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THE : CHRISTIAN OBSERVER.

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DECEMBER, 1815. [No. 12. Vol. XIV,

RELIGIOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

LIFE OF BLAISE PASCAL, baps, appear like a studied sid

(Continued from p, 715..) . gularity. He was always very deM PASCAL'S conceptions of ficate in speaking of himself, and N . purity of mind and mom carefully abstained from the use of desty of discourse were of a much appropriating expressions. “Chris. higher order than those which prec. tian piety," said he, “ annihilates vail in circles where po palpable the human me, and human civilty violation of decorum would be to conceals and suppresses it. Those lerated. To habitual circumspec. authors who, in speaking of their tion he added a scrupulous deli: own works, say, my book, my hiscacy, by which his most familiar tory, my commentary, &c. are like and unrestrained conferences were a citizen who calls the house he preserved untainted with any ex- inbabits my house: it would be pression or allusion that could more correct to adopt a less exoffend the most virtuous ear. His clusive language, for there is com. sister confesses that she stood in monly more of another's property perpetual awe of him; for he would in the books than of our own.” often point out deviations froty He would sometimes dilate this propriety, in conversations which idea, in the following manner:she had previously conceived to be “ Pure selfishness is a batetul disperfectly chaste and innocent. He position"; and those who attempt was remarkably vigilant of himself rather to conceal, than to eradicate and others, lest any word should it, are odious characters. This escape that might make an im- assertion may be controverted, by proper impression on those who urging, that a selfish man, who heard it. If, upon any occasion, conducts himself in a polite and Madame Perier praised the person obliging manner, is by no means a of a fine woman, he would reprove proper object of contempt. Suoli her, saying, that “such observils an objection would be valid, if tions, in the presence of young selfishness, considered in itself; as people especially, answered no a disposition of the mind, were good end, and they might excite not a proper object of abhorrence; imaginations which it were more but our displeasure were dirocted desirable to repress. He was even against the inconveniences to wbichi of opinion; that mothers were not it exposed, us: but if we detest judicious in freely receiving the self-love, because it is unjust in its caresses of their children; such fa- own nature, as making itself the miliarities were productive of no centre of all things around it, and real advantage, and habits inight being to itself instead of the whole be formed which would eventually universe, our hatred of it must be prove prejudicial. " There are a perpetual. Self-love may be rethousand other ways," said he, “in garded under two points of view, which we may bestow, tokens of either as essentially unjust, by contenderness and affection.", His sidering itself as having a right to dislike of the terms: I and me; in be the centre and ultimate end of all conversation or writing, may, per- its desigos aud actions; or as it is

CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 168. 5 H

inconvenient to others, from the are not becoming in those who exercise of a tyrannical spirit, contemplate the death of the just, which demands no less than an « Let us," said be, “join in praise absolute subservience of all to its ing the goodness of our heavenly interests and pleasures. If the Father, who 'hath so soon, and 90 inconvenience arising from such a abundantly recompensed the poor disposition be obviated by an ex- unprofitable services of our deterior decency of deportment, the parted sister.". .. vice of selfishness will still remain : The nearest relatives of M. Pasnor can you ever render it amiable cal were sometimes pained and in the eyes of those whose hearts disconcerted by a seeming apathy abbor all iniquity. When its dis. and absence of affectionate regard, agreeable effects are lessened or which they were ready to impute to concealed, and it no longer ap: a natural or acquired insensibility: pears in the character of an enemy, but his apparent coldness and inworldly men will no longer con- difference were the result of certain sider it as meriting disapprobation principles by which be regulated But so base and unjust a temper himself in his intercourse witb bis can only be regarded witbout hor- friends, and were by no means the ror by those who are slaves of the indications of an unkind or unfeelsame cupidity.

ing heart. The maxims adopted M. Pascal was most sincerely by this extraordinary man were, attached to his sisters; but his certainly, not of a complexion to regard for them was exhibited in a gain a ready access to soft and manly tenderness, and by substan- effeminate minds, or to conciliate tial kindness, and never by the the approbation of those romantic effusions of a blind and partial spirits, who consider the fervent affection : he loved them, but it was ebullitions of an impetuous passion with a well-regulated and subor- as an indication of superior worth dinate love, which was more con- and excellence, and an essential cerned for their real welfare, and ingredient in the bappiness of ba. highest interests, than for the mere man life. ' M. Pascal not only displeasing of them by flattering atten- claimed all subjection to that sotions to every inconsiderate wish, much-admired delirium of Teason and a ready indulgence of their which perverts sound wisdow into fancy or buniour on every frivolous childish folly, and transports sober occasion. When information of the discretion into préposterous extradeath of Jacqueline, his younger vagance; but he disallowed in himsister,'' was conveyed to hiin, he self all peculiar attachinent to any only said, “ May God give us grace person, and earnestly entreated his to die as 'welli" The reflections nearest relatives that they would he made afterwards chiefly referred not make him the object of their to the goodness of God to her, love. "All his friendships were during her life, and some pleasing contracted and cherished in suborcircumstances which occurred upon dination to this maxim, " that no her death-bed, always concluding created things ought to constitute with this text of Scripture, "Bless our happiness, or be essential to ed are the dead that die in the it;" and he always rebuked his Lord." Madame Perier did not gister for every sundue expression bear the loss of her sister with the of regard for bin which she at any same calmness and equanimity: time manifested. b Madame Perier, the overflowings of bēr sorrow being ubacquainted with his mosometimes verged toward an undue tives for a conduct so contrary to excess; and he would then gently tbc common Yusages of mankind, reprove her, by urging that floods was frequently much distressed to of tears and gloomy reflections see her moso kind and affectionate

