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rapture in the soul, finding in the regions of scepticism nothing to which it corresponds, droops, and languishes. In a world which presents a fair spectaclea of order, and beauty, of a vast family, nourished, and supported by an Almighty Parent-in a world which leads the devout mind, step by step, to the contemplation of the first fair, and the first good, the sceptic is encompassed with nothing but obscurity, meanness, and disorder. |
When we reflect on the manner in which the idea of Deity is formed, we must be convinced that such an idea intimately present to the mind, must have a most powerful effect in refining the moral taste. Composed of the richest elements, it embraces in the character of a beneficent Parent, and Almighty Ruler, 1 whatever is venerable in wis dom, whatever is awful in authority, whatever is touching in good.ness.
Human excellence is blended with many imperfections, and seen under many limitations. It is beheld only in detached, and separate portions, nor ever appears in any one character, whole, and entire. | So that, when, in imitation of the Stoics, we wish to form out of these fragments, the notion of a perfectly wise, and good man, we know it is a mere fiction of the mind, without any real being in whom it is embodied, and realized. In the belief of a Deity, these conceptions are reduced to reality the scattered rays of an ideal excellence, are concentrated, and become the real attributes of that Being with whom we stand in the nearest relation who sits supreme at the head of the universe, is armed with infinite pow`er, and pervades all nature with his presence.
The efficacy of these sentiments, | in producing, and augmenting a virtuous taste, will indeed be proportioned to the vividness with which they are formed, I and the frequency with which they recur; yet some 1
Spêk'ta-kl. b El'è-mênts; not elurmunts.
• Pá rẻnt.
benefit will not fail to result from them even in their low'est degree. |
The idea of the Supreme Being, has this peculiar property that, as it admits of no substitute, so, from the first moment it is impressed, it is capable of continual growth, and enlargement. God himself, is immutable; but our conception of his character, is continually receiving fresh accessions, is continually growing more extended and refulgent, | by having transferred upon it new perceptions of beauty, and goodness; by attracting to itself, as a centre, whatever bears the impress of dignity, or'der, or happiness. | It borrows splendour from all that is fair, subordinates to itself all that is great, and sits enthroned on the riches of the universe. |
THE THREE WARNINGS.
The tree of deepest root, is found, I
That love of life increas'd with years, I
When sports went round, and all were gay, |
"With you! and quit my Susan's side'! |
What more he urg'd, I have not heard, |
His reasons could not well be stronger;|
('His hour-glass trembled while he spoke) |
To give you time for preparation, |
Well pleas'd the world will leave." |
What next the hero of our tale befell, I
And smok'd his pipe', and strok'd his horse', |
He chaffer'd then, he bought,
He pass'd his hours in peace. I
The unwelcome messenger of Fate, |
Half kill'd with anger, and surprise, I
'Tis six-and-thirty years', at least,
And you are now fourscore." |
"So much the worse," 'the clown rejoin'd, |
"I know," cries Death, "that, at the best', |
But in jest; not button jest. b Years at least; not years'at-least.
"Hold," says the farmer, "not so fast! |
"This is a shocking tale, 't is true, But still there's comfort left for you:] Each strives your sadness to amuse 1 I warrant you hear all the news." | "There's none'," cries he;" and, if there were, | I'm grown so deaf, I could not hear." |
Nay, then," | the spectre stern rejoin'd, | "These are unjus'tifiable yearnings; | If you are Lame', and Deaf', and Blind', |
You've had your Three sufficient Warnings. | So, come along, no more we'll part;" | He said, and touch'd him with his dart. | And now, old Dodson turning pale, | Yields to his fate. so ends my tale. |
THE CHAMELEON; OR, PERTINACITY EXPOSED.
Oft has it been my lot to mark