Page images
PDF
EPUB

But if we cultivate our minds in youth, attain habits of attention and industry, of virtue and sobriety, we shall find ourselves well prepared to act our future parts in life ; and what above all things ought to be our care, by gaining this command over ourselves, we shall be more able, as we get forward in the world, to resist every new temptation as soon as it appears.

Gilpin.

RESENTMENT

Is a violent and destructive passion of our nature ; it needs great regulation and govern. ment.

" RESENTMENT may be distinguished into anger and revenge. Anger is the pain we suffer upon the receipt of an injury or affront, with the usual effects of that pain upon ourselves. Revenge is the inflicting of pain upon the

person who has injured or offended us, further than the just ends of punishment or reparation re. quire.

Reflections proper for this purpose are the following : the possibility of mistaking the mo. tives from which the conduct that offends us proceeded : how often our own offences have been the cause of inadvertency, when they were construed into indications of malice ; the inducement which prompted our adversary to act as he did, and how powerfully the same in. ducement has at one time or other operated upon ourselves ; that he is suffering perhaps under a contrition, of which he is ashamed, or wants opportunity, to confess ; and how ungene. rous it is to triumph by coldness or insult, over a spirit already humbled in secret ; that the

returns of kindness are sweet, and that there is neither honour, nor virtue, nor utility, in re. sisting them. To this we shall particularly ad. vert; for too many think themselves bound to cherish and keep alive their indignation, when they find it dying away of itself.

“ We should remember, that others have their passions, their prejudices, their favourite aims, their fears, their cautions, their interests, their sudden impulses, their varieties of apprehensions, as well as ourselves. We may recollect what has sometimes passed in our minds, when we have been on the wrong side of a quarrel ; and imagine the same to be pas. sing in our adversary's mind now : when we became sensible of our misbehaviour, what palliations we perceived in it, and expected others to perceive ; how we were affected by the kindness, and felt the superiority, of a generous reception and ready forgiveness ; how persecution revived our spirit with our enmity, and seemed to justify that conduct in our. selves, which we before blamed.”

Dr. Paley,

THE BEAUTIES OF NATURE ARE open to all, and by all may be relished and enjoyed. A taste for them is highly desira. ble and we should cherish it as the source of real pleasure.

« THE scenes of Nature contribnte power. fully to inspire that serenity which heightens their beauties, and is necessary to our full en, joyment of them. By a secret sympathy, the soul catches the harmony which she contem. plates; and the frame within assimilates itself

X

to that withont. In this state of sweet compo. sure, we become susceptible of virtuous im. pressions from almost every surrounding object. The patient ox is viewed with generous com. placency ; the guileless sheep with pity ; and the playful lamb with emotions of tenderness and love. We rejoice with the horse in his liberty and exemption from toil, while he ranges at large through enamelled pastures. We are charmed with the songs of birds, soothed with the buz of insects, and pleased with the spor. tive motions of fishes, because these are pressions of enjoyment ; and, having felt a common interest in the gratifications of inferior beings, we shall be no longer indifferent to their sufferings, or become wantonly instru. mental in producing them.

“ But the taste for natural beauty is subser: vient to higher purposes than those which have been enumerated. The cultivation of it not only refines and humanizes, but dignifies and exalts the affections.' It elevates them to the admiration and love of that Being, who is the author of all that is fair, sublime, or good in the creation. Scepticism and irreligion are hardly compatible with the sensibility of beart which arises from a just and lively relish of the wisdom, harmony, and order subsisting in the world around us. Emotions of piety must spring up spontaneously in the bosom that is in unison with all animated nature. Actuated by this beneficial and divine inspiration, man finds a fane in every grove ; and glowing with de. vout fervour, he joins his song to the universal chorus, or muses the praise of the Almighty in more expressive silence!"---Dr.Percival.

PERSONAL ELEGANCE Is that kind of beauty which results from the whole, bnt wbich is easier conceived than ex. pressed; it is thus happily delineated :

“PERSONAL elegance, or grace, is a fugitive lustre, that never settles in any part of the body : you see it glance and disappear in the features and motions of a graceful person ; it strikes your view; it shines like an exhalation; but the moment you follow it the wandering flame vanishes, and immediately lights up in something else. You may as well think of fix. ing the pleasing delusion of your dreams, or the colours of a dissolving rainbow.

“ Elegance is of this fugitive nature, because it exists chiefly in motion. It is communicated by the principle of action that governs the whole person; it is found over the whole body, and is fixed no where. The curious eye pursues the wandering beauty, which it sees with surprise at every turn, but is never able to overtake. It is a waving flame, that, like the reflection of the sun from water, never settles ; it glances on you in every motion and dispo. sition of the body: its different powers through attitude and motion seem to be collected in dancing, wherein it plays over the arms, the legs, the breast, the neck, and in short the whole frame: but if grace have any fixed throne, it is in the face, the residence of the soul, where you think a thousand times it is just is. suing into view.

“ Elegance assumes to itself an empire equal to that of the soul ; it rules and inspires every part of the body, and makes use of all the hu.

man powers ; but it particularly takes the pas. sions under its charge and direction, and turns them into a kind of artillery, with which it does ipfinite execution.--. Usher.

[ocr errors]

THE MARCH OF LIFE Isso truly interesting to us all, that useful hints will be accepted- take these suggestions, proceeding from a sensible and liberal mind.

“ IN our progress through the world a thou. sand things stand continually in our way. Some people meet us full in the face, with opposite opinions and inclinations. Some stand before us in our pursuit of pleasure or interest, and others follow close upon our heels. Now we ought, in the first place, to consider that the road is us free for one as for another, and therefore we have no right to expect that persons should go out of their way to let us pass, any more than we out of ours. Then if we do not mutually yield and accommodate a little, it is clear that we must all stand still, or be thrown into a perpetual confusion of squeezing and justiing. If we are all in a hurry to get on as fast as possible to some point of pleasure or interest in our view, and do not occasionally hold back when the crowd gathers and angry contentions arise, we shall only augment the tumult, without advancing our own progress. On the whole it is our business to move onwards steadily hut quickly, obstructing others as little as possible, yielding a little to this man's prejudices and that man's desires, and doing every thing in our power to make the journey of life easy to all our fellow travellers as well as to ourselves!"... Mrs. Barbauld.

« PreviousContinue »