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tions ? or in lirar calmly with so unreasonable behaviour " My brother! if thou canst bear with no instances of unrea. sonable behaviour, withdraw thyself froin the world. Thou art no longer fit to live in it. Leave the intercourse of men. Retreat to the mountain, and the desert; or sbut thyself up in a cell. For here, in the midst of society, offenccs must come.
6. We might as well expect, when we behold a calm almosphere, and a clear sky, that no clouds were ever to arise, and no winds to blow, as that our life were long to proceed, without receiving provocations from human frailty. The careless and the imprudent, the giddy and the fickle, the ungrateful and the interested, every where meet us. Tbey are the briers and thorns, with which the paths of human life are beset. He only, who can hold his course among them with patience and equanimity, he who is prepared to bear what he must expect to happen, is worthy of the name of a man.
7. If we preserved ourselves composed but for a moment, we should perceive the iosignificancy of most of those provocations which we magnisy so highly. When a few suns more have rolled over our heads, the storm will, of itself, tave subsided; the cause of our present impatience and dis'tarbance will be utterly forgotten. Can we not, then, antici, pate this hour of calmness to ourselves; and begin to enjoy the peace which it will certainly bring?
8. It others have behaved improperly, let us leave them to their own folly, without becoming the victims of their caprice, and punishing ourselves on their account. Patience, in this exercise of it, cannot be too much studied by all who wish their life to flow in a smooth stream... It is the reason of a man, in opposition to the passion of a child. It is the enjoyment of peace, in opposition to uproar and confusion.'
BLAIR. SECTION XIV. MODERATION IN OUR WISHES RECOMMENDED. 1. The active mind of man seldom or never rests satisfied with its present condition, how prosperous soever. Originally formed for a wider range of objects, for a higher sphere of enjoyments, it finds itself, in every situation of fortune straitened and coutined. Sensible of deficiency in its state, it is ever sending forth the fond desire, the aspiring wish, af. ter something beyond what is enjoyed at present. Hence that restlessness which prevails so generally among mankind. · 2. llence that disgust of pleasures which they have tried ; ibat passion for novelty ; that ambition of rising to some dogree of eminence or felicity, of which they have formed to themselves an indistinct idea. All which may be considered as indications of a certain native, original greatness in the human soul, swelling beyond the limits of its present condi. tion, and pointing to the higher objects for which it was made. Happy, if these latent remains of our primitive sta te served to direct our wishes towards their proper destination, and to lead us into the path of true bliss !
3. But in this dark and bewildered state, the aspiring tendency of our nature unfortunately takes an opposite direction, and feeds a very misplaced ambition. The flattering appearances which here present themselves to sense ; the distinctions which fortune confers ! the advantages and pleasure's which we imagine the world to be capable of bestowing, fill up the ultimate wish of most mer.
4. These are the objects which engross their solitary musings, and stimulate their active labours ; which warm the breasts of the young, animate the industry of the middle aged, and often keep-alive the passions of the old, until the very close of life.
..5.. Assuredly, there is nothing unlawful in our wishing to be freed from whatever is disagreeable, and to obtain a fuller enjoyment of the comforts of life. But when these wishes are not tempered by reason, they are in darger of precipitating us into much extravagance and folly. Desires and wishes are the first springs of action. When they become exorbitant, the whole character is likely to be tainted..
6. If we suffer our fancy to create to itself worlds of ideal happiness, we shall discompose the peace and order of our miods, and foment many hurtful passions. Here, then, let moderation begin its reign ; by bringing within reasonable bounds the wishes that we form. As soon as they become extravagant, let us check them, by proper reflections on the fallacious nature of these objects, which th:e world: hangs out to allure desire.
7. You have strayed, my friends, from the road which conducts to felicity; you have dishonoured the native dignity of your souls, in allowing your wishes to terminate on nothing higher than worldly ideas of greatness or happiness. Your imagination roves in a land of shadows. Unreal forms deceive you. It is no more than a phantom, an illusion of happiness, which attracts your fond adnjiration ; nay, an illusion of bappiness, which often conceals much real misery.
8. Do you imagine, that all are happy, who have attained.
to those summits of distinction, towards which your wishes aspire ? Alas ! how frequently has experience showa, that where roses were supposed to bloom, nothing. but briers and thorns grew ? Reputation, beauty, riches, grandeur ; nay; royalty itself, would, many a time, have been gladly exchanged by the possessors for that more quiet and hamble station with which you are now dissatisfied.
9. With all that is splendid and shining in the world it is decreed that there should mix many deep shades of wo.On the elevated situations of fortune, the great calamities of life chiefly fall. There, the storm spends its violence, and there, the thunder breaks ; while, safe and unhurt, the inhabitants of the vale remain below. Retre-t, then, from those vain and pernicious excursions of extravagant desire.
