Imatges de pÓgina
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the level of mankind. As fear has been the common enemy of human happiness, it was easy to foresee, that the man who could boast an exemption from its power, would be esteemed a superior being. The great evil of seeking for honour from this source, is its extreme liability to abuse. Were real courage the thing sought in every instance, however the votary of praise might lose his expected reward, the pursuit would at least claim to be considered, as an innocent delusion. But in practice to be courageous, is to be inhuman, insolent, madly adventurous, exposing one's self to unprofitable perils, and useless jeopardy. It is found much more natural to affect the petulance of the mastiff, or the ierocity of the tiger, than to assume the spirit of a man, or the firm ness of a Christian. Among many absurd practices, which this restive principle perpetuates, that of duelling is peculiarly disgraceful to human nature. The ume will not be taken up in showing the unlawfulness of a custom, which the meanest capacity may at once see to be opposed to the plainest dictates of reason, and the most express declarations of scripture. But there is one profitable lesson, which the adherence of the polite world to this custom, inay teach all those, who place the least confidence in its decisions. It is, that though a thing be practised by the great, the polished, and the honourable, this is no proof, nor does it afford the slightest suspicion, that it is not mean, dastardly, unreasonable, and unlawful; otherwise, conduct so indefensible, so of.en

and so faithfully exposed, and so fraught with iniquity, could never have held up its head among a civilized people.

It is the opinion of many, however, that although the qualities, which have been mentioned are of small value, yet the hon. our which is derived from high mental endowments, is worthy of the most arduous labours.

To have the reputation of a wit, is esteemed by some an object of sufficient magnitude to engross the labours of a life. Yet whoever considers how unprofitable, how apt to create enemies, and how feeble to answer any of the great purposes of living, this much envied talent is, and how short & uncertain are its triumphs, will find little reason to desire it himself, or envy it in others.

But it will still be urged, that to have rank among the first poets in the world, to be famed for irresistible eloquence, to be consulted as an oracle of wisdom, to be versed in all the learning of the ancients, or to rival Newton in the sublimity of science, is an attainment, which may well demand the most intense struggle in the pursuit, and give ample room for congratulation in the enjoyment. But let not our conclusion be too

hasty. After their powers and talents have been spent, and their lives have been devoted to the cause of learning, men feel emotions quite different from those of the youthful and ardent. This can be gathered from their almost unanimous testimony. Many a favourite of literary renown, feels disposed at the close of life, to unite with Grotius in his melancholy complaint: Heu, vitam fier didi nihil operose agendo. Divine inspiration has declared that

"much study is a weariness to the flesh." And it seems not a little disheartening to the student, who is in pursuit of fame, that the further progress he makes in learning, the more he feels his ignorance; the greater his knowledge, the more clearly he sees how little falls to the lot of man to know. And when, with a farreaching eye, he surveys the immeasurable field before him, he observes scarcely a difference between him, who has laboriously advanced a few paces into it, and him, who lingers on its borders, or stands without its enclosure.

There is one kind of honour which has appropriated to itself the name of ambition, and which is to be found among those whom the world has emphatically called the Great. To lead in the senate, to control in the cabinet, to sit high in the seat of judgment, to command the armies or the navies of a mighty kingdom, to fill a throne, and to sway an empire, are things so apt to excite admiration, so inebriating, so irresistibly powerful with the young and ardent, and so ready to engross

the desires of nearly the whole human race, that we almost involuntarily conclude those who possess them to be happy. Yet the suffrages of them, who best know, are against the conclusion. Those of each description have their peculiar cares, all equally incompatible with that uninterrupted enjoyment, which is earnestly sought. If we regard the anxiety, which incessantly hovers around the head of the statesman or the warrior; if we consider the unknown dangers among which he is obliged to tread, the unyielding obstacles, which he has to surmount, the unfortunate issue of his sanguine calculations, and the unexpected enemies which he is forced to repel, we must be convinced, that he holds a" painful pre-eminence."

