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ducting and pointing it is the same as in an epigram. It is a miserable thing, after one hath raised the expectation of the company by humorous characters and a pretty conceit, to pursue the matter too far. There is no retreating; and how poor is it for a storyteller to end his relation by saying, 'That's all !'

[The Political Upholsterer.]

As the choosing of pertinent circumstances is the life of a story, and that wherein humour principally consists, so the collectors of impertinent particulars are the very bane and opiates of conversation. Old men are great transgressors this way. Poor Ned Poppy-he's gone!-was a very honest man, but was so excessively tedious over his pipe, that he was not to be endured. He knew so exactly what they had for dinner when such a thing happened, in what ditch his bay horse had his sprain at that time, and There lived some years since, within my neighbourhow his man John-no, it was William-started a hood, a very grave person, an upholsterer, who seemed hare in the common field, that he never got to the a man of more than ordinary application to business. end of his tale. Then he was extremely particular He was a very early riser, and was often abroad two in marriages and intermarriages, and cousins twice or three hours before any of his neighbours. He had or thrice removed, and whether such a thing hap- a particular carefulness in the knitting of his brows, pened at the latter end of July or the beginning of and a kind of impatience in all his motions, that August. He had a marvellous tendency likewise to plainly discovered he was always intent on matters of digressions; insomuch, that if a considerable person importance. Upon my inquiry into his life and conwas mentioned in his story, he would straightway versation, I found him to be the greatest newsmonger launch out into an episode of him; and again, if in in our quarter; that he rose before day to read the that person's story he had occasion to remember a Postman; and that he would take two or three turns third man, he broke off, and gave us his history, and to the other end of the town before his neighbours so on. He always put me in mind of what Sir William were up, to see if there were any Dutch mails come Temple informs us of the tale-tellers in the north of in. He had a wife and several children; but was Ireland, who are hired to tell stories of giants and much more inquisitive to know what passed in Poland enchanters to lull people asleep. These historians than in his own family, and was in greater pain and are obliged, by their bargain, to go on without stop-anxiety of mind for King Augustus's welfare than that ping; so that after the patient hath, by this benefit, of his nearest relations. He looked extremely thin in enjoyed a long nap, he is sure to find the operator a dearth of news, and never enjoyed himself in a proceeding in his work. Ned procured the like effect westerly wind. This indefatigable kind of life was in me the last time I was with him. As he was in the ruin of his shop; for about the time that his the third hour of his story, and very thankful that favourite prince left the crown of Poland, he broke his memory did not fail him, I fairly nodded in the and disappeared. elbow chair. He was much affronted at this, till I told him, 'Old friend, you have your infirmity, and I have mine.'

This man and his affairs had been long out of my mind, till about three days ago, as I was walking in St James's Park, I heard somebody at a distance hemming after me: and who should it be but my old neighbour the upholsterer? I saw he was reduced to extreme poverty, by certain shabby superfluities in his dress; for notwithstanding that it was a very sultry day for the time of the year, he wore a loose greatcoat and a muff, with a long campaign wig out of curl; to which he had added the ornament of a pair of black garters buckled under the knee. Upon his coming up to me, I was going to inquire into his present circumstances, but was prevented by his asking me, with a whisper, whether the last letters brought any accounts that one might rely upon from Bender? I told him, none that heard of; and asked him whether he had yet married his eldest daughter? He told me no: But pray, says he, tell me sincerely, what are your thoughts of the king of Sweden? for though his wife and children were starving, I found his chief concern at present was for this great monarch. I told him, that I looked upon him as one of the first heroes of the age. But pray, says he, do you think there is anything in the story of his wound? And finding me surprised at the question, Nay, says he, I only propose it to you. I answered, that I thought there was no reason to doubt of it. But why in the heel, says he, more than in any other part of the body? Because, said I, the bullet chanced to light there.



