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chiefly composed. The attentions which respect these, when luggelted by real benignity of temper, are often more material to the happiness of those around us, than actions which carry the appearance of greater dignity and fplendour. No wise or good man ought to account any rules of behaviour as below his regard, which tend to cement the great brotherhood of mankind in comfortable union.
Particularly amidst that familiar intercourse which belongs to domestic life, all the virtues of temper find an ample range. It is very unfortunate, that within that circle, men too often think themselves at liberty, to give unrestrained vent to the caprice of passion and humour. Whereas there on the contrary, more than any where elle, it concerns them to attend to the government of their heart; to check what is violent in their tempers, and to soften what is harsh in their manners. For there the temper is formed. There, the real character displays itself. The forms of the world disguise men when abroad. But within his own family, every man is known to be what he truly is. In all our intercourse then with others, particularly in that which is closest and most intimate, let us cultivate a peaceable, a candid, a gentle and friendly temper. This is the temper to which, by repeated injunctions, our holy religion seeks to form us.
This was the temper of Chrilt. This is the temper of heaven.
Excellence of the Holy Scriptures. Is it bigotry to believe the sublime truths of the gospel, with full assurance of faith? I glory in such bigotry. I would not part with it for a thousand worlds. I congratulate the man who is possessed of it: for, amidst all the vicissitudes and calamities of the present state, that nian enjoys an inexhausible fund of consolation, of which it is not in the power of fortune to deprive him.
There is not a book on earth, so favourable to all the kind, and all the sublime affections ; or so unfriendly to hatred and perfecution, to tyranny, to injustice, and every fort of malevolence, as the gospel. It breathes nothing throughout, but mercy, benevolence, and peace.
Poetry is fublime, when it awakens in the mind any great and good affection, as piety, or patriotism. This is one of ihe noblest effects of the art, The Psalms are remarkable, beyond all other writings, for their power
inspiring devout emotions. But it is not in this respect only that they are sublime. Of the divine nature, they contain the most magnificent descriptions that the foul of man can comprehend. The hundred and furth Pialm, in particular, displays the power and goodnels of Providence, in creating and preserving the world, and the various tribes of animals in it, with such majestic brevity and beauty, as it is in vain to look for in any human composition.
Such of the doctrines of the gospel as are level to human capacity, appear to be agreeable to the purest truth, and the foundelt morality. All the genius and learning of the heathen world; all the penetration of Pythagoras, Socrates, and Aristotle, had never been able to produce such a system of moral duty, and so rational an account of Providence and of man, as are to be found in the New Testament. Compared, indeed, with this, all other moral and thcological wisdom
Lóses, discountenanc'd, and like folly shows.
SECTION IX.. Reflections occafioned by a Review of the Blefings, pronounced by
Christ on his Disciples, in his Sermon on the Mount. WHAT abundant reason have we to thank God that this large and instructive discourse of our blessed Redeem. er is fo particularly recorded by the facred historian. Let every one that “ hath ears to hear," attend to it; for surely no man ever spoke as our Lord did on this occasion.
Let us fix our minds in a posture of humble attention, that we may “ receive the law from his mouth."
He opened it with bleffings, repeated and most import- * ant blessings. But on whom are they pronounced ? and whom are we taught to think the happiest of mankind ? The meek and the humble ; the penitent and the merciful ; the peaceful and the pure; those that hurger and thirst after righteousness; those that labour, but faint not, under persecution. Lord! how different are thy maxims from those of the children of this world! they call the proud happy; and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious, But let a vain world take its gaudy trifles, and dress up the foolish creatures that pursue them. May our fouls share in that happiness which the Son of God came to recommend and to procure ! May we obtain mercy of the Lord ; may we be owned as his children; enjoy his
presence ; and inherit his kingdom! With theie enjoyments and these hopes, we will cheerfully welcome the lowelt, or the most painful circumftances.
Let us be animated to cultivate those amiable virtues, which are here recommended to us ; this humility and meekness ; this penitent sense of sin this ardent desire after righteousness; this compassion and purity; this peaceful. ness and fortitude of soul; and, in a word, this universal goodness which becomes us, as we sustain the character of *the falt of the earth," and "the light of the world.”
Is there not reason to lament, that we answer the character no better? Is there not reason to exclaim, with a good man in fprmer times, “ Blessed Lord ! either these are not thy words, or we are not christians !” Oh, season our hearts more effe&tually with thy grace ! Pour forth that divine oil on our lamps ! Then shall the fame brighten ; then shall the ancient honours of thy religion be revived ; and multitudes be awakened and animated, by the luftre of it, “ to glorify our Father in heaven.”
Schemes of Life often Illufory. Omar, the son of Hassan, had passed seventy-five years in honour and prosperity. The favour of three fucceffive califs had filled his house with gold and silver ; and whenever he appeared, the benedictions of the people proclaim-, ed his passage.
