« PreviousContinue »
REVELATION.— PRIDE, ETC. 303
THE CHRISTIAN REVELATION.
OUR Lord, at the very outset of his public instructions, marks, at once, in the strongest and most decided terms, the peculiar temper, spirit and character of his religion; and describes the Christian temper as humble, meek, lowly, devout, merciful, pure, peaceable, and unresisting.
The world calls it mean-spirited, tame and abject, yet notwithstanding all this, with the divine author of our religion, this is the favorite character; this is the constant topic of his commendation; this is the subject that runs through all the beatitudes. To this he assigns, under all its various forms, peculiar blessings.
To those who possess it, he promises that they shall inherit the earth; that they shall obtain mercy; that theirs shall be the kingdom of heaven; that they shall see God, and be called the children of God.
PRIDE THE BANE OF HAPPINESS.
THE odiousness of pride, and the evils attending it, have been the common topics both of ancient and modern moralists; but no observation seems more pointed than that which says, “ of all vices, pride seldomest obtains its end; for by showing our own pride, we pique the pride of other men, and thus, by aiming at honor and reputation, we reap derision and contempt.”
The envy which is sure to follow in the train of pride, has been happily illustrated by the fable of the Peacock, who no sooner begins to spread his gorgeous plumage, than the other birds begin to cry out against his ugly legs, and screaming voice.
THE EMPTY BIRD’S NEST.
And thou, my sad little lonely nest,
The fowler, perhaps, has hurled the dart,
Though great was the toil which thy building cost,
Thou hast made me think of each heart-woven tie;
THE SUUL. — THE GLOW-WORM. 305
THE soul is that which thinks, learns, reasons, reflects, remembers within us ; that which is conscious of its own existence, and of the existence of innumerable beings and substances around us. It is of far greater worth and dignity than the bodily frame in which it resides; a spiritual being which is to remain when the body decays; possessing a peculiar life, a life which may indeed be improved or made worse, but which can never cease to be. To live is not enough, though forever; but to live in everlasting bliss is a point of the highest inquiry, and surely deserves our utmost attention and concern, The stars shall fade away, the sun himself Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years; But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth ;
Unhurt, amidst the war of elements,
BENEATH the hedge, or near the stream,
Disputes have been and still prevail,
Some give that honor to his tail,
But this is sure, — the hand of might,
Gives him a modicum of light
Perhaps indulgent nature meant,
To bid the traveller, as he went,
Nor crush a worm whose useful light
To show a stumbling stone by night,
Whate'er she meant, this truth divine,
'T is power Almighty bids him shine,
Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme
Since such a reptile has its gem,
UNREAsonABLE fear is an unjust and ridiculous fear of any creature whatever, or of any occurrences of life; it is a timorous spirit, which subjects the whole nature to the power and tyranny of the passion of fear, beyond all reasonable grounds; as, for instance, a fear of being alone, or in the dark; a perpetual fear of evil accidents, by fire, or water, or wicked men: a disquieting fear of ghosts and apparitions; of little, inconsiderable animals, such as spiders, frogs and worms; fear of poverty or calamity of any kind, whereby we are too often restrained from our present duty, and our lives made very uncomfortable. All manner of fear becomes irregular when it rises to an excessive degree, and is superior to the danger.
MODESTY. — FEAR OF GOD. 307
Modesty is a humble opinion of our own merit, when compared with that of others. So refined a compliment to the superiority of those with whom we converse, cannot fail of prepossessing them in our favor, and conciliating them to our own interests. The wise author and governor of nature, has implanted a love of modesty in the breast of every one, that its opposite vices, presumption and affectation, may be checked by universal reprobation.
But, however amiable modesty may appear in men, it is the peculiar ornament of the fair sex, and is essential to the beauty of every other accomplishment. While modesty remains, the most homely form has a beauty; and when this beauty is lost, the finest form only reminds us, that it is impossible for a woman to be amiable without it.
“Modesty is not only confined to the face, she is there only in shadow and effigy, but is in life and motion in the words.”
THE FEAR OF GOD.
THE fear of God is an inward, thoughtful sense of God and his infinite perfections, with a respect to him as the universal governor and judge of the world, which will excite us steadily to please him, and make us tremble to offend him. The fear of God is the wisdom, the glory and happiness of nations, the stability of thrones, and the basis of all solid greatness, in every kingdom and empire upon earth.
The rejecting the fear of God ruined the old world, before the flood, burned Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, drowned the Egyptians, destroyed Nineveh, tore up Babylon by the roots, and consumed Jerusalem in flames.