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best to entertain him. I know people, and I really like them the better for their humanity, who have al. ways a smile for a joke, whether it be a good, a bad, or an indifferent one; they are charitable enough to consider the will and not the deed; the motive of the action, and not the action itself. They say of attempted witticisms in conversation, what Gray said of poetry," he would rather read the worst verse ever written than the best and most ill-natured criticism that could be made upon it.”*
J. W. DALBY.
FOR THE POCKET MAGAZINE,
A FRAGMENT. I DREAMT that Jupiter took me up to the skies, as hc is said to have done formerly by Menippus, the philosopher, iu order that I might be convinced'that the accusations, so generally brought against the equity of providence, were totally without foundation; and that the great author of the universe, notwithstanding the impious murmurs of his creatures, wss perfectly just and consistent in the minutest of his decrees.
Having taken my station, as I fancied, at the feet of the Deity, the chrystal gates of the celestial region were thrown wide open, and, by a particular order of Jupiter, the softest whisper addressed to hiin from the earth was so distinctly heard, that, during the conti. nuance of the various supplications, I never missed a single syllable.
The first who offered his prayers to Olympus was a man who had been rained by being a security in a large sum of money for a very intimate friend. “This," says Jupiter, “ is a fellow of unquestionable worth and integrity; through the whole course of his life he has paid so inflexible an attention to the dictates of virtue, that I do not believe I have any thing to charge him with, besides buman infirmity. He thinks it hard, therefore, that I should suffer him to be plunged into distress, though this distress is nothing more than the
* I quote from memory.
natural consequence of his own indiscretion : for instead of building his esteem upon the honesty of the man by whose means he is thus unbappily stripped of bis all, he founded bis regard entirely upon the length of their acquaintance; and assisted bim, not because he was a person of probity and honour, but because he was a person with whom he had passed a great deal of his time. On this account he is justly punished for his folly, and though I intend to reward his virtues very amply in this world, yet I must permit him to be chastised below, that other worthy men may take waruing by his example, and learn to shower their favours only, upon those whom they know to be truly deserving.”
The next person who offered up his petition was a merchant in the city, who prayed devoutly for a fair wind for a ship which he had, richly laden in the river, and intended for a very valuable market on the coast of Africa. “Now, bere," resumed Jupiter," is another very honest fellow, who will think himself particularly aggrieved if I decline to comply with his request; and yet, if I were to graut it, a thousand others would inevitably be ruined who are bound upon voyages which require quite a contrary wind. Yoar people of virtue imagine they should, in the minutest circuinstance, be the particular care of providence; and absurdly fancy fat the attention of a being who has the whole uni. verse to govern and support, shall be entirely engrossed by themselves. These people must, however, be informed that I am the god of an extensive world, and not the immediate patron of any one man-of course, therefore, I shall never invert the order of things, to oblige a private person, though that person should be the very best of all my votaries-more particularly too, when let his merits be
what they will, my favour shall so incredibly exceed them in the end.
After the departure of the merchant, methought a whole kingdom came at once, and begged of Jupiter to destroy a neighbouring nation, with whom they happened to be at war. " Here are precious creatures for you,” said Jupiter ; " and so I must sacrifice a couniry of ten or twelve millions, merely becansethese conscientious votaries think proper to make the request:
that is, in plain words, I must be their bully, and arm myself
in passions that would disgrace the meanest of theinselves, for the mighty honour of executing the purpose of their revenge."; Upon this he turned his head aside in indignation, and bade me observe another body of people, rather larger than the former, who were siyging hymus to his praise, and invoking his favour with all ihe energy of the most solemn adoration. "This,” said he, " is the nation with wbom my late set of votaries are at war;' and you hear they are just praying in the same manner that I would be graciously pleased to destroy all their enemies. Now, wbich of these can I oblige?. Their pretensions to my regard are alike insignificant-and they are quarrelling for a tract of country, in America, to which neither of them has the smallest right. To punish, therefore, their ine. solence, in thinking to make me an abettor of their contentions, l'sball leave them entirely to themselves and make each, by that means, the scourge of the other's crimes.” Jupiter delivered these words in a tone so tremendous, that I awoke with affuight. But I thought the vision conveyed no useless lesson, as it illustrated the vanity of human wishes, and taught an absolute resignation to the wisdom, the awful dispensations, and the justice of God.
FOR THE POCKET MAGAZINE.
IMPERATIVE DUTY OF CHARITY,
AT THE PRESENT TIME. ALTHOUGH charity and benevolence ought always: to be the inmates of the human breast, there are cero. tain seasons of the year which call more particularly for their exercise; and of these the most pressing, on, various accounts, is that in which we celebrate the Nativity of the Saviour of the World. As Christians and as men we are most earnestly called on, at that time, to lighten the woes of our
distressed brethren, and to make the hearts of the poor sing with joy."
If as Christians we are penetrated with gratitude for the inestimable benefit we then commemorate, in what manner can we more strikingly evince our gratitude than in deeds of kindness towards our suffering fellow creatares? What offering can be so acceptable at the throne of the Almighty as the half-uttered thanks of the widow and the orphan? Even setting aside the motives of the Christian, the man of cominon sensibility will yet find that there are numerous and strong claims to his compassion; the severity of the weather increases the wants of the poor, and their miserable pittanee, insufficient at all times to furnish them with the comforts of life, is now incapable of procuring for them even its necessaries. . .
Let any man retlect on the condition of hundreds of thousands of our countrymen at the present moment; det bim picture then to himself, weighed down, as they are, by the complicated afflictions of poverty and disease. Let him place before bis view the unhappy fa. ther and the weeping mother, their hearts rent by the cries of their children for bread, cries which they can answer only with their tears. Let him view them, wasted by famine, and covered only with rags, too scanty to protect them from tbe keen blasts of winter, huddled together over the dying embers of a fire, which at intervals throws a faint glare around the bare walls of their miserable dwelling. Let him carry the picture yet furtber; let him represent to himself this wretched groap, rendered still more wretcbed by the addition of sickness to want, pining in consumption or burning in fever, without the power of procuring those allevia. tions which sinooth the bed of pain to the opulent. Let him reflect on this, and let him remember that this is no overcharged representation of the fancy, wo distorted attempt to awaken sympathy; but that it is, at this time, a faithful representation of the deplorable state of thousands of families in this once happy land;and he who can reflect on this without feeling his heart melt to compassion--without resolving. and endea: vouring, to the extent of his ability, to alleviate such distress, may merit the appellation of a Stoic, but can never deserve the nobler title of a Man.
It may, perhaps, be urged, that amid the countless
charitable institutions with which this country now abounds, scenes of such deep distress as those described above, seldom or never can occur. But it may be answered, in one word, that the fact is otherwise, and the sceptic may be referred to the petitions presented to the House of Commons during the last and preceding sessions, and to the accounts which have been almost daily received from various parts of the country, particularly from what are called the Manufacturing Districts, in which scenes of suffering are narrated .which the above is but a faint representation. The charitable institutivus, numerous as they are, are not equal to the relief of a tenth part of the misery which now weighs down the working classes of the people. Indeed, it may be doubted whether public institutions are the best means of alleviating that misery; the clamorous and the bold are received, but the modest and the timid, those who are most deserving of relief, seldom experience it from those sources. There is a delicacy in the minds of such sufferers, which prevents them from obtruding themselves on public votice; they cannot undergo the ordeal of an investigation by parish officers and beadles; they endure in eilence, and ultimately perish, unless some kind hand is stretched forth to save them, and to relieve, without insulting, their distress.
It should, then, be the lobject of every one, possessing the means, to administer comfort to these poor unfortunates. I am convinced that if every gentleman would make it bis business to visit those mansious of misery which may lie in his immediate neighbour. hood, to hear the tale of suffering from the lips of the sufferer, to see its corroboration in every thing around him, and to afford such assistance as might suit his inclination or ability, the mass of affliction would be very sensibly diminished ; and the benefactor would experience a far more noble and more exquisite enjoyment than he could procure from a hundred times the same sum, laid out in the allurements of luxury, or the trappings of ostentation.
There are few persons, except those who are objects of charity themselves, who could not contribute a iride to this good work ; and there are many, very mapy,