Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

the minerals which I collected from the rocks. But that inquiry is now grown tasteless and irksome. I have been for some time unsettled and distracted: my mind is disturbed with a thousand perplexities of doubt and vanities of imagination, which hourly prevail upon me, because I have no opportunities of relaxation or diversion. I am sometimes ashamed to think that I could not secure myself from vice, but by retiring from the exercise of virtue, and begin to suspect that I was rather impelled by resentment, than led by devotion, into solitude. My fancy riots in scenes of folly, and I lament that I have lost so much, and have gained so little. In solitude, if I escape the example of bad men, I want likewise the counsel and conversation of the good. I have been long comparing the evils with the advantages of society, and resolve to return into the world to morrow. The life of a solitary man will be certainly miserable, but not certainly devout.”

They heard his resolution with surprise, but, after a short pause, offered to conduct him to Cairo. He dug up a considerable treasure which he had hid among the rocks, and accompanied them to the city, on which, as he approached it, he gazed with rapture.

Johnson's Rassclas.

5.- On the Improvement of T'ime. To make a proper use of that short and uncertain portion of time alloted us for our mortal pilgrimage, is a proof of wisdom ; to use it with economy, and dispose of it with care, discovers prudence and discretion. Let, therefore, no part of your time escape without making it subservient to the wise purposes for which it was given you : 'tis the most inestimable of treasures.

You will find a constant employment of your time conducive to health and happiness; and not only a sure guard against the encroachments of vice, but the best recipe for contentment. Seek employment; languor and ennui shall be unknown: avoid idleness, banish sloth; vigour and cheerfulness will be your enlivening companions: admit not guilt to your hearts, and terror shall not interrupt your slumbers. Follow the footsteps of virtue ; walk steadily in her paths: she will conduct you through pleasant and flowery paths to the temple of peace; she will guard you from the wily snares of vice, and heal the wounds of sorrow and disappointment which time may inflict.

By being constantly and usefully employed, the de stroyer of mortal happiness will have but few opportunities of making his attacks; and by regularly filling up your precious moments, you will be less exposed to dangers : venture not then to waste an hour, lest the next should not be yours to squander; hazard not a single day in guilty or improper pursuits, lest the day which follows should be ordained to bring you an awful summons to the tomb; a summons to which youth and age are equally liable.

“ Reading improves the mind;" and you cannot better einploy a portion of your leisure time than in the pursuit of knowledge. By observing a regular habit of reading, a love of it will soon be acquired. It will

prove an unceasing amusement, and a pleasant resource in the hours of sorrow and discontent; an unfailing antidote against languor and indolence. Much caution is, however, necessary in the choice of books; it is among them, as among human characters ; many would prove dangerous and pernicious advisers; they tend to mislead the imagination, and give rise to a thousand erroneous opinions, and ridiculous expectations,

I would not, however, wish to deprive you of the pleasures of society, or of rational amusement; but let your companions be select; let them be such as you can love for their good qualities, and whose virtues you are desirous to emulate : let your amusements be such as will tend not to corrupt and vitiate, but to correct and amend the heart.

Finally. I would earnestly request you never to ne glect employing a portion of your time in addressing your heavenly Father ; in paying him that tribute of prayer and praise which is so justly his due, as “ the Author of every good and perfect gift;" as our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, “in whom we live, and move,

and have our being;" and without whose blessing none of our undertakings will prosper.

Thus, by employing the time given you in the service of virtue, you will pass your

days with comfort to yourself, and those around you; and by persevering to the end, shall at length obtain “ a crown of glory, which

Bonhote.

fadeth not away."

