Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

he remarks that he was so happy as to have along with him his dear companion, the Bible.

Early on the morning, therefore, of the 15th of April, he retired to a forest which lay a considerable way out of town, on the road to Pisa, and spent the day in devotional exercises. He sung the sixty-third psalm, a psalm written in a wilderness, which, says he, gave me great comfort in my wilderness. He read the 102d psalm, which well suits the afflicted when he is overwhelmed and poureth out his complaint before the Lord. He engaged repeatedly in prayer and in meditation on God and the dispensations of his providence towards his people and himself in particular. As the day advanced the wind sprang up, and it began to rain. He took shelter from the storm in the trunk of a hollow tree, and standing within it, wrote the following lines, which are inserted, not for any excellence in the poetry, but because of the circumstances in which they were composed, and to show the temper of his mind on this trying oc

casion:

THE CONFIDENCE OF THE SOLITARY EXILE. Written in a forest between Leghorn and Pisa, April 15, 1759

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

After the rain ceased, he drew nearer the city, and reclining on a bank, wrote a few verses; but the wind still blowing high, the evening growing chill, and he himself becoming faint, (for he had tasted nothing all that day but a draught of cold water, and eaten little the day before,) he returned to the city. Calling at a house to which he was kindly invited, he had not sat long before information was brought him that the English fleet had been driven back by contrary winds, and were arrived in the roads.

Animated by this delightful but unexpected intelligence of an event which so evidently marked the care of Providence, he made all possible haste towards the shore. But it was late-it blew hard, and it was morning before he got abroad. As he rowed towards the ship, it fell calmer, the wind became fair, the signal for sailing was hoisted and within two hours after he entered the Portland, the fleet was under way with a fair wind and fresh gale.

How ignorant are we of the gracious intention of events of which, at the moment, we are disposed to complain! The wind which chilled him and the rain which drove him for shelter into the trunk of a tree, were the instruments of his deliverance. "This interposition of Providence for me," he says, "was astonishing-that God should send a contrary gust of wind out of his treasures, and turn a whole fleet out of their intended course, for one poor worm, and whenever that end was accomplished, ordered a fair wind to blow, so that we were obliged to put back no more."

It appears to have struck even the thoughtless sailors with surprise; for they hailed him as he approached the vessel, in their rough and irreligious manner, "Come along, you praying devil!" adding that the winds would not permit them to leave Leghorn without him.

His first care was to acknowledge God. "I had pleasant reflections," he says, "in the sudden and sweet changes which Providence had made in my circumstances." The other day I was in a forest in Italy-solitary, left behind, and friendless; but now in my own ship, and already many leagues advanced on our intended voyage."Amidst the glow of gratitude which he felt for his deliverance, he wrote (April 18th) the following lines:—

"Awake each grateful thought, and sing
The Lord's o'erruling hand:

For thee concern'd the eternal King
See, and astonish'd, stand.

Heaven's hosts might well engross his care
Angelic every form;

Yet strange! see him on earth prepare
His way to bless a worm.

At his command the billows swell,
The winds impetuous blow,
And veer about, and quick fulfil
His kind designs below.

I cannot praise thee as I should
With gratitude inspire;
I cannot praise thee as I would-
Accept the faint desire.

Thy kindness I will ne'er forget,
But there astonish'd gaze;
And all my life on earth will set
Apart to show thy praise."

REFLECTIONS EXCITED BY SEEING A LIKENESS OF

LUTHER.

Mighty Spirit of past ages,

Born to rouse a s'umbering world;
'Twas thou that broke the despot's yoke
And Rome's pontiff downward hurl❜d.
Still thy memory shall endure,
E'en as the eternal hills secure.

Long the world had darkness cover'd
Darkness deep as midnight gloom;
Superstition reigned triumphant,
Piety had not her doom.
The Vaudois wag'd unequal strife,
Bold Huss had paid his forfeit life.

But a bright star at length arose
Quickly to dispel that night,
Which long had brooded o'er the mind,
Dark'ning reason's fairest light.
Knowledge was borne upon each gale
That swept the hill, or fann'd the vale.
Man by heaven itself appointed!
Lo! e'en now I see thee stand,
At the illustrious city's towers,
'Midst that trembling, fearful band.
But see avenging flames devour
Mandates that shock a monarch's power.

Proud Cajetan still strove in vain
To move his generous soul;
Miltitz who plead in accents mild,
His resolves could not control.
Tho' attack'd by numerous foes,
Still o'er all he conqueror rose.

