« FöregåendeFortsätt »
ward to do something for him, and seemed discouraged if they were not employed. At the same time, the good old knight, with the mixture of the father and the master of the family, tempered the inquiries after his own affairs with several kind questions relating to themselves. This humanity and good nature engages every body to him ; so that when he is pleasant upon any of them, ail his lamily are in good humor, and none so much as the person whom he diverts himself with ; on the contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for a stander-by to observe a secret concern in the looks of all his servants.
My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as his particular friend.
My chief companion when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or in the fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain, above thirty years. This gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation ; he heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in the old knight's esteem ; so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependant.
I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an humorist ; and that his virtues, as well as imperfections, are, as it were, tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so it renders his conversation highly agreeable, and more de. lightful than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common and ordinary colors. As I was walking with him last night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now mentioned ;--and without staying for my answer, told me that he was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own table ; for which reason he desired a particular friend of his at the university, to find him out a clergy-man rather of plain sense than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice, a sociable temper; and if possible, a man who understood a little back gammon.-My friend, says Sir Roger, found me out this gentleman; who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me, a good scholar, though he does not show it. I have given him the parsonage of the parish ; and because I know his value, have settled upon hiin a good annuity for life. If he outlives me he shall find that he was higher in my esteem than perhaps he thinks he is. He has now been with me thirty years; and, though he does not know I have taken notice of it, has never, in all that time, asked any thing of me for himself, though he is every day soliciting me for something in behalf of one or other of my tenants, his parisioners. There has not been a lawsuit in the parish since he has lived among them. If any dispute arises, they apply themselves to him for the decision ; if they do riot acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened above once or twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first settling with me, I made him a present of all the good sermons which have been printed in English ; and only begged of him that every Sunday he would pronounce one of them in the pulpit. Accordingly he has digested them into such a series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued system of prac.. tical divinity
As Sir Roger was going on in his story, the gentleman we were talking of came up to us; and, upon the knight's asking him who preached to-morrow (for it was Saturday night) told us the Bishop of St. Asaph, in the morning, and Dr. South in the afternoon. He then shewed us his list of preachers for the whole year ; where I saw with a great deal of pleasure,
Archbishop Tillotson, Bishop Saunderson, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Calamy, with several living authors who have published discourses of practical divinity. I no
I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit, but I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon the qualifications of a good aspect, and a clear voice ; for I was so charmed with the grace
fulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A sermon repeated after this manner, is like the composition of a poet, in the mouth of a graceful actor. VI.— The Folly of Inconsistent Expectations. - AITKIN.
THIS world may be considered as a great mart of commerce, where fortune exposes to our view various commodities ; riches, ease, tranquillity, fame, integrity, knowledge. Every thing is marked at a settled price. Our time, our labor, our ingenuity, is so much ready money, which we are to lay out to the best advantage. Examine, compare, choose, reject; but stand to your own judgment; and do not, like children, when you have purchased one thing, repine that you do not possess another, which you did not purchase. Such is the force of well regulated industry, that a steady and vigorous exertion of our faculties, directed to one end will generally insure success. Would you, for instance, be rich ? Do you think that single point worth the sacrificing every thing else to ? You may then be rich. Thousands have become so from the lowest beginnings, by toil, and patient diligence, and attention to the minutest articles of expense and profit. But you must give up the pleasures of leisure, of a vacant mind, of a free unsuspicious temper. If you preserve your integrity, it must be a coarse spun and vulgar honesty. Those high and lofty notions of morals, which you brought wiih you from the schools must be considerably lowered, and mixed with the baser alloy of a jealous and worldy minded pru. dence. You must learn to do hard, if not unjust things: and for the nice embarrassments of a delicate and ingenuous spirit, it is necessary for you to get rid of them as fast as possible. You must shut your heart against the Muses, and be content to feed your understanding with plain household truths. In short you must not attempt to enlarge your ideas, or polish your taste, or refine your sentiments; but must keep on in one beaten track without turning aside, either to the right hand or to the left.---" But I cannot submit to drudgery like this I feel
a spirit above it." It is well ; be above it then ; only do not repine that you are not rich.
Is knowledge the pearl of price? That, too, may be purchased—by steady application, and long solitary hours of study and reflection.—Bestow these and you shall be learned. " But," says the man of letters, " what a hard. ship it is, that many an illiterate fellow, who cannot construe he motto of the arms of his coach, shall raise a fortune and make a figure, while I have little more than the common conveniences of life !" Was it in order to raise a fortune, that you consumed the sprightly hours of youth in study and retirement ? Was it to be rich that you grew pale over the midnight lamp, and distilled the sweetness from the Greek and Roman spring? You have then mistaken your path, and ill: employed your industry.
What reward have I then for all my labors ?" What reward ! a large comprehensive soul, well purged from vulgar fears, and perturbations, and prejudices, able to comprehend and interpret the works of man—of God. A rich, flourishing, cultivated mind, pregnant with inexhaustible stores of entertainment and reflection. A perpetual spring of fresh ideas, and the conscious dignity of superior intelligence. Good Heaven ! and what reward can you ask besides ?
"But is it not some reproach upon the economy of Providence, that such a one, who is a mean dirty fellow, should have amassed wealth enough to buy half a nation ?" Not in the least. He made himself a mean dirty fellow for that very end. He has paid his health, his conscience, his liberty, for it; and will you envy his bargain ? Will you hang your head and blush in his presence, because he outshines you in equipage and show? Lift up your brow, with a noble confidence and say to yourself, " I have not these things, it is true ; but it is because I have not sought, because I have not desired them ; it is because I possess something better; I have chosen my lot; I am content and satisfied."
You are a modest man—you love quiet and independence, and have a delicacy and reserve in your temper, which renders it impossible for you to elbow your way in the world, and be the herald of your own merits. Be
content, then, with a modest retirement, with the esteem of your intimate friends, with the praises of a blameless heart, and a delicate ingenuous spirit; but resign the splendid distinctions of the world to those who can better scramble for them.
The man whose tender sensibility of conscience and strict regard to the rules of morality makes him scrupulous and fearful of offending, is often heard to complain of the disadvantages he lies under, in every path of honor and profit. "Could I but get over some nice points, and conform to the practice and opinion of those about me, I might stand as fair a chance as others for dignities and preferment." And why can you not? What hinders you from discarding this troublesome scrupulosity of yours which stands so grievously in your way ? if it be a small thing to enjoy a healthful mind, sound at the very core, that does not shrink from the keenest inspection ; inward freedom from remorse and perturbation, unsullied whiteness and simplicity of manners; a genuine integrity,
Pure in the last recesses of the mind : if you think these advantages an inadequate recompense for what you resign, dismiss your scruples this instant, and be a slave merchant, a director or what you please. VII.—Description of the Vale of Keswick, in Cumberland.
-BROWN. THIS delightful vale is thus elegantly described by the late ingenious Dr. Brown, in a letter to a friend.
In my way to the north, from Hagley, I passed through Dovedale; and to say the truth, was disappointed in it. When I came to Buxton, I visited another or two of their romantic scenes ; but these are inferior to Dovedale. They are all but poor miniatures of Keswick, which exceeds them more in grandeur than you: can imagine ; and more, if possible, in beauty than in grandeur.
Instead of a narrow slip of valley, which is seen at Dovedale, you have at Keswick a vast ampitheatre, in circumference above twenty miles. Instead of a meagre rivulet, a noble living lake ten miles round, of an obIpng form, adorned with a variety of wooded islands.