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with the alloy; but then, they would be still more valuable without it. Mezeray, an eminent French historian, is said to have studied with his shutters closed and his candle burning all day long; and Abraham Sharp, one of our philosophical countrymen, was accustomed to walk out with his hands full of money held behind his back, while boys and girls followed him to scramble and gather the spoil; but would their labours and alms have been a whit the worse, if one had preferred the sun to his taper, and the other, in the distribution of his charity, had used his eyes as well as his hands? The little eccentricities of great men are readily pardoned; common-place characters are not entitled to the same treatment.
But no class of persons ought more studiously to avoid every appearance of needless and repulsive singularity, than serious Christians. Allegiance to their Sovereign, submission to laws, and habitual regard to their ultimate ends, the promotion of his glory and their own eternal happiness, forbid them to join in the corrupt practices and pleasures of the infatuated multitude. An express precept requires that they be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of their minds, that they may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. But they should be concerned to preserve their principles, without unnecessarily irritating the passions, or increasing the prejudices of worldly men, by outraging any of the decencies or properties of established intercourse. They must not run with them into excess of riot; but civil and commercial affairs, literary pursuits, and many matters, both of
science and taste, present a sort of neutra} ground, on which they may meet them, and reciprocate kindness, without one compliance inconsistent with duty. As real religion raises and fortifies the mind, it likewise quickens and refines the sensibilities of the heart; disposing those who act under its influence, to prefer a mild, gentle, amiable, and conciliating deportment, to any thing which resembles a cynical and monkish austerity. It may be said, indeed, we live in an age and country, little exposed to the dangers of excessive strictness; the whole weight of caution is wanted to guard us on the opposite side. But is it, I would ask, ever quite safe to guard one side only? An inspired teacher recommends us to have the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. There are among us good men, especially in the smaller sects which divide the Christian community, who are apt to contract a narrow mode of thinking, and a harsh repulsive style of address, by the very circumstances in which they are placed. And if this be the case, where piety prevails, we need not wonder that formalists in our day, should as anxiously strain at a gnat, and as eagerly swallow a camel, as the Pharisees of old did. Let the servants of God, then, be concerned to show, out of a good conversation, their works with meekness of wisdom; and, if possible, give no offence to Jew or Gentile, or the Church of God.
THE MODERN MARTYR.
"The sense to value riches, with the art
PERHAPS there is no country in which there are so many fluctuations amongst the different orders of society, as in this kingdom; and though we would not exclude the agency of divine providence, in deciding, who shall sink, and who shall rise, yet we are at liberty to trace up the changes to the causes which produce them. Some of the descendants of those mighty men, who once regulated the balance of trade, and who, by their over grown wealth excited the envy of the public mind, may now be found amongst the paupers of our parishes; while the children of indigence and obscurity are rolling in wealth, occupying the chief places of renown in our land. And though we will not deny, but the descent, from unbounded affluence, to abject poverty, may sometimes be effected by a combination of extraordinary circumstances, which no foresight could guard against, yet in general it is owing to a spirit of indolence and extravagance, which is too often cherished by those who inherit property, which has been accumulated by the industry and frugality of others. Coming into the possession of large treasures which have been collected by other
hands they feel no disposition to augment them; and conceiving that they are inexhaustible, like the prodigal of Judea, they spend them in riotous living. And though in most cases, when they have begun their career of dissipation, their ruin, in the estimation of every wise man, is inevitable; yet they proceed with an heedless, and an accelerating progress, spurning from them, contemptuously, the advice of friendship, till they are plunged into the depths of misery.
And if we advert to the elevation of some of the lower orders of society, and the wealth which they have acquired in their respective professions, we shall be able to account for it, without resorting to the aid of miracles. They have risen gradually; the property which they have acquired, has been acquired by their own industry; and being forced by the peculiarity of their circumstances, to watch over every item of expenditure with the most vigi lant care, they imbibe habits of frugality and economy, which are the safeguard of their riches.
As it is but rarely that the human character has obliterated from its first impressions, we may often trace the influence of early associations and habits amongst those who have been removed out of their original condition in the social system. Hence the fallen, discover a loftiness of mind, a refinement of taste, a generosity of disposition, which combine to make them interesting, in their low estate; while their rivals, who have sprung out of the dust, not unfrequently, when clothed in purple, and pampered by indulgence, betray the meanness of their origin by their vulgar hauteur, their niggardliness, and their illiberality.
When walking with my friend Mr. Mowbray, we perchance met Mr. and Mrs. Lester, who were
very polite in their way; but it was evident that they had never studied Chesterfield. But much as I admire the gracefulness of elegant manners, and the fascination of a courteous demeanour; I have so often found them unaccompanied by sterling principles of moral goodness, that they have, in some measure lost their charm; and hence, I am accustomed, when introduced into any new company, to enquire into character, that I may not be deceived. The story which the old clerk narrated to me on the preceding day, had excited such powerful feelings in my breast, that I recoiled from all intercourse with them; and when we separated, they, going their way, and we, going ours, I ventured to ask my friend, if he were intimate with them.
"We speak, Sir," he replied, "but we are not intimate."
"He is, I believe, a man of considerable property."
"Yes, Sir, he is a man of property, but wealth has no attractions in my eye, only as it is associated with the principles of benevolence and honour." Mr. Lester, I was informed, sprang from poor, yet reputable parents, who obtained for him a situation as errand boy in a large bookseller's shop. Possessing good natural talents, and being of an active and ingenious turn of mind, he rose in the esteem and confidence of his master, who advanced him from one situation in his employment to another, till he became the principal man in the establishment. This station he occupied for several years, and having resolved, when a lad, to cultivate the most rigid habits of economy, he saved a considerable sum of money during the term of his servitude, which, with a small fortune he had with