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I was found able to speak upon doubtful questions; and was commanded to stand at the footstool of the calif. I was heard with attention; I was consulted with confidence; and the love of praise fastened on my heart.
10 “I still wished to see distant countries; listened with rapture to the relations of travellers ; and resolved some time to ask my dismission, that I might feast my soul with novelty: but my presence was always necessary; and the stream of business hurried me along. Sometimes I was afraid lest I should be charged with ingratitude : but I still proposed to travel, and therefore would not confine myself by marriage.
11 « In my fiftieth year, I began to suspect that the time of travelling was past; and thought it best to lay hold on the felicity yet in my power, and indulge myself in domestic pleasures. But at fifty no man easily finds a woman beautiful as the Houries, and wise as Zobeide. I inquired and rejected, consulted and deliberated, till the sixty-second year 'made me ashamed of wishing to marry. I had now nothing left but retirement; and for retirement I never found a time, till disease forced me froin public employment.
12 “ Such was my scheme, and such has been its consequence. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I trifled away the years of improvement; with a restless desire of seeing different countries, I have always resided in the same city; with the highest expectation of connubial felicity, I have lived unmarried; and with unalterable resolutions of contemplative retirement, I am going to die within the walls of Bagdat.”
DR. JOHNSON. . SECTION XI.
The pleas:cres of virtuous sensibility. ..." T HE good effects of true sensibility, on general virtue and
I happiness, admit of no dispute. Let us consider its effect on the happiness of him who possesses it, and the various pleasures to which it gives him access. If he is master of riches or influence, it affords him the means of increasing his own enjoyment, by relieving the wants, or increasing the comforts of others. If he commands not these advantages, yet all the comforts which he sees in the possession of the deserving, become in some sort his, by his rejoicing in the good which they enjoy.
2 Even the face of nature, yields a satisfaction to him, which the insensible can never know. The profusion of goodness, which he beholds poured forth on the universe, dilates
his heart with the thought, thatinnumerable multitudes around · him, are blest and happy. When he sees the labourt of pion
appearing to prosper, and views a country flourishing in wealth and industry; when he beholds the spring coming forth in its beauty, and reviving the decayed face of nature; or in autumn, beholds the fields loaded with plenty, and the year crowned with all its fruits ; he lifts his affections with gratitude to the great Father of all, and rejoices in the general felicity and joy.
3 It may indeed be objected, that the same sensibility lays open the heart to be pierced with many wounds, from the distresses which abound in the world ; exposes us to frequent suffering from the participation which it communicates of the sorrows, as well as of the joys of friendship. But let it be considered, that the tender melancholy of sympathy, is accompanied with a sensation, which they who feel it would not exchange for the gratifications of the selfish. When the heart is strongly moved by any of the kind affections, even when it pours itself forth in virtuous sorrow, a secret attractive charm mingles with the painful emotion; there is a joy in the midst of grief.
4 Let it be farther considered, that the griefs which sensibility introduces, are counterbalanced by pleasures which flow from the same source. Sensibility heightens in general the human powers, and is connected with acuteness in all our feelings. If it makes us more alive to some painful sensations, in return, it renders the pleasing ones more vivid and animated.
5 The selfish man, languishes in his narrow circle of pleasures. They are confined to what affects his own interest. He is obliged to repeat the same gratifications, till they become insipid. But' the man of virtuous sensibility, moves in a wider sphere of felicity. His powers are much more frequently called forth into occupations of pleasing activity.Numberless occasions open to him of indulging his favourite taste, by conveying satisfaction to others. Often it is in his power, in one way or other, to sooth the afflicted heart, to carry some consolation into the house of wo.
6 In the scenes of ordinary life, in the domestic and social intercourses of men, the cordiality of his affections cheers and gladdens him. Every appearance, every description of inrocent happiness, is enjoyed by him. Every native expression of kindness, and affection among others, is felt by him, even though he be not the object of it. In friends enjoying one another, he is as happy as the happiest.
7 in a word, he lives in a different sort of world, from that which the selfish man inhabits. He possesses a new sense that enables him to behold objects which the selfish cannot see. At the same time, bis enjoyments are not of that kind which
7 in a working one another, he is ect of it. In a circle of
remain merely on the surface of the mind. They penetrato the heart. They enlarge and elevate, they refine and ennoble it. To all the pleasing emotions of affection, they add the dignified consciousness of virtue.
8 Children of men! men formed by nature to live and to feel as brethren! how long will ye continue to estrange yourselves from one another by competitions and jealousies, when in cordial union ye might be so much more blest? How long will ye seek your happiness in selfish gratifications alone, neglecting those purer and better sources of joy, which flow from the affections and the heart?
BLAIRE SECTION XI.
On the true honoúr of man. THE proper honour of man arises not from some of those
1 splendid actions and abilities, which excite high admira. tion. Courage and prowess, military renown, signal victories and conquests, may render the name of a man famous, without rendering his character truly honourable. To many brave men, to many heroes renowned in story, we look up with wonder. Their exploits are recorded. Their praises are sung. They stand, as on an eminence, above the rest of man. kind. Their eminence, nevertheless, may not be of that sort, hefore which we bow with inward esteem and respect. Something more is wanted for that purpose, than the conquering arm, and the intrepid mind.
