« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
CHARACTER OF KING ALFRED.
1. THE merit of this prince, both in private and pub lic life, may with advantage be set in opposition to that of any monarch or citizen, which the annals of any nation, or any age, can present to us. He seems indeed to be that complete model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a sage or wise man, the philosophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever seeing it reduced to practice; so happily were all his virtues tempered together, so justly were they blended, and so powerfully did each prevent the other. from exceeding its proper bounds! :
2. He knew how to conciliate the boldest enterprise," with the coolest moderation; the most obstinate persever... ance, with the easiest flexibility; the most severe justice, with the greatest lenity; the most vigorous command,. with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining talents for action. The civil and military virtues are almost equally the objects of our admiraiton, excepting only that the former, being more rare among princes, as well as more useful, seem chiefly to challenge our applause,
3. Nature, also, as if desirous that a bright production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestow-ed on him all bodily accomplishments; vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a pleasant, engaging, and open countenance. Fortune alone, by throwing him into that barbarous age, deprived him of historians worthy to transmit his fame to posterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively colours, that we inay at least perceive some of those small specks and blemishes, from which, as a man, it is impossible he could be entirely ex-empted.
AN EASTEARN STORY.
1. THERE was among the Caliphs one more renown ed than all the rest for the goodness and singularity of his temper, whose name was Haroun Abrashid. Eis custom to walk unknown among his subjects, and
hear from their own mouths their grievances, and their opinion of their rulers. He advanced and degraded ac cording to these reports; perhaps sometimes too hastily, though always with an upright purpose; and used to say he was the only sovereign that heard the thoughts of his people.
2. One morning about sun-rise, as he was walking along the side of a river, he saw an old man and his grandson earnest in discourse. The boy in wantonness, had taken a water worm out of the flags; and having thrown it on the ground, had lifted up his foot to crush it. The old man pulled him back, and just as the Caliph came up was saying to him, "Boy, don't take away that which is not in thy power to give. He, who gave life to that insect, gave life also to thee; how darest thou destroy what he bestowed? shew mercy and thou wilt find mercy."
3. The Caliph stopped, and hearing rags and beggary 20 eloquent, stood astonished, "What is your name, and where is your habitation?" said he. The old man told him he was called Atelmoule, and pointed to his cottage. In an hour a robe of state was sent to the cottage, officers attended, and Atelmoule was told he was appoint-ed Visier. They conducted him full of wonder and confusion to the Caliph, when he fell upon his face before the throne, and without daring to look up, kissed the verge of the royal robe. "Rise, Atelmoule, said the Caliph, you are now next the throne, forget not your own lesson, "Shew mercy, and you shall find it.”
4. The man with astonishment and surprise recollected in the Caliph, the person whom he had spoken with ins the morning. Meantime the sun was warm; the worm whose life this new Visier had saved, opened his shelly back, and gave birth to a fly that buzzed about and enjoyed his new born wings with rapture; he settled on the mule that carried back the Visier, and stung the creature. The mule pranced and threw his unaccustomed rider. The Visier hung by part of his robe, and was killed by a blow from the creature's heel
5. The account was brought to the palace, and even those who had murmured at the exaltation of the man, pitied the death he owed to his virtue. Even Providence was censured, so daring and ignorant is man; but the
Caliph, superior to the rest in virtue as in office, lifting up his hands to heaven, cried, "Blessed be thy sacred name, O Prophet, I had decreed honors to Atelmoule, but thou hast snatched him tothy paradise, to enjoy greater honors."
1. IT is of the greatest importance to season thè pas-.sions of a child with devotion, which seldom dies in a mind that has received an early impression of it. Though it may seem extinguished for a while by the cares of the world, the heats of youth, or the allurements of vice, it generally breaks out and discovers itself again as soon as discretion, consideration, age, or misfortune, have brought the man to himself The fire may be covered and over laid, but cannot be entirely quenched and smothered.
2. A state of temperance, sobriety, and justice, without devotion, is a cold, lifeless, insipid condition of virtue, and is rather to be stiled philosophy than religion. Devotion opens the mind to great conceptions, and fills it with more sublime ideas than any that are to be met with in the most exalted science; and at the same time warms and agitates the soul more than sensual pleasure.
3. Man is more distinguished from the animal world by devotion than by reason, as several brute creatures discover in their actions something like a faint glimmering of reason, though they betray in no single circumstance of their behaviour any thing that bears the least affinity to devotion. It is certain the propensity of the mind to religious worship, the natural tendency of the soul to fly to some superior Being for succour in dangers and distresses, the acts of love and admiration with which the thoughts of men are so wonderfully transported, in meditating upon the divine perfections, and the niversal concurrence of all the nations under heaven in the great are ticle of adoration, plainly shew that devotion, or religious worship must be the effect of tradition from some first founder of mankind, or that it is conformable to the natural light of reason, or that it proceeds from an instinct implanted in the soul itself
4 But which ever of them shall be assigned as the principle of divine worship, it manifestly points to a supreme
Being as the first author of it, and in the exercise of sucity a principle, the mind is raised to the contemplation of the amiable and infinite perfections of the supreme Governor of the Universe.
5. Nothing is so gloricus in the eyes of mankind, and so ornamental to human nature, setting aside the infinite advantages which arise from it, as a strong and steady piety; but enthusiasm and superstition are the weaknesses of human reason, that expose us to the scorn and › derision of infidels, and sink us even below the beasts that perish.
6 The most illiterate man who is touched with devo-> tion and uses frequent exercises of it, contracts a certain greatness of mind, mingled with a noble simplicity, that raises him above those of the same condition; and there is an indelible mark of goodness in those who sincerely possess it; for the fervors of a pious mind will contract such an earnestness and attention towards a better being, í as will make the ordinary passages of life pass on with a becoming indifference,
CHAPTER LXXIV. ̈
THE PARTIAL JUDGE.
1. A FARMER came to a neighbouring lawyer, ex-pressing great concern for an accident which he said had just happened. One of your oxen, continued he, has been gored by an unlucky bull of mine; and I should be glad to know, how I am to make you reparation.
2. Thou art a very honest fellow, replied the lawyer, and wilt not think it unreasonable, that I expect one of thy oxen in return. It is no more than justice, said the farmer, to be sure; but what did I say?-I mistake. It is your bull that has killed one of my oxeh. Indeed! says the lawyer, that alters the case; I must inquire into the affair, and if And if said the farmer-the business, I find, would have been concluded without an if, had you been as ready to do justice to others, as to exact it from them..
1. SIR WILLIAM LELY, a famous painter in the teign of Charles L. agreed before hand for the price of a
picture he was to draw for a rich London Alderman, who was not indebted to nature either for shape or face: the picture being finished, the Alderman endeavoured to beat down the price, alleging, that if he did not purchase it, it would lie on the painter's hands.
2. "That's your mistake," says Sir William ; "For I can sell it at double the price I demand" "How can that be," says the Alderman, "for 'tis like nobody but myself?" "True," replied Sir William, "but I can draw a tail to it, and then it will be an excellent monkey." Mr. Alderman, to prevent being exposed, paid down the mon ey demanded, and carried off the picture...
AFFECTION TO PARENTS. ·
1. AN amiable youth was lamenting, in terms of the sincerest grief, the death of a most affectionate parent. His companion endeavoured to console him by the reflec tion, that he had always behaved to the deceased with duty, tenderness, and respect.
2. So, I thought, replied the youth, whilst my parent was living; but now I recollect, with pain and sorrow, many instances of disobedience and neglect, for which, alas! it is too late to make atonement.
1. ONCE at a certain time, the Seven Wise men of Greece were met together at Athens; and it was propos ed that every one of them should mention what he thought the greatest wonder in the creation. One of them, of higher conceptions than the rest, proposed the opinion of some of the Astronomers about the fixed stars, which they believed to be so many suns, that had each their planets rolling about them, and were stored with plants and animals, like this earth.
2 Fixed with this thought, they agreed to supplicate Jupiter, that he would at least permit them to take a journey to the moon, and stay there three days in order to see the wonders of that place, and give an account of them at their return. Jupiter consented, and ordered them to assemble on a high mountain, where there should be a cloud