Dead to the Living.
To which are added,
Thoughts on Death.
Tranſlated from the
Moral Essays of the
Printed for T. Worrall, at the Judge’s-
Head, over againſt St. Dunſtan’s Church in
To Dr. Young.
Ihave no Deſign in this Dedication, but to expreſs my Gratitude, for the Pleaſure and Advantage I have receivedA2ceived iv A2v iv ceived from your Poem on the Last Judgment, and the Paraphraſe on Part of the Book of Job.
The Author of theſe Letters is above any View of Intereſt, and can have no Proſpect of Reputation, reſolving to be concealed: But if they prove a ſerious Entertainment to Perſons whoſe Leiſure Hours are not always innocently imployed, the End is fully anſwer’d.
The greateſt Infidel muſt own, there is at leaſt as much Probability in this Scheme, as v A3r v as in that of the Fairy Tales, which however Viſionary, are ſome of them Moral, and Entertaining.
I am, Sir, Your moſt Humble Servant, &c.
The Drift of theſe Letters is, to impreſs the Notion of the Soul’s Immortality; without which, all Vertue and Religion, with their Temporal and Eternal good Conſequences, muſt fall to the Ground.
Some who pretend to have no Scruples about the Being of a God, have yet their Doubts about their own Eternal Exiſtence, though valuable Authors abound in Chriſtian, and Moral Proofs of it.But viii A4v
But ſince no Means ſhould be left unattempted in a Point of ſuch Importance, I hope endeavouring to make the Mind familiar, with the Thoughts of our Future Exiſtence, and contract, as it were, unawares an Habitual Perſuaſion of it, by Writings built on that Foundation, and addreſs’d to the Affections and Imagination, will not be thought improper, either as a Doctrine, or Amuſement; Amuſement, for which the World makes by far the largeſt Demand, and which generally ſpeaking, is nothing but an Art of forgeting that Immortality, the firm Belief, and advantageous Contemplation of which, this Amuſement would recommend.
Dead to the Living.
To the Earl of R――, from Mr. ―― who had promis’d to appear to him after his Death.
This will find you, my Lord, confirm’d in your Infidelity, by your late Diſappointment. It was not in my Power to give you the Evidence of a future State, Bwhich 2 B1v 2 which you deſired, and that I had raſhly promis’d; but ſince this Engagement was a Secret to every Mortal, but our ſelves, you muſt be aſſur’d that this comes from your deceaſed Friend, whoſe Friendſhip you ſee has reach’d beyond the Grave.
In my laſt Sickneſs, we fix’d on the Time and Place of my Appearance; you was punctual to the Appointment: For though I was not permitted to make my ſelf viſible, I had the Reſolution to attend the Solemnity of a Viſit from the Dead. The Hour was come, the Clock from a neighbouring Steeple ſtruck One, no human Voice was heard to break the awful Silence, the Moon and Stars ſhone clear in their Midnight Splendor, and glimmer’d through the Trees, which in lofty Rows led to the Centre of a Grove, where I was engag’d to meet you.
I saw you enter the Walks, with a careleſs incredulous Air, not the leaſt Con- 3 B2r 3 Concern or Expectation appear’d in your Looks; as if you came there only in regard to your own Word, and a Sort of reſpect to my Memory: However, the Calmneſs of the Night induc’d you to walk ’till the Morning began to break, when you retir’d, ſinging an idle Song, you had got out of the Fairy Tales. By the Gayety of your Temper you ſeem’d pleas’d, my Lord, with a new Proof againſt a Future Life, and happy to find your ſelf (as you concluded) on a level with the Beaſts that periſh. A glorious Advantage! and worthy of your Triumph.
But we have ſo often diſcours’d on this Subject, that I would not tire you with the Repetition of any thing paſt; only once more to make way to your Reaſon, by moving your Paſſions, in recollecting the Manner of your Brother’s Death, which was all a Demonſtration of the Immortality of the Soul; and to what Heights of Fortitude B2that 4 B2v 4 that Proſpect could raiſe the Heart of Man, at the Hour of Terror, and in the Jaws of Death.
With what a ready Compoſure did he endure the Violence of his Diſtemper! With what Conviction and full Aſſurance expect the Reward of his Piety! With what Calmneſs, with what a graceful Reſignation did he receive the Sentence of Death, when (at his Importunity) the Phyſicians told him there was no Hopes of his Recovery. Then I have but a few weary Steps, he reply’d, and the Journey of Life will be finiſh’d.
This was not a Time for Affectation, all was open undiſſembled Goodneſs and a true Greatneſs of Mind: Nothing elſe could have ſupported him, when every Circumſtance of Life conſpir’d to allure him back to Life, to deepen the Shadows of the Grave, and make the King of Terrors more terrible.There 5 B3r 5
There was not, my Lord, among the Race of Men, a more lovely and agreeable Perſon than your Brother; his Marriage was juſt concluded with the charming Cleora, he had juſt finiſh’d a noble Seat, and fine Gardens to receive her: When he was near Death, ſhe came at his Requeſt to take a laſt and ſad farewel: Angels might have ſorrow’d to ſee Tears in the brighteſt Eyes on Earth, while her Tenderneſs for you would have diſguis’d her Anguiſh. This, with the Sight of a fond young Siſter, fainting in her Woman’s Arms; your aged Father ſitting near, ſilent and ſtupid with his Grief. What could ſupport the Mind of Man in ſuch complicated Diſtreſs! The accompliſh’d Youth, who had all that was gentle and human in his Diſpoſition, muſt have betray’d ſome Weakneſs, if he had not been aſſiſted by a Power ſuperior to Nature. But how equal, how ſteady was his Mind! how becoming, how graceful his whole Behaviour! B3Never 6 B3v 6 Never was the laſt, the cloſing part of Life, perform’d with more Decency and Grandeur. His Reaſon was clear and elevated, and his Words were the very Language of Immortality, and excited at the ſame time, both Pity and Envy in thoſe that were near him.
When the cold Sweats hung on his Brows, and his Breath and Speech fail’d, Joy ſtruggled through the Decay of Nature, and a heavenly Smile ſate on his Face; a Smile that at once compell’d our Tears, and accus’d us of Weakneſs in them.
You, my Lord, attended him to the laſt Moment of Life, and when I preſſed this Argument of a future State, you confeſs’d, that tho’ you thought Religion a Deluſion, it was the moſt agreeable Deluſion in the World, and the Men who flatter’d themſelves with thoſe gay Viſions, had much the Advantage of thoſe that ſaw nothing before them but a gloomy Uncertainty, or 7 B4r 7 or the dreadful Hope of an Annihilation.
From this Uncertainty I was very ſollicitous to draw you, while I was in a mortal State; but I have now a more ardent Deſire to convince you, tho’ I cannot obtain the Permiſſion to give you that Evidence you requeſted: However, this Letter may ſatisfy you that I am in a State of Existence, nor is an Apparition from the Dead a greater Miracle than a Variety of Objects that daily ſurround you, and owe the Loſs of their Effect, to your Familiarity with them.
Happy Minds in this ſuperior State are ſtill concern’d for the Welfare of Mortals, and make a Thouſand kind Viſits to their Friends; to whom, if the Laws of the immaterial Worlds did not forbid, it would be eaſy to make themſelves viſible, by the Splendor of their own Vehicles, and the Command they have on the Powers of material Things, and the Organs B4of 8 B4v 8 of Sight: It often ſeems a Miracle to us that you do not perceive us; for we are not abſent from you by Places, but by the different Conditions of the States we are in.
Your conſtant And immortal Friend
From a Gentleman who died at Conſtantinople, to his Friend in England, giving him an Account of the Manner of his Death.
Your not hearing from me, my dear Beville, has given you too many diſmal Apprehenſions about the Manner of my Death: And the Engagements of a generous Friendſhip, which are not extinguiſh’d with the Breath of Life, obliges me to give you this Satisfaction.
I made a longer Stay at Conſtantinople than I intended, and there it pleas’d Heaven that I ſhould reſign my Life, which for ſome Months gradually declin’d, but without any violent or painful 10 B5v 10 painful Diſorder, or indeed the leaſt Apprehenſion that my Diſtemper was fatal. But my Days were number’d, and when the deſtin’d Hour drew near, after a ſleepleſs Night, I roſe with the Sun, and as I had never been ſo ill as to confine my ſelf, I ſought ſome Refreſhment in one of thoſe delicious Gardens that adorn the Shore of the Boſphorus.
After a ſhort Walk I found my Spirits ſinking, and retiring to a Cypreſs Shade, I threw my ſelf on a flow’ry Bank for ſome Refreſhment: A gentle Slumber ſoon clos’d my Eyes, which was thrice broken by what I then thought an imaginary Call: The Voice perfectly reſembled the charming Almeria’s, whoſe Death, you know, was the Occaſion of my Travels. I was now perfectly awake, and liſtening to hear the gentle Summons again, but found I had neither Strengh to riſe, nor Power to call Aſſiſtance: An icy Coldneſs ſtop’d the Springs of Life, and after a little Struggle 11 B6r 11 Struggle, my Spirit got unburthen’d of its Clay, the Curtain fell, and the inviſible World appear’d. The firſt gentle Spirit that welcom’d me to theſe new Regions, was the lovely Almeria; but how Dazling! how divinely Fair! Extaſy was in her Eyes, and inexpreſſible Pleaſure in every Smile! her Mein and Aſpect more ſoft and propitious than ever was feign’d by Poets of their Goddeſs of Beauty of Love: What was airy Fiction there, was here all tranſporting Reality. With an inimitable Grace ſhe received me into her ætherial Chariot, which was ſparkling Saphire ſtudded with Gold: It roll’d with a ſpontaneous Motion along the Heavenly Plains, and ſtop’d at the Morning Star, our deſtin’d Habitation. But how ſhall I deſcribe this fair, this fragrant, this enchanting Land of Love! The delectable Vales and flow’ry Lawns, the Myrtle Shades and roſy Bowers, the bright Caſcades and chryſtal Rivulets rolling over Orient Pearls and Sands of Gold: Here 12 B6v 12 Here they ſpread their ſilent Waves into broad tranſparent Lakes, ſmooth as the Face of Heaven; and there they break with rapid Force through arching Rocks of Diamond and Purple Amethiſt. Plants of immortal Verdure creep up the ſparkling Clifts, and adorn the Proſpect with unſpeakable Variety.
Oh my Beville, could I lead you through the luxurious Bowers and ſoft Receſſes where Pleaſure keeps its eternal Feſtivals, and revels with guiltleſs and unmoleſted Freedom! What-ever can raiſe Deſire, what-ever can give Delight, what-ever can ſatisfy the Soul in all the boundleſs Capacities of Joy is found here! Every Wiſh is repleniſh’d with full Draughts of vital Pleaſure, ſuch as elevate angelick Minds, and gratify the nobleſt Faculties of immortal Spirits, Oh Beville! my Almeria is as much ſuperior to her former ſelf here, as I thought her ſuperior to the reſt of her Sex upon Earth.
To the Counteſs of ――, from her only Son, who died when he was two Years old.
Your Grief is an Allay to my Happineſs. The only Sentiment my Infant State was conſcious of, was a Fondneſs for you, which was then pure Inſtinct and natural Sympathy, but is now Gratitude and filial Affection. As ſoon as my Spirit was releas’d from its uneaſy Confinement, I found my ſelf an active and reaſonable Being. I was tranſported at the Advantage and ſuperior Manner of my Exiſtence. The firſt Reflection I made was on my lovely Benefactor, for I knew you in that Relation in my Infant State: But I was ſur- 14 B7v 14 ſurpriz’d to ſee you weeping over the little breathleſs Form from which I thought my ſelf ſo happily delivered, as if you had lamented my Eſcape. The fair Proportion, the Agility, the Splendor of the new Vehicle that my Spirit now inform’d, was ſo bleſt an Exchange, that I wondr’d at your Grief; for I was ſo little acquainted with the Difference of material and immaterial Bodies, that I thought my ſelf as viſible to your Sight as you was to mine. I was exceedingly mov’d at your Tears, but was ignorant why, unleſs becauſe yours was the moſt beautiful Face next my Guardian Angel I had ever ſeen, and that you reſembled ſome of the gay Forms that uſed to recreate my guiltleſs Slumbers, and ſmile on me in gentle Dreams. I was then ignorant of your maternal Relation to me, but remembred that you had been my Refuge in all the little Diſtreſſes of which I had but a faint Notion. I left you unwillingly in the Height of your Calamity,lamity, 15 B8r 15 lamity, to follow my radiant Guide to a Place of Tranquility and Joy, where I met thouſands of happy Spirits of my own Order, who inform’d me of the Hiſtory of my native World, for whoſe Inhabitants I have a peculiar Benevolence, and can’t help intereſting my ſelf in their Welfare: But as I never diſcern’d between Good and Evil, nor experienc’d the Motives that govern’d the Race of Men, I am, I confeſs, aſtoniſh’d at their Conduct, and find their Joys and Sorrows to be all ſtrange and unaccountable. I have made Viſits to the lower World ſince my Deceaſe; the firſt that I made was from a tender Curioſity to know if you was ſatisfied with the Diſpoſal of Heaven in my early Fate; but I was ſurpriz’d to find after ſeveral Months were paſt, your Grief oppreſt every Thought, and clouded all the Joys of your Life, which made me very inquiſitive into my own Hiſtory. I ask’d the Cæleſtial who was your Attendant, why I was ſo much lamented 16 B8v 16 lamented, and of what Conſequence my Life would have been to the Publick or my own Family, ſince thoſe fair Eyes were yet drown’d in Tears for one that had made ſuch a ſhort and inſignificant Appearance below.
As for the Publick, the gentle Miniſter told me there was a Hazard, I might have prov’d a Bleſſing or Curſe; but that I was the only Hope of an illuſtrious Family, and Heir to a vaſt Eſtate and diſtinguiſh’d Title; and pointing to a Coat of Arms, told me that was the Badge of my Dignity, and the noble Seat we had in View, with the Gardens, Fields, the Woods and Parks that ſurrounded it were all my entail’d Poſſeſſion.
A goodly Poſſeſſion! I reply’d, and proper for the four-footed Animals that I beheld feeding on the verdant Paſture, but of what Uſe theſe Fields and Woods had been to one that had an immortal Spirit I cannot conceive: And for a Title, what Happineſs could an 17 C1r 17 an airy Syllable, an empty Sound, bring with it? The Coat of Arms I took for ſuch a Toy, that if Burleſque had not been beneath the Dignity of an Angel, I ſhould have thought the mentioning it a Ridicule on mortal Men. I cannot conceive wherein the Charm, the Gratification of theſe Things conſiſt. If I were poſſeſs’d of the whole Earthly Globe, what Uſe could I make of this groſs Element, the Dregs of the Creation? I have no Dependance on Water or Fire, or Earth or Air. ’Tis unintelligible to me, that Hills and Vallies, Trees and Rivers, the Mines and Caverns under their Feet, any more than the Clouds that fly over their Heads, ſhould be the Wealth of reaſonable Creatures. They may keep their Poſſeſſions unenvy’d by me: I am glad I did not live long enough to make ſo wrong a Judgment, nor to acquire a Reliſh for ſuch low Enjoyments. I am ſo little concern’d for the Loſs of ſuch an Inheritance, that if the black Prince of Cthe 18 C1v 18 the airy Regions claim’d my Share, I would not diſpute his Title, tho’ he is my Averſion, and your Foe.
So ſuperior, Madam, are my preſent Circumſtances, to that of the greateſt Monarch under the Sun, that all earthly Grandeur is Pageantry and Farce, compar’d to the real, the innate Dignity which I now poſſeſs. I am advanc’d to celeſtial Glory, and triumph in the Heights of Immortal Life and Pleaſure, whence Pity falls on the Kings of the Earth.
If you could conceive my Happineſs, inſtead of the mournful Solemnity with which you interr’d me, you would have celebrated my Funeral Rites with Songs, and Feſtivals: Inſtead of the thoughtleſs Thing you lately ſmil’d on and careſs’d, I am now in the Perfection of my Being, in the Elevation of Reaſon: Inſtead of a little Extent of Land, and the Propriety of ſo much Space to breathe in, I tread the ſtarry Pavement, make the Circuit of the Skies, 19 C2r 19 Skies, and breathe the Air of Paradiſe. I am ſecure of eternal Duration, and independent but on the Almighty, whom I love and adore, as the Fountain of my Being and Bleſſedneſs.
Pardon me, Madam, ’tis you now ſeem the Infant, and I repay you that ſuperior Regard and Tenderneſs which you lately beſtow’d on me.
My Lord, finding Materials in your Cloſet, I took the Opportunity of your Abſence to give you this Intelligence of my Death: The Hand will convince you that it comes from your once lov’d Ethelinda.
I liv’d but a few Weeks after you left Italy, ſuch was the Exceſs of my Grief, tho’ a ſtrict Modeſty ſtill forc’d me to conceal my unhappy Paſſion from the moſt intimate Companion I had. After I had diſcover’d it to you, I durſt confeſs the guilty Secret to none but the compaſſionate and forgivinggiving 21 C3r 21 giving Powers above, who aſſiſted my Weakneſs, and confirm’d my Reſolution never to comply with any of thoſe Schemes you propos’d to free me from my Confinement. You had indeed convinc’d me that the Vows I had made were raſh and uncommanded; but oh! ’twas paſt; Saints and Angels heard it, the all-ſeeing Skies were invok’d to witneſs the chaſt Engagement; ’twas ſeal’d above, and enter’d in the Records of Heaven. Thus hopeleſs was my Paſſion, Perjury and Sacriledge ſtood in all their Horrors before me, Ruin and eternal Perdition were betwixt us: And yet that I lov’d you, my Lord, I had too often ſubſcrib’d to that ſoft Confeſſion to leave you any Doubt of it; nor was the tender Frailty without Excuſe, if all the Merit Man could boaſt, if every Grace that Nature could give or gentle Art improve deſerv’d Diſtinction, it had been a Crime to have been inſenſible in any Circumſtance but mine. Strange Circumſtance! that C3could 22 C3v 22 could make it Virtue to look coldly on you.
There was the Emphaſis of my Miſery, mine was a Heart devoted to ſuperior Ardours, and ſacred to Heaven alone; that Heaven which is my impartial Judge and Witneſs how ſincerely I ſtrove to blot you from my Soul. But neither Reaſon, nor the niceſt Senſe of Honour, nor even Devotion could aſſiſt me; ſtill you return’d on my Imagination triumphant in all your Charms. Hopeleſs of the Conqueſt, I gave my ſelf up to Grief and Deſpair, reſolving never to attempt my Eſcape from the Holy Retreat to which my Vows had confin’d me, but rather to fall a Victim to the ſacred Names of Chaſtity and Truth. Heaven accepted the Sacrifice, and Death my kind Deliverer, at once releas’d me from Miſery and Mortality. The chryſtal Gates open’d a ſpacious Entrance, and the bleſt Immortals received me to the Manſions of Life and Bliſs.What 23 C4r 23
What ever was feign’d of the Elyſian Fields and Cyprian Groves, is here without Deluſion ſurpaſs’d: Theſe are the imperial Seats, the native Dominions of Love: Here his holy Torch Flames out with propitious Splendor, and his golden Shafts are dip’d in immortal Joys. Here are no Vows that tear us from our Wiſhes, no Conflict ’twixt Paſſion and Virtue; what we like we admire, what we admire we enjoy, nor is it more our Happineſs than Commendation ſo to do.
That unhappy Paſſion which was my Torment and Crime is now my Glory and my Boaſt. Nothing ſelfiſh or irregular, nothing that needs Reſtraint or Diſguiſe mingles with the noble Ardour. ’Tis all calm and beneficent, becoming the Dignity of Reaſon, and the Grandeur of an immortal Mind, and is as laſting as its Eſſence. When the Lamps of Heaven are quench’d, when the Sun has burnt out its Splendor, this Divine Principle ſhall ſhine with C4un- 24 C4v 24 undiminiſh’d Luſtre, the Joy and Triumph of the Heavenly Nations: The Subſtance of Love, my Lord, dwells in Heaven, its Shadow only is to be found upon Earth.
You remember as we were on on a clear Summer Evening gazing on the Beauty of the Stars, I promis’d, if you ſurviv’d me, to give you an Account of the Planetary Worlds and their Inhabitants. I have not made half the Tour of the Skies, but will, if I can, deſcribe to you the laſt of theſe Novelties in which I entertain’d my ſelf. ’Twas in a Region immenſe Spaces diſtant from that Syſtem which is enlighten’d by your Sun, and created numberleſs Ages before the Foundations of the Earth were laid, and the Meaſure thereof deſcrib’d before the Day-Spring knew its 26 C5v 26 its Place, and the Bounds of Darkneſs were determin’d. Before Man was form’d of the Duſt of the Ground, and the Almighty breath’d into him a living Soul; an unmeaſurable Duration before this, the unlimited Creator had made and peopled Millions of glorious Worlds. The Inhabitants of this which I am deſcribing, ſtood their Probation, and are confirm’d in their original Rectitude, but will never be admitted into the Empyrean Heaven, being uncapable of that ſupream Degree of Happineſs which Angels and the Spirits of juſt Men attain. However, they are exempt from all Evil, bleſt to the Height of their Faculties and Conceptions: and are priviledg’d with Immortality; their Reſidence may properly be call’d the enchanted World: What-ever you have heard fabled of Fairy Scenes, of vocal Groves, and Palaces riſing to Magick Sounds, is all real here, and perform’d by the eaſy and natural Operationsrations 27 C6r 27 rations of theſe active Spirits. I have in an Inſtant ſeen Palaces aſcend to a majeſtic Height, ſparkling as the Stars, and tranſparent as the unclouded Æther. I might deſcribe them like the Courtly Prophet; Their Walls were fair Colours, their Foundation Saphire, the Windows of Agate, and the Gates of Carbuncle. Their Materials here are all glittering and refined, not like the Earthly Globe, dark and heavy. Theſe Ætherials are the niceſt Judges of Symmetry and Proportion, and by the Diſpoſition of Light and Shade, and the Mixture of a thouſand dazling Colours form the moſt charming Proſpects: They have ſuch a Command and Knowledge of the Powers of Nature, that in an Inſtant they raiſe a Variety of Sylvan Scenes, and carry the Perſpective thro’ verdant Avenues and flow’ry Walks to an unmeaſurable Length; while living Fountains caſt up their ſilver Spouts, and form glittering Arches amont the Trees, of Growth, 28 C6v 28 Growth and Verdure not to be expreſſed.
They are acquainted with all the utmoſt Myſteries of Sound, and are poſſeſs’d with the very Soul of Harmony. Art is theirs in all its changing Notes, its Blandiſhments and Graces. Whatever Nature can boaſt in her wild licentious Charms is govern’d by them. The winding Vales, the Streams and Groves breathe Muſick at their Command. The Nightingal and dying Swan ſeem to complain to gentle Zephirs whiſpering through the Trees, while a Thouſand airy Songſters warble to the meaſur’d Fall of high Caſcades; which by Intervals ſinking into a deep Silence, after a graceful Pauſe, ſhrill Recorders and ſilver Trumpets ſound, while harmleſs Thunders roll above, and break with a glorious Solemnity: Still the bliſsful Tempeſt riſes, and ſwells the Mind to ſacred Grandeur and ſeraphick Elevation; till ſubdued and melteded 29 C7r 29 ed into Softneſs by the Melody of tuneful Reeds, warbling Lutes, and ſweet inchanting Voices, of the Lydian Strain.
