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Age and Youth.Adions.
AGE and YOUTH.
HE, who would pafs the latter part of his life with honour and decency, muft, when he is young, confider that he shall one day be old; and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.-Johnson.
THE notions of the old and young are like liquors of different gravity and texture, which never can unite.
In youth, it is common to meafure right and wrong by the opinion of the world, and in age to act without any measure but intereft, and to lofe fhame without fubftituting virtue.
Such is the condition of life, that fomething is always wanting to happiness. In youth, we have warm hopes, which are foon blafted by rafhnefs and negligence; and great defigns, which are defeated by inexperience. In age we have knowledge and prudence, without fpirit to exert, or motives to prompt them: we are able to plan schemes and regulate meafures, but have not time remaining to bring them to completion. -Ibid.
OUR actions are our own; their confequence
WE fhould caft all our actions under the divifion of fuch as are in themselves good, bad, or indifferent; and direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do, may turn to account at that great day when every thing we have done will be fet before us.
A good intention, joined to a good action, gives it its proper force and efficacy; joined to an evil action, extenuates its malignity, and in fome cafes may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent action, turns it into a virtue, and makes it meritorious, as far as human actions can be fo.
In the next place, to confider in the fame manner the influ ence of an evil intention upon our actions. An evil intention perverts the best of actions, and makes them, in reality, what the fathers have termed the virtues of the heathen world, fo many fbining fins. It deftroys the innocence of an indifferent action; and gives an evil action all poffible blackness and horror, or, in the emphatical language of holy writ, makes fin exceeding finful.
It is then of unfpeakable advantage to poffefs our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all our thoughts, words, and actions at fome laudable end, whether it be the glory of our maker, the good of mankind, or the benefit of our own fouls.-Spectator.
WHEN things go ill, each fool prefumes to advise,
And that advice feems beft, which comes too late.-Sedley.
THE chief rule to be observed in the exercise of this dan gerous office of giving ADVICE, is to preserve it pure from all mixture of intereft or vanity; to forbear admonition or reproof, when our confciences tell us that they are incited, not by the hopes of reforming faults, but the defire of fhewing our difcernment, or gratifying our own pride, by the mortification of another. It is not indeed certain, that the most refined caution will find a proper time for bringing a man to the knowledge of his own failings, or the moft zealous benevolence reconcile him to that judgment by which they are detected. But he who endeavours only the happiness of him whom he reproves, will always have either the fatisfaction of obtaining or deferving kindness if he fucceeds, he benefits his friend; and if he fails, he has at leaft the confcioufnefs that he fuffers for only doing well.—Rambler.
ADVICE, as it always gives a temporary appearance of fuperiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most neceffary, or most judicious; but, for the fame reason, every one is eager to inftruct his neighbours. To be wife or to be virtu ous, is to buy dignity and importance at a high price: but when nothing is neceflary to elevation, but detection of the follies or the faults of others, no man is so insensible to the voice of fame as to linger on the ground.-Ibid.
THERE is nothing which we receive with fo much reluctance as advice. We look upon the man who gives it us, as offering an affront to our understanding, and treating us like children or idiots. There is nothing fo difficult as the art of making advice agreeable: the pens of the ancients and moderns have been exercifed upon this occafion. How many devices have been made ufe of, to render this bitter potion palatable! Some convey their instruction to us in the belt
chofen words; others in the most harmonious numbers; fome in points of wit, and others in fhort proverbs.
But among all the different ways of giving counsel, that which pleases the most univerfally, is fable: it excels all others, because it is the leaft fhocking, and, therefore, the most delicate. This will appear, if we reflect, that upon the reading of a fable we are made to believe we advise ourselves. We perufe the author for the sake of the story, and confider the precepts rather as our own conclusions than his instructions. This is confirmed by the examples of the wife men of old, who chose to give council to their princes in this method; an inftance of which we have in a Turkish tale, which informs us, that the Sultan Mahamoud, by his perpetual wars abroad, and his tyranny at home, had filled his dominions with ruin and defolation, and half unpeopled the Persian empire. The Vifier to this cruel Sultan pretended to have learned of a certain Dervife, to understand the language of birds; fo that there was not a bird that could open his mouth, but the Vifier knew what it faid. As he was one evening with the Emperor, in their return from hunting, they faw a couple of owls upon a tree, which grew near an old wall, out of a heap of rubbish. I would fain know, fays the Sultan, what thefe two owls are faying to one another; liften to their difcourfe, and give me an account of it. The Vifier approached the tree, pretending to be very attentive to the two owls. Upon his return to the Sultan, Sir, fays he, I have heard part of their converfation, but dare not tell you what it is. The Sultan would not be fatisfied with such an answer; but forced him to repeat, word for word, every thing the owls had faid. You muft know, then, faid the Vifier, that one of thefe owls has a fon, and the other a daughter, between whom they are now upon a treaty of marriage. The father of the fon faid to the father of the daughter, in my bearing: Brother, I confent to this marriage, provided you will fettle upon your daughter fifty ruined villages for her portion. To which the father of the daughter replied; inflead of fifty, I will give her five hundred, if you please. God grant a long life to Sultan Mahamoud; whilst he reigns, we shall never want ruined villages.
The story fays, the Sultan was fo touched with the fable, that he rebuilt the towns and villages which had been destroyed, and, from that time forward, confulted the good of his people.Spectator.
FATHERS alone a father's heart can know,
THOSE who were killed in anatomy among the ancients, concluded, from the outward and inward make of a human body, that it was the work of a being transcendently wife and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their difcoveries gave them fresh opportunities of admiring the conduct of providence in the formation of a human body. Galen was converted by his diffections; and could not but own a Supreme Being, upon a furvey of this his handy-work. There were, indeed, many parts, of which the old anatomifts did not know the certain ufe: but as they faw that the moft of those which they examined, were adapted, with an admirable art, to their several functions, they did not queftion but thofe, whofe ufes they could not determine, were contrived with the fame wifdom for their respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern anatomifts, we fee new wonders in the human frame; and difcern feveral important ufes for thofe parts which the ancients knew nothing of. In fhort, the body of man is fuch a fubject, as ftands the utmoft teft of examination. Though it appears formed with the niceft wifdom, upon the moft fuperficial furvey of it, it fill mends upon the search, and produces our furprise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here faid of a human body, may be applied to the body of every animal, which has been the fubject of anatomical obfervations.-Spe&ator.
I COULD a tale unfold, whofe lightest word
And each particular hair to ftand on end,
Thy worship'd fymbols round a villain's trunk
IT is astonishing to confider the different degrees of care that defcend from the parent to the young, fo far as is abfolutely neceffary for leaving a pofterity. Some creatures caft their eggs as chance directs them, and think of them no farther; as infects and feveral kinds of filh. Others, of a nicer frame, find out proper beds to depofit them in, and there leave them; as the ferpent, the crocodile, and ofrich. Others hatch their eggs, and tend the birth till it is able to shift for inflf. What can we call the principle which directs every kind of bird to obferve a particular plan in the ftructure of its net, and directs all, of the fame fpecies, to work after the fame model? It cannot be imitation; for though you hatch a crow under a hen, and never let it fee any of the works of its own kind, the neft it makes fhall be the fame, to the laying of a flick, with all other nefts of the fame fpecies. It cannot be reafon; for were animals endued with it, to as great a degree as man, their buildings would be as different as ours, according to the different conveniences that they would propofe to themfelves. Spectator.
THE wickedness of a loofe or profane author, in his writings, is more atrocious than that of the giddy libertine, or drunken ravisher; not only because it extends its effects wider (es a peftilence, which taints the air, is more deftru&ive than poton infufed in a draught) but becaufe it is committed. with cool deliberation. By the inftantaneous violence of defire, a good man may fometimes be furprifed, before reftection can come to his refcue: when the appetites have ftrengthened their influence by habit, they are not cafily refifted or foprold, but for the frigid villainy of ftudious lewdrefs, for the cal mali,phy of laboured impiety, what apology can Lo invened? Whet fhment can be adequate to the crime ofika drosto bolt.de, for the refinement of debauchery; bus darcy, and ranfacks his memory, only that e the would lus virtuous than he found it; that