« PreviousContinue »
He that cannot live well to-day, (says Martial,) will be less qualified to live well to-morrow.
Can we esteem that man prosperous, who is raised to a situation which flatters his passions, but which corrupts his principles, disorders his temper, and finally oversets his virtue?
What misery does the vicious man secretly endure! Adversity! how blunt are all the arrows of thy quiver, in ebmparison with those of guilt!
When we have no pleasure in goodness, we may with certainty conclude the reason to be, that our pleasure is all derived from an opposite quarter:
How strangely are the opinions of men altered by a change in their condition !
How many have had reason to be thankful, for being disappointed in designs which they earnestly pursued, but which, if successfully accomplished, they have afterwards seen would have occasioned their ruin!
What are the actions which afford in the remembrance a rational satisfaction? Are they the pursuits of sensual pleasure, the riots of jöllity, or the displays of show and vanity? No: I appeal to your hearts, my friends, if what you recollect with most pleasure, are not the innocent, the virtuous, the honourable parts of your past life. The present employment of time should frequently be an object of thought.“ About what are we now busied? What is the ultimate scope of our present pursuits and cares? Can we justify them to ourselves? Are they likely to produce any thing that will survive the moment, and bring forth some fruit for futurity? this it not strange (says an ingenious writer,) that some persons should be so delicate as not to bear a disagreeable picture in the house, and yet, by their behaviour, force every face they see about them, to wear the gloom of uneasiness and discontent?:
If we are now in health, peace and safety; without any particular or uncommon evils to afflict our condition; what more can we reasonably look for in this vain and uncertain world? How little can the greatest prosperity add to such a state? Will any future situation ever make us happy, if now, with so few causes of grief, we imagine ourselves miserable? The evil lies in the state of our mind, not in our condition of fortune; and by no alteration of circumstances is likely to be remedied,
When the love of unwarrantableb pleasures, and of vicious companions, is allowed to amuse young persons, to engross their time, and to stir up their passions; the day of ruin, let them take heed, and beware! the day of irrecoverable ruin begins to draw nigh. Fortune is squandered;k health is broken; friends are offended, affronted, estranged; aged parents, perhaps, sent afflicted and mourning to the dust.
On whom does time hang so heavily, as on the slothful and lazy? To whom are the hours so lingering? Who are so often devoured with spleen, and obliged to fly to every expedient, which can help them to get rid of themselves? Instead of producing tranquillity, indolence produces a fretful restlessness of mind; gives rise to cravings which are never satisfied; nourishes a sickly, effeminatel delicacy, which sours and corrupts every pleasure.
SECTION VI. a Dis-trib-ute, dis-trib'-ute, to di-tk Im-mor-tal, Im-mór'-tal, exempt vide, deal out.
from death. b Grat-i-tude, gråt'-d-tåde, duty to l Con-tin-u-ance, kôn-tin'-ů-ånse, benefactors.
permanence. c Il-lus-tri-ous, il-Iůs'-tréhús, con- m Sal-u-ta-ry, sål-Id-tå-re, whole
spicuous, noble. d Con-temp-ti-ble, kôn-têm-te-bl, n Mit-i-gate, mit-te-gåte, to soften, worthy of contempt.
alleviate. e In-fa-mous, in--få-můs, publickly 0 As-pect, ås'-pekt, look, air, count:
scandalous. f Lon-gi-nus, lon-ji'-nús, a Greek p Plac-id, plås'-sid, gentle, mild.
philosopher and critick of Athens. Be-nev-o-lent, be-nèv'-o-lent, & En-vi-ous, én-vé-ús, infected with kind, charitable. envy or ill will.
* Pro-fu-sion, pro-fu'-zhủn, extravah Dig-ni-ty, dig'-ne-tė, rank, gran gance, deur, preferment.
* Mag-nif-i-cent, måg-nif -£-sépt, i Sen-si-tive, sén'-se-tiv, endowed
grand, pompous: with feeling.
t Per-pet-u-al, pêr-pét'-tshủ-ål, nev
er ceasing, continual. We have seen the husbandman scattering his seed upon the furrowed ground! It springs up, is gathered into his barns, and crowns his labours with joy and plenty:- This the man who distributesa his fortune with generosity and prudence, is amply repaid by the gratitude of those whom he obliges, by the approbation of his own mind, and by the favour of Heaven. *Temperance, by fortifying the mind and body, leads to happiness: intemperance, by enervating them, ends generally in misery. +Title and ancestry render a good man more illustri
ous;° but an ill one, more contemptible.. Vice is infamous, though in a prince; and virtue honourable, though in a peasant. Han elevated genius, employed in little things, appears (to use the simile of Longinus) like the sun in his evening declination: he remits his splendour, þut retains his magnitude; and pleases more, though he dazzles less. Af envious people were to ask themselves, whether they would exchange their entire situations with the persons envied, (I mean their minds, passions, notions, as well as their persons, fortunes, and dignities,")—I presume the self-love, common to human nature, would generally make them prefer their own condition.
