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| From what has been said, we learn the importance of attending, with the utmost care, to the choice which we make of our employment and condition in life.
It has been shown, that our external situation frequently operates powerfully on our moral character; and by consequence that it is strictly connected, not only with our temporal welfare, but with our everlasting happiness or misery. He who might have passed unblamed, and upright, through certain walks of life, by anbappily choosing a road where he meets with temptations too strong for his virtue, precipitates himself into shame here, and into endless ruin hereafter. Yet how often is the determination of this most important article left to the chance of accidental connexions, or submitted to the option of youthful fancy and humour! When it is made the subject of serious deliberation, how seldom have they, on whom the decision of it depends, any further view than so to dispose of one who is coming out into life, as that he may the soonest become rich, or, as it is expressed, make his way to most advantage in the world! Are there no other objects than this to be attended to, in fixing the plan of life ? Are there not sacred and important interests which deserve to be consulted ?—We would not willingly place one whose welfare we studied, in a situation for which we were convinced that his abilities were unequal. These, therefore, we examine with care ; and on them we rest the ground of our decision. It is, however, certain, that not abilities merely, but the turn of the temper and the heart, require to be examined with equal attention, in forming the plan of future establishment. Every one has some peculiar weakness, some predominant passion which exposes him to temptations of one kind more than of another. Early this may be discerned to shoot ; and from its first risings its future growth may be inferred. Anticipate its progress. Consider how it is likely to be affected, by succeeding occurrences in life. If we bring one whom we are rearing up, into a situation, where all the surrounding circumstances shall cherish and mature this fatal principle in his nature, we become, in a great measure, answerable for the consequences that follow. vain we trust to his abilities and powers. Vice and corruption, when they have tainted the heart, are sufficient to overset the greatest abilities. Nay, too frequently they turn them against the possessor; and render them ihe instruments of his more speedy ruin.
No life pleasing to God, that is not useful to man.
It pleased our mighty sovereign Abbas Carascan, from whom the kings of the earth derive honour and dominion, to set Mirza his servant over the province of Tauris. In the band of Mirza, the balance of distribution was suspended with impartiality; and under his administration the weak were protected, the learned received honour, and the diligent became rich: Mirza, therefore, was beheld by every eye with complacency, and every tongue pronounced blessings upon his head. But it was observed that he derived no joy from the benefits which he diffused; he became pensive and melancholy; he spent his leisure in solitude ; in his palace hê sat motionless upon a sofa ; and when he went out, his walk was slow, and his eyes were fixed upon the ground: he applied to the business of state with reluctance; and resolved to relinquish the toil of government, of which he could no longer enjoy the reward.
He, therefore, obtained permission to approach the throne of our sovereign; and being asked what was his request, he made this reply : "May the Lord of the world forgive the slave whom he has honoured, if Mirza presunie again to lay the bounty of Abbas at his feet. Thou hast given me the dominion of a country, fruitful as the gardens of Damascus ; and a city glorious above all others, except that only which reflects the splendour of thy presence. But the longest life is a period scarcely sufficient to prepare for death. All other business is vain and trivial, as the toil of emmets in the path of the traveller, under whose foot they perish for ever: and all enjoyment is unsubstantial and evanescent as the colours of the bow that appears in the interval of a storm. Suffer me, therefore, to prepare for the approach of eternity ; let me give up my soul to meditation ; let solitude and silence acquaint me with the mysteries of devotion ; let me forget the world, and by the world be for. gotten, till the moment arrives in which the veil of eternity shall fall, and I shall be found at the bar of the Almighty. Mirza then bowed himself to the earth, and stood silent.
By the command of Abbas it is recorded, that at these words be trembled upon the throne, at the footstool of which
the world pays homage; he looked round upon his nobles ; but every countenance was pale, and every eye was upon the earth. No man opened his mouth ; and the king first broke silence, after it had continued near an hour.
“ Mirza, terror and doubt are come upon me. alarmed as a man who suddenly perceives that he is near the brink of a precipice, and is urged forward by an irresistible force : but yet I know not whether my danger is a reality or a dream. I am as thou art, a reptile of the earth : my life is a moment, and eternity, in which days, and years, and ages, are nothing, eternity is before me, for which I also should prepare : but by whom then must the faithful be governed ? By those only, who have no fear of judgment ? by those only, whose life is brutal, because like brutes they do not consider that they shall die ? Or who, indeed, are the faithful! Are the busy multitudes that crowd the city, in a state of perdition ? and is the cell of the Dervise alone the gate of paradise ? To all, the life of a Dervise is not possible : to all, therefore, it cannot be a duty. Depart to the house which has in this city been prepared for thy residence : I will meditate the reason of thy request; and may He who iMuminates the mind of the humble, enable me to determine with wisdom.”
