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fly from a tottering house) forsake and abandon us in our misfortunes.
The virtue of contentment, in the midst of prosperity, seems in this point very necessary, as it tends to preserve a good fortune in hand, and to prevent a shame which must be grating on the loss of it. A strict vigilance would keep passion within due bounds. Our fall from an elevated station might be prevented by an evenness of temper, and a proper circumspection; but for want of it our misfortune will be reflected on with remorse, and the invidious will rejoice, and persecute us with severity. In short, let us embrace contentment, as a most amiable virtue, and restrain our passions, as most conducive to our temporal as well as eternal welfare. Then we shall relish our enjoyments without surfeiting, and have a true taste of the delights of life, without neglecting the duties of Christianity.
SABINUS AND OLINDA.
N a fair, rich, flourishing country, whose cliffs are washed by the German ocean, lived Sabinus, a youth formed by Nature to make a conquest wherever he thought proper; but the constancy of his disposition fixed him only with Olinda.
He was, indeed, superior to her in fortune; but that defect on her side was so amply supplied by her merit, that none was thought more worthy of his regards than she. He loved her, he was beloved by her; and, in a short time, by joining hands publicly, they avowed the union of their hearts. But, alas! none, however happy, are exempt from the shafts of envy, and the
Malignant effects of ungoverned appetite. How unsafe, how detestable are they who have this fury for their guide! How certainly will it lead them from themselves, and plunge them into errors they would have shuddered at, even in apprehension. Ariana, a lady of many amiable qualities, very nearly allied to Sabinus, and highly esteemed by him, imagined herself slighted, and injuriously treated, since his marriage with Olinda. By incautiously suffering this jealousy to corrode in her breast, she began to give a loose to passion: she forgot those many virtues, for which she had been so long, and so justly applauded. Causeless suspicion, and mistaken resentment, betray. ed her into all the gloom of discontent: she sighed without ceasing; the happiness of others gave her intolerable pain: she thought of nothing but revenge. How unlike what she was, the cheerful, the prudent, the compassionate Ariana!
She continually laboured to disturb an union so firmly, so affectionately founded, and planned every scheme which she thought most likely to disturb it.
Fortune seemed willing to promote her unjust intentions; the circumstances of Sabinus had been long embarrassed by a tedious law-suit, and the court determining the cause unexpectedly in favour of his opponent, it sunk his fortune to the lowest pitch of penury from the highest affluence.
From the nearness of relationship, Sabinus expected from Ariana those assistances his present situation required; hut she was insensible to all his entreaties, and the justice of every remonstrance, unless he first separated from Olinda, whom she regarded with detestation. Upon a compliance with her desires in this respect, she promised her fortune, her interest, and her all, should be at his command. Sabinus was shocked at the proposal; he loved his wife with inexpressible tenderness, and refused those offers with indignation which were to be purchased at so high a price: Ariana
was no less displeased to find her offers rejected, and gave a loose to all that warmth which she had long endeavoured to suppress.
Reproach generally produces recrimination; the quarrel rose to such a height, that Sabinus was marked for destruction; and the very next day, upon the strength of an old family debt, he was sent to jail, with none but Olinda to comfort him in his miseries. In this mansion of distress they lived together with resignation, and even with comfort. She provided the frugal meal, and he read for her while employed in the little offices of domestic concern. Their fellowprisoners admired their contentment; and whenever they had a desire of relaxing into mirth, and enjoying those little comforts that a prison affords, Sabinus and Olinda were sure to be of the party. Instead of reproaching each other for their mutual wretchedness, they both lightened it, by bearing each a share of the load imposed by Providence. Whenever Sabinus shewed the least concern on his dear partner's account, she conjured him by the love he bore her, by those tender ties which now united them for ever, not to discompose himself: that so long as his affection lasted, she defied all the ills of fortune, and every loss of fame or friendship that nothing could make her miserable, but his seeming to want happiness; nothing pleased but his sympathizing with her pleasure.
A continuance in prison soon robbed them of the little they had left, and famine began to make its horrible appearance; yet still was neither found to murmur; they both looked upon their little boy, who, insensible of their or his own distress, was playing about the room, with inexpressible yet silent anguish, when a messenger came to inform them that Ariana was dead; and that her will, in favour of a very distant relation, and who was now in another country, might be easily procured, and burnt; in which case, all her large fortune would revert to him, as being the next heir at law,
A proposal of so base a nature filled our unhappy couple with horror; they ordered the messenger immediately out of the room, and falling upon each other's neck, indulged an agony of sorrow: for how even all hopes of relief were banished. The messenger who made the proposal, however, was only a spy sent by Ariana to sound the disposition of a man she loved at once and persecuted.
This lady, though warped by wrong passions, was naturally kind, judicious, and friendly. She found that all her attempts to shake the constancy or the integrity of Sabinus were ineffectual: She had, therefore, begun to reflect, and to wonder how she could, so long and so unprovoked, injure such uncommon fortitude and affection.
She had, from the next room, herself heard the reception given to the messenger, and could not avoid feeling all the force of superior virtue; she therefore re-assumed her former goodness of heart; she came into the room with tears in her eyes, and acknowledged the severity of her former treatment. She bestowed her first care in providing them all the necessary supplies, and acknowledged them as the most deserving heirs of her fortune. From this moment Sabinus enjoyed an uninterrupted happiness with Olinda, and both were happy in the friendship and assistance of Ariana, who, dying soon after, left them in possession of a large estate; and, in her last moments confessed, that Virtue was the only path to true glory; and that, however Innocence may for a time be depressed, a steady perseverance will in time lead it to a cerain victory.
honour of man arises not from those
splendid actions and abilities which excite high admiration. Courage and prowess, military renown, signal victories and conquests, may render the name of a man famous, without rendering his character truly honourable. To many brave men, to many heroes renowned in story, we look up with wonder. Their exploits are recorded. Their praises sung. They stand as on an eminence, above the rest of mankind. Their eminence, nevertheless, may not be of that sort before which we bow with inward esteem and respect. 8omething more is wanted for that purpose, than the conquering arm, and the intrepid mind. The laurels of the warrior must at all times be dyed in blood, and bedewed with the tears of the widow and the orphan. But if they have been stained by rapine and inhuma nity; if sordid avarice has marked his character; or low and gross sensuality has degraded his life, the great hero sinks into a little man. What at a distance, or on a superficial view, we adinire, becomes mean, perhaps odious, when we examine it more closely. It is like the Colossal statue, whose immense size struck the spectator afar off with astonishment; but, when nearly viewed, it appears disproportioned, unshapely,
Observations of the same kind may be applied to all the reputation derived from civil accomplishments; from the refined politics of the statesman, or the literary efforts of genius and erudition. These bestow, and, within certain bounds, ought to bestow, eminence and distinction on men. They discover talents which in themselves are shining; and which become highly