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Gratitude is Due for Good Intentions

November 24, 2009

All admit that our obligation to benefactors is in proportion to their intention to benefit us, and that even if, through some accident or hindrance, their deeds fall short of their goodwill, and they fail to do us good; . . . while, on the other hand, we owe no debt of gratitude to those by whose acts we are benefited without their intending to do us good.  It will now be shown that while in almost all the motives to human benevolence self-interest plays a part, the benevolence of God is entirely disinterested.

The Duties of the Heart By Rabbi Bachye, tr. Edwin Collins, 1909.  From the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Original image here.


“We went ashore at Port Said . . .”

November 17, 2009

We went ashore at Port Said, but as it was in the evening after it was dark, we could not see much of the place.  We however saw various coffee houses, small theatres, and gambling shops.  The dregs of all European countries gather here; Port Said is therefore noted for its immorality.  On 25th March during night time we left Port Said and entered the Mediterranean.  We received fresh passengers in Egypt, among whom was an American Missionary of a certain persuasion.  He was delighted to see a magnificent crop of heathens on board the vessel, and he at once set to commence his harvesting operations.  He began from the beginning, and told us first all about the Creation.  He told us about the rebellion in heaven, about the creation of Adam and Eve, about their fall, and all the subsequent results that came out of it.  We on our part told him our version of the story.  We said that we Bráhmans came out of the Creator’s mouth, our warrior caste came out of His hand, our trading caste came out of His thigh and our cultivating caste came out of His feet.  He laughed at what is related in our books, and said that our account of the Creation is simply absurd and entirely false.  He wondered how our people could put faith on such a childish story.  This gentleman then especially warned us of the Satan, whose constant delight is to take human souls to the place where he lives, not a very comfortable place we were told.  He firmly believed that the world would come to an end within five years, and therefore earnestly urged upon us to prepare for that final catastrophe.  Interesting discussions of this kind were however soon interrupted.  The wind rose, the weather became unpleasant, high waves dashed against the vessel, making it roll heavily, the whole deck was inundated with spray, and both the Missionary and his audience felt that they were going to be turned inside out.  Most of the passengers were now sea-sick, but I was not one of the number, and cannot therefore describe the queer sensation which people indisposed in this way are said to feel.

A Visit to Europe by T. N. Mukharji, 1889.  From the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Original images here and here.

“In England as your Lordship may . . .”

November 17, 2009

In England as your Lordship may well remember, the King was not only made a close prisoner, his Crowne, his life, and the succession of his posterity declared against, but also all those parties that stood for him there, or had declared in his behalfe, and taken armes for his rescue, were wholy dispersed, and subdued:  yea and all other men, whose parts, honesty, or publique interest made them worthy of a suspition, either imprisoned, banisht, or utterly disarmed.

A Letter from Sr. Levvis Dyve to the Lord Marquis of New-Castle, 1650.  From the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Original image here.

“What have I done?”

November 14, 2009

   Lady A.  What have I done?  What horrid Crime committed?
   Rich.  To me the worst of Crimes, out-liv’d my liking.
   Lady A.  If that be Criminal, Just Heaven be kind,
And take me while my Penitence is warm:
O Sir, forgive, and kill me.
   Rich.  Umh!  No, —— The medling World will call it murder,
And I wou’d have ’em think me pitifull:
Now wert thou not afraid of self-Destruction,
Thou hast a fair excuse for’t.
   Lady A.  How fain wou’d I be Friends with Death?  O name it.
   Rich.  Thy Husband’s hate:  Nor do I hate thee only
From the dull’d edge of sated Appetite
But from the eager Love I bear another:
Some call me Hypocrite:  What think’st thou now,
Do I dissemble?

The Tragical History of King Richard III.  As it is Acted at the Theatre Royal, by Colley Cibber, 1700.  From the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image.  Original image here.

Dominus regit me. Psal.xxiii.

November 13, 2009

The Lord is onely my support,
     and he that doth me feede:
How can I then lacke any thing,
     wherof I stand in neede.
He doth me folde in coates most safe,
     the tender grasse fast by:
And after driues me to the streames,
     which runne most pleasauntly.

And when I feele my selfe neare lost,
     then doth he me home take:
Conducting me in his right pathes,
     euen for his owne names sake.
And though I were euen at deathes doore,
     yet would I feare none ill:
For with thy rod and shepheardes crooke,
     I am comforted still.

Thou hast my table richly deckt,
     in despight of my foe:
Thou hast my head with balme refresht,
     my cup doth ouerflow.
And finally while breath doth last,
     thy grace shall me defend:
And in the house of God will I,
     my life for euer spend.

The whole booke of Psalmes, collected into Englishe metre by T. Sternhold, W. Whitingham, I. Hopkins, and others, 1583.  From the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image.  Original images here and here.

St. Leontius, Bishop.

November 12, 2009

St. Leontius, Bishop of Cesarea in Cappadocia in the fourth Century, was raised to that See at a Time when the Christian Religion was violently persecuted by the Heathen Emperors, and the pure Faith attack’d by the Arians.  Upon both which Occasions he behaved himself in a Manner suitable to his Station in the Church.  He suffered much under Maximin and Licinius, and laboured hard in animating several Christians against the Fear of Persecution, and persuading them to persevere in their Profession ’till Death.

When the Heat of the Persecution was over, it was the Business of the Prelates of the Church to think of proper Means of regaining those unhappy Persons, who had been weak and timorous enough to renounce their Faith rather than suffer for it.  Leontius was one of the Council of Ancyra in Galatia, which met to regulate the Penance of those Apostates.  Here a due Medium was observed between a Rigour that might make them desperate, and a Facility that might make the Crime seem inconsiderable; and in all their Orders they had a strict Regard to the different Degrees of the Fault before them.

He was one of the Fathers of the Council of Nice in 325.  He took Nazianzum in his Way to that City, where he found St. Gregory, Father to the famous Doctor of the same Name.  Gregory had been unhappily involved in a Mixture of Error and Superstition:  But the pious Labours and good Example of Nonna his Wife converted him; and he took that Occasion to profess his Faith, and receive Baptism at the Hands of Leontius.

St. Athanasius does Justice to the Saint’s Character, when he ranks him among those Apostolical Men, whose Faith is proposed as a certain Rule for the Faithful.  A Life spent in asserting the Truth, and illustrated by exact Purity of Morals, ended in a Death as happy as holy.  But the Time and other Circumstances of it are unknown.

The Lives of Saints.  Collected from Authentick Records of Church History.  With a full Account of the other Festivals throughout the Year, The whole Interspersed with Suitable Reflections.  Volume I.  The Second Edition, 1750.  From Google Books.  Original image here.

“Improve your privileges while they stay . . .”

November 12, 2009

Improve your privileges while they stay,
Ye pupils, and each hour redeem, that bears
Or good or bad report of you to heav’n.
Let sin, that baneful evil to the soul,
By you be shunn’d, nor once remit your guard;
Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg.
Ye blooming plants of human race divine,
An Ethiop tells you ’tis your greatest foe;
Its transient sweetness turns to endless pain,
And in immense perdition sinks the soul.

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley, 1773.  From University of South Carolina University Libraries.  Original image here.