Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

He was

ferred a pair of wings, or the mare Borac, or the Hippogriffe.

Micaiah, the son of. Imla, saw the Lord seated on his throne, surrounded by his army of celestial spirits; and the Lord having enquired who could be found to go and deceive king Ahab, a demon volunteered for that purpose, and was accordingly charged with the commission; and Micaiah, on the part of the Lord, gave king Ahab an account of this celestial adventure.

rewarded for this communication by a tremendous blow on his face from the hand of the prophet Zedekiah, and by being shut up for some days in a dungeon. His punishment might undoubtedly have been more severe; but still, it is unpleasant and painful enough for a man who knows and feels himself divinely inspired to be knocked about in 80 coarse and vulgar a manner, and confined in a damp and dirty hole of a prison.

It is believed that king Amaziah had the teeth of the prophet Amos pulled out to prevent him from speaking; not that a person without teeth is absolutely incapable of speaking, as we see many toothless old ladies as loquacious and chattering as ever; but a prophecy should be uttered with great distinctness; and a toothless prophet is never listened to with the respect due to his character.

Baruch experienced various persecutions. Ezekiel was stoned by the companions of his slavery. It is not ascertained whether Jeremiah was stoned or sawed asunder.

Isaiah is considered as having been incontestably sawed to death by order of Manasseh, king of Judah.

It cannot be denied, that the occupation of a prophet is exceedingly irksome and dangerous. For one who, like Elijah, sets off on his tour among the planets in a chariot of light, drawn by four white horses, there are an hundred who travel on foot, and are obliged to beg their subsistence from door to door. They may be compared to Homer, who, we are told, was reduced to be a mendicant in the same seven cities which-afterwards sharply disputed with each other the honour of having given him birth. His commentators have attributed to him an infinity of allegories which he never even thought of; and prophets have frequently had the like honour conferred upon them. I by no means deny that there may have existed elsewhere persons possessed of a knowledge of the future. It is only requisite for a man to work up his soul to a high state of excitation, according to the doctrine of one of our doughty modern philosophers, who speculates upon boring the earth" through to the Antipodes, and curing the sick by covering them all over with pitchplaister. *

The Jews possessed this faculty of exalting and exciting the soul to such a degree, that they saw every future event as clearly as possible; only unfortunately, it is difficult to decide -whether by Jerusalem they always mean eternal life; whether Babylon means London or Paris; whether, when they speak of a grand dinner, they really mean a fast, and whether red wine means blood, and a red mantle faith, and a white mantle charity. Indeed, the correct and complete understanding

of the prophets is the most arduous attainment of the human mind.

There is likewise a farther difficulty with respect to the Jewish prophets, which is, that many among them were Samaritan heretics. Hosea was of the tribe of Issachar, which dwelt in the Samaritan territory, and Elisha and Elijah were of the same tribe. But the objection is very easily answered. We well know that " the wind bloweth where it listeth,” and that grace lights on the most dry and barren, as well as on the most fertile soil.

PROVIDENCE.

I was at the grate of the convent when sister Fessue said to sister Confite," Providence takes a visible care of me; you know how I love my sparrow; he would have been dead if I had not said nine ave-marias to. obtain his cure. God has restored my sparrow to life; thanks to the holy virgin."

* See the Diatribe of Dr. Akakia.

A metaphysician said to her:Sister, there is nothing so good as ave-marias, especially when a girl pronounces them in Latin in the suburbs of Paris; but I cannot believe that God has occupied himself so much with your sparrow, pretty as he is; I pray you to believe that he has other matters to attend to. It is necessary for him constantly to superintend the course of sixteen planets and the rising of Saturn, in the centre of which he has placed the sun, which is as large as a million of our globes. He has also thousands and thousands of millions of other suns, planets, and comets to govern. His immutable laws, and his eternal arrangement, produce motion throughout nature: all is bound to his throne by an infinite chain, of which no link can ever be out of place! If certain ave-marias had caused the sparrow of sister Fessue to live an instant longer than it would naturally have lived, it would have violated all the laws imposed from eternity by the Great Being; it would have deranged the universe; a new world, a new God, and a new order of existence would have been rendered unavoidable.

SISTER FESSUE.

What! do you think that God pays so little attention to sister Fessue?

METAPHYSICIAN. I am sorry to inform you, that like myself you are but an imperceptible link in the great chain; that your organs, those of your sparrow, and my own, are destined to subsist a determinate number of minutes in the suburbs of Paris.

SISTER FESSUE.

If so, I was predestined to say a certain number of ave-marias.

METAPHYSICIAN. Yes; but they have not obliged the Deity to prolong the life of your sparrow beyond his term. It has been so ordered, that in this convent at a certain hour you should pronounce, like a parrot, certain

words in a certain language which you do not understand; that this bird, produced like yourself by the irresistible action of general laws, having been sick should get better; that you should imagine that you had cured it, and that we should hold together this conversation.

SISTER FESSUE. Sir, this discourse savours of heresy. My confessor, the reverend father de Menou, will infer, that you do not believe in Providence.

METAPHYSICIAN.

SISTER FESSUE.

I believe in a general Providence, dear sister, which has laid down from all eternity the law which governs all things, like light from the sun; but I believe not that a particular Providence changes the economy of the world for your sparrow or your cat.

But suppose my confessor tells you, as he has told me, that God changes his intentions every day in favour of the devout?

METAPHYSICIAN. He would assert the greatest absurdity that a confessor of girls could possibly utter to a being who thinks.

SISTER FESSUE.
My confessor absurd! Holy Virgin Mary!

METAPHYSICIAN. I do not go so far as that. I only observe that he cannot, by an enormously absurd assertion, justify the false principles which he has instilled into you,-possibly very adroitly,-in order to govern you.

SISTER FESSUE. That observation merits reflection. I will think of it.

PURGATORY. It is very singular that the protestant churches agree in exclaiming that purgatory was invented by the monks. It is true that they invented the art of drawing money from the living by praying to God for the dead; but purgatory existed before the monks.

It was pope John XVI. say they, who, towards the middle of the tenth century, instituted the feast of the dead. From that fact however, I only conclude that they were prayed for before; for if they then took measures to pray for all, it is reasonable to believe that they had previously prayed for some of them; in the same way as the feast of All Saints was instituted, because the feast of many of them had been previously celebrated. The difference between the feast of the All Saints and that of the dead, is, that in the first we invoke, and that in the second we are invoked ; in the former we commend ourselves to the blessed, and in the second the unblessed commend themselves to us.

The most ignorant writers know, that this feast was first instituted at Cluni, which was then a territory belonging to the German empire. Is it necessary to repeat, that St, Odilon, abbot of Cluni, was accustomed to deliver

many souls from purgatory by his masses and his prayers; and that one day a knight or a monk, returning from the holy land, was cast by a tempest in a small island, where he met with an hermit, who said to him, that in that island existed enormous caverns of fire and flames, in which the wicked were tormented; and that he often heard the devils complain of the abbot Odilon and his monks, who every day delivered some soul or other; for which reason it was necessary to request Odilon to continue his exertions, at once to increase the joy of the saints in heaven and the grief of the demons in hell."

It is thus that father Gerard, the jesuit, relates the affair in his “ Flower of the Saints,” after father Ribadeneira. Fleury differs a little from this legend, but has substantively preserved it.

This revelation induced St. Odilon to institute in Cluni the feast of the dead, which was then adopted by the church.

Since this time, purgatory has brought much money to those who possess the power of opening the gates.

« AnteriorContinua »