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ment of those things, which are the usual incentives to vio. Jence and contention. In the ruffled and angry hour, we view every appearance through a false medium. The most inconsiderable point of interest, or honour, swells into a momentous ohject; and the slightest attack, seems to threaten immediate ruin.
4 But after passion or pride, has subsided, we look around in rain for the mighty mischiefs we dreaded. The fabric, which our disturbed imagination had reared, totally disappears. But though the cause of contention has dwindled away, its consequences remain. We have alienated a friend; we have imbittered an enemy, we have sown the seeds of future suspicion, malevolence, or disgust.
5 Let us suspend our violence for a moment, when causes of discord occur. Let us anticipate that period of coolness, which of itself, will soon arrive. Let us reflect how little we have any prospect of gaining hy fierce contention ; but how much of the true happiness of life, we are certain of throwing away. Easily, and from the smallest chink, the bitter waters of strife are let forth; but their course cannot be foreseen; and he seldom fails of suffering most from their poisonous effect, who first allows them to flow.
SECTION V. A suspicious temper the source of misery to its possessor.
As a suspicious spirit is the source of many crimes aid calamities in the world, so it is the spring of certain misery to the person who indulges it. His friends will be few; and small will be his comfort in those whom he possesses. Believing others to be his enemies, he will of course make them such. Let his caution be ever so great, the asperity of his thoughts will often break out in his behaviour, and in return for suspecting and liating, he will incur suspicion and hatred.
2 Besides the external evils which he draws upon himself arising from alienated friendship, broken confidence, and open enmity, the suspicious temper itself is one of the wor' evils which any man can suffer. If “in all fear there is ment,” how miserable must be his state, who, by livi perpetual jealousy, lives in perpetual dread !
3 Looking upon himself to be surrounded with spies. nies, and designing men, he is a stranger to relian,
sust. He krow's not to whom to open himself. He
bis countenance in forced smiley, while his heart throbs within from apprehensions of secret treachery. Hence fretfulness, and ill humour, disgust at the world, and all the painful sensations of an irritated and imbittered mind.
4 So numerous and great are the evils arising from a suspicious disposition, that, of the two extremes, it is more eligible to expose ourselves to occasional disadvantage from thinking too well of others, than to suffer continual misery by ihinking always ill of them. It is better to be sometimes imposed upon, than ever to trust. Safety is purchased at too dear a rate, when, in order to secure it, we are obliged to be always clad in armour, and to live in perpetual hostility with our fellows.
5 This is, for the sake of living, to deprive ourselves of the comfort of life. The man of candour, enjoys his situation, whatever it is, with cheerfulness andi peace. Prudence directs his intercourse with the world; but no black suspicions haunt his hours of rest. Accustomed to view the characters of his neighbours in the most favourable light, he is like one who dwells amidst those beautiful scenes of nature, on which the eye rests with pleasure.
6 Whereas the suspicious man, having his imaginatio filled with all the shocking forms of human falsehood, deceit, and treachery, resembles the traveller in the wilderness, who discerns no objects around him but such as are either dreary or terrible; caverns that yawn, serpents that Hiss, and beasts of prey that howl.
Comforts of Religion. There are many who have passed the age of youth and beauty; who have resigned the pleasures of that smiling season; who begin to decline into the vale of years, impaired in their health, depressed in their fortunes, stript of their friends, their children, and perhaps still more tender connexions. What resource can this world afford them! alt presents a dark and dreary waste, through which there remes not issue a single ray of comfort. none Cvery delusive prospect of ambition is now at an end; earnesexperience of mankind, an experience very different or ger what the open and generous soul of youth had fondly to short of, has rendered the heart almost inaccessible to new 3 Let us
friendships. The principal sources of activity are taken away, when those for whom we labour, are cut off from ug ; those who animated, and who sweetened, all the toils of life.
3 Where then can the soul find refuge, but in the bosom of Religion? There she is admitted to those prospects of Providence and futurity, which alone can warm and fill the heart. I speak here of such as retain the feelings of humanity; whom misfortunes have softened, and perhaps rendered more delicately sensible; not of such as possess that stupid insensibility, which some are pleased to dignify with the name of Philosophy.
4 It might therefore be expected, that those philosophers, who think they stand in no need themselves of the assistance of religion to support their virtue, and who never feel the want of its consolations, would yet have the humanity to consider the
different situations of the rest of mankind ; and not endeavour to deprive them of what habit, at least, if they will not allow it to be nature, has made necessary to their morals, and to their happiness.
5 It might be expected, that humanity would prevent them from breaking into the last retreat of the unfortunate, who can no longer be objects of their envy or resentment; and tearing from them their only remaining comfort. The attempt to ridicule religion may be agreeable to some, by relieving them from restraint upon their pleasures; and may render others very miserable, by making them doubt those truths, in which they were most deeply interested; but it can convey real good and happiness to no one individual.
SECTION VII. Diffidence of our abilities, a mark of wisdom. It is a sure indication of good sense, to be diffident of it. We then, and not till then, are growing wise, when we begin to discern how weak and unwise we are. An absolute perfection of understanding, is impossible: he makes the aearest approaches to it, who has the sense to discern, and the humility to acknowledge, its imperfections.
2 Modesty always sits gracefully upon youth; it covers a multitude of faults, and doubles the lustre of every virtue which it seems to hide ; the perfections of men being like those flowers which appear more beautiful, when their leaves
are a litile contracted and folded up, than when they are full blown, and display themselves, without any reserve, to the view.
3 We are some of us very fond of knowledge, and apt to value ourselves upon any proficiency in the sciences : one science, however, there is, worth more than all the rest ; and that is, the science of living well ; This shall remain, when ** tonglies shall cease,” and “ knowledge shall vanish away"
4 Åsto uew notions, and new doctrines, of which this age is very fruitful, the time will come, when we shall have no pleasure in them: nay, the time shall come, when they shall be exploded, and would have been forgotten, if they has not been preserved in those excellent books, which contain a confutation of them; like insects preserved for ages in amber, which otherwise would soon have returned to the common mass of things.
5 But a firm belief of Christianity, and a practice suitable to it, will support and invigorate the mind to the last ; and most of all, at last, at that important hour, which must decide our hopes and apprehensions : and the wisdom, which, like our Saviour, cometh from above, will
, through his merits, bring us thither. All our other studies and pursuits, however different, ought to be subservient to, and centre in, this grand point, the pursuit of eternal happiness, by being good in ourselves, and useful to the world.
SECTION VIII. On the importance of order in the distribution of our time.
Time, we ought to consider as a sacred trust, committed lo us by God, of which we are now the depositories, and are tu render an account at the last. That portion of it which he has alloted to us, is intended partly for the conarns of this world, partly for those of the next. Let each
i these occupy, in the distribution of our time, that space which properly belongs to it.
Let'not the hours of hospitality and pleasure, interfere with the discharge of our necessary affairs; and let not what we call necessary affairs, encroach upon the time which is c? le to devotion. To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven. If we delay till
- morrow what ought to be done to-day, we overcharge moet morrow with a burden which belongs not to it. We
load the wheels of time, and prevent them from carrying us along smoothly.
3 He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows out that plan, carries on a thread which will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time, is like a ray of light, which darts itself through all his affairs. But, where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, all things lie huddled together in one chaos, which admits neither of distribution nor review.
* The first requisite for introducing order into the management of time, is, to be impressed with a just sense of its value. Lei us consider well how much depends upon it, and how fast it flies away. The bulk of men are in nothing more capricious and inconsistent, than in their appreciation of time. When they think of it, as the measure of their continuance on earth, they highly prize it, and with the greatest anxiety seek to lengthen it out.
5 But when they view it in separate parcels, they appear to hold it in contempt, and squander it with inconsiderate profusion. While they complain that life is short, they are oiten wishing its different periods at an end. Covetous of every other possession, of time only they are prodigal. They allow every idle man to be master of this property, and make every frivolous occupation welcome that can help them to consume it.
0 Among those who are so careless of time, it is not to be expected that order should be observed in its distributiona But, by this fatal neglect, how many materials of severe and lasting regret, 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 Manhooù 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 etlects of a disorderly waste of time, through not attending to its value. Every thing in the line of such persons, is misplaerd. Nothing is performed right, trom nct drinks periormed in die kason.