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merry. But our president observing that he indulged himself in this long fit of stupidity, and construing it as a contempt of the college, ordered him to retire into the place prepared for such companions. He was no sooner got into it, but his wit and mirth returned upon him in so violent a manner, that he shook the whole infirmary with the noise of it, and had so good an effect upon the rest of the patients, that he brought them all out to dinner with him the next day.
* On Tuesday we were no sooner sat down, but one of the company complained that his head ached; upon which another asked him, in an insolent manner, what he did there then? This insensibly grew into some warm words ; so that the president, in order to keep the peace, gave directions to take them both fiom the table, and lodge them in the infirmary. Not long after, another of the company telling us he knew, by a pain in his shoulder, that we should have some rain, the president ordered him to be removed, and placed as a weather-glass in the apartment above mentioned.
• On Wednesday a gentleman, having received a letter written in a woman's hand, and changing colour twice or thrice as he read it, desired leave to retire into the infirmary. The president consented, but denied him the use of pen, ink, and paper, till such time as he had slept upon it. One of the company being seated at the lower end of the table, and discovering his secret discontent, by finding fault with every dish that was served up, and refusing to laugh at any thing that was said, the president told him, that he found he was in an uneasy seat, and desired him to accommodate himselt better in the infirmary. Aiter dinner, a very honest fellow chanced to let a pun fall from him ; his neighbour cried out,
“ To the infirmary ;" at the same time pretending to be sick at it, as having the same natural antipathy to a pun which some have to a cat. This produced a long debate. Upon the whole, the punster was acquitted, and his neighbour sent off.
On Thursday there was but one delinquent. This was a gentleman of strong voice, but weak understanding He had unluckily engaged himself in a dispute with a man of excellent sense, but of a modest elocution. The man of heat replied to every answer of his antagonist with a louder note than ordinary, and only raised his voice when he should have enforced his argument. Finding himself at length driven to an absurdity, he still reasoned in a more clamorous and confused manner; and, to make the greater impression upon his hearers, concluded with a loud thump upon the table. The president immediately ordered him to be carried off, and dieted with water-gruel, till such time as he should be sufficiently weakened for conversation.
On Friday there passed very little remarkable, saving only, that several petitions were read of the persons in custody, desiring to be released from their confinement, and vouching for one another's good behaviour for the future.
On Saturday we received many excuses from persons who had found themselves in an unsociable temper, and had voluntarily shut themselves up. The infirmary was, indeed, never so full as on this day, which I was at some loss to account for, till, upon my going abroad, I observed that it was an easterly wind. The retirement of most of my friends has given me opportunity and leisure of writing you this letter, which I must not conclude without assuring you, that all the members of our college, as well those who are under confinement as those who are at liberty, are your very humble servants, though none more than, C.
N° 441. SATURDAY, JULY 26, 1712
Si fractus illabatur orbis,
HOR. 3. Od. ii. .
In ruin and confusion hurl'd,
Man, considered in himself, is a very helpless and a very wretched being. He is subject every moment to the greatest calamities and misfortunes. He is beset with dangers on all sides; and may become unhappy by numberless casualties, which he could not foresee, nor have prevented had he foreseen them.
It is our comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many accidents, that we are under the care of One who directs contingencies, and has in his hands the management of every thing that is capable of annoying or offending us ; who knows the assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.
The natural homage which such a creature bears to so infinitely wise and good a Being, is a firm reliance on him for the blessings and conveniences of life, and an habitual trust in him for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may be
The man who always lives in this disposition of mind, has not the same dark and melancholy views of human nature, as he who considers himself abstractedly from this relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own weakness and imperfection, he comforts himself with the contemplation of those divine attributes which are employed for his safety and his welfare. He finds his want of foresight made up by the Omniscience of Him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength, when he knows that his helper is almighty. In short, the person who has a firm trust on the Supreme Being is powerful in His power, wise by His wisdom, happy by His happiness. He reaps the benefit of every divine attribute, and loses his own insufficiency in the fullness of infinite perfection.
To make our lives more easy to us, we are commanded to put our trust in Him, who is thus able to relieve and succour us; the divine goodness having made such reliance a duty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable had it been forbidden us.
Among several motives which might be made use of to recommend this duty to us, I shall only take notice of those that follow.
The first and strongest is, that we are promised, He will not fail those who put their trust in Him.
But, without considering the supernatural blessing which accompanies this duty, we may observe, that it has a natural tendency to its own reward, or, in other words, that this firm trust and confidence in the great Disposer of all things contributes very much to the getting clear of any affliction, or to the bearing it manfully. A person who believes he has his succour at hand, and that he acts in the sight of his friend, often exerts himself beyond his abilities, and does wonders that are not to be matched by one who is not animated with such a confidence of
I could produce instances from history, of generals, who, out of belief that they were under the protection of some invisible assistant, did not only encourage their soldiers to do their utmost, but have acted themselves beyond what they would have done had they not been inspired by such a belief. I might in the same manner show how such a trust in the assistance of an Almighty Being naturally produces patience, hope, cheerfulness, and all other dispositions of mind that alleviate those calamities which we are not able to remove.
The practice of this virtue administers great cornfort to the mind of man in times of poverty and affiction, but most of all in the hour of death. When the soul is hovering in the last moments of its separation, when it is just entering on another state of existence, to converse with scenes, and objects, and companions that are altogether new,-what can support her under such tremblings of thought, such fear, such anxiety, such apprehensions, but the casting of all her cares upon him who first gave
her being, who has conducted her through one stage of it, and will be always with her, to guide and comfort her in her progress through eternity?
David has very beautifully represented this steady reliance on God Almighty in his twenty-third psalm, which is a kind of a pastoral hymn, and filled with those allusions which are usual in that kind of writing. As the poetry is very exquisite, I shall present my reader with the following translation of it:
1. • The Lord my pasture shall prepare, And feed me with a shepherd's care: His presence shall my wants supply, And guard me with a watchful eye; My noon-day walks he shall attend, And all my midnight hours defend.