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tion. But, by this fatal neglect, how many materials of severe and lasting regreto are they laying up in store for themselves! The time which they suffer to pass away in the midst of confusion, bitter repentance? seeks afterwards in vain to recall. What was omitted to be done at its proper moment, arises to be the torment of some future season,
7. Manhood is disgraced by the consequences of neglected youth. Old age, oppressed by cares that belonged to a former period, labours under a burden not its own. At the close of life, the dying man beholds with anguish' that his days are finishing, when his preparation for eternity is hardly commenced. Such are the eifects of a disorderly waste of time, through not attending to its value. Every thing in the life of such persons is misplaced. Nothing is performed aright, from not being performed in due season.
. But he who is orderly in the distribution of his time, takes the proper method of escaping those manifolds evils. He is justly said to redeem the time. By proper management, he prolongs" it. He lives much in little space; more in a few years than others do in many. He can live to God and his own soul, and at the same time attend to all the lawful interests of the present world. He looks back on the past, and provides for the future. .
9. He catches and arrests' the hours as they fly. They are marked down for useful purposes, and their memory remains. Whereas those hours fleet by the man of confusion like a shadow. His days and years are either blanks, of which he has no remembrance, or, they are filled up with So, confused and irregolar succession of unfinished transactions, that though he remembers he has been busy, yet he can give no account of the business which has employed him.
1 Trans-late, trâns-lite' to remove, n Fir-ma-ment, fér'-må-ment, the explain.
sky, the heavens. m Con-ta-gi-on, lỏn-tho-ja-in, infec
tion, pestilence. X1. which
The dignity of virtue amidst corrupt examples. can adorna a man and Christian, is acquired by resisting the torrent of vice, and a lhering to the cause of God and virlue against a corrupted multitude. It will be found to hold in general, that they, who, in any of the great lines of life, have distinguished themselves for thinking profoundly, and acting nobly, have despised popular prejudices; and departed, in several things, from the common ways of the world.
2. On no occasion is this more requisite for true honour, than where religion and morality are concerned. In times of prevailing licentiousness, to maintain unblemished virtue, and uncorrupted integrity; in a public or a private cause, to stand firm by what is fair and just, amidst discouragements and opposition; despising groundless censuré and reproach; disdaining all compliance with public manners, when they are vicious and unlawful; and never ashamed of the punctual discharge of every duty towards God and man;--this is what shows true greatness of spirit, and will force approbation even from the degenerate' multitude: themselves.
3. “ This is the man,” (their conscience will oblige them to acknowledge,) “whom we are unable to bend to mean condescensions. We see it in vain either to flatter or to threaten him; he rests on a principle within, which we cannot shake. To this man we may, on any occasion, safely commit our cause, He is incapable of betraying his trust, or deserting his friend, or denying his faith.”
4. It is, accordingly, this steady inflexible's virtue, this (regard to principle, superior to all custom and opinion, which peculiarly marked the characters of those in any age, who have shone with distinguished lustre; anıl has consecrated their memory to all posterity.
It was this that obtained to ancient Enoch the most singular testimony of honour from heaven.
5. He continued to “ walk with God,” when the world apostatizedk from him. He pleased God, and was belov- í ed of him; so that living among sinners, he was translated! to heaven without seeing death; “ Yea, speedily was he taken away, lest wickedness should have altered his understanding, or deceit beguiled his soul.”
7. When Sodom could not furnish ten righteous men to save it, Lot remained unspotted amidst the contagiou.m He lived like an angel among spirits of darkness; and the destroying flame was not permitted to go forth, till the good man was called away, by a heavenly messenger, from his devoted city. -7. When “all flesh had corrupted their way upon the carth,” then lived Noah, a righteous man, and a preacher of righteousness. He stood alone, and was scoffed by the profane crew. But they by the deluge were swept away; while on him; Providence conferred the immortal honour, of being the restorer of a better race, and the father of a new world. Such examples as these, and such honours conferred by God on them who withstood the multitude of evil doers, should often be present to our minds.
* Let us oppose them to the numbers of low and corrupt examples, which we behold around us; and when we are in hazard of being swayed by such, let us fortify our virtue, by thinking of those who, in former times, shone like stars in the midst of surrounding darkness, and are now shining in the king iom of heaven, as the brightness of the firmament," for ever and ever.
SECTION X. c. In-dulge, in-d’lje', to favour, grat-d Dis-as-trous, díz-ås'-trůs, ify.
lucky, calamitous. b Pre-dorn-i-nant, prd-dom-d-nånt, e Ex-e-crate, ek'-se-kráte, to curse, prevalent, over-ruling:
abhor. c Mor-ti-fi-ca-tion,
mr-to-fe-kishủn, a gangrene, vexation.
The mortifications of vice greater than those of virtue. 11. Though no condition of human life is free from uneasiness, yet it must be allowed, that the uneasiness belonging to a sinful course, is far greater, than what attends a course of well-doing. If we are weary of the labours of virtue, we may be assured, that the world, whenever we try the exchange, will lay upon us a much heavier loal.
2. It is the outside only, of a licentious life, which is gay and smiling. Within, it conceals toil, and trouble, and deadly sorrow. For vice poisons human happiness in the spring, by introducing disorder into the heart. Those passions which it seems to indulge, a it only fee is with imperfect gratifications; and thei eby strengthens them for preying, in the end, on their unhappy pietums. 3. It is a great mistake to imagine, that the pain of self
denial is confined to virtue. He who follows the world, as much as he who follows Christ, must "tale
his cross;" and to him assuredly, will
prove a more oppressive burden. Vice allows all our passions to range uncontrolled; and where each claims to be superiour, it is impossible to gratify all. The predominant desire can only be indulged at the expense of its rival.
4. No mortifications which virtue exacts, are more severe than those, which ambition imposes upon the love of ease, pride upon interest, and covetousness upon vanity. Self-denial, therefore, belongs, in common, to vice and virtue; but with this remarkable difference, that the passions which virtue requires us to mortify, it tends to weaken; whereas, those which vice obliges us to deny, it, at the same time, strengthens. The one diminishes the pain of self-denial, by mouerating the demand of passion; the other increases it, by rendering those demands imperious and violent.
5. What distresses that occur in the calm life of virtue, can be compared to those tortures, which remorse of conscience inflicts on the wicked; to those severe humiliations, arising from guilt combined with misfortunes, which sink them to the dust; to those violent agitations of shame and disappointment, which sometimes drive them to the most fatal extremities and make them abhor their existence! How often, in the midst of those disastrousd situations, into which their crimes have brought them, have they execrated the seductions of vice; and, with bitter regret, looked back to the day on which they first forsook the path of innocence!
SECTION XI. a Al-chy-mist, ál’-ke-mist, one whoj f Ac-qui-esce, åk-kwé-és', to re
professes the science of alchymy. main satisfied. 3 Ban-ish, bản'-nish, to drive away, g Out-vie, out-vi', to exceed, surto exile.
pass. c Ex-tin-guish, ék-stỉng'-gwish, to h Com-pli-ca-tion, kỒm-ple-ka put out, destroy.
sh'n, a mixture. d In-or-di-nate,in-or'-de-náte, irreg- i Es-say, és-sa', attempt, trial, to atular, odd.
tempt. e Con-dole,kồn-dole',to lament with.
On Contentment. /1. effects which the alchymistusually ascribes to what he calls the philosopher's stone; and if it does not bring riches,
it does the same thing, by banishing the desire of them. If it cannot remove the disquietudes arising from a man's mind, body, or fortune, it makes him easy under them, It has indeed a kindly influence on the soul of man, in respect of every being to whom he stands related.
2. It extinguishese all murinur, repining, and ingrati tude, towards that Being who has allotted him his part to act in this world.
It destroys all inordinate" ambition, and every tendency to corruption, with regard to the community wherein he is placed. It gives sweetness to his conversation, and a perpetual serenity to all his thoughts.
3. Among the many methods which might be made use of for acquiring this virtue, I shall mention only the two following First of all, a man should always consider how much he has more than he wants, and, secondly, how much more unhappy he might be than he really is.
--4. First, a man should always consider how much he has more than he wants. I am wonderfully pleased with the reply which Aristippus made to one, who condolede with him upon the loss of a farm: “ Why,” said he,
6 I have three farms still, and you have but one; so that I ought rather to be afilicted for you, than you for me."
5. On the contrary, foolish men are more apt to consider what they have lost, than what they possess; and to
fix their eyes upon those who are richer than themselves, rather than on those who are under greater difficulties. All the real pleasures and conveniences of life lie in a narrow compass; but it is the humour of mankind to be always looking forward; and straining after one who has got the start of them in wealth and honour.
6. For this reason, as none can be properly called rich, who have not more than they want, there are few rich men in
any of the politer nations, but among the middle sort of people, who keep their wishes within their fortunes, and have more wealth than they know how to enjoy.
7. Persons of a higher rank live in a kind of splendid poverty; and are perpetually wanting, because, instead of acquiescing in the solid pleasures of life, they endeavour to outvies one another in shadows and appearances. Men of sense have at all times beheld, with a great deal of mirth, this silly game that is playing over their heads; ani, by contracting their desires, they enjoy all that secret satisfaction which others are always in quest of.