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pectation, to the pleadings on each side? Would not all your hopes and fears be hinged on the final decision? And yet, let me tell you, you have this moment a cause where not one nation, but all the world, are spectators: tried not before a fallible tribunal, but the awful throne of heaven; where not your temporal and transitory interests are the subject of debate, but your eternal happiness or misery; where the cause is still undetermined, but, perhaps, the very moment I am speaking may fix the irrecoverable decree that shall last for ever; and yet, notwithstanding all this, you can hardly sit with patience to hear the tidings of your own salvation. I plead the cause of heaven, and yet I am scarcely attended to." What an admirable address! O ye sleepy hearers, read it,
WHILE in the present state, we must prepare for and expect the attacks of slander and malevolence. If we be ever so poor and obscure, the tongue of calumny will find us out; or ever so wise and conspicuous, the spirit of invective will assault us. "Cherish good humour (says one,) paint pleasure in your face, endeavour by your pleasing deportment to communicate happiness to all about you; be, if I may speak so, the life and soul of society and it will be said you are not solid; you have the unworthy ambition of becoming the amusement of mankind. Put on an austere air; engrave on your countenance, if I may speak thus, the great truths that fill your soul and you will be taxed with pharisaism and
hypocrisy; it will be said that you put on a fair outside to render yourself venerable; but that under all this appearance very likely you conceal an impious, irreligious heart. Take a middle way; regulate your conduct by times and places; weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice; and you will be accused of lukewarmness. Pick your company, confine yourself to a small circle, make it a law to speak freely only to a few select friends, who will bear with your weak. nesses, and who know your good qualities; and you will be accused of pride and arrogance: it will be said, that you think the rest of mankind unworthy of your company; and that you pretend wisdom and taste are excluded from all societies, except such as you deign to frequent. Go every where, and, in a spirit of the utmost condescension, converse with every individual of mankind; and it will be said you are unsteady; a city, a province, cannot satisfy you: you lay all the universe under contribution, and oblige the whole world to try to satiate your unbounded love of pleasure."
A Persian soldier, who was heard reviling Alexander the Great, was well admonished by his officer. "Sir, you are paid to fight against Alexander, and not to rail at him." May we not say of mankind at large, that they are bound to pray for their enemies, and not to rail at them?
Among the Romans there was a law, that if any servant who had been, set free slandered his former master, the master might bring him into bondage again, and take from him all the favours he had bestowed on him.
Augustine had a distich written on his table, which intimated, that whoever attacked the characters of the absent were to be excluded. Such a distich, in modern times, I think, would be very serviceable.
When any one was speaking ill of another in the presence of Peter the Great, he at first listened to him attentively, and then interrupted him.
"Is there not," said he, "a fair side also to the character of the person of whom you are speaking? Come, tell me what good qualities you have remarked about him." One would think this monarch had learnt that precept— Speak not evil one of another."
The famous Boerhaave was one not easily moved by detraction. He used to say, "The sparks of calumny will be presently extinct of themselves, unless you blow them." It was a good remark of another, that "the malice of ill tongues cast upon a good man is only like a mouthful of smoke blown upon a diamond, which, though it clouds its beauty for the present, yet it is easily rubbed off, and the gem restored with little trouble to its owner."
The late Rev. Mr. Pearce, of Birmingham, was a man of an excellent spirit. It was a rule with him to discourage all evil speaking; nor would he approve of just censure, unless some good and necessary end were to be answered by it. Two of his distant friends being at his house together, one of them, during the absence of the other, suggested something to his disadvantage. He put a stop to the conversation by answering, "He is here: take him aside, and tell him of it by himself: you may do him good."
WHILE some are lost in dissipation and thoughtlessness, there are others whose minds are absorbed in diligent and laborious study. And, indeed, to have no taste for intellectual pleasures, seems to put man but a small remove from the animal tribes. He who cannot bear thinking, or at least has no disposition for investigation, but takes things merely from the report of others, or as they are imposed upon him by custom or prejudice, is a mere slave, and hardly can be wise. It is a remark worthy of attention, that "Thinking has been one of the least exerted privileges of cultivated humanity." It must be confessed there is too much truth in the observation. That all men think, is not denied; but, alas! few think with propriety, few bend their thoughts to right objects, few divest themselves of the shackles of ignorance and custom: to be, however, intelligent, to be candid, to be useful, a man should inure himself to application. In a word, he who would be happy in himself, respectable in society, and a blessing to the world, should industriously persevere in the study of those subjects which are calculated to enlarge the mind, ameliorate the disposition, and promote the best interests of mankind.
Instances of intense Study, &c.
Demosthenes's application to study was surprising. To be the more removed from noise, and less subject to distraction, he caused a small chamber to be made for him under ground, in
which he shut himself up sometimes for whole months, shaving on purpose half his head and face, that he might not be in a condition to go abroad. It was there, by the light of a small lamp, he composed the admirable orations, which were said, by those who envied him, to smell of the oil, to imply that they were too elaborate. "It is plain," replied he, "your's did not cost you so much trouble." He rose very early in the morning, and used to say, that "he was sorry when any workman was at his business before him.” He copied Thucydides' history, eight times, with his own hand, in order to render the style of that great man familiar to him.
Adrian Turnebus, an illustrious French critic, was indefatigable in his application to study, insomuch, that it was said of him, as it was of Budæus, that he spent some hours of study even on the day he was married.
Frederick Morel had so strong an attachment to study, that, when he was informed of his wife's being at the point of death, he would not lay down his pen till he had finished what he was upon; and when she was dead, as she was before they could prevail upon him to stir, he was only heard to reply coldly, "I am very sorry; she was a good woman."
Sir Isaac Newton, it is said, when he had any mathematical problems or solutions in his mind, would never quit the subject on any account. Dinner has been often three hours ready for him before he could be brought to table. His man of. ten said, when he has been getting up of a morning, he has sometimes begun to dress, and with one leg in his breeches sat down again on the bed,