« PreviousContinue »
THE SOUL. 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
A worm is known to stray ;
Which disappears by day:
From whence his rays proceed;
And others to his head.
But this is sure, - the hand of might,
That kindles up the skies,
Perhaps indulgent nature meant,
By such a lamp bestow'd,
Be careful where he trod :
Nor crush a worm whose useful light
Might serve, however small,
And save him from a fall.
Whate'er she meant, this truth divine,
Is legible and plain ;
Nor bids him shine in vain.
Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme
Teach humbler thoughts to you,
And boasts its splendor too.
UNREASONABLE FEAR. 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. 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,
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.
THE POPLAR FIELD.
Twelve years have elapsed, since I last took a view,
The blackbird has fled to another retreat,
My fugitive years are all hasting away,
WIT BY THE WAY SIDE. In the neighborhood of Haddam Castle, Dumfriesshire, there sis a tower called repentance. A pleasant answer of a shepherd's boy to Sir Richard Steele, founded on the name of this tower, is thus related : — Sir Richard, having observed a boy lying on the ground, and very attentively reading his bible, asked if he could tell him the way to Heaven ?" “ Yes, sir,” said the boy, “ you must go by that tower."
PRUDENCE. ARISTOTLE is praised for naming fortitude first of the cardinal virtues, as that, without which, no other virtue can steadily be practised; but he might with equal propriety, have placed prudence before it, since without prudence fortitude is madness. The foundation of human prudence is, first, a knowledge of ourselves. What is my temper and natural inclination; what are my most powerful appetites, and my most prevailing passions ; what are my chief talents and capacities; and what are the weaknesses and follies to which I am most liable ?
Second, The knowledge of mankind. What are the peculiar tempers, appetites, passions, powers, good and evil qualities of the persons whom we have most to do with in the world?
Third, The knowledge of those things which have the more immediate relation to our own business and duty, to our own interest, and welfare, whether we consider ourselves as men or as Christians.
THE CARRIER PIGEON.
A CARRIER pigeon, having been sent home with a letter round his neck, and performed a journey of forty miles in as many minutes, was asked by his companions how he could manage to travel so fast; “I go straight forward," said he,“ never looking about me, nor turning at all, to the right or left.” Children may learn by this, that persever. ance or going forward like this bird, is the only way soon to aitain any end.