Page images

those splendid actions and abilities, which excite high admiration. Courage and prowess, military renown," signal victories and conquests, may render the name of a man famous, without rendering his character truly honourable. To many brave men, 10 many heroes renowned in story, we look up with wonder. Their exploits are recorded. Their praises are sung. They stand as on an eminence above the rest of mankind.

2. Their eminence, nevertheless, may not be of that sort, before which we bow with inward esteem and respect. Something more is wanted for that purpose, than the conquering arm, and the intrepid mind. The laurels of the warriour must at all times be dyed in blood, and bedewedd with the tears of the widow and the orphan.

3. But if they have been stained by rapinee and inhumanity; if sordid avarice has marked his character; or low and gross sensuality has degraded his life; the great hero sinks into a little man. What, at a distance, or on a superficials view, we admired, becomes mean, perhaps odious, when we examine it more closely. It is like the Colossali statue, whose immense size struck the spectator afar off with astonishment; but when nearly viewed, it appears disproportioned, unshapely, and rude,

4. Observations of the same kind may be applied to all the reputation derived from civil accomplishments; from the refined politicks of the statesman; or the literary efforts of geniùs and erudition. These bestów, and within certain bounds, ought to bestow, eminence and distinction on men. They discover talents which in themselves are shining; and which become highly valuable, when employed in advancing the good of mankind.

5. Hence, they frequently-give rise to fame. But a distinction is to be made between fame and true honour. The statesman, the orator, or the poet, may be famous; while yet the man himself is far from being honoured. We envy. his abilities. We wish to rival' them. But we would not choose to be classed with him who possesses them.

Instances of this sort are too often found in every record of ancient or modern history.

6. From all this it follows, that in order to discern where man's true honour lies, we must look, not to any adventitious circumstance of fortune; not to any single sparkling quality; but to the whole of what forms a man; what entitles him, as such. to rank high among that class of

beings to which he belongs; in a word, we must look to the mind and the soul.

7. A mind superiour tó fear, to selfish interest and corruption; a mind governed by the principles of uniform rectitude and integrity; the same in prosperity and adversity; which no bribe can seduce, nor terror overawe;' neither by pleasure melted into effeminacy, nor by distress sunk into dejection: such is the mind which forms the distinction and eminence of man.

8. One, who in no situation of life, is either ashamed or afraid of discharging his duty, and acting his proper part with firmness and constancy; true to the God whom he worships, and true to the faith in which he professes to believe; full of affection to his brethren of mankind; faithful to his friends, generous to his enemies, warm with compassion to the unfortunate; self-denying to little private interests and pleasures, but zealous for publick interest and happiness; magnanimous, without being proud; humble, without being mean; just, without being harsh; simple in his manners, but manly in his feelings; on whose words we can entirely rely; whose countenance never deceives us; whose professions of kindness are the effusions of his heart: one, in fine, whom, independent of any views of advantage, we would choose for a superiour, could trust

in as a friend, and could love as a brother-this is the man, · whom in our heart, above all others, we do, we must honour.


[ocr errors]

SECTION XIII. a Com-po-sure, kom-pd-zhare, har-li De-jec-tion, dé-jék'-shản, lowness mony, arrangement, sedateness,

of spirits. calmness, tranquillity.

k De-vo-tion, de-voʻ-shủn, piety, reb Cher-ish, tshër'-rish, to support, spect, worship. shelter,

1 E-qua-ble, e-kwå-bl, equal to itc Plac-id,plåg'-sid,gentle,quiet,mild. self, even. d Va-cu-i-ty, vä-kúr-e-tè, empti-m Tur-bu-lent, tår'-bų-lent, tumul ness, space,

tuous, violent. e Scl-i-tude, sol!-le-tude, lonely life. n Balm, bảm, the juice of an odoriff Op-pres-sive, öp-prés'-siv, cruci, erous shrub. heavy.

o Wound, wöönd, a hurt given by g Pen-sive, pén'-siv, thoughtful, se- violence, to hurt by violence, rious.

p Im-pure, im-pure', unholy, un& Cor-ro-sion, kôr-rô-zhủn, the eat- chaste, foul with extraneous mixing away by degrees.

tures, drossy The influence of devotion on the happiness of life, 1. WHATEVER promotes and strengthens virtue, whatever calms and regulates the temper, is a source of happi


Devotion produces these effeets in a remarkable des gree. It inspires composure of spirit, mildness, and benignity: weakens the painful, and cherishes the pleasing emotions; and, by these means, carries on the life of a pious man in a smooth and placide tenour.

2. Besides exerting this habitual influence on the mind, devotion opens a field of enjoyments, to which the vicious are entire strangers; enjoyments the more valuable, as they peculiarly belong to retirement, when the world leaves us; and to adversity, when it becomes our foe. These are the two seasons, for which every wise man would most wish to provide some hidden store of comfort.

3. For let him be placed in the most favourable situation which the human state admits, the world can neither always amuse him, nor always shield him from distress. There will be many hours of vacuity, and many of dejection in his life. If he be a stranger to God, and to devotion, how dreary will the gloom of solitude often prove! With what oppressive weight will sickness, disappointment, or old age, fall upon his spirits."

4. But for those pensives periods, the pious man has a relief prepared. From the tiresome repetition of the common vanities of life, or from the painful corrosion of its cares and sorrows, devotion transports him into a new region; and surrounds him there with such objects, as are the most fitted to cheer the dejection,' to calm the tumults, and to heal the wounds of his heart. If the world has been empty and delusive, it gladdens him with the prospect of a higher and better order of things, about to arise.

5. If men have been ungrateful and base, it displays before him the faithfulness of that Supreme Being, who, though every other friend fail, will never forsake him. Let us consult our experience, and we shall find, that the two greatest sources of inward joy, are, the exercise of love directed towards a deserving object, and the exercise of hope terminating on some high and assured happiness. Both these are supplied by devotion;k and therefore we have no reason to be surprised, if, on some occasions, it fills the hearts of good men with a satisfaction not to be expressed.

6. The refined pleasures of a pious mind are, in many respects, superiour to the coarse gratifications of sense. They are pleasures which belong to the highest powers and best affections of the soul; whereas the gratifications

of sense reside in the lowest region of our nature. To the latter, the soul stoops below its native dignity. The former, raises it abore itself. The latter, leave always a comfortless, often a mortifying, remembrance behind themi The former, are reviewed with applause and delight.

7. The pleasures of sense resemble a foaming torrent, which, after a disorderly course, speedily runs out, and leaves an empty and offensive channel. But the pleasures of devotion resemble the equable's current of a pure river, which enlivens the fields through which it passes, and diffuses verdure and fertility along its banks.

8. To thee, O Devotion! we owe the highest improvement of our nature, and much of the enjoyment of our life.. Thou art the support of our virtue, and the rest of our souls, in this turbulent world. Thou composest the thoughts. Thou calmest the passions. Thou exaltest the heart. Thy communications, and thine only, are imparted to the low, no less than to the high; to the poor, as well as to the rich.

9. In thy presence, worldly distinctions cease; and under thy influence, worldly sorrows are forgotten. Thou art the balms of the woundedo mind. Thy sanctuary is ever open to the miserable; inaccessible only to the unrighteous and impure. Thou beginnest on earth the temper of heaven. In thee, the hosts of angels and blessed spirits eternally rejoice.



SECTION XIV. a Ter-res-tri-al, tér-rés -tre-sl,li Cir-cum-fe-rence, sér-kům'-fe. earthly, not celestial.

rense, space, circle. 6 Lu-mi-noiis, lů -mé-nis, shining in Es-ti-mate, és tis-máte, to adjust bright.

the value of: © Al-ter-nate-ly, al-tir-náte-ld, in n Pro-dig-ious, pro-did-jis, reciprocal succession.

strous, amazing. d Or-bit, ir-bit, the line described o E-nor-mous, --nor'-mus, exceed

by the revolution of a planet. ingly large, wicked. & Mys-tick, mis -tik, emblematica!, p Ma-chine, må-shón', an engine, obscure, secret.

a carriage. f Dis-pen-ser, dis-pên -sür, one wholq Cen-tre, sản'-tůr, the middle,mid

dispenses. & Ma-nif-i-cence, my-nif'-fé-sense, Ir Ir-ra-di-ate, ir-r'--áte, to adorn liberality, yenerosity.

with light. h A-gen-cy, & -jén-st, the quality s Di-min-11-tive, d-min'-ni-tiv, or state of acting.

sinall, little. i Ax-le, ak -s), the pin which passes t Pat-ri-mon-y, påt'-tr'-mon-n", an

through the midst of a wheel. estate possessed by inheritance. Re-splen-dent, ré-splèn'-dént, u Pit-tance, pit -tanse, a sınall por: bright, shining.


dle point.


The planetary and terrestriale worlds comparatively con

sidered. 1. Tous, who dwell on its surface, the earth is by far the most extensive orb that our eyes can any where behold: it is also clothed with verdure, distinguished by trees, and adorned with a variety of beautiful decorations; whereas, to a spectator placed on one of the planets, it wears a uniform aspect; looks all luminouss; and no larger than a spot. To beings who dwell at still greater distances, it entirely disappears. That which we call alternately the morning and the evening star, (as in one part of the orbita she rides foremost in the procession of night, in the other ushers in and anticipates the dawn,) is a planetary world.

2. This planet and the four others that so wonderfully vary their mystice dance, are in themselves dark bodies, and shine only by reflection; have fields, and seas, and skies, of their own; are furnished with all accommodations for aval subsistence, and are supposed to be the abodes of intellectual life; all which, together with our earthly habitation, are dependent on that grand dispenser of Divine munificence, the sun; receive their light from the distribution of his rays, and derive their comfort from his benign agency."

3. The sun, which seems to perform its daily stages through the sky, is in this respect fixed and immoveable: it is the great axle' of heaven, abont which the globe we inhabit, and other more spacious orbs, wheel their stated courses. The sun, though seemingly smaller than the dial it illuminates, is abundantly larger than this whole earth, on which so many lofty mountains rise, and such vast oceans roll.

4. A line extending from side to side through the centre of that resplendent' orb, would measure more than eight hundred thousand miles: a girdle formed to go round its circumference, would require a length of millions. Were its solid contents to be estimated," the account would overwhelm our understanding, and be almost beyond the

power of language to express. Are we startled at these reports of philosophy!

5. Are we ready to cry out in a transport of surprise, " How mighty is the Being who kindled so prodigious" a fire; and keeps alive, from age to age, so enormouso a mass of flame!" jet us attend our philosophical guides, ani we shall be brought acquainted with speculations more enlarged and more intiaming.

« PreviousContinue »