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in a very elevated situation, in a great measure, lost. Where equality prevails, much is learned from observing the effects which our sentiments or stile of conversation produces upon others: the range of pride is by this circumscribed within narrower limits, arrogance is repelled, and "heed"less rambling impulse learns to "think."
If these observations are founded in truth, and I think it is not by those who have seen much of the world that they will be disputed, it must follow, that an elevated situation is little less unfavourable to the cultivation of the understanding than to the discipline of the heart. Nor do the many illustrious instances which we have before us, of the intellectual vigour that has under all these disadvantages been attained, offer any contradiction to the asserM 5 tion;
tion; as they only prove that there are no obstacles Which may not be conquered by superior minds. And what so likely to confer this superiority as the spirit of religion? By fixing the attention upon circumstances that are in their nature unchangeable, it elevates the soul above the reachv of vulgar flattery, and teaches it to aspire at higher honours than can be conferred by the breath of man.
The religion which is to accomplish this, I have endeavoured to lay before you. If it makes any impression upon your heart, you will not think it sufficient that you act in such a manner as to avoid all occasion of slander; you will endeavour to act as becomes a candidate for immortal glory. It is therefore not merely the dispositions which will procure you applause and respect in this
world, that I have been at pains to inculcate-, but the dispositions which are to be the test of your faith and your obedience, and which are on that account necessary to procure you an entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
These dispositions are often described in the New Testament under the general terms of love or charity. In our Saviour's sermon on the Mount, they are particularized under different heads} and by St. Paul they are, under the denomination of charity*, - beautifully delineated. But, both by our Saviour and his Apostles, they are invariably represented as implying the complete triumph of the benevolent affections of our nature over the passions of pride and selfishness.
* i Cor. xiii.
M 6 I have
Lhave slightly, and indeed I have but slightly, touched upon the circumstances which enhance the difficulty of subduing pride, to those who are born to the inheritance of rank and splendour; and it will not require much consideration to perceive, that the same circumstances which are favourable to the introduction of pride, cherish the spirit of selfishness. They are indeed so blended, as to be not easily distinguished. They equally indispose us to sympathize in the feelings iof others; and they operate with equal force in fixing our hearts and affections on terrestrial things. Pride enlarges the idea of our own importance, by exaggerating the importance of every thing that we can connect with the idea of self, however remote the affinity: selfishness bestows a fancied right to procure our own gratification, even at the
expense of misery to others. Pride blunts the feelings of humanity; selfishness destroys them.
In all the intermediate classes of society, selfishness, as well as pride, meets with so many checks, and is so universally opposed and reprobated, that even by the common intercourses of life it must be in some measure subdued, or at least restrained. Whatever calls our attention from ourselves to others, whatever excites the generous and tender sympathies, and awakens us to a sense of the sorrows and miseries of our fellow-creatures, tends to diminish the power of selfishness; and it is in the intermediate classes of society that opportunities for these exercises of the benevolent feelings most frequently occur.
In this res"pect, as in some others
which I have already pointed out,