« PreviousContinue »
humanity, and a solicitude for their welfare. It breathes universal candour, and liberality of sentiment. It forms gentleness of temper, and dictates affability of manners. It prompts corresponding sympathies with them who rejoice, and them who weep. It teaches us to slight and despise no man. Charity is the comforter of the afflicted, the protector of the oppressed, the reconciler of differences, the intercessor for offenders. It is faithfulness in the friend, public spirit in the magistrate, equity and patience in the judge, moderation in the sovereign, and loyalty in the subject. In parents, it is care and attention ; in children, it is reverence and submission. In a word, it is the soul of social life. It is the sun that enlivens and cheers the abodes of men. It is like the dew of Hermon,” says the Psalmist," and the dew that descended on the moun tains of Zion, where the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore,”
Prosperity is redoubled to a good man. None but the temperate, the regular, and the virtuOus, know how to enjoy prosperity, They bring to its comforts the manly relish of a sound uncorrupted mind. They stop at the proper point, before enjoy. ment degenerates into disgust, and pleasure is converted into pain. They are strangers to those complaints which flow from spleen, caprice, and all the fantastical distresses of a vitiated mind. While riotous indulgence enervates both the body and the mind, purity and virtue heighten all the powers of human fruition.
Feeble are all pleasures in which the heart has no share. The selfish gratifications of the bad, are both narrow in their circle, and short in their duration, But prosperity is redoubled to a good man, by his generous use of it. It is reflected back upon him from every one whom he makes happy. In the intercourse of do. mestic affection, in the attachment of friends, the gratitude of dependents, the esteem and good-will of all who know him, he sees blessings multiplied round him on every side. “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me ; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing with joy. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame: I was a father to the poor; and the cause which I knew not, I searched out."- Thus, while the righte. ous man flourishes like a tree planted by the rivers of water, he brings forth also his fruit in its season : and that fruit he brings forth not for himself alone. He Anurishes, not like a tree in some solitary desert, which scatters its blossoms to the wind, and communicates neither fruit nor shade to any living thing: but like a tree in the midst of an inhabited country, which to some affords friendly shelter, to others fruit; which is not only admired by all for its beauty ; but blessed by the traveller for the shade, and by the hungry for the sus. tenance, it hath given.
GREATNESS confers no exemption from the cares and sorrows of life: its share of them frequently bears a melancholy proportion to its exaltation. share of them frequently.
This the monarch of Israel experienced. He sought in piety, that peace which he could not find in empire ; and alleviated the disquietudes of state, with the exercises of devotion. His invaluable Psalms convey those comforts to others, which they afforded to himself. Com posed upon particular occasions, yet designed for genom neral use; delivered out as services for Israelites under the Law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the Gospel; they present religion to us in the most engaging dress ; communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal ; while history is made the vehicle of prophecy, and creation lends all its charms to paint the glories of redemption. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of him, to whom all hearts are known, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations ; grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate.
The fairest productions of human wit, after a tew perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy : but these unfading plants of paradise become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily heightened ; fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets extracted from them. He who has once tasted their excellencies, will desire to taste them again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best.
And now, could the author flatter himself, that any one would take half the pleasure in reading his work, which he has taken in writing it, he would not fear the loss of his labour. The employment detached him from the bustle and hurry of life, the din of politics, and the noise of folly. Vanity and vexation flew away for a season; care and disquietude came not near his dwelling. He arose, fresh as the morning, to his task; the silence of the night invited him to pursue it ; and he can truly say, that food and rest were not preferred before it. Every psalm improved infinitely upon his · acquaintance with it, and no one gave him uneasiness
but the last: for then he grieved that his work was done. Happier hours than those which have been spent in these meditations on the songs of Sion, he never expects to see in this world. Very pleasantly did they pass ; they moved smoothly and swiftly along; for when thus engaged, he counted no time. They are gone ; but they have left a relish and a fragrance upon the mind : and the remembrance of them is sweet. HORNE.
Character of ALFRED, king of England.
The merit of this prince, both in private and public life, may, with advantage, be set in opposition to that. of any monarch or citizen, which the annals of any age, or any nation, can present to us. He seems, indeed, to be the complete model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a sage or wise man, the philosophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever seeing it reduced to practice : so happily were all his virtues tempered together ; so justly were they blended; and so powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds.
He knew how to conciliate the most enterprising spirit with the coolest moderation s the most obstinate perseverance, with the easiest flexibility; the most severe justice, with the greatest lenity, the greatest rigour in command, with the greatest affability of deportment ; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining talents for action.
Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily accomplishments; vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a pleasant, e1lgaging, and open countenance. By living in that
at Antiparos, an inconsiderable island of the Archipelago. “ Having been informed,” says he, “by the natives of Paros, that, in the little island of Antiparos, which lies about two miles from the former, a gigantic statue was to be seen at the mouth of a cavern in that place, it was resolved that we (the French consul and himself) should pay it a visit. In pursuance of this resolution, after we had landed on the island, and walked about four miles through the midst of beautiful plains, and sloping woodlands, we at length came to a little hill, on the side of which yawned a most horrid cavern, that, by its gloom, at first struck us with terror, and almost repressed curiosity. Res covering the first surprise, however, we entered bold. ly; and had not proceeded above' twenty paces, when the supposed statue of the giant presented itself to our view. We quickly perceived, that what the ignorant natives had been terrified at as a giant, was nothing more than a sparry concretion, formed by the water dropping from the roof of the cave, and by degrees hardening into a figure, which their fears had formed into a monster. Incited by this extraordinary appearance, we were induced to proceed still further, in quest of adventures in this subterranean abode. As we proceeded, new wonders offered themselves; the spars, formed into trees and shrubs, presented a kind of petrified grove ; me white, some green ; and all receding in due perspective. They struck us with the more amazement, as we knew them to be mere productions of nature, who, hitherto in solitude, had, in her playful moments, dressed the scene, as if for her own amusement."
" We had as yet seen but a few of the wonders of the place; and we were introduced only into the portico of this amazing temple. In one corner of this half illuminated recess, there appeared an opening of about three feet wide, which seemed to lead to a piace to. tally dark, and which one of the natives assured us