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Most of our passions flatter us in their rise. But their beginnings are treacherous; their growth is. imperceptible; and the evils which they carry in their train, lie concealed, until their dominion is established. What Solomon says of one of them, holds true of them all, “that their beginning is as when one letteth out water.” It issues from a small chink, which once might have been easily stopped ; but being neglected, it is soon widened by the stream; till the bank is at last totally thrown down, and the flood is at liberty to deluge the whole plain.

Prosperity debilitates, instead of strengthening the mind. Its most common effect is, to create an extreme sensibility to the slightest wound. It foments impatient desires; and raises expectations which no success can satisfy. It fosters a false delicacy, which sickens in the midst of indulgence. By repeated gratification, it blunts the feelings of men to what is pleasing; and leaves them unhappily acute to whatever is uneasy. Hence, the gale which another would scarcely feel, is, to the prosperous, a rude tempest. Hence, the rose-leaf doubled below them on the couch, as it is told of the effeminate Sybarite, breaks their rest. Hence, the disrespect shown by Mordecai, preyed with such violence on the heart of Haman.

Anxiety is the poison of human life. It is the parent of many sins, and of more miseries. In a world where every thing is so doubtful; where we may succeed in our wish, and be miserable; where we may be disappointed, and be blessed in the disappointment; what mean this restless stir and commotion of mind ? Can our solicitude alter the course, or unravel the intricacy, of human events? Can our curiosity pierce through the cloud, which the Supreme Being hath made impenetrable to mortal eye?

No situation is so remote, and no station so unfavourable, as to preclude access to the happiness of a

future state. A road is opened by the Divine Spirit to those blissful habitations, from all corners of the earth, and from all conditions of human life ; from the peopled city, and from the solitary desert; from the cottages of the poor, and from the palaces of kings; from the dwellings of ignorance and simplicity, and from the regions of science and improvement.

The scenes which present themselves, at our entering upon the world, are commonly flattering. Whatever they be in themselves, the lively spirits of the young gild every opening prospect. The field of hope appears to stretch wide before them. Pleasure seems to put forth its blossoms on every side. Impelled by desire, forward they rush with inconsiderate ardour; prompt to decide, and to choose; averse to hesitate, or to inquire; credulous, because untaught by experience; rash, because unacquainted with danger; headstrong, because unsubdued by disappointment. Hence arise the perils to which they are exposed; and which too often, from want of attention to faithful admonition, precipitate them into ruin irretrievable.

By the unhappy excesses of irregular pleasure in youth, how many amiable dispositions are corrupted or destroyed! How many rising capacities and powers are suppressed! How many flattering hopes of parents and friends are totally extinguished ! Who but must drop a tear over human nature, when he beholds that morning which arose so bright, overcast with such untimely darkness; that sweetness of temper wbich once engaged many hearts, that modesty which was so prepossessing, those abilities which promised extensive usefulness, all sacrificed at the shrine of low sensuality : and one who was formed for passing through life, in the midst of public esteen, cut off by his vices at the beginning of his course; or sunk, for the whole of it, into insignificance and contempt? These, O sinful Pleasure are

thy trophies. It is thus that, co-operating with the foe of God and man, thou degradest human honour, and blastest the opening prospects of human felicity.

SECTION 2.

EXAMPLES IN POETRY.

Exercises, p. 133.

Where thy true treasure? Gold says, “ Not in me:”
And “ Not in me," the Di'mond. Gold is poor.
The scenes of bus'ness tell us what are men;
The scenes of pleasure what is all beside.
Wo then apart, (if wo apart can be
From mortal man,) and fortune at our nod,
The gay, rich, great, triumphant, and august,
What are they? The most happy (strange to say !)
Convince me most of human misery.
All this dread order break-for whom? for thee?
Vile worm !-0 madness! pride! impiety!
Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives;
The strength he gains, is from th' embrace he gives.
Know, Nature's children all divide her care :
The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear.
While man exclaims, "See all things for my use.!
" See man for mine,” replies a pamper'd goose.
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.

Th' Almighty, from his throne, on earth surveys
Nought greater than an honest, humble heart :
An humble heart his residence pronounc'd,
His second seat.
Bliss there is none, but unprecarious bliss.
That is the gem : sell all and purchase that:

Why go a begging to contingencies,
Not gain'd with ease, nor safely lov’d, if gain'd ?
There is a time, when toil must be preferr'd,
Or joy, by mistim'd fondness, is undone.
A man of pleasure is a man of pains.
Thus nature gives us (let it check our pride)
The virtue nearest co our vice allied.
See the sole bliss Heav'n could on all bestow !
Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can know :
Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind,
The bad must miss; the good untaught will find.
Whatever is, is right. This world, 'tis true,
Was made for Cæsar, but for Titus too.
And which more bless'd? who chain'd his country, say,
Or he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day?
The first sure symptom of a mind in health,
Is rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home.
True happiness resides in things unseen.
No smiles of fortune ever bless the bad ;
Nor can her frowns rob innocence of joy.
Oh the dark days of vanity! while here,
How tasteless ! and how terrible, when gone!
Gone ! they ne'er go: when past, they haunt us still.
Father of light and life ! Thou good supreme !
O teach me what is good! Teach me thyself;
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From ev'ry low pursuit ; and feed my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure,
Sacred, substantial, never fading bliss !
If I am right, thy grace impart,

Still in the right to stay :
If I am wrong, o teach my heart

To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,

Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,

Or aught thy goodness lent.
O lost to virtue, lost to manly thought,
Lost to the noble sallies of the soul,
Who think it solitude to be alone!
Communion sweet, communion large and high,
Our reason, guardian angel, and our God.
Then nearest these, when others most remote;
And all, ere long, shall be remote, but these

Benevolence.

God loves from whole to parts; but human soul
Must rise from individual to the whole,
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake :
The centre mov’d, a circle straight succeeds;
Another still, and still another spreads,
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace;
His country next ; and next all human race:
Wide, and more wide th'o'erfilowings of the mind,
Take ev'ry creature in of ev'ry kind.
Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest;
And Heav'n beholds its image in his breast.

Happiness.

Know then this truth, (enough for man to know,)
« Virtue alone is happiness below :"
The only point where human bliss stands still,
And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
Where only merit constant pay receives;
Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives,
The joy unequall'd if its end it gain;
And if it lose, attended with no pain :
Without satiety, tho' e'er so blest;
And but more relish'd as the more distress'd :
The broadest mirth unfeeling folly wears,
Less pleasing far than virtue's very tears.
Good, from each object, from each place acquir’d;
For ever exercis’d, yet never tir'd;
Never elated while one man's oppress'd;
Never dejected while another's bless'd;
And where no wants, no wishes can remain ;
Since but to wish more virtue, is to gain.

Gratitude.

When all thy mercies, O my God!

My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I'm lost

In wonder, love, and praise.

O how shall words with equal warmth,

The gratitude declare,
That glows within my ravish'd heart?

But thou canst read it there.

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