Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

God, must know how to adore, to return him thanks, and to have recourse to him ; to appease him when offended; to call upon him when turned away; to thank him when favourable ; to humble himself when he strikes ; to lay his wants before him, or to entreat his countenance and protection. Thus, be ye who you may that now listen to me, imitate the woman of Canaan; be faithful to prayer, and in the fulfilment of this duty you will find all the rest sustained and rendered easy. If a sinner pray; it was through prayer alone that the publican and the sinful woman of the gospel obtained feelings of compunction, and the grace of a thorough penitence; and prayer is the only source and the only path of righteousness. If righteous, still pray ; perseverance in faith and in piety is promised only to prayer; and by prayer it was that Job, that David, that Tobias persevered to the end. If you live amid sinners, and your duty does not permit you to withdraw yourself from the sight of their irregularities and examples, pray; the greater the dangers, the more necessary does prayer become; the three children in the flames, and Jonas in the belly of a monster, found safety only through prayer. If the engagements of your birth or of your station, attach you to the court of kings, pray ; Esther, in the court of Assuerus; Daniel, in that of Darius ; the prophets in the palaces of the kings of Israel, were solely indebted to prayer for their life and salvation. If you live in retirement, pray: solitude itself becomes a rock, if a continual intercourse with God does not defend us against ourselves; and Judith in the secrecy of her house, and the widow Ann in the temple, and the Antonies in the desert, found the fruit and the security of their retreat, in prayer alone. If established in the church for the instruction of the people, pray: all the power and all the success of the ministry must depend upon your prayers; and the apostles converted the universe, solely because they had appropriated nothing to themselves but prayer and the preaching of the Gospel. Lastly, be who you may, I again repeat it, in prosperity or indigence, in joy or in affliction, in trouble or in peace, in fervency or in despondency, in sin or in the ways of righteousness, advanced in virtue, or still in the first steps of penitence, pray: prayer is the safety of all stations, the consolation of all sorrows, the duty of all conditions, the soul of piety, the support of faith, the grand foundation of religion, and all religion itself. O my God! shed then upon us that spirit of grace and of prayer which was to be the distinguishing mark of thy Church, and the portion of a new people ; and purify our hearts and our lips, that we may be enabled to offer up to thee pure homages, servent sighs, and prayers worthy of the eternal riches which thou hast so often promised to those who shall have well entreated thee.

MASSILLON.

LESSON VIII.

.

GRAVITY OR ATTRACTION.

[ocr errors]

Exemplify constituent repulsion
physical

elements heavenly
exceptions globules material
altitude
mercury

immortal
naturally particles connecting

contiguous composed probably To exemplify the process by which a general truth or law of nature is discovered, we shall take the physical law of gravity or attraction. It was observed that bodies in general, if raised from the earth, and left unsupported, fell towards it; while flame, smoke, vapours, &c., if left free, ascended away from the earth. It was held, therefore, to be a very general law, that things had weight; but that there were exceptions in such matters as were in their nature light or ascending. It was discovered that our globe of earth is surrounded by an ocean of air, having nearly fifty miles of altitude or depth, and of which a cubic foot, taken near the surface of the earth, weighs about an ounce. It was then perceived that flame, smoke, vapour, &c., rise in the air only as oil rises in water, viz., because not so heavy as the fluid by which they are surrounded: it followed, therefore, that nothing was known on earth naturally light, in the ancient sense of the word. It was found that bodies floating in water, near to each other, approached and feebly cohered; that any contiguous hanging bodies were drawn towards each other, so as not to hang quite perpen dicularly ; and that a plummet, suspended near a hill, was drawn towards the hill with force only so much less than that with which it was drawn towards the earth, viz., the weight of the plummet, as the hill was smaller than the earth. It was then proved, that weight itself is only an instance of a more general mutual attraction, operating between all the constituent elements of this globe; and which explains, moreover, the fact of the rotundity of the globe, all the parts being drawn towards a common centre; as also the form of dewdrops, globules of mercury, and of many other things; which, still further, is the reason why the distinct particles of which -any solid mass, as a stone or a piece of metal, is composed, cling together as a mass, but which, when overcome by the repulsion of heat, allows the same particles to assume the form of a liquid or air. It was farther observed, that all the heavenly bodies are round, and must, therefore, consist of materials obeying the same law: and lastly, that these bodies, however distant, attract each other; for that the tides of our ocean rise in obedience to the attraction of the moon, and become high or spring tides, when the moon and sun operate in the same direction. Thus the sublime truth was at last made evident, by the genius of the immortal Newton, that there is a power of attraction connecting together the bodies of this solar system at least, and probably limited only by the bounds of the universe.

ARNOTT.

LESSON IX.

EXCELLENCE AND USES OF THE EYE.

Recreation exquisite sensation emphatically enchanting depression denominated beneficial amiable architects illuminated diffident influenced distinctness

temporal transient brilliancy eternity By the agency of this little organ, it is, that one of the most innocent and rational sources of recreation has been opened to the human mind. It is the parent of these delightful classes of elegant science, which have been emphatically denominated the fine arts. By combining those impressions, which it enabled them to treasure in their recollection, the architects of ancient Greece constructed those noble edifices, which, even in their ruins, affect the mind so forcibly by their mingled grandeur and simplicity. By this sense it is, that the sculptor is enabled to enchain the admiration of the world, and to praise the Creator in a lofty manner, by the imitation of his works. By this sense the painter makes us acquainted with the visual splendours of other climes, and secures to a fond domestic circle, the image of a lost and beloved member, even when the hues and form that furnished the subject of his task, are faded into dust and ashes. By this organ it is, that we are made acquainted with the persons and

« ПредишнаНапред »