough of it already. If you possess any power sufficient to enable you to compete with these strangers, and with the God whose messengers they profess to be, pray put it forth, if you please, in counteraction. These are plagues and curses; don't add to them, take them away." And few things can more strikingly evince the predisposition of the king's heart to admit deception, to allow himself to be duped and gulled by imposture, than this

very circumstance. His magicians, however, were quite incompetent for anything of the kind. When each of the successive plagues is to be removed, the mortifying petition must be presented to Moses and Aaron for the intervention of the same power by which it had been inflicted. The God that brought it must be prayed to take it away! By Jehovah it had been sent, by Jehovah alone it could be removed. And the Egyptians thus were made to see and to feel both his power to smite and his power to heal. But all in vain. King and people hardened their hearts. As for the magicians, nothing is to me more manifest than that their pre-ed more strong, and his faith more confirmed; still laboring to attain that holiness and purity, without which none shall see God.

appointed chaplain to King Charles I., and afterward made bishop of Lincoln. About three weeks before his death, finding his strength decay, by reason of his constant infirmity, and a consumptive cough added to it, he retired to his chamber, expressing a desire to enjoy his last thoughts to himself in private, without disturbance or care, especially of what might concern this world. Thus, as his natural life decayed, his spiritual life seem

tended power was all imposture. There were "enchantments," juggleries, feats of legerdemain, and various modes of deception, by which, for a time, they succeeded in producing the semblance of a corresponding miracle. But that was all. They soon failed, and were glad, I cannot doubt, of an excuse for backing out from a contest with a power, before which they could not but soon come to feel that they were nothing. And, in the language of Paul," the folly" of Jannes and Jambres and their associates became "manifest to all men."

And so, ultimately, must the folly of all who are found "fighting against God." "Let the potsherds strive with the pot sherds of the earth; woe to the man that striveth with his Maker!" "He is wise in heart and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered ?" And hence, I repeat, the unspeakable importance and the imperative obligation of every man examining, seriously and thoroughly, with an humble and candid spirit, whether this book contains his counsels. If it does, those counsels are counsels which nothing could dictate but Infinite Benevolence. Our salvation, our eternal well-being, is their avowed object. And all the miracles recorded here are the forth-puttings of divine power, to recommend the acceptance of divine mercy. They have thus a bearing upon a deliverance infinitely more valuable than that from Egyptian bondage -present and everlasting deliverance from the bondage, the guilt, and all the penal consequences of sin. "If thou be wise, then thou shalt be wise for thyself; but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it."


In this time of retirement, which was wholly spent in devotion, he longed for his dissolution; and when some that loved him prayed for his recovery, if he at any time found an amendment, he seemed to be displeased, by saying, "his friends said their prayers backward for him." He rejoiced much that he had so lived, as never to cause an hour's sorrow to his good father, and that he hoped he should die without an enemy.

He, in this retirement, had the Church prayers read in his chamber twice every day; and at nine at night, some prayers were read to him, and a part of his family, out of "The Whole Duty of Man."

The day before he took his bed, (which was three days before his death,) he, that he might receive a new assurance of the pardon of his sins past, and be strengthened in his way to the New Jerusalem, took the blessed sacrament of the body and blood of his and our blessed Jesus, from the hands of his chaplain, Mr. Pullen, accompanied by his wife, children, and a friend, in as awful, humble, and ardent a manner as outward reverence could express. After the praise and thanksgiving for this blessing was ended, he spake to this purpose: "I have now, to the great joy of my soul, tasted of the all-saving sacrifice of my Saviour's death and passion, and with it received a spiritual assurance that my sins past are pardoned, and my God is at peace with me; and that I shall never have a will or power to do anything that may separate my soul from the love of my dear Saviour. Lord!

confirm this belief in me; and make me still to remember, that it is thou, O God, that tookest me out of my mother's womb, and hast been the powerful protector of me to this present moment of my life! thou hast neither forsaken me now I am become gray-headed, nor suffered me to forsake thee in the late days of temptation, and sacrifice my conscience for the preservation of my liberty or estate. It was not of myself, but grace, that I have stood when others have fallen under my trials, and these mercies I now remember with joy and thankfulness; and my hope and desire is, that I may die remembering this, and praising thee, my merciful God."

After this, taking his bed, and about a day before his death, he said often, "Lord, forsake me not now my strength faileth me, but continue thy mercy, and let my mouth be ever filled with thy praise."

