תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

treat, as his fweetest confolation, as well' as the best reward for all his fervices; and, in his last prayers to Almighty God, would pour forth his ardent wishes for their welfare.

Thens turning towards Philip, who fell on his knees. * and kiffed his father's hand, " Ifyt? says he, “ I had left you, by my death, this rich inheritance, to which E bave made fuch large additions, fome regard would have been juhly due to my memory on that account; but: now, when I voluntarily resign to you what I might have ftill retained, I may well expe&t the warmelt ex preffions of thanks on your part. With these, however, 1 difpenfer; and shall consider your concern for the wel. fare of your subjects, and your love of them, as the best and most acceptable teftimony of your gratitude to me.

It is in your power, by a wife andi virtuous administra5 tion, to justify the extraordinary proof which I this day

ghve of my paternal affe&tion, and to demonstrate that you are worthy of the confidence which I repose in you. Preferve an inviolable regard for religion; maintain the Catholic faith in its purity; let the laws of your cours my be sacred in your eyes ; encroach not on the rights. and privileges of your people; and, if the time shall ever come when you shall with to enjoy the tranquillity of private life, may you have a fon, endowed with sucha qualities that you can refign your sceptre to him, with as much fatisfaction as I give up mine to you.”

As foon as Charles had finished this long address to bis fabjeds and to their new sovereign, he funk into the chair, exhausted and ready to faint with the fatigue of fuch an extraordinary effort. During his difcourse; the whole audience melted into tears; some; from admis tation of his magnanimity ;. Others, softened by the expressions of tenderness towards his fon and of love to: his people; and all were affected with the deepeft for row at losing a sovereign, who had distinguished the Netherlands, his native country, with particular, marks of his regard and attachment.

A few weeks thereafter, Charles, in an assembly ne less splendid; and with a ceremonial equally pompous, refigned to his fon the crowns of Spain, with all the ter

ritories depending on them, both in the old and in the 3

new

new world. Of all: thefe vaft posseflions, he reserved nothing for himself but an annual pension of an hundred thousand crowns, to detray the charges of his family; and to afford him a small fum for acts of beneficence and charity. 1.3

-The place he had chosen for his retreat was the mar nastery of St Juftus, in the province of Extremadura. It was feated in a vale of no great extent, watered by a fmall brook, and surrounded by rising grounds covered with lofty trees. From the nature of the foil, as well as the temperature of the climate, it was esteemed the most healthful and delicious fituation in Spain. Some-months before his resignation, he had fent an architect: thithen to add a new apartment to the monastery for his accom modation, but he gave strict ortlers that the frite otstbe building should be such as fuitet his present fituation, rather than his former dignity. It conGfted only of fix rooms : four of them in the form of friars cells, with nam ked walls; the other two, each twenty feet fquare, were hung with brown cloth, and furnished in the molt simple manner. They were all on a level with the grounds with a door on one fide into a garden, of which Charles himself had given the plan, and, which he had filled with various plants, intending to cultivate them with his owe hands. On the other side they communicated with the chapel of the monastery, in which he was to perform his devotions.- Into this humble retreat, hardly fufficient for the comfortable accommodation of a private gentleman, did Charles enter with twelve domestics only. He buried there, in solitude and filence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with all those vaft projects, which during half a century, had alarmed and agitated Eur rope, filling every kingdom in it by turns with the testa rour of his arms, and the dread of being subjected to his power.

VI. Importance of Virtue.
VIRTUE is of intrinsic value and good delërt, and of

indispensable obligation ; ,not the ereature of will; but necessary and immutable ; not local or temporary, but of equal extent and antiquity with the Divine mind; not a mode of sensation, but everlasting truth, not dex

pendent

[ocr errors]

nel pendent on power, but the guide of all power. Virtue

is the foundation of honour and esteem, and the source of all beauty, order, and happiness, in nature. It is what confers value on all the other endowments and qualities of a reasonable being, to which they ought to be absolutely 'fubfervient ; and without which, the more eminent they are, the more hideous deformities and the greater curses they become.

The use of it is not confined to any one stage of our existence, or to any particular situation we can be in, but reaches through all the periods and circumstances of our being. Many of the endowments and talents we now poffefs, and of which we are too apt to be proud, will cease entirely with the present state ; but this will be our ornament and dignity, in every future ftate to which we may be removed. Beauty and wit will die, learning will vanish away, and all the arts of life be foon forgot; but virtue will remain for ever. This unites us to the whole rational creation ; and fits us for converling with any order of superiour natures, and for a place in any part of God's works. It procures us the approbation and love of all wife and good beings, and renders them our allies and friends. But what is of unfpeakably greater consequence is, that it makes God our friend, affimilates and unites our minds to his, and en gages his Almighty power in our defence. Superiour beings of all ranks are bound by it no less than ourselves. It has the fame authority in all worlds that it has in this

. The further any being is advanced in excellence and perfection, the greater is his attachment to it, and the more is he under its influence.--To fay no more, it is the law of the whole universe, it stands first in the eftimation of the Deity, its original is his nature, and it is the very object that makes him lovely.

