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thou hast been heretofore? Thou seest that I am in the dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art ; also this giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the bread and water from my mouth, and with thee I mourn without the light. Let us—at least to avoid the shame that becomes not a Christian to be found in-bear up with patience as well as we can.
Now, night being come again, and the giant and his wife being abed, she asked concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his counsel; to which he replied: They are sturdy rogues; they choose rather to bear all hardships than to make away with themselves. Then said she: Take them into the castle-yard to-morrow, and shew them the bones and skulls of those thou hast already despatched, and make them believe, ere a week comes to an end, thou wilt also tear them in pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.
So when the morning was come, the giant goes to them again, and takes them into the castle-yard, and shews them as his wife had bidden him. These, said he, were pilgrims, as you are, once ; and they trespassed in my grounds, as you have done ; and, when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do you; go, get ye down to your den again : and with that he beat them all the way thither.
They lay, therefore, all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before. Now, when night was come, and when Mrs Diffidence and her husband the giant were got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their prisoners; and, withal, the old giant wondered that he could neither by his blows nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his wife replied : I fear, said she, that they live in hope that some will come to relieve them, or that they have picklocks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape. And sayest thou so, my dear ? said the giant; I will therefore search them in the morning.
Well, on Saturday, about midnight, they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost break of day.
Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty? I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful : That's good news, good brother; pluck it out of thy bosom and try.
Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon-door, whose bolt-as he turned the key-gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outer door that leads into the castle-yard, and with his key opened that door also. After, he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went very hard, yet the key did open it. Then they thrust open the door to make their escape with speed, but that gate, as it opened, made such a cracking, that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail; for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the king's highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.
ISAAC BARROW: 1630-1677.
Dr Barrow filled in succession several high official situations in the Univer
sity of Cambridge, of which he was vice-chancellor at the time of his death. In mathematics, he is considered inferior to Sir Isaac Newton alone, but it is by his theological works that he is more generally known.
THE EXCELLENCY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
Another peculiar excellency of our religion is, that it prescribes an accurate rule of life, most agreeable to reason and to our nature, most conducive to our welfare and content, tending to procure each man's private good, and to promote the public benefit of all, by the strict observance whereof we bring our human nature to a resemblance of the divine ; and we shall also thereby obtain God's favour, oblige and benefit men, and procure to ourselves the conveniences of a sober life, and the pleasure of a good conscience. For if we examine the precepts which respect our duty to God, what can be more just, pleasant, or beneficial to us, than are those duties of piety which our religion enjoins ? What is more fit and reasonable than that we should most highly esteem and honour Him, who is most excellent? that we should bear the sincerest affection for Him who is perfect goodness himself, and most beneficial to us ? that we should have the most awful dread of Him, that is infinitely powerful, holy, and just ? that we should be very grateful to Him, from whom we received our being, with all the comforts and conveniences of it? that we should entirely trust and hope in Him, who can and will do whatever we may in reason expect from His goodness, nor can He ever fail to perform His promises ? that we should render all due obedience to Him, whose children, servants, and subjects we are? Can their be a higher privilege than to have liberty of access to Him, who will favourably hear, and is fully able to supply our wants ? Can we desire to receive benefits on easier terms than the asking for them ? Can a more gentle satisfaction for our offences be required than confessing of them, repentance, and strong resolutions to amend them? The practice of such a piety, of a service so reasonable, cannot but be of vast advantage to us, as it procures peace of conscience, a comfortable hope, a freedom from all terrors and scruples of mind, from all tormenting cares and anxieties.
And if we consider the precepts by which our religion regulates our carriage and behaviour towards our neighbours and brethren, what can be imagined so good and useful as those which the Gospel affords ? It enjoins us sincerely and tenderly to love one another; earnestly to desire and delight in each other's good ; heartily to sympathise with all the evils and sorrows of our brethren, readily affording them all the help and comfort we are able; willingly to part with our substance, ease, and pleasure, for their benefit and relief; not confining this our charity to particular friends and relations, but in conformity to the boundless goodness of Almighty God, extending it to all. It requires us mutually to bear with one another's infirmities, mildly to resent and freely remit all injuries ; retaining no grudge, nor executing no revenge, but requiting our enemies with good wishes and good deeds. It commands us to be quiet in our stations, diligent in our callings, true in our words, upright in our dealings, observant of our relations, obedient and respectful to our superiors, meek and gentle to our inferiors, modest and lowly, ingenuous and condescending in our conversation, candid in our censures, and innocent, inoffensive, and obliging in our behaviour towards all persons. It enjoins us to root out of our hearts all envy and malice, all pride and haughtiness; to restrain our tongues from all slander, detraction, reviling, bitter and harsh language; not to injure, hurt, or needlessly trouble our neighbour. It engages us to prefer the public good before our own opinion, humour, advantage, or convenience. And would men observe and practise what this excellent doctrine teaches, how sociable, secure, and pleasant a life we might lead ! what a paradise would this world then become, in comparison to what it now is !
