Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

332

SKETCHES OF TRAVEL IN BRAZIL.

[ocr errors]

which are severally chaunted on as many successive || oxyd of iron, pyrites, ferruginous quartz, and often
evenings. It was really pleasant to hear the sound of more precious stones. They admit certain quantities
a hundred voices mingling in this their chief religious of water into the bowls, which they move about so dex-
exercise and privilege. This assembling the slaves, terously, that the precious metal separating from the
generally at evening, and sometimes both morning and inferior and lighter substances, settles to the bottom and
evening, is said to be common on plantations in the sides of the vessel. They then rinse their bowls in a
country, and is not unfrequent among domestics in the larger vessel of clean water, leaving the gold in that,
cities. Mistress and servants, at these times, meet on and begin again.
a level. The pleasures afforded the latter by such oppor The washing of each bowlful occupies from five to
tunities, in connection with the numerous holy days eight or nine minutes. The gold produced is extremely
enjoined by the Roman Catholic religion, form cer- variable in quality and in the size of its particles. The
tainly a great mitigation of the hard lot of servitude. operation is superintended by overseers, the result being

It was natural that I should form a pretty extensive important. When the whole is finished, the gold is
acquaintance with his reverence, the Doctor of Theol- placed upon a brass pan, over a slow fire, to be dried,
ogy. I found him not only possessed of a good educa- and at a convenient time is taken to the permutation
tion, but of very liberal views. The results of our dis- office, where it is weighed, and a fifth reserved for the
cussions upon a variety of topics were by no means government. The remainder is smelted with muriate
unsatisfactory to me, although I cannot allude to them of mercury, then cast into ingots, assayed, and stamped
here. The duties of a family chaplain embrace little according to its intrinsic value.
mere than the task of saying mass in their private Bars of uncoined gold were formerly common in the
chapel on holydays and Sundays; and if I was cor- circulating medium of Brazil. It was the boast of an
rectly informed, secured in this case but small emolu- aged Paulista, with whom I conversed, that in the days
ments in addition to the privilege and honor of accom- of Don John VI, it was not rare to see them large
panying the family on its country excursions. enough to use in cracking nuts. Specie of all kinds,

Our examination of the gold washing occurred early except copper, is scarce at present, and seldom met one morning before the rays of the sun had acquired with, except at exchange offices. sufficient power to cause inconvenience. It was situa Nothing was doing at these mines when I visited ted in the alluvial soil at the foot of the mountain. them. The aspect of the place was solitary but magVery little of the precious metal is here found in com- nificent. The wide and deep excavations, the empty bination with rocks; but on the contrary it exists in channels of the deserted water-courses, and the huge particles varying in size from the finest dust to the mag- heaps of cascalhao all stood as silent, yet speaking nitude of a buck-shot, or pea. The soil is red and fer- | monuments of that sucra auri fames which in every ruginous, and the gold is sometimes found near the sur-|| age and place has found a lodgment in the human face, but principally mingled with a stratum of gravel | breast. The very earth seemed to mourn the desolaand rounded pebbles like that in which diamonds are tions inflicted upon its fair bosom, robbed of verdure as found, and like that, also, denominated cascalhao. The it was for ages, if not for ever-in thankless return for method of searching out the hidden treasure is very sim- the rified treasure. ple. The first requisite is a stream of water of suffi A few hours search among the strata developed by ciently high level to be brought by channels or pipes to the excavations, and among the rocks cast up as débris the summit of an excavation. The earth is then cut from the washings, rewarded us with as large a quaninto steps each twenty or thirty feet wide, two or three tity of geological specimens as we were disposed to broad, and about one deep. “Near the bottom a trench export. In the loose soil bordering upon the washings, is cut to the depth of two or three feet. On each step we met with beautiful specimens of the black oxyd of stand six or eight negroes, who, as the water flows gen- | manganese. tly from above, keep the earth continually in motion with shovels, until the whole is reduced to líquid mud, and washed below. The particles of gold contained in Many persons seem to be more solicitous for strong this earth descend to the trench, where, by reason of emotions than for right emotions. It would perhaps be their specific gravity, they quickly precipitate. Work- a fair representation of their state to say the burden of men are continually employed at the trench to remove their prayer is, that their souls may be like "the charthe stones, and clear away the surface, which operation iots of Aminidal);" or that, like Paul, they may be is much assisted by the current of water which falls caught up into the third heavens. They seem desirous, into it. After five days' washing, the precipitation in perhaps almost unconsciously to themselves, to experithe trench is carried to some convenient stream to un. ence or to do some great as well as good thing. Would dergo a second clearance. For this purpose wooden it not be better for them, in a more chastened and humbowls are provided, of a funnel shape, about two feet ble temper of mind, to make it the burden and emphasis at the mouth, and five or six inches deep, called gamel- of their supplication, that they may be meek, forbearlas. Each workman, standing in the stream, takes|ing, and forgiving, and that they may bear the image into his bowl five or six pounds of the sediment which of Christ, who came not with observation, but was generally consists of heavy matter, such as granular llmeek and lowly of heart ?

