« ForrigeFortsett »
Mrs. K. Well then, I take upon me to declare, that the people called Quakers, do verily believe in the Holy Scriptures, and rejoice with the most full and reverential acceptance of the divine history of facts, as recorded in the New Testament.' That we, consequently, fully believe those historical articles summed up in what is called The Apostle's Creed, wilh these two exceptions only, to wit, our Saviour's descent into hell, and the resurrection of the body. These mysteries we humbly leave just as they stand in the holy text, there being, from that ground, no authority for such assertion as is drawn up in the Creed. And now, Doctor, canst thou still deny to us the honourable title of Christians?
Dr. J. Well!—I must own 1 did not at all suppose you had so much to say for yourselves. However, I cannot forgive that little slut, for presuming to take upon herself as she has done.
Mrs. K. I hope, Doctor, thou wilt not remain unforgiving; and that you will renew your friendship, and joyfully meet at last in those bright regions where pride and prejudice can never enter!
Dr. J. Meet her! I never desire to meet fools any where.
(Tkis sarcastic turn of wit was so pleasantly received, that the. Doctor joined in the laugh; his spleen was dissipated; he took his coffee, and became, for the remainder of the evening, very^ cheerful and entertaining.
INSTANCE OF SELF-OECEPTTOV. An instance in which the heart of man discovers its deceitful character towards himself, is seen in the friendly veil, with which it covers from his eye the vice of those actions, when committed by himself, of which, when exibited to his view in the conduct of others, the vice is sufficiently obvious to him, and which, as^e then examines withyear, lie censures without mercy. The very same sort of criminal actions, differing in circumstance, but perfectly agreeing in spirit, wear very different colours, when presented to us in the practice of olhers, and in our own.
Hark, how loudly that man complains of oppresion in the rulers of his country! With all the vehements of political enthusiasm, he harangues upon the holiness of Liberty, and the sacrilege of them that dare to invade it. Follow him to his own house. Behold him acting tlr3 tyrant there ; setting his foot upon the neck of his family; causing the domestic circle to fear and tremble "before him; pushing parental authority into oppresion; invading the filial rights; exacting a slavish submission to his will, from mind* ■rtture in reason, (upon points, on which to that reason alone their obedience belongs. Of them that tread down a people, he can clearly discern, and heartily execrate, the turpitude ; but in this conduct of his own, the domestic despot sees nothing to censure. —Another is vehement in his imputation of guilt to them, that break into his house, or infest his roads, who is guilty of the equally glaring, though the more elegant* injustice, the more modish dishonesty, and politer robbery, of exposing at the table of chance, or squandering in the house of feasting, the provision of an impoverished family and the property of defrauded industry.—Many who omit innumerable opportunities of doing good, which though they are poor, are presented to them, (for silver and gold are far from comprising all the good which is to be given and received by human creatures,) are yet eager to upbraid, and bitter in their accusation of the opulent and powerful, for omissions of munificence and protection; for feeding so few of the hungry; for clothing so small a number of the naked; for defending no more that are oppressed.—The poor man that steals his purse, is pronounced a villain by him, who, in the circles of the rich, delights to defame, and who, without calling himself by any such name, or viewing himself in such light, allows himself to commit robbery after robbery upon that reputation, which " not enriches him" and leaves the object of this moral rapacity " poor indeed."—Thousands declaim upon the impiety of the self-destroyer, and call the ground accursed where he lies, who are themselves chargeable with the slower, but sufficiently speedy suicide of intemperance, A violent and tragical termination to their days, they are not tempted to make. They have no inducement to so dreadful a deed. They labour under no depression of spirit; their situations are pleasant and gay; their history glides along in a smooth stream, and all things smile upon them. But that kind of untimely termination to life, which they are tempted, they consent to put to it.—In lifting to their lips the cup of daily excess, they drink down poison, as fatally efficacious, in the end, as that which works in the veins with more expedition. The nocturnal riot, and irregular rest, are as deadly, though not so striking and so instantaneous, in their operations, as the point of that steel, as the explosion of that tube, which brought his wretched existence to a close, whose gored bosom, or whose shattered brow, excited the shudder of horror in every spectator of his remains, and calls the blush of shame into the face of his family.—They that shatter theii constitution, and shorten their life, by sensual excess, are distinguished from them, to whose self-dismission from the world the laws have refused titi rights of christian interment, and of whose act the tender interpretation of mercy is loss of reason, only by doing the same thing from a gayer motive, and by being a little longer in doing it. Allow me to add, by how many, is the murderer of another regarded as a monster, by how many, would every exertion in their power be made to deliver him into the hands of justice, who have themselves the heart, to seduce youth front that innocence and virtue, without which life is of no value; to put that soul to death, in which resides, to which is confined, that likeness of God, from the consideration of which the Jewish law-giver deduces the peculiar enormity of shedding the blood of man ; to murder peace of mind: to occasion the death of honour; and, by means of that cruel stab, by the same barbarous stroke, to plunge a dagger into parental tenderness, and bring the grey hairs with sorrow to the grave! Strange force of self-deception! that he who stains himself with this slaughter of happiness and of honour, this havoc of all that is dear to human nature, should be able to conceive, that the man who spills the current that flows through the veins of the human body, has fouler spots upon his hand than he 1
But so it is, and so it ever was. The very same thing in ourselves, which we condemn in another, we look upon with an indulgent eye. The smallest difference in the situation, in the application of precisely the same practice, is sufficient to enable self-love fo see in it a totally different thing. David's aDger was greatly kindled against his own cruelty, when presented to him as the action of another, and in another situation. He did not perceive that the fable required only a change of circumstance, to be a literal narrative of what he had acted himself. He did not know himself, when he met himself, upon allegorical ground; though it was his exact image that met him there. He did not see !iis own shape in the shadow, that with the most perfect fidelity defined it.—There has ever been need of an expositor, to tell the spectator of himself in the criminal conduct of another, that it is himself he is looking at. The monitor that would shew, upon moral canvass, to him whose character is misshapen and unseemly, what manner of man he is, will find his lines, however true, his colours, however faithful, to the figure and complexion he copies, insufficient to explain to him the person that is meant. However striking the likeness may be, the painter must put the name at the bottom of the portrait, or the original will not know it. The re-* buke of Nathan's pencil was unfelt, until underneath the picture, Strong as it was, he had written David.
