« AnteriorContinuar »
Still long she nursed him; tender thoughts meantime
One day he lighter seemed, and they forgot
She placed a decent stone his grave above,
A change of manner here, to one more
Forbear, sweet maid! nor be by fancy led
Concluded in a lower
PRIDE OF RANK_OF ANCESTRY-OF A
Dr. Thomas Brown.t In this preparatory scene, we are placed to enjoy as much happiness, as is consistent with the preparation for a nobler world, -to diffuse to others all the happiness which it is in our power to communicate to them,—and to offer to Him, who made us, that best adoration, which consists in love of his goodness, and an unremitting zeal to execute the honourable charge which he has consigned to us, of furthering those great views of good, which men, indeed, may thus instrumentally promote, but which only the divine mind could have originally conceived. In this glorious delegation, all earthly, and, I may say, all eternal excellence consists. With whatever illusion human pride may delight to flatter itself, he is truly the noblest, in the sight of wisdom and of Heaven, however small his share may be of that adventitious grandeur, which, in those who are morally great, is nothing, and less than nothing in those who are morally vile-he is the noblest, who applies his faculties most sedulously to the most generous purposes, with the warmest impression of that divine goodness which has formed the heart to be susceptible of wishes so divine. ' If we be proud
* While on his death-bed, and very shortly before closing his brilliant earthly sojourn, Charles James Fox, whose refined taste in literature was surpassed only by the benevolence of his heart, is said to have requested one of his sorrowing attendant friends to read to him this beautiful touching Episode ;—it is almost equally unnecessary to add, that the request Ves granted, and that the dying statesman felt himself soothed and gratified!
| Late Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh.
of any thing which does not confer dignity on the intellectual, or moral or religious nature of man, we may be certain that we are proud of that which, if considered without relation to objects that may be indirectly promoted by it, is, in itself, more worthy of our contempt than of our pride. The peace and good order, and consequently the happiness of society, require, indeed that forms of respect should be paid to mere station, and to the accidental possession of wealth and hereditary honours ; but they do not require, that the possessor of these should conceive himself truly raised above others in that only real dignity which is more than a trapping, or form of courteous salutation in the gaudy pageantries of the day. “ If the great,” says Massillon, “ have no other glory than that of their ancestors; if their titles are their only virtues ; if we must recal past ages to find in them something that is worthy of our homage,—their birth dishonours them even in the estimation of the world.” Their name is opposed by us to their person—we read the histories that record the great deeds of their ancestors, and we demand of their unworthy successors the virtues which formerly conferred so much glory on their country. The weight of honour, which they inherit
, is to them but a burthen, that sinks them still lower to the ground. Yet, how visible on every brow is the pride of their origin! They count the degrees of their grandeur by ages, which are no more,—by dignities, which they no longer possess,—by actions, which they have not performed, -by ancestors, of whom a little indistinguishable dust is all that remains-by monuments, which the passing injuries of season after season have effaced ; and they think themselves superior to the rest of mankind, because they have more domestic ruins to mark the desolation of time, and can thus produce more proofs than other men of the vanity of all earthly things. High birth, it will be readily allowed, is an illustrious prerogative, to which the consent of nations, in every period of the world, has attached peculiar distinctions of honour. Yet it is a title only, not a virtue
;-an engagement to glory, and a domestic lesson of the means by which it may be obtained—not that which either constitutes glory, or confers it! The succession of honour, which it seems to convey to us, perishes, and becomes extinct in us,
if we inherit only the name, without inheriting the virtues that rendered it illustrious. We sink, then, into the general mass of mankind, and begin, as it were, a new race. Our nobility belongs to our na^me only, and our peorson, in every thing which is truly our own, has as little ancestry as the meanest of the crowd. If a pride, which has still at least some relation to virtue, or to what was counted virtue, however distant, involve absurdity,—what are we to think of those species of pride, which have no relation to virtue of any kind, which are founded on every frivolity, or perhaps on every vice, as if it were the highest title to the applause of mankind to be of the least possible service to their interests ? What shall we think of the mind of that man, who, endowed with a capacity of serving God by benefiting the world in which he is placed to represent him, can derive dignity from the thought of having placed a button where a button never had been placed before,whose face glows with a noble pride, as he walks the streets with this new dignity, and who derives from the consciousness of this button,— I will not say as much happiness, for I will not prostitute the noble word,—but, at least, as much self-complacency as is felt, in the hour of his glorious mortality, by the expiring combatant for freedom, or the martyr !
DUTIES OF CONJUGAL RELATION.
DR. THOMAS BROWN. The husband should have as his great object and rule of conduct, the happiness of the wife. Of that happiness, the confidence in his affection is the chief element; and the proofs of this affection on his part, therefore, constitute his chief duty,-an affection that is not lavish of caresses only, as if these were the only demonstrations of love, but of that respect which distinguishes love as a principle, from that brief passion which assumes, and only assumes, the name,—a respect which consults the judgment, as well as the wishes of the object beloved, which considers her, who is worthy of being taken to the heart, as worthy of being admitted to all the counsels of the heart. If there be any delights, of which he feels the value as essential to his own happiness,-if his soul be sensible to the charms of literary excellence, and if he consider the improvement of his own understanding, and the cultivation of his own taste, as a duty, and one of the most delightful duties, of an intellectual being,-he will not consider it as a duty or a delight that belongs only to man, but will feel it more delightful, as there is now another soul that may share with him all the pleasure of the progress. To love the happiness of her whose happiness is in his affection, is of course to be conjugally faithful ; but it is more than to be merely faithful ; it is not to allow room even for a doubt as to that fidelity, at least for such a doubt as a reasonable mind might form. It is truly to love her best-but it is also to seem to feel that love which is
As the happiness of the wife is the rule of conjugal duty to the husband, the happiness of the husband is in like manner the rule of conjugal duty to the wife. There is no human being, whose affection is to be to her like his affection, as there is no happiness, which is to be to her like the happiness which he enjoys. What I have said of the moral obligation of the husband, is not less applicable to her duty; but, though the gentle duties belong to both, it is to her province that they more especially belong ; because she is at once best fitted by nature for the ministry of tender courtesies, and best exercised in the offices that inspire them. While man is occupied in other cares during the business of the day, the business of her day is but the continued discharge of many little duties, that have a direct relation to wedlock, in the common household which it has formed. He must often forget her, or be useless to the world ! she is most useful to the world by remembering him! From the tumultuous scenes which agitate many of his hours, he returns to the calm scene, where peace awaits him, and happiness is sure to attend him—because she is there waiting, whose smile is peace, and whose very presence is more than happiness to his heart.
Here Love his golden shafts employs_here lights
THE GREAT EVIL IN MATRIMONIAL LIFE, MUTUAL DUTIES OF HUSBAND AND WIFE.
DR. THOMAS BROWN. The great evil in matrimonial life, is the cessation of those cares which were regarded as necessary for obtaining love, but