The Language of this charming Region is perfectly muſical and elegant, and becoming the fair Inhabitants, who are freſh and roſy as the opening Morning, clear as the Meridian Light, and fragrant as the Breath of Jeſſamin or new-blown Roſes. How exquiſitely proportion’d their Shapes! Their Aſpect how tranſporting! How gentle, how charming beyond all the Race of Mortal Men! Never did the Eye-lids of the Morning open on ſuch Perfection, never did the Sun ſince firſt it journey’d thro’ the Skies behold ſuch Beauty, nor can human Fancy in its moſt inſpir’d Flights conceive ſuch amiable Wonders. Perhaps in all my Planetary Rambles I ſhall not be able to give you an Account of any Objects more ſurprizing. But while I am permitted, I ſhall continuetinue 30 C7v 30 tinue my Intelligence to the moſt agreeable Friend I had on Earth, and be aſſur’d when you are releaſ’d from Mortality you will meet, in ſpight of diſtance of Time and Place, (thoſe mortal Foes to Love upon Earth.)
Your conſtant And unchang’d
My dear Siſter, tho’ the Engagements of Nature are cancell’d, the ſuperior Obligations of Virtue remain in their full Force. You have been faithful to my Memory, and the ſtricteſt Rules of Piety, tho’ it has prov’d of fatal Conſequence to the unhappy Man who was lately my Husband, and by that Relation a Brother to you. With inward Grief and Compaſſion I ſaw the guilty Inclination, but never utter’d the leaſt Complaint, nor gave him one uneaſy Moment. I knew your Mind as faultleſs as your Form, and ſaw you govern’d in all your Conduct by conſciousſcious 32 C8v 32 ſcious Honour, and unblemiſh’d Virtue: Envy it ſelf could not have reproach’d you with the leaſt Deviation from Modeſty, and Truth; nor was the Promiſe I would have extorted from the guilty Youth on my Death-bed, the Effect of Jealousy, but a kind Deſign to reclaim him, and free you from his Importunity, if I could have engag’d him, as I deſir’d, not to converſe with you after my Deceaſe; but he was ſincere enough to refuſe me, and as ſoon as a ſlight Formality would ſuffer him, he purſued his inceſtuous Paſſion. Your obſtinate Repulſes have at laſt the tragical Effect I expected. From the Moment that he heard the Day of your Marriage with the illuſtrious Montandre was ſet, he reſolved on the unnatural Fact; and never was Self-murder perform’d in a more calm and deliberate Manner: He ſpent part of the Evening with two of his Friends, Men of Wit and Learning; his Diſcourſe with them was all intended to prove the 33 D1r 33 the Right a Man has to diſpose of his Life, and put an end to his Being, when it was rather his Burthen than Happineſs. He return’d to his Houſe in a more early Hour than uſual, and retiring to his Chamber, call’d for a young and only Daughter that I had left him; taking her in his Arms, while the lovely Infant ſmil’d on him, Tears drop’d from his Eyes: When he would have bleſs’d it, the unbelieving Prayer faulter’d on his Tongue, and delivering the Child to its Nurſe, he order’d his Servant to deny him to all Company. As ſoon as he was alone, he wrote that moving Letter, which you receiv’d: When he had finiſh’d and ſeal’d it, he took a Lucretius from the Table, and read and paus’d by Intervals; at laſt looking on his Watch, juſt at Two he faſten’d his Chamber Door, and drew his Sword, repeating the following Lines, which I wiſh had never been writ, as I aſſure you does the Author of them too.D Here’s 34 D1v 34
―― Here’s a quick Relief, To all thy vain, imaginary Grief. For thou ſhalt ſleep, and never wake again, And quitting Life, ſhalt quit thy living Pain. The worſt thant can befal thee, meaſur’d right, Is a ſound Slumber, and a long Good-night.
Then directing the Point exactly at his Heart, he fell on his Sword, and immediately expir’d; and left a tender Orphan friendleſs and expos’d.
This is the Motive of my writing to you, that you would take the Charge of her Education, and protect her Infant Innocence. Be ſure to perform this generous Office, as you would proſper, and be your ſelf protected in any of the Calamities of human Life. By deſiring you to make all poſſible Proviſion for her Happineſs, I preſent you with an Opportunity of promoting your own.
My dear Emilia, ’twill be impoſſible for me to give you the Intelligence I promis’d from the inviſible Regions, unleſs I could tranſlate the Language of Paradiſe into that of Mortals: For here are a thouſand Beauties un-reveal’d, and a thouſand Delights un-nam’d among the Race of Men. We drink at the Fountain Head of Happineſs, and bathe in the Rivers of immortal Pleaſure: The ſprightly Hours dance along, crowned with Love, and unutterable Extaſy.
You were witneſs to my dying Agony, I ſaw your laſt kind Tears, and gave up my Breath in your Arms. But D2how 36 D2v 36 how chang’d was the Scene in a Moment, from the Gloom and Horror of a Death-bed, to the Smiles and Songs of Angels, who conducted me to the Ætherial Heights; a thouſand dazling Wonders met my View; the Heavens in Pomp unfolded their Glories; the Paradiſe of God open’d before me, in all its bliſsful and tranſporting Scenes; the happy Groves ſtood crown’d with unfading Verdure; the lucid Currents danc’d along, o’er Sands of Gold; the charming Bowers diſplay’d their ever-blooming Pride, and breath’d Ambroſia; the Palaces of the Heavenly Powers aſcended with exquiſite Magnificence, ſparkling far beyond all the Glories of the lower Skies, and reſounded with the Voice of Feſtivity and Joy.
The firſt gentle Spirit that welcom’d me to theſe happy Manſions, was your charming Brother, gay as a Cherubim, the heavenly Loves and Graces triumph’d in all his Form, vital Pleaſure danc’d 37 D3r 37 danc’d in his Eyes, Life and Celeſtial Bloom ſat ſmiling on his Face, a Wreath of unfading Flowers circled his Head, and a golden Lute was in his Hand, whoſe Harmony join’d to his melting Voice, far ſurpaſt all Deſcription. That tender, innocent Paſſion I had long conceiv’d for him, kindled at the firſt Interview, and has taken eternal Poſſeſſion of my Soul.
But how ſhall I make you ſenſible, of what an Angel’s flowing Song, in all the Pomp of Heavenly Harmony would not fully deſcribe. In what Figures of Celeſtial Eloquence, ſhall I relate the Loves of Immortal Spirits; or tell you the Height, the Extent, the Fulneſs of their Bliſs! All the ſoft Engagements on Earth, the tender Sympathies, and the moſt holy Union that Nature knows, are but faint Similitudes for the Sanctity and Grandeur of theſe Divine Enjoyments. Hope and languiſhing Expectation are no more, and D3all 37 D3v 38 all Deſire is loſt in full and compleat Fruition.
Love reigns in Eternal Triumph, here it governs every Heart, and dwells on every Tongue.
They tune their golden Harps to the great Name Of Love, victorious Love, their darling Theme. Ten thouſand Ecchoes thro’ the lightſome Plains Repeat the clear, the ſweet melodious Strains. The Fields rejoice, the fragrant Groves around Bloſſom afreſh, at their enchanting Sound: The Heaven of Heav’ns from dazling Heights above Returns the Name, and hails the Power of Love.
But oh! when the fair Face of Eternal Love unveils its original Glories, and appears in the Perfection of un- 39 D4r 39 uncreated Beauty, how wondrous, how ineffable the Viſion! Fulneſs of Joy is in his Preſence, Rapture and expreſsleſs Extacy. The faireſt Seraph ſtops his Lute, and with a graceful Pauſe confeſſes the Subject too great for his moſt exalted Strain. How does the bliſsful Tempeſt riſe! How impetuouſly do the Streams of Immortal Joy roll in, and enlarge the Faculties of every heavenly Mind!
Ye ſacred Myſteries un-reveal’d to Men, Ye Glories unprophan’d by mortal Eyes, forgive the bold Attempt that would deſcribe you! — The only Deſcription that Mortals can receive of you is, that you are not to be deſcrib’d.
When you had juſt made me happy, and rewarded the moſt tender Paſſion in the World with the Poſſeſſion of your Charms, I was compell’d to make a Voyage to Spain.
You ſaw the inward Struggle of my Soul, and that I muſt ſuffer the anguiſh of Death in leaving you, when you ſurpriz’d me with the unexpected generous Offer, to follow me through all the Dangers of the Seas. Charm’d with the Propoſal, I took you at your Word, and raſhly ventur’d my darling Treaſure to the Hazards of a Voyage. I loſt my Life in your Defencefence 41 D5r 41 fence againſt an Algerine Corſair. The Cauſe was juſt, and met with its Approbation in the Seats of Peace and Happineſs. For my own Lot, I could not wiſh it more advantageous, and for yours, ſuch Virtue in Diſtreſs will be the peculiar Care of Heaven. The Barbarian that made you his Prize, treated you with an unaccuſtomed Gentleneſs; nor has the illuſtrious Baſſa, that ranſom’d you out of his Power at an immenſe Price, given you the leaſt Occaſion of Reproach. In the Heighth of his Paſſion he has always obſerv’d even the Sanctity of the Chriſtian Rules and treated you with a Submiſſion very different from the Principles and Cuſtoms of his Country. Though he has courted you to encreaſe the Number of his Wives, he ſeems to have ſuch an abſolute Command of himſelf, even in the Warmth of his youthful Deſires, that you need fear no Violence from the generous Infidel: But ſhould the worſt you imagine arrive, Heaven has a 42 D5v 42 a Thouſand Ways to protect your Innocence. Depend on that, and let not the Extravagance of your Grief preſuade you, that ’tis lawful to free your ſelf by the fatal Opiate which you keep for that Deſign. The heavenly Genii that attend you have made a thouſand Impreſſions on your ſleeping Fancy to warn you from the deſperate Attempt. Sometimes you have been led through the deſolate Shades where unhappy Ghoſts complain, the gloomy Caverns, the Abodes of eternal Horror have been open’d to your View. Sometimes the Rewards of Patience and conſtant Virtue have diſplay’d their Glories to your pleas’d Imagination, and by the ſoft inſpiring Whiſpers of celeſtial Beings, your reſtleſs Thoughts have been compos’d, while the Realms of Joy have unfolded their Delights in viſionary Proſpects to you. By heavenly Scenes and gentle Slumbers your Griefs were calm’d, the Tempeſt of your Paſſions ſuſpended. Then quietly attend the Event, 43 D6r 43 Event, and the gentle Calicara will find a way to free you. ’Till Abubecar ſaw you, ſhe was his darling Slave, and as he is handſome to Admiration, ſhe lov’d and renounc’d the Chriſtian Faith for him; but ſtill the fair Apoſtate in her Heart adores the Name which her Tongue has deny’d. This, tho’ you are her Rival, fills her Soul with the ſofteſt Compaſſion for you, and makes her abhor the Task that her inſolent Maſter has impos’d, of perſuading you to quit the Poſſeſſion of the heavenly Truth, which is your Happineſs and Glory. But ſhe is ſo far from giving you that infernal Councel, that ſhe has with Tears and Intreaties perſuaded you to die, rather than abandon your glorious Hopes and Title to Immortality. Nor will ſhe reſt, till ſhe has by ſome Means or other ſecur’d you from Abubecar’s Importunity; of complying with which, ſhe has experienc’d the deluſive and bitter Conſequence.Your 44 D6v 44
Your Coldneſs and Averſion, with the Aſcendant her Wit and Vivacity has on his Temper, will ſoon recover the youthful Wanderer, and reſtore her to an abſolute Empire over him; and then you are ſecure of a guiltleſs Protection, till you can give your Friends in England Intelligence of your Circumſtances, who will ſoon pay your Ranſom; which no one can for Virtue loſt.
In the mean time, if you love my Memory, moderate the Exceſs of your Grief for my Death, which however tragical it appear’d, was glorious and happy for me. I fell in the Ardour of a brave Action, in the Defence of your Beauty and Liberty, and my own Life. The Wounds I received gave a free Paſſage to my Soul, which took its Flight with no other Regret, but that of parting with you, if it may be call’d a Separation, for I have been your conſtant Attendant in my inviſible State, your unſeen Companion in the beautiful Walks and Bowers where you ſo frequently ſpend your Hours of Retirement. 45 D7r 45 Retirement. I ſhould with Pleaſure hear you repeat my Name, as I often do, and in the ſofteſt Language expreſs the Conſtancy of a virtuous Paſſion, could you reſtrain thoſe Floods of Tears, and be more reſign’d to the Will of Heaven. But let this aſſure you, that I am in the Heights of Happineſs, and when your own Life is finiſh’d, we ſhall meet to part no more; which Circumſtance, though you through your Partiality for me may too highly value, believe me, you will find it by much the ſmalleſt Bleſſing of this Place.
from the fragrant Bowers, the ever-blooming Fields, and lightſome Regions of the Morning Star, I wiſh Health and every Bleſſing to the charming Sylvia! the Bleſſing of the Earth.
I have a Secret to reveal to you, of the greateſt Importance to your preſent and future Happineſs. You are as much a Stranger to your own Rank and Circumſtances, as I was to mine, till I came here, where I met a fair Spirit, who inform’d me, that when ſhe was a Mortal, I was her Son, and not the Heir of the Earl of *** as was ſuppos’d; and that the Lord *** is your own 47 D8r 47 own Brother. ’Tis neceſſary that you ſhould know and diſcover this to him, which will prevent that innocent Fondneſs, which he now indulges for you, from growing into a guilty Paſſion.
You have been educated only as a Dependant on the noble Family you are in, and as a Companion to the young Ladies, who are really your Siſters. The Myſtery is this: My Lord, your Father, had ſeveral Daughters ſucceſſively by the Counteſs your Mother, but no lawful Heir, which made him fond of a natural Son that he had by a Miſtreſs. His Affection for him was ſo extravagant, that he contriv’d to ſettle his Eſtate on him: This gave your Mother ſuch Anxiety, that her Jealouſy and Averſion to the Youth, put her on this raſh Deſign, when ſhe was with Child to exchange it, if it prov’d a Daughter. My Mother, who was married out of her Service, and in whom ſhe could entirely confide, was with Child of me at the ſame time. Their 48 D8v 48 Their time of Delivery was very near together; my Mother had a Son, and you prov’d a Daughter. The Affair was manag’d with ſuch Dexterity, that I was exchang’d, and paſt without Suſpicion for the Counteſs’s Son, and you was received by my Mother, and was ſuppos’d to be her Daughter: But within a Year the Counteſs had really a Son, but ſhe dying as ſoon as ſhe was deliver’d, the Secret was undiſcover’d.
I liv’d a guiltleſs Impoſtor till I was ten Years old, when a ſudden Decay wither’d my tender Bloom; but as I had been bred in the ſtricteſt Notions of Piety and Truth, without any childiſh Prejudices or ſlaviſh Fears, I expected my approaching End, whilſt Death made his Advances arm’d with a golden headed Dart. I had no Notions of Miſery, all my Expectations were bright, tho’ imperfect, of ſome Paradiſe beyond the Grave; and cloſing my Eyes, I fell a-ſleep, and wak’d to immortal Life and Happineſs. All that was paſt look’d 49 E1r 49 look’d like a Dream, like an airy Image, of I know not what. Some Notion I had of a God, and my Dependence on him; but how different from the Illumination that broke in on my Soul, the Moment it threw off its mortal Veil. ’Twas then I began to live and reflect: ’Twas then I found my ſelf a rational Being, and look’d back with Contempt, on the inſignificant Part I had been acting. The Memory of my original Follies, the childiſh Baubles and Toys that had juſt before been my Diverſion, would have given me ſome Confuſion, if my Caſe had been ſingular; but I met thouſands of gay Spirits newly releas’d, who had perform’d their ſhort Task, and finiſh’d their trifling Farces of Life; at the ſame time tranſported at their preſent ſuperior Circumſtances, they made the moſt agreeable Reflections on their paſt State. What Grandeur, what Vivacity, what Enlargement of their intellectual Powers! How ſparkling,Eling, 50 E1v 50 ling, how reſembling the Angels of God their Forms! While a perfect Conſciouſneſs, and exact Remembrance of what they were but a few Moments paſt, rais’d their Joy and Gratitude to the Height, and recommended Heaven it ſelf.
There was one Circumſtance in my early Death, that makes me look on it as a peculiar Favour, in that I was remov’d by the juſt Diſpenſation of Heaven, from the Poſſeſſion of what is, in the ſtricteſt Equity, your Brother’s Right. This Reflection, from a Principle of Juſtice and Truth, gave me an ineffable Satisfaction; ſince if I had liv’d, I had been the unhappy, tho’ innocent Uſurper of a Rank and Inheritance, to which I had not the leaſt real Title. This, with a thouſand other Advantages, makes me bleſs the Period that free’d me from Mortality; that happy Moment that deliver’d me from Ignorance and Vanity; from the Errors, the Guilt, the Miſeries of human 51 E2r 51 human Life; of which, tho’ I had but little Experience, I am now fully inform’d of the State of my Fellow Creatures, and with what Toil and Hazard a longer Courſe of Years had been attended.
I remember no Engagement to the World, but my Affection for you; nor has Death effac’d the tender Impreſſion, but what was then a natural Sympathy, is now a rational Eſteem. I view with Pleaſure your growing Virtue, and frequent my native World for your ſake. There was ſomething perfectly engaging in the guiltleſs Sorrow you expreſs’d in my Sickneſs; and when my Eyes were clos’d in Death, you would have watch’d the breathleſs Clay, in hopes to wake me from the fatal Slumbers again; nor could the gloomy Solemnity of a Room of State, deter you from paying your Viſits to the ſilent Relicks. If any thing could have tempted me to wiſh my ſelf a Mortal again, it would have been the E2tender 52 E2v 52 tender Tears you ſhed for me. The only Intervals of human Life I review with Pleaſure, are the Hours I ſpent with you: This gentle Paſſion was the Stamp of Heaven on my Soul, the firſt ſoft Impreſſion it receiv’d, and it gains New Energy in theſe happy Regions, of pure Benificence and Love. This gives me a conſtant Sollicitude, while I ſee you on the Borders of ſuch a Temptation. You are yet perfectly guiltleſs, and have done nothing unbecoming the Sanctity of Nature, and the chaſt Affection of a Siſter for a Brother; but you are on the very Limits of Danger, a Step farther, the leaſt Advance, involves you in Sin and Deſtruction. I know this Diſcovery will give you a ſecret Horror, and quench every kindling Deſire. The Purity of your Virtue will ſtart at the enchanting Error, that might have led you on to certain Perdition; for young as you are, the contagious Spark is ready to kindle, and the lovely Boy ap- 53 E3r 53 appears more alluring. Your mutual Converſation, and the early Dawning of ſuperior Merit in both, endear’d you to each other, by ſuch Sentiments, as only noble and virtuous Minds experience. But as a more late Diſcovery might have been fatal to your Innocence and Peace, I impatiently attended an Opportunity and Method to make you ſenſible of your Danger. I know, (tho’ I have been dead four Years) you ſtill remember me, and I have often heard you name me, and ſeen you with Delight gazing on my Picture; this made me reſolve to appear to you when I ſaw you. The firſt Opportunity that pleas’d me, you were ſitting, gazing at your own Reflection, and ſticking Flowers in your Hair, to adorn it for your young Lover. I knew you had read of Fairies, and look’d at painted Cupids with Delight: In ſuch a Poetical Form I thought you would have heard my Story, and been pleas’d with my Figure.E3 While 54 E3v 54
While youthful Splendor lighten’d in my Eyes, Clear as the ſmiling Glory of the Skies. Sprinkled with radiant Gold, a Purple Hue My Wings diſplay’d, my Robe celeſtial Blue. More white than Flax, my curling Treſſes flow’d, My dimpled Cheeks with roſy Beauty glow’d.
I could not have believ’d a Form more gay than thoſe that glitter’d on your Fan, could have diſcompos’d you; but to my Surprize, I ſaw you faint away, before I had begun to ſpeak to you. You ſoon recover’d from the Swoon, and returning to the Houſe, told a Story, which you found no Body believ’d; ſo wiſe is the Age in which you live, as not to be impos’d on. You eaſily perſuaded your ſelf, ’twas no more than a Dream. However,ever, 55 E4r 55 ever, I durſt attempt your Courage no more, but give you this important Information, this Way; which, if you ſhould not credit, you are undone. In this Admonition your Guardian Angel joins with
Your Story of ſeeing an Apparition in the Garden, I perceive has frighted your whole Family, and not a Mortal durſt venture into the haunted Walk, as they call it, after the Sun ſets, but your Brother, to whom I have not the leaſt Intention to ſhew my ſelf. ’Twas only to you, my charming Leonora, the Viſit was deſign’d. I flatter’d my ſelf, your good Senſe and uncommon Preſence of Mind, would have guarded you from thoſe unreaſonable Fears.As 57 E5r 57
As I expected, the fine Evening induc’d you to take your accuſtom’d Walk: The Sun was hardly ſet, when you enter’d a long Avenue of Trees, that led to a green flow’ry Arch, which look’d on a Sylvan Palace; here I ſeated my ſelf in a human, and as I thought, a very agreeable Figure and Dreſs, and as much as poſſible, diſguiſing the Splendor of Immortality, I imitated my mortal Form, and ſo plac’d my ſelf, that by ſeeing me at a Diſtance, you might come nearer without Surprize, or retire if your Courage fail’d. As ſoon as you perceiv’d me, you ſtop’d in ſome Conſternation, and ſeem’d in Suſpenſe, whether you ſhould go nearer, or make your Retreat. I durſt not riſe, nor make the leaſt Offer to follow, for fear you ſhould take your Flight with too much Speed and Diſorder: And as you found I was a very civil Apparition, and would not intrude on your Retirement, you went off with a ſober and decent 58 E5v 58 decent Pace, often looking back to convince your ſelf that what you ſaw was real. As ſoon as you had reach’d the Houſe, I ſhifted my material Figure, for one more becoming the Dignity of the cæleſtial Condition, and being again inviſible, I heard the fantaſtick Relation you gave your Brother, who told you, ’twas all the Effect of the Spleen, and obſtinate Grief you had indulg’d ſince my Death; but you ſtill aſſerted the Reality of what you told him; but he believed it no more than if he had heard it from the Pulpit.
You might have diſmiſs’d every Thought of Fear. I would not have injur’d you when I was a Mortal, liable to Folly and Error, much leſs in a State of Perfection and Happineſs. There is not a Spark of Guilt or Malignity, left in virtuous Minds, when releas’d from their earthly Priſon, all is gentle and kind, and their Concern for Human Welfare is infinitely more tender and diſintereſted than before.The 59 E6r 59
The Terror with which Men fly us, would have ſomething in it incredible, if we did not remember our own original Folly and Ignorance, but as we do, your ſtrange Apprehenſions only divert and entertain us. If you thought juſtly, you would have more Reaſon to run full ſpeed from one another, than from us, who have neither Permiſſion, nor Inclination to injure, but are ready to ſcreen you in a thouſand Dangers, and to promote your Intereſt with the moſt generous Concern, while you are entirely ignorant of your Benefactors. Were human Organs more refin’d, and your Perceptions heighten’d to a greater Delicacy, you would ſee a thouſand Æ;thereal Forms in the full Bloom of immortal Beauty and undecaying Life, not faſhion’d to give you Terror, but Love and Delight.
You ſee, my dear Leonora, I would fain cure your Prejudices, and reconcile you to the Society of Spirits, that you may 60 E6v 60 may ſometimes permit me to warn your unguarded Years, when Dangers and Snares attend you.
You know your Father left me the Guardian of your Fortune and Beauty, ſo favourable was his Opinion of me. This Circumſtance made me miſerable, and at once cut off all my future Views of Happineſs. I had indulg’d a ſecret Paſſion for you, and flatter’d my ſelf you had the ſame for me; but as my Birth and Fortune were much inferior to yours, I was reſolv’d rather to die, than uſe the Advantage that was in my Power, or to violate the ſacred Truſt I had undertaken. By a thouſand little ſoft Inadvertencies, you diſcover’d your Paſſion, but tho’ ſecure of Succeſs, I durſt not ſeduce you into a Compliance of Marriage, ſo vaſtly below your high Rank and Character, nor take the Advantage of betraying your thoughtleſs Years, to an Action unbecoming your Quality and Fortune. My Soul was 61 E7r 61 was unſtain’d with any Deſign that was mean and ſelfiſh, and the entire Confidence your Father had in my Integrity and Conduct, fix’d my Reſolution of acting up to the ſevereſt Rules of Virtue and Truth. But to what Diſtreſs was I reduc’d! I lov’d you to Madneſs, while I never approach’d you but with a diſſembled Indifference. This Reſtraint, and the conſtant Agitation of my Thoughts, diſorder’d my Health, and threw me into a violent Fever, which ſoon finiſh’d my Life. The Juſtice and Fidelity of my Conduct found its immenſe Reward, and left me nothing to repent of, but the giving my Truſt entirely to your Brother’s Care, whoſe licentious Manners will expoſe you to a thouſand Dangers. To repair this Negligence, I would fain have induc’d you to a Converſation, that might have directed your Conduct, and fortified your Virtue by my friendly Admonition; but ſince your Fears put 62 E7v 62 put it out of my Power ever to be viſible to you again, I muſt take this Way to convince you how unchangeable my Concern for your Happineſs is. Oh let it not be dearer to me than it is to your ſelf!
Ileave your fellow Mortals to congratulate your Recovery, but I muſt own ’twas a Diſappointment to me. You were on the Confines of Immortality, the Angels, who are Miniſtring Spirits to the Heirs of Salvation, had prepar’d their Song of Triumph to receive you: I had wreath’d a Garland of the faireſt Flowers that bloom’d in the Paradiſe of God, to crown ſuch early and diſtinguiſh’d Virtue. With Impatience I numbred your Moments, and expected every one would be your laſt. The ſparkling Vivacity of your Eyes expir’d, and Roſes on 64 E8v 64 on your Cheeks vaniſh’d into a mortal Paleneſs, and the Springs of Life ſeem’d juſt ready to ceaſe their Motion; when he, who governs Nature with a ſupream Command, reſtor’d you back to Health. Your Recovery was ſurprizing, even to Angels, who tho’ ignorant of the various Limits the Sovereign Diſpoſer has ſet to human Life, yet they often make exact Conjectures of the Courſe of ſecond Cauſes, and the Period of mortal Lives.
You are certainly given back as a Bleſſing to the World; your Example may yet make a thouſand Proſelytes to Virtue: But for my Part, nothing but the Will of Heaven could reconcile me to this Diſpenſation. When you was juſt in the Harbour to be toſt back again on the tempeſtuous Ocean: When you had welcom’d Death as your kind Deliverer, ready to free you from Caſſander’s Importunity, and your Brother’s Tyranny, who will do his utmoſt to compel you to this deteſtable Marriage. But 65 F1r 65 But your Conſtancy to refuſe it, is of the higheſt Importance to your preſent and future Happineſs: He is already married under a borrowed Name, to a young and beautiful Italian, whom he ſtole from her Parents, and after he had liv’d two Months conceal’d with her, the perjur’d Man left and abandon’d her to Miſery. In the Height of her Anguiſh, ſhe put her ſelf into a Nunnery, where ſhe waſts her Days in a reluctant and unprofitable Devotion; for true Religion cannot exiſt but by our Choice. Neceſſity can give nothing but the Appearance of it.
This is a Secret, of which you would never have been inform’d by any Human Means: If you diſcover it to your Brother, it will deliver you from the Violence which he is determin’d to uſe, to force you to wed Caſſander, another Name for Miſery.
’Tis a diſintereſted Concern for you, that makes me give you this Advice. There is no Jealouſy in heavenly Minds, Fthey 66 F1v 66 they know their Preheminence, and ſhould they appear in their celeſtial Splendor, the moſt perfect Beauty of the Children of Men, would wither in their Preſence. But Vanity and Emulation are no more, and all ſelfiſh Deſigns are unknown in theſe happy Continents. You may, by making a proper Uſe of this Notice, provide for your own Happineſs; but bleſſed be the great Author of all Good! you can’t add to mine.
To my dear Brother.
Your Friend, the unhappy Carlos, died this Night at Naples. I was willing to ſurprize you with this Intelligence, in a Way which no human Speed can reach.
I wish my Endeavours for your Reformation, may have more Succeſs now, than they had when I was in a State of Mortality. I am perſuaded if you had ſeen the Exit of the wretched Youth, who had been the Companion of your Riots, it would have convinc’d you of the falſhood of his Principles, and how little ſupport the thoughts of falling back into his original Nothing F2gave 68 F2v 68 gave him, when the gloomy Hour approach’d in which he was to loſe the Sight of the Sun and Stars, with all the viſible Beauties of Nature for ever.
To be inſenſible! ―― To be no no more! ―― To find his Eyes cloſing in an eternal Sleep! gave him inexpreſſible Horrors. — But if this was the worſt that he apprehended, never did Mortal give up his Life in a manner more cowardly and inconſiſtent: He durſt not bear Darkneſs or Solitude one Moment: He ſtarted at a Shadow, and ſhew’d a more than childiſh Fear and Weakneſs in his Actions: He even beg’d his Phyſicians to flatter him with the Hopes of Life, and not let him know if they thought his Caſe deſperate: He charg’d his Attendant not to mention Death or the Grave, nor to ſpeak a ſerious Word in his hearing. Tho’ his Affairs were in the utmoſt Diſorder, no Perſon durſt venture to adviſe him to ſettle them by a Will: But all theſe Cautions gave him no Relief. The Anguiſh, 69 F3r 69 Anguiſh, the Guilt, the Confuſion of his Mind, was viſible in his Looks. The abandon’d Amoret, who had followed him in the Diſguiſe of a Page, was ſeldom permitted to ſee him; and when ever ſhe approach’d him, he trembled, and fell into the greateſt Agonies, clos’d his Eyes, or turn’d them from her, but ſpoke nothing to ſupport her in the Diſtreſs he had brought on her, nor expreſs’d the leaſt Remorſe, for having ſeduc’d her to leave the noble Sebaſtian, to whom ſhe was engag’d by Marriage Vows, and a thouſand tender Obligations. His Peeviſhneſs and Impatience were inſufferable, and even deſpicable to his own Servants. When the Medicines he took, had not their expected Succeſs, he reproach’d his Phyſicians with Negligence or want of Skill; and yet by Intervals, implor’d their Aſſiſtance, as if his Being it ſelf depended on their Art. His Senſes were perfect to the laſt Gaſp; with Amazement he ſaw the univerſal Terror make its ſlow F3and 70 F3v 70 and dreadful Approaches; and after a tedious and painful Struggle, yielded to the gloomy Conqueror, and with a deep Groan, gave up his Breath, and went to make the great Experiment. I hope this Account of your Friend’s Death, will have the happy Effect I deſign’d in it, and make you recollect the Counſel I gave you with my dying Breath: The beſt Legacy I could bequeath, if I had had Empires to diſpoſe of.
My dear Brother, I can have no ſelfiſh Motives now, in endeavouring to reclaim your Extravagances. In this ſuperior State, my Concern for your Happineſs muſt be all abſtract and generous. The Acknowledgements of indigent, miſerable Mortals, ſignify nothing to Spirits exalted, to celeſtial Dignities, in the full Enjoyment of immortal Pleaſures: But this gives them the moſt kind and benificent Diſpoſitions to erring Men, whom they would fain allure into the Paths that lead to Happineſs. 71 F4r 71 Happineſs. Thoſe glimmering Sparks of Goodneſs and Amity which in your cold Regions are but juſt dawning in virtuous Minds, in theſe warmer Climates, acquire new Ardour, and burn with eternal Splendor.
I have more Zeal than ever for your Intereſt, and let me recal, but not reproach you, with the Obligations you have to pay ſome Regard to my Advice. You know, when we loſt the beſt of Parents, that he left his whole Eſtate to my Diſpoſal, with ſuch a moderate Fortune to your Share, as muſt have reſtrain’d your wild Expences: But when I found you had ſome Senſe of your Folly, in hopes to reform you, by generous Treatment, I immediately ſettled on you half the vaſt Fortune that was in my Power. I will not urge my venturing my Life in your Defence, when aſſaulted in our Travels, for this was but an Action of Humanity, which every brave Man owes to a perfect Stranger: But I muſt inſiſt on the Merit F4of 72 F4v 72 of reſigning my Pretenſions to the lovely Bellamira, for you. She was all the Joy, the Hope, I had on Earth. I lov’d her as I lov’d Virtue and Happineſs, and yet when you diſcover’d to me the Anguiſh and Diſorder of your Mind, and your violent Paſſion for her, I made a Retreat, and left the weeping Beauty to reproach me with a Levity and Indifference, to which my Heart was a Stranger; diſguis’d my tender Inclination, and pleaded yours with ſuch Succeſs, that ſhe yielded to your Requeſt, and gave her matchleſs Charms, and immenſe Fortune, to your Poſſeſſion.
But this advantageous Match had not the Effect I hop’d, nor was the leaſt Reſtraint to your licentious Manner of Life. You acted a ſhameful Part in aſſiſting Carlos in his Affair with Amoret, and a more ſhameful one in promiſing to protect and ſupport her, if he abandon’d her, when you knew what repeated Favours you had receiv’d from 73 F5r 73 from the injur’d and generous Sebaſtian. Your treacherous and ungrateful Treatment of a Man of his exalted Merit, fills me with the greateſt Remorſe and Confuſion. A thouſand and a thouſand Times I have reproach’d my ſelf, for having been the unhappy Inſtrument of Bellamira’s Ruin, who pin’d beneath her Grief, like a fair Flower blaſted in its Prime. I never met her Eyes, but ſhe might have ſeen the Remorſe and Confuſion of my Soul. The Negligence and Contempt with which you treated the beſt of Women, ſunk my youthful Spirits, damp’d my nobleſt Deſigns, and clouded the gayeſt Seaſon of my Life. While Death made its ſlow and ſilent Approaches, the laſt Favour I beg’d of you, was to be juſt to your unhappy Wife, in breaking all Engagements with the lewd and infamous Amoret. This you promis’d me with a religious Solemnity; but I know her preſent Diſtreſs, though the juſt effect and reward of her Crimes, will be your Snare. 74 F5v 74 Snare. She is all Enchantment, and will, I fear, be your Ruin; but if you reject my Advice, take this Caution from a Royal Penitent, Her Houſe is the way to Death, and her Gates lead down to Hell. And I deſire you to conſider ſeriouſly, that this Admonition muſt reſcue you from, or double your Guilt.
However different my preſent manner of Exiſtence is, from my former State, my Affection to the fair Climene is unchang’d. As I live, and act in a way inexpreſſibly ſuperior to mortal Life, ſo the benificent Diſpoſitions of my Nature, riſe to a more noble and generous Height. My Concern for your Happineſs is more tender and diſintereſted than ever: I have guarded your nightly Slumbers, waited on your ſolitary Walks, and follow’d you like your Attendant Angel; who pleas’d with my officious Care, has often left you to my Charge. Your preſent 76 F6v 76 preſent Danger gives me as much Anxiety, as conſiſts with a State of Happineſs. I could not refrain from giving you this Warning, which to your Surpriſe, you’ll find on your Toilet, among Trifles, the moſt its Reverſe.
You are, O too credulous Fair! on the very Brink of Ruin: Treachery and Deluſion are in Alcander’s Eyes and Tongue, and if you keep this Night’s Appointment with him, you are undone. Infamy and Perdition are before you: The evil Genii, that envy the Happineſs of the human Race, already inſult my pious Care; and your celeſtial Guardian ſeems half reſolv’d to quit his Truſt; the tender Grief hangs on his beautiful Face, like a Cloud on the roſy Morning; and in the deepeſt Silence of the Night, when the Creation ſeem’d lull’d in an univerſal Slumber, in the Gloom of a neighbouring Grove, that you often frequent, I heard him tune his Silver Lute, to Strains 77 F7r 77 Strains ſoft and languiſhing as thoſe, in which the Heavenly Miniſters mourn’d the Loſs of Paradiſe, and the bold Tranſgreſſion of the first Woman that fell.
