Imágenes de páginas

been destroyed only in single combat, men had had but a bad time of it; and what, but laws, could awe the men who killed the lions ?

3. The genuine glory, the proper distinction of the rational species, arises from the perfection of the mental powers. Courage is apt to be fierce, and strength is often exerted in acts of + oppression : but wisdom is the associate of justice. It assists her to form equal laws, to pursue right measures, to correct power, protect weakness, and to unite individuals in a common interest and general welfare. Heroes may kill tyrants, but it is wisdom and laws that prevent tyranny and oppression. The operations of policy far surpass the labors of Hercules, preventing many evils which valor and might can not even + redress. You heroes regard nothing but glory: and scarcely consider whether the conquests, which raise your fame, are really beneficial to your country, Unhappy are the people who are governed by valor not directed by prudence, and not +mitigated by the gentle arts.

4. Hercules. I do not expect to find an admirer of my strenuous life, in the man who taught his countrymen to sit still and read; and to lose the hours of youth and action in idle + speculation and the sport of words.

5. Cadmus. An ambition to have a place in the registers of fame, is the Eurystheus which imposes heroic labors on mankind. The Muses *incite to action, as well as entertain the hours of repose; and I think you should honor them for presenting to heroes so noble a + recreation, as may prevent their taking up the distaff when they lay down the club.

6. Hercules. Wits as well as heroes can take up the distaff. What think you of their thin-spun + systems of philosophy, or lascivious poems, or Milesian fables? Nay, what is still worse, are there not panegyrics on tyrants, and books that + blaspheme the gods, and perplex the natural sense of right and wrong? I believe if Eurystheus were to set me to work again, he would find me a worse task than any he imposed; he would make me read over a great library; and I would serve it as I did the Hydra, I would burn it as I went on, that one chimera might not rise from another, to plague mankind. I should have valued myself more on clearing the library, than on cleansing the Augean stables.

7. Cadmus. It is in those libraries only, that the memory your labor exists. The heroes of Marathon, the patriots of +Thermopylæ, owe their fame to me. All the wise institutions of lawgivers, and all the doctrines of sages, had perished in the ear, like a dream related, if letters had not preserved them. O Hercules ! it is not for the man who preferred Virtue to Pleasure,


to be an enemy to the Muses. Let Sardanapalus and the silken sons of luxury, who have wasted life in inglorious ease, despise the records of action, which bear no honorable testimony to their lives: but true merit, heroic virtue, should respect the sacred source of lasting honor.

8. Hercules. Indeed, if writers employed themselves only in recording the acts of great men, much might be said in their favor. But why do they trouble people with their meditations ? Can it be of any consequence to the world what an idle man has been thinking ?

9. Cadmus. Yes, it may. The most important and extensive advantages mankind enjoy, are greatly owing to men who have never quitted their closets. To them mankind are obliged for the facility and security of + navigation. The invention of the compass has opened to them new worlds. The knowledge of the mechanical powers has enabled them to construct such wonderful machines, as perform what the united labor of millions, by the severest drudgery, could not accomplish. + Agriculture, too, the most useful of arts, has received its share of improvement from the same source. Poetry, likewise, is of excellent use, to enable the memory to retain with more ease, and to imprint with more energy upon the heart, precepts and examples of virtue. From the little root of a few letters, science has spread its branches over all nature, and raised its head to the heavens. Some philosophers have entered so far into the counsels of Divine Wisdom, as to explain much of the great operations of nature. The + dimensions and distances of the planets, the causes of their + revolutions, the path of comets, and the ebbing and flowing of tides, are understood and explained.

10. Can any thing raise the glory of the human species more, than to see a little creature, inhabiting a small spot, amid innu. merable worlds, taking a survey of the universe, comprehending its arrangement, and entering into the +scheme of that wonderful connection and correspondence of things so remote, and which it seems a great exertion of Omnipotence to have established ? What a volume of Wisdom, what a noble theology, do these discoveries open to us? While some superior geniuses have soared to these sublime subjects, other tsagacious and diligent minds have been inquiring into the most minute works of the Infinito Artificer: the same care, the same Providence, is exerted through the whole; and we should learn from it, that, to true wisdom, utility and fitness appear perfection, and whatever is beneficial, is noble.

11. Hercules. I approve of science, as far as it is an assistant to action. I like the improvement of navigation, and the discovery


of the greater part of the globe, because it opens a wider field for the master spirits of the world to bustle in.

12. Cadmus. There spoke the soul of Hercules. But if learned men are to be esteemed for the assistance they give to active minds in their schemes, they are not less to be valued for their endeavors to give them a right direction, and moderate their too great tardor. The study of history will teach the legislator, by what means states have become powerful; and, in the private citizen, they will inculcate the love of liberty and order. The writings of sages point out a private path of virtue, and show that the best empire is self-government, and that +subduing our passions, is the noblest of conquests.

13. Hercules. The true spirit of patriotism acts by a generous impulse, and wants neither the experience of history, nor the doctrines of philosophers, to direct it. But do not arts and science render men effeminate, luxurious, and inactive? And can you deny that wit and learning are often made +subservient to very bad purposes ?

