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de of the Syrthat in after ages ome and see.
of Jordan; but that must be a poetical licence, in Naaman's estimate of so small a watercourse; and what had he to do with the swellings of Jordan ? The pride of Jordan was to be spoiled by the pride of the Syrian leper. Could any good thing come out of Jordan? He that in after ages asked, could any good thing come out of Nazareth? was bid come and see. And Naaman too was at last induced to come and see. He came, saw, and was conquered.
The scorn for simple remedies is of common occurrence. Physicians in all ages have had to deal with patients of the Naaman sort,-impatient of a too easy cure, and resenting the promise of one as a hard saying. John Selden says of a supposed case of a man with a sore leg, that should he go to “ an honest judicious chirurgeon, and he should only bid him keep it warm, and anoint with such an oil, an oil well known, that would do the cure, haply he would not much regard him, because he knows the medicine beforehand an ordinary medicine.” But if he should go to some portentous leech who should at once magnify the nature of the malady, and be magniloquently mysterious touching the elaborate agencies indispensable for a cure,—“what listening there would be to this man!” Sir Henry Holland, after describing an efficacious but simple course of practice in dealing with a generally obstinate complaint, adds the remark that here unhappily, as in so many other cases, the simplicity of the means forms a hindrance to their sufficient application. A shrewd clerical observer says of country patients, that, when seriously ill, the one thing they insist upon is a good drastic treatment; gentle measures they are inclined to resent as an imputation on the gravity of the case. “They have a good deal of the Abana and Pharpar philosophy in their composition, and will not believe they have been effectually cured till they have been very nearly disembowelled." In ancient medical phraseology, one of the brothers Hare reminds us, herbs possessed of healing natures were called simples : “In God's laboratory all things that heal are simple-all natural enjoyments, all the deepest, are simple too."
MANY THAT ARE FIRST, LAST; AND THE LAST
St. MATTHEW xix. 30. CIR THOMAS BROWNE, in his Christian Morals, bids w himself look contentedly upon the scattered difference of things, and not expect equality in lustre, dignity, or perfection, in regions or persons here below, where large numbers must be content to stand like lacteous or nebulous stars, little taken notice of, or dim in their generations. All which, he goes on to say, may be contentedly allowable in the affairs and ends of this world, and in suspension unto what will be in the order of things hereafter, and the new system of mankind which will be in the world to come; when “the last may be the first, and the first the last; when Lazarus may sit above Cæsar, and the just obscure on earth shall shine like the sun in heaven ; when personations shall cease, and histrionism of happiness be over ; when reality shall rule, and all shall be as they shall be for ever.”
Divine is the voice, as divine the strain, which Dante hears and records in Il Paradiso. :
". . i . But lo ! of those
And, some half-dozen cantos previously, Dante suggestively relates how he has seen
“ The thorn frown rudely all the winter long,
And after bear the rose upon its top;
Leslie, the painter, tells us of his hearing the preference expressed by Rogers for seats in churches without pews, opposed by “a gentleman who preferred pews, and said, 'If there were seats only, I might find myself sitting by my coachman."
Rogers replied, “ And perhaps you may be glad to find yourself beside him in the next world.” .
John Newton once said, in his familiar table-talk, that if an angel were sent to find the most perfect man, he would probably not find him composing a body of divinity, but perhaps a cripple in a poorhouse, whom the parish wish dead, and humbled before God with far lower thoughts of himself than others think of him.
We may apply, in the letter, not the spirit, the words of Horace about making foremost hindmost, and hindmost foremost : Quod prius ordine . . . est, Posterius facias, præponens ultima primis.