And yours, unhappy Maid, will be a Fall from the Heights of Honour, from the very Triumph of Virtue. What can Man believe? What can the Sex boaſt, when ſuch Innocence, ſuch Truth, ſuch Modeſty as yours, are perverted? Vice will inſult, to find Climene among her Votaries, and hardly believe her own Conqueſt; ſurpriz’d like the barbarous Gauls in the Roman Senate, who thought it an Aſſembly of Gods, ’till they ſaw them bleed.
With what a profligate Air, with what inſolent Vanity, did your young Seducer leave you laſt Night? How proud of his un-expected Succeſs, when he had gain’d your Conſent to the guilty Aſſignation.
I stay’d with you, an unſeen Witneſs of the Remorſe and Confuſion in 78 F7v 78 in which he left you. How diſorder’d! how uneaſy! how unlike your ſelf did you appear! ’Twas your uſual Hour of Devotion, a Bible lay near, which you took in your Hand, but durſt not open, for fear the Sanctity of its Rules ſhould reproach you. The Diſtraction of your Thoughts, gave me Hopes that you would recover your ſelf, and break the guilty Engagement you had made. To confirm your doubtful Virtue, I was on the Point of making my ſelf viſible, but the unaccountable Fear that Mortals have of the Inhabitants of the Immaterial Worlds, reſtrain’d me, leaſt the Effect ſhould have been fatal to your timorous Temper, however gentle and propitious my Appearance and Addreſs had been; and I thought this Letter might leſs ſurprize, and more calmly perſuade you.
You have yet a few Hours to recollect your ſelf, and ſure you will not give up an unblemiſh’d Reputation, with 79 F8r 79 with all the Peace and Innocence of your Mind, to this blind extravagant Paſſion. Beſides, the Injuſtice to the unhappy Silvia, to whom Alcander is engag’d by a thouſand Vows, and who now pines away in Obſcurity, a Victim to his Falſhood and Perjury. Be virtuous and compaſſionate, be kind to her, and juſt to your ſelf.
After this Warning, even from the Dead, your Crime will be aggravated. You muſt deliberately venture on Perdition, and damn your ſelf with Deſign and ſober Reflection. You muſt deſperately give up your Title to celeſtial Happineſs, to the Worlds of Life and Pleaſure, of immortal Beauty and Youth. O how ſuperior to that; with which you are at this Inſtant, ſo fatally enamour’d below!
My dear Siſter, I have often, ſince I left the World, had the Priviledge to ſupply the Place of your Guardian Angel. I have been an inviſible Witneſs of your Tears for my Death; and to allay the Exceſs of your Grief for me, I have been at laſt permitted to let you know that I am happy.
I can give you no Account, how my Soul was releas’d: I fell aſleep in perfect Health, with an unuſual Serenity of Mind, and from the gentleſt Slumbers of Innocence and Peace, awak’d in immortal Bliſs. (How common is ſudden Death?) I found my ſelf 81 G1r 81 ſelf in a Moment, got above the Stars, and out-ſhining the Sun in its Meridian Splendor. Corruption had put on Incorruption, and Morality was ſwallow’d up of Life and Immortality. O Death! I cry’d in the Exaltation of my Thoughts, O Death! where is thy Conqueſt? O King of Terrors! where is thy boaſted Victory? where is thy Scepter and Imperial Horrors, thy gloomy State, and dreadful Attendants? where are thy vaſt Dominions, the cheerleſs and formleſs Darkneſs, the Shade and the Emptyneſs, the Seats of Corruption and Decay?
The Spell is broken! the Enchantment is diſſolv’d! the Shadows, the Phantoms, the viſionary Terrors fly! the celeſtial Morning dawns, and charming Scenes ariſe: But oh! how boundleſs! how various! how tranſporting the Proſpect!
Still loſt in Joy and Wonder, tell me, I ſaid, ye Angels, ye ſmiling Forms that ſurround me, what eaſy GPaſſage 82 G1v 82 Paſſage has my Spirit found from its mortal Priſon? What gentle Hand has unlock’d my earthly Fetters, and brought me out of Darkneſs and Confinement, into immenſe Light and Liberty? Who was the kind Meſſenger, that convey’d the welcome Invitation to my Ear? What melodious Voice call’d me away from yonder cold tempeſtuous Regions, to theſe ſoft and peaceful Habitations? How have I found my Paſſage through the tractleſs Æther, and gain’d the Summit of the everlaſting Hills? Am I awake? Do I dream? Is this a gay, a flattering Viſion? Oh no! ’tis all bliſsful and tranſporting Certainty; I ſee, I hear Things unutterable, ſuch as never enter’d into the Heart of mortal Man to conceive. Read and believe; believe and be happy.
You ſee, my dear Siſter, how blindly you repine at the Decrees of Heaven, and how unreaſonably you lament what you call my early and untimelytimely 83 G2r 83 timely Fate. Could I be happy too ſoon?
I left the World indeed, in the full Pride of my youthful Years, in the Height of Greatneſs and Reputation, ſurrounded with the Blandiſhments and Flatteries of Pleaſure. But theſe Advantages might have been fatal Snares to my Virtue, in a longer Tryal: ’Twas indulgent in Heaven, after a ſhort Probation, to crown me with the Rewards of Victory. ’Tis paſt the Toil, the Danger, and all to come is endleſs Peace and Triumph.
If you could ſee as far into Futurity now, and think as juſtly of it, as you will certainly do on your Deathbed, this Letter from me had been ſuperfluous; I only can deſign it beneficial, you may make it ſo.
’Tis paſt! the Voyage of Life is finiſh’d. Inſtead of informing you, that I am arriv’d at the Indian Coaſts, this is to let you know, that I am ſafely landed on the celeſtial Shores. The Veſſel on which I was embark’d, by a Tempeſt ſunk to the Bottom of the Ocean, and the Angel of the Waters receiv’d my newly unembody’d Soul.
I was ſurpriz’d at the different Manner of my exiſtence; I breath’d indeed no longer, but I liv’d, I heard, I ſaw, with a more exquiſite Senſe than before. But a few Moments were paſt ſince the raging Billows carry’d 85 G3r 85 carry’d Deſtruction in their Appearance, and now, I mov’d unterrified through the Deeps, and ſurvey’d the Foundation of the antient Hills. The Regent of the Waters, pleas’d with my Curioſity, led me through his Chryſtal Palaces, and Coral Groves; ſhew’d me the Pearly Grotto’s, and Alcoves of Amber, with a thouſand Wonders, kept ſecret from the Race of Men, ſince the Baſis of the Mountains were laid. As ſoon as I had gone the Round of the liquid Regions, an Ætherial Meſſenger took me under his Conduct: I follow’d my gentle Guide, thro’ the airy Spaces, and here was all Novelty and Surprize: I made the Tour of the Univerſe, and explor’d the Limits of the Creation, with unſpeakable Agility: I mov’d from Star to Star, and met ten thouſand Suns blazing in full Glory, without Fear or Conſternation: I follow’d the Track of prodigious Comets, that drew their flaming Trains o’er half the Sky. From the Planetary Regions I G3aſ- 86 G3v 86 aſcended with the Eaſe and Swiftneſs of a Thought, to the ſuperior Heaven, the imperial Palace of the Moſt High; but here Deſcription fails, and all beyond is unutterable.
This is the only Account you can poſſibly receive of my Death, which your own Fears had ſo truly preſag’d at our Parting: And this, my much- lov’d Henrietta, I hope will put an end to all your Anxiety; for ſince the Change has prov’d ſo happy for me, you are too much my Friend, to be concern’d thereat.
My Dear Brother,
As immaterial Beings mingle unſeen in what Society they pleaſe, I had the Curioſity laſt Night, to know your Thoughts of what had happened to you the Night before, and I heard you make a very gay Declamation to ſome of your free Companions, on the Power of Fancy and the Strength of your own Imagination. But really, my Lord, you are not ſo viſionary and extravagant as you repreſented your ſelf. There is nothing more certain than what you ſaw and heard, and you might have credited your Senſes without ſo G4much 88 G4v 88 much Diffidence and Modeſty, which you turn into a Vice.
You have but a few Weeks, my dear Brother, to live, your Sands are numbred, and your laſt Hour is determin’d. I obtain’d a Permiſſion ſeldom allow’d, to give you ſome Warning of your approaching Fate.
I chose the Opportunity, when I found you in a clear Moon-light Night, ſitting in a penſive Poſture, by the Side of a Fountain in your Garden: To gain Credit to my Meſſage, I ſtood before you, in the Splendor of a heavenly Form, and the Bloom of immortal Beauty; but ſo reſembling my former ſelf, that in your Surpriſe, you call ’d me Siſter, and ſtep’d forward to embrace me; I durſt not prophane my ſelf by a mortal Touch, but deluding your Arms, plac’d my ſelf before you on the oppoſite Side of the Canal. I ſtood ſilent ſome Time, that you might be recollected; and then ſetting a Golden Lute, which I had 89 G5r 89 had in my Hand, to one of the melodious Strains, which Angels ſing to expiring Saints, when they would ſoften the Agonies of Death, and make its Terrors ſmile: In thoſe languiſhing and melting Notes, I gave you an Invitation to the ſtarry Manſions, believing this would have a much better Effect than any thing terrible, to one of your undaunted Temper, I deliver’d my Meſſage, and in an Inſtant diſappear’d.
I have repeated theſe Circumſtances to you, as a Proof that all was real, and neither a Dream, nor a waking Reverie, as you have perſuaded your ſelf. But ſince no Mortal knows this, but your ſelf, and you conceal’d the greateſt Part of this Relation from your gay Friends, when you was ſo eloquent on the Wonders of Imagination, I hope this will find its wiſh’d Succeſs, and put you on the moſt exact Preparation, to meet with a Chriſtian Fortitude, the greateſt Terror that mortaltal 90 G5v 90 tal Man can encounter. Tho’ your Life has been unſtain’d with any baſe or unjuſt Action, there are ſome Levities in your Converſation, that require your ſpeedy Penitence and Reformation; or ſeeming Trifles will enlarge themſelves into the greateſt Terrors.
’Tis a ſerious thing, my Lord, to die; you thought ſo, when with the moſt tender Concern you ſaw me ſhivering and pale, anxious and fearful, on the very Borders of Life, doubtful to enter, and terrify’d at the Darkneſs that hung on the gloomy Valley; when even the Follies of my Childhood, which was hardly paſt, and the ſlighteſt Errors of my Youth ſate heavy on my Soul.
And oh! how unwillingly did my Soul quit its agreeable Manſion! how many ſoft Engagements made me fond of Life! The charming Youth to whom I was contracted by my Parents, detain’d me with his Tears; had Angels beckon’d me to the Skies, that melt- 91 G6r 91 melting Language would have tempted me back.
You little think, my dear Brother, what Regularity of the Paſſions, what Sanctity of Manners, are neceſſary to take off the Horrors of Death, and make that gloomy Monarch wear a ſmiling Aſpect.
Take this friendly Admonition, and be for ever happy; then will that Relation which is now between us ſtill ſubſiſt, and I ſhall be, in Joys inexpreſſible, your Siſter to all Eternity,
To Philocles, from Ibrahim, a Turkiſh Baſſa.
’Twas you, my dear Philocles, that Heaven made the Inſtrument of my Converſion to Chriſtianity. But while I was in a State of Mortality, ’twas impoſſible for me to know the Greatneſs of my Obligations to you, and to what Height of Felicity your friendly Inſtructions directed me. How low, how diſproportion’d were my Expectations, to the Grandeur of my preſent Happineſs! How ſuperior is it, even to thoſe noble Ideas your Deſcription gave me of Celeſtialleſtial 93 G7r 93 leſtial Joys! As you converted me to, let me eſtabliſh you in the only true Religion.
What Reaſon have I to bleſs the Moment that began our Acquaintance, and the Event that plac’d your Character to my View, in ſuch an agreeable Light? There was indeed ſomething in your whole Conduct ſo artleſs, ſo ſincere, ſo conformable to the ſtricteſt Rules of Truth and Juſtice, that I at once quitted my Prejudices to the Faith you avow’d. The Chriſtian (which is not always the Caſe) recommended Chriſtianity.
The Negotiations I had with you when you were Conſul for the States of Holland, at Smyrna, gave me numerous Inſtances of your honeſt and generous Diſpoſition: But nothing ſurpriz’d me more, than ſeeing you venture your Life in a dreadful Storm, to ſave a Portugueſe, your mortal Enemy, whoſe Veſſel was juſt overſet, and himſelf ready 94 G7v 94 ready to ſink amidſt the threatning Waves, which he ’till then imagin’d leſs his Foe than your ſelf.
I was Witneſs to the godlike Action, and immediately concluded, that there muſt be ſomething divine in a Religion, that could raiſe human Nature to ſuch an Height of Benificence. It was all reſiſtleſs Conviction, my Soul confeſs’d its Force, while I conſider’d with what a becoming Modeſty you receiv’d the Acknowledgments of your Adverſary, as calmly as for ſome triffling Favour, you would have accepted the Thanks of your ſincereſt Friend. You ſeem’d conſcious of having done nothing extraordinary, nothing but what was ſuitable to the conſtant Diſpoſition of your Mind, if Heaven had favour’d you with more frequent Occaſions of performing ſuch Heroic Actions. You have a Senſe to make what is Heroic, Common.It 95 G8r 95
It was a Charity truly divine, that made you hazard your Life, and expoſe it to the worſt of Torments, to reſcue me from Error. I was more inquiſitive than the Laws of the Alchoran allow’d, which induc’d me to ſeek ſo many Opportunities of converſing with you. Without the leaſt Caution or Regard to your own Safety, you left your ſelf to the Mercy of an Infidel, ſatisfy’d my Scruples, and importun’d me to quit the Mahometan Faith. Your Conduct was all Demonſtration, and convinc’d me, that nothing but Heavenly Truth, could inſpire you with ſuch Fortitude, and kindle in your Soul a Charity ſo perfectly diſintereſted. I was ſoon vanquiſh’d, and became a joyful Proſelyte to the Chriſtian Principles, nor found the leaſt Regret in leaving my native Soil, to follow you to the Hague, where I might openly profeſs the Faith I had embrac’d, and be in the Right with Impunity.It 96 G8v 96
It was not long before a Fever ſeiz’d me. When I found the Symptoms mortal, I ſent for you to eaſe my burthen’d Soul of the only Care that oppreſs’d it, but before you came my Speech was loſt: However, the Diſcovery was of ſuch Importance, that it ſtill engages my Concern; nor is there any Perſon whoſe Fidelity I can depend on like yours.
I purchas’d a beautiful Grecian Slave, the firſt and only Object of my Love. Tho’ ſhe was in my Power, I only attempted by gentle Methods to gain her Affections, but in vain; her Chriſtian Belief ſtill ſet the View of future Rewards and Puniſhments before her, and check’d her ſofteſt Inclinations. To conquer her Vertue, I was induc’d to pervert her to the Doctrines of the Alchoran. As abſurdly as I reaſon’d, ſhe was ſoon convinc’d that her Soul was as periſhing as her Body, and that there was no Proſpect of Immortality for any of 97 H1r 97 of her Sex; that preſent Joys were all ſhe could expect, and in loſing Youth and Love ſhe loſt the higheſt End of her Creation. Too ſoon the fair Apoſtate believ’d my deteſted Doctrines, and took the Poiſon from my Tongue, renounc’d the great Meſſiah, and embrac’d the idle Dreams of an Impoſtor; gave up her Claim to Immortality, and yielded herſelf to my licentious Wiſhes. Thus free from the Reſtraints of Religion, the fair Libertine grew diſſolute and prophane beyond the Limits of her Sex. Her ſportive Wit, and boundleſs Vanity, now ridicul’d all that ſhe once thought ſacred. There was ſomething ſo wild, ſo unnatural in her Impiety, that I half repented my Succeſs, but never was truly ſenſible of the Injury I had done her, ’till I was convinc’d of the Truth of Chriſtianity. ’Tis this unſpeakable Damage that I hope you will find ſome Method to repair. ’Twill not be impoſſible, by ſome of your Friends, to find Acceſs to her. She is Hnow 98 H1v 98 now at my Brother’s Diſpoſal; her Ranſome will be eaſy, and a Charity worthy your Character. Your Charity will redeem her Perſon, your Example her Mind, from a more deplorable Slavery.
To a Son from his deceas’d Father.
If there is the leaſt Spark of filial Gratitude in your Breaſt; if there is any Deference due to the Memory of a once indulgent Father, I charge you to recal the Challenge you have ſent. ―― What ſhall I ſay ―― not to your Adverſary ―― but to your generous, your well-meaning Friend. His Admonitions were juſt, and the Relation he gave you undoubted Fact. You know in your Conſcience, the Woman you vindicate, has neither Vertue nor Reputation to defend, while you are daring Death, and all the Horrors H2that 100 H2v 100 that enſue, to juſtify a known Falſhood; and purchaſe Shame with Heaven.
If you are kill’d in this mad Duel, the Moment you breathe your laſt, you will mingle with a Society that make very different Judgments of Things, from what paſs for Maxims of Honour among Mortals. You will appear with a very ill Grace, and on a moſt impertinent Occaſion, among the Spirits of Darkneſs, to whom you will be an eternal Object of Deriſion. The boaſted Beauty and Charms of your Miſtreſs, will be but a poor Excuſe for your Gallantry, tho’ you ſhould tell them in Heroicks, how the World has been loſt for a Woman.
These Extravagancies will vaniſh with Mortality: Death will draw the Veil, and place more ſerious Scenes in View. You will find how cheaply you have ſold immortal Glory, and curſe the fond Enchantment that led you on to Deſtruction. Deteſting that moſt, the Love of which is now your Inducement to Ruin.But 101 H3r 101
But ask your ſelf, What is the Vertue of this fine Lady, in defence of whom you are going with ſuch Bravery to die? What is this Honour you are giving up your Life, and all your Hopes of Salvation to maintain?
This guiltleſs lovely Woman, is only perjur’d to her Marriage Vows: This Angel, this divine Creature, does but deceive, does but expoſe to Infamy, the beſt of Husbands: She does but return his unequal’d Tenderneſs, and conſtant Affection to her, with artful Fondneſs, and diſſembled Complaiſance: She is but inſenſible to the Merit of a Man who is his Country’s Ornament and Pride; a Perſon of the moſt graceful Appearance, by Nature form’d to pleaſe the niceſt of the Fair Sex; liberal and magnificent, obliging and ſincere above all Diſguiſe; and who, from his own conſcious Honour, entirely confides in this artful Woman, whom he rais’d from Diſtreſs and Obſcurity. Charm’d with her Beauty and H3diſſembled 102 H3v 102 diſſembled Affection for him, he has indulg’d all her wild Ambition, gratify’d her boundleſs Vanity, and ſet no more Limits to her Expences, than you now to your Folly.
This is the unhappy Man you would expoſe to the Jeſt of every ſenſeleſs Rake, by a publick Quarrel for the Reputation of his Wife. What Enmity could be ſo cruel as this Defence.
And this is the dear innocent Charmer, whoſe Vertue, you would juſtify, even by damning youſelf, and murthering the generous Lindamor, your beſt, your experienc’d Friend, whoſe Sincerity has been his only Crime: Be not ſo ſhamefully valiant.
With what Confuſion muſt you draw your Sword on a Man, to whom you have ſuch a Series of Obligations? How often has he ſupply’d the Neceſſities to which your extravagant Gaming has reduc’d you, and diſcharg’d your Debts of Honour, as you call them? And what was his Offence now? but ſetinging 103 H4r 103 ing the Character of an infamous Woman in its true Light, with a kind Intention to reclaim you from your Dotage.
What a fatal Influence has this diſſolute Paſſion had on your Mind! How profligate your Manners! How unlike to the firſt Part of your Life! When a noble Inclination govern’d your Soul, and the lovely Erminia was all your Joy. Oh! may her youthful Charms recover you, and animate your Mind to glorious Actions. Your King, your Country, the Proteſtant Cauſe, the Rights and Liberties of human Nature, now require your Courage, and find better Employment for your Sword than to aſſaſſinate your Friends. If you are truly brave, have the Courage to ſubmit; the only Way to conquer him.
Your preſent Confinement by a ſlow Recovery from a dangerous Sickneſs, makes me hope this may prove a Time to prevail with you, to pity the injur’d Sylviana, and be juſt to your Obligations to her.
You once lov’d me, my Lord, and while I liv’d, the guiltleſs Paſſion had an Effect on your whole Conduct: But your Grief for me, gave a very extravagant Turn to your Mind, and inſtead of leading you to a ſuperior, a reaſonable Happineſs, you have abandon’ddon’d 105 H5r 105 don’d your ſelf to the Heights of Senſuality; you have purſued Pleaſure, in every tempting Diſguiſe; refin’d on Vice, and turn’d it into a Science; and are too truly learn’d in it.
Your ſtately Rooms have ſounded with nightly Revels, and looſe enchanting Songs; your Groves and fragrant Gardens have been devoted to Luxury, and infamous Delights; the Shades and Fountains have been Witneſs to Scenes, unbecoming their chaſt Retreats; you have found out new Ways to Perdition, and ſet no Limits to your diſſolute Inclinations, which ſurvive Satiety itſelf.
But under this gay Diſguiſe, this Triumph of Vanity and Madneſs, you have not known an Interval of Happineſs, that has been ſincere: You could not conquer your own good Senſe, nor wholly forget the Reſtraints of a noble Education. I have been Witneſs to your ſecret Remorſe, your penitent Soliloquies: I have ſeen you recollect your 106 H5v 106 your ſelf, aſſume your native Greatneſs; heard you with the moſt moving Eloquence lament your Folly, and aſſent to all the Rules of Temperance and Virtue; aſſent to, and violate the ſame Hour.
You have relaps’d to your uſual Extravagance, ’till this dangerous Sickneſs ſet the Terrors of Death in your View: ’Twas then you confeſs’d your Injuſtice to the charming Sylviana, it hung on your Soul, and appear’d with a thouſand Aggravations; nor will you ever know Peace, ’till you have confirm’d your Vows, and the abſolute Obligations you are under, to marry her. Obligations to be happy, methinks, ſhould be eaſily comply’d with.
How happy was the lovely Maid, in her humble Circumſtances! how bleſs’d in her ſpotleſs Innocence! ’till Chance (in your rural Excurſions) led you in a luckleſs Hour, to the verdant Shade, where you found her retir’d to ſcreen 107 H6r 107 ſcreen her ſelf from the mid-day Sun, unmoleſted with the Cares of Love or Ambition.
The natural Elegance, the Modeſty, and Eaſineſs of her Behaviour, fir’d your Thoughts, and partly by Violence, and partly with the moſt ſolemn Vows of Marriage, you ruin’d her.
But what unaffected Sorrow, what Remorſe, that fatal Moment coſt her, you have often witneſs’d? with what graceful Pride has ſhe ſince refus’d the leaſt Favour, and been inflexible to your ſofteſt Perſuaſions, on any Terms, but the Marriage you promis’d her? How moving have her Tears been! how juſt her Complaints! what a Pomp of Vertue, what a conſcious Greatneſs has appear’d in her Aſpect, when by your artful Addreſſes you have again endeavour’d to ſeduce her: Nor Preſents, nor Equipage, nor the moſt profuſe Settlement you have offer’d her, has tempted her to act in any Character, but 108 H6v 108 but what Virtue might own, in the View of Heaven, and the World. Her very Crime, with you, ſhould have the Force of Vertue in it.
Your Quality, my Lord, does not abſolve you from the divine Laws, nor give a Sanction to Perjury, but rather inforces the Obligations of Equity and Truth. In real Merit, the fair Sylviana is not your Inferior; but if ſhe were, Heaven does not diſpenſe with the Rules of Juſtice on the account of airy Titles, and imaginary Diſtinctions of Birth. The higheſt Satisfaction that you can make, may perhaps never give her that Tranquility ſhe enjoy’d in her firſt humble Circumſtances. Could you reſtore her loſt Innocence, ſhe would be more bleſs’d in that, than in all the Grandeur to which you can raiſe her. You may alleviate her Misfortune, you can not make full Amends.
