The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.
which nature had kindly denied to their malevolence, and with shouts of applause and triumph see them plunge them into each other’s hearts; they view with delight the trembling deer and defenceless hare, flying for hours in the utmost agonies of terror and despair, and, at last, sinking under fatigue, devoured by their merciless pursuers; they see with joy the beautiful pheasant and harmless partridge drop from their flight, weltering in their blood, or, perhaps, perishing with wounds and hunger, under the cover of some friendly thicket to which they have in vain retreated for safety; they triumph over the unsuspecting fish whom they have decoyed by an insidious pretence of feeding, and drag him from his native element by a hook fixed to and tearing out his entrails; and, to add to all this, they spare neither labour nor expense to preserve and propagate these innocent animals, for no other end but to multiply the objects of their persecution.

What name would we bestow on a superior being, whose whole endeavours were employed, and whose whole pleasure consisted in terrifying, ensnaring, tormenting, and destroying mankind? whose superior faculties were exerted in fomenting animosities amongst them, in contriving engines of destruction, and inciting them to use them in maiming and murdering each other? whose power over them was employed in assisting the rapacious, deceiving the simple, and oppressing the innocent? who, without provocation or advantage, should continue from day to day, void of all pity and remorse, thus to torment mankind for diversion, and at the same time endeavour with his utmost care to preserve their lives and to propagate their species, in order to increase the number of victims devoted to his malevolence, and be delighted in proportion to the miseries he occasioned.  I say, what name detestable enough could we find for such a being? yet, if we impartially consider the case, and our intermediate situation, we must acknowledge that, with regard to inferior animals, just such a being is a sportsman.

JENYNS.

* * * * *

PETER THE HERMIT, AND THE FIRST CRUSADE.

It was in Palestine itself that Peter the Hermit first conceived the grand idea of rousing the powers of Christendom to rescue the Christians of the East from the thraldom of the Mussulman, and the Sepulchre of Jesus from the rude hands of the Infidel.  The subject engrossed his whole mind.  Even in the visions of the night he was full of it.  One dream made such an impression upon him, that he devoutly believed the Saviour of the world Himself appeared before him, and promised him aid and protection in his holy undertaking.  If his zeal had ever wavered before, this was sufficient to fix it for ever.

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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