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and pointed out the strokes of inimitable fkill. He observ. ed the grand exertions of power, and the rich exuberance of goodness, most signally, most charmingly conspicuous through the whole --Upon one circumstance he enlarged, with particular satisfaction.
THERON See, Afpafio, how all is calculated to adminifter the highest delight to mankind. Those trees and hedges, which skirt the extremities of the landfcape, stealing away from their real bulk, and lessening by gentle diminutions, appear, like elegant pi&tures in miniature. Those which occupy the nearer situations are a set of noble images, swelling upa on the eye, in full proportion, and in a variety of graceful attitudes ; both of them ornamenting the several apartments of our common abode, with a mixture of delicacy and grandeur.
The blofsoms that array the branches, the flowers that embroider the mead, address and entertain our eyes with every charm of beauty ; whereas, to other creatures, they are deltitute of all those attractions, which result from a combination of the loveliest colours, and the most alluring
Yonder Itreams, that glide with smooth serenity, along the vallies, glittering to the distant view, like sheets of polished crystal, or foothing the attentive ear, with the foftness of aquatic murmurs, are not less exhilarating to the fancy, than refrething to the foil through which they pass. The huge, enormous mountain ; the steep and dizzy precipice ; the pendent horrors of the craggy promontory ; wild and awtul as they are, furniih an agreeable entertainment to the human mind; and pleate, even while they amaze: whereas, the bealls take no other notice of those majestic deformities, than to avoid the dangers they threaten.
How wonderfully do such confiderations exalt our idea of the Creator's goodness, lis very diftinguishing goodness to mankind! And thould they not proportionably endear that eternal Benefactor to our hearts ? His ever bountiful hand has, with profufe liberality, scattered bleflings among all the ranks of animated exiltence. Buc to us he exercises a beneficence of a very superior kind. We are treated with peculiar attention. We are admitted to scenes of delight, which none but ourselves are capable of relishing.
Ano:her remark, though very obvious, is equally important. The destination of all these external things is no less advantageous, than their formation is beautiful. The bloom, which engages the eye with its delicate hues, is cherishing the embryo fruit ; and forming, within its filken folds, the rudiments of a future dessert. Those streams, which shine from afar, like fluid silver, are much more valuable in their productions, and beneficial in their services, than they are beautiful in their appearance. They distribute, as they roll along their winding banks, cleanliness to our houses, and fruitfulness to our lands. They nourish, and at their own expense, a never failing supply of the finest fifh. They visit our cities, and attend our wharves, as so many public ve hicles, ready to set out at all hours.
Those sheep, which give their udders to be drained by the busy frisking lambs, are fattening their fefh for our fup. port; and while they fill their own fleeces, are providing for our comfortable clothing. Yonder kine, some of which are browsing upon the tender herb, others, fatiated wick pasturage, and ruminating under the fhady covert, though conscious of no such design, are concocting for our use, one of the softest, purelt, most falutary of liquors. The bees that fly humming about our feat, and pursue their work on the fragrant blossoms, are collecting balm and sweetness, to compose the richest of firups ; which, through the produce of their toil, is intended for our good. Nature and her whole family, are our obsequious fervants, our ever-active labourers. They bring the fruits of their united industry,and pour them into our lap, or deposit them in our store-rooms.
ASPASIO. Who can ever fufficiently admire this immense benigni. ty -The Supreme Disposer of events has commanded de. light and profit to walk hand in hand, through his ample creation, making all things so perfectly pleasing, as if beauty were their only end ; yet all things fo eminently serviceable, as if usefulness had been their fole design.-And, as a most winning invitation to our gratitude, he has rendered man the centre, in which all the emanations of his beneficence, diffused through this terrestrial fyftem, finally termin ate.
HERCULES. Do you pretend to fit as high on Olympus as Hercules ? Did you kill the Nemean lion, the Erymanthian boar, the Lernean serpent, and Stymphalian birds ? Did you destroy tyrants and robbers ? You value yourself greatly on subdu. ing one ferpent: I did as much as that while I lay in my cradle.
