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ed. Be great ; but let it be in considering riches as they are, as talents committed to an earthen vessel ; thou art but the receiver, and that to be obliged and to be vain too, is but the old solecism of pride and beggary, which, though they often meet, yet ever make an absurd society.
4. If thou art powerful in interest, and standest deified by a servile' tribe of dependents, why shouldst thou be proud, because they are bungry? Scourge me such sycophants; they have turned the heads of thousands as well as thine
But it is thy own dexterity and strength which have gained thee this eminence; allow it; but art thou proud that thou standest in a place where thou art the mark of one man's envy, another man's malice, or a third man's revenge ; where good men may be ready to suspect thee, and whence bad men will be ready to pull thee down ? I would be proud of nothing that is uncertain ; Haman was so, because he was admitted alone to Queen Esther's banquet; and the distinction raised him, but it was fifty cubits higher than be ever dreamed or thought of.
5. If thou hast pretensions to a little learning, thou wilt be proud of it in course ; if thou hast much, and good sense along with it, there will be no reason to dis.. pute against the passion A beggarly parade of reimnants is but a sorry object of pride at the best ; but more so, when we can try out upon it, as the poor man did of the hatchet Alos master, for it was borrowed. *
DISHONESTY PUNISHED. 1. AN usurer, having lost an hundred pounds in a kag, promised a reward of ten pounds to the person who should restore it. A man having brought it to him, demanded the reward. The usurer, loth to give the re. ward, now that he had got the bag, alleged, after the bag was opened, that there were an hundred and ten pounds in it, when he lost it.
2. The usurer, being called before the judge, unwarily acknowledged that the seal was broken open in his presence, and that there were no more at that time, but an
2 Kings vi 5.
hundred pounds in the bag. “You say," says the judge, « that the bag you lost, had an hundred and ten pounds in it."
« Yes, my lord.” “ Then,” replied the judge, " this cannot be your bag, as it contained but an hundred pounds; therefore, the plaintiff must keep it till the true owner appears ; and you must look for your bag where you can find it.”
CHAPTER L. PROVIDENCE ; OR, THE SHIPWRECK. 1. IT was a dreadful storm. The wind blowing full on the sea shore, rolled tremendous waves, on the beach, while the half sunk rocks at the entrance of the bay were enveloped in a mist of white foam. A ship appeared in the offing, driving impetuously under her bare poles to land; now tilting aloft on the surging waves, now plunging. into the intervening hollows.
2. Presently she rushed arnong the rocks and there stuck, the billows beating over her deck and climbing up her shattered rigging. “Mercy! mercy!" exclaimed an ancient Solitary, as he viewed from a cliff the dismal
It was in vain. The ship fell on her side, and
was seen no more.
3. Soon, however, a small dark object appeared coming from the rocks towards the shore ; at first dimly descried through the foam, then quite plain as it rode on the summit of a wave, then for a time totally lost. It approached, and showed itself to be a boat with men in it rowing for their lives. The Solitary hastened down to the beach, and in all the agonizing vicissitudes of hope and fear, watched its advance. Ac length, after the most iniminent hazards, the boat was violently thrown on the shore, and the dripping, half dead mariners crawled out to the dry land.
4. “ Heaven be praised ! cried the Solitary; "what a providential escape !” And he led the poor men to his cell, where, kindling a good fire, and bringing out his little store of provision, he restored them to health and spirits. “ And are you six men the only ones saved ?" said he.
" We are," answered one of them, « Three score and fifteen men, women and children, were in the ship when she struck. You may think what a clamour and confusion there was ; women clinging to their liusband's necks, and children hanging about their clothies, all shrieking, crying, and praying !
5. “ There was no time to be lost. We got out the small boat in a-twinkling ; jumped in without staying for our captain, who was fool enough to be minding the passengers ; cut the rope, and pushed away just time enough to be clear of the ship as she went down ; and here we are, all alive and merry!" An oath concluded his speech. The Solitary was shocked, and could not help secretly wishing that it had pleased Providence to have saved some of the innocent passengers, rather than these reprobates.
6. The sailors having gotten what they could, departed, scarcely thanking their benefactor, and marched to the country. Night came on, They descried a light at some. distance, and made up to it. It proceeded from the win. dow of a poor looking houre, surrounded with a farmyard and garden. They knocked at the door, and in a supplicating tone made known their distress, and begged relief. They were admitted, and treated with compassion and hospitality. In the house were the mistress, her children, and women-servants, an old man, and a boy... The master was abroad.
7. Phe sailors sitting round the kitchen fire, whispered to each other that here was an opportunity of making a booty that would amply compensate for the loss of clothes and wages. They settled their plan; and on the old man's coming with wood to the fire, one of them broke his skull with a poker and laid him dead. Another took
knife which had been brought with the loaf and cheese, and running after the boy who was making his escape out of the house, stabbed him to the heart ! The rest locked the doors, and after tying all the women and children, began to ransack the house. One of the children continuing to -, make loud exclamations, a fellow went and strangled it !
8. They had nearly finished packing up such of the valuable things as they could carry off, when the mastor, of the house came home. He was a smuggler as well as a farmer, and had just returned from an expedition, leaving his goods and companions at a neighbouring public house.
Surprised at finding the doors locked, and at seeing lights moving about in the chambers, he suspected somewhat amiss; and upon listening, he heard strange voices, and saw some of the sailors through the windows.
9. The smuggler hastened back to his companions, and brought them with him just as the robbers opened the door and were coming out with their pillage, having first set fire to the house in order to conceal what they had done. The smuggler and friends let fly their blunder. busses in the midst of them, and then rushing forward, seized the survivors and secured them. Perceiving flamesin the house, they ran and extinguished them. The villains were next day led to prison amidst the reproaches of the neighbourhood.
10. The good Solitary, on hearing the event, at first exclaimed, « What a wonderful interference of Provi. dence to punish guilt and protect innocence '' Pausing a while, he added, “yet had Providence thought fit to have drowned these sailors in their passage from the ship, where they left so many better people to perish, the lives of three innocent persons would have been saved, and these wretches would have died without such accumulated guilt and ignominy. On the other hand, had the master of the house been at home, instead of following a lawless and desperate trade, he would perhaps have perished with all his family, and the villains have escaped with their booty. What am I to think of all this?” Thus pensive and perplexed, he laid himself down to rest, and, after some time spent in gloomy reflections, fell asleep.
CHAPTER LI THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. 1. IN his dream the Solitary fancied himself seated on the top of a high mountain, where he was accosted by a venerable figure in long white garments, who asked him the cause of the melancholy expressed on his countenance. “ It is,” said he, “because I am unable to reconcile the decrees of Providence with my ideas of wisdom and justice" “ That,” replied the stranger, “ is proba. bly because thy notions of Providence are narrow and erroneous. Thou seekest it in particular events, and dost not raise thy survey to the great whole.
2. “ Every occurrence in the universe is providential, because it is the consequence of those laws which divine wisdom has established as most productive of the general good. But to select individual facts as more directed by the hand of Providence than others, because we think we see a particular good purpose answered by them, is an infallible inlet to error and superstition. Follow me to the edge of this cliff.
3. “ Now look down," said the stranger, "and tell what thou seest.” “I see," replied the Solitary, “a hawk darting amidst a flock of small birds, one of which he has caught, while the others escape." " And canst thou think;" rejoined the stranger, " that the single bird, of which the hawk made a prey, lies under any particular doom of Providence; or that those which fly away are. more the objects of divine favor than it ?
4. "Hawks by nature were made to feed upon living prey, and were endowed with strength and swiftness to enable them to overtake and master it. Thus life is sacrificed to the support of life. But to this destruction limits. are set. The small birds are much more numerous and prolific than the birds of prey; and though they cannot resist his force, they have dexterity and nimbleness of flight sufficient in general to elude his pursuit. It is in this balance that the wisdom of Providence is seen ; and what can be a greater proof of it, than that both species, the destroyer and his prey, have subsisted together from their first creation ? Now look again, and tell me what. thou seest."
5. «I see,” said the Solitary, “a thick black cloud gathering in the sky. I hear the thunder rolling from side to side of the vault of heaven. I behold the red lightning darting from the bosom of darkness. Now it has fallen on a stately tree and shattered it in pieces, striking to the ground an ox sheltered at its foot. Now it falls again in a flock of timorous sheep, and several of them are left on the plaip; and see! the shepherd himself lies extended by their side. Now it strikes a lofty spire, and at the same time setsin a blaze an humble cottage beneath. It is an awful and terrible sight !"
6. "It is so," returned the stranger, “ but what dost