Page images
PDF
EPUB

proud of building a tower to reach heaven, or a pyramid to last for ages, than of raising up a demigod of their own country and creation. The same pride that erects a colossus or a pyramid instals a god or a hero: but though the adoring savage can raise his colossus to the clouds, he can exalt the hero not one inch above the standard of humanity; incapable therefore of exalting the idol, he debases himself, and falls prostrate before him.

When man has thus acquired an erroneous idea of the dignity of his species, he and the gods become perfectly intimate; men are but angels, angels are but men, nay but servants that stand in waiting to execute human commands. The Persians, for in stance, thus address their prophet Haly: "I salute thee, glorious Creator, of whom the sun is but the shadow. Masterpiece of the lord of human creatures, great star of justice and religion, the sea is not rich and liberal, but by the gifts of thy munificent hands. The angel treasurer of heaven reaps his harvest in the fertile gardens of the purity of thy nature. The primum mobile would never dart the ball of the sun through the trunk of heaven, were it not to serve the morning out of the extreme love she has for thee. The angel Gabriel, messenger of truth, every day kisses the groundsel of thy gate. Were there a place more exalted than the most high throne of God, I would affirm it to be thy place, O master of the faithful! Gabriel, with all his art and knowledge, is but a mere scholar to thee." Thus, my friend, men think proper to treat angels; but if indeed there be such an order of beings, with what a degree of satirical contempt must they listen to the songs of little mortals thus flattering each other!

thus to see creatures, wiser indeed than the monkey, and more active than the oyster, claiming to themselves a mastery of heaven! minims, the tenants of an atom, thus arrogating a partnership in the creation of universal nature! surely heaven is kind that launches no thunder at those guilty heads; but it is kind, and regards their follies with pity, nor will destroy creatures that it loved into being.

But whatever success this practice of making demi-gods might have been attended with in barbarous nations, I do not know that any man became a god in a country where the inhabitants were refined. Such countries generally have too close an inspection into human weakness to think it invested with celestial power. They sometimes indeed admit the gods of strangers, or of their ancestors, who had their existence in times of obscurity; their weakness being forgotten, while nothing but their power and their miracles were remembered. The Chinese, for instance, never had a god of their own country; the idols which the vulgar worship at this day were brought from the barbarous nations around them. The Roman emperors, who pretended to divinity, were generally taught by a poniard that they were mortal; and Alexander, though he passed among barbarous countries for a real god, could never persuade his polite countrymen into a similitude of thinking. The Lacedæmonians shrewdly complied with his commands by the following sarcastic edict : Ει Αλεξανδρος βουλεται ειναι Θεός, Θεος

έστω.

No.

I. Description of various Clubs

II. Specimen of a Magazine in Miniature
III. Asem, an Eastern Tale

[ocr errors]

INDEX.

[ocr errors]

IV. On the English Clergy, and popular Preachers

V. A Reverie at the Boar's Head Tavern, East

cheap

VI. Adventures of a Strolling Player

VII. Rules enjoined to be observed at a Russian
Assembly

VIII. Biographical Memoir, supposed to be written

by the Ordinary of Newgate.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Answers .

XX. On Carolan, the Irish Bard

XXI. On the Tenants of the Leasowes
XXII. On Sentimental Comedy

XXIII. Scotch Marriages
XXIV. On the Dignity of Human Nature

[ocr errors]

THE END.

[ocr errors]

IX. On National Concord

X. Female Warriors

XI. On National Prejudice
XII. On Taste
XIII. Cultivation of Taste
XIV. Origin of Poetry

XV. Poetry distinguished from other Writing

. 121

XVI. On Metaphor

. 133

XVII. On Hyperbole XVIII. On Versification

.154

. 158

XIX, Schools of Music Objections thereto, and

T. Davison, Printer, Whitefriars.

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

.

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

68

71

74

80

85

95

107

164

. 171 . 174

. 179

. 184

. 188

[merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

ENOX LIBRAR

NEW YORK

« PreviousContinue »