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pause in its constantly expanding and brightening course—that the same magnificent spectacle which has delighted our eyes, will open also on the view of many coming generations—and that morning and evening—with all their soft and truly human endearments—“ will rejoice over myriads who are yet unborn.”
The following Illustrations are but parts of a great mass of similar matter
which the Author had prepared and which he meant at once to serve as additional notices on the leading topics of the Work-and to form a series of short consecutive treatises, which might be perused with a feeling of their affinity to each other. The size of the book, however, would have been too far enlarged, if the whole of the intended notes had been appended—and the Author has therefore confined himself to some of those which seemed to him to be the most important-still trusting, that their relation as parts of one continuous train of reflection may not be unperceived by the reader.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
THE OLD HOUSE-AND OLD TIMES.
I HAVE endeavoured, in the preceding treatise, to exhibit a system of principles, and a prevailing style of thought, both in practical and more speculative matters, which in all times has characterized the house in which I live, and even the whole of the neighbourhood by which it is surrounded—insomuch, that even the ancient and venerable tower which forms the most remarkable feature of the scene, never had a master, throughout all its successive occupants, who was not devoted to the cause of loyalty-of established order—and of sound and useful principles.
Not that the men of whom I am speaking were ever characterized by a bigotted_and illiberal--and unenlightened spirit. On the contrary, they have been, in all their generations, among the most accomplished, and influential, and able—as well as among the most respectable, and exemplary, and steadfast men of the times in which they flourished_and while their hereditary character thus bears, that they were at all times the friends of established order and of good rule in their day, it also certifies that they have ever been of that order of men who are best fitted at once for upholding the state of the world, and for carrying its progressive tendencies, cautiously, and therefore successfully, forward.
All this is historical and unexaggerated fact-and surely then, it is not to be wondered, that holding, as I most assuredly do, the principles I have endeavoured to expound_and cherishing them with the most conscientious and affectionate reverence, I should feel a veneration and attachment to a home surrounded by such remembrances and invested with such associations which can never by any possibility be felt by persons whose abodes have not presented themselves to their minds with so many sacred recollections—or whose principles never were so completely identified with the very scenes they are daily and hourly treading.
Nothing in this world, however, is destined to perpetuity—and it may be that a state of the world is yet to come, in which other and opposite principles and habits of thought are to make their way even into this ancient stronghold of the better principles I have been endeavouring to expound. But if such is to be the case, I at least hope that my old house and myself shall go to the dust together—and that being as firmly attached to my principles though far from being as distinguished as the most illustrious of those by whom I have been preceded, I shall have the honour of being the last occupant of an abode which never hitherto has been tenanted by men of a different description.
No doubt, there is much truth and force in the exhortation of the Wise King—that “men should not too anxiously ask why the former times were better than these— for they do not inquire wisely concerning this.” Our reverence for antiquity may, no doubt, in most cases, be but a delusion of the imagination, rioting amidst the fancied excellence of times which do not now offer themselves to our observation--it may partake of the reverence with which we regard those who have been our ancestors in the world—and to whose venerable forms we are disposed to look as the symbols of wisdom—and gravity—and prudence—and knowledge of affairs—and propriety in all sentiments and doingsmand it may thus be but one instance of that general propensity which has, in all ages, led men to think that the first ages of the world were its ancient ones" whereas, to speak truly,” says Lord Bacon, “ Antiquitas seculi juventis mundi ; these times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient ordine retrogrado, by a computation backward from ourselves.”
Besides, each period of society is suited to the time of its occur. rence—and as there were, doubtless, many things in the times that are past, which were wrong and annoying, even amidst all their real happiness and prosperity, but which adverse circumstances we do not now fully appreciate, from their absence from our observation-so in the present times, with all their turbulence, and seeming disorder, and folly, there may be the elements of future good, which also, however, from the prevalence of the