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being, should be perpetually employed in providing for a life of three score and ten years, and neglecting to make provission for that, which, after many myriads of years, will be still new and sull beginning ; especially when we consider, that our endeavors for making our.. selves great, or rich, or honorable, or whatever else we place our happiness in, may, after all, prove unsuccesso ful; whereas, if we constantly and sincerely endeavor to make ourselves happy in the other life, we are sure that our endeavors will succeed, and that we shall not be disappointed of our hope.
The following question is started by one of our schoolnien. Supposing the whole body of the earth were a great ball or mass of the finest sand, and that a single grain or particle of this sand should be annihilated every thousand years ?- Supposing then, that you had it in your choice to be happy all the while this prodigiousmass of sand was consuming, by this slow method, until there. was not a grain left, on condition that you were to be miserable forever after ? Or, supposing that you might be happy forever after, on condition you would be mis. erable until the whole mass of sand were thus annihilated, at the rate of one sand in a thousand years ;-—which of these two cases would you make your choice ?
It must be confessed, in this case, so many thousands of years are to the imagination as a kind of eternity, though, in reality, they do not bear so great a proportion to that duration which is to follow them, as an unit does to the greatest number which you can put together in figures, or as one of those sands to the supposed heap. Reason therfore tells us, without any manner of hesi. tation, which would be the better part in this choice. However, as I have before intimated, our reason might, in such a case, be so oversct by imagination, as to dispose some persons to sink underthe consideration of the great length of the first part of this duration, and of the great distance of that second duration which is to succeed it ;--the mind, 1 say, might give itself up to that happiness which is at hand, considering, that it is so very near, and that it would last so very long. But when the choice we hare actually before us is this--Whether.
we will choose to be happy for the space of only three score and ten, nay, perhaps of only twenty or ten years, I might say for only a day, or an hour, and miserable to all eternity ; or on the contrary, miserable for this short term of years, and happy for a whole eternity-what words are sufficient to express that folly and wantof consideration which, in such case, makes a wrong choice!
I here put the case even at the worst, by supposing what seldom happens, that a course of virtue makes us miserable in this life: But if we suppose, as it generally happens, that virtue would make us more happy, even in this life than a contrary course of vice, how can we sufficiently admire the stupidity or madness of those persons who are capable of making so absurd a choice?
Every wise man, therefore, will consider this life only as it may conduce to the happiness of the other, and cheerfully sacrifice the pleasures of a few years, to those of an eternity.
XIII.Uncle Toby's Benevolence.--STERNE,
MY uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries-not from want of courage. I have told you, in a former ehapter, that he was a man of courage ; and I will add here, that, where just occasions presented, or called it forth, I know no man under whose arm I would have sooner taken shelter. Nor did this arise from any insensibility or obtuseness of his intellectual parts, for he felt as feelingly as a man could do. But he was of a peaceful, placid nature ; no jarring element in him; all was mixed up so kindly within hini, my uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly.
Go- says he, one day at dinner, to an overgrown one which had buzzed about his nose, and tormented him cruelly alldinaer time, and which after infinite attempts, he had caught at last as it flew by him--I'll not hurt thee--says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room with the fly in his hand--I'll not lurt a hair of thy head : Go, says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape--go, poor devil; get thee gone : Why should I hurt theel
-This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me.
This lesson of universal good will, taught by my uncle 'Toby, may serve instead of a whole volume upon the subject. XIV.Story of the Siege of Calais. FOOL OF QUALITY
EDWARD III, after the battle of Cressy, laid siege to Calais. He had fortified his camp in so impregnable a manner, that all the efforts of France proved ineffect. ual to raise the siege, or throw succors into the city.The citizens, under count Vienne, their gallant governor, made an admirable defence France had put the sickle into her second harvest, since Edward, with his victorious army, sat down before the town. The
eyes of all Europe were intent on the issue. At length famine did more for Edward than arms.--After sufferiog unheard of calamities, they resolved to at. tempt the enemy's camp.-They boldly sallied forth; the English joined battle ; and, after a long and desperate engagement, count Vienne was taken prisoner, and the citizens who survived the slaughter, retired within their gates. The command devolving upon Eustace St. Pierre, a man of mean birth, but of exalted virtue, he offered to capitulate with Edward, provided he per. mitted him to depart with life and liberly. Edward, to avoid the imputation of cruelty, consented to spare the bulk of the plebeians, provided they delivered up to him six of their principal citizens, with halters about their necks, as victims of due atonement for that spirit of rebellion, with which they had inflamed the vulgar. When himmessenger, Sir Walter Mauny, delivered the terms, consternation and pale dismay were inipressed on every countenance –To a long and dead silence, deep sighs and groans succeeded, till Eustace St Pierre, getting up to a little eminence, thus addressed the assembly :
My friends, we are brought to great straits this day. We must either yield to the terms of our cruel and ensharing conqueror, or give up our tender infants, our wives and daughters to the bloody and brutal lusts of the violating soldiers. Is there any expedient left,
whereby we may avoid the guilt, and in famy of delivering up those who have suffered every misery with us, on the one hand ;-or the desola:ion and horror of a sacked city, on the other? There is, my friends ; there is one expedient left; a gracious, an excellent,a godlike expedient! is there ary here to whom virtue is dearer than life ? -Let him offer himself an oblation for the safety of his people! He shall not fail of a blessed approbation from that Power, who offered up his only Son, for the salvation of mankind." He spoke-but an universal silence ensued. Each man looked around for the example of that virtue and magnanimity which all wished to approve in themselves, though they wanted the resolution. At length 5t. Pierre resumed, " I doubt not but there are mary here as ready, nay, more zealous of this martyrdom, than can be ; though the station, to which I am raised by the captivity of lord Vienne, imparts a right to be the first in giving my life for your sakes. give it freely - give it cheerfully Who comes next?” “ Your son,' exclaimed a youih, not yet come to maturity:-"Ah, my child," cried St. Pierre,
I am then twice sacrificed But no :- have rather begotten hee a second time. Thy years are few, but full, my son.
The victim of virtue has reached the ut. most purpose and gual of mortality. Who next, my friends! This is the hour of beroes.” "Your kinsman," cried John de Aire. • Your kinsman, cried James Wissant, “ Your kinsman,' cried Peter Wissant. "Ah !” exclaimed Sir Walter Mauny, bursting into tears, “ Why was not I a citizen of Calais !" The sixth victim was still wanting, but was quickly supplied by lot, from numbers who were now. emulous of so ei nuo bling an example. The keys of the city were then delivered to Sir Walter. He took the six prisoners into his custody ; then ordered the gates lo be opened, and gave charge to his attendants to conduct the remaining citizens, with their families, through the camp of the English. Before they departed, however, they desired permission to take their last adieu of their deliverers. What a parting! What a scene ! They crowded, with their wives and children, about St. Pierre and his fel.
low prisoners. They embraced--they clung around.--they fell prostrate before them. They groaned--they wept aloud-and the joint clanıor of their mourning passed the gates of the city, and was heard throughout the English camp. The English by this time, were apprised of what passed within Calais. They heard the voice of lamentation, and their souls were touched with compassion. Each of the soldiers prepared a portion of his own victuals, to welcome and entertain the half famished inhabitants; and they loaded them with as much as their present weakness was able to bear, in order to supply them with sustenance by the way. At length St. Pierre and his fellow victims appeared under the conduct of Sir Walter and a guard. All the tents of the English were instantly emptied. The soldiers poured from all parts,and arranged themselves on each side, to behold, to contemplate, to admire this little band of patriots, as they passed. They bowed down to them on all sides. They murmured their applause of that virtue, which they could not but revere, even in enemies; and they regarded those ropes which they had voluntarily assumed about their necks, as ensigns of greater dignity than that of the British garter. As soon as they hadreached the presence,“Mauny," says the monarch, are these the principal inhabitants of Calais ?"
“ l'hey are," says Mauny : “ They are not only the principal men of Calais-they are the principal men of France, my Lord, if virtue has any share in the act of ennobling" “ Were they delivered peaceably?” says Edward. “ Was there no resistance, no cornmotion among the people ?” “Not in the least, my Lord ; the people would all have perished, rather than have deliv. ered the least of these to your majesty. They are self delivered, self devoted ; and come to offer up their inestimable heads, as an ainple equivalent for the ransom of thousands.” Edward was secretly piqued at this reply of sir Walter : But he knew the privilege of a British subject; and suppressed his resentment. « Experience,” says he," has ever shown,that lenily only serves to invite people to new crimes.' Severity, at times, is indispensably necessary to compel subjects to submis