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“ but will esteem you in their hearts, even while they “ laugh, and in the end revere your virtue.
“ Let that generous courage, which conscious recti. “ tude inspires, enable you to despise and neglect the “ assaults of ridicule. When all other modes of attack « have failed, ridicule has succeeded. The bulwark 6 of virtue, which stood firmly against the weapons of “ argument, has tottered on its basis, or fallen to the «s. ground, on the flightest touch of magic ridicule. In " the school, in the college, in the world at large, it is " the powerful engine which is used to level an exalted « character. You will infallibly be attacked with it, " if you be in any respect fingular ; and fingular in “ many respects you must be, if you be eminently vir$5 tuous.
“With all your good qualities, unite the humility * of a Christian. Be not morose. Be cautious of " overvaluing yourself. Make allowances for the vices o and errors which you will daily see. Remember " that all have not had the benefit of moral instruction ; " that a great part of mankind are in effect orphans, « turned loose into the wide world, without one faith« ful friend to give them advice; left to find their own " way in a dark and rugged wilderness, with snares, « and quicksands, and chasms around them. « If you
follow such advice, as, from the pure mo" tive of serving you most essentially, I have given you, “ I will not indeed promise that you shall not be un« fortunate, according to the common idea of the “ word; but I will confidently assure you, that you “ shall not be unhappy. I will not promise you world“ ly success, but I will engage that you shall deserve it, " and shall know how to bear its absence."
On an excessive and indiscriminate Love of
Company. . THE
"HE love of company and of social pleasures is natural to us,
and attended with some of the sweeteft fatisfactions of human life; but, like every other love, when it proceeds beyond the limits of moderation, it ceases to produce its natural effect, and terminates in disguftful fatiety. The foundation-stone and the pillar on which we build the fabric of our felicity, must be laid in our own hearts. Amusement, mirth, agreeable variety, and even improvement, may be sometimes fought in the gaiety of mixed company, and in the usual diversions of the world; but, if we found our general happiness on these, we shall do little more than raise castles in the air, or build houses on the sand.
To derive the proper pleasure and improvement from company, it ought to be select, and to congist of persons of character, respectable both for their morals and their understandings. Mixed and undiftinguished society tends only to dissipate our ideas, and induce a laxity of principles and practice. The pleasure it affords is of a coarse, vulgar, noisy, and rude kind. Indeed, it commonly ends in weariness and disgust, as even they are ready to confess, who yet constantly pursue it, as if their chief good confisted in living in a crowd.
Among those, indeed, who are exempted by their circumstances from professional and official employments, and who profeffedly devote themselves to a life of pleasure, little else seems to constitute the idea of it, but an unceasing succession of company, public or private. The dress, and other circumstances preparatory to the enjoyment of this pleasure, scarcely leave a moment for reflection. Day after day is spent in the same toilsome round, till a habit is formed, which renders dissipation neceffary to existence. What, indeed, is A 3
life or its enjoyments without settled principles, laudable purposes, mental exertions, and internal comfort ? It is a state worse than non-entity, since it pofseffes a restless power of action, productive of nothing but misery.
I very seriously recommend, therefore, to all who wish to enjoy their existence, (and who entertains not that wish?) that they should acquire not only a power of bearing, but of taking a pleasure in temporary folitude. Every one must, indeed, sometimes be alone. Let him not repine when he is alone, but learn to set a value on the golden moments. It is then that he is enabled to study himself and the world around him. It is then that he has an opportunity of seeing things as they are, and of removing the deceitful veil, which almost every thing assumes in the busy scene of worldly employments. The foul is enabled to retire into her félf, and to exert those energies which are always attended with sublime pleasure. She is enabled to see the dependent, frail, and wretched state of man as the child of nature, and incited by her discovery to implore grace and protection from the Lord of the universe. They, indeed, who fly from solitude, can seldom be religious ; for religion requires meditation. They may be said to live without God in the world ; not, it is true, from atheistical principles, but from a carelessness of disposition; a truly deplorable state, the consciousness of which could not fail to cloud the gaiety of those halcyon beings, who sport in the sunshine of unremitted pleasure.
I may, I believe, affert, that the love of pleasure, the follies of fashion, and the extravagancies of dissipation, are greater enemies to religion, than all the writers who have endeavoured to attract notice by attacking Christianity. Many, it is to be feared, have lived and died in the regions of gaiety, without ever having felt a sense of religion. Not only religion, virtue, and prudence, will be
promoted by occasional solitude, but a relish will be given
to the rational enjoyments of a pleasurable life. Viciffitude is effential to every state of durable enjoyment. He who has spent a little part of his time in his closet or in his groves, will partake of the gaieties of the affembly with fresh delight; as a man, when he is hungry, finds an additional flavour in his daily food.
But it must be remembered, that, in recommending solitude, I mean only occasional folitude. There is no doubt but man is made for action, and that his duties and pleasures are often most numerous and most important amidst the busy hum of men.” Many vices, and many corrupt dispositions, have been fostered in a folitary life.
But nothing without moderation is durable or wife. Let there be a sweet interchange of retirement and affociation, of repose and activity. A few hours spent every day by the votaries of pleasure in serious meditation, would render their pleasure pure, and more unmixed with misery. It would give them knowledge, so that they would see how far they might advance in their pursuit without danger; and resolution, so that they might retreat when danger approached. · It would teach them how to live; a knowledge, which indeed they think they poffefs already; and it would also teach them, what they are often too little solicitous to learn, how to die,
BIDAH, the son of Abenfina, left the caravansera
early in the morning, and pursued his journey through the plains of Indoftan. He was fresh and vigorous with rest, he was animated with hope, he was incited by desire; he walked swiftly forward over the vallies, and saw the hills rising gradually before him. As he passed along, his ears were delighted with the morning song of the bird of paradise ; he was fanned by the last flutters of the finking breeze, and sprinkled with dew by groves of spices; he fometimes contemplated the towering height of the oak, monarch of the hills; and sometimes caught the gentle fragrance of the primrose, eldest daughter of the spring : all his fenses were gratified, and all care was banished from the heart.
Thus he went on till the sun approached his meridian, and the increasing heat preyed upon his strength;