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carry this consideration higher, by, obferving, that, if matter had appeared to us endowed only with those reali qualities which it actually pofleffes, it would have made but a very joyless and uncomfortable figure'; and why has Providence given it a power of producing in us tuch: imaginary qualities, as taftes and colours, lounds and smells, heat and cold, but that man, while he is converfant in the lower stations of nature, might have his mind cheered and delighted with agreeable sensations? In fort, the whole universe is a kind of theatre filled with ob: jects that either raise in us pleasure, amusement, or ad. miration.
The reader's own thoughts will fuggeft to him the vicislitude of day and night, the change of feasons, with all that variety of scenes which diversify the face of nature, and fill the mind with a perpetual succession of beautiful and pleasing images.
I shall not here mention the several entertainments of art, with the pleasures of friendship, books, conversation, and other accidental diversions of life, becaufe I would only take notice of fuch incitements to a cheerful temper, as offer themselves to perfons of all ranks. and conditions, and which may fufficiently show us, that Providence did not design this world ihould be filled with murmurs and repinings, or that the heart of man hould be involved in gloom and melancholy.
I the more inculcate this cheerfulness of temper, as it is a virtue in which our countrymen are observed to be more deficient than any other nation. Melancholy is a kind of demon that haunts our island, and often conveys herself to us in an eafterly wind. A celebrated French novelift, in opposition to those who begin their romances with the flowery leasons of the year, enters on his story. thus:.“ In the glooroy month of November, when the “ people of England hang and drown themselves, a dil. s confolate lover walked ont into the fields,” &c.
Every one ought to fence against the temper of hisclimate or constitution, and frequently to indulge in himfelf those confiderations which inay give him a ferenity of mind, and enable him to bear up cheerfully against those little evils and misfortunes which are cominon to: human nature, and which, by a right inprovement of
them, will produce a satiety of joy, and uninterrupted happiness.
At the same time that I would engage my reader to consider the world in its most agreeable lights, I must own there are many evils which naturally spring up amidst the entertainments that are provided for us ; but thefe, if rightly considered, should be far from overcast. ing the mind with sorrow, or destroying that cheerfulness of temper which I have been recoinmending. This interspersion of evil with good, and pain with pleasure, in the works of nature, is very truly ascribed by Mr Locke, in his effay on human understanding, to a moral reason, in the following words:
“ Beyond all this, we may find another reason why « God hath scattered up and down leveral degrees of "! pleasure and pain, in all the things that environ and « affect us, and blended them together in almost all a that our thoughts and sentes have to do with ; that
we, finding imperfection, diffatisfaction, and want of complete happiness in all the enjoyments which the
creatures can afford us, might be led to seek it in the " enjoyment of Him," with whom there is fulness of
joy, and at whose right-hand are pleasures for ever more.”
I. The bad Reader.
his competitions. They were elegant, animated, and judicious; and several prizes, at different times, had been adjudged to him. An oratiop, which he delivered the week before he left the university, had been honoured with particular applaufe ; and, on his return home, he was impatient to gratify his vanity, and to extend his reputation, by having it read to a number of his father's literary friends.
A party was therefore collected ; and, after dinner, the manuscript was produced. Julius declined the office of reader, because he had contracted a hoarseness on his journey ; and a conceited young man, with great forwardness, offered his services. Whilit he was setting himself on his feat, licking his lips, adjusting his mouth, hawking, hemming, and making other ridiculous preparations for the performance which he had undertaken, a profound silence reigned through the company, the united effect of attention and expectation. The reader at length began; but his tone of vice was so shrill and diffonant, his utterance fo vehement, his pronunciation fo affected, his emphasis fo injudicious, and his accents were fo improperly placed, that good manners alorie restrained the laughter of the audience. Julius was all this while upon the rack, and hi: arm was more than once extended to snatch his composition from the coxcomb who de. livered it. But he proceeded, with full confidence in his own elocution ; uniformly overstepping, as Shakespeare expresses it, the modesty of nature.
When the oration was concluded, the gentlemen re-. turned their thanks to the author ; but the compliments which they paid hin were more expreffive of politeness and civility, than of a conviction of his merit. Indeed, , the beauties of his composition had been conve
verted, by bad reading, into blemishes; and the sense of it rendered
obscure, and even unintelligible. Julius and his father could not conceal their vexation and disappointment; and the guests, perceiving that they laid them under a painful restraint, withdrew, as soon as decency permitted, to their respective habitations.
II. Respect due to Old Age. IT bappened at Athens, during a public representation
of some play exhibited in honour of the commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late for a place fuitable to his age and quality. Many of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficulty and confufion he was in, made figns to him that they would accommodaie him if he came where they sat. The good man bustled through the crowd accordingly: but when he came to the feats to which he was invited, the jest was, to sit close, and expose him, as he stood out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round all the Athenian benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedæmonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a inan, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians being luddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedæmonians practise it.”
III. Piety to God recommended to the Young. WHAT I Hall first recommend, is piety to God.
With this I begin, both as the foundation of good morals, and as a dilpofition particularly graceful and becoming in youth. "To be void of it, argues a cold heart, destitute of some of the best affections which belong to that age. Youth is the season of warm and generous emotions. The heart should then, spontane oully, rise into the admiration of what is great ; glow with the love of what is fair and excellent; and melt at the discovery of tenderness and goodness. Where can any object be found fo proper to kindle those affections as the Father of the universe, and the Author of all fe. licity? Unmoved by veneration, can you contemplate that grandeur and majesty which His works everywhere display ? Untouched by gratitude, can yon view that profufion of good which, in this pleasing lealon of life, His beneficent hand pours around you? Happy in the love and affection of those with whom you are connected, look up to the Supreme Being, as the inspirer of all the friendship which has ever been shown you by others; himself your best and your first friend: formerly, the supporter of your infancy, and the guide of your childhood ; now, the guardian of your youth, and the hope of your coming years. View religious homage as a natural expression of gratitude to him for all his good. nels. Consider it as the service of the God of your fa. thers ; of him to whom your parents devoted yon; of him whom, in former ages, your ancestors honoured; and by who n they are now rewarded and blessed in heaven. Connected with so many tender sensibilities of soul, let religion be with you, not the cold and barren off-spring of speculation, but the warm and vigorous dictate of the heart.
IV. Modesty and Docility. T piety, join modesty and docility, reverence of
your parents, and submission to those who are your fuperiours in knowledge, in Itation, and in years. pendence and obedience belong to youth. Modesty is one of its chief ornaments; and has ever been esteemed a presage of riling merit. When entering on the career of life, it is your part not to assume the reins as yet into your hands; but to commit yourselves to the guidance of the more experienced, and to become wise by the wisdom of those who have gone before you. Of all the fol. lies incident to youth, there are none which either deform its present appearance, or blast the prospect of its future prosperity, more than felf-conceit, presumption, and obstinacy. By checking its natural progress in improvement, they fix it in long immaturity; and frequently produce mischiefs which can never be repaired. Yet these are vices too commonly found among the young. Big with enterprise, and elated by hope, they resolve to trust for success to none but themselves. Full