THE ADVANTAGES OF ADVERSITY.
"Though perils did
are inheritors of sorrow; and he who has not felt that, knows not the native grandeur of his soul. It is not, when reclining on the voluptuous couch of prosperity, that we feel we are more than earth; it is when adversity drags us from the blandishments of pleasure, that the immortal spirit within us exerts her power; revealing to our astonished eyes the gorgeous magnificence of the splendid world, in all its intrinsic littleness and folly: and leading us into the rugged path of life, shows us how to prove ourselves worthy of immortality, by undauntedly combating the opposing powers of vice, malice, and misfortune. The satellites of riches naturally tend to harden the heart, and make it indifferent to the happiness of any but itself. Led early in life into the gay garden of pleasure, where a bright sun forever blazes in the sky; nature and art unite in the closest concord lo render the scene beautiful and bewitching to the senses: the magnificent stores of the east are poured before them; the most sumptuous garments of the world are thrown at their feet; their board is loaded with the most delicious viands, served in dishes of refulgent gold and silver; Arabia wafts her most spicy gales to revive them, and harmony warbles her most entrancing sounds to sooth them to rest, they feel of a superior race to the chances of fortune; and spurn the supplicating son of misery from their gates. They have not an idea of this sorrow, therefore they know not how to pity them. But let him turn from the mansion of insolence, to that of temperance and misfortune, there he will find the softened soul of a brother, ready to sympathize in his woes, and pour the assuaging balm of comfort into his breaking heart. A man thus rendered proof by the mischances of life, and unhappily by the unkindness and ingratitude of those who once styled themselves his friends, struggles against the storms if he have a wife Or children to protect, till, overcome with exertion, he sinks into the arms of his Maker, a martyr to his affection and his virtue. But if he be alone on the earth, he retires to some deep solitude, and there, in the conversation of his books and heaven, he hears the words of the dead applaud him for his seclusion from the temptations of a dishonourable world. Religion will shed her glories around his head; and meliorating his mind to a pensive resignation, will sublime his soul to such a purity, that when he dies, all he has to resign of earth, is breath. On thy soft bosom, pensive queen, the widowed matron rests her sorrowing head: thou wipest the scalding tears from her sad eyes, and soothest her into peace. To thee also flies the unhappy maid, who breathes a hopeless love: wandering amid the mazes of solitude, far from the world, and the dear object of her fond affection, she subjugates the wild agonies of her passion to thy mild influence ; a tender philanthropy fills her breast, by rendering others happy, she heals the bleading wounds of her lacerated heart! though, sometimes, the sigh of ten'der reflection will heave her bosom; a tear to her luckless fate will tremble in her eye, and her disappointed heart sicken at the illusive happiness of the world ; yet, in the shades of retirement, she breathes the prayer of resignation, becomes the protectress of the afflicted, and dies the death of a saint. Thus, "virtue is like some perfumes, which are most fragrant when burnt or bruised, for prosperity best discovers vice, iiut adversity, virtue!
A COMMENT OX THE BEAUTIES OF CREATIOV.
The earth is assigned to us for a dwelling.—The skies are stretched'over us like a magnificent canopy, dyed in the purest azure, and beautified now with pictures of floating silver, now with colourings of reflected crimson.—The grass is spread under us, as a spacious carpet, wove with silken threads of green, damasked with flowers of every hue.—The sun, like a golden lamp, is hung out in the ethereal vault; and pours his effulgence all the day to lighten our paths.—When night approaches, the moon lakes up the friendly office, and the stars are kindled in twinkling myriads, to cheer the darkness with their milder lustre, not disturb our repose by too intense a glaie.—The clouds, besides the rich paintings they hang around the heavens, act the part of a shifting screen, and defend us, by their seasonalde interposition from the scorching beams of summer. May we not also regard them as the great watering-pots of the globe ? which, wafted on the wings of the w'ind, dispense their moisture evenly through the universal garden; and fructify, with . their showers, whatever our hand plants.—-The fields are our exhaustlcss granary.—The ocean is oW Vasi reservoir,—The ajumals spend their strength to dispatch