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About this time the king's treasury was robbed of forty chests of gold and jewels. The officers of state used all diligence to find the thieves, but in vain. The king sent for his astrologer, and declared that if the robbers were not detected by a stated time, he, as well as the principal ministers, should be put to death. Only one day remained. All their search had proved fruitless, when the astrologer was advised to send for the cobbler, who had become so famous for his discoveries. "You see the effects of your ambition," said Ahmed to his wife; "the king's astrologer has heard of my presumption, and will have me executed as an impostor."
On entering the palace, he was surprised to see the chief astrologer come forward to receive him, and not less so to hear himself thus addressed: "The ways of heaven, most learned Ahmed, are unsearchable; the high are often cast down, and the low are lifted up; it is my turn now to be depressed by fate, it is thine to be exalted by fortune." This speech was interrupted by a messenger from the king, who desired the attendance of Ahmed. When he came into the king's presence, he bent his body to the ground, and wished his majesty long life and prosperity. "Tell me, Ahmed," said the king, "who has stolen my treasure?" "There were forty thieves concerned," answered Ahmed. "Who were they," said the king, "and what have they done with my gold and jewels?" "These questions," said Ahmed, "I cannot now answer; but I hope to satisfy your majesty, if you will grant me forty days to make my calculations." "I do so," said the king, " but when they are past, if my treasure is not found, your life shall pay the forfeit."
Ahmed returned to his house well pleased, for he resolved to fly from a city where his fame was likely to be his ruin. On imparting this resolution to his wife, she said to him with scorn, " Hear me, Ahmed! I am determined thou shalt not escape; and shouldst thou attempt to run away, I will inform the king's officers, and have thee put to death, even before the forty days are expired. Thou knowest me too well to doubt my keeping my word. So take courage, and endeavour to make thy fortune." The poor cobbler was dismayed at this speech. "Well," said he, "your will shall be obeyed. You know I am no scholar, and have little skill in reckoning; so there are forty dates: give me jne of them every night after I have said my prayers, that I may put them in a jar, and by counting them, may always see how many are gone of the few days which I have to live."
Meanwhile, the thieves had received accurate information of every measure taken to discover them. One of them was among the crowd when the king sent for Ahmed, and hearing that he had declared their exact number, he ran to his comrades and exclaimed, "We are all found out! Ahmed has told the king that there are forty of us." ** There needed no astrologer to tell that," said the captain. "Forty chests having been stolen, he naturally guessed that there must be forty thieves: that is all: still it is prudent to watch him. One of us must go to-night to the terrace of his house, and listen to his conversation with his wife: he will, no doubt, tell her what success he has had in his endeavours to detect us." Soon after nightfall, one of the thieves repaired to the terrace, just as the cobbler had finished his prayers, and his wife was giviug him the first date. "Ah !" said Ahmed, as he took it, "there is one of the forty." The thief, hearing these words, hastened to the gang and told them, that the moment he took his post, Ahmed said to his wife, that one pf them was there, The spy's tale was not believed,
but it was determined to send two men the next night, at the same hour. They reached the house just as Ahmed received the second date, and heard him exclaim, "To-night there are two of them." The astonished thieves fled, and told their still incredulous comrades what they had heard. Three men were consequently sent the third night, four the fourth, and so on. On the last they all went; and Ahmed exclaimed aloud, "The number is complete! To-night the whole forty are here."
All doubts were now removed. Even the captain yielded, and declared that it was hopeless to chide a man thus gifted. He therefore advised that they should make a friend of the cobbler, by bribing him with a share of the booty. His advice was approved of; and an hour before dawn, they knocked at Ahmed's door. The poor man jumped out of bed, and supposing the soldiers were come to lead him to execution, cried out, "I know what you are come for. It is an unjust and wicked deed."
"Most wonderful man!" said the captain, "we are convinced that thou knowest why we are come-. Here are two thousand pieces of gold, which we will give thee, provided thou wilt say nothing more about the matter." "Say nothing about it!" said Ahmed. "Do you think it possible I can suffer such gross wrong and injustice, without making it known to all the world?" "Have mercy on us! exclaimed the thieves, " only spare our lives, and we will restore the royal treasure."
The cobbler started, rubbed his eyes, and being satisfied that he was awake, and that the thieves were really before him, he said in a solemn tone, "Guilty men! ye are persuaded ye cannot escape from my penetration, which knows the position of every star in the heavens. Your repentance has saved you. But ye must restore all that ye have stolen. Go straightway, carry the forty chests exactly as ye found them, and bury them a foot deep, under the southern wall of the old ruined Hemmam. If ye do this punctually, your lives are spared: if ye fail, destruction will fall upon you and your families."
The thieves promised obedience and departed. About two hour* after, the royal guard came, and desired Ahmed to follow them. Without imparting to his wife what had occurred, he bade her farewell affectionately, and she exhorted him to be of good cheer.
A reward suited to their merits awaited Ahmed and his wife. The good man stood with a cheerful countenance before the king, who, on his arrival, immediately said, "Ahmed, thy looks arc promising; hast thou discovered my treasure?" "Does your majesty require the thieves, or the treasure? The stars will only grant one or the other," said Ahmed; "I can deliver up either, not both." "I should be sorry not to punish the thieves," answered the king: '• but if it must be so, I choose the treasure." "And you give the thieves a full and free pardon?" "I do, provided I find my treasure untouched." "Then," said Ahmed, "if your majesty will follow me, the treasure shall be restored."
The king and all his nobles followed the cobbler to the ruins of the old Hemmam. There, casting his eyes toward Heaven, Ahmed muttered some sounds, which were supposed by the spectators to be magical conjurations, but which were, in reality, the prayers and thanksgivings of a sincere and pious heart for a wonderful deliverance. He then pointed to the wall, and requested his majesty would order his_ attendants to dig there. The work was hardly begun, when the forty cheats were found with the treasurer's seal still uubroken,
The king's joy knew no bounds: he immediately appointed Ahmed his chief astrologer, assigned to him an apartment in the palace, and declared that he should marry his only daughter. The young princess was not dissatisfied with her father's choice; for her mind was stored with virtue, and she had learnt to value the talents which she believed Ahmed to possess. The royal will was carried into execution as soon as formed, and the change did not alter the character of Ahmed. As he had been meek and humble in adversity, he was modest and gentle in prosperity. Conscious of his own ignorance, he continued to ascribe his good fortune solely to the favour of Providence. He became daily more attached to the beautiful and virtuous princess whom he had married; and he could not help contrasting her character with that of his former wife, whom he had ceased to love, and of whose unreasonable and unfeeling vanity he was now fully sensible.
SittAra saw with despair that her wishes for his advancement had been more than accomplished, but that all her own desires had been entirely frustrated. Her husband was chief astrologer; he was rich enough to enable his wife to surpass all the ladies of Isfahan, whenever she went to the Hemmam: but he had married a princess, and his former cruel and unprincipled wife was, according to the custom of the country, banished from his house, and condemned to live on whatever pittance she might receive from a man whose love and esteem she had forfeited. These thoughts distracted her, and she now became anxious only for his destruction. An opportunity of attempting to indulge her revengeful feelings was not long wanting. Her designs, however, were discovered, but her guilt was pardoned. She was left with a mere subsistence, a prey to disappointment; for she continued to the last to sigh for that splendour she had seen displayed by the
chief astrologer's wife at the Hemmam; thereby affording a salutary lesson to those who admit envy into their bosoms, and endeavour to obtain their ends by unreasonable and unjustifiable means.
In the mean time the good cobbler had been nominated vizier; and the same virtue which had obtained him respect in the humblest sphere of life, caused him to be loved and esteemed in the high station to which he was elevated.
[Abridged from Sketches of Pertia.\
Happy ware it for us all, if we bore prosperity as well and wisely as we endure an adverse fortune. The reason wherefore it is not so, I suppose to be, thatthe same dispo sition which in the one state ferments into pride, in the other is refined into fortitude; and that the cares, which eat the heart, are less injurious to our spiritual nature, than vanities that inflate it and corrupt it. Southey
Every sensual pleasure, and every day of idleness and
useless living, lops off a branch from our short life.
The cares, and toils, and necessities, the refreshments and delights, of common life, are the great teachers of common sense: nor can there be any effective school of sober reason, where these are excluded. Whoever, either by elevation of rank, or peculiarity of habits, lives far removed from this kind of tuition, rarely makes much proficiency in that excellent quality of the intellect. A man who has little or nothing to do with other men, on terms of "open and free equality, needs the native sense of five, to behave himself with only a fair average of propriety.——History of Enthusiasm.
