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the Son of God came to recommend and to procure ! May we obtain mercy of the Lord; may we be owned as his children; enjoy his presence; and inherit his kingdom! With these enjoyments, and these hopes, we will cheerfully welcorne the lowest, or the most painful circumstances.
4 Let us be animated to cultivate those amiable virtues, which are here recommended to us ; this humility and meekness; this penitent sense of sin ; this ardent desire after righteousness; this compassion and purity; this peacefulness and fortitude of soul; and, in a word, this universal goodness which becomes us, as we sustain the character of “the salt of the earth,” and “the light of the world."
5 Is there not reason to lament, that we answer the character no better? Is there not reason to exclaim with a good man in former times, “ Blessed Lord ! either these are not thy words; or we are not Christians !" Oh, season our hearts more effectually with thy grace! Pour forth that divine oil on our lamps ! Then shall the flame brighten; then shall the ancient honours of thy religion be revived; and multitudes be awakened and animated, by the lustre of it, “to glorify onir Father in heaven."
DODDRIDGE. SECTION X.
Schemes of life often illusory. OMAR, the son of Hassan, had passed seventy-five years in honour and prosperity. The favour of three successive califs had filled his house with gold and silver; and whenever he appeared, the benedictions of the people proclaimed his passage.
2 Terrestrial happiness is of short continuance. The brightness of the flame is wasting its fuel; the fragrant flower is passing away in its own odours. The vigour of Omar began to fail; the curls of beauty fell from his head; strength departed from his hands; and agility from his feet. He gave back to the calif the keys of trust, and the seals of secrecy: and sought no other pleasure for the remains of life, than the converse of the wise, and the gratitude of the good.
3 The powers of his mind were yet unimpaired. This chamber was filled by visitants, eager to catch the dictates of experience, and officious to pay the tribute of admiration. Caled the soa of the viceroy of Egypt, entered every day early, and retired late. He was beautiful and eloquent: Omar admired his wit, and loved his docility. “Tell me," said Caled, “ thou to whose voice nations have listened, and whose wisdom is known to the extremities of Asia, tell me bow I may resemble Omar the prudent. The arts by which
thou hast gained power and preserved it, are to thee no longer necessary or useful; impart to me the secret of thy conduct, and teach me the plan upon which thy wisdom has built thy fortune."
“ Young man,” said Omar, “it is of little use to form plans of life. When I took my first survey of the world, in my twentieth year, having considered the various corditions of mankind, in the hour of solitude I said thus to myself, leaning against a cedar, which spread its branches over my head, “ Seventy years are allowed to man; I have yet fifty remaining.
5" Ten years I will allot to the attainment of knowledge, and ten I will pass in foreign countries; I shall be learned, and therefore shall be honoured; every city will shout at iny arrival, and every student will solicit my friendship. Twenty years thus fassed, will store my mind with images, which I shall be busy, through the rest of my life, in combining and comparing. I shall revel in inexhaustible accumulations of intellectual riches; I shall find new pleasures for every moment; and shall never more be weary of myself.
6 “I will not, however, deviate too far from the beaten track of life ; but will try what can be found in female delicacy. I will marry a wife beautiful as the Houries, and wise as Zobeide: with her I will live twenty years within the suburbs of Bagdat, in every pleasure that wealth can pur chase, and fancy can invent.
7 " I will then retire to a rural dwelling, pass my days in obscurity and contemplation, and lie silently down on the bed of death. Through my life it shall be my settled resolution, that I will never depend upon the smile of princes; that I will never stand exposed to the artifices of courts; I will never pant for public honcurs, nor disturb my quiet with the affairs of state.” Such was my scheme of life, which I impressed indelibly upon my memory.
8 “ The first part oi my ensuing time was to be spent in search of knowledge, and I know not how I was diverted from my design. I had no visible impediments without, nor any ungovernable passions within. I regarded knowledge as the highest honour, and the most engaging pleasure; yet day stole upon day, and month glided after month, till I found that seven years of the first ten had vanished, and left nothing behind them.
9 “I now postponed my purpose of travelling; for why should I go abroad, while so much remained to be learned at home? I immured myself for four years, and studied the laws of the empire. The fame of my skill reached the judges;
I was found able to speak upon doubtful questions; and was commanded to stand at the footstool of the calif. I was heard with attention; I was consulted with confidence; and the love of praise fastened on iny heart. '10 " I still wished to see distant countries ; listened with rapture tu the relations of travellers; and resolved some time to ask my dismission, that I might feast my soul with novelty : but my presence was always necessary; and the stream of business hurried me along. Sometimes I was afraid lest I
should be charged with ingratitude : but I still proposed to · travel, and therefore would not confine myself by marriage.
11 “In my fiftieth year, I began to suspect that the time of travelling was past; and thought it best to lay hold on the felicity yet in my power, and indulge myself in domestic pleasures. But at fifty no man easily înds a woman beautiful as the Houries, and wise as Zobeide. I inquired and rejected, consulted and deliberated, till the sixty-second year made me ashamed of wishing to marry. I had now nothing left but retirement; and for retirement I never found a time, till disease forced me from public employment.