CHURCH-YARD REFLECTIONS.

333

Original.

has perished with his dust. The benevolence awaits CHURCH-YARD REFLECTIONS. the resurrection of the just—a “living witness.” How

In wandering over one or two of the cemeteries of full of error is youth, with its wishes centred in self! the city the other day, we were surprised, considering | How full of sadness is age mourning over its mistakes! the recent date of the city itself, to observe how much of Then be early wise-seek not the shadow-but possess change and even of dilapidation has already taken place thyself of the substance—even of “piety and good in the monuments before us. But abiding not in the works;" for they shall endure for ever; and whilst the marble and the mound, our thought passed beyond the savor of them shall ascend to heaven, thy children, symbol of decay to its reality; and the short memorials || also, of a “good stock," shall arise up, and by their of the place served to awaken the reflection of the deeds and life they shall call thee “blessed,” and this impossibility of giving to them a very enduring date. shall be thy memorial.

C. M. B. It is not only the mischances of the outward elements that impair the stone and masonry of man's devices, but the very inner elements of himself, the condition his

MEDITATION. being, forbid the long endurance and the conservation The darkness of night overshadows me, and puts of his memory upon earth! Nor is it necessary that out the sight of every object: but mine eye is turned it should be so; for the record is kept to its own defi-to thee, O my Father. I wake, and watch for the light nite use, where it is imperishable, and will also be of thy presence, for the joy of thy love. For the pressealed—in the judgment!

ence of my God, for fellowship with Jesus, for the comThat bereaved affection mourns is good and proper;|munion of the Holy Ghost, my soul waiteth. Draw and, within limit, the resignation to God's will salutary. nigh, O Holy Trinity, and let me feel the breath of the But what of this? The mourner is himself swept into Eternal breathed upon me. Speak to this helpless, the grave, and those who come after him may in turn needy one; this child of dust; and say, receive the take up the wail, but cannot gainsay the decree; and Holy Ghost. Speak with that voice which said, “Let the memory of a few generations is all that, in human there be light,” and there was light. In vain is the sense, can be claimed from the immense of time for the whisper—that thou art afar off. Thou art near. Thou, heart. And however fame may affect to perpetuate the O God, seest me. Thine eye is turned towards me, as lucubrations, the deeds, and the performances of the if I were alone in the vast universe of God, having no eminent, yet what is its sympathy! Whilst it effects one else to look to but thee; and thou having no its mission of instruction and of inspiration, what does one else to care for but me. Thine ear is open to my it pay back to the memory of the bestower? The cold request; and thy hand full of blessings is extended abstractions of the intellect! the assent of a mental towards me. Mercy overshadows me; it reaches to gratitude! the acknowledgment of a posthumous dona- my wants. O happy suppliant of my Father's bounty, tion! Nor do we bewail this-it is one of the canons I ask and I receive. I am not alone. The man, Christ of eternity, which says to us, “Thou shalt not seek to Jesus, he is with me. I ask in his name. I present unvail the future, neither shalt thou bewail the past;" his claim, which thou wilt not deny; therefore am I "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Abide, oheard and answered. Thou, O my Father, hast given man, in thy being! Neither a profane curiosity, nor me a name to plead, which will not only command an occult research, shall unvail to thee, nor carry the thine ear, but reach thine heart, and draw down the beyond thyself!

richest boon a God can bestow-a humble, holy heart. The proper limitation, or the sentiment of remem- Yes; I can prevail in Jesus' name, and not let my bering our dead, then, is embraced within a century, or Father go without a blessing. I am not alone. Jesus, "such a time as a man may remember his grand-father.” at the right hand of God, is pleading with me. Faint A further retrospect, including many memories, would and feeble may be the words I utter; but they are heard, too much divert from present pursuits, and be a sort of and re-echoed by my powerful Intercessor. I will injustice to new performers and new philanthropists; breathe my breath into his ear, and sink in slumber in besides that, numerous accumulations would render the the arms of his love. thing impossible. And here let us pause, and know Again, the morning dawns, the night passes, the how good it is that we die with our own generation. shadows fiee away. I awake, and still find myself with

