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and from the evil of my life nothing could be taken away, nor could any thing be added to the good. When I reflected that my lot for eternity was caft, which not all the powers of nature could reverfe, my confidence totally forfook me; and while I ftood trembling and filent, covered with confufion and chilled with horror, I was thus addressed by the radiance that flamed before me.
"Carazan, thy worship has not been accepted, because it was not prompted by love of God; neither can thy righteousness be rewarded, because it was not produced by love of man for thy own fake only, haft thou rendered to every man his due; and thou haft approached the Almighty only for thyself. Thou haft not looked up with gratitude, nor around thee with kindness. Around thee, thou hatt indeed beheld vice and folly; but if vice and folly could juf tify thy parfimony, would they not condemn the bounty of Heaven? If not upon the foolish and the vicious, where fhall the fun diffuse his light, or the clouds diftil their dew? Where fhall the lips of the fpring breath fragrance, or the hand of autumn diffuse plenty? Remember, Carazan, that thou haft fhut compaffion from thy heart, and grafped thy treasures with a hand of iron; thou haft lived for thyself; and, therefore, henceforth forever thou fhalt fubfift alone. From the light of Heaven, and from the fociety of all beings fhalt thou be driven; folitude fhall protract the lingering hours of eternity, and darkness aggravate the horrors of defpair."
"At this moment I was driven by fome fecret and irrefiftible power, through the glowing fyftem of creation, and paffed innumerable worlds in a moment As I approached the verge of nature, I perceived the fhadows of total and boundless vacuity deepen before me, a dreadful region of eternal filence, folitude, and dai knefs! Unutterable horror feized me at the profpe&, and this exclamation burst from me with all the vehemence of defire: O! that I bad been doomed forever to the common receptacle of in penitence and guilt! their fociety would have alleviated the torment of despair, and the rage of fire could not have excluded the comfort of light. Or, if I had been condemned to refide in a comet, that would return but once in a thousand years to the regions of light and life; the hope of thefe periods, however diftant, would cheer me in the dread interval of cold and darkness, and the viciffitude would divide eternity into time. While this thought paffed over
my mind, I loft fight of the remotest star, and the last glimmering of light was quenched in utter darkness. The agonies of defpair every moment increased, as every moment augmented my distance from the last habitable world. I reflected with intolerable anguish, that when ten thousand thoufand years had carried me beyond the reach of all but that Power who fills infinitude, I should still look forward into an immenfe abyss of darkness, through which I should still drive without fuccour and without fociety, farther and farther ftill, forever and forever. I then ftretched out my hands towards the regions of existence, with an emotion that awaked me Thus have been taught to estimate fociety, like every other bleffing by its lofs My heart is warmed to liberality; and I am zealous to communicate the happinefs which I feel, to those from whom it is derived; for the fociety of one wretch, whom in the pride of prosperity I would have fpurned from my door, would, in the dreadful folitude to which I was condemned, have been more highly prized than the gold of Afric, or the gems of Golconda."
At this reflection upon his dream, Carazan became fuddenly filent, and looked upwards in ecftacy of gratitude and devotion. The multitude were truck at once with the precept and example; and the caliph, to whom the event was related, that he might be liberal beyond the pow er of gold, commanded it to be recorded for the benefit of pofterity.
Creation the product of Divine Goodness.
CREATION is a display of Supreme goodnefs, no less than of wisdom and power. It is the communication of numberlefs benefits, together with existence, to all who live. Juftly is the earth faid to be "full of the goodness of the Lord." Throughout the whole fyftem of things, we behold a manifeft tendency to promote the benefit either of the rational, or the animal creation. in fome parts of nature, this tendency may be lefs obvious than in others. Objects, which to us feem ufelefs, or hurtful, may fometimes occur; and strange it were, if in so vast and complicated a fyftem, difficulties of this kind fhould not occafionally prefent themfelves to beings, whofe views are so narrow and limited as ours. It is well known, that in proportion as the knowledge of nature has increased among men,
thefe difficulties have diminished. Satisfactory accounts have been given of many perplexing appearances Useful and proper purposes have been found to be promoted, by objects which were at first thought unprofitable and noxious. Malignant must be the mind of that perfon; with a dif torted eye he must have contemplated creation, who can fufpect, that it is not the production of Infinite Benignity and Goodness. How many clear marks of benevolent intention appear, every where around us! What a profufion of beauty and ornament is poured forth on the face of nature! What a magnificent fpectacle prefented to the view of man! What fupply contrived for his wants! What a variety of objects fet before him, to gratify his fenfes, to employ his understanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and gladden his heart! Indeed the very existence of the univerfe is a standing memorial of the goodness of the Creator. For nothing except goodness could originally prompt creation. The Supreme Being, felf-existent and all-sufficient, had no wants which he could feek to supply. No new acceffion of felicity or glory was to refult to him, from creatures which he made. It was goodness communicating and pouring itself forth, goodness delighting to impart happiness in all its forms, which in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. Hence, thofe innumerable orders of living creatures with which the earth is peopled; from the lowest clafs of fenfitive being, to the highest rank of reafon and intelligence. Wherever there is life there is fome degree of happiness; there are enjoy. ments fuited to the different powers of feeling; and earth, and air, and water, are, with magnificent liberality, made to teem with life.
Let thofe ftriking difplays of Creating Goodnefs call forth on our part, refponfive love, gratitude, and veneration. this great Father of all existence and life, to Him who hath raised us up to behold the light of day, and to enjoy all the comforts which his world prefents, let our hearts fend forth a perpetual hymn of praise. Evening and morning let us celebrate Him, who maketh the morning and the evening to rejoice over our heads; who "openeth his hand, and fatisfieth the defire of every living thing." Let us rejoice, that we are brought into a world, which is the production of Infinite Goodnefs; and over which a Supreme Intelligence prefides. Convinced that he hateth not the works which he hath made, nor hath brought
creatures into existence, merely to fuffer unneceffary pain, let us, even in the midst of forrow, receive with calm fubmiffion, whatever he is pleased to send; thankful for what he bestows; and fatisfied, that, without good reafon, he takes nothing away.
It is not in the tremendous appearances of power merely that a good and well inftructed man beholds the Creator of the world. In the conftant and regular working of his hands, in the filent operations of his wisdom and goodness, ever going on throughout nature, he delights to contemplate and adore him." This is one of the chief fruits to be derived from that more perfect knowledge of the Creator, which is imparted to us by the christian revelation. Impreffing our minds with a juft fenfe of all his attributes, as not wife and great only, but as gracious and merciful, let it lead us to view every object of calm and undisturbed nature, with a perpetual reference to its Author. We fhall then behold all the fcenes which the heavens and the earth present, with more refined feelings, and fublimer emotions, than they who regard them folely as objects of curiofity, or amusement. Nature will appear animated, and enlivened, by the prefence of its Author. When the fun rifes or fets in the heavens; when spring paints the earth, when fummer fhines in its glory, when autumn pours forth' its fruits, or winter returns in its awful forms, we fhall view the Creator manifefting himself in his works. We shall meet his prefence in the fields. We shall feel his influence in the cheering beam. We shall hear his voice in the wind. We fhall behold ourselves every where furrounded with the glory of that univerfal fpirit, who fills, pervades, and upholds all. We fhall live in the world as in a great and auguft temple; where the presence of the Divinity, who inhabits it, inspires devotion.
The benefits of religious retirement.
AN entire retreat from worldly affairs, is not what religion requires; nor does it even enjoin a great retreat from them. Some ftations of life would not permit this; and there are few stations which render it neceffary. The chief field, both of the duty and of the improvement of man, lies in active life. By the graces and virtues which he exercises amidst his fellow creatures, he is trained up
for heaven. A total retreat from the world, is fo far from being the perfection of religion, that, fome particular cafes excepted, it is no other than the abufe of it.
But, though entire retreat would lay us afide from the part from which Providence chiefly intended us, it is certain, that, without occafional retirement, we must act that part very ill There will be neither confiftency in the conduct, nor dignity in the character, of one who fets apart no fhare of his time for meditation and reflection. In the heat and bustle of life, while paffion is every moment throwing falfe colours on the objects around us, nothing can be viewed in a juft light. If we wish that reason should exert her native power, we muft ftep afide from the crowd, into the cool and filent fhade. It is there that, with fober and steady eye, the examines what is good or ili, what is wife or foolish, in human conduct; the looks back on the paft, fhe looks forward to the future; and forms plans, not for the prefent moment only, but for the whole of life. How should that man difcharge any part of his duty aright, who never fuffers his paffions to cool? and how should his paffions cool, who is engaged, without interruption, in the tumult of the world? This inceffant ftir may be called, the perpetual drunkenness of life. It raifes that eager fermentation of fpirit, which will be ever fending forth the dangerous fumes of rafhnefs and folly. Whereas, he who mingles religious retreat with worldly affairs, remains calm, and mafter of himself. He is not whirled round and rendered giddy, by the agitation of the world; but, from that facred retirement, in which he has been converfant among higher objects, comes forth into the world with manly tranquillity, fortified by the principles which he has formed, and prepared for whatever may befall.
As he who is unacquainted with retreat cannot fustain any character with propriety, fo neither can he enjoy the world with any advantage. Of the two claffes of men who are most apt to be negligent of this duty, the men of pleafure, and the men of business, it is hard to fay which suffer moft, in point of enjoyment, from that neglect. To the former, every moment appears to be loft which partakes not of the vivacity of amusement To connect one plan of gaiety with another, is their whole ftudy; till, in a very fhort time, nothing remains but to tread the fame beaten round; to enjoy what they have already enjoyed,