6.--The Hill of Science. In that season of the year, when the serenity of the sky, the various fruits which cover the ground, the discoloured foliage of the trees, and all the sweet, but fading graces of inspiring autumn, open the mind to benevolence, and dispose it for contemplation, I was wandering in a beautiful and romantic country, till curiosity began to give way to weariness; and I sat me down on the fragment of a rock, overgrown with moss, where the rustling of the falling leaves, the dashing of waters, and the hum of the distant city, soothed my mind into the most perfect tranquillity, and sleep insensibly stole upon me, as I was indulging the agreeable reveries which the objects around me naturally inspired,

I immediately found myself in a vast extended plain, in the middle of which arose a mountain higher than I had before any conception of. It was covered with a multitude of people, chiefly youth ; many of whom pressed forwards with the liveliest expressions of ardour in their countenance, though the way was in many places steep and difficult. I observed, that those who had but just begun to climb the hill thought themselves not far from the top; but as they proceeded, new hills. were continually rising to their view, and the summit of the highest they could before discern seemed but the foot of another, till the mountain at length appeared to lose itself in the clouds. As I was gazing on these things with astonishment, my good genius suddenly appeared : The mountain before thee, said he, is the Hill of Science. On the top is the temple of Truth, whose head is above the clouds, and a veil of pure light

covers her face. Observe the progress of her votaries, be silent and attentive.

I saw that the only regular approach to the mountain was by a gate, called the gate of languages. It was kept by a woman of a pensive and thoughtful appearance, whose lips were continually moving, as though she repeated something to herself. Her name was Memory. On entering this first inclosure, I was stunned with a confused murmur of jarring voices, and dissonant sounds; which increased upon me to such a degree, that I was utterly confounded, and could compare the noise to nothing but the confusion of tongues at Babel,

After contemplating these things, I turned my eyes. towards the top of the mountain, where the air was always pure and exhilarating, the path shaded with laurels and other evergreens, and the effulgence which beamed from the face of the goddess seemed to shed a glory round her votaries. Happy, said I, are they who are permitted to ascend the mountain but while I was pronouncing this exclamation with uncommon ardour, I saw. standing beside me a form of diviner features and a more benign radiance. Happier, said she, are those whom Virtue conducts to the mansions of Content! What, said I, does Virtue then reside in the vale ? I am found, said she, in the vale, and I illuminate the mountain ; I cheer the cottager at his toil, and inspire the sage at his meditation. I mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the hermit in his cell. I have a temple in every heart that owns my influence; and to him that wishes for me I am already present. Science may raise you to eminence, but I alone can guide you to felicity! While the goddess was thus speaking, I stretched out my arms towards her with a vehemence which broke my slumbers. The chill dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape. I hastened homeward, and resigned the night to silence and meditation.

Aikin's Miscellanics.

17.-Patience recommended. The darts of adverse fortune are always levelled at our heads. Some reach us, and some fly to wound our neighbours. Let us therefore impose an equal temper on our minds, and pay without murmuring the tribute which we owe to humanity. The winter brings cold, and we must freeze. The summer returns with heat, and we must melt. The inclemency of the air disorders our health, and we must be sick. Here we are exposed to wild beasts, and there to men more savage than the beasts: and if we escape the inconveniencies and dangers of the air and the earth, there are perils by water, and perils by fire. This established course of things it is not in our power to change; but it is in our power to assume such a greatness of mind as becomes wise and virtuous men, as may enable us to encounter the accidents of life with fortitude, and to conform our selves to the order of Nature, who governs her great kingdom, the world, by continual mutations. Let us submit to this order; let us be persuaded that whatever does happen ought to happen, and never be so foolish as to expostulate with Nature. The best resolution we can take is to suffer what we cannot alter, and to pursue without repining the road which Providence, who directs every thing, has marked to us: for it is enough to follow; and he is but a bad şoldier who sighs, and marches with reluctancy, We must receive the orders with spirit and cheerfulness, and not endeavour to slink out of the post which is assigned us in this beautiful disposition of things, whereof even sufferings make a necessary part. Let us address ourselves to God who governs all, as Cleanthes did in those admirable verses :

Parent of nature ! Master of the world!
Where'er thy providence directs, behold
My steps with cheerful resignation turn.
Fate leads the willing, drags the backward on.
Why should I grieve, when grieving I must bear;
Or take with guilt, what guiltless I might share !

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »