« السابقةمتابعة »
many shocks and hard jostlings, which we are sure to meet with in our way. And a man might, with as much reason, muffle up himself against sunshine and fair weather,-and at other times expose himself naked to the inclemencies of cold and rain, as debar himself of the innocent delights of his nature, for affected reserve and melancholy.
It is true, on the other hand, our passions are apt to grow upon us by indulgence, and become exorbitant, if they are not kept under exact discipline, that by way of caution and prevention, 'twere better, at certain times, to affect some degree of needless reserve, than hazard any ill consequences from the other extreme.
What a problematic set of creatures does simulation make us! who would divine that—that anxiety and concern, so visible in the airs of one half of that great assembly, should arise from nothing else, but that the other half of it may think them to be men of consequence, penetration, parts, and conduct? What a noise amongst the claimants about it! Behold Humility, out of mere pride ;--and Honesty, almost out of knavery :-Chastity never once in harm's way: and Courage, like a Spanish soldier upon an Italian stage-a bladder full of wind.
Hark! that, the sound of that trumpet, let not my soldier run, -it is some good Christian giving alms. O, Pity! thou gentlest of human passions ! soft and tender are thy notes, and ill accord they with so loud an instrument.
Thus something jars, and will for ever jar in these cases.
Imposture is all dissonance, let what master so. ever of it undertake the part: let him harmonise and modulate it as he may, one tone will contradict another; and whilst we have ears to hear, we shall distinguish it; 'tis truth only which is consistent, and ever in harmony with itself: it sits upon our lips, like the natural notes of some melodies, ready to drop out, whether we will or no ;- it racks no invention to let ourselves alone, and needs fear no critic, to have the same excellency in the heart, which
appears in the action.
THERE is a secret shame which attends every act of inhunianity, not to be conquered in the hardest natures.
Many a man will do a cruel act, who at the same time will blush to look you in the face, and is forced to turn aside before he can have a heart to execute his purpose.
Inconsistent creature that a man is ! who, at that instant that he does what is wrong, is not able to withbold his testimony to what is good and praiseworthy.
An injury unanswered, in course grows weary of itself, and dies away in a voluntary remorse.
In bad dispositions, capable of no restraint but fear-it has a different effect—the silent digestion of one wrong provokes a second.
It is the fate of mankind, too often, to seem inselisible of what they riay enjoy at the easiest rate,
The insolence of base minds in success is bound. less; and would scarce admit of a comparison, did not they sometimes furnish us with one, in the degrees of their objection when evil returns upon them—the same poor heart which excites ungenerous tempers to triumph over a fallen adversary, in some instances seems to exalt them above the point of courage, sinks them in others even below cowardice. Not unlike some little particles of matter struck off from the surface of the dirt by sunshine--dance and sport there whilst it lastsbut the moment 'tis withdrawn-they fall down for dust they are and unto dust they will return
whilst firmer and larger bodies preserve the stations which nature has assigned them, subjected to laws which no changes of weather can alter.
JUDGMENT OF THE WORLD,
To judge justly of the world, we must stand at a due distance from it ;—which. will discover to tis the vanity of its riches and honours, in such true dimensions, as will engage us to behave ourselves towards them with moderation. This is all that is wanting to make us wise and good !—that we njay be left to the full influence of religion ;-to which Christianity so far conduces, that it is the greatest blessing, the peculiar advantage we enjoy under its institution,—that it affords us not only the most excellent precepts of this kind, but it also shows us those precepts confirmed by the most excellent examples.-A heathen philosopher may talk very elegantly about despising the world, and like Seneca may prescribe very ingenious rules to teach us an art he never exercised himself;—for all the while he was writing in praise of poverty, he was enjoying a great estate, and endeavouring to make it greater, - but if ever we hope to reduce those rules to practice, it must be by the belp of religion.
EVERY obstruction of the course of justice, is a door opened to betray society, and bereave us of those blessings which it has in view. To stand up for the privilege of such places, is to invite men to sin with a bribe of impunity. It is a strange way of doing honour to God, to screen actions which are a disgrace to humanity.
JUSTICE AND HONESTY.
Justice and honesty contribute very much towards all the faculties of the mind: I mean, that it clears up the understanding from that mist, which dark and crooked designs are apt to raise in it,-and that it keeps up a regularity in the affections, by suffering no lusts, or by-ends, to disorder them.That it likewise preserves the mind from all damps of grief and melancholy, which are the sure consequences of unjust actions; and that by such an improvemement of the faculties, it makes a man so much the abler to discern, and so much the more cheerful, active, and diligent to mind his business Light is sown for the righteous, says the prophet, and gladness for the upright in heart.
Secondly, let it be observed,- that in the continuance and course of a virtuous man's affairs, there is little probability of his falling into considerable disappointments or calamities ;-not only because