Imágenes de páginas

vale, and I illuminate the mountain. I cheer the cottager at his toil, and inspire the sage at his meditation. I mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the hermit in his cell. I have a temple in every heart that owns my influence; and to him that wishes for me, I am already present. Science may raise thee to eminence ; but I alone can guide thee to felicity While Virtue was thus seaking, I stretched out my aras towards her, with a vehemence which broke my slumber. The chill dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape. I hastened homeward; and resigned the night to silence and neditation.



The journey of a day; a picture of human life. OBIDAH, the son of Abensina, left the caravansera early in the morning, and pursued his journey through the plains of Indostan. He was fresh and vigorous with rest ; he was ani. mated with hope ; he was incited by desire ; be walked swift. ly forward over the vallies, and saw the bills gradually rising before him. As he passed along, his ears were delighted with the morning song of the bird of paradise ; he was fanned by the last flutters of the sinking breeze, and sprinkled with dew by groves of spices. He sometimes contemplated the towering height of the oak, monarch of the hills ; and sometimes caught the gentle fragrance of the primrose, eldest daughter of the spring : all his senses were gratified, and all care was banished from his heart.

Thus he went on till the sun had approached his meridian, and the increasing heat preyed upon his strength, he then looked round about him for some more commodious path. He saw on his right band, a grove that seemed to wave its shades as a sign of invitation ; he entered it, and found the coolness and verdure irresistibly pleasant. He did not, however, forget whither he was travelling ; but found a narrow way, bordered with flowers, which appeared to have the same direction with the main road ; and was pleased, that, by this happy experi. ment, he had found means to unite pleasure with business, and to gain the reward of diligence without suffering its fatigues. He, therefore, still continued to walk for a time, without the least remission of his ardour, except that he was sometimes tempted to stop by the music of the birds, which the heat had Assembled in the sbade ; and sometimes amused himself with

plucking the flowers that covered the banks on either side, or the fruits that hung upon the branches. At last, the green paih began to decline from its first tendency, and to wind among hills and thickets, cooled with fountains, and murmur. ing with water falls. Here Obicah paused for a time, and be. gan to consider whether it were longer sate to forsake the known and common track ; but remembering that the heat was now in its greatest violence, and that the plain was dusty and uneven, he resolved to pursue the new path, which be supposed only lo make a few meanders, in compliance with the varieties of the ground, and to end at last in the common road.

Having thus calmed his solicitude, he renewed his pace, though he suspected that he was not gaining ground. This uneasiriess of his mind inclined him to lay hold on every new object, and give way to every sensation that might sooth or divert him. He listened to every echo ; he mounted every hill for a fresh prospect ; he turned aside to every cascade ; and pleased himself with tracing the course of a gentle river that rolled among the trees, and watered a large region with innumera. ble circumvolutions. In these amusements, the hours passed away unaccounted ; his deviations had perplexed his memory, and be knew not towards what point to travel.

He stood pen. sive and confused, afraid to go forward lest he should go wrong, yet conscious that the time of loitering was now past. While he was thus tortured with uncertainty, the sky was overspread with clouds; the day vanished from before him ; and a sudden tempest gathered round his head. He was now roused by his danger to a quick and painful remembrance of his folly ; he now saw how happiness is lost when ease is con. sulted; he lamented the unmanly impatience that prompted him too seek shelter in the grove ; and despised the petty curiosity that led him on from trifle to trifle. While he was thus reflecting, the air grew blacker, and a clap of thunder broke his meditation.

He now resolved to do what yet remained in his power, to tread back the ground which he had passed, and to try to find some issue where the wood Inight open into the plain. He prostrated himself on the ground, and recommended his life to the Lord of Nature. He rose with confidence and tranquillity, and pressed on with resolution. The beasts of the desert were in motion, and on every band were heard the mingled howls of rage and fear, and ravage and expiration. All the horrors of darkness and srlitude surrounded him : the winds roared in the woods ; and the torrents tumbled from the hills.

Thus forlorn and distressed, he wandered through the wild, without knowing whither he was going, or whether he was every moment drawing nearer to safety, or to destruction. At length, not tear, but labour, began to overcome bim ; hig breath grew short, and his knees trembled ; and he was on

the point of lying down in resignation to his fate, when he be. held, through the brambles, the glimmer of a taper. He ad. vanced towards the light ; and finding that it proceeded from the cottage of a hermit, he called humbly at the door, and ob. tained admission. The old man set before him such provisions as he had collected for himself, on which Obidah fed with ea. gerness and gratitude.

When the repast was over, " Tell me," said the hermit, * by whal chance thou hast been brought hither ! I have been now twenty years an inhabitant of the wilderness, in which I never saw a man before "-Obidah then related the occur. rences of his journey, without any concealment or palliation.

" Son." said the hermit," let the errors and folies, the dan. gers and escape of this day, sink deep into thy heart. Remember, my son, that human life is the journey of a day. We rise in the morning of youth, full of vigour and full of expecta. tion ; we set forward wiih spirit and hope, with gaiety and with diligence, and travel on a while in the direct road of piely towards the mansions of rest. In a short time, we remit our fervour, and endeavour to find some mitigation of our duty, and some more easy means of obtaining the same end. We thien relax our vigour, and resolve no longer to be terrified with crimes at a distance; but rely upon our own constancy, and venture to approach what we resolve never to touch. We thus enter the bowers of ease, and repose in the shades of security. Here the heart softens, and vigilance subsides; we are then willing to inquire whether another advance cannot be made, and whether we may not, at least, turn our eyes up. on the gardens of pleasure We approach them with scruple and hesitation; we enter them, but enter timorous and tremblirig; and always hope to pass through them without losing the road of virtue, which, for a while, we keep in our sight, and to which we purpose to return. But temptation succeeds temptation, and one compliance prepares us for another ; we in time lose the happiness of innocence, and solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. By degrees, we let fall the remembrance of our original intention, and qui: the only adequate object of racional desire. We entangle ourselves in business, immerge ourselves in luxury, and rove through tlie labyrinths of inconstancy : till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way. We then look back upon our lives with horror, with sorrow, with repentance ; and wish, but too ofien vainly wish, that we had not forsaken the ways of virtue. Happy are they, my son,

who shall learn from thy example, not to despair ; but shall re. member, that, though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet l'emains one effort to be made e that refor. mation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours'ever unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return afier all his

errors; and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. Go now, my son, to thy repose : commit thyself to the care of Omnipotence; and when the morning calls again to toil, be. gin anew thy journey and thy life.”





[ocr errors]

The importance of a good education. I CONSIDER a human soul without education, like marble in the quarry ; which shows none of its inhe. rent beauties, until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colours, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot and vein, that runs through the body of it. Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every latent virtue and perfection, which, without such helps, are never able to make their appearance. If my reader will give me leave to change the allu

so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same instance to illustrate the force of education, which Aristotle has brought to explain his doctrine of substantial forms, when he tells us, that a statue lies hid in a block of marble , and that the art of the statuary only clears away the superduous matter, and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, and the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great van, very often lies hid and concealed in a plebian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to ligit. I am therefore much de. lighted with reading the accounts of savage Dations ; and with contemplating those virtues which are wild and uncultiyated : to see courage exerting itselt in

« AnteriorContinuar »