« AnteriorContinuar »
in two instances, he said, made this concealment from one such principal friend ; and, in both, the business failed entirely.-(PEARSON's Life of Hey.)
ON PROFANE SWEARING. It is not easy to perceive what pleasure can arise from the empty sound of senseless interjections; or what superior entertainment can spring from the profane sound of God, Devil, damn, curse, than from the sound of war, pens, ink, or any other words of the same number of syllables.-It is not easy to perceive what profit is annexed to it. I believe there never was a man who made a fortune by common swearing; for it seldom happens that persons are paid for it.-It is not easy to perceive what honour or credit is connected with it. Does any man receive promotion, because he is a notable blusterer; or is any man advanced to dig. nity, because he is expert at profane swearing? Never. Low indeed must be the character which such impertinence will exalt; and high must be the character which such impertinence will not degrade.-Inexcusable must be a practice which has neither reason nor passion to support it. The drunkard has his cup; the satirist his revenge; the ambitious man his preferment; the miser his gold; but the common swearer has nothing; he is a fool at large, sells his soul for nought, and drudges, in the service of the Devil, gratis. Swearing is void of all plea: For, as a great Divine (Tillotson) expresses it, “ Though some men pour out oaths, as if they were natural, yet no man was ever born of a swearing constitution.” It is a low and paltry custom, picked up by low and paltry spirits, who have no sense of honour, no regard to de
cency, but are forced to substitute some rhapsody of Ronsense, to supply the vacancy of good sense. Hence appear the silliness and wickedness of those who adopt it.
ON EARLY PIETY. (Extracted from An Address to Youth, by the Rev. WILLIAM JAY.)
“ If you ever mean to attend to the things which belong to your peace, the time of youth is unquestionably the best season. Let me only mention two things.
“First, if you wish to befriend others, it is the best season: One sinner destroyeth much good.' His example, and his influence, in a course of years, will produce injuries to society, which, if brought to repentance, he will deplore, but will not be able to repair. And how painful will it be, when he is advancing to heaven, to see some of his fellow-creatures going down to hell, and reflect that he was the means of leading them astray! If a thought could embitter heaven, it would be this. On the other hand, one real Christian may do much good ; especially if he begins while young. And here let me quote a passage from that devoted man of God, RICHARD BAXTER. In the place where God made him most useful, which was at Kidderminster, “ My first and greatest success,' says he, was among the young : and so it was that when God had touched the hearts of the young with a love of goodness, in various instances their friends, their fathers, their grandfathers, who had lived in ignorance and sin before, became religious themselves, induced by their love to their children, who now appeared so much wiser, and better, and more dutiful than before. In a little time religion spread through many families, and after a few years, there was scarcely a house in which the worship of God was not maintained.
“ If you wish to befriend yourselves, this is the best season : for godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.
.-Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace. Should you succeed in the world, it will keep your prosperity from destroying you. Should you meet with disappointments, it will comfort you in all your tribu. lations : for to the upright there ariseth light in darkness.' Should it be said to you as to one of old, "This year thou shalt die;' death will be your eternal gain. Or should your time be lengthened out to a number of years, your life will be a blessing, and your hoary head will be a crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness. Indeed a preparation for death is the only preparation for life ; and were you to live to the age of METHUSELAH, it would be your wisdom and interest to commence the course here recommended immediately, and to enjoy, as soon as possible, all the incomparable advantages which can be derived from divine grace only.”
SOCRATES. SOCRATES was a native of Athens, and the most celebrated of all the Grecian philosophers. The name of his father was Soruroniscus, who was by trade a statuary. For a short time, Socrates made the art of sculpture his employment, but afterwards relinquished it for the more pleasing study of philosophy ; and, under the tuition, first, of ANAXAGORAS, an
Ionian, and, afterwards, of ARCHELAUS, an Athenian philosopher, he laid the foundation of that exemplary virtue for which he has been so greatly esteemed by succeeding ages.
With the rest of his countrymen, he bore arms in the field of battle, where he fought with boldness and intrepidity.
But the eminence of SocRATEs did not consist so much in the number of his warlike achievements, as in the depth of his moral and philosophical researches. He had in his train a large concourse of illustrious pupils, whom he instructed no less by the force of his example than by the correctness of his precepts. The Groves of Academus, * and the Lyceum, are said to have been the favourite places for the delivery of his lectures : and, no doubt, the picturesque scenery of those beautiful spots would contribute much to give effect to the eloquence of the philosopher, who spoke with ease on almost every subject. The independence of spirit which he displayed, joined with his mental superiority over the rest of his countrymen, created him a host of foes. Among them was numbered the dramatic poet ARISTOPHANES, who undertook, at the instigation of MELITUS, in a comedy which he styled 6 The Clouds,” to ridicule the venerable sage; and the fickle populace soon withdrew from him their accustomed deference. Several of his enemies then came forward publicly to accuse him of having made innovations on the established religion of his country, and of having satirized the Athenian system of Polytheism, or multiplicity of deities. In his defence, he spoke with great animation ; but neither the manifest proofs which he adduced, nor the eloquent protestations which he made, of his innocence, availed him any thing : the majority of his judges were against him, and he was accordingly con
ACADEMUS, or (as some write it) ACADEMIA, was a place near Athens, encircled with trees, and belonging to ACADEMUS. Here SOCRATES and Plato taught their pupils; from which circumstances, every place devoted to learning has since been called Academia, or, “ An Academy." (Brown's Classical Dictionary, article Academus.)
demned to die by the drinking of hemlock, the usual mode of capital punishment among the Athenians. The execution of his sentence was deferred for the space of a month, in consequence of the intervention of the Delian festival, celebrated in honour of Apollo.
During this short respite, he lost none of his accustomed serenity, but cheerfully conversed with his friends : and when one of them expressed great sorrow that SOCRATES was to suffer, though innocent, he replied, “Wouldest thou then have me die guilty?” In this state of composure he continued to the last. He received and drank the cup of poison with firmness, and shortly afterwards expired, at the age
of seventy years. This event happened about 400 years before the time of our SavIOUR. We are told that his persecutors and judges afterwards repented of their cruelty.
Several of the sayings of Socrates have been handed down to us, one or two of which I shall adduce for the sake of their practical utility.
1. He remarked that there were many persons who devoted their whole time to the gratification of their palate, whereas they ought on the contrary to eat merely for the preservation of life; since food was not designed purposely to please the taste, but to satisfy the demands of nature. The same sentiment is conveyed by one of the Roman satirists, in these words,
“ Non vivas ut edas, sed edas ut vivere possis :
“ Live not to eat, but eat that you may live." Abstinence, like every other moral virtue, may be carried to an excess; but so long as the observance of it does not arise from a miserly desire of accumulating gain, but from a principle of hatred to luxury and dissipation, it is highly commendable. And though gluttony does not give birth to those intoxicating effects which result from strong drink, yet it is equally brutish and detestable; and we smd surfeiting is ranked, in Scripture, in the same class with drunk