صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

to the costly dwellings which pride and extravagance have erected :—tells the inquirer, that the object he is in search of inhabits there,—that happiness lives only in company with the great, in the midst of muchopomp and outward state, that he will easily find her out by the coat of many colours she has on, and the great luxury and expense of equipage and furniture with which she always sits surrounded.

The Miser blesses God !-wonders how any one would mislead and wilfully put him upon so wrong a scent-convinces him that happiness and extra. vagance never inhabited under the same roof; that if he would not be disappointed in his search, he must look into the plain and thrifty dwellings of the prudent man, who knows and understands the worth of money, and cautiously lays it up against an evil hour: that it is not the prostitution of wealth upon the passions, or the parting with it at all, that constitutes liappiness—but that it is the kecping it together, and the having and holding it fast to him and his heirs for ever, which are the chief attributes that forin this great idol of human worslip, to which so mnch incense is offered up every day.

The Epicure, thongh he easily rectifies so gross a mistake, yet at the same time he plunges hini, if possible, into a greater; for hearing the object of his pursuit to be happiness, and knowing of no other happiness than what is scated immediately in his senses--he sends the inquirer there ; tells him 'tis vain to search elsewhere for it, than where Nature herself has placed it—in the indulgence and gratification of the appetites, which are given


us for that end; and, in a word—if he will not take his opinion in the matter-he may trust the word of a much wiser man, who has assured usthat there is nothing better in this world, than that a man should eat and drink, and rejoice in his works, and make his soul enjoy good in labour; for that is his portion.

To rescue him from this brutal experiment, Ambition takes him by the hand, and carries him into the world.-shows him all the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory of them, points out the many ways of advancing his fortune, and raising himself to honour,—lays before his eyes all the charms and bewitching temptations of power, and asks, if there can be any happiness in this world like that of being caressed, courted, flattered, and followed?

To close all, the Philosopher meets him bustling in the full career of his pursuit-stops bim-tells him, if he is in search of happiness, he is far gone out of his way. That this deity has long been banished from noise and tumults, where there was no rest found for her, and was fled into solitude far from all commerce of the world; and, in a word, if he would find her, he must leave this busy and intriguing scene, and go back to that peaceful scene of retirement and books, from which he at first set out.

In this circle too often does a man run, tries all experiments, and generally sits down wearied and dissatisfied with them all at last- in utter despair of ever accomplishing what he wants—nor knowing what to trust to after so many disappointments ; or

where to lay the fault, whether in the incapacity of his own nature, or in the insufficiency of the enjoyments themselves.


HUMILITY. He that is little in his own eyes, is little too in his desires, and consequently moderate in his pursuit of them : like another man, he may fail in his attempts, and lose the point he aimed at;- but that is all,--he loses not himself,-he loses not his happiness and peace of mind with it:- even the contentions of the humble man are mild and placid. -Blessed characters! when such a one is thrust back, who does not pity him ? when he falls, who would not stretch out a hand to raise him up?



WHEN we reflect upon the character af Hilmility,-we are apt to think it stands the most naked and defenceless of all virtues whatever,the least able to support its claims against the insolent antagonist who seems ready to bear him down, and all opposition which such a temper can make.

Now, if we consider him as standing alone,no doubt, in such a case, he will be overpowered and trampled upon by his opposer ;-but if we consider the meek and lowly man, as he isfenced and guarded by the love, the friendship, and wishes

of all mankind,- that the other stands alone, hated, discountenanced, without one true friend or hearty well-wisher on his side :- when this is balanced, we shall have reason to change our opinion, and be convinced that the humble nian, strengthened with such an alliance, is far from being so overmatched as at first sight he may appear :-nay, I believe one might venture to go further, and engage for it, that in all such cases where real fortitude and true personal courage were wanted, he is much more likely to give proof of it, and I would sooner look for it in such a temper than in that of his adversary. Pride may make a man violent,but Humility will make him firm :-and which of the two, do you think, likely to come off with honour?- he who acts from the changeable impulse of heated blood, and follows the uncertain motions of his pride and fury ;-or the man who stands cool and collected in himself ;-who governs bis resentments, instead of being governed by them, and on every occasion acts upon the steady motives of principle and duty ?

[merged small][ocr errors]

With regard to the provocations and offences, which are unavoidably happening to a man in his commerce with the world, -take it as a rule, as a man's pride is, ,--so is always his displeasure; as the opinion of himself rises,—so does the injury,so does his resentment: 'tis this which gives edge and force to the instrument which has struck him,and excites that heat in the wound which renders it incurable.

See how different the case is with the humble

man: one half of these painful conflicts he actually escapes ; the other part falls lightly on him:-he provokes no man by contempt; thrusts himself forward as the mark of no man's envy; so that he cuts off the first fretful occasions of the greatest part of these evils; and for those in which the passions of others would involve him, like the humble shrub in the valley, gently gives way, and scarce feels the injury of those stormy encounters which rend the proud cedar, and tear it up by its roots.



Of all the terrors of nature, that of one day or other dying by hunger, is the greatest; and it is wisely wove into our frame to awaken man to industry, and call forth his talents : and though we seem to go on carelessly, sporting with it as we do with other terrors,—yet he that sees this enemy fairly, and in his nost frightful shape, will need no long remonstrance to make him turn out of the way to avoid him.



The humouring of certain appetites, where morality is not concerned, seems to be the means by which the Author of nature intended to sweeten this journey of life,-and bear us up under the

« السابقةمتابعة »