« PreviousContinue »
and confirmed before, will convert those bad days into good
If you would be happy when you die, be pious while you live. If you would be cheerful when you are old, be religious while you are young. These objects you will acknowledge are well worthy your pursuit; and to your own convictions I appeal, that there are no other means by which you can attain these objects. To those who have let that golden opportunity slip by them; whose youth is past, and the spirit of devotion not attained; whose manhood is arrived, and that temper not yet formed; whose old age is come, and their hearts still sensual, frivolous and vain; I have no comfort to administer, for I have no authority to comfort you. Your best friends can only pity you and pray for you, that God will take away your stony hearts, and give you hearts of flesh. He can do it no doubt; will he do it? is the question. Never, my young friends, never let that question be asked concerning you. Surely you do not envy their condition, concerning whom it may be justly asked. Take heed that you do not come into their place.
To conclude: do not fear to admit the sentiments, and to cultivate the spirit of devotion; there is nothing tedious, dull, or irksome in it. It is pleasant even as pleasure's self. Though I am about to adopt the language of a poet, it is not the language of imagination merely that I speak; what has been said of liberty, with some degree of truth, may, with the most perfect truth be said of the genuine spirit of devotion, it alleviates trouble and enhances pleasure,
"It makes the gloomy face of nature gay,
PATERNUS had but one son, whom he educated himself. As they were sitting together in the garden, when the child was ten years old, Paternus thus addressed him :-Though you now think yourself so happy because you have hold of my hand, you are in the hands, and under the tender care of a much greater Father and Friend than I am, whose love
to you is far greater than mine, and from whom you receive such blessings as no mortal can give.
That God whom you see me daily worship; whom I daily call upon to bless both you and me, and all mankind; whose wondrous acts are recorded in those Scriptures which you constantly read, that God who created the heavens and the earth; who was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom Job blessed and praised in the greatest afflictions; who delivered the Israelites out of the hands of the Egyptians; who was the protector of Joseph, Moses and Daniel; who sent so many prophets into the world; who appointed his Son Jesus Christ to redeem mankind :-this God, who has done all these great things, who has created so many millions of men, with whom the spirits of the good will live and be happy for ever;-this great God, the creator of worlds, of angels, and men, is your Father and Friend.
I myself am not half the age of this shady oak, under which we sit many of our fathers have sat under its boughs, we have all of us called it ours in our turn, though it stands, and drops its masters, as it drops its leaves.
You see, my son, this wide and large firmament over our heads, where the sun and moon, and all the stars appear in their turns. If you were to be carried to any of these bodies, at this vast distance from us, you would still discover others as much above you, as the stars which you see here are above the earth. Were you to go up or down, east or west, north or south, you would find the same height without any top, and the same depth without any bottom.
Yet, so great is God, that all these bodies added together are only as a grain of sand in his sight. But you are as much the care of this great God and Father of all worlds, and all spirits, as if he had no son but you, or there were no creature for him to love and protect but you alone. He numbers the hairs of your head, watches over you sleeping and waking, and has preserved you from a thousand dangers, unknown both to you and me.
Therefore, my child, fear, and worship, and love God. Your eyes indeed cannot yet see him, but all things which you see, are so many marks of his power, and presence, and he is nearer to you, than any thing which you can see.
Take him for your Lord, and Father, and Friend; look up unto him as the fountain and cause of all the good which yon have received from me, and reverence me only as the bearer and minister of God's good things to you. He that
blessed my father before I was born, will bless you when I am dead.
As you have been used to look to me in all your actions, and have been afraid to do any thing, unless you first knew my will; so let it now be a rule of your life to look up to God in all your actions, to do every thing in his fear, and to abstain from every thing which is not according to his will.
Next to this, love mankind with such tenderness and affection, as you love yourself. Think how God loves all mankind, how merciful he is to them, how tender he is of them, how carefully he preserves them, and then strive to love the world as God loves it.
Do good, my son, first of all to those who most deserve it, but remember to do good to all. The greatest sinners receive daily instances of God's goodness towards them; he nourishes and preserves them, that they may repent and return to him; do you therefore imitate God, and think no one too bad to receive your relief and kindness, when you see that he wants it.
Let your dress be sober, clean and modest; not to set off the beauty of your person, but to declare the sobriety of your mind; that your outward garb may resemble the inward plainness and simplicity of your heart. For it is highly reasonable that you should be one man, and appear outwardly such as you are inwardly.
In meat and drink, observe the rules of christian temperance and sobriety; consider your body only as the servant and minister of your soul; and only so nourish it, as it may best perform an humble and obedient service.
Love humility in all its instances; practise it in all its parts; for it is the noblest state of the soul of man: it will set your heart and affections right towards God, and fill you with whatever temper is tender and affectionate towards men.
Let every day therefore be a day of humility: condescend to all the weakness and infirmities of your fellowcreatures; cover their frailties; love their excellences; encourage their virtues; relieve their wants; rejoice in their prosperity; compassionate their listress; receive their friendship; overlook their unkindness; forgive their malice; be a servant of servants; and condescend to do the lowest offices for the lowest of mankind.
It seems but the other day since I received from my dear
father the same instructions which I am now leaving with you. And the God who gave me ears to hear, and a heart to receive, what my father enjoined on me, will, I hope, give you grace to love and follow the same instructions.
SELECT SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS.
The source of happiness.
REASON'S whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence.
And peace, O Virtue! peace is all thy own.
An approving mind:
What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted?
Tir'd Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep!
Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes;
The benefit of afflictions.
That feelingly persuade me what I am.
The value of time.
Youth is not rich in time; it may be poor:
While thro' this fleeting life's short, yarious day,
The tender affections.
Who, that bears
A human bosom, hath not often felt,
How dear are all those ties which bind our race
Their force; let Fortune's wayward hand, the while, Be kind or cruel?
MO ཏུ ཙམ ཏི ཏ།
Dear is that shed to which bis soul conforms;
Homage at the altar of Truth.
Before thy mystick altar, heavenly Truth,
The succession of human beings.
Like leaves on trees the life of man is found,
They fall successive, and successive rise: