Imágenes de páginas

She informeth the minds of her children with wisdom; she fashioneth their manners from the example of her own goodness.

The word of her mouth is the law of their youth; the motion of her eye commandeth their obedience.

She speaketh, and her servants fly; she pointeth, and the thing is done : for the law of love is in their hearts, and her kindness addeth wings to their feet. · In prosperity she is not puffed up; in adversity she healeth the wounds of fortune with patience.

The troubles of her husba. I are alleviated by her counsels, and sweetened by her endearments ; he putteth his heart in her bosom, and receiveth comfort.

Happy is the man that has made her his wife; happy the child that calleth her mother.



LET any man, in a cool hour, when he is disengaged from business and undisturbed by passion, as such cool hours will sometimes happen, sit down, and seriously reflect with himself what state or temper of mind he would choose to feel and indulge, in order to be easy and to enjoy himself. Would he choose for tbat purpose to be in a constant dissipation and hurry of thought ; to be disturbed in the exercise of his reason; to have various, and often interfering phantoms of good playing before bis imaginalion, soliciting and distracting him by turns; now soothing him with amusing hopes, then torturing him with anxious fears; and to approve this, minute what he shall condemn the next? Would he choose to have a strong and painful sense of every petty injury; quick apprehensions of every impending evil; incessant and unsatiable desires of power, wealth, honour, pleasure; an irreproachable antipathy against all competitors and rivals; insolent and tyrannical dispositions to all below him; fawning, and at the same time envious, dispositions to all above him; with dark suspicions and jealousies of every mortal? Would he choose neither to love nor be beloved of any; to have no friend in whom to confide, or with whom to interchange bis sentiments or designs; no favourite, on whom to bestow his kindness, or vent his passions; in fine, to be couscious of no merit with mankind, no esteem from any creature, no good affection to his Maker, no concern for, or hopes of bis approbation; but instead of all these, to hate, and know that he is hated, to contemn, and know that he is contemned by alt; by the good, because he is so unlike; and by the bad because he is so like themselves; to hate or to dread the very Being that made him ; and in shorty to have his breast the seat of pride and passion, petulance and revenge, deep melancholy, cool malignity, and all the other furies, that ever possessed and tortured mankind ?Would our calm inquirer after happiness pitch on such a state, and such a temper of mind, as the most likely means to put.

him in possession of his desired ease and self-enjoyment? Or would he rather choose a serene and easy flow of thoughts; a reason clear and composed ; a judgment unbiassed by prejudice, and undistracted by passion; a sober and well governed fancy, which presents the images of things true and unmixed with delusive aud unnatural charnis, and therefore administers no improper-or dangerous fuel to the passions, but leaves the mind free to choose or reject, as becomes a reasonable creature ; a sweet and sedate tem• per, not easily ruffled by hopes or fears, prone neither to suspicion 'nor revenge, apt to view mien and things in the fairest lights, and to bend gently to the humours of others rather than obstinately to contend with them? Would he choose such moderation and continence of mind, as neither to bę ambitious of power, fond of honours, covetous of wealth, nor a slave to pleasure, a mind of course neither elated with success, nor dejected with disappointment ; such a modest and noble spirit as supports power without insolence, wears honours without pride, uses wealth without profusion or parsimony, and rejoices more in giving than in receiving pleasure ; such fortitude and equanimity as rises above misfortunes, or turns them into blessings ; such integrity and greatness of mind, as neither flatters the vices nor triumphs over the follies of men ; as equally spurns servitude and tyranny, and will neither engage in low designs, nor abet them in others? Would he choose, in fine, such mildness and benignity of heart as takes part in all the joys, and refuses none of the sorrows of others; stands well-affected to all mankind; is conscious of meriting the esteem of all, and of being beloved by the best ; a mind which delights in doing good without any show, and yet arrogates nothing on that account; rejoices in loving and being beloved by it's Maker, acts ever under his eye, resigns itself to his providence, and triumphs in bis appro. bation ?-Which of these dispositions would be his choice in order to be contented, serene, and happy? The former temper is vice; the latter, virtue. Where one prevails, there misery prevails, and by the generality is acknowledged to prevail. Where the other reigns, there happiness reigns, and by the confession of mankind is acknowledged to reign. The perfection of either temper is misery or happiness in perfection. Therefore every approach to either extreme is an approach to misery, or to happiness; that is to say, every degree of vice or virtue is accompanied with a proportionable degree of misery or happi



MORAL SEXES. THE minds of both sexes are as much formed one for the other by a temperament peculiar to each, as their per


The strength, firmness, courage, gravity, and dig.' nity of the man, tally to the softness, delicacy, tenderness of passion, elegance of taste, and decency of conversation of the woman.

The male mind is formed to defend, deliberate, foresee, contrive, and advise. The female one to confide, imagine, apprehend, comply, and execute. Therefore the proper temperament of these different sexes of minds makes a fine moral union; and the well-proportioned opposition of different or contrary qualities, like a due mixture of discords in a composition of music, swells the harmony of society more than if they were all unisons to each other. And this union of -moral sexes, if we may express it so, is evidently more conducive to the improvement of each, than if they lived apart. For the man not only protects and advises, but communicates vigour and resolution to the woman. She, in her turn, softens, refines, and polishes him. In her society he finds repose from action and care; in her friendship, the ferment, into which his passions were wrought by the hurry and distraction of public life, subsides and settles into a calm; and a thousand nameless graces and decencies, that flow from her words and actions, form him for a more mild and elegant deportment. His conversation and example, on the other hand, enlarge her views, raise her sentiments, sustain her resolutions, and free her from a thousand fears and inquietudes, to wbich her more feeble constitution subjects her. Surely such dispositions, and the happy consequences, which result from them, cannot be supposed to carry an unfriendly aspect to any duty he owes either to God or


to man.


ANALOGY. IN tracing the nature and destination of any being, we form the surest judgment from his powers of action, and


scope and limits of these compared with his state, or with that field in which they are exercised. If this being passes through different states, or fields of aetion, and we find a succession of powers adapted to the different periods of his progress, we conclude, that he was destined for those successive states, and reckon his nature progressive. If, beside the immediate set of powers, which fit him for action in his present state, we observe another set, which appears superfluous if he was to be confined to it, and which point to another or higher one, we naturally conclude, that he is not designed to remain in his present state, but to advance to that for which those supernumerary powers are adapted. Thus we argue, that the insect, which has wings forming or formed, and all the apparatus proper for flight, is not destined always to creep on the ground, or to continue in the torpid state of adhering to a wall, but is designed in it's season to take it's flight in air. Without this farther destination, the admirable mechanism of wings and the other apparatus would be useless and absurd.

The same kind of reasoning may be applied to man, while he lives only a sort of vegetative life in the womb. He is furnished even there with a beautiful apparatus of organs, eyes, ears, and other delicate senses, which receive nourishment indeed, but are in a manner folded up, and have no proper exercise or use in their present confinement. Let us suppose some intelligent spectator, who had nerer any connexion with man, or the least acquaintance with human affairs, to see this odd phenom:enon, a creature formed after şuch a manner, and placed in a situation apparently unsuitable to such various machinery; must be not be strangely puzzled about the use of his complicated structure, and reckon snch a profusion of art and admirable workmanship lost on the subject; or reason by way of anticipation, that a creature, endued with such various, yet unexerted capacities, was destined for a more enlarged sphere of ac

« AnteriorContinuar »