« PreviousContinue »
upon the rise and progress of eloquence, and the improvements it still admits of. Not to mention how it serves our friends, how it directs the deliberations of a senate or people, and how it often determines the conduct of an army; how useful, how becoming then, is it in a man of virtue. Is not this single consideration a most glorious one, that from the understanding, and the words that are in common to all mankind, he can exalt himself to such a pitch of glory and power, that he will not seem to speak or to plead, but as it happened to Pericles, to lighten and thunder. But I should never have done, were I to indulge the pleasure I feel in expatiating upon this subject.
What adds infinitely to the dignity of man, is this, that he is the image of God. IIe is descended from him, is his offspring, and bears the visible traces of his derivation from heaven, and his communion with the supreme Existence.
His understanding is a ray of Divine intelligence : his power an efflux from that of the Deity: his activity something similar to that of God: his capacity of becoming constantly more perfect, is a capacity of approaching nearer to the divine nature ; his immortality is a similitude of the interminable duration of the sovereign Being, and the means of an everlasting communion with him. As often as he thinks of truth; as often as he is inclined to goodness, and brings it to effect; as often as he perceives, admires, and promotes order and harmony; as often as he spreads love and joy, and happiness around him, so often does he think, and will, and perform, and feel, and act, in a God-like manner; so often does he pursue the works of his creator and father; so often does he promote the designs of the sove. reign Being ; so often does he obtain a taste of pure divine felicity; and the more he does so, the oftener he acts in this manner, the greater is his similitude with God, the brighter does the image of God shine in him, the less are we able to mistake his high descent, and to overlook the dignity of his nature.
How dignified is man, when we consider his outward figure and his station in the world. Consider the place he fills upon the earth ; what he is and does with all its other inhabitants ; and in this regard also you cannot mistake his dignity. See how he stands, full of consciousness, amidst all inferior creatures ; how exalted and eminent is he above them ; how all proclaim him the sovereign of the globe and its inhabitants the substitute of its author, and the priest of nature! With what a comprehensive view does he survey, distribute, order, connect, and apprehend; now darting his eye from earth to heaven, and then looking down from heaven upon the earth with sentiments of delight; affectionately cherishing every thing that lives and moves : his sentimental heart expands to the innumerable streams of pleasure and joy, which from all sides flow to meet him, till he is lost in the sweetest sentiments of love and adoration ! How beautiful, how elevated his mein ! How significant and expressive every feature of his face, every attitude, every movement of his person! How forcible is the language of his eye ! How he displays his whole soul by a glance of it, and with an irresistible energy at one time commands reverence, at another submission and obedience, and at another love ; now inspiring courage and resolution, then pleasure and satisfaction in all about him! How often does he confound the wicked with a look, defeat the schemes of injustice, drive sorrow from the breast of the mourner, and dart life and heavenly joy, where darkness and distress prevailed. Who can here muistake the elevation and the dignity of man!
The writings of the ancients abound with excellent productions in every interesting kind of composition. There is no pleasing affection of the mind, which may not, in these invaluable remains of antiquity, find ample scope for gratification. The Epic muse, whether she appears in the majestic simplicity of Homer, or in the finished elegance of Virgil, presents before the
delighted imagination an endless variety of grand and beautiful objects, interesting actions, and characters strongly marked, which it is impossible to contemplate without a perpetual succession of agreeable emotions. Tragedy, whether she rages with Æschylus, or weeps with Sophocles, or moralizes with Euripedes, never ceases to wear a dignified and interesting aspect. Comedy in the natural and easy dress, in which, after the best Greek models, she is clothed by Terence, can never fail to please. Lyric poetry, whilst it rolls on like an impetuous torrent, in the lofty strains, and the wild and varied numbers of Pindar, or flows in a placid and transparent stream along the channel of Horatian verse, or glides through the bowers of love and joy in the sportive lays of Anacreon, by turns astonishes, soothes, and delights. Elegy, through the soft and plaintive tones of Bion, or
Tibullus, melts the soul in pleasing sympathy: whilst Pastoral Song, in the artless notes of Theocrites, or in the sweet melody of the Mantuan pipe, plays gently about the fancy and heart. Satire, in the mean tiine, provides entertainment for those who are disposed to laugh at folly, or indulge an honest indignation against vice, in the smile of Horace, the grin of Lucian, and the frown of Juvenal. So rich and various are the treasures with which the Greek and Roman writers furnish those who have enjoyed the advantages of a classical education.
CARAZAN'S VISION; Or, Social Love and Benificence recommended.
Grasp the whole world of reason, life, and sense;
CARAZAN, the merchant of Bagdat, was emi. nent throughout all the east for his avarice and his wealth : His origin was obscure as that of the spark, which by the collision of steel and adamant is struck out of darkness : and the patient labour of persevering diligence alone had made him rich. It was remembered, that when he was indigent he was thought to be generous ; and he was still acknowledged to be inflexibly just. But whether in his dealings with men he discovered a perfidy which tempted him to put his trust in gold, or whether, in proportion as he accumulated wealth, he discovered his own importance by increase, Carazan prized it more as he used it less : He gradually lost the inclination to do good as he acquired the power : and as the hand of time scattered snow upon his head, the freezing influence extended to his bosom.
But though the door of Carazan was never opened by hospitality, nor his hand by compassion, yet fear led him constantly to the mosque at the stated hours of prayer: He performed all the rites of devotion with the most scrupulous punctuality, and had thrice paid his vows at the temple of the prophet. That devotion which rises from the love of God, and necessarily includes the love of man, as it connects gratitude with beneficence, and exalts that which was mortal to di
vine, confers new dignity upon goodness, and is the object not only of affection but of reverence. On the contrary, the devotion of the selfish, whether it be thought to avert the punishment which every one wishes to be inflicted, or to insure it by the complication of hypocrisy with guilt, never fails to excite indignation and abhorrence. Carazan, therefore, when he had locked his door, and turning round with a look of circumspective suspicion, proceeded to the mosque, was followed by every eye with silent malignity; the poor suspended their supplications when he passed by; though he was known by every man, yet no man saluted him.
Such had long been the life of Carazan, and such was the character he had acquired, when notice was given by proclamation that he was removed to a magnificent building in the centre of the city, that his table should be spread for the hungry, and that the stranger should be welcome to his bed. The multitude soon rushed like a torrent to the door, where they beheld him distributing bread to the hungry, and apparel to the naked ; his eye softened with compassion and his cheek glowing with delight. Every one gazed with wonder
at the prodigy; and the murmur of innumerable voices increasing like the sound of approaching thunder, Carazan beckoned with his hand;
attention suspended the tumult in a moment, and he thus gratified the curiosity which procured him audi
“ To Him who touches the mountains and they smoke, the Almighty and the most merciful, be everlasting honour! He hath ordained sleep to be the minister of instruction, as his visions have reproved me in the night. As I was sitting alone in my haram, with my lamp burning before me, computing the product of my merchandize, and exulting in the increase of my wealth, I fell into a deep sleep, and the hand of him who dwells in the third heaven was upon me. I beheld the angel of death coming forward like a whirlwind, and he smote me before I could deprecate