Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

what it was. But it is certain that the dog of North America, or rather the substitute the natives had for a dog, on its discovery by the English, was derived from the wolf, tamed and domnesticated;

these substitutes cannot bark, but betray their savage descent by a sort of howl: that wolfish breed want the sagacity of a true dog, and are de. tested by European dogs, who worry them on all occasions, retaining still that dislike, which it is well known all dogs have to the wolf: they are commonly white, have sharp noses and upright

ears.

The dog is subject to more varieties than any other animal. While a superficial observer would be ready to pronounce each of these varieties a distinct and separate species, each will mix with the other, and produce varieties still more unlike the original stock.

For the Monthly Visitor.

PIETY.

On Piety humanity is built;
Aud on humanity much happiness :
But yet still more on Piety itself.

YOUNG.

THE

played itself at one time in the examination and description of the most sublime and awful objects, and at another condescended to the consideration of those of a trivial and facetious nature. In perusing his writings, therefore, we cannot fail

both to be edified and amused : for upon all subjects they were very complete. In his religious productions we find an awful grandeur; in his moral, great delicacy, yet energy of language; in his facetious, sentiments truly witty, yet debased with nothing low. That he had a most happy method of expressing his ideas," appears froin the quotations forming the basis of this essay. Many preachers, in discoursing on piety, might have called it a jewel, an inestimable possession; might have given it a thousand delightful characters; yet no description of its worth could be more appropriate and forcible than the words before us, which say it is 'the foundation of happiness.

True piety may be said to consist in a thorough conviction of the being and attributes of God; and in a strict determination always to conduct ourselves in such a way as we think will best accord with his mind and will.

That an infinite First Cause exists, all nature cries aloud ; the wise man says, it is the fool who exclaims there is no God; and it is really difficult to suppose, there ever was one so great a fool as to make the exclamation. If we attend to the occurrences of nature and course of events, which take place in the little hamlet where we dwell, we shall see many striking delineations of a hand divine. But what is the hamlet where we dwell, or the kingdom of which it is a part, to the magnificent world which we inhabit? And what is this world, with all its niceties, to that system of worlds to which it belongs or what that system, to the nu. merous systems unseen by the naked eye, revealed to us by the power of the telescope, and which seem to form but a trivial part in the extensive universe ? When we merely take a survey of the several gradations of nature in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, we surely must be struck, as far as we can discern, with the consummate wisdom evident in each. And when, from the world of nature we turn to the moral world, and find, (as we certainly may upon attentive ex amination) every event, either directly or indie rectly, immediately or ultimately, friendly to virtue and morality; we cannot doubt but that an infinite Being originally created the universe, and continues, by his constant energy, habitually to direct and preserve it. Would a bird, which had never built a nest before, form it of the same dimensions and materials as though she had done it for several years, if some supernatural power

did not direct her operations? Would all the several species of animals be kept separate, without the least shadow of a change, or turning, considering the intercourse which they have with one another, were not a protecting power constantly at work? Would the various vegetables germinate in their respective orders, never interfering with each other, were it not for some constant invisible agency? Would the coal-mine, wounded by human operations, continue to supply the wants of man, did pot some constant power replenish and repair its losses ? Would the seasons continue in their order, the sun to rule the day, the moon to attend the night, if the hand of the Lord could no longer send them forward in their respective courses? Surely not. The Lord called, this universe from darkness, and without his habitual protection, into chaos it would sink again. And as this confusion never does ensue, we may safely, exclaim with the poet, without being charged with enthusiastic diotions

All are but parts of one stupendons whole,
Whose body nature is, and God thc soul;
To Him, no high, no low, no great, no small:
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all,

POPE.

[ocr errors]

Having thus, by a few brief hints, endeavoured to prove the existence of a Divine Being, which is necessary'even to a thought of Piety, I remark, that wherever this principle is in full force, its possessor will always behave in such a way as he thinks will best please this Deity, of whose 'existence he has not the most distant doubt. If we look into the world around us, we shall find benevolence a strong characteristic of the divine administration. All nature is harmonious; each part exactly suits the part to which it is nearest : nothing seems too lit: fle'; nought appears too much. Although many are the wants of the inhabitants of earth, yet many' are the means by which those wants may be supplied; so that happiness, throughout creation, seems predominant. From this we may infer, that God is a God of love, and is therefore entitled to our gratitude and respect. When we reflect on our condition as creatures, and on the infinite power of the Creator-when we recollect that it was in his power to have placed us in what circumstances he pleased; can we refrain from being devoutly thankful to our great God, that, owing to his mercy, we are what we are. I know it has been said, that as God is an infinite Being, it was necessary to his infinite perfections, to make his creatures happy. I do not mean to enter into abstruse speculations relating to Infinity, into which narrow-sighted finite mortals have no very great occasions to pry_1 merely remark it to be my opinion, that as we creatures are necessarily at the disposal of our creatòr, and consequently might have been unhappily situated, we ought, as happiness has a preponderancy in our lives, to be unteignedly grateful to the Lord for all his benefits.

may farther remark, that as God is a God of love, and Piety distinguishes itself in doing what is most pleasing in his sight, it is our duty,

We

if we wish for the character of pious christians,, to endeavour to promote harmony amongst mankind, To exercise the benevolent affections and tender sympathies of our nature, is the noblest action in which we can engage. The pious man is sensible of this, and to this end continually keeps a watch over his various passions. He knows that the inore they are governed, the better he will be ; and the better he as an individual is, the better will that society become of which he makes a part. He, therefore, .sets his house in order, as being a prin. cipal affair to be regarded. Although he runs not into temptation, he skulks not away from it, but endeavours to meet it with fortitude, hoping not merely to keep himself unpolluted, but to be able to do good to others, by keeping them from its dem struction also. If attacked in regard to his principles and pursuits, he defends them with humility, gentleness, and fortitude, arising froin a convic, tion of right, not with anger and obstinacy, the result of vexation and superficiality of argument He enters into debate with candour, for the sake of disseminatiug truth, not for the sake of sowing discord, or acquiring laurels in a contest of elos quence. In fine, whatever conduces to general happiness, he eagerly embraces.

It may be observed still further, that the man of piety' is habitually attentive in discharging the duties he owes his God. From the book of nature we can plainly perceive a God exists, and that gratitude to him, and love towards one another, are proper affections for us to exercise. But it remained for the scriptures alone to reveal to us what were the exact duties we owed our God, or what actual services he required of us. To enumerate these would be needless. Reader! search the pages alluded to, and judge for thyself.. The rules thou art there directed to follow, the commands thou

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »