he was in something the same position as a dramatic author before his judges. the inventor's pride in the discovery so nearly completed left no room for any other feelings.
he in vain requested me to explain my plan. i told him that such an attempt as i contemplated could only appear rational after it had succeeded.
the flowers which ophelia carries with her in her madness are as pathetic as the violets that blossom on a grave.
we have now heard enough what toil and labor is required to retain all
that for which we pray, and to persevere therein, which, however, is
not achieved without infirmities and stumbling. besides, although we
have received forgiveness and a good conscience and are entirely
acquitted, yet is our life of such a nature that one stands to-day and
to-morrow falls. therefore, even though we be godly now and stand
before god with a good conscience, we must pray again that he would not
suffer us to relapse and yield to trials and temptations.
temptation, however, or (as our saxons in olden times used to call it)
bekoerunge, is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world and
of the devil. for in the flesh we dwell and carry the old adam about
our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to inchastity,
laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud
our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of
evil lusts which cleave to us by nature, and to which we are incited by
the society, example and what we hear and see of other people, which
often wound and inflame even an innocent heart.
next comes the world, which offends us in word and deed, and impels us
to anger and impatience. in short, there is nothing but hatred and
envy, enmity, violence and wrong, unfaithfulness, vengeance, cursing,
raillery slander, pride and haughtiness, with superfluous finery,
honor, fame, and power, where no one is willing to be the least, but
every one desires to sit at the head and to be seen before all.
then comes the devil, inciting and provoking in all directions, but
especially agitating matters that concern the conscience and spiritual
affairs, namely, to induce us to despise and disregard both the word
and works of god to tear us away from faith, hope, and love and bring
us into misbelief, false security, and obduracy, or, on the other hand,
to despair, denial of god, blasphemy, and innumerable other shocking
things. these are indeed snares and nets, yea, real fiery darts which
are shot most venomously into the heart, not by flesh and blood, but by
great and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations which
every christian must bear, even though each one were alone by himself,
so that every hour that we are in this vile life where we are attacked
on all sides, chased and hunted down, we are moved to cry out and to
pray that god would not suffer us to become weary and faint and to
relapse into sin, shame, and unbelief. for otherwise it is impossible
to overcome even the least temptation.
since the thirteenth century, when the anarchic element
sprang full-grown into the history of humanity, that history has
been chaos. and this republic is the culmination of chaos."
"out of chaos came the new-born earth," suggested the doctor.
"but its foundations were granite," rejoined the old man with
nervous eagerness,--"granite, not the slime of yesterday. when
you found empires, go to work as god worked."
the doctor did not answer; sat looking, instead, out into the
dark indifferently, as if the heresies which the old man hurled
at him were some old worn-out song. seeing, however, that the
school-master's flush of enthusiasm seemed on the point of dying
out, he roused himself to gibe it into life.
"well, mr. howth, what will you have? if the trodden rights of
the human soul are the slime of yesterday, how shall we found our
empire to last? on despotism? civil or theocratic?"
"any despotism is better than that of newly enfranchised serfs,"
replied the school-master.
the doctor laughed.