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The veil which covers from our o: 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 ordered mind, a good conscience,” and a cheerful submission to the will of Heaven. - *= * SECTION II. a Folly, fol'-lè, weakness, depravity.[k U-ni-verse, yū'-nē-vèrse, the b Vic-tim, vik'-tim, a sacrifice. whole world. c In-tem-per-ance, in-tém'-pér-ánse,]l Dis-trust, dis-trăst', to doubt, susexcess in meat or drink, a want picion. of temperance. m Cav-il, kāv'-il, to raise captious d In-do-lence, in-dò-lènse, laziness. objections, a captious argument. e Cre-a-tor," kré-a'-tär, God, one|n Scep-tic-al, sép'-tik-ál, disbelievwho, creates. ing. f Cur-rent, kür'-rênt, circulatory,lo In-di-ca-tion, in-dé-kā-shān, mark, running stream. . . symptom. t g Frus-trate, frås'-tråte, to defeat, p Big-ot-ry, big'-gāt-tré, blind zeal, balk. superstition. h Con-fer, kón-fér', to bestow, dis-|q Max-imamáks'-lm, a general princourse with. ciple. i Ex-ter-nal, éks-têr'-nál, outward, apparent. . . . o 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 intemperance" and sensuality, and with the children of vicious indolence" and sloth. To be 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, as rarely to coincide. Man, in his highest earthly glory, is but a reed floating on the stream of time, and forced to follow every new direction of the current." The corrupted temper, and the guilty passions of the bad, frustrates the effect of every advantage which the world confers" on them. The external' misfortunes of life, disappointments, poverty, and sickness, are light in comparison of those inward distresses of mind, occasioned by folly, by passion, and by guilt. y o station is so high, no power so great, no character so unblemished, as to exempt men from the attacks of rashness, malice, or envy. . . . . .
Moral snd religious instruction derives its efficacy, not so much from what men are taught to know, as from what they are brought to feel. He who pretends to great sensibility towards men, and yet has no feeling for the high objects of religion, no heart to 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 inquiry, we have esta lished our principles, let us not suffer them to be shaken by the scoffs of licentious, or the cavils" of the sceptical." When we observe any tendency to treat religion or mo– rals with disrespect and levity, let us hold it to be a sure indication” of a perverted understanding, or a depraved heart. Every degree of guilt incurred by yielding to temptation, tends to debase the mind, and to weaken the generous and . benevolent principles of human nature. Luxury, pride, and vanity, have frequently as much influence in corrupting the sentiments of the great, as ignorance, bigotry,” and prejudice, have in misleading the opinions of the multitude. Mixed as the present state is, reason and religion pronounce; that generally, if not always, there is more happiness than misery, more pleasure than pain, in the condition of man. Society, when formed, requires distinctions of property, diversity of conditions, subordination of ranks, and a mulo tiplicity of occupations, in order to advance the general ood. - 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.
& Com-et, kóm-lt, a heavenly body.[l La-tent, lá'-tênt, hidden, secret. h Ar-o-mat-ick, Ar-&-mât-ık, spicy, m Su-per-stit-ion, sil-pér-stish-àn, fragrant. false devotion. * i Pe-ri-od, pé'-ré-öd, around of time, n Prej-u-dice, préd'-jū-dis, preposfull point. . session, injury, to hurt. k Com-mune, kêm-müne', to con-lo De-spon-dent, dé-spón'-dént, des. verse. pairing. THE desire of improvement discovers a liberal mind, and is eonnected 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 temperate: in the midst of the 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 characteristick 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 become either vigorous or useful, must be habitually active: not breaking forth occasionally with a transiento lustre," like the blaze of a comet; but regular in its returns, like the light of day: not like the aromatick" 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: o more than upon all external things P. together. n 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 criminal deeds. Yet those riches, when obtained, may very possibly 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, sometimes at least, hear the truths which the multitude do not tell him. A more sound instructer will lift his voice, and awaken within the heart, those latent'suggestions, which the world had overpowered and suppressed. ... 3 +
Amusement often becomes the business, instead of the relaxation, of young persons: it is then highly pernicious. He that waits for an *...". 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 social, kind, and cheerful: far removed from that gloomy and illiberal superstition," which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, dejects the spirit, and teaches men, to fit so 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; . 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.
lost, is lost for ever. ~
It is of great importance to us, to form a proper esti mate of human life; 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. hen, 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. Genuine" virtue has a language that speaks to every heart throughout the world. It is a language which is understood by all. In every region, every elimate, the homage paid to it is the same. In no one sentiment were ever mankind more generally agreed. The appearances of our security are frequently deceitful. When our sky seems most settled and serene, in some unobserved quarter gathers the little black cloud in which the tempest ferments, and prepares to discharge itself on our heads. The man of true fortitude may be compared to the castle built on the rock, which defies the attack of surrounding waters: the man of a feeble and timorous; spirit, to a hut placed on the shore; which every wind shakes, and every wave overflows. Nothing is so inconsistent with self-possession as violen anger. . It overpowers reason; confounds our ideas; distorts" the appearance, and blackens the colour of every object. By the storms which it raises within, and by the mischiefs which it occasions without, it generally brings on the passionate and revengeful man, greater misery than . he can bring on the object of his resentment. The palace of virtue has, in all ages, been represented as placed on the summit of a hill; in the ascent of which labour is requisite, and difficulties are to be surmounted . and where a conductor is needed, to direct our way, and to aid our steps. In judging of others, let us always think the best, and employ the spirit of charity and candour." But in judg ing of ourselves, we ought to be exact and severe. et him, who desires to see others happy, make haste to