We have obliged some persons:- very well !--what would we have more? Is not the consciousness of doing good, a sufficient reward? Do not hurt yourselves or others, by the pursuit of plea
Consult your whole nature. Consider yourselves not only as sensitive,' but as rational beings; not only as rational, but social; not only as social, but immortal.k
Art thou poor?-Show thyself active and industrious, peaceable and contented. Art thou wealthy ?-Show thyself beneficent and charitable, condescending and humane.
Though religion removes not all the evils of life, though it promises no continuance of undisturbed prosperity, (which indeed it were not salutarym for man always to enjoy,) yet, if it mitigates the evils which necessarily belong to our state, it may.justly be said to give "rest to them who labour and are heavy laden.”
What a smiling aspecto does the love of parents and children, of brothers and sisters, of friends and relations, give to every surrounding object, and every returning day! With what a lustre does it gild even the small habitation, where this placide intercourse dwells! where such scenes of heartfelt satisfaction succeeded uninterruptedly to one another!
-How many clear marks of benevolent intention appear every where around us! What a profusion' of beauty and ornament is poured forth on the face of nature! What a magnificent spectacle presented to the view of man! What supply contrived for his wants! What a variety of objects set before him, to gratify his senses, to employ his understanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and gladden his heart!
The hope of future happiness is a perpetual source of consolation to good men, Under trouble, it sooths their minds, amidst temptation, it supports their virtue; and in their dying moments, enables them to say, “O death. where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?”
SECTION VII. a A-gos-i-la-us, &-jès-d-la'-ús, king, celebrated moral philosopher,
of Sparta, was son of Doryjsus, native of Athens.
he made war against Artaxerxes. n Cul-ture, kůl'-tshůre, the act of b In-cul-cate, in-kůl'-kate, to im cultivation. press by admonition.
o Em-i-nent-ly, êm”-e-nênt-le, conc Mot-to, mðt'-to, à sentence added, spicuously. a device.
p Phil-ip-Sid-ney, fil-lip-sid-nė, d Neg-li-gence, négʻ-le-jense, habit celebrated military commander. of heedlessness.
q Zut-phen, zůt'-fén, the name of a e Nox-ious, nük'-shủs, hurtful, cri- place. minal.
r Al-ex-an-der, ål-égz-zån-důr, suff Ar-is-to-tle, år'-is-td-t1, a famous named the Great, king of Mace
philosopher, born at Stagira, pre donia.
ceptor to Alexander the Great. s In-fest, in-fèst', to harass, disturb. 8 L'Es-trange, le-stranje', a cele- t An-to-ni-nus-Pi-us, ån-tól-ne-nůsbrated French fabulist.
p!'-ůs, a celebrated Roman Emh Sul-ly, sill-lé, a celebrated states peror. man of France.
u Pres-er-va-tion, prèz-zér-vå'-shún, i Re-tain, rè-táne', to keep in mind, the act of preserving. keep.
v I-mag-ine, e-måd'-jin, to fancy k Court-ier, körte'-yür, one who at contrive.
tends the courts of princes. w Im-mod-e-rate-ly, im-mod'-derI Guest, gést, visitor, stranger. rát-le, excessively. m Soc-ra-tes, sók'-rå-téz, the most! TAGESILAUS," king of Sparta, being asked, “What things he thought most proper for boys to learn,” answered “ Those which they ought to practise when they come to be men.” A wiser than Agesilaus has inculcated the same sentiment: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
An Italian philosopher expressed in his motto, that s time was his estate." An estate indeed which will produce nothing without cultivation; but which will always abundantly repay the labours of industry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence, a to be overrun with noxiouse plants, or laid out for show, rather than use.
When Aristotler was asked, “What a man could gain
when he speaks the truth.”
L'Estrange,& in his Fables, tells us that a number of frolicksome boys were one day watching frogs, at the side of a pond; and that, as any of them put their heads above the water, they pelted them down again with stones.--One of the frogs, appealing to the humanity of the boys, made this striking observation; “ Children, you do not consider, that though this may be sport to you, it is death to us.”
Sully, the great statesman of France, always retained to which he had been accustomed in early life. He was frequently reproached, by the courtiers, for this simplicity; but he used to reply to them, in the words of an ancient philosopher:.“ If the guests' are men of sense, there is sufficient for them: if they are not, I can very well dispense with their company."
Socrates," though primarily attentive to the culture of his mind, was not negligent of his external appearance. His cleanliness resulted from those ideas of order and decency, which governed all his actions; and the care which he took of his health, from his desire to preserve his mind free and tranquil.
Eminently. pleasing and honourable was the friendship between David and Jonathan. “ I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan,” said the plaintive and surviving David; “ very pleasant hast thou been to me: thy love for me was wonderful; passing the love of women.”
Sir Philip Sidney, at the battle near Zutphen, was 7 wounded by a musket ball, which broke the bone of his
thigh. He was carried about a mile and a half, to the camp; and being faint with the loss of blood, and probably parched with thirst through the heat of the weather, he called for drink. It was immediately brought to him: but, as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened at that instant to be carried by him, looked up to it with wishful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the bottle from his mouth, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, “ Thy necessity is yet greater than mine.”
Alexander the Great, demanded of a pirate, whom he had right,” replied he," that Alexander enslaves the world. But I am called a robber, because I have only one small vessel; and be is styled a conqueror, becausc he commands