Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

writers, are gazed on by all. Here are monuments, loo, inscribed to Shakspeare and Garrick With death and eternity before us, how dim appear some of our brightest earthly stars, and what clouds and darkness surround them! How little do the talented of the earth seek the glory of the Lord of heaven! The inscription on one of these tombs,

“Life's a jest, and all things show it,

I thought so once, and now I know it," has led to the very suitable reflection :

“ Life is a solemn scene: this Gay now knows;

Big with eternal joys, or endless wees." But the doors of the Abbey are about to be closed, and I must leave this dormitory of the dead.

Dear as earthly glory may have been to them in days that are past, how gladly would the shrouded 'habitants, the mouldering tenants of the tombs, now exchange their proudest monuments for a place among the just!

Death is dealing around his unerring darts! Time is hastening along with the stride of a giant, and soon must

appear before the judgment-seat of Christ."

66 all

“Great God! on what a slender thread

Hang everlasting things;
The eternal states of all the dead

Upon life's feeble strings!

“ Infinite joy, or endless woe,

Attends on every breath ;
Ard yet, how unconcern'd we go,

Upon the brink of death!
“ Waken, O Lord, our drowsy sense,

To walk this dangerous road;
And if our souls be hurried hence,

May they be found with God." There is a soul-searching question applicable to each of the illustrious dead that sleep in " dull cold marble;"

not, Did he command the applause of listening senates or acs ieve a victory on the battle-field ?” but, “ Did he die the death of the righteous, and was his latter end like unto l.is ?" Not, “Is his name graven on marble, or printed in letters of gold ?" but," Does it appear among the names of those who died in Christ, and is it legiblý written in the Book of Eternal Life ?"

He who can quit the Abbey of Westminster with a mind unsolemnised with considerations of life and death, time and eternity, has visited the place in vain. “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth ; and inine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity," Psa. xxxix. 4,5.

THE MUSEUM AT THE INDIA HOUSE.

The stranger, in visiting either the museum at the India House, or any other of the numerous exhibitions of London, will do well to bear in mind, that his gratification is almost as dependent on his own mood of mind as on the things presented to his observation. Go into the country on a wet and dabbling day, and though the cottage near the coppice be newly whitewashed, and the vine clinging around its walls burthened with grapes; though the river pursue its meandering course, and the trees be clad with verdure, yet will you not feel disposed to regard the scene with pleasure. But when the sun

while a sunny

is in the sky, you look on the same scene with gladness; the cottage, the trees, and the meandering river are all regarded with enthusiastic delight. In like manner, a moody disposition renders every thing uninteresting, mind gilds all on which it gazes.

Oh for a more lively and enduring sense of God's goodness, that the sunshine of our hearts may be always visible!

Whatever be the spectacle that is exhibited, serious associations will ever, more or less, present themselves to a serious observer. It is almost impossible for one who regards this life, lighted up as it may be with all the fairy lamps of varied enjoyments, as the mere vesti bule of another-it is almost impossible for him to gaze on interesting objects without regarding them in connexion with their influence on the eternal interests of man. He will admire with others the binding, the type, and illustrations of a beautiful book; or the stately spire of a village church ; and he will listen to a choir of melodious voices with delight; but something beyond this will be pressing on his thoughts: the volume will remind him of the Book of Life, the spire will lead him to the skies, to which it points; and while his ears drink in the sounds of earthly melody, he will associate them with the sweeter strains of heavenly harmony.

" To him, the sun and stars on high,

The flowers that paint the field,
And all the artless birds that fly,

Divine instructions yield.

"The creatures on his senses press,

As witnesses to prove
His Maker's power and faithfulness,

His providence and love.

“Thus may we study nature's book,

To make us wise indeed !
And pray for those who only look

At what they cannot read."

sa

I have stood in front of the India House to admire its handsome Ionic portico, and to gaze on the emblematic group of figures above, wherein George III., Britannia, and Liberty, Mercury, Navigation, and the Tritons, Commerce, Order, and Religion, Justice, Integrity, and Industry, are assembled. The “noble Thames,” first of British rivers, is portrayed on one side, and the “ cred Ganges” on the other ;. while Britannia occupies the most elevated part of the building, with Europe and Asia somewhat below. These things are disregarded by the good people of London ; the stranger alone is seen to gaze upon them; and he, after an unsuccessful attempt to decipher the symbolic group, hastens across the street, to mount the steps, and to enter the massive portico.

The East India Company is rich and powerful. The words must have been a sad puzzle to many a rich worldly-minded nabob, “ It is easier for a camel to go through the

eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God," Matt. xix. 24.

I have walked through the court and court-room, the new sale-room, and other apartments, as well as the varied offices of this extended. edifice, and am now in the

I long for the luxury of a printed catalogue ; but no such thing is to be obtained. Why it should be so is a mystery.

The practice of hurrying the spectator from one thing to another as fast as the names of them can be run over, is very unpleasant, and yet it is altogether unavoidable so far as the attendant is concerned. The only comfortable way of proceeding is, to dispense with the attendance of the conductor; to wander where you like, and linger where

you
will:

: most of the curiosities here are

museum.

labelled, therefore this plan is attended with little incon. venience.

Who, in a flower-garden, would go round every bed in regular succession ? why, it would take away the better half of the gratification. Sweeter far it is to roam and to revel at liberty ; to gaze on the gaudy tulip, the stately hollyhock, and the blushing rose; and to inhale the grateful perfume of the honey-suckle, the sweetbrier, and the violet, without restriction. It is the same in a museum, and, therefore, I will find my way through the present one, taking the path that seems for the moment the most attractive.

But, first, let me ask what has given birth to this museum ? The time is not distant when Britain had no possession in India, and now, wonderful to tell, a company of British merchants bear rule, either directly or by the influence of their allies, over a million square miles of territory, and more than a hundred millions of people. They have stretched the strong arms of power over a country seven or eight thousand miles distant from their own, and subjected the inhabitants to their control.

The museum principally contains curiosities from this far distant land ; natural and artificial productions, mingled with the spoils of warfare..

Here is the squatting, cross-legged Boodha Gaudama, the object of worship with the Boodbic sects of India; and here are a score or two of household gods, as hideous as heathen hands could make them; and these miserable stocks and stones have received that adoration which is due to God alone. What is man without a knowledge of God? Yea, what is he, even with that knowledge, unless restrained by Divine grace? While the heathen holds an idol in his hand, we may have one

« AnteriorContinuar »