Imágenes de páginas

things, and more rapid success, than the SERM.

XV. man of moderation and virtue. But, at X the same time, he incurs greater risques and dangers. No calculation of probabilities can ensure safety to him who is acting a deceitful part. Amidst the unforeseen vicissitudes of the world, he has to dread, not only disappointment to his plans, but the miseries also which detected fallacies may bring on his head. He walks on the edge of precipices, where a single false step may be fatal. He follows a wandering light, which, if it fail of guiding him by a short path to the Palace of ambition, lands him in the pit, or the lake. Whereas he who follows the guidance of integrity, walks in the high road on which the light of the sun shines. He sees before him the Habitation of peace to which his steps are directed; and if he be longer of arriving at it, he is sure of neither wandering far astray, nor of meeting on his road with any forms of unusual terror.

- Let it be always remembered that the principle of integrity which - X 2


SER M. directs a good man, is far from excluding XV.

prudence in the conduct of life. It implies no improvident or thoughtless simplicity. On the contrary, it is closely connected with true wisdom. A man of enlarged capacity, and extensive views, is always upright. Craft is merely the fupplement of inferior abilities. It characterizes a narrow comprehension, and a little mind.--As the path of integrity is on the whole the safest path of conduct; so,

In the second place, it is unquestionably the most honourable. Integrity is the foundation of all that is high in character among mankind. Other qualities may add to its splendor ; but if this essential requisite be wanting, all their lustre fades. Were I drawing the character of one who claimed the admiration of the world; and after I had ascribed to him eloquence, valour, and every endowment that is most shining and captivating, did I add, that he was a man of too much art to be trusted, I ap

neal peal to every one, whether, by this single s E R M. stroke, the whole character would not be funk and degraded; An interested and crafty man may perhaps rise into influence and high station; he may be a rich and a powerful, but will never be a great man. He may be feared, and externally honoured and courted; but in the secret thoughts of men he finds no respect. We all feel, that magnanimous sentiments cannot dwell in the same breast with selfishness and deceit. i.

He who rests upon an internal principle of virtue and honour, will act with a dignity and a boldness, of which they are incapable who are wholly guided by intereft. He is above those timid suspicions, and cautious restraints, which fetter and embarrass their conduct. That firmness which the consciousness of rectitude inspires, gives vigour and force to his exertions on every great occasion. It adds double weight to all the abilities of which he is pofseft. It even supplies the place of those abilities in which he is defective. They


SERM.who oppose him are obliged to honour XV. , him. They look up to him with a

secret awe, as to one who moves above them in a superior sphere; regardless of their good or ill opinion, of their promises or their threatenings; like one of those celestial luminaries which holds its course through its orbit, without being affected by any commotions among the elements below. Such a man is trusted, and relied upon, as well as esteemed, because all know where to find him, and upon what system he acts. He attaches friends and followers to himself, without courting them; and though his progress towards fame should be now, and interrupted at first by crooked arts, it is nevertheless certain and sure. The public may be misled for a while, in judging of real merit; but it is seldom unjust at the last. As persons continue to come forward to view, and to act their part in trying circumstances, their characters are at length fully ascertained; and, almost always, rated as they deserve. How corrupt soever the world may be, they can

not XV.

not with-hold approbation from him, s ERM. whose conduct is marked by uniform integrity and honour. Enemies he will have ; but the public favours him; the multitude of men wish him fuccess ; and destine him, in their thoughts, to every step of his preferment, before he arrives at it.

In the third place, the plan of conduct, on which the man of integrity proceeds is the most comfortable ; that is, attended with the greatest satisfaction in a man's own mind. Amidst the various and perplexing events of life, it is of fingular advantage to be kept free from doubt, as to the part most proper to be chosen. He who consults nothing but worldly interest must, upon every turn of fortune, undergo much painful suspence. He is obliged to listen with anxious ear to every whisper of report ; and upon every new aspect which the face of affairs assumes, must study how to place himself in a new posture of defence. But the man of principle is a stranger to


« AnteriorContinuar »