« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
this so seriously, that I believe I scarce ever had a fever or cough in my life, that did not occasion me more pleasure than uneasiness; and the hours of retirement they have afforded me, are none of the least obligations which I have to them.”
On the Danger and insinuating Nature of Vanity.
" What is vanity?"
“ Ask your own heart.”
“And is it very blameable ?”
“ It destroys all the merit of every thing that is good, and all the grace of everything that is amiable."!
“But may not one love to be commended ?"
“ According as the commendation is.”
“Methinks, now, it would be more vanity to be so self-sufficient, as not to wish the suffrages of good and wise people, to make one satisfied that one's conduct is right.”
“ But what can you say for the pleasure you feel upon being commended for trifles, or approved by idle people ?"
“ Why, it is but common good nature to wish to
please every body, without exception, so far as it may innocently be done.”
“Yet favour, you know, is deceitful.–And so far for trifles, and in things most important, remember the strict and solemn charge, that we do not our good actions before men, to be seen of them."
“ Yet we are as strictly charged to let our light shine before them, and to set them a good example for the honour of religion.”
“Most true. The golden medium must be found, nice as it is to hit; our highest interest, our all, depends upon it. If praise be our aim, praise, the poor praise of wretched men, shall be our barren reward. Yet if timorously we hide our one talent in a napkin, even that shall be taken away from us."
“ How dreadful the thoughts of missing that only approbation, which it should be the business of our life to deserve! No natural desire of the friend. ship and good-will of our fellow-creatures can stand in competition with that fear."
“ Happy the cloistered life, where the world is quite shut out, and piety and virtue are exercised in solitude and silence, without any visible eye to observe them !"
“That sure is an extreme, the extreme of the buried talent. Let me tell you what I think must be the only rule to go by.”
..^0! tell it: no sound can be so welcome.”
“ The rule of duty. Attend solely to that, and let all self-reflections alone.”.
“ How ! never examine my conduct ? Nerer call my follies to account?”
“ Yes: but have you never read (with regard to virtues) of 'forgetting the things that are behind, and ever pressing forward ?'"
"Well : yet in an hour of sickness, adversity, distress, may no glad hope from the remembrance of having always acted from a sincére right intention, however imperfectly pursued, cast its reviving ray athwart the gloom?"
“ The comforts of a good conscience are no vanity. There is in them an important reality. But cordials, in the day of health, are poisons.”
“Then be particular : what is this rule of duty ?"
“ Whatever the exigence of the present circumstance most immediately and clearly demands. Pursue always one strait path, without ever stepping out of the way, either to attract observation, or to avoid it."
“What is the rule in cases of charity ?"
“ Choose to do good in the most private manner,
whenever that is a matter of choice : but as this is, in many cases, quite impossible, do, as quietly as you can, all the good that is incumbent on yon; that is, all the good you are capable of in your station, and without interfering where you absolutely ought not to interfere. If you meet with commendation for it, be, if possible, so much the more humble; as knowing those seeds of vanity to be in you, that may, upon the slightest praise, have such a sad effect, as to render the best you have done less than nothing."
“Alas, it is terrifying to consider how many persons have fallen from not inconsiderable advancement in goodness, through mere presumption and self-opinion! and yet can one help wishing to please?
“No, certainly; there would be something savage in a contrary disposition : but then, look to it, that this desire be free from vanity: it may be quite
“ Can it be without some self-complacence in its gratification ?".
. “ It cannot be without some sense of pleasure; but from what? Self, in every one of us human creatures, is the wretchedest, the poorest of beings. The pleasure results from a grateful reflection on the fulness, and bounty of that gracious Being, whose gift alone is every thing that can give us delight, with every capacity of tasting it."