whole race of mankind, as dispersed throughout the earth Am I not related to them all, by the mutual aids of com. merce, by the general intercourse of arts and letters, by that common nature of which we all participate?

Again-I must have food and clothing. Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perish. Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself; to the distant sun, from whose beams I derive vigour ? to that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of heaven, by which the times and sea sons ever uniformly pass on? Were this order once con founded, I could not probably survive a moment; so abso lutely do I depend on this common general welfare. What, then, have I to do, but to enlarge virtue into piety? Not only honour and justice, and what I owe to man, is my inrest; but gratitude also, acquiescence, resignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its great Govenor our common Parent.



The injustice of an uncharitable spirit.


A SUSPICIOUS, uncharitable spirit is not only inconsistent with all social virtue and happiness, but it is also, in itself, unreasonable and unjust. In order to form sound opinions concerning characters and actions, two things are especially requisite, information and impartiality. But such as are most forward to decide unfavourably, arc commonly destitute of both. Instead of possessing, or even requiring, full information, the grounds on which they proceed are frequently the most slight and frivolous. A tale, perhaps, which the idie have invented, the inquisitive have listened to, and the credulous have propagated; or a real incident which rumour, in carrying it along, has exaggerated and disguised, supplies them with materials of confident assertion, and decisive judg ment. From an action they presently look into the heart, and infer the motive. This supposed motive they conclude to be the ruling principle; and pronounce at once concerning the whole character

Nothing can be more contrary both to equity and to sound reason, than this precipitate judgment. Any man who at tends to what passes within himself, may easily discern what a complicated system the human character is; and what a variety of circumstances must be taken into the account, in order to estimate it truly. No single instance of conduct whatever is sufficient to determine it. As from one worth

action, it were credulity, not charity, to conclude a person to

free from all vice; so from one which is censurable, it is perfectly unjust to infer that the author of it is without con cience, and without merit. If we knew all the attending circumstances, it might appear in an excusable light; nay. perhaps, under a commendable form. The motives of the ac tor may have been entirely different from those which we ascribe to him; and where we suppose him impelled by bad de sign, he may have been prompted by conscience and mistaken principle. Admitting the action to have been in every view criminal, he may have been hurried into it through inadvertency and surprise. He may have sincerely repented; and the virtuous principle may have now regained its full vigour Perhaps this was the corner of frailty; the quarter on which he lay open to the incursions of temptation; while the other avenues of his heart were firmly guarded by conscience.

It is therefore evident, that no part of the government of temper deserves attention more, than to keep our minds pure from uncharitable prejudices, and open to candour and humanity in judging of others. The worst consequences, both to ourselves and to society, follow from the opposite spirit.



The misfortunes of men mostly chargeable on themselves. We find man placed in a world, where he has by no means the disposal of the events that happen. Calamities sometimes befall the worthiest and the best, which it is not in their power to prevent, and where nothing is left them, but to acknowledge, and to submit to, the high hand of Heaven. For such visitations of trial, many good and wise reasons can be assigned, which the present subject leads me not to discuss. But though those unavoidable calamities make a part, yet they make not the chief part, of the vexations and sorrows that distress human life. A multitude of evils beset us, for the source of which we must look to another quarter.-No sooner has any thing in the health, or in the circumstances of men, gone cross to their wish, than they begin to talk of the unequal distribution of the good things of this life; they envy the condition of others; they repine at their own lot, and fret against the Ruler of the world.

Full of these sentiments, one man pines under a broken Constitution. But let us ask him, whether he can, fairly and onestly, assign no cause for this but the unknown decree of

heaven? Has he duly valued the blessing of health, and always observed the rules of virtue and sobriety? Has he been moderate in his life, and temperate in all his pleasures? If now he is only paying the price of his former, perhaps his forgotten indulgences, has he any title to complain, as if he were suffering unjustly Were we to survey the chambers of sickness and distress, we should often find them peopled with the victims of intemperance and sensuality, and with the children of vicious indolence and sloth. Among the thousands who languish there, we should find the proportion of inno cent sufferers to be small. We should see faded youth, premature old age, and the prospect of an untimely grave, to be the portion of multitudes, who, in one way or other, have brought those evils on themselves; while yet these martyrs of vice and folly have the assurance to arraign the hard fate of man, and to "fret against the Lord."