Such is the importance of virtue. Of what consequence, therefore, is it that we practise it! There is no argument or motive in any respect fitted to influence a reasonable mind, which does not call us to this. One virtuous difpofition of foul is preferable to the greatelt natural accomplishments and ties, and of more value than all the treasures of the world. If you are

wile, then, ftudy virtue, and contemn every thing that

can come in competition with it. Remember, that no thing else deserves one anxious thought or wish. Remember, that this alone is honour, glory, wealth, and happiness. Secure this, and you secure every thing. Lose this, and all is loft.

VII. Addrefs to Art. O ART! thou distinguishing attribute and honeur of

human kind! who art not only able to imitate nature in her graces, but even to adorn her with graces

of thiņe own! Possessed of thee, the meanest genius grows deserving, and has a just demand for a portion of our esteem : devoid of thee, the brightest of our kind lie loit and useless, and are but poorly distinguished from the molt despicable and base. When we inhabited foreits in common with brutes, nor otherwise known from them than by the figure of our species, thou taughtest us to assert the sovereignty of our nature, and to assume that empire for which providence intended us. Thousands of utilities owe their birth to thee; thousands of elegancies, pleasures, and joys, without which life itself would be but an infipid poffeflion.

Wide and extensive is the reach of thy dominion. No element is there, either fo violent or fo fubtile, fo yielding or so sluggish, as, by the powers of its nature, to be fuperiour to thy direction. Thou dreadeft not the fierce impetuofity of Fire, but compellest its violence to be both obedient and useful. By it thou softeneft the fubborn tribe of minerals, so as to be formed and moulded into shapes innumerable. Hence weapons, armour, coin: and, previous to these and other thy works, and enei. gies, hence all those various tools and instruments, which er-power thee to proceed to farther ends more excellent. Nor is the subtile Air less obedient to thy power, whether thou willeft it to be a minister to our pleasure or utility. At thy command, it giveth birth to founds, which charm the foul with all the powers of harmony. Under thy initruction, it moves ihe thip over feas; while that yielding element, where otherwise we fink, even Water itself is by thee taught to bear us ; the vast ocean, to promote that intercourse of nations which ignorance would imagine it was destined to intercept.

To

To fay how thy influence is seen on Earth, would be to teach the meanest what he knows already. Suffice it but to mention, fields of arable and pasture ; lawns, and groves, and gardens, and plantations ; cottages, villages, caitles, towns; palaces, temples, and spacious cities.

Nor does thy empire end in fubje&s thus inanimate. Its power also extends through the various race of Ani. mals, who either patiently submit to become thy flaves, or are sure to find thee an irresistible foe. The faithful dog, the patient'ox, the generous horse, and the mighty elephant, are content all to receive their instructions from thee, and readily to lend their natural inftin&ts or ftrength to perform those offices which thy occafions call for. If there be found any species which are serviceable when dead, thou suggeftelt the means to investigate and take them: if any be fo savage as to refuse being tamed, or of natures fierce enough to venture an attack, thou teachelt us to fcorn their brutal rage, to meet, repel, pursue, and.conquer. Such, 0 Art! is thy amazing influence, when thon art employeå only on these imferiour fubjects, on natures inanimate, or at best irrational. But, whenever thou chopfest a subject more noble, and settest to the cultivating of Mind itself, then 'tis thou becomest truly amiable and divine, the ever-Bowing fource of those fublimer beauties of which no subject but mind alone is capable. Then 'tis thou art enabled to exhibit to mankind the admired tribe of poets and orators, the sacred train of patriots and heroes, the god-like list of philosophers and legitlators, the forms of virtuous and equal polities, . where private welfare is made the same with publić, where crowds themfelves prove disinterested, and virtue is made a national and popular characteristic:

Hail ! facred source of all these wonders! Thyself infruct me to praise thee worthily; through whom, whatever we do, is done with elegance and beauty; without whom, what we do is' ever graceless and deformed.-Venerable power! by what name thall I address thee? Shall I call thee Ornament of mind, or art thou more truly Mind itself! 'Tis Mind' thou art, most perfect Mind: not rude, untaught ; but fair and polished. In

fuck

« הקודםהמשך »