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then, anticipate this hour of calmness to ourselves; and begin to enjoy the peace which it will certainly bring?
8. If others have behaved improperly, let us leave them to their own folly, without becoming the victim of their caprice, and punishing ourselves on their account. Patience, in this exercise of it, cannot be too much studied by all who wish their life to flow in a smooth stream. It is the reason of a man, in opposition to the passion of a child. It is the enjoyment of peace, in opposition to uproar and confusion.
SECTION XIV. a Sphere, sfèrc, a globe, orb, circuit. the whole of any commodity, for b Prim-i-tive, prim'-e-tiv, ancient, the sake of selling at a high price. formal.
f Pre-cip-i-tate, pre-sip-pe-tate, to C Am-bit-ion, âm-bish-ůn, the desire hasten, hurry rashly. of preferment.
g Fal-la-cious,fàl-la-shús, deceitful, d Ul-ti-mate, ủl'-te-måt, the very Wo, wd, grief, sorrow, misery.
h last, final.
i Per-nic-ious, pêr-nish'-ús, destrucEn-gross, en-grose', to purchasel tive.
Moderation in our wishes recommended. 1. The active mind of man seldom or never rests satised with its present condition, how prosperous soever. Originally formed for a wider range of objects, for a higher spherea of enjoyments, it finds itself, in every situation of fortune, strained and confined. Sensible of deficiency in its state, it is ever sending forth the fond desire, the aspiring wish, after something beyond what is enjoyed at present.
2. Hence, that restlessness which prevails so generally among mankind. Hence, that disgust of pleasures which they have tried; that passion for novelty; that ambition of rising to some degree of eminence or felicity, of which they have formed to themselves an indistinct idea. All which may be considered as indications of a certain native original greatness in the human soul, swelling beyond the limits of its present condition; and pointing to the higher objects for which it was made. Happy, if these latent remains of our primitive state, served to direct our wishes towards their proper destination, and to lead us into the path of true bliss.
3. But in this dark and bewildered state, the aspiring endency of our nature unfortunately takes an opposite direction, and feeds a very misplaced ambition.
'The flattering appearances whích here present themselves to sensc; the distinctions which fortune consers; the ada
vantages and pleasures which we imagine the world to be capable of bestowing, fill up the ultimated wish of most men.
4. These are the objects which engrosse their solitary musings, and stimulate their active labours; which warm the breasts of the young, animate the industry of the middle aged, and often keep alive the passions of the old, unti. the very
close of life. 5. Assuredly, there is nothing unlawful in our wishing to be freed from whatever is disagreeable, and to obtain a fuller enjoyment of the comforts of life. But when these wishes are not tempered by reason, they are in danger of precipitating us into much extravagance and folly. Desires and wishes are the first springs of action. When they become exorbitant, the whole character is likely to be tainted.
6. If we suffer our fancy to create to itself worlds of ideal happiness, we shall discompose the peace and order of our minds, and foment many hurtful passions. Here, then, let' moderation begin its reign; by bringing within reasonable bounds the wishes that we form. As soon as they become extravagant, let us check them, by proper
eflections on the fallacious nature of those objects, which the world hangs out to allure desire.
7. You have strayed, my friends, from the road which conducts to felicity; you have dishonoured the native dignity of your souls, in allowing your wishes to terminate on nothing higher than worldly ideas of greatness or happiness.
Your imagination roves in a land of shadows. Unreal forms deceive you. It is no more, than a phantom, an illusion of happiness, which attracts your fond admiration; nay, an illusion of happiness, which often conceals much real misery.
8. Do you imagine that all are happy, who have attained to those summits of distinction, towards which your wishes aspire? Alas!. how frequently has experience shown, that where roses were supposed to bloom, nothing but briers and thorns grew! Reputation, beauty, riches, grandeur, nay, royalty itself, would, many a time, have been gladly exchanged by the possessors, for that more quiet and humble station, with which you are now dissatisfied.
9. With all that is splendid and shining in the world, it is decreed that there should mix many deep shades of wo. On the elevated situations of fortune, the great ca amities of life chiefly fall. There, the storm spends it
violence, and there the thunder breaks; while, safe and anhurt, the inhabitants of the vale remain below. Rereat, then, from those vain and pernicious' excursions of extravagant desire.
10. Satisfy yourselves with what is rational and attainable. Train your minds to moderate views of human life, and human happiness. Remember, and admire, the wisdom of Agur's petition: “Remove far from me vanity and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. with food convenient for me: lest I be full and deny thee; and say, who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal; and take the name of my God in vain.”
