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The earth is a melancholy map, as delineated by our moral geographers. The world grows worse and worse—such has been the lamentation from the beginning of time, and so will it be to the end thereof. Some, indeed, there are, who will have it that the march of intellect is not a dead march ; the advancement of knowledge, they say, may be retarded, but, silently and unseen, it works its way onward ; and will bring



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us, sooner or later, to where we ought to be. Whether the intellectual and moral progress of mankind will keep pace with each other, is a question beyond the depth of our sagacity to fathom.

Such was the substance of a remark which had been just made by Frank Delamere, in a conversation with his friend Edward Clavering, on the signs of the times.

“ It is a question about which there cannot be two opinions,” was Clavering's reply ; “knaves and apostates - political and religious — are cöeval with the race of man; and let wisdom make what advance it may, they will continue to multiply and replenish the earth as long as its atoms hold together."

My good friend,” said Delamere, throwing himself carelessly on the sofa,“ virtue, in your philosophy, sits enthroned on an inaccessible pinnacle ; and man is not made to climb such a fearful eminence. Lofty souls may, now and then, reach the summit, but the majority

“ Will be all their lives crawling round the base,” interrupted Clavering ;

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the pressure of pride, or the sting of ambition, makes them struggle for elevation ;- and when obtained, what use do they make of it but to trample the feeble under their feet?

“ The first empty tub of handsome dimensions, my dear Clavering, that I can procure, shall be yours," said Delamere, with his animated smile; “your handsome figure would become it much better than Diogenes ever did. It will be the abode of a noble spirit; you may turn it upside down and lecture from it, as from the stronghold of freedom ; — and, forthwith, you will transform ministers into patriots, and rogues

into honest men.” If you could inoculate me with your love of the ludicrous, I should feel inclined to make the experiment.

Nothing so easy,” rejoined Delamere ; man, as we all know, is the most pliant and improveable of all animals. See to what a state of moral perfection he has been already brought by the preaching of bishops, priests, and deacons, in the short space of ten centuries. This shows what may be done by a diligent and



exemplary church establishment. We, in return, have put up our prayers for them; and, behold, what an endowment of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding they display !—what samples they exhibit of christian humility !-what an indifference to the riches of this world !-what carelessness about all that is corruptible by moth and rust -to what can all this be ascribed but to our weekly petitions, which keep their virtues, like the banyan tree, in a perpetual state of reproduction ?"

“ You have an enviable talent of description, Delamere.”

“ Take it, my dear Clavering, if it is worth anything, for a portion of your misanthropy.” .

“ Indeed, my dear friend, I am far from being a misanthrope. No one is more willing than I am to have a favourable opinion of mankind, and I take no small pains to arrive at it; but, after all, I cannot help coming to the same conclusion with the fisherman in Pericles. "I marvel !' says his mate, how the fishes live in the sea ? Why,' answers his companion, as men do on land--the great ones eat up the little ones.'

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