12 “ Such was my scheme, and such has been its consequence. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I trifled away the years of improvement; with a restless desire of seeing different countries, I have always resided in the same city ; with the highest expectation of connubial felicity, I have lived unmarried ; and with unalterable resolutions of contemplative retirement, I am going to die within the walls of Bagdat."
DR. JOENSON. SECTION XI. The pleasures of virtuous sensibility. THE good effects of true sensibility, on general virtue and happiness, admit of no dispute. Let us consider its effect on the happiness of him who possesses it, and the various pleasures to which it gives him access. If he is master of riches or influence, it affords him the means of increasing his own enjoyment, by relieving the wants, or increasing the comforts of others. If he commands not these advantages, get all the comforts which he sees in the possession of the deserving, become in some sort his, by his' rejoicing in the good which they enjoy.
2 Even the face of nature, yields a satisfaction to him, which the jnsensible can never know. The profusion of goodness, which he beholds poured forth on the universe, dilates his heart with the thought, that innumerable multitudes around him, are blest and happy. When he sees the labours
of men appearing to prosper, and views a country flourishing in wealth and industry; when he beholds the spring coming forth in its heauty, and reviving the decayed face of nature; or in autumn, beholds the fields loaded with plenty, and the year crowned with all its fruits ; he lifts his affections with gratitude to the great Father of all, and rejoices in the general felicity and joy.
3 It may indeed be objected, that the same sensibility lays open the heart to be pierced with many wounds, from the distresses which abound in the world; exposes us to frequent suffering from the participation which it communicates of the sorrows, as well as the joys of friendship. But let it be considered, that the tender melancholy of sympathy, is accompanied with a sensation, which they who feel it would not exchange for the gratifications of the selfish. When the heart is strongly moved by any of the kind affections, even when it pours itself forth in virtuous sorrow, a secret attrac. tive charm mingles with the painful emotion; there is a joy in the midst of grief.
4 Let it be farther considered, that the griefs which sensi. bility introduces, are counterbalanced by pleasures which flow from the same source. Sensibility heightens in general the human powers, and is connected with acuteness in all our feelings. If it makes us more alive to some painful sensations, in returnit renders the pleasing ones more vivid and animated.
5 The selfish man, languishes in his narrow circle of pleasures. They are confined to what affects his own interest. He is obliged to repeat the same gratifications, till they become insipid. But the man of virtuous sensibility, moves in a wider sphere of felicity. His powers are much inore frequently called forth into occupations of pleasing activity. Numberless occasions open to him of indulging his favourite taste, by conveying satisfaction to others. Often it is in his power, in one way or other, to soothe the afflicted heart, to carry some consolation into the house of wo.
6 In the scenes of ordinary life, in the domestic and social intercourses of men, the cordiality of his affections cheers and gladdens him. Every appearance, every description of inno. cent bappiness, is enjoyed by him. Every native expression of kindness and affection among others, is felt by bim, even though he be not the object of it. In a circle of friends enjoying one another, he is as happy as the happiest.
7 In a word, he lives in a different sort of world, from that which the selfish man inhabits. He possesses a new sense that enables him to behold objects which the selfish cannot see. At the same time, his enjogments are not of that kind
which remain merely on the surface of the mind. They pe netrate the heart. They enlarge and elevate, they refirie and ennoble it. To all the pleasing emotions of affection, they add the dignified consciousness of virtue.
8 Children of men ! men formed by nature to live and to feel as brethren! how long will ye continue to estrange yourselves from one another by competitions and jealousies, when in cordial union' ye might be so much more blest? How long will ye seek your happiness in selfish gratifications alone, neglecting those purer and better sources of joy, which flow from the affections and the heart?
BLAIR. SECTION XII. .. On the true honour of man.. THE proper honour of man arises not from some of those splendid actions and abilities, which excite high admiration. Courage and prowess, military renown, signal victories and conquests, inay render the name of a man famous without rendering his character truly honourable. To many brave men, to many heroes renowned in story, we look up with wonder. Their exploits are recorded. Their praises are sung. They stand, as' on an eminence, above the rest of mankind. Their eminence, nevertheless, may not be of that sort, before which we bow with inward esteem and respect. Something more is wanted for that purpose, than the conquering arm, and the intrepid mind. i s
2. The laurels of the warsiour must at all times be dyed in blood, and bedewed with the tears of the widow and the orphan. But if they have been stained by rapine, and inhumanity; if sordid avarice has marked his character; or low and gross sensuality has degraded his life; the great bero sinks into a little man. What, at a distance, or on a superficial view, we admired, becomes mean, perhaps odious, when we examine it more closely. It is like the Colossal statue, whose immense size struck the spectator afar off with astonishment ; but when nearly viewed, it appears disproportioned, unshapely, and rude: in
3 Observations of the same kind may be applied to all the reputation derived from civil accomplishments; froin the refined politics of the statesman, or the literary efforts of geniuś and erudition. These bestow, and within certain bounds ought to bestow, eminence and distinction on men. They discover talents which in themselves are shining; and which become highly valuable, when employed in advancing the good of mankind. Hence, they frequently give rise to fame.