Графични страници
PDF файл

What evidence have I that he is my salvation? “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." Have I passed from death unto life ; have all things become new? If so, then the fruits of the spirit will appear in my conduct, the glory of God will rest upon me and “the joy of the Lord will be my strength."


EURIPIDES AND SIMONIDES. Euripides flourished about 407 years before Christ. He was one of the Greek poets who excelled in tragedy, and was a native of the island of Salamis. He studied under the most celebrated masters, and frequented the lectures of Anaxagoras for natural philosophy, and of Perdicus for rhetoric.

We are told that Socrates never appeared at the theatre, but when Euripides contended with the tragedians, for the tragedies of this poet were so full of fine morality, that they were exceedingly pleasing to that philosopher. He repaired to the court of Macedon, where he met with a very agreeable reception. He there came to a tragical end, about the seventy-fifth year of his age, for as he was walking in a wood, the intenseness of his thoughts led him too far, till being met at last by the Prince's dogs which were then hunting, he was forn in pieces by them.

We have but twenty tragedies of this writer leftTo inspire his mind with solemn and terrfiic ideas, he composed his pieces in a gloomy cave. In the opinion of many excellent judges, he was the most accomplished of all the tragic poets, having interspersed many moral reflections through his pieces.

SIMONIDES.-Simonides flourished in the time of Xerxes's expedition; he was a native of Ceos, an island in the Ægean sea, and set up a school there. He soon left his native country, upon some disappointment it is supposed, and retired to Sicily, where he was entertained at the court of Hiero, and several times escaped imminent danger of losing his life by accidents. This is

VOL. I.--2.

the poet whose remark to Dionysius concerning the . Deity, was so remarkable and striking_" The longer I consider the subject, the more difficult it appears to be."

In his old age he appears to have been covetous to excess even of avarice, the reason of which he gave was, that he might leave something after his death to his enemies. His way of life, we are told was narrow and mean; he was covetous, even of dishonest gain. He lived to a great age, being, when he died, ninety-two, still at the court of Hiero.

He has been censured as the first who let out the Muses for hire, and who disgraced them through a mercenary spirit. His wit was beyond the attacks of critics; his poetry was composed in almost all strains, but he succeeded chiefly in elegies. His Lamentations was one of the most famous poems he wrote, and to which Horace has an allusion. His poetical genius was so strong, that he disputed the prize of poetry at eighty years of age.

R. Š.


The sad effects of luxury are these :
We drink our poison, and we eat disease.
Not so, O Temperance bland, when ruled by thee,
The brute's obedient, and the man is free;
Soft are his slumbers, balmy is his rest,—
His veins not boiling from the midnight feast.
'Tis to thy rules, bright Temperance! we owe
All pleasures which from health and strength can flow;
Vigour of body, purity of mind,
Unclouded reason, sentiments refined;
Unmixed, untainted joys, without remorse,

The intemperate sensualist's never-failing curse. The greatest pleasures of sense turn disgustful by excess.

The gratification of desire is sometimes the worst thing that can befall us.

It was a maxim of Socrates, “ that we ought to cat

and drink to live; and not to live in order to eat and drink.”

Luxury may contribute to give bread to the poor ; but if there were no luxury there would be no poor.

Pride and luxury are the parents of impurity and idleness, and impurity is the parent of indigence.

Sensual enjoyment, when it becomes habitual, loses its relish, and is converted into a burthen. .

Be moderate in your pleasures, that your relish for them may continue.,

Temperance is the preservation of the dominion of soul over sense, of reason over passion. The want of it destroys health, fortune and conscience; robs us of personal elegance and domestic felicity; and what is worst of all, it degrades our reason and levels us with the brutes.

ANACHARSIS, the Scythian, in order to deter young men from that voluptuousness which is ever attended with ill effects, applied his discourse to them in a parable, telling them, “that the vine of youthful gratification and intemperance had three branches, producing three clusters ; on the first, says he, grows pleasure ; on the second sottishness, and on the third sadness.”

