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which it cannot well express. The emotion is certainly delightful; but it is altogether of the serious kind; a degree of awfulness and solemnity, even approaching to severity, commonly attends it when at its height; very distinguishable from the more gay and brisk emotion raised by beautiful objects.
The simplest form of external grandeur appears in the vast and boundless prospects presented to us by nature; such as wide extended plains, to which the eye can see no limits; the firmament of heaven; or the boundless expanse of the ocean. All vastness produces the impression of sublimity. It is to be remarked, however, that space extended in length makes not so strong an impression as height or depth. Though a boundless plain be a grand object, yet a high mountain, to which we look up, or an awful precipice or tower whence we look down on the objects which lie below, is still more so. The excessive grandeur of the firmament arises from its height joined to its boundless extent; and that of the ocean, not from its extent alone, but from the perpetual motion and irresistible force of that mass of waters. Wherever space is concerned, it is clear that amplitude or greatness of extent, in one dimension or other, is necessary to grandeur. Remove all bounds from any object, and you presently render it su Mime. Hence infinite space, endless numbers, and eternal duration, fill the mind with great ideas.
From this some have imagined that vastness, or amplitude of extent, is the foundation of all sublimity. But I cannot be of this opinion, because many objects appear sublime which have no relation to space at all. Such, for instance, is great loudness of sound. The burst of thunder or of cannon, the roaring of winds, the shouting of multitudes, the sound of vast cataracts of water, are all incontestably grand objects. “I heard the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters, and of mighty thunderings, saying, Allelujah.” In general, we may observe that great power and strength exerted always raise sublime ideas; and perhaps the most copious source of these is derived from this quarter. Hence the grandeur of earthquakes and burning mountains; of great conflagrations; of the stormy ocean, and overflowing waters; of tempests of wind; of thunder and lightning; and of all the uncommon violence of the elements. Nothing is more sublime than mighty power and strength. A stream that runs within its banks is a beautiful object, but when it rushes down with the impetuosity and noise of a torrent, it presently becomes a sublime one. From lions and other animals of strength are drawn sublime comparisons in poets. A race-horse is looked upon with pleasure; but it is the war-horse, “whose neck is clothed with thunder," that carries grandeur in its idea.
PROPER DISTRIBUTION OF TIME.
Time we ought to consider as a sacred trust, committed to us by God; of which we are now the depositories, and are to render an account at the last. That portion of it which he has allotted to us is intended partly for the concerns of this world, partly for those of the next. Let each of these occupy, in the distribution of our time, that space which properly belongs to it.
Let not the hours of hospitality and pleasure interfere with the discharge of our necessary affairs; and let not what we call necessary affairs encroach upon the time which is due to devotion. To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. If we delay till to-morrow what ought to be done to-day, we overcharge the morrow with a burden which belongs not to it. We load the wheels of time, and prevent them from carrying us along smoothly.
He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows out that plan, carries on a thread which will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of light, which darts itself through all his affairs. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, all things lie huddled together in one chaos, which admits neither of distribution nor review.
The first requisite for introducing order into the management of time, is to be impressed with a just sense of its value. Let us consider well how much depends upon it, and how fast it flies away. The bulk of men are in nothing more capricious and inconsistent than in their appreciation of time. When they think of it as the measure of their continuance on earth, they highly prize it, and with the greatest anxiety seek to lengthen it out.
But when they view it in separate parcels, they appear to hold it in contempt, and squander it with inconsiderate profusion. While they complain that life is short, they are often wishing its different periods at an end. Covetous of every other possession, of time only they are prodigal. They allow every idle man to be master of this property, and make every frivolous occupation welcome that can help them to consume it.
Among those who are so careless of time, it is not to be expected that order should be observed in its distribution. But, by
this fatal neglect, how many materials of severe and lasting regret are they laying up in store for themselves! The time which they suffer to pass away in the midst of confusion, bitter repentance seeks afterwards in vain to recall. What was omitted to be done at its proper moment arises to be the torment of some future season.
Manhood is disgraced by the consequences of neglected youth. Old age, oppressed by cares that belonged to a former period, labors under a burden not its own. At the close of life, the dying man beholds with anguish that his days are finishing, when his preparation for eternity is hardly commenced. Such are the effects of a disorderly waste of time, through not attending to its value. Everything in the life of such persons is misplaced. Nothing is performed aright, from not being performed in due season.
But he who is orderly in the distribution of his time takes the proper method of escaping those manifold evils. He is justly said to redeem the time. By proper management he prolongs it. He lives much in little space; more in a few years than others do in many. He can live to God and his own soul, and at the same time attend to all the lawful interests of the present world. He looks back on the past, and provides for the future.
He catches and arrests the hours as they fly. They are marked down for useful purposes, and their memory remains. Whereas those hours fleet by the man of confusion like a shadow. His days and years are either blanks, of which he has no remembrance, or they are filled up with so confused and irregular a succession of unfinished transactions, that though he remembers he has been busy, yet he can give no account of the business which has employed him.
JAMES BEATTIE, 1735–1803.
