« AnteriorContinuar »
SECTION X The Creator's works attest his greatness. 1. We find ourselves in an immense universe, a where it is impossible for us, without astonishment and awe, to contemplate the glory and the power of Him who created it. From the greatest to the least object that webehold;-—from the star that glitters in the heavens, to the insect that creeps upon the ground;~from the thunder that rolls in the skies, to the flowcr that blossoms in the fields ;-all things testify a profound and mysteriousb Wisdom,-a mighty and all powerful Hand, before which we must tremble and adore.
2. Neither the causes nor the issues of the events which we behold, is it in our power to trace; neither how we came into this world, nor whither we go when we retire from it, are we able of ourselves to tell; but, in the meantime, find ourselves surrounded with astonishing magnificence on every hand. We walk through the earth as through the apartments of a vast palace, which fill every attentive spectator with wonder. All the works which our power can erect, all the ornaments which our art can contrive,-are feeble and trifling in comparison with those glories, which nature every where presents to our view.
3. The immense arch of the heavens, the splendor of the sun in his meridianc brightness, or the beauty of his rising and setting hours,—the rich landscape of the fields, and the boundless expanse of the ocean,-are scenes which mock every rival attempt of human skill or labor. Nor is it only in the splendid appearances of nature, but amidst its rudest forms that we trace the hand of the Divinity. In the solitary desert and the high mountain,-in the hanging precipice; the roaring torrent, and the aged forest,though there be nothing to cheer, there is much to strike the mind with awe, -to give rise to those solemn and sublime sensations, whicli elevate the heart to an Almighty, All-creating Power.-Blair.
SECTION XI. :: The advantages of a taste for Natural History, 1. When a young person who has enjoyed the benefit of a iberal education, instead of leading a life of indolence, dissipation, or vice, employs himself in studying the marks of infinite wisdom and goodness, which are n-anifested in every part of the visible creation,--we know not which we onight a U'-ni-verse, the whole system of creat. c Me-rid'-i-an, midday, noon.
d Prec-i-pice, i stecp descent. b Mys-te-ri-ous not easily understood.
most to congratulate," the public, or the individual. Selftaught naturalists are often found to make no little progress in knowledge, and to strike out many new lights, by the mera aid of original genius and patient application.
2. But the well.educated youth engages in these purstits > with peculiar advantage. He takes more comprehensive views, is able to consult a grcater variety of authors, and, from the early habits of his mind, is more accurate and inore methodicale in all his investigations. The world at large, therefore, cannot fail to be benefited by his labors; and the value of the enjoyments which at the sainc time he secures to himself, is beyond all calculation,
3. No tedious, vacant hour ever makes him wish for-hes knows not what -complain-le knows not why. Never does a restless impatience at having nothing to do, compel him to seek a inomentary stimulus to his dormant powerg in the tumultuous pleasures of the intoxicating cup, or the agitating suspense of the game of chance. Whether he beat home or abroad, in every diffcrent clime, and in every season of the year, universal nature is before him, and invites him to a banquet, richly replenished with whatever can in vigorate his understanding, or gratify his mental taste.
4. The earth on which he treads, the air in which he moves, the sca along the margin of which he walks,-all teem with objects that keep his attention perpetually awake-excite him to healthful activity ---and charm him with an ever varying succession of the beautiful, the wonderful, the liseíul, and the new. And if, in conformity with the direct tendency of such occupations, he rises from the creature to the Creator, and i considers the duties which naturally result from his own site in lation and rank in this vast system of being, he will derive as juuch satisfaction from the anticipation of the future, as from the experience of the present, and the recollection o' the past.
5. The mind of the pious naturalist is always cheerful always animated with the noblest and most benigne feelings. Every repeated observation -every unexpected discovery directs his thoughts to the great Source of all order, and all good ; and harmonizes all his faculties with the general voice of nature
" The men
a Con-grat -u-late, to profess joy to.
Nat-u-ral ists, persons versed in natusal blstory.
c Me-thod'-ic-al, regular
Necessity of Industry, even to Genius. 1. From the revival of learning to the present day, every thing that labor and ingenuity can invent, has been produces to facilitates the acquisition of knowledge. But, notwithstanding all the Introductions, the Translations, the Annotatioirs, and the Interpretations, I must assure the student, that indus try, great and persevering industry, is absolutely necessary 15 secure any very valuable and distinguished improvement: Superficial qualifications are indecd obtained, at an easy price of time and labor; but superficial qualifications Confer neither honor, emolunent, nor siltisfaction.
2. The pupil may be introduced, by the judgment and the liberality of his parents, to the best schools, the best tutors. the best books; and his parents may be led to expectz. from such advantages alone, extraordinary advancement. But these things are all extraneous. The mind of the pupil·must be accustomed to submit to labor; sometimes to painful labor.
3. The poor and solitary student, who has never enjoyed any of these advantages but in the ordinary manner, will by his own application emerge to merit, fáine, and fortime; while the indolent, who has been taught to lean on the supports which epulence supplies, will sink iitto insignificanec.
4. I repeat, that the first great object is, to induce the mind to work within itself,—to think long and patiently on the same subject, and to compose in various styles, and in various meters. It must be led, not only to bear, but to seek occasional solitude. If it is early habituated to all these exercises, it will find its chief pleasure in them ; for the energies of the mind affect it with the finest feelings.
5. But is industry, such industry as I requirs, necessary to genius? The idea that it is not neeessary, is productive of the greatest evils. We often form a wrong judgment in determining who is, and who is not endowed with this noble privilege. A boy who appears lively and talkativs, is often. supposed by his parents to be a genïits. He is suffered to be idle, for he is a genius; and genius is only injured by appliration.
6. Now it usually happens, that the very lively and talkalive boy is the most deficient in genius. His forwardness
arises from a defect of those fine sensibilities whicli, at the | same time, occasion diffidence and constitute genins. He OFrct!'.I-Inte, 10 make easy.
E-mol-11-Ments, profit, gain.
d Ex-tra'-ne ous, foreign, not intrinsic
ought to be inureda to literary labor; for, without it, he will de prevented, by levity and stupidity, from receiving any valuable impressions.
7. Parents and instructors must be very cautious how they dispense with diligence, from an idea that the pupil possesses genius sufficient to compensateb for the want of it. All men are liable to mistake in deciding on genius at a very early age; but parents more than all, from their natural partiality.
8. On no account, therefore, let them dispense with close application. If the pupil has genius, this will improve and adorn it; if he has not, it is confessedly requisite to supriy the defect. Those prodigies of genius which require not instruction, are rare phenomena:d we read, and we hear of such; but few of us have seen and known such.
9. What is genius .worth without knowledge ?-But is a man ever born with knowledge? It is true that one man is born with a better capacity than another, for the reception and retention of ideas; but still the mind must operate in collecting, arranging, and discriminating those ideas which it receives with facility. And I believe the mind of a genius is often very laboriously at work, when to the common observer it appears to be quite inactive.
10. I most anxiously wish that a due attention may be paid to my exhortations, when I recommend great and exemplary diligence. All that is excellent in learning depends upon it. And how can the time of a boy or a young man be better employed ?. It cannot be more pleasantly; for I am sure, that industry, by presenting a constant succession of various objects, and by precluding the listlessness of inaction, renders life at all stages of it agreeable, and particularly so in the restless season of youth.
11. It cannot be more innocently; for learning has a connexion with virtue: and he, whose time is fully engaged, will escape many vices and much misery. It cannot be more usefully; for he who furnishes his mind with ideas, and strengthens his faculties, is preparing himself to become a valuable member of society, whatever place in it he may ob tain ;-and he is likely to obtain an exalted place.- Knor.
SECTION XIII. Religion the only Basist of Society. 1. RELIGION is a social concern ; for it operates powerfully on society, contributing, in various ways, to its stability and a In-u'-red, hardened by use.
d Phe-nom'-e-na, appearances b Com-pen-sate, to make amenils.
& List'-less-ncss, indifference,inaitention c Prou-i-gies, surprising things.
f Ba'-sis, foundation, support
prosperity. Religion is not merely a private affair; the community is deeply interested in its diffusion ;a for it is the best support of the virtues and principles, on which the social order rests. Pure and undefied religion is, to do good ; and it follows very plainly, that if God be the Author and Friend of society, then the recognition of him must enforce all social duty, and enlightened piety must give its whole strength to public order.
2. Few men suspeci —perhaps no man comprehends - the extent of the support given by religion to every virtue. No Man perhaps is aware, how much our moral and social sentiments are fed from this fountain,-how powerless conscience would become, without the belief of a God,-how palsied would be human benevolence, were there not the sense of a higlier benevolence to quicken and sustain it,-how suddenly the whole social fabric would quake, and with what a fearful crash it would sink into hopeless ruin,-were the ideas of a supreme Eeing, of accountableness, and of a future life, to be utterly erased from every mind.
3. And, let men thoroughly believe that they are the work and sport of chance,—that no superior intelligence concerns itself with human affairs,—that the weak have no guardian, and the injured no avenger,--that there is no recompense for sacrifices to uprightness and the public good,—that an oath is unheard in heaven,-that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator, e--that human existence has no purpose and human virtue no unfailing friend,—that this brief life is every thing to us, and death is total, everlasting extinction, once let them thoroughly abandon religion, and who cani conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow"
4. We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe, that were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torthes would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize the creation. What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man is the unprotected insect of a day?And what is he more if atheism' be true?
5. Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite, knowing no restraint, and suffering, having no solace or hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of hu
a Dit-fu-sion, spreading, dispersion. e Per-pe-tra-tor, one who does, or coin 6 Recognition, an acknowledgment mits. CE-ra-sed, scratched out, effaced. "SA'the-ism, «tisbelief in Gol.
d Card'-i-an, One who has the care of anothe..