But of all evils in story-telling, the humour of telling tales one after another in great numbers, is the least supportable. Sir Harry Pandolf and his son gave my Lady Lizard great offence in this particular. Sir Harry hath what they call a string of stories, which he tells over every Christmas. When our family visits there, we are constantly, after supper, entertained with the Glastonbury Thorn. When we have wondered at that a little, Ay, but father,' saith the son, let us have the Spirit in the Wood. After that hath been laughed at, Ay, but father,' cries the booby again, 'tell us how you served the robber.' ‘Alack-a-day,' saith Sir Harry with a smile, and rubbing his forehead, I have almost forgot that, but it is a pleasant conceit to be sure.' Accordingly he tells that and twenty more in the same independent order, and without the least variation, at this day, as he hath done, to my knowledge, ever since the Revolution. I must not forget a very odd compliment that Sir Harry always makes my lady when he dines here. After dinner he says, with a feigned concern in his countenance, Madam, I have lost by you to-day.' How so, Sir Harry?' replies my lady. 'Madam,' says he, 'I have lost an excellent appetite.' At this his son and heir laughs immoderately, and winks upon Mrs Annabella. This is the thirty-third time that Sir Harry hath been thus arch, and I can bear it no longer.


As the telling of stories is a great help and life to conversation, I always encourage them, if they are pertinent and innocent, in opposition to those gloomy mortals who disdain everything but matter of fact. Those grave fellows are my aversion, who sift everything with the utmost nicety, and find the malignity of a lie in a piece of humour pushed a little beyond


exact truth. I likewise have a poor opinion of those who have got a trick of keeping a steady countenance, that cock their hats and look glum when a pleasant thing is said, and ask, 'Well, and what then?' Men of wit and parts should treat one another with benevolence; and I will lay it down as a maxim, that if you seem to have a good opinion of another man's wit, he will allow you to have judgment.

Having given these samples of Steele's composition, we now add some of the best of Addison's pieces:

This extraordinary dialogue was no sooner ended, but he began to launch out into a long dissertation upon the affairs of the north; and after having spent some time on them, he told me he was in a great perplexity how to reconcile the Supplement with the English Post, and had been just now examining what the other papers say upon the same subject. The

Daily Courant, says he, has these words, We have ad- crown. In compassion to so needy a statesman, and vices from very good hands, that a certain prince has to dissipate the confusion I found he was in, I told some matters of great importance under consideration. him, if he pleased I would give him five shillings, to This is very mysterious; but the Postboy leaves us more receive five pounds of him when the great Turk was in the dark, for he tells us that there are private in-driven out of Constantinople; which he very readily timations of measures taken by a certain prince, which accepted, but not before he had laid down to me the time will bring to light. Now the Postman, says he, impossibility of such an event, as the affairs of Europe who used to be very clear, refers to the same news in these words: The late conduct of a certain prince affords great matter of speculation. This certain prince, says the upholsterer, whom they are all so cautious of naming, I take to be Upon which, though there was nobody near us, he whispered something in my ear, which I did not hear, or think worthy my while to make him repeat.*

now stand.

On the 5th day of the moon, which, according to the custom of my forefathers, I always keep holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morn

We were now got to the upper end of the Mall, where were three or four very odd fellows sitting together upon the bench. These I found were all of them politicians, who used to sun themselves in that place every day about dinner time. Observing them to be curiosities in their kind, and my friend's acquaintance, I sat down among them. The chief politician of the bench was a great assertering devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in of paradoxes. He told us, with a seeming concern, order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and that by some news he had lately read from Muscovy, prayer. As I was here airing myself on the tops of it appeared to him that there was a storm gathering the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation in the Black Sea, which might in time do hurt to the on the vanity of human life; and passing from one naval forces of this nation. To this he added, that thought to another, Surely, said I, man is but a shafor his part he could not wish to see the Turk driven dow, and life a dream. Whilst I was thus musing, I out of Europe, which he believed could not but be cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was prejudicial to our woollen manufacture. He then not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit told us, that he looked upon the extraordinary re- of a shepherd, with a little musical instrument in his volutions which had lately happened in those parts hand. As I looked upon him, he applied it to his of the world, to have risen chiefly from two persons lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of it was who were not much talked of; and those, says he, are exceedingly sweet, and wrought into a variety of Prince Menzikoff and the Duchess of Mirandola. He tunes that were inexpressibly melodious, and altobacked his assertions with so many broken hints, and gether different from anything I had ever heard. They such a show of depth and wisdom, that we gave our- put me in mind of those heavenly airs that are played selves up to his opinions. to the departed souls of good men upon their first arrival in paradise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.

