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without cultivation; but which will always abundantly repay the labours of industry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence, to be overrun with noxious plants, or laid out for show, rather than use.
3. When Aristotle was asked, “What a man could gain by telling a falsehood,” he replied, “Not to be credited when he speaks the truth.”
4. L'Estrange, in his Fables, tells us that a number of frolicksome boys were one day watching frogs, at the side of a pond; and that, as any of them put their heads above the water, they pelted them down again with stones. One of the frogs, appealing to the humanity of the boys, made this striking observation ;“ Children, you do not consider, that though this may be sport to you, it is death to us.”
5. Sully, the great statesman of France, always retained at his table, in his most prosperous days, the same frugality to which he had been accustomed in early life. He was frequently reproached, by the courtiers, for this simplicity; but he used to reply to them, in the words of an ancient philosopher: “If the guests are men of sense, there is sufficient for them: if they are not, I can very well dispense with their company.
6. Socrates, though primarily attentive to the culture of his mind, was not negligent of his external appearance. His cleanliness resulted from those ideas of order and decency which governed all his actions; and the care which he took of his health, from his desire to preserve his mind free and tranquil.
7. Eminently pleasing and honourable was the friendship between David and Jonathan. “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan," said the plaintive and surviving David ; "very pleasant hast thou been to me: thy love for me was wonderful; passing the love of women.
8. Sir Philip Sidney, at the battle near Zutphen, was wounded by a musket ball, which broke the bone of his thigh. He was carried about a mile and a half, to the camp; and being faint with the loss of blood, and probably parched with thirst through the heat of the weather,
he called for
drink. It was immediately brought to him: but, as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened at that instant to be carried by him, looked up to it with wishful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the bottle from his mouth, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine."
9. Alexander the Great demanded of a pirate, whom he had taken, by what right he infested the seas ? « By the same right,' replied he, “that Alexander enslaves the world. But I am called a robber, because I have only one small vessel; and he is styled a conqueror, because he commands great fleets and armies." "We too often judge of men by the splendour, and not by the merit of their actions.
10. Antoninus Pius, the Roman Emperor, was an amiable and good man.
of his courtiers attempted to inflame him with a passion for milítary glory, he used to answer: “ That he more desired the preservation of one subject, than the destruction of a thousand enemies."
11. Men are too often ingenious in making themselves misera
ble, by aggravating to their own fancy, beyond bounds, all the evils which they endure. They compare themselves with none but those whom they imagine to be more happy; and complain, that upon them alone has fallen the whole load of human sorrows. Would they look with a more impartial eye on the world, they would see themselves surrounded with sufferers; and find that they are only drinking out of that mixed cup, which Providence has prepared for all." I will restore thy daughter again to life," said the eastern sage, to a prince who grieved immoderately for the loss of a beloved child, " provided thou art able to engrave on her tomb, the names of three persons who have never mourned.” The prince made inquiry after such persons; but found the inquiry vain, and was silent.
SECTION VIII. 1. He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
2. A soft answer turneth away wrath ; but grievous words stir up anger.
3. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
4. Pride goeth before destruction; and a haughty spirit before
5. Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be truly wise.
6. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Open rebuke is better than secret love.
7. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.
8. He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.
9. He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord; that which he hath given, will he pay him again.
10. If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.
11. He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?
12. I have been young, and now I am old; yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
13. It is better to be a door-keeper in the house of the Lord, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
14. I have seen the wicked in great power; and spreading himself like a green bay-tree. Yet he passed away: I sought him, but he could not be found.
15. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand, riches and honour. 'Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
16. How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like precious ointment: Like the dew of Hermon, and the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.
17. The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; he shall therefore beg in harvest, and have nothing.
18. I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding : and lo! it was all grown over
with thorns; nettles had covered its face; and the stone wall was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well. I looked upon it, and received instruction.
19. Honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time; nor that which is measured by number of years :—But wisdom is the gray hair to man; and an unspotted life is old age.
20. Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy fathers; and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
SECTION IX. 1. That every day has its pains and sorrows is universally experienced, and almost universally confessed. But let us not attend only to mournful truths: if we look impartially about us, we shall find, that every day has likewise its pleasures and its joys.
2. We should cherish sentiments of charity towards all men. The Author of all good nourishes much piety and virtue in hearts that are unknown to us; and beholds repentance ready to spring up among many, whom we consider as reprobates.
3. No one ought to consider himself as insignificant in the sight of his Creator. In our several stations, we are all sent forth to be labourers in the vineyard of our heavenly Father. Every man has his work allotted, his talent committed to him; by the due improvement of which he may, in one way or other, serve God, promote virtue, and be useful in the world.
4. The love of praise should be preserved under proper subordination to the principle of duty. In itself, it is a useful motive to action; but when allowed to extend its influence too far, it corrupts the whole character, and produces guilt, disgrace, and misery. To be entirely destitute of it, is a defect. To be governed by it, is depravity. The proper adjustment of the several principles of action in human nature is a matter that deserves our highest attention. For when any one of them becomes either too weak or too strong, it endangers both our virtue and our happiness.
5. The desires and passions of a vicious man, having once obtained an unlimited sway, trample him under their feet. They make him feel that he is subject to various, contradictory, and imperious masters, who often pull him different ways. His soul is rendered the receptacle of many repugnantandjarring dispositions; and resembles some barbarous country,cantoned out into different principalities, which are continually waging war on one another.
