Графични страници
PDF файл

interests of mankind? Is its object useful and its end moral? Will it inform the understanding and amend the heart? Is it written with freedom and impartiality? Does it bear the marks of honesty and sincerity? Does it. attempt to ridicule any thing that is good or great? Does a manly style of thinking predominate? Do reason, wit, humour, and pleasantry prevail in it? Does it contain new and useful truths? If it inspire noble sentiments and generous resolutions, our judgment is fixed: the work is good, and the author is a master of the science."

54. There is a world where no storms intrude, a haven of safety against the tempests of life. A little world of joy and love, of innocence and tranquillity. Suspicions are not there, nor Jealousies, nor Falsehood with her double tongue, nor the venom of Slander. Peace embraceth it with out

spread wings. Plenty broodeth there. When a man entereth it, he forgetteth his sorrows, and cares, and disappointments; he openeth his heart to confidence, and to pleasures not mingled with remorse. This world is the wellordered home of a virtuous and amiable woman.

55. Bended knees, while you are clothed with pride; heavenly petitions, while you are hoarding up treasures upon earth; holy devotions, while you live in the follies of the world; prayers of meekness and charity, while your heart is the seat of spite and resentment; hours of prayer, while you give up days and years to idle diversions, impertinent visits, and foolish pleasures; are as absurd, unacceptable services to God, as forms of thanksgiving from a person that lives in repinings and discontent.

56. It is certain, that proper gestures and exertions of the voice cannot be too much studied by a public orator. They are a kind of comment to what he utters; and enforce every thing he says, with weak hearers, better than the strongest. argument he can make use of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them; at the same time that they show the speaker is in earnest,

and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others.

57. A man of polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving. He can converse with a picture, and find an agreeable companion in a statue. He meets with a secret refreshment in a description, and often feels a greater satisfaction in the prospect of fields and meadows than another does in the possession. It gives him, indeed, a kind of property in every thing he sees, and makes the most rude uncultivated parts of nature administer to his pleasures: so that he looks upon the world, as it were, in another light, and discovers in it a multitude of charms that conceal themselves from the generality of mankind.

58. Prosperity, as truly asserted by Seneca, very much obstructs the knowledge of ourselves. No man can form a just estimate of his own powers by inactive speculation. That fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations, can, at best, be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which, therefore, the true value cannot be assigned. Equally necessary is some variety of fortune to a nearer inspection of the manners, principles, and affections of mankind.

59. My Lord Froth has been so educated in punctilio, that he governs himself by a ceremonial in all the ordinary occurrences of life. He measures out his bow to the degree of the person he converses with. I have seen him in every inclination of the body, from the familiar nod to the low stoop of salutation. I remember five of us, who were acquainted with one another, met one morning at his lodgings, when a wag of the company was saying it would be worth while to observe how he would distinguish us at his first entrance. Accordingly, he no sooner came into the room than, casting his eye about," My Lord Such-a-one," says he, "your most humble servant-Sir Richard, your

humble servant-Your servant, Mr. Ironside-Mr. Ducker, how do you do?-Ha, Frank, are you there ?"

60. Let us now consider the principal point, whether the place where they encountered was most favourable to Milo or to Clodius. Were the affair to be represented only by painting, instead of being expressed by words, it would even then clearly appear which was the traitor, and which was free from all mischievous designs. When the one was sitting in his chariot, muffled up in his cloak, and his wife along with him; which of these circumstances was not a very great incumbrance-the dress, the chariot, or the companion? How could he be worse equipped for engagement, when he was wrapped up in a cloak, embarrassed with a chariot, and almost fettered by his wife? Observe the other now, in the first place, sallying out on a sudden from his seat; for what reason?—in the evening; what urged him?— late; to what purpose, especially at that season? He calls at Pompey's seat; with what view? To see Pompey? He knew he was at Allium. To see his house? He had been in it a thousand times. What then could be the reason of this loitering and shifting about? He wanted to be upon the spot when Milo came.

61. What are the possessions of the world? Do they infallibly carry with them comfort and delight? Are they stable and secure? Are they proof against all dangers? Are they subject to no violence, liable to no change or revolution? Who can delight to grovel with the insect in the dust, when with angels he might soar into the presence, and aspire to the friendship, of his Maker? But what is the happiness this world can give? Can it preserve our hearts from grief? Can it soothe it, the King of Terrors? Can it ease our burdened consciences? If not, wherefore is it so high in our esteem? Why does it lie so close unto our hearts? When my heart is torn with grief, when my limbs are racked with pain, what is the world to me? Why am I so enamoured of a vapour on which before it perisheth my eyes may be for

ever closed? Hurried as I am down the stream of time, shall I set my heart on the fading flowers that grow upon its banks? No. I must not be so injurious to myself; I must not be so ungrateful to my Maker.

62. I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should with joy, pleasure, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts! I will ask him for my place againhe shall tell me I'm a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by-and-by a fool, and presently a beast! Every inordinate cup is unblest, and the ingredient is a devil.

63. To be vain is rather a mark of humility than pride. Vain men delight in telling what honours have been done them, what great company they have kept, and the like, by which they plainly confess that these honours were more than their due, and such as their friends would not believe, if they had not been told: whereas a man truly proud thinks the greatest honours below his merit, and consequently scorns to boast. I therefore deliver it as a maxim, that whosoever desires the character of a proud man ought to conceal his vanity.

64. One great end to which all knowledge ought to be employed is the welfare of humanity. Every science is the foundation of some art beneficial to man; and while the study of it leads us to see the beneficence of the laws of nature, it calls upon us also to follow the great end of the Father of nature, in their employment and application. I need not say what a field is thus opened to the benevolence of knowledge; I need not tell you, that, in every department of learning, there is good to be done to mankind. I need not remind you, that the age in which we live has given us the noblest examples of this, and that science now finds its highest glory in improving the condition, or in allaying the miseries, of humanity.

65. To be good is to be happy. Angels
Are happier than men, because they're better.
Guilt is the source of sorrow; 'tis the fiend,
Th' avenging fiend, that follows us behind
With whips and stings: the blest know none of this,
But dwell in everlasting peace of mind,

And find the height of all their heav'n is goodness.
66. Good name in man and woman

Is the immediate jewel of their souls.

Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something—nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:
But he who filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

67. Philosophy consists not
In airy schemes or idle speculations.
The rule and conduct of all social life
Is her great province. Not in lonely cells
Obscure she lurks, but holds her heavenly light
To senates and to kings, to guide their councils,
And teach them to reform and bless mankind.
All policy but hers is false and rotten;
All valour not conducted by her precepts,
Is a destroying fury sent from hell,

To plague unhappy man, and ruin nations.
68. Earth's cup

Is poisoned; her renown most infamous;
Her gold, seem as it may, is really dust;
Her titles, slanderous names; her praise, reproach;
Her strength, an idiot's boast; her wisdom, blind;
Her gain, eternal loss; her hope, a dream;
Her love, her friendship, enmity with God;
Her promises, a lie; her smile, deceitful;
Her all, most utter vanity; and all
Her lovers mad—insane most grievously—
And most insane, because they know it not.

« ПредишнаНапред »