He continued the remaining night and day very patient and thankful for any of the little offices that were performed for his ease and refreshment, and during that time did often say to himself the 103d Psalm, (a psalm that is composed of praise and consolation fitted for a dying soul,) and say also to himself these words: “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed where true joy is to be found." And now his thoughts seemed to be wholly of death, for which he was so prepared, that the King of Terrors could not surprise him as a thief in the night; for he had often said, "He was prepared and longed for it." And as this desire seemed to come from heaven, so it left him not till his soul ascended to that region of blessed spirits, whose employments are to join in concert with his, and sing praise and glory to that God who had brought him and them to that place into which sin and sorrow cannot enter.

Thus this pattern of meekness changed this for a better life: it is now too late that mine may be like his, (for I am in the eighty-fifth year of my age, and God knows that it hath not,) but I most humbly beseech Almighty God that my death may; and I do as earnestly beg, that if any reader shall receive any satisfaction from this very plain, and as true relation, he will be so charitable as to say, "Amen."*

The higher a Christian ascends above this sinful world, the more that religion prevails within, the more evidently shall he then find himself in a clear heaven, in a region that is calm and serene; and the more will those dark affections of fear and despair vanish away, and those clear and bright affections of love and joy, of hope and peace, break forth in strength and lustre upon the soul.

* Life of Dr. Robert Sanderson, by Izaak Walton, in Wordsworth's Eccl. Biog., vol. iv.

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[OHNSON had passed more than seventeen years in London before the publication of his Dictionary raised him to that height of literary fame that he ever afterward occupied. His personal history for those years has been briefly sketched in the preceding pages; but to enable one to form a just estimate of the whole subject, so as to embrace in the view his "times" as well as his "life," a more extended survey of cotemporary affairs seems to be necessary. Each age has its own peculiarities, which require to be studied in order to obtain an intelligent notion of its affairs; and especially is the literature and literary history of each age marked by their own characteristics, which often differ so widely from those of other times that no system of generalization can be safely applied in investigating them. The condition of the republic of letters in England a hundred years ago must be studied by itself in order to be understood.

The materials for such an investigation are abundant and unusually valuable. During the greater part of that chaotic night which preceded the brighter dawning in which Johnson's star was in the ascendant, the genius of Pope beamed forth with a clear, but baneful light. Correct and delicate taste, where there is but little to gratify it, and much to offend, is, at best, a faculty of but doubtful utility; though probably few that possess it would willingly be deprived of it. In another age, and among more favorable circumstances, the cruel satires of the" Dunciad" might have given place to the fellowships of kindred wits and the amenities of literary recreations; and, in that case, the genius that was expended in uttering invectives against the prevailing dullness and false taste, might have been exercised in leading the age to loftier achievement in polite literature. But, as matters were, we have the "Dunciad," the best thing that the age could afford—a life-picture of the dark side of affairs as they then existed in the British world of letters.

The mutations of things that surely, but silently, occur with the steady lapse of time, are nowhere else more decidedly experienced than in literature. There was a time, and that not very remote from that under notice, when even in English

society the word patron had a real and specific signification; but the age of legitimate patronage had now passed away never to return. Literature, in common with the other retainers and sycophants at baronial halls, had been turned out, and cast upon its own resources; but, like most abandoned pensioners, it was slow to learn the arts of self-reliance, and to develop the spirit of a manly independence. From their late lordly abodes, where they dwelt in liveried and pampered slavery, the devotees of the Muses now fled to garrets, and visiting no longer, except in poetic dreams, the groves, and lawns, and sacred shades, where sentimental poets love to roam, they took up their abodes in obscure streets and out-of-the-way courts of the metropolis. The emancipation of literature by the cessation of patronage abolished the guild by which the art and profession had been restricted to a favored few, and opened the portals of the temple of Apollo to any whom either vanity might entice into it, or necessity drive thither. The train of the Muses was never before so large as now, when they had nothing but barren bays with which to reward their devotees.

New facts and phenomena call for a new nomenclature, and so the peculiar terminology of the "Dunciad" and kindred productions was brought into use to meet the requirements of the case. Foremost among these newly-coined expressions is "Grub-street," the celebrated locality of the men of letters of that age. "Grubstreet," says Johnson in his great Dictionary, "is a street in London, much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems, whence any mean production is called Grub-street." Few of the adventitious terms of the language have become more really and specifically significant than this. As a term used in the natural history of the genus litterateur, it is strictly and definitely specific. The species, however, though numerous, and for a while wonderfully prolific, had but a temporary existence, passing insensibly into other developments, as the creeping myriads of spring assume other forms with the progress of the season. It was of the period of the full tide of Grub-street life that the great master of English verse, comparing its numerous race to the progeny of Berecynthia paying their " homage to the mother of the sky," wrote:

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