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• Thou shalt soon be gratified then,' resumed this extraordinary being (with a severe smile upon his countenance) . but first let me purge thine eyes from those films of prejudice which, in the world you inbabit, are apt to intercept the light of Truth. He then took a handful of aromatic herbs, and rubbing them gently upon my temples, gave me the power of contemplating the objects be
WONDERFUL indeed was this scene; for upon
the surface of the MIRROR the whole world seemed to be reflected! At first, I could not control my feelings; but like a child that springs forward to seize an object greatly beyond its grasp, I made an effort to leave my seat, and to mingle in the extraordinary scene. Here, however, my guide interfered— and in a manner the most peremptory and decisive, forbade all further participation of it. View it attentively,' replied he, and impress firmly on thy memory what thou shalt see—it may solace thee the remainder of thy days.'
The authoritative air with which these words were delivered, quite repressed and unnerved me. I obeyed, and intently viewed the objects before me.
. The first thing that surprised me was, the representation of all the metropolitan cities of Europe. London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Petersburg, in particular, occupied my attention; and, what was still more surprising, I seemed to be perfect master of every event going on in thein-but more particularly of the transactions of Bodies Corporate. I saw Presidents in their chairs, with Secretaries and Treasurers by their sides, and to whatever observations were made, the most implicit attention was paid. Here, an eloquent Lecturer was declaiming upon the beauty of morality, and the deformity of vice: there, a scientific Professor was unlocking the hidden treasures of nature, and explaining the va
rious systems by which air, and earth, and fire, and water, counteract and sustain each other!
AGAIN I turned my eyes, and, contiguous to this scene, viewed the proceedings of two learned sister Societies, distinguished for their labours in Philosophy and Antiquity. Methought I saw the spirits of Newton and of DUGDALE, looking down with complacency upon them, and congratulating each other upon the general progress of civilization since they had ceased to mix among men. These Institutions, observed my guide, “form the basis of rational knowledge, and are the source of innumerable comforts: for the many
are benefited by the researches and experiments of the few. It is easy to laugh at such societies, but it is not quite so easy to remedy the inconveniencies which would be felt, if they were extinct. Nations become powerful in proportion to their wisdom; it has uniformly been found that where philosophers lived, and learned men wrote, the arts have flourished, and heroism and patriotism have prevailed. True it is, that discrepances will sometimes interrupt the harmony of public bodies. But why is perfection to be expected, where every thing must necessarily be imperfect? It is the duty of man to make the nearest approaches to public and private happiness. And if, as with a sponge, he wipe away such establishments, genius has little incentive to exertion, and merit still less hope of reward. Now cast your eyes on a different scene. I obeyed, and, within the same city, saw a great number of Asylums and Institutions for the ignorant and helpless. I saw youth instructed, age protected, the afflicted comforted, and the diseased cured. My emotions at this moment were wonderfully strong—they were perceived by my guide, who immediately begged of me to consider the manner by which epidemic maladies were prevented or alleviated, and especially how the most fatal of them had been arrested in its progress.
I attentively examined the objects before me, and saw thousands of smiling children and enraptured mothers walking confidently 'midst plague and death! I saw them, secure in the charm which had been afforded them by the most useful, the most nutritious of animals !
Enough,' exclaimed my guide, “thou see'st here the glorious result of a philosophic mind, gifted with an unabatable ardour of experiment. Thou wilt acknowledge, that, compared with the triumph which such A MIND enjoys, the conquests of heroes are puerile, the splendour of monarchy is dim!' During this strain, I fancied I could perceive the human being, alluded to by my guide, retire apart in conversation with another distinguished friend of humanity, by whose unwearied exertions the condition of many thousand poor people had been meliorated.
• There is yet,' resumed my guide, • another scene equally interesting with the preceding from a pure morality