« PreviousContinue »
the altar, with the fervours of piety, the heats of devotion, the sallies and vibrations of a harmless activity. I
In the next place, for the lightsome passion of joy. It was not that which now often usurps this name; that trivial, vanishing, superficial thing, that only gilds the apprehension, and plays upon the surface of the soul. It was not the mere crackling of thorns, a sudden blaze of the spirits, the exultation of a tickled fancy or a pleased appetite. Joy was then a masculine and a severe thing: the recreation of the judgment, the jubilee of reason.
It was the result of a real good suitably applied. It commenced upon the solidities of truth and the substance of fruition. It did not run out in voice or undecent eruptions, but filled the soul, as God does the universe, silently and without noise.
AND, on the other side, for sorrow. loss or disaster made but room for grief, it would have moved according to the severe allowances of prudence, and the proportions of the provocation. It would not have sallied out into complaint or loudness, nor spread itself upon the face, and writ sad stories upon the forehead. No wringing of
# Ante, 43.
the hands; knocking the breast, or wishing one's self unborn; all which are but the ceremonies of sorrow, the pomp and ostentation of an effeminate grief: which speak not so much the greatness of the misery, as the smallness of the mind. Sorrow then would have been as silent as thought, as severe as philosophy. It would have rested in inward senses, tacit dislikes; and the whole scene of it been transacted in sad and silent reflections.t
It is now indeed an unhappiness, the disease of the soul; it flies from a shadow, and makes more dangers than it avoids : it weakens the judgment and betrays the succours of reason. It was then the instrument of caution, not of anxiety; a guard, and not a torment to the breast. It fixed upon him who is only to be feared—God; and yet with a filial fear, which at the same time both fears and loves. It was awe without amazement, dread without distraction. There was then a beauty even in its very paleness. It was the colour of devotion, giving a lustre to reverence and a gloss to humility. I
Adam was no less glorious in his externals; he had a beautiful body, as well as an immortal soul.
The whole compound was like a well built temple, stately without, and sacred within.*
GRATITUDE AND INGRATITUDE.
GRATITUDE is properly a virtue, disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgment of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same or the like, as the occasions of the doer of it shall require, and the abilities of the receiver extend to. David in the overflowing sense of God's goodness to him cries out in the 116 Psalm, verse 12, “ What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?” So the grateful person pressed down upon the apprehension of any great kindness done him, eases his burthened mind a little by such expostulations with himself as these : “ What shall I do for such a friend, for such a patron, who has so frankly, so generously, so unconstrainedly, relieved me in such a distress; supported me against such an enemy; supplied, cherished, and upheld me,
MINUTE ANALYSIS OF THE SERMON.
ri. In General.
1. The Under- (1. Speculative.
standing. 2. The Will. (2. Practical.
í 1. Mind.
2. In Par
3. The Pas
1. Love. 2. Hatred. 3. Anger. 4. Envy. 5. Sorrow, (6. Fear.
i 2. Body.
when relations would not know me, or at least could not help me; and, in a word, has prevented my desires, and outdone my necessities ?"* Ingratitude is an insensibility of kindnesses received, without any endeavour either to acknowledge or repay them. Ingratitude sits on its throne, with pride at its right hand and cruelty at its left, worthy supporters of such a state. You may rest upon this as a proposition of an eternal unfailing truth, that there neither is, nor ever was any person remarkably ungrateful, who was not also insufferably proud; nor, convertibly, any one proud, who was not equally ungrateful. For as snakes breed in dunghills not singly, but in knots, so in such base noisome hearts, you shall ever see pride
* I subjoin a specimen of “ GRATITUDE," as taught by the Moralist, the Historian, and the Poet.
THE MORALIST. Examples of ingratitude check and discourage voluntary beneficence: and in this the mischief of ingratitude consists. Nor is the mischief small; for after all is done that can be done, by prescribing general rules of justice, and enforcing the observation of them by penalties or compulsion, much must be left to those offices of kindness, which men remain at liberty to exert or withhold.-Paley's Moral Philosophy, 234.
The father of Caius Toranius had been proscribed by the triumvirate. Cuius Toranius, coming over to the interests of that party, discovered to the officers, who were in pursuit of his father's life, the place where he concealed himself, and gave them withal a description, by which they might distinguish his person, when they found him. The old man, more
and ingratitude indivisibly wreathed, and twisted together. Ingratitude overlooks all kindnesses, but it is, because pride makes it carry its head so high. Ingratitude is too base to return a kindness, and too proud to regard it; much like the tops of mountains, barren indeed, but yet lofty ; they produce nothing, they feed nobody, they clothe nobody, yet are high and stately, and look down upon all the world about them. Ingratitude indeed put the poniard into Brutus's hand, but it was want of compassion which thrust it into Cæsar's heart. Friendship consists properly in mutual offices, and a generous strife in alternate acts of kindness. But he who does a kindness to an ungrateful person, sets his seal to a flint, and
anxious for the safety and fortunes of his son, than about the little that might remain of his own life, began immediately to enquire of the officers who seized him, whether his son were well, whether he had done his duty to the satisfaction of his generals. “ That sou," replied one of the officers, “so dear to thy affections, betrayed thee to us; by his information thou art apprehended, and diest.” The officer with this struck a poniard to his heart, and the unhappy parent fell, not so much affected by his fate, as by the means to which he owed it.-Ibid. 8.
The bridegroom may forget his bride
Was made his wedded wife yestreen :
Which on his head an hour has been;
Wha’smiles sae sweetly on her knee,
And all that thou hast done for me.