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busy men, there are frequent intervals of leisure. Let them take care, that into these, none of the vices of idleness creep Let fome secondary, some subsidiary employment of a fair and laudable kind, be always at hand to fill up those vacant spaces of life, which too many aflign, either to corrupting amufements, or to mere inaction. We ought never to forget, that entire idleness always borders, either on misery, or on guilt.
At the fame time, let the course of our employments be ordered in such a manner, that in carrying them on, we may be also promoting our eternal intereft. With the business of the world, let us properly intermix the exercises of devotion. By religious duties, and virtuous actions, let us ftudy to prepare ourselves for a better world. In the midst of our labours for this life, it ought never to be forgotten, that we must “firit feek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and give diligence to make our calling and election fure ;” otherwise, how active foever we may seem to be, our whole activity will prove only a laborious idleness : we shall appear in the end, to have been busy to no purpose, or to a purpose worse than none.
Then only we fulfil the proper character of christians when we join that pious zeal which becomes us as the fervants of God, with that industry which is required of us, as good members of society : when, according to the ex. hortation of the Apostle, we are found “not fothful in business," and, at the same time, “ fervent in fpirit, serving the Lord.”
SECTION IV. The choice of our situation in life, a point of great imporlance,
The influence of a new situation of external fortune is so great ; it gives fo different a turn to our temper and affections, to our views and desires, that no man can foretel what his character would prove, should he be either raised or depreffed in his circumilances in a remarkable degree; or placed in some sphere of action, widely different from that to which he has been accustomed in former life.
The seeds of various qualities, good and bad, lie in all our hearts. But until proper occasions ripen, and bring them forward, they lie there inactive and dead. They are covered up and concealed within the recesses of our nature; or, if they spring up at all, it is under such an appearance as is frequently miltaken, even by ourselves. Pride, for in
Hance, in certain situations, has no opportunity of display. ing itself, but as 'magnanimity, or sense of honour. Ava. rice appears as necessary and laudable economy. What in one station of life would difcover itself to be cowardice and bateness of mind paffes in another for prudent circumspec. tion. What in the fulness of power would prove to be cruelty and oppreffion, is reputed in a subordinate rank, no more than the exercise of proper discipline. For a while, the man is known neither by the world, nor by himself, to be what he truly is. But bring him into a new situation of life, which accords with his predominant difpofition ; which ftrikes on certain latent qualities of his foul, and awakens them into action ; and as the leaves of a fower gradually unfold to the sun, fo fhall all his true character open full to view.
This may, in one light, be accounted not so much an alteration of character, produced by a change of circumstances, as a discovery brought forth of the real character, which formerly lay concealed. Yet, at the fame time, it is true that the man himself undergoes a change. For opportunity being given for certain dispositions, which had been dormant, to exert themselves without restraint, they of course gather Arength By means of the ascendency which they gain, other parts of the temper are borne down; and thus an alteration is made in the whole structure and fyftem of the foul. He is a truly wise and good man, who, through divine affiftance, remains fuperior to this influence of fortune on his character ; who, having once imbibed worthy sentiments, and ettablished proper principles of action, continues constant to these, whatever his circumstances be ; maintains throughout all the changes of his life, one uniform and supported tenor of conduct; and what he abhorred as evil and wicked, in the beginning of his days, continves to abhor to the end. But how rare is it to meet with this honourable conhstency among men, while they are paffing through the different stations and periods of life! When they are setting out in the world, before their minds have been greatly milled or debafed, they glow with generous emotions, and look with contempt on what is fordid and guilty. But advancing farther in life, and inured by degrees to the crooked ways of men ; prefling through the crowd and bustle of the world; obliged to contend with this man's craft, and that man's fcorn ; accustomed, fome.' times, to conceal their sentiments, and often to Itifle their
feelings, they become at last hardened in heart, and famili iar with corruption. Who would not drop a tear over this fad, but frequent fall of human probity and honour? Who is not humbled, when he beholds the refined sentiments and high principles on which we are so ready to valne ourselves brought to fuch a shameful iffue ; and man, with all bigl boasted attainments of reason, discovered so often to be the creature of his external fortune, moulded and formed by the incidents of his life.
