Sivut kuvina

der his administration the weak were protected, the learned received honour, and the diligent became rich; Mirza, therefore, was beheld by every eye with complacency, and every tongue pronounced blessings upon his head. But it was observed that he derived no joy from the benefits which he diffused: he became pensive and melancholy; he spent his leisure in folitude ; in his palace he sat motionless upon a sofa ; and when he went out, his walk was slow, and his eyes were fixed upon the ground: he applied to the business of state with reluctance; and resolved to relinquish the toil of government, of which he could no longer enjoy the reward.

He, therefore, obtained permission to approach the throne of our sovereign ; and being afked what was his request, he made this reply : “ May the Lord of the “ world forgive the fave whom he has honoured, if “ Mirza presume again to lay the bounty of Abbas at “ his feet. Thou hast given me the dominion of a

country, fruitful as the gardens of Damascus ; and " a city glorious above all others, except that only “ which reflects the fplendor of thy presence. But the " longeft life is a period scarce sufficient to prepare for s6 death : all other business is vain and trivial, as the “ toil of emmets in the path of the traveller, under ** whose foot they perish for ever; and all enjoyment is “ unfubftantial and evanescent, as the colours of the " bow that appears in the interval of a storm. Suffer “ me, therefore, to prepare for the approach of eter" nity, let me give up my foul to meditation : let foli“ tude and filence acquaint me with the myfteries of # devotion ; let me forget the world, and by the world “ be forgotten, till the moment arrives in which the “ veil of eternity shall fall, and I shall be found at the " bar of the ALMIGHTY.” Mirza then bowed himself to the earth, and stood filent.

By the command of Abbas it is recorded, that at these words he trembled upon the throne, at the footftool of which, the world pays homage: he looked round upon his nobles; but every countenance was


pale, and every eye was upon the earth. No man opened his mouth; and the king first broke filence, after it had continued near an hour.

Mirza, terror and doubt are come upon me, I

am alarmed as a man who suddenly perceives that “ he is near the brink of a precipice, and is urged for“ ward by an irresistible force; but yet I know not, whether my danger is a reality or a dream. I am as “ thou art, a reptile of the earth; my life is a moment, “ and eternity, in which days and years and ages are

nothing, eternity is before me, for which I also should prepare: but by whom then must the Faith“ ful be governed by those only who have no fear of “ judgment? by those only whose life is brutal, be«« cause, like brutes, they do not confider that they “ Mall die? Or who, indeed, are the Faithful ? Are the “ busy multitude that croud the city, in a state of per“ dition and is the cell of the Dervise alone the gate " of Paradise To all, the life of a Dervise is not “ possible: to all, therefore, it cannot be a duty. Depart to the house which has in this city been pre“ pared for thy refidence: I will meditate the reason “ of thy request; and may he who illuminates the " mind of the humble enable me to determine with of wisdom.”

Mirza departed, and on the third day having received no command, he again requested an audience, and it was granted. When he entered the royal prefence, his countenance appeared more chearful; he drew a letter from his bosons, and having kissed it he presented it with his right hand. “ My Lord,” faid he, “ I have learned by this letter, which I received “ from Cofrou, the Iman who stands now before thee, « in what manner life may be best improved. I ain “ enabled to look back with pleasure, and forward “ with hope ; and I shall now rejoice still to be the “ shadow of thy power at Tauris, and to keep those “ honours which I so lately wished to resign.' The king, who had listened to Mirza with a mixture of surprize and curiosity, immediately gave the letter to Cofrou, and commanded that it should be read. The K 4

eyes or the

eyes of the court were at once turned upon the hoary sage, whose countenance was suffused with an honest bluh ; and it was not without some hesitation that he read these words.

“ To Mirza, whom the wisdom of Abbas, our mighty " Lord, has honoured with dominion, be everlasting “ healın! When I heard thy purpose to withdraw the

Liellings of thy government from the thousands of as Tauris, my heart was wounded with the arrow of " affliction, and my eyes became dim with forrow. But " who shall speak before the king when he is troubled ; " and who fall boast of knowledge, when he is dil" treffed by doubt ? To thee I will relate the events of my youth, which thou hast renewed before me; " and thofe truths which they taught me, may. the

Prophet multiply to thee.