14. Cadmus. I will own, that there are some natures so happily formed, they scarcely want the assistance of a master, and the rules of art, to give them force or grace in every thing they do. But these favored geniuses are few. As learning flourishes only where ease, plenty, and mild government subsist, in so rich a soil, and under so soft a climate, the weeds of luxury will spring up among the flowers of art: but the + spontaneous weeds would grow more rank, if they were allowed the undisturbed possession of the field.

Letters keep a frugal, temperate nation from growing ferocious; a rich one from becoming entirely sensual and debauched.

15. Every gift of heaven is sometimes abused; but good sense and fine talents, by a natural law, gravitate toward virtue. Accidents may drive them out of their proper direction; but such accidents are an alarming +omen, and of dire portent to the times. For if virtue can not keep to her allegiance those men, who, in their hearts confess her divine right, and know the value of her laws, on whose fidelity and obedience can she depend ? May such geniuses never descend to flatter vice, encourage folly, or propagate irreligion; but exert all their powers in the service of Virtue, and + celebrate the noble choice of those, who, like Hercules, preferred her to Pleasure !


[ocr errors]

QUESTIONS. - Who was Hercules ? Can you enumerate some of his principal exploits, as described in this dialogue ? Who was Cadmus ? What did he do? How should actions be valued ? From what must the genuine glory of rational beings arise ? To which of his labors does Hercules compare the reading of a modern library? Since so much trash and folly is written, what is the use of writers ? What does Hercules think of science? What is patriotism ?

Will you point out some instances in this lesson to which Rule I, for inflections, applies ? Rule II ? Rule III ? Rule IV? Rule V ? Rule VI ? Point out some instances of absolute emphasis. Of relative emphasis.

Which are the conjunctions in the 12th paragraph ? Which are the adverbs ? Which are the prepositions ? What verbs are in a past tense ? Which are in the present tense? Which are in a future tense ? Which nouns are in the plural number? Which are in the singular?

LESSON LXXXV. REMARK.-Speak every syllable distinctly, and do not slip over the little words, nor pronounce them wrong.

ARTICULATE distinctly the following and similar words in this lesson: World, not worl: no-blest, not no-bles : gift, not gif: re-flect, not re-flec; just, not juss; e-van-ge-list, not e-van-gel-iss.

1. Class'-ic, n. a book written by an

author of the first class. An-tiq'-ui-ty, n. great age.

Un-ri'-val-ed, p. having no equal. 2. Au-then-tic'-i-ty, n. genuineness, the

quality of being a real original.

Sanc-tion, n. authority. 3. Vers'-a-tile, a. (pro. vers'-a-til) vari.

ous in application. 4. Vin'-di-ca-ted, v. defended, justified.

Ser'-aph, n. an angel of the highest order.


[ocr errors]

1. THERE is a classic, the best the world has ever seen, the noblest that has ever honored and + dignified the language of mortals. If we look into its antiquity, we discover à title to our veneration, unrivaled in the history of + literature. If we have respect to its evidences, they are found in the testimony of miracle and prophecy; in the ministry of man, of nature, and of angels, yea, even of “God, manifest in the flesh," of God blessed forever.

consider its authenticity, no other pages have survived the lapse of time, that can be compared with it. If we examine its authority, for it speaks as never man spake, we


2. If we



discover, that ju came from heaven, in vision and prophecy, under the sanction of Him, who is Creator of all things, and the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

3. If we reflect on its truths, they are lovely and spotless, sublime and boly, as God himself, unchangeable as his nature, durable as his righteous + dominion, and versatile as the moras condition of mankind. If we regard the value of its treasures, we must + estimate them, not like the relics of classic antiquity, by the perishable glory and beauty, virtue and happiness, of this world, but by the enduring perfection and supreme + felicity of an eternal kingdom.

4. If we inquire, who are the men, that have + recorded its truths, vindicated its rights, and illustrated the excellence of its scheme, from the depth of ages and from the living world, from the populous continent and the isles of the sea, comes forth the answer; the patriarch and the prophet, the evangelist and the


5. If we look abroad through the world of men, the victims of folly or vice, the + prey of cruelty, of injustice, and inquire what are its benefits, even in this * temporal state, the great and the humble, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the learned and the ignorant reply, as with one voice, that humility and + resignation, purity, order and peace, faith, hope, and charity, are its blessings upon earth.

6. And if, raising our eyes from time to eternity, from the world of mortals to the world of just men made perfect, from the visible creation, + marvelous, beautiful, and glorious as it is, to the invisible creation of angels and seraphs, from the footstool of God, to the throne of God himself, we ask, what are the blessings that flow from this single volume, let the question be answered by the pen of the evangelist, the harp of the prophet, and the + records of the book of life.

7. Such is the best of classics the world has ever admired; such, the noblest that man has ever adopted as a guide. GRIMKE.


QUESTIONS. Why is the Bible called a classic ? What is said ol the antiquity of the Bible? What is said of its evidences? What, of its authenticity? What, of the nature of its truths ? What, of the men who wrote it and have defended it? What is said of the change it produces in the character of men ? What, of its bearing upon our future prospects ?

In the 3d paragraph, which verbs are in the subjunctive mode? Which are the adjectives in the first sentence of that paragraph ? Compare each one of them. What part of speech is “they” and for what does it stand ? Parse “God, natures,” dominion,” and “condition."

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »