« PreviousContinue »
and I had 71. 128. to receive; but the expenses of this vacation will leave me bare until Christmas.
I have the pleasure of not having solicited either this or any other of the favours which Mr. Catton has so liberally bestowed upon me: and though I have been the possessor of this exhibition ever since March last, yet Mr. Catton did not hint it to me until this morning, when he gave me my
bill. I have, of course, signified to Mr. Simeon, that I shall have no need whatever of the stipend which I have hitherto received through his hands. He was extremely kind on the occasion, and indeed his conduct towards me has ever been fatherly. It was Mr. * * * who allowed me 201. per annum, and Mr. Simeon added 101. He told me, that
gave him the most heartfelt joy; that I was so generally respected, without having made any compliances, as he understood, or having, in any instance, concealed my principles. Indeed, this is a praise which I may claim, though I never conceived that it was at all an object of praise. I have always taken some pains to let those around me know my religious sentiments, as a saving of trouble, and as a mark of that independence o. opinion, which, I think, every one ought to assert: and as I have produced my opinions with frankness and modesty, and supported them (if attacked) with coolness and candour, I have never found them any impediment to my acquaintance with any person whose acquaintance I coveted.
TO MR. R. W. A.
St. John's, Aug. 18th, 1806. I am glad to hear of your voyages and travels through various regions, and various seas, both of this island, and its little suckling the Isle of Wight.
Many hair's breadth 'scapes and perilous adventures you must needs have had, and many a time, on the extreme shores of the south,
have looked up with the eye of intelligent curiosity to see whether the same moon shone there as in the pleasant, but now far distant groves of Colwick. And now, my very wise and travelled friend, seeing that your head is yet upon your shoulders, and your neck in its right natural position, and seeing that, after all the changes and chances of a long journey, and after being banged from post to pillar, and from pillar to post ; seeing, I say, that after all this, you are safely housed once more under your paternal roof, what think you, if you were to indulge your mind as much as you have done your eyes and gaping muscles? A few trips to the fountains of light and colour, or to the regions of the good lady who χερσίν αδάλοις διεπει άφoρρoν πόντον, a ramble down the Galaxy, and a few peeps on the unconfined confines (ποτμόν άποτμαν, ύπνον άύπνον, βιον ού βιώτον) of infinite space, would prove, perhaps, as delectable to your immaterial part, as the delicious see-saw of a post chaise was to your corporeal; or, if these ethereal, aëronautical, mathematical volutations should displease you, perhaps it would not be amiss to saunter a few weeks on the site of Troy, or to lay out plans of ancient history on the debatable ground of the Peloponnesians and Athenians. There is one Thucydides, who lives
near, who will tell you all about the places you visit, and the great events connected with them: he is a sententious old fellow, very shrewd in his remarks, and speaks, moreover, very excellent Greek at your service. I know not whether you have met with any guide in the course of your bodily travels who can be compared to him. If you should make Rome in your way, either there or back, I should like to give you a letter of introduction to an old friend of mine, whose name is Livy, who, as far as his memory extends, will amuse you with pretty stories, and some true history. There is another honest fellow enough, to whom I have not recommended you, he is so very crabbed and tart, and speaks so much in epigrams and enigmas, that I am afraid he would teach you to talk as unintelligibly as himself. I do not mean to give you any more advice, but I have one exhortation, which I hope you will take in good part; it is this, that if you set out on this journey, you will please to proceed to its end: for I have been acquainted with some young men, who have turned their faces towards Athens or Rome, and trudged on manfully for a few miles, but when they had travelled till they grew weary, and worn out a good pair of shoes, have suddenly become disheartened, and returned without any recompense for their pains.
And now let me assume a more serious strain, and exhort you to cultivate your mind with the utmost assiduity. You are at a critical period of your life, and the habits which you now form will, most probably, adhere to you through life. If they be idle habits, I am sure they will.
But even the cultivation of your mind is of minor importance to that of your heart, your temper, and disposition. Here I have need not to preach, but to learn.
You have had less to encounter in your religious progress than I have, and your progress has been therefore greater, greater even than your superior faculties would have warranted. I have had to fight hard with vanity at home, and applause abroad: no wonder that my vessel has been tossed about; but greater wonder that it is yet upon the waves.
I exhort you to pray with me (and I entreat you to pray for me), that we may both weather out the storm, and arrive in the haven of sound tranquillity, even on this side the grave.
We have all particular reason to watch and pray, lest self too much predominate. We should accustom ourselves to hold our own comforts and conveniences as subordinate to the comforts and conveniences of others in all things: and a habit thus began in little matters, might probably be extended without difficulty to those of a higher nature.
TO MR. B. MADDOCK.
MY DEAR BEN,
St. John's, 14th Sept. 1806. I can scarcely write more to you now than just to calm your uneasiness on my account. I am perfectly well again, and have experienced no recurrence of the fit: my spirits too are better, and I read very moderately. I hope that God will be pleased to spare his rebellious child; this stroke has brought me nearer to Him : whom indeed have I for my comforter but Him? I
still reading, but with moderation, as I have been during the whole vacation, whatever you may persist in thinking
My heart turns with more fondness towards the consolations of religion than it did, and in some degree
I have found consolation. I still, however, conceive that it is my duty to pursue my studies temperately, and to fortify myself with Christian resignation and calmness for the worst. I am much wanting in these virtues, and, indeed, in all Christian virtues; but I know how desirable they are, and I long for them. Pray that I may be strengthened and enlightened, and that I may be enabled to go where duty bids, wherever that be.
TO MR. B. MADDOCK.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
St. John's, Camb. 22d Sept. 1806.
You charge me with an accession of gallantry of late;
kind exhortations to a complete surrender of my heart to God, which are contained in yonr letter. In this respect I have betrayed the most deplorable weakness and indecision of character. I know what the truth is, and I love it; but I still go on giving myself half to God, and half to the world, as if I expected to enjoy the comforts of religion along with the vanities of life. If, for a short time, I keep up a closer communion with God, and feel
whole bosom bursting with sorrow and tenderness as I approach the footstool of my Saviour, I soon relapse into indifference, worldly-mindedness, and sin; my devotions become listless and perfunctory: I dote on the world, its toys, and its corruptions, and am mad enough to be