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I am no orator, as Brutus is;
my friends; and that they know full well
every wound of Cæsar, that should move The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
VIRTUE is of intrinsic value, and of indispensable obligation; not the creature of will, but necessary and immutable; not a mode of sensation, but everlasting truth; not dependent on power, but the guide of all power. Virtue is the foundation of honour and esteem—the source of all beauty, order, and happiness in nature. It is what confers value on all the other endowments and qualities of a reasonable being, to which they ought to be subservient, and without which, the more eminent they are, the more hideous deformities they become. The use of it is not confined to any one stage of our existence, or to any particular situation we can be in, but it reaches through all the periods and circumstances of our being. Many of the endowments and talents we now possess, and of which we are too apt to be proud, will cease entirely with the present state; but virtue will be our ornament and dignity in every
future state to which we may be removed. Beauty and wit will die, learning vanish away, all the arts of life be soon forgotten, but virtue will remain for ever. This unites us to the whole rational creation, and fits us for conversing with any order of superior natures. It procures us the approbation and love of all wise and good beings, and renders them our allies and friends. But what is of unspeakably greater consequence, it makes God our friend, assimilates and unites our minds to his, and engages his almighty power in our defence. Superior beings of all ranks are bound by it no less than ourselves. It has the same authority in all worlds. The further any being is advanced in excellence, the greater is his attachment to it, and the more he is under its influence. To say no more, it is the law of the whole universe; it stands first in the estimation of the Deity; its original is nature.
Such is the importance of virtue. Of what consequence, therefore, is it that we practise it? There is no argument or motive at all fitted to influence a reasonable mind, which does not call us to this. One virtuous disposition of soul is preferable to the greatest natural accomplishments, and of more value than all the treasures of the world. If you are wise, then, study virtue, and contemn every thing that can come in competition with it. Remember that nothing else deserves one anxious thought or wish. Remember that this alone is honour, glory, wealth, and happiness. Secure this, and you secure everything. Lose this, and all is lost. PRICE.
THERE is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness, in work. Were he ever so benighted, or forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in a man that actually and earnestly works; in idleness alone is there perpetual despair. Consider how, even in the meanest sort of labour, the whole soul of a man is composed into real harmony. He bends himself with free valour against his task; and doubt, desire, sorrow, remorse, indignation, despair itself, shrink murmuring far off into their caves. The glow of labour in him is a purifying fire, wherein all poison is burnt up; and of sour smoke itself, there is made a bright and blessed flame.
Destiny has no other way of cultivating us. A formless chaos, once set revolving, grows round, ranges itself into strata, and is no longer a chaos, but a compacted world. What would become of the earth did it cease to revolve? So long as it revolves, all inequalities disperse themselves, all irregularities incessantly become regular. Of an idle, unrevolving man, destiny can make nothing more than a mere enamelled vessel of dishonour, let her spend on him what colouring she may. Let the idle think of this. Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness; he has a life-purpose. Labour is life. From the heart of the worker rises the celestial force, breathed into him by Almighty God, awakening him to all nobleness, to all knowledge.
Man, son of heaven! is there not in thine inmost heart a spirit of active method, giving thee no rest till thou unfold it? Disorder is thy enemy; attack him swiftly; make him the subject of Divinity, intelligence, and thee. Complain not. Look up, wearied brother. See thy fellow-workmen surviving through eternity-the sacred band of immortals !
3.--THE BALANCE OF HAPPINESS EQUAL.
An extensive contemplation of human affairs will lead us to this conclusion, That, among the different conditions and ranks of men, the balance of happiness is preserved in a great measure equal; and that the high and the low, the rich and the poor, approach, in point of real enjoyment, much nearer to each other, than is commonly imagined. In the lot of man, mutual compensations, both of pleasure and of pain, universally take place. Providence never intended, that any state here should be either completely happy, or entirely miserable. If the feelings of pleasure are more numerous, and more lively, in the higher departments of life, such also are those of pain. If the
poor are confined to a more narrow circle, yet within that circle lie most of those natural satisfactions, which, after all the refinements of art, are found to be the most genuine and true.In a state, therefore, where there is neither so much to be coveted on the one hand, nor to be dreaded on the other, as at first appears, how submissive ought we to be to the disposal of Providence! How temperate in our desires and pursuits! How much more attentive to preserve our virtue, and to improve our minds, than to gain the doubtful and equivocal advantages of worldly prosperity!
4.—THE INTERVIEW OF RASSELAS, PRINCE OF ABYSSINIA, HIS
SISTER NEKAYAH, AND IMLAC, WITH THE HERMIT. They came on the third day, by the direction of the peasants, to the hermit's cell: it was a cavern in the side of a mountain, overshadowed with palm-trees. The hermit sat on a bench at the door, to enjoy the coolness of the evening. On one side lay a book with pens and paper, on the other mechanical instruments of various kinds.
They saluted him with great respect, which he returned like a man not unaccustomed to the forms of courts. children,” said he, “if you have lost your way, you shall be willingly supplied with such conveniences for the night as this cavern will afford. I have all that nature requires, and you will not expect delicacies in a hermit's cell.” They thanked him; and, entering, were pleased with the neatness and regularity of the place. His discourse was cheerful without levity, and pious without enthusiasm.
At last Imlac began thus :—"I do not now wonder that your reputation is so far extended; we have heard at Cairo of
your wisdom, and came hither to implore your direction for this young man and maiden in the choice of life.”
“To him that lives well," answered the hermit, “every form of life is good; nor can I give any other rule for choice, than to remove from all ap
ent evil." "He will remove most certainly from evil,” said the prince, 66 who shall devote himself to that solitụde which you have recommended by your example.”
"I have indeed lived fifteen years in solitude," said the hermit, “but have no desire that my example should gain any imitators. In my youth I professed arms, and was raised by degrees to the highest military rank. I have traversed wide countries at the head of my troops, and seen many battles and sieges. At last, being disgusted by the preferments of a younger officer, and feeling that my vigour was beginning to decay, I resolved to close my life in peace, having found the world full of snares, discord, and misery. I had once escaped from the pursuit of the enemy by the shelter of this cavern, and there