Page images
PDF
EPUB

den of its gratitude. Joy is too brilliant a thing to be confined within our own bosoms ; it burnishes all nature, and with its vivid colouring gives a kind of fictitious life to objects without sense or motion. There cannot be a more striking proof of the social tendency of these feelings, than the strong propensity we have to suppose auditors where there are none! When men are wanting, we address the animal cre. ation ; and, rather than have none to par. take our sentiments, we find sentiment in the music of the birds, the hum of insects, and the low of kine: nay, we call on rocks, and streams, and forests to witness and share our emotions. Hence the royal shepherd sojourning in caves and solitary wastes, calls on the hills to rejoice and the floods to clap their hands; and the lonely poet, wandering in the deep recesses of uncultivated nature, finds a temple in every solemn grove, and swells his chorus of praise with the winds that bow the lofty cedars. And can he who, not satisfied with the wide range of existence, calls for the sympathy of the inanimate creation, refuse to worship with his fellow-men ? Can he who bids Nature attend, forget to join every living soul in the universal hymn ? Shall we -suppose companions in the stilness of deserts, and shall we overlook them amongst friends and townsmen ? It cannot be! Social worship, for the devout heart, is not more a duty than it is a real want."... Mrs. Barbauld.

DUTIES OF FRIENDSHIP ARE sacred, and ought on no account to be violated and trodden under foot. Indeed they have always been held in high and deserved

.

devotion be the language of filial love and gratitude ; confide to this kindest of fathers every want and every wish of your heart :--but submit them all to his will, and freely offer him the disposal of yourself, and of all your affairs. Thank him for his benefits, and even for his punishments ; convinced that these also are benefits, and mercifully designed for your good. Implore his direction in all difficolties ; his assistance in all trials; his comfort and support in sickness or affliction ; his restraining grace in time of prosperity and joy.

Forget not to dedicate yourself to his service every day; to implore his forgiveness of your faults, and his protection from evil, every night: and this not nerely in formal words, unaccompanied by any act of the mind, but “ in spirit and in truth ;" in grateful love and humble adoration. Nor let these stated periods of worship be your only communication with him; accustom yourself to think often of him, in all your waking hours; to contemplate his wis. dom and power, in the works of his hands; to ac. knowledge his goodness in every object of use or of pleasure ; to delight in giving him praise in your inmost heart in the midst of every inho. cent gratification, in the liveliest hour of social enjoyment.

True devotion is not a melancholy sentiment, that depresses the spirits, and excludes the ideas of pleasure, in which youth delights: on the contrary, there is nothing so friendly to joy, so productive of true pleasure, so peculi. arly suited to the warmth and innocence of a youthful heart. Do not, therefore, think it too soon to turn your mind to God ; but offer him the first fruits of your understanding and affections : and be assured, that the more you

BS

increase in love to him, and delight in his laws, the more yon will increase in happiness, in excellence, and honour; that in proportion as you improve in true piety, you will become dear and amiable to your fellow creatures, contented and peaceful in yourself, and qualified to enjoy the best blessings of this life, as well as to inherit the glorious promise of immor. tality!"--Mrs. Chapone.

NATURE AND IMPORTANCE OF VIRTUE DEMAND our principal attention ; it lies at the bottom of character, and is essential to the glory and welfare of human beings.

“ VIRTUE is of intrinsic value and good desert, and of indispensible obligation ; not the creature of will, but necessary and immutable; not local or temporary, but of equal extent and antiquity with the Divine Mind; not a mode of sensation, but everlasting truth; not dependent on power, but the guide of all power.

Virtue is the foundation of honour and es. teem, and the source of all beauty, order and happiness in nature. It is what confers va!ue on all the other endowments and qualities of a reasonable being ; to which they ought to be absolutely subservient, and without which, the more eminent they are the more hideous deformities and the greater curses they be. come.

Many of the endowments and talents we now possess, and of which we are too apt to be proud, will cease entirely with the present state ; but yirtue will be our ornament and dignity in every future state to which we may be removed. Beauty and wit will die, learn.

ing will vanish away, and all the arts of life be soon forgotten ; but virtue will remain for ever. This unites us to the whole rational cre. ation, and fits us for conversing with any order of superior natures, and for place in any part of God's works.

Virtue procures us the love of all wise and good beings, and renders them our allies and friends. But what is of unspeakably greater consequence is that it makes God our friend, assimilates and unites our minds to his, and en. gages our almighty power in our defence.

Superior beings of all ranks are bound by virtue no less than ourselves. It has the same authority in all worlds it has in this. The fur. ther any being is advanced in excellence and perfection, the greater is his attachment to it, and the more he is under its influence. It is the law of the whole universe; it stands first in the estimation of the Deity; its origin is His nature ; and it is the very object that makes Him lovely.

Such is the importance of Virtue: Of how much consequence is it, therefore, to practise it! There is no argument or motive that is at all fitted to influence a reasonable mind, which does not call us to this. One virtuous disposi. tion of soul is preferable to the greatest natu. ral accomplishments and abilities, and of more value than all the treasures of the world !"

Dr. Price.

DAY AND NIGHT,

Together with the Seasons, ARE pleasing subjects, which while they rouse our curiosity, afford interesting materials for our contemplation.

“ NATURE is always grand in her designs, but frugal in her execution of them: sublimity and simplicity are the striking characteristics of her workmanship. From a few simple principles she produces the most astonishing effects, and charms us no less by the infinite diversity of her operations, than by the skill and con. trivauce which are manifested in the perform. ance of them.

The sun, moon, planets, and fixed stars, are all governed by the same invariable laws : the single principle of gravitation pervades the whole universe, and puts every wheel and spring of it in motion. From the indiscernible atom, to the vast and immeasurable luminaries of heaven, every thing is su bject to its dominating influence ; and from this active, invisible, and invigorating agent, proceed that order, harmony, beauty, and variety, which so eminently distinguish the works of creation.

But of all the effects resulting from this ad. mirable scene of things, nothing can be more pleasing and agreeable to a philosophic mind, than the alternate succession of day and night and the regular return of the seasons.

• Sweet is the breath of morn, and sweet

• The coming on of grateful evening mild!' When the sun first appears in the horizon, all nature is animated by his presence : the mag. nificent theatre of the universe opens gradually to our view, and every object around us ex. cites ideas of pleasure, admiration, and wonder. After riding in all his brightness through the vault of heaven, he is again hidden from our sight; and we are now presented with a new spectacle of equal grandeur and sublimity. The heavens are on a sudden covered with in

« PreviousContinue »