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easily denied, because the petitioner himself seems to doubt its fitness..
Ibid. vol. 4, p. 36.
He that too much refines his delicacy, will always endanger his quiet...
Ibid. P. 221:
Many pains are incident to a man of delicacy, which the unfeeling world cannot be persuaded to pity; and which, when they are separated from their peculiar and personal circumstances, wilk never be considered as important. enough to claim attention or deserve redress..
Ibid. p. 217.
We do not so often: disappoint others as our-selves, as we do not only think more highly than others of our own abilities, but allow ourselves to form hopes which we never communi-cate, and please our thoughts with employments which none ever will allot us, and with eleva tions to which we are never expected to rise. Ider, vol. 2, P: 203.
It may be said that disease generally begins that equality which death completes. The distinctions which set one man so much aboveanother, are very little perceived in the gloom. of a sick chamber, where it will be vain to ex-/ pect entertainment from the gay or instruction. from the wise, where all human glory is obliterated the wit is clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued: where the high
est and brightest of mortal beings finds nothing left him but the consciousness of innocence.
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 290.
It is impossible to see the long scrolls in which every contract is included, with all their appendages of seals and attestation, without wondering at the depravity of those beings who must be restrained from violation of promise by such formal and public evidences, and precluded from equivocation and subterfuge by such punctilious minuteness. Among all the satires to which folly and wickedness have given occasion, none is equally severe with a bond or a settlement.
Ibid, vol. 3, p. 155•
The folly of allowing ourselves to delay what we know cannot be finally escaped, is one of the general weaknesses which, in spite of the instruction of moralists, and the remonstrances of reason, prevail to a greater or less degree in every mind: even they who most steadily withstand it, find it, if not the most violent, the most pertinacious of their passions, always renewing its attacks, and though often vanquished, never destroyed.
Ibid. vol. 3, P. 170.
The certainty that life cannot be long, and the probability that it will be much shorter than nature allows, ought to awaken every man to the active prosecution of whatever he is desirous to perform. It is true, that no diligence can ascertain success; death may, intercept the swiftest
career; but he who is cut off in the execution of an honest undertaking, has at least the honour of falling in his rank, and has fought the battle, though he missed the victory.
Ibid. p. 134.
Timorous thoughts, and cautious disquisitions, are the dull attendants of delay.
Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 6. p. 116.
Deceit and falsehood, whatever conveniences they may for a time promise or produce, are, in the sum of life, obstacles to happiness. Those who profit by the cheat distrust the deceiver, and the act by which kindness was sought puts an end to confidence.
Ibid. vol. 10, p. 530.
There is an art of sophistry by which men have deluded their own consciences, by persuading themselves, that what would be criminal in others, is virtuous in them; as if the obligations which are laid upon us by a higher power, can be over-ruled by obligations which we lay upon ourselves.
Ibid. vol. 4, p. 487.
Some men's minds are so divided between heaven and earth, that they pray for the prosperity of guilt, while they deprecate its punishIbid. vol. 5, p. 579
Poetical devotion cannot often please. The doctrines of religion may, indeed, be defended in I 6 a Didactic
a Didactic poem; and he who has the power of arguing in verse, will not lose it because his subject is sacred. A poet may describe the beauty and grandeur of nature; the flowers of the spring, and the harvests of autumn; the vicissitudes of the tide, and the revolutions of the sky; and praise the Maker for his works in lines which no reader shall lay aside. The subject of the disputation is not piety, but the motives to piety; that of the description is not God, but the works of God.
Contemplative piety, or the intercourse between God and the human soul, cannot be poetical. Man admitted to implore the mercy of his Creator, and plead the merits of his Redeemer, is already in a higher state than poetry can confer.
The essence of poetry is invention; such invention as, by producing something unexpected, surprises and delights. The topics of devotion are few, and being few, are universally known; but few as they are, they can be made no more; they can receive no grace from novelty of sentiment, and very little from novelty of expression.
Poetry pleases by exhibiting an idea more grateful to the mind than the things themselves afford. This effect proceeds from the display of those parts of nature which attract, and the concealment of those which repel the imagination: but religion must be shown as it is; suppression and addition equally corrupt it; and, such as it is, it is known. already: from poetry the reader justly expects, and from good poetry always obtains, the enlargement of his comprehension, and elevation of his fancy; but this is rarely to be hoped by Christians from metrical devotion. Whatever is great, desirable, or tremendous, is comprised in the name of the Supreme Being. Omnipotence cannot be exalt
ed; infinity cannot be amplified; perfection cannot be improved.
The employments of pious meditation are faith, thanksgiving, repentance, and supplication. Faith, invariably uniform, cannot be invested by fancy with decorations. Thanksgiving, the most joyful of all holy effusions, yet addressed to a Being without passions, is confined to a few modes, and is to be felt rather than expressed. Repentance, trembling in the presence of the judge, is not at leisure for cadence and epithets, Supplication of man to man may diffuse itself through many topics of persuasion; but supplication to God can only cry for mercy.
Of sentiments purely religious, it will be found that the most simple expression is the most sublime. Poetry loses its lustre and its power, because it is applied to the decorations of something more excellent than itself. All that verse can do is to help the memory, and delight the ear; and for these purposes it may be very useful: but it supplies nothing to the mind. The ideas of Christian theology are too simple for eloquence, too sacred for fiction, and too majestic for ornament; to recommend them by tropes. and figures, is to magnify by a concave mirror the sideral hemisphere.
Life of Waller
When we act according to our duty, we commit the event to him by whose laws our actions are governed, and who will suffer none to be finally punished for obedience. But when, in prospect of some good, whether natural or moral, we break the rules prescribed to us, we withdraw