« ZurückWeiter »
While, by contrast, his love of virtue was exalted to adoration. To have deceived, though unintentionally, and thence to have injured his patrons, caused Leander much grief; but it was grief unimbittered by the gall of guilt. To have discovered such a want of virtue and humanity among men, excited emotions, but they were the emotions of compassion, not of resentment. Still his prayers and his benevolence went up before God. After fifty days confinement, the still virtuous Leander was discharged from prison, and from all legal obligation to pay his former debts. He then went round again among his debtors; many of whom affected by his pathetic remonstrances, discharged their accounts. With this money, purchasing a small assortment of goods, he entered a second time into trade, and with becoming caution. At the expiration of five years, having saved enough for that purpose, he hastened up to town to pay off his former debts, and to evince the divinity of that love, which cannot be happy while it owes any man any thing. He called together his former creditors to a tavern, where, by his orders, a handsome dinner was prepared for them. He received them with the utmost cordiality, and, without having as yet gratified their curiosity as to the occasion of the meeting, he politely pressed them to sit down to dine. On turning up their plates, every man beheld in a heap of shining gold, the full amount, principal and interest, of his former claim against Leander.
"Lord, who's the happy man that may , "To thy blest courts repair?
"Not stranger like to visit them,
"'Tis he who to his vows and trust,
"Has ever firmly stood;
"He makes his promise good."
We have been copious on this part of our subject, for a very plain reason: the payment of our debts is a duty that occurs so frequently, that whatever tends to make it a pleasure, must consequently add greatly to our happiness; and have abundantly shewn it is love, and love alone that can make honesty at all times a pleasure.
But there are many other duties, of equal importance to our own, and to the happiness of society, to the cheerful performance of which, love is as indispensibly necessary. This man's avarice may claim a part of our estate; or that man's unprovoked rage may insult our person, or slander our name; now, to bear all this with temper, and to negotiate so discreetly with these our ungenerous neighbours, as to disarm their passions, and to make an honorable and lasting peace, is certainly a most definable event; but it is an event which
nothing but almighty love can accomplish. And through defect of this love, how frequently have we seen the flighted incroachments, or provocations to stir up such horrid passions, in the bosoms of neighbours, and to hurry them into such shameful excesses of injury and revenge, as have ended in the destruction of each others fouls, bodies, and estates!
Let the real history of goodman Gruff and his neighbour Grub, elucidate this melancholy truth.
These two men, whose fortunes were ample, lived near neighbours to each other; so near, that their lands, unmoved by the passion of their owners, lay and slept together in the most friendly embraces. That good being who had thus appointed their lots together in the fame pleasant places, had unquestionably intended, that they should learn from their own experience, how
happy a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. But alas! the ways of peace they knew not, for they were both strangers to love; and, by natural consequence, both proud, selfish, irascible and vindictive. On a resurvey of his plantation, goodman Gruff found that his neighbour Grub had about two acres and a quarter of his ground in possession.
No sooner had he made this important discovery, than he sent orders to Mr Grub, and not in the most gentle terms, instantly to remove his fences, from that spot of ground, or he should adopt measures to compel him. From no friend on earth, would Mr. Grub have brooked such a message; but from Gruff, it was altogether insupportable. A reply, such as pride and hatred could dictate, was immediately made. A law suit, of course, commenced.