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Thus it is that men are apt to impose upon themselves by wain and groundless distinctions, when conscience and principle are at variance with interest and inclination.
THE DIAMOND AND THE LOADSTONE. A diamond of great beauty and lustre observing not only many other gems of a lower class, ranged together with him in the same cabinet, but a loadstone likewise placed not far from him, began to question the latter how he came there; and what pretensions he had to be ranked among the precious stones : he, who appeared to be no better than a mere flint ; a sorry, coarse, rusty-looking pebble; without any the least shining quality to advance him to such an bonour; and concluded with desiring him to keep his distance, and pay a proper respect to his superiors. “I find," said the loadstone, “ you judge by external appearances; and it is your interest that others should form their judgment by the same rule. I must own I have nothing to boast of in that respect; but I may venture to say, that I make amnends for my outward defects, by my inward qualities. The great improvement of navigation in these latter ages is entirely owing to me. It is owing to me that the distant parts of the world are known and accessible to each other; that the cemotest nations are connected together, and all in a manger united into one common society; that by a mutual intercourse they relieve one another's wants, and all enjoy the several blessings peculiar to each. Great Britain is indebted to me for her wealth, her splendour, and her power; and the arts and sciences are in a great measure obliged to me for their late improvements, and their continual increase. I am willing to allow you your due praise in its full extent; you are a very pretty bạuble ; I am mightily delighted to see you glitter and sparkle; I look upon you with pleasure and sorprise: bụt I must be convinced that you are of some sort of use before I acknowledge that you have any real merit, or treat you, with that respect which you seem to demand.”
THE MONSTER IN THE SUN. : An astronomer was observing the sun through a telescope, in order to take an exact draught of the several spots, which appear upon the face of it. While he was intent upon his observations, he was on a sudden surprised with a new and astonishing appearance; a large portion of the
surface of the sun was at once covered by a monster of enormous size, and horrible form; it had an immense pair of wings, a great number of legs, and a long and vast proboscis; and that it was alive was very apparent, from its quick and violent motions, which the observer could froin time to time plainly perceive. Being sure of the fact (for how could he be mistaken in what he saw so clearly :) our philosopher began to draw many surprising conclusions, from premises so well established. He calculated the mag nitude of this extraordioary animal, and found that he covered about two square degrees of the sun's surface; that, placed upon the earth, he would spread over half one hemisphere of it; and that he was seven or eight times as big as the moon. But what was most astonisbing, was the prodigious heat that he must endure: it was plain that he was something of the nature of the salamander, but of a far more fiery temperament; for it was demonstrable, from the clearest principles, that in his present situation he must have acquired a degree of heat two thousand limes exceeda ing that of red-hot iron. It was a problem worth considere ing, whether he subsisted upon the gross vapours of the sun, and so from time to time cleared away those spots which they are perpetually forming, and which would otherwise wholly obscure and incrustrate its face; or whether he might not feed on the solid substance of the orb itself, which, by this means, together with the constant expense of light, inust soon be exhausted and consumed; or whether he was not now and then supplied by the falling of some eccentric comet into the sun. However this might be, he found by computation, that the earih would be but short allowance for him for a few months : and farther, it was no improbable conjecture, that as the earth was destined to be destroyed by fire, this fiery flying monster would remove hither at the appointed time, and might much more easily and conveniently effect a conflagration, that any comet hitherto provided for that service. In the earnest pursuit of these, and many the like deep and curious speculations, the astronomer was engaged, and was preparing to commu-, nicate them to the public. In the inean time, the discovery began to be much talked of; and all the virtuosi gathered together to see so strange a sight. They were equally convinced of the accuracy of the observation, and of the conclusions so clearly deduced from it. At last, one more cautious than the rest, was resolved, before be gave a full-assent to the report of his senses, to examine the whole
process of the affair, and all the parts of the instrument: he opened the telescope, and behold! a small fly was inclosed in it, which, having settled on the centre of the object-glass, had given occasion to all this marvellous theory.
