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parsimony, would they not condemn the bounty of Heaven ! If not upon the foolish and the vicious, where shall the sun diffuse his light, or the clouds distil their dew? Where shall the lips of the spring breathe fragrance, or the hand of autumn diffuse plenty ? Remember, Carazan, that thou hast shut compassion from thy heart, and grasped thy treasures with a hand of iron ; thou hast lived for thyself; and, therefore, henceforth for ever thou shalt subsist alone. From the light of heaven, and from the society of all beings, shalt thou be driven ; solitude shall protract the lingering hours of eternity, and darkness aggravate the horrors of despair.”
At this moment I was driven by some secret and irresisti. ble power, through the glowing system of creation, and passed innumerable worlds in a moment. As I approached the verge of nature, I perceived the shadows of total and boundless vacuity deepen before me, a dreadful region of eternal silence, solitude, and darkness ! Unutterable horror seized me at the prospect, and this exclamation hurst from me with all the vehemence of desire : "O! that I had been doomed for ever to the common receptacle of impenitence and guilt! There society would have alleviated the torment of despair, and the rage of fire could not have excluded the comfort of light. Or, if I had been condemned to reside in a comet, that would return but once in a thousand years to the regions of light and life; the hope of these periods, however distant, would cheer me in the dread interval of cold and darkness, and the vicissitudes would divide eternity into time.' While this thought passed over my mind, I lost sight of the remotest star, and the last glimmering of light was quenched in utter darkness. The agonies of despair every moment increased, as every moment augmented my distance from the last habitable world. I reflected with intolerable anguish, that when ten thousand thousand years had carried me beyond the reach of all but that Power who fills infinitude, I should still look forward into an immense abyss of darkness, through which I should still drive without succour and without society, farther and farther still, for ever and for ever. I then stretched out my hands towards the regions of existence, with an emotion that awakened me. Thus have I been taught to estimate society, like every other blessing, by its loss. My heart is warmed to liberality; and I am wealous to communicate the happiness which I feel, to those from whom it is derived; for the society of one wretch, whom in the pride of prosperity. I would have spurned from
my door, would, in the dreadful solitude to which I was con. demned, have been more highly prized, than the gold of Afric, or the gems of Golconda.
At this reflection upon his dream, Carazan became suddeply silent, and looked upwards in ecstacy of gratitude and devotion. The multitude were stiuck at once with the precept and example ; and the caliph, to whom the event was related, that he might be liberal beyond the power of gold, commanded it to be recorded for the benefit of posterity.
Creation the product of Divine Goodness.
CREATION is a display of Supreme goodness, no less than of wisdom and power. It is the communication of numberless benefits, together with existence, to all who live. Justly is the earth said to be, “ full of the goodness of the Lord." Throughout the whole system of things, we behold a manifest tendency to promote the benefit either of the rational, or the animal creation. In some parts of nature, this tendency may be less obvious than in others. Objects, which to us seem useless, or hurtful, may sometimes occur ; and strange it were, if in so vast and complicated a system, difficulties of this kind should not occasionally present them. selves to beings, whose views are so narrow and limited as ours. It is well known, that in proportion as the knowledge of nature has increased among men, these difficulties have diminished. Satisfactory accounts have been given of many perplexing appearances. Useful and proper purposes have been found to be promoted, by objects which were, at first; thought unprofitable or noxious.
Malignant must be the mind of that person ; with a distorted eye he must have contemplated creation, who can suspect, that it is not the production of Infinite Benignity and Goodness. How many clear marts of benevolent intention appear, every where around us! What a profusion of beauty and ornament is poured forth on the face of nature! What a magnificent spectacle presented to the view of man! What supply contrived for his wants ! What a variety of objects set before him, to gratify his senses, to employ his imderstanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and glad den his heart! Indeed, the very existence of the universe is a standing memorial of the goodness of the Creator. For nothing except goodness could originally prompt creation. The Supreme Being, self-existent and all-sufficient, bad no wants which he could seek to supply. No new accession of felicity or glory was to result to him, from creatures which he made. It was goodness communicating and pouring itself forth, goodness delighting to impart happiness in all its forms; which in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. Hence, those innumerable orders of living creatures with which the earth is peopled; from the lowest class of sensitive being, to the highest rank of reason and intelligence. Wherever there is life, there is some degree of happiness ; there are enjoyments suited to the different powers of feel. ing; and earth, and air, and water, are, with magnificent liberality, made to teem with life.
