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acter which is natural to youth, and which, therefore, promises well of their maturity. We foresee for them, at least, a life of pure and virtuous enjoyment, and we are willing to anticipate no common share of future usefulness and splendour.
In the second place, the pursuits of knowledge lead not only to happiness but to honour. 6 Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left are riches and honour.” It is honourable to excel even in the most trifling species of knowledge, in those which can amuse only the passing hour. It is more honourable to excel in those different branches of science which are connected with the liberal professions of life, and which tend so much to the dignity and well-being of humanity. It is the means of raising the most obscure to esteem and attention ; it opens to the just ambition of youth, some of the most distinguished and respected situations in society; and it places them there, with the consoling reflection, that it is to their own industry and labour, in the providence of God, that they are alone indebted for them. But, to excel in the higher attainments of knowledge, to be distinguished in those greater pursuits which have commanded the attention, and exhausted the abilities of the wise in every former age,-is, perhaps, of all the distinctions of human understanding, the most honourable and grateful.
When we look back upon the great men who have gone before us in every path of glory, we feel our eye turn from the career of war and of ambition, and involuntarily rest upon those who have displayed the great truths of religion, who have investigated the laws of social welfare, or extended the sphere of human knowledge. These are honours, we feel, which have been gained without a crime, and which can be enjoyed without remorse. They are honours also which can never die,—which can shed lustre even upon the humblest head, and to which the young of every succeeding age will look up, as their brightest incentives to the pursuit of virtuous fame.
LESSON XXVII. On the uses of knowledge.—Alison. The first end to which all wisdom or knowledge ought to be employed, is to illustrate the wisdom or goodness of the Father of Nature. Every science that is cultivated by men, leads naturally to religious thought, from the study of the plant that grows beneath our feet, to that of the Host of Heaven above us, who perform their stated revolutions in majestick silence, amid the expanse of infinity. When, in the youth of Moses, “ the Lord appeared to him in Horeb,” a voice was heard, saying, 6 draw nigh hither, and put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground.” It is with such a reverential awe that every great or elevated mind will approach to the study of nature, and with such feelings of adoration and gratitude, that he will receive the illumination that gradually opens upon his soul.
It is not the lifeless mass of matter, he will then feel, that he is examining,—it is the mighty machine of Eternal Wisdom : the workmanship of Him, “in whom everything lives, and moves, and has its being." Under an aspect of this kind, it is impossible to pursue knowledge without ming. ling with it the most elevated sentiments of devotion ;-it is impossible to perceive the laws of nature without perceiving, at the same time, the presence and the Providence of the Lawgiver :-and thus it is, that, in every age, the evidences of religion have advanced with the progress of true philosophy; and that science, in erecting a monument to herself, has, at the same time, erected an altar to the Deity. · The knowledge of nature is not exhausted. There are many great discoveries yet awaiting the labours of science ; and with them, there are also awaiting to humanity many additional proofs of the wisdom and benevolence 6 of Him that made us." To the hope of these great discoveries, few, indeed, can pretend :-yet let it ever be remembered, that he who can trace any one new fact, or can exemplify any one new instance of divine wisdom or benevolence in the system of nature, has not lived in vain ; that he has added to the sum of human knowledge ; and, what is far more, that he has added to the evidence of those greater truths, upon which the happiness of time and eternity depends.
The second great end to which all knowledge oughi to be employed, is to the welfare of humanity. Every science is the foundation of some art, beneficial to men; and while the study of it leads us to see the beneficence of the laws of nature, it calls upon us also to follow the great end of the Father of Nature in their employment and application. I need not say what a field is thus opened to the benevo.
· lence of knowledge: I need not tell you, that in every de
partment of learning there is good to be done to mankind : I need not remind you, that the age in which we live has given us the noblest examples of this kind, and that science now finds its highest glory in improving the condition, or in allaying the miseries of humanity. But there is one thing of which it is proper ever to remind you, because the modesty of knowledge often leads us to forget it-and that is, that the power of scientifick benevolence is far greater than that of all others, to the welfare of society.
The benevolence of the great, or the opulent, however eminent it may be, perishes with themselves. The benevolence even of sovereigns is limited to the narrow boundary of human life; and, not unfrequently, is succeeded by different and discordant counsels. But the benevolence of knowledge is of a kind as extensive as the race of man, and as permanent as the existence of society. He, in whatever situation he may be, who, in the study of science, has discovered a new means of alleviating pain, or of remedying disease ; who has described a wiser method of preventing poverty, or of shielding misfortune; who has suggested additional means of increasing or improving the beneficent productions of nature, has left a memorial of himself, which can never be forgotten; which will communicate happiness to ages yet unborn; and which, in the emphatick language of scripture, renders him a 6 fellow-worker” with God himself, in the improvement of his Creation.
