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"Surely, my friend, you're but in jest:
Since I was here before, 'Tis six-and-thirty years at least,
And you are now fourșcore.”
“ So much the worse!" the clown rejoined:
“ I know," cries Death, " that, at the best,
Your years have run to a great length:
“Hold !" says the farmer, “ not so fast:
“However, you still keep your eyes ;
Perhaps,” says Dobson," so it might;
“ This is a shocking story, saith!
I warrant you hear all-the news.” 10 “ There's none,” cries he ; “and, if there were,
I'm grown so deaf I could not hear.”
“ 'These are unreasonable yearnings : If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
You've had your three sufficient warnings :
The Misfortunes of Men mostly chargeable on them
selves.-BLAIR. 1 We find man placed in a world, where he has by no means the disposal of the events that happen. Calamities sometimes befall the worthiest and the best, which it is not in their power to prevent, and where nothing is left them, but to acknowledge, and to submit to the high hand ot, Heaven. For such visitations of trial, many good and wise reasons can be assigned, which the present subject leads me not to discuss.
But, though these unavoidable calamities make a part, yet they make not the chief part, of the vexa
tions and sorrows that distress human life. A multitude 2 of evils beset us, for the source of which we must look to
another quarter. No sooner has any thing in the health, or in the circumstances of men, gone cross to their wish, than they begin to talk of the unequal distribution of the good things of this life; they envy the condition of others : they repine at their own lot, and fret against the Ruler of the world. Full of these sentiments, one man pines under a broken constitution. But let us ask him, whether he can, fairly and honestly, assign no cause for this but the unknown
decree of Heaven? Has he duly valued the blessing of 3 health, and always observed the rules of virtue and sobri ..
ety ? Has he been moderate in his life, and temperate in all his pleasures? If now he's only paying the price of his former, perhaps his forgotten indulgences, has he any title to complain, as if he were suffering unjustly? Were we to survey the chambers of sickness and distress, we should often find them peopled with the victims of intemperance and sensuality, and with the children of vicious indolence and sloth. Among the thousands who languish there, we
should find the proportion of innocent sufferers to be small. 4 We should see faded youth, premature old age, and the
prospect of an untimely grave, to be the portion of multitudes, who, in one way or other, have brought those evils on themselves; while yet these martyrs of vice and folly, have the assurance to arraign the hard fate of man, and to “ fret against the Lord.”
But you, perhaps, complain of hardships of another kind; of the injustice of the world ; of the poverty which you
suffer, and the discouragements under which you labor ;
of the crosses, and disappointments, of which your life has 5 been doomed to be full. Before you give too much scope
to your discontent, let me desire you to reflect impartially upon your past train of life.
Have not sloth or pride, ill temper, or sinful passions, misled you often from the path of sound and wise conduct ? Have you not been wanting to yourselves in improving those opportunities which Providence offered you, for bettering and advancing your state ? If
you have chosen to indulge your humor, or your taste, in the gratifications of indolence or pleasure, can you complain because others, in preference to you, have obtained 6 those advantages which naturally belong to useful labors, and honorable pursuits? Have not the consequences of some false steps, into which your passions, or your pleasures, have betrayed you, pursued you through much of your life; tainted, perhaps, your characters, involved you in embarrassments, or sunk you into neglect? It is an old saying, that every man is the artificer of his own fortune in the world. It is certain, that the world seldom turns wholly against a man, unless through his own fault. “ Religion
is," in general,“ profitable unto all things." Virtue, dili7 gence, and industry, joined with good temper, and prudence,
have ever been found the surest road to prosperity ; and where men fail of attaining it, their want of success is far oftener owing to their having deviated from that road, than to their having encountered insuperable bars in it. Some by being too artful, forfeit the reputation of probity. Some, by being too open, are accounted to fail in prudence. Others, by being fickle and changeable, are distrusted by all.
