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proportion between the end and means.

The Giver is veiled by his gifts. You are startled at the injustice of returning thanks — for what ? For having too much while so many starve. It is to praise the gods amiss.

I have observed this awkwardness felt, scarce consciously perhaps, by the good man who says the grace. I have seen it in clergymen and others, - a sort of shame, a sense of the co-presence of circumstances which unhallow the blessing. After a devotional tone put on for a few seconds, how rapidly the speaker will fall into his common voice, helping himself or his neighbor, as if to get rid of some uneasy sensation of hypocrisy. Not that the good man was a hypocrite, or was not most conscientious in the discharge of the duty ; but he felt in his inmost mind the incompatibility of the scene and the viands before him with the exercise of a calm and rational gratitude.

I hear somebody exclaim, “Would you have Christians sit down at table, like hogs to their troughs, without remembering the Giver ?” No; I would have them sit down as Christians, remembering the Giver, and less like hogs. Or if their appetites must run riot, and they must pamper themselves with delicacies for which East and West are ransacked, I would have them postpone their benediction to a fitter season, when appetite is laid, when the still small voice can be heard, and the reason of the grace returns, with temperate diet and restricted dishes. Gluttony anıl surfeiting are no proper occasions for thanksgiving. When Jeshurun waxed fat, we read that he kicked. Virgil knew the harpy-nature better when he put into the mouth of Celæno anything but a blessing. We may be gratefully sensible of the deliciousness of some kinds of food beyond others, though that is a meaner and inferior gratitude : but the proper object of the grace is sustenance, not relishes ; daily bread, not delicacies ; the means of life, and not the means of pampering the carcass. With what frame or composure, I wonder, can a city chaplain pronounce his benediction at some great Hall feast, when he knows that his last concluding pious word — and that, in all probability, the sacred Name which he preaches — is but the signal for so many impatient harpies to commence their foul orgies, with as little sense of true thankfulness (which is temperance) as those Virginian fowl ? It is well if the good man himself does not feel his devotions a little clouded, those foggy sensuous steams mingling with and polluting the pure altar-sacrifice.

The severest satire upon full tables and surfeits is the banquet which Satan, in the “ Paradise Regained,” provides for a temptation in the wilderness :

“ A table richly spread in regal mode,
With dishes piled, and meats of noblest sort
And savor; beasts of chase, or fowl of game,
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled
Gris-amber-steamed ; all fish from sea or shore,
Freshet or purling brook, for which was drained
Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.”

The Tempter, I warrant you, thought these cates would go down without the recommendatory preface of a benediction. They are like to be short graces where the Devil plays the host. I am afraid the poet wants his usual decorum in this place. Was he thinking of the old Roman luxury, or of a gaudy day at Cambridge? This was a temptation fitter for a Heliogabalus. The whole banquet is too civic and culinary, and the accompaniments altogether a profanation of that deep, abstracted, holy scene. The mighty artillery of sauces which the cook-fiend conjures up is out of proportion to the simple wants and plain hunger of the guest. He that disturbed him in his dreams, from his dreams might have been taught better. To the temperate fantasies of the famished Son of God what sort of feasts presented themselves ? He dreamed indeed,

“As appetite is wont to dream, Of meats and drinks, Nature's refreshment sweet." But what meats ? “Him thought he by the brook of Cherith stood,

And saw the ravens with their horny beaks

Food to Elijah bringing even and morn ;
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they

brought : He saw the prophet also, how he fled Into the desert, and how there he slept Under a juniper; then how, awaked, He found his supper on the coals prepared, And by the angel was bid rise and eat, And ate the second time after repose, The strength whereof sufficed him forty days : Sometimes, that with Elijah he partook, Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.” Nothing in Milton is finelier fancied than these temperate dreams of the Divine hungerer. To which of these two visionary banquets, think you, would the introduction of what is called the grace have been most fitting and pertinent ?

Theoretically I am no enemy to graces, but practically I own that (before meat especially) they seem to involve something awkward and unseasonable. Our appetites, of one or another kind, are excellent spurs to our reason, which might otherwise but feebly set about the great ends of preserving and continuing the species. They are fit blessings to be contemplated at a distance with a becoming gratitude; but the moment of appetite (the judicious reader will apprehend me) is, perhaps, the least fit season for that exercise. The Quakers, who go about their business of every description with more calmness

than we, have more title to the use of these benedictory prefaces. I have always admired their silent grace, and the more because I have observed their applications to the meat and drink following to be less passionate and sensual than ours. They are neither gluttons nor wine-bibbers as a people. They eat, as a horse bolts his chopped hay, with indifference, calmness, and cleanly circumstances. They neither grease nor slop themselves. When I see a citizen in his bib-and-tucker, I cannot imagine it a surplice.

I am no Quaker at my food. I confess I am not indifferent to the kinds of it. Those unctuous morsels of deer's flesh were not made to be received with dispassionate services. I hate a man who swallows it affecting not to know what he is eating: I suspect his taste in higher matters. I shrink instinctively from one who professes to like minced veal. There is a physiognomical character in the tastes for food. C — holds that a man cannot have a pure mind who refuses appledumplings. I am not certain but he is right. With the decay of my first innocence, I confess a less and less relish daily for those innocuous cates. The whole vegetable tribe have lost their gust with me ; only I stick to asparagus, which still seems to inspire gentle thoughts. I am impatient and querulous under culinary disappointments, as to come

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