But you, perhaps, complain of hardships of another kind; of the injustice of the world; of the poverty which you suffer, and the discouragements under which you labour; of the crosses and disappointments of which your life has been doomed to be full. Before you give too much scope to your discontent, let me desire you to reflect impartially upon your past train of life. Have not sloth or pride, or ill temper, or sinful passions, misled you often from the path of sound and wise conduct? Have you not been wanting to yourselves in mproving those opportunities which Providence offered you, For bettering and advancing your state? If you have chosen lo indulge your humour, or your taste, in the gratifications of ndolence or pleasure, can you complain because others, in preference to you, have obtained those advantages which naturally belong to useful labours, and honourable pursuits? Have not the consequences of some false steps, into which your passions, or your pleasures, have betrayed you, pursued you through much of your life; tainted, perhaps, your charcters, involved you in embarrassments, or sunk you into negct? It is an old saying, that every man is the artificer of sown fortune in the world. It is certain, that the world Eldom turns wholly against a man, unless through his own hult."Religion is," in general, "profitable unto all things."? Virtue, diligence, and industry, joined with good temper and prudence, have ever been found the surest road to prosperity; and where men fail of attaining it, their want of success is far oftener owing to their having deviated from that road, than to their having encountered insuperable bars in i Some by being too artful, forfeit the reputation of probi

Some, by being too open, are accounted to fail in prudence Others, by being fickle and changeable, are distrusted by all The case commonly is, that men seek to ascribe their disap pointments to any cause, rather than to their own misconduct; and when they can devise no other cause, they lay them to the charge of Providence. Their folly leads them into vices; their vices into misfortunes; and in their misfortunes they" murmur against Providence, They are doubly unjust towards their creator. In their prosperity, they are apt to ascribe their success to their own diligence, rather than to his blessing: and in their adversity, they impute their distresses to his providence, not to their own misbehaviour Whereas, the truth is the very reverse of this. "Every good and every perfect gift cometh from above ;" and of evil and misery, man is the author to himself.

When, from the condition of individuals, we look abroad to the public state of the world, we meet with more proofs of the truth of this assertion. We see great societies of men torn in pieces by intestine dissensions, tumults, and civil commotions. We see mighty armies going forth, in formidable array, against each other, to cover the earth with blood, and to fill the air with the cries of widows and orphans. Sad evils these are, to which this miserable world is exposed.But are these evils, I beseech you, to be imputed to God? Was it he who sent forth slaughtering armies into the field, or who filled the peaceful city with massacres and blood? Are these miseries any other than the bitter fruit of men's violent and disorderly passions? Are they not clearly to be traced to the ambition and vices of princes, to the quarrels of the great, and to the turbulence of the people ?-Let us lay them entirely out of the account, in thinking of Providence ; and let us think only of the "foolishness of man." Did man control his passions, and form his conduct according to the dictates of wisdom, humanity, and virtue, the earth would no longer be desolated by cruelty; and human societies would live in order, harmony, and peace. In those scenes of mischief and violence which fill the world, let man behold, with shame, the picture of his vices, his ignorance, and folly. Let him be humbled by the mortifying view of his own perverseness; but let not his "heart fret against the Lord." BLAIR. SECTION V.

On disinterested friendship.

AM informed that certain Greek writers (philosophers, it in the opinion of their countrymen) have advanced

some very extraordinary positions relating to friendship; as, indeed, what subject is there, which these subtle geniuses have not tortured with their sophistry?

The authors to whom I refer, dissuade their disciples from entering into any strong attachments, as unavoidably creating supernumerary disquietudes to those who engage in them; and, as every man has more than sufficient to call forth his solicitude, in the course of his own affairs, it is a weakness, they contend, anxiously to involve himself in the concerns of others. They recommend it also, in all connexions of this kind, to hold the bands of union extremely loose; so as always to have it in ones power to straiten or relax them, as circumstances and situations shall render most expedient. They add, as a capital article of their doctrine, that," to live exempt from cares, is an essential ingredient to constitute human happiness but an ingredient however, which he, who voluntarily distresses himself with cares, in which he has no ne cessary and personal interest, must never hope to possess."

I have been told likewise, that there is another set of pretended philosophers, of the same country, whose tenets, concerning this subject, are of a still more illiberal and ungenerous cast.

The proposition they attempt to establish, is, that "friend.. ship is an affair of self-interest entirely; and that the proper motive for engaging in it, is, not in order to gratify the kind and benevolent affections, but for the benefit of that assistance and support which are to be derived from the connexion." Accordingly they assert, that those persons are most disposed to have recourse to auxiliary alliances of this kind, who are least qualified by nature, or fortune, to depend upon their own strength and powers: the weaker sex, for instance, being generally more inclined to engage in friendships, than the male part of our species; and those who are depressed by indigence, or labouring under misfortunes, than the wealthy and the prosperous.

Excellent and obliging sages, these, undoubtedly! To strike out the friendly affections from the moral world, would be like extinguishing the sun in the natural; each of them being the source of the best and most grateful satisfactions, that Heaven has conferred on the sons of men. But I should be glad to know, what the real value of this boasted exemption from care, which they promise their disciples, justly amounts to? an exemption flattering to self-love, I confess but which, upon many occurrences in human life, should be

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