CADMUS. It is not on account of the serpent that I boast myself a greater benefactor to Greece than you. Actions should be valued by their utility, rather than their fplendour. I taught Greece the art of writing, to which laws owe their precision and permanency. You subdued monsters ; I civo
It is from untamed passions, not from wild beasts, that the greatest evils arise to human society. By wisdom, by art, by the united strength of civil community, men have been enabled to subdue the whole race of lions, bears and serpents; and what is more, to bind by laws and wholesome regulations, the ferocious violence and dangerous treachery of the human difpofition. Had lions been destroyed only in fingle combat, men had but a bad time of it'; and what but laws could awe the men who killed the lions ? the genuine glory, the proper distinction of the ra. tional species, arise from the perfection of the mental pow. ers. Courage is apt to be fierce, and strength is often ex. erted in acts of oppreffion; but wisdom is the associate of justice. It aslists her to form equal laws, to pursue right measures, to correct power, protect weakness, and to unite individuals in a common interest and general welfare. He roes may kill tyrants ; but it is wisdom and laws that prevent tyranny and oppression. The operations of policy far furpass the labours of Hercules, preventing many evils which valour and might cannot even redress You heroes regard nothing but glory; and scarcely consider whether the conquests which raise your fame are really beneficial to your country. Unhappy are the people who are governed by valour not directed by prudence, and not mitigated by the gentle arts !
I do not expect to find an admirer of my strenuous life, in the man who taught his countrymen to sit still and read; and to lose the hours of youth and action in idle speculation and the sport of words.
An ambition to have a place in the registers of fame, is the Eurystheus which imposes heroic labours on mankind. The muses incite to action, as well as entertain the hours of repose ; and I think you should honour them for presenting to heroes so noble à recreation, as may prevent their taking up the distaff, when they lay down the club.
Wits as well as heroes can take up the distaff What think you of their thin-spun fystems of philofophy, or lafcivious poems, or Milesian fables ? Nay, wha is still worse, are there not panegyrics on tyrants, and books that blar. pheme the gods, and perplex the natural sense of right and wrong
? I believe if Eurystheus were to set me to work again, he would find me a worse task than any he impofed; he would make me read over a great library; and I would serve it as I did the Hydra, I would burn as I went on, that one chimera might not rise from another, to plague mankind.
I should have valued myfelf more on clearing the library, than on cleansing the Augean stables,
la. bours exists. The heroes of Marathon, the patriots of Thermopylä owe their fame to me. All the wise institu. tions of lawgivers, and all the doctrines of fages, had perished in the ear, like a dream related, if letters had not preserved them. O Hercules ! it is not for the man who pre. ferred virtae to pleature, to be an enemy to the muses. Let Sardanapalus and the filken fons of luxury, who have walted life in inglorious ease, despife the records of action, which bear no honourable testimony to their lives: but true merit, heroic virtue, should respect the sacred source of lasting-honour.
Indeed, if writers employ themselves only in recording the acts of great men, much might be said in their favour. But why do they trouble people with their meditations ? Can it be of any consequence to the world what an idle man has been thinking ?
Yes it may. The most important and extensive advan. tages mankind enjoy, are greatly owing to men who have never quitted their closets. To them mankind are obliged for the facility and security of navigation. The invention of the compass has opened to them new worlds. The knowledge of the mechanical powers has enabled them to construct such wonderful machines, as perform what the united labour of millions, by the severelt drudgery could not accomplish. Agriculture too, the most useful of arts, has received its share of improvement from the same source. Poetry likewise is of excellent use, to enable the niemory to retain with more ease, and to imprint with more energy upon the heart, precepts and examples of virtue. From the little root of a few letters, science has spread its branches over all nature, and raised its head to the heavens. Some philosophers have entered so far into the counsels of Divine Wisdom, as to explain much of the great operations of nature. The dimensions and distances of the planets, the causes of their revolutions, the path of comets, and the ebb. ing and flowing of tides, are understood and explained. Can any thing raise the glory of the human species more, than to see a little creature inhabiting a small spot, amidst innumerable worlds, taking a survey of the universe, comprehending its arrangement, and entering into the scheme of that wonderful connexion and correspondence of things fo remote, and which it seems a great exertion of Omnipotence to have eltablished ? What a volume of wisdom, what a noble theology, do those discoveries open to us! While some superior geniuses have soared to these sublime subjects, other fagacious and diligent minds have been inquiring into the most minute works of the Infinite Artifi. cer : the same care, the same providence is exerted through the whole; and we should learn from it, that to true wil. dom, utility and fitness appear perfection, and whatever is beneficial is noble.
I approve of science as far as it is affiftant to action. I like the improvement of navigation, and the discovery of the greater part of the globe, because it opens a wider field for the master fpirits of the world to bustle in.
There spoke the foul of Hercules. But if learned mer are to be esteemed for the allistance they give to active