Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

stituted. The parts themselves, and the relation they bear to each other, point out the admirable ends for which they are intended. The sun, moon, and stars, perform with regularity their destined revolutions. The earth vegetates at the assigned period of fertility, and pours forth its stores for the sustenance and comfort of the human race. The intellectual and moral powers of man lead him to the perception, and by the force of motives properly weighed, impel him to the practice of right conduct. The reveLATION with which we are favoured, is in every l'espect honourable to the divine government. The reasonableness of its doctrines, the purity of its precepts, and the sublimity of its prospects, recommend it to our most serious attention. Even the futility of the objections made to its origin, shews in a more striking point of view its divinity--for the envenomed shafts of infidelity, recently aimed at the heavenly shield, have been seen to fall pointless to the ground. In such circumstances, and with such views, MAN is empowered to look abroad at the commencement of a century, and to realise the perfections and government of the SUPREME BEING, with whom there is no variableness nor the shadow of turning! In neglecting this privilege, he omits to discharge a most important duty. He sinks himself upon a level with the brutes, and relinquishes means ad. mirably calculated to promote and secure his perfection.

From the honourable ideas which we have been taught to form of Deity, we cannot for a moment suspect the equity with which he presides over every part of his wide extended empire! The architect prides himself on the proportion and regularity with which his buildings have been raised. The artist contemplates the niceness and accuracy after which his pieces of mechanism have been constructed. The statesman congratulates himfelf on the sagacity with which his plans have been devised and accomplished. In a similar manner the Deity has regulated every procedure of his government with the profoundest wisdom, in conjunction with a benevolence which exceeds our loftiest conceptions. Immediately after the creation-GOD surveyed the works of his hands, and pronounced them to be good! And humanly speaking, he must at all times look down with an eye of distinguished complacency on the subserviency of his government to general felicity.

MAN, however, furnished with scanty powers of perception, is cooped up on every side, and vainly strives to disclose the secrets of futurity. We know not wbat to-morrow brings forth. This is a mea. sure ordained in infinite wisdom. The anticipa. tion of our joys, or of our griefs, is often a burden too heavy to be borne. Pretensions, indeed, are made to a knowledge of our future destiny-but the imposition has been long ago detected and exposed. Our wisest way is to throw the reins over a vain curiosity. Let us never attempt, on any occasion, to lift up the awful veil which divides the present moment from futurity! Such a procedure shews only our own impiety and folly. Contented with that portion of information which is commensurate with our faculties and most congenial with our present situation, let us devote our knowledge to the great purposes of faith and practice. A larger degree of intelligence cannot, perhaps, in this life be the legitimate object of attainment. Henceforwards then, let us dismiss our anxious thoughts—banish our corroding cares and shudder at the indulgence of impious anticipations. In fine, let us calmly and cheerfully resign ourselves to the disposal of that GREAT BEING who cannot err, and who will with consummate ability Tion, and in his solicitude for their welfare. In their society he relaxed from his important occupations, and accustomed himself to share their pleasures and promote their amusements. By what more certain means can a parent obtain that confi. dence so necessary to enable him to promote the happiness of his children? The office of instructor of youth he considered as of the highest importance. “It," says he, " we esteem those who contribute to the prosperity of the state, we ought to place in the first rank the tutors of our children, whose la. bours influence posterity, and on whose precepts and exertions the dignity of our family and of our country in a great measure depends."

AFFECTION OF BRUTES. VALORI relates, that Lorenzo was highly gratified with the amusement of horse-racing, and that he kept many horses for that purpose, amongst which was one, that on every occasion bore away the prize. The same author professes to have heard from Politiano, that as often as this horse happened to be sick or was wearied with the course, he refused any nourishment except from the hands of Lorenzo, at whose approach, he testified his pleasure by neighing and by motions of body, even when lying on the ground; so that it is not to be wondered at, says this author, by a kind of commendation rather more striking than just, that Lorenzo should be the delight of mankind, when even the brute creation expressed an affection for him.

MARIANO, A CELEBRATED PREACHER. .. " I was lately induced,” says Politianus, " to -attend one of his lectures, rather, to say the truth, through curiosity than with the hope of being entertained. His appearance, however, interested me in his favour. His address was striking, and his eye marked intelligence. My expectations were raised. He began--I was attentive; a clear voice -select expression-elevated sentiment. He divides his subjects I perceive his distinctions. Nothing perplexed; nothing insipid; nothing languid. He unfolds the web of his argument-I was enthralled. He refutes the sophism-I am freed. He introduces a pertinent narrative I am interested. He modulates his voice-I am charmed. He is jocular-I smile. He presses me with serious truths--I yield to their force. He addresses the passions--the tears glide down my cheeks. He raises his voice in anger-I tremble, and wish myself away."

COPPER PLATES, WHEN DISCOVERED.

The credit of having given rise to this elegant and useful art, has been contended for by different countries, and their various pretensions have been weighed and considered by many authors. It is, however, generally agreed, that it arose with the goldsmiths, and was afterwards adopted by the painters. The union of these two professions has thus produced a third, which has risen to considerable importance. The Germans, who have dis. puted with the Italians the honour of the invention, with the greatest degree of probability, have not, in point of fact, controverted the narrative given by the Italians of the rise of the art, nor brought forward any account of their own, but have simply endeavoured to shew that it was practised in Germany at an earlier period. Mr. Heincken asserts, that the earliest prints engraved in

Italy, that bear a date, are the maps to the edition of Ptolemy, printed at Rome in 1478; the earliest picturesque representations, those prefixed to some of the cantos of Dante 1482. "But he conjectures that it had its rise in Germany about the year 1440.

COPPER PLATES, HOW DISCOVERED, This discovery is attributed by Italians to Maso or Tomaso Finiquerra, a goldsmith, of Florence, who being accustomed to engrave on different metals for the purpose of inlaying them, occasionally tried the effects of his work by taking off impressions, first on sulphur, and afterwards on paper, by means of a roller, in such a manner, that the figures seemed to have been traced with a pen. It does not appear that Finequerra ever applied this invention to any other purpose than that of ascertaining the progress of his work, nor have the researches of the most diligent enquirers discovered a single print that can with any degree of proba. bility be attributed to him : but Baccio Baldini, another goldsmith, conceiving that the discovery might be applied to more important purposes, began to engrave on metals, solely with a view of transmitting impressions to paper. Possessing, how, ever, no great skill in design, he prevailed on Sandro Pothicello to furnish him with drawings suitable for his purpose. The concurrence of Antonio Pale lajuoli and Andre Mantegna, carried the art to greater perfection. Of the works of the last mentioned master, many specimens yet remain, which do credit to his talents. The beginning of the en suing century produced a much superior artist in Marcantonio Raimondi, by whose industry the numerous productions of Raffael's, the transcripts

« ПредишнаНапред »