Mirza departed; and on the third day, having received no command, he again requested an audience, and it was granted. When he entered the royal presence, his countenance appeared more cheerful ; he drew a letter from his bosom, and having kissed it, he presented it with his right hand. My Lord!” said he, “ I have learned by this letter, which I received from Cosrou the Iman, who stands now before thee, in what manner life may be best improved. I am enabled to look back with pleasure, and forward with hope ; and I shall now rejoice still to be the shadow of thy power at Tauris, and to keep those honours which I so late. ly wished to resign.” The king, who had listened to Mirza with a mixture of surprise and curiosity, immediately gave the letter to Cosrou, and commanded that it should be read. The
eyes of the court were at once turned upon the hoary sage, whose countenance was suffused with an honest blush; and it was not without some hesitation that he read these words.
"To Mirza, whom the wisdom of Abbas our mighty lord has honoured with dominion, be perpetual health! When I heard thy purpose to withdraw the blessings of thy govern
ment from the thousands of Tauris, my heart was wounded with the arrow of affliction, and my eyes became dim with Sorrow. But who shall speak before the king when he is troubled; and who shall boast of knowledge, when he is distressed by doubt ? To thee will I relate the events of my youth, which thou hast renewed before me ; and those truths which they taught me, may the Prophet multiply to thee'
“ Under the instruction of the physician Aluzar, I obtain ed an early knowledge of his art. To those who were smit ten with disease, I could administer plants, which the sun has impregnated with the spirit of health. But the scenes of pain, languor, and mortality, which were perpetually pic sing before me, made me often tremble for myself. I saw the grave open at my feet: I determined, therefore, to com template only the regions beyond it, and to despise every acquisition which I could not keep. I conceived an opiniga, that as there was no merit but in voluntary poverty, and sin lent meditation, those who desired money were not proper objects of bounty; and that by all who were proper objects of bounty, money was despised. I, therefore, buried mine in the earth; and renouncing society, I wandered into a wild and sequestered part of the country. My dwelling was a cave by the side of a hill. I drank the running water from the spring, and eat such fruits and herbs as I could find. To increase the austerity of my life, I frequently watched all night, sitting at the entrance of the cave with my face to the east, resigning myself to the secret influences of the Prophet. One morning after my nocturnal vigil, just as 1 perceived the horizon glow at the approach of the sun, the power of sleep became irresistible, and I sunk under it. I imagined myself still sitting at the entrance of my cell ; that the dawn: increased; and that as I looked earnestly for the first beam of day, a dark spot appeared to intercept it. I perceived that it was in motion ; it increased in size as it drew near, and at length I discovered it to be an eagle. I still kept my eye fixed steadfastly upon it, and saw it alight at a small distance, where I now descried a fox wbose two fore-legs appeared to be broken. Before this fox the eagle laid part of a kid, which she had brought in her talons, and then disappeared, When I awake-d, I laid my forehead upon the ground, and blessed the Prophet for the instruction of the morning. I reviewed my dreain, and said thus to myself, Cosrou, thou hast done kell to renounce the tumult, the business, and vanities of life: but, thou hast as, yet only done it in part; they art
still every day busied in the search of food; thy mind is not wholly at rest ; neither is thy trust in Providence complete. What art thou taaght by this vision ? If thou hast seen an eagle commissioned by Heaven to feed a fox that is lame, shall not the hand of Heaven also supply thee with food, when that which prevents thee from procuring it for thyself, is not necessity, but devotion ?-I was now so confident of a miraculous supply, that I neglected to walk out for my repast, which, after the first day, I expected with an impatience that left me little power of attending to any other object. This impatience, however, I laboured to suppress, and persisted in my resolution : but my eyes at length began to fail me, and my knees smote each other ; I threw myself backward, and hoped my weakness would soon increase to insensibility. But I was suddenly roused by the voice of an invisible being, who pronounced these words : Cosrou, I am the angel, who, by the command of the Almighty, have registered the thoughts of thy heart, which I am now commissioned to reprove. While thou wast attempting to become wise above that which is revealed, thy folly bas perverted the instruction which was vouchsafed thee. Art thou disabled as the fox ? hast thou not rather the powers of the eagle ? Arise, let the eagle be the object of thy emulation. To pain and sickness, be thou again the messenger of ease and health. Virtue is not rest but action. If thou dost good to man as an evidence of thy love to God, thy virtue will be exalted from moral to divine ; and that happiness which is the pledge of paradise, will be thy reward upon earth.'
“ At these words, I was not less astonished than if a mountain had been overturned at my feet. I humbled myself in the dust ; I returned to the city ; I dug up my treasure ; I was liberal, yet I became rich. My skill in restoring health to the body, gave me frequent opportunities of curing the diseases of the soul. I grew eminent beyond my merit; and it was the pleasure of the king that I should stand before him. Now, therefore, be not offended ; I boast of no knowledge that I have not received. As the sands of the desert drink
up the drops of rain, or the dew of the morning, so do I also, who am but dust, imbibe the instructions of the Prophet. Believe then that it is he who tells thee, all knowledge is profane, which terminates in thyself; and by a life wasted in speculation, little even of this can be gained. When the gates of paradise are thrown open before thee, thy mind shall be irradiated in a moment. Here, thou canst