JOHN DRYDEN: 1631-1700.
Dryden, one of the greatest of English poets, is ranked also among the best
writers of prose. He has left no extensive work in prose; the pieces which he wrote were merely accompaniments to his poems and plays, and consist of prefaces, dedications, and critical essays.
History is principally divided into these three species-commentaries, or annals ; history, properly so called ; and biographia, or the lives of particular men.
Biographia, or the histories of particular lives, though circumscribed in the subject, is yet more extensive in the style than the other two; for it not only comprehends them both, but has somewhat superadded, which neither of them have. The style of it is various, according to the occasion.
There are proper places in it for the plainness and nakedness of narration, which is ascribed to annals; there is also room reserved for the loftiness and gravity of general history, when the actions related shall require that manner of expression. But there is, withal, a descent into minute circumstances, and trivial passages of life, which are natural to this way of writing, and which the dignity of the other two will not admit. There you are conducted only into the rooms of state, here you are led into the private lodgings of the hero ; you see him in his undress, and are made familiar with his most private actions and conversations.
You may behold a Scipio and a Lælius gathering cockle-shells on the shore, Augustus playing at bounding-stones with boys, and Agesilaus riding on a hobby-horse among his children. The pageantry of life is taken away; you see the poor reasonable animal as naked as ever nature made him ; are made acquainted with his passions and his follies, and find the demi-god a man. Plutarch himself has more than once defended this kind of relating little passages ; for, in the life of Alexander, he says thus: 'In writing the lives of illustrious men, I am not tied to the laws of history ; nor does it follow, that, because an action is great, it therefore manifests the greatness and virtue of him who did it; but on the other side, sometimes a word or a casual jest betrays a man more to our knowledge of him, than a battle fought wherein ten thousand men were slain, or sacking of cities, or a course of victories.' In another place, he quotes Xenophon on the like occasion: “The sayings of great men in their familiar discourses, and amidst their wine, have somewhat in them which is worthy to be transmitted to posterity?
But in all parts of biography, whether familiar or stately, whether sublime or low, whether serious or merry, Plutarch equally excelled. As he was more inclined to commend than to dispraise, he has generally chosen such great men as were famous for their several virtues; least such whose frailties or vices were overpoised by their excellences ; such from whose examples we may have more to follow than to shun. Yet as he was impartial, he disguised not the faults of any man, an example of which is in the life of Lucullus, where, after he has told us that the double benefit which his countrymen, the Chæroneans, received from him, was the chiefest motive which he had to write his life, he afterwards rips up his luxury, and shews how he lost, through his mismanagement, his authority and his soldiers' love. Then he was more happy in his digressions than any we have named. I have always been pleased to see him, and his imitator Montaigne, when they strike a little out of the common road; for we are sure to be the better for their wandering. The best quarry lies not always in the open field; and who would not be content to follow a good huntsman over hedges and ditches, when he knows the game will reward his pains ? But if we mark him more narrowly, we may observe that the great reason of his frequent starts is the variety of his learning; he knew so much of nature, was so vastly furnished with all the treasures of the mind, that he was uneasy to himself, and was forced, as I may say, to lay down some at every passage, and to scatter his riches as he went: like another Alexander or Adrian, he built a city, or planted a colony, in every part of his progress, and left behind him some memorial of his greatness. Sparta, and Thebes, and Athens, and Rome, the mistress of the world, he has discovered in their foundations, their institutions, their growth, their height; the decay of the first three, and the alteration of the last. You see those several people in their different laws, and policies, and forms of government, in their warriors, and senators, and demagogues. Nor are the ornaments of poetry, and the illustrations of similitudes, forgotten by him ; in both which he instructs, as well as pleases ; or rather pleases, that he may instruct.