Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Blandishments alone, when played forth with hurtful design, have wrought terrible mischief. Through these it was that Edward IV. became the prey of the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville, to whose caressing words, timid glances, and pretended deep humility he could refuse nothing. How much may be accomplished by feminine determination, no malicious end in view, love of sway, and talent to fulfil designs, equal in measure, is recalled to mind through a similar baptismal appellation, that of Elizabeth Hardwicke, Countess of Shrewsbury, the irresistible lady whose fourth husband was custodian of Mary, Queen of Scots. This celebrated woman, one of the most interesting female personages in English history although unlovable, as must needs be, when selfish wilfulness is the ruling principlesubmission on the lips, rebellion in the heart, as with a good many

of the present day-was the builder of Hardwicke Hall, Oldcotes, and the original Chatsworth. In matters altogether minor, when they are simply "determined," nothing harmful being contemplated, it becomes amusing to observe how ingenious women can be. Some follow Desdemona's plan :

“Do not doubt that; before Emilia here

I give thee warrant of the place : assure thee,
If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it
To the last article. My lord shall never rest ;
I'll watch him tame, and talk him out of patience ;
His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift,

I'll mingle everything he does with Cassio's suit.” Others resort to the pout which has so often carried the day. Should this fail, there is the “unanswerable tear." One of the essayists says that a woman attempting an argument is always wrong till she begins to cry, and then is right directly.

Some of the most touching records of what good women have done in private for their homes and families are those preserved in funeral sermons and upon the marble of the monument. Of the former we have a supreme instance in Jeremy Taylor's celebrated description of Frances, Countess of Carbery, first wife of the earl who figures in Comus. During some part of the perilous era of the Civil Wars the Earl had given shelter to the grand old preacher, who thus had the

1

See, for particulars of her life, Miss Costello's "Memoirs of Eminent English Women."

2 In the olden time, when falconry was a favourite pastime with squires and nobles, in order to render the hawks "tame” they were prevented from sleeping. Desdemona proposes to imitate the trainers of the birds,

Countess under almost daily observation; and on her death, in October 1650, he was called upon for a commemorative discourse, which fortunately was handed to the printer. Independently of its value as a testimony to the character of the Countess, it is wonderful as a specimen of English. “That which I shall note of her,” he says, after proper prelude, “is that which I would have exemplar to all ladies, and all women. She had a love so great for her lord, so entirely was she given up to a dear affection, that she thought the same things, and loved the same loves, and hated according to the same enmities, and breathed in his soul, and lived in his presence, and languished in his absence, and all that she was or did was only for and to her dearest lord. . . . As she was a rare wife, so too was she an excellent mother." It was but twelve years afterwards that Izaak Walton, the simplehearted and benevolent angler who seems yet to wander for us by the babbling stream in Dovedale, penned that well-known tender epitaph on his beloved wife Anne, which ends with “Alas, that she is dead !"1 In our own day no sweeter and nobler tribute has been paid to the memory of a good wife than by one of the greatest of living authors, Thomas Carlyle. Her remains were laid, as the words indicate, with those of her parents; the tablet is of plain white marble. “Here likewise now rests Jane Welsh Carlyle, spouse of Thomas Carlyle, Chelsea, London. She was born at Haddington, 14th July 1801 ; only child of the above John Welsh and of Grace Welsh, Caplegell, Dumfriesshire, his wife. In her bright existence she had more sorrows than are common, but also a soft invincibility, a clearness of discernment, and a noble loyalty of heart which are rare.

For forty years she was the true and loving helpmate of her husband, and by act and word unweariedly forwarded him as none else could in all of worthy that he did or attempted. She died at London, 21st April 1866, suddenly snatched away from him, and the light of his life as if gone out." Compare with these beautiful words those of Horace Mann, many years secretary to the American Board of Education, when writing to a friend in relation to the death of his wife. Nothing ever showed more plainly that the warmest and purest affection is quite compatible with the loftiest intellectual power; or, what comes to the same thing, the absurdity of the doctrine that a richly-cultivated mind presupposes slackness of heart. “Let me assure you that you have not pained me by adverting to a subject which, as you truly suppose, engrosses all my mind, and forms the melancholy tissue of my life. Amid the

1 Vide English Churchwomen of the Seventeenth Century," 1845.

blessed me,

current of conversation, in social intercourse or the associations of business, it is never but half forgotten; and the sight of an object, the utterance of a word, the tone of a voice, reopens upon me the mournful scene; and spreads around me, with electric quickness, a world of gloom. During that period, when, for me, there was a light upon earth brighter than any light of the sun, and a voice sweeter than any of Nature's harmonies, I did not think but that the happiness which was boundless in present enjoyment would be perpetual in duration. Do not blame me for not looking beyond the boon with which heaven had

for

you knew not the potency of that enchantment. My life was out of myself. One after another, the feelings which before had been fastened on other objects loosened their grasp, and went to dwell and rejoice in the sanctuary of her holy and beautiful nature. Ambition forgot the applause of the world for the more precious gratulations of her approving voice. Joy ceased its quests abroad, for at home there was an exhaustless fountain to slake its thirst. There imagination built her palaces, and garnered her choicest treasures. She, too, supplied me with new strength for toil, and new motives for seeking excellence. She purified my conceptions of purity, and beautified the ideal of every virtue.” The charm of this last exquisite picture consists in the stress laid upon the good wife's influence, which is quite as much to be counted, in estimating her worth, as anything she may do with her hands; and the more so because it extends over the entire circle of her acquaintance. The sweet and even nature of the hostess, every one growing happy and comfortable under it, is oftentimes felt to be the best part of an entertainment, a viand more agreeable than the choicest of the meats; it is remembered when they are forgotten, and kindles amity where before there was only indifference. It was to her influence far more than to anything she visibly did or deliberately uttered that Lady Palmerston, wife of the renowned statesman, owed her splendidly unique position. Living to eightythree, bright, suave, and facile to the last, all select society at home, and the greater portion of distinguished society abroad, became familiar, little by little, with her indescribable grace of manner, and inexpressible geniality. No gatherings were ever more productive of pleasure and profit than the delightful “Saturdays" as they were called, to which she invited every one in turn who had the least claim upon her friendly notice, first in Carlton Gardens, later in Piccadilly; the very special charm coming of the fact that these little gatherings had no reference to desire to obtain political power, but rested wholly on the

