« ПретходнаНастави »
Moral Effects of the Fine Arts. There is no more potent antidote to low sensuality, than the adoration of the beautiful. All the higher arts of design are essentially chaste without respect to the object. They purify the thoughts as tragedy purifies the passions. Their acci. dental effects are not worth consideration—there are souls to whom even a vestal is not holy-Schlegel.
XLI. Of Standing Armies. The greatest part of the standing armies of the Continent of Europe, secure the despotism of the princes, whose maintenance is a most severe burden upon the countries which support them. The individuals who compose those armies are miserable by the tyranny exercised upon them, and are themselves the cause of misery to their fellow citizens by the tyranny they exercise. But it will be said, they defend the country from foreign enemies. Alas! could a foreign conqueror occasion more wretchedness than such defenders? He who robs me of my property, deprives me of my freedom-I cannot return him very cordial thanks, when he tells me, he will defend me from every other robber.—Dr. John Moore.
"XLII. ini. The Necessary Nature of War.-It would be easy to bring too many examples of cruelty evinced even in these times, when war is said to be carried on with so much humanity. The art of war is essentially that of destruction; and it is impossible that there can be a mild and merciful way of murdering and ruining our fellow-creatures. · Right and wrong are of no consideration to a soldier-that would be contrary to every maxim of their trade. Soldiers, as men, are often humane, but war must ever be cruel; and that which binds a man to cruelty and injustice cannot be an honourable calling.-Anon.
Diffusion of Knowledge.—The strong barriers which confined the stores of wisdom have been thrown down, and a flood overspreads the earth: old establishments are adapting themselves to the spirit of the age; new establishments are rising; the inferior schools are introducing im. proved systems of instruction, and good books are rendering every man's fireside a school. From all these causes there is growing up an enlightened public opinion, which quickens and directs the progress of every art and science, and through the medium of a free press, although overlooked by many, is now rapidly becoming the governing influence in all the affairs of man.-Dr. Arnott-Ele. ments of Physics.
Truth and Justice.—Truth and justice are the immutable laws of social order. Far from us be the dangerous maxim, that it is sometimes useful to mislead, to enslave, and to deceive mankind, to ensure their happiness. Cruel experience has at all times proved, that, with impunity, these sacred laws can never be injured.-Laplace-Systeme du Monde.
XLV. Mercy and Humanity. When a man cares not what sufferings he causes others, and especially if he delights in other men's sufferings and makes them his sport, this is cruelty. And not to be affeeted with the sufferings of other people, though they proceed not from us, but from others, or from causes in which we are not concerned, is unmercifulness. Mercy and humanity are the reverse of these.- Wollaston's Religion of Nature.
· Power cannot be Supported by Injustice. It is not possible to found a lasting power upon injustice, perjury, and treachery. These may, perhaps, succeed for once, and borrow for awhile, from hope, a gay and flourishing appearance. But time betrays their weakness, and they fall into ruin of themselves. For, as in structures of every kind, the lower parts should have the greatest firmnessso the grounds and principles of actions should be just and true-Demosthenes.
- XLVII. The Good and Evil Things of Life. The difference of the degrees in which the individuals of a great commu. nity enjoy the good things of life has been a theme of de. claration and discontent in all ages; and it is doubtless our paramount duty, in every state of society, to alleviate the pressure of the purely evil part of this distribution, as much as possible, and, by all the means we can devise, srcure the lower links in the chain of society from dragging in dishonour and wretchedness.—Herschel on the Study of Natural Philosophy.
The Rich and the Poor.—There is not such a mighty difference, as some men imagine, between the poor and the rich—in pomp, show, and opinion, there is a great
deal, but little as to the pleasures and satisfactions of life: they enjoy the same earth, and air, and heavens; hunger and thirst make the poor man's meat and drink as pleasant and relishing as all the varieties which cover a rich man's table; and the labour of a poor man is more health. ful, and many times more pleasant too, than the ease and softness of the rich.-Dr. Sherlock.
XLIX. Bad Moralists.- Bad moralists produce no better effects than bad preachers; who admonish Christians of their duty in general, and exhort them to practise it; but neg. lect to inculcate the principal rules of life--so that the hearers hence become no wiser, nor live after a better manner than they did. Admonition, indeed, should be used; but instruction is more essential. Admonitions are of use, but to be always repeating the same things, cannot be necessary.-The Reflector..
Gamblers. A man who had gone over a great part of the world, returned at length home from his travels: his friends came and requested him to relate what he had seen. “ Listen,” said he, "eleven hundred miles beyond the country of the Hurons, there are men whom I thought very strange, they frequently sit at table until late in the night; there is no cloth laid, they do not wet their mouths; lightnings might flash around them; two armies might be engaged in battle, even the sky might threaten to crush them in its fall, they would remain unmoved on their seats, for they are deaf and dumb. Yet now and then there escapes from their lips a half-broken, uncon. nected, and unmeaning sound; and they horribly roll
their eyes at the same time. I often stood looking at them with astonishment, for when such sittings take place, people frequently go to witness them. Believe me, brethren, I shall never forget the horrible contortions which I there saw. Despair, fury, malicious joy, and anguish, were by turns visible in their countenances. Their rage, I assure you, appeared to me that of the furies—their gravity that of the judges of hell and their anguish that of malefactors.” “But what was their object?” asked his friends. “They attend perhaps to the welfare of the community ?"_"Oh no!!! “They are seeking the philosopher's stone?”—“You are mistaken.” “They wish to discover the quadrature of the circle?”—“ No.” “They do penance for old sins?"_“ Nothing of all this.” “Then they are mad: if they neither hear, nor speak, nor feel, nor see, what can they be doing?! They are GAMBLING! From the German of Lichtwehr.
LI.. Experience without Learning.–Verilie they bee fewest in number, that bee happie or wise by unlearned experience. Ard looke well upon the former life of those fewe, whether your example be old or young, who, without learning, have gathered, by long experience, a little wisdome and some happiness; and when you doe consider what mischiefe they have committed, what dangers they have escaped, (and twentie for one doe perish in the ad. venture)--then think well with yourselfe, whether ye would, that your own sonne should cum to wisdome and happiness by the way of such experience or no.-Ascham's Schoolmaster.