SECTION XV. a Plan-et, plån-it, a body that m Tel-e-scope, těll-le-skope, a glass moves round the sun.
to view distant objects. 6 E-ther, e'-thér, an element finer n Huy-ge-ni-us, hl-jé'-ne-ús. than air.
o Stint, stỉnt, to bound, restrain, Lu-mi-na-ry, lu'-me-nå-ré, a body limit. that gives light.
p Suc-cour, sůk'-kúr, to help, rea Gal-ax-y, gål’-låk-se, the milky| lieve, aid, assistance, help in disway.
tress. Maj-es-ty, måd’-jés-te, dignity, 9 Om-nis-ci-ent, ôm-nish'-é-ént, inroyal title.
finitely wise. f Mil-ton, mil'-t'n, a celebrated r Im-men-si-ty, im-men'-se-te, unPoet.
bounded greatness.' & Con-stel-la-tion, kôn-stél-la'-shản, s Van-ish, vån'-ish, to disappear, be a cluster of fixed stars.
lost. \ Or-dain, or-dàne', to appoint, de- t Re-gard, ré-gård', to value, ob
serve, respect, reverence. In-fi-nite, in'-fé-uit, unbounded, u Oc-ca-sion, ôk-ka'-zhủn, to cause,
endless, k An-ni-hi-late, ån-nı'-hd-late, to v Con-fi-dent, kồn/-fe-dênt, a bosom
reduce to nothing, destroy. friend, positive, bold. i Chasm, kåzm, a cleft,gap, vacuity. Mer-cy, mér'-se, tenderness,
sence of the Deity, the source of
consolation to good men. 1. I was yesterday, about sun set, walking in the open fields, till the night insensibly fell upon me.
I at first amused myself with all the richness and variety of colours, which appeared in the western parts of heaven. In portion as they faded away and went out, several stars and planets appeared one after another, till the whole fir mament was in a glow. The blueness of the ether was exceedingly heightened and enlivened, by the season of the
Omniscience and commipresent
year, and the rays of all those luminaries that passed through it.
2. The galaxyd appeared in its most beautiful white. To complete the scene, the full moon rose, at length, in that clouded majesty,' which Milton' takes notice of; and opened to the eye a new picture of nature, which was more finely shaded, and disposed among softer lights than that which the sun had before discovered to us.
3. As I was surveying the moon walking in her brightness, and taking her progress among the constellations, a thought arose in me, which I believe very often perplexes * and disturbs men serious and contemplative naturęs. David himself fell into it in that reflection; “When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained;h what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou regardest him!"
4. In the same manner, when I consider that infinite host of stars, or, to speak more philosophically, of suns, which were then shining upon me; with those innumeraole sets of planets or worlds, which were moving round their respective suns; when I still enlarged the idea, and supposed another heaven of suns and worlds, rising still above this which we discovered; and these still enlightened by a superiour firmament of luminaries, which are planted at so great a distance, that they may appear to the inhabitants of the former, as the stars do to us: in short, while I pursued this thought, I could not but reflect on that little insignificant figure which I myself bore amidst the immen-, sity of God's works.
5. Where the sun, which enlightens this part of the creation, with all the host of planetary worlds that move above him, utterly extinguished and annihilated, they would not be missed, more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, it would scarcely make a blank in the creation.
6. The chasm? would be imperceptible to an eye, tnat could take in the whole compass of nature, and pass from one end of the creation to the other; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. By the -elp of glasses, we see many stars, which we do not discorer with our naked eyes; and the finer our telescopes" are, che more still are our discoveries
7. Huygenius" carries this thought so far, that he does not think it impossible there may be stars, whose light has not yet travelled down to us, since their first creation. There is no question that the universe has certain bounds set to it; but when we consider that it is the work of Infinite Power, prompted by Infinite Goodness, with an infinite space to exert itself in, how can our imagination set any bounds to it?
3. To return, therefore, to my first thought, I could not but look upon myself with secret horrour, as a being that was not worth the smallest regard of one who had so great a work under his care and superintendency. I was afraid of being overlooked amidst the immensity of nature; and lost among that infinite variety of creatures, which, in all probability, swarm through all these immeasurable regions of matter,
9. In order to recover myself from this mortifying thought, I considered that it took its rise from those narrow conceptions, which we are apt to entertain of the Divine Nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we must of course neglect others. This imperfection which we observe in ourselves, is an imperfe ion that cleaves, in some degree, to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures, that is, beings of finite and limited natures.
10. The presence of every created being is confined to a certain measure of space; and consequently his observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature, than another, according as we rise one above another in the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference.
11. When, therefore, we reflect on the Divine Nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear, in some measure, ascribing it to him, in whom there is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason indeed assures us, that his attributes are infinite; but the poorness of our conceptions is such, that it cannot forbear setting bounds to every, thing it contemplates, till our reason comes again to our succour," and throws down all those little prejudices, which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.
12. We shall therefore utterly extinguish this melan.