TUESDAY NOON, JANUARY 13, 1829
Influence of Christianity,
Domestic and Private.
Blessed has been the influence of the strict morality of the Gospel on the condition of domestic life. It sanctions the singleness and purity of the marriage state, and declares that wandering thoughts are sins against its holiness. It makes a civil contract a sacred one. It infuses an herb of health into the tenderest relations. It calls on parents to bring up their children in principles of religion, and that regard for duty, which they themselves respect, and know to be most conducive to happiness. It gives to man and his affections a home, if there is any thing upon earth, indeed, that may share that name with heaven.
To sum up all in one word, the morality of the gospel is perfectly irreproachable, comprehending all human connexions, and conducive to the highest happiness in all; and it is, moreover, enforced by the whole weight of the sanction of the gospel. Our religion watches over our virtue, with all its angels, as over its most precious charge; and such guardianship cannot be, nor has it been, in vain.
And quite as characteristic of Christianity as the strictness and purity of its moral code, is its gentle spirit. It is peculiarly a religion of benevolence, brotherly love, charity, forgiveness, peace. It would have men treat each other as brethren. It teaches them to forgive each other’s trespasses, to guard each other’s rights, to redress each other’s wrongs, to relieve each other’s wants and distresses, to strengthen each other’s virtues, to heal each other’s sicknesses, both of body and mind.” GREENWOOD.
THE LIGHT OF NATURE.
The following anecdote, we think worthy of being remembered:
“The celebrated Mr. Hume wrote an essay on the sufficiency of the light of nature; and the no less celebrated Robertson wrote on the necessity of revelation, and the insufficiency of the light of nature. Hume came one evening to visit Robertson, and the evening was spent on this subject. The friends of both were present, and it is said that Robertson reasoned with unaccustomed clearness and power; whether Hume was convinced by his reasoning or not, we cannot tell; but at any rate, he did not acknowledge his conviction. Hume, as he rose to depart, bowed politely to those in the room, while as he retired through the door, Robertson took the light to show him the way. Hume was still facing the door: “Oh, sir,” said he to Robertson, “I find the light of nature always sufficient,” and continued, “pray, don’t trouble yourself, sir,” and so he bowed on. The street door was opened, and as he bowed along in the entry, he stumbled over something concealed, and pitched down the stairs into the street. Robertson ran after him with the light, and as he held it over him, whispered softly and very cunningly, “You had better have a little light from above, friend Hume.” And raising him up, he bid good night, and returned to his friends.”
By continual meditation on the sacred scriptures, a man as naturally improves and advances in holiness, as a tree thrives and flourishes in a kindly and well-watered soil.
TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD. – It is most dangerous to deviate from truth, even on the most trifling occasion. – However guileless may be our intention, the habit (if indulged) may take root, and gain on us under the cover of various pretences, till it usurps a leading influence on our conduct. Plutarch calls lying the vice of a slave. Flatterers – those who continually praise themselves and speak ill of others – and those who affect to depreciate the advances they enjoy, and to exaggerate those of others – ought never to be believed on their word. We gain nothing by falsehood, but the disadvantage of not being credited when we speak truth.
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GREECE. – [ORIGINAL.]
Oh lovely Greece! that in the days long past,
Shone in the robes that glory o’er thee cast,
Whose wide ambition and whose grasping sway,
No limits could confine, no bounds could stay;
How art thou fallen from thy height of pride,
‘Neath the dread march of time’s o’erwhelming tide.
Time was, when wealth flow’d in from every side,
From the far west, to Ormus’ pearly tide;
And costliest art, with more than magic hand,
Spread out her glories o’er that fairy land.
As from his far-off shore the traveller came,
Drawn by those cities’ strength, and oft-told fame,
How their magnificence, intensely bright,
Burst out in glory on his aching sight.
The gilded temple and the glowing spire,
Sent back the Sun’s first rays in streams of fire.
Temples and palaces were ranged around,
Like those called up upon enchanted ground.
Each thing was there that luxury could want.
All that o’erflowing, boundless wealth could grant;
The gorgeous domes were fill’d with boist’rous mirth,
That in loud billowy peals came echoing forth;
The streets flow’d on with one fast giddy throng,
Pursuing pleasure’s meteor course along;
And far and wide, as ‘twere a burning sky,
A sweep of vision’d splendour met the eye.
But where! oh where is now the pomp and power,
The wreath and flory of her happier hour?
Alas! her hills and moss-grown fanes of yore –
Her groves and fairy scenes – they charm no more.
The bramble climbs, and the lone thistly blooms,
Where once arose her fair and towering domes.
And now, her wealth, her wide-extended sway,
Her martial hosts, her glory – all have pass’d away –
Her land is now the Ottoman’s abode,
And she is left to weep in solitude.
Where joyous thoughts the day did once illume,
The Turkish crescent casts its sickly gloom;
And the chance stranger as he wanders o’er
Those realms, views but as a shadow of the times of yore.
A few grey, lonely columns, here and there,
Like reverend age their moss-grown summits rear.
The scarce mark’d street, with the rank grass o’ergrown
With the last wrecks of once proud art is strewn;
Proud temples, empty palaces – they all
In ruin lie, or crumble to their fall.
Still thou art lovely – to the youthful ear
And young imaginings, thou’rt still how dear;
As the soft breath of some remembered song,
That he has heard his native hills among,
Swells on the wandered o’er some foreign strand,
So comes the story of that Classic Land.
“Ladies’ Miscellany”, The Monitor (January 13, 1829). Salem State Archives, Salem, MA.