Let us for a moment reflect on the dangers which arise from ftations of power and greatness ; especially, when the elevation of men to these has been rapid and sudden. Few have the strength of mind which is requisite for bearing such a change with temperance and felf-command. The respect which is paid to the great, and the scope which their condition affords for the indulgence of pleasure, are perilous circumitances to virtue. When men live among their eo? quals, and are accustomed to encounter the hardships of life, they are of course reminded of their mutual dependence on each other, and of the dependence of all upon God. But when they are highly exalted above their fellows, they meet with few objects to awaken serious reflection, and with many to feed and inflame their paffions. They are apt to separate their interest from that of all around them; to wrap them. selves up in their vain grandeur; and, in the lap of indolence and selfish pleafure, to acquire a cold indifference to the concerns even of those whom they call their friends. The fancied independence, into which they are lifted up, is adverse to fentiments of piety, as well as of humanity, in their heart.
But we are not to imagine, that elevated Itations in the world furnish the only formidable trials to which our virtue is exposed It will be found, that we are liable to no fewer, nor less dangerous temptations, from the oppofite extreme of poverty and depression. When inen who have known bet. ter days, are thrown down into abject situations of fortune, their spirits are broken,and their tempers foured: envy rankles in their brealt at such as are more successful; the provi. dence of Heaven is accused in secret murmurs : and the fenfe of misery is ready to push them into atrocious crimes
, in order to better their state. Among the inferior classes of mankind, craft and dishonesty are too often found to prevail. Low and penurious circumstances depress the
They deprive men of the proper means
of knowledge and improvement ; and where ignorance is gross, it is always in hazard of engendering profligacy.
Hence it has been, generally, the opinion of wise men, in all ages, that there is a certain middle condition of life equally remote from either of those extremities of fortune, which, though it wants not also its own dangers, yet is, on the whole, the Itate most favourable both to virtue and to happiness. For there, luxury and pride, on the one hand, have not opportunity to enervate or intoxicate the mind, nor want and dependence on the other, to link and debase it; there all the native affections of the foul have the freeft and fairelt exercise, the equality of men is felt, friendships are formed, and improvements of every fort are pursued with most fuccess; there, men are prompted to industry without being overcome by toil, and their powers called forth into exertion, without being either superseded by too much abundance, or baffled by insuperable difficulties ; there, a mixture of comforts and of wants, at once awakens their gratitude to God, and reminds them of their depend. ence on his aid; and therefore, in this state, men seem to enjoy life to most advantage, and to be lealt exposed to the snares of vice.
From what has been said, we learn the importance of attending with the utmost care, to the choice which we make of our employment and condition in life. It has been shown, that our external situation frequently operates pow. erfully on our moral character ; and by consequence that it is strictly connected, not only with our temporal welfare, but with our everlasting happinefs or misery. He who might have passed unblamed, and upright through certain walks of life, by unhappily choosing a road where he meets with temptations too itrong for his virtue, precipitates him. felf into share here, and into endless ruin hereafter.
Yet how often is the determination of this molt important article left to the chance of accidental connexions, or submitted to the option of youthful fancy and humour ! When it is made the subject of ferious deliberation, how seldom hive they, on whom the decilion of it depends, any further view than fo to dispose of one who is coming out into life, as that he may
the soonest become rich, or, as it is expressed, make way to most advantage in the world! Are there no other objects than this to be attended to, in fixing the plan of life? Are there not sacred and important interests which deserve to be consulted ?-We would not willingly place
one whose welfare we studied, in a situation for which we were convinced that his abilities were unequal. Tiele, therefore, we examine with care ; and on them we relt the ground of our decision. It is, however, certain, that not abilities merely, but the turn of the temper and the heart require to be examined with equal attention, in forming the plan of future establishment. Every one has some peculiar weakness, fome predominant paffion, which expoles him to temptations of one kind more than of another, Early this may be discerned to shoot, and from its first risings its future growth may be inferred. Anticipate its progress. Consider how it is likely to be affected, by succeeding occurrences in life. If we bring one whom we are rearing up, into a situation, where all the surrounding circumstances shall cherish and mature this fatal principle in his nature, we become, in a great measure, answerable for the consequences that follow. In vain we trust to his abilities and powers. Vice and corruption, when they have tainted the heart, are sufficient to overset the greatelt abil. ities. Nay, too frequently they turn them against the possessor ; and render them the instruments of his more speedy ruin.
in Easlern narrative. Ir pleased our mighty fovereign 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 fufpende ed with impartiality ; and under his administration the weak were protected, the learned received honour, and the diligent became rich : Mirza, therefore, was beheld by ev. ery eye with complacency, and every tongue pronounced blessings 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 fat motionless upon a sofa ; and when he went out, his walk was low, and his eyes were fixed upon the ground : he applied to the businets of ftate with reluctance ; and resolved to relinquish the toil of government, of which he could no longer enjoy the reward.
He therefore obtained permillion to approach the throne of our Sovereign : and being asked what was his request