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his own territory, left his kingdom to invade and usurp
the dominions of a much worthier prince than himself, and who had given him no offence. He caused the death of that king, and possessed hiinself of his empire. But what was the consequence of his ambition ? it was the entire ruin of himself, and the cause of the utter abolition and extinction of his whole family, in the short space of twenty-eight years. He died himself (poisoned as many think) at the age of thirtyone; his mother and his two sons were put to death by the usurper Cassander, as his sister was by Antigonus. And Plutarch observes of Julius Cæsar, that, after wading through the blood of half a million of men to obtain that empire and power, which with so much hazard he pursued through the whole course of his life, and which with such difficulty he accomplished, he reaped at last no other fruit than an empty name, an invidious title, and a violent death *. The spe
* With respect to the insatiability of human ambition, Seneca expresses his ideas on it with a grandeur that I think would have pleased Longinus himself: “ When did you ever know a “ king of Persia, from the time of his ascending the throne, “ till he was in the agonies of death, that ever thought of any “ thing else than the acquisition of territory and dominion? Am“bition is a bottomless gulph; throw province after province,
cific difference between the divine ambition proposed to man by Jesus Christ, and that which corrupt nature proposes, is, that the former has an evident tendency to produce the greatest possible blessing that can exist in human life, universal peace; the latter the greatest possible evil, perpetual war. : Dr. Clarke observes in one of his sermons, that the present race of kings, though they profess themselves Christians, too often act in their kingly capacity on Pagan principles ; and instead of imitating God in his attribute of goodness, which they might do in a great degree, they attempt to imitate him in that of his power, which they cannot in any degree.
As a general principle of conduct, who is there that does not perceive how much the social and individual happiness of man, temporal and eternal, (and what ought to be the great object of human life but the accomplishment of this ?) would be advanced rather by the adoption of those pacific principles enjoined by our Saviour, than those of that false and lawless ambition which so much
“ kingdom after kingdom, and empire after empire, into it, " and you will never fill up the mighty void.".,7. DSB
enslaved the minds of men before the promulgation of Christianity ? Nevertheless, this wretched system of worldly ambition would for ever have been the one universally adopted by the human race, with its direful attendants, injustice, cruelty, and oppression, had it not been corrected and modified by the doctrines of a revealed religion : for philosophy never inculcated humanity further than as an ornamental appendage to human nature; it never inculcated it as an obligatory and responsible duty; neither could it direct the human mind to the attainment of a sublime ambition, of which it was itself ignorant, and which could only be imparted by Revelation. This superiority in the doctrines of the religion of Jesus Christ over those of philosophy, and of every other religion, was, I think, well maintained by the person who delivered in the Concordat to the French government; first, from the consideration of its divine origin; and, secondly, from the simplicity and force of its tenets, the purity of its morality, and the benefits which have flowed from the practice of it in every quarter of the globe. “ It is,” says he, - the religion of Jesus Christ alone which “ inculcates peace on earth, good-will to
“ wards men ; which consoles the inequality “ of rank and fortune, and all our disap
pointments and miseries : and if the compass
has opened the universe, it is Chris“ tianity which has civilized it;" and, he might have added, which has ennobled it with the knowledge of true ambition ; a sublime ambition, which teaches the human mind to aspire far beyond the temporary and perishable honours of this world, enables it to possess and enjoy the peace of God in this life, and to partake in another and a better of those inconceivable joys, which are at God's right hand for evermore.
If by ambition is meant the aspiring to the highest pitch of excellence and perfection to which the soul of man can soar, if we believe in a future state, the object of true ambition must doubtless then be an exalted station, not in this, but in a life to come; especially as our Saviour expressly informs us, that “ in his Father's house there
are different mansions;" the plain and unforced meaning of which is, that in another world man will be admitted to different degrees of glory and honour, according to the degree of virtue and piety to which he attained on earth; consequently he ought to
possess his soul so strongly with this idea, as to be indifferent to an exalted station in a life which will so soon have an end : (for in the judgment of reason nothing can possess any material or intrinsic worth that is subject to termination :) accordingly his soul should be constantly fixed on obtaining an exalted station in a future life; and in such a way, that neither the riches, honours, or pleasures of this world, the fear of censure, reproach, or that of death, should divert or interrupt the incessant pursuit of its object.
Another peculiar observation in the doc, trines of our Saviour, not in the least likely for
any man to have made, is the following: “ Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not “ receive the kingdom of God as a little
child, he shall not enter therein."
The Scriptures of God communicate to man infallible rules for the acquisition and attainment of both temporal and eternal happiness, by revealing that knowledge which enables us to enjoy the peace of God in this life, and eternal happiness in the next: they likewise satisfy all that allowable curiosity an intellectual free agent might reasonably desire to have gratified, respecting his origin, present state, and destiny. This knowledge,