It hath been observed by wise and considering men, that wealth hath seldom been the portion, and never the mark to discover good people; but that Almighty Gor>, who disposeth all things wisely, hath of his abundant goodness denied it (He only knows why) to many, whose minds he hath enriched with the greater blessings of knowledge and
virtue, as the fairer testimonies of his love to mankind.
LONDON ••Published by JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, Win Stband; and sold by all Bookseller*.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
THE CATHEDRAL OF ORLEANS. Orleans is a large town, of great antiquity, in the central part of France, situated on the right bank of the river Loire. It is the capital of the department of the Loiret, and consequently the seat of a prefect, and of the departiincntal oilices; it is also the seat of a bishopric. It stands at the foot of a small hill, and its appearance from a distance is beautiful; the country around is undulating and diversified in its character, being covered with luxuriant vegetation, and presenting the appearance of pleasure-grounds, agreeably intermixed with vineyards and fruit-trees. The town itself is built with tolerable regularity; the streets are in general straight, though narrow and inconvenient, and the architecture of the houses is chiefly of an antiquated style. Its principal attraction is the Cathedral, which is esteemed one of the finest Gothic buildings in France.
It is comparatively a modern work, having been commenced in the year 1601, and it owes its origin to the great king Henry the Fourth. That monarch was excommunicated by the pope as a heretic in professing the Protestant religion; but was afterwards absolved, when, in order to secure possession of his throne, he embraced the Catholic faith. One condition of the absolution was, that the king should establish certain religious houses in France; but Henry was allowed to exchange this obligation, for that of restoring the Cathedral of Orleans, which, since the year 1567, had remained in a very dilapidated state. In order to procure the funds necessary for the accomplishment of this object, a solemn jubilee was proclaimed, to take place in the city, and recourse was had to one of those artifices by which the church of Rome, practising on the superstitious ignorance and credulity of the age, had so frequently succeeded in replenishing an exhausted treasury. The scandalous sale of indulgences—those "wicked contrivances of Romish flatterers " as Luther called them,—which had for their object "to rob men of their money, and to pervert the faith of the Gospel," —was openly exercised; and that the powerful influence of example might not be wanting, the festival was publicly attended by the king and queen.
The scheme was, as it had been on former occasions, successful; and the people flocked in numbers to Orleans, eager to purchase an imaginary pardon for their sins, upon the easy terms on which it was offered,—for ordinarily it was necessary to make a journey to Rome, to obtain an indulgence. So great indeed was the concourse of persons assembled, that the preachers were compelled to deliver their discourses in the open air; in the space of three months, the communion was administered to 500,000 individuals, and no less than 10,000 masses were celebrated in the same period. The fruits of this imposture were so considerable, that on the 18th of April, 1601, the first stone of the new cathedral was laid,—the ceremony being performed by the king, in person, with great pomp. The monarch was extremely zealous on the occasion, and expressed, strongly, his determination to complete the work which his hands had thus begun; nevertheless its progress was slow, being impeded by various unforeseen obstacles. Even at this day the Cathedral is not entirely finished.
The inhabitants of Orleans, and the historians of the town, speak of their Cathedral as the most magnificent in France;—it certainly possesses very considerable attractions. Although built chiefly in the seventeenth century, the character of its architecture is, with some exceptions, that of the thirteenth and fourteenth; and the manner in which the architects have preserved, throughout_almost the whole struc
ture, a perfect unity of style, and a freedom from those vicious innovations which had been introduced in their own times, is deserving of much commendation. The great western, or principal front, was begun in 1723, and is surmounted by two towers, which form its principal ornaments, and which consist of three beautiful pieces of Architecture, rising successively one above the other, and each smaller than the base on which it rests. The northern and southern sides of the building are nearly similar in their appearance; the latter is represented in our engraving, and derives much beauty from the rose window and the flying buttresses which ornament the extremity of the transept in this direction.