10. Satisfy yourselves with what is rational and attainable. Train your miuds to moderate views of human life, and hu- man happiness. Remember, and admire the wisdom of Agur's
petition : “Remove far from me vanity and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient
for me ; lest I be full, and deny thee ; and say, who is the 'Lord ? or lest I be poor and steal ; and take the name of my God in vain.”
DLAIR. SECTION XV. OMNISCIENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF THE DEITY, THE
SOURCE OF CONSOLATION TO GOOD MEN.' 1. I was yesterday, about sunset, walking in the open fields, till the night insensibly fell upon me. I at first amus. ed myself with all the richness and variety of colours which appeared in the western parts of heaven. In proportion as they faded away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one afier another, till the whole firmament was in a glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened, by the season of the year, and the rays of all those luminaries that passed through it.
2. The galaxy appeared in its most beautiful white. To complete the scene, the full moon rose, at length, in that clouded majesty, which Milton takes notice of; and opened to the eye a new picture of nature, which was more finely shaded, and disposed among softer lights, than that which the sun had before discovered to us.
3. As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought arose in me, which I believe very often perplexes and disturbs men of serious and contemplative natures. David himself fell into it in that reflection : "When I consider the beas
vens, the work of thy fingers : the moon and he stars which thou hast ordained ; what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of mar, that thou regardest hini!”.
4. In the same manner, when I considered that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more philosophically, of suns, which were then shining upon me; with those innumerable sets of planets or worlds, which were moving round their respective sups ; when I still enlarged the idea, and suppos. ed another heaven of suns and worlds, rising still above this which we discovered; and these still enlightened by a superior firmament of luminaries, which are planted at so great a distance, that they may appear to the inhabitants of the former, as the stars do to us; in short, while I pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immensity of God's works.
5. Were the sun, which enlightens this part of the cream tion, with all the host of planetary worlds that move about him, utterly extinguished and annihilated, they would not be inissed, more than a grain of sand upon the sea shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little, in comparison of the whole, it would scarcely make a blank in the creation.
6. The chasm would be imperceptible to an eve that could take in the whole compass of nature, and pass from one end of the creation to the other; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafier, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. Bv the help of glasses we see many stars which we do not discover With our naked eyes; and the finer our telescopes are, the nore still are our discoveries.
7. Huygerius carries this thought so far, that he does not think it impossible there may be stars, whose light has not yet travelled down to us, since their first creation. There is no question that the universe has certains bounds set to it : but when we consider that it is the work of Infinite Power prompted by Infinite Goodness, with an infinite space to excrt itself in, how can our imaginations set any bounds to it?
8. To return, therefore, to my first thought, I could not but look upon myself with secret horror, as a being that was not worth the smallest regard of one who had so great a work under his care and superintendency. I was afraid of being overlooked amidst the immeosity of nature ; and lost among that infinite variety of creatures, which, in all probability, swarm through all these unmeasurable regions of matter.
9. In order to recover myself from this mortifying thoughts
I considered that it took its rise from those narrow conceprions which we are apt to entertain of the Divine Nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we must of course neglect others. This imperfection which we observe in ourselves, is an imperfection that cleaves, in some degree, to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creature: ; that is, beings of finite and limited natures.
10. The presence of every created being is confined to a certain measure of space; and consequently his observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than to another, according as we rise one above another in the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference.
11. When, therefore we reflect on the Divine Nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear, in some measure, ascribing it to HIM, in whom there is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason indeed assures us, that his attributes are infinite ; but the poorness of our conceptions is such, that it cannot forbear setting bounds to every thing it contemplates till our reason comes again to our succour, and throws down all those little prejudices, which rise in us unawares, and are natural - to the mind of man.
12. We shall therefore utterly extinguish this melancholy thought, of our being overlooked by our maker, in the multiplicity of his works, 'and the infinity of those objects añong which he seems to be incessantly employed, if we consider, in the first place, that he is omnipresent; and in the second, that he is omniscient.
13. If we consider him in his omnipresence, his being passes through, actuates, and supports, the whole frame of nature. His creation, in every part of it, is full of him. There is nothing he has made, which is either so distant, so little or so inconsiderable, that he does not essentially reside in it. His substarce is within the substance of every being, whether material or immaterial, and is intimately present to it, as that being is to itself.
14. It would be an imperfection in him, were he able to move out of one place into another ; or to withdraw himself from any thing he has created, or from any part of that space, which he diffused and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of him in the language of the old philosophers, he is a.