Page images
[ocr errors]

greement which had nearly arisen, as is but too frequently the case, from the quarrels of servants! He said untu Lot, “I pray thee, let there be no strise betwixt me and thee, nor between my herdmen and thine.” And why? For the tenderest reason that can be : " because we are brethren."

2. The very image of the patriarch, in the attitude of entreaty, the fraternal tear just starting from his eye, is this moment before me : And thus, methinks, I catch instruction from the lip of the venerable man, as he addresses Lot. Away,

, my dear brother, away with strife; we were born to be the servants of God, and the companions of each other ; as we sprang from the same parents, so we naturally partake of the same affections. We are brethren, sons of the same father: We are friends ; for surely kindredship should be the most exalted friendship. Let us then not disagree, because our herdmen have disagreed; since that were to encourage every idle pique and senseless animosity."

3. “Great, indeed, has been our success, since our migration into this fair country. We have much substance, and much cattle. But what! shall brothers quarrel, because it hath pleased Heaven to prosper them ? This would be ingratitude, impiety! But if, notwithstanding these persuasives, thy spirit is still troubled, let us separate. Rather than contend with a brother, I would, hard as it is, even part with him for a time.

4. "Perhaps the occasion of dispute, (wlich I have already forgotten,) will soon be no more remembered by thee. Is not the whole land before thee? Take then my blessing and my embrace, and separate thyself from me. To thee is submitted the advantage of choice. If thou wilt take the left hand, then, that I may not appear to thwart thee unbrotherly, I will take the right, or, if thou art more inclined to the country which lies upon the right, then I will go to the left. Be it as thou wilt, and whithersoever thou goest, happy mayest thou be.”

5. Lot listened to his brother, and departed. He cast his eyes on the well watered plains of Jordan. When he separated, it appears to have been with the hope of increasing his wealth ; whilst Abraham, actuated by the kindest motives, often, no doubt, pressed his brother's

[ocr errors][merged small]


hand, and often bade him adieu, and even followed him to repeat his farewell wishes, ere he could suffer him to depart.


A persecuting spirit reproved. 1. Aram was sitting at the door of his tent, under the shade of his fig-tree, when it came to pass that a man, stricken with years, bearing a staff in his hand, journeyed that way.

And it was noon day. And Aram said unto the stranger, “ Pass not by, I pray thee, but come in, and wash thy feet, and tarry here until the evening; for thou art stricken with years, and the heat overcometh thee."

2. And the stranger lest his staff at the door, and entered into the tent of Aram. And he rested himself. And Aram set before him bread, and cakes of fine meal, baked upon the hearth.

And Aram blessed the bread, calling upon the name of the Lord. But the stranger did eat, and refused to pray unto the Most High, saying, “Thy Lord is not the God of my fathers; why therefore should I present my vows unto him ?"

3. And Aram's wrath was kindled; and he called his servants, and they beat the stranger, and drove him into the wilderness. Now in the evening, Aram lifted up his voice unto the Lord, and prayed unto him. And the Lord said, “ Aram, where is the stranger that sojourned this day with thee ?" And Aram answered and said, “ Behold, O Lord! he ate of thy bread, and would not offer unto thee his prayers and thanksgivings. Therefore did I chastise him, and drive him from before me into the wilderness,"

4. And the Lord said unto Aram, “Who hath made thee a judge between me and him ? Have not I borne with thine iniquities, and winked at thy backslidings; and shalt thou be severe with thy brother, to mark his errors, and to punish his perverseness ? Arise, and follow the stranger, and carry with thee oil and wine, and anoint his bruises, and speak kindly unto him. For I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, and judgment belongeth only unto me. Vain is thine oblation of thanksgiving, without a lowly heart.”

5. “As a bulrush thou mayest bow down thine head,

and lift up thy voice like a trumpet ; but thou obeyest not the ordinance of thy God, if thy worship be for strife and debate. Behold the sacrifice that I have chosen ; is it not to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke ? to deal thy bread to the hungry, and to bring the poor, that are cast out, to thy house ?" And Aram trembled before the presence of God. And he arose, and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the wilderness, to do as the Lord had commanded him.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


The folly of pride. 1. If there be any thing which makes human nature appear ridiculous to beings of superior faculties, it must be pride. They know so well the vanity of those imaginary perfections that swell the heart of man, and of those little supernumerary advantages of birth, fortune, or title, which one man enjoys above another, that it must certainly very much astonish, if it does not very much divert them, when they see a mortal puffed up, and valuing himself above his neighbors, on any of these accounts, at the same time that he is liable to all the common calamities of the species.

2. To set this thought in its true light, we shall fancy, if you please, that yonder mole-hill is inhabited by reasonable creatures; and that every pismire, (his shape and way of life only excepted,) is endowed with human passions. How should we smile to hear one give an account of the pedigrees, distinctions, and titles, that reign among them !

3. Observe how the whole swarm divide, and make way for the pismire that passes along ! You must understand he is an emmet of quality, and has better blood in his veins than any pismire in the mole-hill.

Do not you see how sensible he is of it, how slowly he marches forward, how the whole rabble of ants keep their distance ?

4. Here you may observe one placed upon a little eminence, and looking down on a long row of laborers. He is the richest insect on this side the hillock; he has a walk of half a yard in length, and a quarter of an inch in breadth; he keeps a hundred menial servants, and has at least fifteen barley corns in his granary. He is now chid

[ocr errors]

; one

ing and enslaving the emmet that stands before him who, for all that we can discover, is as good an emmet as himself.

5. But here comes an insect of rank! Do not you perceive the little white straw that he carries in his mouth? That straw, you must understand, he would not part with for the longest track about the mole-hill : You cannot conceive what he has undergone to purchase it! See how the ants of all qualities and conditions swarm about him ! should this straw drop out of his mouth, you would see all this numerous circle of attendants follow the next that took it up; and leave the discarded insect, or run over his back to come to his successor.

6. If now you have a mind to see the ladies of the mole-hill, observe first the pismire that listens to the emmet on her left hand, at the same time that she seems to turn away her head from him. He tells this poor insect that she is a superior being; that her eyes are brighter than the sun ; that life and death are at her disposal. She believes him, and gives herself a thousand little airs upon it.

7. Mark the vanity of the pismire on her right hand. She can scarcely crawl with age ; but you must know she values herself upon her birth ; and, if you mind, spurns at every one that comes within her reach. The little nimble coquette that is running by the side of her, is a wit. She has broken many a pismire's heart. Dc but observe what a drove of admirers are running after her. 8. We shall here finish this imaginary scene.

But first of all, to draw the parallel closer, we shall suppose, if you please, that death comes down upon the mole-hill, in the shape of a cock sparrow; and picks up, without distinction, the pismire of quality, and his flatterer ; the pismire of substance, and his day laborers; the white straw officer, and his sycophants, with all the ladies of rank, the wits, and the beauties of the mole-hill.

9. May we not imagine that beings of superior natures and perfections, regard all the instances of pride and vanity among our own species, in the same kind of view, when they take a survey of those who inhabit this earth; or, (in the language of an ingenious French poet,) of those pismires that people this heap of dirt, which human vanity has divided into climates and regions. ADDISON.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


The Whistle. 1. When I was a child about seven years of age, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pockets with half pence. I went directly towards a shop, where toys were sold for children ; and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way, in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for it.

2. I then came home, and went whistling over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and they laughed at me so much for my folly that I cried with vexation.

3. My reflections on the subject gave me more chagrin, than the whistle gave me pleasure. This little event, however, was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Do not give too much for the whistle, and so I saved my money.

4. As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.

5. When I saw any one too ambitious of court-favor, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.

6. When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect; He pays, indeed, said I, too much for his whistle.

7. If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth: Poor man, said I, you indeed pay too much for your whistle. When I met a man of pleasure, sacrificing every




« EelmineJätka »