« السابقةمتابعة »
DESCRIPTION OF THE MOST NOBLE CITY
CONCERNING SPORTS. Now let us come to the sports of London ; for it is no use for a city to be useful only and serious, unless it be also pleasant and jocund. Hence, even on the seals of the supreme Pontiff, up to the last Pope Leo, on one side of the lead there was stamped a representation of Peter the fisherman, and over it a key, as if being given to him by the hand of God out of heaven, and around it this verse :
Tu pro me navem liquisti, suscipe clavem.* On the other side was impressed a city, and these words, "Aurea Roma.”+ And again, in praise of Augustus Cæsar, and of Rome, it was said :
Nocte pluit totá, redeunt spectacula mane :
Divisum imperium cum Jove Cæsar habet. I London, instead of theatrical spectacles, and scenic sports, has more holy games, representations of miracles wrought by holy confessors, or representations of the sufferings whereby the constancy of martyrs was made illustrious. Besides this, every year, on the day called Carnilevaria,“ carnival,” that we may begin with the sports of boys in London,---for we were all children once,--all the school-boys bring their masters fighting-cocks, and all that morning is given to gathering the boys together into the school-rooms to see the cocks fight. After dinner all the boys of the city go out into the fields to get a famous game at ball. The scholars of every school have their own ball. Almost all the trades
• " Por me thou hast left the ship," (navis,)“ now take the key" (clavis). + "Golden Rome."
1 "It rained all night, in the morning the spectacles return : Cæsar holds a divided empire with Jupiter."
victory; and that he may be thought stronger for real fight, he strives hard in sham fights.
Many citizens delight themselves by playing with fowls of the air, such as falcons and hawks; and by hunting with dogs in the woods. And the citizens have the right of hunting in Middlesex, Hertfordshire, and all Chiltern, and in Kent so far as Cray-water.
The Londoners, then called Trinobantes, repulsed Caius Julius Cæsar, who boasted that he had made no ways for himself but by shedding blood. Hence Lucan,
Territa quasitis ostendit terga Britannis.* The city of London gave birth to some who subdued to her many kingdoms, and the Roman empire itself; and very many others, lords of the world, whom virtue raised to be gods, as it had been promised to Brutus by the oracle of Apollo :
Brute, sub occasu solis, trans Gallica regna,
Insula in oceano est undique clausa mari :
Hic fiet natis altera Troja tuis.
Totius terræ subditus orbis erit. † And, in Christian times, London produced that noble Emperor Constantine, son of Queen Helena, who presented the city of Rome, and all the imperial ensigns, to God and to blessed Peter, and to Sylvester the Roman Pope, for whom he performed the office of a groom, and no more called himself Emperor, but rejoiced to be called defender of the holy Roman Church; and, lest the peace of his lord the Pope should be disturbed on occasion of his presence, by the tumult of worldly war, he himself altogether withdrew from the city that he had given to the Pope, and built the city Byzantium for himself. I
* " Affrighted, he showed his back to the Britons whom he had invaded."
+ "O Brutus, under the setting sun, beyond the Gallic realms, there is an island in the ocean, shut up on all sides by the sea. Go to this island : for it shall be to thee a perpetual home. Here shall thy sons possess a second Troy. Kings shall be born here of thy race, and to them shall the whole world be subject."
* We have had some glimpses of old customs, and here we have a glimpse of mediæral history. First, as to the birth-place of Constantine. To say that London was his birth-place, is to add a pure invention to the conjectures that obscure this part of his history. It is not known where Constantine the Great was born. Gibbon, whose industry in research may be trusted when the subject does not bring him into conflict with Christianity, enu. merates three opinions with regard to the place of that Emperor's birth:1. Some part of Britain (York is the place usually thought of ). “Our English antiquarians were used to dwell with rapture on the words of his panegyrist,- Britannias illic oriendo nobiles fecisti.' But this celebrated passage may be referred with as much propriety to the accession as to the nativity of Constantine." 2. Some modern Greeks claim the honour for Drepanum, a town on the Gulf of Nicomedia. 3. Gibbon accedes to those wbo believe that he was born at Naissus, in Dacia.-Secondly, the fable of the donation of Rome to the Popes by Constantine has been long ago exploded, and the remembrance of it only provokes a smile.—Thirdly, the tale that Constantine performed the office of a groom for the Bishop of Rome is equally ridiculous, and at variance with the entire history of that Emperor in relation to the Church and Clergy.-Fourthly, the withdrawal of Constantine to Byzantium in order that the Bishop of Rome might enjoy winterrupted possession, is also quite gratuitously affirmed.