How often do men, through prejudice and passion, through envy and malice, fix upon the brightest and most exalted character the grossest and most improbable imputations! It behoves us upon such occasions to be upon our; guard, and to suspend our judgments; the fault, perhaps, is not in the object, but in the mind of the observer,
THË LAURUSTINUS AND THE ROSE-Tree. In the quarters of a shrubbery, where deciduous plants and evergreens were intermingled with an air’of negligence, it happened that a rose grew not far from a laurustinus. The rose, enlivened by the breath of June, and attired in all its gorgeous blossoms, looked with much contempt on the laurustinus, who had nothing to display but the dusky verdure of its leaves. “What a wretched neighbour,” cried she, " is this! and how unworthy to partake the honour of iny company! Better to bloom and die in the desert, than 10 assocjale myself here with such low and dirty vegetables. And is this ing lot at last, whom every nation has agreed to honour, and every poet conspired to reverence, as the undoubted sovereign of the field and garden? If I really am so let my subjects at least keep their distance, and let a circle reinain vacant round me, suitable to the state my rank requires, Here, gardener, bring thy hatchet; prithee. cut down this laurastinus ; or at least remove it to its proper sphere." Be pacified," my lovely rose," replied the gardener ; “ enjoy thy sovereignty with moderation, and thou shalt receive all the homage which thy beauty can require. But remember that in winter, when neither thou nor any of thy tribe produce one flower or leaf to cheer me, this faithtal shrub, which thou despisest, will become the glory of 'my garden. Prudence, therefore, as well as gratitude, is concerned in the protection of a friend that will shew his friendship in adversity.”
TIE HERMIT. A certain hermit had scooped his cave near the summit of a lofty mountain, from whence he had an opportunity of surveying a large extent both of sea and land." He sat one
evening contemplating with pleasure on the various objects that lay diffused before him. The woods were dressed in the brightest verdure; the thickets adorned with the gayest blossoms. The birds caroled beneath the branches; the lambs frolicked around the meads; the peasant whistled beside his team; and the ships driven by gentle gales were returning safely into their proper harbours. In short, the arrival of spring had doubly enlivened the whole scene before his eye; and every object yielded a display either of beauty or of happiness.
On a sudden arose a violent storin. The winds mustered all their fury, and whole forests of oak lay scattered on the ground. Darkness instantly succeeded; hailstones and rain were poured forth in cataracts, and lightening and thunder added horror to the gloom.
And now the sea, piled up in mountains, bore aloft the largest vessels, while the horrid uproar of its waves drowned the shrieks of the wretched mariners. When the whole tempest had exhausted its fury, it was instantly followed by the shock of an earthquake.
The poor inhabitants of a neighbouring village flocked in crowds to our hermit's cave, religiously hoping that his well-known sanctity would protect them in their distress. They were, however, not a little surprised at the profound tranquillity that appeared in his countenance. “My friends,". said he," be not dismayed. Terrible to me, as well as to you, would have been the war of elements we have just beheld; but that I bave meditated with so much attention on the various works of Providence, as to be persuaded that his goodness is equal to his power."
THE DISCONTENTED AS$. In the depth of winter a poor ass prayed heartily for the spring, that he might exchange a cold lodging and a heartless truss of straw, for a little warm weather and a mouthful of fresh grass. In a short time, according to his wish, the warm 'weather, and the fresh grass came on; but brought with them so much toil and business, that he was soon as weary of the spring as before of the winter; and he now becaine impatient for the approach of summer. Summer 'arrives: but the heat, the barvest-work, and other drudgeries and inconveniences of the season, set him as far from happiness as before, which he now flattered himself would be found in the plenty of auiump. But here too he was disap,
pointed; for what with the carrying of apples, roots, fuel for the winter, and other provisions, he was in autumn more fatigued than ever. Having thus trod round the circle of the year, in a course of restless labour, uneasiness, and disappointment, and found no season nor station of life without its business and its trouble, he was forced at last to acquiesce in the confortlass season of winter, where his complaint began; convinced that in this world every situation has its inconvenience.
THE LADY AND THE WASP.
As Doris, at her toilet's duty,
As thus in indolence she lies,
She frowns, she frets, "Good Heaven!" she cries,
The bov'ring insect thus complain'd: