« הקודםהמשך »
But, before you receive the Sacrament, it will be necessary for you to take a Review of your past Life.
Your Sickness having confined you to your Room, you must have a great many vacant Hours upon your Hands; and a Christian ought to be then most busy, when, in the Language of the World, he has nothing to do; But, in the Language of Reason and Christianity, has his eternal Salvation to work out with Fear and Trembling. Judge yourself, and then you will not be judged of the Lord. But if you neglect to do this, then think what a shocking Thing it must be to give an Account before the greatest Being in the World, of a Life, that you perhaps cannot reflect on seriously in private, and by yourself, without Shame and Confusion. Look up to that Being whom you have offended, with all the Humility of a contrite Spirit, and look upon this World as (what it may soon perhaps in Reality be) Nothing to you. Soon, very soon (oh, may it not prove too soon for you! I mean before a thorough Repentance) may that Being, whom none can fee, and live, fit in Judgment, on your Soul: And then you must either be, what I sincerely wish, eternally happy; or, what I tremble to think of, eternally miserable. If the latter, which God forbid ! should be your Case: How dreadful must it be. to lift up those Eyes,
which you had wilfully shut before, just as you are sinking, irrecoverably sinking, ini endless Misery? Behold, now is the accepted Time, now is the Day of Salvation ! On
your present Behaviour, on this great Crisis, your ALL depends ! God, who will not despise a troubled and a contrite Heart, will have Compassion on you, provided you have first Compassion on yourself. But if you do not return to him with a whole Heart; nothing is more fit, than that they, who are incorrigibly Bad, should be irretrievably Wretched. I say no more. May God
you may know the Things belonging to your Peace, before they be for ever hid from your Eyes !
Thus I have wrote, what I am sure is a very affectionate, and what I wish may prove a very affrEting Letter. It is not material to inform you, from what Hand this Epistle comes : It is enough to assure you, that it proceeds from an Heart sincerely your's,
E S. SAY
REFINED AND FRIENDLY
Written in the Twenty-second Year of the
T has been observed that some, who
have been justly esteemed Writers of the first Rank in the Learned World, have not been favoured with a very happy Turn for Conversation ; and that others, on the contrary, could never make their Appearance to Advantage in Print, who were yet looked upon as the very Life and Genius of every private Company they came into.
Thus Mr. ANTHONY Wood informs US,
" That whenever Sir WILLIAM “ KILLIGREW took Pen in Hand, he “ did not come up to the never-failing “ Smartness, which he shewed in Conver« fation; whereas Mr. COWLEY was the " Reverse of this Character, as Sir JOHN “ DENHAM gives us to understand in the following Lines :
“ Had Cowley ne'er Spoke, KILLIGREW
ne'er writ; « Combin'd in one they'd pew'd a matchless
This may be accounted for after the following Manner : Some Men are of an airy, volatile Temper; the Edge of their Wit is very fine, but soon turn'd: They have Briskness and Vivacity of Spirit enough for a sharp, surprizing Repartee, or any other extempore Sally of Fancy; but they have not that Strength and Steadiness of Spirit, which is necessary to keep up an uninterrupted Tenour of good Writing, and to convey their Thoughts with Chastity and Propriety of Style. And indeed even in Conversation I have observed fome Gentlemen of this Stamp, when they have fallen foul on Men of superior Sense, to have been very brisk and vigorous in their first Attack; but fainter and weaker in their last Efforts. Their Spirits evaporated, and, if their Antagonist bravely stood his Ground, he was convinced, that their Forces were rather for a short Skirmish of Wit, than for a set and lasting Battle. They put me in Mind of what some ancient Historians relate of the Gauls, viz. That in the Beginning of the Fight, they used to perform more than Men; but towards the Conclusion of it less than Women. Some on the ather Hand,
áre of a more phlegmatick Constitution ; their Parts are slow, but sure; and, what is wanting in Sprightliness, is made up in what we call strong, masculine Sense.
I would therefore observe, that there are two kinds of Wit; the one I call Tinsel Wit, which consists of glittering Points, little Flourishes, and ludicrous Conceits : The other may be styled true Sterling-Wit; which is made up of a rich Vein of good Thinking, exalted Sentiments, and curious Observations. The former is more glaring and dazzling; the Touches of the latter are very masterly, but too delicate and nice for vulgar Observers. The former pleases more upon a superficial, transient View; the latter upon a mature Deliberation; the one therefore more taking in common Conversation ; the other in Writing.
That I may not lose myself in too large a Field, I shall reduce my Thoughts to the three following Heads, viz.
Is, The Advantages of refined and friendly Conversation.
IIdly, The Subject Matter of it; and,
IIIdly, The Manner of handling the Topicks of such Conversation.
Ift, On the Advantages of refined and friendly Conversation.