« PreviousContinue »
ance. His cleanliness resulted from those ideas of or. der and decency, which governed all his actions; and the care which he took of his health, from his desire to preserve his mind free and tranquil.
Eminently pleasing and honourable was the friendship between David and Jonathan. “ I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan,” said the plaintive and surviving David; “very pleasant hast thou been to me ; thi love for me was wonderful ; passing the love of women."
Sir Philip Sidney, at the battle near Zutphen, was wounded by a musket ball, which broke the bone of his thigh. . He was carried about a mile and a half, to the camp; and being faint with the loss of blood, and probably parched with thirst through the heat of the weather, he called for drink. It was immediately brought to him : but as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened at that instant to be carried by him, looked up to it with wishful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the bottle from his mouth, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, “ Thy necessity is yet greater than mine.”
Alexander the Great demanded of a pirate whom he had taken, by what right he infested the seas? “ By the same right," replied he, " that Alexander enslaves the world. But I am called a robber, because I have only one small vessel ; and he is styled a conqueror, be. cause he commands great fleets and armies,”
We too often judge of men by the splendour, and not by the merit of their actions.
Antoninus Pius, the Roman emperor, was an amiable and good man. When any of his courtiers attempted to infiame him with a passion for military glory, he used to answer ; “That he more desired the preservation of one subject, than the destruction of a thousand enemies."
Men are too often ingenious in making themselves
miserable, by aggravating to their own fancy, beyond bounds, all the evils which they endure. They compare themselves with none but those whom they imagine to be more happy; and complain, that upon them alone has fallen the whole load of human sorrows. Would they look with a more impartial eye on the world, they would see themselves surrounded with sufferers : and find that they are only drinking out of that mixed cup, which Providence has prepared for all.--“ I will restore thy daughter again to life," said the eastern sage, to a prince who grieved immoderately for the loss of a beloved child, “provided thou art able to engrave on her tomb, the names of three persons who have never mourned.” The prince made inquiry after such persons ; but found the inquiry vain, and was silent.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
A soft answer turneth away wrath ; but grievous words stir up anger.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
Pride goeth before destruction; and a haughty spirit before a fall,
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayst be truly wise.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.
He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty ; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.
He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord ; that which he hath given, will he pay him again,
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he thirsty, give him
water to drink. He that planted the ear shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?
I have been young, and now I am old; yet have I never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
It is better to be a door-keeper in the house of the Lord, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
I have seen the wicked in great power; and spread. ing himself like a green bay-tree. Yet he passed away: I sought him, but he could not be found.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom. Length of days is in her right-hand ; and in her left-hand, riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like precious ointmentLike the dew of Hermon, and the dew that descended upon
the mountains of Zion. The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold : he shall therefore beg in harvest, and have nothing.
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vine. yard of the man void of understanding: and lo ! it was all grown over with thorns ; nettles had covered its face; and the stone-wall was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well : I looked upon it, and received instruction.
Honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time; nor that which is measured by number of years :-But wisdom is the grey hair to man ; and an unspotted life is old age.
Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy fathers; and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.-If thou seek him, he will be found of thee : but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
That every day has its pains and sorrows, is universally experienced, and almost universally confessed. But let us not attend only to mournful truths ; if we look impartially about us, we shall find, that every day has likewise its pleasures and its jovs.
We should cherish sentiments of charity towards all men. The Author of all good nourishes much piety and virtue in hearts that are unknown to us : and beholds repentance ready to spring up among many whom we consider as reprobates.
No one ought to consider himself as insignificant in the sight of his Creator. In our several stations, we are all sent forth to be labourers in the vineyard of our heavenly Father. Every man has his work allotted, , his talent committed to him ; by the due improvement of which he may, in one way or other, serve God, promote virtue, and be useful in the world.
The love of praise should be preserved under proper subordination to the principle of duty. In itself, it is a useful motive to action ; but when allowed to extend its influence too far, it corrupts the whole character ; and produces guilt, disgrace and misery. To be entirely destitute of it, is a defect. To be governed by it; is depravity. The proper adjustment of the several principles of action in human nature, is a matter that deserves our highest attention. For when any one of them becomes either too weak or too strong, it endangers both our virtue and our happiness.
The desires and passions of a vicious man, having once obtained an unlimited sway, trample him under their feet. They make him feel that he is subject to various, contradictory, and imperious masters, who often pull hin different ways. His soul is rendered the receptacle of many repugnant and jarring dispositions ; and resembles some barbarous country, cantoned out
into different principalities, which are continually waging war on one another.
Diseases, poverty, disappointment, and shame, are far from being, in every instance, the unavoidable doom of man. They are much more frequently the offspring of his own misguided choice. Intemperance engenders disease, sloth produces poverty, pride creates disappointments, and dishonesty exposes to shame. The ungoverned passions of men betray them into a thousand follies; their follies into crimes; and their crimes into misfortunes.
When we reflect on the many distresses which abound in human life ; on the scanty proportion of happiness which
any man is here allowed to enjoy ; on the small difference which the diversity of fortune makes on that scanty proportion; it is surprising, that envy should ever have been a prevalent passion among men, much more that it should have prevailed among Christians. Where so much is suffered in common, little room is left for envy. There is more occasion for pity and sympathy, and inclination to assist each other.
At our first setting out in life, when yet unacquainted with the world and its snares, when every pleasure enchants with its smile, and every object shines with the gloss of novelty ; let us beware of the seducing appearances which surround us ; and recollect what others have suffered from the power of head-strong desire. If we allow any passion, even though it be esteemed innocent, to acquire an absolute ascendant, our inward peace will be impaired. But if any which has the taint of guilt, take early possession of our mind, we may date, from that moment, the ruin of our tranquillity.
Every man has some darling passion, which generally affords the first introduction to vice. The irregular gratifications into which it occasionally seduces him, appear under the form of venial weaknesses; and are indulged, in the beginning, with scrupulouspess and