Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

in several capital points is notorious. That of the exposition of children is a shocking instance. Another of lending wives you may see in Potter. Plato's doctrine on these two points is monstrous beyond belief. And sodomy was deemed by him, and many others, but a venial offence at worst. One might go on further : but there is no need. I only add, that why it should scarce ever be of use to state their mistakes, in order to shew the happiness of being better tàught, I cannot imagine.”

No. II.

« The reason given Lev. xix. 29, holds against the allowance of any prostitutes ; making whoredom wickedness, or the cause of wickedness: and greater mischief was likely to proceed from foreign than domestic prostitutes. The Grecian laws were, I presume, to preserve the honour of their families. They express a further view. Exod xxii. 17, directs, thảt if a man lie with a single womán, (it is not limited to a jewish woman) he shall marry her; or by way of penalty give her a portion if her father forbids thè inarriage. Deut. xxi. 10, &c. supposes even according to our translation, no other way

of a man's gratifying his desire towards a female captive than by marrying her: that is, I conceive, as a wife or concubine, which was an inferior sort of wife. After a month, and not before, he might go in unto her, and, which is closely connected with it, be her husband. But probably v. 11 should be rendered, and hast a desire unto her, then thou shalt take her to thy wife. The next verse directs the method of proceeding for this purpose; and thou shalt bring her home, &c. I know the Rabbins put a very different, and I think absurd, interpretation upon this passage. The penalty of a trespass offering appointed Lev. xix. 20, for lying with a bond maid betrothed to another man, was no amends to that other man, but an acknowledgment to God for the sin, for which amends could not be made to her by marriage, because she was betrothed to another. But indeed the word here translated betrothed signifies nothing like it elsewhere : the word translated bondmaid is elsewhere commonly translated handmaid; and doth not imply a foreigner: the word translated scourged signifies elsewhere only an examination, which may indeed be made by scourging. And the Samaritan copy applies this inquiry or scourging to the man, and goes on, he, not they, shall be put to death, the offence against a servant maid not being so great. And thus the law will determine nothing about her; but leave her to be corrected by her master. Upon the whole I think this text will be of little use in the present question. Deut. xxiii. 2, forbids a bastard to enter into the congregation of the Lord, i. e. to be deemed a citizen of Israel and capable of public offices. 1 Cor. x. 8, mentions fornication as a crime in the Jews, and doth not mean spiritual fornication, i. e. idolatry, for the preceding verse speaks of that; and the fornication, to which it refers was with foreign women. Philo the Jew, who lived in Christ's time, saith in his life of Joseph, that it was peculiar to the Jews, that they were forbidden all whoredom by their law. It was reckoned a ground of shame

and contempt before the law; Gen. xxxviii. 23. Job xxxi. 9–11 saith, if mine heart hath been deceived by a woman, (he doth not confine it to a married woman) this is a heinous crime, &c. Nay, verse 1, he goes further still. And certainly the Proverbs and the prophets condemn whoredom in men very strongly. And there is no intimation in scripture, that it was permitted the Jews for the hardness of their hearts. It appears indeed from 1 Kings, iii. 16, that they did sometimes tolerate it, as they did many other bad things.

“Now compare with these particulars the praises given Solon for allowing full liberty to whores at Athens; the praises given by Cato to a young fellow coming out of a bawdy house; the well-known passage of Terence in favour of whoring; the challenge of Cicero to name any time, when men were blamed for it, or not countenanced in it, &c. &c. &c. Pythagoras's verses were not written by him, nor is it known when : besides that his precept, as you observe, is too general to determine any thing. Learned men have observed long ago, that Phocylides is interpolated both from the old and New Testament, probably after the days of the early Christian writers : for they do not produce these places from him. And therefore his two words, preserve virginity, will be of no use neither. But, which is very remarkable, several philosophers after Christ, Mausonius, Dion called the Goldenmouthed, and Porphyry, speak warmly against for-. nication.

“I may as well add here, what will perhaps be of use to you in another place, as I know not whe

ther you

observed it in reading Brucker [I now see you did] that he extends the life of Epictetus to Adrian's time, who reigned from A. D. 117, to 138. He would therefore have time, and his situation both in Rome and Greece would give him opportunity, not only to converse with many Christians, but to see the books of the new Testament, and other writings of theirs. Some think he lived to the reign of the Antonines : but Fabricius hath shewn, that probably they mistake.”

ART. DCCLI.

N° LII. Fugitive Poetry. “ There stern religion quench'd th' unwilling flame; There died the best of passions, love and fame.”.

РОРЕ. .

TO THE RUMINATOR.

SIR, I REQUEST the favour of you to give place to the following fugitive pieces, of which MS. copies have been found among a literary relation's Papers. I cannot positively assert that they have not been in print before.

I. On Bayham Abbey.*
Be hush'd, ye Fair! Yon monitor survey,

That awful living legend of the day;
Tread soft, nor rudely press the hallow'd ground,
Where all is sacred mystery around;
Where nodding reason must perforce awake,
When passion sleeps while mouldering ruins speak;

* In Sussex, now the seat of Marquis Camden.

Where silenee can some useful lesson teach,
And pour forth all the energy of speech.
Think underneath you tread some friend ador'd,
Whose jocund soul once bless'd the social board;
Now play'd the hero's, now the lover's part,
Now for his country bled, now stole a heart;
He's gone, cold death inexorably just
Strikes the dread blow; frail man returns to dust.
Methinks I hear some furrow'd monk relate
What frenzy urg'd to Baybam's still retreat;
With vain regret in pensive mood declare,
“I fought at Agincourt, my trade was war;
The path to fame with eager zeal pursu'd,
But sunk a victim to ingratitude ;
Then quitting honour and ambition's road,
Sought an asylum in the house of God."
Another Monk, by tottering age opprest,
With fault'ring tongue disburthens thus his breast;
I figur'd once a beau, and flatter'd too
Each credulous fair, as you and others do ;
To all alike vow'd constancy, and strove
To fix each heart, unpractis’d yet in love,
Till genuine ardour warm’d my breast at last,
And disappointment paid me for the past ;,
Thus robb’d of all that passion reckons dear,
Compunction touch'd my soul and fix'd me here;
The curtain drops, my vain pursuits are o'er,
And life's gay prospect now enchants no more."
Yon Friar, perhaps the idol of an hour,
Once rul’d supreme in dignity and power ;
A minister of state, what state is worse?
The prince's favourite, but the nation's curse.
The people's tyraut, but ambition's slave,
Now doom'd to damn the state, and now to save;

« AnteriorContinuar »