2 The laurels of the warrior must at all times be dyed in blood, and bedewed with the tears of the widow and the orphan. But if they have been stained by rapine and inhumaniiy; if sordid avarice has marked his character; or low and gross sensuality has degraded his life; the great hero sinks into a little man. What, at a distance, or on a superficial view, we admired, becomes mean, perhaps odious, when we examine it more closely. It is like the Colossal statue, whose immense size struck the spectator afar off with astonishment; but when nearly viewed, it appears disproportioned, unshapely, and rude.
3. Observations of the same kind may be applied to all the reputation derived from civil accomplishments; from the refined politics of the statesman, or the literary efforts of gen. ius and erudition. These bestow, and within certain bounds ought to bestow, eminence and distinction on men. They discover talents which in themselves are shining; and which become highly valuable, when employed, in advancing the good of mankind. Hence, they frequently give rise to fame.
But a distinction is to be made between fame and true honour.
4 The statesman, the orator, or the poet, may be famous; while yet the man himself is far from being honoured. We envy his abilities. We wish to rival them. But we would not choose to be classed with him who possesses them. Instances of this sort are too often found in every record of ancient or modern history.
5 From all this it follows, that in order to discern where man's true honour lies, we must look, not to any adventitious circumstances of fortune; not to any single sparkling quality; but to the whole of what forms a man; what entitles him, as such, to rank high among that class of beings to which he belongs; in a word, we must look to the mind and the soul.
6 A mind superior to fear, to selfish interest and corruption; a mind governed by the principles of uniform rectitude and integrity; the same in prosperity and adversity; which no bribe can seduce, nor terror overawe; neither by pleasure melted into effeminacy, nor by distress sunk into dejection : such is the mind which forms the distinction and eininence of man.
7 One who, in no situation of life, is either ashamed or afraid of discharging his duty, and acting his proper part with firm- me ness and constancy; true to the God whom he worships, and true to the faith in which he professes to believe; full of affection to his brethren of mankind; faithful to his friends, generous to his enemies, warm with compassion to the unfortunate ; self-denying to little private interests and pleasures, but zealous for public interest and happiness ; magnanimous, without being proud; humble, without being mean ; just, without being harsh ; simple in his manners, but manly in his feelings ; on whose word we can entirely rely; whose countenance never deceives us'; whose professions of kindness are the effusions of his heart : one, in fine, whom, independently of any views of advantage, we should choose for a superior, could trust in as a friend, and could love as a brother -this is the man, whom, in our heart, above all others, we do, we must honour.
BLAIR. SECTION XIII. The influence of devotion on the happiness of life. W HATEVER promotes and strengthens virtue, what
IT ever calms and regulates the temper, is a source of happinens. Devotion produces these effects in a remarkable defree. It inspires composure of spirit, mildness, and benignity; weakens the painful, and cherishes the pleasing emotions ;
and, by these means, carries on the life of a pious man in a smooth and placid tenour.
2 Besides exerting this habitual influence on the mind, de votion opens a field of enjoyments, to which the vicious are entire strangers; enjoyments the more valuable, as they pecul jarly belong to retirement, when the world leaves us; and to adversity, when it becomes our foe. These are the two seasons, for which every wise man would most wish to pro vide some hidden store of comfort.
3 For let him be placed in the most favourable situation which the human state admits, the world can neither alway amuse him, nor always shield him from distress. There wil be many hours of vacuity, and many of dejection, in his life If he be a stranger to God, and to devotion, how dreary will the gloom of solitude often prove! With what oppressive weigh will sickness, disappointment, or old age, fall upon his spirits
4 But for those pensive periods, the pious man has a relie prepared. From the tiresome repetition of the common van ities of life, or from the painful corrosion of its cares and sor rows, devotion transports him into a new region; and sur rounds him there with such objects, as are the most fitted t cheer the dejection, to calm the tumults, and to heal the wounds of his heart.
5 If the world has been empty and delusive, it gladden him with the prospect of a higher and better order of things about to arise. If men have been ungrateful and base, it dis plays before him the faithfulness of that Supreme Being who, though every other friend fail, will never forsake him.
6 Let us consult our experience, and we shall find, that the two greatest sources of inward joy, are, the exercise of lov directed towards a deserving object, and the exercise of hop terminating on some high and assured happiness. Both thes are supplied by devotion ; and therefore we have no reason to be surprised, if, on some occasions, it fills the hearts of good men with a satisfaction not to be expressed.
7 The refined pleasures of a pious mind are, in many res pects, superior to the coarse gratifications of sense. They are pleasures which belong to the highest powers and best af fections of the soul ; whereas the gratifications of sense resid in the lowest region of our nature. To the latter, the sou stoops below its native dignity. The former, raise it above itself. The latter, leave always a comfortless, often a morti fying, remembrance behind them. The former, are reviewer with applause and delight. & The pleasures of sense resemble a foaming torrent
nd leave which, after a disorderly course, speedily runs out, and