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unhappy by numberless
COMFORTS OF letters to Lucelius assures him, there was not an beset with dangers on which he did not either write something, a read and epitomise some good author; and I remember Pitby foreste, nor have preve
It is our comfort,
many accidents, that in one of his letters, where he gives an account of the
who directs contingene
management of ever
ing or offending us
stand in need of, alle busied in disposing of the nets and other matters,
those who ask it of
The natural homag
so infinitely wise anc
dangers and difficul of service to cure mankind of that malady of idlenes.
I am afraid it is no ordinary persuasion that will be For there is no hopes of amendment where men are pleased with their rnin, and whilst they think laziness the state itself, or that they tbink it gives them a new is a desirable character: whether it be that they like able to do that without labour and application, which lustre when they do exert themselves, seemingly to be others attain to but with the greatest diligence.
hin for the bles un habitual trust in
The man who mind, has not the laman nature, as elly from this rela same time that he imperfection, bec tion of those divir bus safety and his sight made up b support. He is strength, when h
In short, the po preme Being is wisdom, happy be
it of every divin
diency in the fula
COMFORTS OF THE BELIEF IN A
And stand secure amidst a falling world.
a very wretched being. He is su bject every
To make our manded to put ou relieve and succo made such a rell Shoald have been
Among several o to recommend toe of those that
beset with dangers on all sides, and may become nhappy by numberless casualties, which he could not Eoresee, nor have prevented, had he foreseen them.
It is our comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many accidents, that we are under the care of one who directs contingeucies, and has in his hands the management of every thing that is capable of annoy. ing or offending us; who knows the assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.
The natural homage, which such a creature bears to so ipfinitely wise and good a being, is a firm reliance on hiin for the blessings and conveniencies of life, and an habitual trust in him for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may befal us.
The man who always lives in this disposition of mind, has not the same dark and melancholy views of human nature, as he who considers bimself abstractedly from this relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own weakness and imperfection, he comforts himself with the contemplation of those divine attributes, which are employed for bis safety and his welfare. He finds his want of foresight made up by the omniscience of him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength, when he knows that bis helper is Almighty. In short, the person who has a firm trust on the Supreme Being is powerful in his power, wise by his wisdom, happy by his happiness. He reaps the bene. fit of every divine attribute, and loses his own insuffi. ciency in the fulness of infinite perfection.
To make our lives more easy to us, we are com. manded to put our trust in him, who is thus able to relieve and succour us; the divine goodness having made such a reliance a daty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable had it been forbidden us.
Among several motives, which might be made use of to recommend this duty to us, I shall only take no. tice of those that follow.
The first and strongest is, that we are promised, be will not fail those who put their trust in him.
But without considering the supernatural blessing, which accompanies this duty, we may observe that it has a natural tendency to its own reward, or in other words, that this firm trust and confidence in the great disposer of all things, contributes very much to the getting clear of any affliction, or to the bearing it masfully. A person who believes he has his succour at hand, and that he acts in the sight of bis friend, often exerts himself beyond his abilities, and does wondas that are not to be matched by one who is not animated with such a confidence of success. I could produce instances from history, of generals, who out of a belief that they were under the protection of some invisible assistant, did not only encourage their soldiers to do their utmost, but have acted themselves beyond what they would have done, had they not been inspired by such a belief.' I might in the same manner sbow how such a trust in the assistance of an Almighty Being, naturally produces palience, hope, cheerfulness, and all other dispositions of mind that alleviate those calamities which we are not able to remove.
The practice of this virtue administers great comfort to the mind of man in times of poverty and affliction, but most of all in the hour of death. When the soul is hovering in the last moments of its separation, wben it is just entering on another state of existence, to converse with scenes, and objects, and companions that are altogether new, what can support her under such tremblings of thought, sich fear, such anxiety, such apprehensions, but the casting of all ber cares upon him who first gave her being, who has conducted ber through one stage of it, and will be always with her to guide and comfort her in her progress through eternity?
David has very beantifully represented this steady reliance on God Almighty in his twenty-third psalm, which is a kind of pastoral hymu, and filled with those allusions which are usual in that kind of writing. As the poetry is very exquisite, I shall present my reader with the following translation of it.
The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
Nescio qua præter solitum dulcedine lati.
VIRG. Unusual sweetness purer joys inspires.
IN the opening of the spring, when all nature begins
to recover herself, the same animal pleasure which makes the birds sing, and the whole brute creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the heart of man. I know none of the poets who have observed so well as Milton those secret overflowings of gladness which diffuse themselves through the mind of the beholder, upon sarveying the gay scenes of nature : he has touched upon it twice or thrice in his Paradise Lost, and describes it very beautifully under the name of vernal delight, in that passage where he represents the deyil bimself as almost sensible of it.
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue
Many authors have written on the vanity of the creature, and represented the barrenness of every thing in this world, and its incapacity of producing any solid or substantial happiness. As discourses of this nature are very useful to the sensual and voluptuous; those speculations which show the bright side of things, and lay forth those innocent entertainments