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times, warn us to remember the shortness of our present state: they were, perhaps, snatched away while they were busy, like us, in the choice of life.'

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'To me,' said the princess, the choice of life is become less important; I hope hereafter to think only on the choice of eternity.' Johnson.

BEAUTY AND UTILITY COMBINED IN THE PRODUCTIONS OF NATURE.

THERON AND ASPASIO.

THERON and Aspasio took a morning walk into the fields; their spirits cheered, and their imaginations lively; gratitude glowing in their hearts, and the whole creation smiling around them.

After sufficient exercise, they seated themselves on a mossy hillock, which offered its couch. The rising Sun had visited the spot, to dry up the dews and exhale the damps, that might endanger health; to open the violets, and to expand the primroses, that decked the green. The whole shade of the wood was collected behind them; and a beautiful, extensive, diversified landscape spread itself before them.

Theron, according to his usual manner, made many improving remarks on the prospect, and its furniture. He traced the footsteps of an Allcomprehending contrivance, and pointed out the strokes of inimitable skill. He observed the grand exertions of power, and the rich exuberance of goodness, most signally, most charmingly conspi

cuous through the whole.-Upon one circumstance he enlarged, with particular satisfaction.

Ther. See! Aspasio, how all is calculated to administer the highest delight to mankind. Those trees and hedges, which skirt the extremities of the landscape, stealing away from their real bulk, and lessening by gentle diminutions, appear like elegant pictures in miniature. Those which occupy the nearer situations, are a set of noble images, swelling upon the eye, in full proportion, and in a variety of graceful attitudes; both of them ornamenting the several apartments of our common abode, with a mixture of delicacy and grandeur.

The blossoms that array the branches, the flowers that embroider the mead, address and entertain our eyes with every charm of beauty: whereas, to other creatures, they are destitute of all those attractions, which result from a combination of the loveliest colours, and the most alluring forms. Yonder streams, that glide, with smooth serenity, along the valleys, glittering to the distant view, like sheets of polished crystal, or soothing the attentive ear, with the softness of aquatic murmurs, are not less exhilarating to the fancy, than refreshing to the soil through which they pass. The huge, enormous mountain; the steep and dizzy precipice; the pendent horrours of the craggy promontory; wild and awful as they are, furnish an agreeable entertainment to the human mind; and please, even while they amaze: whereas, the beasts take no other notice of those majestic deformities, than to avoid the dangers they threaten. Asp. How wonderfully do such considerations

exalt our ideas of the Creator's goodness, his very distinguishing goodness to mankind! And should they not proportionably endear that eternal Benefactor to our hearts? His ever-bountiful hand has, with profuse liberality, scattered blessings among all the ranks of animated existence. But to us he exercises a beneficence of a very superior kind. We are treated with peculiar attention. We are admitted to scenes of delight, which none but ourselves are capable of relishing.

Ther. Another remark, though very obvious, is equally important. The destination of all these external things is no less advantageous, than their formation is beautiful. The bloom, which engages the eye with its delicate hues, is cherishing the embryo fruit; and forming, within its silken folds, the rudiments of a future dessert.-Those streams, which shine from afar, like fluid silver, are much more valuable in their productions, and beneficial in their services, than they are beautiful in their appearance. They distribute, as they roll along their winding banks, cleanliness to our houses, and fruitfulness to our lands. They nourish, and at their own expense, a never-failing supply of the finest fish. They visit our cities, and attend our wharfs, as so many public vehicles, ready to set out at all hours.

Those sheep, which give their udders to be drained by the busy frisking lambs, are fattening their flesh for our support; and while they fill their own fleeces, are providing for our comfortable clothing. Yonder kine, some of which are browsing upon the tender herb, others, satiated with pasturage, and ruminating under the shady

covert, though conscious of no such design, are concocting, for our use, one of the softest, purest, most salutary of liquors. The bees, that fly humming about our seat, and pursue their work on the fragrant blossoms, are collecting balm and sweetness, to compose the richest of sirups; which, though the produce of their toil, is intended for our good. Nature and her whole family, are our obsequious servants, our ever-active labourers. They bring the fruits of their united industry, and pour them into our lap, or deposit them in our store-rooms.

Asp. Who can ever sufficiently admire this immense benignity!-The Supreme Disposer of events has commanded delight and profit to walk hand in hand, through his ample creation; making all things so perfectly pleasing, as if beauty was their only end; yet all things so eminently serviceable, as if usefulness had been their sole design.And, as a most winning invitation to our gratitude, he has rendered man the centre, in which all the emanations of his beneficence, diffused through this terrestrial system, finally terminate.

Hervey.

ON THE EXCELLENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.

THERON AND ASPASIO.

Ther. I FEAR my friend suspects me to be somewhat wavering, or defective, in veneration for the Scriptures.

Asp. No, Theron, I have a better opinion of your

taste and discernment, than to harbour any such suspicion.

Ther. The Scriptures are certainly an inexhaustible fund of materials, for the most delightful and ennobling discourse and meditation. When we consider the author of those sacred books, that they came originally from Heaven, were dictated by divine wisdom, have the same consummate excellence as the works of creation; it is really surprising, that we are not often searching by study, by meditation, or converse, into one or other of those important volumes.

Asp. I admire, I must confess, the very language and composition of the Bible. Would you see history in all her simplicity, and all her force; most beautifully easy, yet irresistibly striking?-See her, or rather feel her energy, touching the nicest movements of the soul, and triumphing over our passions, in the inimitable narrative of Joseph's life. The representation of Esau's bitter distress; the conversation pieces of Jonathan and his gallant friend; the memorable journal of the disciples going to Emmaus; are finished models of the impassioned and affecting.-Here is nothing studied; no flights of fancy; no embellishments of oratory. If we sometimes choose a plaintive strain, such as softens the mind, and soothes an agreeable melancholy, are any of the classic writers superior, in the eloquence of mourning, to David's pathetic elegy on his beloved Jonathan; to his most passionate and inconsolable moan over the lovely but unhappy Absalom; or to that melodious woe, which warbles and bleeds, in every line of Jeremiah's Lamentations?

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