The discourse at length fell upon a point which seldom escapes a knot of true born Englishmen : Whether, in case of a religious war, the Protestants would not be too strong for the Papists? This we unanimously determined on the Protestant side. One who sat on my right hand, and, as I found by his discourse, had been in the West Indies, assured us, that it would be a very easy matter for the Protestants to beat the pope at sea; and added, that whenever such a war does break out, it must turn to the good of the Leeward Islands. Upon this, one who sat at the end of the bench, and, as I afterwards found, was the geographer of the company, said, that in case the Papists should drive the Protestants from these parts of Europe, when the worst came to the worst, it would be impossible to beat them out of Norway and Greenland, provided the northern crowns hold together, and the Czar of Muscovy stand neuter.

He further told us for our comfort, that there were vast tracts of lands about the pole, inhabited neither by Protestants nor Papists, and of greater extent than all the Roman Catholic dominions in Europe.

[The Vision of Mirza.]

When I was at Grand Cairo, I picked up several oriental manuscripts, which I have still by me. Among others I met with one entitled 'The Visions of Mirza, which I have read over with great pleasure. I intend to give it to the public when I have no other entertainment for them, and shall begin with the first vision, which I have translated word for word as follows:

I had been often told that the rock before me was the haunt of a genius, and that several had been entertained with music who had passed by it, but never heard that the musician had before made himself visible. When he had raised my thoughts by those transporting airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and by the waving of his hand, directed me to approach the place where he sat. I drew near with that reverence which is due to a superior nature; and as my heart was entirely subdued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability that familiarised 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.'

He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, 'Cast thine 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

Pretender, James Stuart, son of King James II.

*The prince here alluded to so mysteriously was the so-called sun, and reaching from the beginning of the world to its consummation. Examine now," said he, this

When we had fully discussed this point, my friend the upholsterer began to exert himself upon the present negotiations of peace, in which he deposed princes, settled the bounds of kingdoms, and balanced the power of Europe, with great justice and impartiality.

I at length took my leave of the company, and was going away; but had not gone thirty yards, before the upholsterer hemmed again after me. Upon his advancing towards me with a whisper, I expected to hear some secret piece of news, which he had not thought fit to communicate to the bench; but instead of that, he desired me in my ear to lend him half-a




sea that is bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou discoverest 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 entire arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number to about a hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches, 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 thou 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, but 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, but many of them fell into them. They grew thinner towards the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together towards the end of the arches that were entire.


I directed my sight as I was ordered, and (whether
or no the good genius strengthened it with any super-
natural 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 ada-
mant running through the midst of it, and dividing
it into two equal parts. The clouds still rested on
one half of it, insomuch that I could 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 thou-
sand 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, and could hear a confused harmony
of singing birds, falling waters, human voices, and
musical instruments. Gladness grew in me upon the
discovery of so delightful 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 I
saw opening every moment upon the bridge.
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 sands on the sea-shore; there are
myriads of islands behind those which thou here dis-
coverest, reaching farther than thine eye, or even thine
imagination, can extend itself. These are the man-
sions 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. 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 con-
vey 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, 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 no-


The genius seeing me indulge myself on this melan-thing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat, with choly prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon oxen, sheep, and camels, grazing upon the sides of it. it. Take thine eyes off the bridge,' said he, and tell me if thou yet seest anything 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 vultures, 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 infest Human Life.'


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.

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 everything 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 sank. 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 persons 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.


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, bade me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. 'Look no more,' said he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in his 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.'

[Sir Roger De Coverley's Visit to Westminster Abbey.]

My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me the other night that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, 'in which,' says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies.' He told me, at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not at first imagine how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been very busy all last summer upon Baker's Chronicle, which he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly, I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the abbey.

I found the knight under the butler's hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the widow Truby's water,

which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended to me a dram of it at the same time, with so much heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the knight, observing that I had made several wry faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the world against the stone or gravel.

I could have wished, indeed, that he had acquainted me with the virtues of it sooner; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of good will. Sir Roger told me further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man whilst he stayed in town, to keep off infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzic: when of a sudden, turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bade him call a hackney-coach, and take care that it was an elderly man that drove it.

He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs Truby's water, telling me that the widow Truby was one who did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in the country; that she distilled every poppy that grew within five miles of her; that she distributed her medicine gratis among all sorts of people; to which the knight added, that she had a very great jointure, and that the whole country would fain have it a match between him and her; and truly,' says Sir Roger, if I had not been engaged, perhaps I could not have done better.'


His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him he had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman if his axletree was good. Upon the fellow's telling him he would warrant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.

We had not gone far, when Sir Roger, popping out his head, called the coachman down from his box, and upon presenting himself at the window, asked him if he smoked. As I was considering what this would end in, he bade him stop by the way at any good tobacconist's, and take in a roll of the best Virginia. Nothing material happened in the remaining part of our journey, till we were set down at the west end of the abbey.

As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out,' A brave man, I warrant him!' Passing afterwards by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he flung his head that way, and cried, Sir Cloudesley Shovel! a very gallant, man! As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner, Dr Busby! a great man! he whipped my grandfather; a very great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead; a very great man!'

We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger, planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to everything he said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the king of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil upon his knees; and concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery, who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and after having regarded her finger for some time, I wonder,' says he, that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle.'


We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs, where my old friend, after having heard that

the stone underneath the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's pillar, sat himself down in the chair; and looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter, what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever been in Scotland?' The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him that he hoped his honour would pay his forfeit.' I could observe Sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humour, and whispered in my ear, that 'if Will Wimble were with us, and saw those two chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobacco-stopper out of one or t'other of them.'

Sir Roger, in the next place, laid his hand upon Edward III.'s sword, and leaning upon the pommel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince; concluding, that in Sir Richard Baker's opinion, Edward III. was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.

We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb; upon which Sir Roger acquainted us, that 'he was the first who touched for the evil:' and afterwards Henry IV.'s; upon which he shook his head, and told us there was fine reading in the casualties of that reign.'

Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without a head; and upon giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since; Some Whig, I'll warrant you,' says Sir Roger; 'you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body too, if you do not take care.'

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[The Works of Creation.]

I was yesterday about sunset walking in the open fields, until the night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amused myself with all the richness and variety of colours which appeared in the western parts of heaven. In proportion as they faded away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one after another, until the whole firmament was in a glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened by the season of the year, and by the rays of all those luminaries that passed through it. The galaxy appeared in its most beautiful white. To complete the scene, the full moon rose at length in that clouded majesty which Milton takes notice of, and opened to the eye a new picture of nature, which was more finely shaded, and disposed among softer lights, than that which the sun had before discovered to us."

As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought rose in me which I believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and contem

plative natures. David himself fell into it in that reflection: When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou regardest him?' In the same manner, when I considered that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more philosophically, of suns, which were then shining upon me, with those innumerable sets of planets or worlds which were moving round their respective suns-when I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another heaven of suns and worlds rising still above this which we discovered, and these still enlightened by a superior firmament of luminaries, which are planted at so great a distance, that they may appear to the inhabitants of the former as the stars do to us-in short, while I pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's works.

