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But a distinction is to be made between fame and true hon
4 The statesman, the orator, or the poet, may be famous; while yet the man himself is far from being honoured. We envy his abilities. We wish to rival them. But we would not choose to be classed with him who possesses thein. Instances of this sort are too often found in every record of ancient or modern history. - 5 From all this it follows, that in order to discern where man's true honour lies, we must look, pot to any adventitious circumstances of fortune ; not to any single sparkling quality ; but to the whole of what forms a man; what entitles him, as such, to rank high among that class of beings to which he belongs ; in a word, we must look to the mind and the soul
6 A mind superiour to fear, to selfish interest and corruption; a mind governed by the principles of, uniform rectitude and integrity ; the same in prosperity and adversity; which no bribe can seduce, nor terrour overawę į neither by pleasure melted into effeminacy, nor by distress sunk into dejectiun: such is the mind which forms the distinction and eminence of man.
7 One who, in no situation of life, is either ashamed or afraid of discharging his duty, and acting his proper part with firmness and constancy: true to the God, whom he worships, and true to the faith in which he professes to believe ; full of affection to his brethren of mankind ; faithful to Juis friends, generous to his enemies, warm with compassion to the unfurturiate, self-denying to little private interests and plea-sures, but zealous for public interest and happiness ; magnanimous,ɔwithout being proud; humble, without being mean ; just, without being harsh ; simple in his manners, but manly in his feelongs ; on whose word we can entirely rely ; whose countenance never deceives us ; whose professions of kindness'are the effusions of his heart: one, in fine, whom, independently of any views of advantage, we should choose for a superiour, could trust as a friend, and could love as a brother--this is the man, whom, in our heart, above all others, we do, we must honour
SECTION XIII. The influence of devotion on the happiness of life. WHATEVER promotes and strengthens virtue, whatever calms and regulates the temper, is a source of happiness. Devotion produces these effects in a remarkable degree. It inspires composure of spirit, mildness, and benignity; weakens the pawful, and cherishes the pleasing emotions
and, by these means, carries on the life of a prous man in a smooth and placid tenour.
2 Besides exerting this habitual influence on the mind, devotion opens a field of enjoyments, to which the vicious are entire strangers; enjoyments the more valuable, as they peculiarly belong to retirement, when the world leaves us; and to adversity, when it becomes our foe. These are the two seasons, for which every wise man would most wish to provide some hidden store of comfort.
3 For let him be placed in the most favorable situation which the hfman state admits, the world can neither always amuse him, nor always shield him from distress. There will be many hours of vacuity,and many of dejection, in his life. Ifhe be a stranger to God, and to devotion, how dreary will the gloom of solitude often prove! With what oppressive weight will sickness, disappointment, or old age, fall upon his spirits!
4 But for those pensive periods, the pious man has a relief prepared. From the tiresome repetition of the common vanities of life, or from the painful corrosion of its cares and sorrows, devotion transports him into a new region; and surrounds him there with such objects, as are the most fitted to cheer the dejection, to calm the tumults, and to heal the wounds of his heart.
5 If the world has been empty and delusive, it gladdens him with the prospect of a higher and better order of things, about to arise. If men have been ungrati ful and base, it displays before him the faithfulness of that Supreme Being, who, though every other friend fail, will never forsake him.
6 Let us consult our' experience, and we shall find, that the two greatest sources of inward joy, are, the exercise of love directed towards a deserving object, and the exercise of hope terminating on some high and assured happiness. Both these are supplied by devotion ; and therefore we have no reason to be surprised, if, on some occasions, it âlls the hearts of good men with a satisfaction not to be expressed.
7 The refined pleasures of a pious mind are, in many respects, superiour to the coarse gratifications of sense. They are pleasures which belong to the highest powers and best affections of the soul ; whereas the gratifications of sense reside in the lowest region of our nature. To the latter, the soul stoops below its native dignity. The former, raise it above itself. The latter, leave always a comfortless, often a mortifying, reinembrance behind them. The former, are reviewed with applause and delight.
8 The pleasures of sense l'esemble a foaming' torrent, which, after a disorderly course, speedily runs out, and leaves
an empty an offensive channel. But the pleasures of devotion resemble the equable current of a pure river, which enlivens the fields through which it passes, and diffuses verdure and fertility along its banks.
9 To thee, o Devotion! we owe the highest improvement, of our nature, and much of the enjoyment of our life. Thou art the support of our virtue, and the rest of our souls, in this turbulent world. Thou composest the thoughts. Thou calmest the passions. Thou exaltest the heart. Thy, communications, and thive only, are imparted to the low no less than to the high; to the poor, as well as to the rich.
10 In thy presence, worldly distinctions cease; and under thy influence, worldly sorrows are forgotten. Thou art the balm of the wounded mind. Thy sanctuary is ever open to the miserable; inaccessible only to the unrighteous and impure. Thou beginnest on earth the temper of heaven. In thee, the hosts of angels and blessed spirits eternally rejoice.
