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Gngle blow; but I remarked that few vessels lasted long which had been much repaired, nor was it found that the artists themselves continued afloat longer than those who had least of their assistance.
The only advantage which, in the Voyage of Life, the cautious had above the negligent, was, that they funk later, and more suddenly; for they pailed forward till they had fometimes seen all those in whose' company they had iffued from the straits of Infancy, perish in the way, and at last were overset by a cross breeze, without the toil of resistance, or the anguish of expectation. But such as had often fallen against the rocks of Pleasure, commonly subsided by sensible degrees, contended long with the encroaching waters, and haraffed themselves by labours that scarcely Hope herself could flatter with success.
As I was looking upon the various fate of the multitude about me, I was suddenly alarmed with an admonition from some unknown power : Gaze not idly upon others, when thou thyself art sinking. Whence is this thoughtless tranquillity, when thou and they are equally endangered ! I looked, and, seeing the gulph of Intemperance before me, started and awaked.
The Necessity of forming religious Principles
at an early Age.
S soon as you are capable of reflection, you must
perceive that there is a right and wrong in human actions. You see that those who are born with the fame advantages of fortune, are not all equally profperous in the course of life. While some of them, by wife and steady conduct, attain distinction in the world, and pass their days with comfort and honour; others of the fame rank, by mean and vicious behaviour, fore feit the advantages of their birth, involve themselves in much‘misery, and end in being a disgrace to their friends, and a burden on fociety. Early, then, you may learn that it is not on the external condition in which you find yourselves placed, but on the part which you are to act, that your welfare or unhappiness, your honour or infamy, depend. Now, when beginning to act that part, what can be of greater moment, than to regulate your plan of conduct with the most serious attention, before you have yet committed any fatal or irretrievable errors? If, instead of exerting reflection for this valuable purpose, you deliver yourselves up, at fo critical a time, to floth and pleasure ; if
you refuse to listen to any counsellor but humour, or to attend to any pursuit except that of amusement; if you allow yourselves to float loose and careless on the tide of life, ready to receive any direction which the current of fashion may chance to give you ; what can you expect to follow from such beginnings? While fo many around you are undergoing the fad consequences of a like indiscretion, for what reason shall not these consequences extend to you ? Shall you only attain success without that preparation, and escape dangers without that precaution, which is required of others? Shall happiness grow up to you of its own accord, and
folicit your acceptance, when, to the rest of mankind, it is the fruit of long cultivation, and the acquisition of labour and care?- Deceive not yourselves with such arrogant hopes. Whatever be your rank, Providence will not, for your fake, reverse its established order.By liftening to wise admonitions, and tempering the vivacity of youth with a proper mixture of serious thought, you may ensure cheerfulnefs for the rest of your life; but by delivering yourselves up at prefent to giddiness and levity, you lay the foundation of lafting heaviness of heart.
The Virtue of Gentleness.
ENTLENESS corrects whatever is offensive in U our manners; and, by a constant train of hu. mane attentions, ftudies to alleviate the burden of common misery. Its office, therefore, is extensive. It is not, like fome other virtues, called forth only on peculiar emergencies; but it is continually in action, when we are engaged in intercourse with men. It ought to form our address, to regulate our speech, and to diffuse itself over our whole behaviour.
But, perhaps, it will be pleaded by some, that this gentleness, on which we now infift, regards only those smaller offices in life, which, in their eyes, are not efsential to religion and goodness. Negligent, they confess, on flight occasions, of the government of their temper, or the regulation of their behaviour, they are attentive, as they pretend, to the great duties of beneficence ; and ready, whenever the opportunity presents, to perform important services to their fellowcreatures. But let fuch persons reflect, that the occasions of performing those important good deeds very rarely occur. Perhaps their situation in life, or the nature of their connections, may, in a great measure, exclude them from such opportunities. Great events give scope for great virtues; but the main tenor of human life is composed of small occurrences. Within the round of these, lie the materials of the happiness of most men; the subjects of their duty, and the trials of their virtue. Virtue must be formed and supported, not by unfrequent acts, but by daily and repeated exertions. In order to its becoming either vigorous or useful, it must be habitually active ; not breaking forth occasionally with a tranfient luftre, like the blaze of the comet; but regular in its returns, like the light of day; not like the aromatic gale, which fometimes feasts
the sense; but, like the ordinary breeze, which purifies the air, and renders it healthful.
Years may pass over our heads, without affording any opportunity for acts of high beneficence, or extenfive utility. Whereas not a day passes, but in the common transactions of life, and especially in the intercourse of domestic fociety, gentleness finds place for promoting the happiness of others, and for strengthening in ourselves the habit of virtue.
Gentleness is, in truth, the great avenue to mutual enjoyment. Amidst the strife of interfering interests, it tempers the violence of contention, and keeps alive the feeds of harmony.
Whatever ends a good man can be supposed to pur. fuest'gentleness, will be found to favour them; it prepoffefses and wins every heart; it persuades, when every other argument fails ; often disarms the fierce, and often melts the stubborn. Whereas, harshness confirms the opposition it would subdue; and, of an indifferent person, creates an enemy, Whatever
be the effect of this virtue on our external condition, its influence on our internal enjoyment is certain and powerful. That inward tranquil. lity which it promotes, is the first requisite to every pleasurable feeling. It is the calm and clear atmos phere, the serenity and sunshine of the mind. When benignity and gentleness reign within, we are always least in hazard of being ruffled from without; every person, and every occurrence, are beheld in the most favourable light. But let some clouds of disgust and ill-humour gather on the mind, and immediately the scene changes : Nature seems transformed ; and the appearance of all things is blackened to our view. The gentle mind is like the smooth stream, which reflects every object in its just proportion, and in its fairest colours. The violent spirit, like troubled waters, renders back the images of things distorted and broken; and communicates to them all that disordered motion which arises solely from its own agitation.