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gar. Consider how many are contented and happy without those advantages of fortune, on which you put so extravagant a value. Consider whether it is possible for you to be happy with them, if, for their sake, you forfeit all that is estimable in man. The favour of the great, perhaps, you think, is at stake; or that popularity with the multitude, on which you build plans of advancement. Alas! how precarious are the means which you employ in order to attain the end you have in view; and the end itself, how little is it worthy of your ambition? That favour which you pursue, of dubious advantage when gained, is frequently lost by servile compliance. The timid and abject are detected, and despised even by those whom they court; while the firm and resolute rise in the end to those honours, which the other pursued in vain.
Put the case at the worst. Suppose not your fortune only, but your safety, to be in hazard; your life itself to be endangered, by adhering to conscience and virtue. Think, what a creeping and ignominious state you would render life, if, when your duty calls, you would expose it to no danger? If by a dastardly behaviour, you would, at any expence, preserve it. That life which you are so anxi
ous to preserve, can at any rate be prolonged only for a few years more; and those years may be full of woe. He, who will not risk death when conscience requires him to face it, ought to be ashamed to live.- -Consider, as a man, and a Christian, for what purpose life was given thee by Heaven. Was it, that thou mightest pass a few years in low pleasures and ignoble sloth; flying into every corner to hide thyself, when the least danger rises to view? No: life was given that thou mightest come forth to act some useful and honourable part, on that theatre where thou hast been placed by Providence; mightest glorify Him that made thee; and, by steady perseverance in virtue, rise in the end to an immortal state.
Son of man, Remember thy original honours! Assert the dignity of thy nature! Shake off this pusillanimous dread of death; and seek to fulfil the ends for which thou wert sent forth by thy Creator!The sentiment of a noble mind is, I count not my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my course with joy. To the finishing of his course, let every one direct his eye; and let him now appreciate life according to the value it will be found to have when summed up at the close. This is the period which brings every thing to the test. Illusions may formerly have imposed on
the world; may have imposed on the man himself. But all illusion then vanishes. The real character comes forth. The estimate of happiness is fairly formed. Hence it has been justly said, that no man can be pronounced either great or happy, until his last hour come. To that last hour, what will bring such satisfaction or add so much dignity, as the reflection on having surmounted with firmness all the discouragements of the world, and having persevered to the end in one uniform course of fidelity and honour? We remarked, before, the magnanimous behaviour of the Apostle Paul, when he had persecution and distress full in view. Hear now the sentiments of the same great man, when the time of his last suffering approached; and remark the majesty and ease with which he looked on death. I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.* How many years of life does such a dying moment overbalance? Who would not chuse in this manner to go off
the stage, with such a song of triumph in his mouth, rather than prolong his existence through a wretched old age, stained with sin and shame?
* 2 Timothy, iv. 6, 7.
Animated by these considerations, let us nourish that fortitude of mind, which is so essential to a man and a Christian. Let no discouragement nor danger deter us from doing what is right. Through honour and dishonour, through good report and bad report, let us preserve fidelity to our God and our Saviour. Though an host should encamp against us, let us not fear to discharge our duty. God assists us in the virtuous conflict; and will crown the conqueror with eternal rewards. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. To him that overcometh, saith our blessed Lord, I will grant to sit with me on my throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne. *
* Rev. ii. 10.—iii. 21.
1 CORINTHIANS, xiii. 4. Charity envieth not
ENVY is a sensation of uneasiness and disquiet, arising from the advantages which others are supposed to possess above us, accompanied with malignity towards those who possess them. This is universally admitted to be one of the blackest passions in the human heart. In this world we depend much on one another; and were therefore formed by God to be mutually useful and assisting. The instincts of kindness and compassion which belong to our frame, shew how much it was the intention