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cial, kind, and cheerful: far removed from that gloomly and illiberal superstition, which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, dejects the spirit, and teaches men to fit themselves for another world, by neglecting the concerns of this.
Reveal none of the secrets of thy friend. Be faithful to his interests. Forsake him not in danger. Abhor the thought of acquiring any advantage by his prejudice.
Man, always prosperous, would be giddy and insolent, always afflicted, would be sullen or despondent. Hopes and fears, joy and sorrow, are, therefore, so blended in his life, as both to give room for worldly pursuits, and to recall from time to time, the admonitions of conscience.
SECTION IV. TIME once past never returns: the moment which is lost, is lost for ever.
There is nothing on earth so stable, as to assure us of undisturbed rest ; nor so powerful, as to afford us constant protection.
The house of feasting, too often becomes an avenue to the house of mourning. Short, to the licentious, is the interval between them.
It is of great importance to us, to form a proper estimale of human life; without either loading it with imaginary evils, or expecting from it greater advantages than it is able to yield.
Among all our corrupt passions, there is a strong and intimate connexion. When any one of them is adopted into our family, it seldom quits until it has fathered upon us all its kindred.
Charity, like the sun, brightens every object on which it shines; a censorious disposition, casts every character into the darkest shade it will bear.
Many men mistake the love, for the practice of virtue; and are not so much good men, as the friends of goodness.
Genuine virtue, has a language that speaks to every heart throughout the world. It is a language which is understood by all. In every region, every climate, the homa, e paid to it, is the same. In no one sentiment, were ever ma kind more generally agreed.
The appearances of our security, are frequently deceitful.
When our sky seems most settled and serene, in some unobserved quarter, gathers the little black cloud, in which the tempest ferments, and prepares to discharge itself on our bead.
The man of true fortitude, may be compared to the castle built on a rock, which defies the attacks of the surrounding waters: the man of a feeble and timorous spirit, to a hut placed on the shore, which every wind shakes, and every wave overflows.
Nothing is so inconsistent with self-possession, as violent anger. It overpowers reason; confounds our ideas; distorts the appearance, and blackens the colour of every object. By the storms which it raises within, and by the mischiefs which it occasions without, it generally brings on the passionate and revengeful inan, greater misery than he can bring on the object of his resentment.
The palace of virtue has, in all ages, been represented as placed on the summit of a hill; in the ascent of which, labour is requisite, and difficulties are to be surmounted; and where a conductor is needed, to direct our way, and to aid our steps.
In judging of others, let us always think the best, and employ the spirit of charity and candour. But in judging of ourselves, we ought to be exact and severe.
Let him, who desires to see others happy, make haste to give while his gift can be enjoyed; and remember, that every moment of delay, takes away something from the value of his benefaction. And let him who proposes his own happiness, reflect, that while he forms his purpose, the day rolls on, and “ the night cometh, when no man can work."
To sensual persons, hardly any thing is what it appears to be: and what' flatters most, is always farther from reality. There are voices which sing around them, but whose strains allure to ruin. There is a banquet spread, where poison is in every dish. There is a couch which invites them to repose, but to slumber upon it, is death.
If we would judge whether a man is really happy, it is not solely to his houses and lands, to his equipage and his retinue we are to look. Unless we could see farther, and discern what joy, or what bitterness, his heart feels, we can pronounce little concerning kim..
The book is well written; and I have perused it with pleasure and profit. It shows, first, that true devotion is rational and well founded; next, that it is of the highest irnportance to every other part of religion and virtue; and, lastly, that it is must conducive to our happiness.
There is certainly no greater felicity, than to be able to look back on a life usefully, and virtuously employed; to trace our own progress in existence, by such tokens as ex. cite neither shame nor sorrow. It ought therefore to be the care of those who wish to pass their last hours with comfort, to lay up such a treasure of pleasing ideas, as shall support the expenses of that time, which is to depend wholly upon
2 fund already acquired.
SECTION V. WHAT avails the show of external liberty, to one who has lost the government of himself?
He that cannot live well to-dny, (says Marshal,) will be less qualified to live well to-morrow.
Can we esteeni that man prosperous, who is raised to a situation which flatters his passions, but which corrupts his principles, disorders his temper, and finally oversets his virtue ?
What misery does the vicious man secretly endure;-Adversity ! how blunt are all the arrows of thy quiver, in comparison with those of guilt!
When we have no pleasure in goodness, we may with certainty conclude the reason to be,
that our pleasure is all derived from an opposite quarter.
How strangely are the opinions of men altered, by a change in their condition!