The space is brief, then, whatever may be his desir- thee. The sunbeams of thy love penetrate my soul, ing, which is allotted to an individual in the minds of and send light and gladness to its very centre. In his others; and to the mere matter of a name, as known light I see light; light compared with which the sun to fame, “the breath of other men's opinions,” this itself is darkness, losing all its splendor. It is the light should not be grievous; for all that is really meritorious of the Spirit, shining on the truth, and pointing as with in achievement, whether of intellect, or of might, the a sunbeam, to the way of holiness, cast up for the ranscience, the discovery, the example, remains, and is per-somed to walk in, which so cheers and gladdens my petuated, when the originator, the bestower, has returned heart. I had long been a wanderer in the dark, dreary to dust. What matter even if his name have perished mazes of sin, uncheered by the hope of present salvation. from the record of his work? That endures for ever, But now the thick scales are fallen from my eyes, and I satisfying benevolence, but denying the vanity which know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

334

THE BIBLE AND HOMER.

OF TIE THREE PRINCIPAL STYLES OF SCRIPTURE,

[ocr errors]

ance.

THE BIBLE AND HOMER.
OF THE SCRIPTURES AND THEIR EXCELLENCE. Among these divine styles, three are particularly

How extraordinary, how interesting the work that remarkable:
begins with Genesis, and ends with the Revelation; 1. The historic style, as that of Genesis, Deuteron-
which opens in the most perspicuous style, and con. omy, Job, &c.
cludes in the most figurative! May we not justly 2. Sacred poetry, as it exists in the Psalms, in the
assert, that in the books of Moses all is grand and sim- prophets, in the moral treatises, &c.
ple, like that creation of the world, and that innocence 3. The evangelical or Gospel style.
of primitive mortals which he describes; and that all is The first of these three styles, with a charm so great
terrible and superatural in the last of the prophets, as to baffle expression, sometimes imitates the narrative
like those civilized societies, and that consummation of of the epic, as in the history of Joseph; at others
ages, which he has represented ?

bursts into lyric numbers, as after the passage of the The productions most foreign to our manners, the Red Sea; here sighs forth the elegies of the holy Arab; sacred books of the infidel nations, the Zendavesta of there with Ruth sings affecting pastorals. This chosen the Parsees, the Vidam of the Bramins, the Koran of people, whose every step is marked with miracles; this the Turks, the Edda of the Scandinavians, the Sanscrit people, for whom the sun stands still, the rock pours poems, the maxims of Confucius, excite in us no sur-forth waters, and the heavens shower down manna, prise: we find in all these works the ordinary chain of could not have any ordinary annals. All known forms human ideas; they have all some resemblance to each are changed in regard to them: their revolutions are other both in tone and in ideas. The Bible alone is like alternately related with the trumpet, the lyre, and the none of them: it is a monument detached from all the pastoral pipe; and the style of their history is itself a others. Explain it to a Tartar, to a Caffre, to an continual miracle, that attests the truth of the miracles American savage: put it into the hands of a bonze or the memory of which it perpetuates. a dervise, they will be all equally astonished by it—a He who has the slightest portion of taste for the fact which borders on the miraculous. Twenty authors, beautiful is marvelously astonished from one end of the living at periods very distant from one another, com-| Bible to the other. What can be compared to the posed the sacred books; and, though they are written opening of Genesis? That simplicity of language in twenty different styles, yet these styles, equally which is in an inverse ratio to the magnificence of the inimitable, are not to be met with in any other perform-|| objects appears to us the utmost effort of genius.

The New Testament, so different in its spirit “In the beginning God created the heaven and the from the Old, nevertheless partakes with the latter of earth. this astonishing originality.

