תמונות בעמוד

from within, and their minds are delightfully raised, according to its reception by the hearers. This ended, the win. dows of the houses around the public places, and likewise of those in the streets, are shut, and so also are the gates, and then the whole city is silent; no noise is heard in any part of it, nor is any person seen loitering in the streets, but all are intent on their work and the duties of their calling. S. At noon however the gates are opened, and in the afternoon the windows also in some houses, and boys and girls are seen playing in the streets, whilst their masters and governesses sit in the porches of the houses, watching over them and keeping them in order. 4. On the sides of the city, at its extremity, are to be seen various sports of boys and young men, as running, hand-ball, and tennis, there are besides trials of skill among the boys, in order to discover the readiness of their wit in speaking, acting, and perceiving; and to such as excel are given some leaves of laurel as a reward ; not to mention other things of a like nature, designed to call forth and exercise the latent talents of the young people. 5. There are moreover dramatic entertainments, * exhibited upon theatres out of the city, the actors representing the various graces and virtues of moral life, amongst whom are inferior characters for the sake of relatives :" one of the ten asked, “How for the sake of relatives ? and they replied, “No virtue with its graces and decencies can be represented to the life, but by means of relatives in which all its graces and decencies from the greatest to the least are comprised and represented; and the inferior characters represent the least, even till they become none; but it is provided by law, that nothing of the opposite, which is called indecent and dishonourable, should be exhibited, except figuratively and as it were remotely; it is so provided, because nothing that is becoming and good in any virtue can by successive progressions pass over to what is unbecoming and evil; it only proceeds to its least, where it perishes; then and not till then, the opposite commences; so that heaven, where all things are becoming and good, has nothing in common with hell, where all things are indecent and evil.

* The pions reader will not be startled or offended, at hearing of theatrical exhibitions in heaven, when he recollects that their edifying end, is to delineate and represent the various virtues and graces of moral life, so as to lead the spectators and hearers to correct what is amiss in themselves, and to perfect their own characters, by the lively examples of perfection and excellence exhibited to view, and at the same time by the wise lessons of moral rectitude. It were much to be wished that the stage on earth had always been, in this respect a pattern of the stage in heaven, and that nothing had been there exbibited, but what tended to discourage vice, and recommend true virtue. We should not then have heard so many severe, though just censures, passed on dramatic representations by men of wisdom and piety; nor would the Christian world have had so much reason to lament the great abuse of an exhibition, which, under the restrictions of piety and virtue, might be rendered in every age and place both entertaining and edifying, but which every considerate person must acknowledge to be in many instances exceedingly dangerous to religious influence, by favouring and cherishing, rather than rebuking and discountenancing the irregular passions and propensities of the natural man. They who, forming their opinion of the stage from its corruptions alone, are inimical to every thing that assumes a dramatical form, should recollect that theatrical exhibitions owe their origin entirely to religion; that amongst the ancients they were first introduced at their sacred festivals, and that, when revived after the introduction of Christianity, it was for the same purpose; that they were performed in churches, and were composed, and for the most part acted, by the clergy.

746. Whilst they were discoursing, a servant came in and brought word, that the eight wise persons invited by the prince's order were arrived, and requested to be admitted; on which the angel went out to receive and introduce them; and presently these wise persons, after the customary ceremonies of introduction, began to discourse with them on the beginnings and increments of wisdom, with which they intermixed various remarks on its succession, shewing that with the angels it never ceases or comes to a period, but advances and increases to eternity. Hereupon the attendantiangel said to them, “Our prince at table discoursed with these strangers on the seat or abode of wisdom, shewing that it is in use; if it be agreeable to you, be pleased to discourse with them further on the same subject.” And they said, “Man at his first creation was endued with wisdom and the love of it, not for the sake of himself, but for the sake of its communication with others from himself; hence it is a maxim inscribed on the wisdom of the wise, that no one be wise for himself alone, nor live for himself, but for others at the same time: this is the ground and origin of society, which otherwise could not exist : to live for others is to perform uses: uses are the bonds of society and these are as many in number as there are good uses, and the number of uses is infinite: there are spiritual uses, such as belong to love towards God, and love towards our neighbour; there are moral and civil uses, such as belong to the love of the society and state in which a man lives, and of his fellow-citizens amongst whom he dwells; there are natural uses, which belong to the love of the world and its necessities; and there are corporeal uses, such as belong to the love of self-preservation, for the sake of uses of a superior order. All these uses are inscribed on man, and follow in order one after another, and when they are together, then one is within the other: they who are in the first uses wbich are spiritual, are in all those which succeed, and these persons are wise; but they who are not in the first, but yet are in the second, and thence in the succeeding, are not so highly principled in wisdom, but only appear to be so by virtue of an external morality and civility; they who are neither in the first nor second, but only in the third and fourth, have not the least pretensions to wisdom, for they are satans, loving only the world, and themselves for the sake of the world ; but they who are only in the fourth, are least of all wise, for they are devils, because they live to themselves alone, and if they consider others it is only

for the sake of themselves. Every love, moreover, hath its particular delight, for by delight love is kept alive, and the delight of the love of uses is heavenly delight, which enters succeeding delights in their order, and according to the order of succession exalts them, and maketh them eternal.” After this they spoke of the number of the heavenly delights proceeding from the love of use, and said that they were myriads of myriads, and that all who enter into heaven enter into those delights. With further conversation of wisdom on the love of use they lengthened out the day with them until the evening.

Towards evening there came a servant clothed in linen to the ten companions of the angel, and invited them to a wedding * which was to be celebrated the next day; and the strangers were much rejoiced to think that they were also to be present at a wedding in heaven. After this they were conducted to the house of one of the counsellors in waiting, and supped with him, and after supper they returned to the palace, and each retired apart into his own bedchamber, where they slept till morning. When they awoke they heard the singing of the virgins and young girls from the houses round the public places of resort, of which mention was made above; they sung that morning the affection of conjugial love, the sweetness of which did so affect and penetrate the strangers, that they perceived sensibly a blessed serenity instilled into their joys, which at the same time exalted and renewed them. At the hour appointed the angel said, “Make yourselves ready, and put on the garments of heaven which our prince sent you; and they did so,

Concerning the true ground, nature, and end of marriages in the heavenly world, and how they are reconcileable with our Lord's assertion, that in heaven they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, more may be seen in our author's work on CONJUGIAL Love. It being impossible to introduce into the compass of a note all that is said in that work on the interesting subject, the reader is desired to suspend his judgment until he has perused its contents.

and lo! the garments were resplendent as with flaming light; and they asked the angel, “ Whence is this?" fle replied, “Because ye are going to a wedding, and when that is the case, our garments always assume a shining appearance, and become wedding garments."

747. After this the angel conducted them to the house where the nuptials were to be celebrated, and the porter opened the door; and presently being admitted within the house, they were received and complimented by an angel sent from the bridegrom, and were introduced and shewn to the seats intended for them: and soon after they were invited into the anti-room to the bed chamber, where they saw in the middle à table, on which was placed a magnificent candelabra with seven branches and sconces of gold ; and to the walls were hung lamps of silver, which being lighted made the atmosphere appear as of a golden hue: and they observed near the candelabra two tables, on which were set loaves of bread in a triple order; there were tables also at the four corners of the room, on which were placed cups of crystal. Whilst they were viewing these things, lo! a door opened from a chamber beside the bed-room, and they saw six virgins come out, and after them the bridegroom and bride, holding each other by the hand, and leading each other to a seat placed over against the candelabra, on which they seated themselves, the bridegroom on the left, and the bride at his right hand; whilst the six virgins stood beside the seat near the bride. The bridegroom was clad in a robe of bright purple, and a tunic of fine shining linen, with an ephod, on which there was a golden plate set round with diamonds, and on the plate was engraven a young eagle, being the nuptial ensign of that heavenly society; and he wore a mitre on his head : but the bride was clad in a scarlet mantle, under which was a gown embroidered with needle work, continued from her neck to her feet, and below her bosom she wore a golden girdle, and on her head a crown

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