“ Under the instruction of the physician Aluzar, “ I obtained an early knowledge of his art, To those “. who were fmitten with disease, I could adminifter

plants, which the sun has impregnated with the fpi“ rit of health. But the scenes of pain, languor, and

mortality, which were perpetually rising before me, " made me often tremble for myself. I faw the grave

open at my feet: I determined therefore to contem“ plate only the regions beyond it, and despise every

acquisition which I could not keep. I conceived an opinion that as there was no merit but in voluntary poverty, and filent meditation, those who desired

money were not proper objects of bounty; and that “ by all who were proper objects of bounty, money

was despised. I, therefore, buried mine in the “ earth; and renouncing society, I wandered into a “ wild and sequeftered part of the country : my dwel

ling was a cave by the side of a hill, I drank the

running water from the spring, and eat such fruits “ and herbs as I could find. To increase the austerity " of my life, I frequently watched all night, fitting at “ the entrance of ihe cave with my face to the east,

refigning myself to the fecret influences of the Pro“phet, and expe&ting illuminations from above. One “ morning after my nocturnal vigil, just as I perceived

" the horizon glow at the approach of the sun, the

power of sleep became irresistible, and I funk under “ it. I imagined myself fill fitting at the entrance of

my cell; that the dawn increaled; and that as i " looked earnestly for the first beam of day, a dark “ spot appeared to intercept it. I perceived that it

was in motion; it encreased in size as it drew near, " and at length I discovered it to be an eagle. I still

kept my eye fixed stedfastly upon it, and saw it alight

at a small distance, where I now descried a fox whose two fore legs appeared to be broken. Before this “ fox the eagle laid part of a kid, which she had “ brought in her talons, and then disappeared. When " I awaked I laid my forehead upon the ground, and “ blessed the Prophet for the instruction of the morn“ing. I reviewed my dream, and said thus to myself : Cofrou, thou hast done well to renounce the tumult, “ the business, and the vanities of life : but thou hart

as yet only done it in part : thou art ftill every day “ busied in the search of food, thy mind is not wholly. “ at rest, neither is this trust in PROVIDENCE complete. What art thou taught by this vision ? If thou haft. seen an eagle commissioned by Heaven to feed a “ fox that is lame, shall not the hand of HEAVEN also

supply thee with food ; when that which prevents “ thee from procuring it for thyself, is not necessity “ but devotion! I was now fo confident of a miracu. “lous supply, that I neglected to walk out for my

repast, which, after the first day, I expected with an “ impatience that left me little power of attending to any other object : this impatience, however, I la“ boured to suppress, and perlifted in my resolution ; “ but my eyes at length began to fail ine, and my “ knees (mote each other ; I threw myself backward, and hoped my weakness would soon increase to in

sensibility. But I was suddenly roused by the voice of an invisible being who pronounced these words: Cofru, I am the angel, who by the command of the ALMIGHTY, have registered the thoughts of thy heart which I am now commissioned to reprove.

While thou wast attempting to become wise above that which

is revealed, thy folly has perverted the inftraction which was vouchsafed thee. Art thou disabled as the Fox? halt thou not rather the powers of the Eagle ? Arise, let the Eagle be the object of thy emulation. To pain and fickness, be thou again the messenger of ease and health. Virtue is not rest, but action. If thou dost good to man as an evidence of thy love to GOD, thy virtue will be exalted from moral to divine; and that happiness which is the pledge of Paradise, will be thy reward upon earth.

" At these words I was not less astonished than if a “ mountain had been overturned at my feet. I hum“ bled myself in the dust; I returned to the city; I

dug up my treasure ; I was liberal, yet I became rich. “ My skill in restoring health to the body, gave me frequent opportunities of curing the diseases of the " soul. I put on the sacred vestments ; I grew eminent “ beyond my merit; and it was the pleasure of the king " that I should stand before him. Now, therefore, be

not offended; I boast of no knowledge that I have

not received ; as the sands of the desart drink up “ the drops of rain, or the dew of the morning, so “ do I also who am but dust, imbibe the instructions of “ the Prophet. Believe then that it is he who tells " thee, all knowledge is prophane, which terminates " in thyself; and by a life waited in fpeculation, little s'even of this can be gained. When the gates of paradise are thrown open before thee, thy mind shall be “ irradiated in a moment;" here thou canst little more “ than pile error upon error; there thou shalt build “ truth upon truth. "Wait, therefore, for the glorious « vision, and in the mean time emulate the eagle “ Much is in thy power ; and, therefore, much is ex

pected of thee. Though the ALMIGHTY only

can give virtue ; yet, as a prince, thou mayft ftimus “ late those to beneficence, who act from no higher " motive than immediate interest: thou canst not pro“ duce the principle, but mayst enforce the practice. The relief of the poor is equal, whether they receive " is from oftentation, or charity; and the effect of example is the same, whether it be intended to ob

“ tain

« EdellinenJatka »