Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

perity : (which indeed it were not salutary for man always to enjoy :) yet, if it mitigates the evils which necessarily belong to our state, it may justly be said to give “rest to them who labour and are heavy laden."

What a smiling aspect does the love of parents and children, of brothers and sisters, of friends and relations, give to every surrounding object, and every returning day! With what a lustre does it gild even the smallest habitation where this placid intercourse dwells ! Where such scenes of heart-felt satisfaction sueceed uninterruptedly to one another!

How many clear marks of benevolent intention appear every where around us! What a profusion of beauty and ornament is poured forth on the face of nature. What a magnificent spectacle presenteil to the view of man ! What supply contrived for his wants ! What a variety of objects set before him, to gratify his senses, to employ his understanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and gladden his heart!

The hope of future happiness is a perpetual source of consolation to good inen. Under trouble, it souths their minds ; amidst temptation, it supports their vir. tue : anil, in their dying moments enables them to say, "O death! where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory."

SECTION VII.

A GESILA 28, King of Sparta, being asked, “ What things he thought most proper for boys to learn," answered, “ Those which they ought to practice when they come to be men.” A wiser than Agesilaus has inculcated the same sentiment : “ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when 'le is old, he will not depart from it.”

An Icalian philosopher expressed in bis motto, that “time was his estate." An estale, which will, indeed, produce nothing 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.

When Aristotle was asked, “ What a man could gain by

telling a falsehood," he replied, “Not to be credited when he speaks the truth."

L'Estrange, in his fables, tells us, that a number of frolick. some boys were one day watching frogs at the side of a pond ; and that, as any of tbem put their heads above the water, they pelted them down again with stones. One of the frogs, ap. pealing 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.”

Sully, the great statesman of France, always retained at his table in his inost prosperous days, the same frugality to which he had been accustomed in early site. 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 :

Socrates though primarily attentive to the culture of his mind, was not negligent of his external appearance. His clean. liness resulted from those ideas of order and decency, which governed all his actions ; and the care which he took of his healih, from his desire to preserve his mind free and tranquil.

Eminently pleasing and honourable was the friendship be. tween David and Jonathan. “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan,'' said the plaintive surviving David ; " very pleasant hast thou been to me ; thy love to me was wonderful ; passing the love of women.

Sir Philip Sidney, at the batile near Zutphen, was wound. ed by a musket-ball, which broke the bone of his tbigh. He

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 bim : 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

The gallant and generous Sidney took the bota tle from his mouth, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, " Thy necessity is yet greater than mine."

Alexander the Great demanded of a pirate whom he had Laken, 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 but one small vessel; and he is styled a conqueror, because he commands great fleets and armies.” We too often judge of men by the splen: dour, and not by the merit of their actions.

Antonius Pius, the Roman Emperor, was an amiable and good man. When any of his courtiers attenipted to name him with a passion for military glory, he used to answer ; “ That he more desired the preservation of one subject, tban the destruction of a thousand enemies."

was

wistful eyes.

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 bappy; and compiain, that upon them alone has fallen the whole load of human sorrows. Wouid 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.

2. fall.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

A soft answer turneth away wrath ; but grievous words stir up anger.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled os and hatred there with.

Pride goeth before destruction ; and a haughty spirit before

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayst be truly wise.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend : but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him

He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty : and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.

He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord ; that which he bath given, will he pay him again.

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat: and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.

He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ! He that formed the eye, shall be not see?

I have been young; and now I am old : yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

It is better to be a door-keeper in the house of the Lord, than to dwell in the teris of wickedness.

I have seen the wicked in great power : and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet be passed away : I sought him, but he could not be found

Happy is the man that fincieth 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.

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.

The sluggard will not ploughby reason of the cold; he shall theretore beg in barvest, and have nothing

I went by the field of the slothful, and by he vineyard of the min void of understanding : and lo! it was all grown o. ver witi thorns ; rettles 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.

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.

Solomon my son, know thou the God of ihy fathers ; and serv. him with a perfect heart, and with a willi g mind.- If thou seek him, he will be found of thee : but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee of forever.

SECTION IX.

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 shali find that every day has like wise its pleasures and its joys.

We shoul cherish sentiments of charity towards all men. The au: hor of all good nurishes much piety and virtue in hearts that one unknown to us; and beholds repentance ready to spring up among many wbom we consider as reprobares.

No one ougit to consider himself as insign ficant in the sigiit of bis Creator. In our several stations, we are all sent forth to be aborers in the vineyard of our heavenly Father. Every man has his work allotted, his talent committed to him ; by the due mprovement of which he may, in die way or other, sérve Gud, promote virtue, and be useful !o the world.

The love of praise should be preserved under proper sub. ordination to the principle of duty. In itself, it is a useful motive to actio!) ; but when allowed to extend its infiuence 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, je a maiter that deserves our highest attention. For wb one of thein becomes either 100 weak, or too strong, gers both our virtue and our hapiness.

D

The desires and passions of a vicious man, having once ob. tained 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 repugnant and jarring dispositions ; and resembles some barbarous country, cantoned out into different principalities, which are continu. ally waging war on one another.

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.

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 iş surprising, that envy 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.

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.

Every man has some darling passion which generally affords the first introduction to vice. The irregular gratifications into which it occasionallyseduces him, appear under the form ofvenial weaknesses; and are indulged in the beginning, with scru. pulousness and reserve. But by longer practice, these restraints weaken, and the power of habit grows. One vice 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.

[ocr errors]

SECTION X

Whence arises the misery of this present world ? It not owing to our cloudy atmosphere, or changing

« AnteriorContinuar »