Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

A temperate spirit, and moderate expectations, are excellent sufeguards of the mind, in this uncertain and change ing state.

There is nothing, except simplicity of intention, and parle rity of principle, that can stand the test of near approach and strict esamination.

The value of any possession is to be chiefly estimatell, by the relief which it can bring us in the time of our greatest need.

No person who has once yielded up the government of his mind, and given loose rein to his desires and passions, Cin tell how tiir they may carry him.

Tranquillity of mind is always most likely to be attained, when the business of the world is tempered with thoughtful and serious retreat.

Hle who would act like a wise man, and build his house on the rock, and not on the sand, should contemplite hu man life, not only in the sunshine, but in the shade.

Let userulness and beneticence, itot ostentation and vanity direct the train of your pursuits.

To maintain a steady and unbroken mind, amidst all the shocks of the world, marks a great and noble spirit.

Patience, by preserving composure within, resists the impression which trouble makes from without.

Compassionate affections, even when they draw tears from our eyes for human inisery, convey satisfaction to the heart.

They who have nothing to give, can often afford relief to others, by imparting what they feel.

Our ignorance of what is to come, and of what is really good or evii, should correct anxiety about worldly success.

The veil which covers from our sight the events of succeeding years, is a veil woven by the hand of mercy.

The best preparation for all the uncertainties of futurity consists in a well-ordereil mind, a good conscience, and a cheerful submission to the will of Heaven.

SECTION I. The chief misfortunes that befall us in life, can be traced to some vices or follies which we have committed.

Were we to survey the chambers of sickness and distress, we should often find them peopled with the victims of it. temperance and sensuality, and with the children of vs cious indolence and sloth.

To lie wise in our own eyes, to be wise in the opinion of the world, and to be wise in the sight of our Creator, are three things so very different, ils rarely lo coincule.

Min, in liis highest earthly glory. is but a reed floating on the stream of time, and fürced to follow every new direction of the current.

The corrupted terper, and the guilty passions of the bad, frustrate the effect of every advantage which the world confers on them.

The external misfortunes of life, disappointments, povcrty, and sickness, are light in comparison of those inward distresses of mind, occasioned by fölly, by p.ission, ilgd ny guilt.

No station is so high. no power so great, no chricter :0 umblemished, as to exempt men from the attacks of rashe uess, malice, or envy.

Moral and religious instruction derives its clficacy, not 80 much from what men are taught to know, ils from what they are brought to feel.

Ile who pretends to great sensibility towards men, and yet has no feeling for the high objects of relizion, no heart 10 admire and adore the great Father of the universe, has reason to distrust the truth and delicacy of his sensibility.

When, upon rational and sober inqniry, we have esta!; lished our principles, let us not suffer them to be shaken by the scoils of the licentious, or the civils of the scepticas,

When we oliserve any tendency to treat religion og mo rals with disrespect and levity, let us bolil it to he as rein. dication of a perverted understanding, or is depraves' heart

Every degree of guilt incurred by yielding to tes .ptation, tends to riebase the mind, and to weaken the ger crous and benevolent principles of human nature.

Luxury, pride, and vanity, have frequently his much in tluence in corrupting the sentinients of the great, iis igno• rance, bigotry, and prejudice, have in misleasing the opinions of the multitude.

Mixed as the present state is, reason 2.d religion pro. nounce, that generally, if not always, there is more happie ness than misery, niore pleasure than pe:n, in the condition

Society, when formed, requires dis'inctions of property, diversity of conditions, subordinatior, of ranks, and in nul. uplicity of occupütions, in order is advance the youerul govore

of man.

That the temper, the sentiments, the morality, and, in general, the whole conduct and character of men, are influenced by the example and disposition of the persons with whom they associate, is a reflection which has long since passed into a proverb, and been ranked among the standing maxims of human wisdom, in all ages of the world.

SECTION III. The desire of improvement discovers a liberal mind, and is connected with many accomplishments, and many virtues.

Innocence confers ease and freedom on the mind; and leaves it open to every pleasing sensation.

Moderate and simple pleasures relish high with the tem. perate : in the midst of his studied refinements, the voluptuary languishes.

Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manners; and, by a constant train of humane attentions, studies to alleviate the burden of common misery.

That gentleness which is the characteristic of a good man, has, like every other virtue, its seat in the heart : and, let me add, nothing, except what flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing.

Virtue, to beconie either vigorous or useful, must be habitually active : not breaking forth occasionally with a transient lustre, like the blaze of a comet; but regular in its returns, like the light of day: not like the aromatic gale, which sometimes feasts the sense ; but like the ordinary breeze, which purifies the air, and renders it healthful.

