Imágenes de páginas

ty, which vice promises, as the recompense of setting es free from the salutary restraints of virtue.



The nan of integrity. It will not take much time to delineate the characer of the man of integrity, as by its nature it is a plain one, and easily understood. Ile is one, who makes it his constant rule to follow the road of duty, according as the word of God, and the voice of his concience, point it out to him. He is not guided merely by affections, which may sometimes give the color of virtue to a loose and upstable character. The upright man is guided by a fixed principle of miod, which determines bim to esteem nothing but what is honorable; and to ab. f.or whatever is base or unworthy, in moral conduct. Hence we find him ever the same; at all times, the trusty friend, the affectionate relation, the consci. eptions man of busines, the pious worshipper, the public-spirited citizen. He assumes no borrowed appear

He seeks no n.ask to cover him; for he acts no stupid part; but he is indeed what he appears to be, full of truth, candour, and humanity. Io all his pursuits, he knows no path, but the fair and direct one ; dad would much rather fail of success, than attaic it by reproachful means. He never shows us a smiling countenance, while he meditates evil against us in bis heart. Ile never praises us a mong our friends, and then joins in traducing as among our enemies. We shall never find one part of his character at variance with another. lo his anders, ke is simple and unafsected; in all his proceedings, open and consistent.





1 BEGIN with distinguishing true gentleness from passive tameness of spirit, and from unlimited com

pliance with the manners of others. That passive tameness, which submits, without opposition, to eve. ry encroachment of the violent and assuming, foras no part of Christian duly; but, on the contrary, is destructive of general happiness and order. That unlimited complaisance, which, on every occasion, falls in with the opinions aoù mangers of others, is so far from being a virtue, that it is itself a vice, and the parent of many vices. It overthrows all steadi. ness ot principle; and produces that sinful contormi. ly with the world, which tains the whole character. In the present corrupted state of human maoners, al. ways to assent and comply, is the worst maxim we can adopt. It is impossible to support the purity and dignity of Christian morals, without opposing the world oo various occasions, even though we should stand alone. That Gentleness, therefore, which be. loogs to virtue, is to be carfully distinguished from the mean spirit of cowards, and the fawning assent of sycophants. It renounces no just right from fear.It gives up no important truth from Aattery. It is indeed not only consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit, and a fixed pria. ciple, in order to give it any real value. Upon this solid ground only, the polish of gentleness can will advantage be superinduced.

It stands opposed, not to the most determined regard for virtue and truth, but to harshoess and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence an. op. pression. It is properly that part of the great virTue of charity, which makes us unwilling to give pain to any of our brethren, Compassion prompts us to relieve their wants. Forbearance prevents us from retaliating their injuries. Meekness restraios our angry passions; candour,our severe judgements. Genileness corrects whatever is offensive in our manners; and, by a constant traio of humaoe atten. tions, studies to allevia:e the burden of common

neryIts office, therefore, is extensive. It is

901-like some other virtues, called forth oo peculiar emergencies; but it is continually in action, when we are engaged in intercourse with men.

It ought in form our address, to regulate our speech, and to diff'sse irself over our whole behaviour.

We must not, however,confound this gentlewis. dom which is from above," with that ariif ial cour. iesy, that studied smoothness of manners, which is learned in the school of the world. Such accom. plishments, the mosi frivolous and empty may pos. sess. Too often they are employed by the artful, as a snare; too often affected by the hard and unteel. ing, as a cover to the baseness of their minds. We éadnot, at i he same time avoid observing ihe honage, which,even jo such instances, the world is cop. straided so pay to virtue. In order io render socie. iy agreeable, it is found necessary to assume some. what, that may at least carry its appearance. Viriue is the universal charm. Even its shadow is courted, when the substance is wanting. The imitation of its form has been reduced into ao art; and in the commerce of life, the first study of all who would either gain the esteem, or win the hearts of others, is to learn the speech, and to adopt the manners, of candour, geo:leness, and humanity. But that gen. tleness which is the characteristic of a good man, has, like every other virtue, its seat in the heart: and let me add, nothing except what fows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasiug. For no assumed behavior can at all times hide the real character. lo that unaffected civility which springs from a gentle mind, there is a charm infin. itely more powerful, than in all the studied mappers of the most finished courtier.

True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we owe to HIM who made us, and to the cominon na. ture of which we all share. Ic arises from reflec. tions on our owo failings and wants; and from just views of the condition, and the duty of man. It is

Bative feeling, heightened and improved by principle. It is the heart which easily relents;which feels for every ihing what is human; and is backward and slow to inflict the least wound. It is affable in its ad. dress, and mild in its demonour; ever ready to ob. lige, and willing to be obliged by others; breathing habitual kindness towards friends, courtesy to stran. geis, long suffering to enemies. It exercises au. thority with moderation; administers reproof with tenderness; coolers favors with ease and modesty. It is unassumiog in opioion, and temperate in zeal. licoprends not eagerly about trifcs; slow to contradict, and still slower to blams; bui prompi to allay dissension, and to restare peace. It Deither intermedules unnecessarily with the affairs, aor pries inquisitively into the secrets of others. It deliphts above all onings to alleviate distress; and, if it cannot dry up the falling tear, to soothe at least the grieving heart. Where it has not the power of be. ing useful, it is never burdensome. It seeks to please, rasher than to shine and dizzle; and conceals with care that superiority, either of talenís or of rank, which is oppressive to those who are beneath it. lo a word, it is that spirit and that tenour of manners, which the gospel of Christ enjoins, when it commands us to bear one anorher's burdeos; to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep; to please every one his neighbor for his good; to be kind and tender-hearted; to be pitiful and courteous; to support the weak, and !o be patient towards all mea."





Trial and execution of the Earl of Strafford, who

fell a sacrifice to the violence of the times, in the reign of Charles the First.

The earl of Stratford defended himself against the accusations of the House of Coinmons, with all the presence of mind, judgment, and sagacity, that could be expected from innocence and ability. His children were placed beside him, as he was thus defending his lite, and the cause of his royal master. After he had in a long and eloquent speech; delivered without premeditation, contuted all the accusations of his enemies, he thus drew to a conclusiop. “But, my lords, I have troubled you too long : longer than I should have done, but for the sake of these dear pledges, which a saiut in heaven has left me."_Upon this he paused; dropped a tear; looked upon his children ; and proceeded.

What I forfeit for myself is a trifle : that my indiscretions should reach iny posterity, wounds me to the heart. Pardon my infirmity.Something I should have added, but I am not able ; and therefore I let it pass. And now, my lords, for myself. I have long beeu taught, that the afficuions of this life are overpaid by that eternal weight of glory, which awaits the inDoceat. And so, my lords, even so, with the utmost tranquillity, I submit myself to your judgment, whether that judgment be life or death ; got my wili, but thine, o God, be done!"

His eloquence and innocence induced those judges to pity, who were the most zealous to condemn lim. The king hitself went to the House of Lords, and spoke for soine time in his detence; but the spirit of vengeance, which had been chained for eleven years,

« AnteriorContinuar »