ページの画像
PDF
ePub

same in others. A subject cannot better demonstrate the reverence he bears towards his prince, than by (with a cheerful diligence) observing his laws; for by so doing he declares that he acknowledgeth the authority, and revereth the majesty which enacted them; that he approves the wisdom which devised them, and the goodness which de

the Spectre

the Broken. It has been seen by many travellers. In speaking of it, Monsieur Jordan says,

“ In the course of my repeated tours through the Hartz Mountains, 1 often, but in vain, ascended the Broken, that I might see the spectre. At length, on a serene morning, as the sun was just appearing above the horizon, it stood before me, at a great distance, towards the opposite mountain. It seemed to be the gigantic figure of a man. It vanished in a moment." In September, 1796, the celebrated Abbé Haüy visited this country. He says : After having ascended the mountain for thirty times, I at last saw the spectre. It was just at sunrise, in the middle of the month of May, about four o'clock in the morning. I saw distinctly a human figure of a monstrous size. The atmosphere was quite serene towards the east. In the south-west a high wind carried before it some light vapours, which were scarcely condensed into clouds and hung round the mountains upon which the figure stood. I bowed. The colossal figure repeated it. I paid my respects a second time, which was returned with the same civility. I then called the landlord of the inn; and having taken the same position which I had before occupied, we looked towards the mountain, when we clearly saw two such colossal figures, which, after having repeated our compliment by bending their bodies, vanished.—When the rising sun throws his rays over the Broken upon the body of a man standing opposite to fleecy clouds, let him fix his eye steadfastly upon them, and in all probability he will see his own shadow extending the length of five or six hundred feet, at the distance of about two miles from him.”

signed them for public benefit; that he dreads his prince's power, which can maintain them, and his justice, which will vindicate them : that here lies upon his fidelity in making good what of protection or of recompense he propounds to the observers of them. No less pregnant a signification of our reverence towards God, do we yield in our gladly and strictly obeying his laws : thereby evidencing our submission to God's sovereign authority, our esteem of his wisdom and goodness, our awful regard to his power and justice, our confidence in him, and dependence upon his word. The goodliness to the sight, the pleasantness to the taste, which is ever perceptible in those fruits which genuine piety beareth, the beauty men see in a calm mind and a sober conversation, the sweetness they taste from works of justice and charity, will certainly produce veneration to the doctrine which teacheth such things, and to the authority which enjoins them. We shall especially honour God, by discharging faithfully those offices which God hath intrusted us with ; by improving diligently those talents which God hath committed to us; by using carefully those means and opportunities which God hath vouchsafed us of doing him service and promoting his glory. Thus he to whom God hath given wealth, if he expend it, not to the nourishment of pride and luxury, not only to the gratifying his own pleasure or humour, but to the furtherance of God's honour, or to the succour of his indigent neighbour, in any pious or charitable way, he doth thereby in a special manner ho

nour God. He also on whom God hath bestowed wit and parts, if he employ them not so much in contriving projects to advance his own petty interests, or in procuring vain applause to himself, as in advantageously setting forth God's praise, handsomely recommending goodness, dexterously engaging men in ways of virtue, he doth thereby remarkably honour God. He likewise that hath honour conferred upon him, if he subordinate it to God's honour, if he use his own credit as an instrument of bringing credit to goodness, thereby adorning and illustrating piety, he by so doing doth eminently practise this duty.

EFFECT OF EXAMPLE.

Wunt extreme advantage great persons have, especially by the influence of their practice, to bring God himself, as it were, into credit ! how much it is in their power easily to render piety a thing in fashion and request ! for in what they do they never are alone, or are ill attended; whither they go, they carry the world along with them; they lead crowds of people after them, as well when they go in the right way, as when they run astray. The custom of living well, no less than other modes and garbs, will be soon conveyed and propagated from the court; the city and country will readily draw good manners thence, good manners truly so called, not only superficial forms of civility, but real practices of goodness. For the main body of men goeth not quâ eundem, sed quâ itur,” not according to rules and reasons, but after examples and authorities; especially of great persons, who are like stars, shining in high and conspicuous places, by which men steer their course; their actions are to be reckoned not as single or solitary ones, but are, like their persons, of a public and representative nature, involving the practice of others, who are by them awed, or shamed into compliance. Their good example especially hath this advantage, that men can find no excuse, can have no pretence why they should not follow

it.

Piety is not only beautified, but fortified by their dignity; it not only shines on them with a clear lustre, but with a mightier force and influence; a word, a look, the least intimation from them will do more good, than others' best eloquence, clearest reason, most earnest endeavours. For it, is in them, if they would apply themselves to it, as the wisest prince implies, to “ scatter iniquity with their eyes.” A smile of theirs were able to enliven virtue, and diffuse it all about ; a frown might suffice to mortify and dissipate wickedness. Such apparently is their power of honouring God; and in proportion thereto surely great is their obligation to do it; of them peculiarly God expects it, and all equity exacts it.

ON PIETY. *

Is a man prosperous, high, or wealthy in condition? Piety guardeth him from all the mischiefs incident to that state, and disposeth him to enjoy the best advantages thereof. It keepeth him from being swelled and puffed up with vain conceit, from being transported with fond complaisance or confidence therein; minding him that it is purely the gift of God, that it absolutely dependeth on his disposal, so that it may soon be taken from him, and that he cannot otherwise than by humility, by gratitude, by the good use of it, be secure to retain it; minding him also, that he shall assuredly be forced to render a strict account concerning the good management thereof.

It preserveth him from being perverted or corrupted with the temptations to which that condition is most liable; from luxury, from sloth, from stupidity, from forgetfulness of God, and of himself; maintaining among the floods of plenty a sober and steady mind. It fenceth him from insolence, and fastuous contempt of others;

* Serm. xi. p. 12.

In the Profitableness of Goodness, the object of which is to prove that piety,– 1st. It disposes all men properly to discharge their pecu

liar duties. 2nd. Fits men for all conditions. 3rd. Is the greatest of all blessings.

4th. Is immutable. The above extract is from art. 2.

« 前へ次へ »