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gain nothing but the disgraceful punishment which is due to their crimes.
But though they should be so lucky as to attain that wished-for greatness, they are always most miserably disappointed in the happiness which they expect to enjoy in it. It is not ease or pleasure, but always honor, of one kind or another, though frequently an honor very ill understood, that the ambitious man-really pursues.
But the honor of his exalted station appears, both in his own eyes and in those of other people, polluted and defiled by the baseness of the means through which he rose to it.
Though by the profusion of every liberal expense; though by excessive indulgence in every profligate pleasure, the wretched but usual resource of ruined characters; though by the hurry of public business, or by the prouder and more dazzling tumult of war, - he may endeavor to efface, both from his own memory and from that of other people, the remembrance of what he has done, that remembrance never fails to pursue him. He invokes in vain the dark and dismal powers of forgetfulness and oblivion. He remembers himself what he has done, and that remembrance tells him that other people must likewise remember it.
Amidst all the gaudy pomp of the most ostentatious greatness, amidst the venal and vile adulation of the great and of the learned, amidst the more innocent though more foolish acclamations of the common people, amidst all the pride of conquest and the triumph of successful war, he is still secretly pursued by the avenging furies of shame and remorse; and while glory seems to surround him on all sides, he himself, in his own imagination, sees black and foul infamy pursuing him with impetuosity, and every moment ready to overtake him.
Even the great Cæsar, though he had the magnanimity to dismiss his guards, could not dismiss his suspicions. The remembrance of Pharsalia still haunted and pursued him. When, at the request of the senate, he had the generosity to pardon Marcellus, he told that assembly that he was not
unaware of the designs which were carrying on against his life; but that, as he had lived long enough both for nature and for glory, he was contented to die, and therefore despised all conspiracies.
He had, perhaps, lived long enough for nature; but the man who felt himself the object of such deadly resentment, from those whose favor he wished to gain, and whom he still wished to consider as his friends, had certainly lived too long for real glory, or for all the happiness which he could ever hope to enjoys in the love and esteem of his equals.
Dr. Adam Smith, the author of the above extract, was born in 1723. He gave a course of lectures, in Edinburgh, on rhetoric and belles lettres, which, in 1751, recommended him to the vacant chair of professor of logic in Glasgow; and this situation, the next year, he exchanged for the more congenial one of moral philosophy professor. His philosophical doctrines are vastly inferior in value to the language and illustrations he employs in enforcing them. He has been styled the most eloquent of modern moral. ists, and his work is embellished with such a variety of examples, with such true pictures of the passions, and of life and manners, that it may be read with pleasure and advantage by those wḥo, like Gray, the poet, can. not see in the darkness of metaphysics.
Cyclopedia of English Literature.
The blessings which the weak and poor can scatter
"Tis a little thing
Of him who thought to die unmourned 'twill fall
For some good reason, the Deity has usually chosen mountain summits, and those which are isolated, as the theatre on which to make the grandest exhibitions of himself. It may be because those grand and striking features in nature fix the locality of events, so that they never can fade. from the memory of man.
The giving of the law needs no lofty column of stone to commemorate it. Mount Sinai lifts its awful form toward the clouds, a perpetual, unwasting monument. God’s exhibition of himself to the awe-struck prophet, as he passed onward, heralded by the storm, the earthquake, and the flame, needs no pyramid to consecrate the spot.
Mount Horeb tells where the Almighty dimmed his glory and covered the human face with his fearful hand, so that his brightness might not destroy the being who would gaze on him. The transfiguration requires no pillar of brass to arrest the eye and aid the senses, as man contemplates the place where the wondrous scene transpired. Mount Tabor is its everlasting memorial. Thus do mountain summits stand, the silent yet most eloquent historians of heaven and earth.
Isolated, standing detached from others of a like kind, placed by itself or alone. — Transfiguration, a change in the outward form or appearance; particularly, the supernatural change in the personal appearance of our Savior on the mount. (See Matt. xvii.) — Trans, 56.
Another reason why mountains have been chosen by the Deity for his most solemn revelations, may be that their solitude and far removal from human intercourse and the sounds of busy life, render them better fitted for such communica tions than the plain and the city.
The first in the list of sacred mountains is Mount Ararat. The first-named summit in human history, it emerges from the flood and lifts its head over the water, to look down on all coming generations to the end of time. Whether it was changed in that mighty convulsion which drowned the world, or whether its lofty peak, which saw the swelling waters and marked their steady rise, remained the same, we know not. At all events, the mountain looked down on the swaying world at its feet, as cities floated from their foundations, and came dashing against its sides, and beheld a wilder scene than ever covered a battle-field, as it heard and saw six generations shriek and sink together.
But whatever may have been its former history, it now stands as the only memorial of the flood. Rising like a sugar-loaf from a chaos of peaks, which gleam and glitter in the sunbeams that are reflected from their snowy sides, looking a sea on one side and a desert on the other, - it is a grand and striking object in itself, but made still more so by the associations that cluster around its sacred top. It has seldom been profaned by human feet; but there was a time when the sen rolled over it, and mightier waves than ever yet swept the sea, thundered high above its crown.
Though the immediate appearance of a flood that should submerge the world, was an event that staggered human belief, yet Noah, obedient to the voice of Heaven, began his ark of safety. I have sometimes thought I could almost paint the scene.
The fields were smiling in verdure before the eyes of Noah; the perfumed breezes floated by, and the music of birds and sounds of busy life were about him, when he, by faith alone, laid the first beam of that structure, which was to sail over a buried planet. When men, on inquiring the
design of that huge edifice, were told its purpose, they could hardly credit their senses, and Noah, though accounted by all a very upright and respectable man, became a jest for children. Still the ark went up, and the day's wonder ceased to be talked about. When it was finished, and curiosity satisfied, it was dismissed from the mind as a passing folly.
At length, the patriarch with his family entered; the door was shut in the face of the world, and he sat down, on the strength of a single promise, to await the issue. That night the surf went down over the green hills beautiful as ever, and the stars came out in the blue sky, and nature breathed long and peacefully.
In the morning, the sun rose in undimmed splendor, and mounted the heavens. Deep within the vast building Noah could hear the muffled sound of life without. The lowing of herds came on "his ear, and the song of the husbandman going to his toil, and the rapid roll of carriage wheels as they hurried past, and perhaps the ribald shout and laugh of those who expended their wit on him and his ark together. To say nothing of the improbability of a universal deluge, the idea was preposterous that such a helmless, helpless affair could outride a wrecked world.
Thus day after day passed on, until a week had gone by; but still the faith of that old man never shook. At length the sky became overcast, and the gentle rain descended – to Noah the beginning of the flood, to the world a welcome shower. The farmer, as he housed his cattle, rejoiced in the refreshing moisture, while the city never checked its gayety, nor the man of wealth his plans.
But as the rain continued day after day, and fell faster and fiercer on the drenched earth, and the swollen streams went surging by, men cursed the storm that seemed determined
Patriarch, the father and ruler of a family, one who governs by paternal right. It is usually applied to the progenitors of the Israelites, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the sons of Jacob, or to the heads of families before the flood; as, the antediluvian patriarchs. — Surging, swelling, rising high, and rolling, as waves.