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as with wearied spirits, and overtasked strength, they grapple with hardships-animating to patience, and even inspiring them with thankfulness? Oh, it will be to improve the condition of our peasantry, to banish murmuring and discontent, to exchange uneasiness and anxiety for quietness and confidence, to provide an antidote to evil in its worst shapes, to furnish a never-failing succour of care, an inexhaustible source of consolation, a guide that will never deceive, a hope that will never make ashamed. Thus an improvement is effected in the exact degree that Christianity is diffused. Religion has such a power of softening what is most rugged, and enlightening what is darkest, and sustaining under the heaviest pressure, and directing in the most perplexing circumstances, that, as nothing can supply its place, so its possession more than compensates every other want. He that has it, may be said to be wealthy in his poverty, and he who is without it, to be a beggar in his abundance: and believing that God has distributed the allotments of life more equally than is generally thought, so that the greatest cares accompany the greatest advantages, and thus the average of comfort may be not far from uniform-we believe that not any thing but religion is wanting to raise the very lowest to respectability and happiness. It were vain to talk of covering the whole land with opulent families; neither, if it were done, should we have it covered with happy families but it is not less vain to talk of covering the land with contented families: this it is that Christianity, operating wonderously on all the trials, as well as all the duties of life, is both designed and adapted to effect. Let, therefore, Christianity gain entrance into the cabins and hovels of our country, and there will presently break upon the lower orders that golden age, which has yet only existed in the dreams of poets. The poorest, feeling themselves heirs of God, yea, joint-heirs with Christ, will bear cheerfully the afflictions which are "but for a moment;" and those who have to struggle with trouble in its most appalling forms, "knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope," will present the aspect of undismayed, and even rejoicing men, not to be overborne, because sustained from on high; not to be disheartened, because secure of immortality. And if Christianity, admitted into the homes, and woven
into the hearts of the peasantry, would thus elevate the poorest families, and ensure them as large a measure of happiness as consists with a state of moral discipline— then the opposite proposition must also be true, namely, that the wealthiest families, void of religion, want the chief element, whether of honour or of happiness, and thus the proof supplied corroborates the assertion, that “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." -Rev. H. Melville.
THE BENEFIT OF GOOD LAWS.
THE stateliness of houses, the goodliness of trees, when we behold them, delighteth the eye: but that foundation which beareth up the one, that root which ministereth unto the other nourishment and life, is in the bosom of the earth concealed: and if there be occasion at any time to search into it, such labour is then more necessary than pleasant, both to them which undertake it, and for the Îookers on. In like manner the use and benefit of good laws, all that live under them may enjoy with delight and comfort, albeit the grounds and first original causes from whence they have sprung, be unknown, as to the greatest part of men they are.
Since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of His law upon the world, heaven and earth have hearkened unto His voice, and their labour hath been to do His will. "He made a law for the rain;" He gave His "decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass His commandment." Now if nature should intermit her course, and leave, altogether, though it were for awhile, the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads, should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it may happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now, as a giant, doth run his unwearied course, should, as it were through a languishing faintness, begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times
and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away, as children at the withered breasts of their mother no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man. himself, whom these things do now all serve? See we not plainly, that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world?-Hooker.
THE PLEASURE OF STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION.