The case commonly is, that men seek to ascribe their disappointments to any cause, rather than to their own mis8 conduct: and when they can devise no other cause, they
lay them to the charge of Providence. Their folly leads them into vices; their vices into misfortunes; and in their misfortunes they “ murmur against Providence.” They are doubly unjust towards their Creator. In their prosperity, they are apt to ascribe their success to their own diligence, rather than to his blessing; and in their adversity, they impute their distresses to his providence, not to their own misbehavior. Whereas, the truth is the very reverse of this. “Every good and every perfect gift cometh from 9 above ;" and of evil and misery, man is the author 10 himself.
When, from the condition of individuals, we look abroad to the public state of the world, we meet with more proofs of the iruth of this assertion. We see great societies of men torn in pieces by intestine dissensions, tumults, and civil commotions. We see mighty armies going forth, in formidable array, against each other, to cover ihe earth with blood, and to fill the air with the cries of widows and orplans. Sad evils these, to which this miserable world 10 is exposed. But are these evils, I beseech you, to be imputed to God? Was it he who sent forth slaughtering arinies into the field, or who filled the peaceful city with massacres and blood ? Are these miseries any other than the bitter fruit of men's violent and disorderly passions ? Are they not clearly to be traced to the ambition and vices of princes, to the quarrels of the great, and to the tubulence of the people? Let us lay them entirely out of the. account, in thinking of Providence, and let us think only of the 66 foolishness of man.” Did man control his pas11 sions, and form his conduct according to the dictates of
wisdom, humanity, and virtue, the earth would no longer he desolated by cruelty; and human societies would live in order, harmony, and peace. In those scenes of mischief and violence which fill the world, let man behold, with shame, the picture of his vices, his ignorance, and folly. Let him be humbled by the mortifying view of his own perverseness; but let not his “heart fret against the Lord.”
The Dread of being Over-Eloquent.—BUĻWER. 1 A LOVE for decencies, and decencies alone-a conclu
sion that all is vice which dispenses with them, and all hypocrisy which wuuld step beyond them—damps the zeal of the established clergy:* it is something disreputable to be too eloquent; the aristocratic world does not like either clergymen or women to make too much noise. A very
* In England.
popular preacher, who should, in the pulpit, be carried away by his fervor for the souls of his Aock, who should use an extemporaneous figure of speech, or too vehement
a gesticulation, would be considered as betraying the dig2 nity of his profession. Bossuet would have lost his char
acier with us, and St. Paul have run the danger of being laughed at as a mountebank.
Walk into that sacred and well-filled edifice,-it is a fashionable church: you observe how well cleaned and well painted it is; how fresh the brass nails and the redcloth seen in the gentlefolks' pews; how respectable the clerk looks-the curate, too, is considered a very gentlemanlike young man. The rector is going to begin the ser
mon: he is a very learned man-people say he will be a 3 bishop one of these days, for he edited a Greek play, and
was private tutor to Lord Glitter. Now observe him-his voice, how monotonous !his manner, how cold his face, how composed ! yet what are his words—« Fly the wrath that is to come. Think of your immortal souls. Remember, oh remember! how terrible is the responsibility of life!-how strict the account !-how suddenly it may
be demanded !" Are these his words ? they are certainly of passionate import, and they are doled forth in the tone of a lazy man saying, “ John, how long is it to dinner ?” Why, 4 if the calmest man in the world were to ask a gamekeeper not to shoot his favorite dog, he would speak with a thousand times more energy; and yet this preacher is endeavoring to save the souls of a whole parish—of all his acquaintance-all his friends--all his relations—his wife (the lady in the purple bonnet, whose sins no man doubtless knows better) and his six children, whose immortal welfare must be still dearer to him than their temporal advancement; and yet what a wonderful command over his emo
tions! I never saw a man so cool in my life. 5 dear sir,” says the fashionable purist, “ that coolness is decorum; it is the proper characteristic of a clergyman of the Established Church.”
Alas: Dr. Young did not think so, when findin ş he could not impress his audience sufficiently, he stopped short, and burst in tears.