6. Diseases, poverty, disappointment, and shame, are far from being, in every instance, the unavoidable doom of man. They are much more frequently the offspring of his own misguided choice. Intemperance engenders disease, sloth produces poverty, pride creates disappointments, and dishonesty exposes to shame. The ungoverned passions of men betray them into a thousand follies; their follies into crimes; and their crimes into misfortunes.
7. When we reflect on the many distresses which abound in human life ; on the scanty proportion of happiness which any man is here allowed to enjoy; on the small difference which the diversity of fortune makes on that scanty proportion; it is surprising,
that edivy should ever have been a prevalent passion among men, much
more that it should have prevailed among Christians. Where so much is suffered in common, little room is left for envy. There is more occasion for pity and sympathy, and inclination to assist each other.
8. At our first setting out in life, when yet unacquainted with the world and its snares, when every pleasure enchants with its smile, and every object shines with the gloss of novelty, let us beware of the seducing appearances which surround us; and recollect what others have suffered from the power of headstrong desire. If we allow any passion, even though it be esteemed innocent, to acquire an absolute ascendant, our inward peace will be impaired. But if any; which has the taint of guilt, take early possession of our mind, we may date, from that moment, the ruin of our tranquillity.
9. Every man has some darling passion, which generally affords the first introduction to vice. The irregular gratifications, into which it occasionally seduces him, appear under the form of venial weaknesses; and are indulged, in the beginning, with scrupulousness and reserve. But, by longer practice, these restraints weaken, and the power of habit grows. One více brings in another to its aid. By a sort of natural affinity they connect and entwine themselves together; till their roots come to be spread wide and deep over all the soul.
SECTION X. 1. WHENCE arises the misery of this present world ? It is not owing to our cloudy atmosphere, our changing seasons, and inclement skies. It is not owing to the debility of our bodies, or to the unequal distribution of the goods of fortune. Amidst all lisadvantages of this kind, a pure, a steadfast, and enlightened mind, possessed of strong virtue, could enjoy itself in peace, and smile at the impotent assaults of fortune and the elements. It is within ourselves that misery has fixed its seat. Our disordered hearts, our guilty passions, our violent prejudices, and misplaced desires, are the instruments of the trouble which we endure. These sharpen the darts which adversity would otherwise point in vain against us.
2. While the vain and the licentious are revelling in the midst of extravagance and riot, how little do they think of those scenes of sore distress which are passing at that moment throughout the world; multitudes struggling for a poor subsistence, to support the wife and children whom they love, and who look up to them with eager eyes for that bread which they can hardly procure; multitudes groaning under sickness in desolate cottages, untended and unmourned; many, apparently in a better situation of life, pining away in secret with concealed griefs; families weeping over the beloved friends whom they have lost, or in all the bitterness of anguish, bidding those who are just expiring the last adieu.
3. Never adventure on too near an approach to what is evil. Familiarize not yourselves with it, in the slightest instances, without fear. Listen with reverence to every reprehension of conscience; and preserve the most quick and accurate sensibility to right and wrong. If ever your moral impressions begin to decay, and your natural abhorrence of guilt to lessen, you have ground to dread that the ruin of virtue is fast approaching.
4. By disappointments and trials the violence of our passions is tamed, and our minds are formed to sobriety and reflection. In the varieties of life, occasioned by the vicissitudes of worldly fortune, we are inured to habits both of the active and the suffering virtues. How much soever we complain of the vanity of the world, facts plainly show, that if its vanity were less, it could not answer the purpose of salutary discipline. Unsatisfactory as it is, its pleasures are still too apt to corrupt our hearts. How fatal then must the consequences have been, had it yielded us more complete en. joyment? If, with all its troubles, we are in danger of being too much attached to it, how entirely would it have seduced our affections, if no troubles had been mingled with its pleasures ?
5. In seasons of distress or difficulty, to abandon ourselves to dejection, carries no mark of a great or a worthy mind. Instead of sinking under trouble, and declaring “ that his soul is weary of life,” it becomes a wise and a good man, in the evil day, with firmness to maintain his post; to bear up against the storm; to have recourse to those advantages which, in the worst of times, are always left to integrity and virtue; and never to give up the hope that better days may yet arise.
6. How many young persons have at first set out in the world with excellent dispositions of heart; generous, charitable, and humane; kind to their friends, and amiable among all with whom they had intercourse! And yet, how often have we seen all those fair appearances unhappily blasted in the progress of life, merely through the influence of loose and corrupting pleasures: and those very persons, who promised once to be blessings to the world, sunk down, in the end, to be the burden and nuisance of society !
7. The most common propensity of mankind, is, to store futurity with wiatever is agreeable to them; especially in those periods of life, when imagination is lively, and hope is ardent. Looking forward to the year now beginning, they are ready to promise themselves
much, from the foundations of prosperity, which they have laid ; from the friendships and connexions which they have secured; and from the plans of conduct which they have formed. Alas ! how deceitful do all these dreams of happiness often prove! While many are saying in secret to their hearts, “To-morrow shall be as this day, and more abundantly,” we are obliged in re, turn to say to them; “ Boast not yourselves of to-morrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth !"
SECTION I. No rank or possessions can make the guilty mind happy. 1. Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, was far from being happy, though he possessed great riches, and all the pleasures which wealth and power could procure. Damocles, one of his flatterers, deceived by those specious appearances of happiness, took occasion to compliment him on the extent of his power, his treasures,