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piness in heaven. This gentleman and his wife had hitherto lived in great reputation for their piety, justice, sobriety, and other Christian virtues : but, above all, their charity was eminent; divers of their sick and indigent neighbours owing their subsistence, next under God, to their munificence; but since the birth of this child, their minds have degenerated into a love of this world ; they were no longer charitable, but their whole thoughts have been employed how to enrich themselves and leave a great fortune to this infant and its posterity. Hence I took this momentary life from the body of the child, that the souls of the parents might live for ever: and I appeal to you if this was not the greatest act of kindness and friendship to them.--There remains one action more to defend, my destroying the servant of a gentleman, who had used me so extraordinary civil, and who professed a great esteem for his fidelity: but this was the most faithful instance of gratitude I could shew to one who used me so kindly; for this servant was in fact a rogue, and had entered into a conspiracy to rob and kill his master.-Now know,“ that Divine Providence is just, and the ways of God are not as your ways, nor his thoughts as your thoughts; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than your ways, and his thoughts than your thoughts."-At these words he vanished, leaving the good man to meditate on what had passed, and the reasons given for it; who 'hereupon, transported with joy and amazement, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and gave glory to God, who had delivered him from his anxiety about the ways of Divine Providence : satisfied as to the wisdom of God's dealings, and those unseen reasons for them which surpass all human conception, he returned with cheerfulness to his cell, and spent the residue of his life in piety and peace.
UNIVERSAL SPECTATOR, vol. iv. p. 185.
This story, upon which Parnell has founded his exquisite poem, entitled “ The Hermit,” occurs in the Latin “ Gesta Romanorum,” an analysis of which is prefixed to Warton's History of English Poetry; it is also inserted in Howell's Letters, and in Sir Philip Herbert's Conceptions ; but the conduct of the tale has been much improved by More, whose arrangement of the incidents is copied by the poet. The author of the Universal Spectator, however, having omitted the admirable reflections which More has given us in illustration of the moral of this fable, I shall beg leave to add them. “ The affairs of this world,” remarks the Doctor,
are like a curious, but intricately contrived comedy; and we cannot judge of the tendency of what is past, or acting at present, before the entrance of the last act, which shall bring in Righteousness in triumph; who, though she hath abided many a brunt, and has been very cruelly and despitefully, used hitherto in the world, yet, at last, according to our desires, we
shall see the knight overcome the giant. For what is the reason we are so much pleased with the reading romances, and the fictions of the poets, but that here, as Aristotle says, things are set down as they should be; but in the true history hitherto of the world, things are recorded indeed as they are; but it is but a testimony, that they have not been as they should be? wherefore, in the upshot of all, when we shall see that come to pass, that so mightily pleases us in the reading the most ingenious plays and heroic poems, that long afflicted virtue at last comes to the crown, the mouth of all unbelievers must be for ever stopped. And for my own part, I doubt not but it will so come to pass in the close of the world. But impatiently to call for vengeance upon every enormity before that time, is rudely to overturn the stage before the entrance into the fifth act, out of ignorance of the plot of the comedy ; and to prevent the solemnity of the general judgment by mere paltry and particular executions.” Par. i. p. 235, Dial. 2. edit. Lond. 1668, 12mo.
When I took upon me this province of a public writer, I was resolved, to the best of my poor capacity, to make this paper entertaining as well as instructive to my readers ; in order to which, I judged it would be absolutely necessary, not to dwell too long upon the same subject. Man, as well as woman, delights in variety, and the mind, as well as the palate, must have change of diet. The Quicquid agunt homines, is indeed a large field for wit and satire to exercise themselves upon ; but often of late when I had chose my subject, and sat down with design of communicating my thoughts upon it, I found, upon recollection, that I had been anticipated by some other authors who had lived before me.
The Spectator, of moral and facetious me. mory, reformed the periwigs, the canes, and the sword-knots of the fops; nay, he tripped up their red heels, if I may be allowed that ex.
pression. As to the fair sex, he handled them from head to foot; not a part about a fine lady was left untouched. In a word, whenever I take up the Spectator, I am ready every minute to break out into the same exclamation that a poet of Gascoigny uttered upon reading over a beautiful ode of Horace. D-n these ancients (says he), they have stolen all my fine thoughts.”
Writers of such universal talents, may draw something that is useful and entertaining from the most barren subjects in nature. The Spectator, before mentioned, has been very learned upon dancing. We have had writers, of but a second or third class in fame, who have had their excellences : a baronet of North-Britain has published a large quarto upon the Art of Fencing; and a baronet of Worcestershire has obliged the world with a treatise of immense erudition upon the Gymnastic Science, or the Art of Wrestling
But no people come up to the Germans, in their indefatigable industry for searching antiquity. What immense volumes of ancient learning have they rescued from cobwebs and oblivion! How have they worked through the rust of time, to make discoveries for the improvement of mankind! And with what infinite