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bufy men, there are frequent intervals of leifure. Let them take care, that into these, none of the vices of idleness creep Let fome fecondary, fome fubfidiary employment of a fair and laudable kind, be always at hand to fill up thofe vacant spaces of life, which too many affign, either to corrupting amufements, or to mere inaction. We ought never to forget, that entire idleness always borders, either on mifery, or on guilt.

At the fame time, let the courfe of our employments be ordered in fuch a manner, that in carrying them on, we may be alfo promoting our eternal intereft. With the bufinefs of the world, let us properly intermix the exercises of devotion. By religious duties, and virtuous actions, let us ftudy to prepare ourselves for a better world. In the midst of our labours for this life, it ought never to be forgotten, that we must "first feek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and give diligence to make our calling and election fure ;" otherwife, how active foever we may seem to be, our whole activity will prove only a laborious idlenefs: we fhall appear in the end, to have been buẩy to no purpose, or to a purpose worse than none.

Then only we fulfil the proper character of christians when we join that pious zeal which becomes us as the fervants of God, with that industry which is required of us, as good members of society; when, according to the exhortation of the Apoftie, we are found "not flothful in bufinefs," and, at the fame time, "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

BLAIR.

SECTION IV.

The choice of our fituation in life, a point of great importance The influence of a new fituation of external fortune is fo great; it gives fo different a turn to our temper and affections, to our views and defires, that no man can foretel what his character would prove, fhould he be either raised or depreffed in his circumstances in a remarkable degree; or placed in fome sphere of action, widely different from that to which he has been accustomed in former life.

The feeds of various qualities, good and bad, lie in all our hearts. But until proper occafions ripen, and bring them forward, they lie there inactive and dead. They are covered up and concealed within the receffes of our nature; or, if they fpring up at all, it is under fuch an appearance as is frequently mistaken, even by ourselves. Pride, for in

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flance, in certain fituations, has no opportunity of difplay. ing itself, but as 'magnanimity, or sense of honour. AvaWhat in rice appears as necessary and laudable economy. one station of life would difcover itself to be cowardice and bafenefs of mind paffes in another for prudent circumfpection. What in the fulness of power would prove to be cruelty and oppreffion, is reputed in a fubordinate rank, no more than the exercife of proper difcipline. For a while, the man is known neither by the world, nor by himself, to be what he truly is. But bring him into a new fituation of life, which accords with his predominant difpofition; which strikes on certain latent qualities of his foul, and awakens them into action; and as the leaves of a flower gradually full to unfold to the sun, fo fhall all his true character open view.

This may, in one light, be accounted not so much an alteration of character, produced by a change of circumstances, as a discovery brought forth of the real character, which formerly lay concealed. Yet, at the fame time, it is true that the man himself undergoes a change. For opportunity being given for certain difpofitions, which had been dormant, to exert themselves without restraint, they of course gather ftrength By means of the afcendency which they gain, other parts of the temper are borne down; and thus an alteration is made in the whole ftructure and fyftem of the foul. He is a truly wife and good man, who, through divine affiftance, remains fuperior to this influence of fortune on his character; who, having once imbibed worthy fentiments, and eltablished proper principles of action, continues conftant to thefe, whatever his circumftances be; maintains throughout all the changes of his life, one uniform and fupported tenor of conduct; and what he abhorred as evil and wicked, in the beginning of his days, continues to abhor to the end. But how rare is it to meet with this honourable consistency among men, while they are paffing through the different stations and periods of life! When they are fetting out in the world, before their minds have been greatly mifled or debafed, they glow with generous emotions, and look with contempt on what is fordið and guilty. But advancing farther in life, and inured by degrees to the crooked ways of men; preffing through the crowd and bustle of the world; obliged to contend with this man's craft, and that man's fcorn; accustomed, fometimes, to conceal their fentiments, and often to stifle their

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feelings, they become at last hardened in heart, and famil iar with corruption. Who would not drop a tear over this fad, but frequent fall of human probity and honour? Who is not humbled, when he beholds the refined fentiments and high principles on which we are fo ready to value ourselves brought to fuch a fhameful iffue; and man, with all his boasted attainments of reason, discovered so often to be the creature of his external fortune, moulded and formed by the incidents of his life.

Let us for a moment reflect on the dangers which arife from stations of power and greatnefs; efpecially, when the elevation of men to thefe has been rapid and fudden. Few have the ftrength of mind which is requifite for bearing fuch a change with temperance and self-command. The refpect which is paid to the great, and the fcope which their condition affords for the indulgence of pleafure, are perilous circumstances to virtue. When men live among their e quals, and are accustomed to encounter the hardships of life, they are of course reminded of their mutual dependence on each other, and of the dependence of all upon God. But when they are highly exalted above their fellows, they meet with few objects to awaken serious reflection, and with many to feed and inflame their paffions. They are apt to separate their interest from that of all around them; to wrap them felves up in their vain grandeur; and, in the lap of indolence and felfish pleasure, to acquire a cold indifference to the concerns even of thofe whom they call their friends. The fancied independence, into which they are lifted up, verfe to fentiments of piety, as well as of humanity, in their heart..

But we are not to imagine, that elevated ftations in the world furnish the only formidable trials to which our virtue is expofed It will be found, that we are liable to no fewer, nor lefs dangerous temptations, from the oppofite extreme of poverty and depreffion. When men who have known bet ter days, are thrown down into abject fituations of fortune, their fpirits are broken,and their tempers foured: envy y rankles in their breaft at fuch as are more fuccefsful; the provi dence of Heaven is accufed in fecret murmurs: and the fenfe of mifery is ready to push them into atrocious crimes, in order to better their ftate. Among the inferior claffes of mankind, craft and dishonefty are too often found to prevail. Low and penurious circumftances deprefs the human powers. They deprive men of the proper means

of knowledge and improvement; and where ignorance is grofs, it is always in hazard of engendering profligacy.

Hence it has been, generally, the opinion of wife men, in all ages, that there is a certain middle condition of life equally remote from either of those extremities of fortune, which, though it wants not also its own dangers, yet is, on the whole, the ftate most favourable both to virtue and to happiness. For there, luxury and pride, on the one hand, have not opportunity to enervate or intoxicate the mind, nor want and dependence on the other, to fink and debase it; there all the native affections of the soul have the freest and fairest exercise, the equality of men is felt, friendships are formed, and improvements of every fort are purfued with most fuccefs; there, men are prompted to industry without being overcome by toil, and their powers called forth into exertion, without being either fuperfeded by too much abundance, or baffled by infuperable difficulties ; there, a mixture of comforts and of wants, at once awakens their gratitude to God, and reminds them of their dependence on his aid; and therefore, in this state, men seem to enjoy life to most advantage, and to be least exposed to the fnares of vice..

From what has been faid, we learn the importance of attending with the utmost care, to the choice which we make of our employment and condition in life. It has been fhown, that our external fituation frequently operates powerfully on our moral character; and by confequence that it is ftrictly connected, not only with our temporal welfare, but with our everlafting happiness or mifery. He who might have paffed unblamed, and upright through certain Walks of life, by unhappily choosing a road where he meets with temptations too strong for his virtue, precipitates himfelf into harne here, and into endless ruin hereafter. Yet how often is the determination of this molt important article left to the chance of accidental connexions, or fubmitted to the option of youthful fancy and humour! When it is made the fubject of ferious deliberation, how feldom have they, on whom the decifion of it depends, any further view than fo to difpofe of one who is coming out into life, as that he may the fooneft become rich, or, as it is expreffed, make his Way to most advantage in the world! Are there no other objects than this to be attended to, in fixing the plan of life? Are there not facred and important interests which deferve to be confulted?-We would not willingly place

one whofe welfare we ftudied, in a fituation for which we were convinced that his abilities were unequal. Thefe, therefore, we examine with care; and on them we reft the ground of our decifion. It is, however, certain, that not abilities merely, but the turn of the temper and the heart require to be examined with equal attention, in forming the plan of future establishment. Every one has fome peculiar weakness, fome predominant paffion, which expofes him to temptations of one kind more than of another. Early this may be difcerned to fhoot; and from its first rifings its future growth may be inferred. Anticipate its progrefs. Confider how it is likely to be affected, by fucceeding occurrences in life. If we bring one whom we are rearing up, into a fituation, where all the furrounding circumstances fhall cherish and mature this fatal principle in his nature, we become, in a great measure, answerable for the confequences that follow. In vain we trust to his abilities and powers. Vice and corruption, when they have

inted the heart, are fufficient to overfet the greatest abil. ities. Nay, too frequently they turn them against the poffeffor; and render them the inftruments of his more fpeedy ruin.

BLAIR,

SECTION V.

No life pleafing to God that is not useful to man.
in Eafern narrative.

Ir pleafed our mighty fovereign Abbas Carafcan, from whom the kings of the earth derive honour and dominion, to fet Mirza his fervant over the province of Tauris. In the hand of Mirza, the balance of diftribution was fufpend ed with impartiality; and under his administration the weak were protected, the learned received honour, and the diligent became rich: Mirza, therefore, was beheld by ev ery eye with complacency, and every tongue pronounced bleffings upon his head. But it was obferved that he derived no joy from the benefits which he diffused; he became penfive and melancholy; he fpent his leifure in folitude; in his palace he fat motionlefs upon a fofa; and when he went out, his walk was flow, and his eyes were fixed upon the ground: he applied to the business of fate with reluctance; and refolved to relinquish the toil of government, of which he could no longer enjoy the re

ward.

He therefore obtained permission to approach the throne of our Sovereign and being afked what was his request

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