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Where it is so cool as not to occasion sympathetic pains, it is never productive of much pleasure.
The ordinary coinmerce of the world consists in a circulation of frivolous intercourse, in which the heart has no concern. It is generally insipid, and often soured by the slightest difference in humour, or opposition of interest. We fly to company in order to be relieved from wearisome correspondence with ourselves; and the vexations which we meet with in society frequently drive us back to soli. tude. Even among the virtuous dissensions will arise ; and disagreement in opinion too often produces alienation of heart. We form very few connections where somewhat does not occur to disappoint our hopes. The beginnings are often pleasing. We fatter ourselves with having found those who will never give us disgust. But weaknesses are too soon discovered. Suspicions arise; and love waxes cold. We are jealous of one another, and accustomed to live in disguise. A studied civility assumes the naine, without the reality of friendship; and secret animosity and envy are often concealed under the caresses of dissembled affection.
Hence the pleasure of earthly society, like all our other pleasures, is extremely imperfeot; and can give us but a very faint conception of the joy that must arise from the society of perfect spirits in a happier world. Here, it is with difficulty that we can select from the corrupted crowd, a few with whom we wish to associate in strict union. There are assembled all the wise, the holy, and the just, who ever existed in the world; without any distress to trouble their mutual bliss, or any source of disagreement to interrupt their perpetual harmony. Artifice and concehlment are unknown there. There, no competitors struggle; no factions contend; no rivals supplant each other. The voice of discord never rises, nor does ihe whisper of suspicion ever circulate among those innocent and blessed spirits. Each happy in himself, participates in the happiness of all the rest; and by reciprocal communications of love and friendship, at once receives from, and adds to, the sum of general felicity.
United to this great assembly, the blessed at the same time renew those ancient connections with virtuous friends which had been dissolved here below by death. The prospect of this awakens in the heart the most pleasing and tender sentiment which perhaps can fill it in this mortal State ; for of all the sorrows which we are subject to in the present world, none is so bitter as that occasioned by the fatal stroke which separates us, in appearance for ever, from those to whom either nature or friendship had intimately joined our hearts. Memory, from time to time, renews the anguish; opens the wound which seemed once to have been closed; and by recalling those joys which are past and gone, touches every spring of painful sensibility.
In these agonizing inoments how relieving the thought, that the separation is only temporary, and not eternal ! that there is a time to come of re-union with those with whom our happiest days on earth were spent; whose joys and sorrows once were our's; and from whom, after we shall have landed on the peaceful shore where they now dwell, no revolutions of nature shall ever be able to part us more! Such is ihe society and blessedness of the saints above.
ZEAL, uudoubtedly, is a very excellent principle when knowledge is its foundation, and charity its support
. Without the former, it will be wild and irregular; without the latter, dangerous and pernicious; and to the want of these we trace the origin of all religious bigotry. The innocence of the dove lies at the very root of all irue religion, and should be invariably regarded in every attempt to promote and extend its influence. But the wisdom of the serpent ought not to be disregarded in prosecuting ihe noble design, lest we irritate the disorder we mean to cure, and defeat our intentions by our imprudence.
A person of a precipitate iurn of mind, when bis heart, inflamed by principles which he conceives of everlasting consequence, hath got the better of his head, will endeavour to propagate them by the most inconsiderate measures, regardless of times, persons, places, and circumstances--the complections of which must necessarily be consulted and attended to, if we would see the good effect of our endeavours. To be ashamed of Feligion, is absolutely only another form of expression for having no heart for it. To be afraid to defend it, when occasion requires and opportunity suits, is a piece of cowardice beneath a mau. “But we must not defend it by weapons that will turn upon itself, and instead of copquering its opponents, adıninister to its own ill success.
It is not every one that talks loudest about doctrines and principles of faith-it is not every one who is ambitious of exalting his character by the cant of a party, who, if a heretic, thinks orthodoxy nonsense; or if orihodox, deems heresy to be worse than immorality-it is tiot every one who on the most trifling incidents runs on in a strain of spiritualization, giving a sanctimonious turn to every word that is dropped, and every object that is seen, in all sorts of company--it is not every one who is so violently bent on being thought somewhat wonderful in his way, that feels the impressions of real religion, and is most governed by its mild and steady influence through the trying vicissitudes of life.
The man who drops a tear in private over the follies and vices of his fellow-creatures ; who, retired from the eye of the world, pours his ardent wishes into the bosom of his God, and there meekly records the pity of his heart; the man, who really desirous to have the true ends of his admonitions and remonstrances answered, consults the best time and place for administering them; the fittest and most engaging means—who discovers affection in his reproofs, and candour in his advices; such an one, whose uniforin example gives force and credit to his lessons, is an ornament to any character, and was lent by Heaven as a blessing to mankind.
A religious bigot, under the influence of rash and unguarded zeal, looking upon prudence as a more passable word for indifference, will break through every restraint as a shackle inconsistent with his duty, either as a zealot for one creed, or against all. He will hack the darling notions of those who differ from him, with unsparing rigour and unblushing insolence. And why is he so precipitate? Why does he not begin with more inildness, and proceed gradually to the correction of their errors and the improveinent of their understandings ? "No," he will reply, "by no means: for this is only temporizing, trimming; it is to be afraid of the faces of men, who must be told what is truth and what is error in the bluntest, plainest, and most resolute language.” But what does he get by his bold and forward attack on what he is pleased to call prejudices ? He is only laughed at and despised by the more modest and discerning part of mankind for his petulance and vanity.
As to the gross herd of the people, their prejudices perhaps are only rivetted the firmer by his indiscreet methods of opposing them; or should he happen to cure them of some old ones, neither they nor their neighbours will gain much by his skill, since the expulsion of one foul spirit may only clear the way for the admission of a fouler, who, to give the finishing hand to the work, may probably “ take with him seven other devils more wicked than himself; and so the last state of such men will be worse than the first !**
ON THE LOVE OF TRUTH.
ALL truth is from the seinpiternal Source
"Tis revelation satisfies all doubts,
Is Christ the abler teacher, or the schools ?
The only ainaranthine flow'r on earth
WHERE England, stretch'd towards the setting sun, Narrow and long, o'erlooks the western wave, Dwelt young Misagathus; a scorner he Of God and goodness, atheist in ostent, Vicious in act, in temper savage--fierce. He journey'd ; and his chance was as he went,