« AnteriorContinuar »
some more softness of disposition, some greater lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses by which her sex is distinguished. But the true mode of estimating her merit, is to lay aside all these considerations, and to consider her merely as a rational being, placed in authority, aud intrusted with the government of mankind. Humne.
The Slavery of Vice.
1. The slavery produced by vice appears in the dependence under which it briogs the sinner, to circumstances o external fortune. One of the favorite characters of liberty, is the independence it besto1v3. He who is truly a treenan, is above all servile compliances, and abject subjection. He is able to rest opon himself; and while be regards his superiors with proper deference, neither debases himself by cringing to them, nor is tempted to pur. chase their favour by dishonourable means.
But the 910ner has forfeited every privilege of this nature.
2. His passions and habits render him an absolute Je. pendeni on the world, and the world's favour ; on the 10certain goods of fortune, and the fickle bumours of men. For it is by these he subsists, and among these his happi. ness is sought; according as his passions delermine him to pursue pleasures riches or preferments. Having no fund within himself whence to draw enjoyment, his on. ly resource is in things without. His hopes and fears all hang upon the world. He partakes in all its vicissitudes, and is moved and shaken by every wind of fortone. This is to be, in the strictest sense, a slave to the world.
3. Religion and virtue, on the other hand conser on the mind principles of noble independence. righe man is satisfied froin himself. He despises not the advantages of fortune, but he centres not his happiness in them. With a moderate share of them he can be contented; and contentment is felicity, Happy in his own inlegrity, conscious of the esteem of good men, reposing firm ; trust in the providence, and promises of Gool, he is ex.. empted from seryile dependence on other things..
66 The op
1. He can wrap himself up in a good conscience, and look forward without terror, to the change of the world. Lei all things shist around him as they please, he believes that by the divine ordination, they shall be made to work together in the issue for his good: and therefore, having much to hope from God, and little to fear from the world, he can be easy in every state. One who
within himself such an establishment of mind, is truly free.
5. But shall I call that man tree, who has nothing that js his own, no property assured; whose very heart is not his own, but rendered the appendage of external Things, and the sport of fortune? Is that man free, let his ont ward condition be ever so splendid, whom his imperinga passions detain it their call, whom they send forib at their pleasure, to drudge and toil, and to beg his only enjoyment froin the casualities of the world?
6. Is he free, who moet flatter and lie to compass his ends ; who must lear with this man's caprice, and hat man's scorn ; must profess friendship where he hale, and respect where he contemns; who is not at liberty tv appear in his own colours, nor to speak his own sentiments ; who dares not be honest lest he should be poor ?
7. Believe it, no chrios bind so hard, no fetters are so heavy, as those which faster the corrupted heart to this treacherous world; no dependence is more contemptible than that under which the voluptunus, the covetous, or the ambitions man lies, to the means of pleasure, gain, or power. Yet this is the boasted liberty, which vice promises, as the recompense of setting us free from the salutary restraints of virtue.
The Man of Integritya
1. It will not take much time to delineate the charac. ter of the man of integrity, as by its nature it is a plain one, and easily understoud. He is one who makes it his constant role to follow the road of duty, according as the word of God, and the voice of his conscience, point it out to him—He is not guided merely by afections, which may sometimes give the colour of virtue lo a loose and unstar ble character.
2. The upright man is guided by a fixed principle of mind, which determines him to esteem nothing but what is honourable ; and to abhor whatever is base and unwor. thy in moral conduct. Hence we find him ever the same, at ali times, the trusty friend, the affectionate relation, the conscientious man of business, the pious worshiyper, the public spirited citizen. 3. He assumes no borrowed appearance.
He seeks no mask to cover him, for he acts no studied part, but he is indeed what he appears to be, full of cruth, candour, and humanity. In all his pursuits, he knows no path but the fair and direct one, and would much rather fail of success, than attain it by reproachful means.
fle rever shows us a smiling countenance, while he meditates esit"against us in his heart. He never praises us among our friends, and then joins in traducing os among our enemies. We shall never find one part of his character at variance with another. In his manners he is siinple and upaffecied, in all his proceedings, open and consis.. tent.