Were the sun which enlightens this part of the creation, with all the host of planetary worlds that move about him, utterly extinguished and annihilated, they would not be missed more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that it would scarce make a blank in the creation. The chasm would be imperceptible to an eye that could take in the whole compass of nature, and pass from one end of the creation to the other; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. We see many stars by the help of glasses which we do not discover with our naked eyes; and the finer our telescopes are, the more still are our discoveries. Huygenius carries this thought so far, that he does not think it impossible there may be stars whose light has not yet travelled down to us since their first creation. There is no question but the universe has certain bounds set to it; but when we consider that it is the work of infinite power prompted by infinite goodness, with an infinite space to exert itself in, how can our imagination set any bounds to it?

To return, therefore, to my first thought; I could not but look upon myself with secret horror as a being that was not worth the smallest regard of one who had so great a work under his care and superintendency. I was afraid of being overlooked amidst the immensity of nature, and lost among that infinite variety of creatures which in all probability swarm through all these immeasurable regions of matter.

In order to recover myself from this mortifying thought, I considered that it took its rise from those narrow conceptions which we are apt to entertain of the divine nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we must of course neglect others. This imperfection which we observe in ourselves is an imperfection that cleaves in some degree to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures; that is, beings of finite and limited natures. The presence of every created being is confined to a certain measure of space, and consequently his observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than another, according as we rise one above another in the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference. When, therefore, we reflect on the divine nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear in some measure ascribing it to Him in whom there is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason indeed assures us that his attributes are infinite; but the poorness of our conceptions is such, that it cannot forbear setting bounds to everything it

contemplates, until our reason comes again to our succour, and throws down all those little prejudices which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.

We shall, therefore, utterly extinguish this melancholy thought of our being overlooked by our Maker, in the multiplicity of his works and the infinity of those objects among which he seems to be incessantly employed, if we consider, in the first place, that he is omnipresent; and, in the second, that he is omniscient.

If we consider him in his omnipresence, his being passes through, actuates, and supports the whole frame of nature. His creation, and every part of it, is full of him. There is nothing he has made that is either so distant, so little, or so inconsiderable, which he does not essentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of every being, whether material or immaterial, and as intimately present to it as that being is to itself. It would be an imperfection in him were he able to remove out of one place into another, or to withdraw himself from anything he has created, or from any part of that space which is diffused and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of him in the language of the old philosopher, he is a being whose centre is everywhere, and his circumference nowhere.

In the second place, he is omniscient as well as omnipresent. His omniscience, indeed, necessarily and naturally flows from his omnipresence: he cannot but be conscious of every motion that arises in the whole material world, which he thus essentially pervades; and of every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world, to every part of which he is thus intimately united. Several moralists have considered the creation as the temple of God, which he has built with his own hands, and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered infinite space as the receptacle, or rather the habitation, of the Almighty. But the noblest and most exalted way of considering this infinite space is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the sensorium of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their sensoriola, or little sensoriums, by which they apprehend the presence and perceive the actions of a few objects that lie contiguous to them. Their knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow circle. But as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know everything in which he resides, infinite space gives room to infinite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to omniscience.

Were the soul separate from the body, and with one glance of thought should start beyond the bounds of the creation-should it for millions of years continue its progress through infinite space with the same activity-it would still find itself within the embrace of its Creator, and encompassed round with the immensity of the Godhead. While we are in the body, he is not less present with us because he is concealed from us. 'Oh that I knew where I might find him!' says Job. Behold I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand where he does work, but I cannot behold him : he hideth himself on the right hand that I cannot see him.' In short, reason as well as revelation assures us that he cannot be absent from us, notwithstanding he is undiscovered by us.

In this consideration of God Almighty's omnipresence and omniscience, every uncomfortable thought vanishes. He cannot but regard everything that has being, especially such of his creatures who fear they are not regarded by him. He is privy to all their thoughts, and to that anxiety of heart in particular which is apt to trouble them on this occasion: for as it is impossible he should overlook any of his creatures, so we may be confident that he regards with an eye of mercy those who endeavour to recommend

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