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fierceness, resolution in obstinacy, wisdom in cunoing, patience in sullenness and despair.
Men's passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of actions, according as they are more or less rectified and swayed by reason.
When one hears of negroes, who,upon the death of their masters, or upon changing their service, hang themselves upon the best tree, as it sometimes happens in our Ameri. can plantations, who can torbear admiring their fidel. ity, though it expresses itselt ia so dreadful a manger : What might not that savage greatness of soul, which appears in these poor wretches on cany occasions, be raised to, were it rightly cultivated ? And what colour of excuse can there be, for the contempt with which we treat this part of our species ; that we should not put them upon the common foot of humanity; that we should not only set an insignificant fine upon the man who murders them; nay, that we should, as much as in us lies, cut them off from the prospects of happiness in another world, as well as in this ; and depy them that which we look upon as the proper means for attaining it?
It is therefore an unspeakable blessing, to be born in those parts of the world, where wisdom and knowl. edge flourish ; though it inust be confessed there are, even in these parts, several poor uninstructed persons, who are but little above the inhabitants of those nations of which I have been here speaking; as those who have had the advantages of a more liberal education, rise above one another by several different degrees of perfection. For to return to our statute in the block of marble, we it sometimes only begun to be chipped, sometimes rough-hewn, and but just sketched into a human figure: sometimes we see the man appear. ing distinctly in all his limbs and features ; sometimes, we find the figure wrought up to great elegancy ; but seldom meet with any to which the hand of a Phidias or a Praxiteles could not give several nice touches and finishings.
On gratitude. THERE is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind, than gratitude. It is accompanied with so great in. ward satisfaction, that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. It is not like the practice of many other virtues, difficult and painful,but attend. ed with so much pleasure, that were there no positive command which enjoined it, nor any recompense laid up for it hereafter, a generous mind would induige in it, for the natural gratification which it affords.
If gratitude is due from man to man,how much more from inan to his Maker !- The Supreme Being does not only corfer upon us those bounties which proceed more immediately from his hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by what means soever it may be derived upon us, is the gift of HIM who is the great Aúthor of good, and the Father of mercies.
If gratitude, when exerted towards one another, Daturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man, it exalts the soul into rapture, when it is employed on this great object of gratitude ; on this benificent Being, who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we get hope for,
On forgiveness. The most plain and natural sentiments of equity concur with divine authority, to enforce the daty of forgiveness. Let him who has never in his life done wrong, be allowed the privilege of remaining inexorable. But let such as are conscious of frailties and crimes, consider forgiveness as a debt which they owe to others. Common failings are the strongest lesson of mutual forbearance. Were this virtue unknown
among men,order and comfort, peace and repose, would be strangers to human life. Injuries retaliated accord. ing to the exhorbitant measure which passion prescribes, would excite resentment in return. The injured person would become the injurer ; and thus wrongs, retaliations, and fresh injuries, would circulate in endless succession, till the world was rendered a field of blood. Of all the passions which invade the human breast, revenge is the most direful. When allowed to reign with full dominion, it is more than sufficient to poison the few pleasures which remain to man ia his present state. How much soever a person may suffer from injustice, he is always in bazard of sufo fering more from the prosecution of revenge. The violence of an enemy cannot infiet what is equal to the torment be creates to hiniselt, by means of the fierce and desperate passions which he allows to rage ip his soul.
Those evil spirits who inhabit the regions of misery, are represented as delighting in revenge and cruelty. But all that is great and good in the universe is on the side of clemency and mercy. The Almighty Ruler of the world, though for ages offended by the uprighteousness, and insulted by the impiety of men, is " longsuffering and slow to anger." His Son, when he appeared in our nature, exhibited, both in his life and his death, the most illustrious example of forgiveness which the world ever beheld. If we look into the his, tory of mankind, we shall find that, ir. every age, they who have been respected as worthy, or admired as great. bave been distinguished for this virtue. Re. yenge dwells in little minds. A boble and magnanie mous spirit is always superior to it. This spirit suffers not from the injuries of mer those severe shocks which others feel. Collected within itself, it stands unmoved by their impotent assaults; and with generous pity, rather than with anger, lonks down on their unworthy conduct.It.ba« breo truly said, that the greatest man on earth can no sooner commit an injury, than a good man can make himself greater, by forgiviog it.
Motives to the practice of gentleness, To promote the virtue of gentleness, we ought to view our character with an impartial eye ; and to learn from our own failings, to give that indulgence, which in our turn we claiin. It 18 pride which fills the world with 80 much harshness and severity. In the fullness of self-estimation, we forget what we are.
We claim attentions to which we are not entitled. We are rigorous to offences, as it we had never offended; unfeel. jog to distress, as if we knew not what it was to suffer. From those airy regions of pride and folly, let us descend to our proper level. Let us survey the natural equality on which Providence has placed man with man, and reflect on the infirmities common to all. If the reflection on natural equality and mutual offences, be insufficient to prompt humanity, let us at least remember what we are in the sight of our Creator. Have we none of that forbearance to give one another, which we all so earnestly entreat from Heaven? Can we look for clemency or gentleness from our Judge, when we are so backward to show it to our owo brethrer ?
Let us also accustom ourselves, to reflect on the small moment of those things, which are the usual in. centives to violence and contention. In the ruffled and angry hour, we view every appearance through a false medium. The most inconsiderable point of interest, or honour, swells into a momentous object ; and the slightest attack seems to threaten immediate ruin. But after passion or pride has subsided, we look around in vain for the mighty mischiefs we dreaded. The fabric which our disturbed imagination had reared, totally disappears. But though the cause of contention has dwindled away, its consequences remain. We have alienated a friend ; we have exibittered an enemy; we have sown the seeds of future suspicion, malevolence, or disgust.--Let us suspend our violence for a moment, when causes of discord occur.
anticipate that period of coolness, which, of itself, will soon arrive. Let us reflect how little we have any prospect of gaiping by fierce contention ; but how much of the true happiness of life we are certain of throwing away. Easily, and from the smallest chink, the bitter waters of strife are let forth; but their course cannot be foreseen ; and he seldom fails of suffering most from their poisonous effect. who first allowed them to flow.
A suspicious temper the source of inisery to its possessor.
As a suspicious spirit is the source of many crimes and calamities in the world, so it is the spring of certain misery to the person who indulges it." His friends will be few; and small will be his comfort in those whom he possesses, Believing others to be his enemies, he will of course make them suct. Let his eaution be ever so great, the asperity of his thoughts will often break out in his behaviour ; and in returo for suspecting and hating, he will incur suspicion and hatred. Besides the external evils which he draws upon himself, arising from alienated friendship, broken confi. dence,and open enmity, the suspicious temper itself is one of the worst evils which any inan can suffer. If, " in all fear, there is torment,” how miserable must be his state, who, by living in perpetual jealousy, lives in perpetual dread? Looking upon himself to be surrounded with spies, enemies, and designing men, be is a stranger to reliance and trust. He knows not to whom to open himself. He dresses his countenance in forced smiles, while his heart throbs within from apprehensions of secret treachery. Hence fretfulness and ill-humour,"divgust at the world, and all the painful sensations of an irritated and embittered nind.
So nujnerous and great are the evils arising from a suspicious disposition, that of the two extremes, it is more eligible to expose ourselves to occasional disad. vantage from thinking too well of others, than to suffer continual misery by thinking always ill of them. It