Excerpt from The Book of Similitudes: Illustrated by a Series of Emblematic Engravings, Also the Principal Events Connected With the Religious History of the World, From the Earliest Period to the Present Time; With a Particular Description of Many Remarkable Events
All ranks, all ages, all degrees we find, All ills, all joys, attendant on mankind Onward they press, but see, where'er they go, What numbers fall into the depths below. Here battle hurls its thousands from the brink, And numbers more in hidden pitfalls sink: Bubbles, of rainbow tints, ﬂoat in the view; Their ranks grow thin while they the mists pursue; Bold adamantine rocks rear high around, Along whose base a narrow path is found: Fair mansions shine afar on smiling plains, Happy is he who entrance there obtains, And dark his doom, of sadness and of woe, Who finds no passage from those realms below.
ON a certam day, devoted to religious purposes: I retired to an elevated situation, in a mountainous district, for meditation and prayer. While here, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life: and, passing from one thought to another, surely, said I, man's existence here seems but a mysterious shadow, and his life a troublous dream. While musing on this subject, I fell into a dream, or vision. Methought an angelic being stood before me, with a look of compassion and affability, and bade me follow him.
This heavenly being then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, cast thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou seest. I see, said I, a deep valley, and a great tide of water ﬂowing through it. The valley that thou seest, said he, is this lower world, called by some the vale of misery, and the tide of water which thou seest, is part of the great tide of eternity.
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