To show the dangers of intemperance, the Catholic legends tell us of some hermit to whom the devil gave his choice of three crimes; two of them of the most atrocious kind, and the other to be drunk. The poor saint chose the last as the least of the three; but when drunk he committed the other two.

Examples—One of our most celebrated poets has somewhere observed that “Dull sleep instructs, nor sport vain dreams in vain.” The following may serve as an instance. CHREMES of Greece, though a young man, was very infirm and sickly, through a course of, luxury and intemperance, and subject to those strange sorts of fits which are called trances. In one of these he thought that a philosopher came to sup with him ; who, out of all the dishes served up at the table, would only eat of one, and that the most simple ; yet his conversation was sprightly, his knowledge great, his counte

nance cheerful, and his constitution strong. When the philosopher took his leave, he invited Chremes to sup with him at a house in the neighborhood; this also took place in his imagination, and he thought he was received with the most polite and affectionate tokens of friendship, but was greatly surprised when supper came up, to find nothing but milk and honey, and a few roots dressed up in the plainest manner, to which cheerfulness and good sense were the only sauces. As Chremes was unused to this kind of diet, and could not eat, the philosopher ordered another table to be spread more to his taste ; and immediately there succeeded a banquet composed of the most artificial dishes that luxury could invent with great plenty and variety of the richest and most intoxicating wines. These too were accompanied by damsels of the most bewitching beauty. And now Chremes gave a loose to his appetites, and everything he tasted raised ecstasies beyond what he had ever known. During the repast the damsels sung and danced to entertain him; their charms enchanted the enraptured guest, already heated with what he had drank ; his senses were lost in ecstatic confusion ; every thing around him seemed Elysium, and he was upon the point of indulging the most boundless freedom, when, lo! on a sudden their beauty, which was but a vizor, fell off, and discovered to his view forms the most hideous and forbidding imagiirable. Lust, revenge, folly, murder, meagre poverty, and frantic despair, now appeared in their most odious shapes, and the place instantly became the direct scene of misery and desolation. How often did Chremes wish himself far distant from such diabolical company! and how dread the fatal consequence which threatened him on every side ! His blood ran chill to his heart; his knees smote against each other with fear, and joy and rapture were turned into astonishment and horror. When the philosopher perceived that this scene had made a sufficient impression on his guest, he thus addressed him: “Know, Chremes, it is I, it is Æsculapius, who have thus entertained you; and what you have here beheld is the true image of the deceitfulness and misery inseparable from

luxury and intemperance. Would you be happy, be temperate. Temperance is the parent of health, virtue, wisdom, plenty, and of every thing that can render you happy in this world or the world to come. It is indeed the true luxury of life ; for without it life cannot be enjoyed.” This said, he disappeared; and Chremes, awaking, and instructed by the vision, altered his course of life, became frugal, temperate, industrious ; and by that means so mended his health and estate, that he lived without pain to a very old age, and was esteemed one of the richest, best, and wisest men in Greece.

Such is the beautiful moral drawn by the pen of elegant and instructive fiction; with which if there be any mind so insensible as not to be properly affected, let us only turn to that striking reality presented to us in the case of Lewis Cornaro. This gentleman was a Venetian of noble extraction, and memorable for having lived to an extreme old age ; for he was above a hundred years old at the time of his death, which happened at Padua in the year 1565. Amongst other little performances he left behind him a piece entitled, “Of the Advantages of a Temperate Life.” He was moved, it seems, to compose this little piece at the request and for the benefit of some young men for whom he had a regard ; and who, having long since lost their parents, and seeing him, then eighty-one years old, in a fine florid state of health, were desirous to know of him what it was that enabled him to preserve, as he did, a sound mind in a sound body, to so extreme an age. He describes to them, therefore, his whole manner of living, and the regimen he had always pursued, and was then pursuing. He tells, them that when he was young he was very intemperate ; that his intemperance had brought upon him many and grievous disorders ; that from the thirty-fifth to the fortieth year of his age, he spent his nights and days in the utmost anxiety and pain ; and that, in short, his life was grown a burthen to him. The physicians, however, as he relates, notwithstanding all the vain and fruitless efforts which they made to restore his health,

« ПредишнаНапред »