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What is the life of man! is it not to shift from side to side ;-from sorrow to sorrow ?-to button up one cause of vexation,-and unbutton another!
Sweet pliability of man's spirit, that can at once surrender itself to illusions, which cheat expectation and sorrow of their weary moments !-Longlong since had ye numbered out my days, had I not trod so great a part of them upon this enchanted ground: when my way is too rough for my feet, or too steep for my strength, I get off it to some smooth velvet path which fancy has scattered over with rosebuds of delight; and having taken a few turns in it, come back strengthen’d and refresh'd When evils press sore upon me, and there is no retreat from them in the wo:ld, then I take a new
--I leave it and as I have a clearer idea of the Elysion fields than I have of heaven, I force myself, 'ike Æneas, into them-I see him meet the pensive shade of his forsaken Didom and wish to recognize it-I see the injured spirit_wave her head, and turn off silent from the author of her miseries and dishonours- I lose the feelings of myself in her's—and those affections which were wont to make me mourn for her when I was at school.
Surely this is not walking in a vain shadow nor
does man disquiet himself in vain by it—he oftener does so in trusting the issue of his commotions to reason only-I can safely say for myself, I was never able to conquer any one single bad sensation in my heart so decisively, as by beating up as fast as I could for some kindly and gentle sensation to fight it upon its own ground.
INCONSISTENT soul that man iş !-languishing under wounds which he has the power to heal !-his whole life a contradiction to his knowledge !-his reason, that precious gift of God to him-(instead of poaring in oily serving but to sharpen his sensibilities,—to multiply his pains, and render him more 'melancholy and uneasy under them !--Poor unhappy creature, that he should do so!-are not the necessary causes of misery in this life enow, but he must add voluntary ones to his stock of sorJOW ;-struggle against evils which cannot be avoided, and submit to others, which a tenth part of the trouble they create him, would l'emove from his heart for ever?
When I reflect upon man; and take a view of that dark side of him which represents his life as open to so many causes of trouble-when I consi
der how oft we eat the bread of'affliction, and that we are born to it, as to the portion of our inheri. tauce—when one runs over the catalogue of all the cross reckonings and sorrowful items with which the heart of man is overcharged, 'tis wonderful by what bidden resources the mind is enabled to stand it out, and bear itself up as it does, against the impositions laid upon our nature.
OBSERVATION AND STUDY.
-WHAT a large volume of adventures grasped within this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in every thing, and who, having eyes to see what time and chance are perpetually holding out to him as he journeyeth on his way, misses nothing he can fairly lay his hands on !
If this won't turn out something another will
—no matter—'tis an essay upon human natureI get my labour for my pains— tis enough the pleasure of the experiment has kept my senses and the best part of my blood awake, and laid the grass ta sleep.
I pity tire man who can travel from Dun to Betra sheba, and cry, 'Tis all barren—And so it is; and so is all the worid to him who will not cultivate the fruits it offers. I declare, said I, clapping my liands cheerily together, that were 1 in a desert, I would find out where with in it to call forth my af fections. If I could do no better, I would fasten them upon some sweet myrtle, or seek some me. lancholy cypress to connect myself to I would
court their shade, and greet them kindly for their protection—I would cut my name upon them, and swear they were the loveliest trees throughout the desert: if their leaves withered, I would teach myself to mourn, and when they rejoiced, I would rejoice along with them.
POWER OF SLIGHT INCIDENTS, It is curious to observe the triumph of slight incidents over the mind :-and what incredible weight they have in forming and governing our opinions, both of men and things—that trifles light as air, sball waft a belief into the soul, and plant it so immoveable within it, that Euclid's demonstrations, conld they be brought to batter it in breach, should not all have power to overthrow it.
How abandoned is that heart which bulges the tear of innocence, and is the cause-- the fatal cause of overwhelming the spotless soul, and plunging the yet untainted mind into a sea of sorrow and repentance!—Though born to protect the fair, does not man act the part of a demon—first alluring by his temptations, and then triumphing in his victory ?-When villany gets the ascendancy, it seldom leaves the wretch till it has thoroughly polluted him.
Crowded towns, and busy societies, may delight the unthinking, and the gay-but solitude is the best nurse of wisdom.
In solitude the mind gains strength, and learns to lean upon herself : in the world it seeks or accepts of a few treacherous supports—the feigned compassion of one- the fiattery of a second the civilities of a third—the friendship of a fourththey all deceive, and bring the mind back to retirement, reflection, and books.
Time wastes too fast; every letter I trace tells me with what rapidity life follows my pen; the days and hours of it, more precious, my dear Jenny! than the rabies about thy neck, are flying over our heads like light clouds of a windy day, never to return more-every thing presses on-whilst thou art twisting that lock,-see! it grows grey; and every time I kiss thy hand to bid adieu, and every absence which follows it, are preludes to that eternal separation which we are shortly to make.