Abbildungen der Seite

confeffion, and ready to give fatisfaction." Thus each tries to conceal his refpective crime, pretending fuch indu'gences are innocent, because fashionable. Should the moralift reprove, they difregard his admonitions, and eafe their own confciences with the common phrafe, it is honourable. 7. As the man of virtue fears, fo the man of honour fcorns to do a mean action. Seneca fpeaks in the noble and genuine language of honour, when he fays, "Were. there no God to fee and punish vice, he would not commit it, because it is of fo mean, fo bafe, and vile a nature." Should thofe perfons who court vice and folly for pleas ure, ftudy decency, and cultivate true principles, they would foon difcard thofe fashionable vices, which they vain. ly flatter themfelves, accomplish the real man of honour.

8. The vices of the prefent age, like drefs, have their fashions. Were we to enquire into the cause, should we not find, that many of them owe their rife to a mistaken notion of honour? Excefs of pleasure, fays the fenfualist, is fashionable, confequently, honorable. But were he fenfible that nothing but what is virtuous, is worthy of this name, that the principles of honour would teach him to ennoble his foul with conceptions of the juft and amiable, he would forfake the lap of pleasure, for that of virtue.

9. Then let the debauchee quit his bottle and his lafs; the voluptuary the bed of pleasure; the duellift his dag ger, for what is great, noble, and virtuous, and he perfuaded that honour is the child of virtue, and the perfection of a benevolent and generous foul;

"A sacred tie, the law of kings,

The noble mind's distinguishing perfection,


That aids and strengthens virtue where it meets her,
And imitates her actions where she is not."





Fwe fuppofe that there are fpirits, or angels, who able there are, both from reafon and revelation, how different are the notions which they entertain of us, from thofe which we are apt to form of one another! Were they to

give us in their catalogue of fuch worthies as are now living, how different would it be from that which any of our fpecies would draw up!

2. We are dazzled with the splendour of titles, the of tentation of learning, the noife of victories. They, on the contrary, fee the philofopher in the cottage, who poffeffes his foul in patience and thankfulness, under the preffures of what little minds call poverty and diftrefs. They do not look for great men at the head of armies, or among the pomps of the court, but often find them out in shades and folitudes, in the private walks of life. The evening's walk of a wife man is more illustrious in their fight, than the march of a general at the head of his thousands.

3. A contemplation of God's works; a voluntary act of justice to our own detriment; a generous concern for the good of mankind; tears that are fhed in filence for the misery of others; a private defire of refentment broken and fubdued; in fhort, an unfeigned exercife of humility, or any other virtue, are fuch actions as are glorious in their fight, and denominate men great, and reputable. The most famous among us are often looked upon with pity, with contempt, or with indignation; while thofe who are moft obfcure among their own fpecies are regarded with love, with approbation and efleem.

4. The moral of the prefent application amounts to this, that we fhould not be led away by the cenfures and applaufe of men, but confider the figure every perfon will make at that time when wisdom fhall be justified of her children, and nothing pafs for great or illuftrious, which is not an ornament and perfection to human nature.




WARRIOR, who had been the fuccefsfal commander of armies, on boafting of the thou. fands he had flain in the field, or cut off by stratagem, roused the indignant but humane feelings of a Sage, who, unawed by military prowefs, thus rebuked the infolence of his triumph. You feem to exult, Sir, in the deftruc

[ocr errors]

tion of your kind, and to recapitulate with fatisfaction the numbers you have deprived of life, or rendered miferable. As a man, 1 blush for you; as a Philofopher, I pity you; as a Chriftian, I defpise you."

2. The hero reddened with wrath; he frowned contempt; but he did not yet open his lips. "I am patriot enough (continued the Sage) to wish well to the arms of my country. I honour her valiant fons who fupport her glory and independence, and who risk their lives in her defence; but however meritorious this may be, in a just caufe, the truly brave will lament the cruel neceffity they are under of facrificing their fellow-men; and the gener ous will rather commiferate than triumph.