Terrestrial happiness is of short continuance. The brightness of the fame is wasting its fuel ; the fragrant flower is passing away in its own odours The vigour of Omar began to fail; the curls of beauty fell from his head; strength departed from his hands; and agility from his feet. He gave back to the calif the keys of trust, and the seals of fecrecy ; and fought no other pleasure for the remains of life, than the converse of the wise, and the gratitude of the good.
The powers of his mind were yet unimpaired. His chamber was filled by visitants, eager to catch the dictates of experience, and officious to pay the tribute of admiration. Caled, the son of the viceroy of Egypt, entered every day early, and retired late. He was beautiful and eloquent : Omar admired his wit, and loved his docility. “ Tell me," faid Caled, “ Thou to whose voice nations have listened, and whose wisdom is known to the extremities of
Alia, tell me how I may resemble Omar the prudent. The arts by which thou hast gained power and preserved it, are to thee no longer necessary or useful : impart to me the secret of thy conduct, and teach me the plan upon which thy wisdom has built thy fortune."
Young man,” said Omar, “ it is of little use to form plans of life. When I took my first survey of the world, in my twentieth year, having considered the various conditions of mankind, in the hour of folitude I said thus to my. felf, leaning against a cedar, which spread its branches over my head : “Seventy years are allowed to man; I have yet fifty remaining. Ten years I will allot to the attainment of knowledge, and ten I will pass in foreign countries ; I shall be learned, and therefore shall be honoured ; every city will shout at my arrival, and every student will folicit my friendship. 'Twenty years thus passed, will store my mind with images, which I fhall be busy, through the rest of my life, in combining and com. paring. I shall revel in inexhaustible accumulations of intellectual riches; I shall find new pleasures for every moment, and shall never more be weary of myself. I will not, however, deviate too far from the beaten track of life ; but will try what can be found in female delicacy. I will marry a wife beautiful as the Houries, and wife as Zobeide : with her I will live twenty years within the suburbs of Bagdat, in every pleasure that wealth can pur. chase, and fancy can invent. I will then retire to a rural dwelling ; pass my days in obfcurity and contemplation : and lie filently down on the bed of death. Through my life it shall be my settled resolution, that I will never de. pend upon the smile of princes ; that I will never stand exposed to the artifices of courts : Į will never pant for public honours, nor disturb my quiet with the affairs of Itate.” Such was my scheme of life, which I impressed in. delibly upon my memory.
“ The first part of my ensuing time was to be spent in search of knowledge, and I know not how I was diverted from my design. I had no visible impediments without, nor any ungovernable passions within. I regarded knowl edge as the highest honour, and the most engaging pleal
. ure ; yet day stole upon day, and month glided after month, till I found that seven years of the first ten had vanilhed, and left nothing behind them. I now postponed my purpose of travelling; for why should I go abroad, while so much remained to be learned at home? I immured myself for four years, and studied the laws of the empire. The fame of my fkill reached the judges; I was found able to speak upon doubtful queitions; and was commanded to stand at the footstool uf the calif. I was heard with attention ; I was consulted with confidence ; and the love of praise fastened on my
heart. “I ftill wished to see distant countries ; listened with sapture to the relations of travellers, and resolved some time to alk my dismislion, that I might feast my foul with novelty ; but my presence was always necessary ; and the Stream of business hurried me along. Sometimes I was afraid left I should be charged with ingratitude ; but I still proposed to travel, and therefore would not confine myself by marriage. " In my fiftieth
began to suspect that the time of travelling was past; and thought it belt to lay hold on the felecity yet in my power, and indulge myself in domestic pleasures. But at fifty no man easily finds a woman beau. tiful as the Houries and wise as Zobiede. I inquired and rejected, consulted and deliberated, till the fixty-fecond year made me alhamed of wishing to marry. I had now nothing left but retirement; and for retirement I never found a time, till disease forced me from public employ. ment.
“Such was my scheme,and such has been its consequence. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I trifled away the years of improvement ; with a reflefs desire of seeing different countries, I have always resided in the same city ; with the highest expe&ation of connubial felicity, I have lived unmarried; and with unalterable resolutions of contemplative retirement, I am going to die within the walls of Bagdat."
DR. JOHNSON SECTION XI. The Pleasures of virtuous Sensibility. The good effects of true fenfibilty on general virtue and happiness admit of no dispute. Let us consider its effect on the happin-fs of him who possesses it, and the various pleasures to which it gives him access. If he is master of ricles or influence, it affords him the meåhs of increasing his own enjoyment, by relieving the wants, or increasing the comforts of others. If he commands not these advan. tages, yet all the comforts, which he fees in the possession of the deserving, become in some sort his, by his rejoicing in