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PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY.
JUNE 15, 1833.
Inside of the Flat Cupola of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Outside of the Sepulchre.
PILGRIMAGES TO THE HOLY SEPULCHRE. A HISTORY of the Holy Sepulchre could not be given to our readers without much that is marvellous and legendary, and a portraiture of the horrors of the memorable Crusades. As we gave an account of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in No. 22 of the Christian's Penny Magazine, we shall limit our remarks principally to the ceremonies which are observed at this celebrated place.
In galleries round about the church, and also in small buildings on the outside, are many apartments for the reception of friars and pilgrims; in which formerly almost every nation in Christendom maintained a society of monks, each society having its proper division assigned to it by the Turkish government. But the extortions of the Turks in rents and fees have caused all to relinquish their establishments except the Roman Catholics, the Greeks, the Armenians, and the Copts of Egypt. Besides their several apartments, each fraternity have their altars and sanctuaries allotted to their separate use, at which they have a peculiar right to perform their religious services, to the exclusion of other nations.
Interior of the Sepulchre, and the Grave of our Saviour,
illuminated by forty-four Silver Lamps.
The privilege of keeping the Holy Sepulchre has been the occasion of many contests and of much bloodshed in former times; but the king of France prevailed with the Grand Vizier in 1685 to grant that honour to the Roman Catholies; and since that period they alone have had the liberty of saying mass in it, and of performing any other solemnities of religion. They have generally about ten or twelve priests, with a president over them, usually residing at this holy place; and every day they make a solemn procession, with tapers and crucifixes, and other emblems of their religious system, to the several sanctuaries, singing at every one of them a Latin hymn, relating to the subject for which the place is celebrated. But their grand ceremonies commence on Good Friday night, which they call "Now tenebrosa"-the black night. A description of these will doubtless be interesting to our readers.
As soon as it grows dusky, all the friars and pilgrims are convened in the Chapel of the Apparition (which is a small oratory on the north side of the Holy Grave), so called as being the supposed place where Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, adjoining to the apartments of the Latins, in order to go in a procession round the church. But before they set
cut, one of the Latin fathers preaches a sermon, during which all the candles are put out, to heighten the selemnity of the occasion. Sermon being ended, which generally lasts about half an hour, every person present has a large lighted taper put into his hand, and all necessary preparations are made for beginning the procession. Among the crucifixes, there is one of a great size, bearing upon it the image of our Lord, as large as life. The image is fastened to it with great nails, crowned with thorns besmeared with blood; and so exquisitely formed, that it represents in a very lively manner the lamentable spectacle of our Lord's body as it hung upon the cross. This figure is carried all along at the head of the procession, after which the company follow to all the sanctuaries in the church, singing their appointed hymns at every one.
The first place they visit is the Pillar of Flagellation, a large piece of which is kept in a little cell, just at the door of the Chapel of the Apparition. There they sing their proper hymns, and another sermon is preached in Spanish, touching the scourging of our Lord. From hence they proceed in solemn order to the Prison of Christ, where they pretend he was secured whilst the soldiers made things ready for his crucifixion. Here likewise they sing their hymn, and a friar entertains them with a sermon in Italian.
The next visit is paid to the Chapel of the Division of Christ's Garments, where they only sing a hymn, without adding any sermon. Having done here, they advance to the Chapel of the Derision, at which after their hymn, they have a fourth sermon in French.
From this place they go up to Calvary, leaving their shoes at the bottom of the stairs. Here are two altars to be visited; one where our Lord's cross was erected, and another where he is supposed to have been laid on the cross. At the former of them they lay down the great crucifix upon the floor, and act a kind of resemblance of Christ's being nailed to the cross; and after the hymn a friar preaches a sermon upon the crucifixion, in Spanish.
From hence they remove to the adjoining altar, where the cross is supposed to have been erected. At this altar is a hole in the natural rock, said to be the very same individual one, in which the foot of our Lord's cross stood. Here they set up their cross, with the bloody crucified image upon it; and leaving it in that posture, they first sing their hymn, and then the father guardian, sitting in a chair before it, preaches a passion sermon in Italian.
At about one yard and a half distant from the hole in which the foot of the cross was placed, is a remarkable cleft in the rock, which in all probability was made, as it is said to have been, by the earthquake that happened when the Son of God suffered (Matt. xxvii, 51-54). That this is a natural and genuine breach, and not counterfeited by art, the sense and reason of every one who sees it (say travellers) must convince him; for the sides of it answer exactly to each other, even where they are inaccessible to the tools of the workinan.
The ceremony of the passion being over, and the guardian's sermon ended, two friars, personating, the one Joseph of Arimathea, the other Nicodemus, approach the cross, and with a most solemn air both of aspect and behaviour, draw out the great nails, and take the feigned body from the cross. It is an effigy so contrived, that its limbs are soft and flexible, as if it had been real flesh; and nothing can be more surprising than to see the two pretended mourners bend down the arms which were before extended, and dispose them upon the trunk in such a manner as is usual in corpses.
The body being taken down from the cross, is re
ceived into a fair large winding sheet, and carried down from Calvary, the whole company attending it to the stone of unction. This is taken for the very place where the precious body of our Lord was anointed and prepared for the burial. Here they lay down the imaginary corpse, and casting over it several sweet powders and spices, wrap it up in a winding sheet, singing a hymn, after which, one of the fathers preaches a sermon suitable to the occasion. These obsequies being finished, they carry off their fancied corpse, and lay it in the sepulchre, shutting up the door till Easter inorning. And now, after so many sermons and so long and tedious a ceremony, the weariness of the company, and the time of night, make it needful to go to rest.
The next morning nothing extraordinary passes. In the afternoon of Saturday, the congregation are assembled in the area before the holy grave, where the friars spend some time in singing over the Lamentations of Jeremiah, which function, with the usual procession to the holy places, is all the ceremony of this day. On Easter morning, the sepulchre is again set open very early. The clouds of the former morning are dispersed, and the fathers put on a face of joy, as if it had been the very time of our Lord's resurrection. Mass is celebrated in the morning just before the holy sepulchre, where the father guardian has a throne erected; and being clothed with episcopal robes, with a mitre on his head, he gives the host to all Christians who are disposed to receive it, several Turks standing by as spectators. This being over, they retire out of the church, and most of the pilgrims are entertained by the father guardian at the convent.
THE SACRED FIRE, IN THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.
PIOUS frauds had a very early origin among the professors of Christianity. They arose with the corruption of religion, and were designed to induce the ignorant to embrace the profession of the gospel. Falsehood and blasphemy are their essence, and words are insufficient to express the dishonour they have done to God, or the injury which they have occasioned to the souls of men. The impious delusion of the "Holy Fire," was first devised, according to Gibbon, in the ninth century; and, lamentable to acknowledge, from want of the saving knowledge of the Scriptures, it still exists in the nineteenth.
Many travellers have described this gross imposition upon an ignorant people; but the following is from a very instructive "Memoir of the Rev. Levi Parsons, first Missionary to Palestine from the United States," who was ordained to his noble office in 1817, landed at Smyrna in Jan. 1820, and fell under his labours at Alexandria, Feb. 10, 1822. He says, "Every apartment of the church was crowded with Turks, Jews, Christians, and with people from every nation under heaven. These assembled to witness the supposed miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit, under the similitude of fire. It is estimated that at least 5000 people were present. The governor of the city and Turks of rank were there. A very convenient place was allotted me to observe distinctly every ceremony. About twelve o'clock we witnessed scenes of a very extraordinary nature, and highly derogatory to the Christian profession. A body of Arab Christians, natives of Palestine, were admitted to perform their part in the duties of the holy week. They began by running round the holy sepulchre with all the frantic airs of madmen, clapping their hands, throwing their caps into the air, cuffing each other's ears, leaping half-naked upon the shoulders of their companions, hallooing, or
rather shrieking to the utmost extent of their voices. This was the exhibition to five thousand people, who were in expectation of soon witnessing the descent of the holy fire.