JAMES BEATTIE, a much admired poet and a distinguished moral philosopher, was born in Lawrence Kirk, Kincardinshire, in the north east part of Scotland, on the 20th of October, 1735. His father, who was poor, died when the poet was only ten years old ; but his elder brother kept him at school till he obtained a “bursary” (a kind of benefaction for poor scholars) at the Marischal College, Aberdeen, where he remained four years. Having received his degree of A. M. in 1753, he took a small school at Fordoun, near his native village. Here he employed his time
chiefly in studying the classics, and in composing various small poetical pieces, which appeared from time to time in the “Scot's Magazine," and drew him more and more into notice, until, in 1758, he was appointed usher in the grammar-school at Aberdeen ; and in two years after, he was elected Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic in the Marischal College. He immediately prepared a course of lectures for the students, and in 1761 published a small volume of poems, consisting chiefly of those which had already appeared anonymously in the “Scot's Magazine." In 1765, he published his poem “The Judgment of Paris," which has but little merit. The same year he became acquainted with the poet Gray, then on a visit to Scotland, whom he reverently admired; and a friendship was formed between the two poets which terminated only with the death of Gray.
In June, 1767, he married Miss Mary Dun, daughter of the rector of the grammar-school at Aberdeen. In the same year he began to prepare his celebrated “ Essay on Truth,” which appeared in 1770; and so much in. terest did it excite that, in less than four years, it went through five editions, and was translated into several foreign languages. Its chief aim was to refute the skeptical writings of Hume, or, in Dr. Beattie's own words, “ to overthrow scepticism, and establish conviction in its place.”! In 1771, he gave to the world the first book of his celebrated poem, “The Minstrel." It was received with universal approbation. Honors flowed in upon him from every quarter. He visited London, and was admitted to all its brilliant and distinguished circles; and Goldsmith, Johnson, Garrick, and Rey. nolds were soon numbered among his friends. On a second visit in 1773, he had an interview with the king and queen, which resulted in his re. ceiving a pension of two hundred pounds per annum.
In 1774, Beattie published the second book of “The Minstrel," the suc. cess of which quite equalled that of the former. A new edition of his “Es. say on Truth" appeared in 1776, together with three other essays-on Poetry and Music; on Laughter and Ludicrous Composition ; and on the Utility of Classical Learning. In 1786, he published his “ Evidences of Chris. tianity;" and in the year following, appeared his “Elements of Moral Science." In 1790 he lost his eldest son ;' and, in 1796, his only remaining
' A very severe article on this essay may be found in the Edinburgh Review, vol. x. p. 171.
. In the early training of his eldest and beloved son, Dr. Beattie adopted an expedient of a romantic and interesting description. His object was to give him the first idea of a Supreme Being; and his method, as Dr. Porteus, Bishop of London, remarked, “ had all the imagination of Rousseau, without his folly and extravagance."
"He had,” says Beattie,“ reached his fifth (or sixth) year, knew the alphabet, and could read a little ; but had received no particular information with respect to the Author of his being, because I thought he could not yet understand such information, and because I had learned, from my own experience, that to be made to repeat words not understood is extremely detrimental to the faculties of a young mind. In the corner of a little garden, without informing any person of the circumstance, I wrote in the mould, with my finger, the three initial letters of his name, and sowing garden cresses in the furrows, covered up the seed, and smoothed the ground. Ten days after he caine running to me, and with astonishment in his countenance, told me that his name was growing in
one. These afflictions, together with the insanity of his wife, of which there were some indications even a few years after they were married, seriously affected his health. In April, 1799, he suffered a stroke of the palsy, a repetition of which, in 1802, deprived him of the use of his limbs; and death finally ended his sufferings, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, on the 18th of August, 1803. He was buried beside his two sons in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen
The fame of Dr. Beattie rests chiefly upon “The Minstrel.” It is a didactic poem, in the Spenserian stanza, designed “to trace the progress of a poetical genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a minstrel.” The character of Edwin, the Minstrel (in which Beattie embodied his own early feelings and poetical aspirations), is very finely drawn, and a vein of pathetic moral reflection runs through the whole of the poem, which is of the purest kind, and highly elevating in its influence.
The character of Dr. Beattie is delineated in his writings, of which the most prominent features are purity of sentiment, and warm attachment to the principles of religion and morality. His style is classical, and always perspicuous. All his different critical, philological, and moral treatises are compositions of a very pleasing character; and it may with truth be said, that no one can read his works with a candid mind, and rise from the perusal of them unimproved-which is the greatest praise of an author.
the garden. I smiled at the report, and seemed inclined to disregard it; but he insisted on my going to see what had happened. “Yes," said I, carelessly, on coming to the place, “I see it is so; but there is nothing in this worth notice; it is mere chance," and I went away. He followed me, and taking hold of my coat, said, with some earnestness, “It could not be mere chance, for that somebody must have contrived matters so as to produce it.” I pretend not to give his words or my own, for I have forgotten both; but I give the substance of what passed between us in such language as we both understood. “So you think," I said, " that what appears so regular as the letters of your name cannot be by chance ?" "Yes," said he with firmness, “I think so !” “Look at yourself," I replied, “and consider your hands and fingers, your legs and feet, and other limbs; are they not regular in their appearance, and useful to you?' He said they were. « Came you then hither," said I, “by chance?' . No," he answered, “that cannot be; something must have made me." " And who is that something ?" I asked. He said he did not know. (I took particular notice that he did not say, as Rousseau fancies a child in like circumstances would say, that his parents made him.) I had now gained the point I aimed at; and saw that his reason taught hiin (though he could not so express it) that what begins to be must have a cause, and that what is formed with regularity must have an intelligent cause. I therefore told him the name of the Great Being who made him and all the world, concerning whose adorable nature I gave him such information as I thought he could in some measure comprehend. The lesson affected him deeply, and he never forgot either it or the circumstance that introduced it."