Let those striking displays of Creating Goodness call forth, on our part, responsive love, gratitude, and veneration. To this great Father of all existence and life, to Him who hath raised us up to behold the light of day, and to enjoy all the comforts which his world presents, let our hearts send forth a perpetual hymn of praise. Evening and morning let us celebrate Him, who maketh the morning and the evening to rejoice over our heads; who " openeth his hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing." Let us rejoice, that we are brought into a world, which is the production of In. finite Goodness ; and over which a Supreme Intelligence presides. Convinced that he hateth not the works which he hath made, nor hath brought creatures into existence, merely to suffer unnecessary pain, let us, even in the midst of sorrow, receive with calm submission, whatever he is pleased to send: thankful for what he bestows; and satisfied, that, without good reason, he takes nothing away.
It is not in the tremendous appearances of power merely, that a good and well-instructed man beholds the Creator of the world. In the constant and regular working of his hands, in the silent operations of his wisdom and goodness, ever going on throughout nature, he delights to contemplate and adore him. This is one of the chief fruits to be derived from that more perfect knowledge of the Creator, which is imparted to us by the Christian revelation. Impressing our minds with a just sense of all his attributes, as not wise and great only, but as gracious, and merciful, let it lead us to view, every object of calm and undisturbed nature, with a perpetual reference to its Author. We shall then bebold
all the scenes which the heavens and the earth present, with more refined feelings, and sublimer emotions, than they wbo regard them solely as objects of curiosity, or amusement. Nature will appear animated, and enlivened, by the presence of its Author. When the sun rises or sets in the heavens ; when spring paints the earth, when summer shines in its glory, when autumn pours forth its fruits, or winter returns in its awful forms, we shall view the Creator manifesting himself in his works. We shall meet his presence in the fields. We shall feel his influence in the cheering beam. We shall hear his voice in the wind. We shall behold our. selves every where surrounded with the glory of that uni. versal Spirit, who fills, pervades, and upholds all. We shall live in the world as in a great and august temple ; where the presence of the Divinity, who inhabits it, inspires devo. tion.
The benefits of religious retirement
An entire retreat from worldly affairs, is not what reli gion requires ; nor does it even enjoin a great retreat from them. Some stations of life would not permit this ; and there are few stations which render it necessary. The chief field, both of the duty and of the improvement of man, lies in active life. By the graces and virtues which he exercises amidst his fellow creatures, he is trained up for hea, ven. A total retreat from the world, is so far from being the perfection of religion, that, some particular cases ex cepted, it is no other than the abuse of it.
But, though entire retreat would lay us aside from the part for which Providence chiefly intended us, it is certain, that, without occasional retirement, we must act that part very ill. There will be neither consistency in the conduct, nor dignity in the character, of one who gets apart no share of his time for meditation and reflection. In the heat and bustle of life, while passion is every moment throwing false colours on the objects around us, nothing can be viewed in a just light. If we wish that reason should exert her dative pow. er, we must step aside froin the crowd, into the cool and silent shade: It is there that, with sober and steady eye, shet.ex. amines, what is good or ill, what is wise or foolish, in human conduct; she looks back on the past, she looks forward to
the future ; and forms plans, not for the present moment only, but for the whole of life. How should that man discharge any part of his duty aright, who never suffers his passions to cool ? and how should his passions cool, who is engaged, without interruption, in the tumult of the world ? This incessant stir may be called, the perpetual drunkenness of life. It raises that eager fermentation of spirit, which will be ever sending forth the dangerous fumes of rashness and folly. Whereas he who mingles religious setreat with worldly affairs, remains calm, and master of himself. He is not whirled round, and rendered giddy, by the agitation of the world ; but, from that sacred retirement, in which he has been conversant among higher objects, comes forth into the world with manly tranquillity, fortified by the principles which he has formed, and prepared for whatever may befall.
As he who is unacquainted with retreat, cannot sustain any character with propriety, so neither can he enjoy the world with any advantage. Of the two classes of men who are most apt to be negligent to this duty, the men of pleasure, and the men of business, it is hard to say which suffer most, in point of enjoyment, from that neglect. To the former, every moment appears to be lost, which partakes not of the vivacity of amusement. To connect one plan of gaiety with another, is their whole study; till, in a very short. time, nothing remains but to tread the same beaten round; to enjoy what they have already enjoyed, and to see what they have often seen. Pleasures thus drawn to the dregs, become vapid and tasteless. What might have pleased long, if enjoyed with temperance, and mingled with retirement, being devoured with such eager haste, speedily surfeits and disgusts. Hence, these are the persons, who, after having run through a rapid course of pleasure, after har ung glittered for a few years in the foremost line of public amusements, are the most apt to fly at last to a melancholy retreat ; not led by religion or reason, but driven by disappointed hopes, and exhausted spirits, to the pensive conclusion, that " ali is vanity.” · If uninterrupted intercourse with the world wears out the man of pleasure, it no less oppresses the man of business and ambition. The strongest spirit must at length sink under it. The happiest temper must be soured by incessant returns of the opposition, the inconstancy, and treachery of men. For he who lives always in the bustle of the world,