The interior of the Cathedral of Orleans is spacious, and has much of that character of vastness and grandeur which distinguish buildings of its kind, but there is nothing particularly remarkable, either in its architectural arrangements, or in the ornaments which decorate it. It would indeed be singular, if, while after the lapse of more than two centuries, and the expenditure of immense sums of money, the building itself remains still unfinished, its embellishment should have reached any degree of perfection. Before the Revolution it did possess some ornaments of value; but almost all of them disappeared at that period.
Good works may exist without saving principles, ana therefore cannot contain in themselves the principles of salvation; but saving principles never did, never can exist without good works. Men often talk against faith, and make strange monsters in their imagination of those who profess to abide by the words of the apostle interpreted literally, and yet in their ordinary feelings, they themselves judge and act by a similar principle. For what is love without kind offices whenever they are possible? (and they are always possible, if not by actions, commonly so called, yet by kind words, by kind looks, and where these are out of our power, by kind thoughts and fervent prayers!) yet what noble mind would not be offended, if he were supposed to value the serviceable offices equally with the love that produced them; or if he were thought to value the love for the sake of the services, and not the services for the sake of the love? Coleridge.
Amonost great numbers of men accounted rich, but few really are so. I take him to be the only rich roan, that lives upon what he has, owes nothing, and is contented. For there is no determinate sum of money, nor quantity of estate, that can denote a man rich; since no man is truly rich that has not so much as perfectly satiates his desire of having more. For the desire of more is want, and want is poverty.—Howe.
In a late number of the Saturday Magazine*, a description was given of the Papyrus Plant, (Cyperus Papyrus.) It is probable that Bishop Jeremy Taylor drew his illustration from this plant in the following very remarkable passage.
"The canes of Egypt, when they newly arise from their bed of mud and slime of Nilus, start up into an equal and continued length, and are interrupted but with few knots, and are strong and beauteous, with great distances and intervals; but when they are grown to their full length, they lessen into the point of a pyramid, and multiply their knots and joints, interrupting the fineness and smoothness of its body; so are the steps and declensions of him that does not grow in grace. At first, when he springs up from his impurity by the waters of baptism and repentance, he grows straight and strong, and suffers but few interruptions of piety; and his constant courses of religion are but rarely intermitted, till they ascend up to a full age, or towards the ends of their life; then they are weak, and their devotions often intermitted, and they seek excuses, and love God and religion less and less; till their old age, instead of a crown of their virtue and perseverance, ends in levity and unprofitable courses; light and useless as the tufted feathers upon the cane, every wind can play with
it and abuse it, but no man can make it useful." Sermon
xiv. j 3. D. I. E.
• See the Saturday Magaiin; Vol. IV., p. 208,
GREAT NUMBERS. No. I. Numbers Descriptive Op Magnitude. In mental operations, few things are more difficult, or more imperfectly performed, than that of estimating great numbers. We are accustomed to speak and to read of thousands and millions of miles, of years, of inhabitants, and of pounds sterling, without possessing any definite idea of the relative degrees of vastness which these numbers are intended to prefigure, as respects extension, duration, population, or value.
To assist our conceptions as to the magnitude of the earth; of its attendant, the moon; of the sun; and of the planets, which, like ourselves, revolve round the sun; to enable us to form some notion of the distance the moon is from the earth; that of the respective planets from the earth and the sun; and of the sun from the nearest star; it seems desirable that we employ some simple and familiar mode of computation, in addition to that of abstract quantities; and that the process we select, should impressively convey to the mind an accurate perception of greatness, without fatiguing and bewildering it by frequent repetition.
In surveying the world on which we dwell, we are, very properly, affected by its extent and its grandeur. It is, when viewed in relation to the beings who inhabit it, extensive, as respects its dimensions, and magnificent, as respects its structure. But when we contrast it with other worlds, some of which may be considered our near neighbours, our own beautiful globe sinks into comparative insignificance; and though we know it is not the least, we have abundant attestations that it is very far removed from the greatest, of the Creator's works.
The only means we possess, for ascertaining the dimensions of the earth, is by measuring off, in succession, certain distinct portions of its surface, and then computing the extent of the whole by a comparison of these separate parts. This has been done with such astonishing accuracy that Sir J. W. Herschel assures us, he considers it extremely improbable that, in the estimated diameter * of the earth, an error exists to the extent of five miles.
The figure of the earth is spherical. It is not a true sphere, inasmuch that its equatorial diameter is somewhat greater than its polar. The difference, however, is so trifling, that in a model made to represent the earth in its just proportions, supposing it to be sixteen inches in diameter, in the direction denoted in the annexed figure from A to B; the diameter in the jB other direction, from C to D, would require to be only j'^th (one twentieth) of an inch less; a variation from a true sphere, that neither the hand nor the eye could detect. The greatest diameter of the earth is estimated as equal to 7925 (seven thousand nine hundred and twenty-five), and its least, to 7899 (seven thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine) English miles, the difference being 26 miles. A mile is equal to 8 furlongs, each furlong being equal to 220 yards, each yard equal to 3 feet, and each foot equal to 12 inches. An English statute mile comprises, there
• From two Greek words, dia, through, and metnm, a measure. It implies a right line; that is, a straight line passing through the centre of a circle or other curved figure, dividing it into two equal parts. As applied to a solid, it denotes the distance from the exterior surface on one side, to the exterior surface on the other side, by a straight line passing through the centre.
fore, 8 furlongs, or 17GO (one thousand seven, hundred and sixty) yards, or 5280 (five thousand two hundred and eighty) feet, or 63,360 (sixty-three thousand three hundred and sixty) inches.
The real diameter of the earth approximates so nearly to 8000 (eight thousand) miles, that it is generally so described for the sake of round numbers. As our object is not so much to convey accurate information on subjects connected with astronomy, on the present occasion, as it is to give a general idea of the dimensions of the earth, and of the bodies that are known to us as its companions in the Solar System, we shall adopt the popular mode of computation; assume the diameter of the earth as equal to 8000 miles, and employ that diameter as a standard measure in comparing the earth with other worlds.
If a man were to walk 4 miles per hour, and 12 hours per day, but resting on the Sabbath-day, he would be six lunar months (28 days each), 3 weeks, and nearly 5 days, walking 8000 miles. A stagecoach, travelling at an average rate of 10 miles per hour, both day and night, and, as is too commonly the practice, Sundays and other days alike, would accomplish that distance in 1 month 5 days and 8 hours. A steam-carriage on a rail-way, similar to those employed between Liverpool and Manchester, moving at an average rate of 25 miles per hour, day and night, Sundays and other days, would perform the distance in 13 days and 6 hours.
The diameter of the earth is only one of its dimensions. The extent of its exterior surface, is what chiefly concerns its inhabitants, since it is there that they carry on the greatest number of their daily avocations. The circumference f of the earth at the equator, is estimated at 24,899 (twenty-four thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine) or, in round numbers, 25,000 (twenty-five thousand) miles. To travel this distance would occupy a man, walking at the rate already mentioned, 20 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days. A ship, supposing she could take a direct course, and average 8 miles per hour, would accomplish the distance in 4 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, and 5 hours; a stage-coach in 3 months, 2 weeks, 6 days, and 4 hours; and a steam-carriage in 1 month, 1 week, 6 days, and 16 hours.
The moon, being our nearest neighbour and constant companion in the regions of space, next claims our attention. The moon is very inferior in size to the earth. Its diameter is rather more than onefourth that of the earth; namely, 2160 (two thousand one hundred and sixty) miles. Supposing the earth to be a solid sphere, (and there is every reason to conclude that it is,) if the materials of which it is composed were separated into 49 equal parts, each part would be equal to the bulk of the moon. To walk 2160 miles, would occupy a man 1 month, 3 weeks, and 3 days. The circumference of a circle is rather more than 3 times its diameter J. The circumference of the moon is about 6785 (six thousand seven hundred and eighty-five) miles, a distance that would be run by a steam-carriage in 11 days and 7\ hours.
Next in order among the superior planets, as respects dimensions, is Mercury, whose diameter is estimated at 3140 (three thousand one hundred and forty) miles. Mercury is larger than the moon, but considerably less than the earth. "Venus is nearer the size of the earth than either of the other planets, its diameter being about 7800 (seven thousand eight hundred) miles. Mars has a diameter rather more
t From two Latin words, rircum, round, and ftro, to carry. It signifies the exterior line that bounds a circular body.
t As 1 is to 3.1416, so is the diameter of a circle to its oircum. ference.