Obrazy na stronie

I would not, however, wish to deprive you of the pleasures of society, or of rational amusement; but let your companions be select; let them be such as you can love for their good qualities, and whose virtues you are desirous to emulate; let your amusements be such as will tend, not to corrupt and vitiate, but to correct and amend the heart.

Finally, I would earnestly request you never to neglect employing a portion of your time in addressing your heavenly Father; in paying him that tribute of prayer and praise which is so justly his due, as "the Author of every good and perfect gift;" as our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer," in whom we live, and move, and have our being;' " and without whose blessing none of our undertakings will prosper.

Thus, by employing the time given you in the service of virtue, you will pass your days with comfort to yourself and those around you, and, by persevering to the end, shall at length obtain " a crown of glory, which fadeth not away."


[ocr errors]


epet, yet, get, bread, said, dead, fed, friend; -pensive, getting, kettle, engine, preface, meadow; - arrest, forget, beset, behest; accident, incident.

Advantages of a Well-cultivated Mind.

IT is not without reason that those who have tasted the pleasures afforded by philosophy and literature, have lavished upon them the greatest eulogiums. The benefits they produce are too many to enumerate, valuable beyond estimation, and various as the scenes of human life. The man who has a knowledge of the works of God, in the creation


of the universe, and his providential government of the immense system of the material and intellectual world, can never be without a copious fund of the most agreeable amusement. He can never be solitary; for in the most lonely solitude he is not destitute of company and conversation his own ideas are his companions, and he can always converse with his own mind.


How much soever a person may be engaged in pleasures, or encumbered with business, he will certainly have some moments to spare for, thought and reflection. No one who has observed how heavy the vacuities of time hang upon minds unfurnished with images, and unaccustomed to think, will be at a loss to make a just estimate of the advantages of possessing a copious stock of ideas, of which the combinations may take a multiplicity of forms, and may be varied to infinity.

The time of action will not always continue; the young ought ever to have this consideration present to their mind, that they must grow old, unless prematurely cut off by sickness or accident. They ought to contemplate the certain approach of age and decrepitude, and consider that all temporal happiness is of uncertain acquisition, mixed with a variety of alloy, and, in whatever degree attained, only of a short and precarious duration. Every day brings some disappointment, some diminution of pleasure, or some frustration of hope; and every moment brings us nearer to that period, when the present scenes shall recede from the view, and future prospects cannot be formed.

This consideration displays, in a very interesting point of view, the beneficial effects of furnishing the mind with a stock of ideas that may amuse it in leisure, accompany it in solitude, dispel the gloom of melancholy, lighten the pressure of misfortune, dissipate the vexations arising from baffled projects or disappointed hopes, and relieve the tedium of that season of life when new acquisitions can no more be made, and the world can no longer flatter and delude us with its illusory hopes and promises.

When life begins, like a distant landscape, gradually to disappear, the mind can then receive no solace but from its own ideas and reflections. Philosophy and literature will then furnish us with an inexhaustible source of the most agreeable amusements, as religion will afford it substantial consolation. A well-spent youth is the only sure foundation of a happy old age: no axiom of the mathematics is more true, or more easily demonstrated.

Old age, like death, comes unexpectedly on the unthinking and unprepared, although its approach be visible, and its arrival certain. Those who have, in the earlier part of life, neglected to furnish their minds with ideas, to fortify them by contemplation and regulate them by reflection, seeing the season of youth and vigor irrecoverably past, its pleasing scenes annihilated, and its brilliant prospects left far behind, without the possibility. of return, and feeling, at the same time, the irresistible encroachments of age, with its disagreeable appendages, are surprised and disconcerted by a change scarcely expected, or for which, at least, they had made no preparations. A person in this predicament, finding himself no longer capable of taking, as formerly, a part in the busy walks of life, of enjoying its active pleasures and sharing its arduous enterprises, becomes peevish and uneasy, troublesome to others and burdensome to himself. Destitute of the resources of philosophy, and a stranger to the amusing pursuits of literature, he is unacquainted with any agreeable method of filling up the vacuity left in his mind by his necessary recess from the active scenes of life.

[ocr errors]

All this is the consequence of squandering away the days of youth and vigor, without acquiring the habit of thinking. Excepting the case of those, to whom indigence has precluded the means of education, and continued labor has allowed no leisure for reflection, the period of human life, short as it is, is of sufficient length for the acquisition of a considerable stock of useful and agreeable knowledge;

and the circumstances of the world afford a superabundance of subjects for contemplation and inquiry. The various phenomena of the moral as well as physical world, the investigation of sciences, and the information communicated by literature, are calculated to attract attention, exercise thought, excite reflection, and replenish the mind with an infinite variety of ideas.

The man of letters, when compared with one that is illiterate, exhibits nearly the same contrast as that which exists between a blind man and one that can see; and if we consider how much literature enlarges the mind, and how much it multiplies, adjusts, rectifies, and arranges the ideas, it may well be reckoned equivalent to an additional sense. It affords pleasures which wealth cannot procure, and which poverty cannot entirely take away. A well-cultivated mind places its possessor beyond the reach of those trifling vexations and disquietudes, which continually harass and perplex those who have no resources within themselves, and, in some measure, elevates him above the smiles and frowns of fortune.



i:—pit, bid, give, sieve; — frigid, livid, living, giving, cygnet, busy, spirit;— ridicule, privilege, miracle, tyranny, provision, implicit.

Eternity of God.

WE receive such repeated intimations of decay in the world through which we are passing; decline, and change, and loss, follow decline, and change, and loss, in such rapid


succession, that we can almost catch the sound of universal wasting, and hear the work of desolation going on busily around us. "The mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. The waters wear the stones, the things which grow out of the dust of the earth are washed away, and the hope of man is destroyed."

Conscious of our own instability, we look about for something to rest on; but we look in vain. The heavens and the earth had a beginning, and they will have an end. The face of the world is changing, daily and hourly. All animated things grow old and die. The rocks crumble, the trees fall, the leaves fade, and the grass withers. The clouds are flying, and the waters are flowing, away from us.

The firmest works of man, too, are gradually giving way. The ivy clings to the mouldering tower, the brier hangs out from the shattered window, and the wallflower springs from the disjointed stones. The founders of these perishable works have shared the same fate long ago. If we look back to the days of our ancestors, to the men as well as the dwellings of former times, they become immediately associated in our imaginations, and only make the feeling of instability stronger and deeper than before.

In the spacious domes which once held our fathers, the serpent hisses and the wild bird screams. The halls which once were crowded with all that taste, and science, and labor could procure, which resounded with melody and were lighted up with beauty, are buried by their own ruins, mocked by their own desolation. The voice of merriment and of wailing, the steps of the busy and the idle, have ceased in the deserted courts, and the weeds choke the entrances, and the long grass waves upon the hearth-stone. The works of art, the forming hand, the tombs, the very ashes they contained, are all gone.

While we thus walk among the ruins of the past, a sad feeling of insecurity comes over us; and that feeling is by no means diminished when we arrive at home. If we turn

« PoprzedniaDalej »