“And the earth was without form and void, and darkBut this is not the only extraordinary thing which men ness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of unanimously discover in the Scriptures: those who will God moved upon the face of the waters. not believe in the authenticity of the Bible, neverthe “And God said, Let there be light, and there was less believe, in spite of themselves, that there is some- light. thing more than common in this same Bible. Deists And God saw the light that it was good.” and atheists, small and great, all attracted by some hid Homer and Plato, who speak with so much sublimity den magnet, are incessantly referring to that work, of the gods, have nothing comparable to this majestic which is admired by the one and despised by the oth-simplicity. God stoops to the language of men, to ers. There is not a situation in life, for which a text, || reduce his wonders to the level of their comprehension, apparently dictated with an express reference to it, and still he is God. may not be found in the Bible. It would be a diffi When we reflect that Moses is the most ancient hiscult task to persuade us that all possible contingencies, torian in the world; when we consider him as the both prosperous and adverse, had been foreseen, with deliverer of a great people, as the author of one of the all their consequences, in a book penned by the hands most excellent legislative codes that we know of, and of men. Now it is certain that we find in the Scrip- as the most sublime writer that ever existed; when we tures,

behold him floating in his cradle upon the Nile, afterThe origin of the world, and the prediction of its wards concealing himself for many years in the deserts, end:

then returning to open a passage through the sea, to The ground-work of all the human sciences: produce streams of water from the rock, to converse

All the political precepts, from the patriarchal gov- with God in a cloud, and finally to disappear on the ernment to despotism; from the pastoral ages to the summit of a mountain; we cannot forbear feeling the ages of corruption:

highest astonishment. But when, with a reference to All the moral precepts applicable to all the ranks and Christianity, we come to reflect that the history of the to all the incidents of life:

Israelites is not only the real history of ancient days, Finally, All sorts of known styles-styles, which, but likewise the type of modern times; that each fact forming an inimitable work of many different parts, is of a two-fold nature, containing within itself an hishave nevertheless, no resemblance to the styles of toric truth and a mystery; that the Jewish people is a

symbolical epitome of the human race, representing in

men.

THE BIBLE AND HOMER.

335

its adventures all that has happened, and all that ever An extraordinary kind of lamentation! Nothing
will happen in the world; that Jerusalem must always but Scripture ever employed such expressions.
be taken for another city, Zion for another mountain, “For now had I slept in silence, and had been at rest
the Land of Promise for another region, and the call in my sleep."*
of Abraham for another vocation; when it is consid This expression, I had been at rest in my sleep, is
ered that the moral man is likewise disguised under the particularly striking. Omit the word my, and the
physical man in this history; that the fall of Adam, whole beauty of it is destroyed. Sleep your sleep, ye
the blood of Abel, the violated nakedness of Noah, and opulent of the earth, says Bossuet, and remain in your
the malediction pronounced by that father against adust.t
son, are still manifested in the pains of parturition, in “Wherefore is light given to the miserable, and life
the meanness and pride of man, in the oceans of blood, to those who are in bitterness of heart ?”!
which, since the first fratricide, have inundated the Never did an exclamation of deeper anguish burst
globe, and in the negroes, the oppressed races descended from the recesses of a human bosom.
from Ham, who inhabit one of the fairest portions of “Man that is born of woman liveth but a short time,
the earth; lastly, when we behold the Son promised to and is full of many troubles."I
David, appearing at the appointed time to restore genu The circumstance, born of woman, is an impressive
ine morality and the true religion, to unite all the redundance: we behold all the infirmities of man in
nations of the earth, and to substitute the sacrifice of the infirmity of his mother. The most elaborate style
the internal man for blood-stained holocausts, we then would not express the vanity of life with such force
want words, and are ready to exclaim with the prophet, as these few words; he liveth but a short time, and he
“Before time existed, God is our King!"

is full of many troubles.
In Job the historic style of the Bible changes, as we Finally, every reader is acquainted with that exqui-
have observed, into elegy. Several Hebrew scholars are site passage, in which God deigns to justify his power
of opinion that this book was written by Moses: here, to Job, by confounding the reason of man; we shall
indeed, we find the same simplicity, the same sublimity therefore say nothing concerning it in this place.
as in Genesis, and the same predilection for certain verbs, The third character under which we have yet to con-
and certain turns of expression. Job is the perfect type sider the historical style of the Bible is the bucolic
of melancholy; in the works of men we meet with tra- | character; but of this we shall have occasion to speak
ces of this sentiment; and, generally speaking, all great at some length hereafter.
geniuses are pensive; but no one, not even Jeremiah, As to the second general style of the holy Scrip-
he alone whose lamentations, according to Bossuet, come tures, namely, sacred poetry, a great number of excel-
up to his feelings, has carried the sadness of the soul to lent critics having exerted their abilities on that subject,
such a pitch as the holy Arab. In vain we should it would be superfluous for us to go over the ground
attempt to account for the tears of Job, by asserting again. Who, besides, is unacquainted with the cho-
that they were excited by the sands of the desert, the ruses of Esther and Ath h? who has not read the
solitary palm tree, the sterile mountain, and all those odes of Rousseau and Malherbe ? Dr. Lowth's Essay
vast and dreary images of southern nature; in vain we is in the hands of every scholar, ş and La Harpe has
should have recourse to the grave characters of the ori- | left us an excellent prose translation of the Psalmist.
entals: all this would not suffice. In the melancholy The third and last style of the sacred Volume is that
of Job there is something supernatural. The individ- | of the New Testament. Here the sublimity of the
ual man, however wretched, cannot draw forth such prophets is softened into a tenderness not less sublime;
sighs from his soul. Job is the emblem of suffering here love itself speaks; here the word is really made
humanity, and the inspired writer has found lamenta-| flesh. What beauty! What simplicity! The relig-
tions sufficient to express all the afflictions incident to ion of the Son of God is the essence as it were of all
the whole human race. As, moreover, in Scripture religions, or that which is most celestial in them. The
every thing has a final reference to a new covenant, we character of the evangelical style may be delineated in
are authorized in believing that the elegies of Job also
were composed for the days of mourning of the Church

* Job iii, 13.
of Jesus Christ: thus God inspired his prophets with Funer. Orat. for the Chancellor Le Tellier.
funeral hymns worthy of departed Christians, two

# Job iii, 20.

1) Ibid xiv, 8. thousand years before these sacred martyrs had con-| elegant and refined taste, give him the strongest claims to the

$ The deep and various learning of Bishop Lowth, and his quered life eternal.

praise here attributed to his work on the sacred poetry of the “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the Hebrews. night in which it was said, A man hath been con

" What (said he] is there in the whole compass of poetry, or ceived."*

what can the human mind conceive more grand, more noble, or more animated, what is there more beautiful or interesting,

than the sacred writings of the Hebrew prophets. They equal * Job iii, 3. We have made use of Sacy's translation, for the almost inexpressible greatness of the subjects, by the splen the sake of such persons as are accustomed to it; we have, how-dor of their diction, and the majesty of their poetry; and as ever, occasionally deviated from this version when the Hebrew, some of them are of higher antiquity than even the Fables of the Septuagint, or even the Vulgate, employed a more energetic the Greeks, so they excel the Greek compositions as much in or beautiful expression.

sublimity, as in age.”- Lowth's Pralections.

336

STANZAS OF MADAME GUYON.

He is gone, whom I adore; 'Tis in vain to seek him more.

a few words: it is a tone of parental authority mingled with a certain fraternal indulgence, with I know not what commiseration of a God, who, to redeem us, deigned to become the son and the brother of men.

For the rest, the more we read the epistles of the apostles, and especially those of St. Paul, the more we are astonished; we know not what to make of the man, who in a kind of common exhortation familiarly introduces sublime expressions, penetrates into the recesses of the human heart, explains the nature of the Supreme Being, and predicts future events.

(To be concluded.)

How I trembled, then, and fear'd, When my love had disappeared! “ Wilt thou leave me thus," I cried, “'Whelm'd beneath the rolling tide ?" Vain attempt to reach his ear! Love was gone, and would not hear.

Ah! return and love me still;
See me subject to thy will;
Frown with wrath, or smile with grace,
Only let me see thy face!
Evil I have none to fear;
All is good, if thou art near.

STANZAS OF MADAME GUYON.

(TRANSLATED BY COWPER.)
'Twas my purpose, on a day,
To embark and sail away;
As I climbed the vessel's side,
Love was sporting in the tide.
“Come,” he said—“ascend-make haste,
Launch into the boundless waste."

Yet he leaves me-cruel fate!
Leave me in my lost estate-
Have I sinn'd? O, say wherein;
Tell me, and forgive my sin!
King, and Lord, whom I adore,
Shall I see thy face no more?

ܪ

Many mariners were there,
Having each his separate care;
They that rowed us, held their eyes
Fixed upon the starry skies;
Others steer'd, or turn'd the sails
To receive the shifting gales.

Be not angry; I resign,
Henceforth, all my will to thine;
I consent that thou depart,
Though thine absence break my heart;
Go, then, and for ever too;
All is right, that thou wilt do.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ForrigeFortsett »