« PreviousContinue »
It was with some difficulty that Harley prevailed on the old man to leave the spot where the remains of his son were laid. At last, with the assistance of the school-mistress, he prevailed: and she accommodated Edwards and him with beds in her house, there being nothing like an inn nearer than the distance of some miles.
In the morning, Harley persuaded Edwards to come, with the children, to his house, which was distant but a short day's journey. The boy walked in his grandfather's hand; and the name of Edwards procured him a neighbouring farmer's horse, on which a servant mounted, with the girl on a pillow before him.
With this train Harley returned to the abode of his fathers : and we cannot but think, that his enjoyment was as great as if he had arrived from the tour of Europe, with a Swiss valet for his companion, and half a dozen snuff-boxes, with invisible hinges, in his pocket. But we take our ideas from sounds which folly has invented; fashion, bon ton, and vertù, are the names of certain idols, to which we sacrifice the genuine pleasures of the soul : in this world of semblance, we are contented with personating happiness; to feel it is an art beyond us. It was otherwise with Harley; he ran up stairs to his aunt, with the history of his fellow-travellers glowing on his lips. His aunt was an economist; but she knew the pleasure of doing charitable things, and withal was fond of her nephew, and solicitous to oblige him. She received old Edwards, therefore, with a look of more complacency than is perhaps natural to maiden ladies of three-score, and was remarkably attentive to his grand-children: she roasted apples with her own hands for their supper, and made up a little bed beside her own for the girl. Edwards made some attempts towards an acknowledgement for these favours; but his young friend stopped them in their beginnings.
soever receiveth any of these children," said his aunt; for her acquaintance with her bible was habitual.
Early next morning, Harley stole into the room where Edwards lay: he expected to have found him in bed; but in this he was mistaken : the old man had risen, and was leaning over his sleeping grandson, with the tears flowing down his cheeks. At first he did not perceive Harley; when he did, he endeavoured to hide his grief, and crossing his eyes with his hand, expressed his surprise at seeing him so early a-stir. “ I was thinking of you," said Harley, “and your children: I learned last night that a small farm of mine in the neighbourhood is now vacant : if you will occupy it, I shall gain a good neighbour, and be able in some measure to repay the notice you took of me when a boy; and as the furniture of the house is mine, it will be so much trouble saved.” Edwards's tears gushed afresh, and Harley led him to see the place he intended for him.
The house upon this farm was indeed little better than a hut; its situation, however, was pleasant; and Edwards, assisted by the beneficence of Harley, set about improving its neatness and convenience. He staked out a piece of green before for a garden, and Peter, who acted in Harley's family, as valet, butler, and gardener, had orders to furnish him with parcels of the different seeds he chose to sow in it. I have seen his master at work in this little spot, with his coat off, and his dibble in his hand : it was a scene of tranquil virtue to have stopped an angel on his errands of mercy! Harley had contrived to lead a little bubbling brook through a green walk in the middle of the ground, upon which he had erected a mill in miniature for the diversion of Edwards's infant grandson, and made shift in its construction to introduce a pliant bit of wood, that answered with its fairy clack to the murmuring of the rill that turned it. I have seen him stand listening to these mingled sounds, with his eye
fixed on the boy, and the smile of conscious satisface tion on his cheek; while the old man, with a look half turned to Harley, and half to heaven, breathed an ejaculation of gratitude and piety.
Father of Mercies! I also would thank thee! that not only hast thou assigned eternal rewards to virtue, but that, even in this bad world, the lines of our duty, and our happiness, are so frequently woven to. gether.
DROCRASTINATION has, throughout every age,
been the ruin of mankind. Dwelling amidst endless projects of what they are hereafter to do, they cannot so properly be said to live, as to be always about to live; and the future has ever been the gulph in which the present is swallowed up and lost. Hence arise many of those misfortunes which befal men in their worldly concerns.
What might at present be arranged in their circumstance with advantage, being delayed to another opportunity, cannot be arranged at all.
To-morrow being loaded with the concerns of. to-day, in addition to its own, is clogged and embarrassed. Affairs, which have been postponed, multiply and crowd upon one another; till, at last, they prove so intricate and perplexed, and the pressure of business becomes so great, that nothing is left, but to sink under the burden.
Evils of the same kind, arising from the same cause, overtake men in their moral and spiritual interests. There are few, but who are sensible of some things in their character and behaviour, which ought to be corrected, and whicb, at one time or other;
they intend to correct; some headstrong passion, which they design to subdue; some bad habit, which they purpose to reform; some dangerous connexion, which they are resolved to break off. But the convenient season for these reformations is not yet come. Certain obstacles are in the way, which they expect by and by to surmount; and therefore they go on in peace for the present, in their usual courses, trusting, at a future day, to begin their designed improvement. In the mean time the angel of death descends; and, in the midst of their distant plans, executes his commission, and carries them away.-Guard against delusions of this kind, which have been fatal to so many. -Thou art now in tranquillity, in health, in
possession of a calm mind. Improve these advantages, for performing all that becomes thee, as a man, and as a Christian; for who can tell how long thou shalt be permitted to enjoy them.
stant, hypocritical, self-interested, and ready to fly from any appearance of danger. Whilst secure, and in a capacity of doing them any good, their lives and fortunes, if you will believe them, are at your service; but, as an ingenious writer says, “ If Fortune turns her back on you, they will soon follow her example.” This is generally true; but there are, fortunately, some exceptions; there are yet a few who would not ruin another to whom they are under obligations.
HISTORY of ABOUZAID the Son of MORAD.
MONG the emirs and visiers, the sons of va
lour and of wisdom, that stand at the corners of the Indian throne, to assist the councils or conduct the wars of the posterity of Timur, the first place was long held by Morad the son of Hanuth. Morad, having signalized himself in many battles and sieges, was rewarded with the government of a province, from which the fame of his wisdom and moderation was wafted to the pinnacles of Agra, by the prayers of those whom his administration made happy. The emperor called him into his presence, and gave into his hand the keys of riches, and the sabre of command. The voice of Morad was heard from the cliffs of Taurus to the Indian ocean, every tongue faltered in his presence, and every eye was cast down before him.
Morad lived many years in prosperity ; every day increased his wealth and extended his influence. The esages repeated his maxims, the captains of thousands
waited his commands. Competition withdrew into : the cavern of envy, and discontent trembled at her own murmurs. But human greatness is short and transitory, as the odour of incense in the fire. The sun grew weary of gilding the palaces of Morad, the clouds of sorrow gathered round his head, and the tempest of hatred roared about his dwelling.
Morad saw ruin hastily approaching. The first that forsook him were his poets; their example was followwed by all those whom he had rewarded for contri
buting to his pleasures, and only a few, whose virtue had entitled them to favour, were now to be seen in his hall or chambers. He felt his danger, and prostrated himself at the foot of the throne. His accusers