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che FOLLY OF PRIDE.—Take some quiet, sober mo
ment of life, and add together the two ideas of
pride and man; behold him, creature of a span high, stalking through infinite space in all the grandeur of littleness. Perched on a speck of the universe, every wind of heaven strikes into his blood the coldness of death; his soul floats from his body like melody from the string; day and night, as dust on the wheel, he is rolled along the heavens, through a labyrinth of worlds, and all the creations of God are flaming above and beneath. Is this a creature to make for himself a crown of glory, to deny his own flesh, to mock at his fellow, sprung from that dust to which both will soon return? Does the proud man not err? Does he not suffer? Does he not die? When he reasons, is he never stopped by difficulties? When he acts, is he never tempted by pleasure ? When he lives, is he free from pain? When he dies, can he escape the common grave? Pride is not the heritage of man ; humility should dwell with frailty, and atone for ignorance, error, and imperfection.—Anon.
DCLII. ocial Anomaly.-In proportion as nations have become great and powerful, and have made advances
in wealth and acquirements, the mass of misery, corruption, and rankling at their base has also continued progressively to be enlarged, until it may be truly said that the foundations of society are laid in wretchedness, and that there is no addition made to the superstructure of luxury and of wealth, without a more than corresponding enlargement of the sphere of misery below.—Mudie.
JONGING AFTER IMMORTALITY.—The desire of being
remembered when we are no more is deeply im
planted in the human mind. We all cast“ a longing, lingering look behind,” and desire to know what will be said of us when we are no more. “I shall not altogether die!” was the triumphant exclamation of a poet of antiquity, when speaking of the productions of his brain. “I shall leave a memorial of myself” is the idea of the swain who rudely carves the initials of his name on the glossy surface of a beech-tree in the forest.
The idler who cuts letters with his knife on the benches in our public walks, the poet who writes verses with his pencil on the boards of the summer-house, are equally anxious that at least some part of them may escape the ravages of the gloomy Libitina.
. We do not attempt to condemn this propensity merely because it discovers itself in trifles. No; had circumstances favoured the ambition of these candidates for immortality, they might have plundered cities, ravaged kingdoms, established empires, and become “ mighty hunters” on the earth. This is the same principle which induced men in early ages to say to each other : “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name.” — The Savage.
DCLIV. Anoop EXAMPLF.—Think not, Sultan, that in the se
questered vale alone dwells Virtue, and her sweet
companion, with attentive eye, mild, affable Benevolence. No! the first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.—Sir Charles Morell.
DCLV. onscience.—The character of man's opinion seems to be, as Dr. Watson says, generally determined by
the strength and activity of his understanding, by his peculiar temperament, by the objects he becomes familiar with, by the sort of entertainment he gives them, and by a variety of other circumstances that influence him throughout life; and this alone will explain how it comes to pass, that the very same action which is esteemed virtue in one country is sometimes considered to be actually vice in another. Moreover, as our opinions change upon moral matters, so does our conscience effect a suitable change in our conduct. It often happens, for instance, that he who has long indulged himselt without scruple in the enjoyment of many worldly pleasures, is brought, either by the experience of their vanity, or by misfortune, or by the persuasions of others, to believe them criminal, and, consequently, to abandon them more or less abruptly and strictly. Courtiers have thus voluntarily quitted the brilliant saloons of Versailles, in order to entomb themselves within the gloomy walls of La Trappe. Prejudice and superstition strangely warp the human mind; and, seemingly, there is no absurdity man is not capable of practising from conscientious motives. Some men continually torment themselves, and some as continually torment others, in the very monstrous belief of its proving acceptable to the Father of all Mercies. But, though reason is, as experience assures us, apt to be biassed in such a vast variety of ways, in its determination of what is morally right, yet is it in every man, from his childhood, fitted to apprise him, that it is his duty to act according to his sense of right, whatever it may be; and this sense of right is what we call Conscience. - Anon.
DCLVI. SPHE IGNORANT ALWAYS CREDULOUS AND SUPERSTITIOUS.
-The religion of the Pagans had its foundation
upon natural philosophy, as the Christian may seem to have upon moral; for all those gods which the ancients worshiped as persons did but represent the several operations of nature upon several kinds of matter ; which, being wrought by an invisible and unintelligible power, the wisest men of those times could invent no way so fit and proper to reduce them, with respect and reverence, to the vulgar capacity, as by expressing them by the figures of men and women (like the Egyptian hieroglyphics, or as poets or painters do virtues and vices), and, by ascribing divinity to them, introduce a veneration in the minds of the common people,—who are apt to contemn any thing they can understand, and admire nothing but what is above their capacity,—which they would never have received on any other account; and, therefore, with great piety and devotion, adored those notions represented by statues and images which, if they had understood, they would never have regarded. If they had known the natural reason of thunder, they would never have sacrificed to Jupiter, to divert it from themselves. Their capacities are naturally too dull to apprehend any thing that is ever so little removed from outward senses, though it be derived from it; but are wonderfully acute at unravelling of mysteries, and such things as have no relation at all to it.—Butler,
S h e Selfish System. — The selfish system, in its I literal import, is Aatly inconsistent with obvious
facts, and therefore is hardly deserving of serious refutation. We are daily and hourly conscious of disin. terested benevolence or sympathy, or of wishing the good of others without regard to our own. In the present wretched condition of human society, so unfavourable are the outward circumstances wherein most men are placed, and so bad is the education or training received by most men in their youth, that the benevolence of most men wants the intensity and endurance which are requisite to their own happiness and to the happiness of their fellow-creatures. With the majority, benevolence or sympathy is rather a barren emotion than a strong and steady incentive to vigorous and efficient, action. Although the feeling or sentiment affects them often enough, it is commonly stifled at birth by antagonist feelings or sentiments. But to deny, with Rochefoucault or Mandeville, the existence of benevolence or sympathy, is rather a wild parodox, hazarded in the wantonness of satire, than the deliberate position of a philosopher examining the springs of conduct.-Prof. Austin.
TRUNKENNESS.-I caution you against a vice, of all
others in itself the most debasing; and of all others
the most prolific of other sins : I mean that of drunkenness. Man has evil as well as good qualities peculiar to himself. Drunkenness places him as much below the level of brutes as reason elevates him above them.—Sir George Sinclair.