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hours. Actuated by some high pasion, he conceives great designs, and surmounts all difficulties in the execution. He is inspired with more lofty sentiments, and endowed with more persuasive utterance, than he possesses at any other time. Pasions are the active forces of the soul. They are its highest powers brought into movement and exertion. Religion requires no more of us than to moderate and rule them. For necessary as their impulse is, to give activity to the mind, yet if they are not kept in subordination to REASON, they speedily throw all things into confusion. Like wind and fire, which are instrumental in carrying on many of the beneficent operations of nature; when they rise to undue violence, or deviate from their proper course, their path is marked with ruin ; so are the passions either useful or destructive, according to their direction and degree. Ye impetuous pasions, terrible whirlwinds, you excite those tempests that drown individuals in perdition ; you change innocent pleasure into debauchery; the feftive goblet into drunkenness; prudence into avarice; caution into cowardice; by you, fathers are induced to take up arms against their children, and children against their fathers; you drive to suicide ; you change industry into rapine and robbery; it is you, in a word, that occafion all the disorder and confusion in this fublunary state.
We are, by no means, to imagine, that RELIGION tends to extinguish the sense of honour, or to suppress the exertion of a manly Spirit. It is under a false apprehension of this kind, that Christian patience is fometimes stigmatised in discourse as no other than a different name for cowardice. On the contrary, every man of virtue ought to feel what is due to his character, and to support properly his own rights. Resentment of wrong is an useful principle in human nature; and for the wiselt purposes was implanted in our frame. It is the necefsary guard of private rights; and the great restraint on the insolence of the violent, who, if no resistance were made, would trample on the gentle and peaceable.
But in the fulness of self-estimation, we are too apt to forget what we are. We are rigorous to offences, as if we did not daily entreat heaven for mercy. Nothing is in general so inconsistent as anger.
The most inconsiderable point of interest, or honour, swells into a momomentous object ; and the flightest attack seems to threaten immediate ruin. It overpowers reason; confounds our ideas; distorts the appearances, and blackens the colour, of every object. As it swells, it constantly justifies to our apprehensions the tumult which it créates, by means of a thousand false arguments which it forms, and brings to its aid. Beware, therefore, and suppress these moments of delusion. Suspend your violence, I beseech you, for an inftant. Anticipate that period of coolness, which, of itself, will soon arrive. Allow yourself to think, how little you have any prospect of gaining by fierce contention ; but how much of true happiness you are certain of throwing away. Wait until the fumes of passion be spent ; until the mist which it hath raised is dissipated, when you shall see where truth and right lie; and reason shall, by degrees, refume the ascendant. Did you only preserve yourself composed for a moment, you would discover the insignificancy of most of those provocations which you magVOL. IV.
nisy nify so highly. When a few suns inore have rolled over your head, the storm will have, of itself, subsided; the caufe of your present impatience and disturbance will be utterly forgotten. Can you not, then, anticipate this hour of calmnefs to yourself; and begin to enjoy the peace which it will certainly bring? If others have behaved improperly, leave them to their own folly, without becoming the victim of their caprice, and punishing yourself on their account. To prove that passion is exorbitant in its demands, what proportion, for instance, is there between the life of a man, and an affront received, or supposed to be given by some unguarded expreffion. How fantastic, then, how unjustifiable, are those supposed laws of inodern , honour, which for such an affront require no less reparation than the death of a fellow creature; and which, to obtain this reparation, requires a man to endanger his own life? Laws which, as they have no foundation in reason, never received the least fanction from any wise and polished nations of antiquity ; but were devised in the darkest ages of the world, and are derived to us from the ferocious barbarity of Goths and Vandals. Who is there, were he to behold his enemy during that conflict which human nature must suffer at the latt, but must feel relentings