The third great end of all knowledge is the improvement and exaltation of our own minds. It was the voice of the apostle, 6 What manner of men ought ye to be, to whom the truths of the Gospel have come ?? It is the voice of nature also, 66 What manner of men ought ye to be, to whom the treasures of wisdom are opened ??? Of all the spectacles, indeed, which life can offer us, there is none more painful, or unnatural, than that of the union of vice with knowledge. It counteracts the great designs of God in the distribution of wisdom; and it assimilates men, not to the usual characters of human frailty, but to those dark and malignant spirits who fell from Heaven, and who excel in knowledge, only that they may employ it in malevolence.
To the wise and virtuous man, on the contrary,—to him whose moral attainments have kept pace with his intellectual, and who has employed the great talent with which he is entrusted to the glory of God, and to the good of humanity,--are presented the sublimest prospects that mortality can know. “In my father's house,” says our Saviour, care many mansions ;"--mansions, we may dare to interpret, fitted to the different powers that life has acquired, and to the uses to which they have been 'applied.
Of that great scene, indeed, which awaits all, whether ignorant or wise, it becomes us to think with reverential awe. Yet we know, 6 that it will then be well with the good, though it will not be well with the wicked;" and we are led, by an instinctive anticipation, to suppose that they who here have excelled in wisdom and benevolence, will be rewarded with higher objects, upon which they may be employed, and admitted into nearer prospects of the government of Eternal Wisdom. 6 In his light they shall see light.” “ They shall see Him, not as through a glass, darkly; but as he is. They shall know, even as they themselves are known.”
LESSON XXVIII. No life pleasing to God, that is not useful to man :-An eas
tern narrative.—HAWKESWORTI. It pleased our mighty sovereign, Abbas Carascan, from whom the kings of the earth derive honour and dominion, to set Mirza his servant over the province of Tauris. In the hand of Mirza, the balance of distribution was suspended with impartiality; and under his administration the weak were protected, the learned received honour, and the diligent became rich : Mirza, therefore, was beheld by every eye with complacency, and every tongue pronounced blessing's upon his head. But it was observed that he derived no joy from the benefits which he diffused; he became pensive and melancholy; he spent his leisure in solitude ; in his palace he sat motionless upon a sofa ; and when he went out, his walk was slow, and his eyes were fixed upon the ground: he applied to the business of state with reluctance; and resolved to relinquish the toil of government, of which he could no longer enjoy the reward.
He, therefore, obtained permission to approach the throne of our sovereign; and being asked what was his request, he made this reply: 66 May the Lord of the world forgive the slave whom he has honoured, if Mirza presume again to-lay
the bounty of Abbas at his feet. Thou hast given me the dominion of a country, fruitful as the gardens of Damascus ; and a city glorious above all others, except that only which reflects the splendour of thy presence. But the longest life is a period scarcely sufficient to prepare for death. All other business is vain and trivial, as the toil of emmets in the path of the traveller, under whose foot they perish for ever: and all enjoyment is unsubstantial and evanescent as the colours of the bow that appears in the interval of a . storm. Suffer me, therefore, to prepare for the approach of eternity ; let me give up my soul to meditation ; let solitude and silence acquaint-me with the mysteries of devotion : let me forget the world, and by the world be forgotten, till the moment arrives in which the veil of eternity shall fall, and I shall be found at the bar of the Almighty.” Mirza then bowed himself to the earth, and stood silent.
By the command of Abbas it is recorded, that at these words he trembled upon the throne, at the footstool of which the world pays homage; he looked round upon his -nobles; but every countenance was pale, and every eye was upon the earth. No man opened his mouth; and the king first broke silence, after it had continued near an hour.
6 Mirza, terrour and doubt are come upon me. I am alarmed as a man who suddenly perceives that he is near the brink of a precipice, and is urged forward by an irresistible force : but yet I know not whether my danger is a reality or a dream. I am as thou art, a reptile of the earth: my life is a moment, and eternity, in which days, and years, and ages, are nothing, eternity is before me, for which I also should prepare : but by whom, then, must the faithful be governed ? By those only, who have no fear of judgment ? by those only, whose life is brutal, because like brutes they do not consider that they shall die ? Or who, indeed, are the faithful ? Are the busy multitudes that crowd the city, in a state of perdition ? and is the cell of the Dervise alone the gate of paradise ? To all, the life of a Dervise is not possible: to all, therefore, it cannot be a duty. Depart to the house which has in this city been prepared for thy residence: I will meditate the reason of thy request; and may He who illuminates the mind of the humble, enable me to determine with wisdom.”
· Mirza departed; and on the third day, having received no command, he again requested an audience, and it was granted. When he entered the royal presence, his counte.