How many have had reason to be thankful, for being disappointed in designs which they carnestly pursued, but which, if successfully accomplished, they have afterwards seen would bave occasioned their ruin:
What are the actions which afford in the remembrance a rational satisfaction ? Are they the pursuits of sensual pleasure, the riots of jollity, or the displays of show and vanity? No: 1 appeal to your hearts, my friends, if what you recollect with most pleasure, are not the innocent, the virtuous the honourable parts of your past life.
The present employment of time should frequently be an object of thought. About what are we now busied? What is the ultimate scope of our present pursuits and cares? Can we justify them to ourselves? Are they likely to produce any thing that will survive the moment, and bring forth some fruit for futurity?
Is it not strange, (says an ingenious writer,) that some persons should be so delicate as not to bear a disagreeable picture in thíc house, and vet by their behaviour, force every face they see about thein, to wear the glooin of uneasiness and discontent?
If we are now in health, peace and safety; without any particular or mncommon evils to afflict our condition; what more can we reasonably look for in this vain and uncertaju world? How liitle can the greatest prosperity add to such a state? Will any future situatiou ever make us happy, if now, with so few causes of grief, we imagine ourselves miserable? The evil Kies in the state of our mind, not in our condition of fortune; and by no alteration of circumstances is it likely to 'be remedied.
When the love of unwarrantable pleasures, and of vicious companions, is allowed to amuse young persons, to engross their time, and to stir up their passions; the day of ruin,- let them take heed and beware! the day of irrecoverable ruin begins to draw nigh. Fortune is squandered ; health is broken; friends are offended, affronted, estranged ; aged parents, perhaps, sent afflicted and mourning to the dust.
On whom does time hang so heavily, as on the slothful and lazy? To whom are the hours so lingering? Who are so often devoured with spleen, and obliged to Ay to every expedient, which can belp them to get rid or themselves? Instead of producing tranquillity, indolence produces a sretful restlessness of mind; gives rise to cravings which are never satisfied; nourishes a sickly, effeminate delicacy, which sours and corrupts every pleasure.
SECTION VI. WE have seen the husbandman scattering his seed upon the furrowed ground! It springs up, is gathered into his barns, and crowns his labours with joy and plenty:Thus the man who distributes his fortune with generosity and prudence, is amply repaid by the gratitude of those wisom he obliges, by the approbation of his own mind, and by the favour of Heaven.
Temperance, by fortifying the mind and body, leads to happiness: intemperance by enervating them, ends generally in misery.
Title and ancestry, render a good man more illustrious; but an ill one, more contemptible. Vice is infamous, though in a prince; and virtue honourable, though in a peasant.
An elevated genius, employed in little things, appears to use the simile of Longinus) like the sun in his evening declipation : he remits his splendour, but retains his magnitude; and pleases more, though he dazzles lesz,
If envious people were to ask themselves, whether they would exchange their entire situations with the persons envied, (I mean their minds, passions, notions, as well as their persons, fortunes, and dignities,)-I presume the self-love, common to human nature, would generally make them prefer their own condition. We have obliged some persons : -very
!-what would we have more? Is not the consciousness of doing good, a sufficient reward?
Do not hurt yourselves or others, by the pursuit of plca.
sure. Consult your whole nature. Consider yourselves not only as sensitive, but as rational beings; not only as rational, but social; not only as social, hut immortal.
Art thou poor?—Show thyself active and industrious, peaceable and contented. Art thou wealthy?-Show thyself beneficent and charitable, condescending and humane.
Though religion removes not all the evils of life, though it promises no continuance of undisturbed prosperity, (which indeed it were not salutary for man always to enjoy,) yet, if ii mitigates the evils which necessarily belong to our state, it
may justly be said to give “ rest to them who labour and are heavy laden."
What a smiling aspect does the love of parents and children, of brothers and sisters, of friends and relations, give to every surrounding object, and every returning day! With what a lustre does it gild even the small habitation, where this placid intercourse dwells! where such scenes of heartfelt satisfaction succeed uninterruptedly to one another!
How many clear inarks of benevolent intention appear every where around us! What a profussion of beauty and ornament, is poured forth on the face of nature! What a magnificent spectacle presented to the view of man! What supply contrived for his wants! What a variety of objects set before him, to gratify his senses, to employ his understanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and gladden his heart!
The hope of future happiness, is a perpetual source of consolation to good men. Under trouble, it soothes their mirds; amidst iemptation, it supports their virtue, and, in their dying moinents, enables them to say, “O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?"
SECTION VII. AGESILAUS, king of Sparta, being asked “What things be thought most proper for boys to learn," answered, “Those which they ought to practice when they come to be men." A wiser than Agesilaus, bas inculcated the same sentiment: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." An Italian philosopher expressed in his motto, that “time was his estate." An estate indeed which will produce nothing without cultivation; but which will always abundantly repay the labours of industry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence to be overrun with noxious plants, or laid out for shoro rather than use. When Aristotle was asked, “What a man could gain by