London also in modern times produced illustrious and magnificent Kings, the Empress Maud, King Henry the Third, and the blessed Thomas, Archbishop, glorious martyr of Christ;
Qualem neque candidiorem Terra tulit, neque cui me sit devinctior alter, * among all the good men of the Latin world.
ELECTRIC GAS. In this age of wonderful discoveries, one of the most astonishing that has been for a long time announced consists in the alleged conversion of water, by a simple magnetoelectric process of decomposition, into a non-explosive illuminating gas. It is to supersede the use of coal-gas for lighting, heating, and cooking, and of coal-fuel for locomotives and steamboats; and a Company is, we hear, being formed, with the intention, as one might say, of setting the Thames on fire. “By the present discovery," says the prospectus of this incipient Company, “water can be converted into gas at an almost nominal cost.” About sixpence per thousand cubic feet is, we believe, the estimate ; while even at this low charge the profits would be considerable. No manufacturing premises or extensive works are required. The process, it appears, may be performed in a magneto-electric machine of comparatively small size; so that every countrymansion or town-residence, shop or factory, steam-engine or cooking apparatus, locomotive or steamboat, may have its own portable gasometer. The genuineness of the objects of this projected Company, chimerical as they may seem, are attested by no less an authority than Dr. Leeson, F.R.S.
• “Than whom the world has not produced one fairer, and to whom no one can be more devoted than mysell.” Assuredly England is under no sort of obligation to Thomas Becket; a martyr indeed, but a martyr only to his own indomitable obstinacy, priestly ambition, and ill faith. But this point cannot be dwelt on in a note.
“At the invitation of the interim managing Director," (says the “Literary Gazette,”) “ we have made an examination of this 'invention' for ourselves. An ingeniouslyconstructed magneto-electric machine of large size is employed in effecting, to all appearance, the decomposition of a fluid contained in a number of bottles. The gas escaping from these is passed through some hydro-carbon compound to give it illuminating power, and it is collected in a gasometer, and burnt at once in an ordinary Leslie gas-burner. It is said to be oxygen and hydrogen derived from the decomposition of water, with their explosive property destroyed. These gases, it may be well to explain, as liberated from water, exist in proportions forming a mixture which is violently explosive on the application of a spark; yet here is a gas burning quietly from an ordinary burner, and giving out a flame of the same illuminating power as common coal-gas. The gist of the invention is this. Some preparation,-here is the secret,-costing twopence to one thousand cubic feet of gas, is used, which, being held in solution in the water, is said to destroy the explosive property of the liberated gases. Now the gases from water should exist in proportions of 88.9 of oxygen, and 11•1 of hydrogen; but an analysis of this gas by Mr. Holmes, Panopticon Professor of Chemistry, was shown us, giving oxygen about 12, and hydrogen about 82. It is clear, therefore, that water is not decomposed; and the only inference we can draw from this is, that the electric gas is derived simply from the preparation added to the water."
TREACHERY OF THE HEART. REVELATION, history, and experience, concur in teaching that the seeds of most if not all sins are lodged in the heart, and that they require only culture and opportunity to nurture them into maturity. We read that in northern latitudes, for several months in the year, the fields are covered with a mantle of snow, and so far as the eye can reach everything appears dull and dreary. But as summer advances, it is said that, in the short space of a single night, all this snowy covering disappears, and the inhabitants find, on waking, that all nature has started up into glad existence and vigorous life. The process of vegetation was being gradually developed under the snow, and all that was necessary to bring it into notice was the removal of the barrier which screened it from view. So it is with regard to the heart. It is, as it were, a nursery in which seeds are sown, and where they spring and grow we know not how. When the restraints that now confine the evil tendencies of the heart are withdrawn, then often almost suddenly the man becomes transformed into the fiend. No man ever yet became at once a finished profligate. This extreme is reached by a gradual process. The man on his road to ruin has many barriers to overleap ere he reach the goal. His conscience at first chides him at almost every step. Its checks become less and less heeded; and he who begins by walking in the counsel of the ungodly, next stands in the way of sinners, and finally, as a finished profligate, sits unconcerned in the seat of the scornful. (Psal. i.) Not only is the progress of the man himself gradual,-as may be seen in the expressions, walking, standing, sitting,—but his companions also belong to different classes of transgressors, namely, “ ungodly," "sinners," "scornful;"_words in the Hebrew all denoting degrees of crime. Now Hazael, when forewarned of his cruelties, could not bring himself to credit a statement so much at variance with his present