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beauty and proportion of objects; the fine perception which discerns at once, not only the fitness and the truth of a representation in their broader features, but the nicer and minuter shades and lineaments which bespeak in the artist a delicate and sensitive mind.
The studies of taste are music, poetry, painting, sculpture, and eloquence. Music is so charming a science, the art has such a power to fascinate and overcome the feelings, as to be a very dangerous one to gain the ascendancy in the heart. The man who has gained the world is possessed of this rare endowment of taste, He can enter into the very spirit of richly varied sound; he can command all the pleasure it can give; and he can enter into the soul of poetry; music embodied in thought, from its lightest to its deepest productions. He can dwell with rapture on the poetry that meets the eye, the productions of the pencil; he can gaze on nature itself with the eye of the painter, and dwell on the majestic and calmer scenes around him, with a feeling he would not part with for hidden treasure. He can apprehend and detect, with a master's eye, the beauties of sculpture, and dwell with delight on the attitude and expression of marble chiselled into form. He is equal to all the beauties, and open to all the delights of eloquence; poetry set loose from all the fetters of rhyme and metre; he has the well turned period, and the well tuned voice; the charm of figure, the art of illustration, the power to move men's minds, are all at his command.
Again, his talents are enriched with all that science and literature can supply. He may be skilled in mathematical science, from numeration up to the fluxionary calculus ;-in mechanics, from the fundamental maxims up to the intricacies of the theory of motion; in optics
and astronomy, as far as Newton and Herschel could accompany him; of electricity and magnetism, he may know all that research has ascertained; in the science of fluids, in motion or at rest, he may be read in all the wisdom of the schools; he may be furnished with the splendid discoveries of modern chymistry; he may be eminently stored with information about the functions and the organs of the human frame, their health and their disease; he may be a profound scholar in the principles and the detail of law; the rights and privileges of individuals, and the equipoise which secures the harmony, and the provisions which maintain the wellbeing of society; he may be deeply read in the science of political economy; may accurately discern what makes the happiness of a state, and what direction affairs are about to take; he may be wondrously intimate with the ways of men, so as to pursue his own advantage with the clearest foresight of which humanity is capable; he may have a capacity for language equal to that which he has for science; he may be so profound an adept in the learned tongues as to analyze and compound ideas in all the variety of terms by which they are expressed.
Lastly, let us mention the enjoyments which intellect commands, in addition to those already mentioned. These are praise, fame, and power; and it were superfluous to say that such a man as we have supposed must have all the gratifications of intellectual indulgence, let them be of what kind they may.
But to complete the picture, you must suppose this man, whose excellent endowments are the ministers of his pleasures, a stranger to the distress of an awakened conscience; he sleeps on and takes his rest; he hath no forebodings of an after reckoning, no disturbance of
heart about past crimes or present indulgences. To suppose the intrusion of so unwelcome a visiter as conscience would be to picture the naked sword which, at the tyrant's feast, hung over the favourite's head ready to fall upon him, and only suspended by a single hair. And, O! how dreadful is the state of one trifling on the verge of an awful eternity; sporting on the brink of the bottomless pit; it bespeaks the unfathomable deceit of the heart, the desperation of its wickedness; it is the phrensy of a felon dancing on the scaffold and sporting with the halter. What meanest thou, O sleeper!
But pleasing to the eye as are many of the colours of the picture we have drawn, dear to the sense as are many of its delights, those delights are within the reach of very few among all those who are risking their eternal weal; and who, if they continue to act as they do, will be the destroyers of their own souls! How many are selling their "birth-right and blessing for a mess of pottage," a mean and a momentary gratification! They think they can at any time redeem the folly of the present moment, as if God had ever trusted you with more than one moment at once, or pledged himself to grant one beyond the present. O my brethren, God loves us too well to leave us to the seduction of such a multitude of delights as we have mentioned. No: he plants the margin of our path with thorns, for it is skirted by a precipice; and we talk of our sufferings and know not that the thorns are designed to teach us as Gideon did the men of Succoth.
Some are more prosperous than others; they occupy an envied elevation; but if prosperous in their circumstances and pursuits, perhaps they labour under bodily ailment. "Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man" not merely in the
opinion of his inferiors, but "with his master, and honourable; because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour; but he was a leper," 2 Kings v, 1. Or perhaps they are made to suffer in some one point of extended relationship. "Me ye have bereaved of my children; Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away; all these things are against me;then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave," Gen. iv, 36, 38. Or, if possessed of eminent talents, all enjoyment of them may be marred by the sting of an awakened conscience. "And the counsel of Ahithophel which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel, both with David and Absalom," 2 Sam. xvi, 23. "And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and got him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and he died," 2Sam. xvii, 23. The worm at the root of the gourd, with some, is an injured reputation. "I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours," Psa. xxxi, 11. That which undermines another's happiness is the mere creature of the imagination. "And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king; Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet which she had prepared but myself: and to-morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate,"
Esther v, 11, 13. And where is the man experimentally a stranger to all these exceptions to the completeness of human happiness? But the cause of truth. will not shrink from allowing to the case a term as long and an intensity as great as can be desired: the worth of the soul will not suffer by allowing whatever value you can claim for any thing short of its salvation.
There is something touching in that expression, "What shall it profit?" we read not, what doth it profit during the passing hour; but what shall it profit a man, when the short-lived hour is past, to have gained the whole world with the loss of his soul. There may be some passing and piquant enjoyment from the world, but what will it amount to in eternity? what will it be on reflection? This is the solemn inquiry. Past joy cannot contribute to present happiness; it can take nothing from the cup of present misery; but when it is the occasion of actual, unending, and, therefore, hopeless misery-O! it will be one of the bitterest ingredients in the cup of fury.
A man of pleasure, when he outlives his delights, is wretched beyond words, and dreads the thought of growing old more than that of growing infamous; how will he feel, if he die impenitent, in the shades of hell? think of this, thou whose portion is in this world, and tremble.
II. We have stated the profit, let us now attempt to speak of the loss of the soul, in the case supposed.
What is the full import of this last expression we know not, and, I pray God, we may never know. The loss of health, of comfort, of friends, of character, and of reason, we can imagine; we can form some idea of the anguish and heart-sickness of pining disease; the absence of comfort, and the pressure of remediless dis