Page images
PDF
EPUB

THREE DISCOURSES ADDRESSED BY M.

[ocr errors]

rate. Conformity in such a case is the kingdom, and does not imply that only following a multitude to do evil. the person is honoured on account of

VERIDICUS. any intrinsic merithe possesses.

Kings must be addressed with a bended knee, and we must not sit down in the

presence of any of the royal family. PASCAL TO THE DUKE DE ROANNEZ.

To refuse these outward marks of reTRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.

spect, would be equally rude and fool(Concluded from p. 17.)

ish. But esteem is only due to natural SECOND DISCOURSE.

and inherent greatness; and we maniIt is very necessary that you should fest our contempt of those qualities of know what is due to you, lest you re- body or mind, which are inconsistent quire more than is your right, which with native dignity. It is not neceswould be manifestly unjust; and yet sary that I should reverence your chathis kind of injustice is commonly racter because you are a duke, although seen anong persons of your rank, it becomes me to offer you the respect from an ignorance of their real condi- due to your station; but if you are a tion. There are two species of great. duke, atid a respectable man, I will not ness in the world; a natural greatness, refuse those forms of ceremony

which and a dignity depending on the laws are due to your quality, nor that interof civil society. The latter of these nal esteem which a worthy character is artificial, and derives its origin from may justly claim: but if to the rank of the will of men, who have enjoined, a duke you add the vices of an immowith great propriety, that certain marks ral man, I will still do justice to you; of respect and honour shall be paid to for while I pay those outward marks a noble descent, and to those who are of respect which human customs have exalted to stations of dignity and im- attached to your condition, I shall at portance. But the nobles are reve the same time feel that inward conrenced in one country, the plebeians tempt which is the just demerit of a in another; in one nation the elder despicable character. sons inherit the rank and fortune of You now understand, Sir, what I their parents, in another a preference mean by the two different kinds of is given to the younger sons. Whence obligation already mentioned; and may arises this difference? Because the perceive, that it would be unjust to relegislature chose to make it so. The quire esteem and regard on account thing was indifferent in itself before of mere elevation of rank; or, for pathe law was enacted, but when this or tural greatness, to demand that cereder was once established, it became monious attention which is only due to just and right to comply with it. Na- noble birth and high station. Mr. N. tural dignity, which consists in real is a much better mathematician than I and useful qualities possessed by the am; and in consequence of this supebody or the soul, rendering each more riority of talents, he would assume the valuable in itself, as science, capacity, right of precedence; but I tell him he genius, virtue, health, strength, &c. quite mistakes. The knowledge of is not dependant on the caprice of geometry confers a natural dignity on men. We owe certain duties to each the possessor, and demands a prefespecies of greatness; but as they are rence of esteem; but mankind have not dissimilar in their nature, the obliga- attached any outward forms of respect tions by which we are bound, are like- to it. will, therefore, take place and wise different. We owe to nobility precedence of him, while at the same certain external forms of ceremony, time I will acknowledge him to be a which the custom of civil society has much greater mathematician than myestablished; and these expressions of self. respect ought always to be accompa If you, therefore, who are a duke nied with a sincere acknowledgment and a peer of the realm, are not satisof their propriety: this kind of ho- fied with niy standing uncovered beimage is paid to the established laws of fore you, but require me to esteem

[ocr errors]

THIRD DISCOURSE.

you, I would request you to point out condition, act consistently with it, and those good qualities which merit my do not pretend to govern mankind by sincere regard. If you can do this, I any other means than those which cannot, with justice, refuse compli- constitute you a king. The servile ance ; but if you are destitute of all crowd have not been reduced to subestimable qualities, the very demand jection by your superior bodily strength; would be unjust on your part, and you do not presume, therefore, to govern may rest assured, that you would never them by force, nor to treat them with obtain your wishes, were you the great. harshness. Gratify their reasonable est prince in the world.

desires, relieve their wants, take a pleasure in conferring benefits on them,

and advance them to higher stations as I AM desirous, Sir, of making you un- much as you can, and you will then derstand your real condition, for there conduct yourself as a true king of conis nothing of which people of your cupiscence. rank are more ignorant. What is it What I have now said will not be to be a great lord, in your opinion ? It of very great advantage to you, for if is to be master of the various objects you proceed no farther, you may pewhich allure the earthly affections of rish everlastingly; yet you will sink man, and to have the power of satisfy- into perdition as a worthy and respecting the wants and desires of those able man. Many people plunge into around you. They are urged by those eternal ruin in the most absurd manwants and desires to approach your ner, by avarice, brutality, debauchery ; person with the most submissive air; by the indulgence of violent passions ; for, if they were exempt from these, by blasphemy, &c. The course of life, they would scarcely deign to look upon which I have described to you, is, withyou ; but they hope to gain, by their out doubt, much more creditable than deference and servility, some portion open profligacy; nevertheless, it is a of those good things which they eager- stupendous act of folly for a man to ly crave, and which they know are at lose his soul. I add, therefore, you your disposal.

must not rest contented with the chaGod is surrounded by people whose racter I have described; but despise hearts glow with a divine charity, and concupiscence, with the empire it bewho solicit him to bestow upon them stows, and aspire after the kingdom of the blessings of his kingdom ; he may, God, all the subjects of which breathe therefore, with great propriety, be call. the spirit of heavenly charity, and deed the King of Charity.

sire above all things the riches of diYou are, likewise, surrounded by a vine love. There are other people who small number of your fellow.creatures, will direct you in the way of true feliover whom you exercise a species of city as well as I can ; it may suffice, dominion. These persons are full of at present, if I have deterred you

from concupiscence ; they are attached to pursuing that brutal course of life, in you by your power of gratifying their which so many persons of high rank low and sensual appetites, and are im. are engaged, from a disgraceful ignoportunate to have their worldly desires rance of their real state and condition. satisfied; so that you are, strictly speaking, a King of Concupiscence. Your empire, indeed, is of small extent; yet you are as much a inonarch, SIR, in this respect, as the greatest sove I Take the liberty of transmitting herereigns upon earth. They, like you, with some extracts of letters, which are kings of concupiscence, and their have appeared to me not unworthy of power is founded upon the possession a place in your Miscellany. The wriof those things, by which the animal ter of them, who has been dead some part of man's nature can be abundantly years, pursued the humble and laborigratified. And since you have now ous occupation of a flax-dresser, in an become acquainted with your natural obscure and remote part of the kingo Christ. Obsery. No. 2.

O

To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

dom, and his opportunities of acquir- import with many, but they are the ing knowledge must, therefore, have most momentous words which ever been very limited. He seens, howev- sounded in the ears of man. What is er, to have improved them to great ad- it, that makes many Chris:ians so exvantage, and of this, even a cursory pe- ceedingly warm, I would also ask, risal of these extracis, will furnish con when you touch the least pin of that siderable proof. They, doubtless, dis- hedge of distinction they have set up cover much depth of thought, and between themselves and others, while acuteness of remark, especially as it is you sily observe the weightier to be remembered that they were fa- maliers of the law are neglected, but miliar communications to a friend, and that the Gospel of the Grace of God were never intended for the public eye. is not heartily believed, and neither But that to which I wish principally to the hope of salvation nor the fear of call the reader's attention, is the strain God's anger, lias properly affected their of rational, yet animated piety, which consciences ? If men's consciences pervades them, and which evidently were thoroughly alive to these things, flowed from a mind deeply imbued they would find much of their zeal with Christian principles. I remain, about externals had been mere trifling, Sir,

while they agreed with their opponents Your obedient servant,

NI. in the worst error of any estrange

ment from the power and life of ChrisDEAR SIR,

May 26, 1794. Vanity, in their experience and pracI RECEIVED yours, of the 21st of March, rice. I have a great veneration for our which I read with pleasure, and I hope worthy forefathers, who contended not with profit. I confess I have been too only for the forms and doctrines, but long in acknowledging your kindness, for the power and practice of Chrisbut our friend will inform you tianity, which seem to be too much how very

little time I can command. lost sight of hy most of their degeneI hope, however, we shall have inore rate sons. How often do we hear ortime shortly, when death shall have thodox sermons, very well adjusted closed our eyes on all things under the according to the received system of

There is a glorions prospect.be- doctrines, which are very little calcıfore us ! an incorruptible and eternal lated to awaken the sleeping conscience, inheritance! to which we have ready or otherwise to edify the Church of access through the blood of Christ. Christ! With many there is to be We shall then rest from all our labours, found a form of the gospel, as St. Paul and join that honourable company speaks of a form of godliness, wherewhich now surrounds the throne. There by they discuss some head of divinity. we shall serve him, and see his face, This is proved and illustrated, and the and be fixed as pillars in his Temple, opposite errors are detected and conto go out so more. (glurious day! demned, and tlien a few inferences when he shall rend these blue heavens drawn from the subject, distant from above us, and put an eternal stop to the the people's consciences a thousand wheels of time. Eternity is a solem), miles; just as if preaching the gospel yet pleasing word, though it is also a were teaching men a science, which dreadful one to those who have reason had little or no concern with their conto conclude that they shall dwell for sciences at all. How different this ever with devouring fire. How would from the manner of the Apostles! who the thought of eternity, were it really always addressed their audience, apbelieved in and expected, sink the spi- plied the doctrines to their conscienrit of any man who knew himself a ces, and let them know of what import stranger to religion! What is the rea such things were to them. Sce Acts son that men trifle so much with reli- ii. 14, 22, 29, 36, 38, 39. and Acts xiii, gion? It is because they have not be- 16, 38 to 41, &c. lieved heartily what the Scriptures reveal to us about an eternal state. Hea

Jan. 13, 1795. ven and hell seem to be words of small I Am sensible of, your kindness, in of

Sun.

fering me your assistance to enable me how far, or in what station, he will emto move in a higher sphere; . but, for ploy us, while he has ten thousand my own part, I see no other way point. thousand fitter instruments at comed out by Providence in which I should mand ? If he hath given us an inclinaserve our blessed Lord and Master, tion to his service, it is an unspeakable than by occupying in that lower sphere, mercy, though he should not afford us wherein his infinite wisdom has seen fit such opportunities of extensive usesulto place me. I feel myself exceeding- ness, as those he has seen meet to emly defective in a small circle, and per- ploy in another line. Alas! that we haps I should be much more so, if my should be so unprofitable in the line sphere were enlarged; and whatever wherein he has placed us, and that we you may think of me, I know and feel should do so much less than we might, myself to labour under so many moral without other opportunity than he has and mental weaknesses and informities, been pleased to give. We cannot say as makes me well satisfied with my that we have done what we might have present private and comparatively bid, donc, nor that we have done any thing den situation. As to differences of as we ought, when all is done. But bles. rank, place, or station, farther than as sed for ever be our Heavenly Father, a Christian's usefulness is thereby di- who hath made us to know that Christ minished or enlarged, I see nothing in died for the ungodly, and that there is them that nceds either to excite our eternal life given through him.

We ambition or dissatisfaction. For as a hope, through the belief of this, and of all man's lise consisteth not in the abun- the promises of God, at length to overdance of the things which he posses come every hinderance to our salvation, seth, so neither doth a Christian's hap- and to join in the triumph and eternal piness consist in his moving in a high- praises of the Heavenly train of saints er sphere, but it consists in his serv and martyrs, who came up out of great ing God singly, humbly, and content- tribulation, and now behoid the face of edly, in the station he is placed in, their heavenly Father, and of the Lamb though it should be no higher than that in the midst of the throne;'and the foreof a servant or a bond slave. These thought of this eternal glory makes us things are but mere temporary differ- even now anticipate the work of heaences, which God has designed to ven, and begin the songs of Zion in a serve a purpose, but from which Chris.

strange land. tians shall be altogether freed and disencumbered, when mortality shall be

May, 13, 1795. swallowed up of life. I feel, it is true, Your favour was indeed refreshing. something of the embarrassment of a To hear of the propagation of the Goslow and comparatively dependent sta- pelin---is literally good news from a lion; but then I seem to experience far country.” It yieids another sort of inierpositions of Divine Providence, in relish to the mind of the Christian than * answer to my prayers, and the accom to hear of sieges and battles crowned plishment of God's promises, in a way with success, and of the great extenwhich I might not, were I in a more sion of commerce, riches, and territo. independent line of life.