3. I never read of a battle, of the deltruction of thoufands and tens of thousands, but I involuntarily enter into calculations on the extent of mifery then enfues. The victims of the fword are, perhaps, least the objects of pity; they have fallen by an honorable and an inftant death, and are removed from the consciousness of the woes they have left behind. I extend my views to their furviving relatives, and friends. I bewail the lafcerated ties of nature. I fympathife with the widow and the orphan. My heart bleeds for parental agonies. I depict the warm vows of a genuine affection forever loft; the filent throb of exquifite anguifh; the tear which perhaps is forbiden to flow; an, from fuch a contemplation, i turn away with a fenfibility that repreffes exultation for victory, however brilliant, and for fuccefs, however complete.


4. The warrior clapped his hand on his word; he looked indignation, but ftill was mute. The Sage went "I almoft forget the name of enemy, when I reflect on the mifery of man. The malignant paffions that excite hoftilities, between nations or individuals, feldom return on the aggreffors' heads. Were this the case, moral juftice would be fatisfied, and reafon would have lefs to censure or lament. But when the innocent fuffer for the guilty, who can think without concern, or with. hold commiferation, though feli necceffity may fanction the devaftations of war."

5 "Do you mean to insult me, Sir ?" fternly demand. ed the Hero. "This canting hypocritical affectation of fentiment 1 will not brook. But you are too infignificant

for my refentment." "I confefs my infignificance, (rejoined the Sage) my actions have never been blazoned in gazettes; yet I have neither been idle nor uselessly employed. As far as my abilities would allow, I have endeavoured to make mankind wifer and better. If I have failed to increase the stock of human happiness, my heart does not accufe me of diminishing its fupplies. Few have an opportunity of doing much good; but the most infig nificant and contemptible are qualified to do harm."

6. Here the Hero and the Sage parted; neither was able to convince the other of the importance of his fervices; the former ordered his coach, and was gazed at with admiration by the unthinking mob; the latter retired to his garret, and was forgotten.




F there are a fortunate few who have little reafon to complain of the fatigues and inconveniences of life, there are also many who drink deep of the cup of afflic. tion; fo deeply that they court the icy hand of death to relieve them from the inquietudes and pains which ren der their existence infupportable. How mournful is the paffing bell of thofe we love! how much more fadly folemn does it ftrike our ear when tolling for those we have lately feen in the bloom of health and cheerfulness of youth, and with whom we have converfed, with focial ease, of pleafing profpects.

2. Some favorites of fortune pafs on fo eafy and fo tranquil, have so many delightful scenes in view, are engaged in fo many enchanting plans of amufement, that they dread the gloomy meffenger hould announce their tour to be completed They dream not that the period of their enjoyments is fo near.

3. In the pleafurable hurry of diffipation they are unmindful of the inevitable hour. We ftart with horror from the pangs of diffolution! Let us paufe upon this mournful truth. Is it the monitor within that makes us tremble? Do we feel the mifery, arifing from confcious guilt? Do we fhudder at the doom that awaits us? The

virtuous look forward with a patient eye; fend up a figh to heaven; and drop a tear of chafte repentance over all their errors.

4. Could we wipe them from our hearts, we would commit no more. But we are human, and muft, therefore, err. The frailties we regret are interwoven with our frame ; our Maker fees, and will forgive them. When we have paid this laft great debt of nature, thofe who loved us living, will no more remember the imperfections that mark. ed our conduct; the tears of forrow fhed at our exit, will wash all our improprieties from their recollection.

5. Death may be efteemed the veil which conceals, or obliterates, all we wish to be thrown into oblivion; or it may be viewed as a mirror that reflects every foftening tint, all the pleafing, all the engaging qualities which endeared us to our friends, or rendered us agreeable to our acquaintance. In this reflector, with all the tender partiality with which we could with to be conten-plated in the most ambitious moment, of towering vanity, every hade is lightened to the eye, and every varied colour en livened in the memory.



1. HE celebrated Chinefe philofopher, Confucius, did not grow in knowledge by degrees, as children ufually do, but feemed to arrive at reafon and the perfection of his faculties almoft from his infancy. He had a grave and ferious deportment, which gained him refpect, and plainly foretold what he one day would be.

2. What diftinguished hina moft was his unexampled and exalted piety. He honoured his relations; he endeav ered in all things to imitate his grandfather, who was then alive in China, and a moft holy man. It was obfervable, that he never ate any thing but he proftrated himself on the ground, and offered it firft to the fupreme Lord of heaven.

« ZurückWeiter »