Mr. Arthur Helps's Realmah has a curious story of how a poor man, who in distant ages had stood aloof from the sacrifices to Varoona, the goddess of the waters, had yet been eventually signalised by her as her most devoted worshipper-. his omission to join in a certain rite having only arisen from
1 Mr. Dallas, in the second volume of his dissertation on the Science of Criticism, dilates on the fact that in an age like ours, of self culture, the individual is at once pampered and withers; he is pampered with knowledge and many attentions, but in the sense of the poet he withers, and is of less account than ever. “Here, if anywhere, is the saying good that the first shall be last, and the last first”—the individual rising into greater importance, but such an individual as would be least expected, according to the traditions of art, to be treated with so much honour. But the lesson is identical with that learnt from the story-books that amused us in childhood; that most frequently being, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, and that he who is worth most is not he who seems most. So, in current literature, we are said to find ourselves in an inverted world, where the halt and the maimed and the blind are the magnates of our kingdom ; where heroes are made of the sick, and pets of the stupid, and merit of the weak man's nothingness. “Whether the disorder be real or not, is another question. It may or may not be a sign of disorder in our minds that the first should be last, and the last first—that we should exalt the small private man in our regards, and lower the great public hero.” (E. S. Dallas : The Ethical Current.)
Pertinent and weighty are the words of Eliphaz the Temanite : “When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, there is lifting up ; and He shall save the humble person.” A parallel passage is that where Hannah, in her song of praise, exults in the favour of One who bringeth low and lifteth up; who raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory. And so again is that of Mary's Magnificat, in praise of Him who putteth down the mighty from their seats, and exalteth them of low degree. the intensity of his heartfelt adoration. The moral is at one with that of Gay's fable,
“For Jove the heart alone regards ;
He punishes what man rewards.” Shakspeare's Laertes gives passionate utterance to a like persuasion, in the burial scene of his sister :
"... I tell thee, churlish priest,
A ministering angel shall my sister be,
When thou liest howling." Hysterology is in rhetoric a figure of speech by which the ordinary course of thought is inverted in expression, and the last put first-Űotepov apótepov. But in the realism or reality of things it is ofttimes no figure of speech.
sood qumple, indicof povertdiscours
AGUR’S PRAYER FOR THE GOLDEN MEAN.
PROVERBS xxx. 8, 9. “ C IVE me neither poverty nor riches," was Agur's petition ;
U “feed me with food convenient for me." Addison had Agur in mind when he discoursed on the relative advantages and disadvantages of poverty and wealth: humility and patience for example, industry and temperance, being very often the good qualities of a poor man; while humanity and good nature, magnanimity and a sense of honour are as often the qualifications of the rich. On the other hand, poverty, as the Spectator goes on to show, is apt to betray a man into envy, riches into arrogance : poverty is too often attended with fraud, vicious compliance, repining, murmurs, and discontent; while riches expose a man to pride and luxury, a foolish elation of heart, and too great a fondness for the present world. In short, “the middle condition is most eligible to the man who would improve himself in virtue; as . . . it is the most advantageous for the gaining of knowledge. It was upon this consideration that Agur founded his prayer, which, for the wisdom of it, is recorded in holy writ. "Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die : remove far from me vanity and lies : give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me : lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, Who is the Lord ? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.'”
La Bruyère adverts with a sort of shudder to certain miseries in the world which the heart is literally pained to hear of—the privations of absolute penury, the lack of daily bread to those who eye the approach of winter with alarm. Meanwhile, poor men are employed to force the earth to yield her fruits out of season, for the demands of the luxurious; and mere traders, de simples bourgeois, merely because they have purses long enough, and are purse proud, will swallow at a meal what would have supplied ample food to a hundred families. Let whoso will, exclaims the French philosopher, cope with extremities so great : “my desire is to be, if I may, neither altogether miserable nor altogether prosperous : I cast myself upon the middle state, and there take refuge.” Multa petentibus desunt multa. Bene est cui Deus obtulit parcâ quod satis est manu. “The middle of humanity thou never knewest,” says Apemantus to Timon, in his savage sequesterment, “but the extremity of both ends.” Such extremes, like other extremes, meet; in misfortune. La Bruyère's Je ne veux être, si je le puis, ni malheureux, ni heureux, has about it the flavour of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's reply, or replies, to Hamlet's greeting, “Good lads, how do ye both ?”.
“ Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth.
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Ros. Neither, my lord.” Most of us, as Charles Lamb says, have cause to be thankful for that which is bestowed ; but we have all probably reason to be still more grateful for that which is withheld, and more especially for our being denied the sudden possession of riches. In the Litany indeed, he reminds us, we call upon