Besides, ry. These things, though, when lawwhat a satisfaction is it, in any station, 'fully acquired and well employed, they to think that we are placed there by are not without their use, are but lying our Hearenly Father, and enjoined to vanities.compared with the true riches. occupy therein uill Christ come. He The great men of this world carry on certainly is the best judge of every what they reckon their grand and masone's talents, and in what way he can terly projects, in order to secure unto best serve his own ends by them. If themseves their earthly glory, splen. God has given us hearts to wish well dor, and dignity; and the pulse of their to his cause, so that we should rejoice soul bears high or low, irregular or to be instrumental in promoting it uniform, accordingly as the aspect of through the whole creation, may we these things varies. Could we look not leave it to his wisdom to determine into the hearts of worldly men, and obe

serve the various vicissitudes of their heroic contempt of the Deity and of all minds, their hopes and fears, their joys religion; as if they had persuaried and sorrows, we should perceive that themselves into an opinion, that bethese beat time to the vicissitudes cause they had so prosperous success which take place in their worldly at in conquering their humanity, ana baftachments. Give them a state of fing their own fear, and reason, and things on earth suited to their inclina: conscience, death also will' yield them tions, and you put life and spirit into as easy a victory, or be afraid to enthem. Cross and disappoint them counter men of so redoubted courage ; here, and the success of religion, or that the God of Heaven, rather than the extension of our Redeemer's king- offend them, will not stick to repeal dom, will yield them no consolation. his laws for their sakes, or never exact Men seem to be so much of a piece the observance of them from persons with this earth, that as a certain wric of their quality ; that they shall not be ter observes, “they partake in all its called to judgment, or there only be pangs and paroxysms and tremulous complimented with respect, as people motions. By the beating of their pulse who bore much sway in their country, you may know the state of things in and could number so many hundreds this lower world, as if they had but one or thousands a year; and that, at least, soul with it." And as the same au the infernal flames will never presume thor observes, in another place, were to touch so worthy personages, and men's belief of what they were sent in- that devils will be awed by their greatto the worlů for, to be judged of by ness, and fear to seize them, lest they their practice, and this belief written should take it as an affront.' in their foreheads, then might one read, This is exactly what we might sup“Such an one born to put others in pose, to be the inward sentiments of mind of his predecessor's name, and many, were we to judge by their teinlest such a father should want an heir per and conduct. How different from

Such an one to consume such an es those of the real Christian ! * tate, and to devour the provenue of so many

farms and manors-Such an one to fill so many bags and coffers, to sus Extracts from the Common-Place Book of a tain the riot of him that succeeds

Country Clergyman. Some created to see, and make sport,

(Continued from p. 23.) to run after hawks and dogs, or to ON REASON AND REVELATION. spend the time which their weariness The greater part of those who set up redeems from converse with brutes, in the claims of Reason against those of making themselves such, by drinking Revelation, seem to forget that Rea. away the little residue of wit and rea son is a faculty, not like intuition, that son they have left ; mixing with this sees the true natures, relations, or congentle exercise their impure and scur. sequences of things, at a glance; but rilous drolleries, that they may be. which requires nice and accurate manfriend one another with the kind occa agement, with assiduous labour and sion of proving themselves to be yet of cultivation, to make it a useful and safe the human race, by the only demon- guide to us, in avoiding error, and arstration remaining, that they can laugh riving at truth. It is not, like the senOthers born to trouble the world, to ses of the body, perfect at once; but, disquiet the neighbourhood, and to be like a diamond in its natural state, it is the common plague of all about them, put rough into our hands to polish and at least if they have any within their improve by art and care. So much is reach who value not their souls at so this the case, that the improvement of cheap a rate as they do-Others made our reason is taught by rule, and learnt to blaspheme their Maker, to rend the as a science. sacred name of God, and make proof Nothing more than the application of their high valour, and the gallantry of this remark is needful to confound of their brave spirits, by bidding defi our common infidels. Do they talk of ance to heaven, and proclaiming their their reason not suffering them to em

For the Christian Observer.

« PreviousContinue »