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is, in the more dispassionate moments, a fettled desire to preserve domestic union, the transient violence of passion will not often produce a permanent rupture.
It is another most excellent rule, to avoid a grofs familiarity, even where the connection is moft intimate. The human heart is so constituted, as to love respect. It would indeed be unnatural in very intimate friends to behave to each other with stiffness; but there is a delicacy of manner, and a flattering deference, which tends to preserve that degree of esteem which is necefsary to support affection, and which is loft in contempt when it deviates into excessive familiarity. An habitual politeness of manners will prevent even indifference from degenerating to hatred. It will refine, exalt, and perpetuate affection.
But the best and most efficacious rule is, that we should not think our moral and religious duties are only to be practised in public, and in the fight of those from whose applause we expect the gratification of our vanity, ambition, or avarice; but that we should be equally attentive to our behaviour among those who can only repay us by reciprocal love. We must shew the fincerity of our principles and professions by acting consistently with them, not only in the senate, in the field, in the pulpit, at the bar, or in any public afsembly, but at the fire-fide.
The Voyage of Life ; an Allegory.
IFE,' says Seneca, is a voyage, in the progress
of which we are perpetually changing our scenes: We first leave childhood behind us, then youth, then the years of ripened manhood, then the better or more pleasing part of old-age.'— The perusal of this passage having excited in me a train of reflections on the state of man, the incessant fluctuation of his wishes, the gradual change of his disposition to all external objects, and the thoughtlessness with which he floats along the stream of time, I funk into a llumber amidst my meditations, and, on a sudden, found my ears filled with the tumults of labour, the shouts of alacrity, the shrieks of alarm, the whistle of winds, and the dash of waters.
My astonishment for a time repressed my curiosity ; but soon recovering myself so far as to inquire whither we were going, and what was the cause of such clamour and confusion? I was told that we were launching out into the ocean of Life; that we had already passed the straits of Infancy, in which multitudes had perished, some by the weakness and fragility of their vessels, and more by the folly, perverseness, or negligence of those who undertook to steer them; and that we were now on the main fea, abandoned to the winds and billows, without any other means of security than the care of the pilot, whom it was always in our power to chuse, among great numbers that offered their direction and assistance.
I then looked round with anxious eagerness; and first turning my eyes behind me, saw a stream flowing through flowery islands, which every one that failed along seemed to behold with pleasure; but no sooner touched, than the current, which, though not noisy or turbulent, was yet irresistible, bore him away, Beyond these islands all was darkness, nor could any of
the passengers describe the shore at which he first embarked.
Before me, and on either side, was an expanse of waters violently agitated, and covered with fo thick a milt, that the most perspicacious eye could see but a little way. It appeared to be full of rocks and whirlpools; for many funk unexpectedly while they were courting the gale with full fails, and insulting those whom they had left behind. So numerous, indeed, were the dangers, and so thick the darkness, that no caution could confer security. Yet there were many, who, by false intelligence, betrayed their followers into whirlpools, or by violence pushed those whom they found in their way against the rocks.
The current was invariable and insurmountable ; but though it was impossible to fail against it, or to return to the place that was once paffed, yet it was not so violent as to allow no opportụnities for dexterity or courage, since, though none could retreat back from danger, yet they might often avoid it by oblique direc, tion.
It was, however, not very common to steer with much care or prudence ; for, by fome universal infatuation, every man appeared to think himself safe, tho' he saw his consorts every moment sinking round him; and no sooner had the waves closed over them, thạn their fate and their misconduct were forgotten; the voyage was pursued with the same jocund confidence; every man congratulated himself upon the foundness of his vessel, and believed himself able to stem the whirlpool in which his friend was swallowed, or glide over the rocks on which he was, dashed : Nor was it often observed that the fight of a wreck made any man change his course ; if he turned for a moment, he foon forgot the rudder, and left himself again to the disposal of chance.
This negligence did not proceed from indifference, or from weariness of their present condition; for not one of those who thus rushed upon destruction failed,
when he was sinking, to call upon his associates for that help which could not now be given him: And many spent their last moments in cautioning others against the folly by which they were intercepted in the midst of their course. Their benevolence was sometimes praised, but their admonitions were unregarded.
The vessels in which we had embarked being confessedly unequal to the turbulence of the stream of Life, were visibly impaired in the course of the voyage, so that every passenger was certain, that how long foever he might, by favourable accidents or by inceffant vigilance, be preserved, he must sink, at last.
This necessity of perishing might have been expected to fadden the gay, and intiniidate the daring, at least to keep tħe melancholy and timorous in perpetual torments, and hinder them from any enjoyment of the varieties and gratifications which nature offered them as the solace of their labours; yet in effect none seemed less to expect destruction than those to whom it was most dreadful; they all had the art of concealing their danger from themselves; and those who knew their inability to bear the fight of the terrors that embarrafsed their
way, took care never to look forward, but found some amusement of the present moment, and generally entertained themselves by playing with Hope, who was the constant affociate of the Voyage of Life.
Yet all that Hope ventured to promise, even to those whom she favoured most, was, not that they should escape, but that they should fink laft; and with this promise every one was satisfied, though he laughed at the test for seeming to believe it. Hope, indeed, apparently mocked the credulity of her companions; for, in proportion as their vessels grew leaky, she redoubled her assurances of safety; and none were more busy in making provision for a long voyage, than they whom all but themselves faw likely to perish soon by irreparable decay.
In the midst of the current of Life was the gulph of Intemperance, a dreadful whirlpool, interspersed with C 2
rocks, of which the pointed crags were concealed under water, and the tops covered with herbage, on which Ease spread couches of repose; and with shades, where Pleasure warbled the song of invitation. Within fight of these rocks, all who failed on the ocean of Life must necessarily pass. Reason indeed was always at hand to steer the passengers through a narrow outlet, by which they might escape ; but very few could, by her intreaties or remonftrances, be induced to put the rudder into her hand, without ftipulating that she fhould approach so near unto the rocks of Pleasure, that they might solace themselves with a short enjoyment of that delicious region, after which they always determined to pursue their course without any other deviation.
Reason was too often prevailed upon so far by these promises, as to venture her charge within the eddy of the gulph of Intemperance, where, indeed, the circumvolution was weak, but yet interrupted the course of the vefsel, and drew it, by insensible rotations, towards the centre. She then repented her temerity, and with all her force endeavoured to retreat; but the draught of the gulph was generally too strong to be overcome; and the passenger, having danced in circles with a pleasing and giddy velocity, was at last overwhelmed and lost. Those few whom Reason was able to extricate, generally suffered so many fhocks upon the points which shot out from the rocks of Pleasure, that they were unable to continue their course with the same strength and facility as before, but floated along timorously and feebly, endangered by every breeze, and shattered by every ruffle of the water, till they funk by flow degrees, after long struggles and innumerable expedients, always repining at their own folly, and warning others against the gulph of Intemperance.
There were artists who professed to repair the breaches and stop the leaks of the vessels which had been shattered on the rocks of Pleasure. Many appeared to have great confidence in their skill, and fame, indeed, were preserved by it from sinking, who had received only a