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2. Hearing a young Athenian lament that he was born of obscure parentage, SOCRATES exclaimed, " Dost thou think, then, that it is impossible for an excellent man to be of mean birth ?” He meant to intimate that true nobility should not be rated according to the rank of parentage, but by the conduct of the man himself in life. How ridiculous and absurd is the vanity of man
n! Why, all the riches of Creesus are unworthy of a sigh, how much less then the mere sound of a title of nobility! A good man might indeed lament that his ancestors were none of them distinguished for virtue; but he is vain and foolish in the last degree, who distresses himself, because his parents are plebeian. By this, however, I would not be understood as speaking lightly of the distinctions of rank in civil and social life. Ranks and degrees among men are obviously beneficial, when properly preserved and exercised; and those who, in the dispensation of an all-wise Providence, have been invested with titles of nobility, deserve (on scriptural grounds too) the respect of their inferiors. But still the distinction is but nominal : true greatness and nobility consist in the tenor of an upright conversation among men, and in the performance of virtuous and deserving actions, which have their origin in the fear and the love of God.
EXAMPLES OF RESPECT PAID TO EMINENT
VERACITY. PETRARCH, a celebrated Italian poet, who flourished about four hundred years ago, recommended himself to the confidence and affection of CARDINAL COLONNA, in whose family he resided, by his candour and strict regard to truth. A violent quarrel occurred in the household of this nobleman, which was carried so far, that recourse was had to arms. The CARDINAL wished to know the foundation of this affair; and that he might be able to decide with justice, he assembled all his people, and obliged them to biod themselves, by a most solemn oath, to declare the whole truth.
Every one, without exception, submitted to this determination ; even the BISHOP of LUND, brother to the CARDINAL, was not excused. Petrarch, in his turn, presenting himself to take the oath, the CarDINAL closed the book, and said, “ As to you, PeTRARCH, your word is sufficient.”-A narrative similar to this is related of XENOCRATES, an Athenian philosopher, who lived three hundred years before Christ, and was educated in the school of Plato. The people of Athens entertained so high an opinion of his probity, that one day when he approached the altar, to confirm by an oath the truth of what he asserted, the judges unanimously declared his word to be sufficient evidence.- That very excellent Missionary, the Rev. Christian SWARTZ, is known to have been held in the greatest esteem by many of the native idolaters of India, and to have had much greater credit among them than even men in authority, who ruled over them. In the Reports of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, it is stated, that in the time of war, the Fort of Tanjore was in great distress, and without provisions even for the garrison. There was provision enough in the country; but the inhabitants had been formerly defrauded of what was due to them, and they now refused to render any assistance. The Seapoys were emaciated with hunger, and the streets were lined with dead corpses every morning. At last the Rajah said to one of the principal gentlemen, “We have all lost our credit, let us try whether the inhabitants will trust Mr. Swartz.” Immediately Mr. SWARTZ was requested to use his influence, and to promise the natives to pay with his own hands. The people fully believed his words; and in one or two days, sufficient provisions were brought in, and the fort was saved. The Missionary's word was preferred to the Rajah's.
W. B. BROWNE.
AN ANECDOTE. The subjoined Anecdote is extracted from the “ Private Life” of Peter the Great, Emperor of
Russta, published in French by Count D’ESCHERNY. Such deceptions and mummeries, as that which it describes, cannot be too much condemned.
6 Peter the Great, being at a town in Poland, heard much of a wonderful image of the Holy Virgin, which it was pretended had been seen to shed tears at the celebration of mass, and he resolved to examine this extraordinary miracle. The image being highly elevated, he asked for a ladder, ascended it, and approaching close to the image, discovered two little holes near the eyes; he put his hand to the head. dress, and lifted up with the hair a portion of the scull. The monks, who stood at the foot of the ladder, quietly regarded the Czar, for they did not imagine that he could so soon discover the fraud ; but when he placed his hand on the image, they shuddered to behold the miraculous Virgin thus dishonoured. The Emperor discovered within the head, a basin, whose bottom was even with the eyes ; it contained a few very small fish, the motions of which agitated the water, and caused it to issue slowly, and by small quantities, from the two apertures at the corner of each eye. He descended the ladder, without seeking to undeceive the devotees, or any one; but addressing himself to the monks, he said coldly to them, “ This is a very curious image, indeed!”
Thus may every species of superstition and idolatry be detected and exposed ! Kettering
W. B. BROWNE.
THE ORPHAN'S MITE:
At a Missionary Prayer-Meeting, held once a month in the city of the most affecting parts of the Wesleyan Missionary Notices are read, and the blessing of God implored upon Missionaries, and upon the glorious cause in which they are engaged. Two Missionary Boxes have been fixed up in the chapel, to receive the donations of those who are disposed to contribute. At a late meeting, a little girl, about seven years old, who is in the habit of attending with her mother, (a widow,) was particularly affected with what she heard, and began to think what she could do on behalf of poor Heathen children. When she returned home, she said, “ If it be agreeable to you, mother, I will save all my farthings, and, instead of buying sweets, I will put them into the Missionary Box. Why may not the ORPHAN's mite be as acceptable in the sight of God, as the widow's mite.” Her mother was much pleased, and encouraged her design. The impression still continues, and the child takes her farthings and halfpence to the chapel, and regu. larly devotes them to the cause of God and of the poor Heathen. If all your juvenile readers were to act upon the same principle, the good arising from it to themselves, and to others, might be incalculable.
PITHY MAXIMS AND SELECT SENTENCES.
No. II. (Compiled from Rollin and others, by S. DUNN.) Cyrus, King of Persia, was so temperate in his youth, that when AsTYAGES, his grandfather, urged him to drink wine, he answered, “ I am afraid lest there should be poison in it; for I have perceived, that when you have drunk of that liquor, you have talked you knew not what, and could not stand upon your legs.” The director of his household asking him one day, what he would please to have for his dinner;
Bread, ,” said he, “ for I intend to encamp near the water."
This shows the power he had over his appetite, as well as over his soldiers; and that he was fit to command others, who could.so well command himself.
Procion, a famous Athenian general, who was udjustly condemned to die, was asked by his friends, just before his death, if he had no message to send to his son ;
" Yes, certainly,” said he; “it is my desire that he should not hate my enemies, nor revenge my death; that he should do that which is his duty;
FITHY MAXIMS AND SELECT SENTENCES.
and what is more is vanity; that he should not carry two faces; and that he should promise little, but keep his promises."
Pullip, King of Macedonia, was remarkable for his patience. When the whole court solicited him to punish the ingrati ude of the Peloponnesians, who had hissed him publicly in the Olympic games, he replied, “By no means; for if they despise me after having received so many favours at my hand, what will they not attempt, should I do them an injury?” Having received some very insolent language from an Athenian ambassador, he answered with the utmost calmness of temper, “ Í'hose who can forgive injuries are better people than those who commit them.”
The people of Rome complaining to Augustus " that wine was dear,” he sent them to the fountains of water, telling them, “ they were cheap."
VESPÁSIAN one day seeing a young man finely dressed, and richly perfumed, was so displeased, that he took his place from him, saying, “ I had rather smell the poor man's garlick, than thy perfume."
MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS said, 6 Of my grandfather VERUS I have learned to be gentle and meek, and to refrain from all anger and passion ; from the famed memory of my father, shamefacedness and manly behaviour; of my mother, to be religious and bountiful, and to forbear, not only to do, but to intend any evil ; of my brother SEVERUS, to love truth and justice, and to be kind and loving to all them of my house and family.” He commended his son for weeping at his tutor's death, answering those who thought it was unsuitable to his high condition,–6 Let him alone; it is fit he should show himself a man before he be a prince.”. team any thing as profitable," said he, “ which shall ever constrain thee either to break thy faith, or to lose thy modesty ; to hate any man, to suspect, to curse, to dissemble, or to lust after any thing that requireth the secret of walls or veils.” When he was dying, to his friends around him he spoke thus ; 6 Think more of death, than of me; and remember, that you and all men must die as well as I.” Vol. VI.
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