"About one o'clock the Turks entered the small apartment of the holy tomb, extinguished the lamps, closed the doors, and set a watch. I was determined to enter myself the holy sepulchre, with the Russian Consul, to see from what direction the fire proceeded. But they replied, The Turks will not give permission to strangers to enter! Shortly after, the principal Greek priest entered the holy sepulchre, attended by the Armenian patriarch, and also by the Syrian patriarch. The Greek priest, however, entered the sacred apartment unattended. Every eye was fixed as the time approached. As we stood waiting, suddenly there darted from the sepulchre a flaming torch, which was carried almost instantaneously to a distant part of the assembly. I stood among the first to receive the fire, and to prove that, as to its power of burning, it contained no extraordinary qualities. The zeal of the pilgrims to get a part of the fire before the superior qualities departed (as they say it burns like other fire in a few minutes), endangered the lives of many. Several were well nigh crushed to death. Some lighted candles, others tow, with a view to preserve a part of its influence. Some held their faces in the blaze, saying, 'It does not burn.' Others said, 'Now, Lord, I believe; forgive my former unbelief. After this the pilgrims retired, abundantly satisfied with what they had seen and heard."
How truly distressing to reflect upon the mysteries of our most holy faith being thus burlesqued, and the minds of men thus blinded and abused, upon the very spot where the Apostles preached so faithfully and effectually the doctrines of salvation by Jesus Christ! May every Christian pray, that the people may be delivered from such absurdities, and their minds blessed with the edifying light of the Scriptures!
REVOCATION OF THE IRREVOCABLE EDICT
AGREEABLY to our intimation, when noticing the death of the late lamented Admiral Lord Gambier, whose great grandfather was a persecuted French Protestant, we here give some notice of the "Revocation" of the "Irrevocable Edict of Nantz." That transaction cannot fail to be interesting to our readers; not only on account of the calamities which befel the professors of the gospel, but the benefits which resulted to the manufactures of Great Britain. Previously, however, a short sketch of the history of the Protestant faith in France may be desirable, to render the circumstances of that dreadful event more clearly understood.
Learning had begun to revive in France, in common with other countries of Europe, at the era of the Reformation. The art of printing had been the means of circulating the writings of Luther in France; and the Waldenses, in the southern provinces of that country, estimating their own numbers at eight hundred thousand persons, contributed to diffuse the light of divine truth, while they were encouraged in their profession of Christ by the increase of scriptural knowledge among their neighbours. Margaret, queen of Navarre, sister to Francis I, embraced the doctrines of the Reformation, and afforded protection to the preachers of the gospel to the extent of her power.
Brissonet, bishop of Meaux, countenanced the reformed doctrines; and encouraged James_le Fevre d'Etaples, William Farel, and Gerard le Roux, in preaching the truth as it is in Jesus, and many em
braced the gospel; but a persecution arose, and the members of the scriptural society which had been formed at Meaux, were scattered through the nation, by the vigilant Papists. In 1524, John le Clerc, founder of the reformed community at Metz, after enduring grievous torments for the gospel, was burnt alive! And numerous were the sacrifices of the same kind, which were made by the superstitious bigotry, or the popish policy of Francis; who personally assisted, bareheaded, in a grand procession at Paris, in 1535, while he was an eye-witness of the burning of six Protestants on account of their faith!
Several celebrated preachers under the patronage of Queen Margaret, were eminent instruments in diffusing the gospel. Among the great lights of France, promoters of the Reformation, was John Calvin. He was a man of extraordinary genius, immense learning, and flowing eloquence; which were sanctified by the most elevated piety, and improved by indefatigable industry. All his talents were consecrated to the cause of Christ, from 1534, when he embraced the doctrines of the Reformation. Calvin endured various persecutions from Francis I, to whom he dedicated his famous work, entitled, "Institutes of the Christian Religion.” In 1536, Calvin settled at Geneva, which became a city of the greatest note, through his learned and orthodox writings and commentaries on the Scriptures; so that by his wisdom and industry, he became the principal counsellor to the reformers in every nation throughout Europe, after the death of Luther.
France appears to have contained almost as many Protestants as even Germany, toward the close of the sixteenth century: for in 1570, it was found that there were 2,150 congregations, some of them including 2,000 members. Probably in no country have their persecu tions been more dreadful, and volumes might be filled with most affecting examples of French martyrs.
Francis I was the rival of Charles V; and the wars occasioned by their ambition were most calamitous; and to secure the influence of the Pope, they were both led to sacrifice the Protestants in their several states. The French king manifested his zeal for the church in a dreadful persecution of the Waldenses, and others who were believed to have embraced the reformed doctrines, to gratify his Holiness. Francis is reported to have been heard declaring, "that if he thought the blood of his arm was tainted with the Lutheran heresy, he would cut it off; and that he would not spare his own children, if they entertained sentiments contrary to those of the Catholic Church." How shocking to live under the power of such a wretched bigot!
Francis I died in 1547, and was succeeded by Henry II, in whose reign a multitude of martyrs fell a sacrifice to papal vindictiveness. In 1557, a congregation of Protestants was discovered in Paris; their place of meeting was surrounded; many of them were seized, and nine of them perished in the flames. Philippa de Luns, the widow of a nobleman of Gascony, was one of them. This lady was only twenty-three years of age; in her execution she was most barbarously tortured, with a view to intimidate others. But the divine principles for which she suffered, continued to spread; and many persons of rank were known to be favourable to them, particularly Antony Bourbon, king of Navarre, and his brother Louis, prince of Condé.
Henry II, we are informed, entered into the Parliament of Paris at the time it was being debated respecting the punishment of heretics; and he gave orders, that two of the counsellors, Faber and Du Bourg, should be apprehended, because they had expressed themselves favourable towards the reformers. Henry had declared, that he would "see the execution, of Du Bourg :" but while proceedings against these up
Francis II succeeded Henry; and having married Mary Stuart, by her right he became king of Scotland: but he reigned only to the close of the year following, when his brother Charles IX, only nine years of age, was placed on the throne. Catherine de Medicis, mother of these two princes, had the chief authority in the kingdom, and disputes were carried on between the two political parties of the Guises and the Bourbons. The Guise party, with the cardinal of Lorraine and his brother Francis, were implacable in their hatred of the reformers; while the Bourbon princes, with Louis prince of Condé at their head, patronized them. In 1561, Catherine, affecting moderation, obtained a conference between the Papists and Protestants; but in vain, as nothing would be yielded by the Pope and the Council of Trent, and a civil war was the concequence, in which about 50,000 Protestants were sacrificed. As the Guise party prevailed, the most shocking barbarities were exercised upon the unoffending Hugonots, as they called the Protestants. By the peace, however, in 1563 they obtained liberty of conscience but the conflict was renewed in 1567, and again in 1568; when in 1569, a new peace was made on advantageous terms for the reformers.
The Protestants thought themselves secure; as the heads of their party were received at the French court with expressions of liberality and kindness: but at that period a most dreadful tragedy was being prepared. The pages of history do not record such another instance of monstrous perfidy and malignant barbarity, as was perpetrated in 1572 in France, under the cloak of the religion of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The Pope and his agents influenced the French king to resolve upon exterminating, by one decisive effort, all the dissenters from the Roman Catholic church. For this purpose, many of the principal Protestants were invited to Paris, under a solemn oath of safety, to celebrate the marriage of the young king of Navarre with the sister of the French king. The queen dowager of Navarre, a zealous Protestant, was destroyed before the festival, by means of poison concealed in a pair of gloves! She bore her sickness with patient resignation worthy of a Christian. "As for life," said she, "I am in a good measure weaned from the love of it, by reason of the afflictions which have followed me from my youth hitherto; but especially because I cannot live without daily offending my good God, with whom I desire to be with all my heart," &c.
A few days after, August 22, Admiral Coligni was shot at and wounded in the streets of Paris; when the hypocritical king paid him a visit, and told him, "You have received the wound, but it is I who suffer." royal word allayed the suspicions of Coligni; but the same night a council was held to deliberate on the mode of accomplishing a general massacre of the Protestants. St. Bartholomew's Eve, at midnight, was the time fixed, and the appointed signal was the tolling of a bell near the Louvre. The wounded admiral was apprised of his danger, and said, "I perceive what is doing-I bless God I shall die in the Lord, through whose grace I am elected to a hope of everlasting life. You, my friends, flee hence as fast as you can, the presence of God is abundantly sufficient for me." The murder of this venerable man was the commencement of the bloody work. The duke of Guise himself waited below stairs, with the chevalier d'Augoulême, till his
mangled corpse was cast from the window, to he dragged through the streets and burnt: it is said that his head was sent to Rome by the queen-mother!
In the Louvre, many of the gentlemen belonging to the king of Navarre and the prince of Condé, were killed under the king's eyc. He himself is said to have fired with his long gun at the groups that he saw attempting to escape by the river. Among the slain were Count Rochefoucault, Feligni, the admiral's sonin-law, the Marquess Ravely, and Peter Ramus, a man of great fame for his learning; and of all ranks, it is calculated, that, in the space of three days, there were thus murdered no less than ten thousand in Paris. The young king of Navarre and the prince of Coudé were compelled to be present at some of the executions, and also to assist at a jubilee of solemn thanksgiving to God for the success of this scheme declared so favourable to religion! The massacre extended to all places in which these professors of scriptural religion were known. Private orders were sent to the governors of the provinces to fall upon them; and similar scenes of blood were exhibited at Meaux, Orleans, Troyes, Angers, Toulouse, Rouen, and Lyons; so that in the space of two months, it is computed that not less than 100,000 Protestants were thus murdered!
This horrible tragedy was well known to have been contrived by the fathers of the Roman Catholic church. Medals to cominemorate it were struck at Paris; and the annunciation of it was received by the clergy in Spain, and at Rome, with expressions of unbounded exultation. The person who carried the news to Rome was rewarded with 1000 crowns; and when the letters of the papal legate, residing at the French court, were read in the assembly of cardinals, it was decreed, that the pope should march with his cardinals to the church of St. Mark, to offer solemn thanks to God for so signal a blessing conferred on the See of Rome!
The Protestant king of Navarre, and the prince of Condé, were devoted to the same destruction: but their lives were spared on their professing themselves reconciled to the Church of Rome-the French king, with a terrible oath, proposing to them, "The Mass, Death, or the Bastile for life!" Divine justice, however, could not be bribed. The guilty king could never afterwards pacify his conscience: his countenance indicated his mental anguish; he could never sleep soundly, and he awoke in dreadful agonies: and soon after died in extreme horror of mind.
Henry III succeeded his brother; and the Guises formed a confederacy, which they called the "Catholic League," compelling the king to declare himself its head. The duke of Guise and Henry III both perished by violent deaths! and the king of Navarre, after much contention and various battles, succeeded to the throne, as Henry IV; and though he had embraced the Roman Catholic faith, he granted the famous Edict, dated Nantz, April 13, 1598. This decree was called "IRREVOCABLE;" by which they were allowed liberty of conscience, the free exercise of their religion, and access to all places of trust and dignity. With this security, the Hugonots became prodigiously increased, to the most grievous mortification of the blood-thirsty partisans of Rome!
(To be continued.)
A MARTYR'S FIRMNESS.-Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (supposed to be a disciple of St. John), suffered martyrdoin A. D. 167, when he came to the stake, desired to stand untied, saying, "Let me alone, for He who gave the strength to come to the fire, will give me patience to endure the flame, without your tying."
Letters to a Mother, upon Education.
On Natural History and Natural Philosophy.
A KNOWLEDGE of these topics (of course I mean to the same superficial extent as of the preceding) will be very useful to your child.
By the former, you of course understand me to mean a description of the different tribes of the inferior creatures, consisting of birds, beasts, fishes, and insects.
The objects of this knowledge then are none other than the animated works of the great Creator himself. If we gaze with interest and delight upon the statue, which was the production of some ancient sculptor, and feel a veneration for the intellect of the man which could imagine a form so lovely, and for the skill which enabled him to give reality to conceptions so beautiful and exact; if we justly think we perceive reflections of the mind of the architect in the building, and of the artist in the picture;-with what intense curiosity and awe night we not expect that mankind would gaze upon the works of the almighty, invisible Framer and Ruler of all !
The works of the Creator are also the most beautiful of all objects. His conceptions, which are realized in the works of his hands, are the standard of all taste and propriety. In proportion as the work of any artist is natural, that is, is conformed to the objects produced by the Divine Being, it is beautiful and perfect. How admirable are the majesty and beauty of many species of the inferior creatures! How indescribably interesting are the tints of many flowers, the hues of the plumage of many birds, and the colours of multitudes of shells and fishes! At the same time the contemplation of the immense variety of animated beings with which the universe is replenished, from the whale to the animalcula, from the condor to the insect of a day, from the elephant to the creature which can only be distinguished through a microscope, tends to raise our conceptions of the infinite resources of the power of God. Nor less does the contemplation of the provision he has made for their happiness, tend to enlarge our conceptions of his love. At the same time the countless tribes of creatures inferior to man, may open our minds to admit the existence of the intelligences superior to ourselves, and which are not improbably as great in number and as varied in habits and capacities as those below us.
I consider you fortunate, so to speak, that you live in a time when the facilities of contemplating these objects are greatly multiplied. The conductors of the Family Library, and the editors of several other similar publications, have presented to the world, but especially to the youthful part of society, an inestimable treasure of knowledge for the study of natural history. The plates, representing the various animals in all their different habitudes, are most natural and striking; and the description appended is concise, authenticated, and free from objections.
A similar explication of the stores of natural history has been made with regard to insects; and the public expectation has been encouraged to consider these as by no means the last effort of the same nature contemplated by the enlightened, liberal, and indefatigable conductors of those publications.
These volumes generally contain easy and sensible allusions and inferences respecting the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator; and one of them has been conducted with an express view to the elucidation of these topics: I refer to the book entitled Insecto-Theology.
The strict adherence to truth and nature which characterizes the plates and the descriptions in these vo
lumes, are happily seconded by the opportunity which is afforded by public national exhibitions of most of the creatures. The British public may now, in the metropolis especially, and in several large towns of the kingdom, amid the recesses of a public garden, behold the inhabitants of foreign deserts and mountains and forests and lakes, each exhibited in his natural habitudes, and undistressed by the degree of confinement which in former times counterbalanced much of the benefit of beholding them in the mind of the spectator. There the elephant bathes, the ostrich paces as if in the desert, the goat of Cashmere looks down from the rocks, and the alligator basks upon the bank of the stagnant pool. To read the description of such creatures which is furnished by the press of the present day, and to visit these and other exibitions of them, certainly constitute some of the principal advantages of the rising generation. The resources of information with respect to natural philosophy, or the description of the objects of the inanimate creation, are equally abundant and desirable. In most large towns of the kingdom, and at a very small expense, lectures sufficiently extensive and profound may be heard, upon geology, mineralogy, galvanism, electricity, chemistry, mechanics, hydrostatics, &c. &c. illustrated by interesting experiments. Now although the knowledge gained of natural philosophy from such lectures must be merely superficial, as indeed all natural philosophy without being pursued by mathematics must be, yet an attentive child may derive from this source a considerable insight into the powers and properties of matter, the discoveries of modern science, and the application of the sciences to arts and manufactures. And the knowledge of the existence of such powers, qualities, and properties is valuable: it will serve to add to his ability to conceive and illustrate other subjects: it tends to expand his knowledge of the Creator's works, and of His character from whom he receives every supply, and upon whom he must throughout eternity be dependent. The knowledge of these topics is also facilitated by the numerous small pamphlets and catechisms upon them which have been published within a few years, and which any public lecturer upon them would readily point out to you. I refer to such books as Pinnock's Catechisms, &c.
At the same time it will rest with you to prevent the mischiefs which may arise from his familiarity with these topics. Perhaps after having seen philosophical experiments, or after having seen collections of shells, vegetables, and minerals, or even coins and pictures, he may be seized with an insatiable desire to become a collector. Hence you will be put to expense, and he will suffer loss of time and distraction of mind, for no earthly good whatever. In a few years he would assuredly despise and neglect the few shells, coins, plants, &c. which he might now collect, and even the electrical machine, the possession of which he now thinks would constitute the sum of earthly happiness.
Should he exhibit a craving for these objects, resolutely yet skilfully and mildly deny it. Explain to him, that whenever he wants to see such objects, a visit to a museum, or attendance at lectures, will always employ him and gratify his wishes. That upon the same principle that he wishes to set up in natural philosophy, he ought to wish to be his own grocer, apothecary, &c. That in these, and indeed in every other instance, except that of his own peculiar profes sion or art, he must be indebted to others. Explain to him the doctrine of the subdivision of labour, and quiet his wish for an apparatus, &c. Should you fail, endeavour to get an introduction for him to some one possessing such things. After he has been permitted to plague himself for a few days amid phials and machines, he will have become surfeited, and the expense