Page images
PDF
EPUB

"Every niche in this Temple conspires to fill the beholder with awe.... Tradition has handed down to superstitions posterity such a chain of Miracles that every side of the wall

to which you may turn offers to

your view a new and solemn object consecrated to the memory of some

wonderful event....Added to thisi

all Delphos believe in the absolute presence and superintendence of the God.

"Thus my eyes from the first

moment they could distinguish....were accustomed to gaze on every thing

wonderfuL..' and my ears eagerly

caught the sounds of surprizing events, which my tutors earnestly sought to impress on my belief.

"This was a most necessary study... as it soon became my duty to attend

strangers whose curiosity brought

them to visit the temple.......and, to

describe the origin merits or

character, of the innumerable paintings statues and sculptures

which embellished it as well as to

make a pompous display of the singularly beautiful and costly presents with which the zealous partisans of the Deity had filled the apartments and domes of this splendid edifice.

"Nothing so astonishes the senses of inexperience as the dazzling view of immense riches.......I was accustomed

to behold gold silver .jewels

pearls ..and every precious kind of

curiosity which the offerings of

Crowned Heads of Cities....and of

private Wealth had been for centuries past pouring into our treasury.

." I knew not how other minds might have borne the constant sight of all this magnificence but I grew fatigued with viewing such gorgeous pageantry of devout superstition I

considered them as glittering baubles

of no more consequence than the

play-thing of a child, which the want

of novelty soon robs of captivation

The simple statueof a Solon, in my eyes

possessed infinitely more charms.

"I was too young....for a long time

to form any adequate idea of the

real worth of these deified heroes

I surveyed these images attentively.... and, while I pondered on the virtues

which distinguished their originals

I could feel my heart inspired with veneration and respect for such superior excellencies.

From the efFects these powerful ob-.

jects had on my fancy then I have

since learnt to applaud, the Grecian Priests, who so wisely deified the Muses, and the Graces....Religion depends on impression...Its interests are preserved by the avidity with which

we receive them in our infancy

and, when Reason would enable us to judge for ourselves, the Sentiment is so indelibly engraven on the heart, it resists all innovation.

"Sperstitionhas no absolute advantage over reason; but advantages

are created by its early admission into the heart, before our unfolding faculties can oppose its entrance How

simple a task it is, to mould an unformed mind! particularly when

the fascinating art of astonishing the

soul, acts as a prelude to ensnare it

What can be more natural, than to believe in the divinity of an Appollo

to feel his influence his very

Presence.....when every object which surrounds you, from the first dawn of observation, proclaims the workmanship and dwelling of a Superior!

"Who can behold the unrivalled statue of Phidias, and not ascribe its

excellence to super-human powers !...

The minds of Men are as various

as their birth and education Hence

the heroic bravery of the Spartan.... the insinuating politeness of the Athenian the pompous arrogance of the

Asiatic.

The mathematician looks down contemptuously on the poet the thrifty

merchant laughs at the speculating

philosopher The one seeks to grasp

a real object and mocks the visionary pursuits of the other The mere

mechanic is a machine who cannot move, except when he is wound up by

certain springs The rough sailor

personifies the boisterous element to

which he is attached The soldier

habitually despises the danger he is

accustomed to and the untutored

peasant is crafty by nature, though unacquainted with the refinements of art.

VOL II. G

« PreviousContinue »