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selves with others, we regret the happy days we spent in the tranquillity of solitude. Thus we go on from fancy to fancy, and from one chimera to another, till death arrives, subverts all our imaginary projects of happiness, and makes us know, by our own experience, what the experience of others might have fully taught us long before, that is, that the whole world is vanity; that every state, all ages, and all conditions, have inconveniences peculiar to themselves, and one which is common to them all; I mean, a character of disproportion to our hearts; so that, by changing our situation, we often do no more than change our kind of infelicity.”
Nicholas Breakspear, who, on his advancement to the popedom, assumed the name of Adrian IV, was, in the early part of his life, reduced to the necessity of submitting to servile offices for bread. He studied in France, where, though he laboured under the pressures of poverty, he made a wonderful progress in learning. One day, on an interview with an intimate friend, he told him, " That all the hardships of his life were nothing in comparison to the Papai Crown ; and, speaking of the difficulties, and sorrows he had experienced, he observed, “ That he had been, as it were, strained through the alembic of affliction.”
It was a pertinent discourse of Cineas, dissuading Pyrrhus from undertaking a war against the Romans: “Sir,” saith he, “ when you have conquered them, what will you do next?" ". Then Sicily is near at hand, and easy to master.” “ And what when you have conquered Sicily ?” “ Then we will pass over to Africk, and take Carthage, which cannot long withstand us,” us When these
are conquered, what will be your next attempt ?” " Then,” saith Pyrrhus, “ we will fall in upon Greece and Macedon, and recover what we have lost there.” • Well, when all are subdued, what fruit do you expect from all your victories ?» “ Then,” said he, “ we will sit down and enjoy ourselves.” “ Sir," replied Cineas, “ may we not do it now? Have you not already a kingdom of vour own ? And he that cannot enjoy himself with . a kingdom, cannot with the whole world.” Such are the designs of men, and so we may answer them. Most are projecting how they may get such an estate ; then how they may raise themselves to honour: and think that their advancement in both will bring them satisfaction. Alas! this will not do. Their desires will still run before them; and they may as well sit down content where they are, as where they hope to be.
Vetellius, an Emperor of Rome, was so luxu. rious, that at one supper he had upon his table two thousand fishes of different kinds, and seven thousand Aving fowls. He was drawn through the streets of Rome with an halter about his neck, and was put to death.
Dioclesian found a crown so disagreeable, that he cast it off, and retired to a private life. And another said, from his own bitter experience, that if any man knew what cares and dangers were wrapt in a crown, he would not take it up if he saw it lie in the way before him. “ The troubles of a whole nation," observes one, “ concentre in the throne, and lodge themselves in the royal diadem ; so that it imay be but too truly said of every prince, that he wears a crown of thorns.”
Charles V, Emperor of Germany, King of
Spain, and lord of the Netherlands, was born at Ghent in the year 1500. He is said to have fought sixty battles, in most of which he was victorious ; to have obtained six triumphs; conquered four kingdoms; and to have added eight principalities to his dominions. An almost unparalleled instance of worldly prosperity and the greatness of human glory. But all these-fruits of his ambition, and all the honours that attended him, could not yield him true and solid satisfaction. Reflecting on the :: evils and miseries which he had oecasioned, and convinced of the emptiness of earthly magnificence, he became disgusted with all the splendor that surrounded him, and thought it his duty to withdraw from it, and spend the rest of his days in religious retirement. Accordingly he volunta. rily resigned all his dominions to his brother and son; and after taking an affectionate and last fare.. well of his son, and a numerous retinue of princes and nobility, that respectfully attended him, he : repaired to his chosen retreat, which was situated in a vale in Spain, of no great extent, watered by a small brook, and surrounded with rising grounds, covered with lofty trees. A deep sense of his frail . condition and great imperfection appears to have : impressed his mind in this extraordinary resolu. . tion, and through the remainder of his life. As soon as he landed in Spain, he fell prostrate on the ground, and, considering himself now as dead to , the world,.he kissed the earth, and said, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked I now return to thee, thou common mother of mankind !!
A remarkable instance of the unsatisfactory nae ture of all worldly prosperity is afforded by the : Emperor Septimius Severus," Omnia fui et nihili
expedit.” “ I have been all things, and all is of little value," was his declaration, after having been raised from an humble station to the Imperial throne of Rome and the sovereignty of the world.
Eminence. of situation is no proof of superior happiness: hence Pope Adrian VI had this inscrip. tion put on his monument. “Here lies Adrian the Sixth, who was never so unhappy in any period of his life, as in that in which he was a Prince.” : From the above circumstances we may learn to 'moderate our desires, and not to depend on any fascinating situation or earthly good, however al. luring : not, indeed, that we are to conclude that temporal blessings are to be undervalued, and that terrene enjoyments are to be neglected altogether. “ Nothing," says the late Mr. Snowden, * except the grossest stupidity and ingratitude can render us insensible to temporal prosperity, and to the external means of happiness, when Providence thinks fit to bestow them upon us. When our cup overflows with blessings and we are surrounded with every thing which can ren. der life not only comfortable but delightful, shall we, because imperfection is the indelible character of every worldly advantage, give way to melancholy and sorrow, or suffer such gloomy discontent to suppress and render vain every motive to gratitude and joy ? Forbid it reason-forbid it religion." Let us then attend to the golden mean, neither to expect a heaven in this life, nor to make it a hell by our discontent, impatience, and folly. Let us not depend on futurity, nor 6 overlook present happiness, in the idle hope that some future pe. riod of life will afford us more complete satisfaction; thus bartering the enjoyment of actual good for the empty shadow of vain expectation.”
in overflows hing which can shall
ANECDOTES OF YOUNG PERSONS
AND CHILDREN. " EARLY piety," says Henry," it is to be hoped, will be eminent piety. Those that are good betimes, are likely to be very good. He (Obadiah] that feared God from his youth, feared him greatly."
“ Sentiments of piety and virtue,” says Mr. Bryson, “cannot be impressed too early on the hu. man mind. They are the origin of respectability in society, give relish to the innocent enjoyments of this life, and happily prepare for the fruition of consummate felicity in the life to come.”
It is related of a Mr. Baily, Minister of the Gospel in New England, that from a child he knew the holy scriptures, and from a child was wise unto salvation; giving great and constant evidence of it by his habitual fear of God. There was one very remarkable effect of it. His father was a man of a very licentious conversation. His mother one day took the child, and calling the family together, made him pray with them. His father coming to understand how the child had prayed with the fa. mily, it smote his soul with great conviction, and he became an altered man.
A child of six years of age, being introduced into company for his extraordinary abilities, was asked by a dignified clergyman, “Where God was," with the proffer of an orange.“ Tell me (replied the boy) where he is not ? and I will give you two."
Dr. Watt's inclination for learning made an early display of itself: it is reported of him that while he was very young, before he could speak plain, when