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How « low, Aat, ftale, and unprofitable, feem all the uses of this world," when the mind, boldly foaring beyond this lower sphere, indulges the idea that the pleasures which result from a life of innocence and virtue may be faintly analagous to the felicities of Heaven! At least, I trust we may be permitted unoffendingly to conceive, according to our worldly apprehension, that a free and unbounded liberty of thought and action, a high admiration of the universal system of Nature, a participation of the Divine Essencey a perfect.commụnion of friendship, and a pure interchange of love, may be a portion of the enjoyments we hope to experience in those regions of eternal peace and happiness where no impureor improper sentiment can taint the mind. But notions like these, although they agreeably flatter our imaginations, * X 2
* Men in general fondly hope to find in the next world all that is- Aattering to their tastes, inclinations, defires, and paffions in the present. I therefore entirely concur in opinion with M. Garrue, a celebrated German philosopher, that those persons, who hope that God will hereafter reward them with riches and honours, cannot possess true humility of heart. It was sen, timents like these which occafioned an extremely heautiful young lady to wish the might be permitted to carry with her, when the died, a fine garment of filver tissue, richly zoned with feathers, and to walk in Heaven on carpets of rose leaves, spread upon che firmament. It was also from similar sentiments, that, in a full assembly of women of fafhion, where the question was agitated, Whether marriages were gued to all eternity that they unanimousy exclaimed, “ God forbid it !"
fhed at present but a glimmering light upon this awful subject, and must continue, like dread and vifions of the mind, until the clouds and thick darkness which surround the tomb of mortality no Jonger obfcure the bright glories of everlasting life; until the veil shall be rent asunder, and the Eternal shall reveal those things which no eye hath feen, no ear has heard, and which passeth all understanding. For I acknowledge, with awful reverence, and silent submission, that the knowledge of eternity is to the human intellect like that which the colour of crimson appeared to be in the mind of a blind man, who compared it to the found of a trumpet.* I cannot, however, con ceive, that a notion more comfortable can be en tertained, than that eternity promises a constant and uninterrupted tranquillity; although I am perfectly conscious that it is impossible to form an adequate idea of the nature of that enjoyment which is produced by a happiness without end. An everlasting tranquillity is in my imagination the highest possible felicity, because I know of no felicity upon earth higher than that which a peaceful mind and contented heart afford.
Since, therefore, internal and external tranquillity is, upon carth, an incontestable commencement of beatitude, it may be extremely useful to believe, that a rational and qualified seclufion from the tumults of the world may so highly rectify the faculties of the human soul, as to enable us to acquire in “ blissful Solitude” the elements of that happiness we expect to enjoy in the world to come.
+ See Locke's Efsay on the Human Understanding.
He is the happy man whose life e'en now
Therefore in Contemplation is his bliss,
A ABSENCE, favourable to the indulgence of love,
184. Addison, his calm and tranquil death, 302. Adversity, softened by Solitude, 235, Age, the advantages it derives from Solitude, 6. Albano, its rural beauties and effect, 118. Alexander, his fondness for reading, 44; a thirst of
knowledge led him into Asia, 66. Anacreon, the error of his opinion respecting the em
ployment of time, 35. Antisthenes, a saying of his, 80. Antoninus, his opinion of the beauty of universal nature,
Arrogance, sometimes the effect of Solitude, 12. Attention, its importance, 18; only to be acquired in
Solitude, 19. Anthony, the consequences of his love of dissipation;
67. Augustus offers Horace the place of private secretary,
94. Austerity, the companion of Solitude, 12. Authors, the advantages they derive from Solitude de
scribed, 25, 52; a servile author reprobated, 37; to write well they must be inspired, 52; the advantages they enjoy, 60.. X 4