I CAN wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle; but of all others, a scholar; in so many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts: other artizans do but practise, we still learn; others run still in the same gyre to weariness, to satiety; our choice is infinite; other labours require recreations, our very labour recreates our sports; we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How numberless are the volumes which men have written of arts, of tongues! How endless is that volume which God hath written of the world! wherein every creature is a letter: every day a new page. Who can be weary of either of these? To find wit in poetry; in philosophy, profoundness; in mathematics, acuteness; in history, wonder of events; in oratory, sweet eloquence; in divinity, supernatural light, and holy devotion, as so many rich metals in their proper mines; whom would it not ravish with delight? After all these, let us but open our eyes, we cannot look beside a lesson, in this universal book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle? what event doth not challenge his observation? And, if, weary of foreign employment, we list to look home into ourselves, there we find a more private world of thoughts which set us on work anew, more busily and not less profitably: now our silence is vocal, our solitariness popular; and we are shut up, to do good unto many; if once we be cloyed with our own company, the door of conference is open; here interchange of discourse (besides pleasure) benefits us; and he is a weak companion from
whom we return not wiser. I could envy, if I could believe that anchoret, who, secluded from the world, and pent up in his voluntary prison walls, denied that he thought the day long, whiles yet he wanted learning to vary his thoughts. Not to be cloyed with the same conceit is difficult, above human strength; but to a man so furnished with all sorts of knowledge, that according to his dispositions he can change his studies, I should wonder that ever the sun should seem to pass slowly. How many busy tongues chase away good hours in pleasant chat, and complain of the haste of night! What ingenious mind can be sooner weary of talking with learned authors, the most harmless and sweetest companions? What a heaven lives a scholar in, that at once in one close room can daily converse with all the glorious Martyrs and Fathers? that can single out at pleasure, either sententious Tertullian, or grave Cyprian, or resolute Hierome, or flowing Chrysostome, or divine Ambrose, or devout Bernard, or, (who alone is all these) heavenly Augustine, and talk with them and hear their wise and holy counsels, verdicts, resolutions; yea, (to rise higher) with courtly Esay, with learned Paul, with all their fellow-prophets, Apostles; yet more, like another Moses, with God Himself, in them both? Let the world contemn us; while we have these delights we cannot envy them; we cannot wish ourselves other than we are. Besides, the way to all other contentments is troublesome; the only recompense is in the end. To delve in the mines, to scorch in the fire for the getting, for the fining of gold is a slavish toil; the comfort is in the wedge to the owner, not the labourers; whereas our very search of knowledge is delightsome. Study itself is our life; from which we would not be barred for a world.Bishop Hall.
THE PRAISE OF THE DEPARTED, AND THE MEMORY OF ANCESTORS.
Most of those who have heretofore spoken on such an occasion have commended the authors of this law, for having instituted an oration in honour of those who have fallen in battle for their country. For my part, I think it would have been sufficient, that, having been proved
good men in deed, their honours also should be made manifest in deed, as ye now see is the case with the preparations made by the public, touching this funeral; and that the virtues of many should not be periled in one person, for him to be believed as he spake well or ill: for it is hard to speak with exactness on a subject where even an impression of the truth is with difficulty gained. For the friendly and well-disposed hearer may probably suppose that less is said than he wishes, and knows; and the stranger may, through envy, imagine that things are exaggerated, if he hear anything beyond his own power to perform. For praises spoken upon others are endurable so long as each one thinks that he is able to do what he has heard ; but whatever surpasses their own power, they straightway envy and discredit. But since this course has been sanctioned by our ancestors as wise, it behoveth me also, obeying this law, to endeavour to secure, as far as may be, the good will and opinion of each of you.
And in the first instance, I will begin from our ancestors; for it is both just and fitting that on such an occasion, the honour of mention should be awarded unto them. For the same persons always inhabiting this country, have, in regular succession, through their valour, handed it down free unto this day; and they, too, are worthy of praise, but our fathers still more so. For they acquired additional possessions to those which they received, and with much labour have bequeathed to us the empire which we possess. And we also who are here, and are chiefly in the full vigour of life, have added still more unto it, and have so adorned it in all respects, that it is sufficient of itself for all the exigencies of war and peace. Unwilling as I am to dwell in detail among those who are acquainted therewith, I will pass by those warlike achievements by which each was won, whether we ourselves, or our fathers, readily warded off an impending war of Grecians, or Barbarians. But when I have shown by what methods our state has arrived at this height, and by what kind of polity and conduct it has become so great, I will then proceed also to the praises of these men, thinking that on the present occasion such things may be spoken without impropriety, and that it is for the interest of all this assembly of citizens and strangers to hear them.-Thucydides.