« НазадПродовжити »
of which the worldly hero vainly imagines himself in possession of the Christian alone truly enjoys. It is the Christian who first forms the heroical design of taking the perfections of God for his model, and then surmounteth
every obstacle that opposeth his laudable
It is the Christian who hath the courage, not to rout an army, neither to cut a way through a squadron, nor to scale a wall, but to stem an immoral torrent, to free himself from the maxims of the world, to bear pain, and to despise shame; and, what perhaps may be yet more magnanimous, and more rare, to be impregnable against whole armies and voluptuous attacks. It is the Christian, then, who is the only true philosopher-the only real hero.
THE readiest way in the world to thin heaven and
replenish the regions of hell, is to call in the spirit of bigotry. This will immediately arraign, and condemn, and execute, all that do not bow down and worship the image of our idolatry. Possessing exclusive prerogative, it rejects every other claim_' Stand by, I am sounder than thou. The temple of the Lord the temple of the Lord the temple of the Lord are we !" How many of the dead has this intolerance sentenced to eternal misery, who will shine like stars in the kingdom of our father; how many living characters does it not reprobate as enemies to the cross of Christ, who are placing in it all their glory! No wonder if under the influence of this consuming zeal, we form lessening views of the number of the saved. I only am left-yes, they are few indeed, if none belong to them who do not belong to your party—that do not see with your eyes—that do not believe election with you, or universal redemption with you—that do not worship under a steeple with you, or in a meeting with you—that are not dipped with you, or sprinkled
But hereafter we shall find, that the righteous were not so circumscribed, when we shall see “ many coming from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven."
SIDNEY; OR, THE PARENTAL BEGGAR.
A MORAL TALE.
Winter, with all his gloomy followers, visit the earth, and for a time seem to estrange the heart of man from the love of nature, that young Sidney quitted the house of a friend; and, through an unfrequented valley, sought his own habitation. The pouring rain, and pelting hail, beat hard on his shoulders ; while the boisterous wings of Boreas directed the elementary storm with redoubled rage against the solitary traveller. He had buttoned his great coat around his body; and, with a cheerful mind, occasioned by a good conscience, proceeded on his journey, while his thoughts turned on the recollection of his situation in life. He considered himself as an orphan; having, like another Telemachus, never remembered his father, or even his mother. His virtues, good character, and industry, had gained him an amiable consort ; and, with her, a considerable fortune: he wanted now
but to know the fate of his parents, for the completion of his bliss, and to make him one of the happiest men in existence. As he was thus absorbed in thought, a cry of-" Remember the distressed !” assailed his ear. His heart, ever open to the pitying cri of the wretched, immediately prompted his eye to survey the obc. ject that claimed relief. It was an old man, whose
age seemed to border on the verge of sixty, and whose body was greatly emaciated, thinly clothed, and open in many parts to the inclemencies of the weather. Misfortune and penury seemed to have bent his frame, more than the hand of time had disfigured his countenance, which yet bore the traces of ancient Affluence chilled by the icy grasp of Poverty. His eyes were hollow, his beard was long, his countenance dejected, and his whole form truly affecting.
The heart of Sidney was ever susceptible of humanity, and his band had never denied the charitable pittance; but he found, now, a greater propensity than ever to relieve the decrepid mendicant.
" Who knows,” said he, as he crossed the road towards him, “ but my father may be reduced to the same ebb of extreme misery?" Then, coming up to the beggar“Here, friend,” said he, presenting to him all his silver, “ take this, and may heaven send you more in bundance !"-" Thank you, young man,” replied the poor old mendicant; "and may heaven's Almighty Ruler prosper and preserve you! I had once a son, continued he, weeping; but, alas ! He could say no more. His heart was too full; the tears poured down his venerable face; nature throbbed with the shock; his breast heaved with the force of his feelings, and he could only, by a bow, thank the kindness of the generous youth. My wife," said he, recovering a little, and pointing to a cluster of oaks, “ is yonder! We have lately been delivered from the jaws of an Algerine dungeon, and have not a friend in the world !” The feelings of Sidney were now more
and more awakened. The tears of pity starting from his eyes, gently rolled down his cheeks, and the firmness of the man was insensibly overpowered by the weakness of nature. May I see your consort?" said he, in a voice stifled with sighs. The beggar could not reply: he looked wistfully, and, taking hold of his arm in one hand, with the other pointed to the spot, where he instantly conducted him.
If the scene was before affecting, it was doubly so now. A venerable matron was sitting on the ground, in vain attempting, with a ragged cloak, to screen her from the storm. Tears poured from her eyes in abundance; while every feature, every limb, trembled with the excessive cold.
Here, Maria," said the husband, presenting Sidney to her, “is a young man who infinitely claims your most respectful thanks; he has relieved our want, the very moment I requested it.--Forgive me," continued he, turning to Sidney, “ if I did not give those unbounded thanks your generosity deserves. the first time that ever I asked such a boon, and my feelings at your behaviour were too great to be expressed.” The woman also arose ; and, in a like gentle manner, thanked him for his kindness. The man, not leaving our hero time to reply, began as follows to relate the incidents which had reduced them to beggary-"My life,” said he, “ has been a continual series of melancholy events. My mother died when I was an infant, and left me to the care of an inhuman father, whose riches exceeded his generosity, liberality, and affection for his children. As I was the only son that arrived to manhood, every branch of learning was exhausted to enable my mind to despise my inferiors, and make me believe my fortune put me above the rest of ma kind. Foolish man! Literature only served to poli h my mind with virtue; and philosophy taught me th..i the ploughman was equal--morally considered-to the proudest peer. In short, I had so fortified
myself with virtue, that I had not long left the university, and had been admitted a partner in my father's business, when I placed my affection on a neighbouring farmer's daughter. She had been initiated in as good morality as myself; and, though the walls of an university had never enclosed her, was very intelligent, and strictly virtuous. Her heart, like mine, was soon susceptible of love ; and, knowing the temper of my brutal father, I secretly married, and for long time visited her privately. An amiable boy, at length, crowned our sincere loves. The news soon reached the ears of my father : I was banished his presence : my fortune, at least what was to have been mine, settled on his nephew; and my wife ordered to leave me for ever.
Confounded at my father's brutality, not daring to see any of my friends or acquaintances, the very kingdom became hateful, and I avowed my intentions of quitting it immediately. My wife," sad soother of my cares !” in vain attempted to assuage my grief; and, at length, finding it ineffectual, left her child to her father's care, and sought with me şome asylum in a foreign country. But, alas! we had scarcely left England, when we were captured by an Algerine corsair, confined in a deadly dungeon, till the generosity of a British gentleman relieved us, and sent us home.
But, oh!” cried he, weeping afresh, worst is yet to come. Scarcely had we landed, and enquired for our son, when we found that his protector was dead, and Frederick, my pretty Frederick, an outcast orphan" “ I know where !” cried Sidney, throwing his arms around his neck. O my father, the mournful tale! Behold, my parents ! behold your son, your Frederick Sidney !- He would have said more; but his excessive joy stopped his utterance; the tears poured down his face, and mingled with those of his parents. In vain do I attempt to sketch the scene; in vain would my feeble powers paint the picture : let those who possess huma