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day, rob our immortal spirits of the bread of life, and concur with our secular employments in leaving us no time to form our souls for the relish of religious exercises? What think we of ourselves? are we lovers of God, or lovers of pleasure ?

It will be well for us if we carry these ideas and sentiments into every scene of pleasure that engages our attention, so that the enjoyments of life, innocently adopted, and temperately pursued, may never wean us from the practice of virtue, nor from the exercise of those duties, which as dependent creatures, in the constant receipt of goodness and of mercy, are daily expected from us.-

Ask what is human life?-the sage replies,
With disappointment low’ring in his eyes,
A painful passage o'er a restless flood,
A vain pursuit of fugitive false good,
A scene of fancied bliss, and heartfelt care,
Closing at last in darkness and despair.
The poor, inur’d to drudg'ry and distress,
Act without aim, think little, and feel less,
And nowhere, but in feign'd Arcadian scenes,
Taste happiness, or know what pleasure means.
Riches are pass'd away from hand to hand,
As fortune, vice, or folly, may command :
As, in a dance, the pair that take the lead
Turn downward, and the lowest pair succeed-
So shifting and so various is the plan,
By which Heav'n rules the mix'd'affairs of man.
Vicissitude wheels round the motley crowd,
The rich grow poor, the poor become purse-proud:
Business is labour, and, man's weakness such,
Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much ;
The very sense of it, foregoes its use,
By repetition pall’d, by age obtuse.
Youth lost in dissipation we deplore,
Thro' life's sad remnant, what no sighs restore:
Our years, a fruitless race without a prize ;

Too many, yet too few to make us wise! COWPER. The universe, (says Necker,) throughout the whole extent of which we have any knowledge, is composed of multifarious relations, the distinctive stámps of a creative genius and a directing wisdom. One of these relationships, which has often struck me, and to which I have never found any one pay attention, is the exact proportion established between our interest in the vanities of the world, and the duration of our existence here below. We are only endowed with sufficient emulation, and with sufficient curiosity, for the course of an ordinary life; and if by a peculiar combination of circumstances, these are exhausted at too early a period, we must almost inevitably fall into ennui when we are obliged to quit a scene, so animated, so exciting, at its commencement.

Op'ning the map of God's extensive plan,
We find a little isle, this life of man:
Eternity's unknown expanse appears
Circling around, and limiting his years :
The busy race examine and explore
Each creek and cavern of the dangerous shore,
With care collect what in their eyes excels,
Some shining pebbles, and some weeds and shells;
Thus laden, dream that they are rich and great,
And happiest he that groans beneath his weight.
The waves o'ertake them in their serious play,
And ev'ry year sweeps multitudes away:
They shriek and sink; survivors start and weep,

Pursue their sport, and follow to the deep. COWPER, If then we would in our mortal career preserve a fund for constantly creating some new interest, we must proceed with measured steps along the high and beaten road which lies open before us. We shew great ignorance of the nature of happiness, and the means by which it is to be attained, when we frame schemes and wishes to acquire a large fortune rapidly, and to arrive, without loss of time, at the highest point of glory or renown. Every thing within us and around us is ordered with the profoundest wisdom; every thing in the primary ideas, in the elementary causes, of the grand moral phenomenon of which we form a part, is in perfect harmony. When this truth presents itself to my mind under any new relationship, I am the more inspired with the sweetest hopes. In seeing those relationships ever invariable, ever just, between every thing that exists around us and within us, I persuade myself that such a relationship exists between my wishes and the future;-I persuade myself that I shall one day see all the objects of my tenderest affection re-appear in a new country; those that have quitted me, and those that I must quit, the objects alike of my inexhaustible affection And if, as holiest men have deem'd, there bé

A land of souls beyond that sable shore, To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee,

And Sophists, madly vain of dubious lore;

How sweet it were in concert to adore
With those who made our mortal labours light!

To hear each voice we fear'd to hear no more!
Behold each mighty shade reveal'd to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!

BYRON. It is, indeed, hard to conceive how a man accustomed to extend his views through a long concatenation of causes and effects, to trace things from their origin to their period, and compare means with ends, may discover the weakness of human schemes,-detect the fallacies by which mortals are deluded,--shew the insufficiency of wealth, honour, and power, to real happiness, -and please bimself and his authors with learned lectures on the vanity of life. But though the speculatist may see and shew the folly of terrestrial hopes, fears, and desires, every hour will give proofs that he never felt it. Trace him through the day or the year, and you will find him acting upon principles which he has in common with the illiterate and unenlightened, ---angry and pleased, like the lowest of the vulgar; pursuing with the same ardour the same designs; grasping with all the eagerness of transport those riches which he knows he cannot keep; and swelling with the applause which he has gained, by proving that applause is of no value,

Avoid extremes, and shun the fault of such
Who still are pleas'd too little or too much.
At every trifle scorn to take offence;
That always shews great pride, or little sense:
Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best,

Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest. 19.

4 G

every side.

Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move ;
For fools admire, but men of sense approve:
As things seem large, which we thro' mists descry,
Dulness is ever apt to magnify.

POPE. The only conviction that rushes upon the soul, and takes away from our appetites and passions the power of resistance, is to be found at the bed of a dying friend. To enter this school of wisdom, is not the peculiar privilege of geometricians: the most sublime and important precepts require no uncommon opportunities, nor laborious preparations; they are enforced without the aid of eloquence, and understood without skill in analytic science. Every tongue can utter them, and every understanding can conceive them. He that wishes in earnest to obtain just sentiments concerning his condition, and would be intimately acquainted with this world, may find instructions on

He that desires to enter bebind the scene which every art has been employed to decorate, and every passion labours to illuminate, and wishes to see life stripped of those ornaments which make it glitter on the stage-may find all the delusion laid open

in the chamber of disease: he will there find vanity divested of her robes, power deprived of her sceptre, and hypocrisy without her mask.

Like other tyrants, death delights to smite
What, smitten, most proclaims the pride of pow'r
And arbitrary nod. His joy supreme,
To bid the wretch survive the fortunate :
The feeble wrap th' athletic in his shroud;
And weeping fathers build their children's tombs.

YOUNG. The well-known and attested position, that life is short, may be heard among mankind, by an attentive auditor, many times a day; yet it never, within my reach of observation, left any impression upon the mind; and perhaps, if my readers will turn their thoughts back upon their old friends, they will find it difficult to call a single man to remembrance, who appeared to know that life was short, till he was about to lose it. So far are we generally from thinking what we often say of the shortness of life, that at the time when it is necessarily shortest, we form projects which we delay to execute, indulge such expectations as nothing but a long train of events can gratify, and suffer those passions to gain upon us, which are only excusable in the prime of life. We are, too, frequently importuned by bacchanalian writers, to lay hold on the present hour, to catch the pleasures within our reach, and remember that futurity is not at our command

to take the instant by the forward step;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees,
Th' inaudible and noiseless foot of time

Steals, ere we can effect them. SHAKSPEARE. ) But surely these exhortations may, with equal propriety, be applied to better purposes: it may be at least inculcated, that pleasures are more safely postponed than virtues, and that greater loss is suffered by missing an opportunity of doing good, than an hour of giddy frolic and noisy merriment.

Not only in the slumber of sloth, but in the dissipation of ill-directed industry, is the shortness of life generally forgotten. As some men lose their hours in laziness, because they suppose there is time for the reparation of neglect; others busy themselves in providing that no length of life may want employment; and it often happens, that sluggishness and activity are equally surprised by the last summons, and perish not more differently from each other, than the fow! that received the shot in her flight, from her that is killed upon the bush.

Among the many improvements made by the last centuries in human knowledge, may be numbered the exact calculations of the value of life; but whatever may be their use in traffic, they seem very little to have advanced morality. They have hitherto been rather applied to the acquisition of money, than of wisdom: the computer refers none of his calculations to his own tenure, but persists, in contempt of probability, to foretell old age to himself, and believes that he is marked out to reach the utmost verge of human

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