Page images
PDF
EPUB

12. His application to study, in other respects, was equal to the pains he took to conquer his natural defects. He had a room made under ground, that he might be remote from noise and disturbance, and this was to be seen many centuries afterwards. There he shut himself up for months together, and had half his head shaved that his ridiculous appearance might prevent bim from going abroad.

13. It was there by the light of a small lamp he composed those excellent harangues, which smelt, as his enemies declared, of the oil, to insinuate they were too much laboured. It is very evident replied he, yours did not cost you so much trouble.

14. Eschines, a rival orator, opposed the decree which bestowed a crown of gold upon Demosthenes. The cause was argued with the greatest eloquence on both sides, but Eschines was unsuccessful, and suffered exile for his rash attempt. When he was departing from Athens, Demosthenes ran after him, and prevailed upon him to accept of a sum of money to pay his expenses.

15. Escbines, astonished at his liberality, exclaimed, I have reason to regret my departure from a country where my enemies are so generous that I do not expect to find friends equal to them elsewhere. He afterwards established a school for eloquence at Rhodes, which was long celebrated.

16. He commenced his lessons by delivering to his auditors his own oration against Demosthenes, and that of Demosthenes which caused his banishment. They bestowed great praise upon his own, but when he came to that of Demosthenes, their acclamations redoubled. If such is your applause, said he, at my delivery, what would you have said if you had heard Demosthenes himself?

SELECT SENTENCES.

TIME is more valuable to young people than to any others. They should not lose an hour in forming their taste, their manners and their minds ; for whatever they are to a certain degree, at eighteen, they will be more less so, all the rest of their lives.

2. Nothing can be of greater service to a young man who has any degree of understanding, than an intimate conversation with one of riper years, who is not only able to advise, but who knows the manner of advising. By this mean, youth can enjoy the benefit of the experience of age; and that, at a time of life when such experience will be of more service to a man, than when he has lived long enough to acquire it of himself.

3. The kindnesses which most men receive from others, are like traces drawn in the sand. The breath of every passion sweeps

them

away, and they are remembered no more. But injuries are like inscriptions on monuments of brass or pillars of marble, which endure, unimpaired, the revolutions of time.

4. View the groves in autumn, and observe the constant succession of falling leaves; in like manner the generations of men silently drop from the stage of life, and are blended with the dust com whence they sprang.

5 Perfect happiness is not the growth of a terrestrial soil; it buds in the gardens of the virtuous on earth, but blooms with unfading verdure only in the celestial regions.

6. He who would pass the latter part of his life with honour and decency, must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be old ; and remember when he is old, that he has once been young.

7. He who governs his passions does more than he who commands armies. Socrates, being one day offended with his servant, said, “I would beat you if I were not angry."

8. We too often judge of men by the splendor, and not by the merit of their actions. Alexander demanded of a pirate whom he had taken, by what right he infested the seas? By the same right, replied he boldly, that

you enslave the world. I am called a robber, because I have on. ly one small vessel ; but you are styled a conqueror, because you command great fleets and armies.

9. Beauty, as the flowery blossom, soon fades ; but the divine excellencies of the mind, like the medicinal virtues of the plant, remain in it when all those charms are withered.

10. There are two considerations which always embitter the heart of an avaricious man ; the one is a perpetual thirst after more riches; the other, tbe prospect of leaving what he hath already acquired.

11. There cannot be a more glorious object in creation, than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner

he
may

render himself most acceptable te his creator, by doing most good to his creatures.

12. A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong ; which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser to-day than he was yesterday.

13. Knowledge will not be acquired without pains and application. It is troublesome digging for deep, pure waters; but when once you come to the spring, they rise up and meet you.

14. The most unhapry effect of fashionable politeness is, that it teaches us the art of dispensing with the virtues which it imitates. Let us be educated to cherish the principles of benevolence and humanity, and we shall have poJiteness enough, or shall stand in no need of it.

15. If we should not have that which is accompanied by the graces, we should have that which bespeaks the honest man and the good citizen. We should stand in no need of having recourse to the falsehood of appearances.

16. Man is the only being endowed with the power of laughter, and perhaps he is the only one who deserves to be laughed at.

17. It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy unenvied, to be healthful withont physic, and secure without a guard; to obtain from the bounty of nature, what the great and wealthy are compelled to procure by the help of artists, and the attendance of flatterers and spies.

18. Prudence is a duty which we owe ourselves, and if we will be so much our own enemies as to neglect it, we are not to wonder if the world is deficient in discharging their duty to us; for when a map lays the foundation of his own ruin, others, too often, are apt to build upon it.

19. There are no principles but those of religion, to be depended on in cases of real distress ; and these are able to encounter the worst emergencies, and to bear us up under all the changes and chances to which our lives are subject.

20. Riches without charity are worth nothing. They are a blessing only to him who makes them a blessing to others.

21. The tongue of a viper is less hurtful than that of a slanderer; and the gilded scales of a rattlesnake, less dreadful than the purse of the oppressor.

22. As benevolence is the most sociable of all the virtues, so it is of the largest extent ; for there is not any man, either so great or so little, but he is yet capable of giving and of receiving benefits.

23. When thou dost good, do it because it is good : not because men esteem it so. When thou avoidest evil, fee from it because it is evil; not because men speak against it. Be honest for the love of honesty, and thou shalt be uniformly so. He who doth it without principle is wavering.

24. Wish rather to be reproved by the wise, than to be applauded by him who hath no understanding. When they tell thee of a fault, they suppose thou canst improve ; the other, when he praiseth thee, thinketh thee like unto himself.

25. Set not thy judgment above that of all the earth; neither condemn as falsehood wbat agreeth not with thine own apprehension. Who

gave thee the power of determining for others ? or who took from the world the right of choice?

26. How many things have been rejected, which now are received as truth; how many, now received as truths, will in their turn be despised ? Of what then can man be certain.

27. An immoderate desire of riches is a poison lodged in the soul. It contaminates and destroys every thing which was good in it. It is no sooner rooted there, than all virtue, all honesty, all natural affection fly before the face of it.

28. Drunkenness is but voluntary madness; it emboldens men to do all sorts of mischiefs; it both irritates wickedness and discovers it; it does not merely make men vicious, but it shows them to be so.

29. Every man should mind his own business ; for he who torments himself with other people's good or ill fortune, will never be at rest.

30. To set about acquiring the habit of meditation and study late in life, is like getting into a go-cart with a grey beard, and learning to walk when we have lost the use of our legs. In general, the foundation of a happy old age must be laid in youth ; and he who has not cultivated his reason young, will be utterly unable to improve it when old,

31. Endeavour to be first in your profession, and let no one go before you in doing well. Nevertheless, do not envy the merits of another; but improve your own talents.

32. Never reveal your secrets to any, except it be as much their interest to keep them, as it is yours they should be kept. Entrust only thyself, and thou canst not be betrayed.

33. Glory, like a shadow, flieth him who pursueth it; but it followeth at the heels of him who would fly from it. If thou court it without merit, thou shalt never attain unto it; if thou deserve it, though thou hide thyself, it will never forsake thee.

34. Pursue that which is honorable, do that which is right; and the applause of thine own conscience will be more joy to thee, than the shouts of millions, who know not that thou deservest them.

35. Love labour. If you do not want it for food, you may for physic. The idle man is more perplexed to know what to do, than the industrious in doing what he ought. There are few who know how to be idle and innocent. By doing nothing, we learn to do ill.

36. Honour thy father with thy whole heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother. How canst thou recompense them the things which they have done for thee?

37. It is a mark of a depraved mind, to sneer at decrepit old age, or to ridicule any one who is deformed in his person or lacketh understanding. Who maketh one to differ from another ?

38. The merciful man is merciful to his beast : and he, who takes pleasure in tormenting any of God's creatures, although ever so inferior, ought to be banished from human society, and ranked among the brutes.

39. Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not done it; and if he hath, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not said it; or if he hath, that he speak it not again. Admonish a friend; for many times it is a slapder; and believe not every tale.

40. Be not forward in leading the conversation. This belongs to the oldest person in company. Display your learning only on particular occasions. Never oppose the opinion of another, but with great modesty.

« PreviousContinue »