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attentions received with a cold object of whom they are enamoured complacency. But an opportunity will then shortly be no more. Now presented itself, in which she be- as I should be highly culpable in came thoroughly convinced that attempting to impose a falsehood her brother was not wanting in upon any one, although iny perkind and fraternal feelings towards suasions were tempered, with the ber; for being in need of his as- most refined gentleness, and my sistance, he embraced the occasion representations were productive of of serving her with such ardour the highest delight; so should I be and assiduity, that all her appre equally base and criminal, in stuhensions were dissipated, and she diously endeavouring to engage the attributed the seeming languor of affectionate attachment of any one. his affection to the influence of It is my duty to warn those who his complaints. Still, however, are disposed to assept to such a - there remained something enig. falsehood, that it is unworthy their matical in his behaviour, and she belief; that no credit is, due to never obtained a full solution of such an illusion, por ought they the mystery till the day before lie to become the willing captives, of died. She happened to be present error, from the prospect of any io his chamber at a conversation pleasure they may obtain, or any which he held with a young gen- advantage that may accrue to me. tleman of eminent piety; where, It is my duty to admonish them, among other edifying lessons of that instead of permitting me 10 Christianity, he delivered the fol. occupy their hearts, God alone iş lowing admonition: “ Never per the proper object and termination mit any of your fellow-creatures of their affections, and the perto form an inordinate attachment formance of his will the most suit. to you. Few people consider this able employment of their lives.". as a fault, because few seriously From a superficial view of the reflect on the real nature and dan- preceding sentinents, one might be gerous consequences of such a induced to conclude that M. Pascal misplaced affection. By cherish- emulated a measure of sanctity, and ing the love of the creature in the detachment from his fellow-crea soul, we defraud God of the heart, tures, unknown to the Scriptures which is his property alone; we and inconsistent with the comforts devote ourselves to the service of of social intercourse; but on a an idol, and seek for happiness in nearer inspection, they may perhaps the enjoyment of created things." appear not very remote from the A few days after bis death, a slip views of every true Christian, To of paper was found in his closet, refuse a surrender of the heart to upon which this sentiment was pur any creature, is only to conform to sued to a greater extent:~"To en the first commandment of the moral courage any of my fellow-creatures law, "Thou shalt have none other to form an attachment to me, would gods but me;" and his unwillingness be an act of the greatest injustice; to become the object of attachment, and although the exercise of such is an acknowledgment that the an affection might give them plea- tribute of the hunian heart is due sure, this would not lessen my to God alone. A love of comcriminality. I must deceive those placeney is pot necessarily conin whom I should be the occasion joined with a love of benevolence; of exciting a foud regard; for not emotions of the purest kindness being the ultimate end of any of my may be cherished in a heart where fellow-creatures, I possess nothing a wise restraint is imposed upon wherewithal to satisfy the demands the indulgence of strong personal of a supreme affection. Am I not attachments; and the lively exer. upon the verge of the grave? The cise of all those charities which bless and gladden the social and ing a monkish Bardoess and insendomestic circle, is not inconsistent sibility of heart; since we find the with principles which teach us that same sentiments breathed from the Test and happiness are the produc tender, amiable, and refined spirit tions of a higher region, and that of the pious and affectionate Fenethe uncontroverted dominion of the lon. « Jesus Christ hath declared, most amiable 'human passions may without any restriction, Whosoever disturb and impair that divine love doth not renounce all that ke bath, which brings down heaven to earth, cannot be my disciple. (Luke xiv. and unites earth to heaven. There 3.) It is, then, the duty of a is no trne substantial blessedness Christian to Tenoume all that he .but in “ 'walking with God;" in possesses, even those things which union and communion with him; are most innocent in themselves, in' having God "sensible to the since they would cease to be indoheart.” The perfection of these cent if they could not be relingraces is indeed reserved for those quisbed. Altbough eit may be our who dwell in his presence and duty to preserve with care the behold his glory; but if our trea- blessings which God hath bestowed sure be now in heaven, our hearts upon us, yet the theart must not will be there also, and inferior con- cleave to thesetsthings. - We may 'solations will be less esteemed and make a sober and moderate use of desired, as ire advance in the di- them, but we biust be willing and vine life and acquire more of the ipeady to resign them whenever they spirit and temperof heaven". These are withdrawo, by the dispensamaxims of M.'Pascal were not sin- tions of a wide providence. We gukarly rigid, originating from a are bound to a nenımdiation even stern philosophic bias, or indicat. of the persons to whom we are the