66

pure and simple liking that both Lord and Lady Palmerston had for the company

of their fellow-creatures, and their desire to render every person who was received within their sphere as happy as they were themselves. Lady Palmerston's sweet and spontaneous aptitude for glueing friends together" rendered her the most efficient supporter her husband ever had. She gave practical effect, and in the best manner, to the idea expressed in “Coningsby"-one of the novels produced in the early days of Lord Beaconsfield: "It is the spirit of man that

says, I will be great; it is the spirit of woman that usually makes him so ;" and what she did for her husband, it is pleasant to remember, she did laterally also, and in no insignificant measure, for many a one in whom she discerned the signs of genius and merit, her kind and timely patronage and encouragement giving the precise impetus that was wanted, and this without any reference to party views or projects. How shall it be accounted for that in spite of a thousand proofs to the contrary, it is denied by many that women have any influence at all ! Were there no other attestation, it is declared in the wholly new positions which women are now taking, not to mention the distinct written acknowledgments of it by the leaders of thought. Narrowly inquired into, it would probably be found that the denial comes from that very mean section of the community which would like to see an Act passed for the Repression of Women. Things are often denied by the vulgar, not because they do not exist, but because they are disliked, just as one of the two great testimonials to real merit is detraction by the selfish and jealous, The truth would seem to be that women, when amiable and accomplished, have so delicate a power of self-adaptation, that consciousness of their good influence is dissolved, as it were, out of the mind; it is received and assimilated, as we receive and assimilate the nutritious part of the atmosphere, the influence of which upon our bodies might quite as reasonably be denied as that of good women upon our souls. If denied upon the lips, it is tacitly acknowledged in conduct. “To please the ladies” is a phrase one hears everywhere and every day. It is founded upon the universal recognition of their influence, and the importance of so conciliating them that it shall be exercised to our satisfaction. The strong proffer it as a good and substantial reason for manly and generous actions; weak men do the same for the follies which every woman fit to be a wife is quite sharp enough to interpret, and to value as they deserve.

(To be continued.)

SHEOL.

H

RECENT theological thought, in the New Church and beyond its limits; has been largely directed to the doctrine of the future life. Questions of the most momentous character have been raised. Annihilationist theories, and theories of conditional immortality, questions of final restoration and of everlasting woe, are all under discussion. The most recent anomaly of opinion within the New Church itself is connected with the interpretation of the Hebrew name Sheol. This has been very generally understood to be equivalent to the world of spirits, and identical with what is generally called the Intermediate State. Now, however, it is affirmed that Sheol is properly Hell. This opinion seems to us to be unfounded, as will appear from the following detailed analysis of the evidence before us. Related questions are those which concern the meaning of “Hades ” and the history of the doctrine of the Intermediate State. On the former of these it may for the present be sufficient to state that the meaning of Hades may and must be determined by that of Sheol. The history of Christian doctrine as to the Intermediate State and the place of the dead may be fitly considered at some future time.

I. This word of disputed meaning occurs sixty-five times in the Old Testament. Gen. xxxvii. 35; xlii. 38; xliv. 29, 31; Num. xvi. 30, 33; Deut. xxxii. 22; 1 Sam. ii. 6; 2 Sam. xxii. 6; 1 Kings ii. 6,9; Job vii. 9; xi. 8; xiv. 13 ; xvii. 13, 16; xxi. 13; xxiv. 19; xxvi. 6; Ps. vi. 5; ix. 17; xvi. 10; xviii. 5; xxx. 3; xxxi. 17; xlix. 14, 15; lv. 15; lxxxvi. 13; lxxxviii. 3; lxxxix. 48; cxvi. 3; cxxxix. 8; cxli. 7; Prov. i. 12; v. 5; vii. 27 ; ix. 18; xv. 11, 24; xxiii. 14; xxvii. 20; xxx. 16; Cant. viii. 6; Eccles. ix. 10; Isa. v. 14; xiv. 9, 11, 15; xxviii. 15, 18; xxxviii. 10, 18; lvii. 9; Ezek. xxxi. 15-17; xxxii. 21, 27; Hosea xiii. 14; Amos ix, 2; Hab. ii. 5; Jonah ii. 2.

II. Its Greek equivalent is Hades. Ps. xvi. 10, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol ;” Acts ii. 27, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades.” So compare Hosea xiii. 14 with 1 Cor. xv. 55. Valuable evidence on this point is furnished by the fact that the Septuagint or ancient Greek version (from which the apostles seem frequently to have quoted rather than from the Hebrew original) has in sixty-four cases employed Hades ("Aions) as the equivalent of Sheol. therefore pleasure in accepting the words of a writer in the organ of "The Academy," namely, “All writers, Jews, Old Church, and New Church, agree that Sheol and Hades are synonymous” (Words for the New Church, p. 583).

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »