Imágenes de páginas

painful sensations, which may sometimes be produced by the one, as well as by the other, are equally insufficient grounds for excluding either of them from taking possession of our bosoms.

14. They who insist that “utility is the first and prevailing motive,' which induces mankind to enter into particular friendships," appear to me to divest the association of its most amiable and engaging principle. For to a mind rightly disposed, it is not so much the benefits received, as the affectionate zeal from which they flow, that gives them their best and most valuable recommendation.

15. It is so far indeed, from being verified by fact, that a sense of our wants is the original cause of forming these amicable alliances; that, on the contrary, it is observable, that none have been more distinguished in their friendships than those, whose power and opulence, but, above all, whose superiour virtue, (a much firmer support,) have raised them above every necessity of having recourse to the assistance of others.

16. The true distinction then, in this question, is, that " although friendship is certainly productive of utility, yet utility is not the primary motive of friendship.” Those selfish sensualists, therefore, who, lulled in the lap of luxury, presume to maintain the reverse, have surely no claim to attention; as they are neither qualified by reflection, nor experience, to be competent judges of the subject.

17. Is there a man upon the face of the earth, who would deliberately accept of all the wealth, and all the affluence this world can bestow, if offered to him upon the severe terms of his being unconnected with a single mortal whom he could love, or by whom he should be beloved? This would be to lead the wretched life of a detested tyrant, who, amidst perpetual suspicions and alarms, passes his miserable days a stranger to every tender sentiment; and utterly precluded from the heart-felt satisfactions of friendship

Melmoth's translation of Cicero's Lælius.

SECTION VI. a E-stab-lish, e-stib'-lish, to settle, d Com-mis-sion, köm-mish'-un, a fix.

trust, a warrant by which any 6 Im-ma-te-ri-al-i-ty, im-ma-td-ré- trust is held, act of committing a al-e-tè, distinctness froin body.

crime. C E-vince, e-vinse',to prove to show.

first cause,

e Ve-rac-i-ty, ve-rås'-e-té, moraljo Ru-di-ment, r80-de-ment, the - truth, truth.

first part of education. f Pro-gress, prog'-grés, course, ad- p Ac-ces-sion, åk-sësh'-ủn,increase, vancement.

addition to. & Ar-rive, ar-rive', to reach a place q Beau-ti-fy, bú'-te-ft, to adorn, by travelling.

embellish. h Dis-cov-er-y, dis-kıv'-ůr-ė, the r Re-sem-blance, re-zém'-blånse,

finding or revealing any thing. likeness, similitude, representai Suc-cessor, sik-sés'-år, one that tion. follows another.

8 Fi-nite, fil-nite, limited, bounded. k A-bor-tive, å-bor'-tîv, bringing t Cher-úb,tsher'-üb,a celestial spirit. forth nothing:

u Source, sorse, spring, original, I Ca-pac-i-ty, kå-pås'-e-te, power, ability, condition.

v Math-e-mat-i-cal, måth-e

måt'-e. m Nur-ser-y, nir -sir-re, a planta kål, relating to mathematicks. tion of young trees.

w Trans-port, trâns'-port, conveyn Suc-ces-sion, sé k-sesh'-in, an or ance, rapture, a vessel of carderly series, line of order.

riage. On the immortality of the soul. 1. I was yesterday walking alone, in one of my friend's woods; and lost myself in it very agreeably, as I was running aver, in my mind, the several arguments that establish this great point; which is the basis of morality, and the source of all the pleasing hopes, and secret joys, that can arise in the heart of a reasonable creature, I considered those several proofs drawn, first, from the nature of the soul itself, and particularly its immateriality;" which, though not absolutely necessary to the eternity of its duration, has, I think, been evincede to almost a demonstration.

2. Secondly, from its passions and sentiments; as, particularly, from its love of existence; it- horrour of annihilation; and its hopes of immortality; with that secret satisfaction which it finds in the practice of virtue; ani that uneasiness which follows upon the commission of vida. Thirdly, from the nature of the Supreme Beine, whoxe justice, goodness, wisdom, and veracity, are all concerned in this point.

3. But among those, and other excellent arguments for the immortality of the soul, there is one drawo perpetual progress' of the soul to its perfection, without a possibility of ever arriving at it; which is a hint ihat i do not reinember to have seen openéil and improved by others, who have written on this subject, though it seems to ine to carry a very great weight with it.

4. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable of immense perfections, and of" re

ceiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing, almost as soon as it is created? Are such abilities made for no purpose? A brute arrives at a point of perfection, that he can never pass: in a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the same thing he is at present.

5. Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplishments; were her faculties to be full blown, and incapable of farther enlargements; I could imagine she might fall away insensibly, and drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being that is in a perpetual progress of improvement, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of her Creator, and made a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, must perish at her first setting out, and in the very beginning of her inquiries?

6. Man, considered only in his present state, seems sent into the world merely to propagate his kind. He provides himself with a successor; and immediately quits his post to make room for him. He does not seem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surprising to consider in animals, which are formed for our use, and which can finish their business in a short life.

7. The silk-worm, after having spun her task, lays her eggs and dies. But a man cannot take in his full measure of knowledge, has not time to subdue his passions, establish his soul in virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the stage. Would an infinitely wise Being make such glorious creatures for so mean a purpose? Can he delight in the production of such abortivek intelligences, such short-lived reasonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted ? capacities that are never to be gratified?

8. How can we find that wisdom which shines through all his works, in the formation of man, without looking on this world as only a nursery for the next; and without believing that the several generations of rational creatures, which rise up and disappear in such quick successions," are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and afterwards to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and Nourish to all eternity?

9. There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant consideration in religion, than this of the per

petual progress, which the soul makes towards the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a period in it. To look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength; to consider that she is to shine forever with new accessions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will be still adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge; carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that ambition, which is natural to the mind of man. 10. Nay, it must be a prospect pleasing to God himself

, to see his creation forever beautifying in his eyes; and drawing nearer to him, by, greater degrees of resem

lance, Methinks this single consideration, of the progress of a finites spirit to perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all envy in inferiour natures, and all contempt in superiour.

11. That cherub' which now appears as a god to a human soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternity, when the human soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is: nay, when she shall look down upon that degree of perfection, as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that means preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of being; but he knows that, how high soever the station is of which he stands possessed at present, the inferiour nature will, at length, mount up to it; and shine forth in the same degree of glory.

12. With what astonishment and veneration may we look into our own souls, where there are such hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted sources of perfection! We know not yet what we shall be; nor will it ever enter into the heart of man to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for him.

13. The soul, considered with its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines, that may draw nearer to another for all eternity, without a possibility of touching it: and can there be a thought so transporting as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to him, who is the standard not only of perfection, but of happiness?




SECTION 1. a Reg-u-lar-i-ty, règ-d-lår-e-te, play, the general appearance of method, certain order.

any action, the whole mixture of 6 0-be-di-ense, 0-be-je-ence, sub-objects. mission to authority.

i Cot-tage, kot'-taje, a hut, a mean c Dis-crim-i-nate, dis-krim-e-nate, habitation.

to mark, select, separate. k Gran-a-ry, grån'-å-rè, a stored Un-de-light-fix,ůn-de-lite-fúl, not house for corn, pleasing

i Car-ni-val, kår'-ne-vål, a feast. e In-stance, in'-stånse, importunity, m Qui-e-tude, kwi'-e-túde, rest, re

motive, example, to offer an ex pose, quiet. ample.

n Be-nig-nant, he-nig'-nånt, graf Glow, gló, to be heated, to burn. cious, kind. & Yield, yééld, to produce, resign, 0 A-dapt, å-dapt', to fit, proportion. submit.

p In-no-va-tion, in-no-vá -shản, ins h Scene, séén, the stage part of al troduction of novelty.

The Seasons. 1. Among the great blessings and wonders of the creation, may be classed the regularities of times and sea

Immediately after the flood, the sacred promise was made to man, that seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, should continue to the very end of all things. Accordingly, in obedience to that promise, the rotation is constantly presenting us with some useful and agreeable alteration; and all the pleasing novelty of life arises from these natural changes: nor are we less indebted to them for many of its solid comforts.

2. It has been frequently the task of the moralist and poet, to mark, in polished periods, the particular charms and conveniences of every change; and, indeed, such disa criminate observations upon natural variety, cannot be undelightful;d since the blessing which every month brings along with it, is a fresh instance of the wisdom and bounty of that Providence, which regulates the glories of the year. We glow as we contemplate; we feel a pro pensity to adore, whilst we enjoy.

3. In the time of seed-sowing, it is the season of confidence: the grain which the husbandman trusts to the bosom of the earth shall, haply, yields its seven-fold rewards. Spring presents us with a scene of lively expecte

« AnteriorContinuar »