These are some of the principal methods in which the love of praise exerts itself, and though the particular evils which attend them have been adverted to, yet in a future number some grand defects which are incident to them all shall be mentioned. (To be continued.)

Selections.

CHARACTER OF HUME's WRITINGS.

THERE has lately been published in England, a work, entitled "Hints towards forming the character of a young princess," in two vols. 8vo. Of this work the reviewers speak in terms of high praise. They say, that" Ruinour ascribes these volumes to a literary lady of celebrity, (Mrs. Hannah More)

and internal evidence inclines us to credit the assertion."

We extract from this valuable work, for the benefit of our readers, the following just and admirable criticism on the writings of the celebrated David Hume.

"His finely painted characters of Alfred and Elizabeth should be engraved on the heart of ev

His political the distinctions between intolerant phrensy and heroic zeal so melted into each other, that though he contrives to make the reader feel some indignation at the tyrant, he never leads him to feel any reverence for the sufferer. He ascribes such a slender superiority to one relig ious system above another, that the young reader, who does not come to the perusal with his principles formed, will be in danger of thinking that, the reformation was really not worth contending for..

ery sovereign.
prejudices do not strikingly ap-
pear, till the establishment of the
House of Stuart, nor his relig-
ious antipathies till about the dis-
tant dawn of the reformation
under Henry V. From that pe-
riod to its full establishment, he
is perhaps more dangerous, be-
cause less ostensibly daring than
some other infidel historians. It
is a serpent under a bed of roses.
He does not (in his history at
least) so much ridicule religion
himself, as invite others to ridi-
cule it.

"There is a sedateness in his manner, which imposes; a sly gravity in his scepticism, which puts the reader more off his guard, than the vehemence of censure, or the levity of wit; for we are always less disposed to suspect a man who is too wise to appear angry. That same wisdom makes him too correct to invent calumnies, but it does not preserve him from doing what is scarcely less disingenuous. He implicitly adopts the injurious relations of those annalists, who were most hostile to the reformed faith; though he must have known their accounts to be aggravated and discoloured, if not absolutely invented. He thus makes others responsible for the worst things he asserts, and spreads the mischiefs, without avowing the malignity. When he speaks from himself, the sneer is so cool, the irony so sober, the contempt so discreet, the moderation so insidious, the difference between popish bigotry and protestant firmness, between the fury of the persecutor and the resolution of, the martyr, so little marked; Vol. I. No. 8.

X x

"But, in nothing is the skill of this accomplished sophist more apparent, than in the artful way. in which he piques his readers. into a conformity with his own views concerning religion. Human pride, he knew, naturally likes to range itself on the side. of ability. He, therefore, skilfully works on this passion, by treating with a sort of contemptuous superiority, as weak and credulous men, all whom he represents as being under the; religious delusion.”

JOHNSON AND ADDISON COM

PARED, FROM THE SAME "IT is less from Johnson than from Addison, that we derive: the interesting lessons of life and manners; that we learn to! trace the exact delineations of character, and to catch the vivid hues, and varied tints of nature. It is true, that every sentence of the more recent moralist is an aphorism, every pa-` ragraph a chain of maxims for guiding the understanding! and guarding the heart. But when Johnson describes characters, he rather exhibits vice and

virtue in the abstract, than real, existing human beings; while Addison presents you with actual men and women; real, life figures, compounded of the faults and the excellencies, the wisdom and the weaknesses, the follies and the virtues of humanty. By the Avarus, the Eubu lus, the Misellus, the Sophron, the Zosima, and the Viator of Johnson, we are instructed in the soundest truths, but we are not struck with any vivid exemplifieation. We merely hear them, and we hear them with profit, but we do not know them. Whereas, with the members of the Spectator's club we are acquainted. Johnson's personages are elaborately carved figures, that fill the niches of the saloon; Addison's are the living company which animate it. Johnson's have more drapery; Addison's more countenance. Johnson's gentlemen and ladies, scholars and chambermaids, philosophers and coquettes, all argue syllogistically, all converse in the same academic language; divide all their sentences into the same triple members, turn every phrase with the same measured solemnity, and round every pe riod with the same polished smoothness. Addison's talk learnedly or lightly, think deeply, or prate flippantly, in exact concordance with their character, station, and habits of life."

DR. WATTS VIEWS OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.

[Extracted from the preface of a volume of his sermons, published in 1721.1

-THE last discourse of all exhibits a most plain, and obvious

representation of the doctrine of the blessed Trinity, as it lies in the Bible, and the great and necessary use that is to be made of it in our religion. It is a doctrine that runs through the whole of our serious transactions with God, and therefore it is necessary to be known by men. Without the mediation of the Son and the influences of the Spirit, we can find no way of access to the Father, nor is there any other hope of his favour proposed in the gospel.

I thought it proper also, to publish it at this season to let the world know, that though I have entered into some farther inquiries on this divine subject, and made humble attempts to gain clearer ideas of it in order to vindicate the truth and glory of this sacred article, yet I have never changed my belief and profession of any necessary and important part of it, as will here appear with abundant evidence.

In this sermon I have followed the track of no particular scheme whatsoever; but have represented the sacred three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in that light, in which they seem to lie most open to the common view of mankind in the word of God and I am glad to find what I have drawn out in this manner into seventeen propositions appears so agreeable to the general sense of our fathers in this article, that I don't think any one of these propositions would be denied or disputed by our divines of the last or present age, who have had the greatest name and reputation of strict orthodoxy.

If I may express the substance of it in a few words, 'tis

this: It seems to me to be plainly and evidently revealed in scripture, That both the Son and the Holy Ghost have such a communion in true and eternal Godhead, as to have the same names, titles, attributes and operations ascribed to them, which are elsewhere ascribed to the Father, and which belong only to the true God; and yet there is such a plain distinction between them, as is sufficient to support their distinct personal characters and offices in the great work of our salvation: and this is what has generally been called the Trinitarian Doctrine, or the Doctrine of the Three Persons and One God.

REMARKABLE CONVERSION OF A

DEIST.

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.

The energy of this eternal truth was most forcibly applied to the heart of the late Rev. W. Tennant, of America, on the following remarkable occasion:In his neighbourhood resided a professed Deist, a man of considerable attainments as to worldly wisdom. He often, from whatever motive, attended the ministry of Mr. Tennant, whose powers as a preacher were of a superior kind his skill in the scriptures being deep, and his style rich, argumentative, and impressive. Learning once the inten tion of the Deist to attend divine service on the following Sabbath, Mr. Tennant most diligently prepared for the occasion, by meditating upon, and fixing in his mind every argument which might work a conviction. Thus

prepared, he ascended the pulpit. "But who is Paul, or who is Apollos? Paul may plant, and Apollos may water; but it is God that giveth the increase." Praise and prayer being concluded, the discourse began; but soon the preacher's memory was plunged into perfect obli vion; and not being in the custom of using notes, he in vain endeavoured to proceed his mind was sealed up as to the subject of discourse; and he was under the painful necessity of confessing his inability, and concluded with prayer. The Spirit of God was now at work. The Deist was led to reflect upon the extraordinary case: he had, on former occasions, experienced and admired Mr. Tennant's powers of oratory. From his concluding prayer on this occasion he found him in vigour of mind. To what could he trace the sudden dereliction of his powers, when entering upon such a discourse? Happy man! he was led to discover in it the finger of God! The joyful change soon reached Mr. Tennant, who, doubtless, was deeply humbled and grateful; for he ever afterwards spoke of his dumb sermon as the best he ever preached.

[Evan. Mag.

FRAGMENTS.

CHRISTIANITY.

CHRISTIANITY peculiarly consists in the mystery of a Redeemer, who by uniting in himself the divine and human natures, has delivered men from the corruption of sin, to reconcile them to God in his divine person. It therefore instructs

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