Lo! before the mightiest princes,
Trusting in his God, he stands

Nor retracts the truth once utter'd
Tho' imperial Charles commands.
But, "Here I stand, God be my aid;
I can not otherwise" he said.

Now thy work on earth is ended,
Freed from turmoil and from strife,
All thy imperfections ended,
Thou enjoy'st eternal life.
0 may thy cause the cause of truth
Still flourish in immortal youth.

MORTON.

Morton is certainly, under a happy influence of Bible religion, and duly appreciates the immortal Luther and his services to the world. We should prefer however, if he would transmit to us his "Reflections" in prose.-Editor.

STRIKING THEORY OF MEMORY.

The following anecdote from the biography of Coleridge, is a very remarkable fact, and seems to illustrate a very striking theory.

A case occured in a Catholic town in Germany, a year or two before my arrival at Gottingen, and had not then ceased to be a frequent subject of conversation. A young woman of four or five and twenty, who could neither read nor write, was seized with a nervous fever; during which, according to the asseverations of all the priests and monks of the neighborhood, she became possessed, (as it appeared,) by a very learned devil. She continued incessantly talking Latin, Greek and Hebrew, in very pompous tones, and with most distinct enunciation. The case had attracted the particular attention of a young physician, and by his statement, many eminent physiologists and psychologists visited the town, and cross-examined the case on the spot. Sheets full of her ravings were taken down from her own mouth and were found to consist of sentences coherent and intelligible each for itself, but with little or no connexion with each other. Of the Hebrew a small proportion only could be traced to the Bible; the remainder seemed to be rabbinical dialect. All trick of conspiracy was out of the question. Not only had the young woman ever been an harmless creature, but she was evidently laboring under a nervous fever. In the town in which she had been residing for many years, as a servant in different families, no solution presented itself. The young physician, however, determined to trace her past life, step by step; for the patient herself was incapable of returning a rational answer. He at length succeeded in discovering the place where her parents had lived; travelled thither and found them dead, but an uncle surviving; and from him learnt that the patient had been charitably taken by an old Protestant pastor at nine years old,

man.

and had remained with him some years, even till the old man's death. Of this pastor the uncle knew nothing, but that he was a very good With great difficulty, and after much search, our young medical philosopher discovered a niece of the pastor's, who had lived with him as housekeeper, and had inherited his effects. She remembered the girl; related that her venerable uncle had been too indulgent, and could not bear to hear the girl scolded; that she was wilfing to have kept her, but after her patron's death, the girl herself refused to stay. Anxious inquiries were then of course, made concerning the pastor's habits, and the solution of the phenomenon was soon obtained. For it appeared, that it had been the old man's custom for years to walk up and down a passage of his house, into which the kitchen door opened, and read to himself, with a loud voice, out of his favorite books. A considerable number of these were still in the niece's possession. She added, that he was a learned man, and a great Hebrewist. Among the books, were found a collection of rabbinical writings, together with several of the Greek and Latin Fathers; and the physician succeeded in identifying so many passages with those taken down at the young woman's bedside, that no doubt could remain in any rational mind, concerning the true origin of the impressions made on her nervous system.

This authenticated case furnishes both proof and instance, that relics of sensation may exist, for an indefinite time, in a latent_state, in the very same order in which they were originally impressed; and as we cannot rationally suppose the feverish state of the brain to act in any other way than as a stimulus, this fact, (and it would not be difficult to adduce several of the same kind,) contributes to make it even probable, that all thoughts are, in themselves imperishable: and that if the intelligent faculty should be rendered more comprehensive, it would require only a different and apportioned organization, the body celestial instead of the body terrestial, to bring before every human soul the collective experience of its whole past existence. And this-this, perchance, is the dread book of judgment, in whose mysterious hieroglyphics every idle word is recorded! Yea, in the very nature of a living spirit, it may be more possible that heaven and earth should pass away, than that a single act or a single thought should be lost."

A WORD TO STUDENTS.

Anecdotes of Luther, Sir Isaac Newton, and President Edwards.

Be persuaded to strict temperance by a consideration of its happy influence on the health and vigor both of mind and body. The most eminent physicians bear uniform testimony to this propitious effect of entire abstinence. And the Spirit of inspiration has recorded, He that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Many striking examples might be adduced. The mother of Sampson, that prodigy

« VorigeDoorgaan »