}. BEGIN with distinguishing true gentleness from passive tameness of spirit, and frow unlimited compliance with the manners of others. That passive tameness, which submits, without opposition, to every encroachment of the violent and assuming, forms no part of christian daty, but, on the contrary, is destructive of general happiness and order. That unlimited complaisance, which on every occa. sion, falls in with the opinions and manners of others, is so far from being a virtue, that it is itself a vice, and the parent
many vices, 2. It overthrows all steadiness of principle; and proa duces that sinful confurinity with the world, which taints the whole character, In the present corrupted state of human manners, always to assent and to comply, is the very worst maxim we can arlopt. It is impossible to support the purity and dignity of Christian morals, without opposing the world on various occasions, even though we should stand alone.
3. That gentleness therefore which helongs to virtue, is to be carefully 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 flattery. It is indeed not only consistent with a firin mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit, and a fixed principle, in order to give it any real value. Upon this solid ground only, the polish of gentleness can with advantage be superinduced.
4. It stands opposed, pot to the most determined regard for virtue and truth, but to barshness and severity, 10 pride and arrogance, lo violence and oppression. It is properly, that part of the great virtue of charity, wiich inakes uo ug willing to give pain to any of our brethren. Compassion prompis us to relieve their wants. Forbear. ance preveots us from retaliating their injuries..
Meeknees restrains our angry passions ; candour, our severe judgmentu.
5. Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our mapners; and by a constant train of humane attentions, studies to alleviate the burden of common misery, Its of fice, therefore is extensive. It is not, like some other sir. tues, called forth only on peculiar emergencies; but it is continually in action, when we are engaged in intercourse with men,
It ought to form our address, to regulate our speech, and to diffuse itself over our whole behaviour.
6. We must not, however, confound this gentie 66 wisdem which is from above,” with that artificial courtesy, that studied smoothness of manners, which is learned in the school of tbe world. Such accomplishinents, the most frivolous and empty may possets.
Too often they are employed by the artful as a soare, too ofter affeoted by the hard and unfeeling, as a cover to the baseness of their mind. We cannot at the same time, avoid observing the homage, which even in such instances, the world is constrained to pay to virtue.
7. In order to render society agreeable, it is found necessary to assume somewhat, that it may at least carry its appearance. Virtue is the universal chasin. Eren its shadow is courted, when the substance is wanting.
The imitation of its form has been reduced into an 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 le
learn the speech, and to adopt the manners, of candour, gentleness, and humanity.
8. But that gentleness 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 flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing. For no assumed behaviour cab at all times hide the real character. In that onaffected civility which springs from a gentle mind, there is a charm infinitely more powe. erful, than in all the studied manners of the most finished courtier,
9. True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we owe to him who made ns, and to the cominon nature of which we all share. Il arises from reflection on our own feelings and wants; and from just views of the condition, and the duty of man. It is native feeling, heightened and improved by principle. It is the heart which easily relents, which feels for every thing that is human, and is backward and slow to inflict the least wound.
10. It is affable in its address, and mild in its demeanour, ever ready to oblige, and willing to be obliged by others, breathing habitual kindness towards friends, courtesy to strangers, long-suffering to enemies. It exercises authority with moderation, administers reproof with tenderness ; confers lavors with ease and modesty. li is unassuming in opinion and temperate in zeal. 11 contends noi eagerly about trifles-- slow to contradict, and still slower to blame-but prompt to allay dissension, and to restore peace.
11. It neither intermeddles unnecessarily with the afo fairs, nor pries inquisitively into the secrets of others. It delights above all things to alleviate distress--and if it cannot dry up the falling tear, to sooth at least the grieviog heart. Where it bas not the power of being useful, it is never burdeosome. It seeks to please, rather than to shine and dazzle, and conceals with care that superiority, either of talents, or of rank, which is oppressive to those who are beneath it.
12. In a word, it is that spirit and that tenour of man. ners, which the gospel of Christ enjoins, when it commands us,
to bear one another's burdens; to rejoice with ibose who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep, to please every one his neighbor for his good, to be kind and