SECTION XIV. The planetary and terrestrialworlds comparatively considered.
TO us, who dwell on its surface, the earth is by far the most extensive orb that our eyes can any where behold: it is also clothed with verdure, distinguished by trees, and adortied with a variety of beautiful decorations; whereas, to a spectator placed on one of the planets, it wears a uniform aspect; looks all luminous; and no larger than a spot. To beings who dwell at still greater distances, it entirely disappears.
2 That which we call alternately the morning and the evening star, (as in one part of the orbit she rides foremost in the procession of night, in the other ushers in and anticipates the dawn,) is a planetary world. This planet, and the four others that so wonderfully vary their mystic dance, are in themselves dark bodies, and shine only by reflections ; have fields, and seas, and skies of their own; are furnished with all accommodations for animal subsistence, and are supposed to be the abodes of intellectual life; all which, together with our earthly habitation, are dependent on that grand dispenser of Divine munificence, the sun'; receive their light from the distribution of his rays, and derive their comfort from his benign agency.
which seems to perform its daily stages through the sky, is, in this respect, fixed, and immoveable; it is the great axle of heaven, about which the globe we inhabit, and other more spacious orbs, wheel their stated courses. The bum, though seemingly smaller than the dial it illumin
3 The sun,
ates, is more than a million times larger than this whole earth on which so many. lofty mountains rise, and such vast oceans roll. A line extending from side to side through the cen. tre of that resplendant orb, would measure more than eight hundred thousand miles : a girdle formed to go round its circumference, would require a length of millions. Were its solid contents to be estimated, the account would overwhelmour understanding, and be almost beyond the power of language to express. Are we startled at these reports of philosophy!
4 Are we ready to cry out in a transport of surprise, “How mighty is the Being who kindled so prodigious a fire; and keeps alive, from age to age, so enormous a mass of Aame !" let us attend our philosophical guides, and we shall be brought acquainted with speculations more enlarged and more inšaming
5 This sun, with all its attendant planets, is but a very little part of the grand machine of the universe: every star, though in appearance no bigger than the diamond that glit ters upon a lady's ring, is really a vast globe, like the sun in size, and in glory; no less spacious, no less luminous, than the radiant source of day. So that every star, is not barely a world, but the centre of a magnificent system; has a retinue of worlds, irradiated by its eams, and revolving round its attractive influence, all which are lost to our sight in unmeasurable wilds of ether.
6 That the stars appear like so many diminutive, and scarcely distinguishable points, is owing to their immense and inconceivable distance. Inmense and inconceivable indeed it is, sincea ball, shot from the loaded cannon, and flying with unabated rapidity, must travel, at this impetuous rate, al. most seven hundred thousand years, before it could reach the nearest of these twinkling luminaries.
7 While, beholding this va:t expanse, I learn my own extreme meanness, I would also discover tho abject littleness of all terrestrial things. What is the earth, with all her ostentatious scenes, compared with this astonishing grand furniture of the skies? What, but a dim speck, hardly perceivable in the map of the universe ?
8 It is observed by a very judicious writer, that if the sun himself, which enlightens this part of the creation, were extinguished, and all the host of planetary worlds, which move about bim, were annihilated, they would not be missed by an eye that can take in the whole compass of nature, any more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The bulk of which they consist, and the space which they occups, are so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that their loss would surely le a blank in the immensity of God's works.
If then, not our globe only, but this whole system, be 80 very diminutive, what is a kingdom, or a country? What are a few lordships, or the so much admired patrimonies of those who are styled wealthy? When I measure them with my own little pittance, they swell into proud and bloated dimensions : but when I take the universe for my standard, how scanty is their size ! how contemptible their figure! They shrink into pompous nothings.
SECTION XV., On the power of custom, and the uses to which it maybe applied.
THERE is not a common saying, which has a better turn of sense in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that“ Custom is a second nature.” It is indeed able to form man anew; and give him inclinations and capaci- . ties altogether different from those he was born with.
2 A person who is addicted to play or gaming, though he took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so strong an inclination towards it, and gives himself up soentirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or busy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has been for sometime disused.
3 Nay, a man may smoke, or drink, or take snuff, till he is unable to pass away his time, without it; not to mention how our delight in any particular study, art, or science, rises and improves, in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise, becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into diversions. The mind grows fond of those actions it is accustomed to; and is drawn with reluctancy from those paths in which it has been used to walk.
4 If we attentively consider this property of human nature, it may instruct us in very fine moralities. In the first place, I would have no man discouraged with that kind of life, or series of action, in which the choice of others, or his own necessities, may have engaged him. It may perhaps be very disagreeable to him, at first; but use and application will certainly render it not only less painful, but pleasing and satisfactory.
5 In the second place, I would recommend to every one, the admirable precept, which Pythagoras is said to have given to his disciples, and which that philosopher must have drawn from the observation I have enlarged upon : “Pitch upon that course of life which is the most excellent, and custom will render it the most delightful ”