The happiness of every man depends more upon the state of his own mind, than upon any one external circumstance : nay, more than upon all external things put together.

In no station, in no period, let us think ourselves secure from the dangers which spring from our passions. Every age, and

every station they beset ; from youth to gray hairs, and from the peasant to the prince.

Riches and pleasures are the chief temptations to crimi. nal deeds. Yet those riches, when obtained, may very dossibly overwhelm us with unforeseen miseries. Those pleasures may cut short our health and life.

He who is accustomed to turn aside from the world, and commune with himself in retirement, will, soinetimes at least, hear the truths which the multitude do not tell mina. A more sound instructer will lift his voice, and

awaken within the heart those latent suggestions, which the world had overpowered and suppressed.

Amusement often becomes the business, instead of the relaxation, of young persons : it is then highly pernicions.

He that waits for an opportunity, to do much at once, may breathe out his life in idle wishes ; and regret, in the last hour, his useless intentions and barren zeal.

The spirit of true religion breathes mildness and affability. It gives a native, unaffected ease to the behaviour. It is so cial, kind, and cheerful : far removed from that gloony and illiberal superstition, which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, dejects the spirit, and teaches men to fit themselves for another world, by neglecting the concerns of this.

Reveal none of the secrets of thy friend. Be faithful to his interests. Forsake him not in danger. Abhor the thought of acquiring any advantage by his prejudice.

Man, always prosperous, would be giddy and insolent ; always afflicted, would be sullen or despondent. Hopes and fears, joy and sorrow, are, therefore, so blended in his life, as both to give room for worldly pursuits, and to recall, from time to time, the admonitions of conscience.

SECTION IV. Time once past never returns : the moment which is lost, is lost forever.

There is nothing on earth so stable, as to assure us of andisturbed rest ; nor so powerful, as to afford us constant protection.

The house of feasting too often becomes an avenue to the house of mourning. Short, to the licentious, is the interval between them. It is of great importance to us,

to form
a proper

estimate of human lif- ; without either loading it with imaginary evils, or expecting from it greater advantages than it is able to yield.

Among all our corrupt passions, there is a strong and intimate connexion. When any one of them is adopted into our family, it seldom quits until it has fathered upon us all its kindred.

Charity, like the sun, brightens every object on which it shines ; a censorious disposition casts every character into the darkest shade it will bear.

Many men mistake the love, for the practice of virtue ; and are not so much good men, as the friends of goodness

by all.

rienuine virtue has a linguage that speaks to every heart throughout the world. It is a linguage which is understood

In every region, every climate, the hom.ige paid to it is the sime. In no one sentiment were ever mankind more generally agreed.

The appearances of our security are frequently deceitful

When our sky sceins most settled and serene, in soms umobserved quarter gathers the little black cloud in which the tempest ferments, and prepares to discharge itself os our head.

The main of true fortitude may be compared to the cas. tle built on a rock, which defies the attacks of surrounding waters : the min ota feeble and timorous spirit, to a hut placed on the shore, which every wind shakes,

and

every wave overtlows.

Nothing is so inconsistent with self-possession as violent anger. It overpowers reison ; contounds our ideas ; dix. torts the appearance, and blackens the colour of every ob. ject. By the storms which it raises within, and by the muschiets which it occasions without, it generally brings on the passionate and revengetil min, greater misery than he can bring on the ohject of his resentment.

The palace of virtue his, in all ages, been represented as placed on the summit of a hill ; in the ascent of which, labour is requisite, and dilliculties are to be surmounted ; and where in conductor is needed, to direct our way, and io aid our steps.

In judying of others, let us always think the best, and employ the spirit of charity and candour. But in judging of ourselves, we ought to be ex:uct and severe.

Let him, who desires to see happy, make hasie to give while his gift can be enjoyed ; and remember, that every moment of delay tikes away something from the value of his benefiction. And let him who proposes his own happi. nese retlect, that while he forms his purpose, the day rolls on, and “the night comieth, when no m.in can work."

To sensual persons, hardly any thing is what it npresars to be: and what Matters most, is always furthest from realj. ly. There are voices which sing around them ; but whe strains allure to ruin. There is a banquet spread, where poison is in every dish. There is a couch which invites them to repose ; but to slumber upon it, is death.

It' we would judge whether a man is really happy, it Qol solely to his houses and lands, tu his equipage and his

« ElőzőTovább »