Nor can the Loſs of a tender Parent be repair’d. With a modeſt Ingenuity the 109 H7r 109 the injur’d Nymph confeſs’d her Crime to her pious Mother, who was ſo oppreſs’d with the Thoughts of ſuch an Infamy, that in a few Weeks ſhe expir’d, and left her beauteous Daughter, to weep out her ſolitary Hours. Her Diſtreſs demands your Compaſſion; and by an Action of Juſtice to her, you will ſecure your future Peace and Happineſs; and ſhew your Gratitude to
You have ſoon forgot my dying Admonitions, and the Promiſe you made me, to quit the guilty Amour you are ſtill purſuing. Can you with Deliberation, with Reflection, proceed in a Deſign which muſt, if you ſucceed, plunge the beautiful Cleora in Guilt and Infamy, whom you love? What could Hatred do more?
But with what Horror ought you to reflect on the Injury you are doing to the generous Alphonſus, your Friend, your Benefactor: Is there nothing engaging in thoſe Titles? Or rather are they not Words of the moſt ſacred Importance?portance? 111 H8r 111 portance? Make it not the future Intereſt of Mankind to be your Foes.
A Man of your pretended Honour, could not bear the Reproach of a Lye, and yet you are acting a Lye; practiſing the vileſt Treachery, and expoſing a Perſon of Merit to Ridicule. This, however unjuſt, muſt be the Conſequence of your Succeſs, while he, ſecure in his own Worth and Integrity, continues to careſs the Wretch that injures him. How can you ſupport the Stings of his Kindneſs to you?
To this injur’d, this generous Man, you owe the Height of your Fortune: ’Twas his Intereſt alone that brought you into Publick Truſt and Reputation: To requite him, you are violating all the Laws of Humanity, bringing Infamy on his Family, and ſecretly endeavouring to rival him in the Affections of his charming Wife, the Object of all his virtuous Joys; of which, from whom could he more properly exact the Protection, than from you?Can 112 H8v 112
Can you, unmov’d, recal the Diſtreſs into which a Crime of this Nature plung’d my heedleſs Youth? What Remorſe, what Confuſion, a Moment’s Madneſs coſt me? You was the only Confident to whom I diſcover’d the ſecret Wound it gave my bleeding Soul.
But how fatal was that one Sally of an extravagant Paſſion to all my future Repoſe? Deſpair and Horror fill’d my Breaſt, when I conſider’d the Injury I had done was beyond Reparation. Retirement was no more my Sanctuary from the noiſy Crowd; the Image of my Crime purſued me with inexpreſſible Terrors. The innocent Diverſions of Life were taſteleſs; Muſick and Wit had loſt their Charms: The Propoſals of Pleaſure were like Jeſts to dying Men, like Recreations to the Damn’d. Whatever Decency appear’d in my Publick Behaviour, you were Witneſs to the private Intervals of my Grief, and gave ſome Relief to my 113 I1r 113 my Anguiſh, hearing my Complaints with an obliging Attention. But Nature, after all its Efforts ſunk; the Pride of my Youth yielded to the gloomy Diſtemper: Yet the Sincerity of my Repentance found Acceptance; and, as my laſt Hour approach’d, ſome propitious Spirit breath’d Peace, and divine Conſolation to my Soul; and in theſe gentle Whiſpers reprov’d my Infidelity.Why ſhould preſumptuous Man, with feeble Doubt, And Impotence of Thought, mark out the Bounds Of Clemency divine. ―― What Tongue ſhall dare Pronounce, with impious Vanity, theſe Words? Thus far, nor farther, thy exulting Waves, O thou Abyſs of ſacred Love, ſhall roll; I Here 114 I1v 114 Here thy triumphant Billows ſhall retire, Nor paſs the Bounds of human Diffidence.
But however ſerene the laſt Scene of my Life was, I would not, for all the Joys the lower Creation could give, endure the Diſtraction and Remorſe that one Error coſt me. Are you ſoften’d at the Complaints of my Miſery? be terrify’d at the Approaches of your own.
Thus warn’d, I hope you will retire. A Thouſand Accidents have hitherto prevented your Guilt, and croſs’d the Madneſs of your Love: Some Pauſe of Reaſon, ſome Effort of Virtue may, at laſt, recover you from the Paths of Ruin. Comply with Reaſon and Virtue, with Honour and Friendſhip, with your own Happineſs, and that of others; with the Intereſt of the Living, and the Deſires of the Dead.
Tranſlated from the
of the .
Beyond the Addreſs which Men have, never to think of Death, but as at a very great Diſtance, nor to view it, but in ſome other Perſon, without putting themſelves one Moment in the Place I2of 116 I2v 116 of the Dying: They have yet a farther Art to delude themſelves, by forming ſuch a general and confuſ’d Idea, as conceals from them all that is moſt terrible in Death.
They conceive little elſe of this State, but as a Privation of Senſe, and a Separation from the Commerce of Life; ſo that when they ſay, a Man is dead, they only mean, that they ſee him no more, and that he ſhares no longer in the Affairs of the World. In a Word, their Idea of Death is only form’d on what Men ceaſe to do in dying, and not on what they begin to do and feel, while yet it is that which conſtitutes its moſt dreadful Circumſtance.
Death indeed is a Privation of Life, and human Action, but it is a Privation which is felt, and produces ſurprizing Effects in the Soul. In order to comprehend theſe Effects, it is neceſſary to conſider, that while the Soul is united to the Body, its Attentiontention 117 I3r 117 tention is divided by divers Kinds of Senſations, Imaginations, and Paſſions; it feels the Objects which act on the Body, according to their different Manner of Influence; and theſe different Ways of perceiving, are call’d Senſations. On theſe the Soul forms its Ideas of all things, to which it is united by its Paſſions, and is always employ’d about theſe Objects, and not only employ’d, but leans and repoſes on them, when it is not entirely united to God: For not being made with a Capacity to ſuſtain it ſelf, the Soul neceſſarily ſeeks ſome foreign Support. It was form’d to know and love, but finding nothing within ſufficient to ſatisfy theſe Inclinations, it is forc’d with ſome other Objects to fill the Void it finds in it ſelf. Some of theſe Objects make agreeable Impreſſions on the Senſe; others content our Curioſity and Vanity; others relieve the Mind, by turning I3it 118 I3v 118 it from things which appear diſguſting; ſome nouriſh its Hopes, while others fortify it againſt its Fears. The Soul inclines to all the Objects of Senſe, and is engag’d and ſupported by them, in ſuch a Manner, that it can not prove a Separation without Pain and Emotion.
We are not always ſenſible of theſe Tyes, but the Soul begins to feel them, when it comes to be ſeparated from what it loves: It has then a Senſe of the Privation, proportionable to its Union with them: So true is that Maxim of St. Auguſtin, ’Tis impoſſible to looſe any Thing without Sorrow, but what we poſſeſs without Paſſion.
There are few Perſons free from an infinite Number of theſe Engagements; and though we are ignorant of them, ’till an actual Separation diſcovers what they are, we may nevertheleſs conceive ſomething, by ſeparating our ſelves from them in our Thoughts, 119 I4r 119 Thoughts, and imagining we are depriv’d of them by ſome Accident.
For Inſtance, take a Perſon who does not ſeem to place his Happineſs in the Objects of Sight, and fancies they contribute nothing to the Tranquility of his Mind; and ſuppoſe him ſuddenly depriv’d of his Sight, though in all other Circumſtances, happy, we ſhould find him affected with the Loſs, as the greateſt Misfortune. The Sight of Mankind gives us ſome Conſolation, becauſe we always diſcover in them a certain Appearance of Compaſſion, capable to give us ſuccour in our Neceſſities; which at leaſt indulges our Hopes, and thoſe Hopes excite a kind of ſecret Joy.
The Objects, which in ſome Reſpects are diſguſting to the Soul, and raiſe its Fears and Averſion, yet in other Views fail not to ſuſtain it. For tho’ theſe uneaſy Paſſions cannot be altogether appeas’d, yet the Imagination always furniſhes them with Means, or I4Hopes 120 I4v 120 Hopes that quiet them, while the Purſuit of theſe Means, or the Hopes of arriving at the End of their Deſires, employ and divert the Mind.
All the Objects to which the Soul is join’d by the Senſes, Imagination, Reaſon, or Paſſions, are its Goods and Riches; and even thoſe we call Poor, abound in theſe Sort of Goods. If they want Palaces, or even a Cottage, they have the Sky, the Sun, and Stars, of which the Proſpect is ſo magnificent, that St. Auguſtin ſays, ’Tis a greater Bleſſing for the Poor to behold the Heavenly Luminaries, than for the Rich to view their golden Lamps.
Thus in the Privation of ſome Advantages, we comfort our ſelves with others, true or falſe, that we either poſſeſs or hope for. As the Body always finds ſomething to bear it, even when thro’ Wearineſs it falls to the Ground, it there finds a Support: So the Soul, ſick and feeble, never fails of ſomething to ſuſtain it; and when there is nothing 121 I5r 121 nothing real, forms imaginary Supports, on which (vain as they are) it leans.
This Neceſſity of human Conſolations is not peculiar to vicious Men; in ſome Degree, the Vertuous want their Relief. There are few Perſons ſo perfect, but they have ſtill ſome remaining Tye to the World. Fatigued by a long Attention to Spiritual Objects, they are forc’d, in divers Inſtances, to abandon themſelves, and fly, for Satisfaction, to their Friends, their Children, their Eſtates, to a Field of their own planting; or an Edifice of their own raiſing.
This is the Condition of Man in this Life, which may help us to comprehend what Death is, with the Effects it produces. We ought to look on it as the Rupture of all that unites us to the Creatures; a general Separation from the Objects of Senſe; the cancelling all human Ties, and every Pleaſure the Soul found in them; with a total Privation of what it lov’d and enjoy’d, 122 I5v 122 enjoy’d on Earth. When a Man dies, he loſes not only what he call’d his Wealth, but the Firmament, the Sun, the Stars, the Air, the Earth, and all the reſt of Nature; he loſes his Body, and all thoſe Sentiments that gave him Pleaſure; he loſes his Relations, his Friends, and all Mankind; He loſes all Relief, all Support; and in ſhort, all the Objects of his Senſes and Paſſions.
Indeed if the Soul, in ſome Degree, united to theſe, finds it ſelf united to God, by a holy Love, though the Privation of the Creatures, cauſes ſome Emotion, yet it ſinks not into Deſpair; for this divine Principle ſuſtains it, and growing more active, confirms its Hopes, of being ſhortly united to, and overwhelm’d in that Abyſs of Pleaſure, which alone can ſatisfy all its Capacity of loving.
But who is able to conceive the State of the miſerable Soul, when it comes, 123 I6r 123 comes, by Death, to be rent from all the Objects of its Inclinations; from all that ſuſtain’d it, during Life, and finds nothing in it ſelf, on which to lean. Its Propenſities to Love, and enjoy what it lov’d, become, beyond Compariſon, more lively and ardent, while all the Soul was fond of, eſcapes and flies before her, with an everlaſting Flight, without leaving the leaſt Hope of Fruition; ſhe loſes all, finds nothing, all ſinks under her, all vaniſhes, and diſappears for ever.
’Tis not poſſible in this World, to comprehend a State ſo perfectly miſerable, all one can ſay, to give ſome Idea of it, is this: ’Tis a terrible Fall of the Soul, by a ſudden Removal of all its Supports; ’tis an horrible Famine, by a Privation of its Nouriſhment; ’tis an infinite Void, by the Annihilation of all that fill’d it; ’tis an extream Poverty, by the entire Loſs of that which was its Wealth; ’tis a ghaſtly Soli- 124 I6v 124 Solitude, by the Separation it finds it ſelf in, from all Union and Society; ’tis a dreadful Deſolation, by the Want of all Conſolation; ’tis a cruel Rupture, which violently rends the Soul from every Object of its Love.
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