صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

“ of existence, and be filled with gratitude to the be“ neficent author of it? Thus to enjoy the blessingshe has sent, is virtue and obedience; and to reject .“ them merely as means of pleasure, is pitiable igno“ rance, or absurd perverseness. Infinite goodness is " the source of created existence ; the proper tendency " of every rational being, from the highest order of “ raptured seraphs, to the meanest rank of men, is to “ rise incessantly from lower degrees of happiness to “ higher. They have each facalties alligned them for « various orders of delights.”

" What, cried I, is this the language of Reli• GION? Does the lead her votaries through flowery

paths, and bid 'them pass an unlaborious life. " Where are the painful toils of virtue, the mortifica. stions of penitents, the self-denying exercises of saints

and heroes'

66 The true enjoyments of a reasonable being," ánswered the mildly, “ do not confift in unbounded " indulgence, or luxurious ease, in the tumult of * pafsions, the languor of indolence, or the flutter of

light amusements. Yielding to immoral pleasure “ corrupts the mind, living to animal and trilling ones. is debafes it; both in their degree disqualify it for its “ genuine good, and confign it over to wretchedạess. Whoever would be really happy must make the: * diligent and regular exercife of his superior powers « his chief attention, adoring the perfections of his “ Maker, exprefúng good-will to his fellow creatures, os cultivating inward rectitude. To his lower faculties " he must allow such gratifications as will, by refresh

ing him, invigorate his nobler pursuits. In the " regions inhabited by angelic natures, unmingled fe“ licity for ever blooms, joy flows there with a per“ petual and abundant stream, nor needs there any 6.6 mound to check its course. Beings conscious of a “ frame of mind originally diseased, as all the human “ race has cause to be, mult use the regimen of a stricter 66 self-government. Whoever has been guilty of vo“ luntary exceffes, must patiently submit both to the «s painful workings of nature, and needful feverities

" of

'e of medicine in order to his cure. Still he is en. “ titled to a moderate share of whatever alleviating “ accommodations this fair manfion of his merciful

parent affords, consistent with his recovery. And in'

proportion as this recovery advances, the liveliest "s joy will spring from his secret sense of an amended « and improving heart. So far from the horrors of " despair is the condition even of the guilty.--Shuda " der, poor mortal, at the thought of that gulph into " which thou wast but now going to plunge.

“ While the most faulty have every encouragement « to amend, the more innocent foul will be supported *6 with ftill sweeter consolations under all its experi«s ence of human infirmities; supported by the glad-, " deniag assurances that every sincere endeavour to es out-grow them, shall be affifted, accepted and re“ warded. To such a one the lowliest self-abasement "s is but a deep laid foundation for the most elevated “ hopes; fince they who faithfully examine and ac" knowledge what they are, shall be enabled under " my conduct to become what they desire. The chrif. “ tian and the hero are inseparable ; and to the af. " pirings of unassuming truft, and filial confidence, “ are fet no bounds. To him who is animated with “ a view of obtaining approbation from the fovereign “ of the universe, no difficulty is infurmountable, “ Secure in this pursuit of every needful aid, his con“ flict with the severest pains and trials, is little more " than the vigorous exercises of a mind in health. His “ patient dependance on that providence which looks “ through all eternity, his silent resignation, his rea“ dy accommodation of his thoughts and behaviour “ to its inscrutable ways, is at once the most excellent “ fort of self-denial, and a source of the most exalted “ transports. Society is the true sphere of human “ virtue. In social active life, difficulties will per« petually be met with ; restraints of many kinds will “ be necessary; and studying to behave right in re“ spect of these is a discipline of the human heart, “ useful to others, and improving to itself. Suffering “ is no duty but where it is neceffary to avoid guilt,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

'" or to do good; nor pleasure a crime, but where it “ strengthens the influence of bad inclinations, or « lessens the generous activity of virtue. The happi" ness allotted to man in his present state, is indeed « faint and low compared with his immortal prospects " and noble capacities; but yet whatever portion of “ it the distributing hand of heaven offers to each in« dividual, is a needful support and refrelhment for " the present moment, so far as it may not hinder " the attaining his final destination.

“ Return then with me from continual misery to “ moderate enjoyment, and grateful alacrity. Return " from the contracted views of solitude to the proper 66 duties of a relative and dependent being, Religion " is not confined to cells and closets, nor refrained " to sullen retirement. These are the gloomy doc“ trines of SUPERSTITION, by which she endeavours « to break those chains of benevolence and social af“ fection, that link the welfare of every particular with " that of the whole. Remember that the greatest " honour you can pay to the author of your being is " by such a chearful behaviour, as discovers a mind • satisfied with his dispensations.”

Here my preceptress paused, and I was going to express my acknowledgment for her discourse, when a ring of bells from the neighbouring village, and a new-risen sun darting his beams through my windows, awaked me.

On Lying. (Adventurer, No. 50.]
W HEN Aristotle was once asked, what a man

V could gain by uttering falsehoods; he replied, “ Not to be credited when he shall tell the truth.”

The character of a liar is at once so hateful and contemptible, that even of those who have lost their virtue it might be expected, that from the violation of truth they should be restrained by their pride. Al. most every other vice that disgraces human nature,


may be kept in countenance by applause and association : the corrupter of virgin innocence sees himself envied by the men, and at least not detested by the women : the drunkard may easily unite with beings, devoted like himself to noisy merriment or silent infenfibility, who will celebrate his victories over the Bovices of intemperance, boast themselves the companions of his prowess, and tell with rapture of the multitudes whom unsuccessful emulation has hurried to the grave ; even the robber and the cut-throat have their followers, who admire their address and intre. pidity, their stratagems of rapine, and their fidelity to the gang

The liar, and only the liar, is invariably and uni. versally despised, abandoned, and disowned : he has no domestic consolations, which he can oppose to the censure of mankind, he can retire to no fraternity, where his crimes may stand in the place of virtues : but is given up to the hisses of the multitude, without friend and without apologift. It is the peculiar condition of falsehood, to be equally detested by the good and bad : “ The devils,” says Sir Thomas Brown, “ do not tell lies to one another; for truth is neces“ fary to all societies; nor can the society of hell sub“ filt without it."

It is natural to expect, that a crime thus generally detested, should be generally avoided ; at least that none should expose himself to unabated and unpitied infamy, without an adequate temptation : and that to guilt so easily detected, and so severely punished, an adequate temptation would not readily be found.

Yet so it is, that in defiance of censure and contempt, truth is frequently violated ; and scarcely the most vigilant and unremitted circumspection will secure him that mixes with mankind, from being hourly deceived by men of whom it can scarcely be imagined, that they mean any injury to him or profit to themselves ; even where the subject of conversation could not have been expected to put the passions in motion, or to have excited either hope or fear, or zeal or malignity, fufficient to induce any man to put his reputation in hazard, however little he might value it, or to overpower the love of truth, however weak might be its influence. · The cafuists have very diligently diftinguished lyes into their several classes, according to their various degrees of malignity: but they have, I think, generally omitted that which is most common, and, perhaps, not least mischievous; which since the moralists have not given it a name, I shall distinguish as the Lye of VANITY.


To vanity may justly be imputed most of the false. hoods which every man perceives hourly playing upon his ear, and, perhaps, most of those that are propagated with success. To the lye of commerce, and the lye of malice, the motive is so apparent, that they are seldom negligently or implicitly received ; suspicion is always watchful over the practices of interest; and whatever the hope of gain, or desire of mischief, can prompt one man to assert, another is by reasons equally cogent incited to refute. But vanity pleases herself with such fight gratifications, and looks forward to pleasure fo remotely consequential, that her practices raise no alarm, and her stratagems are not easily dis. covered.

VANITY is, indeed, often suffered to pass unpursued by suspicion ; because he that would watch her motions, can never be at rest : fraud and malice are bounded in their influence; some opportunity of time and place is necessary to their agency ; but scarce any man is abstracted one moment from his vanity; and he, to whom truth affords no gratifications, is generally inclined to seek them in falsehoods.

It is remarked by Sir Kenelm Digby, “ that every “ man has a desire to appear superior to others, though “ it were only in having seen what they have not seen.”

Such an accidental advantage, since it neither implies merit, nor confers dignity, one would think should not be desired so much as to be counterfeited : yet even this vanity, triling as it is, produces innumerable narratives, all equally false; but more or less credible, in proportion to the skill or confidence of


« السابقةمتابعة »