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It is a common observation, that the most abandoned to all sense of goodness, are apt to wish those who are related to them to be of a different character; and it is very observable, that none are more struck with the charms of virtue in the fair sex, than those who by their very admiration of it are carried to a desire of ruining it.
A virtuous mind in a fair body is indeed a fine picture in a good light, and therefore it is no wonder that it makes the beautiful sex all over charms.
As virtue in general is of an amiable and lovely nature, there are fome particular kinds of it which are more so than others, and these are such as dispose us to do good to mankind. Temperance and abstinence, faith and devotion, are in themselves perhaps as laudable as any other virtues; but those which make a man popular and beloved, are justice, charity, munificence, and, in short, all the good qualities that render us beneficial to each other. For which reason even an ex- travagant man, who has nothing else to recommend him but a false generosity, is often more beloved and esteemed than a perfon of a much more finished character, who is defective in this particular.
The two great ornaments of Virtue, which shew her in the most advantageous views, and make her altogether lovely, are cheerfulness and good-nature. These generally go together, as a man cannot be agreeable to others who is not easy within himself. They are both very requisire in a virtuous mind, 'to keep out melancholy from the many ferious thoughts it is engaged in, and to hinder its natural hatred of vice from Touring into severity and cenforiousnefs.
Remarks on the Swiftness of Time. THE HE natural advantages which arise from the posi
tion of the earth which we inhabit, with respect to the other planets, afford much employment to mathematical fpeculation,, by which it has been discovered, that no other conformation of the system could have given fuch commodious distribution of light and heat, or imparted fertility and pleasure to fo great a part of a revolving sphere.
It may be perhaps observed by the moralist, with equal reason, that our globe seems particularly fitted for the residence of a being, placed here only for a short time, whose task is to advance himself to a higher and happier state of existence, by unremitted vigilance of caution, and activity of virtue.
The duties required of man are fuch as human nature does not willingly perform, and such as those are inclined to delay, who yet intend fome time to fulfil them. It was therefore neceffary that this universal relactance should be counteracted, and the drowsiness of hesitation wakened into resolve, that the danger of procraftination should be always in view, and the fallacies of fecurity be hourly detected.
To this end all the appearances of nature uniformly conspire. Whatever we see on every fide, reminds us of the lapse of time and the flux of life. The day and night succeed each other; the rotation of feasons diverfifies the year; the sun rises, attains the meridian, declines, and fets, and the moon, every night, changes its form.
He that is carried forward, however swiftly, by a motion equable and eafy, perceives not the change of place but by the variation of objects. If the wheel of life, which solls thus filently along, pafsed on through undiftinguishable uniformity, we fhould never mark its approaches to the end of the course. If one hour were like another; if the passage of the sun did not fhew
that the day is wasting; if the change of seasons did not impress upon us the flight of the year, quantities of duration equal to days and years would glide unobserved. If the parts of time were not variously coloured, we should never discern their departure or succession, but should live thoughtless of the past, and careless of the future, without will, and perhaps without power, to compute the periods of life, or to compare the time which is already lost with that which may probably remain.
Yet it is certain that these admonitions of nature, however forcible, however importunate, are too often vain; and that many who mark with such accuracy the course of time, appear to have little fenfibility of the decline of life. Every man has something to do which he neglects; every man has faults to conquer, which he delays to combat.
So little do we accustom ourselves to consider the effects of time, that things neceffary and certain often surprise us like unexpected contingencies. We leave the beauty in her bloom, and, after an absence of twenty years, wonder, at our return, to find her faded. We meet those whom we left children, and can scarcely persuade ourselves to treat them as men. The traveller visits in age those countries through which he rambled in his youth, and hopes for merriment at the old place. The man of business, wearied with unsatisfactory prof. perity, retires to the town of his nativity, and expects to play away the last years with the companions of his childhood, and recover youth in the fields where he once was young.
From this inattention, fo general and so mischievous, let it be every man's study to exempt himself. Let him that desires to see others happy, make haste to give while his gift can be enjoyed, and remember, that every moment of delay takes away something from the value of his benefaction. And let him who seeks his own happiness, reflect, that while he forms his purpose the day rolls on, and the night cometh, when no man can work.'
Filial Affection ; the Story of Fidelia. F 'IDELIA is the only child of a decrepid father, ,
whose life is wound up in hers. This gentleman has ufed Fidelia from her cradle with all the tenderness imaginable, and has viewed her growing perfections with the partiality of a parent, that foon thought her accomplifhed above the children of all other men, but never thought she was come to the utmost improvement of which she was capable. This fondness has had very happy effects upon his own happiness ; for she reads, the dances, she fings, uses her spinet and lute, to the utmost perfection: And the lady's use of all these excelleneies is, to divert the old man in his easy chair, when he is free from the pangs of a chronical diftemper. Fidelia is now in the twenty-third year of her age; but the application of many lovers, her vigorous time of life, her quick sense of all that is truly gallant and elegant in the enjoyment of a plentiful fortune, are not able to draw her from the fide of her good old father. Certain it is, that there is no kind of
affection so pure and angelic as that of a father to a daughter. He beholds her both with and without regard to her fex. In love to our wives there is desire, to our fons there is ambition ; but in that to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express. Her life is designed wholly domestic; and she is so ready a friend and companion, that every thing that pafles about a man is accompanied with the idea of her presence. Her sex, also is naturally so much exposed to hazard, both as to fortune and innocence, that there is perhaps a new cause of fondness arising from that consideration also. None but fathers can have a true sense of this sort of pleasures and sensations.
Fidelia, on her part, as accomplished as she is, with all her beauty, wit, air, and mien, employs her whole time in care and attendance upon her father. How have I been charmed to see one of the most beautiful women the age has produced, on her knees, helping on an old man's slipper! Her filial regard to him is what the makes her diversion, her business, and her glory. When she was asked by a friend of her deceased mother to admit of the courtship of her son, she answered, That the had a great respect and gratitude to her for the overture in behalf of one so dear to her, but that during her father's life she would admit into her heart no value for any thing that should interfere with her endeavour to make his remains of life as happy and easy as could be expected in his circumstances. The lady admonished her of the prime of life with a smile ; which Fidelia answered with a frankness that always attends unfeigned virtue : “It is true, Madam, there are to be sure very great satisfactions to be expected in the commerce of a man of honour, whom one tenderly loves; but I find so much fatisfaction in the reflection, how much I mitigate a good man's pains, whose welfare depends upon my afsiduity about him, that I willingly exclude the loose gratifications of passion for the folid reflections of duty. I know not whether any man's wife would be allowed, and (what I still more fear) I know