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History is nothing but a catalogue of the miseries brought upon mankind by an improper indulgence of their passions. How ought it to be the constant business of rational creatures to regulate and chastise these internal tyrants How carefully ought we to guard against yielding to the first impulses! And how ought all our education to be directed to a proper government of them.
Nothing will so effectually contribute to this as a proper sense of religion. Christianity, by a sort of divine alchymy, makes those passions, which have been working for sin, become active in the cause of piety.
We sometimes see people strive to attain what is beyond their reach. After many vain attempts, they give up the pursuit, and then pretend that the object they sought so ardently is worthless, and that they would not have it if they could. Such people are alluded to in the following Fable.
A Fox, who having failed to pick,
Saw, from a trellis, hanging high,
His jaws with heat and hunger dry,
His carcass than a weasel's thinner,
He thought, though fortune brought no dinner,
WARious, sincere, and constant are the efforts of men to
procure that happiness which the nature of the mind requires; but most seem to be ignorant both of the source and means of genuine felicity.
Religion alone can afford true joy and permanent peace.
It is this that inspires fortitude, supports patience, and by its prospects and promises, throws a cheering ray into the darkest shade of human life.
“Where dwells this sovereign bliss Where doth it grow
THE RECLUSE OF THE LAKE.
IN the immediate vicinity of Lake George, there was, a few years since, a humble dwelling, which always attracted the traveller's attention, though there was nothing peculiar about it, save a rich, sloping greensward in front, and a luxuriant honeysuckle, which almost concealed the door, and loaded the air with its fragrance.
A stranger would have supposed that woman's tasteful hand had been there, adorning poverty itself with “wreathed smiles”; but seldom had her foot pressed the verdant velvet of that turf, and no female hand trained the graceful tendrils of that exuberant vine. The romantic little spot was the solitary home of Arthur Wandellyn, an artist and a poet ! No chilling disappointment, no embittered misanthropy, occasioned his retirement from the world. He never indulged that false idea, so shameful to intellect, that the powerful tide of genius must necessarily be turbid and restless. In him, it was a clear, deep, sunny stream, reflecting all of bright and beautiful in earth, or heaven; but his nature was timid, and he shrank from the ostentation of learning, the pageantry of wealth, and the officiousness of vulgarity, as things which could neither obtain his sympathy, nor endurance. The Recluse was the only son of a wealthy Batavian merchant, who had sent him to New England to be educated. His mother had died when he was a mere babe; and his father carefully concealed from him the amount of his large fortune, lest the knowledge should early lead him to extravagance and dissipation. This well founded anxiety induced him to make a very singular arrangement in the disposal of his wealth. Arthur Wandellyn was nineteen years old when he quitted the university; and, on that day, he received tidings of his father's death, and became acquainted with the contents of his will. Fifteen thousand dollars were to be paid him immediately; twenty thousand more, when he was thirty years of age; and his whole fortune, without reserve, on his fortyfifth birthday; but, in case one hundred dollars were ever borrowed in advance, his title was to be transferred to a distant relative. Limited as this income was, compared to what it would have been, if left to the ordinary course of law, the young student thought it amply sufficient to accomplish all his favorite projects. After travelling in New York a few weeks, he purchased the cottage we have mentioned, then almost in a ruinous condition. He made no very important change in the exterior of the dwelling, but within, carpets, ottomans, vases, and mirrors proclaimed a wealthy and tasteful resident. His own portrait, dis