Billeder på siden

good and useful, every truth that is of service to mankind, by every method in your power, into the common stock of human knowledge. Let that greater light, which gladdens you, enlighten others also; and hide it not from indolence or from timidity, or from mercenary views, from the eyes of the world. Beware however at the fame time of shaking the foundations of morality, or weakening the bands of religion. This, as the friend of mankind, you would not venture to do, even though you were persuaded that the former were false and the latter chimerical; at least, not till

you could furnish your brethren with more stable fupports to their faith and repose. No, whatever promotes human perfection and happiness should be sacred to you; and true religion, which certainly promotes it most, should be most sacred. Content not yourself simply with being learned, but endeavour to be fo in a respectable and amiable manner. Beware of the ordinary failings attendant on learning; of unsociableness, of misanthropy, of despising and depreciating whatever lies not within your sphere, or relates not to you pursuits. Be not haughty nor domineering ; bear with the weak, the ignorant, the erroneous, in the spirit of love; put them not to shame, but convey to them instruction; decide not on all things, and never decide without reason; condescend to each man's capacity ; hearken to their modest contradictions with calmness; and learn, even from the unlearned, as


readily as you teach others. Respect the percepe tions, the excellencies, the useful occupations of other persons, though they should even seem Atrange to you. Do honour in fine, to learning, by the falutary influence you allow it to have on your character and conduct; distinguish yourself even more by generous sentiments and employ. ments of general utility, than by diffusive science; and uniformly prefer doing to understanding, that is, virtue to knowledge.

And you, my friends, who belong not to the class of the learned, despise not that with which you are unacquainted, or of which you have only a glimmering and faint conception. Rather esteem and prize that of which you are able to discern a little by a few reflections, sufficient however to thew

you that it is of great and various service to you and to the whole community. Contemn not the thing itself, because of its accidental abuses. Attribute not the errors and imperfections of the learned to learning itself. Require not of persons, who in general lead and are forced to lead a retired life, and who feldom have a mind totally difengaged, the vivacity, nor the polished breeding, nor the agreeable manners, nor the interest in all that passes, which you may expect from persons who live in the great world, and are present in all public diversions and pleasures. Respect the body of the learned, though perhaps all that belong to it are not respectable. Countenance and promote


around you.

learning of every kind, by the esteem you shew to the learned, by the helps you afford them, by the assistance wherewith you facilitate their' frequently expensive undertakings and pursuits, by the honour and rewards you bestow on their industry, and for the service they render the public. But profit likewife by the greater light which learning diffuses

Avail yourselves of it for rectifying and extending your knowledge, as far as is consistent with your calling and


other obligations. But strive not for such learning, as in your station cannot be acquired without neglecting your most important occupations and affairs, and which, in the degree you would probably wish to possess it, would more confuse than settle you, would be of more prejudice than benefit to you.


pre. tend to an acquaintance with such kinds of knowledge and science as are either totally unknown to you, or of which you scarcely know more than the name ; at most, have only fome general notions. In many cases, it is far better to be ignorant, and not to be ashamed of one's ignorance, than to put up with superficial knowledge, and then to be as proud of it as if it were real learning.

Lastly, let all of us, my pious hearers, both learned and unlearned, so think and fo live as men sedulous to promote the benefit of one and the same family; as members of one body, whereof one is the eye, another the ear, a third the hand, a fourth the foot, and who are all equally neces


sary to the support and well-being of the whole body, whereof none can dispense with any of the others without injury. So shall we all fulfil our duty, all worthily maintain our station, and reach the great end of our creation; all learn to love and esteem each other more and more, and each by means of the other become constantly more happy.


The Value of more enlightened Times.

GOD, father of lights, whose glory fills the

ethereal throne, from whom all good and only perfect gifts proceed, we likewise are irradiated and cheered by thy light, the light of truth as well as the light of the fun : and how much more are we illumined by the former, than so many other people and nations, who scarcely discern a few faint emanations of it. Yes, thou hast imparted to us, as men and as christians, many eminent means of instruction, of knowledge, of perpetually increasing illumination and intellectual perfection ! Thou hast transplanted us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. And how much happier are we thus become, and how much happier may we still be ! How greatly has thy kindness thus facilitated to us the path of life, alleviated the accomplishment of our duties, the attain. ment of thy great designs upon us in the vast eternal scheme involving all! From what tormenting VOL. II.


[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »