« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
In pausing, ever let this rule take place,
EXERCISES on PAUSING.
1. The path of piety and virtue pursued with a firm and constant spirit will assuredly lead to happiness.
2. Deeds of mere valour how heroic soever may prove cold and tiresome.
3. Homer claims on every account our first attention, as the father not only of epic poetry, but in some measure of poetry itself.
4. War is attended with distressful and desolating effects. It is confessedly.the scourge of our angry passions.
5. The warrior's fame is often purchased by the blood of thousands. 6. The erroneous opinions which we form concerning happiness and misery, give rise to all the mistaken and dangerous passions that embroil ou life.
7. Peace of mind being secured we may smile at misfortunes.
8. Idleness is the great fomenter of all corruptions in the human heart.
9. The best men often experience disappointments.
10. The conformity of the thought to truth and nature greatly recommends it.
11. Hatred and anger are the greatest poison to the happiness of a good minů.
12. A perfect happiness bliss without alloy is not to be found on this side the grave.
13. The true spirit of religion cheers as well as composes the soul,
14. Reflection is the guide which leads to truth.
15. The first science of man is the study of himself.
16. The spirit of light and grace is promised to assist them that
1.-On the Dissolution of Nature.
LET us reflect on the vanity' and transient glory' of this world'. How, by the force of one element breaking loose upon the rest', all the vanities of nature', all the works of art, all the labours of men', are reduced to nothing. All that we admired and adored before as great and magnificent', is obliterated' or vanished'; and another' form and face of things, plain', simple', and every where the same', overspreads the whole earth'. Where are now the great empires' of the world, and their great imperial cities'? their pillars', trophies, and monuments of glory? Show me where they stood`, read the inscription', tell me the victor's name. What remains', what impressions', what difference', or distinction', do you see in this mass of fire'? Rome itself, eternal' Rome, the great city', the empress of the world', whose domination and superstition, ancient and modern, make a great part of the history of this earth', what is become of her now? She laid her foundations deep', and her palaces were strong and sumptuous; "She glorified' herself, and lived deliciously, and said in her heart, I sit a queen', and shall see no sorrow;" but her hour is come, she is wiped away from the face of the earth', and buried in everlasting oblivion'. But it is not cities' only, and works of men's hands', but the everlasting hills, the mountains and rocks' of the earth are melted as wax before the sun', and their place is nowhere found. Here stood the Alps, the load of the earth', that covered many countries', and reached their arms from the Ocean' to the black Sea'; this huge mass of stone is softened and dissolved' as a tender cloud into rain. Here stood the African' mountains, and Atlas with his top above the clouds'; there was frozen Cau
casus', and Taurus', and Imaus', and the mountains of Asia; and yonder towards the north', stood the Riphæan' hills, clothed in ice and snow'. All these are vanished', dropt away as the snow upon their heads. 'Great' and marvellous' are thy works, just' and true are thy ways', thou King of saints'! Hallelujah'!'
2.-The Balance of Happiness equal.
AN extensive contemplation of human affairs, will lead us to this conclusion, that among the different conditions and ranks of men, the balance of happiness is preserved in a great measure equal; and that the high and the low, the rich and the poor, approach, in point of real enjoyment, much nearer to each other, than is commonly imagined. In the lot of man, mutual compensations, both of pleasure and of pain,- universally take place. Providence never intended, that any state here should be either completely happy, or entirely miserable. If the feelings of pleasure are more numerous, and more lively, in the higher departments of life, such also are those of pain. If greatness flatters our vanity, it multiplies our dangers. If opulence increases our gratifications, it increases, in the same proportion, our desires and demands. If the poor are confined to a more narrow circle, yet within that circle lie most of those natural satisfactions, which, after all the refinements of art, are found to be the most genuine and true. In a state, therefore, where there is neither so much to be coveted on the one hand, nor to be dreaded on the other, as at first appears, how submissive ought we to be to the disposal of providence! How temperate in our desires and pursuits! How much more attentive to preserve our virtue, and to improve our minds, than to gain the doubtful and equivocal advantages of worldly prosperity! Blair.
3.-On the Beautics of the Psalms.
GREATNESS Confers no exemption from the cares and sorrows of life its share of them frequently bears a
melancholy proportion to its exaltation. This the Israelitish monarch experienced. He sought in. piety, that peace which he could not find in empire, and alleviated the disquietudes of state with the exercises of devotion. His invaluable psalms convey those comforts to others, which they afforded to himself. Composed upon particular occasions, yet designed for general use; delivered out as services for Israelites under the Law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the Gospel; they present religion to us in the most engaging dress; communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal; while history is made the vehicle of prophecy, and creation lends all its charms to paint the glories of redemption. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of him, to whom all hearts are known, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations, grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy; but these unfading plants of paradise become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily height. ened; fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets extracted from them. He who hath once tasted their excellencies, will desire to taste them yet again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best. Horne.
4.-The Interview of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, his Sister Nekayah, and Imlac, with the Hermit.
THEY came on the third day, by the direction of the peasants, to the hermit's cell: it was a cavern in the side of a mountain, overshadowed with palm-trees. The hermit sat on a bench at the door, to enjoy the coolness of the evening. On one side lay a book with pens and papers, on the other mechanical instrumente of various kinds.
They saluted him with great respect, which he returned like a man not unaccustomed to the forms of courts. "My children," said he, "if you have lost your way, you shall be willingly supplied with such conveniencies for the night as this cavern will afford. I have all that nature requires, and you will not expect delicacies in a hermit's cell." They thanked him; and entering, were pleased with the neatness and regularity of the place. His discourse was cheerful without levity, and pious without enthusiasm.
At last Imlac began thus: "I do not now wonder that your reputation is so far extended; we have heard at Cairo of your wisdom, and came hither to implore your direction for this young man and maiden in the choice of life."
"To him that lives well," answered the hermit, 66 every form of life is good; nor can I give any other rule for choice, than to remove from all apparent evil.”"
"He will remove most certainly from evil," said the prince," who shall devote himself to that solitude which you have recommended by your example."
"I have indeed lived fifteen years in solitude,” said the hermit, "but have no desire that my example should gain any imitators. In my youth I professed arms, and was raised by degrees to the highest military rank. I have traversed wide countries at the head of my troops, and seen many battles and sieges. At last, being disgusted by the preferments of a younger officer, and feeling that my vigour was beginning to decay, I resolved to close my life in peace, having found the world full of snares, discord, and misery. I had once escaped from the pursuit of the enemy by the shelter of this cavern, and therefore chose it for my final residence. I employed artificers to form it into chambers, and stored it with all that I was likely to want.
"For some time after my retreat, I rejoiced like a tempest-beaten sailor at his entrance into the harbour, being delighted with the sudden change of the noise and hurry of war to stillness and repose. When the pleasure of novelty went away, I employed my hours in examining the plants which grow in the valley, and