** They that have more transporting most tenderly attacked, those whom Copprehensions of the love of God, should it is our duty more particularly to take heed of despising those who have love: and observe in wbat this dethem not in just the same kind, or do reliction consist's we must lore inot express them in the sanie seraphic our friends only with reference to -strains. They that have them not, God, and in suhordination to him: should take heed of cepsnring those that with humble modesty, upon just

we must use these benefits soberly, occasion, discover and own what they...

and: only as we find a need of do experience in this kind; much less them; receiving consolation from should conclude, that because they find their friendship, yet never seeking them not, there is therefore no such to repose and full satisfaction of heart be found; which cynical humour is too in thepi, but being always prepared habitual to such tempers. If they do to relinquish and yield them up, (fanoysuch to be weaker sort of persons, whenever it shall beauthes will they may be sincere for all that. And of God. In this consists the it ought to be considered of whom it is said, that he would not quench the res

IS 'unpolluted chastity of Christian smoaking flax.' The grace and spirit

ist friendship, when the holybrideof Christ ought to be reverenced in the groom of the soul is desired and various appearanees thereof: Whetlier sought in an earthly and imortal We'be sober, or beside ourselves, the friend, ali

i love of Christ constraineth us. So Under 'this state of limind we diversely may the apprehensions of that "use theiereature and the world, in ilove work in the same person, unch other languagedof Seni Paul, 16/as not more in diverse. Christians should be abusing them i'wel do not enjoy, eshy of making themselves standards to Vbut merelyremolovrhat God has one another, which they that do, discover more pride and self-conceit than

if the bestowed on us, and love it because acquaintance with God, and more admi. eher iwills that we should alway ration of themselves, than of his love making use of what we possess wat Howe's Works, p. 353. 1 setova discreet caution, according to

the measure of our exigencies, re- perfect life of our Lord and Saserving the heart for a more ele- viour, we see majesty and meek-vated and worthy object. It is in ness, glory' and contempt, exaltathis sense that Jesus Christ requires tion and slame,' all-sufficiency as to abaodon father and mother, and the deepest poverty, strangely > brethren, sisters, and friends, since ,blended together ; bence he who he carne, to carry a sword into most closely and suocessfully traces the very midst of our families.". the footsteps of his Divine Master,

Whatever reception these potions will, like Moses of old, reflect some may find, it is sufficient for the scattered beams of the unequalled present purpose, to have, shewn purity and brightness of his chathat : M., Pascal's, sentiments on 'ractér. these subjects were not the off- ; The religion of Jesus is a reli .spring of a cold, istoical, and con- gion of love: it caönot therefore istracted temper, since they are counterance the extinction of those schérished and avowed by a prelate kindly feelings which are the dewhose heart, was susceptible of meat of human society, the spring every warm and tender unpression, and source of our most unalloved who was animated by every kind comfort, and altogether suited to and generous feeling that can dig- the preent condition, as well as

nify our nature and endear man congenid to the original constitu'to man. avska :3 in ',, stion, of nan. But the beauty and

1.The religion of Jesus Cbrist may glory of vur first nature is sullied not improperly be compared to a and darkned by moral de pravity: circle of graces where al the dif- our best ffections are captivated ferent and seemingly opposite vir- by phantims and shadows ; error itues meet in one common centre; and falsehood seduce the underwhere the various and complicated standing; and the heart is per springs of human thought and veried by aversion and disloyalty action are subjugated to one prin- towards it Creator and Lord, To ciple, are governed by one law.; rectify thisdisordered condition of and wberein excellencies the most the soul, I raise it from its state sremote and dissimilar conçur to of ruin, to epaiate the unballowed

form and exhibit an uniform, con- ties by wich it adheres to the asistent, and lovely.character, bear. creature, ad to teach it to seek ing in all its aspects the features of an all-sufficaiey of rest, and peace, la refined and elevated bumapily. and delight in God, comprehend

it. Whenever unassisted reason has the whole prport and design of pipresented us with a pattern of ex. Pascal and 'enelon ; a desigo ng

cellence, tit das / generally been ble in its ceception, in fuļi har. -composed of virtues of one order. mony with je oracles of Divine We have been shewn a magna. Truth, calcuited to inspire us with nimity without meekness, friend- every benevlenit affection, ang -ship without promiscuous benevo- prompting u to abound in works .: Slence, and wisdom without siin- of loving-kinness and mercy, A ! plicity: nor does the mere natural servant of Gd must often he con

niind conceive that extremes may tented to apear, before ibe su• meet and doalesce in the same in- perficial obsfvation of a mere

dividual, aithout producing, confu- worldly man,is a paradoxical cha- ssion or defovinity. The sincere and racter, exhilting inconsistencies

sfaithful disciple of Jesus Christ must ashich he is nable to reconcile. , therefore necessarily appear before the contras which nieet and 8. the world as an inconsistent or pa- scoalesce in th mind of a sincere • radoxical character: for, as in the Christian, has been thus beauti

fully displaye by the illustrious ..I « Euvres Spirituelles.. Verulam : " H bears a lofty spirit

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