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“BLESSED are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”—Thus our blessed Saviour opened his sermon on the mount; and from his example we may be assured, that humility is the richest garb that the soul can wear. By this is to be understood, not an abject poorness of spirit, that would stoop to do a mean thing; but such an humble sense of human nature, as sets the heart and affections right towards God, and gives us every temper that is tender and affectionate towards our fellow creatures. This is the soil of all virtues, where everything that is good and lovely grows.
True religion will show its influence in every part of our conduct; it is like the sap of a living tree, which penetrates the most distant boughs.
The table of a good economist is always attended with neatness, plenty, and cheerfulness. When we have provided enough to maintain us, in the order suitable to our character, we ought to be proportionately hospitable; but the more we live within decent bounds, the more of our fortune may be converted to noble uses.
What are the pomp and majesty of an earthly court, the magnificence of palaces and crowded theatres, to one who has in view the glories of heaven, the triumphs of the saints and the ineffable delights of the angelic world? What are feasts, sports, plays, and all the vanities of sensual pleasures and delights, to him who stedfastly fixes his eye on celestial bliss and everlasting transports of joy?
He that is his own appraiser will be mistaken in the value.
Afflictions, if we make a discreet use of them, are messengers of love from heaven to invite us thither.
Household affairs ought insensibly to slide along, and represent a still current without noise or waves.
In the morning say to thyself, What shall I do this day which God has given me? How shall I employ it to his glory? In the evening consider within thyself, and recollect, What have I done this day, and how have I spent it?
Religion naturally tends to all that is great, worthy, friendly, generous, and noble: and the true spirit of it, not only composes, but cheers the soul. Though it banishes all levity of behaviour, all vicious and dissolute mirth, yet in exchange it fills the mind with a perpetual serenity and uninterrupted pleasure. The contemplation of divine percy and power, and the exercise of virtue, are in their own nature so far from
excluding all gladness of heart, that they are the principal and constant sources of it.
It was the practice of Vespasian, the Roman emperor, to call himself to an account every night for the actions of the past day; and as often as he let slip one day without doing good, he entered upon his diary this memorial :
“I have lost a day.”
Count that day lost, whose low descending sun
We read in the Scriptures, that Boaz, in the midst of riches, was laborious, diligent in husbandry, plain, without luxury, delicacy, sloth or pride. How affable, how obliging and kind to his servants ! “ The Lord be with you,” says he to his reapers; and they answered him, “ The Lord bless thee.” This was the beautiful language of religious antiquity; but how little known in our days !
The sweetest revenge is to do good to our enemies.
Nothing can be more proper for a creature that borders upon eternity, and is hasting continually to his final audit, than daily to slip away from the circle of amusements, and frequently to relinquish the hurry of business, in order to consider and adjust the “ things that belong to his eternal peace.”
One of the most deceitful bubbles that ever danced before the eye of human vanity, is wealth. It glitters
at a distance, and appears replete with all the requisites essential to earthly felicity; it attracts the attention of numbers from every other object, and kindles in the breasts of its votaries an inextinguishable thirst to acquire it. By weak minds it is considered as the summum bonum of sublunary blessings; and therefore, in the attainment of it, such think to exclude every want, to enjoy every satisfaction.
Keep no company with a man who is given to detraction; to hear him patiently is to partake of his guilt, and prompt him to a continuance in that vice which all good men shun him for.
The more thou art elevated in life, ranked
among the great and affluent, the more it becomes thee to be circumspect in all thy actions; God's all-seeing eye is upon thee, and men observe thy failings. The more thou art increased in wealth, the more shouldst thou sink in self-abasement, and rise in gratitude and benevolence,
One advantage gained by calamities is, to know how to sympathise with others in the like troubles.
Did those whom heaven has blessed with affluence but visit the secret recesses of poverty, those dreary abodes of sorrow, where infantile weakness and the decrepitude of age languish under the pressure of affliction, without a friend to help, or an eye to pity, how painful would be their feelings till they had rendered them joyful by diffusing comfort to the wretched ! Did they but behold a numerous family