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The refined pleasures of a pious mind are, in many refpects, fuperior to the coarfe gratifications of fenfe. They are pleasures which belong to the highest powers, and beft affections of the foul; whereas the gratifications of fenfe refide in the loweft region of our nature. To the latter, the soul stoops below its native dignity. The former, raise it above itself. The latter, leave always a comfortless, often a mortifying, remembrance behind them. The former, are reviewed with applaufe and delight. The pleasures of fense resemble a foaming torrent, which, after a disorderly course, speedily runs out, and leaves an empty and offenfive channel. But the pleasures of devotion refemble the equable current of a pure river, which enlivens the fields through which it passes, and diffufes verdure and fertility along its banks. To thee, O Devotion! we owe the highest improvement of our nature, and much of the enjoyment of our life. Thou art the fupport of our virtue, and the rest of our fouls, in this turbulent world. Thou compofeft the thoughts. Thou calmest the passions. Thou exalteft the heart. Thy communications, and thine only, are imparted to the low, no lefs than to the high; to the poor, as well as to the rich. In thy prefence, worldly diftinetions cease; and under thy influence, worldly forrows are forgotten. Thou art the balm of the wounded mind. Thy fanctuary is ever open to the miserable, inaccefsible only to the unrighteous and impure. Thou beginneft on earth, the temper of heaven. thee, the hofts of angels and blefsed fpirits eternally rejoice.

BLAIR

SECTION XIV.

The planetary and terreftrial Worlds comparatively
confidered.

To us, who dwell on its furface, the earth is by far the most extenfive orb that our eyes can any where behold: it is alfo clothed with verdure, diftinguished by trees, and adorned with a variety of beautiful decorations; whereas, to a fpectator placed on one of the planets, it wears a uniform afpect; looks all luminous; and no larger than a spot. To beings who dwell at ftill greater diftances, it entirely difappears. That which we call alternately the morning and the evening ftar, as in one part of the orbit fhe rides foremost in the procefsion of night, in the other ushers in and anticipates the dawn, is a planetary world, which, with the four others that so 'wonderfully vary their myftic dance, are in themselves dark bodies, and fhine only by reflection; have fields, and feas, and fkies of their own; are furnished with all accommodations for animal fubfiftence, and are fuppofed to be the abodes of intellectual life; all which, together with our earthly habitation, are dependent on that grand difpenfer of Divine munificence, the fun; receive their light from the diftribution of his rays, and derive their comfort from his benign agency.

The fun, which feems to perform its daily ftages through the fky, is in this refpect fixed and immovable: it is the great axle of heaven, about which the globe we inhabit, and other more spacious orbs, wheel their ftated courfes. The fun, though feemingly fmaller

than the dial it illuminates, is abundantly larger than this whole earth, on which fo many lofty mountains rife, and fuch vaft oceans roll. A line extending from fide to fide through the centre of that refplendent orb, would measure more than eight hundred thousand miles: a girdle formed to go round its circumference, would require a length of millions. Were its folid contents to be estimated, the account would overwhelm our understanding, and be almoft beyond the power of language to exprefs. Are we startled at these re ports of philofophy? Are we ready to cry out in a tranfport of furprife, "How mighty is the Being who kindled fuch a prodigious fire; and keeps alive, from age to age, fuch an enormous mass of flame!" let us attend our philofophic guides, and we fhall be brought acquainted with fpeculations more enlarged and more inflaming.

This fun, with all its attendant planets, is but a very little part of the grand machine of the univerfe; every ftar, though in appearance no bigger than the diamond that glitters upon a lady's ring, is really a vast globe, like the fun in fize and in glory; no lefs fpacious, no less luminous, than the radiant fource of day. So that every star, is not barely a world, but the centre of a magnificent fyftem; has a retinue of worlds, irradiated by its beams, and revolving round its attractive influence, all which are loft to our fight in unmeasurable wilds of ether. That the ftars appear like fo many diminutive, and scarcely diftinguishable points, is owing to their immenfe and inconceivable distance. Immenfe and inconceivable indeed it is, fince a ball, fhot from the loaded cannon, and flying with unabated rapidity, must travel, at this impetuous rate, almost

feven hundred thousand years, before it could reach the nearest of these twinkling luminaries.

While, beholding this vaft expanse, I learn my own extreme meannefs, I would alfo difcover the abject littleness of all terrestrial things. What is the earth, with all her oftentatious fcenes, compared with this aftonishing grand furniture of the fkies? What, but a dim fpeck, hardly perceivable in the map of the univerfe? It is observed by a very judicious writer, that if the fun himself, which enlightens this part of the creation, were extinguished, and all the host of planetary worlds, which move about him, were annihilated, they would not be missed by an eye that can take in the whole compass of nature, any more than a grain of fand upon the fea-fhore. The bulk of which they confift, and the space which they occupy, are fo exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that their lofs would fcarcely leave a blank in the immenfity of God's works. If then, not our globe only, but this whole fyftem, be fo very diminutive, what is a kingdom or a county? What are a few lordships, or the fo much admired patrimonies of those who are styled wealthy? When I measure them with my own little pittance, they fwell into proud and bloated dimenfions: but when I take the univerfe for my ftandard, how fcanty is their fize, how contemptible their figure! They fhrink into pompous nothings.

ADDISON.

SECTION XV.

On the Power of Custom, and the Ufes to which it

applied.

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THERE is not a common faying, which has a better turn of fenfe in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that 'Cuftom is a fecond nature.” It is indeed able to form the man anew; and give him inclinations and capacities altogether different from those he was born with. A person who is addicted to play or gaming, though he took but little delight in it at firft, by degrees contracts fo ftrong an inclination towards it, and gives himself up fo entirely to it, that it feems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or bufy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is converfant in the one or the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relifhing that to which he has been for fome time difufed. Nay, a man may fmoke, or drink, or take fnuff, till he is unable to pafs away his time without it; not to mention how our delight in any particular ftudy, art, or fcience, rifes and improves, in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at firft an exercife, becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into diverfions. The mind grows fond of thofe actions it is accustomed to; and is drawn with reluctancy from thofe paths in which it has been used to walk.

If we attentively confider this property of human nature, it may inftruct us in very fine moralities. In the first place, I would have no man discouraged with

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