« AnteriorContinuar »
have taken from the cup of Deceit, are incapable of distinguishing which is the true way in life; and wander about inconsiderately, here and there, as you fee they do. You may observe too, that they who have been in some time, go about just as these direct them. (S. They do so. But, pray, who is that woman who seems to be both blind and mad, and who stands on that round stone there?
0. C. That is FORTUNE ; and she is really not only mad and blind, but deaf too.
S. What then can her business be?
O. C. She flies about every where, and snatches what he has from one, to give it to another; and then takes it away again from him, to gave it to a third; without any manner of meaning, or any degree of certainty : which latter is very aptly signified by her figure here.
S. How so?
0. G. By her standing on that round stone, which fhew that there is no stability or security in her fa. vours; as all who trust to her find, by some great and unexpected fall. :
S. And what does all that company about her want of her ? and how are they called ?
0. C. They are called, The INCONSIDERATEs, and are begging for some of those things which she flings about her.
S. And why do they appear with such a diversity of passions ? some of them as overjoyed, and others as very much diftrest? . 0. C. They who smile and rejoice, are such as have received something from her hand; and these
call her by the title of Good Fortune : and such as weep and mourn, are they from whom she has refumed what she had before given them; and these call her Bad FORTUNE.
S. And what is it she gives, that should make the former rejoice fo much on the receiving it, and the latter lament so much at the loss of it? . 0. C. All those things which the greater part of mankind think good, such as wealth, and glory, and nobility, and offspring, and dignities, and crowns; and all such sort of things.
S. And are not these really good things ?
0. C. As to that we may talk more at large another time; but at present, if you please, let us stick to our picture. You see then, after entering this portal, there is another inclosure, on a raised ground, and several women standing before it, dress’d out too, much like ladies of pleasure.
S. They are so.
0.C. Of these, this is INTEMPERANCE; that LuxURY; this is AVARICE ; and that other FLATTERY.
S. And what do they stand there for ?
0. C. They are waiting for those who have received any thing from FORTUNE ; and as they meet with them, they embrace them with the greatest fondness, attach themselves to them, do every thing they can to please them, and beg them to stay with them ; promise them to render their whole lives delightful, easy, and free from all manner of care or trouble. Now whoever is carried away by them to VOLUPTUOUSNESS, will find their company agreeable to him at first, whilst they are fondling and tickling
E e 3
his passions ; but it is soon quite otherwise ; for when he recovers his senses, he perceives that he did not enjoy them, but was enjoyed by them; and that they prey upon him, and destroy him. And when he has, by their means, consumed all that he had received from FORTUNE, then is he obliged to become their slave, to bear all the insults they are pleased to impose upon hiin, to yield to all the most scandalous practices, and in the end, to commit all sorts of villainies for their fake; such as betraying, defrauding, robbing, facrilege, perjury, and the like: and when all these fail him, then is he given up to PUNISHMENT.
S. And where is she?
0.C. Don't you see there, a little behind those women, a narrow dark cavern, with a small sort of door to it, and some miserable women that appear within, clad only in filth and rags ?
S. I see them.
0.C. She who holds up the scourge in her hand, is PUNISHMENT; this, with her head sunk almost down to her knees, is SORROW ; and that other tearing her hair, is ANGUISH OF Mind. '
S. And pray, who is that meagre figure of a man without any cloaths on, just by them? and that lean woman, that resembles him so much in her make and face?
O. C. Those are REPINING, and his sister DeSPAIR. To all these is the wretch I was speaking of delivered up, and lives with them in torments, till finally he is cast into the house of MISERY; where he passes the remainder of his days in all kinds of wretchedness; unless, by chance, REPENTANCE should fall in his way:
S. What happens then ?
0. C. If RepENTANCE should chance to meet with him, she will take him out of the evil situation he was in, and will place a different Opinion and DESIRE before him: one of those which lead to TRUE SCIENCE; and the other, of those which lead to SCIENCE falsely so called.
S. And what then? - 0. C. If he embraces that which leads to TRUE Science, he is renewed and saved, and becomes a happy man for all his days; but if the other, he is bewildered again by FALSE Science.
S. Good Heaven! what a new danger do you tell me of! And pray, which is False Science ?
0. C. Do you see that second inclosure ? S. Very plainly.
0.C. And don't you see a woman standing without the inclosure, just by the entrance into it, of a very striking appearance, and very well dressed ?
S. As plainly.
0. C. That is she whom the multitude, and all the unthinking part of mankind, call by the name of Science ; though she is really False Science. Now those who are saved out of the house of misery call in here, in their passage to True Science.
S. Is there then no other way to TRUE" Science but this?
0. G. Yes, there is.
S. And pray who are those men that are walking to and fro within the inclosure ?
0, C. Those who have attached themselves to
0. G. Some
0. C. Some of them are poets, some rhetoricians, some logicians, some students in music, arithmetic, and geometry; pleasurists, peripatetics, critics, and several others of the same rank.
S. And who are those women who seem so busy among them, and are so like INTEMPERANCE, and her companions, in the first inclosure?
O. C. They are the very fame.
S. Are they then admitted into this second inclosure ?
0. C. Yes indeed; but not so readily, or frequently, as in the first.
$. And are the Opinions, too admitted ?
O. C. Undoubtedly; for the persons who belong to this inclosure, have not yet got rid of the draught which they took out of the cup of Deceit.
S. What then, IGNORANCE remains ftill with them?
0. G. That it does, and FOLLY too; nor can they get rid of the Opinions, nor all the rest of this vile train, till they quit False Science, and get into the way of the True; till they drink of her purifying liquor, and wash away all the dregs of the evils that remain in them; which that, and that only, is capable of doing. Such therefore as fix their abode with Falfe Science will never be delivered; nor can all their studies clear them from any one of those evils.
8. Which then is the way to True Science ?
O. CDo you see that place on high there, that looks as if it were uninhabited ?
S. I do. 0. C. And do you discern a little opening be