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ney, and hardly even looking at any of the pillars! To this groupe I advanced nearer, and observed that they were formed in different sets or parties, and that, quite forgetting the golden pillar, they were mostly employed in amusing themselves and each other with mixed conversation on various subjects. They joked, they laughed, they sung; and perhaps they went so far as to remark on the huge size of the temple, or the cloudiness of the night. As I seemed to myself to be a spectator of this scene, methought I approached one of these merry triflers, and begged to remind him of his business in that place. He replied with easy politeness, that he had only just arrived, and that it wanted many hours of the time when he should be obliged to quit the temple.” I rejoined, that time passed very quickly away when persons were agreeably employed, and that even the morning (which was understood to be the utmost limit of their time) might surprise him before he was aware. He answered, rather tartly, that he “ intended to begin his search almost directly:" and then resumed his jovial occupations.
I thought I might perhaps expostulate more successfully with another person whom I perceived sitting alone at a short distance, apparently in a thoughtful, if not a sullen mood; but I had hardly begun to question him, when he cut me short, by complaining in a grumbling tone of the darkness of the night: “ It was impossible (he said) to do any thing to any purpose in such a night, and he was determined not to wear his eyes out in seeking what he knew could never be found." I begged him to reflect on the importance of the object, and at least to use all the means in his power; but he preserved a sulky silence, and I retired.
I next accosted a man apparently sedate and grave, and yet, as far as the night allowed me to observe, of a cheerful countepance; who was walking backwards and forwards, and occasionally resting against any pillar that happened to be inext to him. “Sir, (said he) I have just now satisfied myself, after much thought, of the folly of expecting from this golden pillar all the benefits that it is said to confer. What is gold but matter? And who does not know that matter has none of these wonderful properties ?" I observed, that he had the best authority for believing what he had heard of the golden pillar; and that, where nothing contradictory was affirmed, I thought he was bound to believe what was said on credible evidence. The philosopher put me by, exclaiming in a contemptuous tone, « Sir, Sir, talk to old women, of these marvels!”
I cannot now distinctly remember all the scenes of this kind to which I was witness. I only remember that some of the pilgrims were quietly sleeping, others feasting, and others quarrelling. Most of all, however, I was surprised to see a small party sitting together, and most diligently admiring the model of the golden pillar, remarking its symmetry and measuring its proportions; while they seemed totally to forget that they were come there to find the golden pillar itself.
But though the majority were so negligent, yet a very considerable number had actually taken possession of the various pillars of the edifice. I now approached some of these; and first, some who had attached themselves to the very outermost of the pillars, and indeed to pillars which seemed to me hardly to belong to the same building as the rest, nor did I think they were really connected with the roof. But the most amazing circumstance was, that the shapes of these pillars were, in every respect, totally unlike that of the model, nor could I conceive how, in the darkest night, any one of them could be mistaken for the golden pillar. I therefore set myself with eagerness to learn the cause of this phenomenon.
A young man near me had planted himself by a pillar, which was inscribed with the words, universal charity. It was an irregular spiral, and on placing my eye near it, there was light enough plainly to perceive, that so far from being gold, it was an ill-cemented composition of a variety of base materials. I was astonished at the apparent contentment of the youth, notwithstanding the vast difference between his pillar and his model; but, on looking nearer, I perceived that he had almost broken his model to pieces, in attempting to twist it into the shape of the pillar. The morning discovered this to be the pillar of LATITUDINARIANISM.
Close to this were two pillars; the one, inscribed unitarianism; the other, rational christianity; which were in the morning, found to be respectively the pillars of SOCINIANISM and ARIANISM. These also were strikingly unlike the model: that of socinianism, in particular, reminded me of a Mahomedan minaret, while the other seemed a ramped-up fragment of some old Athenian column, But it soon appeared that the models in the hands of the persons who had taken their stand by these pillars, were perpetually becoming more and more like the pillars; for both the Arian and the Socinian champions were bitterly complaining of the “ spurious additions” that had been patched on the model, and using every endeavour to file these supposed additions away, till at last they left hardly any thing behind.
After this, I could not greatly wonder at seeing a man, who had entrenched himself by the pillar of DEISM, dash his model to pieces, declaring that " he had found the right pillar, and that therefore the model must be wrong;" although I could not help thinking his conduct a little preposterous.
By this time, however, I had got plainly out of the pale of the temple; and I therefore returned into the interior. Here I was much interested by discerning, with tolerable clearness five or six pillars close together, all of which, by so dim a light, seemed extremely to resemble the model. Among these pillars were a few pilgrims, who appeared to feel a real anxiety lest they should be guilty of a wrong choice; and I watched them with not a little curiosity.
I soon found that they could not altogether agree on the golden pillar, though all were convinced that among these five or six it was to be found. Orthopus was attracted by a pillar, which bore the inscription scriptural truth. Remembering, however, that the inscriptions were not to be implicitly trusted, he closely examined the base and lower parts of the pillar, and after some time clearly made out that they were of gold and extremely solid. Here he fixed his choice. His friend Ethicus begged him to observe, that the rest of the pillar did not appear to correspond, either in strength or in materials, to the base; but Orthopus was confident of his good fortune, declaring that “ a good foundation was every thing, and that the superstructure might take care of itself.” He forgot that, though a good foundation is indispensable, yet its only use is, to support a good superstructure. The morning proved his pillar to be that of ANTINOMIANISM.
Ethicus made choice of another, entitled practical religion. In spite of the gloom, he could easily perceive that its materials were extremely bright, and its shape beautiful. Orthopus called out to him, as he gently struck it, that it was certainly hollow, by the sound it returned; but Ethicus would not listen; nor did he discover, what a little attention would have shown him, that his pillar was beautiful only when seen from one side, that in other views it plainly seemed crooked, and that it was altogether hollow, and made of some base metal gilded. Ethicus would have perhaps started, had he suspected that he was clinging to the pillar of PELAGIANISM.
A pillar entitled the good old cause mightily pleased Docilis. He was charmed with some old characters, resembling hierogly. phics, which, on a close inspection, it could be perceived to bear
în relief. Eusebes and Biblicus, who assisted in the inspection, assured him that, though these old characters were of gold, yet the substance of the pillar was nothing but cypress-wood, stuffed with some old parchments, which were here and there discernible through large cracks in the wood. Docilis was blind to all this, while he expatiated on the antiquity of these mystic inscriptions, and the wisdom they probably contained. The pillar was afterwards found to be that of TRADITIONAL FAITH.
Eusebes and Biblicus passed on to another, the apparent richness of which, when they advanced very near it, arrested them both. But Eusebes could not help suspecting this glitter, and, on gently rubbing it, found he displaced a quantity of gold dust, which flew into his eyes and blinded him for some seconds. He was then convinced that the pillar was built of some base materials, to which the gold dust had been made to adhere, and determined to quit it. All this, however, had a contrary effect on Biblicus. The dust so filled his eyes, that he could no longer distinctly see either the pillar or his model; and he, therefore, remained satisfied that his search had been crowned with success, no means being left to him of detecting his error. This pillar bore the title of the good fight of faith, but the day light proved Biblicus to have chosen the pillar of POLEMICAL RELIGION.
Eusebes now betook himself to a pillar entitled Christianity, which both he and his friends had already passed by, partly on account of its dark and unpromising appearance, and partly perhaps, because it bore so general a title; but it now occurred to Eusebes that this title was in fact a very comprehensive one, and that, after all, the title was of little consequence. He approached therefore this pillar, and examined it very narrowly. He was roused on observing, that wherever he brushed away the dust upon it, gold made its appearance, as he could plainly discern. He therefore inspected it on all sides, and compared it again and again with the model, and at last could not forbear hoping that he had found the invaluable golden pillar.
I own that, even without paying any particular attention to the pillar which Eusebes had chosen, I was much inclined to think that he had chosen aright; and that for the following reasons:
1. He was the only one of the pilgrims, who was not content with examining his pillar only once, but even after he had taken his stand, most carefully repeated the examination from time to time. None of the pilgrims could help being occasionally troubled with the apprehension of having made a wrong choice; but the test seemed always to quiet their fears with recollecting the care they had taken in choosing at first: they even seemed afraid of examining again, lest they should discover some flaw, and unsettle their opinions. Eusebes alone, whenever he was perplexed with doubts, always began the examination afresh, and still more minutely than before; and I could remark that the result of this plan was a growing acquiescence in his original choice.
2. Eusebes not only examined repeatedly, but also much more minutely and impartially than his brother-pilgrims. Each of them appeared willing to dwell on some particular excellence in his favourite pillar, and to console himself with the possession of this for the want of the rest. If Docilis was told that his pillar, though it very accurately agreed with the model in its shape, was yet manifestly full of cracks and flaws, he would immediately answer that " it was a great thing to have the shape so exactly." If Orthopus was desired to observe that the upper part of his pillar had no symmetry or even shape, he would instantly begin to boast of the solidity of its foundation. If you hinted to Ethicus that, in many points of view, his pillar did not appear to be properly poised on its base, he would stop you short with exclaiming, “ These minutiæ are of no consequence; you must attend only to the general effect.” But Eusebes, whenever any apparent imperfection was pointed out to him, lost not a moment in setting himself to examine the matter with seriousness.
3. Eusebes diligently availed bimself of occasional circumstances to try the soundness of his choice. Whenever a gust of wind swept through the temple, or the passing of a cloud left the heavens brighter for a few moments, he would seize the opportunity, either of observing the strength, or of examining the shape of his pillar. It was otherwise with his companions. If (for ex. ample) their pillars were shaken by the wind, and this, I observed, they all were, except that of Eusebes) they would say, “ No wonder ;-such a storm as this would shake a rock of adamant;”—and this spirit they always evinced, though in various forms.
4. The spirit in which Eusebes made these various examinations, and which uniformly distinguished him, was materially different from the spirit discovered by the rest of the pilgrims. He was always humble and self-diffident: they were positive and self-satisfied. He alone gave advice with kindness, and received it without impatience. He appeared by far the most earnest in warning his friends of the error of their choice, and in inviting them to try their fortune at the same pillar with himself. In the