Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.
[Posted at the Lee’s Legion page on Face Book]
“WASHINGTON’S LAST DAYS ON EARTH.
“As recounted in Washington Irving’s The Life of George Washington (1855-1859), vol IV, chapter XXXIV (here abridged.)…”
(SOME MORE CARRYING ON...)
He's ok and all. But that after these many, many years he wasn't assassinated or at least sidelined, how can one not suspect his integrity?
And then what are all those dumb people and all that well bank-rolled publicity for but to help create the illusion that he is somehow an interesting and popular artist?
One ought not overly concern oneself with what dumb people think. Inevitably, whether rightly or wrongly, they will think what they are told to think.
Many times that one feels badly it is only because you are with or thinking like the wrong people.
His pride was offended! His pride was offended! Boo-hoo! So invoking his supposed divine status, he resorts to premeditated violence (against non-violent others) to redress the wrong he claims was somehow done him.
Seeming gods cheat and bully for one good reason reason; namely, that they are not nearly so great as we take them for.
So many cranks and kooks who cannot begin to honestly or rationally defend what they believe? Yes, I would say so. And if their cause is truly right and just, as they imply, why then the tiresome and unending secrecy?
Alone, yes. But alone fighting off an entire army (and for decades no less!) Would that they did shun and ignore me already!
...Are there, indeed, such beings? Is this space between us and the deity filled up by innumerable orders of spiritual beings, forming the same gradations between the human soul and divine perfection, that we see prevailing from humanity downwards to the meanest insect? It is a sublime and beautiful doctrine, inculcated by the early fathers, that there are guardian angels appointed to watch over cities and nations; to take care of the welfare of good men, and to guard and guide the steps of helpless infancy. “Nothing,” says St. Jerome, “gives up a greater idea of the dignity of our soul, than that God has given each of us, at the moment of our birth, an angel to have care of it.”
Even the doctrine of departed spirits returning to visit the scenes and beings which were dear to them during the body’s existence, though it has been debased by the absurd superstitions of the vulgar, in itself is awfully solemn and sublime.
However lightly it may be ridiculed, yet the attention involuntarily yielded to it whenever it is made the subject of serious discussion; its prevalence in all ages and countries, and even among newly-discovered nations, that have had no previous interchange of thought with other parts of the world, prove it to be one of those mysteries, and almost instinctive beliefs, to which, if left to ourselves, we should naturally incline.
In spite of all the pride of reason and philosophy, a vague doubt will still lurk in the mind, and perhaps will never be perfectly eradicated; as it is concerning a matter that does not admit of positive demonstration. Every thing connected with our spiritual nature is full of doubt and difficulty. “We are fearfully and wonderfully made;” we are surrounded by mysteries, and we are mysteries even to ourselves. Who yet has been able to comprehend and describe the nature of the soul, its connection with the body, or in what part of the frame it is situated? We know merely that it does exist; but whence it came, and when it entered into us, and how it is retained, and where it is seated, and how it operates, are all matters of mere speculation, and contradictory theories. If, then, we are thus ignorant of this spiritual essence, even while it forms a part of ourselves, and is continually present to our consciousness, how can we pretend to ascertain or to deny its powers and operations when released from its fleshy prison-house? It is more the manner, therefore, in which this superstition has been degraded, than its intrinsic absurdity, that has brought it into contempt. Raise it above the frivolous purposes to which it has been applied, strip it of the gloom and horror with which it has been surrounded, and there is none of the whole circle of visionary creeds that could more delightfully elevate the imagination, or more tenderly affect the heart. It would become a sovereign comfort at the bed of death, soothing the bitter tear wrung from us by the agony of our mortal separation. What could be more consoling than the idea, that the souls of those whom we once loved were permitted to return and watch over our welfare?—that affectionate and guardian spirits sat by our pillows when we slept, keeping a vigil over our most helpless hours?—that beauty and innocence which had languished into the tomb, yet smiled unseen around us, revealing themselves in those blest dreams wherein we live over again the hours of past endearment? A belief of this kind would, I should think, be a new incentive to virtue; rendering us circumspect even in our most secret moments, from the idea that those we once loved and honoured were invisible witnesses of all our actions.
It would take away, too, from that loneliness and destitution which we are apt to feel more and more as we get on in our pilgrimage through the wilderness of this world, and find that those who set forward with us, lovingly and cheerily, on the journey, have, one by one, dropped away from our side. Place the superstition in this light, and I confess I should like to be a believer in it. I see nothing in it that is incompatible with the tender and merciful nature of our religion, nor revolting to the wishes and affections of the heart.
There are departed beings that I have loved as I never again shall love in this world;—that have loved me as I never again shall be loved! If such beings do ever retain in their blessed spheres the attachments which they felt on earth—if they take an interest in the poor concerns of transient mortality, and are permitted to hold communion with those whom they have loved on earth, I feel as if now, at this deep hour of night, in this silence and solitude, I could receive their visitation with the most solemn, but unalloyed delight.
In truth, such visitations would be too happy for this world; they would be incompatible with the nature of this imperfect state of being. We are here placed in a mere scene of spiritual thraldom and restraint. Our souls are shut in and limited by bounds and barriers; shackled by mortal infirmities, and subject to all the gross impediments of matter. In vain would they seek to act independently of the body, and to mingle together in spiritual intercourse. They can only act here through their fleshy organs. Their earthly loves are made up of transient embraces and long separations. The most intimate friendship, of what brief and scattered portions of time does it consist! We take each other by the hand, and we exchange a few words and looks of kindness, and we rejoice together for a few short moments-and then days, months, years intervene, and we see and know nothing of each other. Or, granting that we dwell together for the full season of this our mortal life, the grave soon closes its gates between us, and then our spirits are doomed to remain in separation and widowhood; until they meet again in that more perfect state of being, where soul will dwell with soul in blissful communion, and there will be neither death, nor absence, nor any thing else to interrupt our felicity.
~ Washington Irving, Bracebridge Hall (1822), ch. "St. Mark's Eve."
...From this nation all the nearest people flowed as the multitude increased. But the descendants of his father were called Hebrews, among whom the religion of the true God was established. But from these also in after times, when their number was multiplied exceedingly, since the small extent of their settlements could not contain them, then young men, either sent by their parents or of their own accord, by the compulsion of poverty, leaving their own lands to seek for themselves new settlements, were scattered in all directions, and filled all the islands and the whole earth; and thus being torn away from the stem of their sacred root, they established for themselves at their own discretion new customs and institutions. But they who occupied Egypt were the first of all who began to look up to and adore the heavenly bodies. And because they did not shelter themselves in houses on account of the quality of the atmosphere, and the heaven is not overspread with any clouds in that country, they observed the courses of the stars, and their obscurations, while in their frequent adorations they more carefully and freely beheld them. Then afterwards, induced by certain prodigies, they invented monstrous figures of animals, that they might worship them; the authors of which we will presently disclose. But the others, who were scattered over the earth, admiring the elements of the world, began to worship the heaven, the sun, the earth, the sea, without any images and temples, and offered sacrifices to them in the open air, until in process of time they erected temples and statues to the most powerful kings, and originated the practice of honouring them with victims and odours; and thus wandering from the knowledge of God, they began to be heathens. They err, therefore, who contend that the worship of the gods was from the beginning of the world, and that heathenism was prior to the religion of God: for they think that this was discovered afterwards, because they are ignorant of the source and origin of the truth. Now let us return to the beginning of the world.
~ Lactantius (c. 250–c. 325), Divine Institutes (Book II, ch. 14)